Going Out With a Bang!
Today our oldest son, Peter Normand, turns 33 years old. We literally started our business the day he was born. This March, 1980 photo accompanied a Daily Hampshire Gazette article entitled- THEY SHARE LIFE - AND A BAKERY. Patty and I are standing in our West Street bakery kitchen with little Peter overseeing the activities. He and Patty joined me at work for the first early morning hours until his patience ran out and he needed to be home for his nap.
Today, Pete's 5 month old son, Samuel Baker Normand, will be there to oversee the end of Bakery Normand. Sadly, he will have no real memory of the excitement and energy of these heady days. Through Blog posts, photos and print articles he will be reminded of what once was and the family business that gave him his middle name. His future will be his to make, with our love and support.
We're quickly approaching our final week of business. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has come by the bakery since we announced our retirement. We honestly were not prepared for the love and support that you all have showered so kindly upon us. We actually thought that our final three weeks would be a long, and quiet, good-bye. Instead, we have had to ramp up our production to meet the unprecedented demand for breads and pastries in this otherwise hot and quiet month of August. I would characterize the response from customers as, first, happiness for us and our retirement plans, and, second, panic, bordering on hysteria. It's kind of like what happens when the local weather man reports an approaching hurricane or Nor'easter blizzard; people start stocking up on essentials to manage some unknown or uncertain future. Yes, the end is near, but the memories will forever feed our souls.
Please come in before we close and sign our guest book. We're asking folks to sign their names and contact information, along with comments about what baked goods they will most miss. In the event that a reincarnated bakery should appear, in whatever limited form that may be, we hope to use this contact information to reconnect with our supportive fans. One idea I have is to construct a wood-fired brick oven behind our house in Holyoke overlooking the Connecticut River and the Holyoke Range; then, when I bake a batch of a favorite bread or pastry, I'll call up those folks who would most appreciate that bread or pasty and invite them over for a drink while we nurse the oven. After a relaxing visit, everyone goes home with some hearth-baked goodies and a memory for old time's sake.
Who knows what the future holds. Stay curious. Stay engaged.