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Randolph Native Lives Among Family Heirlooms

Laurie Adams shares the stage with General Michael Flynn. Submitted photo

While living in California and Alaska, Randolph native Laurie Adams rarely missed getting home for Christmas with her family.

“I only missed coming home a handful of times,” said the daughter of Don and Ella Mae Adams, whose home is located on 400-acres in Napoli.

“I still spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at my parents’ house, helping Mom with decorating and cooking,” she said. “Playing 500 Rummy with Dad (on holidays) has been a tradition in our family.”

She also mentions the bread and eggs recipe her grandfather Burton Adams would prepare for his five sons and how her parents carried on the tradition. She now stays overnight on the eves of Christmas and Thanksgiving to help her mother prepare the holiday meal and to make bread and eggs for her dad in the morning.

The daughter’s love for the family property can be heard in her voice as she talks about it. Situated on the beloved land is 100 acres of wild blueberries, which are enjoyed year-round in her mom’s delicious desserts. Another special feature of her childhood home are the many trails her father cut through the woods for snowmobiles, trail bikes, ATVs and 4-wheelers.

Shrimp Scampi is one of Laurie Adam’s original recipes.

She recalled removing limbs and branches from the trails with her three siblings. Mr. Adams also mowed paths through the large blueberry patch. His brothers assisted him in the building of a cabin in the woods that has been enjoyed by her entire family.

The Randolph Central graduate returned to the area in 2008 in order to help care for her parents. She has made her home in East Otto where she resides in her great-grandparents Dever and Rachel Brooks’ 1906 home. The house was surrounded by farmland when the Brooks purchased it in 1920. Little did they know they would be moving from the home a few years later, after Mr. Brooks took a job at Gray Milling Company, a short distance away.

The owner of the mill insisted his new employee live in the company house, therefore the Brooks rented their new house to various people over the years and did not move back into it until 1944. When their daughter Laura Jean Fleckenstein and her husband, Edwin, retired from farming, they became the second generation to move into the home.

The granddaughter recalls visiting her mother’s grandmother when she lived in the home and later at the Van Slyke Nursing Home and the hand-knitted mittens her great-grandmother gave her each Christmas. She also stayed with the Fleckensteins, both at their farm and after they moved to the house where she currently lives. She decorates both couples’ graves each year, as well as those of several other family members.

The home is nearly the same as when her ancestors inhabited it, but with a few changes. A pretty, but unique three-part porch stretches across the front. A small enclosed square entryway to the house makes up the center of the white structure with a screened porch to the right. A porch on the left of the enclosure is a twin to the right side, but without the screen.

This six-drawer chest with a swivel oval mirror has been in Laurie Adams’ house since the early 1900s. It belonged to her great-grandparents. Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

There is much memorabilia, left behind by the family, throughout the home. In the kitchen, a small oval table surrounded by four petit chairs with cane seats holds a mirrored tray. On the tray are several glass pieces, including a set of six salt dips, a small fluted bowl, a little pitcher and a pair of footed cordials.

The kitchen cabinets are filled with many dishes belonging to the ladies who resided in the house prior to their granddaughter, including colorful Pyrex serving pieces in a variety of patterns. Ella Mae remembers her Grandma Brooks serving Christmas and Easter dinners from the extensive set of china that is still in the china closet in the dining room.

One cannot miss three Alaska license plates in the living room, reminders of the 12 years their owner spent in our northernmost state. Her grandmother’s delicate blue and white English pottery dessert plates share a three-tier shelf with several of her cobalt blue pieces. There is a variety of bric-a-brac along with some vintage pieces, in a nearby niche, but Great-Grandfather Dever Brooks’ large antique rectangular clock, dominates the shelves in the recessed area. The massive timepiece still works when wound.

Ella Mae has done a lot of work to the house and together the mother and daughter installed a new ceiling in one of the rooms. The daughter hired a contractor to remove a very steep staircase and replaced it with one that was safer and more comfortable to use when going to and coming from the second floor. The original railing is still in place. She was able to add an upstairs bathroom since space in the hallway was plentiful.

As with the lower level, the upstairs holds several remembrances of the family members who once lived in the home. The first bedroom which has been painted green, shows off several antique pieces of furniture. A beautiful, antique six-drawer chest with an attached oval mirror stands in one corner of the room.

The bottom half of a washstand that is positioned nearby, stood alone for many years, until Ella Mae reunited it with the top piece she found in the barn. A huge, old trunk is adjacent to a bed that is covered with a vintage chenille spread. Grandpa Fleckenstein’s eyeglasses are still lying on the dresser, which is beside the bed.

The second bedroom, a blue room with white furnishings, boasts yet another antique washstand. The last bedroom is pink in color and displays many heirloom baptism and christening gowns. All of the bedrooms have large closets, something rarely present in older homes. The home’s occupant claims the reason for their large size is because chamber pots were used in the closets. Throughout the second floor, she has hung the many puzzles she assembled and preserved while living in the Land of the Midnight Sun.

When she lived in California, she worked for the Center for Innovation in Education and Center Graduate College where she was an administrative assistant. Later while living in Alaska, she was a payroll specialist at Northern Air Cargo, which is Alaska’s largest cargo airline. For the past 10 years, she has worked for Salamanca School District where she runs the copy center for all of the district’s schools.

Over the last few years, she has found a new passion, which is that of a freedom fighter. She has joined the North American Unity Tour and has done freedom marches to the midway point on both the Rainbow and Peace Bridges, where she met Canadians sharing the same interest. She has been on the stage with General Michael Flynn at the ReAwaken America Tour in Batavia and later met up with him in Manheim, Pa, when he actually came looking for the NAUT. She has, also, been helping the New York Citizen’s Audit Team.

She shares some of her most requested recipes below. Other than Bread and Eggs, each one is appropriate for a holiday party, including Laurie’s original Shrimp Scampi recipe.

“Shrimp Scampi is my favorite ‘go to’ dinner, which is very easy to make,” she said. “I’m definitely known for this recipe.”

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 stick butter

1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs

3 T brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature

15 oz pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie mix

3 eggs plus 1 yolk

1/4 c sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

11/2 c sugar

2 T flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

Melt butter in small pan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon into butter until combined. Press crumb mixture into bottom and on sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, eggs and yolk, sour cream, vanilla and sugar. Combine flour with remaining spices. Add to pumpkin mixture and beat until combined. Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool completely and then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Candied Pecans

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 T cinnamon

1 tsp salt

4 c pecan halves, unsalted

1 egg white

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp water

In a medium bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until combined. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk egg white, vanilla and water until frothy. Add nuts and gently toss until well coated. Add the cinnamon mixture and toss until nuts are covered. Spread in single layer on a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake at 300 degrees. Stir after 30 minutes. Bake 15 minutes and then stir. Bake another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven. When completely cool, move to airtight container. May be stored for one month.

Shrimp Scampi

5 raw colossal shrimp

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 clove garlic, minced

Seasoned Panko crumbs, optional

Lemon

Shredded fresh parmesan cheese

Angel hair pasta

Split and devein shrimp. Lay out in small baking dish, approximately 6-inch by 8-inch. Pour melted butter over shrimp. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Distribute the minced garlic on to shrimp. Set dish under broiler for a few minutes. Turn shrimp and repeat. Turn shrimp again and then sprinkle with Panko. Broil until golden brown.

Serve over prepared pasta. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve with buttered fresh asparagus or broccoli. Squeeze lemon over vegetables and shrimp, but not the pasta. Top with fresh shredded parmesan cheese.

Burton Adams’ Bread and Eggs

Fry small pieces of bacon in a frying pan. Drain, reserving some of the grease. Using the bacon grease, cook equal amounts of eggs and bread that has been torn into small pieces. Stir while cooking just long enough for the eggs to cook through, but not brown.

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