The building pictured below was located at McArthur Drive and Ideal Avenue. It was built by Forest May and plastered by Ruhl Buskirk. Forest was our neighbor from across the street and as you may guess, they were paid in ‘trade’. In those days few people had money so bartering became a way of life.
In the 1920s Fort Wayne was fortunate in having two wholesale grocery outlets, A.H. Perfect and G.E. Bursley. Dad chose the G.E. Bursley Homestore, featuring co-op advertising and volume purchasing power.
Bartering was good for everyone and was practiced in many forms. Mrs. Kimmel came to the store every Saturday in her horse and buggy. It was my job to tie the horse to the fencerow, while she took the interurban to town and back.
The farm finances were pretty well outlined…the big finances were in the hands of the husband…the egg & chicken business was in the hands of the wife. Mrs. Kimmel was no exception. I knew when I first saw her, what she would be bringing from the farm. A box of eggs neatly packed in plenty of oats. The oats protected the 5 or 6 dozen eggs from breaking and later…you guessed it…the oats were for the horse, with strict instructions on when to water and how to feed it.
My other job was to count the eggs and put them up for sale. If it were springtime I was expected to hold each egg close to a light bulb and ‘candle’ it before offering it for sale. Upon her return from town, Mrs. Kimmel would make her weekly purchases and pay for them with her egg and chicken money. Very little money changed hands and all were happy.
A bygone service enjoyed by most farmers was a huckster, Dwight Campbell, and his wife Mable (Weaver). He had numerous country routs with his traveling grocery. The grocery was his truck, which had outside access doors on both sides with the back door opening for larger items. He stocked his truck with anything you would want and some things you wouldn’t want. He catered to the farmers wife…she had egg and chicken money.