Many local residents will remember Neosho Floral Company, once located at 1020 North College Street adjacent to Hickory Creek.
On Friday, a reunion between Adam Caran, who parents owned Neosho Floral until it closed in 1989 ,with what he calls his eldest friend, Glendene Eskridge, resulted in two very special donations to the Newton County Historical Museum.
Caran drove from Dallas, Texas to surprise Eskridge, who worked for many years as a floral designer for Neosho Floral and later for Beck Floral.
"My mom and dad loved these guys," Caran said of Eskridge and David Branham, former lead floral designer for the firm, who was also present. "You were an integral part of the shop and the community."
Caran's visit came as a surprise to Eskridge, who knew only that a someone from the past was expected.
"I don't know if I like this," she said prior to Caran's arrival. "I'm not sure I like surprises."
She was, however, delighted to see Caran.
"You look just the same," she said with a smile.
Eskridge came to work for Neosho Floral in 1969.
"I love it down there," she said. "It was good for me because I'd just lost my husband."
She worked at the shop until it closed in 1989, then spent a few more years in floral design at Beck Floral, Neosho.
Caran brought some ledgers dating to the 1920's and an embossed seal from Neosho Floral so that Eskridge could donate the items to the museum.
"It was a given," he said. "This is where they needed to be."
Museum director Deanna Booyer was on hand to accept the donation.
Local historian and author Larry James was on hand to visit with Eskridge as well as a few others.
Memories and reminisces were shared with old friends and new acquaintances.
Eskridge turned 100 years old on April 29 so she has many memories to share. Branham said that she often helps him to remember, although he's younger.
"Memories are very important," Eskridge said. "Everybody's got good memories. I have good memories, real good memories. I tell all my grandkids to write your memories down."
She gave each of her grandchildren a blank journal to use to preserve their memories.
"I live with my memories now," Eskridge said. She is also an avid reader, reading every night often until a late hour. She also enjoys game shows on television, puzzles, and word scrambles.
The Neosho Floral Company was located on North College, beside Hickory Creek, in what is now part of Morse Park North. The company began as H.S. Ely and Company but later became Neosho Floral. A series of owners in the 1920's through the 1940's kept the firm going until Don Barnett and his brother-in-aw, James G. Anderson, bought it in 1946. Barnett operated Neosho Floral until his death in October, 1971. Paul and Kathy Gray then purchased the business before selling it to Adam and Barbara Caran. The Carans owned Neosho Floral until 1989. Later, the buildings were sold as part of the flood plain buyout.
Eskridge worked for both Barnett and the Carans during her time at Neosho Floral.
The newly donated items from the past will soon be on display at the Newton County Historical Museum, located at 121 North Washington Street, just off the historic Neosho Square. For more information contact Booyer at 417-451-4940.