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The Concession Stand Is Now Open
by Jane Hertenstein

I grew up solidly middle class. My family had a membership to the Four Seasons Pool Club in Washington Township in Ohio. From Memorial Day until Labor Day we could walk right in and show our card. There were summers of lessons, of pool birthday parties, of hanging out with friends. The pool also had non-swimming activities like a night where they showed old movies. I still remember how big the June bugs looked amplified as they passed between the lens of the projector and the screen, and how the dust motes caught in that bright shaft of light danced and twinkled like little stars.

But the snack bar is what I remember best. The different names of the novelty ice creams conjured up whole stories inside my head. There were the Rocket Pops in red, white, and blue and the orange push-ups, glorified sherbet with a creamy goodness, also called Dreamsicles. There was the Drumstick and I think something called a Fred Flintstone bar. The ice cream sandwich was 25¢ and the cookie part stuck to my fingers like chocolate fur. A little pricier was the Klondike bar or if on a stick I liked the kind studded with crunchy chopped peanuts. Freezie Pops were perhaps a nickel and the fudge bar was pretty cheap too—maybe a dime more.

Of course there were also French fries, Hamburgers, and hotdogs. I’m sure my mother just tossed my sister and I change from the bottom of her handbag before we went out the door to ride our bikes over to the swim club. I’d stay all day, and each time the lifeguard blew the whistle for break time, I’d line up at the concession stand, reading the menu, and dreaming of what the coins burning in my hand might buy.

PHOTO: The author as a teen at the Four Seasons Pool Club in Washington Township, Ohio.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Hertenstein is the author of numerous short stories and flash. Her work has been included in Hunger Mountain, Word Riot, Flashquake, and Rosebud as well as earning an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train. Her literary interests are eclectic, evident in the titles she has published: Beyond Paradise (YA), Orphan Girl (nonfiction), Home Is Where We Live (children’s picture book), and a recent ebook Freeze Frame: How to Write Flash Memoir. Jane lives in Chicago, where she blogs at Memoirous.