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Over 60 . . . And Getting Younger: January 16, 2014

The Dry Goods Store

The store was the most important member of the Greenberg Family. The store was on 174th Street in the East Bronx (now called the South Bronx). It was situated between between Bryant Avenue and Vyse Avenue.

The goods sold in the store were ladies cotton house dresses selling for $5 to $8. Today, ladies no longer wear these dresses. Also in stock was a whole wall of ladies nylon stockings. The stockings were sold in pairs, but not attached for both legs, not panty hose.

During World War II, nylon stockings were a very precious item. After all, nylon was being used in parachutes and other necessary war items. My father had no patience for his Bronx clientele. After a lady would say “no” too many times, my dad would yell “Out, out, get out of my store.”

As the bedraggled customer was heading for the door, my mother would step in and say, “Never mind him. What do you want?”  My mother was irresistible. She would sell to the customer on the way out. The customer was pleased, and everyone was satisfied.

My sister and I rarely entered the store. My father was too difficult to work for. He really was never at ease on the floor of the store. To my mother, selling merchandise off the shelves was her greatest pleasure next to her two lovely children, my sister and I.

Eventually when my father became ill with stomach cancer, they sold the store, and moved to Pelham Parkway, (a lush neighborhood in the Bronx).

I remember the day the store was sold. A buyer came into the store looked at the shelves stocked full of merchandise. He made a low bid. The buyer and my parents were standing next to the National Cash Register, as my mother accepted the bid. She was depressed at the time because of my father’s physical weakness and she had lost much of her vitality.

As my mother said “yes,” a customer handed my mother a pair of anklets to purchase. My mom put them in a paper bag and took the 50 cents for the purchase. She was about to put the money in the register, when the new store owner put out his hand and took the 50 cents saying, “That is my money now.”

That ended 40 years of the Dry Goods business at 174th Street in the Bronx.