The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Mid-Century Style

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on May 19, 2010

Like many Jews of their day, my grandma’s dad was in what Grandma calls “the junk business.”

He would buy up lots of irregular, damaged, or otherwise strange merchandise, salvage what he could, and sell it.

Grandma told us she remembers sitting as a toddler with her sisters on tall stools sorting weevils out of barrels of rice.


“No! Weevils. Boll weevils. Totally different from weasels. Don’t you know what weevils are?”

Here is later era company letterhead with a kinder description than “junk.”

Why were Jews disproportionately represented in the junk business? Probably for the same reason Malcolm Gladwell explains how Jews rose to dominate personal injury law: they were barred from other trades so they made their living where they could. (Gladwell’s long analysis of how Jews were barred from the “better” schools and white shoe law firms so they had no choice but to carve out their own niches is brilliant and very entertaining.)

1950s version reads "liquidators of general merchandise stocks"

I salvaged this letterhead from a pile of old junk. I remember playing as a young kid with envelopes, ledger books, old check registers, and assorted other supplies with the Grossman logo on them.

And remember, I am a Grossman by marriage (Grandma’s maiden name was Grossman.) Now I’m a Grossman too and I really want this to be MY letterhead today.


One Response

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  1. Mom said, on May 19, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Very cool letterhead—I’m glad you found it! Sometimes it’s good that Grandma saved everything.

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