Marie, D.B. (Daniel), and Mary Lou

Marie, D.B. (Daniel), and Mary Lou

I stopped at Office Depot to pick up the programs for the Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest Awards Ceremony Tuesday afternoon. After getting the programs, I went to buy a bottle of water from the other clerk because I left my bottle at the house. The price tags on the different waters were not clear. I took a couple of different waters to the counter and ask what the prices were. He checked and I put the one back I didn’t want.

When I handed him my card, he looked at the name.

“Daniel Roark, I knew a Daniel Roark once.”

“Well, we’re probably related.” There are a quite a few Roarks in the area and the state.

He kept running the card and finishing the transaction. His name tag said Richy, but no last name.

“That was a long time ago,” he was saying under his breath, “Levitz Furniture.” He shook his head.

I perked up. “Did you say Levitz Furniture?”

“Yes.”

“That was my uncle!”

“Really?

I nodded yes.

“What would that make him now, 100?”

“Close to.”

“Well, then.” And he shook my hand.

I smiled, and thanked him. As I was leaving, I made a mental note to call Dad. He would love the story. I knew my uncle as D. B. Roark. Which he went by, like my grandfather. Which is also why I didn’t put it together until Richy mentioned Levitz.

The huge Levitz Furniture showroom was west of I-35 just north of the Continental exit – where the SoftLayer company is now – at, approximately, 1329 N Stemmons Fwy . And, yes, it was a long time ago. I remember going there with my parents to shop for furniture one time. It was a cavernous store. I’ve never seen as many bedroom suites again in my life. They seemed to go on forever. And being a huge warehouse /showroom, the lighting was not all that bright.

That was one of the few times I saw D. B. before I was in high school. D. B. was an entrepreneur of sorts. Until I was in high school, there were periods when we didn’t talk about D.B. and Mary Lou. Particularly when we were at Aunt Marie’s or Aunt Juanita’s houses. Mom just told me not to ask. Then, in high school, they started coming to family events again. Which they continued to do.

When we went to Levitz that day, the first salesman we ran into went to tell D. B. we were there. While D. B. was showing us furniture, we met a few more employees. I was just following my Dad, Mom, and D. B. around, not at all interested. I was a teenage boy and it was furniture, for God’s sake. Nothing in the experience led me to believe, or even imagine, that 40+ years later I would run into a Levitz ex-employee at an Office Depot in Addison.

Even better, what are the odds that Richy was one of the employees I met that day?

Peace be with you.

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