Friday, October 16, 2009

Six Degrees of Sweetest Day

My paternal great grandmother, Sarah Kingston Donaldson, related to the man who might have created Sweetest Day, the holiday nobody I know celebrates

Cynical as usual, I always assumed thatSweetest Day, the third Saturday in October, was a “holiday” cooked up by the card industry to sell more products. Turns out I have a personal connection to the largely uncelebrated event.

According to Wikipedia, the day is primarily observed in the Great Lakes region of the USA, and a little in the Northeast. Today people who have even heard of it, regard the day as an excuse to do something nice for their sweeties. Think candy, cards, flowers, romance. Turns out originally it was, according to Retail Confectioners International, an “occasion which offers all of us an opportunity to remember not only the sick, aged and orphaned, but also friends, and associates whose helpfulness and kindness we have enjoyed.

So no, Hallmark didn’t make up Sweetest Day. One of my distant relatives did. Maybe.

Sweetest day is thought to have been started by Kingston Candy Company employee in Cleveland named Herbert Birch Kingston. He, if I figure it correctly, is my first cousin, twice removed, on my father’s side. My Irish great great grandparents who emigrated during the Potato Famine were his grandparents. I think. I don’t know anything more, and this information was located using internet sources. Again according to Wikipedia, maybe cousin Kingston didn’t have sole responsibility for starting Sweetest Day. The Cleveland Plain Dealer the event was planned by a committee of twelve confectioners, who sent 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks and the poor.

However it started, it seems like a nice enough idea to think of people who need a smile with some little remembrance. Of course with most people having bags of Snickers and Reeces Peanutbutter Cups sitting waiting for trick or treaters, maybe I’ll just send an email tomorrow.

Happy Sweetest Day, in advance.

1 comment:

Sandi Jinkins Wellnitz said...

Sherry - I am one of those few out there that celebrates Sweetest Day and I did know the origin as someone gave "sweets" to the street kids. I think it's wonderful you were able to make a connection. Geneaology (sp?) is a fascinating hobby. Now I can say I am less than six degrees from the Sweetest Day inventor. I am simply loving reading your blog. Such a talented woman! I want to be like you when I grow up!