Oh my goodness - where does one start? Everytime I start thinking of what I could say or write the memories take over and stop me dead. I am filled with so many memories of Marcia or Marsh as I call her. One day in October 1986 I walked into this quaint little food store and fell in love. Literally. I loved the store, loved the feeling of belonging somehow. I was new in town and knew no one, but I felt completely at home here with the baking ingredients which to me spelled love, cause being able to bake goodies of any kind was love. I came from a long line of bakers who loved their families and the way they showed their love was in baking and cooking. The women shopping in there all shared that love somehow and spoke the same language. It just felt like home.
The young woman behind the counter and her mom laughed together and reminded me of my mom in Montreal whom I had just moved away from. Turned out Marcia was looking for someone to work a few hours a day - and was I interested? I was as it turned out. My kids were in Park School and this would let me be home for them and work in this fabulous store. I said yes and went home - without giving any information really to Marsh and never asking her last name even. I came to work and stayed till 2006. I still can't believe I left but I decided I wanted to try a life in politics.
My daughter Kim used to come in the store after school and just loved organizing things and playing store. Marsh hired Kim when she was very young and I am so proud to say that Kim still works there. She is a mom to two young boys who just love their Auntie Marcia who spoils them and lets them come print stickers or get a drink of water anytime they want. Heaven.
My house became a Foodstuffs house, our entire family loved Marcia and doing anything to help the store or the causes. The kids loved to make me stand there when I came home from work so they could smell me - cause I smelled like the spices and good things in the store. Still a happy memory for me when I remember. We loved Bob and Margaret, Marcia's parents. We all felt like a big family and I was always so proud that we could work together all day and still love to see each other the next day - or laugh together on the drive home. Sometimes hysterically over nothing at all. Silly things would happen - and we would just laugh. Remember the time I was sitting in the swivel chair at the back counter Marsh - and the wheels broke. I went right over with my feet up in the air - that's all the customers could see from the front. I couldn't get it righted and poor Margaret (English) couldn't stop laughing to help me. Finally Marsh had to come back to help us both - the entire store was in stitches. So many memories of so much fun. Imagine being able to work in an environment like that with good friends? I always thought how fortunate we all were.
I often tell Marsh how she and her mom changed my life. My cooking too. Her mom Margaret used to try all kinds of exotic recipes from all over and bring them to us to share for lunches. We still have so many of these Margaret recipes in use in my house.
It is hard to put into words exactly how wonderful it was to be able to work at Foodstuffs. I was always so very proud of all Marsh did and her dedication to her craft. She always shook it off being Marsh but that never deterred me from bragging about her and the store to anyone who would listen. Her mom, Marsh and I used to do needlepoint together and share wonderful stores and goodies.
I often think about all the amazing things I learned there too - not just cooking but life skills about so many things. She let us do so many things in the store, that gave us all skills in window dressing, ordering, organizing, logical thinking when orders came in and we had to display them in an always shrinking space. We just loved so many cool and interesting things - now how to showcase them. That takes skill. When we first started we used to write the price and codes on these reallllllly tiny colored dots - by hand. Marcia being Marcia was always on the lookout for ways to help us keep ahead of inventory and ordering ideas - so we developed and got our first POS system. Remember this was really in the very beginning of computers. She let us help and we all learned together. That takes a very special woman to share in something so new so tricky but so wonderful. Therefore we all learned computers for a good cause.
We worked in close quarters us girls and our token man Bob. But no fights in our home. The odd squabble or bad mood but we were one and one for all. That in itself is an amazing feat. We stay friends too. The youngens come from dear customers and now we watch as grandchildren come in with some of our first customers. We watch these young women grow and graduate, marry and have children of their own who all love to come into Foodstuffs. People come in as customers, but leave as friends is as true today as it ever was. Where does that happen in this world anymore?
We took on community causes together for the love of our store, our street, our community. I look back on all of that as something quite special too. We learned civic duty, and that happened in the store while we worked for her. How many bosses would allow or encourage all that? Only a few very special ones I know.
One thing I could never have imagined that October day she hired me so long ago, was the total joy I have taking any and all of my four grandchildren into Foodstuffs and watching their and her faces melt in pure joy when they see each other. They love her and the store just like I do and their parents. My daughter Kim still works there with Marcia which is so cool.
I personally could talk forever about the special memories I have of Marsh and Foodstuffs. There are so many. I thank Marsh for all she gave me and continues to do to this day. I learned so many skills, got so much confidence and learned so much about myself and about life with her. I got to work with her almost from the very beginning and have watched her grow in so many ways with her brood of Foodstuffers as we call ourselves with great pride. I just love remembering it all and love watching it grow into this special little gem in a downtown full of life and love. She made Foodstuffs a true destination from the get go. She is an amazing woman whom I love to pieces and am honoured to call my friend. Go Marcia Go Foodstuffs! We love you and wish you all the best for a long time to come. Thanks for the memories!!!!
Thank you for these memories, Dawn! What a wonderful anniversary gift :)