Breaking and disturbing news. It’s not about collusion, wiretapping, Cohen vs. Trump, fires and floods.

It’s worse. Listen to this.

The Boston Globe just reported that the Necco candy factory in Revere, Massachusetts, just went belly up, closed the doors and laid off 230 workers.

One worker reportedly shouted, “We heard we were supposed to be running until Nov. 30.” Yeah, heard that lament before.

This is that 171-year-old candy company that not only made Necco wafers, but also candy hearts that say things, and — wait for it — Clark Bars, Mary Janes and Candy Buttons.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that over the years, Necco wafers became so popular that in 1913 famed Arctic explorer (and Bowdoin College graduate) Donald MacMillan gave them to Eskimo children on his journeys to the north. And in the 1930s, Admiral Richard Byrd included 2.5 tons of Necco wafers in his supply list for a two-year stay in the Antarctic.

Then, during World War II, the U.S. government requisitioned a huge ton of them for American soldiers, as the wafers didn’t melt.

And how about this? POTUS Trump has started throwing them out at his Southern rallies instead of hats. OK, I made that up.

Someone sent me a text that says, “630 million Necco wafers are made each year; placed edge to edge, they would go around the world twice!” I’ll bet somewhere along that route, they dropped a pile of them off in central Maine in yours and my childhood. Ayuh, you betcha.

Back in May, when we were still digging out from multiple blizzards, Round Hill Investments, which paid $17.3 million for the company, said, “We’re very excited to acquire Necco’s historic brands.”

Big companies always overuse that word. Excited? Really? Excited like in you’re gonna get a new puppy, or your cholesterol dropped 10 points? You’re excited that you just put hundreds of people out of work?

Then they were so excited that they resold it to another company, and nobody yet knows who those people are or if they’re excited too.

Was it a company run by one of those Russian oligarchs? How excited is he? Is this the darkest side of “collusion”?

This morning I awoke, dripping in sweat, from a nightmare that somewhere back in the deep silos of the Necco plant in Revere millions of tons of Necco wafers, tiny pastel Valentine hearts and Mary Janes are about to give diabetes to herds of rats.

And of course my Catholic guilt is working overtime reminding me that I’m partially guilty for this economic disaster because I stopped eating Necco wafers years ago and switched to Kit Kats.

Then, as I was drinking my third decaf-no whip-nonfat iced mocha of the week, that tiny-winged, left-wing, social Democratic conscience that sits on my left shoulder buzzed in my ear.

What about the guys and gals who worked on the line as trillions of wafers and hearts flowed by them?

What will they do now? Is there another candy factory in Revere? I don’t think so.

Think of the parents who went to work for Necco right out of high school thinking that, like a Ford or Chevy line worker, they’d have a secure income, work for 30 years and retire. They probably put two kids through school, paid for their weddings and welcomed grandkids.

What do they do now? I thumbed through some of the job openings in Revere today and this one popped up: “Medical Assistant, Primary Care.”

It might go like this.

“What did you do on your last job?”

“I was quality checker on the production line.”

“What was the product?”

“Sweetheart Conversation Hearts, mostly.”

“Conversation Hearts?”

“It’s more important than you think. I mean, for example, you can’t have six dozen ‘Miss Yous” or “Be Mines” go through and not enough of the newer ones like “Text Me” or “Tag Me.”

Don’t laugh, those Sweetheart Conversation Hearts have been a big part of our lives for decades.

The American scene is changing rapidly. Next week we’ll tackle the next big breaking news: the demise of the great American straw.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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