Of Books and Cookies

There was a bakery in Astoria, New York , called Ditmars Bakery. It looked a lot like the one in the photo. They had these chocolate chip cookies that were so big, my six-year old and I could share one and be content. Those cookies were the perfect texture, the perfect sweetness.
The bakery was right next to the library. Every Friday, we’d go to the library, get a ton of books, and then go next door and have that cookie together. My son loved the library part of the experience even more than he loved the cookie. In fact, sometimes, he’d stay in the library so long–I’m talking hours–I had to lure him out of there with the promise of a cookie “before the bakery closed.” 
We’d put his pile of books in the car, and go sit in the bakery. I would make up stories about the people who came in while we were sitting there, and about the people who worked there. He liked the silly ones and the scary ones the best. So, I would say things such as, “Now don’t turn this cookie into a flying saucer like you did the last time,” and that would make him laugh, or I would say, “Do you think the baker is baking people into the cakes?” and he’d open his mouth wide in an exaggerated way.
(I don’t know why some adults think being with children is boring. For me it’s often the other way around. )
Or, if he were in a philosophical mode, he’d tell me about the last Goosebumps book he read, where, say, the main character had accidentally sent his little sister to another dimension, and was now having a crisis of conscience — should he bring her back, even though she was so annoying? We would debate the merits of the two scenarios. Usually he was on the side of good, with me playing devil’s advocate —“Yes, but now she can’t steal his cereal anymore, or tattle on him, so think about that.”
It was such an experience, those Friday afternoons going to the library and the bakery with my son. Talking with him,  just us, face-to-face, nothing between us but books and a cookie.
I wish I could go to that bakery right now. I don’t think it’s there anymore.  
I wish I could have one afternoon, talking to my six-year-old again. Would I say anything different to him, now that I know what he’s like as an adult? Or would we just talk about Goosebumps, and cookies turned into flying saucers?
I can’t have my six-year-old back, and I can’t go to Ditmars Bakery in Astoria. The local library is closed due to covid.
Maybe I’ll bake some cookies.


  1. You’re wonderful. Thank you.

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