When Mark Anderson remembers his late father, two smells come to mind first: potatoes and Christmas trees.
“The smell of just being in the potato cellar, every spring when the potatoes come in to the store, it just brings those memories back,” Anderson said. “There’s just something about that smell, it’s just earthy and kind of musky.”
That smell is one way Mark remembers helping his dad with the family store, loading up a cart with seed potatoes, when he was about 7 years old.
His father was Clyde Anderson, the former owner of Logan mainstay Anderson’s Seed & Garden, who died Oct. 7. He was 91.
Anderson’s mother, Nettie, founded the business in December of 1942 as Logan Seed & Feed. When she died in 1976, the business passed on to her sons Clyde and Bud. Clyde bought Bud’s share of the business in 1989, and Clyde ran the business until, at 70 years old, he sold it to the current owners, his son Mark and Mark’s wife, Ronnette, in 1999.
The second memory of Clyde that comes to Mark’s mind is his father selling Christmas trees from the store’s back lot. If a customer wanted the tree flocked, Clyde would put it on the store’s freight elevator, drop it down to where he could reach the top, and flock the tree as he brought it slowly back up.
“Who would have thought of using the elevator that way?” Mark said. “He could flock the top of the tree as evenly and as beautifully as the bottom, and the trees would come out just perfect.”
Using the elevator is just one example of Golden Generation ingenuity, Mark said, but it had its drawbacks.
“It would make a huge mess,” Mark said. “I think there’s still flocking on the elevator in the back room from when Dad was flocking in the ‘80s and ‘90s.”
Even after retirement, Clyde kept active, and Mark said his work ethic kept him healthy into his 90s.
“Even this spring, he was talking about planting fruit trees,” Mark said. “When you’re 91, how much of that fruit tree are you really going to get to enjoy? It gave him something to hope for, something to look forward to. And that’s something I’ll never forget about him, is how that aspect of his life kept him healthy and active right up until the end.”
Another thing Clyde worked hard to pass on to the next generation: the store itself. When he took over the store after his mother’s death, it was a bit of a rocky transition.
“When Grandma was here, she was the boss,” Mark said. “Nobody wanted to talk to anybody except for Grandma. So it was a hard transition for him to make to get people to talk to him.”
So as Mark started showing more interest and taking on more responsibilities at the store, Clyde started pulling back.
“There were a lot of times when he just made himself less available to people to force them, you know, in a good way, to rely on me,” Mark said.