This is a guest post from my hubby, Wally, about his experiences as a 13-year-old (late 1940s) in Cleveland Heights, OH.
"The corner drug store--2 blocks from my home--was the neighborhood club house. In addition to being a pharmacy, it sold magazines, cigarettes/cigars, candy, and had a soda fountain (about that, more in a later post).
"I would stand at the magazine display reading comic books ("Captain Marvel," "Wonder Woman," "Classics Comics") and I suspect that the pharmacist, to distract me (and to save his comics from being dog-eared!), hired me (at age 13) to mop the floor, deliver prescriptions on my bicycle, and sort redeemed soda bottles. I worked a few days after school and on Saturdays.
"When word of my working got back to Monticello Jr High in Cleveland Heights, the principal told me I was too young to be working and that I'd be 'pushing up daisies' before I was 21. I ignored him.
"The pharmacist-owner paid me $5 per week. I spent most of it on Hardy Boys books. To get to the nearest bookstore, I had to take a bus or two and ride for at least half an hour--on my own. I remember feeling really pleased: A Hardy Boys' book may have been the very first book I bought for myself (and it's not the last, by far!). I think the books were $2.95 apiece.
"Over the months, I gradually accumulated the first 23 books in the series. The ostensible author was Franklin W. Dixon but I learned, as an adult, that the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were the products of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, churned out by different writers. I grew up, joined the Army, and my mother eventually threw out or gave away my Hardy Boys collection. I never missed it."