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Monday, January 26, 2015

The "I put my Fanny in the microwave" Story

The Christmas gift from our choir director.
It was an ordinary day.  Just had to trash the remains of the final two Fanny Farmer choirboys that my dad and I had received as gifts when we were members of the St. James Boys and Mens Choir in the mid to late 1950's.  The choir director and organist at St. James Episcopal Church in downtown Lancaster, Mr. Frank McConnell, gave the candy-filled wax choirboys as Christmas gifts every year to the young boys and adult men of the choir after the Christmas Eve Service.  I can still remember racing from the back of the church to the choir room to get my gift from Mr. McConnell.  
The smaller choirboys that were given to the younger
members of St. James Church choir.  These are the
remaining wax choirboys that remain form the late 1950s.
The choirboys would get smaller wax choirboys, as well as some wax choirgirls, while the adult men would receive a larger version of the same thing.  Mr. McConnell would purchase them at a Fanny Farmer candy store in downtown Lancaster.  Fanny Farmer was founded in 1919 when Canadian businessman Frank O'Connor opened a store on East Main Street in Rochester, NY.  His business eventually grew to more than 400 shops with one in Lancaster.  
The very first Fanny Farmer store in Rochester, NY.
Mr. O'Connor's stores were known as "studios" and the original studio burned down in 1977.  Not quite sure when the store in Lancaster closed, but the candy company that created so many great memories is now just a memory.  When I got married, mom gave me the choirboys that I had received as gifts while in the boys choir.  Carol and I displayed they every Christmas as a great reminder of past Christmas holidays.  When dad died I inherited the few that were part of his collection.  Then, I made one of the biggest mistakes I possibly could have made.  We stored all of our Christmas decorations in the closet behind our bedroom which is over the garage.  
Trying to re-shape my choirboy in the microwave.  You can
see the red wax starting to gather on the tray.
The summer heat did a number on the wax choirboys.  Talk about being upset!  I never thought it would happen.  Well, we salvaged a few, but they were slightly deformed.  This year Carol said we weren't saving the old choirboys anymore, since they looked terrible.  I had to agree with her, but I still had the brilliant idea of how to reshape them.  
The bottom of the choirboy before he melted.
Put them in the microwave!  Once they were pliable I would certainly be able to push them back into their original shapes.  The smell was awful as were the results.  My poor choirboys are no more.  It took close to fifteen minutes to scrap the wax from the round glass microwave dish.  All I have left, besides the memories, are four rather small wax choirboys and choirgirl that were my gifts as a choirboy.  The 60-year-old wax figures will still bring back memories when we display them, but not quite as much as the larger choirboys that were part of our family for years.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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