Thursday, November 30, 2006

Family-owned business

I believe this is the last of the stories I collected over last Passover. It's sort of two stories in one, told by my mother. First, she recalls working at Dubrow's and trying to get take-out orders right. Then, she tells a story about a situation unique to working in a family-owned business...

OK. So I would answer all the phones, and mostly it was nothing. But from about 11 to 1, we’d get all these huge office runs, from the, uh, fashion district, and I remember the guy who was running the outgoing business, was real anxious sort, but he was always yelling, and pulling out clumps of his hair. No, really, he had like bald spots from literally pulling out his hair. And invariably I would get the whole order, it was big, like twenty sandwiches, and forget to ask, “do you want pumpernickel or rye?” On each sandwich I had to ask them that. And he would see my order and see I didn’t have that down, and he would – (I would say:) “I swear, they all wanted rye bread!”

So he arrived at work, and he would always come by and find out how I was doing, and so one day I said to him, there’s this man– he keeps looking at me – and he was so excited, it was something he could get into, because I’m sixteen, and no one should be looking at his cousin, and he says “oh – tell me the next time you see him, point him out to me!” He was hoping to push him down the stairs or something. So, uh - no really he was, he was looking for a fight– so, um, finally, I did see him again, and I said “He’s over there, in the corner there.” He says, “Where, where?” I said “Over there in the corner.” He said “well, tell me where he is – is he next to cousin PG?”

Stewart: It is cousin PG.

Bonnie: It is cousin PG – he (was) staring at me because I look like Sylvia. Is that funny?

Stewart is my uncle, the husband of my mother's sister Beth. Sylvia was, of course, Irving Kaplan's wife and Benjamin Dubrow's second youngest daughter. Apparently my mother had a cousin she didn't know, who wandered into Dubrow's, and was watching her because of her resemblence to her mother. Which is just the kind of thing that would only ever happen in a family-owned business.

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