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1039 Words

First Serial Rights: Sharon J. Pearson

A STROLL DOWN THE MAIN DRAG


March 30, 1939
Henry Pearson
Arlington Times

“It was one of those balmy spring days-you know-when the buds are beginning to
peek out, the birds trill from every tree and bush, the air has a lightness about it
and the sun, vivid in a deep blue sky, casts its warm rays down on the earth with
just enough coolness to make it enjoyable … I wandered down Olympic Avenue.
Perhaps I thought there may be some ‘local color’ to grace the paragraphs of this
hit and miss column.

“Gerald Hawley was weighing a piece of meat on the scales of his butcher shop
as I sauntered by. Out of curiosity I watched him weigh the meat and took
particular notice to see if his hand rested gently on the scales. It didn’t. It set
me to wondering why people are so quick sometimes to suspect a merchant.
Limited purchasing power I concluded. Slowly I walked on. There was Jack
Carpenter in earnest conversation with a game warded and somehow I envied
him and his deep knowledge of game.

“Across the street Grant Caproni tinkered with a washing machine. I hesitated,
undecided to go over there and discuss the economic situation with him - a keen
talker and one few men who take a deep interest in the affairs of the country. I
decided to go on and leave him with his work. Before I crossed the street I
noticed that E. Jesset, with his ever present white tie, was polishing a woman’s
shoe. I wondered if his thoughts were on the times he spent in jolly old England.
He used to be secretary of one of the big fishing clubs back there if I remember
correctly, where a person almost had to belong to get a line in the water.

“I glanced at Mrs. Schumaker’s confectionary. As usual it was spotless. And


across the street Mrs. Ball was busily pressing a pair of pants in a cloud of steam.
I made a mental note to make a crack sometime about business being very
pressing over there, but thought better of it. Henry Murray was cleaning out a
radio with a vacuum cleaner as I idled by. That’s a good idea I thought - maybe it
wouldn’t be a bad idea to dust out mine. I’ll do it, I muttered, the next time I’m
locked in the house with the mumps.

:Across the street again to John Contento’s shoe shop. Hmmm…he’s got a new
marquee. If perseverance is the criterion of success, I thought, John would reach
that goal as he’s always sticking to the last. Those peanuts were still in Herb
Van Horn’s place of business. I was tempted to buy some but thought I’d better
wait until the peanut industry was faced with a surplus. Hans Hagen was having
one of Martha’s cakes as I went by. I tried to tell the time by one of the clocks in
Hans’ Jewelry but gave up in disgust. The red sweater boys at Al Heiland’s
Safeway were dodging in and among the piles of canned goods as I peaked in the
store. I almost bowled over a little boy stooped over picking up a five dollar bill
that I almost stepped on. What? This can’t be Arlington, I thought, but decided
anyhow to take in the sidewalks with my glances. I looked in the gutter, but no
dead cats were there. Ed Richter was prying into the ‘innards’ of a watch as I
sidled by and across the street Mrs. Bell was dusting off the cash register of her
bakery. When those things start to sprout cobwebs, I mused, things really will be
bad.

“A Loud, “bang bang’ was emanated from the recesses of Henry Backstrom’s
Ford garage as my steps took me past his place of business. That was either
Nels Bucklin straightening out a fender or Fritz Bruseth telling the gang how he
won the Civil War, I surmised. Across the street again to Dave Redeen’s tailor
shop. Again I made a mental note to make a caustic remark later about his
business being just “sew-sew” but thought better of it. Rol Shannon was
wrapping up something that looked like one gross of hardtack as I passed
Peterson’s Grocery. From the looks on his face I could tell he was about to treat
the customer with some rare humor; and alongside the store Gordon Dustin was
busy hacking away at a lug of meat. I noticed he had a few items marked down
in price. Undoubtedly, I thought, in celebration of the arrival of his new
youngster.

“Across the street I noticed Carl Ramseyer’s J.C. Penney store ablaze with spring
wear. I was almost tempted to go over there and spend the nickel that I had
been toying with in my pocket, but thought I better give it to pay on the old
homestead. Next door, Jack Hagan was swarming over a car at his service
station. Man, you sure get service at gasoline stations, nowadays, I soliloquized;
which brought back thoughts of my uncle Silo (the crabby one) who quit doing
business at the station when the attendant refused to wipe his little son’s nose.

“Spanning the street again, I noted High Potentates of Safeway No. 72x, James
Burnett was trapped between a pile of ginger snaps and a large woman evidently
hard of hearing. He finally got his truck of barley out through a different route.
Just about that time I heard the scream of a fire engine. Sure enough, here she
came down the street. Hot dawg - a fire-a fire! My boyish enthusiasm returned.
Shoving gawking men, women and children out of my path, I clomped down the
pavement, my giant knees clacking together. Ten blocks down the street I
caught up with Engine Number 1. Three or four of the fireman were standing idly
by discussing the Seattle Ranier’s chances of winning the Coast League pennant
while another was up on the roof of a house dousing a smoldering chimney with
water.

“With a deep sense of disappointment, I sauntered home to try to find romance


and excitement with an axe and a cord of wood.”

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