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by Maureen Killoran
Back in the 1920’s when Polish-American entrepreneur Leo Gerstenzang invented cotton swabs as a safer way to clean his baby’s ears, he called his product “Q-Tip.” Actually, his first name-choice was “Baby Gay” – but that didn’t sell, so the by-now familiar name emerged. Mr. Gerstenzang chose “Q” for Quality . . . and he must have been on to something, because Q-Tip has become a household word (and we’ve developed a whole another set of connotations for ‘Baby Gay.’)
During the waning years of the depression in a small Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively.
One day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.