When we lived on 24th Street in North Virginiatown, we had all the conveniences a small town offers: snow plowing in winter, garbage collection year round, the milkman came daily, and in the summer, there were door-to-door salesmen who sold things like Watkins products, Fuller brushes, Electrolux vacuum cleaners, Encyclopedia Britannica and so on. It was a big change from being isolated at the lumber camp and to me it was very exciting to be living with all these conveniences.
One lovely spring day, my parents and I were sitting on the veranda which was a long fully winterized add-on to the front of the house. All the windows at the front were screened in so that you could open them to let in the fresh air but no mosquitoes or black flies could attack us so we could enjoy being somewhat outdoors without the bites! Mom was working on her cross stitch, Dad was smoking a cigarette and simply relaxing, something he rarely had the chance to do and I was going through my pile of comic books that I had recently traded. Our street was not busy so there wasn't much to see but this particular day, there was a man going door to door with a rather heavy looking large case such as a door-to-door salesman usually carried.
We began to speculate on what he might be selling. We quickly eliminated the vacuum cleaner, it simply wouldn't be in a case. But it could have been an assortment of Watkins products or perhaps brushes of various types but then it could also have been encyclopedias. They would be heavy and bulky even if he only carried a few books to tantalize customers. Dad said that regardless what he was selling, it didn't matter, because we would not be buying anything. Mom said perhaps we should go inside the house and not even answer the door. But by this time, we were so curious we really wanted to know what he was selling. We felt pretty sure it would be encyclopedias since it seemed much too heavy for brushes or the spices and other Watkins products. As the man started towards our house, Dad told us not to get involved, that he would do the talking. Because we had decided it was likely the encyclopedias, Dad said he'd tell him we weren't educated and couldn't read so we didn't need any books. I guess he figured this was a kinder way of turning the man down and, he was being honest. Dad was illiterate after all. Regardless, he assured us one again that we would not be buying whatever he was selling.