I was in Seaside Pharmacy in Westerly, RI, which I like to support because they bring nostalgic comfort and solace in the crowded world of CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Walmart pharmacies. It is an old-timey place with absolutely everything you need, from medications to birthday cards to gifts and novelties.
It reminds me of the old Hallmark store that used to be in the shopping center in Attleboro next to Zayres and Elaine Powers. When I was a kid my dad brought my brother and me there to buy fancy teacups and saucers for my mom for Christmas and her birthday (which was on Christmas) and Mother’s Day (she amassed a ton of teacups, like it or not). The store had these teacups, candles and cards, of course, but also porcelain figurines and other knick knacks. Not sure where else you could buy gifts in Attleboro, MA in the 1970s…
ANYWAY, on this particular occasion I was in Seaside Pharmacy with Patti (Second Serve Patti, who lives in Atlanta) and our friend Zarah, who was visiting from San Francisco. They wanted something “Rhode Island” to bring back home, and I knew Seaside Pharmacy was just the place to go. They have sweatshirts with “Rhode Island”, “Misquamicut” and “Weekapaug” on them, as well as hats, rope bracelets, and other touristy collectibles.
While I was there I spotted a cookbook, “A Taste of Westerly”, which I made a beeline for and put in my pile to buy (The value of the local cookbook for quality recipes was one of many lessons my mother taught me.) The cover is adorable, with signature southern Rhode Island sailboats and hydrangeas, and the Westerly train station. I thumbed through the book and spotted exactly the kind of recipes that I was hoping for: titles that suggest a secret family recipe, a local take on a popular food, and a few head scratchers. A sampling:
- Richie and Martha’s Remoulade Sauce
- Grampie’s Greek Antipasto
- MJ’s Granola
- Spicy Rhode Island Calamari (the state appetizer, argued about in our legislature for no less than a year)
- Jordan Marsh Blueberry muffins (bestill my heart)
- Ye Olde Pink House Peanut Butter Pie (anything “Ye Olde” sign me up)
- Presbyterian Crunch (Do tell!)
- Waffle Boys Favorite (hmmmmm…)
- The Perfect Margarita (agave syrup!)
- Go To Bed Cookies (bourban in there?)
- Doggie Birthday Cake (pets too!)
So, yes, this cookbook was a total score. Come to find out, “A Taste of Westerly” is a cookbook put together by the Westerly College Club as a fundraiser. The Westerly College Club is a nonprofit that gives scholarships to area kids striving to get a college degree. They have been around since 1910. Nineteen ten!
Long story long, I have had the good fortune of connecting with this wonderful club, and I had the pleasure of joining them at one of their monthly meetings to find out more. I also attended their scholarship luncheon, where the college recipients spoke. As I listened I thought about how I should have done a little more with my own college experience LOL. These kids are running radio stations, conducting orchestras, doing sports and learning geographic information science (?!?). One just defended her thesis on how the religious constitutional clauses have affected religious violence. I want to read this! Some are the first in their family to go to college. All said that the scholarship money aided them in attending college and also relieved them of some of the stress that goes with paying for a college education in 2023.
And so, without (much) further ado, I am very happy to announce that the Westerly College Club is now one of Second Serve Resale’s beneficiaries. It will bring me great joy to send them a check to support their mission, and I hope you consider them when you make your nonprofit beneficiary selection at checkout!