Mother, sisters Lorraine and Joan, and me in my Starke uniform

At the Beginning: Page Three

When I was twenty, Dad got the idea of not working with jobbers, but working with the large chain stores, of which there were about eight or ten, like Woolworth, Kress, and McCrory. A sale to one of them would be the equivalent of fifty sales to a jobber. It was a good idea, except it caused us to move to New York City.

I had two sisters, Lorraine and Joan. Lorraine was born about four years after I was. There was a great deal of fuss about Lorraine, and I didn’t like it. I tried to swap her for a billygoat, but the transaction fell through. As we grew older I preferred Lorraine to a billygoat. Really, I loved her very much. Unfortunately, she died about ten years ago. My sister Joan is still in good shape and bothering me regularly, and I love her very much. However, if someone would offer me two billygoats... Joan lives in Boston, the Hub—of the Universe I suppose.

Sunday mornings, Lorraine and Joan would come into my bed with me and I would read the funny papers. All week long we looked forward to Sunday. The funnies were so good that they were a section by themselves. I remember Maggie and Jiggs, Mutt and Jeff, Bringing Up Father, The Katzenjammer Kids, and Little Orphan Annie. Lorraine had great faith in me. I had a BB gun when I was about seven years old. She would put a BB on her shoe and let me shoot it off, from two or three feet. I promised her I would give her a Kewpie doll for this. And I kept my word—on her fiftieth birthday I gave her one. This was a squarer deal than Mark Twain made with his brother, Henry. To secure favors, Mark promised to give Henry the first fifty-cent piece he found floating down the river on an anvil.

When I was six years old, I had to go to school.

Next Section: Grammar School