passing it on

On the spur of the moment, I drug out a box cake mix, barely enough oil and a carton of eggs. Within the hour it went from batter to baked and was ready to be flipped onto a cooling rack. And just as it was turned upside down, I saw the name I always see stuck to the back of a pan I purchased at a thrift store nearly two years ago. The sticker was tattered, but the name was clear, Elois Amos of Sandy Ridge, North Carolina.

I wondered why she’d gotten rid of the perfectly usable round pan. I wondered who she was and if she filled her nine inches to the brim with fresh, made from scratch ingredients. I wondered if she was a mother and if her children poured into the kitchen waiting for the cake to cool before it could be lathered in icing.   

And maybe it’s the occasional reporter in me or the fact I’m just nosy, but as the cake cooked and my sons and daughter played, I googled her name, Elois Amos of Sandy Ridge. And seconds later her picture appeared on my computer screen.  She had kind eyes.

Mrs. Amos was born July 6, 1933, in Rockingham County, to the late Joseph Henry Clark and Annie Clarice Amos Clark. She was an active member of Oak Grove Baptist Church and WMU, taught Sunday school, and worked with the children’s choir and story hour. She loved traveling on bus tours, crossword puzzles, reading, charity work, and spending time with her family.

She and her sister were killed in a car accident in 2009. The roads were icy and she veered to the right when she was struck by a tractor-trailer. She was 75.

And when I walked back into the kitchen, the pan with a story was floating in suds, mingled between dirty dishes. I took it out because it felt more like a treasure than a discarded vessel. It belonged to a Sunday school teacher, a charity worker, a reader.

And she was the mother to six children, four girls and two boys. And I imagined her home was rowdy and that her children sometimes talked back. If I had to guess there were complaints of chores and animals waiting to be fed. There were likely balls being lobbed from one room to the next and teeth hurriedly brushed in the mornings. There were probably fevers and tears and long nights with little sleep. 

But in the flurry of motherhood, I know that Elois Amos of Sandy Ridge baked cakes. That’s what we do as mothers. We sit and sift until it is sweet and place it on a table, knowing the ones we have birthed and bandaged will gather around.

And if we’re lucky, we can keep doing it again and again. And then one day pass the tradition, and the pan, on.

Linking up this week with Michelle at Graceful & Jen at Finding Heaven 


24 thoughts on “passing it on

  1. Now, I know it has nothing to do with the reporter in me, and everything to do with the nosy girl in me, but I would have googled as well.

    I love how you see stories everywhere, Amanda.

  2. What a great way to start the day; treasuring the gift of life. Thanks sweetheart, you’ve always had a way of placing a smile on my face.
    Love you,

  3. That just might be my favorite piece you have written. How special that you chose to know the person behind the pan and her story! My day was just made better, Amanda! Thanks for sharing your precious discovery. 🙂

  4. You put a tear in my eye and a smile on my face, Mrs. Gifted Writer Mom. Thanks for reminding me of how precious the simple things in life are and to cherish the moments. Blessing!


  5. Oh beautiful, sweet, talented Amanda. You are a treasure to all who know you, a special gift within our family and a princess/daughter to our Father most high!
    Today you bring a smile to ALL our faces and you make us proud…well done!
    Love you, Aunt Cathy

  6. Amanda. What a sweet story. U definitely have a God given talent and I always walk away from ur writings feeling good. Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is beautiful. Loved reading her story through your words, and I just kept thinking how one of her family members would feel if they saw what you’ve written here…how blessed they would feel. Beautiful.

  8. When I saw the title, I had to follow. What a blessing to keep the “gift”, whatever the gift may be, passing on. This post made me smile all the way down to my heart. 🙂
    Blessings on you and the gift of your words. Keep passing them on, too!

  9. What a lovely treasure! This is my first time visiting, but I’m glad we’ve connected. There’s nothing like being a mommy, and some experiences transcend time and space. Thank you for sharing your precious moments with us.

  10. What a beautiful story and words written that warm the heart…I love the way you peered into the life of this lady whose life was cut short, and gave tribute to her taking time out to bake cakes…it’s the simple things in life that often mean the most and live on long after we are gone. I pray many blessings over your home…and your baking 🙂 as you prepare cakes in your time-worn treasured pan.

  11. What a delightful idea . . . your pan and its previous owner connecting on the internet . . . so you know a little of her story. I wonder what my pans will say about me.

    Enjoyed your beautiful words.


  12. What sweetness…in the cake and in the story. It never ceases to amaze me what comes out when we take time to hear or read the stories of those around us or before us.

  13. Amanda! I think this is my favorite of yours so far…so sweet. And I love that you looked her up online.

    I also love your dad’s comment. I just read it out loud to my husband — it gave me a lump in my throat! [of course, Brad’s response was, “I’m crying a little bit inside.” Guess he wasn’t as moved as I was — but he was just fooling around, of course!]

  14. Amazing what God can do with our influence even after we’ve reached our Heavenly Home. Such a great post. Isn’t it fun to catch a glimpse of God in the middle of daily life?

    I hope your Tuesday is crowned with peace.

  15. gosh Amanda I would not have thought to google it but wow! what a story though. How it changes the way one sees a cake pan. Imagining what she must have been like etc. You remind me why I have always loved being a momma!:) Have a wonderful Tuesday..

  16. She probably put that label on the back of her pan because it most likely made its way innumerable times to new neighbors and old friends, and then would come home again for family. I imagine she is thrilled that it ended up in your hands.

    It is also nice to know that I am not alone in my curiosity, for I would have been tempted to google her name as well . . .

    Well done.

  17. I LOVED this post! And like the others, I loved that you googled her and found out about her:)

    When I pull out my baking pans (my grandmothers) I always think of her and the wonderful things she made for us as little kids.

    So glad I came by from Jenn’s place:)

  18. Wow. This is so beautiful and brings tears to my eyes.
    I am a huge thrifter and often wonder about the things I come to own and who had owned them before… so many stories just waiting to be told. Just like this post.

  19. I love the story your cake pan tells and how you find connections with others in this world around us. I wonder what objects will tell stories about me when I’m gone….

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