Monday, September 7, 2009

A pleasant family getaway before school.

We are anticipating new change for Matthew as he starts a new school year in a new school with new teachers and new classmates. As we plan for his new school year we enjoyed our family trip to Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania this Labor day weekend. It was great for the whole family to be together in a family setting. It's these times together that are so valuable and have such meaning. I planned on a trip with my wife and son that was far enough away but not too far and where we had not been for a while and Hershey was unanimous by choice and Matthew agreed 100 %. I was always fascinated by the story of Milton S. Hershey who was not only a very successful businessman after some reported business failures but also a very generous and philanthropic individual who not only made his riches and transformed a town and it's people but provided smiles on the faces of kids of all ages. Everyone has had a Hershey's chocolate bar or a Hershey's chocolate kiss.

He and his wife, Catherine never had children of their own but what they did was build a school for orphaned boys in 1909 and transferred a considerable amount of their wealth and his ownership in the Hershey company to the Milton S. Hershey Trust to be held for the school and his other humanitarian efforts. When he lost his wife to illness he never remarried and stayed devoted to his true passion which was helping educate orphaned boys so they could have opportunity and not be left behind. He was so very special with his wife by his side until she died in 1915. He died in 1945 and his legacy lives on and the town of Hershey is such a wonderful place to visit and spend time with your family and experience what he created. It is a very special place. The most amazing thing is as a kid I always remember wanting my parents to buy me a Hershey chocolate bar or a bag of Hershey's chocolate kisses. Times certainly have not changed as my son also loves Hershey's chocolates bars and Hershey's chocolate kisses. We all do! I am truly inspired by his story and realize how truly special he and his wife were.

Maria and I spoke to Matthew about all he had done and how kind and caring he was and how important he was in effecting change and Matthew was quite amazed and simply said in his own words that "Mr. Hershey and his wife were very special because they made the world a little sweeter." I felt we could not have said it any better. As my dad would say, "Out of the mouth of babes." After all Hershey, Pa "is the sweetest place on earth!" as it is known to be.

So after we learned the history including the fact that at one time the park was only open to the employees and their families of Hershey company, we did what all families do at Hershey, Pa. We went to have fun at the park. The carousel was our first ride where Maria and Matthew enjoyed riding and learning the history behind the carousel. The music of the carousel is truly beautiful as it is USMC marching band music. The rides available for Matthew were many and he had fun on all. He is still too young to go on the intense rides and I prefer he not because of his medical condition. He loves the rides designed for younger kids and that is fine with us. We were fortunate to have such beautiful weather and enjoyed our days spent at the park. We took lots of pictures as I was in charge of the camera and my wife was in charge of the video. It makes the experience more fun when you can look back at the pictures and live video and recall the moments. The time always goes by fast when you are enjoying it and spending much needed time with your family. Life is so short that these times are so important because everything seems to pass by so quickly.

We had the experience of watching in a park ride the concept Mr. Hershey brought to life and how his sweet confections had touched so many. Matthew sat with mom in the front and I with grandma in the back as we experienced the magic and saw Matthew smile and laugh and cry out all the different candies shown throughout the ride that Mr. Hershey created with love. Mr. Hershey still touches so many each and every day, even simple things like bringing a smile to a kid's face whether they are eating one of his candies or delighting in one of his park's attractions like our son. For me that is truly special and priceless.

Matthew also enjoyed the experience of Factory works where he earned a badge and filled his own container of Hershey's kisses. We decided to browse the store and our son could not get enough as he wanted more chocolates so we bought a few of his favorites and told him that he has to save them and can only have them at special times.

We spent a full day at the park and were glad to rest at the La Quinta hotel which Matthew approved as he loved breakfast time and the room we stayed in. We were there for 3 nights and enjoyed each one after long days at Hershey park. We were exhausted with all the walking and all the activities we experienced.

The second day at Hershey was devoted to the water park which was ideal as it was refreshing to cool off in the water and see Matty enjoying the lazy river tube ride and the wave pool. Maria captured our moments of fun by video and we were having lots of fun. After we had enough of the water we went back to the regular park to catch up on Matty's favorite rides as we knew we had to prepare to leave Hershey the following day so we wanted him to have every opportunity to enjoy his time there. I just had fun watching my wife and son having fun on the rides.

As we left Hershey the second day we were happy we had so much fun 2 days in a row but were sad we had to say goodbye until our next visit. The last visit we had before this one was 5 years earlier when Matty was 5. He will tend to remember this more but he did remember some of the earlier experiences as well especially the helicopter ride.

As we left Hershey we had a lot of memories to bring back with us in addition to the electronic images. As we headed for home there was one more place we decided to bring Matty to and that was the Crayola factory in Easton, Pa. which was on the way towards home. We learned some history there as well as the founders of the famous crayola crayon were cousins. Edward Binney and C. Harold Smith were responsible for the development of the crayon and other kid friendly products that are non toxic and provide great joy too for all the kids. We also had our packs of crayola crayons when we were kids. The factory was really a museum for kids which provides fun activities with crayons, markers, chalk, paints and other fun things. We had a lot of fun seeing Matthew draw and color and smile as mommy, daddy and grandma admired his work. Matty got to spend his tokens on fun crayola things like crayons, markers or twisties. After we learned more about the origins of the crayon and Matty got to display his artistic background we got to have lunch next door at McDonald's and then we said goodbye to the Crayola Factory and the beautiful state of Pennsylvania and we headed home. It was a fun weekend and we were ready for the trip home as my wife took charge driving as I needed a rest. We drove the distance in about 3 hours and were so happy we made this special weekend trip as we all had so much fun. The trip was to make up for our missed vacation trip on account I was sick during our originally planned vacation trip to Massachusetts. The main thing was Matty was happy and we all had fun. Now we are gearing up for a busy school year for our son and we will support him and help him and make sure he is focused as he is so gifted and we need to encourage him and provide him with the proper schooling that will help him. Hershey Park and Crayola Factory gave him joy and we now look to the school to bring out his talents and guide him with our help, guidance, love and support.

Edward D. Iannielli III
Maria Jesusa Gonzales Iannielli

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Please feel free to read my writings and leave a kind message or suggestion. Thank you. Emily