Main Content Region

Cookie Jar courtesy of Rachel Mendoza Clark

Cookie jar

 “Although baking is not necessarily my forte, I have on occasion baked cookies just to be able to put them in the cookie jar and rekindle those memories from my childhood.'

Rachel was born in San Bernardino in 1946, the first of Eulalio “Lalo” and Maria de Los Angeles “Angie” Mendoza’s seven children.

My parents and grandmothers were strong, practicing Catholics and attended Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, which became our home away from home.

Both of my parents worked side jobs to earn extra income so that we could have a good Catholic education. We struggled from payday to payday but we had a very happy home life, full of good cooking, laughter, visiting cousins, and my parents’ friends.

One of Rachel’s fondest memories of childhood revolves around the cookie jar that her parents received as a wedding gift, on display here.

I have vivid memories, as do all of my siblings, of coming home from school and lifting the top of the cookie jar to see what goodies mom had made. She would make chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and when we were teenagers she also made persimmon cookies.

The cookie jar sat on her parents’ kitchen counter from 1945 until 1996, when they surprised Rachel and gave it to her as a gift for her 50th birthday.

When my parents were in their late 70s, they had asked each of their children to name the one item that meant the most to each of them so that they could leave it for them when they passed on. I remember telling my parents that if I could not have them forever, then I would be happy to have the cookie jar; however, I had no idea they would surprise me and give it to me for my 50th birthday.

The cookie jar, shaped like Little Red Riding Hood, now occupies a prominent spot in Rachel’s curio cabinet.

I love to look at Little Red Riding Hood. Seeing, touching, and feeling the cookie jar gives me a warm feeling and brings a smile to my face. Not only does it conjure memories of the story I read as a child about Little Red Riding Hood, but it quickly takes me back to visions of my mother in the kitchen, wearing one of her aprons. She passed one on to me. She was a happy and loving person. She loved music, loved to dance although my dad was not a good dancer. She always wanted the best for her children, and for my dad.

Rachel credits her mother, and her upbringing, with instilling in her the values that she carries on in her own family life.

The cookie jar represents our strong family values -- being kind, caring, nurturing, faithful. I am proud of the strong bonds we share, and know that in a moment’s instance we can call on each other in times of need. I also do enjoy cooking and entertaining, and I guess this trait is also from both of my parents, but especially my mother.

Back to Connections & Continuities section.