Favorite Neighbors-Prompt#2020

Jan Hagel


Everyone has that house in the neighborhood where all the kids congregate. Ours was no exception. The best cook for kids specialties lived next door. She and her husband were like grandparents for our kids. They were from Holland and immigrated to the east coast of the US with their parents. Amy was an exceptional cook and taught me how to make raviolis, meatballs, tomato sauce, and delicious desserts.

Every Christmas she would bake delicious round butter cookies, Jan Hagel, and the Dutch ginger windmill shaped cookies, Speculaas. She had special wooden molds to shape the windmills. She also taught me to make all of these cookies. The kids still talk about them today. She was also a very strict and disciplined housekeeper. If it was Monday, it was wash day, Tuesday, ironing, and so on. If you asked her over for a cup of tea, it had to be around these scheduled events, no exceptions.

Christmas had the kids looking forward to her cookie treats, but Easter was like magic. While still believing in the Easter bunny bringing surprises in a basket that you could wake up to, they always wondered where the mysterious huge chocolate filled eggs came from. Of course Amy and her husband bought them every year as a secret.

These loving parents had two sons that weren’t married, so our kids got the benefit of the situation. Their “real” grandparents lived far away, so it worked out well for the whole family.