Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 4, 2014

RAY DAY: A marker to honor workers

I took a trip down memory lane with some old friends the other day, and we talked about things we did when we were kids.

There were several grocery stores in our neighborhood that let us walk through the stores, checking out all the great stuff they had. Stores run by Mr. Whitacre, Ben Martin, Bill French and Merrel Winburn were nice, family-type stores, with usually family members working there. You could go in there and they knew you and trusted you, because they knew our parents and knew we were brought up right.

You could get a sack of candy at those store for a nickel and it would last all day. And of course, all those grocery stores let our parents and other customers run a weekly tab. They would take the list our parents sent with us and they would fill the order and write what was owed on a sheet of paper, and on payday, our parents would pay that bill.

That was called credit but also it was called trust in the fellow man. Where could you find today that kind of trust?

As I grew up, I found there were larger stores such as National and Marsh, along with Long’s Grocery, Jesse Weaver’s Market and Kroger. Frank Neal ran Kroger’s, and I worked for him for about two years. He was a fine man. Bill Borden worked there too and he became store manager when Frank left.

Both of those men were just like Mr. Whitacre, Mr. French, Mr. Martin and Mr. Winburn, in that they knew whom they could trust. The grocery store business here in Kokomo will always be remembered by me and my neighborhood friends as having great people leading the way for those who would come next. You might say we were all family who came to those stores to buy food.

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