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March 28, 1995

Ethel Spradlin is getting ready to sell her farm south of Perry. It's being offered at auction next Saturday because, at the age of 94, Mrs. Spradlin has finally decided to retire. Actually, according to son Beryl, who retired several years ago, "she just refused to build fences any more so we made her quit." That's a joke, of course, but Mrs. Spradlin has been a hard worker for lo these many years and she is entitled to quit building fences if she wants to. She will continue to make her home here in Perry where she's always lived. Happy retirement, Mrs. Spradlin!

Here's a question one of you may be able to answer: Was there a C.R. Anthony store in Perry years ago? Since the new C.R. & Co. store, a branch of C.R. Anthony, opened here recently, I've talked to some who say "yes," but also to others who say "no." At least one has a dim recollection of an Anthony store on the north side of the square, but the time period is very uncertain. Personally, I remember an LT. Hill Co. department store at 633 Delaware, where the Three Sands Oil Co. office is now located and where Zorba's store once was located. Years before that, B. J. Woodruffs general mercantile store also was in that building, but I don't remember an Anthony store here. Can someone provide a definitive answer?

A recent column about Perry's drug stores during the 1930s has prompted a nice note from Mrs. Roy Garten of Ponca City, the former Jo Wollard of Perry. She says that her fond memory of my dad's drug store, the City Drug on the north side of the square, is his candy display. "He had many apothecary jars holding delicious chocolates," she recalls. "I spent quite a bit of my childhood in that area of town. My father, Gus Wollard, had his office (a desk placed in the front window of Walt Powers' abstract office), just a few buildings east of the drug store. Next door east was the Exchange Bank. Then came the alley. East of that was the Woodruff Mercantile Store."

Continuing, Jo writes: "After Daddy closed his office every Saturday night, he would go to your drug store and select a pound of chocolates to bring home. These would be divided between my mother, two sisters and me. Mother and my sister, Mary Lee, had a 'sweet' tooth,' so big sister Mary Lee talked me out of most of mine."

Mrs. Garten also has some interesting recollections of the Exchange Bank which were brought to mind after a recent visit to the bank's expanded and remodeled building at the northeast corner of the square. "Fred Moore was the first president of that bank. He and his wife reared their niece, Carol Lee, and she was a close childhood friend of mine. Uncle Fred, as she and I called him, was a tall, stately man. I felt safe and happy around him. He had a great big black leather chair in his home that was fun to climb up into. He had a big unusual car that we had fun climbing all over while the adults were busy in the Presbyterian church. I have never been able to learn what kind of a car it was. It had push buttons on the front of the seat by the driver's right hand. The back of the back seat could fold down to show a big storage area.

"I do not know if he lost the bank during the depression. I do know he was not well and his lovely wife was a skilled musician. In order to survive she sold Watkins products, spices, vanilla, and so forth. She walked all over town to do this...

"It was a delight to enter the Exchange Bank as it is now. It is beautiful and gracious and friendly. I especially enjoyed the bronze plaque in the entry. There, as the first president, was Fred Moore...My first memories of dealing with the Exchange Bank occurred some 75 years ago. They were not happy, though. I was a little preschool child with a candy box full of a collection of Indian head pennies. Our family was soon to leave on a trip to Missouri to see grandparents. I was assured that if I left my pennies in the bank I would get them back when we came home.

"To my horror and grief, when we returned, I got some pennies back, but they were not my box of beloved Indian head pennies. Some kind of generation gap in understanding there, wouldn't you say."

I appreciate Jo's interesting comments and reflections. Regarding the banker, Mr. Moore, he was a regular daily visitor in our drug store. My cousin Fred once remarked that Mr. Moore must have inspired the old Dr. Pepper slogan, "10, 2 and 4," because those were the hours when Mr. Moore would come to the fountain for refreshment.

Mrs. Garten and her husband now live in Westminster Village in Ponca City, and another Perryan, Ella Merry Hayman, also makes her home there. Her parents were Mr. and Mrs. W E. Merry, two of our local pioneers. Thanks, Jo, for your loving memories of another age in this blessed little town.