At age 92, Bonnie Massey wanted something that would be a keepsake for her family.
Mother of three, grandmother of six and great grandmother of 9, this gracious soft-spoken southern lady is not only an award-winning quilter but a talented cook known at East Ridge for her homemade banana nut bread and guava preserves.
She decided she wanted to write a children’s book. And write it she did. A copy proudly sits on her coffee table, “I’m a Little Like…” by author Great Grandmother Bonnie Massie.
Granddaughter Laura Jensen who is a school teacher and mother of two children assisted Bonnie with the technicalities using an internet publishing company.
Bonnie’s inspirational message drew on simply teachings she imparted to her children as the basis of the book’s story. The book’s last page summarizes its message, “We may look different, but in many ways are a little but alike.”
It’s always been her philosophy to share whatever she had. And, whether its banana bread or jams, she likes to send her guests away with a to-go package.
She started making banana nut bread as a young bride when she went to visit her in-laws who lived at Ives Dairy in Miami. She used her mother-in-law’s recipe but isn’t sure where of its actual origins. It’s the same recipe she and her daughter use today.
Typically, she’d bake two loaves at a time and give one away. When someone new came to their church, she’d welcome them with banana bread and continued this tradition at East Ridge where she has lived since 2002 when she and her husband moved to East Ridge.
The dining room always has fresh fruit available and fellow residents were happy to save the ripe bananas for her.
Her welcome gift is readily accepted along with her cookies she always has in the refrigerator. “My husband loved to offer my homemade cookies,” she said. “No matter who came to our home, he’d give them some cookies.”
She learned to make jelly when she was 16 and the family had a guava tree in their yard. A neighbor showed her how to make jelly from the fruit and taught her the techniques to make jelly and jam.
“Back then we didn’t have Certo® for pectin,” she said, which is now a shortcut.
Depending on fruit in season, she makes jelly. Guava and mini-orange calamodin jelly are what she is cooking in the summer months.
At East Ridge, her cabinets are stocked with jars of jelly people are promised. “I’m not a fancy cook,” she said. “I just am a home-grown cook”
Bonnie was recently featured in an article in the Miami Herald http://www.miamiherald.com/living/food-drink/article101621147.html