Dad started at Kimball’s in 1952 — I believe in the spring of 52. My grandfather, June Bug’s dad, worked for Mr. Kimball’s dad, Harvey Kimball, at Kimball’s feed store that used to sit on the corner of Lapeer and 7th Street. That is where Dad first worked driving a truck for Harvey Kimball (Darwin’s dad).
June Bug was 13 years old when he started driving a truck for Harvey. How is that possible, you ask?
Well, he got a special permit to drive the truck. He got stopped once and the officer noticed that Dad was sitting on a pillow and was really questioning this. The officer did say that Dad handled the truck as good as or better than a full-grown man. The officer followed Dad back to the feed store and talked to Harvey. From what I was told, Harvey went to a friend he had in the court and got Dad a special permit to drive, only for delivery purposes.
Try to do that in today’s world. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen anymore.
He worked for Harvey Kimball mostly until he started to work between the two places before he worked full time for Darwin. Dad said that when he first started at Kimball’s, the new appliances would come in on train cars instead of today’s standard shipping by truck. They would have to go to the train yard with the delivery trucks and unload the train cars by hand.
Dad also told me that he remembers when they were still using the meters that Mr. Kimball installed on refrigerator during the depression. These meters were a way for people to pay for their new refrigerator without having a big payment. I believe they would put in a dime or a quarter each day and the refrigerator would run for 24 hours.
Dad also served in the U.S. National Guard for 5 Years, and the U.S. Army for 2 years.
Dad worked at Kimball’s and then went to work for Mr. Kimball at Midwest foundry, which Kimball’s was part owner in for about 5 years. Dad worked his way up to a foreman quickly with hard work and dedication. But, as many foundries did, it closed, so Dad went back to his first love — appliances — and has been with appliances ever since.
In his spare time, which was not much, June Bug had his own fireplace wood business called “Juniors Fire Wood” for numerous years. When Dad decided to give up cutting wood in 1977, due to lack of supply, Dad and two other men went into business and opened World of C.B. during the huge C.B. craze of the 1970s on Pine Grove Ave, where Applebee’s sits today. The C.B. shop is still in business on 24th Street and now it is celebrating 35 years of business.
Still to this very day, June Bug has that old C.B. Radio in Kimball’s delivery truck. You may even pass him on the road and see him talking on it.
June Bug also is a “gear head.” He loves classic cars. He has a 1951 Ford called “Great Balls of Fire,” which Dad has owned since I was about 5 years old. Dad traded an old farm tractor for it. I remember the day he brought it home, he literally brought parts of it home in baskets that they used when picking apples. I remember that they came in handy when one would get empty, needless to say, one at a time.
The car transformed and was on the road just in time for his partner of 40 years, Bill Hauver’s, wedding in 1977. The car was a Hawaiian Bronze then, which Dad later changed to midnight blue and stayed that way ’til 1994 when the car was transformed and painted white with flames and “Great Balls of Fire” was born.
Dad also likes to watch the Tigers and is a big fan. He also liked to play softball in the local church league. To this day, June Bug still loves to drive his Ford whenever he gets a chance and he still loves the Tigers.
He has been supported by a loving wife, Darlene, of 47 years and a son, Andy. His partner, Bill, has been on the passenger side of the Kimball delivery Truck for 40 years (since 1972).
So, when it comes to knowing the appliance business and how to treat customers, the saying is true…
“Nobody Beats the Bug”