Listening to Maggie Casey Langrehr talk about her beginnings in The Mills Village, about her parents, Annie & Jim Casey, her brother, Jimmy and many friends, it was like taking the top off an Oreo cookie in order to get to the best part, the white filling. Maggie became energized as she spoke of the love of her family, her beautiful complexion glowing, eyes alight. The Mills Village family stories help define the sense of place that makes Rocky Mount unique. It was delightful to hear Maggie say, “Christmas was the greatest.” Instead of stockings, children received boxes filled with candy, fruit and nuts. She continued, “Every year my mother set to work baking three different kinds of cakes from scratch: chocolate, pineapple, and coconut. She baked the BEST seven layer cake in the Village.” (I expect to read a long list in the Reply section below disputing Maggie’s claim in favor of YOUR mama’s recipe.)
The Mills Village families may not have been wealthy, but the Casey family is another wonderful example of how the love of family made everyone rich. The Village, a safe place to grow up where there was a moral compass that directed people how to treat others rightly. Maggie’s grown children, Tammy Davis and Tracy Tofften, remember their grandparents with great fondness. What we all hope for from those who come after us. Tammy, who lives locally, continues to bake her grandmother’s famous chocolate cake recipe. Check out A Piece of Cake, on Facebook, Tammy’s cake-making business. She has kicked it up a notch by making an eleven layer chocolate cake that Grandma Casey would be proud of.
If you are a product of The Mills Village and have your Mama’s Chocolate Cake recipe, wouldn’t it be fun to have a Mill Family Bake Off in the form of a reunion one day soon? I bet the families along #17 & #19 Carr Street would let us set up tables in the street. We could ask three judges to select a cake winner. The point of a Bake Off…to celebrate Annie Casey and your mothers too. What do you think? Leave me your thoughts in the REPLY section below. Bake Off or not, we remember Annie and Jim Casey, their wonderful family, and the lives of all the good people of the Mills Village. We’ll visit another family soon.