Spice of Life: Borden’s Lady still serving up smiles to all she meets

By By Eric Cormier / American Press

Lots of laughs and memories fill Jesse Doolan’s home on Kirkman Street.

The 91-year-old, affectionately known as the “Borden’s Lady,” is not shy about talking about her career.

For two decades she served ice cream, shakes, floats, and all other things good and sweet at the Borden’s Creamery that was

located at the corner of Ryan and Park streets until it closed in 1985.

“Well, we had fun with people who would come in and make us laugh. I made sure to smile and treat everyone right,” she said.

Doolan is living a dream not many residents get to experience. Last weekend, her birthday was celebrated with a twist.

Local officials and friends surprised her at Piccadilly Cafeteria at the Prien Lake Mall and showered her with affection.

Ward 3 City Marshal Joey Alcede gave Doolan a plaque that read “In appreciation for the many smiles put on thousands of faces,

both young and old.”

The mayor’s office designated her birthday as “Jessie Doolan Day.”

Her daughter, Jessie Koonce, said her mother was taken aback by the special treatment.

While telling me about her work life, Doolan traveled back in her memory and explained that service was her specialty.

“Everybody is equal. A lot of people would come in and they always wanted me to wait on them,” she said. “It gives you a good

feeling that people recognize you. They know I was good to them.”

The pomp and circumstance displayed for Doolan is not the only time she has been acknowledged.

On a trip to England, while standing near Stonehenge, some young women approached Doolan and exclaimed “you’re the Borden’s

Lady,” Koonce said.

Meanwhile, on a trip to San Antonio, Doolan was walking with a group when U.S. Senator John McCain approached.

“He talked to my mom. Some kind of way he remembered her from Borden’s,” Koonce said.

As she listens to the stories, Doolan laughs with joy.

She also giggles about the notion that many former customers are interested in her present condition.

“Oh, they call every now and then and want to know if I’m still living,” she said.

Once the obvious concerns are addressed, the customers move on to their own childhood memories about her.

“A lot of them come up to her and tell her they miss her malts and shakes,” Koonce said.

As I walk out of Doolan’s home she tells me something that makes my mouth water, too.

“I’m going to get a machine and make some shakes the next time you come,” she said.

If she does or does not, its OK, because I know she means it and wants to make me happy like all the other folks she served.

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Eric Cormier writes about food every Wednesday. Contact him at ecormier@americanpress.com or 494-4090.