They’re everywhere, down the street corner on small patches of lawn, in the driveway of suburban homes, and you can probably spot one outside a bar or church somewhere in Texas.
It’s the smallest small American business in history, other than the guy who cleans your gutters.
I haven’t checked, but I don’t think you’re gonna find one outside the Kremlin, on the Ginza in Tokyo, or on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. Clearly, it’s the most American icon since Henry Ford put the black sedan on the road.
In the summer here, you drive by one or half-a-dozen of them on your way to work or coming home.
Curiosity connected me to Edward Bok (1863-1930) who immigrated with his family to Brooklyn, New York, as a boy. Bok was a Dutch-born American editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He was editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal for 30 years, for Heaven’s sake.
Bok claimed that, as a boy, he used to make money during the summer months by selling ice water on Brooklyn’s muggy streets.
When other kids moved in, Bok got smart. He put “half a dozen lemons into each pail of water,” added some sugar and shouted, “Lemonade, 3 cents a glass!”
As they say, the rest is history. Lemonade stands popped up from the streets of Los Angeles, where my own two daughters set up a cardboard hand-painted box in front of our first home in Hancock Park, on the edge of Beverly Hills. One of their first customers was actor Henry Fonda.
And then came Sara. We’re talking now about Waterville’s Sara Johnson, pictured here with her stand.
At 15, Sara is an enterprising junior at Waterville Senior High School.
“I started my stand August of last year,” she tells us. “It was a fun idea at first; I didn’t know what to expect. So many kind people have stopped at my stand, and I appreciate every one of them.”
She continued: “The cost of my lemonade is 75¢ and the ingredients cost around $10 for four days of selling. One day’s profit ranges from $80-$200, and I usually only sell 2-3 gallons. I’ve been given $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills. I’ve made a little over $600 this summer. Right now I’m saving my money for school supplies. Delta Ambulances came and bought 3 gallons the other day, and I am so incredibly thankful to …….