I continued delivering Star Weekly after we moved above the grocery store. But I had a mission. It was to earn enough money to replace the loaned bicycle with one that didn’t have a defective chain that constantly slipped so I could fall crotch first onto the crossbar. I never looked but I’m sure there had to be bruising.
I eventually earned enough money to buy my own bike. It had wing tip handlebars and a huge basket big enough to carry my newspaper bag full of Star Weekly’s. It didn’t have a kickstand though, but that didn’t matter. I could wrap the cloth strap of my newspaper bag around the handlebars and everything was so secure that my load of papers stayed in place every time I set my bike down to run in a delivery. I was good at it and soon I began making enough money that I got to open a bank account.
The bank had special inducements for young depositors. They gave me a coin holder that I could insert coins into, like a folding book. I could save my coins up in it and when full I could bring it to the bank and make an official deposit. I did fill that coin saver book. It had $19 in nickels, dimes and quarters, collected from my Star Weekly job. It was a really big deal.
But I never got to make an official deposit. My father borrowed the coin folder one time, promising to pay the money back. But he never did. I’m pretty sure he spent it on beer at the Palliser Hotel beer parlor. He used to go there. One morning I saw him with the whole half of his upper lip swollen to 3 or 4 times its normal size. He said he was at the beer parlor and he accidentally got in the way of somebody’s fist. After that I knew exactly what a ‘fat lip’ looked like.
He didn’t do well, after losing his milkman job. I think he felt bad about it. One time he had so much stomach stress he collapsed on the kitchen floor holding his stomach because an ulcer had grown inside. He had to drink Maalox and go to the hospital. I don’t think he had to have an operation but after that he laid around a lot. Mother played Patsy Cline and Dion records so the house had music. The Holy Cross Hospital was at the end of our block, but I don’t think he went there because he wasn’t Catholic.
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