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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Stephen W. Leslie

Soda Fountain

In 1960 my father wanted to escape the congestion of the Washington D.C. suburbs and found a house with seven acres for sale in Edgewater, Maryland about 50 miles away for only $18,000. The home had been owned by a couple that got divorced and were forced to sell it quickly. Most of the property was overgrown with weeds and scrub trees. While the sales price might not seem like a lot by today's standards it pressured my parents financially because they were still making the house payments on their old home. As a result I was never given an allowance, a small hardship, but it meant I was always hustling to find ways to make a bit of money to buy Superman comics and sweet soda fountain Pepsi's at the local drug store. I raised chickens to sell eggs. I raised a Holstein calf into a 2,000 pound steer and sold it. Each summer I would walk about 1 ½ miles down to the community pier and catch crabs which my mother would cook and sell.

Earthworms in a bucket
Scrawled hand painted sign
First summer job