Baker's dream: my wildest dreams


Photo: Pat Mannino

At times, my life is just so full: full of family… full of love, laughter, gardens and cupcakes. At times I wonder how does one person deserve to be so blessed? 

Not too far back, a short eighteen months past, I found myself caught, uncomfortably, between a rock and a hard place, my back so tight pressed to the wall I could feel grazing on my shoulder blades. 

I bought a half dozen spiral notebooks, each one a different color, cheap ones from the dollar store, each one purposed to explore the ins and outs of reasonable possibilities. A black permanent marker, also purchased at the dollar store, would be used to title each front cover. Random options tracked my brain until, rutted and marred, I feared I might be in need a reboot. Each option explored and dissected seemed to have found questionable beginnings in the dark recesses of the mind of a lunatic. All required money and a good many pairs of hands. I quickly realized I was broke and possessed only one set of two. “Sell her,” my mind screamed. I covered my ears with my hands. “Traitor,” I responded. “She is my friend. She is family.”

A definite lack of common sense lies in my flawed DNA. I have shown that to be true fact on more than one occasion. But, I am not a quitter. I dug in my heels and cast the deciding vote. Event venue and cupcakes it would be. 

Today as I packed up an order, I realized without question that I had made the right choice. I felt just so grateful for cupcakes. Almost as if they had saved my life. 

I am self taught. The struggle was long and messy; countless hours honing my skills left me covered in frosting.

I have a long way to go, there is much to learn, but there is incredible pleasure in decorating miniature cakes. It is in some ways artistic, and I use that term loosely; buttercream is my medium. Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured my life as it is. So for all who have reached a certain age, may I say “It is never too late.”

Rockton writer Pat Mannino is the owner of Fatt Cat Cafe in Rockton, where she makes cupcakes and hosts special events. To place an order, call her at 815-624-2832 or email

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