Thursday, November 15, 2012

Harry, the Gum and Candy Man

Here's another trip down Leoti's memory lane.

This evening, Stan and I were sitting around remembering a well-loved character who had lived in Wichita County for many years.  All throughout my childhood and afterwards, Harry Coats was famous for handing candy or gum out to all of the children he met on the street or in the stores of Leoti.  Everyone loved him but not just for his generosity with candy giving.  He was just one of those great guys whom everybody loved.  He continued to give candy throughout the rest of his life.

Back then, there was an old wooden backless bench that was positioned outside of the original First State Bank that is now known as the Care Center.  It is located at the Main and Broadway intersection.  Harry was just one of the several older gentlemen who met there every week day to visit as they watched cars come and go at the stoplight.  Kids recogized Harry right away.  More than a few parents were asked to park their vehicles so that their child could go and say "Hi" to Harry.  Today, the bench is gone.  More-than-likely, all of the men who used to spend hours sitting on it, are all gone also.  Good memories...

Isn't it sad how our world has changed in the past 2 or 3 decades?  Today, if someone went out on the streets offering free candy to children, the public would immediately be suspicious of the man or woman who was giving away the candy.  So sad...

Harry, we still miss you...  There will never be another man like you.


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