Poland baker, 79, closing up shop but still raring for high adventure

By On September 03, 2018

Poland baker, 79, closing up shop but still raring for high adventure

POLAND â€" With two replaced knees, a pacemaker and a reconstructed foot, it’s getting harder for Georgieanna McArthur to log long days in the kitchen, so at the end of the year, she’ll close Georgie’s Goodies and retire from baking.

But not from adventure.

McArthur jumped out of a plane last month to celebrate her 80th birthday.

She’s already planning to skydive again for her 82nd.

In the past 15 years, she and husband Jim have gone parasailing, zip-lining and skydiving together â€" the latter he describes as terrifying, she describes as amazing. It’s easy to believe both.

“I’ve done a few things that he’s questioned,” Georgieanna said, laughing.

Georgieanna, who doesn’t officially turn 80 until October, spent part of her childhood growing up on a chicken farm in Auburn. The oldest of seven kids, she started cooking early.< /p>

“I think it was out of necessity,” she said. “My mother wasn’t a great cook; she was alright. None of my grandmothers were great cooks, so I don’t know, I just loved it.”

She’d make corn chowder, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and tomato soup. As she got older, it was more baking desserts.

“We enjoy life. That is what it is all about,” Jim McArthur said of his and his wife Georgieanna McArthur’s adventures.

Several decades into her first career as a dental assistant, a dentist commented one day that she was always bringing in cookies and bars for the staff. She ought to be selling them.

“It was Thanksgiving, so I told the girls at work I would do their baking for them if they would cover my costs,” Georgieanna said. She made the same offer to her son, whose co-workers got wind of it. “I had orders coming out my ears with an oven that could only bake two pies at a time. I had 85 pies to make, plus breads and fudge … I did it, but it’s like, ‘Oh, my God.’ ”

Suddenly, she was in business.

“By spring, I figured, I better get a license to do this,” she said. “Then in the fall, I got the (commercial) ovens. It kind of mushroomed.”

For 20 years, through Georgie’s Goodies, she’s made pies, breads, whoopie pies, squares, fudge and cookies. She said she doesn’t mess with computers, and the business isn’t online â€" customers find out by word of mouth and call her.

During craft fair season, Jim and a grandson also bring out her jellies and jams to sell. That will end, too.

After making a recent batch of 125 jars of hot pepper jelly, “it’s long days,” Georgieanna said, but still, “I think I’ll miss it, and I may get talked into something.”

She and Jim, married 35 years, met while he was in the dental chair. They had the ir first date on Friday the 13th, and every Friday the 13th since has been a date night.

She’d been vocal for years about wanting to skydive when he happened to spot a brochure at a golf tournament and brought it home six years ago.

“He thought I was just fooling around with him all this time,” Georgieanna said. “He was shocked that I really wanted to do that.”

A few days before that first jump, he decided to join her.

“You want to see some complete fear …” Jim said.

Meanwhile, he said, his wife was smiling the whole way down, blowing kisses.

“When you first jump, it’s kind of a shock to your system and you catch your breath and then you’re fine,” she said. “You don’t feel like you’re falling, you feel like you’re flying. You’re gliding, just like a bird.”

She jumped again last month at Skydive New England with two granddaughters, 18 and 33. A bad back prevented Jim, 77, from joining this time.

It was just as much of a thrill the second time, Georgieanna said.

“I’ve got another granddaughter who’ll be 18 in two years so I plan on going with her,” she said. “Everybody thinks I’m nuts. Either that or they want to go. You never know what I’m going to do, which is good.”

Kathryn Skelton can be contacted at:

[email protected]

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