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Next-door Neighbor Pickles


In 1937, Mom and Luella worked at the same place; stylish Luella was a little older and became Mom’s ideal, ranking right up there with Jeanette MacDonald and Ginger Rogers in Mom’s eyes.

Years passed. Jeanette and Ginger gave way to clotheslines and Bab-O. Mom had two teenagers when new neighbors moved in next door — it was Luella and her family! Mom couldn’t believe it! Luella lived there for a long time and became a part of my later growing-up years. I tried to picture her as the lovely young woman who captured my mother’s girlish admiration but it was hard: Luella was a comet, a streak of energy, the blur who lived next door — who could tell what she looked like?

Apparently, though, there were times she stood still; she gave us pickles to prove it. Luella’s pickles were wonderful. Even more wonderful, she gave me her pickle recipe, handwritten on a card I still have. That she thought I could make her pickles was enough to make me boastful, and I was touched by her faith in me. She was right, too: many batches have I made, remembering her and Mom with every one, and, for a little while, with Captain Kangaroo in the background.

Now I am the older neighbor, though no blur. It is my responsibility to pass along this briney gesture, so last week I gave some of my young neighbors jars of Luella’s pickles, recipe and story attached. These young people live in a world of iThis and iThat, Higgs bosons, clones. Jeanette MacDonald? Who? Clotheslines? What? Time passes, things change, children morph into parents, grass grows, leaves fall: this we know. But good pickles and memories of good neighbors are forever.

The legend lives on.

The legend lives on.

2 thoughts on “Next-door Neighbor Pickles

  1. This is making me hungry, and you know my weakness for good food stories. Your handling of time passing is nothing short of amazing.

  2. Thank you! If I do say so, I think the photo of the pickles belongs next to your photo of the bacon sandwich in the Salivators’ Hall of Fame.

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