“My dad,” said Phil Reiser, formerly of Clovis, now of Albuquerque, “would really have enjoyed passing this story on!
“Back in 1956 or ’57 one Sunday afternoon my dad (George W. Reiser Sr.) got a phone call from the Railway Express Agent down at the Santa Fe Railroad depot.
“Back in those days the flowers dad sold at Reiser's Florist were shipped in by train, so dad and the agent were friends. The agent told him there were two people at the depot who needed to send flowers to a funeral in California. Not ever missing an opportunity to sell some flowers he said he would be right down.
“Dad asked my sister (now Joella Kempf) and me to go with him. I never missed a chance to go to the depot, as it was an exciting place with the passenger trains coming and going. When we came around the corner to go to the Railway Express Office you won't believe who was sitting on the bench ... Danny Thomas and Spring Byington!!
“You can imagine how excited we were as we had just recently gotten a television set and “Make Room For Daddy” and "December's Bride” were two of our favorite shows. My dad treated them like he treated everyone, with respect, kindness, and friendliness.
“They ordered the flowers and paid in cash, then just sat there visiting like we were old friends. We got their autographs (I think Jody still has them) and joked around until their train boarded.
“After that my dad became a regular contributor to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Now I realize it was Danny Thomas’ influence that day long ago, as that was his passion.
“I've got many great memories of growing up in Clovis in the 50s and 60s.”
George Reiser Sr. was born in Houston in 1914, one of eight children of German descent. George met Maurine Jackson on a blind date and they married in 1935. They moved on to Amarillo and then to Clovis in 1948. George became manager of Mission Garden of Memories cemeteries.
In 1955 George bought Harry Lyman’s Florists and Greenhouse on Commerce Way, but moved the shop to 1112 Main St. in 1957. Dreaming of a new flower shop, and with the help of Andy Sutter, bought the property at 1207 Mitchell. It became a beautiful building and a thriving business for eastern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle area. It became the top 800 FTD florists in the United States.
The family had four children, Janis, George Jr., JoElla, and Philip Don. George W. Reiser Sr. died Aug. 18, 1976 at the age of 62.
(I appreciate Phil Reiser passing on their meeting of Danny Thomas and Spring Byington at the Clovis Depot!)
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: