The Army Suplus store was located on State Street, not too far west of Coffman Drugs. I acquired a canteen, backpack, utility belt, and first aid kit there. These items were an important part of those summer excursions on the railroad tracks. Although they cost alot (I think I paid $1.25 for the canteen and $1.50 for the backpack), allowances and pop bottle money was saved so I could purchase these essential items. This had to have been around the time COMBAT! was on television.
Coffman Drugs at the corner of State and Hege was another hangout for me. When school was out for the day and I had nothing better to do, I roamed its aisles looking at the toys and games. Carson's Flower Shop was next to Coffmans. I walked in there one summer (around the age of 10) and asked for a job. I spotted a pile of sawdust on the floor, and upon seeing this, I asked Mr. Carson if he needed help, like sweeping up that pile of stuff on the floor. For some reason, I think my approach irritated him, because his answer back to me was a short "if I needed help, I'd have my own son come in and sweep." So much for finding a job that summer at the age of 10.
I did, however, send away for a case of All Occasion Greeting Cards from an ad I spotted in a Superman Comic. Of course, I never consulted mom and dad about this, and the day the box arrived, they were both at work. Upon seeing that big box addressed to Master David Sechrest, I said, "this is the happiest day of my life," and proceeded to tear open that box like it was a long lost Christmas present discovered in July. That "happiness" quickly faded to worry when no one wanted to buy those cards and mom and dad started getting calls from a lawyer wanting their money. I won't go in to any other details regarding my punishment, other than it was very difficult for me to sit down for a couple days.
Another venture, which also came from the back of a Superman comic, was selling seeds. As bad as the Greeting Card Fiasco had turned out, the seed business was a profitable venture. It didn't take very long at all for me to sell all the seed packs I had.
Growing up at 432 Center Street had its ups and downs as any childhood has. But looking back, there were more ups than downs, at least from this present perspective.
More to come about growing up on Center Street...