There's been a lot of talk lately about a former holiday icon at Chapel Hill Mall - Archie the Snowman.
You remember Archie? Tall, talking, flashing eyes?
There's a movement resurrected about this time each year to bring back Archie, who hasn't been seen at the mall for about seven years. Dave Burkett is the leader and had about 2,500 Facebook followers early this week - a number that has doubled since the topic became a mainstay this week on the WAKR Morning Show with Ray Horner.
Burkett wasn't happy with the treatment he claims to have received.
"I actually called Chapel Hill, as many of the other people in the group have done and I actually got hung up on one time, so I called back again and one person was laughing and said, 'he's in snowman hell,'" said Burkett.
Not exactly what Sandra Heymann would want to hear. She's a regional marketing director for Chapel Hill's parent company and talked with AkronNewsNow before Burkett's comments.
We only had one question for Heymann: Where is Archie?
Heymann would only say things like, "He's been deployed elsewhere" or "he retired."
"The condition of his body structure had worsened considerably over the past 30 years." said Heymann.
Most of us can read between the lines - we know where the remains of Archie wound up, don't we? Do we really need to say it? That's what Heymann was trying to relay to AkronNewsNow in a lengthy conversation that took place before any recording. Heymann says she can understand the emotional attachment people have to Archie and didn't want to mar those memories or the iconic images held by thousands of Akronites.
AkronNewsNow wondered the same thing - do we need to say it? One caller told us she knows what happened and was willing to go on the record. Our final decision was to let it go.
"Archie's never really gone. Archie just happened to retire and Archie was related to Chapel Hill and it's the beauty of that that keeps us going," said Heymann. "It's the beauty of that holiday spirit that lives inside us that keeps us going."
Heymann says it would be great if Burkett and his followers would direct their energy and money into a project that touches real lives today - hungry children came to mind.
But with more than five thousand followers, Archie still has legs -- or at least, the kind of legs you'd expect from a snowman. Burkett says online they're now looking toward 2012, maybe even raising funds to build a newer, better Archie and find that snowman a holiday home in Akron too -- maybe spurring even more tradition and memories for the next generation.
So, what ever happened to Archie?
We already know all we need to know.