Anaka Wamstad-Evans, a freshman at Southeast High School, has been baking her grandma’s chocolate scones since she was 5.
The scones — a “little piece of chocolaty goodness” — are a family tradition, a connection to the woman who raised Anaka’s dad and tweaked her recipe until it was perfect when Brendan Evans was a kid.
Barb Evans, a second-grade teacher at Rousseau Elementary School and mom to Brendan and his two sisters, died at 54 of a brain aneurysm and heart attack before Anaka was born.
But the young woman has heard a lot about her grandma from her dad. How she was kind and funny and loving. How she loved kids. And chocolate.
Anaka and her dad started baking grandma’s scones when Anaka was hardly tall enough to reach the counter. Some years later, she started playing the flute and she kept playing it as she grew into a high school freshman in a marching band planning a trip to Hawaii.
Anaka, of course, wants to go. She participated in some school fundraisers to earn money to pay for the trip, then she thought about her grandma, and those scones.
She mentioned the idea to her dad: How about a bake sale with grandma’s scones?
“As soon as she said it, it just clicked in my brain,” said her dad.
When a parent dies there’s so many events you wish they were there to share, he said. What better way to make that happen?
“She’s totally a part of this,” he said. “It’s just like having her here.”
Anaka and her dad figured out how much they’d need for supplies — the flour and sugar and, of course, the chocolate — then went out and bought it.
Barb Evans loved gardening and daffodils, mystery novels, quilting, baking — and her family. There was no Facebook then, but now she’s a part of that social media phenomenon born four years after she died.
Brendan Evans posted a picture of his smiling daughter holding a plate of her grandma’s scones on Oct. 28, along with an explanation of the virtual bake sale and the love stirred into those scones. He told the Facebook world the family was on board, that he was proud of his daughter and how he loved that his mom could be a part of Anaka creating her own opportunities.
$10 for six scones; $18 for a dozen.
“Mom will be overseeing from Heaven,” he wrote.
Then the orders started pouring in, and the baking began in earnest.
"I seriously need another two dozen scones," posted one friend. "Coworkers are threatening me with bodily harm. What can I do to get more?”
Anaka baked between school and karate and studying and sleeping. By the time she got on a plane with her family on the way to Texas to spend Thanksgiving there, she’d baked 20 to 30 dozen and raised about $750. The day before she left, she baked six dozen by herself for a friend.
She was surprised and happy by the interest and positive reviews.
And in seven months, she’ll leave for Hawaii with her high school band.
Thanks to some ingenuity, a lot of hard work — and grandma.