Memories of My Grandfather

Happy Holidays! Boy do they seem to go by faster every year. This Christmas will be extra special for our family as we will be celebrating it with our very first (and most beautiful) grandchild, Matilda Sue. I am discovering this whole grandfather thing is really most excellent.

It got me to thinking about my childhood and relationship with my grandfather, “Pampy” (Harold Kester) who ran Oswald’s from the thirties to 1979. So much of what the store is today, and how I run it, I trace back to how he operated it. The way he greeted customers, promoted the store and gave back to his community all had an impact on me. I always looked forward to working with him and my dad during the holiday season. Pampy would be hustling all over the store making sure customers would be able to find what they needed. He would remind all the clerks to ask every customer purchasing film (remember film?) if they also needed flashbulbs and batteries. The store also was an exclusive dealer for Russell Stover Candies and he had an obsession for being one of their largest accounts, selling well over a ton every Christmas. He would have me running to the basement of the old store to replenish the three candy tables that populated the sales floor.

And, of course, he was my grandfather. I am just starting to see the world through the eyes of a grandfather. When my children were small I would take them over to see their great-grandpa on Sunday afternoons. He always loved seeing those kids and would always say “Ah, precious children”. As a father I always thought precocious was closer to the truth, but now I know exactly what he meant. Merry Christmas to all and a Happy Healthy New Year too!

-Bill Anderson


Written by Bill Anderson

Bill is the current owner of Oswald's Pharmacy. A 5th generation member of the Wickel-Oswald-Kester-Anderson family, Bill became general manager in 1979 and bought the business from his father in 1991. In 2004 Bill orchestrated Oswald's move from Downtown Naperville to Naperville Plaza. Bill graduated from Knox College in 1978 with a BA in Art, minoring in History. A graduate of Naperville Central High School in 1974, Bill is a lifelong Naperville resident. Over the years Bill has served as a current member and past president of the Naperville Rotary Club, current member and past chairman of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, and as former Naperville Riverwalk commissioner. Bill lives in Naperville with his wife, just a few blocks away from their grandchildren (the 7th Oswald's generation!).