Seeing the Old Home Town





Down the line next to the baseball diamond came the bowling alley,

where everyone who was not a fan or a golf fiend was taking a hand at

the sport. This alley was laid on a long board table, and the game

played with tenpins and small wooden balls. Six balls for a nickel they

sold here, and because the sport needed something to speed it up a bit

they linked it with the food table next door. The best cooks in town

presided over this. You paid your money for your tenpin balls, and

proceeded to run up a score by counting the numbers on the pins you

knocked down; the pins were set far apart to make it difficult. Then

you took your score to the food table, where certain numbers of points

brought you a glass of jelly, a can of mince-meat, a box of cookies, or

a jar of mayonnaise. That bowling alley certainly did appeal to the

women!



And if there was ever a more successful grab bag for the children than

the quoits game, the Ashton Welfare Committee wants to hear about it.

They called it a Good Luck booth for it had a horseshoe-shaped opening

with a row of numbered pegs across the back. The kiddies bought the

quoits, little wooden horseshoes cut from cigar-box wood, and tossed

them over a peg. The number of the peg corresponded to a numbered tag

which was handed out to be redeemed at the parcel-post window near the

aerial mail plane.



This aviator, by the way, was an official of the Cupid Airline, so he

advertised on his aeroplane, which was painted on a large curtain with

a hole cut out where the seat would be, and the wheel of an electric

fan poked through at the front and set going for a propeller. His mail

bag hung over the side of the car inside of which he stood in aviation

uniform, and for ten cents you could get your fortune in a small white

envelope out of the mail bag if you were a man, or in a pink envelope

if you were a girl.



But say, for a real scream, you had to take a sight-seeing trip in the

auto! It was worth twice the toll. Dottie Earle had charge of it, and

she made one of the funniest guides you ever heard. "This way, ladies

and gentlemen," she would shout through her megaphone; "get your

tickets for a tour of the city in the most magnificently equipped

sight-seeing autos that ever ran on three wheels and one cylinder! Only

twenty-five cents, two bits a ride! See the birthplace of Ashton's

mayor, the history of Ashton's past, its chief industries," and so on.



When her tourists assembled in front of her machine, which was a real

car, at least the front half of one, an old relic which the garage had

just about decided to scrap, its latter half hidden behind a dark

curtain, Dottie led them back of the curtain where the sights of Ashton

were hidden. In another black curtain were a series of holes not any

larger than a quarter, and behind each was one of the sights, a cradle,

a picture of the town dump, a scrubbing brush and a large pen-knife for

the sights already mentioned. For the Home Team she had a snapshot of

the Warren twins, for the competitor of the Herald, a telephone, and so

on with eight other "hits" on town topics and characters. So many

guffaws and squeals of laughter came from behind the curtain that they

had to call in a "traffic cop" to keep the crowd outside quiet.



The "traffic cops," by the way, were boy scouts. They had dark blue

costumes of cheap drill, trimmed with white braid, and wore white

cotton gloves and shiny badges. They really did have power invested in

them by the committee to preserve order and keep the crowds moving. At

one point they were allowed to stand with a semaphore and hold up the

crowd, not allowing anyone to pass who could not show a certain number

of tags from the various booths. This tag system was to insure that all

would play fair, for there was so much fun just watching other folks

spend money that the tightwads might never have taken their hands out

of their pockets or opened their purses.





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