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A Special Visitor with Stories to Tell

August 1, 2021

We had some very special visitors in the store. Norma (in purple) and her nieces are not only lifelong Little Traveler fans, Norma's mother, Alice Obrink, started The Atrium Café! Alice came to Geneva from Sweden, sponsored by her Aunt and Uncle who lived here. She got a job working as a personal cook and maid for The Little Traveler's founder, Kate Raftery, and the two women became very close friends. When Kate decided her destination boutique needed a café, she asked Alice to take charge.

Norma's Aunt Ingaborg became one of the waitresses, and many of her friends, also Swedish immigrants, joined the team. They wore pink uniforms and called themselves the "pinkies." Mrs. Law, who continued to oversee the buffet luncheons served throughout the store, didn't speak Swedish, and when the pinkies would get chatting in their native language, Nora recalls Mrs. Law joking, "I know they're talking about me."

Nora's Aunt Ingaborg was more than a waitress---she's the creator of The Little Traveler's famous Pimiento Cheese spread! When she retired and moved to Denver, the café staff had trouble recreating the recipe. They called Ingaborg for help, and the first thing she said was that they had to use the best ingredients. "You can't cut costs!" she told them. We hope Aunt Ingaborg is pleased that her delicious creation continues to be an Atrium Café favorite and that Chef David keeps the recipe super-secret to this day.

Growing up, Norma came to The Little Traveler all the time and even worked in the dress shop during busy Christmas seasons. She lives in Chicago now, and whenever her nieces visit from Colorado, Michigan, and Florida, a visit to our historic boutique is on the itinerary. It was a pleasure to meet them and hear Norma's stories about the two women in her family who are so important in our history.

Little Traveler
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