Now Circus John had a little habit of using some pretty rough words when he talked, but he sure would not allow you to say those words in front of him. His thought was that even though you hear curse words, that did not mean that you could use them. He told us the life we would enter later should be one that was clean and free of all the things that are wrong. He had the backing of several important people in this city, who donated money so that he could continue producing those who might be our leaders someday.
There were many more from that end of town who were responsible people and wanted to help the young people, like Henry Wagoner and Florian Nickalas, who were police officers. They maintained a safe neighborhood so that we children could play outside without worrying about the ones who might want to harm us.
Henry retired and went to Three Rivers, Mich., to spend his last years on earth, but kids like me remember how good he was and that Kokomo was lucky to have a person like him around.
I could go all day with names of good, solid people who helped make this city one of the best there was. Mayor Raymond Gilbert, Councilman Willowby, Principal Lee Walters, Coach Joe Platt and others were important developers of young men and women who would one day be those who would lead us through some hard times.
Kokomo is a city that has a great history, like the first American car, and inventions that are used every day all over the USA. There are times when I wonder what it would have been without those I mentioned, and I will tell you they and many others who worked with them helped us gain that reputation of one of the best places to live and to work.
Good people get things going in the proper way, and those I mentioned and others cleared a trail for all of us to follow.
Ray “Uncle Ray” Day is a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com.