My Flirtation with Crime

Charlie's Cut-Rate-Store c 1970sThis is Charlie’s Cut-Rate-Store in Advance, more commonly known to townsfolk as Charlie’s Drug Store.

The building with the barber pole is where my grandfather, Roy E. Welch, had his liquor store. Dad had a small office between the barber shop and the liquor store. I’m sure Mother had something to do with seeing the town’s teenagers had a hangout in the basement. I mentioned that I still have some wooden “funeral home” chairs from there that I use today.

Crime spree was short-lived

Prather Building Advance c 1974_34

Once day when I was about four or five, I sauntered down to Charlie’s for an ice cream cone.

The ice cream was probably still dripping off my chin when Charlie paid my grandfather a visit. He handed over a counter check filled with my crayon scribbles that I had used for payment.

My excuse was that I had seen customers scribble on the checks, then Grandfather would hand over a bottle of whiskey. I figured if it worked for booze, then it should be OK for ice cream cones, too.

My grandfather made restitution and Charlie agreed not to call the town constable to haul me off to whatever passed as a hoosegow in Advance in those days.

I came by my lawlessness naturally. Check out Mother’s escapade with slot machines when she was barely a teenager. It’s at the bottom of the page.

2 Replies to “My Flirtation with Crime”

  1. Ken,
    I was wondering if you might post your Mother’s birth date and her address, those of us who appreciate your blog so much, could fill her mailbox with birthday greetings.

    1. That would be a great idea. She loves getting mail (so long as it isn’t a bill). She’s also on Facebook as Mary Welch Steinhoff. Her official birthday is Oct. 17, but her Birthday Season gets longer every year. She’ll be 92 in 2013. Her email address is

      She’s out in Austin, Tex., with Niece Kim and her family. From our call last night, I think she may tear up her return plane ticket and stay there. They just moved to Austin from Denver.

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