Sometimes when I sit down to put together my article for the week, lots of things come into my mind. Other times I have not a clue what I am going to be writing about. This week was not a problem. We lost a couple of men that had a very large impact on the Southside. I am speaking mostly of the Edgewood area in Perry Township.
I received a call a couple of weeks ago letting me know that we had lost a retired Perry Township Schools employee. My thoughts took me back to when I was in either the 5th or 6th grade at Edgewood Grade School. I came in contact with a very tall man while I was walking down a hall.
I learned very quickly that he was a new teacher at Edgewood and his name was Mr. Pickard. During that time, the students stayed in one classroom the entire day and the teachers moved from class to class teaching their specialty. I was in Mr. Chandler’s room during my time as a 6th grader.
Several years later, I reconnected with Edgewood Grade School as a contract school bus driver. Several of the teachers and office staff were still working there. It was amazing to reconnect with Mr. Pickard, Mr. Chandler, Mrs. Sanders, and Mr. Bailey. I really enjoyed working with them.
A few days later, I found out that we had also lost another gentleman with Edgewood connections. Floyd Crayton opened and operated Crayton’s Cleaners for over 25 years. His first Edgewood location was on the east side of Madison Avenue between the old post office building and the small strip-center.
My father’s Sunoco service station was just north of the little strip-center. We were very early Crayton’s Cleaners customers. We took our dirty service station work uniforms to them to be drycleaned.
Some years later, the business moved across Madison Avenue into a building on the nNorthwest corner of Epler and Madison. I was friends with a few of Floyd’s employees and I even dated a couple of them.
It was so nice to be able to visit with some of both Bill Pickard’s and Floyd Crayton’s families. The visitations were just one day apart. I met family members and reconnected with friends that were also paying respects.
Next month, the Perry Township / Southport Historical Society is going to host a program to honor another Edgewood family. We will celebrate the Kautsky family. There will be wonderful family stories about the grocery business and the basketball business.
While many Southsiders remember the Kautsky Grocery Store located at Madison and Epler avenues, many have not a clue that Frank Kautsky started and owned the very first professional basketball team that was based in Indiana. Paul L. (Pete) Bailey assisted Frank in building and operating this team. Bailey was also a player on the team.
This program will be presented on May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Perry Township School’s main building (Superintendent’s office) at 6548 Orinoco Avenue. (Enter at SW corner of the building).
This will be a very special program to honor the Kautskys and Edgewood.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools. He can be reached through email at email@example.com.