All I Want for Christmas…

Dear Genea-Santa,

There are many things I could ask for this year: a photograph of my great-grandfather; a copy of my great-great-grandmother’s naturalization record; or the money to buy back my family’s bar in Dunkirk before it’s torn down next year. (And I could definitely use an elf’s help to organize my family photos and documents!) Every holiday season, though, I’m reminded of two things that are missing on Christmas Eve: my paternal grandmother, and her fantastic fudge.

I haven’t shared my paternal grandmother’s story here before, and I doubt I ever will; she passed away when I was a young girl, and although it’s been over a decade since her passing, we all feel her loss every day–especially during the holidays. Grandma Glenna was strong and courageous and brave; she took care of everyone who needed help and spent the last few years of her life doting on her five grandchildren. She was beautiful and kind and perfect in every way, and if I can grow into one tenth of the woman she was, I’ll be very fortunate–and an incredible human being.

One of my favorite memories with my grandmother was the time she made her famous fudge recipe. She had spent all day helping me “help” her make the fudge, and we had finally gotten it into the pan and had set it on the stovetop to cool. That’s when the doorbell rang, and she left the room to get something for the person on the porch; perhaps her checkbook or a pen to sign for a delivery, I couldn’t say. While she was upstairs, I grabbed a handful of fudge from the middle of the pan, stuffed my cheeks full and ran to answer the door–and then stood in the open door, unable to talk. Grandma Glenna turned the corner and had quite a laugh!

It really was good fudge, but we’ve never been able to find the recipe among her belongings; it has left me wondering whether she even wrote it down to begin with, or if she simply knew the recipe by heart. My mother and I have tried to recreate the recipe many times over the years, as well, but we haven’t quite gotten it. Genea-Santa, all I want for Christmas is Grandma Glenna’s fudge recipe, a little piece of that memory to keep close. If I can’t have my grandmother back, the recipe would be a wonderful gift this year.


All the best this holiday season,

34 thoughts on “All I Want for Christmas…

  1. That’s a lovely memory and a lovely wish. In those days, people rarely did write down recipes, there are many like that in my own family, too.

    Good wishes to you for Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My grandmother and her sisters were the “original” family historians; every family photo, for instance, has the names, date and location written on the back. It surprises me that she didn’t write it down, but I guess cooking/baking is a little different.

      Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. My mother in law made fudge in the family. It took me awhile but I mastered her recipe. Hers from the old cocoa can and it’s cooked till just sugary enough to pour. I’ve learned to know that look and feel without a candy thermometer. If hers was a cooked recipe it might be this one. It comes nice and sugary .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Merry Christmas, Jamie! I am so glad you found my blog,because now I have found yours, and I have really enjoyed reading some of your ‘back blogs’ over the last few days. You have given me some great ideas for using my blog for more than just my travel stories.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, thank you–and I’ve loved seeing all of your travel photos and reading about your trips! Merry Christmas, as well, and I can’t wait to hear more family stories–I’m sure you’ve been told many interesting tales over the years (haven’t we all?).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If your grandmother was like mine, she cooked from memory and tossed in a little of this and a touch of that. I, too, wish I had some of Nana’s recipes. Happy holidays!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Jamie,

    You checked in on my blog today about backpacking down the PCT. Actually I am in Charlotte right now. We’ve been visiting with our daughter and her family for Christmas. Today we head back to our home in Oregon where we live in the Applegate Valley on the Applegate River. 🙂 The early Applegate Trail brought pioneers to our portion of Oregon. I was just wondering if your family is connected to the Applegate Family? While I don’t have a direct line connection, members of my family intermarried with members of the Applegate family in the early to mid 1800s. And I like fudge. 🙂 –Curt Mekemson

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember, I loved the photos you took on your hike! They’re beautiful–I’m really glad I found your blog.

      I did search for a connection to the Applegate Trail a few years ago–I think I found that it was named after three brothers: Charles, Jesse and Lindsay Applegate. We’re all descendants of Thomas Applegate of Gravesend, if my research is correct; the brothers’ ancestors initially moved to New Jersey, while mine moved to Kentucky. What interested me most is that the brothers’ family left for Henry County, Kentucky a few generations on, separate from the initial Applegate “migration” to Kentucky years before. So there’s a connection, it’s just distant–maybe we’re related in a roundabout way through marriage, then, too. Now I’ll have to go back and make sure all my research is sound!

      I hope you enjoyed your time in Charlotte! I think it would be so cool to live in Oregon though. And the fudge was awesome–wish I still knew the recipe!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love genealogy, Jamie. I just don’t have much time for it. A few years ago, however, Peggy and I traveled around the country and even traveled to Scotland, checking out family history. I spent a lot of time in graveyards. 🙂 Our family moved to Kentucky in the 1790s and ended up near Cynthiana. One of the historic markers notes where their mill was. I found sections of their old stone walls. Fascinating stuff.
        We live on five acres and our property backs up to a national forest. Its a beautiful location. –Curt

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Genealogy takes up most of my free time, so I understand that! And I’ve spent a lot of that time in graveyards, too. I haven’t had the opportunity to travel abroad for research, but fingers crossed I’ll get to Scotland one day. That must’ve been an incredible trip! The Applegate’s mill is on the list now, too–are you considering writing more books about your experiences? It sounds like you have more than enough stories to share!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am working on my book about the backpacking trip this summer (and 50 years of backpacking, Jamie), to go along with the Peace Corps memoir featured on my blog. I have two or three more in mind, but we’ll see. Scotland was indeed a kick. I may head to Ireland this fall to fill in a bit more of the history. Interesting, while I always assumed a strong Scottish and Irish heritage, my DNA is showing much more English. –Curt

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I read about your current book right after I replied–I hope it’s going well! Ireland and Canada are the only countries I’ve traveled to for research, and Ireland is beautiful–definitely go if you get the chance this fall. Worth the trip!

        And that’s interesting about the DNA. I’d always been told that I’m Scottish, but it didn’t show up in my DNA either–but I’m taking those ethnicity estimates with a grain of salt these days.

        If you ever find the time, you should write those other two or three books! I’m sure your children and grandchildren would be glad–one of my projects is to record all of my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ stories, and a memoir-of-sorts would make that easier!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Laughing. That, or than can read my blogs, Jamie. Once this stuff gets on the net it hangs around a long, long time. I’ve blogged about much of my history, and even about some of the family genealogy. And I took one of my grandkids on a portion of the trail with me this summer! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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