When I was little my Mom would take me to a barbershop just around the corner from our house. I would ask for a Princeton, and I would look like that.
That barber would give me candy after he was done. Smarties or Chuckles. On one side of his shop was a big empty field. On the other side was a little 2 story strip center. I don’t remember what was on the main floor, but there were apartments above.
When we moved to the little white house we were on a little hill above the barber shop, across a pretty busy street. At night I would ride my bicycle off of the embankment in our front yard, pedaling as hard as I could, down the hill, and shoot out blindly across the busy road, through the barber’s parking lot, and into the field. Just to see how far I could get in the tall weeds before I ran out of gas.
In 4th grade a kid named Kam came to our school. It turned out he didn’t have a dad either. He lived with his mom in one of the apartments above the strip center. One time we went up to his house. No one else was there. His mom had left the remnants of a party on the wooden wire spool table. That’s the first time I ever saw one of those. Kam and I had a little whiskey and smoked a cigarette. I don’t know if we ever were found out.
When I got to sixth grade we had a teacher who seemed very old. I remember her name, and I am sure she’s dead, but I am still afraid of her, so I won’t say it. She was very mean. There was an incident where she was scolding us, and I tried to explain what had happened. She came over and dug her knuckles into the top of my head. Then she lifted me out of my chair by my hair. By my Princeton. After Christmas Vacation, we had a new teacher.
Smarties are still my favorite candy. I trade with the Trick or Treaters who come to my house to get them. I don’t think kids today like them much.
You never see Chuckles these days.