I Want to Bring Back the Wowee Whistle

I have so longed to have a Wowee wax whistle again, a Halloween candy I remember from growing up. I did some searching. At first I thought they were originally made by the American Candy Company, which was founded in 1899 in Selma, Alabama, then sold in 1989 to the Pinkerton Group in Richmond, Virginia. Wait. The detectives?? No. The Pinkerton Group is part of Procordia United Brands, a Swedish corporation. Thinking the American Candy Company developed the Wowee Whistle, I followed that candy company all over the place, until the Canadian company Concord Confections acquired the wax candy division in 2002.

It seemed like I hit the jackpot then. Concordia had intended to continue making the wax candy, but then I learned that Concordia sold the wax candy division to Tootsie Roll Industries in 2004.

I contacted Tootsie Roll Industries. In answer to my first question, about whether or not they were ever going to bring the Wowee Whistle back, they said no. Politely. Well, maybe someone else can. So I asked, “Does your company have the records, recipe, manufacturing information, or whatever it is you would need in order to produce that item?” They answered, “Stacy, thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately our records do not date back this far. We are sorry to disappoint.”

Come on. 2004 is not that long ago. What now? I don’t entirely believe they just threw out everything to do with the Wowee Whistle. I think I need to persevere a little more with Tootsie Roll Industries.

But then I learned from a website which outlines the history of wax lips, that I got the back story a little wrong. Wax lips, which are similar to the Wowee Whistle, were developed by a guy named John W. Glenn in 1923, in Buffalo, NY. The whistles tasted so much better, in my opinion. But maybe Glenn also made the whistles? I just zoomed in on some pictures of the whistles, and the labels on each definitely say Glenn Confections, Inc., Buffalo, NY. John W. Glenn created the Wowee Whistle as well!

Quick history: His company, Glenn Confections, became part of W&F Manufacturing Company. When W&F Manufacturing Company went bankrupt in 1994, Challenger Candy Company of Secor, IL bought the wax candy-making machinery and moved it to Illinois. Then the Challenger Candy Company went bankrupt, and here’s where the American Candy Company comes in. They bought that same wax candy-making machinery and moved it from Illinois to Alabama (no year given). When Concordia bought the wax division next, in 2002, they moved all the machinery to Canada. I’m dying to see these machines! They must have been built in the 1920s. What happened to them next??

Tootsie Roll still makes the wax lips and fangs, by the way. Why not the whistle?? For the love of God. But they weren’t the first to stop making it. I don’t think I’ve seen one since the 1970s. The molds are probably more expensive, but still.

So, I think my next step is to call Concordia. Which doesn’t seem to make candy at all anymore, and instead preserves and sells seeds. They were the last company to have the machines in their possession, that I know of. Maybe they can tell me where they are now. Or how to make wax whistles.

Bottomline, thank you John W. Glenn for the Wowee Whistle. I loved them and so did millions of other kids. I’ve been searching on Ancestry to find his descendants in order to learn what happened to him in his later life. I’ve identified a granddaughter who I think is still alive. Maybe I will be back with an update.

Wowee Whistle

My New Favorite Author: Yoko Ogawa

I just read her book, The Memory Police. I can’t stop thinking about it. It was both beautiful and moving and horrifying at the same time. Anything I post might give something away. I’m deciding which of her books to read next, except I have a few books in line ahead of her. It’s probably just as well, because I need to take a break from books that can be upsetting and all her books look like they tend to be upsetting. Except Just Mercy is one of the books in line and that looks like a heart breaker. In any case, I highly recommend The Memory Police. It’s exquisite.

My picture today is of Bleecker relaxing within inches of … oh God, who is that? Bali? Bodhi? I’m not sure. Anyway, for the past year I’ve been dealing with a cat behavior issue and it seems like it’s finally over. Bali and Bodhi had started chasing and tormenting Bleecker until he couldn’t be in the same room with them. They still chase him from time to time, but I remembered they always did. And Bali would chase Bodhi, and Bodhi would chase Bali. But it would end and they would all still be friends.

The only thing that hasn’t gone back to normal is Bali used to love Bleecker. Bleecker was indifferent to him, but Bali would do everything he could to be close and curled up near Bleecker, and sometimes Bleecker would let him. Bali doesn’t try anymore. Unless that’s him below.

Dancing in the Park

Yesterday was a lovely day for dancing in the park! A friend and I were sitting in Washington Square Park when we heard some music. We walked over and people were dancing!

Washington Square Park, New York City, 2020

Here is the fantastic band providing the music. I just zoomed in and found their name: Eyal Vilner Big Band!

Washington Square Park, New York City, 2020

Bayview Correctional Facility

For many years there was a women’s state prison in Chelsea, along the river. It closed in 2012 after it was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. I think of this place whenever there’s talk about closing Rikers and opening smaller prisons in each borough. After researching Blackwell’s Island, (now Roosevelt Island) when prisons and other institutions were in operation there in the 19th century, I became very acquainted with the downsides of isolating prisons away from everyone else.

I can certainly understand not liking the idea of having a prison near you, but Bayview was in operation since the 1970s and most people didn’t even know it was there. It’s a beautiful building, and that’s because it was built in 1931, and it wasn’t built to be a prison. It’s first use was as a place for sailors to stay while their ships were docked in Manhattan.

Bayview Correctional Facility

A peek inside.

Bayview Correctional Facility

Another peek inside.

Bayview Correctional Facility

An indication that it was once a prison.

Bayview Correctional Facility

There’s a mural by Knox Martin on the side of the building, but you can’t see it anymore. It’s blocked by another building now.

Bayview Correctional Facility

The details on the side of the building are lovely.

Bayview Correctional Facility

Bayview Correctional Facility