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Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can’t go home again.” I disagree.
I go home to a wonderful community festival, White Mills Days, as often as I can. It always is on the weekend of the Fourth of July and is because of the good graces of the White Mills Christian Camp who owns the old Richardson Hotel.
The camp is second to none with wonderful facilities and this weekend, the White Mills Civic League holds its festival on their campground.
But many, many years ago, people would come on the train to Eastview, and take a buggy to the resort town of White Mills and the Richardson Hotel. I have a close fondness with that hotel as my mother and father met there while attending a dance sponsored by Mrs. Richardson.
My father, who was from Massachusetts, was stationed at Fort Knox. When “Miss Josie” found out there would be a platoon of soldiers camping along the Nolin River, it was just natural to be hospitable and have a dance.
If you haven’t read my book, you do not know my father asked my mom for the first dance, he then asked her for every dance to follow. The rest is history; my dad never went back to Massachusetts.
My mom, my grandfather, my great-grandfather and I lived on a fourth-generation farm near White Mills. Three months ago, my great uncle’s grandson, wife and daughter traveled from Illinois to visit home sites of our ancestors. The one thing I didn’t think I could do was to visit that fourth-generation site, but I knew how much it meant to my cousin. For the first time since my mom died, we traveled out the old lane and up to where my home was.
When the new owners went to tear the house down, the logs were too hard. The logical choice was to burn it down. As we neared the site, I was so surprisingly calm and happy. It felt so good to be home again. I was so glad the new owners built a beautiful home on the very spot where the log home had been. They were so hospitable that I was able to take in as much as possible and wonderful memories came pouring through my mind.
So, you truly can go home again. It may take 17 years to get there, but you definitely can go home.
In honor of my hometown and the grounds where my mom and dad met, I have some recipes from White Mills community recipe books. I hope you can take in White Mills Days this Saturday at the onetime Richardson Hotel in the resort town of White Mills. I will be on the front porch selling my books. Come have the most delicious barbecued chicken and a lovely day in my hometown.
Nora Sweat, author of Mama and Me, is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at email@example.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.
German Chocolate Upside Down Cake
1 stick of margarine
2 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream of cheese
1 German Chocolate cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut
Carefully soften cream cheese and margarine in microwave. Beat in powdered sugar.
Set aside. Mix the German Chocolate cake mix according to package directions. Grease and flour a 13” x 9” pan. Sprinkle with pecans and coconut. Pour cake batter over nuts and coconut. Drop cream cheese mixture by spoonfuls on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Turn cake out onto a plate. Leave pan on for short time to keep it from cracking.
Source: Lorine Horn, Family Fellowship Cookbook, 1999, p.81, White Mills Baptist Church
1 yellow cake mix with pudding
1 stick margarine
8 oz. chocolate chips
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, beaten well
1 lb. (4 ¾ cup) confectioner’s sugar
Grease a 9” x 13” x 2” pan. Mix ingredients, will be a stiff mixture. Press into a pan. Then cover with frosting.
Mix all ingredients together. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread over top of cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Source: Marsha Singer, Cherished Recipes, White Mills Homemakers, pg. 81.
½ cup butter, melted
1½ cup flour
8 oz. cream cheese
1¼ cup powdered sugar
1 large tub Cool Whip
2 small boxes instant lemon pudding
3 cups milk
1 cup chopped nuts
Mix flour and butter until crumbly. Pat into a 13” x 9” x 2” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool. Combine one cup of Cool Whip, cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Spread over cooled crust. Mix pudding with milk and allow to thicken. Spread over the second layer. Spread with remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Chill several hours and cut into squares. Keep in refrigerator.
Source: Patsy Young, Treasured Recipes, White Mills Christian Church, 2009, pg. 52