Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Little House and Charlie

This little building on Mill Street has been there as far back as I can remember. Through the years it has been the building for various businesses. Not long ago I saw it and it brought back a memory.

The time was about 1956. Then the building housed a taxi company. It was a good size taxi company but not as big as Victory Cab. I went there one night to catch a cab. I had just come out of the Strand Theater and apparently saw something scary enough to keep me from walking the dark mile home. That was a year or two before I was 16. I did not yet have my driver’s license.

I walked into the building and men several men were talking, hanging out, and waiting to taxi someone. A little skinny old man was behind the counter with a 2-way radio system squawking. He was the dispatcher. I was glad to see Charlie working. If anybody needed money it was Charlie and his sister. They had nothing.
Several years earlier I started visiting Charlie at his old shack that he shared with his sister. I don’t remember how I ever got to know Charlie or for whatever reason I first went into their house.
When I did when he asked me my name and I told him the name Ed Hunter was already familiar to him. My father and his brothers, when they were young, were always getting into mischief or at times very innovative in little mini enterprises. They all lived in the same neighborhood and Charlie kept a watchful eye on them.

When I visited, usually on Sunday mornings, Charlie told me some very funny and adventurous stories about my father and his brothers. I wish I had retained them. Charlie’s sister never had much to say. She seemed to always be busy with kitchen work. That is where we sat, in straight back wooden chairs around the table.

Charlie was blind then too. I don’t know what happened or what kind of condition he had to cause him to lose his eyesight, but it didn’t tamper with his memory. I thought it was sad to see him follow the clothes line to their outhouse. They lived on Glover Street. Behind their house was the back wall of Glover Machinery.

They were sickly and poor with no income. I guess they were on some type of welfare and I don’t know how they fared back then before Medicaid. I remember his eyeballs protruded outward more than normal.

In a few years in early high school I began to be more social and “lets party” minded and more or less forgot about poor old Charlie and didn’t visit him anymore.
That was the last time I saw Charlie. Not too long after that Daddy told me Charlie had died and was buried in Marietta Potter’s field. The sister was sent to the poor house.

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