1960 Topps Baseball Cards
Baseball cards are a big business today for serious (way too serious) adult collectors. In my childhood, however, they were a wonderful diversion for little boys. They provided hours of fun debating whether a Mays was better than a Mantle or how to pronounce Yastrzemski. And we learned useful bargaining skills trading “doubles” or “unknowns.” These trading sessions could be a brutal case of caveat emptor, and experienced traders often took advantage of younger or less knowledgeable collectors.
The cards were sold five to a pack along with a stick of the most wretched bubble gum you ever put in your mouth. This so-called gum was powdery and brittle and had a distinctive smell. In your mouth it disintegrated into little pebbles that took a lot of serious chewing to develop into something you could blow a bubble with. And it left a really vile after-taste. Of course the gum was just a necessary by-product of the real transaction, and we usually threw it away before we left the store.
I’m sure you could buy baseball cards all over Tupelo, but my favorite shopping venues were Wren’s on Clayton, Booker’s on Joyner or, if you dared, Dale Walton’s on Jackson. If the store had a new shipment, you might get four or five cards you didn’t have. Otherwise you might end up with a whole pack of doubles or even triples. The best use for triples was to attach them to your bicycle wheel with a clothes pin so they sputtered against the spokes when you rode down the street, converting your bike into an imaginary motorcycle.