Picture Page #44

A Small Deposition of Oddments & Sundries
Upon the Sedimentary Layers of the Internet

If you grew up in Centerboro before these tracks were torn up and the bridge torn down and sold for scrap, you'd recognize this location straight off. Is there a story? Of course there's a story! You'd have to dig deep in police records and the newspaper archives at the Centerboro Free Library to get the whole story. Neither is accessible online as far as I've been able to determine, so to save you the trouble of a trip to Centerboro, I'll give you the short version.

This was a favorite hangout of Centerboro school-aged kids. We swam in the little creek that the bridge passed over, set things on fire, smoked cigarettes stolen from our parents, hatched plots, settled differences with fist-fights, inducted new members into a circle of friends, traded comic books and baseball cards, and placed pennies on the rails for trains to flatten.

That is until Henrietta Polo's remains were found buried nearby. Thoroughly spooked, kids found another place for their relatively harmless mischief. In case you're interested, there's a brief account of Henrietta's demise on the What Ever Happened to...? page.

If you squint at the top photograph, you'll easily make out the Palace Theater down there on Main Street, Centerboro--that is before the half-witted majority of the town council decided to take the Urban Renewal money and destroy downtown Centerobo with it. You can see the impact of that cretinous decision upon the Palace in the second photograph.

Where once residents of Oteseraga County assembed to eat popcorn and watch movies, they now fatten themselves at a Wendy's or Burger King, watch birds fatten themselves from the pickings in the rubbish-strewn parkling lot, or walk a few steps to wander the ugly and largely deserted Oteseraga County Country Mall.

Alas, sic transit gloria mundi.

I spent many hours enjoying many movies in the Palace. I do not go to movie theaters anymore. Once theaters like the Palace shut down and multiplexes opened up, it just wasn't the same. As a matter of fact, I'd have to say I hate going to the movies. My top six reasons...

  1. Rude, discourteous, obnoxious, & witless moviegoers both young and "adult" who don't know the difference between a family room and a theater and who display no evidence of having been taught even the rudiments of appropriate social behavior!
  2. Mobile phones/devices in the hands of the above disagreeable boors!
  3. The expense of tickets. I can watch all the movies I want for a month through Netflix for the price of a single movie ticket!
  4. Bad, really bad homogenous, dull, witless movies!
  5. Loud chewing, guzzling, & chomping!
  6. Commericials for Pete's sake! Commercials I'm forced to pay to have lobbed at me and loudly at that!

Oh, to be able to walk through the doors of the Palace just once again. Just once.

As you may recall, Herb Garble's father was the manager of the credit and finance department of Seibring's Motor's, Inc. almost directly across Main Street from the Courthouse Building where I made a few appearances over the years--but not nearly as many as you might believe owing to the distorted caricature "Mr. Eha" in the Freddy books that Mr. Brooks based upon me. But I digress, something which is happening more and more frequently (and alarmingly) these days. I offer this "matchless" bit of Centerboro ephemera for sale today in order to raise some cash for my ever increasing co-pays. It is yours for a mere



It's an afternoon in 1935 on Main Street, Centerboro, looking east. I would have been 15 then.

It was a time when suburbs were unknown, when you could in the space of a half hour visit (on foot, mind you!) a hat shop, a five and dime store, one of two banks, a custom tailor, a drug store, a flower shop, and then maybe stop at the Centerboro Hotel for lunch.

After lunch you might stroll down the sidewalk to Sibney Memorial Park to enjoy the splashing fountain and do some people watching. It was almost certain that you'd encounter a friend or acquaintance and spend some time in pleasant conversation if not philosophical rumination.

And if you happened to be making a day of it, perhaps next you'd catch a mid-afternoon matinee at the Palace, pick up a few odds and ends at the Busy Bee, or check out the latest models at Seibring's Motors.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a day in town...at least in 1935.



Now here's something every Freddy enthusiast and collector ought to have, the December 2010 issue of Firsts, The Book Collector's Magazine. I discovered my copy on eBay where it shows up rather infrequently.

You might be able to buy a back issue directly from the publisher if, of course, it's still available. If it isn't, here's a link to an eBay search for this issue--which is probably a collector's item in its own right.

Still no luck? Well, then, it could be worth your while to do an Amazon search as well. On March 26, 2014, there was a copy a fanatical Freddyite might snaffle for a mere $12.00.

My copy is, however, not for sale.

Extraordinary Ignormus for Sale!

Limited Time Special Offer!

Free Bonus Freddy Books!

Speaking of collectibles, here is a genuinely nonpareil edition of a title from the Freddy Canon, one of the best I have ever come across--and believe me, I have come across some real beauties over the years. I am putting this item up for sale, but I caution the discriminating collector that there are two characteristics that this volume lacks. They are noted in the chart below. Otherwise, this delightful copy of Freddy and the Ignormus is simply chock-a-block with desirable qualities that will make it the perfect addition to your Knopf edition collection!

Later edition in "reading copy" condition
Library binding, preferably Buckram
Library stickers, stamps, and/or markings
Discard from preferred library--in this case, the Centerboro Free Library
Considerable shelf wear
Soiled, scuffed, stained, & spotted covers
Bowed, bumped, rubbed, & frayed covers
Loose joints/binding
Cocked spine with distinct slant

Edgeworn and dampstained

Pages soft with closed & open tears
Wormholes/insect damage
Gluten free & no measurable peanut or tree nut content

Yours for only $600.00!

Sorry! It's Been Sold.

But wait! There's more!

Limited Time Special Offer! If and only if you are a verifiable member of the Friends of Freddy organization, you are eligible to purchase the following items at exciting one-time-only prices! Offer expires April 15, 2014.

Freddy the Detective (pb, Science Research Associates ed.)--unfortunately in very good to near fine condition, but with the ineffable Charles Biro illustrations! ($215.00) Sold

Freddy and the Popinjay (hc, no dj)--featuring a simply outstanding example of an electrical tape repair!
($225.00) Sale Pending Sold

Freddy and the Space Ship (hc, no dj)--a wonderful specimen of an elementary school ex-lib with a striking discard mark! ($200.00) Sold

Act soon! Buy any item above and receive a free bonus Freddy book!

Speaking of the Centerboro Free Library, here's a view of its downstairs children's room. While adults meandered about upstairs, children were free to browse the shelves downstairs without the undue and oppressive attention of grown-ups.

I'll wager you're wondering where the Freddy books were shelved? They were on the unseen wall beyond the right edge of this old photo which dates back, I believe, to the late 1930s. The library is much older than that, of course, and it's owing to its shelves of thoughtfully selected literature that I became at all interested in books.

Some of you must surely remember libraries that were largely empty of unsupervised and ill-behaved children, loud conversations, and cell phones in use despite the rules against cell phone usage; libraries that had only books on their shelves, not yards and yards of DVDs and CDs; libraries that had long, roomy tables upon which one might pile up a stack of reference books for some quiet research.

What havens they were! What heavens, too! I miss them even more than the Palace Theater!


Click the thumbnail to view a large image of an amusing find. The eyes are blue, but the age is off by a month or so. Bad record keeping? Use your browser's back button to return here.
Mr. Eha's Place Table of Contents

Yes, It Is Nearly Hallowthanxmas™! Shop Now!