SEE’S CANDIES

BY: Dolores Gomez, Brisbane historian, brischic@sonic.net

Recently I eagerly read an article in the paper about See’s candy being in our midst since 1921. Memories came flooding back on the subject. There is nothing like savoring a delightful piece of light or dark chocolate, melting in your mouth. But, be aware it has consequences; pure enjoyment, or heartburn, weight gain. There are now four pounds, from Christmas, waiting in our freezer. Its time will come!
Our dogs loved See’s too. One holiday we left the house, a two pound box of See’s candy on our hearth. Our two Doxies, Inka and Patsy, smelled the sweet candy, scratched and bit the lid until they got to the payload. We were shocked when we saw their bloated bellies almost dragging on the floor. They were rushed to the emergency vet, as chocolate is lethal to dogs. I don’t think they were too happy with the vet that quickly and directly took care of their issue.
See’s uses bulk Guittard Chocolate from Burlingame to produce their candy. We were gifted with a large bar of their chocolate and placed it on a low closet shelf. Later, I needed to cut some chunks, but I found that the wrapper had been torn open. It appeared as if someone had scooped out a big chunk of chocolate. It was Minnie, another dog! Her tongue, made the big scoop by licking a hole in the bar.
In the early 1950’s, See’s posted that they were hiring at their San Francisco packing factory. I thought, great, it would be a little extra money for the holidays working on their assembly line packing pieces of candy. I had experience working off of a conveyer belt; I applied, was accepted and drove off early one morning ready to work. The huge production room was immaculate; we were in white cover-ups, hair in nets. All I had to do was to hold and flip the dark paper cups in my left hand, filling it with a piece of candy that was on my right side, and then put it into its place in the moving box.
The belt slowly began and the ladies all began chatting with each other. I concentrated on placing the piece of candy in the right spot, as every piece in a See’s box has its own designated space. The conveyer began to speed up. Soon I was having a problem with the speed and thankfully, the seasoned women beside me began helping to fill my spot in the quickly passing box. I thought of the hilarious “I Love Lucy” program and her attempt to keep up with the boxes passing her by on the conveyor. I became a frantic Lucy! I know I couldn’t put them into my mouth or a pocket and did my best to keep up! As the day wore on, the constant smell of candy became sickening; I became nauseated and felt ill. It was difficult driving home not knowing if I would throw up. I told my husband he’d have to fix dinner for him and the kids. Exhausted, I went directly to bed. Early the next morning I called to let See’s know I was not coming back.
Around March, one of the boxes in the freezer will taunt, “open me; you know there is another box waiting. I will give in and again, enjoy that delicious chocolate taste, in spite of possible heartburn or weight gain.