I have mentioned before that my mother loved to tell family stories.  Some were about her dad’s childhood, which took place in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The hat parade story I related a few weeks ago was our favorite of these.

Mom came to Indiana one year to spend time with my family.  While she was here, one of her goals was to make a videotape of her telling stories.  The historical society in her county wanted to use it for a project they were doing.  We made a short practice video, and then a longer one for her to take home with her.  Thankfully, I talked Mom into doing a second video for us, recounting favorite tales that were not on the tape for the historical society.   It held things she didn’t tell very often, like stories about her uncle, Roscoe.

My grandfather (Shirl) lost his mother at a young age.  His father remarried and had a son by his second wife, Vashti; they named him Roscoe.   Shirl and his cousin Joe were about the same age, and they played together frequently.  Roscoe, who was three years younger, wanted to play with them, too.  If they refused to let him do so, he would complain to his mother, who would come out and demand that the older boys “let little Roscoe play!”  This would usually end up with Shirl getting a whipping for something that happened to Roscoe.

Back in those days, it wasn’t unusual for people to make their own soap; Vashti was no exception.  There was a path made of alternating stepping stones that led from the front of their property to the back door.  Its primary purpose was for delivery men (according to Mom, deliveries were not made to the front door).  Vashti found it an excellent place to set her pans of hot soap to cool.  Shirl and Joe would run down the path, stepping over the soap pans as they went.

Roscoe noticed how much fun they were having and complained to his mother, who came out and told the bigger boys, “Let little Roscoe play!”  They obliged, but Roscoe’s legs weren’t as long as theirs, and he ended up stepping in all of the soap.  Not only was all the soap ruined, Roscoe’s feet were burned from the hot mixture in the pans.  Of course, Shirl got a whipping because Roscoe got hurt.

Another time, the two older boys were pretending to ship things via the post office.  Joe was the “sender.”  He stood at the top of the front porch steps and slid a wooden box down to Shirl, who was the “catcher.”  Same song, second verse – Roscoe wanted to play, told his mother, she ordered them to include him.  They tried to figure out what to do with Roscoe, then decided he could be the shipment; in the box he went.  Not wanting him to fall out and get hurt, the older boys nailed a lid on the box.  What they didn’t take into consideration weres Roscoe’s weight and his wiggling.  Instead of sliding down the edges of the steps like before, the box tumbled down the steps.  Roscoe was all banged up, and you know the rest of the story – Shirl got a whipping.

On Mother’s Day this year I watched the video of Mom recounting Roscoe stories.  It was a sweet experience, listening to her voice once again.  Candy is sweet, June is National Candy Month, and these recipes are all good ones!


Marbled Orange Fudge

 1-1/2 teaspoons plus 3/4 cup butter, divided

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 package white baking chips (10 to 12 ounces)

1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme

3 teaspoons orange extract

12 drops yellow food coloring

5 drops red food coloring

Grease a 13-by- 9-inch pan with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cream and remaining

butter. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring

to a boil; cook and stir for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir

in chips and marshmallow creme until smooth.

Remove 1 cup and set aside. Add orange extract and food coloring to

the remaining mixture; stir until blended. Pour into prepared pan.

Drop reserved marshmallow mixture by tablespoonfuls over the top;

cut through with a knife to swirl. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Cut into squares. Yield: about 2-1/2 pounds.


Crispy Almond Brittle

Vegetable oil

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup honey

7 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 pound (8 ounces) slivered almonds

4 squares semisweet baking chocolate (optional)

Line bottom of a baking sheet (11-by-14-inch works well) with lightly oiled baking parchment.

Mix sugar and honey in saucepan and melt together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Stirring constantly, add softened butter.  Mix well, until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Carefully fold slivered almonds into syrup mixture.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Using metal spatula, quickly and carefully spread nut mixture on prepared baking sheet lined with lightly oiled baking parchment.

Allow brittle to cool slightly.  Before it has hardened completely, cut brittle into pieces with sharp knife.  To make diamond shapes, cut diagonally in one direction and then cut it parallel to the shorter side of the pan.  Cool completely.

If desired, melt chocolate in double boiler.  Dip each piece almost halfway into chocolate, then cool on a wire rack.

Store in an airtight tin in a cool place.  Brittle will keep for 6 to 8 weeks.


Peanut Butter Logs

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted

3 cups crisp rice cereal

2 cups crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1(12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1 (11-ounce) package butterscotch morsels

Combine sugar and cereal in a large bowl; set aside.

Melt butter and peanut butter  over low heat in a small saucepan; pour over cereal mixture, mixing well.  Roll mixture into 1-1/2 by 1-inch logs.  Chill 1 to 2 hours.

Melt chocolate morsels in top of double boiler, stirring constantly; remove from heat.  Place several peanut butter logs into chocolate and roll with a spoon to coat evenly.  Remove with spoon, and place on waxed paper to cool.  Continue process until half the logs are coated.

Melt butterscotch morsels in top of double boiler, stirring constantly; remove from heat.  Repeat above procedure with remaining peanut butter logs.  Yield: about 5 dozen.