Dad had sold his daily milk route, which entailed him picking up milk from farms in the Acton/New Palestine area and delivering it to a processing plant in Indianapolis to be bottled. He was going to open a Sunoco service station on Madison Avenue just north of Epler.
While the building was being constructed, Dad was trained for his new career at a company-operated station on West Washington Street. It was open 24 hours, and he worked various shifts. I went with him a few times on the overnight shift.
During the construction process and when school was in session, I got off the school bus in the afternoon at Epler and Madison. I enjoyed walking home and watching the progress of the station. It was also great to walk with Nancy Wilcox and other classmates.
During Dad’s time in training, he and George Frye, who was also in training to open a station, became good friends. George, a native of Loogootee, lived in Brownsburg and was going to open a station there.
Both businesses opened about the same time. We stayed in contact with several Sunoco dealers in the Indianapolis area. Bill Singer had one of the first Sunoco stations in the city, and White’s Sunoco was on Madison near the Teepee Restaurant.
After a few years George gave up his business and came down to work with us. He was a great guy, and we worked together well. It’s amazing to me the goofy things we remember about someone. George had two work uniforms: one for warm weather and one for cold weather. There were two days a year when he switched from his winter attire to summer clothing and vise-versa. Once that change was made he wore that uniform until the next change – no matter what the weather was like.
When we started operating our fleet of school buses, George obtained his license and became a bus driver. He and his wife moved from Brownsburg to a home just off of Edgewood.
When we decided to close our station and move to a larger building in Southport, George stayed with us. I learned so much from him. The building that we operated out of there is now Long’s Bakery.
After a few years we sold our fleet to Perry Township Schools. My father and George went to work for the township as bus mechanics, positions from which they retired.
George and his wife moved back to Loogootee after they retired. George and my Dad are dead, but I frequently think about them.
A group of current and former township bus drivers meets monthly for breakfast. We have so much fun remembering our friends and telling great stories.
I so enjoy driving north on Madison from Epler to Shelby. I remember our gas station, Nancy Wilcox’s house, Heath’s Market, my family’s old house, several neighbors’ houses and Longacre Pool. Wow!