It started with bread pudding

Published 6:16 pm Monday, April 25, 2022

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If you have ever read ‘If you Give a Pig A Pancake’, ‘If you Give a Mouse A Cookie’, or any of the books in Laura Joffe Nemeroff’s series to your children or grandchildren, or have had them read to you, you may be able to follow my train of thought in this week’s column.

What starts out in Nemeroff’s books as a simple request or thought ends up all over the place. I want you to know that bread pudding evoked a lot of memories and have me all over town in my mind thinking about some of my favorite things when I was growing up in Washington.

A dear friend posted a mouth-watering picture of a bread pudding she had just made on Facebook. It looked so good if it were possible, I would have reached through my computer screen to grab a hunk of it. The bread pudding made me think of Ammon’s Bakery that was one door away from Bills Hotdogs back in the day.

The bread pudding Ammon’s made was often called a ‘lay heavy.’ I’m not sure why but it was delicious!  If you ever had a piece freshly made on Saturdays it was out of this world!  The lay heavy got me to thinking about how good Tayloe’s Drug Store’s fountain Cokes were along with a slice of lay heavy.  Then thinking about Tayloe’s, my memories moved on to The City Shoe Hospital next door that was owned by Mr. Herman Eason and John Owens.

I would often stop in there to get my newly-soled penny loafers to wear to school the next day. It was hard to go downtown and not stop in the Sears and Roebuck Catalog Store to thumb thru the catalogs to see if the new pants called ‘Bell Bottoms’ were in it.

The Bell Bottom pants made me think about the bell that was on the counter of Miss Lovie’s Quick Lunch who made the best hamburgers in the world.   Miss Lovie’s little sandwich shop that was next door to my dad, Isaac Payton’s, pool room.  The pool room was across the street from the Community Cab Stand at Fourth and Gladden where folks would gather over big metal tubs and eat raw oysters to their hearts content and then leave for Pomp Credle’s Restaurant called The Hollywood Inn for more good eats.

My favorite food stop was the Chuck Wagon on the corner of Bridge and Fifth Streets next to the Shell station.  The French fries, while often soaked in grease when served, were the best I ever ate.

It’s amazing how much we can remember about our favorite places to buy the things we loved the most.  Mrs. Hattie Blount made the best candy apples ever.  Mr. Ringo’s store sold the best Christmas candy.  The chocolate covered peanuts, well actually any chocolate candy from Gerard’s Store, (next to Bill’s Hot Dogs) was the absolute best. McClellan’s Department Store had the best popcorn, and Mr. Jolly’s on Bonner Street had the best assortment of nabs, chips and snack cakes.  Matthew Gibbs store at Fifth and Gladden Streets was the best neighborhood grocery and had the best and freshest cookies sold in those tall Jack’s Cookies Company canisters, and, he had the best pickles, sold in those big barrels at 10 cents each. And lastly, Shorty’s Sandwich shop at Fourth and Pierce Streets and Mr. Ducie Northern’s store at 11th and Bridge Street had the best snow cones.  Ah, the memories, now off to fix me a snack!

Leesa Jones is a Washington native and the co-founder and co-executive director of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum.