Reader's response stirs memories of Frank's IGA in Indianola

Friday, June 27, 2014

Susan Doak

SW Nebraska

Genealogy Society

I love it when I pose a question in a column and immediately get answers from my readers! Well, at least I have one reader, because he responded to my questions concerning Edgar Frank. When I read my email from this gentleman, who worked for Mr. Frank back in the day, memories came flooding back concerning Frank's IGA in Indianola, the corner-post grocery store of my childhood.

The store was touted as a grocery store but every imaginable item was stocked on those merchandise-laden shelves including the most wonderful toys staring down from the very top shelf! While Mom was a no-nonsense shopper (if you were very good, you might leave with a Milky Way clutched in your hand), Dad was a different case indeed! It was on one of those rare trips with him that I returned home with a three-foot-tall Cinderella doll complete with pearl earrings, glass slippers and a tiny glass carriage, a doll that still resides in my home today!

It was also in that store that I saw my first tarantula spider as it crawled out of a wooden crate of bananas sitting in the produce aisle! However, it is not my memories, but the memories of a man who worked for Mr. Frank as a young man, that I would like to share:

"Edgar was from the eastern part of the state if I remember correctly -- Ruby, his wife, was an Indianola native. Edgar started out as a feed and seed store with a small line of grocery, dairy and produce. The Indianola natives were placing bets as to how long he would stay in business in the 1930's. Edgar loved to recount the story and then comment that he had seen an average of over 1 competitor go out of business for every year he had remained.

"Edgar and Ruby had a liberal charge policy for customers. Often farmers only paid their bill once a year and often there was a balance carried over every year. Edgar commented that he started his business in Indianola because it was a predominately Catholic community and Catholics were known as the best group of people to pay their bills.

"Edgar and Ruby were fair, generous (they donated the same amount to every church in Indianola as their customers attended them) and it was a great place to work. Ruby had a couple of retirement dreams. First, she wanted a Airstream trailer and to drive the Trans-American highway and the other was to open a penny candy store in a small building that was across from their store because she totally enjoyed watching the kids come in and decide how to spend their pennies and nickels -- they always kept a good stock of penny candy for that reason.

"The last time I saw Edgar and Ruby they were both still in their home half way up the hill across from the brick home that used to be the county courthouse or jail. They had their old blackboard out that they used to help their daughters (they had four) do their homework on but now it was out for when the great-grandchildren came to visit. They both lived well into their eighties; believe Ruby may have been pushing 100 when she passed. They were quite the couple and boosters of Indianola!"

It turns out that I knew one of the Franks' granddaughters when I lived in Indianola, Kathy Harrison, who was in my 4-H group, as was their daughter, Verdonna's, child. It is after all a small, small world!

SWNGS' next meeting will be July 5 at our library, 110 West C, Suite M-3, starting at 1 p.m. Join us to research your own small world.

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