When I was growing up in my parents' house behind the store and post office in Turners, Missouri, one of my favorite things was returning empty pop bottles for cash. I rode a little red tricycle with an attached wagon and hauled my empty bottles down the driveway to the store. I used the refund money to buy candy.
Since kindergarten, I wanted to run the store—business name Turners Station Mercantile—that has been in my family since
I started selling newspapers on the public square in Springfield, Missouri, in 1928, when I was eight years old. Back then, the square was a cement circle edged in brick with a flagpole in the center and was called the pie. My three older brothers worked for the newspaper on the circulation desk. They were in charge of getting subscribers and managing some of the delivery boys.
My dad, Henry, was a letter carrier. He later became public administrator for the county. My mother, Nellie, didn’t work outside the home. She had her hands full
I had a hemorrhagic stroke in 1994 when a blood vessel burst in my brain. I was in and out of rehabilitation for seventeen years, trying to get function out of my left arm and learning to walk with purpose. I loved to run whenever I could. When I was driving a truck and parked near a building, I’d run to the building and back. People asked, “Why do you do that?” I said, “Because I can.”
The stroke was the morning of Mother’s Day. If it had