Rhode Island’s Guilty Pleasure

Confessions of a Doughboy Addict

It all began a very long time ago… I was eight years old. My Aunt, (whom I was living with at the time), took my cousins and me to a Portuguese festival near her house in East Providence. I was so excited because I knew that I was going to get a balloon, and ice cream cone, and something my aunt called a ‘doughboy’. I did not have a clue what that was but I figured I would go with the flow. Actually, being eight years I would eat just about anything, except egg salad, which I had every single day of the school year!

We arrived at the festival early Saturday afternoon. The musicians hadn’t started playing their music yet, so I just had to listen to those old tunes in my little head (nowadays, they call that type of behavior schizophrenia). My aunt told met that I could either get my balloon, or the ice cream, or the doughboy first. Since I had no idea what a doughboy was, I opted for the practical thing; a double chocolate ice cream cone with jimmies! That made more sense to me than some boy made of dough.

Then came the balloon, which I quickly lost to the heavens in a matter of minutes.

Then, finally, I was going to get to try (or meet, or whatever) a doughboy. I remember my cousins running far ahead of me and headed towards a food vendor whose signs promised greasy hot dogs and rolls stuffed with linguicia and peppers. I knew what linguicia was because I had that at least once a week for breakfast, with eggs, of course. But, a doughboy? Maybe I should turn around and walk the other way I wondered.

Then, it happened. Right in front of me, actually in one of my cousins hands, was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my short years on earth; the infamous Doughboy! Heck, I still didn’t know what it was but I knew it had butter, sugar and cinnamon on it, well, I was in love.

With her outstretched hand she beckoned me to try a piece of this doughboy thingy. She ripped of a small piece (she didn’t like to really share in those days) and handed it to me, with the grease oozing between my fingers. I wasn’t aware yet of heart disease so it didn’t matter how much grease was on it. I just knew I was going to like it because it looked and smelled awesome (though I probably didn’t say “awesome” because that word wasn’t invented yet)!

That was the beginning of the end for me. What I mean is, that’s when I knew that doughboys were going to be a regular part of my diet. Maybe not every day or even every week, but when they were in sight, I was going to make them quickly disappear, leaving not a trace of evidence for anyone to accuse me of eating all of them. But I was just eight years old, so it was definitely going to be a challenge to try to find where I could get them. Eight-year-olds can’t drive, at least without getting into trouble. And what about money? I didn’t get an allowance, yet, but those wonderful sweet “awsome” friend doughboys inspired me to develop a plan on how to start getting one.

Eventually I moved back to my parents after my mom came home from a long stay at the hospital. Immediately, I started to ask my parents what I could do around the house to start getting some money (but of course, I was going to by a book, or something meaningful with the money, right?). They told me that I wouldn’t get paid for doing chores because that’s just goes along with being part of a family. As I was just about to throw one of my famous temper tantrums, my dad said the ‘but’ word to me, which meant that he was maybe going to change his mind? Nope, never happened but what did happen was that he told me if I found things to do around the house without asking, then maybe, just maybe, I would make some money. The deal was done!

The rest of the story is pretty blurry after that day but I do have some vaigue memory of things that transpired. I do remember that the socks in my family were always disappearing after laundry day. We seemed to have lost one of the pair of socks with almost every wash. I decided that I was going to find the lost socks, whatever it took, so I could finally make some money to buy those greasy, sugary fried pieces of dough.

At first, my parents decided that I would get a nickel (times were tough back then in the sixties) for every matching pair of socks. To me, a nickel back then was like getting a $5 bill so was I ecstatic. The first week of my new ‘job’ (for lack of any other word) I earned about twenty cents. Not bad, but not really good because the doughboys cost $.50 back then.

(Oh, and I found a local bakery that I was allowed to walk to that sold them, so I was ok with the transportation issue).

What was I to do? For an addict, the addiction comes first. But no, I didn’t go out and rob banks, but that was Plan B. I hatched a plant that didn’t even make me leave my home! How cool and devious is that! Ready? I decided that since there were six people in the family that wore at least a pair of socks every day, I was going to make absolutely sure that there was going to be at least six pairs of that needed matching up every day. Yes, you heard it right, I said that I was going to ‘make sure’ that this happened. I figured if I started getting the socks out of every ones drawers and re-folding them, I would definitely make some decent money AND, get my beloved doughboy as a result. Did this work? For a while.

Until I was caught.

Yes, I had to fess up to my parents what I was doing. That had to be the darkest day in my life. (Until I got caught in my next scheme.) They did the usual “But we trusted you” thing and the “Go to your room and you are grounded for fourty-two years.” (Yeah, I’m finally out). Oh, and here’s the real clincher, I had to pay back every single cent, even the money I had earned legitimately.

Now what? As a true addict, I knew I would come up with another plan. One that no one would ever find out (well, maybe someone would when all of my toys, books and even some of my favorite stuffed animals were gone).

Well, I decided to be a little entrepreneur and sell all of my toys, my “Nancy Drew” and “Hardy Boys” books and even my “Archie” comic books. If you knew how much I loved my comic books then you would understand how painful it was to part with them. But, hey, you have to do what you have to do when you are craving a doughboy. I made a decent amount of money selling everything right off of our front porch. I even threw in, as a bonus, some of my home made fudge (yep, I was cooking at 8 yrs old. Had to)! What a deal! It was good while it lasted, but then I started to miss my toys.

It still, to this day, amazes me that my parents never knew what I was doing on the front porch of our house or why I had a parade of children coming and going all day long. But, either way, I now had money and I had to be careful how I was going to spend it because this was going to have to last till I was at least 14 when I could get a real job.

Oh, I survived all right over the years, attending as many carnivals, amusement parks, begging and begging over and over for someone to take me there just to have a doughboy. It worked, most of the time, and when there wasn’t a carnival or amusement park around, I opted for the bakery that was nearby. Not as good as the carnivals, as theirs tended to be thicker, but it would do. Then, my father uttered the worst 3 words he could ever say to a 12 year old: “We are moving.” Moving? Where? When? How? For how long? How am I going to get to the bakery? Can I stay at this house? How was I going to get my fix now?

It wasn’t easy at all. I had to go through periods of withdrawals, settling for a piece of white bread with butter, folded in half with as much sugar that would fit on the bread, but it just wasn’t a doughboy. The years went on and at times, I would find a bakery or two, or maybe a local carnival that I could attend where I could get my beloved doughboys. Time passed, but that craving was always there.

I got married eventually, gave birth to three marvelous boys and worked my butt off to support our family (while my then husband of 10 years, loved to sit in front of the TV all day long). We lived in the quiet community of Potowomut; a part of Warwick that is near and around Goddard Park and nowhere near a steady doughboy pusher. My cravings were always there, but I knew that I had other things to take care of, like my family.

Then one day, as one of my sons was out riding his bike, he told me that a new restaurant, (Roberto’s), was opening up that sold hot wieners and get this (are you ready or what), DOUGHBOYS! And they were made fresh every day! There is a GOD!

Ok, not every day, but at least once a week, I would beg my son to visit Roberto’s restaurant to get me a doughboy and I would even buy him a wiener. That went well for a while. Then one day, my son (it was Craig, if you are wondering) asked to try a doughboy. I didn’t think there would be any harm to that, after all, he was just eight years old, what harm could come from that? I said yes.

When he came back with the precious cargo in hand, he told me that he had to confess something to me. He said that he loved the doughboy so much that he even ate mine! I could feel the fire welling up inside of me but hey, this was only a kid! Chill mama! And, he told the truth about it (not like his mother did when she was 8). I patted his little head (at that time he was only about 4 ft tall. Now, can you imagine that he is 6’7”?), and said everything was going to be all right, (but it wasn’t). My son turned into a doughboy junkie, just like his mom.

It was at that point in my life that I knew I had to quit; to be the power of example for my family.

It wasn’t easy, trying to come off of my doughboy addiction. I tried to substitute healthy things, like fruit and carrots but nah, nothing worked. I had to stay clean so my son would stop ‘using’ (his doughboys). But, we did it. It wasn’t easy, trying to ignore those cravings and rumbling in our stomachs, but we did. We both kicked the addiction of doughboys!

The story isn’t over quite yet. There is one more piece of information that I have to add to this story (nothing better than listening to an addict talk about how they got ‘clean’). Eventually, I divorced my first husband and stayed in my little house in Potowomut with the boys for 10 yrs or so. Then, we moved to a townhouse for a couple of years and eventually moved to the house where I am now, in Buttonwoods. I remarried, my oldest and middle sons moved out after going to college and my youngest stayed at home (Oh, he just recently graduated from CCRI with a degree in law enforcement). Life was really good.

The, one sunny day, my husband said, “Let’s take a ride down to Oakland Beach and check out this place called Iggy’s”. “I hear that they make good Chowda and Clam cakes.” Sounded good to me (so I thought). They hadn’t added the dining room yet so we had to wait in the long line that is always at Iggy’s restaurant. That’s ok, because here I was, with my new husband, back to teaching and feeling the cool ocean air tickle my cheeks. Then, I heard our number called. Here I was, standing at the counter and asking the waitress for a dozen clam cakes and chowda when I glanced up at the menu.

There, in big bold print, were the words written “DOUGBOYS!”

Moral of this story: Well, there really isn’t any moral to this story. Just that if you really want a really, really good doughboy, definitely visit Iggy’s Restaurant at Oakland Beach. But be careful, they are addicting.

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