As seventh-grade students, Brother and I made the transition from Calvertville school to a huge city school in Worthington. The entire school, grades one through 12, was housed in one building located at Main and Dayton Streets.
At noon students could go home for lunch and older students could walk around the streets and do some serious courting as I often did. So many girls, so little time. The femme fatales would line up just to spend the lunch hour with me. Once they dipped their toe in Lake Van Deventer, other lakes just did not seem the same.
Directly across Main Street from the school building, was a small, white, house that remains to this day. An enterprising lady lived in that house -- Mrs. Davis. Many people that lived near the school looked out of their windows and saw a noisy bunch of kids who came to the building each day. Those kids would walk on their grass and sometimes stomped on their nasturtiums. She looked out of her front window, however, and saw an opportunity -- dollar signs. Those students had walking around money.
Mrs. Davis was a tall, friendly woman who wore her hair in a bun. She also wore glasses. Her front door had a small bell over it that jingled merrily as the door was opened and the customer entered.
She sold candy, chewing gum, soft drinks and ice cream. My first experience with several confectionery products happened in that store. Vanilla, chocolate and strawberry B-B Bats were some of my favorites. She also sold small packets of paraffin bottles of sugar water. One would bite off the top and get a tiny swig of sweet colored fluid that was intended to remind one of a carbonated beverage. It never did. Then you got to chew the paraffin and pretend it was chewing gum. She also sold taffy, black cows and caramels.
I remember buying chewing gum and several types of bubble gum. One type of bubble gum came in a small, pink, disk that reminded me of a hockey puck or a piece of granite with white powder on it. It would take two hours of saliva soaking, chewing and smooshing it around in my mouth to transform it into chewable, bubble-making consistency. It was easy to detect a bubble blower because thee were flecks of pink gum on his or her face, eyebrows, chin and nose.
How I wish I could enter a time machine and go back to the 1950s for a little while. I would walk across the street, open the front door, listen to that cheerful jingling bell and be greeted by Mrs. Davis. I would buy some of that granite bubble gum, a brown cow and a bottle of Coca-Cola. Then I would cross the street and sit on the front steps of the old school and spend some time reminiscing. That would make my day.
Sir Thomas Moore said, "You can't go home again." I would like to try.
Larry Vandeventer grew up north of Calvertville, graduated from Worthington High School and can be reached at Goosecrick@aol.com or at 6860 Sunrise Drive, Plainfield, Ind., 46168 or by phone at (317) 839-7656. He has written five books about his experiences.