This is the second part of a two-part story from a recent interview with Edgar Everman, 95, of Carter County, Kentucky.
This story picks up from when Everman came home to Carter County after serving during World War II.
Good jobs were hard to find when Edgar Everman returned home after the second World War.
“There was so many men seeking jobs. You had to have pull to get hired somewhere,” he said. “I just done a little bit of this and that. I used an old truck and hauled lumber. Then, I partnered with my brothers, Willis and Clyde, for a furniture business in Greenup. We were there a couple of years and then we came to Grayson with a little store around Landsdown – a little 20 x 40 building. We sold appliances and furniture.”
Electric-powered appliances at that time “were hard to come by,” Everman said, although he secured a Kelvinator dealership around the same time the Rural Electrification Authority began hanging wires along local poles.
He was selling “mostly refrigerators and electric ranges” to people who were perfectly comfortable with wood-fired stoves and ice-cooled boxes for food storage. Everman said he knew “high pressure” sales techniques would not work.
“I did not try to close the deal. I just set them in and told them to use them for two weeks,” he said, explaining he offered to return and pick the appliance in 14 days. “I never picked one up. I was told once to ‘come and get it,’ but the man took a drink of cold milk, he had been used to drinking warm milk, and he said, ‘If there’s any way you can set that up on payments, I’ll keep it.'”
Making A Living
Everman added he also “farmed on the side,” with tobacco crops and “a couple of beef cattle” at any given time.
“Later on I stripped coal when there was a coal boom around here,” he said, recalling his pre-war jobs included using an old truck “with only one wheel brake” to haul a variety of goods to Sandy Hook.
At some point, Everman climbed behind the controls of a piece of heavy equipment he continues to enjoy operating, a backhoe.
“Yes, I’ve got a backhoe. A Caterpillar. In fact, I’ve got two of them. If one breaks down, I can use the other one!”
“The first time I used a backhoe was when I bought one. I bought a backhoe and a grader. I just bought them and started using them,” he said.
A Good Breakfast
Everman does not offer much advice about how to live, although he does say he believes in starting each day with a healthy meal.
“I have one regular cup of coffee at home and then I go to Biscuit World and drink decaf,” he said, before spelling out his breakfast of choice.
“I eat Raisin Bran with nuts in it – a handful of mixed nuts and some cranberry raisins and grape and banana. I use fruit salad in it sometimes.”
A father of three, Everman said family is important to him.
“Bruce, Kathy and Tammy. My son is 71 years old now. He’s an old man,” Everman said with a chuckle. His first wife, Dixie, is still the namesake of Grayson’s bowling alley, Dixie Lanes. Everman now enjoys life with his wife, Hazel.
After accumulating considerable property including the bowling alley, Bald Eagle Flea Market and the Antiques N Uniques building, Everman said he has since been designating his belongings to loved ones several years ago.
“I started giving stuff away when I was 70 years old, while they were young enough to use it.”
At 95, Everman says he has few regrets.
“Nothing in particular. You know, I passed up this or that and there could have been opportunities I could have taken advantage of … I don’t know I would change anything if I had a chance to do it over.”
The Secret To Long Life
Everman first shared a joke about the answer given by an old man who remained alive long after his friends and loved ones had passed. The secret was simple, he said, “I outlived them.”
Shortly after returning home from a hospitalization following this interview, Everman advised he had a better response.
“Honor thy Father and Mother.”
Story And Photos by TIM PRESTON