So many pleasant memories of childhood days came rushing back to me as I read "Trumpeting the coming of Rag Man," by Gene Allison in The Tribune- Democrat on Feb. 25.
I, too, along with three brothers and three sisters. was a part of those bare foot children who spent much time searching everywhere for bits and pieces of colored glass, rags, bottles or whatever we could find and then hiding and hoarding our precious loot with much impatience, just waiting to hear the jangling and ringing of the bell on the ragman’s wagon. A signal that it was finally time to retrieve our precious loot.
But the pennies didn’t have a chance to get warm in our hands before we were halfway down, to see Mrs. Elevander, a cheerful, elderly maiden lady who had a candy store in one room of her house. She was just as sweet as the candy she sold and had a special love for children.
Just as special was the big box of tiny chocolate candy eggs, with sooooo many white centers, sooooo tiny for a whole penny, that one was very reluctant to take a big chance of getting a pink center, which entitled the purchaser to the large chocolate one in the box. But no matter, Mrs. Elevander couldn’t bear the forlorn look on the face of the child when he or she bit into it and, horror of horrors, it had a white center.
She would say, "Here, we’ll just bite a couple more and maybe we’ll find a pink one," and she usually did.
It was only when I got older that I realized the pleasant times spent with her swinging on her back porch, chatting with her, enjoying the beauty of the lush green bushes that fenced her backyard and the fragrance of the beautiful flowers in her old-fashioned garden. I had received something much niore precious than the large chocolate egg in that box.
The flavor of her companionship and her little back-room store remains with me still.