Number 19

 

Herb's childhood home This is the house where Herb Garble and his sister Mrs. Underdunk spent their childhood. At the time of the photo it was painted a dark maroon. The garage which Herb and I eventually burned down is out of sight around back. You might think that the early "environment" of Herb's rather forbidding house may have exerted some subtle and bad influence on him, but Herb was actually a decent boy, as you can see for yourself in the true story "Louis Doberman and the Bowling Shoes" at the Tales Out of School page. The garage story is there, too. Mrs. U. shared this photo with me.
Herb and a mess of fish While we're on the subject of Herb, here he is with a mess of fish he caught in the shallows at the east end of Oteseraga Lake. Herb and I would ride our bicycles up State Road 46 from Centerboro to Lakeville, as we did the day I took this picture with an old Kodak box camera. (Herb's bike lacked a chainguard. Let's see if you could have figured that out by looking closely at the photo!) The car in back of Herb belonged to someone or other who had driven up from Syracuse or Rome or Albany to fish (without luck) and who bought this stringer of fish from Herb to take home and brag about. We could always make a couple of bucks this way on any given summer's day.

Main Street around 1920

Downtown Centerboro, December 1925

Here are two previously unpublished (at least by me) photographs of good old Centerboro. In the top photo you see the south side of Main Street around 1920 or so judging by the makes and models of the cars parked along the street. The bottom photo is a Christmas shopping scene in downtown Centerboro in December 1925. Though I was just a little boy at the time, I remember with great clarity all the fun of window shopping, the clever store displays, and all the pretty Christmas lights. Now that all of America has become one large storefront for the corporate mob, Christmas has become much less charming, hasn't it. Those of us born in the first half of the last century probably feel the difference much more keenly than relative newcomers to the planet.
Bill Wonks shot from a cannon "With a Boomschmidt, Boomschmidt, boom, boom, boom!" Wheeeee! There goes Bill! This is another photo Herc gave me the day I got his autograph. Yes, it's Bill Wonks flying through the air after having been shot out of a cannon. Bill didn't last long in this job. The hearing loss and the concussions would have been enough to cause most people to quit, but not Bill. He kept at it until he nearly got himself killed bouncing out of the net, onto his back, and into the hospital one day. That's when he finally decided to settle down, take an easier job with the circus, and marry that little dressmaker from Yare's Corners. I think Herc told me that this photo was taken in Virginia.

Richard Byrd's snow cruiser

Another view

These are pictures of Admiral Richard Byrd's impressive Penguin 1 "snow cruiser" which stopped near Centerboro in 1939. It had been built in Chicago and was on its way to Boston, and then to Antarctica. Perhaps if Mr. Brooks hadn't already written a polar adventure story, More To and Again, this event would have inspired him to do so, since many of his stories are based on real happenings in Centerboro and Oteseraga County. By the way, these photos were taken by my father, and although you can't see me, I am in the top one with my mother.

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