Dad would forget to get a loaf of bread at Kimmel’s store on a frigid Sunday morning, but he always got a fat Sunday newspaper. That newspaper was the origin of my quest to read. Dad grabbed the sports section, I laid the funny papers all over the floor, Mom had too much to do, it was packed. I even liked the cartoonists’ names. Jimmy Hatlo — “Little Iodine,” Ham Fisher — “Joe palooka.” There was Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, Dagwood, The Katzenjammer Kids, Nancy, Henry, and continuing episodes like Steve Canyon and Brenda Starr. There was Bill Holman’s-Smokey Stover that always had that Notary Sojac sign. There were educational ones like Ed Dodd’s-Mark Trail, and very delicately drawn ones like Hal Foster’s “Prince Valiant.”
All this and I still thought Uncle Remus, from “Songs from the South” by Joel Chandler Harris, was all of the above. Now Brer Rabbit owed Brer Bear one dollar, and he owed Brer Coon the same, and he Brer Possum, and he Brer Skunk, and he Brer Fox, and Brer Fox owed Brer Rabbit and give him back his same dollar, and everyone was paid up, and there was happy chatter all night in the forest.
Isn’t that capitalism? Well, it seems Dad’s stepfather said they went to town with little money, trading they called it, and perhaps Dad noticed. He started bringing me newspapers and magazine someone gave him at work.
Joe Fontana, Roxana
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