Nichols Shares Memories Of SWC
Bertha Nichols, a lifelong resident of Southwest City and a regular at the Southwest City Senior Center, recently shared some memories of her life.
She graduated from Southwest City High School in 1943. There were 27 in her graduating class, and four are still living, she said. She married Bob Nichols in June 1947. They had two sons, Dr. Robert Nichols of Fort Scott, Kan., and Neal Nichols of Overland Park, Kan.
Bob was a partner in Nichols Brothers store, where Bertha worked for about 30 years, she said. In 1976, a fire destroyed part of the department store including men’s and women’s clothing and dry goods, she said.
She and Bob were always involved in the community. He was mayor for 28 years, she said, and she served as 4-H leader for several years.
“Bob was a member of Lions, and I was a member of Lady Lions,” she added.
They were involved in the Old-Timers Day Parade in 1991.
Bertha always made popcorn balls for Halloween, until her number of trick-ortreaters exceeded 200, she said.
“When it got over 200, I had to quit,” she said.
“I think our town is a great place to raise children,” Bertha said of Southwest City. “Kids are just better when they’re raised in a small town. They have more freedom.”
She continued, “To me, my kids were easy to raise here. They had Honey Creek that they could hunt and fish. They had Little League here. It was easy to raise my children here because that was the days you didn’t have to worry if they went down to the creek, which they did a lot.”
She said the town has changed a lot over the years. The Simmons plant has come to town, bringing more people; and more businesses have shut down. She said the town used to have two department stores, two drug stores, a hardware store and more.
“We even had a theater here at one time,” she said.
Every Saturday the city used to have a drawing for money, up to $25. “The town would be totally crowded. At least 100 people,” she said. At Thanksgiving, the city would throw turkeys off a high building and let people catch them.
“Our town has changed, but I’m still happy to live here,” she said.
Southwest City resident Bertha Nichols is pictured at the Southwest City Senior Center.