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OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH CENTRAL SQUARES!

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OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH CENTRAL SQUARES!

Marilynn Brass

We've named these Lemon Cream Cheese Squares from Baking With The Brass Sisters Central Squares in honor of Central Square, in Cambridge where Marilynn first lived at the YWCA.

It seems hard to believe that 49 years have gone by since Marilynn ran away from our childhood home in Winthrop to move into the Cambridge YWCA on Temple Street.

For the two years and eight months that she lived there, she had the time of her life!  One of the people who made it so wonderful was the Residence Director, Ilene Beyer, a woman who was welcoming, motherly, and a heck of a lot of fun!

There were some great times at the Y, and Marilynn will never forget her adventures with Mandy Finizio, who was then Mandy Timney.  The two have been friends for 48 years.  Mandy moved into the Y in 1968, a year after Marilynn.

Since Marilynn was working at the then Instrumentation Laboratory at MIT as a Senior Editorial Secretary in the Technical Publications Office (in those days, you started as a Secretary, even if you had a Master's degree in English), she could walk to work.  However, the bus to work cost ten cents.  Purity Supreme, where we bought our snacks, was across the street on Mass. Ave., and we all bought our clothes at Cochran's.  

The food at the Y was good home cooking, but there were some high points -- the cook's Chicken Pot Pie for one.  Many of us ate out afew times a week because eating out was so inexpensive.  Marilynn's rent was $31 a week.  This included 14 meals a week, including Sunday dinner which sometimes included roast lamb with mint jelly.  There was always a bowl of jelly or jam for breakfast, and Marilynn liked to add a spoon or two to her hot oatmeal.  One Monday morning, she added a spoon or two of mint jelly left over from Sunday dinner!  She ate the oatmeal anyway.

Marilynn longed for French Toast for breakfast, and often discussed it with the kitchen staff.  One morning, one of the residents bangedloudly on the door of Marilynn's room and told her that her wish had been granted -- French Toast for breakfast!  A young man with whom Marilynn worked also came in with a plate of French Toast from home for her.

Our rent at the Y also included maid service once a week, and there was someone at the front desk to take phone messages for us.  When we received a phone call, the front desk would buzz our room so that we could take the call at the telephone in the hall. 

We could tell you stories of the calls we rushed to accept and the ones we found excuses not to answer. Marilynn once received four requests for a date in one night after attending Weight Watchers at the Sheraton-Commander Hotel with Mrs. Beyer and several of the girls at the Y. 

Margaret, the new cook, patiently made dinners in compliance with Weight Watcher rules.  One week all of the girls on the meal plan were out for dinner, and we had to make peace with Margaret for missed meals.  Margaret's daughter, Junior, worked with her at the Y, and she greatly admired a black double-knit dress with studs and zippers up both sleeves, that Marilynn wore.  When we find a photo of Marilynn in that dress, we will post it.

As for our love affair with Central Squares, everyone has a recipe for Lemon Squares, but this one combines three wonderful elements.  A toasted almond crust, cream cheese sweetened with confectioners' sugar, and a tangy lemon curd.  What makes these squares so unusual is that the crust is the only part of the recipe that needs to be baked.

We found this Heirloom recipe handwritten on the back of an American Automobile Association membership card.  

ENGLISH CHINA PLATE, A WEDDING GIFT FOR OUR PARENTS, DOROTHY AND HARRY BRASS, JUNE 9, 1936 FROM A SET OF TWELVE PLATES AND A SERVING PLATTER.

PHOTO OF CENTRAL SQUARES BY ANDY RYAN