C'est moi.The very first Mr. Eha's Place Picture Pages
Gathered together on this final edition of Mr. Eha's Place to save a little bandwidth

While rummaging in a dark corner of my toolshed in 1997, I turned over some scrap sheet metal left over from the second flying saucer project, and there I found the big, old storage chest I used to keep odds and ends in. There was plenty of junk in there which I threw it right out—an old erector set motor, some bent Lionel train track, a few marbles I thought I had lost, my speeding ticket from 1939, a half tube of Ipana toothpaste, a small unopened can of Heinz Fig Pudding, etc.—but I also found some good stuff, too: my Purple Heart from World War II, my Indian head penny collection, my old Barlow knife, my father's 21-jewel Burlington pocket watch, a few of my old Schoenhut Humpty-Dumpty Circus toys, and some old photos which I thought you might like to see—ones that the government somehow missed when they ransacked my property looking for evidence of the Martian visitation to Centerboro in 1955 and my involvement with it. I gathered some interesting pictures together and added a few more from old albums of mine and published them on the first Mr. Eha's Place site--long extinct. Here they are again...


I'm 14 and this is my first accordion.

This is yours truly in the side yard at 45 Clinton Street where I was born and have lived all my life except for the time I was in the service. And briefly in jail. It's the summer of 1934, and I'm about 14 years old at this time. That's my first accordion, which I still have, and which I will never put up for grabs at any of my Internet Yard Sales. My folks bought this old Sears accordion for me because they thought if I developed an interest in music I'd stay out of trouble. Not that I gave them that much reason to believe I'd get into trouble, and not that I actually got into that much trouble. I sometimes wish my parents could have afforded a piano, as I'm sure I would have been much more popular at parties. Not all people are astute or discriminating enough to appreciate the loveliness of accordion music.

Herb and I in the Army

This is a picture of me (left) and Herb M. Garble. We were great friends from childhood, and we went into the U.S. Army together after our high school graduation in 1939. More about Herb later, especially concerning our falling out after my abduction by Martians from a cottage up on the St. Lawrence River and his failure to return the Studebaker I left him in my will. He, along with a number of other individuals and groups, simply assumed that I had perished in a boating accident, which, as you know or should know, was not the case.

My Little Lulu

This is Lulu, my splendid little dog, taken in June of 1939, a couple of months before I left for the service. Recognize the setting? I always thought that Lulu would have made a better Toto than that dog that got the part. Lulu was the best little creature! Smart. Loyal. Frisky. A real all-American dog who met her end chasing an all-American Ford. Other dogs I have owned since include Beauty (a beagle), Chloe (daughter of Beauty), Rex (another beagle), Heidi (a dachshund--I got tired of beagles), and my current dog Chloe Too, a Brittany. Click on her name for a picture. Although I thought the world of all my dogs, not one of them could hold a candle to Lulu. She was the best!

Infant Martian

This was a newly hatched Martian infant in the nursery on their saucer. At this time, it was about 1/2 inch long, and if it survived the fierce competition with its nestmates, it would reach its adult size of two to three feet in about a year. Martians always travel with a nursery which simulates their natural environment because they continuously lay eggs, and their belief system demands that each egg hatch in Martian sand. The Martians are not particularly nurturing, and this little fellow was pretty much on his own in the nursery. The adults would feed the hatchlings regurgitated food, but each would have to fend for itself for its portion, no holds barred. On Mars, only the strong survive. It's a biological principle which they deliberately embedded in their cultural and social practices to insure the strength of their species.

 

Uncle Ben at "work"
That crazy Uncle Ben!
Uncle Ben in decline

 

When I helped put out the big fire at the Bean farm, I saved some of their old picture albums among other things. I never did get around to giving them back, so I have been able to include some photos of their family here. At the upper left is Benjamin Bean, known as "Uncle Ben" to everyone, "working" on the second flying saucer project in his hayloft workshop at the Bean farm. We let him think he was helping us build the saucer just to make him happy. I have no idea exactly what he's doing here, but then no one ever really knew much about anything Uncle Ben was doing. He probably didn't, either. Next are two photos of Uncle Ben just a couple of years later, right before they took the poor fellow away for the final time. After he went completely bonkers, he took to wearing ladies' hats lined with aluminum foil and examining the soil in the Beans' vegetable garden through a hula hoop. When queried about these unusual activities, he just said, "Gettin' ready." He always was a man of few words--a detail Mr. Brooks gets absolutely right in the series. I suspect he was getting ready for a full-scale Martian invasion, although the details of his preparations, other than the foil-lined hats, make little sense to me.

Human-Martian Hybrid?

I believe that this image depicts the result of a Martian-human hybrid experiment. I don’t know when it was taken, or by whom (or what), or how it wound up in my possession. Some, but not all, of my memories of the Martians are missing, but I have a strong feeling that one of their young may have been playing around with what we would call a science fair project. Since no such ghastly creature has been seen on Earth, it must have gone back to Mars with them.

Lazy Freddy Boy
Hank's Motorcycle

Here are three pictures of Frederick Bean. You see him first in a typical pose of his indolent youth—while everyone else on the farm worked themselves silly, he’d park himself in the shade of a tree and read the betting news. Next you see him astride the motorcycle he won off Hank Pferd in an undoubtedly crooked card game. Finally, you see below a photo taken about the time of his disappearance.


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Mrs. Underdunk (Young)
Mrs. U. and Pookie
Mrs. U. and her harp

First, a not-too-recent photo of my sweetheart Mrs. Underdunk. Pretty hot, wasn’t she? She turned a lot of heads when she was young and wound up marrying Humphrey Underdunk and the considerable fortunes of his family. Next is a more recent photo of her trimming her poodle Pookie’s nails. Notice the hat? When I was married to Harriet, I had her design a hat that looked just like the Martian’s flying saucer—just for fun, you know. Well, it was never meant to be sold, but Mrs. U. saw Harriet wearing it one day, fell in love with it, and just had to have one made for herself. It’s the only one of its kind, Harriet's having been destroyed in a domestic dispute! To this day, Mrs. U. wears the "saucer" hat when she goes out in the sun to garden or when we go paddling on Oteseraga Lake. Well, enough of that. Finally, you'll see Mrs. U. playing the harp--beautifully! Probably no one else has ever thought of duets for harp and accordion, but we make splendid music together! I've asked her to play senior centers and shopping malls with me, but she has an aversion to performing in public, so all our duets are strictly at-home affairs.

William Bean and Peter

This is William Bean, Freddy’s father. In this undated picture, he is clowning around with his pet black bear, Peter. He raised it from an orphaned cub that he and Judge Willey had found when hunting whitetail deer in the Adirondacks. Peter was an amazingly tolerant and intelligent animal who would accompany William on hunting trips just like a devoted dog. He would put up with almost any kind of nonsense from William. Here, for example, at a hunting camp in the mountains, William is attempting to lift Peter by his ears. The note on the back says that William lost his left thumb about five seconds after the picture was snapped, and that Peter hightailed it off into the woods, never to be seen again.

Jinx and cat

Another undated photo, this of James “Jinx” Bean. Everyone remembers him as a sweet, even-tempered little fellow who, upon reaching puberty, suddenly turned into a wisecracking, clowning, rumbustious little joker. But he was so good-natured that it was difficult not to forgive him his pranks (which were never mean or malicious or even remotely criminal), and he continued in this style for as long as he stayed in Centerboro. He loved cats as you can see in this early photo. Isn't it amazing how he came from the same household as Freddy, and yet turned out so much better than his miserable brother.

The three sisters

Clockwise from left: the sisters Mrs. Wogus, Mrs. Wurzburger, and Mrs. Wiggins. They were Centerboro’s “merry widows,” in a town where there seemed to be a hugely disproportionate number of widows. (Must have been the Ignormus...Ha, ha!) I have no theories to explain this phenomenon. Those who are familiar with Centerboro history and lore will no doubt be saying, “You know, he’s absolutely right! There were a lot of widows.” Even Mr. Brooks must have been impressed with this fact. In many of his pallid fictions about Centerboro, it’s widows, widows, and more widows. (There are even more today.)

 

Young Martha Doty Old Martha Bean

Now look closely at these two pictures. Can you guess who they are? If you couldn’t get the one on the left, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. It’s a photo of the pretty, free-spirited, and young Miss Martha Doty, soon to become William Bean’s bride. (She resembled Ruth Buzzi, didn’t she?) The second photo was taken shortly before she and William left for Florida. See what a lifetime of farm drudgery and raising that wretch Freddy did to her? What a shame! Well, when Madeline Bean came of age, her mother practically pushed her out the door so that the same thing wouldn’t happen to her. On the back of the picture it says she is eating a chicken wing, just in case you wondered. Here's something no one ever knew until now: it was Mrs. Bean's chicken wing recipe that Dixon featured on Friday nights when his magnificent deep-fried wings went two for 5 cents when you bought a pitcher of beer. I'll bet Mrs. Bean could have parlayed her recipe into a fortune if she or her husband had had any business sense.

Charles Polo, ?, and Freddy

From the left you see Charles Polo, ?, and Frederick Bean, members of the children's choir at Centerboro First Baptist Church. Angelic, weren't they? Who could have predicted then what Freddy would become and the sad tale of poor old henpecked Charlie. I guess there's some kind of lesson in a photo like this--a lesson about lost innocence, fate, nature vs. nurture, bad seeds, the luck of the draw. Ho hum! As I see it, some people are just doomed from the start--for whatever reason. Isn't that what the ancient Greeks taught us in, say, Oedipus Rex? So when folks used to wonder why Freddy turned out the way he did, I just shrugged my shoulders and told them, "Hey, that's the way the ball bounces."

Lovely Madeline Bean

This is lovely Madeline "Minx" Bean just before she left Centerboro to go to school and travel and write. There wasn't one farmboy or young lad from town who wasn't in love with her, and many hearts were broken when her mother insisted that she leave the farm to get a college education so she wouldn't get stuck in Centerboro. Once in a while she'd come back for a visit and mesmerize us with tales of her adventures in India, Tibet, Australia, and so forth. But once the old homestead was gone and her parents had retired to Florida, we never heard from her or about her again. I keep trying to locate her through the Internet-- but no luck so far, darn it!

Hallowe'en Tableau

I was born on October 31, 1920, and every year I decorate my yard for my birthday and various holidays as well. (I am a bit famous for this in Centerboro.) Last year in 1996 I created a little Hallowe'en tableau which I thought was both artistic and amusing. The dark, many-limbed figure approaching the happy little unsuspecting pumpkin family from the upper left has been partially cropped out, but it is a scaled-down representation of a Martian yekkat, a ferocious omnivore that constructed webs like Earth spiders to entangle its prey, which was just about anything else capable of movement. The 12-legged yekkat also was able to chase down its meals at speeds of up to 40 m.p.h. The Martians considered yekkat flesh a delicacy, and it is a measure of their own ferocity and bravery that long before the dawn of the first great Martian civilization, they had already wiped the yekkat out using only a simple hunting implement resembling a barbecue fork.

Bill Wonks??

I found this photo in my tin box, but I don’t know who it is. There is no inscription on the back, and I know it is no one from my family or from the Beans' family. Perhaps someone from Centerboro seeing this can help me out. It’s really bothering me that I just can’t place this person. I think it may be Bill Wonks from Boomschmidt’s circus, but why would I have his picture? Someone wrote to me after seeing this photo in the first edition of my site and said it might be Sheriff Higgins, but believe me, I know what he looked like, and it's not even close. Someone else wrote and said it looked like that organ grinder they chased out of town in 1943 for bothering the ladies, but it's not him, either.

Jinx's Sailboat

On the back of this photo is a note that says Jinx is launching his toy sailboat at the Camphor estate beach on Oteseraga Lake while Madeline (r.) and her friend Jenny Hall look on.

 

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