By Peg Bos, Clovis Museum
We continue to quote the article (prose) composed by William W. Wamsley that was printed by the Clovis Independent in 1939. His words capture the personality of the merchants that were located in Old Town Clovis.
“If you want your old wagon to stay in the race, Just hunt Ira O. at Billie’s old place, He will make you an axe or tighten your wheel, Or make anything else with iron or steel.
Joseph Garnero, he baka da cake, He baka rolls and the pies he can make, His Clovis Maid bread is the best you can buy, If you don’t like the white he will give you the rye.
Henry Rose is the chief of your little town, His fame is known in the state up and down, The crooks and the bums want none of his stuff, If the action demands he can get plenty rough.
The brick on the corner is Merriman lair, With Bessie, his wife, they make a fine pair, Many years have gone by since they opened his store, And I sincerely hope that they have many more.
Eddie Kenneaster will wash up your rags, If you will just put them in his laundry bags, You can send them soiled, he will send them back pure, There’s no better work done, of that I am sure.
Luther E. Weldon belongs in this rhyme, For he’s been in this town a mighty long time, He has you tied up in a way that’s near cruel, In the summer it’s ice and in winter it’s fuel.
And do not forget the H and J Fines, They have the insurance mostly old lines, On your automobile, if your fender is bent, They’ll pay all the damages to the last cent.
On the corner of Fulton and Street Number Four, Henry and Ralph have the furniture store, If you will buy all your furnishings there, You can get what you want and have money to spare.
Another smith of the village is a man they call Joe, His last name is Miller, Hear his bellows blow, There is no spreading chestnut under which he can work, But his anvil still rings and his work he won’t shirk.
On farther down you’ll find Texaco town, Dennis Hallowell is still holding it down, His oil is the best, so is his Fire Chief, If you’ll Marfak your car you will never have grief.
If it is Richfield you want, just step on the corner, You’ll find Phil Garver there and not little Jack Horner, He will fix your old car if it’s on the bum, So your light will shine bright and your motor will hum.
Each night after dark in cold and in heat, You will find Anderson walking his beat, He watches the cars, he tries each front door, And takes care of your business while you peacefully snore.
See Rufus Price for your midlings and wheat, Your pigs you must fatten and your chickens must eat, He keeps his mill running from morning till night, He will grind up your corn and do it up right.
I’ve seen enough as I pass by this way, To know that Tommy has come here to stay, Each night of the week you can go to the show, Send the kiddies down front, you can have the back row.
Leslie E. Smith has a store most complete, with groceries and vegetables looking so neat, If they ever strike oil out on the West side, You will see Leslie stepping high, handsome and wide.
In the white painted shop Chris and Viggo both stay, They sell the best beef for all who will pay, Viggo buys the prime steers, Chris cuts up the meat, As butcher shops go this place can’t be beat.
What is the swelling you have on your face, If it is he toothache why that’s a disgrace, Just go to Doc Parks who will for a dollar, Take it out quick and he won’t make you holler.
On the south side, when you see the sun shine, You will find the boys sitting all in a line, You have guessed it by now, it’s H. Whiton’s bower, Great questions are here settled about one an hour.
Some people will think that these verses are silly, that the fellow who wrote them is just a hillbilly, No offense has been meant, It’s fun so to speak, I’ll retire now and wait for my thirty a week.”
William W. Wamsley’s prose documented our rich heritage.