Tears of joy over great grandfather’s mementos

Fox Valley Technical College culinary student Ashley Baeten is surprised to receive items from...
Fox Valley Technical College culinary student Ashley Baeten is surprised to receive items from her great grandfather's bakery.(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 3:26 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - It proved to be an emotional day for a Fox Valley Technical College culinary student ahead of her graduation tomorrow.

In front of her class, she received some special mementos from way back in her family’s history.

Ashley Baeten likely never imagined, that on her last day of culinary school at Fox Valley Technical College, a surprise little brown bag and the contents inside would lead to so many tears of joy.

“I saw the pictures of the bakery and it really hit home,” says Baeten.

Between 1931 and 1951, Baeten’s great grandfather owned the Tasty Bake Shop on Broadway in Downtown Green Bay.

“Growing up I used to sit with my nana all the time and whenever I was over there we would bake and just talk and I would ask her to tell me stories of her growing up with the bakery,” says Baeten.

And by 5th grade, Baeten already knew her future would be in a kitchen.

“Got a job right out of high school at a hospital cooking and loved every second, went to business school first so I have that and then I ended up here getting my culinary degree,” says Baeten.

When her grandparents passed away a few years ago, Baeten asked her mom if there were any items from her great grandpa’s bakery.

She said no, but that was a little white lie.

She wanted to save them for just the right time.

So she contacted instructor and chef Rich Williams.

“Just knew that it would be pretty cool for you to get these items with your friends you’ve been going to school with,” says Williams.

“I didn’t even know that we had my great grandfather’s hat, like that was really cool to see in there. It just mean a lot because they’re the reason why I’m here, why I’m in culinary school,” says Baeten fighting back tears.

Because of the pandemic, Baeten’s parents couldn’t take part in the surprise today, but their gesture will never be forgotten.

“It’s just unbelievable what they did and they know that I really wish that my grandparents were here to see this. They’re watching down and I do stuff for them, they’re the reason why I’m here and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” says Baeten.

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