Saturday, January 09, 2016

5040 Sidetracked to Hershey

Saturday, January 9, 2016

If a problem has a solution, there is no need to worry, 
and if a problem has no solution, worrying will do no good.
--Buddhist Proverb --


I was reading another blog, and the blogger mentioned visiting Indian Echo Caverns in Pennsylvania.  I'd seen the signs along the roads for that, back when I lived in Gettysburg, so I looked it up on Google maps.  It's between Harrisburg and Hershey.  That took me to Hershey.

In 1951, when I was in first grade, we briefly lived on Chocolate Avenue, directly across the street from the original chocolate factory.  (By "briefly", I was in five different schools, from the deep south to eastern Pa, for first grade.  We didn't live anywhere for more than six weeks while Daddy was in radar school.)  The factory had a large circular flower bed in front, with an "H" in the middle.  I don't remember at all what the house looked like, except that it was one-story, square, brick, one of a group of similar houses along the street, and the back yards were connected and full of flowering shrubs and paved paths.  It was a good place for playing outside.  The other thing I remember is that my mother hated Thursdays, because that's when Hershey roasted almonds, and she hated the odor of roasting almonds.  

Mom wanted to tour the factory, but they wouldn't take just anyone --- you had to be part of a tour group.  One day she saw a bus pull up to the entrance, and the tour group was all women and small children.  She grabbed me and we ran across the street and joined that group.  I guess no one counted the people, because no one questioned our being there.

It was the real* factory, a walking tour, where a worker from each section explained stuff.  What I remember best was the kisses.  Thousands of them, hot and shiny and perfect on a wide conveyor belt, traveling off into the distance like something in an old movie.  Glorious!

So, I went to the western corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues on Google maps street view, where the old factory was, hoping to find our old house right across from the flower bed.

Nope.  What had been a two-lane street is now a multi-lane highway.  There's no room anymore for flowers in front of the old factory, which is now a sort of museum, and across the street there are no houses at all.  It's all big buildings and parking lots.

Sigh. It really was such a nice neighborhood.


*Some years ago Hershey moved the factory to a building that was easier to automate the processes, and no longer allows public tours at the real factory.  If you go to Hershey today, you can take a "factory tour", but it's all fake.  A different building, built for the purpose.  You ride in stupid little cars, just like at Disney World, and cows sing to you.  People still mention the kisses on the conveyor belt, though....

Sigh.  I feel like I lost my past.

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