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Doris Coale
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There are things that I’ve thought about that wouldn’t happen nowadays.

There are things that I’ve thought about that wouldn’t happen nowadays.

The ice man

And one was we all had an ice box. We didn’t have refrigerators. And the ice man came two or three times a week. Oh, probably twice a week. And you’d get a 25 cent piece and he’d chip it down until he got the right size. Or a 35 cent piece. Or a 50 cent piece. And I don’t remember how much ours was. And then you lifted up the top of the ice box and put the ice in there. And unfortunately, no matter how you cleaned it, it had a strange odor to it.
And we used to go out on the street when the man would go by with the cart. The old horse would come along and he would seem to know where to stop. And the man would get out of his wagon and go to the back. And there would be about a half a dozen kids in the back there hoping and praying that a big chip fell off. And sometimes a big chip did fall off. He sort of nudged them and they fell of onto the ground. He couldn’t give them to us but he could assist us a little bit.
And I’d get the biggest piece I could find to take home. And by the time I got home my hands were gone. They were frozen. Then Mother would give me 5 cents and I would go over to the grocery store and get a lemon and come back. And she had a beautiful cut glass pitcher. And she would make a big pitcher of lemonade. Oh, it was so good.

The molasses boat

Then another thing that would never happen today was the molasses boat. It would come up from the Islands. And it would come up the Penobscott and it would dock right down at the foot of Buck Street which was the next street to our house. We were out on Main Street. This was a side street.
And then they’d pump the molasses into containers or something. I didn’t know just what they did. But there was a lot of fuzz. It created a lot of fuzz. All itty bitty bubbles. I can still feel the excitement of someone hollerin’ and saying "The molasses boat is in" and all the kids that were playing would take off in different directions to go home.
And mother saved, oh, gallon jars and mason jars and everything she could get and she was busy. She’d grab them and wash them up real quick. They weren’t sterilized, or anything, but they were clean, you know. And I’d go down to the end of Buck Street and down across the railroad tracks which wasn’t a very good thing to do. But I would go out to the end of the pier. I can’t remember what the boat looked like.
I can remember standing there and handing them the jug. Waiting for the fuzz to get into the jug and then taking it. Then I’d run home with, you know, just as much as I could carry, and grab some more jugs. And when that fuzz all broke up, in the bottom would be, oh, I don’t know, a fourth of a cup, a fourth of a jar or a third of a jar of molasses. But you’d get several of those and you’d wait until they’d go down and they’d become molasses. And that kept us in molasses for the whole year. Until the next time.
And there isn’t a better molasses in the world than Barbados molasses. Its wonderful and you can’t buy it in Maine anymore

The submarine

Oh! And another thing I remember. At the same pier down at the end of Buck Street. There was a small submarine that often would come up the river. And we were allowed to go aboard. They’d take us through it. But it was a tiny submarine. Probably a World War I size. But it had a foul smell. Probably with the engine and the oil. Diesel or whatever it was they used. And it smelled. But anyway it was one of the things going on.

Pumping gasoline

And another thing they don’t see nowadays is gasoline pumped up to into the top into a, I don’t know, you know, a glass container of some kind. And over at Uncle Morris’s hardware store he had a couple of pumps of gasoline. And he had to take, I don’t know, its sort of a lever. And he had to pump it back and forth and back and forth. And this brought the gasoline up into this glass dome. And when it gets to the amount that you wanted then he’d stop and then it would just gravity feed into the car. 

High shoes

And I started school in 1924. 1924 in Kindergarten. Because I went two years. First year I went in the morning so that I could have my nap in the afternoon. And the second year, because I was grown up, I could go in the afternoon. And I remember how I HATED going to school with high shoes. They came way up high and you’d have to lace up part of the way and then they had those little zoopies. What are they? Hooks, I think. And, of course if they got wet your feet would get wet so you had to wear rubbers. And the last time I wore them was third grade. After that I said "No more". I’d had enough of that.

The circus parade

And another thing was the circus parade. I don’t think they have them now. But we kids would wait all year. And Mother would always get me a play suit. A new play suit that I had to save for circus day.
We lived right across the street from the fairgrounds where the circus was held. We laid in bed and watched all the animals come down and turn and go up Buck Street up onto the fairgrounds. After they got up there they had to set up the tent.
When I was a little girl they came from the other town with their wagons with horses. But I was still very small when they started coming in on the train.
So they had set up the cook tent because they had to feed everybody. And they’d set up the big tent. While the roustabouts were setting up the big tent they were getting everything ready for the parade.
And it would go right by the house. It would come down Buck Street. Did it come down Buck Street? Emerson Street? Maybe it was Buck Street. It’d come down Buck Street and turn and go up Main Street. Oh, I sure hated to hear the calliope because we knew that was the last thing in the parade. There were camels and horses and the wagons with the wild animals. And it was very exciting for a little kid. After the parade was over they would come back into the fairgrounds, have their lunch, and then it was time for the show to go on.
It was during the depression and we couldn’t afford to go. And I don’t imagine it cost an awful lot. But the parade to me was so exciting. That was fine. I didn’t care about the circus because I’d been to the parade.
And, at night, the first thing that came down was the cook tent. Was it the cook tent or the side show tents? I think they came down first. Then the cook tent. And the last thing was the big top because the people were in there for the evening performance. So they’d have to wait on that. And then they’d take that down.
And the next day ALL the kids in the neighborhood would go up where the tents were, where they’d made change, and we’d hunt all through the grass to find change. Just wherever people were. We never found very much. A dime, pennies, a quarter.
And that’s all I can think of right now.