This showcase is dated to 1928, when it first stood in Parsons General Store on Water St, Carbonear, a shop more commonly known as Fanny’s. Alma Parsons donated this showcase to the Museum in memory of her husband and father-in-law. Today the Museum uses this showcase to display artifacts and gift shop items.
The store was owned by Mark Parsons Sr (1884-1965) and his wife Fanny (Marshall) Parsons (1884-1970). A fisherman, Mark often mended his nets in the shop while Fanny served customers. According to the donation slip, the showcase housed “block cheese on one shelf and bologna on another,” items which Fanny carved with a large knife. The large front window on the right hand side of the shop was a great attraction for children, who would be tempted inside by the vast display of delights–Jaw Breakers, Barrel Candy, Sugar Daddies, Caravan Bars, twelve-cent cakes, and large Marshmallow Squares–on their way to and from school. The shop was perfectly located between Church Hill and Captain Frank’s Lane on the water side of Water St. Children would even make the dash to Fanny’s at recess, to get their fill of delectable sweets or a slice of bologna. For a grand total of twenty-five cents in the 1950s and ’60s, you could get a bag of Scotties Chips and a bottle of drink, with a few candy to boot.
Fanny is remembered as a kind, gentle lady who operated the shop well into her 80s. Her daughter-in-law Alma Parsons (1921-2013), wife of Mark Parsons Jr, ran the shop when Fanny could no longer manage. Many happy childhood memories have been shared about Fanny, some from young men who would stop in on their way uptown on a Friday night for cigarettes, or to warm up by the potbelly stove in winter.
Fanny’s represents a bygone era of Carbonear–gone but not forgotten.
– Research and writing courtesy of Danita Power and Anne Gosse.