And what a handsome man he was!
Isaac was my father’s father, a man I never got to meet, unfortunately; he died before I was born in 1945. In this picture he must have been in his late 40s or early 50s.
The store was called Monkland Dry Goods and was eventually inherited by my father. Thank you, granddad Isaac! It became my second home, as I used to go there quite often at lunchtime. (It was a short walk from Willingdon School which I attended from grade 2 to grade 7.)
ELwood 6903. That was the phone number of the store. I had to memorize that number as a child, because if my parents weren’t home, which was often the case, the store was where I’d find them. Even our first dog, Queenie, learned the route by heart – from home to the store and back again – she would go by herself whenever she escaped from her leash.
Isaac Rosenburg’s first location for his shop was on Westminster Avenue, in Montreal West. It must’ve been almost all farmland then! I think he sold everything… well, except food. Basic clothing, balls of yarn and thread and bolts of cloth, were his mainstays, my mom told me. I’m not sure when he moved the store to Monkland corner of Marcil, but obviously that’s when he decided to call it Monkland Dry Goods.
My best friend lived in one of the apartments above the store. So convenient! She and I, along with another couple of kids, used to play “school” in the store’s musty basement. No arguing about it: I was always the teacher! I used to make little workbooks for them and assign homework and give quizzes. I can’t understand for the life of me how they put up with this setup time and again! I think I wanted to be like my Aunt Bertha, a high-school teacher, whose red pencil used for marking papers was something I secretly coveted.
Monkland Dry Goods truly enriched my childhood. Lunches with my mom, buying trips to a toy factory with my father… a few more of my memories of that place and that era may be found here.
That same location is now a cupcake café. Good thing I don’t live too close to that address anymore!