Year End Thoughts

Year End Thoughts

Herald Dispatch, December 29, 1965

Written by: Charles Collett

Submitted by: Robert Kingrey

How was your Christmas? So was mine. While the presents were being distributed under the tree I began to realize that it was later than I thought. Living a hundred and fifty miles away, I don’t have an opportunity to see the grandchildren only a couple of times a year. Santa Claus put a safety razor in my grandson’s stocking- he’s a sophomore at high school now. It was last year that he asked for a bottle of Aqua Velva. His dad said you don’t shave yet. ” I know,” said Jerry, “but I want to smell like I do.”

May, I asked some of you old-timers if you remember the first time you shaved? Folks had never heard of Mr. Gillette when I first cut my lip with a Gem, or perhaps it was a Star. Anyway, a feller got more shaves with a blade than they do with that beep-beep made in England. The blade was thick and it was honed on a strap each time it was used. A barbershop shave cost but a dime and fifteen dimes set a feller up with his own close-shaving outfit to dude up once a week for a date or dance. A clown with a Castro beard like we see at the shindig today would have been thrown out on his chin.

It is somewhat different to visit the grandchildren than it was to go to grandmothers when I was a kid, we hop in the car now and in less time than it took the train to go to Sciotoville, and we are now in Chillicothe. The stops between Ironton and Sciotoville were at Hanging Rock, Haverhill, Franklin Furnace and Wheelersburg and at each stop the news butcher on the train with his tray of merchandise would walk through the coaches crying, “Last call for fruits, candy, peanuts”. The rain also stopped for water for the steam locomotive at Hanging Rock and the Pine Creek water tank.

That news butch, who wore a cap and blue uniform like the conductor and flagman, was a busy fellow. Peter’s chocolate bars were his best nickel buy. Just when you least expected, he had hot coffee and ham sandwiches. Next he came passing out magazines like they were free and in three minutes he would be back picking up the magazines or collecting a dime. He never forgot the chewing gum. His highest price-priced specialty, when the family was traveling with a child, was a glass pistol filled with candy beans for the boys or a glass doll filled with red peppermint drops for the girls that sold for 15 cents. The kids traveled on half-fare tickets and there were four in our family, and by the time the train reached Haverhill we kids had eaten the cost of a full fare ticket.

Folks, who didn’t travel before the days of the Model “T” know little about the joys of going to visit grandmother, the kids today sit in the back car seat looking at the passing highway billboards while going 65 miles an hour.

When I rode to Portsmouth on the steam train looking out the dirty coach window, counting the telegraph poles at the rate of 17 a minute, we were sure the train was going a mile a minute, yet it took an hour to get to Portsmouth and the news butcher got my whole week’s allowance before we got to Sciotoville.