Foreword, by Who May be Generously Termed the 'Author' of the Following Pages
Years ago, probably well beyond the memory of any reader, there was a radio program in which one of the punch lines was: "Wuz ya dere, Charlie?" The answer was always: "Yes, I wuz dere."
This article is an attempt to trace the history of a not very important insurance enterprise, from about 1888, then termed the 'Provident Friendly Society' for the next one hundred years to its demise in the mid 1980s as the 'Provident Indemnity Life Insurance Company'.
Wrapped into the history is a father and his two sons. The father, William B. Corey, a South Philadelphian, aristocratic, dignified, entered the employ of the Society in 1895 as a boy fourteen years old. As mentioned on Page 1, his salary was $2.50 per week.
One of his sons, William S. Corey (note, the father's middle initial is "B", the son's is "S". "B" for big one, "S" for small one), entered his father's employ in 1933. His salary wasn't much bigger.
The younger son, Samuel C. Corey, followed in 1946. Nor could he splurge on his salary.
As the father was a cautions man, loathe to take a chance, with a famous saying, "Always leave the back door open. You don't know when you might need to escape.", his sons were the opposite. They, especially the younger, knew no restraints. Enthusiasm and confidence, he thought, conquered everything. The older was somewhat more subdued. Both, however, were unconventional, and might even be termed "screwballs".
And so the history progresses, through the ups and downs, the joys and the heartaches, of a company trying to achieve respectability, and in the process, hopefully make a buck.
I write this history because "I wuz dere".
~ William S. Corey
February 18, 2004
By Carolyn Portanova