'The Store' was not a gift from my parents in any way. I was expected to sell enough to cover the rent of the store location and all its expenses - plus my own apartment. It was a lot of stress for someone who wasn't even 18 years old.
For those of you who are wondering what I was doing out of university before I was 18 yrs. old. I started university at the age of 16. I only completed one year before the offer came from my father to run a location of the fur store in the town where I was born.
I had run into a 'friend' I had met at university and she had moved in with me for a period of time before moving on. When she left she stole all my cutlery and my fur coat. The fur coat I didn't discover until it grew cold enough to need one. It was a learning experience for me.
I continue now with the story from the point where my friend had moved out and I had made the discovery of the theft.
Naturally we drifted apart and I continued on at the fur store where I worked harder than ever to pay the rents and feed myself. I started dating a fellow and we became engaged briefly, both caught up in our loneliness and a need to cling to something. That relationship lasted about a year and ended in the traditional toss of the ring towards his face - which in itself is a very satisfying thing to do. However, he claimed for years afterward that he could never find it once I had left the building and that I had just faked the throw....which still cracks me up.
Eventually my parents decided to close all their stores in Ontario and pack everything up and move to Alberta. I heard about it during a telephone call. In fact - what I heard was that they had sold their house and were just in the process of closing down all locations and would then be taking the stock to Alberta where they had found a city where only one furrier ruled - and ruled an area that hosted most of the millionaires in Alberta. They were excited about the rest of their lives. And myself? I could join the furs in Alberta - or stay.
I opted to stay. They hadn't once asked my opinion or even mentioned their plans in our daily telephone conversations until everything was settled. I remember those last days at the store very well.
Most fur stores will take older fur coats on trade for a newer garment. Sometimes they can resell the older garments for a little money to cover the cost of the original trade-in...sometimes they use the garments for repairing others. It works well.
Now, my father was a very forward looking man - always thinking way ahead of his time. He decided that we would use the second room to sell the used furs - and - to take in consignment goods and sell them too. Consignment stores just did not exist at that time! So - you could walk in and buy a mink coat out of the front room for thousands of dollars - or - move on into the second showroom and buy used socks. Lovely.
So when the store was closing - anyone who didn't pick up their items would forfeit ownership of them. That meant - when the store did actually close - we were left with clothing that wasn't ours. I remember very well my mother sitting crying helplessly - her head in her hands - as my father was packing everything up so he could take all this clothing with him. Granted they had come through the depression and he hoarded everything he could get his hands on...but why these things?
It was the first time I got the nerve up to speak my mind to him. Remembering what he had done to my mother I was yelling instead of speaking. The goods ended up going to the dump and my mother quit crying.