I often bring up very fond memories of the time I spent at the family grocery store when I was growing up.
Recently, I remembered “Andy” Anderson, who drove his little panel truck to the store regularly to deliver delicious homemade doughnuts (back then doughnuts were also known as fried cakes).
Whichever of those names that you gave Andy’s doughnuts, he made the most delicious ones I have ever tasted in his little bakery, which was in the garage-like building behind his house a few blocks down Valley Drive from our store.
Andy packaged his donuts in a special “glassine” see-through bag and delivered them to grocery stores in Syracuse’s Valley and south side sections. And that’s all Andy had in his little truck — fresh, delicious doughnuts, no cookies or cupcakes — just doughnuts.
There was a reason why kids saw Andy’s truck coming, they flocked to the corner store to meet him. Andy visited every store on his route every couple of days with fresh doughnuts.
And what did he do with any leftover doughnuts — which were still fresh enough to enjoy — that he removed from the stores? He handed them out to those gathering kids.
When I was a young teenager, I spent most Tuesday evenings at the Syracuse War Memorial watching the weekly wrestling matches. I sat with some other wrestling fans who I had met.
Betty and her mother were from the little hamlet of Mottville, near Skaneateles, and were also avid wrestling fans.
Doughnuts For My Friends
One week I decided to take some of Andy’s doughnuts to wrestling with me. My mother put a little powdered sugar in a bag along with a few of Andy’s doughnuts, removing the Anderson’s Doughnuts bag.
Well, my friends loved them — assuming, without me saying so, that they were baked at home by my mother.
I continued taking doughnuts for my friends to the wrestling matches. Then one week, my mother put the doughnuts in a paper bag without removing them from Andy’s bag.
The jig was up. My friends might not have been pleased that they had been deceived, but on the other hand they seemed to be amused by the conclusion and everything seemed to work out for the best.
After the secret was known, my friends asked me several times to stop at the corner store on my way to wrestling — and buy them a bag of Andy’s doughnuts.
Good Guys and Bad Guys
As I was writing this, and being reminded of the weekly wrestling matches at the War Memorial, and good guys and bad guys, I was sure that I remembered writing about those experiences before. Looking through past columns I discovered one I wrote about taking my autograph book to the wrestling matches.
You know what?! I still have that autograph book. It has been tucked into a drawer for many years.
And, sure enough, most of the book’s pages are full of autographs of wrestlers who appeared at the War Memorial during the early 50s.
There are many names from those years that I still remember — Argentina Rocca, Yukon Eric, Hans Schmidt, and Verne Gagne — “bad guys” and “good guys.” Some names I don’t remember, but they must have been “good” guys that were my favorites back then because I pasted several colorful, shiny stars around their names.
The book contains signatures and sentiments from my mother, father, sister and brother, aunts and uncles, teachers classmates, friends and neighbors; also professional basketball players and boxers.
I said this in the column I wrote a few years ago:
“I met a lot of people at those wrestling matches. One of them, Betty, left a message in my autograph book; ‘Two o’clock in the morning, I looked upon the wall. The cooties and the bedbugs were playing basketball. The score was 2 to 20, the cooties were ahead. I got so darn excited I fell right out of bed.’”
And, yes, it is the same Betty. But she didn’t say anything about Andy’s doughnuts.
It is true. I am great again . . . at least in the grandchild department.
My great grandchild number two was born to my grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. Chris (Courtney) Manning of Wake Forest, N.C., on Sunday, May 18. She is my first great granddaughter — Adelynn Harper Manning.
A very proud big brother, Colton, has been awaiting the arrival of his little “seester” for a long time. He has been very busy for weeks getting ready for the big event — practicing his technique of holding and cradling the new arrival.
When he called us with the good news, son Craig, the proud grandpa, said, “She’s perfect.”
… Roy Hodge