The Suitcase Lady


April 8, 2009, 12:04 am

My father and his big sister, my Aunt Vi, could never agree on candy. Since I adored both of them, I was caught in the middle of their candy wars.

Fannie Farmer was my dad’s beloved brand of chocolates. Going to the Fannie Farmer store with him was always a treat. The shops were sparkling clean and smelled sublime. Perfect pyramids of candies were displayed in trays in the showcases. My father studiously picked every chocolate for his hand packed box.

When offered a piece of Fannie Farmer, Aunt Vi accepted. But after indulging, she always informed my father that, “Quality is better.”

The Quality Candy Shops were a local chain with their candy kitchen on the south side of town. Aunt Vi would walk miles to the shop nearest her. She, too, would hand pick every one of her pieces. She did, however, consume them faster than we did. No more than three pieces at a time was the rule at our house.

Aunt Vi came into candy glory at Eastertime. Quality Candy made huge chocolate Easter eggs about the size of a tennis ball. These monster eggs came in both whipped and solid creams. Unable to decide which was better, she simply bought dozens of each in a sensational array of flavors.

After I was grown and married, I could always count on Aunt Vi supplying our family with an enormous box of these eggs. Many years an entire shelf in the refrigerator was filled.

I now live in what the New York Times refers to as “The Delta of Chocolate”. Eight unique, family owned chocolate shops dot the towns near our home.

True to my family’s serious attitudes toward candy, I have sworn total allegiance to one of these shops, Beerntsen’s Confectionary in Manitowoc. It is almost time to go and pick up the chocolate eggs. Vi would be proud of me, even though I won’t get three dozen.

2 Comments for this entry

  • Margy Cain

    Happy Easter Mary!!! According to my mother and grandmother, Fannie May candy was the best!!! Growing up and living in Chicago there was no way to convince them otherwise what was #1!! (My grandma actually worked selling candy at one time and knew how to distinguish one piece from another by the design on top. My sisters and I were not as savvy, we simply punched in the bottoms of each piece until we found our desired piece!!) Now if you ask my sister who has spent the last 30 years in California, she would argue See’s candy is the best!!

    As for myself, I am happy with Hershey’s!!! I tease my children we need to take a trip to Pennsylvania!! Have a great Easter celebration, Margy

  • evie

    Mary–Ah, yes; I remember when they were in Green Bay!
    Pax! evie