Gilman's Bakery - Got Any Free Donuts Today?
by Mary Jane Dougherty
Our family lived on 2nd and Cordova in Anchorage back in the 1950's and my brother's and sister's and I had to walk to school. Our grade school was Denali Elementary on 9th and Cordova. Donning our winter gear and grabbing our sack lunches that our mother Feodoria made for us, off we went in the morning darkness and cold walking to school.
We treked thru the snow across the field and up the hill, crossing several streets and finally making it to 6th Street and Cordova and there it stood. "Gilman's Bakery!" Mmmm,I couldn't wait to open the doors, go inside and smell the wonderful aroma of the best freshest donuts in all of Anchorage. It was also nice to get inside where we could warm up from walking in the cold and the snow.
Gilman's Bakery was a very large wooden structure and there were racks and racks of donuts. Our friends would also be in there enjoying the aroma and warmth. I was a very shy school girl, but every day I would say these famous words. "Do you have any free donuts?" The answer could be one of many. "No! Now get to school", "not now, maybe tomorrow", "donuts are a nickel" or my favorite answer, "yes! we do, here's a glazed donut for you." Glazed was my favorite.
Not everyone would get a donut just a lucky few. With donut in hand I took off my mitten to enjoy my donut prize and my family and friends would begin our walk to school. Later, I dipped my sticky fingers in the cold wet snow and then quickly put my mitten back on, but I could still taste that delicious glazed donut. Then there was after school.
Yep, believe it or not. When school was over and we walked in the darkness, the cold and in the snow, again we would stop in once again at "Gilman's Bakery" and I would say those five famous words, "Got any free donuts today?"