Archive for the Category ◊ South Bend ◊

• Saturday, January 01st, 2011

This book fascinated and terrified me when I was a child. I loved reading it and re-reading it, but I knew the stories would unnerve me enough that I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night.

Looking back at it now, I wonder why that was. The stories aren’t that scary, and the storyteller, C.B. Colby, didn’t even claim that most of them were true. Many are drawn from urban legend (there are two “vanishing hitchhiker” stories in the book), folk tales, or local history, and a few are simply speculation—could there be flying saucers? Could aliens somewhere in space be watching our TV shows—or could scientists be picking up theirs?

Perhaps because I was so terrified by it, Strangely Enough has wedged itself into my memory in many odd ways. Mention Yonkers to me, for instance, and the mental picture that name conjures up is a flying saucer. David Lockhart’s matter-of-fact line drawings somehow made this book seem even more sinister than it already was.


Category: Books, South Bend  | 11 Comments
• Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Robertson’s was the big department store in downtown South Bend when I was growing up. It is firmly wedged in my memory, to the point where I still dream about it sometimes. My favorite part was the mezzanine. The book department was on your right as you went up the stairs, and on the left was a luncheonette that served things like club sandwiches, which seemed terribly exotic to me. There was also a bargain basement, with cheap clothes and such, in contrast with the more opulent fare upstairs.

This catalog makes Robertson’s seem much more fancy than it actually was. Certainly the cover line “The store of a million gifts,” was an exaggeration. But I used to linger over each page to deliberate over which item I would choose, given the option. Except the yard of cheese—I got away from that as quickly as possible. Here’s a sample of the delights within.