Letters to the editor | Dec. 28 edition

A reader writes in about those candy canes.


Reader adds to, corrects history of iconic Vashon decoration

My husband and I had a good chuckle about the “History of Vashon’s Kooky Candy Canes” article (Dec. 14). It seems as if 10 or more years of candy cane history were non-existent.

We’re not sure where Bruce Haulman and Terry Donnelly got all their information, but after the 1977 fire, the candy canes did not go to Bettie’s barn, but were stored in the back of the True Value store (now Ace). There was a storage unit that was owned by Gerry Sengstock in the back of the True Value store.

Gerry Sengstock actually built and owned the existing Thriftway Shopping Center back then (he didn’t build Thriftway as it was a standalone building at that time). The owner of True Value, Allan Snyder (my husband’s late father), was on the board of the VBA (Vashon Business Association), so Al Snyder had asked Gerry Sengstock if the VBA could store those candy canes in that storage unit.

After a while, True Value wanted to expand and acquired a new lease with Gerry to use that storage unit. The walls were knocked down and the store’s back area went all the way back to the loading dock. The candy canes had to go somewhere else, and that is where Bettie Edward’s barn came into play.

There were individuals also not mentioned in the re-stringing of those candy canes, one, my husband Steve Snyder and another, Ben Jannison whose wife Merrill was a Vashon Chamber of Commerce member (formally the VBA). Merrill shared Bettie’s enthusiasm in making sure that the town of Vashon looked especially inviting for the Holiday Season.

My husband and Ben Jannison also delivered those candy canes around town in the old green truck that was owned by the Snyder family. I had forgotten that Bob and Joann Elston had also dropped off the candy canes. We should also not forget Dug Pellegrini, who also worked for PSE, who also hooked up those candy canes for the Chamber.

When Bettie Edwards sold the Barn property in 1999, the candy canes had to go somewhere else, which is why they ended up with the King County Roads Department, not in the early 1990s as stated. Doug Snyder came into the picture in 2000 when he went to work full-time at True Value Hardware after Steve Snyder left the family business.

Now I know that I have probably missed some people and the exact timing of events, but we’re pretty sure that the story needs to be told about the missing years of candy cane and garland-hanging history that wasn’t mentioned.

It’s wonderful to see the tradition of keeping the candy canes and garlands installed for the holiday season by the volunteers who don’t always the acknowledgment that they all deserve.

Melody Snyder, old time volunteer for the Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce