Miles from Nowhere

Below is a short, fictional story for a book I’m writing titled, “1957 Chester.” In this book I first introduce the characters. Later in the book these characters will interact with each other at Town Meeting, the post office, and elsewhere.

After this story, I have two short articles I need help with. One article is “milk tickets,” the other about a train station.

Miles Bugby, “Miles from Nowhere,” as he was known, had a reputation of not paying his bills. Several businesses in town refused to extend him credit and insisted on cash if he wanted to trade with them.

  Miles had stung most everyone in town one time or another. Miles had a family to support and worked at most any trade he could find. He could do a little carpentry, wiring and plumbing good enough to get by. He had stung Marvin down at Cummings Hardware so he now had to pay cash.

  One day the widow Parks called Miles to look at repairing her white picket fence in her front yard and repairing her shed roof. The widow Parks and Miles went out in the yard to look the job over. After discussing exactly what she wanted Miles measured everything up so he knew what to buy. He told the widow Parks she could save a little money if she bought the materials. She told Miles she had an account down at Cummings Hardware and he could charge the materials to her.

  Miles went to Cummings Hardware and told Marvin what he needed. Marvin asked, “What about your past due bill?”

  Miles replied, “How much is it?”

  Marvin said, “I’ll have to add it up. Give me a minute.” While Miles waited he went around and picked up everything he needed and put it on the counter. Finally Marvin says, “You owe $12.13.

  Miles replied, “Ok, fine. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. Your ring these items up and see how much they come to.” So Marvin rang those items up which came to another $24.50. Miles said, “Well Marvin, I’d rather owe it to you than cheat you out of it. How much do both bills come to?” Marvin optimistically scratched the numbers on a piece of paper and said. “$36.63”

  “That much?” replied Miles. “Well,” Miles said as he scratched his head, “Can you do any better if I pay them both?”

  Marvin anxious to recover the past due amount and make another sale sharpened his pencil and quoted $32 even.

  Now Miles thinking out loud said, “How much is the $24.50 for the widow Parks fence taken away from $32?” Marvin scratched the numbers down and said, “That would be $7.50.”

  Miles reached in his pocket and handed Marvin $7.50 and said, “Ok we’re even on the past due account. Put the $24.50 on the widow Parks account.” Miles picked up his supplies and loaded his truck. Marvin wasn’t sure what had just happened.

  Milk tickets

W.R. Spaulding milk tickets provided by Ted Spaulding. Photo by Ron Patch.

Recently in a Ted Spaulding donation were a bundle of milk tickets. I didn’t know what they were so I asked Ted. He didn’t know either. Do you know how they were used?

They are perforated tickets in pint and quart denominations. In strips two columns wide with 20 tickets per column. The quart tickets are a tan color; the pint tickets are a greenish blue. Each ticket bears, “W.R. Spaulding.” At the top of each two column strip is, “In Acc’t with W. R. Spaulding.” William Ryland Spaulding was Ted’s grandfather who ran a milk delivery route in the Chester area.

  Railroad Station

Possible 1851 Chester railroad station. Photo provided by Ted Spaulding.

Another item also from Ted is a mammoth glass plate albumen photograph of an old railroad station. It measures about 18 by 23 inches.

The only identifying marks are on the reverse of the frame. A note mentions it belonged to Philemon Robbins of what is now Cummings Hardware. The photo would date from the 1850s to about 1868.

I think this may be the train station in the Depot that burned in 1871. No photos are known of this station. I asked Ted what he knew about it. Ted didn’t know anything so he asked his brother John Leon, “Gramp.” Gramp told Ted it was some sort of hardware convention. This fits nicely with Robbins Hardware.

Tom Hildreth contacted the Rutland Railroad Historical Society. They can’t say whether it’s Chester or not but it seems it’s not a previously known station. So it’s possible that this is Chester Depot station and taken during a hardware convention in Chester. Do you have any knowledge?

This week’s old saying. “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

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