Grandma Pepper and her Family
Thank you for visiting Baby Art Mart! I hope you’re having fun with our site and that you find something delightful for someone you love. Because you may be buying a Cookie Jar Canvas or two, I hope you’ll enjoy learning about the family that, willingly or unwillingly, has lived with cookie jars for decades.
Everybody faces obstacles in life, but mine started early. My mom gave me the name Pepper Salter and I guess my dad was an enabler because he never said, “No! Stop! That’s a horrible idea!”
All through school, kids teased me about my name, but even worse, teachers laughed at me, too.
Me, an innocent child
Oops! Here Comes the Bride!
Luckily, I got married young and my last name became Abrams.
And, just to be sure I never ever again was Pepper Salter, I got married one more time and now I’m Pepper Abrams Edmiston.
I was born and raised in California and grew up with a brother and a sister, Michael and Laura.
Where are their stupid names?
I went to U.C. Berkeley in the Sixties and then taught 4th Grade in South Central Los Angeles.
My Berkeley “Protest!” sign - now an antique!
Our Christmas card from back in the day: Matt, Jon, Ben, David, Susan
Per my mother’s insistence, I married a lawyer named Bud and we had two sons, David and then Jonathan.
Tragically, at the age of two, our beloved firstborn was diagnosed with childhood leukemia and given a 50% chance of survival.
Living with the shadow of death surrounding our son was soul-crushing. We decided, for however long he was with us, to fill David’s life with joy. Thus, along came Matthew, Susan and Benjamin.
Although brain-damaged and epileptic from treatments, at home David was one of the gang, and he was never lonesome. Sadly, when he was eight years old and ready for Camp, no Camp would have him.
So, my parents and I created Camp Good Times for Children with Cancer, where David and his pals flourished. President and Mrs. Reagan were regular visitors to Camp and they loved it, too!
David rushing President Reagan as our family laughed & Secret Service panicked
Peaches was a pony, not a donkey, who loved to breakfast with the family
Raising four boys and one girl, especially when one child was seriously ill, was exhausting. When recalling his childhood, Matt, (A.K.A. “Splat,”) recently said, “We just ran wild.” He was right.
To survive, Bud and I surrendered our authority, letting the kids control the narrative. Bright and competitive, except for my darling David, the Abrams kids did fine: three lawyers and a marketing guru, solid marriages and sweet offspring.
Bud and I turned out to be incredibly incompatible so we divorced. Despite my mom’s warning that, “Nobody, but nobody, will want a person with five children and a donkey,” within minutes, I met and married a park ranger named Joe.
Ranger Joe, who hoped to create order out of chaos
By the time Joe realized he was marrying all six of us, it was too late
As an only child, Joe had no idea what hit him. He was constantly asking why the kids were insubordinate and what was ‘brotherly love,’ as he watched my boys pummel one another, from big to small to smaller to smallest.
The best I could do for my new husband was produce two little Edmistons. Joe expected his own sons to be more civilized. LOL. William and Charlie, musician and artist, joined the tribe and fit in perfectly.
William and Charlie, armed and ready for their older siblings
How dare Baby Charlie learn to walk!
It turned out that Charlie was to be my final child. I was grateful for my daughter and sons, but wanted more! Excessive, right? That’s when I realized my mom had passed down the Greed Gene, which is basically a curse.
Still, I pondered: What could I obtain that would satiate my need for carrying around a small person once baby Charlie started walking?
My replacement baby turned out to be a Cookie Jar! In 1988, I purchased my very first one, a tubby lady in a bathing suit. Whenever I missed my babies, I’d buy a new jar. Problem solved.
My full-bodied people cookie jar collection now numbers in the hundreds, yet every single jar is special to me, just like each one of my children!
Bathing Beauty Beula
Actress/Singer Sally Struthers with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
David remained a happy and loving boy, but because of his brain damage, mentally he was like a preschooler. As time went on, though, he became increasingly disabled.
So, with the support of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and dear friend Sally Struthers, our family founded Happy Trails for Kids with Disabilities. For years it was the highlight of David’s life.
Life was good and then it wasn’t. For years David was content and his siblings were thriving.
Then, one Sunday morning, just before his 35th birthday, David succumbed to a devastating seizure; my sweet boy was gone. David was the heart of our clan and we miss him every day.
Two of the kindest people ever, Roy and Dale, with sweet David
David’s six siblings honor his memory by supporting Happy Trails
In 2009, the same year we lost David, daughter Susan took over the reins at Happy Trails, changing Camp into a year-round recreational program for boys and girls in Foster Care in L.A. County.
There are more than 35,000 youngsters living in Foster Care in our county and it is our pleasure to contribute 10% of the profits from Baby Art Mart to Happy Trails for Kids. If you want to smile, please visit HappyTrailsforKids.org
People have often asked, “Since your name is Pepper Salter, why don’t you collect salt and pepper shakers?” My answer is always, “If this was your name, would you?” So far, no takers.
The name my parents gave me was annoying, but for the most crucial challenge of my life – David’s well-being - they were there for us. David’s suffering became my suffering and my parents ached for us both.
Grandma Janet and Grandpa Max with their beloved first grandchild
Max hugging his Sweetheart of sixty-eight years
So, while my mom’s insensitivity plonked “Pepper” on me, I was both grateful and attached to her. Some refer to this as the Stockholm Syndrome. Whatever, I liked having her around.
Nothing lasts forever, though, and on Halloween night, 2020, my mom flew off. She was nearly ninety-eight years old, having outlived my pop by a decade.
Losing my mom knocked me out and I didn’t know how to recover from the loss. I was bereft. I missed David most of all but I missed my dad and mom and our little triangle of love, often the privilege of the first born. Despite my many blessings, I couldn’t cheer up.
Great-Grandma Janet, Naughty at Ninety!
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My!
Finally, I thought perhaps enlarging my Cookie Jar collection would help and, indeed it did!
I began buying animal cookie jars, like lions and tigers and bears. I got happier and happier!
My Cookie Jar Collection of people was enlarged to include animals
One day I realized that cookie jars could make children happy, too. But rather than a heavy, breakable, ceramic jar that could be hurled at a helpless younger sibling, what about a portrait of a cookie jar on a brightly colored canvas, hung high on a wall? Thus, was born Baby Art Mart!!
Our whole family, forced to pose with their favorite cookie jars!
LILY, ELLA AND LUKE
SHANNON AND JON
BEN, EZRA AND RACHEL
MATT AND JULIANA
GABRIEL AND WILL
KEITH, DANIEL, SUSAN AND CAROLINE
CHARLIE AND JOE
Our whole family is so glad you’re visiting us and I’m so pleased that you read all the way down to here! We hope you enjoy our website and our products, too!
Pacific Palisades, California