Walking Home from School

Grade school walk home from school:

Library:  check out children's books on how to learn Chinese.  I think they were still using punch cards at this point.  Look at the elaborate punch card machine and files. Old Post Office:  it was a pricey candy stand manned by a blind man; this is where I once heisted a PayDay candy bar and had to return it and pay for it.  Look at the Wanted postings on the wall, and all of the marble and old light fixtures.  Black's Hardware:  old fashioned wood-floored hardware store has, upstairs, chemicals for when one runs out of chemicals for your chemistry set (common exchange:  hmmm... tannic acid and sulfur... ???). Kirlin's :  smell all the differently-scented candles, look at the peepul watchers (pom poms with google eyes), and miniature Peanuts-branded products.  Go to (local department store that begins with an "M"; I don't remember the name) and has a tea room on the mezzanine, a tea room with giant jaw breakers and other candy.  Order tea.  It came in a glass carafe.    On first visit, get asked, "Do your parents let you drink hot tea?"  Parents may have been called.  Become a regular.  Drink tea and examine the elaborate faux Victorian menu.  Invite friends for tea.  Carson-Pirie-Scott has tiny Hello Kitty-branded items.  Roth's: homemade peanut butter fudge sundaes. Del's:  just stand there and breathe, or go in and loudly wonder what pralines taste like. Enloe's:  no tax on candy bars. Bolay's Hobbies (next to Enloe's):  slot car racing, love beads.  Dodge the Jesus People (although the hippie chicks are nice, the guys are scary); dodge the (unaffiliated) Jesus Lady.  (I have accepted Jesus into my heart too many times to say.  You're just a walking target in a catholic school uniform.)

Junior high (same walk):

Go into Post's, The Legacy, etc. and look at all the pretty jewelry.  Check LPs, Videos, and strange paintings out of the library.  Look at 60's Vogue microfiche and current Harper's & Queens.  Go to the office supply store.  Visit that clothing store that was so very 30's Hollywood (Van... hmmm), with a grand sweeping staircase, and briefly had a disco basement.  From home, start walking back to downtown to the thirft shops.  Find a $20. bill on the street, together with a friend.  Try to turn it in to the thrift shop near where we found it.  Shopkeeper says no one has reported that missing.  It is ours.  We decide to blow it, of course.  Go to our favorite weird bodega/toy store.  Buy the most ridiculous sunglasses we can find:  my friend wisely purchased sparkle purple frames with pink-to-purple mirroring that made her look like a fly, I chose green sparkle frames with green and yellow mirrored lenses that made me look like a fly.  I do not recall how we spent the remaining $15.  Probably at Fannie Mae:  she loved peppermint bark, and I was a mint-melt-a-way devotee.

High School:

Get a ride to downtown, which is walking distance home.


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