A Remembrance of the old bakery.
Martin Burridge's brother-in-law, Henry Withington (the second of the name in this town, and father of the late assessor), enjoyed telling, so the latter informed the writer, that he was once a scullion in Timothy Bigelow's kitchen. Whatever his service or position there, without doubt he had an experience that enabled him, when he entered into the bakery business, to supply his townsmen with superior products. Who does not love to recall that little old shop, than which nothing in story or reality was quainter nor more alluring. Small, low studded, with beamed ceiling, it looked antique in every particular, with the tiny desk on the wall where one stood or perched on a high stool to cast up his accounts. You might enter sometime and find no one to attend to your wants, but a bell on the door as you opened it had given notice of your entering, and very soon someone opened a glass door of a living-room at the west, stepped down two steps, and waited upon you; or perhaps he came in from some old room or odd corner at the north. Little children used to wonder where the yeast came from as they handed up a pail or bottle for a penny's worth, and they spent their pennies for the few sweet [p. 80] things the shop carried, Gibraltars, and a large, white, flat cocoanut cake with a pink piece in the middle that seemed to them the ne plus ultra of toothsomeness. Their elders enjoyed the good brownbread, buns, and brick loaves, and when they went to spend a day in the country, carried a supply to their friends, who, living far from a bakery, esteemed Medford bread and buns a luxury. Grown men, once pupils at the Hathaway school, came to the town with their young sons to buy cocoanut cakes for them such as they bought in school-boy days. The smell of fresh baked crackers was enough to revive a fainting man, and Medfordites went thronging to the shop, the days they were baked, with big baskets and little baskets, and thought there was no better lunch than crackers right from the oven with plenty of good sweet butter. In the earlier days this shop was smaller and more alluring than it was when torn down, for the portion east of the entrance door was an unfinished room where barrels and barrels of crackers were packed. The house, a close companion of the shop, was very antique, especially in the rooms at the back, and we really know but little about its age and history, as but little has been said of the interior of the old house, but much of the story of the business of the firm has been printed.
E. M. G.