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Sen-Sen was to the 19th century what breath mints are to our time. Any country store worth its salt, prominently displayed a box of the handy little packets within easy reach of its customers.
The origin of the name Sen-Sen is apparently lost to history. In all the documents that were received at the sale of the company, none mentioned how it’s name originally came about. In Japan "sen-sen" means glistening, shiny or bright, but there is no documentation to indicate any connection between these meanings and the product.
The ingredients of Sen-Sen are imported from Bulgaria, France, Turkey, Greece, Italy and some almost inaccessible regions of Asia. The product is still made on some of the original equipment that manufactured the product in the late 1800's.
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. My parents are from Marshall County in Northeast Kansas. Often, in the 1950's, we spent weekends with my Grandparents on a farm near Axtell, Kansas. My Grandpa and Grandma "Sam" attended Salem Lutheran Church. Although out in the country, it was a large brick structure with many beautiful stained glass windows. Salem Lutheran Church set on a hill overlooking farm land and gently rolling plains.
When I attended church with them, I received Sen-Sen as a treat (and sometimes as a bribe to be still and pay attention to the service). They were always smartly dressed. My Grandma always had a pack of Sen-Sen in her "pocketbook" and my Grandpa had one in the breast pocket of his Sunday suit. I developed a taste for Sen-Sen and licorice and have enjoyed it ever since, thanks to my Grandpa and Grandma! ~ Tim from Kansas
Going to church with Grandma was a special event in itself. Grandma would bring along Ideals catalogs with pictures to look out which aided in keeping us quiet. At times the pastor would seem to drone on and on. However, if one was very, very quiet and good and at least pretended to listen, toward the end of the service Grandma would open her Bible and reveal a cloth handkerchief tucked in the back. After carefully unfolding it, she would place a small dark speck in the open palm of the youngster to be enjoyed ever so quietly. After sitting in church for what seemed like hours, the Sen Sen was a welcome treat. (Please don't tell Grandma that all these years I thought it was called "Sin-Sin." I guess I WAS listening to the pastor after all!) ~Leslie from Washington