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Tommy Dawson

The last couple of days I've been thinking about a boy I knew in first grade, Tommy Dawson. Tommy's family lived in a dilapidated shack in the alley between Beaver and Foster Avenues, near the area now known as Central Parklet. We attended first grade in the Frazier Street school where the State College post office now stands. Sometimes on the way home from school we'd stop to play for a short while at his house. I remember only two things about the visits. First, Tommy's family was dreadfully indigent, so their house was dirty and run down. I didn't mind that. The second thing was that his mother made us cinnamon toast for a snack, and this was the first time I ever had cinnamon toast. It was lovely.

I wonder where Tommy is now. His life has probably gone the way of the folks Thomas Gray wrote about in Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.