A favorite memory of mine was back in the early 60’s when my sister and I and two friends (all of us about 8-10 yrs old) set up a small table just outside the door of Peachin’s IGA, a small grocery store in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Much like it’s done today, we would hawk cookies to their customers as they came and went. Usually a pretty dry activity, but this one year was a memory-maker!
Nearby was Wichita University and on the campus sat a large building we called “The Roundhouse”. Why did we call it that? Well, because it’s round, silly! Built for university basketball games, it was also a great venue for concerts and other entertainment. And in the evening on this particular day, one of the most famous singing groups in America was going to grace the stage–The Supremes! In the flesh! I was just a kid but I was also a fan! “Ooh, ooh, baby love, my baby love…!”. Oh yeah!
This particular grocery store happened to be two blocks away from Wichita University and The Roundhouse. As we sat there selling cookies, up walks three beautiful black women in gowns accompanied by a large black man in a suit. The ladies walked past us and on into the store, giving us friendly smiles. The man, however, stepped into the nearby phone booth (yes, just like the one Superman used). He then proceeded to give someone on the other end of the line an earful! He eventually hung up and went into the store.
The four of us girls just looked at each other with our mouths open. Was that the Supremes? Was that Diana Ross?! Oh-my-gosh! It was! Was it?! YES! We were still debating this and giggling with glee when the four of them emerged from the store.
As they began to pass us by, we forgot all about selling cookies and one of us asked them, “Are you the Supremes?”. It was their turn to giggle and one of them answered, “No, but we work with them.” Ok, Ok, we may just be kids but we had their albums with pictures on them–THEY were the Supremes!
We watched as they continued on down the sidewalk and around the corner of the store. Then they were gone. And four little girls from Wichita, Kansas came this close to the famous. Later, eager to tell our story, we walked on air all the way home–lugging unsold cookies, of course.