Binghamton: Butch Skeene, and Spaulding Krullers

Spaulding krullers came in an unmistakable orange- and white-striped boxes. This was “our” doughnut because their bakery was in Binghamton.

ButchIt was like a tsunami of memories of my hometown, Binghamton, NY in a 48-hour period, and it took me quite by surprise since I usually don’t think that much about the place.

ITEM: There’s a guy named John who remembered my parents and grandmothers. He’s been following me on Facebook for the last few months. He attended the church I attended, Trinity A.M.E. Zion in the hometown, and was in the junior choir about a decade before I was, under the direction of Fred Goodall, who was there for decades.

John had a good friend named Butch Skeene, (b. 1940) also in my church junior choir before I was, who performed in the music business from 1958 to 2013 in that area and beyond. I’m sure I’d heard him perform at some point; I know one of my sisters did quite often in our Binghamton days. Anyway, he died this week of cancer, and I was oddly saddened, as though I had lost a relative.

ITEM: I’m at the dinner table, and suddenly I remember these doughnuts we used to get when my sisters and I were kids, either white powder or plain. Three rows of four, with a cellophane top so you could see inside. I remembered that the logo was blue and white, but I couldn’t remember the BRAND name.

I wrote to my sisters and the elder of them remembered. I found this article from 2009:

After doing an Internet search, I’ve discovered a whole world of upstate New York Baby Boomers all in a desperate search for Spaulding Krullers! Apparently I wasn’t the only one hooked on these wonderful doughnuts with their delicious nutmeg flavor

More informative was this piece from an Oneonta newspaper last year:

Another iconic doughnut was the Spaulding kruller. They came in an unmistakable orange- and white-striped boxes. This was “our” doughnut because their bakery was in Binghamton, their distribution center was on Market Street in Oneonta and they could be found in every mom-and-pop store in every community no matter how big or how small.
They mastered the art of making the sugar doughnut. Rather than just being a snowy dust ball that ended up flaking all over your new shirt, the Spaulding sugar kruller had a mysterious paste-like quality to it that allowed the sugar to stay (mostly) on the doughnut and not on your clothes. Spaulding eventually went out of business, being bought up by Stroehmanns and today is owned by (believe it or not) Bimbo Bakeries!

Spaulding krullers still come in the familiar orange-and-white-striped box that carries their company slogan, “famous for flavor.” It may be just me but now that they’re made by Bimbo they don’t taste anything like the ones that came out of the bakery on Exchange Street in Binghamton oh those many years ago.

How the heck did I forget that striped box? I DO recall that, unlike most powdered sugar donuts you’d eat now, the powder DID stay with the donut, as also noted in this piece and this one. Apparently, Bimbo has discontinued the brand at the end of last year, alas.

ITEM: My baby sister saw a name on Facebook and the surname reminded her of Binghamton, where she hasn’t lived since 1974. I knew of some of these folks too, but the kicker for me is that the very first girl I ever kissed, named Mary, had the same surname. It may have been a mistletoe-fueled passion, and nothing ever came from that moment, but still..

ITEM: What’s Goin’ On in Binghamton. A newish website, about six months old.

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