Happy Monday and happy summertime to everyone! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!
Besides Father’s Day, we also celebrated the Summer Solstice, yesterday. Summer officially arrived Sunday, as the longest day of the year, which is probably why today is observed as National Daylight Appreciation Day. So many great memories are made during the summer season. The weather is generally the most favorable, June through August, for getting outside, traveling, camping, and exploring the great outdoors.
This is the month a lot of people start taking their annual vacations. Whether it’s to a favorite somewhere they’ve been before, or exploring someplace new… Thus, the whole month of June is celebrating, among other things, National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month! Summertime vacations are wonderful memories-in-the-making!
Personally, I have many great summer memories from my own childhood of our family’s vacations. We went to places like Tahquamenon Falls (MI), Mackinaw City (MI), Mackinac Island (MI), Cedar Point (OH), Niagara Falls (Ontario), and so on. Everywhere we visited, there was usually at least one fudge shop, at which to stop and see a live, fudge-making performance, as well as to taste-test and buy some of their yummy treats!
I would have to say, the Mackinac Island fudge shops are probably my favorite ones of all! And the summer vacations that we spent on Mackinac Island will probably always remain the most memorable to me!
One interesting story I found a couple of years ago on the history of fudge and how it first came to be a tourism essential can be seen at ChowHound.com. Another great article to check out, regarding fudge and tourism, is at SmithsonianMag.com – ‘Why Does Every Tourist Attraction Sell Fudge?’, by Kat Eschner (May 12, 2017).
Until last year, the summer months were usually full and eventful for me and my husband – with lots of one-day road trips, weekend getaways, and spontaneous picnics; plus, backyard parties and barbecues to attend and/or host. The season was always busy and seemed to pass by rather quickly – like the old adage infers, “time flies when you’re having fun”!
However, with all of the Covid-19 restrictions throughout most of last year, I found that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I’ve come to truly appreciate all the summertime trips and gatherings that I had always taken for granted. Thus, I want to savor every wonderful day of summer, this year! Another inspiring article I recommend reading is called ‘10 Fun Things To Do In The Summer’.
I consider myself to be a list-maker and, since being inspired by the afore mentioned article, I now like to create small, manageable, summer bucket lists (about 5 things) of what I want to do and see each summer. This year, the goals for me and my husband to explore involve more of #PureMichigan’s “Tip-of-the-Mitt” – including Cadillac, Traverse City, Petoskey, Mackinaw City, and Mackinac Island.
Additionally, in Michigan’s “U.P.”, there are a lot of waterfalls and lighthouses we want to explore; as well as the scenic Pictured Rocks and some other famous sites from which to collect more summertime memories! With any luck at all, we might even see the northern lights, too.
I will always remember one particular summer vacation that I took with Mom and Dad and my younger sister, Cheryl, in my teen years. We were staying at the Grand Hotel, on Mackinac Island; located in beautiful Lake Huron, between Michigan’s two peninsulas.
That same week, there was a movie crew there, filming “Somewhere In Time”, which starred Christopher Plummer, Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour! We actually got to meet and talk to the stars, too. What a special treat for all of us to experience! In fact, long before that, another movie was also filmed at the Grand Hotel. In 1947, Ethel Merman swam in the hotel’s kidney-shaped pool, during the filming of This Time for Keeps. Afterward, the Grand Hotel named its pool in honor of her.
While staying at the Grand Hotel, I was very inspired by the elegant presentation of “snacks” set out for its guests, during the day. Especially so by a delicious banana bread that seemed more like a moist, dense cake, rather than a bread. It also had a delectably thick, cream cheese glaze, sure to please the sweet tooth!
With a little help from Mom, I created my own version later that summer. It turned out so good that Mom put it in her cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; May 1982, 1st Printing) – which is the cookbook that I helped Mom to re-write, using the 3rd printing edition from 1983.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 235)
SOMEWHERE IN TIME – MACKINAC ISLAND [MI]
Our reservations were made in February, that year, to spend the Fourth of July week at The Grand Hotel on historic Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. We had heard, when we arrived, that Universal Pictures was filming a movie with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour and that our 2-day stay at the hotel might be disrupted from the usual routine we were used to when we stayed there.
The place was booked, and we were lucky to have those 2 days because other customers had canceled. The scene when we arrived was one of spectators and glamorous Hollywood activity in the lobby and on the grounds.
Paul was just teeing off at the green next to the golf pro shop, the next morning, when we heard a sympathetic moan from the beautiful leading man, himself, as he locked up his bike and headed across the street to the filming activity. I know I should have run after Christopher Reeve for his autograph, but I was in shock!
Later, in the hotel lobby, we watched the scene when Christopher Reeve checked into The Grand and, later, when he and Jane Seymour [took] a buggy ride away from the entrance of the hotel, with Christopher Plummer looking on. Take the time to enjoy seeing the movie they were filming – we’ve seen it 4 times and can’t wait to see it again! It’s for everyone who has ever been in love – or who has ever visited lovely Mackinac Island, as we do every summer.
In one scene of the movie you’ll notice, on the main street of the village, a sign over a shop that reads ‘Murdick’s Fudge’, a recipe which I have coveted for years. Finally, after dozens of tests, I came up with the secret for purporting this product at home… It whips up in 5 minutes and, a week later, it’s still smooth and creamy.
My parents created a lot of awesome summer memories, upon which I will often reminisce, happily. Another summer memory I have from my teen years is when I was traveling on vacation, with my family, to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. During the long 3-hour drive, Mom sat in the back of the van with me, helping me work on a poem that I had been inspired to write about her and our family (pictured below). Another cherished summertime remembrance!
After Mom and Dad became empty-nesters, they bought a camper and traveled even more – often mixing work with pleasure (as Mom’s work was her pleasure) – making their own special memories. It was undoubtedly much more affordable to do, with only the two of them!
Joining the Good Sam RV club was always one of their most favorite experiences and a big source of wonderful memories. Mom had many scrap books full of photos and special keepsakes from their trips with the Michigan and Ohio chapters of Good Sam.
Mom often wrote about the trips she and Dad took in their summer newsletter issues – from the new restaurant dishes they tried as they traveled (and imitated when they went home) to all of the great friendships they developed everywhere they went. Mom and Dad always looked forward to the Good Sam “Samboree” events!
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)
GOOD SAM – CARING AND CAMPING
Needless to say, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’
AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)
MORE THAN FRIENDS
FRIENDS ARE A TREASURE and, when we count our blessings, we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered…
Since our camping experiences with the national RV organization, ‘Good Sam’, we have truly adopted their slogan… ‘In Good Sam there are no strangers – only friends you haven’t met yet!’ How very true. What would we have done had we not been blessed with meeting Irv and Helen Henze [or] Helen and Chuck Mogg? How much we miss Chuck since he passed away. Friends are those people who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow!
In honor of today, being National Arizona Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Arizona Banana-Orange-Nut Salad”, as seen in Mom’s self-published, bi-centennial cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s The American Cookery Cookbook (Happy Newspaper Features, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1976, p. 3).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
June celebrates, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!
Other observances happening this week include:
Today, June 21st, is… National Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day and National Selfie Day! It’s also the beginning of National Boys & Girls Club Week (June 21-25 for 2021, as this changes annually) – #WhateverItTakes & #BGCWeek!
Tuesday, June 22nd, is… National Chocolate Eclair Day and National Onion Rings Day, in honor of which, here is a repeat of our family’s favorite onion rings from Mom’s Secret RecipesTM files.
Wednesday, June 23rd, is… National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, National Hydration Day, National Pink Day, and National Pecan Sandies Day!
Thursday, June 24th, is… National Pralines Day and, as the last Thursday in June, it’s also National Bomb Pop Day!
Friday, June 25th, is… National Strawberry Parfait Day, National Catfish Day, and Take Your Dog to Work Day (which is the Friday after Father’s Day!
Saturday, June 26th, is… National Coconut Day, National Beautician’s Day, National Chocolate Pudding Day, and Summersgiving (which is always the first Saturday after Summer Solstice begins)!
Sunday, June 27th, is… National Onion Day, National Ice Cream Cake Day, and National Orange Blossom Day!
…25 down and 27 to go!