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The Bakery on Newtown Street


Youth Short Story Competition 2023 1st Prize!

After World War 2, my great grandfather did not have an easy time finding a job to make a living. In the early 1960's he opened a bakery in New York called Schick's Bakery.

The bakery quickly became popular and was a big success.

Years later my grandfather took over and continued baking delicious chalot, cakes and cookies. The bakery was especially famous for their Pesach baked goods. When I was a baby, about 10 years ago, my grandfather had to sell the family business since he moved to Israel and the commute became difficult.

In this story I try to imagine myself reopening the bakery and continuing our family legacy.

I ran through the gates of the school, barely saying goodbye to the guard. I slowed down to a walking pace and gazed at the familiar streets and stores. Finally, I got to a narrow street called Newtown, (which doesn't make much sense, it hasn't changed since the 1970s). At the beginning of the street there was a fancy bakery. 'Mendel's' it was called. But if you continued until the end of the street there was a small store with a sign that said, "Schick's Bakery". I walked into the store, and immediately the sweet smell of baked goods, coffee and melted chocolate surrounded me. I breathed in deeply. I walked over to the counter where lots of mouthwatering looking rainbow cakes, black and white cookies, 7-layer cakes and more were displayed. A kind looking man came out of a door that said, "Workers Only".

He smiled. "Shaindamaidal'a! How are you?"

"Saba!" I ran to give him a hug: "I'm good, though I've been counting the seconds to come and try to bake a new recipe with you."

"I couldn't wait too! So, shall we get started?"

We walked together through the "workers only" door and came into the kitchen of the bakery. It had 5 giant mixers, 4 ovens and even more fridges.

My family had owned the bakery ever since I was born. Most of my childhood memories were made there. Like making challah for the first time or creating my famous mud cake with Saba (it's yummier than it sounds).

"So," Saba said while washing his hands, "I thought we could try to bake marshmallow chocolate fudge."

"Mmm, sounds delicious, but I didn't know it existed."

"That's because I just made it up," he chuckled.

"You're sure we can do it?"

"Together? Of course we can!"

"If you say so, then let's do it!"

I washed my hands, and we got to work. We melted marshmallow and chocolate, then added flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and chocolate chips. While it was in the oven, Saba and I went to the counter, where a customer was waiting.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," Saba said.

"That's okay, I just came," said the customer.

"What can I get you?"

"I didn't come here to buy anything, just to tell you something." I caught him glancing my way.

Saba gave him a look. "Shaindamaidal'a, can you give us privacy for a moment?"


I walked back into the kitchen of the bakery, and tried to listen through the door, but I guess they were whispering, because I couldn't hear a thing.

When Saba was finally finished and came into the kitchen, I noticed that his face was a shade paler, and looked sad.

I rushed towards him. "What did that man say, Saba?"

Saba was in the middle of a daydream.

I shook him a little. "Are you OK?"

Saba woke up from his daydream. "Of course. Oh! The fudge is ready!" He rushed to the oven to take it out but dropped it. I rushed to help him clean it off the floor.

"Oh no! I'm so sorry Shaindamaidal'a! Do you want to try to bake another marshmallow fudge now?"

"No, I need to go home now." I didn't feel like baking anymore. "Thanks so much though!"

I hugged Saba goodbye and ran all the way back home.

The week after, I walked from school to the bakery. I opened the door of the bakery, but no one was there. I went into the kitchen, but it was also deserted, which was strange since it was during rush hour. Finally, I found Saba in the storage room.

"Saba! There you are!"

He looked startled to see me.

"Why are you here…. and why is the storage room empty?" Only then I realized how empty the room was. I peeked out the window and saw a moving truck parked outside the bakery.

Saba looked pale. I waited for him to answer my questions, but he didn't seem to have the words.

"Are you OK? Do you need to sit down?"

Saba finally spoke. "I'm fine. I just… didn't know you were coming."

I sighed in relief, "Oh, I thought it was more serious than that, you looked like a ghost."

Saba sighed, "Actually, I wanted to tell you something for a long time…"

I looked at him curiously.

Saba stammered, "I… we… we're selling the bakery."



"We have been having problems lately, since a new bakery was opened next door…" Saba whispered quickly before I would explode.

Gazillion questions and emotions filled my head.

"When did this happen? Do Mommy and Abba know? Why didn't you tell me?", I almost shouted.

"We officially sold it last week."

"So that was the man who spoke to you?!"

"Yyes," Saba sighed. "To your other question, your parents know. They were also part of the discussion."

"So, everyone knew except me?!"

"No, only the grownups know. You're the first grandchild to know."

"Why didn't you tell me before?!"

"It was… it is very hard as it is to… to… sell the bakery…"

I didn't wait for him to finish. "That's not a good enough reason!" I stormed out of the room, and out of the bakery.

"Wait! Tilly! Come back!" I heard Saba cry back to me.

I ignored him and let all the sad-angry tears stream down. I shed one more angry tear and ran all the way home. When I arrived, I ignored Mommy's surprised scream, and stormed into my room, slammed the door, and flumped on my bed with another storm of tears.

I heard a knock on the door. I sunk deeper into my pillows. I heard the door creak open. I recognized Mommy's small, warm, loving hands wrap around me.

"Saba called; he told me what happened." Mommy whispered gently.

"Why didn't you tell me that… that… it was going to happen?" I said, not letting myself face the truth.

"We wanted to tell you, but at the right time. It just didn't come in time before you found out yourself." She brushed my hair with her fingers.

"Why are we selling it anyway?"

"You know the bakery on the same street as our bakery? Mendel's?"


"Ever since that bakery had opened last year, less people have been buying from our bakery."

"So, we're just giving up?"

Mommy shrugged sadly. "Business is very complicated; you don't understand the risk…"

I was devastated. I knew I was never going to be perfectly happy until we had the bakery back. I didn't know how I would survive without the bakery, But I did know that one day it would be ours again.

The days without the bakery were so long, and the afternoons were so empty. Usually, when I was bored, I would walk to the bakery and help Saba ice cookies or help customers by the counter. But now, with no bakery, I had nothing to do. I was bored. I was no help to anyone.

Somehow, I learned to get along without the bakery. Saba and I spent time together in other ways, not baking, but playing card games and or just talking. I filled my day playing with friends or doing arts-and-crafts.

I lived like that for 10 years. Until this happened:

On the day of the opening Saba and I were getting ready for all the customers and fans. I have never seen Saba so happy since the days we had the bakery, maybe even happier. I was busy assembling the cakes and tarts on the counter, when Saba was hanging the big opening sign.

"Ahhh!" Saba yelped suddenly.

The sign fell, and the paint splattered all over the floor. I rushed to help him clean it off the floor.

"Oh no! I'm so sorry Shaindamaidal'a! Do you want to try to make another sign now?"

"Sure!" I said laughing at the dejavu.

We quickly cleaned up the mess and made a new sign. At last, the customers arrived. Saba and I cut the red ribbon together. We presented the huge marshmallow fudge that Saba and I spent days working on.

"I'm so proud of you, Shaindamaidal'a!" Saba whispered in my ear.

I smiled. I finally felt perfectly happy, and the bakery was ours again.

Reut Widawsky is an 8th grader at the Ulpana Lamerchav in Petach Tikva. Her mother tongues are English and Hebrew. 



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Tuesday, 23 April 2024

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