The smell was exactly the same as it was forty years ago – the doughy comfort of freshly-baked bread and crescent rolls mingled with the sugary sweetness of coffee cake, shoo-fly pie, and the best cream or jelly-filled doughnuts ever made.

Instantly transported through time, I was seven years old standing with my cousin, noses pressed up against the glass of the display case where they showed a birthday cake with a menagerie of decoration options. The circus train at the edge of the cake passed by ballerinas and baseball players, a zoo’s worth of animals frozen in motion, laughing clown heads, tiny pink and blue baby bassinets, and a comparatively large bust of a graduate stuck smack in the middle of it all as if overseeing the celebration.

The display cake was long gone, but the rest was unchanged; the same tiles still shone on the walls and under our feet, the same glass cases offered the same baked goods of my childhood, and the same smells wrapped around me in a blanket of memory.

My daughter breathed deeply, taking in the smells and, I suspect, a taste of the history as we made our selections and I remembered aloud late Sunday suppers of baked goods and coffee or milk spent with family around my Grandparents’ table.

I was certain I saw my Grandfather standing there beside us just as alive as he was when he brought my cousin and me here…


Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less. 

Published 2/9: This week’s cue is BREAD.

Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more Six Sentence Stories from some wonderful storytellers.

Updated 11/9: This weeks’ cue is BAKED.

Click here for the November 9th link-up and some really great takes on the “BAKED” prompt.



Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

32 thoughts on “The Bakery

  1. next to songs, are there any more potent cues in (most) of our lives than the emotional seductress of the mind, Smell, (and her much more respectable and wholesome half-sister, Aroma?)

  2. Your post brought back memories to me of a certain bakery where it was possible to smell those wonderful smells just driving by in a car with the windows rolled down. Great job of depicting the bakery.

  3. A wonderful, wonderful memory transporting me back to the town bakery of my childhood, face pressed to the glass case and fingers crossed that mom would buy some some filled donuts or giant “elephant tracks” along with the bread she needed. We have no traditional bakeries in our small city, only the ones in grocery chain stores, and they are a poor substitute indeed. Zilla is blessed to get to share this special place and make her own memories!

    1. Now what in the world are elephant tracks??? 😀 We have a few small bakeries left around here as well as other businesses like the Italian market, the butcher, the Mediterranean foods store…and I love that they’re all still here. I love taking her to places we knew and loved as kids and places that connect her to family. That happens far too seldom today.
      I will admit our supermarket bakery at our particular market is pretty good – but not the same for sure. The big plus there, though, is that they use all natural ingredients and no artificial dyes in their baked goods so my kid can actually have a birthday cake with icing from there! Most places aren’t doing that so they have a big fan in me.

  4. There’s nothing quite like a much loved smell to take you back to a special place or time. The smell of hojaldras frying does it for me, i am in Mawmaw’s kitchen every time.

    1. Absolutely. That instant transport is so powerful. I’m fascinated by how certain smells (other senses, too) can take us to another time and place so effectively.

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