Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Still baking after 70 years

  • He's been baking and serving the public with his talents and goods for 70 years, since he was 16 to be exact, and despite the age of 86 he still entertains to regular customers.
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  • Every day he grabs his jacket, grasps his cane and heads out the door.
    He doesn't have to go far, just across his lawn, across his gravel driveway and he's at his destination.
    Walking isn't as easy as it used to be, he's hunched over and is inconvenienced by the absence of his cane. Yet Howard Sederwall makes the walk to his own bakery shop sitting right on his property off Route O just a mile outside of town, to make and bring in the dough. He's been baking and serving the public with his talents and goods for 70 years, since he was 16 to be exact, and despite the age of 86 he still entertains to regular customers.
    "We come from a poor family. I started working when I was about 10-years-old picking strawberries right across the road here. I worked all my life, I had to, to have anything," Sederwall said. "Bakers, cooks run in our families. Both sides. I had an uncle, he had a restaurant, my brother worked at a bakery. Even my boys cook, my grandsons cook."
    Like every worker in their youth, Sederwall took what he could get, but when the job to work in a bakery came along, he took it.
    "The war was on, they needed help down at Zimmerman's Bakery. I was working in a green house ... for a dollar a day. People don't believe, but this is back in the '40s, dollar a day was good. Gas was five gallons for a dollar. It was something," he said. "My first check down there was $25.65, I won't forget it. From a dollar a day, that's a good thing."
    His first duty was prepping the bread. It may sound easy, but when it's baking at a fast pace, you need to be ready for it.
    "We had a big oven down there, held 1,000 loaves of bread, you put it in and it came back, go around, about this way, then it came out," Sederwall said motioning his hands in demonstration. "I was 6'4, weighed about 185 pounds, I was an ol' country boy. It didn't bother me. You dumped three pans of bread and loaded three pans of bread. So every 30 minutes, you handled 2,000 loaves of break. You worked, it was something."
    In 1960, Sederwall opened his own bakery shop, the Pastry Box on Broadway across from the police station, and operated it for 30 years.
    Those doors may have closed in 1990, but in 1991 a new one opened up on his property next to his home at 10859 Route O.
    Just about every piece of machinery he has is at least 50 years old. There's even a couple that are teasing with 70 or 90 years. Everything gets done with the help of his wife, without her it'd be tough to have a bakery full of goodies Tuesday through Saturday, arthritis has also limited Sederwall to baking certain goods like rolls.
    Page 2 of 2 - Some may say he's 86, he should be retired and relaxing, but it didn't turn out that way as a lifetime baker in small town Hannibal.
    "I couldn't take out a big salary because we didn't have that much coming in all the time," he said. "I was limited on my income, so was my wife."
    And that's still a struggle today he says, to lure in customers for a fair profit at day's end isn't easy.
    Sederwall said it's just the way things are these days.
    "Some days we don't have nobody come through that door. Between 3:30 to 6 o'clock, I bet there's 150 cars go by here. Not a one of them stop, they're in a hurry to get home," he said. "The younger generation, the quality of food just doesn't mean nothing to them. Convenience. They go to the grocery store, buy all their stuff and go home. We cater to the older generation."
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