The Candy Men

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Shortly after my birth, my parents were living down in Mount Pleasant, Michigan so my father could go to college to become a High School biology teacher. In the summer they went back home to Harbor Springs, Michigan.

My mother had worked at a Fudge Shop called, “Crumps Candy” and soon my father took a job at the shop.Arnold, Mr. Crump, 1966(Dad and Mr. Crump at the store in 1966)

Dad had grown up just kitty corner from where the shop was located and having a sweet tooth himself was happy to take employment there.

DSCF0027Every summer thereafter our family went back to this little summer resort and Dad worked making sweet cream fudge, brittles and caramel chews. As time went by Randall Crump preferred to make mostly hand-dipped chocolates and let Dad handle the rest of the candies.

Mr. Crump was a retired Architect who wanted to make candy and had been taught the art one summer in Charlevoix, Michigan by a candymaker there.

As the years went along Dad decided to open a store of his own in Frankenmuth, Michigan. When Mr. Crump heard this idea he made Dad an offer and our small family held a council. It was decided to move full-time up north where the candy store soon became Dad’s and he changed the name to Howse’s Candy Haus.

Mr. Crump didn’t have a son and his daughters were not interested in the business. Dad lost his father when he was fourteen to cancer so he and Mr. Crump had formed a close relationship, which continued to his death.

DSCF0090(Dad making a batch of chocolate fudge with his son Chris, the new owner, watching)

After several years Dad decided to stop teaching and keep the store open year round.

All twelve of us kids and several family members and friends have worked at the store. Dad opened shop in Florida, Provo, Utah and Park City, Utah. Later, we opened a shop in Nauvoo, Illinois and Bethany and her husband opened a shop in Orem, Utah.

After many years and too many miles, Dad sold the Harbor Springs business to my brother Chris Howse ~ he and his family are the only family running a fudge shop today.

Tiny batches of the sweet stuff are made by many descendants today on their own little marble tables at home. The grandchildren and great grandchildren are able to enjoy a bit of the smell of chocolate melting over the stove and watch in awe as the fudge begins to take shape, knowing as they do, that samples will shortly be melting in their mouths.

stones would play inside her head

1964 08 Howse, Darby after finger accident a1965 06 00 Howse Family 231August 1964 a little girl was playing with tiny stones, gravel really, but in her head these tiny beads of various shades of grey rock were just perfect for putting through the small hole in the metal that was attached to the door of a Volkswagen Bus. Continue reading stones would play inside her head

Mom’s Foray into a Food Co-op

Grain Train

One afternoon in the early 1970’s, my mom took me to an old building in downtown Petoskey, Michigan to visit her new foray into weird food for the family.

I cannot recall which building it was anymore but I recall climbing a whole lot of scary wooden stairs and walking down old hallways and finding a place filled with the smell of honey, bee pollen, grains and wonderful warm spices.

The place was called The Grain Train Food Co-op and my mom was determined her family would have a nice storage of wheat, honey and dried fruits to fill our hunger needs.

She bought a few of these little containers called Dannon yogurt and she filled a small paper bag with dried pineapple rings as a treat on the way home.

We were quite skeptical about this yogurt but we enjoyed the fruit on the bottom a lot. The pineapple rings and dates have also weathered the test of time and find their way into my own pantry, as you can see from the photo above.

Mom bought like a half a ton of hard winter wheat that the co-op ordered for her and she taught herself and others how to bake with it. One month she had us, as a family, eat mainly from wheat, honey, salt, oil and powdered milk. I’m sure there were a lot of complaints that month she had to endure.

Mom taught community classes on using gluten and about healthy and “fun” ways to eat it.

Today some of her children cannot eat wheat or gluten, so we are learning to do as she did and teach ourselves about new things to eat such as, “Forbidden Rice” and “Hemp Hearts”.

I love to head into Whole Foods and fill the cart with nice healthy foodstuffs but I miss climbing those stairs into a backroom with my Mom and feeling like I stepped back into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s day, for a moment or two.

When we visit Petoskey in the summer we always stop by the Grain Train store but it isn’t the same as those first years high up in an old building with those nice spicy smells.