Hickory Nut Cake and Snapdragons: Memories of Mrs. Busch

My mom & Mrs. Busch, abt 1964
My mom and Mrs. Busch, about 1964. (Image source: Drake family photo, privately held.)

I was named for two very special women in my mom’s life. One of them was Mrs. Eva Busch, who was like a grandmother to my mom when she was young. She lived right around the corner when my mom was growing up, and would often watch her while her parents were at work. Mrs. Busch had been good friends with my mom’s Grandma Kaiser, and although she sometimes took care of other children in the neighborhood, she had a special bond with my mom. My mom would spend time at her house after school and during the summer when her parents were at work. They spent many of their days baking pies, cookies, or bread. One of her specialties was Hickory Nut Cake. In the fall, they would gather nuts from the Hickory trees in their yards, and they would spend many hours cracking them and separating the nuts from the shells. After all that hard work, the cake was quite a treat! On warm days, my mom enjoyed reading a book underneath the large white bridal wreath bush in front of her house. Mrs. Busch’s garden also always had colorful snapdragons, and she would show my mom how to pinch the flowers to make the “dragons” snap open their “mouths.” On cold or rainy days, Mrs. Busch taught my mom how to play solitaire or other card games. Mrs. Busch passed away when my mom was in college. Although my mom always called her Mrs. Busch, she thought her first name, Eva, was a pretty name, and when I was born, she paired it with my aunt’s middle name, Anne, to make my first name. Mrs. Busch and my aunt were very kind, patient, and practical women, and were talented bakers. I’m hoping to live up to my name!

5 thoughts on “Hickory Nut Cake and Snapdragons: Memories of Mrs. Busch

  1. Are you a baker, then?

    I remember my grandmother’s next-door neighbor whom we always called “Grandma Swartley,” though she was no relation. Going through some old post cards recently, I found one from her to my parents – it came as a surprise to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do some baking, but I’m no expert. I’ve been doing a lot of baking in the past few months because I have some sourdough starter that has to be used every week! I’ve have fun being creative with my baking creations!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s adventurous. I tried that for a while, but I don’t have the knack for bread. Maybe it’s the altitude. I’d be stuck making a lot of sourdough pancakes and waffles!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve been making a lot of bread, cinnamon rolls, pitas, cake, and crackers with the starter. The crackers were supposed to be the easiest but they haven’t worked twice, so I may not try them again!

        Liked by 1 person

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