Below find a collection of people stories — news features connecting readers to subjects running the gamut from the famous to the ordinary, but all with something extraordinary worth finding and sharing.
2006 This Memphis Life series
That’s how it all started for Sexton, who grew up in Whitehaven the son of a dentist and graduated from Evangelical Christian School in 1981. He was considering law schools before that first draft. Not long after, to the great consternation of his mother, he stopped considering. “She thought I had lost my mind,” Sexton says.
Some days, Sexton does, too. In his two busiest months, December and January, Sexton might be home 10 days and average four hours of sleep. Sexton says his two brothers, one an oral surgeon and the other an investment adviser, “think I’m nuts, that I have no life.”
Yeah, Sexton will tell them. But you have a job.
Once he learned how to ride it, young Bill nearly wore out the dirt drive that led 200 yards down to the main highway. “That was the joy of my life for a good while,” Heath says, his usually understated voice vibrant with memory. “I enjoyed learning how to ride that bike more than I did learning how to drive a car.”
When he fixed up those first bikes for the K’s, 6-year-old Kion and his siblings rewarded Heath by reminding him of the pure joy he once felt. It’s something he thinks about as he works a rusted bolt or fits a chain, and it makes him happy.
There he stands, sentry to Aisle 13 at Hubbard’s Hardware on Summer Avenue, one of the oldest living hardware men still going, the twice-widowed man born in 1918 still giving his bosses – and his customers – 44 hours a week, 52 weeks a year.
There stands Allen W. Hurley . Some say the “W” is for work, not Walter. “Everybody loves him,” says store owner Steve Hubbard, whose grandfather owned the old North Memphis Coal and Hardware on Main. “Customers come in and ask for him.”
Need a nut or bolt? Head to Aisle 13. “They keep the nut in the nut aisle,” jokes Hurley.