Dear Readers: This is the 9th episode of the series: HELP, I WANT TO GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN. If you are new to this series, you may want to start with Chapter One–IF THEY’D HAD HAMBURGER HELPER BACK THEN. Thanks for reading.


In this series, I haven’t said much about the two important men that held down the fort while Shirley and I took classes at UNC.

Shirley and Cleon met as third graders in Hettinger, North Dakota. Cleon was smitten—fell head over heels in love with Shirley—from the first day of class.

Much to Cleon’s dismay, Shirley, one of the prettiest and most popular girls in her class, dated other guys during high school.

But Cleon didn’t give up. When Shirley was in her early twenties she said “yes” to Cleon’s marriage proposal.

The young couple moved to Colorado, where Cleon graduated from DU and then opened several bakeries, including the Batter Bowl Bakery on 4th Street in Loveland.

In talking to Shirley, I learned that bakers’ hours are not bankers’ hours. Cleon arrived at the Batter Bowl at 2a.m. to create the breads, pies and coffee cakes for the day.

He and Shirley tag-teamed at the Batter Bowl throughout the day so Cleon could get some rest after his pre-dawn start.

Though babies came along in rapid succession, there was no time off for this busy couple. No time off for the young parents of a growing family of four tow-headed boys and two blond girls.

Morning sickness was often a companion during Shirley’s pregnancies. “If someone else was minding the store, I’d often take a half-hour nap further down 4th Street at W and T pharmacy—where there was a cot in the back room.”

But as I came to know Shirley and Cleon, there was no complaining about being overworked or overtired. Just a family with an abundance of love and laughter—no matter how the cookie crumbled.

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