Aunt Jessie puts magic in each and every jar!
At 75, Aunt Jessie travels each summer to her native western
Kentucky home, Golotown. She
is known for “Aunt Jessie''s Ketchup” she produces from a family recipe during her
stays. Using the sun ripened Kentucky tomatoes that are grown in family and neighbor''s gardens, she cooks up batches of the ketchup in her small
blue pale trailer that was her mothers. One special summer Aunt Jessie''s ketchup
turns magic when it receives a blue ribbon and $100 at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic. The win instills a
desire to try a much larger competition in her winter Chicago home. After listening to dee-jay Joel Sebastian, announce the holiday cook-off contest on the
WLS radio station, she decides to enter her homemade ketchup in the contest. The only dilemma she faces
is trying to make the trip in Chicago''s snow storm.
The fact that she has never driven and doesn''t know
how, isn''t an obstacle. Instead, she asks for the help from Butterbean, a young man from the nearby
grocery who delivers her groceries. The excursion and dilemma she faces prior to the contest convey a most
heart-warming message about family, rural roots and recipes handed down from generation to generation.
About the Author and Illustrator
Purdom and Wendy Susan Lovett’s western Kentucky lineage and friendship traces back to childhood. Attending
primary school and church together in Murray, Ky., the two befriended each other and have remained life-long friends.
From church camps, cruising the court square, and learning the fresh-garden cooking recipes from their ancestors, to
completing college later in life as non-traditional students at Murray State University, thy grew up cleaving strongly to
their hillbilly roots. They each claim those roots provided them with the magic they feel in their hearts
about the south and their Kentucky hometown.
The year 2004 was pivotal for both as their 40th
birthday’s approached. Lovett’s 40th birthday was spent undergoing a partial mastectomy,
with the news she would need to undergo chemotherapy treatment as a precautionary measure following surgery. They
each decided that if a book were to be written and illustrated, it would be their own birthday present to themselves.
As the two joined thoughts and dreams from their childhood, they decided to pursue writing and illustrating
Jessie’s Magic Ketchup.”
Lovett, a single parent of one son, who is currently completing her
master’s degree in speech language pathology at MSU, has a gift for sketching and drawing. Purdom,
a wife and mother of two daughters, works at Murray Independent School District as the Public Information Officer. She has written fictional stories since
a student at Murray High School. With the “40 project” finally complete, they each agreed,
“writing this book has been the best therapy.” Their frequent conversations have allowed them
opportunities to reminisce and share stories that have proven to them that the stories of those gone contain life’s
most precious memories and it is rewarding making those stories and people come alive through fiction.