want to know how business conditions are, just ask any sideshow
midgets. They have a most reliable barometer.
And if you don't know any midgets to ask, then see Mr. and Mrs.
A. E. Willis, 2599 Poplar. They are the "Foster parents" of
famous Doll family of midgets, now on tour with the Ringling
Circus, and they get regular reports from them. There are four
in the midget family-Daisy, Grace, Tiny and Harry.
Professionally they go by the name of Doll, but their real name
is Schneider. They are from Germany.
They call Mr. and Mrs. Willis "Mom and Pop," and they write to
them every week. And in their letters they give reports on the
sale of their souvenir postcards - you know how they sell
postcard in the Sideshow.
This year they are doing so much better than they have done in
the past few seasons. When people buy those postcards, you know
that the country is in pretty good shape.
In the back yard of the Willis home are four wiggly little
Pomeranians. They belong to the midgets.
"So many of the show people wanted to take dogs and other pets
with them that the show just had to put a check to it," Mrs.
Willis explains. "So they started making a charge of $5 a week
for the board and transportation of every pet that wasn't a
performer, and the midgets decided that was too much to pay.
They left their dogs with us.
Built Around Oak
MR. WILLIS operates
several concessions at the Fairgrounds Amusement Park- the
airplane swing, the miniature railroad and the shooting
gallery. Years ago he operated East End Park.
He concurs in the midgets' observation that the country is in
good shape. People this year have been airplane swinging and
miniature railroading and shooting about 20 percent more than
they did last year.
"And another thing: Lots of them pull out $5 and $10 bills.
That's a mighty good sign. You don't see that when times are
Probably you have noticed the Willis home on Poplar. It's the
last house before you turn in to the Alicea golf course, going
out-the house with the enormous oak tree growing thru it. That
was in 1916.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Willis love trees and flowers. And when they
built their home that oak was right on the building site. But
they couldn't think of cutting it down. They just built the
rear of the house in the shape of a "U'-with the tree between a
sleeping porch and a breakfast room. They also built an
upstairs rear balcony in the shade of the tree.
After the Fairgrounds Park closed down for the winter, Mr. and
Mrs. Willis will light out for Sarasota, Fla. They go down
there every year. That you know, is where the Ringling circus
The midgets have their little winter bungalow there, too, and it
will be a great reunion with the Willises and the Poms.
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Little Folks on the Midway
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