Friday, May 19, 2006

An answer

Grandfather B was always a sharp dresser. Even as a child I was aware his Stacey Adams brand hats. They spoke of quality and were always immaculate. I believe the style was called Homberg. It had a crown like a fedora but the brim was round rather than turned down in front and the brim was edged in quality silk tape. His grey on gray stripe suit was from the best level on the stock of Neslin's Menswear.

Aside- Hyman Neslin claimed to have been an officer in the Czar's cavalry. As a Jewish officer he was assigned to a god-forsaken post on the Siberia - China border. One day he mounted his horse to check border patrols turned his horse towards China and didn't stop until he came to a port where he could book passage to the Pacific Northwest. For many years he operated his men's suit store in the old skating rink building next to Mill Creek at First and Main. After a fire wiped out the store, he invested the insurance proceeds in a new store in Spokane that he operated with his son well into his hundredth year.

Mr. N lived just a few blocks from his store. Actually where Mann's House of Brides set up shop was the Neslin home. Mr. Neslin would walk to work but on a hot summer evening he would leave his wife and kids to the heat and go off for a spin his automobile in the cool countryside with his dog "Onions" proudly sitting in the passenger seat.

Oh yes, about grandfather B. I always wondered about the corset he wore. He was trim and the stove pipe pants worn in his generation were designed to show a prosperous belly . Later my father explained that in the early days of auto batteries if one had a problem with his car battery, he made use of a battery repair station where an expert did surgery removing and replacing the non fuctioning cell.

The scrap material composed of lead and antimony was heaved through a hole in the floor.

Grandfather would buy the scrap for recycling. This involved schlepping the lead up steep stairs from the basement. Grandfather B. perfected a technique wherein he would buy the material based on a guess of the total weight. By running up and down the stairs and then sauntering to his truck when the proprietor was in view he would load the truck so fast that the seller would always exclaim. Wow, I guess I didn't have as much as I thought.

Of course grandfather suffered from a bad back and a hernia as a result but he was able to buy a new 1935 Auburn.


Blogger Danny Barer said...

Thursday's episode of CSI commented on how even today many men with back problems find a corset (particularly with bone stays) more comfortable than a back brace.

I have to wonder if more men suffered from hernias in the past than today (or perhaps there is treatment available now that wasn't around then), because period magazines carried lots of advertisements for trusses. I have an issue of a science-fiction magazine from 1954 on my shelf that has the entire back-cover ad devoted to the Piper Brace "Rupture-Easer" ($3.95 for one side; $4.95 for a double).

1:48 PM  
Blogger Bud said...

I am curious what if anything more you knew about Mr. Hyman Neslin. I belive he may have been the brother of my grandfather Louis Neslin. I never knew my grandfather Louis, as the story goes he passed away when my father was only 6 years old.

1:06 PM  

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