Hellion Envy

Froggy had it all. His parents had the wisdom not to interfere in his life. He played whenever and wherever he wanted, went to school when he pleased and never got held back. Wonder of wonder, his Granny Bounds had a store bus chock full of marvelous goodies. When she showed up, we ripped through the house, ferreting out pennies and a rare nickel. Under Mother’s irritating supervision, we ran to the bus and studied its amazing contents. Bins at the front held dusty unwrapped candy which we were not allowed to have. Mother was fussy about things like dirty candy. Suckers, gum, and BB Bats were a penny. Kits and jaw breakers were five for a penny. Stage planks were an extravagance at a nickel for a package of two. A pack of ten cookies was a dime. If you were lucky enough to have a nickel, you could get a little brown bag with enough goodies to taunt your friends all day. Phyllis was expert at this. I didn’t have her self-control, so once I tried to fool her by carrying a bag of rocks, but it didn’t take long for the rocks to work through, messing up my plan.

Back to Froggy and his awful brothers. They tore through that bus loading up on goodies, tusseling over the toys and penny candy till Granny shooed them out. No business could be conducted until they were off. We pored over the cheap toys: sling shots, jump ropes, cap pistols, jacks, and paddle balls. You could maim your friends for only a quarter. I loved my Grandma, but when that store bus showed up, I would have swapped her in a heartbeat.

The neighbor ladies got their turn when the kids were through. Granny Bounds brought them needles, buttons, combs, hairpins and such items. If they were desperate, they could buy Granny Bound’s, weevilly flour, meal and hard sugar. Once loaded on the bus, stock stayed till sold. Let the buyer beware!


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