Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Collective Memories - Main Street Memories

Stewart's. Photo courtesy of Carmel Barry.
Yesterday morning started with a chat with Carmel Barry about Stewart’s store on Main Street in Windsor. Carmel worked with George Stewart for 47 years. She spent one year working part time and another full time on the floor packing shelves and doing whatever needed to be done but most of the time she spent in the office doing the bookwork. Carmel vividly remembered the money system that was in place in the store which allowed money to traverse the store from the office to the cash. She also remembered the wood stove that heated the store and how George would head in to the store before the staff and have the fire burning so it would be nice and toasty when they arrived. Carmel clearly loved the store, the work, and the staff and she exclaimed that she would still be working there today if she could. Unfortunately George Stewart died in 20008 and the old store was torn down a couple of years ago.

In the afternoon we had two interviews. One was with Boyd Cohen whose family moved from the Ukraine and Poland. His grandfather moved from what is now the Ukraine to London, England in the 1890s to work for a clothing company. Between the years 1904 and 1906 Simon Cohen, Boyd’s grandfather, moved to Newfoundland to work for a Newfoundland Clothing Company which was being established by a firm out of England. Following the First World War the family moved to Grand Falls-Windsor and opened a general store. This store sold “anything from hardware and nails to ladies hats”. Boyd also discussed the move from Main Street in Windsor to High Street in Grand Falls and how he got into the furniture business and into real estate.
Cohen's bus.  Photo courtesy of Boyd Cohen.
One memory Boyd shared was of the bus his father ran between High Street, Grand Falls and Main Street, Windsor between 1928 and the mid 1930s. Listen to the clip below.
Our next interview was with Mary Kelly. She discussed growing up in Grand Falls-Windsor and spending time on Main Street, Windsor. Mary had many fond memories of Riff’s where her aunt Helen Kelly worked for years and years. She described going to the store and the magic of Main Street in Windsor. Mary fondly remembered the generosity of the Riff family and how they sent Christmas cards to the family long after her aunt had passed away. She described how after one of Riff’s buying trips to Montreal her family would eat bagels for weeks which were brought back from Montreal from Mr. Riff.
Riff's Christmas party. Helen Kelly and Marie Penney. Photo courtesy of Mary Kelly.
Listen to Mary’s memories of Main Street in Windsor.

Here Mary describes going into Riff’s on Main Street.
Let us know your memories of Main Street, Windsor! Email terra@heritagefoundation.ca or call 1-888-739-1892.

~Terra Barrett

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