My parents’ shop was called Success Grocery. It was located at Sutton St. and Rum Lane. It was your typical, modest shop. They sold the usual everyday groceries – flour, margarine, oil, sugar, salt, and canned goods. They also sold haberdashery items like men’s undershirts, hankerchiefs, and socks. Attached to the shop was a stock room. One of the naughty things we did as children was to spy on my father at Christmas as he hid our presents in the stock room. Every year, we would buy us a new toy and a small box of chocolates. At some point, he would take the gifts into the stock room to hide them. Our family slept on the second floor. Our bedroom was right above the stock room. The wood floor had cracks in it where you could see right through. We would take turns lying down on the floor with our eye clued to the crevice waiting for my father to make his move. Invariably, he’d come in and hide the toys and chocolate. This was one of the ways, my brothers and I would keep ourselves entertained. We did help out in the shop. Sometimes, at the end of the night, we would have to sweep up the open area where customers would wait to be served. We used a broom and a home-made dust pan made out of an empty large, square, oil can cut on the diagonal and then nailed to a piece of board. As a child, the area that we had to sweep felt enormous, but it was probably less than ten square feet. I remembered having this sense of responsibility to get this done for my father because he was always working in the shop. I certainly grew up with the feeling that they sacrificed a great deal for us.
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