One of those agents was Paul Schroader, who was a neighbor of ours. He frequently stopped in to purchase gasoline. He and my father were good friends.
Paul worked for Bowman Products, which sold maintenance and repair products for automotive and industrial businesses. They provided fasteners, brass fittings, electrical connectors, welding materials and much more.
Paul stopped in each month to inventory these products and write an order to refill products that were getting low. Lots of times he would stop in again later and refill the bins and cabinets after the products had been shipped to our station.
Several years after I had moved back to Indianapolis from California, I was in the market for a new job. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper, and the name of the company seemed familiar. It was Bowman Products. I remembered Paul Schroader being a sales agent for them.
I contacted the district manager and scheduled an interview. I met with Bill Hensley and after a couple of interviews I became an outside sales agent for Bowman products. I was surprised to learn that Paul Schroader was still an agent with the company.
I remembered that Paul had a couple of “outside offices.” We mostly operated from our homes. I made my sales calls during the day and finished the paperwork in the evening in my small home office.
Paul also had a home office but also operated out of a couple of taverns on Madison Avenue. If I noticed his car at the Colonial Inn, I stopped in and visited with him for a while. Paul was a good guy and I learned a lot from him.
After several years I was given the opportunity to become a district manager, which involved moving to Grand Rapids, Mich, where i lived for about 12 years. The things that I had learned from Bill and the agents that I had become friends with really helped me get started in my new position.
Last week, Stuart, my therapy dog, and I were out running some errands and were close to Carmel. I looked up the address of the business that my former district manager, Bill Hensley, now owns. Stuart and I drove through several totally crazy roundabouts and then sailed right into his parking area.
It was great to get to visit with Bill for a while. We communicate a bit on Facebook, but it was special to chat in person. Bill’s wife, April, also works with him. She was out of the office at the time of our visit. I told Bill that I often think about Paul Schroader when I drive past his former house.
I was telling him a story that involved a fellow we knew from Bowman who originally worked here in Indiana and later was my supervisor when I was in Michigan. Neither of us could remember his name.
Bill came out to the car to meet Stuart before we left. During the drive home I remembered the name of the fellow. I called Bill and all I said was, “Jesse Tatum.” We both laughed. I’m thinking we’ll make lunch plans soon.