Three cents for the Governor
I used to get an allowance to spend each week. When I was in Smelterville, I think it was 50 cents - but in Pinehurst I think it was raised to $1. I would walk down the street to the Post Office / craft store. In those days, the Post Office took up half the building, and a craft store was in the other half. The craft store had a lot of yarn, and the lady who worked there was usually knitting something. I really liked to buy these animal crafts in boxes with styrofoam, feathers, pipe cleaners, etc. that cost 99 cents. The one I specifically remember was an Ostrich you could make with the styrofoam balls painted lavender for the head and body. After it was made, it would stand up on it's pipecleaner legs, and it may have hung by strings so you could make it walk.
One summer day, I went down (probably on a Friday - when I got my allowance) to purchase one of these animal kits. When the lady rang it up she said, "One dollar and two cents, please."
I replied, "I thought they were 99 cents, and I only have a dollar!"
She explained, "Well, now you have to pay state tax of 3 cents on a dollar."
"I guess I can't get it then," I offered. "I'll have to go home and see if I can get 2 more cents." But I was thinking, What a rip-off. I have to pay 3 extra cents for nothing. When I went home I had to have one of my parents explain to me why a kid has to pay money and get nothing for it. They called it tax - but it really wasn't anything.
Sometime after we moved to Pinehurst, I got a new bike. I think it was for Christmas. It was larger than my first bike, and I'm pretty sure it was turquoise. (See picture. This is a 1964 Murray jet fire girls bike. Except for the seat - which was likely 2-toned turquoise and white - it looked like that.) It was a great bike, and I would ride it down to the store (Morbeck's) on the southwest corner of Division and Main. (Many of you will remember it as Wilber's store in the '70s). I'd ride it all over the playgrounds at Pinehurst school. I loved it, because with the larger tires, it would go further with each petal, than my smaller bike had.
The next year, however, bicycle styles changed, and since my bike was only a year old, I couldn't get one of the new stingray bikes - but I think my sister got one. (She may have inherited my older red bike, and was now old enough to have a nice bike of her own.) My dad didn't want me to feel like an odd ball with this old bike, so he bought me a "banana seat" and the "sting-ray" handle bars to put on my bike. (Try doing that with a kid now-a-days!) Now my bike was a monster. It was the Grandmammy of all sting rays - twice as big as most, with the cool seat and handlebars. Dad even removed the flat part of the back fender, so the transformation would be complete.
I don't know how old I was when I realized how ugly that bike was, but I eventually quit riding it - banana seat and all. Everyone else's bikes were small enough to do wheelies, and mine was a morphed-out Brontosaurus. I couldn't get the front two wheels up for anything. It was embarrassing.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Three cents for the Governor