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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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One Tenth Part of a Dollah

By Richard H. Kuh, '37

The Magpie, June 1937, v. 21, n. 2., p. 80.

Here y'are folks. Get'cher tickets here. Only one tenth of a dollah . . . ten cents. Come on and see the living wondahs of the world . . . Tiny, a six hundred and thirty eight pound little lady will amuse you. Let Zara and Wana, the greatest mind reading team on earth tell you the numbers on your bills. Examine Tatooed Tim—the most completely tatooed man living. Above all see, in the flesh, the only man ever to have changed into a woman, come on in folks. Only ten cents."

"Ya wanna go in an see it, ha Dick?" spouts my jubilant pal.

"Okay by me, . . . two tickets please."

We enter with the milling, shoving, and pickpocketing crowd. A long, partially filled room along which small curtained platforms are arranged and great gaudy posters posted, greets us.

The people, all ears, take in the prattle of a "spiller," who is pointing to and gesticulating at a young and truly attractive lady. Her hair is combed in the style of a man's and she wears very little of two very tight fitting garments. We hear: " . . . definitely, all doctors who have examined Henriette have found her to be the only living person ever to have been naturally transformed from a normal male person into an member of the opposite sex. You might like to know Henriette is a father of one child and is now the proud mother of two. We are . . . eh unable to explain more about Henriette here, but, for those of you who are scientifically interested we have this illustrated pamphlet. It tells and shows the true facts about Henriette and cost you only the amazingly small sum of twenty-five cents . . . Yes sir . . . here sir . . . you and you . . . plenty for all . . . "

"Let's get one, ha?" says my friend, his face beaming now, more than ever with what might be considered an evil grin . . .

We moved to another platform on which were a large slate, a small blindfolded woman, and a stodgy man. He was yelling: " . . . and Nana has been granted special aptitudes. She is very sensitive to the minds of those about her. She can easily tell of what each of you is thinking. Have any of you any problems . . . you sir? Your name? Nana, use your sublime power; use it and tell us what faces Mr. Berger."

"It is foggy . . . no . . . no, now it is all very clear. Mr. Berger should immediately leave his present employer. He is unfair."

"If any others of you have any problems," continued Zara, "if you will step up, they will be solved for you in private consultation for a small fee."

"Let's move on, Hal," I said to my pal, "before this guy ropes you in for a bit more 'geld.'"

Further on, an enormous lady was prancing clumsily. We gathered that this was the fat lady dancing. She soon started collecting money for pictures of her own cute self. Naturally—"Reminds me of a dame I know. I'm gonna buy one and mail it to her," laughed Hal and so another dime bit the dust before we progressed.

To make a very long story a bit shorter, we admired Tatooed Tim and I got his picture for only a dime and were thrilled by a great magician who, for a quarter, sold tricks which "any six year old child could do." After a few more . . . attractions we left. We found our original ten cent entry fee had multiplied many fold.

"Oh well, we did have a swell time at Coney Island'

The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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