"A Man and His Dreams!"/"A Kid in a Candy Store!"

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Milton S. Hershey - Born September 13, 1857 on a farm near Derry Church, a small Pennsylvania community. His mother raised him in the strict discipline of the Mennonite faith. Following a four-year apprenticeship with a Lancaster candy maker, he established his first candy making business in Philadelphia. That initial effort failed as did his next two attempts in Chicago and New York. Returning to Lancaster, PA in 1883, Hershey established the Lancaster Caramel Company, which quickly became an outstanding success. It was that business which established him as a candy maker and set the stage for future accomplishments. Hershey became fascinated with German chocolate-making machinery exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. He bought the equipment for his Lancaster plant and soon began producing a variety of chocolate creations. Hershey sold the Lancaster Caramel Co. for $1 million in 1900 in order to concentrate exclusively on his chocolate business. Three years later, he returned to Derry Church to build a new factory. There he could obtain the large supplies of fresh milk needed to perfect and produce fine milk chocolate.
With Milton Hershey's success came a profound sense of moral responsibility and benevolence. His ambitions were not limited to producing chocolate. Hershey envisioned a complete new community around his factory. He built a model town for his employees that included comfortable homes, an inexpensive public transportation system, a quality public school system and extensive recreational and cultural opportunities. Unlike other industrialists of his time, Hershey avoided building a faceless company town with row houses. He wanted a "real home town" with tree-lined streets, single- and two-family brick houses, and manicured lawns. He was concerned about providing adequate recreation and diversions, so he built a park that opened on April 24, 1907, and expanded rapidly over the next several years. Amusement rides, a swimming pool, and a ballroom were added.
Milton Hershey's business success allowed him to practice an extensive philanthropy. In 1909, unable to have children of their own, he and his wife Catherine established a school for orphan boys that today is known as the Milton S. Hershey School. In 1918, three years after Catherine's premature death, Milton Hershey endowed the school with his entire fortune of Hershey Chocolate Company stock. He took great pride in the growth of the school, the town, and his business. For the rest of his life, he always placed the quality of his product and the well-being of his workers ahead of profits.
His deeds are his monument. His life is our inspiration.
There is a lesson to be learned here. Perseverance pays off. Perseverance is defined as,   "steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks". Milton Hershey did not give up after his failures. He persevered. He ended up extremely successful...by most anyone's definition. For those thinking from a purely capitalistic point of view, he was successful. But I found another definition of Perseverance, this one from the Roman Catholic belief in God's grace, "in the Roman Catholic Church, the belief that God's grace lasts to the end of somebody's life if that person has maintained his or her good works and faith". There is also a third definition, this one from the Calvinist concept of divine grace, "in Calvinism, the belief that God's grace brings selected people, the elect, to salvation". We usually associate perseverance from a purely secular point of view. How odd how Milton S. Hershey personifies all 3 of these definitions. I did some research and there is a link between the Calvinist and the Mennonites.
                 I started writing this to underlie the basic premise about failure, perseverance (not giving up) and success. Then I find this extraordinary (I believe) link between the definitions of perseverance (a 14th century word) and the life of Milton S. Hershey. I do not know if I am the only one here who sees this "mind blowing" revelation. But it raises so many questions...and I will leave you here. To ponder life's mysteries.
                 A Kid in a Candy Store! Or more appropriately titled, a Chocoholic in a Hershey Chocolate Factory. What can I say. I drove to the town of Hershey this morning. I was wondering what came first...the Chicken or the Egg...or more aptly...the Town or the Chocolate...the answer being...the Chocolate. The sweet smell of Chocolate permeates the town. You drive around with the car window down and you start salivating. You can just feel the fat cells congregating. Hershey...chocolate that is....is everywhere you drive. It's a beautiful town. But if they ever banned chocolate, the town would disappear. There's nothing else here. The Hershey Amusement Park, Hershey Ball Park, Hershey Arena, Hershey...Hershey...Hershey...and it's not because it's the town's name. Most everything was built by or because of Milton S. Hershey. So, I get to town, it's lunch time. Bad time to go to a Chocolate Factory. I stop for lunch. More on that later. After lunch I visit "Chocolate World". A 20 minute ride provides the details on the history and manufacturing process of the Hershey Chocolate Company. When your tour is done you end up in the "Candy Store". Those fat cells start jumping up and down and salivating. Woohooo. Snack Time! Jackpot! Definitely the wrong place for an admitted Chocoholic. I get off easy...only $40 worth of Hershey's kisses, Hershey's Chocolate Bars and York Peppermint Patties. It could have been worse...a lot worse.
                 From there I go for a drive and find the Hershey Gardens. A peaceful...well, it would have been peaceful if they hadn't been cutting the grass...place. A lot of flowers had suffered a frost, but still quite beautiful. I spend an hour there contemplating the gardens. Then back towards the Hershey Museum. History.
Back to lunch time. I get to town and start looking for a place to eat lunch.  I see a Red Robin Restaurant. The entrance is closed due to some road repairs. I continue on looking for another entrance. I end up in an Outlets Mall. Calvin Klein...Polo Ralph Lauren...Jones New York...Tommy Hilfiger...and a bunch of others. I ignore all the stores that would make a grown woman weep in joy...Ok...it would probably do the same to some young girl I'm related to. Check out my East Coast Adventure blog and the visit to New York City. Have lunch. Finish. Time to go check out some Chocolate Factories. But wait...know where my young daughter gets her fashion shopping addiction from? You guessed it....but wait...you're a guy....guys hate shopping. See...there's that whole expectation thing again! People...well...woman mostly....expect men to hate shopping. Yes, a lot....OK...most...well...pretty well all...do! But not every single one! I loved being in Rome when I was in Italy. The fashion district was to-die for. And NO...I am not gay! I do have 4 kids! So, I enjoy shopping. Ask the kids about the number of jackets I have. So I have one slight problem. Or most probably a very big problem. I don't have any room in my trailer for any more cloths. My closets are all full. Actually more than full. I filled it up with summer and fall cloths. And I still have a lot of clothes at home. So, even though I saw some amazing stuff at great prices I didn't buy anything.
Th...th....that's All Folks!
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