Charles S. (Blackie) and Rose H. Paulin Scholarship Fund
Tell City, like many an Ohio River town was devastated during the 1937 flood. One of the earliest memories of Betty Gast centers on this time. The family business located at 7th and Mozart Street is two short blocks away from what is now the floodwall that protects the town, so you can imagine the problems this posed for the fledgling business in 1937.
Her father, Charles Paulin, known to all of his loyal customers and friends over the years as Blackie, had just started his business of Blackie’s Tire and Battery Company. The family had to move the inventory of the business to the family home during this flooded time in Tell City.
Betty laughs when she describes the tires stacked in the living room of their home and basement. Luckily enough the house was far enough away from the flood plain that the tires and batteries were safe at the house until the family could move all the stock back to the store.
Blackie and his wife, Rose raised three children in Tell City, Betty and her brothers, Charles and Bruce. Before marrying and raising a family, Rose had taken a bookkeeping and secretarial course with a nun from the Sisters of St. Benedict. Rose’s first job with the Layman Furniture company in Cannelton was only secured after the nun had the opportunity to interview Mr. Layman and ascertain that it was a suitable place for the young lady to work.
This course held Rose and Blackie in good stead for the upcoming years since Rose remained her husband’s bookkeeper throughout their marriage. Unlike the way business is conducted at this time, Rose managed all the bookkeeping chores at the family home while raising their children, maintaining a big garden and also staying on top of those everyday chores that keep a home running smoothly.
While Betty’s brothers had the opportunity to work in the family business, Betty laughingly tells us that she never had that chance. Charles and Bruce worked in the business during high school and then Charles for a period of time after college, before relocating to New Jersey with his growing family. Bruce eventually took over the day-to-day operations. When Betty was a teenager she had a girlfriend, Marjorie Holman, whose father owned a gas station.
Mr. Holman would allow his daughter to don coveralls and pump gas for his customers. Betty was intrigued by this idea especially since her Dad offered gasoline at his business. She thought she should be given a chance to try it out. She was greatly disappointed when her Dad told her, “It was no place for a girl.” She said that when it became common for customers to pump their own gas, she was first in line to give it a try. You can tell when speaking with Betty that she grew up in a home where hard work and giving back to the community were valued. Even on Sunday when the business was closed, her parents would hop in the car and go for a drive in the country where they would visit with their customers. Blackie and Rose valued their customers and provided them with wonderful service.
So Betty wanted to honor her parents and help give back to the community that they called home. She had a few ideas in mind and contacted her former pastor, Lee Brown to discuss her ideas.
Since Lee had long been a supporter and a past board member of the Perry County Community Foundation, he didn’t hesitate to tell Betty about the Foundation and how they could work with her to design a charitable fund that met all of her needs. Betty eventually decided to create a scholarship fund for parishioners at First Baptist Church.
While her parents had limited opportunities for formal education they valued education and made sure that each of their children were offered the opportunity to pursue a college education. Betty knows that her parents would be thrilled with the scholarship fund created to honor them.