Tootsie Roll

As a child, I received a lot of Tootsie Rolls at Halloween, trick and treating. They were bought in bulk so parents could hand out several. Though I liked the Tootsie Pop the best. Per parents permission, I passed Tootsie Pops out to kindergarten students this year and was surprised how much they loved them. An old product continues to provide new flavor and excitement. Growing up in the 1950’s, Tootsie Roll sponsored children’s programs while many of us remember their commercials. Manufactured in New York in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield, the now Chicago-based company has grown to become one of the country’s largest candy companies. In 1931, Sweets Corp. which owned Tootsie Roll, extended the line with the Tootsie Pop, a Tootsie Roll center coated with a hard-candy shell on a lollipop stick. The company struggled during the Great Depression in New York. However, finally came to Chicago.

According to Dining Chicago, in 1966, Sweets Corp. changed its name to Tootsie Roll Industries and opened the Chicago plant at 7401 S. Cicero Ave. that is now its headquarters. Melvin Gordon, CEO for several decades and who passed away in 2015 at 95 believed in hiring Chicagoan’s and kept the headquarters here for that reason. I knew several who worked for the company that offered great benefits. His wife worked by side with him, married for 65 years and was CEO.

The company also operates factories in four other states, plus Mexico and Canada. The manufacturer claims to produce more than 64 million Tootsie Rolls. Tootsie brands include: Tootsie Roll, Tootsie Pop, Charms Blow Pop, Mason Dots, Andes, Sugar Daddy, Charleston Chew, Dubble Bubble, Razzles, Caramel Apple Pop, Junior Mints, Cella’s Chocolate-Covered Cherries, and Nik-L-Nip.

Four more Chicago land candy shops

Windy City Sweets has specialized in candy and handmade chocolates since 1983. Located on Broadway in Chicago, some of their bestsellers are their handmade chocolate fudge and their elegant chocolate truffles sold in a beautiful box. Windy City Sweets has over 1,200 different products. They were also named 2017 Best Candy Store by Chicago Magazine and one of the Cutest Ice Cream Shops in the USA by Cosmopolitan Magazine. They have a full menu of quality ice cream as well.

Candyality is described as chewy, colorful, and crunchy, just a few of the words that describe their candy creations. Candyality carries thousands of bulk items and sweet treats including gummies, sours, taffy, and more. Need M & M’s in 21 colors? They have it. They carry all the nostalgic brands. Chicago entrepreneur, born and raised in the city, Terese McDonald love the penny candy memories of her childhood. A former sales and training executive, she opened Candyality in 2007. In Food Network magazine, they were voted best candy shop in in Illinois. There are two stores one located on Southport Ave and the other on Clark St.

Galena’s Kandy Kitchen was established in 1974 when George Paxton left Chicago and the overwhelming business of computers to come to Galena, Illinois, and open his confectionery. His father William (Bill) Paxton helped initiate Chuckles candy in the 1930’s and continued on inspiring his son until he retired from the candy business at the age of 98. They are known locally for their “Pecan Georgies” named after George. George passed away from cancer in 2011.  Galena’s Kandy Kitchen is known for its delicious hand-molded chocolate bars with potato chips as well as great jelly beans that can be purchased online.

Andersons Candy Shop in Richmond offers an interesting history with Arthur Anderson beginning a candy shop in 1919 in Chicago and then moved his family to Richmond in 1926, purchasing a home. He ran his business out of his front porch and living room selling candy months that were not hot and ice cream in the summer. In 1933, his business took on new meaning after Grandpa and his family visited the Chicago  World’s Fair. He came home with the first air conditioner in McHenry County, of course, this purchase allowed him to sell  chocolates year round. Some of their bestsellers are the buttercream and handmade caramel.

Chicago’s Rainbow Beach

During the early 1960s, I always wanted a backyard pool as a child. My best friend had one above ground and we could swim often. When she wasn’t around,I got stuck with a sprinkler in my backyard instead. But we did travel from Calumet Heights to Rainbow Beach on hot summer days. I remember the alewives the most. Large die off’s of this fish littered the beaches and Rainbow was one of them. I also remember some of my first sunburns at Rainbow Beach being treated with Solarcaine, Noxzema or Calamine lotion but as long as you had a portable radio, you didn’t care. I was in my pre-teens when attending Rainbow. Many who were a few years older took the bus or learned to drive in their parking lot.

Chuckman’s Places on WordPress offers some wonderful Chicago pictures from the past as well as vintage post cards. John Chuckman grew up in Chicago having one of the best collections of vintage photography. He is a former chief economist for an oil company in Canada. He lives in Canada and his writing appears on many internet sites.

Rainbow Beach was named for the U.S. Army’s 42nd Rainbow Division that fought in World War I and began its journey in 1908 as two beaches. Rocky Ledge Beach was crowded with changing rooms and bathrooms illuminated with electric lights. The city bought more land and expanded in 1918 officially naming the beach Rainbow. Located at 75th street and Lake Michigan, for many years the park lacked sufficient indoor recreational facilities, so in 1999 the Chicago Park District constructed a large field house designed by David Woodhouse Architects. Today, Rainbow Beach features a gymnasium, fitness center and multipurpose rooms, handball courts, and one of the oldest community gardens in Chicago.

Number 23 and telephone exchanges

During school one day, I sat with kindergarten students watching the teacher talk about numbers and I heard the number 23. And after that, I was gone into my own special memory of the number that was assigned to me during my own kindergarten days. All I could think about was that 23. I was number 23. Even without looking for the number among my own memorabilia, number 23 has been emblazoned deeply in my mind since kindergarten just like my Baby Boomer phone number too. Essex 5- 5930 or dialed as Es 5-5930. Essex was a street located in the South side of Chicago.We had to proudly recite our phone numbers throughout our early elementary years. And most of us from that generation will not forget those important numbers decades later.

telephone exchange name or central office name was a distinguishing and memorable name assigned to a central office. It identified the switching system to which a telephone was connected. Each central office served a maximum of 10,000 subscriber lines identified by the last four digits of the telephone number. Areas or cities with more subscribers were served by multiple central offices, possibly hosted in the same building.

WBEZ offers a picture of a Chicago phone book of all the exchanges in the 1950’s and 1960’s. There were specific exchanges for Police and fire since a 911 emergency number did not exist. It was PO for police as well as FI for fire followed by various numbers outlining specific communities. Phones numbers surrounding Midway airport started with Midway 3 or had to do with the airport itself. But some were just names that did not refer to any area and were actually used in other US cities.

The best candy shops began in Chicago

For me, my weakness has been a toss up between ice cream and homemade candy. Celebrating National Candy month, the following shops described in the article began in Chicago and still exist today. Another article will explore suburban favorites.

Margie’s Candies story begins in 1921 George Poulos opened an ice cream parlor on the North Side. The shop became known as Margie’s Candies in 1933, when Poulos’ son George Peter Poulos married Margie Michaels. Still family owned, Margie’s is known for their fudge and Kosher dark chocolate. Many love the variety of homemade ice cream as well. Margie’s original location is still open at Western Avenue.

Fannie May  continues to provide the best in new gourmet chocolate creations as well as traditional favorites.The first Fannie May retail store was opened by H. Teller Archibald in 1920 at 11 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago. Fannie May is also a great way to bring profits to your fundraiser and offer gifts to your business clients. Fannie May is available for pick up by calling any Fannie May store, which you can check out here to find a location near you!

Another charming shop decorated with original Tiffany lamps, an old-fashioned Coke machine and other memorabilia bought by the family is located on Montrose Avenue. Amy’s Candy Bar is located in Lincoln Square was opened in 2011 originally inspired by Amy’s grandmother,Geraldine. As a child, Amy spent hours watching and helping her grandmother bake but decided to forge a career with a degree in psychology and marketing. She worked in corporate America in later years. In 2006, she decided to leave her present position and enroll in the French Pastry School in Chicago. Amy’s shop offers some of the best hand-crafted confections that include her signature sea salt caramel. You can also order your favorites online.

Katherine Anne Confections promotes cocktail truffle” month in their kitchen, and they thought a banana daiquiri truffle would be a great choice for the month. Extra ripe bananas, white rum, and milk/semisweet chocolate with a touch of sea salt is part of the creation. At the age of 10, Katherine would use cream from her family’s Jersey cows to create soft, old-fashioned caramels on their farm in Wisconsin. “Katherine’s Karamels” were sold at her Dad’s office and quickly became a local favorite. In 2012, Katherine opened her cafe in the Logan Square neighborhood on Armitage and she also offers excellent coffee drinks.

Cunis Candies originally opened its doors in 1933 on 79th street by George Askounis. Now, Kathy Biesiada owns the store in South Holland which has been a south side favorite since 1971 and still family owned. Cunis is especially known for their ice cream as well. Some delights include the Turtle Sundae and Peach Ice Cream topped with fresh peaches, the latter available in June. They take pride in their homemade chocolates that include freshly dipped turtles, chocolate strawberry’s, chocolate covered orange peels and in the fall, the best caramel apples;  which are first dipped in caramel, rolled in pecans, then drizzled with around a quarter pound of milk or dark chocolate.

Cupid Candies,another family owned business was founded by Paul Stefanos in 1936 has been producing quality chocolate and serving Chicago land residents in their own retail stores for the past 68 years. The first store was at 79th and Ashland, where only fudge, toffee, and popcorn were sold. By 1940 Paul Stefanos, and his wife Pauline, opened another store at 3207 W. 63 rd Street, along with a small manufacturing facility, where the chocolate line really grew. They continue to manufacture chocolate for some of the finest candy shops in Chicago that include Crate and Barrel. Currently, three locations are available in Chicago, Oaklawn and Orland Park that offer a soda fountain service.

 

Decades of kids grocery stores

Though almost summer, I miss indoor kindergarten recess traveling with my cart to their grocery store. I didn’t need money since there was a slot for my credit card not like my childhood store. How I miss chasing the boys who would grab the grocery cart for fun and run out of bounds while the girls complained. Their store was the Fresh Mart. My store was called the Corner Store Play shop purchased in 1961 with a wall phone just with painted numbers. You could not dial but had a receiver to pick up and take orders. The cash register wasn’t real either. Watching old movies my father took, I had several items on the shelf; one which was an old fashioned box of Kleenex that was blue and white. I think food items came with store.

In the 1960’s, the Corner Store was made of corrugated cardboard and I got one for Christmas though there is not a lot of history about who created the store. Peoplehistory was the first place where I was able to find some information about the store. Somebody said that the store had been a brief company promotion. The website features information related to historical events, popular culture, music, fashion, toys, sports, and much more from the 1800s up to the present! They are a free educational resource created as a personal interest project and have been online for over 10 years. Probably the best I have found when looking for lost toys.

In the 1990’s, my children shopped at a Little Tike’s grocery store though they did not have a shopping cart to chase each other around the house. Today, Little Tikes actually has a car attached to the shopping cart. My children had a similar yellow and orange car that they rode….only outside.

Today, it was Fresh Mart by Melissa and Doug that I would travel in kindergarten. From a beeping “scanner” to a card swipe machine and cash drawer, it has everything kids need and you can personalize it too. It is a 70-piece play set of grocery store accessories, including apron, conveyor belt divider bar, shopping bag, play money, cards, coupons, grab-and-go rack with gum, lip balm, granola bar, gift cards, signs, 5 grocery boxes and 2 cans with lids. Personal Creations offers to personalize the apron up to 12 characters with a discount on the store which runs over 200 dollars.

I always loved my Corner Store and for awhile, my daughter wanted the same. Though, not sure what happened to it since many of my toys were saved. However, I think for the first time, my childhood grocery experience can’t compare to Fresh Mart.

Ageless antiques

By Caryl Clem

My favorite house guest has character, dependability and makes every inch of space occupied functional. If this doesn’t sound like any person you know, it’s because my guest is an 1870’s oak Eastlake side table serving as my T.V. stand.  Every room has an honored guest that fits in with contemporary décor. When I first met these characters, the original finish was degraded or entirely gone, or the structure needed re-gluing; their rescue was decided by the design and wood quality.  The most important factor in saving an antique or aging furniture piece is the quality of durable wood found in walnut, mahogany, oak, cherry, maple and teak.

Trends keep older furniture in the limelight.  Retro is still “hot”, and has been going strong for several years.  Young shoppers seek the clean lines of 1970’s mid- Modern Danish teak style. The 1950’s chrome kitchen sets, Acme Chrome was a main distributor; production of those products is still done by the subsidiary company, ACCRO Furniture Industries. Restoring a kitchen table relic in your family can be done if the rust residue is minimal. Removing the old finish completely and then using the correct paint can bring back an original appearance.

The rebirth of the buffet or sideboard has been emerging for the past 3 years. Originally designed for the dining room to store fine linens, serving pieces and silverware, currently used as  T.V. stands in the bedroom, or a plant table under a large window with storage to hide miscellaneous, or in the back of a large walk in closet.  Buffets come in a huge assortment of sizes and style and before 1960 the majority will have dove tailed drawers with solid wood construction. Stripping any finish made after 1940 involves breaking down the plastic added to the stains. Plastic in a stain seals with fewer coats, adds shine but scratches easily.  Restoring a rubbed oil finish adds the most value, while painting is a popular option demanding less time and preparation. Auctions for furniture online exist.  Sites to explore the possibilities are at Etsy also.

Primitive furniture is irreplaceable, made by a craftsman not a company, truly one of kind, unique. The lumber found in the area was shaped into furniture for family use. Cherry, Oak and Maple were dominant over pine and softer woods.  Farm animal troughs, cupboards, harvest tables and dressers made after Illinois farmland was claimed after the Indian Removal Act can still be found. Often a primitive piece will have several coats of paint.  Another sign of age are rounded wood peg nails.

Chicago’s furniture production was second in the nation by 1920, New York was number one.  Chicago’s Wards and Sears catalogs sold any piece of furniture desired. For example, industrialization in the early 1900’s led to 26 furniture companies in Rockford, Illinois.

Saving any piece from the past is a worthwhile venture. Furniture made today is rarely solid wood. Plastic, wood ground up with fillers bonded by glue and covered with a laminate surface floods the current market. The heavier a piece that looks like wood is, the more likely it is a wood compound. Anyone who has carried a can of paint knows how much a blend of chemicals can weigh.  Authentic wood needs moisture, oil and smart cleaning, no water. Expensive wood construction is done with no screws or nails.   Whatever that antique piece is chances are it can be revived and become a valued member of your household guests.

Fannie May for Memorial Day

Fannie May is running 20% off entire purchases from May 22nd through May 25th. Guests can call ahead for easy curbside pick-up or next day delivery offered at specific locations. To note, this offer is not available on UberEats.

The first Fannie May retail store was opened by H. Teller Archibald in 1920 at 11 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago and has been a family favorite for decades. During any holiday or birthday celebration, Fannie May provides the best in confections continuing to follow original recipes.

Fannie May Premium Bags were introduced in 2019. Available in three flavors, each individually wrapped in a resealable bag. There premium bags are exclusively available at Jewel-Osco, Mariano’s, Meijer and select Walmart stores.

Please note: for the safety of everyone, customers will not be allowed in store. More details on specific locations and limited store hours can be found at FannieMay.com/locations.

Dark Shadows

It was junior high and we would race home to watch; beginning at 3 Central time in Chicago. Like millions of others throughout the Chicago area. Sometimes, I would race to a friend’s house and we would begin our favorite, American Gothic, horror soap opera, Dark Shadows. It was presented on ABC or Channel 7 for Chicago kids in junior high and high school. Beginning in 1966 to 1971, the wealthy Collingsport family lived in Maine and was plagued by supernatural occurrences. The show really became popular when Barnabas Collins, (Johnathan Frid),a vampire, joined the cast. I wanted to grow up and be the beautiful witch, Angelique, played by Lara Parker and, of course, no one could live without Quentin Collins (David Selby).

Growing up during my years, everyone loved Quentin and today Etsy provides memorabilia from Dark Shadows that specifically compliments David Selby. He was very alluring to most young women growing up during my time. There were postcards, book marks and posters of Quentin to purchase that every girl wanted. In 1968, Selby joined the cast of the TV series Dark Shadows as werewolf Quentin Collins. After the series’ cancellation in 1971, Selby played a different, non-werewolf, version of “Quentin Collins” in the second feature film based on the show, Night of Dark Shadows, released later the same year.

Currently, David Selby has an active website and is an author. Besides being an actor, David Selby’s first book, In and Out of the Shadows, is a career retrospective featuring photographs from throughout his career as well as a few poems, one about Dark Shadows. Its release coincided with the 1999 Dark Shadows Festival in New York. He is written seven additional books. Not only does he have a Facebook page for David Selby but a Facebook page entitled Quentin Collins.

According to Wikipedia, the original network run of the show lasted for nearly five years to amass 1,225 episodes. In 2004 and 2007, it was ranked #19 and #23 on TV Guides Top Cult Shows Ever. Since 2006, the series has continued as a range of audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, featuring many of the original cast, including David SelbyLara Parker, and Kathryn Leigh Scott.

 

 

DAD’S Root Beer

My Dad actually made me a root beer float when I was sick and though I was very young, he taught me to add the soda first to a float glass and then the vanilla ice cream. Otherwise, the float will foam more possibly ending up on the counter more than in the glass. Then he would add some whipped cream and of course, a maraschino cherry.  I never was a root beer lover but’s DAD’S Root Beer was the drink he used. My own Dad always believed in using the product that was made in Chicago since he was a local business man in Chicago as well. DAD’S Root Beer was developed in the basement of a Chicago home.

Created in Chicago in 1937 by Ely Klapman and Barney Berns, it was quite a favorite with locals throughout the early 1940’s. Dad’s was the first to format the six pack and the half gallon bottle.Within another ten years, Klapman and Berns would have 165 franchise bottlers distributing the yellow and blue brand across the continent. Made in Chicago Museum offers some interesting history of the plant that began off the Kennedy expressway between Avondale and Logan Square. It used to be the Borden’s plant in the 1920’s. The plant was finally gutted in the 2000’s and renovated into 55 condominium units

The Klapman and Berns families sold all rights to the Dad’s name and logo to IC Industries in the 1970s. Monarch bought Dad’s in 1986. In 2007, the DAD’S Root Beer Company, LLC of Jasper, Indiana, was formed by Keith Hedinger when Hedinger Brands, LLC acquired the Dad’s Root Beer brand and other soda brands from The Monarch Beverage Co. of Atlanta which include  Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest.

Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest were drinks that I was not accustomed back in the 1960’s since Dad also did business with Canfields soda where he would get free can’s of 50/50. Canfield’s plant was located across the street from his glass sales shop. I have never been a soda pop lover but an old-fashioned DAD’s, still made with l wintergreen, licorice, and vanilla, along with ice cream is the best. A memory of my own Dad never forgotten.