More than a Market

A Child's World

 

 

Neighborhood children relished the independence of running market errands for their parents and putting the purchase on a tab or just stopping in for some penny candy or a soft drink and a chat with the store staff. Market owners kept a watchful eye on their comings and goings. Hanging out at the store to listen to adults talk politics, sports, or family life granted children entrance to the mysterious world of adults.

For the children of market owners, the store was an extension of home life, where they could visit with family staffing the store or grab a snack or ingredients for dinner that night. They operated the cash register before they could reach it without the help of a step stool, stocked shelves, and made deliveries.

 

Morris Rome with older brother Louis. Photo courtesy of Judy Rome Frumoff.

Barnet and Lena Rome’s five children worked in their store. Brothers Louis, Joseph, Sam and Morris delivered newspapers, passing the route down from one to the next. Morris  delivered around the neighborhood and sold papers on the docks to arriving ferry passengers, earning about $20 a week.

Even as adults, brothers John F. (left) and Arthur (right) Kieslich found time to play during the work day. Photo courtesy of Sr. Marie Kieslich.

Listening

George's Market, Burlington, Vermont 1935 - 1962

He was the most even-tempered, friendly guy and I thought what I liked about him so much is– as a kid, I would talk to him and he’d actually listen to me and he’d pay attention to what I was saying, and he was just that way. Everybody walked in the store would visit with him and he made a good neighborhood center point. —Michel Allen, Lebanese neighbor and friend

 

Michel Allen was a frequent visitor to George’s Market. Photo courtesy of Michel Allen.

Neighborhood kids wandered in and out of George’s Market as if it were a second home. Georgie George was a man who really listened, not just to adults but also to children. Here they picked up potato chips, Devil Dogs, sodas, even peashooters and boxes of peas for neighborhood wars.

 

Georgie George with local teens. Photo courtesy of Michel Allen.

A Role Model

Georgie George was a role model for Michel “Mich” Allen, whose family lived in apartments in the adjoining building. His comfortable relationship with Georgie was especially important after Mich’s father died when he was still young.

Tag, You're It!

Chick's Market, Winooski, Vermont 1944 to present

Large in stature and in heart, Edmund “Chick” Dupont was beloved by the neighborhood children, joining in their antics and drying tears. Chick feigned gruffness, but all the children knew he had a soft heart. Kids played hopscotch and jacks out front and the store served as “home base” for games of hide and seek. Many children stopped by to pick up groceries for their parents and returned home to find penny candy at the bottom of the bag. Timed right, there might be a bologna end for five cents.

 

The kids on the street would run into the store and grab a piece of penny candy and run back out again. Chick would pretend to chase them, but it was just a game. The kids would laugh as they ran out the door. —Carolyn Dupont Steinmetz, Chick Dupont’s second cousin

 

Chick treated children as if they were the children he and his wife, Florence, never had. He kept an eye on them while their mothers ran errands, proudly displayed school photos behind the counter, and attended high school graduations.

 

Chick with nephews Dick (left) and Tom Corbiere (right), who worked at the store as teenagers. Chick knew neighborhood kids by name.

 

Lived on west st., right around the corner went there almost every day for my mother, mid 70’s, she give me a note for groceries and smokes, I remember how kind he was to a little boy embarrassed because we didn’t have alot of money, Chick would keep us in this little book and mom would pay on the first. He would always throw some candy for free in the bag,”don’t tell your mom” it was our little secret, the counter was in the back of the store and I could barely see over it he’d bag the stuff and reach way over to hand it down to me, I thought he was a giant lol. Hey Chick was one of the good ones! —Tony Barnier, Winooski resident

Hanging Out

Roy's Market, Winooski, Vermont 1923 - 1967

Photo courtesy of Larry Emile Roy.

Market owner Emile Roy’s son, Larry (left), loved hanging out at the market with his cousin Paul, helping his dad and absorbing advice from customers and deliverymen who visited with his dad. When Larry was too young to drive on his own, Emile recruited friends to ride in the passenger seat as chaperones while he made deliveries.

 

For Young and Old Alike