Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is of the gigantic kitchen in Windsor Castle, England. I immediately thought of this photo of my father-in-law, Ray. He was a professional baker. His family had owned a bakery, where he learned the trade, then he and my mother-in-law opened a little bakery of their own. Some time after that, they moved here to California and they opened the Cake Shop in Whittier. The Cake Shop was a very successful bakery until one night it burned to the ground! Although it could not be proved, arson was suspected of one of the neighbors. While they did rebuild, that loss of the bakery stole Ray’s health. He passed away shortly after at a much too young 54. My mother-in-law is still in love with him to this day! This picture was taken right around the time they were married. Had he lived, they would celebrate their 56th wedding anniversary this year. I’m sad that I never got the chance to know him, but I am deeply grateful to know and love his son.

For more kitchens and the stories that tend be told in them, click over to Sepia Saturday!

Cooking up something good

17 thoughts on “Baker

  1. Alan Burnett says:

    What a sad story. We normally associate kitchens and cooking with joyous times – but when cooking or baking is your life it can reflect all the setbacks and challenges that life throws at you.

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  2. Wendy says:

    Aww — this is a sad story, as Alan said. I think it’s sweet that your mother-in-law still is in love. This photo shows such a happy guy – it’s no wonder his bakery was successful.

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  3. Bob Scotney says:

    A sad story indeed. There is something about the smell of new baked bread that I’ll never forget. As young boys we could visit the bakery in the village and buy a newly baked loaf for a shilling. Then we would climb our favourite tree hanging over a steam an share it between us. The bakery is long gone, but the tree’s still there. Somehow supermarkey bakeries will never repalce the old small ones run by one man.

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    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Where I live, so many of the bakeries are also inside a supermarket and the people don’t really seem to care all that much. It’s sad, I agree.

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  4. Little Nell says:

    Yes a sad story but you show your father-in-law as a happy man in his baking job. That’s a wonderful tribute.

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    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      He did love baking, especially wedding cakes. Once we visited the Cake Shop while it was under new owner/management, and a woman came in to order a cake. She said that Ray had made her wedding cake 20 years before and she wanted another wonderful Cake Shop cake for her next special occasion. That’s a great tribute to his talent!

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  5. kristin says:

    That is horrible! I used to live over a deserted bakery. All the old equipment and ovens were still there. Wish I had some taken some photographs of it.

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  6. Ray looks so happy here, and I am sorry that their bakery burned down and he lost heart. So sad.

    Kathy M.

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  7. Ava Cohn says:

    My Dad owned a bakery too and I have a similar picture of him standing in front of the oven. Is that a Blodgett? Many bakers tend to die young because of the constant exposure to flour and to the particulates that are in the air from the flour. My Dad died at a relatively young age too.

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    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I didn’t know that about the flour particulates but it doesn’t surprise me. Just baking in my own kitchen I tend to kick up flour dust at the littlest bump. I don’t know what kind of oven that is and my mother in law may have told me where the photo was taken but I can’t remember. It may have been while he was in the Air Force.

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      1. That’s just sad. Would have made a nice family baking book to pass down.

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  8. postcardy says:

    I didn’t know that it was dangerous to be exposed to flour. I bet there are regulations now.

    Ray looks surprisingly thin for a baker.

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    1. Ava Cohn says:

      Yes, it was dangerous. The tiny particles in the flour get into your lungs and can cause problems. Of course, bakers are around such huge amounts of flour. My Dad had been baking since he was a child and his family were bakers, so that’s a long time to be exposed to flour dust.

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  9. That’s quite sad. I’m hoping his recipes were saved and have been passed along to you.

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    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I did get one recipe but the rest were sold with the bakery and were not retained in the family, unfortunately. But, his carrot cake is to die for!

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  10. Great photo! How wonderful for your Mother In Law to have been in love so much. but sad too. Happy Mother’s Day to you! :)

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  11. tyrogers6200 says:

    Yes, sad story but you can tell by his face he loved what he was doing. And what a love story – you don’t hear about those too often!

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