Saturday, July 28, 2007

My Peanut Necklace from the 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. I was only 6 at the time and I don‘t remember how we got there or what we ate or even much of what we saw. But certain memories have stayed with me over the years

I recall standing in a long line in front of the Planter‘s Peanut exhibition. They were giving away necklaces with a little peanut attached (see the picture above) and I made everyone wait until I had mine. I have never seen another 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.

"Progress" was the theme of the Fair which depicted futuristic techniques such as television and the interstate highway system. It introduced new materials, new ideas and a new spirit. It also displayed the crafts and products of the day. It was a “vision of tomorrow” which sadly came to an end when it was announced over the loudspeaker that we had declared war on Germany and the Fair was closed down.

The most indelible memory for me was the Pool of Industry. This was the famous musical fountains display. It contained 1,400 water nozzles, 400 gas jets with a mechanism that caused the flames to change color and fireworks that were shot from over 150 launchers. Music was played live by the fair’s band and broadcast by large speakers.

Each night, as the sun went down, the crowds would gather at the pool. This was the finale of the day. I remember being hypnotized by the haunting strains of “Finlandia” as the enormous jets of water sprayed rainbow colors higher and higher into the sky. This was all topped off by a barrage of fireworks. A night-time spectacle almost too grand for one little girl to absorb.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

You were young. You have quite a memory.

8:04 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

How nice for you to have even a small memory from that. My father-in-law worked as a security guard at that fair - but it was before either of us was born.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How incredible that you can remember that! Great memory.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I agree with the others, good memory, Ginnie. Although, don't you find that as the years go by, some of the older memories are the ones that are most clear?

11:11 AM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

I wrote a story about a "Peanut from out of spacceeee!!" When I was in grade school. I felt I did a marvellous job, even the illustrations of the peanut and the space ship in fine detail...I wish I still had it here to show everyone.... and your story here conjured my memory, so thankyou :)

11:59 PM  
Blogger Chancy said...

I remember, as a nine year old, when my down the street neighbors went to the 1939 World's Fair. I thought it was the most glamorous trip anyone could ever take..

6:21 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I confess, in 1939 I was still 20 years away from being born. But I do have a souvenir from the 1964 World's Fair. I was 5 years old when we went.

5:59 PM  

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