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36 Flavors, Charlevoix Michigan 1970

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “32 Flavors.”

I think it was 36. Strip mall at the bottom of the hill. BEST toy store! Expensive. So we had to get the cheaper toys and they were always disappointing. (Micro-Kiddle princess who later lost her hair in a Togl Blok and wading pool accident. And some psychedelic goo that you put on a tube and blew bubbles which then became tissue paper textured.) Yet I still remember it as the BEST toy store. I do not know how they had 36 flavors at the ice cream place. They must’ve filled it out with sherbet. I remember being disgusted by bubblegum ice cream. We went there after the Tooth Episode.

Baby teeth/milk teeth dissolve. The roots do, that’s how they come out. So what I remember as my very last tooth that fell out ever, only dissolved down one side. Leaving the rest of the route as a scraggly edged dagger stabbing into my gum. It bled. Undetected, all evening and just made my mouth taste weird. It bled that night all over my pillow. My mother, who in every other aspect of her mother activity was an abusive monster, looked in on me and discovered this bloody mess. I remember the hydrogen peroxide on the small pillow case of the crib pillow I still slept with foaming up and going hot. That was pretty cool. So was getting to eat ice cream, butter pecan, as we prepared to go to the emergency room in Charlevoix. The ice cream was supposed to slow the bleeding.

Charlevoix was usually for laundry, groceries, toy store, fishpond. In the middle of Charlevoix there’s a park. It runs alongside the docks where people’s cabin cruisers are tied up. You could walk up and down and look at the boats and their amusing names. In the park there was a big lumpy brick structure. Inside the walls were smooth and light blue. It was full of water and fish swimming around. This was northern Michigan so plain old ordinary trout. Possibly speckled. When I was a kid in the 60s and 70s showing fish to children was a near universal family entertainment activity. They weren’t even special fish. They were real small. There were some in a fountain on the campus at Purdue. I remember as a toddler being shown those fish. When you’re brought to the university again as a toddler you’re shown the fish again. And you respond: fishie! The trip to the emergency room was way less fun. The ER doctor pulled my tooth and stuffed it with gauze. I didn’t know what gauze was. So when my tongue accidentally wandered to it and felt it’s wet creepy texture I thought that was my tattered flesh. Ew. Even now it creeps me out. On the way out of Charlevoix we stopped at the 36 flavors. I didn’t get to have ice cream though. I got a fast food cup of cola with ice that I sucked on and tried to keep my tongue away from the creepy “gauze”.

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2 Comments

03/17/2015 · 7:38 pm