By Don McAlvy: CNJ columnist
Oscar Klein and his wife moved to a dugout home about 15 miles northwest of Clovis. Soon the family moved into Clovis around 1909. They had two daughters, Elizabeth, born in 1911, and Virginia, born in 1913.
Oscar Klein bought the three houses on the northwest corner of Main and 4th Street on Jan. 5, 1918, from Joseph Strouvelle. (Later to become George Sasser’s drug-store and soda-fountain, one of the busiest corners on Main Street.)
After buying that corner, Oscar established his Klein Grocery Co. and soon had one of the first Model T Ford delivery wagons, which were driven by Clarence Hobdy. John Guy was the right-hand man for the store. Oscar Klein was a Red Cross worker and helped ration sugar to cafes and other businesses. The salesmen would stand Virginia on the counter and get her to say the nursery rhyme which came out, “Ding dong bell, pussy’s in the hell” as she couldn’t pronounce W’s.
“One day,” said Elizabeth, “when mother left us at the store to go shopping, we were out on the street eating ice cream cones and Virginia’s hat blew off into the gutter, which had water in it from a recent rain.
Daddy came to the rescue and dried the white straw hat with his folded, white linen handkerchief.”
Later, after Oscar Klein and his wife died and when Elizabeth and Virginia had grown up and moved to Oklahoma and had completed school, the two ladies became the owners of the drug-store and soda-fountain in Clovis.
The two darling little ladies, who later moved to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, would come back to Clovis to check out how well the old drug store was being cared for, as many other businessmen at different times ran the drug store.
One time the two darling little ladies, who had never been married, came back as the manager of the drug store asked that the roof of the drug store be restored.
I wouldn’t say the two darling little ladies were tight with their money. But they said the roof was still fine and soon the manager walked out and opened his own drug-store up at Hill-Top.
I guess somebody eventually repaired the roof.
In about the mid 60s, I think, I became friends of the two darling little ladies when Harold Kilmer and I were moving the oldest house in Clovis out to the fairgrounds.
The two sweet little ladies brought from Dallas nick-nacks and other items, like several mannequins and such for the house. The sweet ladies wanted to help us, but they couldn’t give us any money.
I’ve lost track of them a long time ago.
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: email@example.com