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Savvy East Coast College Road Trip – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Here is the much-promised essay that Savvy Vickery submitted to the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill as part of her college application after her college road trip. I love my Vickery Girls, and Savvy writes about homemade rolls that came from the “Original” Vickery Girl in my life – Lora (Granny) Vickery. Honestly, my eyes get misty every time I read this – not only because it reminds me of the love I had for Granny, but because my daughter learned the most important lesson we could teach…Love Your Family!

Comfort Doesn’t Come “Fat Free”

College road trip and college essay about comfort foodsNo one will ever write this essay with the response that salad is their comfort food. No one says, “Nothing feels like home quite as much as an egg-white soy omelet.” Comfort food should not only hit the spot (the one that may or may not require you to switch to pants with an elastic waistband) but they should also fill you up emotionally. There should be feeling and love and security in each bite that softly reminds you, this is what home should taste like.

As you may be able to already tell, I take two things very seriously: college applications, and food. Among the hundreds of thousands of foods I can only hope to try someday, there is a single dish that I will constantly return to. My Granny’s rolls. These baked and buttered beauties are as much a part of who I am as my curly hair and friendly nature. The ability to make them is practically a family trait passed down through a generation’s genes. There’s simply no separating these rolls from my memories as far back as they can go, and even more inseparable is the amazing woman who taught me how to make them. Granny Vickery was known by all her family and friends as a wonderfully gifted cook, but on her long list of accomplishments being the queen of the kitchen barely measured up to being one of the bravest, strongest women living in small town Cuero by the river. She raised five similarly strong, independent women who were as much at home fixing a hand cooked meal as they were chasing armadillos. She also happened to take in her grandson, a young teenager who needed the love and the cooking of a strong woman to bring him up into manhood. If it’s even possible, she loved him and cared for him even more than a mother could.

Her grandson grew up and with all her support and wisdom went on to lead an extremely successful life, one of his greatest accomplishments being that he had a family of his own, and he raised his daughters the same way his Granny raised him. I was raised that you eat dinner with your family and talk to them about everything; they should have your greatest respect and hear your very best jokes. I was raised to save your pennies and make big plans; have the manners of a lady, and the curiosity of a baby. I was raised in the image of Granny Vickery, and for all the memories I have of she and I rolling dough, cutting out disks and painting them in “oleo”, they’re surrounded in the warmth and comfort of delicious family dinners, and stories that only left us hungry for more. Granny’s rolls are more than the warm, starchy beginning and end to any meal. They are the reassurance that everything I know, everything I am, came from a woman who knew the secrets to love, family, and mouth-watering rolls.

BONUS: Here is the interview Savvy Vickery did while touring the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill…

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  1. Great essay. But you realize, of course, that if Savvy goes to UNC, her soul will forever bear an ashen scar. This comes from when Dean Smith sold UNC to Satan in the 1960s for some measly basketball championships.

    Warm regards,
    UVa 1979

    • Hah, believe me Barrett – UVA is still in the running for Savvy. May come down to who offers the best deal for an out of state Savvy superstar!

  2. This made me tear up and I didn’t even know Granny. I think I heard you were accepted to UNC (I won’t tell my husband who is a KU grad) – congratulations! The essay did it. I’m sure of it.

    • I gotta get Savvy accustomed to coming back and reading/replying to these comments.

      Thanks, Gini – Granny was a special lady, and so is Savvy. Part of that is because of the lady in between – Krista Vickery – who becomes the last Granny Vickery in January!!

  3. Wonderful essay and interview! Who wouldn’t want her to be part of their student body?! My son wrote his essay about his grandmother and she carried it in her purse for months showing it to everyone. It’s great to see essays that transcend applying to college.

    • I thought I had thanked you for this yesterday, but must have been lost while traveling. Thanks for your comments, Claire. I agree – I appreciate it when essays transcend the college app (or assignment) and truly become enjoyable “reads”.