Boykin She Cook.
Everyone tries to come up with a clever name for their blog. Twenty-nine years ago I was fresh out of college with a degree in advertising, newly married, and jobless. Mike and I had just moved to St. Louis, and I found that if you didn’t go to Mizzou you probably weren’t going to work in advertising. Another interesting thing was even though Missouri is bordered by what are considered southern states, their ideas about southern women were a bit askew.
Basically, what potential, all male employers expected was a college educated Daisy Duke complete with a red checkered tie top and micro denim cut-offs. To be honest, the education thing wasn’t even that important to them, unless of course I had Educated at Missouri University stamped on my ass. At the time, God forbid not now, even though I could have worn the official Daisy Duke uniform well, I would have rather stuck a fork in my eye than conform to the “woman” those good old boys wanted to hire. So, I got creative. Scratch that. After a year of believing I could change the minds of the entire male population of the “Show Me” state, I got desperate and launched my own advertising campaign to showcase my talents and get my first real job.
I dressed up in a tuxedo (my husband worked at the arena at the time and traded rodeo tickets for four tuxedos for us and some friends to wear to a party.) I baked my famous, actually my college roommate’s famous grasshopper cheesecake, and hand delivered slices of the cake with an ad for myself with the headline–you guessed it–BOYKIN SHE COOK! That was back when I believed in exclamation marks.
After months of pounding the wall and banging my head against the pavement, I had phone calls for interviews when I got home. Also, when I got home, I found my husband out of his mind excited because he had taken a new job–in Florida. In truth, I was excited too. Although I had a blast, professionally St. Louis had been a bust, and, after two winters in St. Louis, Florida sounded good to me.
The last box I unpacked in our little apartment in Tampa had some mail I’d shoved in there during packing process. One letter was from the IRS, which was kind of scary. (Two kids fresh out of college, who knew we were supposed to pay taxes?) The other was from the Seven-Up Corporation saying they’d been trying to get in touch with me because they loved my creativity and wanted to hire me.
Today, Boykin She Cook is about my love for writing and food, and, if I could work it in cleverly enough into the title, gardening, roses particularly. Wow, isn’t that a juxtaposition, from partying in a rented tuxedo in 1983 to writing and roses in 2011. Anyway, here I am throwing my thoughts onto the universal kitchen wall to see if anything sticks.