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Well, we actually called it the Five and Ten Cent store, but it’s one and the same.

It was in Germantown, it’s not there anylonger, and it was owend and operated by one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.

Mr. Seelbrede.  I don’t know his first name, he was always Mr.  as was everyone back then. 

They carried everything you needed, from fabric to greeting cards to toys, hula hoops, and candy; they sold candy corn and peanuts mixed, it’s still my favorite and may have been the beginning of that addiction.  They even had wagons.  They weren’t a dime though.

It was the precursor of the Dollar Store.  Only much better.  It was a local store, operated by a local man, who knew the community, it’s needs, and it’s small wants.  He was a really nice man, and had a beautiful daughter who grew UP to be Miss USA in 1981, Kim Seelbrede.  She recently told me (via Facebook) her dad worried about kids stealing.  I was surprised to find out that they did back then.  We were way to afraid to steal.   She said “his greatest joy was clowning and connecting with his customers”, and it showed!

Kim Seelbrede

Mr. Seelbrede was special. 

He called me Wally.

For a few years I had no idea why.  I just thought he figured my  name was Wally, and I never corrected him.  Which is odd, as I usually corrected everyone on everything back then.  Somethings never change.

I was “outspoken”.

Finally, one day, I asked him “Why?”

He said, “Well, you look like Mr. Peepers.”

And amazingly, I did.

Now Mr. Peepers was on TV.  So, as a seven year old looking like a star was fine with me, it didn’t matter that he was reduced to selling laundry detergent.

As you may remember, I’ve often claimed that I was switched at birth, and my real parents are rich Hollywood types who could spoil me materially.  Alas, Mother insists not.

But really, take a look at this and tell me what you think?

Me:

FOURTH GRADE

Mr. Peepers:

Mr. Peepers

Since my my motto has always been “If there’s a will, I wanna be in it!”…

…I need to run now, gotta’ go call the lawyer.

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