It was probably about 1963 when two men, dressed in dark suits, walked up to the counter in our bakery, flashed their F.B.I. identification, and asked to speak with Mr. or Mrs. Clark (my parents)! They were there, they told my folks, to investigate an allegation that there was alcoholic liquor being unlawfully made, sold, or transported on the premises. In other words, the "revenuers" thought Mom and Dad were bootlegging!
Of course, this was an absurdly ridiculous allegation to anyone who knew my folks. But the investigators had a job to do. They looked all over the shop, even down in the basement, for a still or a stash of liquor, and found nothing. In a short time the men were finished with their examination of the premises, and convinced that the allegation was false. They told Mom and Dad that the investigation was precipitated by a report from an eye witness who claimed to have seen a car pull up to the back door of the shop; to have heard the driver honk the horn; and to have seen the back door open and a jug of liquor be passed to the driver, who then left the scene.
That was when the whole thing started making sense to my folks.
We had, in the bakery, a display unit that featured Smucker's jams and jellies, ice cream toppings, some fancy maple syrup, some English tea crackers and the like. The syrup came packaged in a little brown crockery jug with a cork top.
One day, not long before the arrival of the "revenuers," Mom was at home and was about to fix some pancakes, bacon and eggs, when she realized she was out of syrup. She called the shop, and asked Dad if he would grab a bottle of syrup, and hand it to her through the back door, which opened onto an alley, when she pulled up. She told him she'd toot the horn so he'd know she was there; that way she wouldn't have to park and come in.
Across the alley was another commercial building with an upstairs apartment that had windows facing the alley. In that apartment lived Mr. and Mrs. G. Not much got by Mrs. G's eagle eyes. Apparently she had witnessed the syrup caper and misinterpreted the little brown jug's contents - but not as badly as she had misinterpreted Mom and Dad's character.
2 weeks ago