When my father graduated from high school in 1932, the depression was in full swing, and jobs were scarce. Verne was familiar with the sight of “hobos” trudging along the railroad tracks on the border of his father Clint Troutman’s farm in Wayne County, Nebraska. Undaunted, he set to work organizing a baby beef 4-H club and continuing in his father’s footsteps in agriculture. He had designs on additional possibilities, as well: to be an auctioneer.
In the summer of 1934, he and a high school buddy, Ruben Strate, enrolled in the Reppert School of Auctioneering in Decatur, Indiana. Founded in 1921 by Colonel Fred Reppert, a reknowned auctioneer, the school offered intense training over a period of ten days.
|Fred Reppert is the man in the booth on the right, side view.|
Verne was up for the challenge. Although he may have traveled by rail, he probably drove to Indiana in a 1932 Chevy Coupe, his first car. He took his classes seriously, penciling copious notes during each lecture, which he saved. The browned pages can barely be deciphered. Some of them include rules for good living:
· “Never mix work and play.
· “Wine and women will kill an auctioneer.” 
· “If you meet the world with a frown, you will get frown[s]. If you meet the world with a smile, [you will] get a smile.
· “If you don’t know a thing to be a truth, don’t repeat it.” 
And for running a successful business:
· If any organization is not of service to the community, it will be very short lived.”
· “Never have any person by-bid just tell the audience that the owner cannot . . . sell at that price & 9 chances out of ten he will be able to sell.
· “Use nothing but newspaper advertising.
· “A dissatisfied customer is your worst enemy.
· “Know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it.
· “Pay the consigner the next day.
· “Buyer pays for goods day of sale.” 
While there, he also made a friend, a fellow classmate, Irvin Patrick, from Circleville, Ohio, whom everyone called “Circleville.”
|Verne and "Circleville."|
|Verne on Circleville's shoulders. Yes, Verne looks like Carl in this photo.|
|The graduates of auction school, summer 1934. Verne is 4th from right.|
The days spent at the Reppert School of Auctioneering left a lasting impression on Verne. He went home and taught his brother James all that he had learned, the chant and all the personal and business advice. Together, they developed an auction business that spanned a number of years, brothers facing the future together.
|Newspaper release, unknown paper and date.|
 Walter Tolman, Lincoln, Nebraska, to Verne Troutman, letter, 11 June 1932, Assistant State Extension Agent writes he has learned that Verne has formed a baby beef club and will come to tag the calves; Assorted Letters, Memorabilia, and Other Papers from the Collection of Verne and Lois Troutman, binder; privately held, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] Anderson, Indiana.
 Melissa Davis, Indianapolis, Indiana, [(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Zola Troutman Noble, e-mail attachment, 3 June 2016, “Reppert Auction School,” on the history of the school; Research/Indiana e-folder, privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2016.
 Verne Troutman, “Grandpa Verne’s Story,” undated, edited by Z. T. Noble, 29 July 2014; computer files, “Dad’s Story2.”
 Verne Troutman, “Col. Cy Springer,” lecture notes, Reppert School of Auctioneering, Decatur, Indiana, 27 July 1934. Privately held by Zola Troutman Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2016.
 Verne Troutman, “Guy Pettit,” lecture notes, Reppert School of Auctioneering, Decatur, Indiana, 28 July 1934. Privately held by Zola Troutman Noble [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2016.
 Ibid., “Col. Cy Springer,” 27 July 1934.
 Ibid, “Col. Cy Springer,” 28 July 1934.
 Connee Willis, Wichita, Kansas [(E-ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE),] to Zola Troutman Noble, e-mail, 24 May 2016, “Reppert School of Auctioneering,” Troutman Cousins/Connee, folder, privately held by Noble, [E-ADDRESS & STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Anderson, Indiana, 2016.