Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 11

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Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.


Page 11

Transportation, in those days in Brooklyn, was by horse-cars, and the car-line on Smith Street nearest Edward’s home ran to Coney Island. Just around the corner where Edward lived the cars stopped to water the horses on their long haul. The boy noticed that the men jumped from the open cars in summer, ran into the cigar-store before which the watering-trough was placed, and got a drink of water from the ice-cooler placed near the door. But that was not so easily possible for the women, and they, especially the children, were forced to take the long ride without a drink. It was this that he had in mind when he reserved his Saturday afternoon to “play ball.”

Here was an opening, and Edward decided to fill it. He bought a shining new pail, screwed three hooks on the edge from which he hung three clean shimmering glasses, and one Saturday afternoon when a car stopped the boy leaped on, tactfully asked the conductor if he did not want a drink, and then proceeded to sell his water, cooled with ice, at a cent a glass to the passengers. A little experience showed that he exhausted a pail with every two cars, and each pail netted him thirty cents. Of course Sunday was a most profitable day; and after going to Sunday-school in the morning, he did a further Sabbath service for the rest of the day by refreshing tired mothers and thirsty children on the Coney Island cars—at a penny a glass!

But the profit of six dollars which Edward was now reaping in his newly found “bonanza” on Saturday and Sunday afternoons became apparent to other boys, and one Saturday the young ice-water boy found that

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