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Carl Bonde, first grader.

July 4, 2016

First Grade

Saturday, September 16, 1930SCN_0044


Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar

Your dad drives a rusty car.

Pull the lever, push the choke,

Drive away in a trail of smoke.

Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar

Your dad drives a rusty car.


Buddy’s friend Teddy lived across the road.  The two first-graders played soldier whenever they got together.  Buddy and he also experimented with light
er fluid and matches, wrestling, and even poking their fingers into each other’s butts during the many hours they were unsupervised.

Life was good for Buddy.  Not for Teddy, because unlike Buddy, his dad didn’t own five acres, only a house and yard down the hill and across Fifth Street. But, on the other hand, Teddy had old abandoned rusty cars to play in.

One morning Teddy waited for Buddy at the foot of the hill.

“Hey!” shouted Teddy, spying Buddy and his dog Prince, hiking down toward the bridge.  The morning was bright, barely any hint of autumn, save the narrowest brown on the edges of the leaves of the apple trees that dotted the hill.  The air was chilly too.

“Hoo,” returned Buddy.  “Go to hell!”  What a thrill to shout a swear word his mother would likely spank him for.  If she had heard him.

“You go to hell!”


Buddy had to slip out of the house early on weekends to stay clear of his three sisters who would dominate him if they caught him.  Oh, they sometimes took him swimming in the pool at the park, but too often, the teenage girls just ended up downtown at Norm’s News, hanging out with high school boys.  Buddy soon learned to get up earlier than his sisters.

As they usually did, Buddy, Prince, and Teddy met at the barn at the foot of the hill.  The home made door was almost always open and the air was cool in the shade of the interior.  It always smelled sort of like dirt and oily rags. The two sat on a bench that went with a picnic table that served as catch-all for tools.  Teddy looked expectantly at Buddy.

“Here they are,” said Buddy, producing a pack of Pall Malls.

“Gimme one,” demanded Teddy.  “Gotta light?”

Here, Buddy produced a silvery Zippo.  He expertly flicked it open and, after a couple tries, lit it.  Teddy held the cigarette to his mouth and leaned in toward the flame.  “Ah,” Teddy said, puffing a silver cloud of smoke.  “Outstanding!  And they are mild.”  Of course he was reciting an ad from the radio.

“Go ahead and inhale!” Buddy said.

Teddy did, but began coughing.  “I’d rather puff,” he said, once he caught his breath.

Soon the pair were puffing on their cigarettes, leaning against the barn.  Just like a couple old soldiers.  The smoke made their mouths water and they spit frequently.  One cigarette apiece was enough.  Carl hid the rest of the pack over the top of the door frame.


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