Baking has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have mentioned my grandmother's hand in instilling in me the joy for baking that I currently unleash on everyone. Lately I have been thinking a great deal about my grandmother, now that she is gone. So many questions I never asked her. I never believed she would be around forever. I just did not know until it was too late that I had so many unanswered questions, none of which are urgent to my happiness, health, safety, life or anything else. I am simply curious, and now there is no way to fill in the blanks. For example, in her youth, she had been engaged to marry a man named Cecil. Ultimately she left Missouri, where she had been living, spurned Cecil and married my grandfather. But it never occurred to me until very recently to ask for the story of how she came to decide against marrying Cecil. Unfortunately my mother never really probed this issue with her either… so her broken engagement remains a mystery.
These unanswered questions make me wonder what kinds of things in my life will be constants, as baking has been, that people will not notice or think of as anything special. And then when I am gone, perhaps someone will unearth questions about this — or some other more undocumented aspect of my life. I thought about this a lot today because I talked to someone who has been in my life for 20 years, and he seemed surprised to learn that I have what one colleague termed "OCBD" (obsessive-compulsive baking disorder). It causes me to reflect on what parts of myself are well known and public (which baking should be!) and which are hidden.
Sometimes there are things we see but don't fully realize. One man at work has been coming into my office for months to eat cookies, and my officemate and I were just this morning wondering who he is. Then a company-wide email went around from someone saying goodbye on his last day; he was Icelandic… and I did not even know we had another Icelander (other than the handful I already knew about) at work! Haha. I looked him up on the intranet and discovered that the cookie-eating stranger was in fact the departing Icelander. How is it that all these months I had never noticed or known? Am I really so wrapped up in my own world that I fail to notice such details?