Fudge Family History

Spring Break has finally come to an end on Mackinac Island, and it’s back to work today! I hope that all of my students come back as refreshed and clear-minded as I am, after taking a relaxing vacation to find out more about my family history…

I’ve been planning this trip for over a year now, and it was just a matter of finding the right time to take it! I traveled down to Atchison, KS, which is where my great-grandfather started our candy business. And I of course had to travel by train, not only because it’s much cheaper, but because the idea of train travel seemed too interesting that it ended up being on my “bucket list” of things to do before I die. But I have a feeling that this won’t be my last train ride…

My longest train ride was about 7 hrs on the Southwest Chief. This train goes straight from Chicago to LA, passing through the midwest, and the mountains and canyons of the west. That’s probably why there was the Observation Room on this train, which was where I spent most of the ride! Other than that, the dining car provided some amazing food, and the seats left more than enough room for each passenger.

My train stopped at Kansas City, MO, which is where my cousin picked me up and we drove northwest towards Atchison, KS. This town used to be famous for many things… it was a major stop for trains, was the birthplace of Amelia Earhart, and of course, the birthplace of May’s Candy Shop!

With so much history in one town, they even had a historical society museum open year round, and my cousin and I were lucky enough to catch their executive director, who helped us look up records of my grandfather & great-grandfather in the area. There were plenty of records on file, and we were even able to find the street addresses listed, since the addresses still existed! Apparently there were many candy stores in Atchison at that time, and I’m sure fudge must have been one of their top sellers. My cousin and I were very excited. Needless to say, if you find yourself visiting May’s Candy Shop this summer, you will have the chance to also see some of these documents!

I also spent time with my brother in Chicago on my way back up, and my friend in Grand Rapids at the end of the trip. Overall, it was an eye opening experience that brought me back through a time which I wish I had once known. Seeing all of the saved artifacts and historical records made me realize how much I appreciate the fact that all of it was saved! Who knows, in 30-50 years, the things I use and see every day will be seen as history. I guess it’s up to all of us to document those experiences.