Community Member Feature: Grandma Cookie

Newswire photo by Alex Budzynski | Cherry Carson, also known as Grandma Cookie, enjoys creating a loving experience at the caf. Carson returned to the caf five years ago after retiring.

Here at Xavier, sharing a meal together with your friends at the caf can be a means for nourishment, rejuvenation or escaping those pesky assignments you have to complete.

Even in this simple act, you are sharing an extremely special experience with your second family at your home away from home. It is evident from their beaming faces that few understand this better than the caf employees who work from sun up to sun down.

One of the gems of this community is Miss Cherry Carson. Her unique story at Xavier began 25 years ago, when she originally spent her days happily working at the caf. However, when the dining services companies changed, she decided to leave Xavier.

During this interim period, Carson worked at several other places in the food service, such as a children’s hospital and a Baldwin Piano factory. She found time to help at a local daycare, remained active in her long-time community church and even decided to retire for some time.

This all changed five years ago when Carson received a call from a friend informing her there was an opening at the caf. She decided to come in for an interview and was offered the job. Carson proceeded to come out of retirement for a chance to return to the caf and has not looked back since.

Today, she works part-time from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays and continues to love what she does.

Some may know Carson better as Grandma Cookie, a name she earned during her previous time at Xavier working in the bakery.

The alias is quite appropriate for this kind-spirited woman, whose only critique of Xavier would be to offer more programs for kids who are lonely being so far away from their homes. She even goes on to say that she is willing to have people over to her own home for a warm family meal in order to make them feel more welcomed to the Xavier community that she loves.

One of the main reasons she decided to return to the campus is because she loves the young people with whom she gets to spend her day. Compared to working in a daycare, Carson jokes that the patrons of the caf “are not in diapers anymore, they are in pull-ups.” Working with older students means that “I get to know them, and they get to know me,” Carson said.

Despite surviving brain surgery, a heart attack, knee surgery and breast cancer, Carson continues to work with a smile on her face. The joy she gets from being around young people is apparent in the way she spreads love to the lives of all students.

According to first-year Clarissa Dixon, Carson reached out to her on her first day at Xavier. “She made me feel really welcomed and will always stop to have a long, meaningful conversation with you.”

Carson also loves the family-like community of Xavier, stating that working at the university provides her with the opportunity to help her neighborhood. “I get along with the kids, I get along with the other employees. We are like a big family,” Carson said.

Being married for 55 years and having five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren herself, Carson’s love for family cannot be understated — both in her home and at the workplace.

Carson gave a few words of support for students as the stressful season of finals approaches.

“No matter what you are going through, whether good or bad, if God takes you to it, he will take you through it,” she said. No one exemplifies this better than the cheery-faced Miss Cherry.

By: Alex Budzynski | Staff Writer