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Wharton's store taught values to local children

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He said after school he and his sisters would sell sodas, cigarettes, ice cream and other items.

In the mornings his mother would open up, then leave for her part-time job at the hospital. While she was gone, Wharton said his grandmother would operate the store from 8 until 12:30. Then his mother would come back and work in the store until the kids got home from school and at that time they would work in the store until it closed.

He said his father, who worked a night shift for the Lebanon Garment Company, would get off work around 6 or so in the morning and work in the store for an hour or so until his grandmother came in to relieve him so he could go feed livestock and tend to the garden.

Wharton said the store, now located in historic Fiddler’s Grove at the Ward Agricultural Center, was good to their family because it helped provide an education for each of them.

The Whartons, the late A.C. and his wife Mary, 94, who still lives near the original site of their family store, are credited with providing a college education for each of their five children, a rare feat for African-American families during the period of the 1960s and early 1970s.

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