Dr. Charles A. Carter, Ph.D, led a remarkable life that included serving as frontline infantry in World War II as one of the infamous buffalo soldiers and becoming one the first black clinical psychologist in U.S. history. Upon his return from the war he received his Masters degree in clinical psychology and served as a clinical psychologist and administrator for several mental health and developmental disabilities programs within the District of Columbia government. He was later chosen to head a number of national psychological and mental health government agencies such as VISTA, Vocational Rehabilitation Program and the Mental Health Administration of Washington, DC. The accomplishment he was most proud of, though, was marrying his beloved wife Mrs. Thelma Carter (the best home baker in the area).
While most guests raved about her famous chocolate or pineapple or red velvet cake, a young C.E. Cottman (the Carters’ great-nephew) always noticed the cheesecake on the middle shelf of the refrigerator. Everyone knew that, while there was no shame in asking for another slice of cake, that cheesecake belonged to one person alone. “Uncle Charlie’s cheesecake was the one thing I wanted as a child. I imagined what it would taste like, how that first bite would melt in my mouth,” C.E. Cottman recalls. “I knew that with all of the love Aunt Thelma put into all of her cakes, that cheesecake would taste like a giant hug.”
The memory of Uncle Charlie’s cheesecake followed his great-nephew all the way to Fargo, ND. Recreating that feeling and sharing it with the world became a passion of the now-grown C.E. Cottman. “I want everyone who tastes my snacks to feel like my Uncle Charles did when he took a bite of his cheesecake: that whatever else is happening in the world, someone truly does care about them. That’s the best way I can carry on his legacy, by sharing the love that he always showed me.”