Monday, November 08, 2004

That whole "going home again" thing...

Much like my sister, fall always brings out high levels of nostalgia in me. From the Moes Cider Mill pumping out cider and grape juice by the gallons, to the pumpkin cookies from Swenson's Bakery, my childhood seems accented by those fall months of years past.

So, after hearing about the re-emergence of the previously mentioned cookies from my sister (turns out the baker from Swenson's, when he left, brought some of the recipies with him. So, though Swenson's has been closed for many years, they're still being produced under a different name), I decided to make the trek back to my hometown, Vermilion. I don't know what my real plans were, driving 45 minutes away in exchange for a couple of cookies and some cider that's already available at the West Side Market (just a few minutes from my house). I guess I was looking to conjure up some of that voodoo of years past. For whatever the reason, Genevieve and I drove out there on Saturday. Our first stop was at the Bakery, where I was disappointed to find that they were out of the pumpkin cookies. We did grab some yummy little cupcakes and cookies though, so I can't say I was crying too much.

Next up, Burnham's Orchard and Cider Mill. Burnham's was where my family got the apple supply which helped run the Moes Cider Mill. I remember hauling out there with my grandfather, years ago. All this time later, their apples are still as good and their cider tastes the most like what I remember ours to be like. We walked out of there with a gallon of deliscious cider, which is quickly depleting, and a small bag of apples. For those Cleveland dwellers who don't want to make the trek, their cider (and apples) are available from the apple stand across from Basketaria, in the West Side Market.

Our last stop. The Moes Cider Mill. Now, the Cider Mill has been closed for quite awhile. With the death of my Grandfather (and the years prior, I believe), no one in the family stood up to take over the reigns. So, the Mill has sat there, in disuse, for many years. It was kind of a weird thing, going back there. Part of me felt like I was trespassing (which is completely silly, as my family still owns the Mill and the land, so it's like, if someone did call the cops, I could just tell them that I was Alice Moes's grandson.) Moving the "security system" (a block meant to keep the sliding door from rattling in storms), we went in. I was suprised to find the place....the same. Being in a small town and watched over by an inhabited house, the Mill had been completely spared from any sort of destruction, the kind wrought by bored teenagers. Really, it had not been disturbed at all. The account sheets still lay on the shelf with notes from my aunt, detailing the cost of Caramel apples brought to the 91 Wollybear Festival.. Shoot, a half filled bottle of cider even continued to sit in the fridge. There was even a mug (obviously my mom's) sitting there, as if everyone was on a lunch break and would return shortly. Of course, it wasn't all so perfect as I make it seem. One thing did get in there: time. Dust hung in the air and over every surface. The cinderblock wall, which had borne the brunt of years of the motor, that was the heart of the mill, was crumbling. The second floor storage area, always a bit rickety, looked downright dangerous. But, everything was there. The stainless steel holding containers were still cold to the touch, the press was put to the side and the straining cloth hung on the rafters, waiting to be used.

The barn next door was another story. Caving in on every side, I didn't even feel comfortable setting foot in there for fear of having the roof fall. It was weird, though, to look in and see my grandfather's tractor still sitting there, waiting for the whole place to come down around it.