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October 22, 2005


THIS WAS THE CITY DRUG STORE on the north side of the square all dressed up for the Rexall One-Cent Sale in 1936. Wayne Proctor, the store's pharmacist, is second from right. Others from left, Bailey Render, store manager Fred W. Beers, Jeanice Beers Wade, Fred G. Beers, Gloria Mae Beers, Glen Taylor, next one unknown, Sidney L. Wade, Mr. Proctor and the store owner, Mrs. Ivy Beers. Except for Fred G. Beers, all are now deceased.

Wayne Proctor came along too late to receive the accord he deserved. He was a pharmacist at the City Drug Store, 643 Delaware Street, on the north side of the Perry square. He landed here in the heart of the Great Depression, around 1935, not a good time for anyone to display his character or other good traits. My Mother employed him because we were required by law to have a registered pharamcist on the grounds or available to call at all hours of the day or night, holidays not excepted. Otherwise, my cousin, Fred W. Beers, would have satisfied all the requirements for a pharmacist. He could read every doctor's handwriting and he knew the limitations of most of the drugs that our store dispensed. And, the cost of most of the prescriptions filled in our pharmacy was, at most, about $5 or $6. Things were low-cost then, friends, but so were wages.

Anyway, Mr. Proctor was a good man but it was a bad time. He was treated roughly, like everyone else, although he deserved much better handling. As our druggist, he was someone for my two sisters and me to look up to. He had a gentle smile that told you everything was OK in spite of the climate that day. As children of the owner of that poor store, we knew he did not earn a big salary. He spent only a year or so in Perry. During that time period, we came to know and love him.

Mr. Proctor's wife, Letha, was a fine lady. She was more outspoken than he was, but it was always in a friendly fashion. After his death, she called on our store as a pharmaceutical representative and she visited in our house when time made that possible. While she lived in Perry, the city council hired her as librarian, and she did a fine job at Perry Carnegie Library. She also let me know that she didn't think much of the literature offered in our Rental Library at the drug store. That was, after all, only a money-making device, so we never had much discussion on the subject. Mr. and Mrs. Proctor had no children, they treated the kids in our family very kindly and offered words of encouragement when they believed that was necessary. We loved both of them.

Some of the other pharmacists who labored at the City Drug Store also were memorable, but none quite like Mr. Proctor. We'll have some more of the depression-era recollections in a few more days.