Friday, September 21, 2007

There's money in textile

My grandparents had a little shop in a working-class area in Amsterdam selling textile by the metre. At the back of their shop they had a little garden and in the summer they would place a zinc tub in it filling it with water so I had a little pool to play in. In the back of the garden was a little barn that was loaded with textile. It was nice to dive into that barn and climb and dig into the pile of textile. When I close my eyes I can still smell the distinctive scent of it.

My grandmother mostly worked in the store while grandpa was at his stall in a nearby market selling the lesser quality. The market was opa’s passion, no matter the weather he would be there, with the inevitable Willem II sigar in his mouth. In his booth he had a special section with little cloths and leftovers that he would sell per piece. Prices he asked for these were something between 25 cents and 5 guilders each depended on who was inquiring.

Even at the age of 7 or such he let me run that section when I was there to visit them. I could even make my own prices. He only forgot to tell me that I wasn’t allowed to sell anything from the other section with better merchandise and one day when I was “helping” him he had to leave for a bit leaving me alone at the booth. A woman came and I sold her a few meters of some textile from the other section at the price I felt I should ask for it. I remember clearly how proud I was to tell it to him when he came back and the dressing down I received.

Another thing I liked being with him at the market was that I could rummage through that pile of little cloths because there was sometimes loose change to be found. Coins of five, ten or even 25 cents that I could keep if I found them. One day I found a note of 1000 guilders, realizing how old I declare myself with this but 1000 guilders was a fortune in those days. I didn’t really see the humor of it (then) when he told me to give it to him laughing with the other market vendors how he fooled me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

En zo was het, precies zoals het was, mooi en emo. M.