Page 41 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. CranePopsPop took over the store with the heavy plate glass door and little bell that tinkled upon entry. When I say took over, I mean that he bought out the previous owners; an old lady and her husband. Pops created what I would call a teen aged boy’s paradise as there was little to attract girls. The first thing that he did was to put in a stack of used comic books on the shelf near the front door. If a person brought in 2 comic books for trade, that person could take away one or, Pops sold them out right for a nickel a piece. In order to describe the store one would have to take a step back in time. It had wooden floors and was heated by an old kerosene stove. When you first entered the store, Pops would always emerge from a curtained doorway that he brushed to one side.Pops lived in the back. He was rather old and thin and presented a rather gaunt and stooped figure. During the rare occasions that he allowed me to look into the back, I noticed a locked steel rear door and a pulley system that trailed up to the skylight. He explained to me that other than the front door, there was no ventilation in the summer time other than to crank open the skylight to let the heat escape. He once told me that he came from England and it was his life’s dream to return there. Other than that he never offered much information about himself.Besides the comic books, he brought in a display of model airplanes. Some were solid balsa wood models in that had to be shaped and sanded according to the plans that accompanied them. He then sold Stick models whose sticks were fitted in and glued around a balsa wood form. Afterwards, tissue paper was attached to the wood fuselage with glue and then painted. A rubber band was then tied in such a way so as to be wound to drive the propeller and perhaps even fly. These stick models came in various sizes according to price. The larger ones being easier to construct. In addition to these planes, he had an assortment of paints in little bottles of various colors that were lacquer paint and even banana oil. They had a pungent aroma all their own that often made my mother complain. We fondly referred to this paint as “dope” long before the street variety became known to all the drug users. While Pop also sold paint, he had an assortment of brushes and glue, but no knives to cut or trim the wood. In that regard, we had to improvise. What we did was take a double edged steel razor blade and bend it to the point where it cracked into two halves. A person had to develop a technique in order to hold and use it so as not to get cut. You might say, it was an art form.41

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