The "doctor bag" featured in this issue's Antiques Corner spurred a memory in me. It was the early 1970s in our little Midwestern town. At our home on Water Street, I was recovering from a mild case of the mumps, while my brother was in the middle of a much more intense case. Fearing he was on the losing end, my parents moved him to their first-floor bedroom instead of upstairs in his room, so they could keep a watchful eye on him. Then they placed a call to the town doctor, who showed up with his black bag and disappeared into the bedroom for what seemed like hours. The rest of us kids waited in the living room and spoke in hushed tones. Nobody played, nobody made any trouble, and nobody asked Mom and Dad any questions.
"Uptown" in my small hometown in northwest Ohio was a half block south of our house and four blocks to the west along the lengthy main street, which crossed the river. In those days of the mid-1940s, it was safe for us kids to walk, run or play anywhere in town as long as our parents gave permission. Since I had already run errands for them uptown, my folks decided that at age 9 1/2, I was...