As far as looking at the past goes, I have no sense of time and not the best memory. Carol Lanner, one of our treasured staff members is retiring at the end of February after having worked here for 26 years. That actually seems impossible to me. I remember when she applied for a job here. I interviewed her and decided after talking with her that she had excellent experience, but not at a bakery, a willingness to learn, a positive attitude, and a great bright infectious smile. That was enough to convince me that she would probably be a great asset to our newly formed location on Madison Road.
So she joined the joyful madness at 2030 Madison Road. In the beginning if you had a “Sure, I’ll try that.” attitude, it made all the difference in the world to us. We didn’t know exactly what we were doing and we found it was a lot easier and more fun to solve problems with people that possessed a positive attitude. That described Carol from head to toe. She was also definitely game for anything.
We needed someone to help at the counter and to count the cash at the end of the night. This was before credit cards and every deposit had to be just so before being taken to the bank .Carol agreed to give it a try. Then we needed someone to make scones. She agreed to do that too. I used to have most of the conversations with potential brides for their wedding cake planning in the beginning since I decorated all the cakes. It was easy to know what could and couldn’t be done especially if you were doing it yourself. But there was no way on earth MaryPat and I alone could deliver all the cakes on a Saturday. Carol gleefully began to help us get all the cakes safely to their far and mysterious destinations. This was before Mapquest or cell phones. Most of us took the directions from the brides and occasionally tore the directories out of the back of the phone books to route our deliveries. Summer and winter deliveries each provided their own challenges. One definitely had to be a special kind of brave person to take on this potentially perilous job and she was.
I think this was how she eventually began to run the entire wedding department and is precisely the position she is retiring from. Lately, I have mentioned that I will not know how to be at work for awhile without hearing her in the wedding department which is right outside my and Mary Pat’s office. It is there that she interviews many prospective brides each week. I hear her cheerful voice welcoming each bride and groom with unbridled enthusiasm to each cake tasting.
We were brought up in the 50’s and 60’s and there is a particular sense of grace , pride and respect that we have for institutions like marriage and a knowledge that time gives you to empathize with the stress surrounding each wedding. Carol is a veritable bride whisperer when it comes to calming matrimonial jitters, at least about wedding cakes.
A few months ago I asked her to keep a journal for awhile to record some of the situations she has seen and the lives she has touched. I am looking forward to reading those observations and memories. So much has changed about weddings since we started making wedding cakes. Carol has kept her brides up to date on the new and also what’s to treasure about old traditions.
We will truly miss her. Her life with her husband Jerry, her bountiful house full of dogs and cats and an undiscovered world of travel and fun is waiting for her. Remember, Carol’s got game.