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Cottonseed Kid
Childhood Memories of a Texas Life

Chapter Three

The Ear Trumpet - Page 2

by Hariett Dublin
Cottonseed Kid book cover
Page 1
Not every day, but often, she would ask Mary and Martha to post her letters and I got to tag along. When we showed delight in such a responsible chore, we would each get to carry one letter to the post place. I skipped thru the tree-lined path to the main street. We had to walk around the Courthouse Block, and I was in awe of the magnificent building. It was the most elegant thing I had ever seen. I imagined all sort of presidents, kings and dignitaries working in this place. I thought of it as hallowed ground. My little hand would clutch the letter and the extra nickel that she gave me to enjoy an ice cream cone at the Main Street Drug.

This drug store was special because it had all the treats a little girl could only imagine and was in the middle of a block full of fascinating treasures. On one side was a Woolworth, the famous five and dime store, and on the other side was an old junk store that had a bunch of birds in the window, some green parrots, three in fact, several yellow canaries and one old black Myna bird that said “Hello” whenever I stopped to gaze. I watched the birds before we ventured in to get our treat because I knew we would be in a hurry to go home later. I never understood why they called this store, a Drug Store, when what they had was soap, lotions, Listerine, toothpaste, assorted toys, and ice cream for us every time we entered. It also had these strange looking hot water bottles. The bottles had tubes with weird looking spouts attached; I always wondered what you did with that. A few years later I found out. We paid for our ice cream near a rack of Wrigley’s Double Mint gum. Well, we knew about Double Mint gum because Fady always had some in his pocket. He would make a big production when he took the pack out of his pocket and said, “Oh look, I’ve got something for you.” Then, he proceeded to break a stick in half with great fanfare and award us each half a stick. To his dying day he never gave himself or anyone else more than half a stick of gum at one time.

The drugstore had a very tall soda counter. I always needed a boost to get on the stool. The marble top felt cool to my little hands that were sweaty from clutching my nickel. The great soda spouts were shining because the boy working there was so proud of them. Mother and Fady both liked ice cream sodas, so once in a while I got to see how these operated. The big black lever would be pulled down and the soda water would fill the glass already containing three scoops of ice cream and chocolate syrup. But on those days with such an important task as posting the mail, I just ordered a plain ole chocolate ice cream cone. I could never resist biting the bottom tip off first, so I had to eat it in a hurry to keep the chocolate from dripping out the bottom all over my clean dress. I really thought I was special because the “soda jerk” winked at me when I paid. Walking home I found out he winked twice at Mary. The bugger.

Posting these letters opened up a wide, wide world of wonder so we often, very kindly, inquired about more letters to post. After Aunt Lizzie left us to go visit other relatives, it was very dull for a few days (or maybe at least a half day). I’ll bet you she never had such good mail carriers as she did in Cottonwood Falls!

When things get quiet, I remember all these precious moments. When I listen real close, I can hear Aunt Lizzie’s English voice, and I don’t need an ear trumpet to hear Fady singing, and I can still hear the crack of the horses’ hooves coming thru the brush.

Published with permission.
January 17, 2006
Back to Ear Trumpet, Page 1

Cottonseed Kid
Childhood Memories of a Texas Life

by Hariett Dublin
Publisher: Friday's Child Press
January 31, 2005

Book review by John Troesser
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This page last modified: January 17, 2006