Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bob's Variety and Newstand


For many many years my parents owned a small newsstand in Glens Falls, NY. If you don't know, Glens Falls is a small city located about an hour north of Albany, NY. There isn't much to say about Glens Falls except it was the childhood home of WWE Wrestling superstar Jim "Hacksaw" Duggan and most recently famous Rachel Ray, though she's actually from Lake George, NY. Which is just 20 minutes north of Glens Falls. But when it comes to Upstate NY it's all pretty much the same when you get right down to it. I mean it's goddamn small. You know who I'm talking about, right? Rachel Ray? That peppy little cherub on the food network that was probably voted in high school as "Most likely to make you want to eat glass within 30 seconds of being near her".

Anyways, back to my parents store. I'm not sure what the exact year it was when they started it but I think it was somewhere around 1973. They bought the store off a friend of my fathers for a few thousand dollars. Maybe even less then that. They changed the name of the store to "Bob's Variety and Newsroom". It was my parents dream to own their own business. And like all small independent businesses it was just my parents running it. My parents would get up at 6AM and open the store at 7 AM. At the time my dad worked a second job delivering furniture during the days to help make ends meet and just in case the store didn't make it. So he'd leave the store at 7:30AM to be at his second job by 8AM. My mother, who was still very new to the country and didn't know much English, ran the store by herself with a toddler (me) running around her ankles and a newborn (my little brother) laying in a crib behind the counter. I don't have many memories of those early days. But I've seen lot's of photos and I'm sure it must have been a very scary time for my parents. My dad would run over to the store during his lunch break from the furniture delivering job to check up on my mother. He made sure she got something to eat, gave her a bathroom break and then would run back to his other job leaving my mom behind to tend to the store alone until 5Pm. Then he'd get out of work and run back to the store and worked there until 9PM, close the store and then do it all over again the next day. This happened 5 days a week. On weekends my father and my mother would run the store together all day long. They rarely had a day off and this went on for 30 years. Eventually my father was able to leave the furniture delivery business and just work at the newsstand full time. From time to time my parents would take a day off from work, but never together. One would work the entire day while the other stayed home and rested. There was even a couple of times when they took an entire week off together and they'd take my brother and I off on some half-assed vacation somewhere. My dad would arrange to have someone from his family work at the store while we were gone. My parents worked real hard on that store and it became very successful. They made a good living off of that store. I was pretty much raised there and eventually as I got older I worked there for my parents after school, on weekends and even during college. When I was real young, maybe 10 or 11, there were times when the entire family would spend the night there on a Saturday and we'd all wake up together early on Sunday morning to open the store together. My brother and I would put the Sunday papers together by stuffing the Sunday comics into the papers and then we'd walk down the street and get breakfast at this place called The Ideal Diner. That was fun time.

Eventually, after 30+ years, one location move, many deaths and my parents divorce. My little brother took over the store. Sadly he didn't run it for long. I think he had it for a couple of years until he was forced out when someone bought the building he was in and they upped the rent 3 times on him within 3 months. The guy who bought the building wanted him out. So my brother decided to just close the store. I couldn't believe it. The store was finally done. The very next day, I literally mean THE VERY NEXT DAY after the store closed, my brother was out on his motorcycle on a joy ride and the asshole got run over by a car. Talk about shitty luck. Oh don't worry, he's still alive. He's just permanently disabled....now...that's all. Jesus.

So why all this? What's the point of this long winded entry? Well, recently the Post Star, the local paper in Glens Falls, ran a story about downtown Glens Falls and it's future. Along with the article they ran a photo of some guys taking down the sign from my dad's store and that made me feel sad. A huge part of my childhood was there and I had a lot memories there. The photo just got me thinking of things. Thats all.

2 comments:

radnauseum said...

I'm gonna cry.

Kferg said...

Me too.