Janis Holcomb

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Janis's Story > Categories > Childhood Tales

"The Popcorn Machine" 


Date Range: 1967 To 06/15/2009   Comments: 4   Views: 9,443
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Apparently when growing up my mother always wanted to run away and join the circus. I wanted to run away and follow a band, but she wanted to be part of the circus. Her brightest spot of the year was when the Ringling Brothers came to town. Once a year they took over the big sand lot outside of town. The tents would slowly rise, and the trains and buggies would come in with the crew and animals.

The kids would ride their bikes and remain a respectful distance from the set-up, gaping and staring.

My mother wasn't allowed to be out on her own, so she had to beg her older brother to go with her. Her older brother didn't share his baby sister's love of the circus so she had to promise him things (chores, her dessert, etc) in exchange. And he'd never let her stay as long as she wanted, complaining that she'd stay there all day if she could!

The smells, the sounds, the food. She loved every bit of it. It was a glimpse of a bigger world and exotic trappings. A world outside her rather dull life.

Her favorite act was the fat lady and the tight rope walkers. Way up there in the tip of the big tents, nothing below them, in their fancy and skimply little uniforms.

Her favorite food was candy apples and popcorn.

She didn't miss the circus for fiften years in a row. As she grew older, the lure held less pull as the glamour wore off, but she still loved it.

When I was about 10, one day she came home with a huge, old fashioned popcorn maker on wheels. It was red and looked like one of the ones from the circus. You had to pour in the thick, syrupy oil and let it heat in the rounded cylinder, and pour in the kernels until they popped and spilled into the dirty, oil smudged glass walls.

How good that smelled! We turned that machine on every time we'd sit as a family and watch television. It was so much better than movie popcorn.

I loved that stuff.

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Member Since
Mar 2009
Karen Moore said:
posted on Jun 17, 2009
Great Story

Janice, I could smell the popcorn by the time I finished reading your story! lol  What a great memory.  Thanks for sharing it.


Member Since
Jan 2009
Sam Henderson said:
posted on Jun 17, 2009

I want to buy one of those. I saw one on sale in that magazine - Hammeracher something (German?) but it was pretty expensive. I wonder about that oil.

Now I REALLY want to buy one....

Member Since
Jun 2009
Janis Holcomb said:
posted on Jun 17, 2009
thanks Karen & Sam!

So nice when people read and actually comment :) I love remembering the past. Makes me feel all gushy inside! 

Member Since
Nov 2008
Roger Elliott said:
posted on Jun 20, 2009
all gushy

Writing about the past has truth written all over it. The best stories all have a little bit of it, just so you know it's true. Sometimes its fun to twist it just a little bit. Take what you know and run...good stuff.