Pioneer Museum of Alabama dedicates Locklar Rolling Store -1947-2002

Published 7:38 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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On the afternoon of July 4, 2024, Ceciel and Faye Locklar shared the story of the Locklar Rolling Store, 1947-2002, with a large, eager and appreciative audience at the invitation of the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

This is the story.

In 1947, The Locklar Rolling Store was owned and operated by Bertie and Agnes Locklar in Bullock and Macon counties. The Locklars had liquidated their assets, which included a pair of mules, three milk cows, a two-horse wagon and other necessary  farm equipment and embarked on a chance-taking business venture that  proved so successful that it was passed to the next generation, Ceciel and Faye Locklar, in 1955.

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The Locklar’s Rolling Store continued traveling the paved and dirt roads in Bullock and Macon counties until 2002.  After the couple’s  retirement, the rolling store was donated to the Tourism Council of Bullock County and later moved to the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

On the Fourth of July 2024, the Locklar Rolling Store was officially opened as a permanent outdoor exhibit.

For more than a half century, a Locklar Rolling Store traveled the paved and dirt roads of rural Bullock and Macon counties to serve generations of grateful rural folks.

On Thursday,  the Locklars, turned back time through stories that will long be remembered by those who were blessed by the telling of them. And, for sure, most everyone went away with a not-to-be-forgotten glimpse of the rolling store and what it meant to those who lived on unpaved roads in rural areas of South Alabama.

Many stories of the rolling store and the role it played in rural areas  were told and each person surely had a “most memorable.”

Jacob Burnham, museum assistant, said one story that stands clear in his mind was about a little boy who, even knowing that his mother  had no cash or credit available, came to the rolling  store in hopes of finding a way for Christmas to come to the little ones at home, not himself, but his brothers and sisters.

The Locklars made sure that those little children didn’t have  empty  stockings on Christmas morning.

The Locklars shared the time a storm washed away a wood bridge and prevented the rolling store from crossing the creek. By putting down plank after plank, the rolling store crossed the creek and got to the other side with needed food.

Faye told about Ceciel’s mother working the route with him one day and selling the scarf she was wearing to a lady, who so much wanted one like it.  She then sold her sweater to another,  leaving only her blouse. She, laughing,  did not  sell that, because Ceciel said “no more Mama”.

Ceciel shared the time he came to a house that was on fire  and there was only a 100-foot water hose to fight the fire.

“If I had come five minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have seen the fire,” he said. “If I had gotten there five minutes later, the house would have burned down and they would have lost everything.”

Ceciel did not discount divine intervention.

Another time, the rolling store pulled up to a regular customer’s house who was always on her front porch waiting for it.  She was not there.  Ceciel asked a neighbor to go and check on her.  The customer was found dead sitting in her chair on her back porch.

Knowing the lady kept a lot of cash in her money belt, Ceciel insisted that no one go into the house until the family arrived. The money bag held $2,300 that could have gone missing.

Ceciel told about a young man who was a good football player but was not doing good in school.

“I told him  that he needed to play ball because God had given him potential. I heard that he  became a good football player and got to play in the Canadian League.”  The boy visited the Locklars as a grown man and told them he would not be where he was in life without Ceciel’s guidance.

One story after the other was shared at that special time with the Locklars. Often members of the family shared  their favorite  rolling store and family stories.

Barbara Tatom, Pioneer Museum of Alabama director, said working with Ceciel and Faye Locklar has been a joy and an honor.

“For us at the museum, it was our mission to get the Locklar Rolling Store ready  and open,” Tatom said. “It tugs at my heart to hear the Locklars’ stories told and to know they are pleased to know where the Locklar Rolling Store is, and will be, here at the museum  We are honored to have the Locklar Rolling Store at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama. We are blessed to have had the opportunity to have made friends with the Locklars and are so happy to know them.”

It would be hard to  imagine just the two of them, Ceciel and Faye,  running the rolling store for 47 years.