One might say that my daughter grew up on Main Street. In December 1975, my husband and I opened a used bookstore in Humble. Our daughter Dawn was 1-year-and-2-months old. Since David was employed full-time, I managed the store, and the back room of the building became Dawn’s home during the day. She spent most of her time in a playpen until she was able to walk. Caring for Dawn at the store was uncomplicated during the first two years of business.
As the business grew, a need for more space developed. We moved the Humble Book Den to the 300 block of Main Street. At this time, the owner of the Humble Flower Shop was keeping her daughter, who was near Dawn’s age, in her shop. My hairdresser’s shop and other small businesses were also on Main Street. The owners became my friends, and Dawn got to know all of them through our friendships.
Main Street was a quiet place, and Dawn frequently played on the sidewalk in front of the store. As she grew older, she would walk to a friend’s business and stay for a short while. She became friends with the girl at the flower shop and spent many afternoons with her. I felt that my child was out of harm's way walking to the other businesses. She seemed to enjoy being on Main Street.
When it was time for Dawn to begin Kindergarten, I enrolled her in Humble Elementary which was near Main Street. The class was a half-day in the afternoons. The teacher never knew when Dawn would arrive because I had to wait until the customers left the store. Then, I would put a sign in the window, “Be right back,” and drive Dawn to school.
At the end of the school day, I would do the same thing. Picking up Dawn after school became a real problem for the teacher. She had to wait until I picked her up, and sometimes it would be 20-30 minutes after class had been dismissed. Finally, she asked if Dawn could ride the bus to downtown Humble. I was happy with that. I would not have to wait until the customers left in order to go to the school. The bus stop was one block from Main Street. Dawn was pleased to walk the block to the store, and she enjoyed getting to know the other students on the bus.
The following year, Dawn attended first grade at North Belt Elementary, which was near our home. All went well until one day close to the end of the school year. Dawn decided that she did not want to go to school that day; she wanted to go to the bookstore with me. I said, “No, you need to go to school.”
While we argued about her going to school, she missed the bus. Since I was still in my nightgown, I put on a robe and drove Dawn to school. She refused to get out of the car. Finally, I gave up and went home. I dressed and drove Dawn back to school. She still refused to get out of the car.
I removed the keys from the ignition, locked the driver’s door, and slid across the seat. Dawn was pushed out of the car, but she grabbed the antenna and clung to it while saying, “I want to go with you.”
Finally, I went into the school to see a teacher whom I trusted. After I explained to her what was happening, she advised me that it wouldn’t hurt for Dawn to miss one day of school. I was to tell Dawn that this would be a special day; she would not be allowed to miss school again to go to the bookstore. Dawn agreed to the plan and went with me for the day.
It was an interesting day for both of us. Dawn did not stay with me. She walked up and down Main Street and visited with all the shop owners that she knew. She had a wonderful day. I concluded that the school year was ending, and she realized that for the year she had not been on Main Street where she had grown up. She wanted one more day to experience her memories.