Latshaw's Bakery Program
Thanks to everyone who came out to Wednesday night's program on the history of Latshaw's Bakery. After all these years, it's gratifying that a business in town that's been closed for forty-five years can still evoke such positive (and delicious) memories. It was great fun to see so many familiar faces, (including family), as well as to meet many new folks, including a 93-year old who waitressed in the restaurant. We loved hearing your stories and remembrances after the meeting! I again want to thank my brothers, Brad and Neil for their help, as well as our Aunt Shirley (Willauer) Eselby, who grew up at the bakery, in gathering information and artifacts. Our cousin Mark Eselby located some artifacts that he is donating to the Historical Society, and our cousin W. Hosea Latshaw greatly assisted in researching the properties of the bakery and the Latshaw Farm on Wall Street. Hosea even brought one of the hand-held bells used on the bakery delivery wagon to the program. A special thank you also goes to Lori Anthony and Bonnie Mack and their team who provided refreshments on Wednesday night. They were great!
We were unprepared for the overwhelming attendance at last night's meeting, and the 50 copies of the bakery's Log Cabin Cookie recipe were quickly gone. If you did not get a copy, please email me at the society's email address: email@example.com, and I'll see that you get the recipe.
I ran a few minutes over our usual sixty-minute length on Wednesday, so I didn't end the program with the closing thoughts I had planned to use. What follows is an excerpt from some thoughts on the topic of "teamwork" that I had shared with my fellow Spring-Ford administrators when I was still working as principal at Royersford Elementary. I believe they give a partial insight into the specialness of working together in a family business.
My great-grandfather, Hosea, started Latshaw’s Bakery in Spring City. My grandparents bought the bakery from him in the 1940’s, and my dad went to trade school following a stint in the US Coast Guard to become the third-generation baker in the family business. Dad bought the business from my grandmother in the late 1960’s. Over the years, we all played a part in working at the bakery. Dad was the anchorman, of course, but my mother tended the store and kept the books. My brothers and I were baker’s helpers doing everything from tending the ovens, to filling the donuts, cream puffs and éclairs, to “pearl diving” (washing the huge pots and pans needed in the operation). Even my grandmother, who was in her 70’s continued to work on a limited basis after she “retired.” In a very real way, this experience taught my brothers and me the Law of the Big Picture. If your family ever had a family-operated business, you know what I’m talking about. What we did, working side-by-side on a daily basis, literally put bread on our table. Yes, we had our moments of disagreement, and tension. The demands of any food service operation can be stressful, but overarching it all was the idea that we were united in a common purpose for the common good of our family.
As I look back at those years, it really was like magic. Raw materials like 100 lb. bags of flour and sugar, five-gallon buckets of eggs, 25 lb. boxes of yeast and 50 lb. cans of shortening came in the doors to the bakery. Working together we combined these ingredients using recipes that had been passed down from one generation to another into amazingly delicious baked goods, (that I continued to dream about for years after the bakery closed its doors), that were sold and went out the doors of the bakery. This had the result of putting bread on our own table, along with so much more. It put clothing on our backs, paid the bills, and put spending money in the pockets of three teenage boys. It also paid for a college education that enabled me to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. We all sacrificed, but we all benefitted, too. It was as if we were investing in our family, as well as in each other individually
I am grateful for having had the opportunity to experience this important life lesson. Every time I walk through the center lobby at Royersford and pass two showcases that came from the bakery that are usually filled with elementary art projects, I am reminded of some of my “beginnings” that helped to mold and shape who I am, as well as impress upon me the importance of being a part of something that is bigger than I am....
There is no greater satisfaction than to be a part of a team that combines its resources to accomplish great things…things that could not have been achieved if we work alone.
The Spring-Ford Area Historical Society is also a team. If you are interested in history, and specifically interested in preserving and re-telling history for future generations, I invite you to become a "team member." The society is in urgent need of volunteers to co-host when the museum is open. No experience is necessary, and you will be helping to continue an important part of our presence in the community. For more information, click here.