Visions Of Howland's In Their Heads
Department stores always fascinated me. They were quiet, respectable places where clerks waited on you and knew everything about their products. The soft, muffled bells rang occasionally and I still don’t know what they were for; it just added to the mystery of the place, as did the vacuum payment and change containers.
“Whoooosh,” they went, up the metal tubes, swishing around the store to an office somewhere. Then “Whoooosh, clunk,” as it returned. How did it know to find us? Did we have our own steel tube going to that office in the sky? Inquiring little boys’ minds want to know.
Then Mom and I would go to another store, a cafeteria of sorts, as I recall, for lunch. Just the two of us. She told me, years later, she did that because she wanted to learn who we were, my brother and I. A one-on-one was the best way to see who we were becoming, to hear us, our interests, our ideas.
One of my ideas was to go up to the elevated railroad station and wait for a train to go by, hopefully to stop. That was the best time of all.