I’m excited today to have Winnie Johnson joining us at the Self-Rescue Princess.
For as far back as I can remember, all I’ve ever wanted to do was bake. The process of mixing ingredients together to make something delicious was pretty amazing all on its own. But when your creation got a moan of delight out of someone? That was the best. So you could say it was the realization of a lifelong dream when I opened my own bakery, Delectable Delights.
Things were going great until Nick Batkas, my bakery’s landlord raised the rent so high there was no way I could stay in business.
That is until I got word that my dear sweet neighbor, Gertrude Redenbacher named me in her will.
Yes, I admit I was imagining an envelope of cash—just enough to keep my dream alive.
But Gertie didn’t leave me money.
Instead, she left me her cat, Lovey (who loves everyone but me), and the vintage ambulance her late husband was restoring prior to his own death.
So yeah, good bye lifelong dream.
As you can imagine, I was rather down in the dumps when I left the bakery that last day, but I had to keep my emotions at bay until I made good on a promise to another late friend. You see, once a week, I make and deliver a peach pie to Bart Wagner, my neighbor across the street. He’s been having a tough time lately on account of losing his wife of nearly fifty years.
So I made the pie.
And walked it across the street and into Bart’s house.
I hated going into his house like that, but when he didn’t answer, and the door was unlocked, I went inside. You know, just to make sure he was okay.
That’s when I found him on the floor—dead, suffocated with one of his own pillows.
I have to do something, don’t I? About my bakery and Bart.
What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?
Bart and his wife, Ethel were my neighbors and my friends. Losing Ethel was hard. She was like a second grandmother to me. I promised her I’d look after Bart with a peach pie every week. And I was doing that. Just like I promised. But seeing him like that? Murdered in his own home? It made me mad (after I screamed, of course).
I live on a street of elderly people—elderly people I adore. And to see them afraid for their life because a murderer is on the loose, isn’t okay with me.
Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?
Um, no. I’m a baker, not a fighter.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I would say my strength and my convictions go hand in hand. I know what I like and I don’t change that for anyone. I’m loyal to a fault (as evidenced by the cat who is now living with me) and I’m respectful of the fact that I need to bake. It makes me whole.
As far as my weaknesses, my confidence (in terms of dating) isn’t too high. I think I’m just content with the company my elderly neighbors and my best friend, Renee provide. Or maybe that’s just a cop out…
Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.
For me, being a self-rescue princess means not needing a man to complete me. It means listening to my gut. And it means believing in myself and my abilities.
If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?
Right now? I’d have to say that old song, Roll With It Baby by Steve Winwood. Because right now that’s exactly what I need to do in regards to my career, my life, and this promise I made to my friends that I will find Bart’s killer.
Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?
I wish I could say I get to hang up that hat, but I don’t.
Because next March (in Silence of the Flans), a student at the local college is going to be poisoned. And, seeing as how it’s one of my desserts she’ll be eating when she keels over, I kind of sort of need to get to the bottom of things if there’s any hope of keeping my Emergency Dessert Squad on the road…