Number 23


The old phaeton

Manufacturer's plate on the phaeton

Yes, sir, here we have the very phaeton which is mentioned so often in the Freddy books. This is what you'd call a drop front phaeton with a surrey top, as if you didn't already know that. As you can see from the closeup photograph of the manufacturer's plate on the buggy, it was made quite some time ago by the H. H. Babcock Company. This is a recent photograph of the thing which I took when I got wind that the old Macys had purchased it years ago at the estate sale after the big fire at the Beans' and had been storing it in their barn all these years. The Macy offspring didn't know exactly how old the buggy is or when and where the Beans had originally purchased it, so I have no information like that to pass on, but they did lead me to believe that they might be willing to part with it for a reasonable best offer. If I think I can get a good price for it at my next Internet Yard Sale (Spring 2002), I might just make that offer myself!
Mrs. Bean and a fork salesman A picture of Mrs. Bean and a traveling fork salesman by one of the farm outbuildings. Itinerent salesmen of all sorts were fairly ubiquitous in our rural upstate area, at least until department stores like the Busy Bee made it much easier for the housewife to get all the basics in one place at one time if she so desired. Note Mrs. Bean's attire in this and in the following picture. Unless she was in her go-to- town garb or Sunday best, she was never seen without her kitchen apron.
Mrs. Bean, Mrs. Church, and a lot of cats Another photo of Mrs. Bean, Mrs. Winfield Church, and a herd of Bean farm cats. Although Mrs. Church was a bona fide member of the Oteseraga County upper crust and Mrs. Bean was your basic rank and file member of the hoi polloi, they were best of friends. Mrs. Church had always been decidedly odd, if not outrageous, in her whims, fancies, and associations. As rich as she was, for example, she actually did possess and wear nothing more expensive than cheap costume jewelry--a detail that Mr. Brooks got right in the series. Her friendship with that reprobate Frederick raised more than a few eyebrows, and many tongues wagged over the quite friendly (shall we say?) "countess & chauffeur" relationship she had with her driver Riley. Hmmmm.
Mrs. Church's mansion A nice vintage shot of Mrs. Church's rather nice house in Centerboro. Wouldn't you just love to have pulled up in your automobile and sauntered in for a nice dinner and chinwag with Mrs. Church, the very nonpareil of Centerboro society? This is the very house in which Mrs. Church and the demonic Frederick Bean attempted to murder me at a dinner party by pulling the rug out from under my feet as I was descending a set of stairs after using the bathroom. Naturally no one believed my story, despite the numerous bumps, scrapes, and bruises I suffered on my way down. I was most satisfied, therefore, when upon her death, a complete bounder purchased the estate and let it go to ruin. A nest of hippies comprised the last inhabitants of the place just before it burned to the ground in the early 1970s.
Centerboro approached from the west Another photograph of Centerboro, approached from the west. I include this photo because a former Centerboro resident asked if I had this specific view in my photo albums. (I have no idea what his interest in such a drab scene might be, but see how accommodating I am?) Across Main from the Courthouse is the corner of Main and Madison, where Herb Garble's father was the manager of Siebring's Motors and Collision.
Main and Herkimer Another view of of the intersection of Main and Herkimer just before downtown Centerboro starts. Isn't that a splendid memorial to all the Oteseraga County boys chewed up on the battlefields created by the warmongering sociopaths who seem always to rise to the kind of powerful positions that allow them to declare war and send others to their deaths?   
Main and Herkimer in 1841 Of course you will immediately apprehend the similarities between this image and the two right above. It is the intersection of Main and Herkimer as it appeared in 1841, when Centerboro was but a mosquito-infested quagmire.
Circus giant and legless wife Here's that picture of the Boomschmidt Circus giant and his legless wife that I refer to on Picture Page 22, proof that there's somebody out there for everyone. I believe they started their careers with Boomschmidt and then moved on to a bigger circus. This couple was among the most affable of the circus's sideshow folks, and they actually enjoyed mingling with the assorted gawkers, hicks, rubes, and bumpkins who came to see them. After all these years, I have forgotten their names, but I think that nice folks like these--who didn't at all mind discussing how one got around without legs, or where one could buy gigantic clothes, or if they had children--actually did humanity a great service by teaching tolerance and understanding to a largely chuckeheaded bunch of hayseeds. (By the way, they did have children.) 

Quick Link