When I was a kid, probably nine or ten, I decided to buy some Christmas presents. I didn’t have much money, so I was with my mom in Big Town and went into some place like a dime store.
My grandmother, Mimo Epps (I had another Mimo, Mimo Mac (for McCrory), always dressed nice, and she usually had on some kind of fancy broach.
So I found her a fancy broach. (Maybe, fancy to me, but it had jewels. I cannot at this time ascertain their genuineness.)
My grandfather, Poppy smoked a pipe, and an occasional cigar. I found an ashtray, and, proud of my practical gift giving capability, went to the register to pay.
I could hardly wait to show my mom my proficient shopping skills.
She looked at my purchase, didn’t smile, or encourage me.
“Why did you buy that,” she asked.
“Well, it’s an ashtray, and Poppy smokes, and I thought it was perfect.”
Silence, at first, then, “Do you not know what that is?”
I’m thinking, “ashtray” but, I look at it, and horror grips my gut.
It was a toilet.
It was an ashtray, shaped like a toilet.
I can’t give Poppy a toilet! (They didn’t even show toilets on tv.)
I took it back, got my money back, and, instead, bought Poppy three Lovera cigars.
That’s right folks.
A nine year old boy, in 1960, could go into a store and buy cigars.