My Peanut Necklace … 1939 World’s Fair
Every time I hear the resonant tones of “Finlandia” by Sibelius I am transported back to the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, NY. It was probably 1941 and I would have been 8 at the time. I don’t remember much but one memory is clear as a bell.
I recall standing in a long line in front of the Planter’s Peanut exhibition. They were giving away necklaces with a little “gold” peanut attached and I made the entire family (4 sisters and my parents) wait while I stood on line. I was determined to get one and I’m so glad that I did.
Here is a picture of the necklace and you can see that it is not a cheap little item like what you would find in a Cracker Jacks Box. It is gold-toned and very sturdy. I have never seen another one like it and wonder if this was the original Planter’s trademark before the little peanut guy of today with the cane and top hat.
Back in 2006 I wrote to Planter’s and they could not give me any information, nor had they seen anything like it. I came away with the feeling that they didn’t believe me but I can assure you that I was there and my necklace is proof of that.
My only other memory of that magical day was watching the famous musical fountains display. Each night, as the sun went down, the crowds would gather at the pool. The haunting strains of “Finlandia” would fill the air as enormous jets of rainbow colored water sprayed higher and higher into the sky.
Then the finale …a barrage of fireworks exploding into the darkening sky. A sight that was almost too spectacular for this little girl to absorb… but one that I remember still.