My family moved out to Webster when I was in fifth grade We lived in a new development, on the edge of the village, in a former corn field. Main Street, at the intersection of North and South Avenues was like the town in a old western. The Webster Hotel, Bowman’s Variety, a gas station and Warren’s Hardware sat at the four corners. Warren would close shop and direct traffic in the middle of the four corners when the firehouse siren sounded, part of a volunteer force. Our school, Holy Trinity, was within walking distance. Andy Finn’s father owned the Texaco station in town. Bobby Gray’s (another schoolmate) father started Bill Gray’s.
I made friends with an older kid, a baseball nut like me, named Marty. He was a Christian Scientist. He told me he had never been to a doctor and his mom had given birth to him and his brother in their house. A religion based on a conspiracy theory. When his family moved he gave me his delivery route. Flush with paper route money I would ride down to Bowman’s, on a good day I could go the whole way with no hands, and buy baseball cards and candy. I tried to limit myself to five, 5 cent candy bars. Whether it was all that candy and the bubble gum in each pack of cards or just bad genes I’ve had a lot of cavities.
After dropping out of college I moved back home and went to a new dentist in town, near where the old post office was on North Avenue. I went out with his receptionist for a while. The dentist’s son went into practice himself and I still see him today. I think he’s great but he told me he is vaccine hesitant. Doesn’t trust the messenger RNA. He determined that I needed a root canal and sent me to an Endodontics specialist. That doctor was unable to save my tooth. When I asked, “Isn’t there anything you can do” he told me “Heroics and dentistry don’t mix.” I now have an appointment to have the tooth extracted by an oral surgeon. Maybe I shouldn’t have said no to some of the regular X-rays that were offered by my hygienist. I’ve had so many I am x-ray hesitent.
I stayed in Webster for one year before moving back to Bloomington and hooking up with Peggi. I worked at the place in the picture above, Maracle Industrial Finishing on Commercial Street in the village. They finished gun stocks for Crossman Arms and they repainted Xerox copy machines which at that time were as big as a washer and dryer together. Maracle was busted in 2013 for discharging untreated process wastewater directly to the sewer. On my way back from the dentist I drove down Commercial Street for old times sake and spotted this big Q in the widow along with a picture of Cuomo.