A half-century’s work on the Square
Many people look forward to retirement, but Georgetown resident Eloide Newsom was not one of those people. “My son-in-law says I was still working when I was ninety-five, and I think I was close,” she says. “I wasn’t on the payroll, but I couldn’t stand being away from the Square. I had to be down there where things were going on.”
Eloide, who reached the century mark this past August, spent almost fifty years working on the Square. In the mid-1960s, Eloide and her husband, Paul, moved from Missouri to Georgetown to be near to their grown children, who already lived in Texas. They opened a Western Auto franchise, and later, with their son-in-law Ken Olson, they bought into a True Value franchise. These stores were family run and focused on personal service for customers. “People would tell us the reason they liked to come in [the store] is because someone would greet them and wait on them,” Eloide says.
Sears eventually bought Western Auto, but by that time the Newsom and Olson families also had a furniture store on 6th Street directly behind their True Value store. Eloide’s daughter Judy says, “You could just walk out one [store] and into the back of the other.”
Laughing now over the memory, Eloide recalls the day in the 1970s when her granddaughter disappeared from the furniture store. “She went and hid where we had the furniture, crawled under a baby crib, and nobody knew where she was.”
“She fell asleep,” Judy adds.
“We had the whole Square out looking for her,” Eloide says. “Back then, everybody seemed like family. Even someone who was in business against you was there helping you. It was a wonderful place to be.”
“Everyone just dropped their customers and left the stores and went out looking,” Judy says.
“We had people going through the courthouse. They went over to a car lot place, thinking she may have gotten into one of the used cars,” Eloide says. “It was amazing. Of course, we found her and she was fine, and everyone was so glad.”
These last few years, Eloide hasn’t been able to get to the Square as much as she’d like. “It’s not like it was when I first worked there,” she says. “It’s got a lot of new and interesting things around it.”
Eloide worked as long as she could because she was lonesome at home. Family and friends visit Eloide frequently, but she says, “I liked to be out with people. I do miss working. All of the young people that work for us at the store keep in touch with me, and I encourage them never to quit working . . . most of them took my advice.”
People often ask Eloide the secret to her longevity. While she doesn’t have the answer to the location of the fountain of youth, she suggests, “I think it’s good to be within the public. You don’t want to get out of the hum of things.”