Once inside their doors you begin to feel the magic, but one look at the bakery case and you realize it isn’t just any magic--it’s a different kind, an adventurous kind. Five years ago in September, co-owners Molly Martin and Andrea Mohn opened Antoinette Baking Company after their home-business grew too large to manage and too life-changing to give up. They needed a shop. Their first location in Tulsa’s Brookside area was so successful it outgrew itself in just two short years. In need of a larger space, they found and began renovation of their current shop in the thriving downtown Brady Art District.
So far, in my experience, waiting doesn’t exactly get easier. It becomes more fruitful, yes. But easier? No. We can so clearly see what we want that sometimes we think we can reach out and there it is--we have it. But this isn’t a story of hopes and dreams being dashed by “reality”; this is a story of hopes and dreams enduring time. A lot of people give up when there’s a promise followed by a long wait. Many people believe that the “wait” itself is a closed door, an answer of “try something else.” But we are not those people. And that is not this story.
The gate was open today. And while I was here alone, the doorbell rang. I figured there was a company here to do maintenance, so I cracked the door open and began to deduce what the man standing on my porch needed. Once he began speaking I realized he was soliciting a service. He asked if the “man of the house” was here and I told him, no, he is not. He asked when the “man” would be back, and I made up some time, some name and gave him our business phone number. When I shut the door what resounded in my head was that for eight years women have run this property.
And it took me a long time--years--to let a very small group of people come around me and actually begin to pull me out of the metaphorical “home” I’d made to better myself in. The resounding concept was “you are done there.” But not just that, it was an exclamation…”look what you’ve become!” Their eyes stared at me in astonishment but I couldn’t accept it, I wouldn’t accept it, and I tried to crawl back in to “grow more.” But it turns out that you do, eventually, outgrow the cocoon. And once you’ve outgrown it, you must move on. You must BE the thing that you were cocooned to become.
And just like that, we realized it. We had put so many plans together for other people to carry the torch forward, so many possibilities--never-ending, ever-expanding--possibilities. We could see so many ways, so many avenues for others to achieve success at Tuscan Hill. After all of our preparing and seeking, and failure after failure of trying to make it work with so many candidates who crossed our path, it was with fire I realized that the answer wasn’t missing because we hadn’t done enough; the answer was missing because we had become enough.
The air is thick with discovery as one wanders through the Grand Hall and the historical wing with its many levels adorned in Romanesque architecture. Dripping with the flair of the late 1800s and dotted with extra detailing from the 1920s and 30s, one can’t help but feel that this train station could easily have been the one from which detective Monsieur Poirot boarded the Orient Express with 13 other passengers in Agatha Christie’s 1934 famed mystery novel, “Murder on the Orient Express.”
The walk east on Canal toward the Manhattan Bridge is as one might expect--honking, shouting, people everywhere. This is, after all, New York City. Walking through Chinatown yields sights of locals heading back to work from lunch and eager tourists wandering the streets seeking out the best noodles and shaved ice. Neighborhood tenants buy goods from the string of outdoor markets lining the streets, creating Chinatown grocery stores entire blocks long.