Number 22

 

Boomschmidt Circus Midway Here's a snapshot of the midway at one of the Boomschmidt circus setups at the Oteseraga County Fairgrounds. I cannot identify any of the folks standing around in this photograph from the Bean albums. This setup was pretty typical of the Boomschmidt circus to the best of my recollection. As a young boy, I particularly enjoyed the bigtop shows (especially that hot Mademoiselle Rose!), and, although this was strictly forbidden by my parents, I always peeked into the freak show attractions. Once the alligator man yelled at me to get the hell out, but the legless lady who was married to the giant (the one who took the place of "Tom Tall") said "C'mere, cutie" and patted me on the head. I had to bend way down for her to do that. For a picture of the the giant and his wife, click here.
Cousin Hermie and chicks This is another photograph from the Bean albums. It notes on the back that this is "Cousin Hermie feeing (sic) the chicks."  I am not, nor do I intend to ever become, an expert on the Bean genealogy, so I cannot shed any light on who this Cousin Hermie might be. My guess is that he is the fruit of some branch of the Doty tree rather than a pod off the Bean vine, as he bears some resemblance to the Dotys and is not saddled with the less refined features of the Beans. Every once in a while Mr. Brooks makes some reference to relatives of Martha or William, but other than the Snedekers and close relatives like Uncle Ben or Mrs. Bean's sister, I cannot think of any he mentions that are not purely made up. There is no "Amos Walnutt," for instance. I shall endeavor to publish a few more of the more engaging pictures of Bean relatives, and perhaps some of you Freddyite scholars with a lot more time on your hands than I have can start to piece together the history of the tribes.
Downtown Centerboro around 1927 A previously unpublished-by-me picture of dead-center downtown Centerboro. Judging from the cars and the attire of the strollers, I would say this must be around 1927 or 1928. For a couple of more pictures from the same vantage point, go here and here.
Lucius Snedeker riding a sawhorse Quite an amusing figure this gentleman is cutting, isn't it. I'll bet you can't guess who it is. Go ahead and try. Hah! I was right, wasn't I? This is Lucius Snedeker whose photo was snapped upon one of his visits to the Bean farm.
A very cool steam tractor I made reference on my "Hallowe'en Grab-Bag and Legal Defense Fund Sale" page to having "smoked like a steam tractor" at one time. Some non-agrarian readers queried me as to what a steam tractor would be, exactly. Well, here's an old steam tractor rigged up for threshing, I'd guess, on the Witherspoon farm on the other side of the Big Woods north of the Bean farm. William was there helping Zenas out, as neighboring farmers did in those days. You can see him driving the team of horses on the right. I don't remember exactly when steam tractors were replaced by the more modern internal combustion engine tractors, but every year a bunch of steam-engine fanatics assemble on the fairgrounds and put on quite a show with their antique machines. Next year's assembly is going to be on the fourth of July, so if you're interested in such things, you ought to make your motel reservation now. You may also rent a cot in my toolshed for a most reasonable fee. I have installed screen windows to keep the bugs out, and if it is a breezy night, it is not at all unpleasant in there.
Byram and Adoniram Here's a snapshot of Byram and Adoniram peering into the fenced off area just outside the Bean cowbarn. All you'd ever really need to know about the boys can be found elsewhere on this site.
Madline "Minx" Bean Who is this little angel lighting up? Why, it's Madeline "Minx" Bean. Unlike the scrubly snapshot of Byram and Adoniram above, this is a nice photo which was professionally done in a studio in Centerboro. One can easily guess why the Beans would have had Minx posed with a pipe like this. It's an obvious reference to her father's omnipresent pipe--like father, like daughter, you see. I am glad to report that Madeline never took up smoking, at least not while she lived around here, though during her rambling and wandering about the world, she may very well have. Smoking was considered quite the sophisticated practice among women back then, and I think that the miserable tobacco industry still promotes this lethal idea in its insidious advertisements, despite its claims to the contrary and its transparently self-serving and cynical proclamations discouraging smoking among the young.
The Centerboro Hospital where I was born Before 1900 there was no hospital in Centerboro. Mangled farmers, sundry contagious individuals, women with complicated pregnancies, etc., etc., either took care of themselves or went to a hospital in nearby Rome. At one of their summit meetings in the First Baptist Church, a number of local do-gooder women's groups decided to provide everyone in Centerboro "regardless of class, creed, or financial circumstances" with hospital services. I quote from a brochure they distributed back then soliciting funds for the building of the facility. How very nice of them. This is where I was born on October 31, 1920--the Centerboro Hospital. My mother was certainly thankful it had been built, for as she was inordinately fond of reminding me, I gave her a rather hard time on my way out. Incidentally and typically, the entire Freddyite community completely ignored my birthday again this year. Not that I keep score, but just see if I leave them anything in my will!
And speaking of my birthday and Hallowe'en, here is the Pumpkin 2001, my most splendid creation yet! Once again my artistry put me into conflict with my obnoxious and bovine neighbor who raised a ruckus about its allegedly deleterious effects upon her precious little darlings. "Worse than last year," she went about saying. "That guy oughta have his head examined!" I went about saying, "Hey, I modeled it after her!" For Pete's sake, it's just a pumpkin! The front page of any newspaper these days is far more frightening! As proof of how genuinely compassionate I am, I couldn't even bring myself to rattle my old Hallowe'en noisemaker (see it on my fundraiser page) at the little kiddies' window as I had planned, for I believe that with a mother like that and with the world in the sorry condition it's in, they have enough to deal with. But wait until next year! I have quite a surprise planned for the old cow! There is no doubt in my mind as to who is responsible for my pumpkin's being smashed in my driveway again this year!

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