Uh, what did you say your name was, again?

A young boy, trying to heed a lesson in salesmanship, learns a never-to-be-forgotten lesson.

Our first home during the 1950s was a small house with a chime at the side of the front door. Above its small brass handle were the directions on a metal plate: "Turn Handle."

We soon realized that our new neighborhood drew frequent solicitors. One day my husband and I saw two boys standing at the front door, waiting eagerly for us to appear.

One of the young men took a deep breath and recited the first memorized paragraph of his sales pitch for magazine subscriptions. Then his eyes glanced toward the side of the door where the chime plate was fastened. With all the gravity and sincerity of an experienced salesperson, he added, "Now, Mr. and Mrs. Turn Handle, if you have a few more minutes..."

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He was interrupted by his partner's elbow jabbing him sharply in the ribs. With exclamations of embarrassment and disappointment, the two lost their composure, leaped down the steps, and disappeared down the street.

Patricia F. Engelland

Terre Haute, Ind.

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