Today’s post is one I am very very excited about sharing with you guys.
Typically, I am not always super keen on going on & on about myself, yet the other day I was talking with a few different friends of mine & told them the story I am about to tell you. They were shocked they didn’t know this whole story & suggested that I share it on the blog… cause really, it’s a pretty cool story.
Part of me is still weary to spend a whole post talking about me, esp. since you guys are so used to reading about beauty hacks or blog tips, but… it’s fun to mix things up a little. Plus, it’s a chance for you guys to learn a little bit more about me!
This story is definitely a personal story, but it’s an uplifting one (although I sobbed while writing it)… & I also think it’s kinda motivating. It’s a story about my family, it’s an ode to my amazing Grandfather, & it’s really just a huge part of who I am.
So… let’s do thisss.
(& this jacket– my Dad just brought me this on his latest visit to San Diego, which was another sign I had to write this post!)
The Birth of the Dove Bar
Alright, so first of all, the story starts in Nashville. It is where my entire family is from, it is where I was born, & it was where I had some of my most special memories. It was an AMAZING place to spend my childhood.
Before I was born, in 1982, my Grandfather (Ed Stolman) got a call from his brother about an ice cream bar. My family has been oddly obsessed with ice cream since as long as I can remember, but especially my grandfather.
His brother basically told him to get to Chicago & come taste this ice cream bar. From what I was told, the brother strolled into a candy shop & in the back of the candy shop ice cream was being dipped in chocolate. The candy shop was called Dove Ice Cream & Chocolatte.
My grandfather & his brother were in love with this ice cream bar & ended up buying the concept from the candy shop.
At the time- my grandfather was involved in the hospital business. He was the board of directors of hospitals from Singapore to London. He also ran a clothing business, an upscale bowling alley in Nashville (the Strike & Spare, where my parents actually met!), & opened up a swim club.
The man was BUSY, but he was determined to get this ice cream bar to the masses, so he called my Dad & asked if wanted to get involved. My Dad was working as an architect at this time, but he also fell in love with the bar, so he put that on hold & focused solely on Dove. My dad got an ice cream cart & took pushed that little cart filled with Dove bars around all of the public events in Nashville & a ton of gourmet tradeshows.
The feedback he got was insane, & the family continued to grow the Dove Bar exponentially.
When they were about to take the company public, they got a surprise offer from M&M Mars. M&M tried the Dove Bar, loved the Dove bar, & wanted the Dove Bar.
They wanted my Dad too.
SO- from there, my Dad was almost immediately taken on as the regional sales manager for the military, & we were given a choice- either we relocate to San Diego or Texas. This was where the main bases were.
Clearly, we chose San Diego.
We packed our whole lives up in a car, left the house my Dad built for us, the house we grew up in, & said goodbye to all of our family. I remember being pretty devastated, it wasn’t easy for any of us, but the promise of living by the ocean was pretty thrilling for a 6 year old.
Life in California…
California was great! After the initial bout of homesickness, we all adjusted just fine.
My Dad was slanging the candy to the bases, travelled a lot, & our garage was always filled to the brim with boxes of candy, which made making friends so much easier.
All the neighborhood kids knew the candy man moved in down the street, & were pretty much banging our door down. Looking back, the parents of these kids were probably pretty bummed when their kids came home from my house all hopped up on sugar.
Not to mention, Halloweens at our place was always the best. My Dad had a ginormous blow up life size pumpkin that he filled to the brim with candy. Kids could swim in that pumpkin full of candy if they wanted to.
As for me, I never liked candy growing up. I think there was just too much of it, & eventually, I was sick of it. I did like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups which was a HUGE conflict of interest in my house.
That, my friends, pretty much sums of the Dove turned M&M Mars story.
After that my Dad was (sadly) relocated back to Texas & we stayed in California. We were older at that point, my parents were no longer together, & it was just another tough choice that had to be made.
My Dad still lives in Texas, he is retired, & we are in talks about him moving back to the west coast!
What About Ed
Ed Stolman was an EXTRAORDINARY man, so it only makes sense for me to chat a bit about who he was, what he did after Dove, & the many many achievements that make me SO incredibly proud of my Grandfather.
Ed stayed in Nashville for a bit longer than we did. He was working real estate development at this point, & was a huge part of the redevelopment of downtown Nashville.
He went on to purchase pretty much all of Main Street in Nashville & turned it into more of what it is today. He brought in movie theaters, shopping, & the arts. This redevelopment project got him title of Nashville’s ‘Man of the Year’, which was a really cool award for him & us as a family.
After that though, he was ready for change- in life, & in location.
His wife at the time, Carolyn (not my biological grandmother, but the only grandmother I knew on my Dad’s side), decided to move to Sonoma.
In Sonoma, they built a beautiful Tuscan Villa & planted over 1500 olive trees imported from Italy. It was one of the most beautiful homes you’d ever seen, featured in almost ever home magazine you could find. It was a real work of art & a wonderful place for me to grow up (we would spend a lot of summers there playing bocce ball, swimming, & working on “Whitney & Erica’s Secret Garden” that they made for us!).
The two of them were fascinated by Italy… & for Ed’s 75th birthday, they invited the whole entire family + all of their friends, to come join them in Italy for a weeklong extravaganza. This trip was pure magic. Carolyn & Ed sent everyone leather embossed journals, & inside was a full on medieval story someone illustrated for the event- there were drawings of Carolyn & Ed in regal attire inviting us all to Giove (part of the Umbria district in Italy). We were invited to stay with them in a 100 room medieval castle they had rented just for the event, & I can’t even put into words how wonderful it was.
When we arrived, there were medieval costumes laid out in each of our rooms, & the big event was a medieval costume party where Ed was the King & Carolyn was the Queen. Again, pure magic. My sister & I were the princesses & over 75 of their friends made it out for the event.
The event was just a cumulation of who Ed was- dazzling, full of life, loved to go all out, & admired by so many!
+ the big medieval occasion- Carolyn & Ed are in the middle & I am the one with the big ears. Can’t be missed +
+ their beautiful Tuscan inspired home in Sonoma- I was obviously not blogging yet cause my photo taking skills were lackluster. +
After the party, the Italy obsession continued for Carolyn & Eddie, and it led them to the business of OLIVE OIL. Their olive trees had grown beautifully, & they opened up a place in Sonoma called The Olive Press. This was a booming business for them in Sonoma & once a year, they had all their friends who also had olive trees come to press their olives to make a community olive oil.
This became their life work & they went onto win award after award for their olive oils (all of Ed’s friends said “if you cut him, he would bleed olive oil”). The man really loved his olive oil.
** at this point in the story I am getting emotional, didn’t think this would be so hard to write out!**
During this time, Carolyn was fighting her second bought with Cancer, & sadly, not long after she was diagnosed, she lost her life. Both her & Eddie had converted to Buddhism, so death was not scary for them. They were such spiritual people, & her death was really a journey like I had never seen. Ed loved her endlessly, but I think the Buddhist principles made her loss less painful for him & us.
Eddie went on living, as he did, with a positive outlook on life. He continued to grow The Olive Press & still worked in the hospital business, but he also kept learning. He was ALWAYS learning.
He went on to create & develop the a Lifelong Learning program at Sonoma State, which then became the Osher Lifelong Learning center. It was an educational program for people over the age of 50, & they ended up bringing Lifelong Learning to over 120 campuses across the country.
** here is an interview he did when he was 84 at a TED convention talking all about his work with the Osher Lifelong Learning Center**
In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree for the creation of lifelong learning, & continued on various other AMAZING projects (I could list them all, but this would turn into a novel… as if it’s not already) until he became sick with pancreatic cancer.
My grandfather was also buddhist at this time & his passing was quick. I think that was how he would have wanted it, I actually think he willed for that. He didn’t want to suffer & he didn’t want us to suffer seeing him ill. The loss impacted our family beyond words could imagine, & it also effected his community greatly. Ed was very loved by all.
Ed Stolman was a true visionary, entrepreneur, & just an all around really inspiring human. It was an HONOR to be his granddaughter & everyday I miss his positive outlook on life. He once said, & I will never forget this…
“I am 82, I feel like I am 60, and I probably act like I am 40. If I can have 10 years of healthy living, I have accomplished my mission”
At his funeral, everyone was served vanilla ice cream, drizzled with Ed’s award winning olive oil, dark chocolate & a sprinkle of sea salt. This was Ed’s nightly dessert, every single nights since I could remember & a beautiful way for all of us to send him off into his next big adventure.
& NOW FOR SOME MORE FAMILY PICTURES, to help put some visuals to this man & our story!
+ Ed was always a hit with the ladies +
+ the entire family, back when we lived in Nashville. I am the little one with the curls. +
+ we ADORED our Ed <3 +
+ just a few of Ed’s major achievements. +
+ a GREAT photo of my sister & great grandmother, enjoying a Dove Bar. Another fun fact: my Dad invented the Dove Bar boat to catch any dropped chocolate while eating french fries one day! He took the french fry container, cut a hole in it & VOILA- Dove Bar boat was born! +
+ the Dove Bar car! +
If you guys are interested, here are a few articles about this amazing man:
+ Edward “Ed” Stolman Tribute (and an interview with my Dad)
If you made it this far, THANK YOU! This post was so cathartic for me to write, & I appreciate all who listened to my story. x, E
[ PHOTOS BY ARIELLE LEVY ]