Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News


February 1, 2013

Cheers to chocolate and sweet memories

Kokomo — When Samaritan Caregivers’ Jamey Henderson invited me to sample sweet treats as a Chocolate Celebration judge, my taste buds were so busy doing a happy dance I could barely utter an excited, “Yes!” As I listened to my delicious judging duties - my taste buds were busting out The Macarena at this point - I thought about my grandma whose sweet tooth would’ve emptied the place out with style.

Her tall and slender stature, which was always styled in elegant accessories and jackets, gave no hint she ate a heaping slice of chocolate cake for breakfast with her coffee every morning, nor the fact a 2-pound box of chocolate could and often did vanish within days - the only hint of its existence being a trash can full of chocolate-touched wrappers and a telling smirk.

But her miraculous metabolism was just one of her many fascinating features.

People were most fascinated by first meetings with her. As she smiled sweetly and introduced herself, “I’m Rhomance, lovely to meet you.”

As a kid, my dad said his teachers would accuse him of forging a fake name to parent-teacher slips when they saw the name Rhomance penned into a signature. Others politely nodded while their faces showed they questioned their hearing and some assumed it was a nickname.

But it was her middle name she knew as her own her whole life and when I asked why she didn’t stick with Gladys she simply stated, “I think Gladys was just too different of a name.”

However, the nontraditional name fit her nontraditional heart. As a child, her father was tragically killed in a car accident leaving she, her mother and two sisters to do what many women didn’t then: Open a restaurant and support themselves.

The fabulous foursome opened The Green Lantern in their southern Indiana town of English where they cooked, served and ran the downtown location with heart. But, my grandma’s mother knew hard work deserved rewards. So, every Friday night my great grandma swept the floor of tables and chairs, turned on the juke box and transformed the room into a sock hop for her daughters and their friends. 

It was one of those Friday nights she met the man she’d later call, “My sweetie” for 60-plus years. I still remember her telling the first time she met my grandpa, who was from the neighboring town of Birdseye.

“I wasn’t interested. I wanted an English boy, not a Birdseye boy.” But her mind was changed after my grandpa planned a double date with a twist. “He told me one of his friends wanted to go out with one of my friends, but he said he’d hate for them to go out alone without really knowing each other. He somehow convinced me to go. After that I thought he was a darling.”

The starting sentence to their love story stood out because - even years after his passing - the amount of love reflected in her eyes when she told the story gave life to the both of them in those reminiscent moments.

After my grandparents exchanged I do’s, they moved to Noblesville where my grandma, always ahead of her time, continued her quest to work full-time. Unlike most couples at the time, they cooked together, they cleaned together and they cared for a garden together. But, on Friday nights they danced together.

“We went dancing at [Indiana Roof Ballroom] and they had stars on the ceiling. When we had the boys we would dance in the living room together after we put them to bed. Your grandpa was a really good slow dancer. I loved that,” she would say sitting on her pink sofa with the shadow of an apple tree she and my grandpa planted years before framing her (a bowl of wrapped chocolate candies permanently nestled on the table next to her). “He was always my sweetie, still is.”

Being part of the Chocolate Celebration brings back many sweet memories of the woman who always encouraged me to write, “I don’t know how she can put words together the ways she does.”

It’s an honor “to put words together” for Kokomo and to be part of the Chocolate Celebration that benefits Kokomo’s grandmas and grandpas through Samaritan Caregivers.

[friday] editor/ “Puts words together”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Ziliak, Lindsey 11-7-13 The legacy Tom left A couple of delighted kids squealed as they chased a ball across the lawn at Trinity United Methodist Church Thursday morning, their mother keeping careful watch as she waited in a line that snaked around the block. Hundreds of mothers, fathers and g

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • LNS - KT041414 - Michael Kelsey - LMZ The 'Cirque du Soleil on acoustic guitar' Anything can happen at a Michael Kelsey show. He might play music from some random object he spies in the room. He may ask for audience participation. “You never know what to expect,” said Gary Rhum, who owns Rhum Academy of Music. Only one thing is

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's picks 1) Easter at Conner Prairie Celebrate Easter with a scrumptious breakfast, cookie decorating and a visit and photo opportunity with the Easter Bunny at Conner Prairie Saturday Morning. After that, pet the rabbits, learn Peep science, hunt Easter eggs

    April 18, 2014

  • This week's Best Bets 1) Think Spring Celebrate the slightly-warmer Spring-ish weather at the Kokomo Farmers' Market downtown. Saturday marks the grand opening for 2014. Head out to the corner of Mulberry and Washington streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is a total sensory

    April 18, 2014

  • LNS - KT041114 - Editor's Pick - PIC Editor's picks 1) Listen to a legend Legendary basketball coach Bob Knight will present a lecture at 7:30 tonight at the Honeywell Center in Wabash highlighting his coaching career from start to present day. He’ll discuss life and career events, his mentors and st

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - kokomospeedway 02 Kokomo Speedway opens tonight After a long winter, area race fans are itching to get out to the tracks. “They just want to hear motors running,” said Brett Bowman who announces races at Kokomo Speedway. Well wait no longer, race fans. Kokomo Speedway opens tonight with the Kokomo

    April 11, 2014 2 Photos

  • This week's best bets 1) Watch the races Kokomo Speedway opens this weekend, so have a beer and watch the races or catch up with old friends in the stands during the Kokomo Grand Prix tonight and Saturday. General admission tickets are $20 and pit passes cost $35. 2) A sa

    April 11, 2014

  • Ziliak, Lindsey 11-7-13 No fairy-tale prom for me I’m not like most girls. In high school, I played in the dirt for fun. I spent many weekends donning overalls and judging soil inside a pit dug in the middle of a field. On most school nights, I was holed up in our high school newspaper office writin

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blush 04 Out & About Tweens, teens, moms and grandmas last weekend learned how to love their bodies the way God created them to be during Blush's Image event. Model and author Rachel Lee Carter spoke from her personal experience on image. Rachel shared her struggles with

    April 4, 2014 4 Photos

  • Ziliak, Lindsey 11-7-13 Lessons learned raising money I took pies to the face, begged my family and friends and tested my baking skills to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association last month and still came up short. Lesson of the week: Asking for money is hard to do, even when it’s for charity

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller