If you tell everyone you are going to do something — then you have to do it. My book went to the printer Thursday afternoon, and that waiting game begins. I have another big project in the works with Barbara and her sister, but that will not fully commence until maybe six weeks. So, what do I do??? Impetus to get the book done was Old Home Days the end of June. I have had another project attempted for the last two Old Home Days, and even earlier for a 4th of July parade in 2001. So, now this is the year!!!
In 1962, when first traveling US Route 7 in my 1929 Model “A” Ford Roadster, I discovered in Great Barrington, MA, a Cretors Model “D” Horse Drawn Popcorn Wagon. A few more miles north another wagon was popping corn in front of the bank in Pittsfield, MA, where it had done so for decades. A lifetime fascination began. The Model “D” is a very large machine, but Cretors made smaller sidewalk units.
In the summer of 1965, high school friends and I attended a “stock car race” in South Carolina. Outside of an “old country store” I spotted a turn of the century Bartholomew “Boss on Wheels” Peanut Roaster. I bought it, and arranged to have it shipped back to Connecticut. I have had it since, mainly in storage. But used it often in the 1980s in parades and school functions, dispensing Popcorn. It is in my blood!!
I found my replica Cretors No. 2 Popcorn Wagon on Ebay in January of 2001. It was in Indiana, and of course Cathy encouraged me to get what I had always wanted. The auction ended, I had won, and Cathy said, “alright how do you get it home.” I immediately called the friend of our neighbor whose husband had his own small trucking firm. “You want him to get what and where,” she asked. “I just talked to him, and he is about 50 miles east of there now, let me catch him and turn him around.” And, my popcorn wagon was “home” two days later before my check even got to Indiana.
There had been modifications over the years, but I knew the company that made these authentic replicas was still in business, and soon I had purchased everything I needed to have my machine as it left the factory new. The plan was to have it ready for the small 4th of July parade in our little village of New Preston, Connecticut — but that did not happen, nor the next year because we had begun our transition to New Hampshire. The popcorn wagon was one of the first things moved to NH, but relegated to storage in the garage surrounded by boxes, and boxes of books. But in the last 5-6 years those boxes have dwindled, and I could find the machine again. Many times in the past I offered it to the local bank who sponsored a “block party” during Old Home Days to give away popcorn, “if I get it done.” But getting it done did not happen.
But when I redid the garage this winter to make room for LADY RAB along with BLACK BEAUTY and BLUE BELLE, all of a sudden there was room to admire my popcorn machine, and even to work on it. So yesterday “she” came out center stage (guess she needs a name also) and all the pieces I had disassembled 5-6 years ago sorted through to refresh my mind with what I was planning to do at that time.
10AM Monday update — suggestions are flying in: Carol suggested “Cornelia” and Barbara came in with “Maizie.” Barbara then said – “I vote for Cornelia.” We may have an immediate winner!
There are six weeks to Old Home Days and the various events that I can give away popcorn (with a donation can for the local food shelves), it could be used to attract attention at Barbara and Rob’s Walpole Creamery, and then there is our big Labor Day event that is in the works (that is what you call a teaser).
This is a reproduction of the Cretors No. 1 Sidewalk Unit – the next size larger than my Cretors No. 2. This particular machine was in use in the Frontier Area of Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, in the 1980s. My daughter, Julie, is making an important purchase of popcorn – circa 1982.