How I Came to Write, Model T Biscuits

 Lorna Kerin Beall

 I have a very poignant memory of one Sunday when I was 6-years-old. Recalling this incident is what inspired me to begin writing Model T Biscuits.Remembering the experience makes me feel like I am that little girl again.

    I was attending the Cave Hills Lutheran Church, near Buffalo, South Dakota, with my Mumu (my Finnish Grandma.) I clung to Mumu’s hand. Though all the folks, who seemed very big and old to me, were friendly, I had a lonesome feeling way down in my tummy. I missed my freckly, redheaded Mama. Unable to find work close by, she was away working in the big city of Chicago as a governess. I had trouble saying the word “governess,” and Mama had told me I could say, “nanny.” She sent me a postcard with lots of tall skinny buildings on it. They looked scary. But the XOXO’s she scribbled on the other side of the scary postcard made me feel all better.

    One time when she was home for a visit, she showed me a picture of the boy and girl she took care of, Charles and Jacqueline. They were standing as pretty-as-you-please in front of a big mansion. “Is that our house, Mama?” I’d asked. She shook her head, and reassured me that someday we’d have our oma tupa, our own home. I tried very hard to pronounce the girls name. “Jac – Jac…” Mama told me I could call the little rich girl Jackie. Jackie was dressed in a frilly white dress that was prettier than any I owned. And Charles had a white shirt and shorts on. Also suspenders. I wished I knew what color those suspenders were. Everything in the photograph was black and white. Even Mama’s red hair. She was in the picture, too, holding onto the children’s hands. I didn’t like that. She was myMama.

    I knew my Mumu loved me. Our little stucco house always smelled for homemade thin bread. She called it a big Finnish word I couldn’t say, something -- leapa. Only she spelled that last part “l-e-i-p-ä.” Mumu and my Aunts loved to chatter away in those hard words that I couldn’t understand. I don’t think they wanted me know what they were saying. From the funny looks on their faces I knew they were telling secrets.

     Mama married my Step-Daddy, and they came to see us. They said they were going to Wash-ing-ton, State, to see his sister, Sill. They promised to take me too. But I didn’t believe them.  I always raised a big noisy fuss when Mama had to go back to Chicago after a trip home, so she’d sneak off in the middle of the night. I was afraid they’d sneak off without me.  So I hid away in he back seat of our
Model T.

    And that’s where and when Model T Biscuits begins.