C'est moi. Another Mr. Eha's Place Picture Page
Number 16

 

Cute little bugger, isn't he? On the back of this photograph is a notation that Sarah (Boomschmidt, that is--wife of Ulysses X. and mother of Orestes, Hercules, and Hector) is bottle-feeding baby Leo. I'd conjecture that this must be the very lion upon which Brooks based his character Leo, and it therefore is the very lion which in reality grew up to maul Orestes severely and end his career as a circus proprietor and ringmaster. If one thinks long enough about this image, one cannot help but experience a certain unsettling, yet piquant irony.
Farmers' Riot--bet that hurts! This photograph captures a scene most folks in Centerboro would just as soon forget. The 1930s were not happy years for farmers, who had trouble paying their mortgages and other loans. A group of Centerboro-area farmers marched one day to protest in front of the First National Bank. They were met on the outskirts of Centerboro by a number of club-wielding citizens who had been deputized by the sheriff's department to keep them off the streets. In the ensuing minor riot, both sides suffered a number of physical injuries, but the deeper damage was done to the amicable relations that had always existed between the farmers and the townspeople. William is somewhere in this snapshot.
The caves are nearby! Do you recall from the Freddy books that valley one must cross to get from the Bean farm to Camphor's estate or Oteseraga Lake? Of course you do. Here is the narrow western portion of that valley. I do not know the exact vantage from which this photograph was taken, but you are looking south, and the lake would be in back of you. In the distance, you can see the "back road" as it wends its way westward.
Mirabel Margarine and friends My, my--what a pleasantly bucolic scene! This is Mirabel Margarine, originally from Casper, Wyoming, wife of Elihu and mother of Billy and Francine (the winner of the Miss Flying Saucer contest in 1955). The note says she is paying a visit to the neighboring Bean farm, but there is no date. The Margarines lived on a sizable spread of countryside just down the road to the west of the Beans. Elihu was a wealthy gentleman farmer who liked to throw his weight around, but Mirabel could be rather charming and almost likable.
The quintessential William Here you have a photograph of the adolescent William Bean, sans the omnipresent beard of which much is made in the Freddy series--but note the pipe, a standard feature of William in real life and in the books. This photo from the family album doesn't specify the setting or the date, but it is most likely the Bean farm upon which William grew up and which he took over from his father. Those outbuildings you see in the background most certainly had been razed and replaced by the time I first visited the farm as a boy to swim in the duckpond, play marbles, and hang out in the treehouse, as I do not recognize them. That double-barreled shotgun William sports is, I believe, featured in Freddy and the Ignormus, Simon the Dictator, etc.
Here is a trio of Boomschmidt clowns, of whom you hear little very little if anything in the books, but there were clowns in his circus, naturally. And there was a freak sideshow, too, before such things became unfashionable. I remember once hearing the alligator man (my favorite) muttering about how the do-gooders were going to do him right out of a paycheck.

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