Sherry Adams has cooked up quite a following with her business
East Lyme – And so it turns out that Sherry Adams actually has a name: Sherry Adams. This is news. Because for many years as a “softball mom,” Adams was known mostly as “Alyssa’s mother.”
That’s what happens when one of your daughters, Alyssa Hancock, becomes one of the best players in the history of Waterford High. The poor mom becomes a postscript.
Ah, but Sherry has rallied.
“Now,” she cracked one day a few weeks ago, “they still don’t know my name. I’m the ‘Cookie Lady.’”
And when she says she’s the “Cookie Lady,” she’s awash in modesty. She’s actually “THE Cookie Lady.”
Because nothing else in our corner of the world can match “Sherry’s Cookies,” her now seven-year business that begins daily in her East Lyme home, sending anisette, lemon, chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin creations to 20 different Connecticut locations (from Waterford to Salisbury) — and would undoubtedly get the Cookie Monster to hyperventilate.
“Some days, I think I’m crazy to be doing this,” Adams was saying from her home, whose downstairs is converted into an immaculate haven for baking, complete with modern machines and enough flour to spread across Harkness.
Helen Reddy would love her. Sherry Adams personifies the “I can do anything” lyric. This has not been easy, leaving the stability of a job at Lawrence + Memorial for the perils of baking powder.
“The people at L + M were always good to me,” Adams said, alluding to a 20-year career there. “But (seven years ago) my mom got sick. The prognosis wasn’t good and for whatever reason, I realized that I didn’t want to work there for the rest of my life. I needed to do something else. I took a three-month leave. Overwhelmed with everything.
“I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life, but what could I do? Within a month, I came up with cookies.”
Adams was your basic Christmas-time baker. Everyone got cookies. Friends, neighbors, co-workers. All she needed was a nudge.
“I made a zillion tins,” she said. “At the hospital, people said I should sell them. But I couldn’t even imagine. I was exhausted at Christmas. But when you are trying to figure out something else to do, I got to thinking.
“You don’t really find anisette cookies anywhere. Everyone was really receptive in the places I went with samples and a price list. I picked up customers that way. Soon, I started lemon cookies, too, and they turned out to be the top seller.”
So how does one (or two, in this case as Adams recently added her daughter, Paige, to the team) make cookies for 20 different places? Answer: Every day.
“I get up at 6,” Adams said, “and start the dough, Paige gets here at 8. We run the dough through the machine. Then we yell at the machine. We bake them. As they’re cooling, we clean up and then take orders for the customers. We are constantly moving. The cookies cool. We package them and box them. If it’s a lemon or anisette day, they have to be glazed twice. With a sheet brush.”
Adams is happy to report she’s still a “softball mom,” even though all the daughters they’d watch play are into adulthood. Sports not only created enduring friendships, but a cookie business nobody ever saw coming.
They still get together frequently, the softball moms do: Adams, Robin O’Loughlin, Denise Spellman, Beth Connors, Ann Miller and Kathy Bagwell.
“Our girls all did travel ball together with Don Connors,” Adams said. “We traveled together every weekend, all the dads and the moms. We brought food, ate meals together, laughed and loved each other’s company. We all connected really well. They’re still around for mental support. Always offering to help when they know I’m stressing. Always my cheerleaders.”
Adams said she’s always looking for new customers, who can learn more at sherryscookies.com. Meantime, there’s the story of Waterford High senior Liam Spellman’s recent graduation party to support the deliciousness of Adams’ work.
There was enough food in the kitchen of the Spellman abode to feed a sellout at Fenway. Somehow, though, Sherry’s Cookies disappeared first.
Denise Spellman announced to the gathering that this was a “new record” for the cookies’ disappearance: two minutes.
She’s got a hit on her hands, that Sherry Adams does.
Not bad for Alyssa’s mom.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
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