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From Ron Napier

My father, Guy K. Napier, took a job teaching vocational agriculture, biology, chemistry, and eighth grade general science in the Union Township school following his graduation from Purdue University in the spring of 1929. This was a 12-month job, resulting in him being paid slightly more than the principal who was paid for 10 months, making Dad the highest paid person in the township.
In the summer months, Dad was responsible for the 4-H program. A major activity of 4-H at that time was teaching the students how to wire their barns. Dad wasn’t allowed to touch the house, but the students could take what they learned and wire the house. This brought electricity to Union Township.
The school, like everybody else, didn’t have any money, and at least part of the time Dad was paid in script. The first year, Dad lived with Otto and Mae Sloop and continued to see his fiancée, Lillian Shelburne, who worked in an office in Indianapolis. The following summer, they were married in the pastor’s living room and went on a three-day honeymoon to Niagara Falls, N.Y.
My parents rented a very small house next to the church. It had a small barn where a horse and buggy had once been kept. Dad parked his car here. Dad built a rabbit hutch behind the barn, and there was a chicken house where chickens, ducks, and geese were kept. The garden was behind the chicken house, and Dad had a row of bee hives behind the garden. This all was very common during the Depression. Even their friends in Indianapolis often kept rabbits and chickens for meat along with a garden.
I was born in a birthing house in Franklin on Feb. 10, 1932. Dr. Province, the community doctor, didn’t think hospitals were safe for delivering babies, so he and other area doctors maintained a very clean birthing house in Franklin.
Church was a very important part of life. Dad taught teenagers Sunday School. During church, I stood on the pew between my parents because I was too short to see over. Dudley Strain, a Butler University divinity student, was the pastor. While he was pastor, he managed to take a trip to the Holy Land. After he came back, he said he didn’t think the congregation wanted to hear about it every Sunday, so he was going to preach one Sunday on the experience and we would hear no more about it. This was during the Depression, and everybody was struggling. Every Sunday, the pastor would ask for quiet money because many had only been giving the change out of their pockets.
Among my more vivid memories of those early years was watching a two-story unpainted frame building located on the northwest corner opposite Russell A. Rund’s general store being put on rollers and moved north to where the lodge is that became the Methodist church. That building later was torn down and replaced with another building which in later years was raised to its present height. Being very young, I didn’t feel I should wander any father from home, so I saw only the start of the move.
The general store was a fascinating place. There was a pump out front where you could hand crank gas up into a glass bowl on top and drain the gas into the car. In back were crates where you could pick out the chicken you preferred and take it home, chop the head off, and douse it in a kettle of hot water so you could pluck the feathers. Inside the store was a potbellied stove that people sat around, chewing the fat while buying snacks out of barrels. And of course there was the punch board where for a small sum you could punch one of the small circles out, in hopes of winning a small prize.
Russell worked with a wholesale house in Indianapolis. He could buy at wholesale, and he resold to members of the community at 10 percent over his cost. After we left the community, Dad came back and bought a Mix Master with many attachments, such as a juicers and a potato chip slicer for deep frying your own chips. Russell was very service minded. He even ran a trucking service, making him a mini-conglomerate.
Every day, Mother would gather the eggs and carry them to the store for credit. She would bring back her daily needs, and the account was settled up at the end of the month. Dad would sell honey from the hives out back. The dark honey was 8 cents per pound, and the light honey was 10 cents per pound. I still have Dad’s log book.


Blaze Robertson sold insurance and drove a Buick. He told Dad he didn’t need the Buick, but people thought he was successful and it sold a lot of insurance. Mother used to relieve Mrs. Robinson on the switchboard.
One time, Dad had to be away from home for a couple of weeks in April. I had just been born in February. While he was gone, Dad arranged for the janitor at school to deliver milk. I think his name was Wes Utterback. When Dad returned, Wes was delivering milk to half the village. After that, Wes would carry me on his shoulders at school functions. I was his Holstein baby. I majored in dairy manufacturing while at Purdue University. It had been my plan that when I graduated I would try to buy the dairy. Unfortunately, some things happened, and Wes was forced to sell before I graduated.
In later years when I came back for a visit, nothing topped the rides in OJ’s soap box derby racing car.