Monday, October 13, 2008

Death of an icon

Some of my childhood favorites. I'm still in search of the Circus Cookies. *

I was horrified last Thursday when I learned that Mother's Cookies had filed bankruptcy. Even worse is the image one gets when going to their website -- a white plate with some crumbs on it.

Mother's started in Oakland. Even when operations moved out of the area, for many of us in the Bay, they were still a Bay Area company.

The loss of Mother's? Almost like the loss of one's own mother. Especially if you have a mom like mine. "I have a job. I don't have time to bake cupcakes and cookies. Let the other moms be room mothers." As you see, I am still scarred by this.

My mom? A huge addict of the oatmeal cookies. And she would keep them on top of the fridge or in a high cabinet. I guess she was trying to keep them out of my reach. Yeah. Right. I had skills. Around age six or so, I learned how to pull myself up onto the counter so that I could get to the things I wasn't supposed to have. This usually occurred in the early morning hours of Saturdays when my parents were sleeping in.

This method was also helpful in getting the prize out of the cereal box. Climb up and find the box as well as a large bowl. Dump the cereal out into the bowl until the prize is visible. Retrieve the prize and dump the cereal back into the box. Act surprised later upon reaching the end of the box that the prize has not shown up.

I engaged in these tactics some years later as well. Toward the end of elementary school, my father went on a tour of the Mother's factory as a part of his job. He came home with a jumbo box variety pack of their wares. There were enough cookies in there to last the average kid at least a month. My mother placed the box on top of the fridge. Foolish misguided woman.

I learned from my dad at this time that they also conducted class tours for students. What?! I had never heard of this field trip. Needless to say, I was never able to convince a teacher that this was a very necessary field trip. And by the time that I was teaching, operations had moved out of the area.

When I first learned last Thursday that Mother's had shut down, I went to tell the receptionist at work. She bemoaned the oatmeal cookies. I told her that the folks at SFist mentioned leaving the package open "accidentally" so that the cookies would get stale soft. She looked at me and exclaimed, "I thought that I was the only one who did that." Nope.

I meant to go pick some cookies up on Thursday but didn't remember until I got home. I decided that Friday was soon enough. The oatmeal cookies were nearly gone. I had to search hard for those. And then while I was being rung up, this guy walking into the store said, "You'd better enjoy those while you can." I explained to him that I knew about the bankruptcy and that was why I was buying the cookies. He then asked where he could find the cookies in the store.

Saturday I was out with my mom. (And I got a reminder of why I think she is such a bitch most of the time I was with her. It is a small miracle that I am not in jail currently.) We ended up in a Target and she decided to look for cookies. The cashier asked her if she knew about the bankruptcy. And then the cashier started to share what her favorite flavors were.

I don't know how it is anywhere else but everyone here in the Bay Area has their favorite. That has been the common thread. And also the feeling of the death of part of one's childhood. Because I have yet to meet anyone who grew up in Bay Area for whom Mother's cookies were not a part of their lives. It's almost like saying that there will be no more air or water.

* If I don't find the Circus Cookies, I can always get this item.

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