Thursday, June 4

Major's (part 2)

Uncle Joe Mazer was a little, wizened man, bent and used a walking stick for getting around. He opened the Major store early. He had a superstition, that if you sold your first customer, you would have a good day. So he bargained and you got the item wholesale if necessary to make the sale.One morning a vegetable peddler gave him a complaint and wanted an adjustment on a pair of shoes whose soles he said were “pore paper.” Uncle John protested and they had bitter words. Uncle John telling “Mr. B” off in all the English swear words and adding a few Yiddish. This infuriated “Mr. B.” so he said, “You old weasley polecat, I’ll get even with you.” So he rode his mule home and pondered. When he put his mule in the barn, he saw the answer. An old hen had just hatched her brood of chickens and he noticed she had left four unhatched eggs. So he took them to his wife and told her to save them and all she could up to two dozen.Next time he went to town, he took the eggs in a poke. He gave them to his 10 year old son with instructions to sell the eggs only to Uncle John. He put his vegetables down on the sidewalk and left them with the son. Pretty soon Old John bargained for the eggs and got them.Come next Saturday, “Mr. B.” waited across the street until Old John came out and then he hollered, “Hey! you old Polecat, how did you like them little chicks in the shell?”Uncle John turned purple with rage.In the early years, Major’s sent their alterations to Nunn’s Pressing Shop, located in Taxi Alley. In later years, Mrs. Pauline Adams and Jack Kelly did alterations. Those who worked there were Miss Lily Peters, Lois Peters, Hoyt Baker, (Mrs. Nick Perry) and Lena Roberts Lovelace. Others too no doubt, but Mrs. Bea Mazer was the guiding hand.In the last 1920’s some of the employees at Major’s were Gertrude Hurst (Mrs. Shafter Combs), Marie Howard (Mrs. Ed West), Ruby Napier (Mrs. Claude Cook), Mrs. Zona Whtley, Ora Clutts and Mrs. Carl Brown. Duard Hancock kept the books as well as Ruth C. Roberts. Others who worked there over the years include Gypsy Campbell, Grace Strong, Coralee Sparkman, Marie Roberts, Irene Rogers, Helen Campbell, Lloyd Combs, Ella Speaks, Ora Clutts, Gertrude Combs, Marietta Rogers and many others.Major’s Store was truly an establishment that would rival a city store and had everything a department store should have. The Major Store building was later occupied by Sterling Hardware.Today - the building is home to Hazard Insurance Agency and is filled with large historical photos of Hazard. Be sure to check it out the next time you are on Main Street in Hazard.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Majors very well and most of the women that are listed here. My Dad and I would visit the store, sometimes to purchase and then sometimes to look at the dresses hanging on the racks. You see, my Dad could take one of those dresses, look at it deeply, and we would go to Watsons and buy the material and he would sew me up a pretty good replica of a Major's frock. It would tickle me when one of my classmates would say, "Idy has been to Majors".

    I noted where Mrs. Johnson said they spoke some "yiddish" and I remember hearing them talk to each other and always wondered where they were from. I love to hear people converse in Yiddish, although I don't know a word, I love the accent. I suppose that is because my favorite singer is Al Jolson, and I remember in the movie he spoke of his little "yiddish Mom". It makes me wonder if the Nogers were Yiddish too, but I think the lady, Aunt Maggie, that lived with them until she passed, was from the far East somewhere because of the pretty things she had hanging on the wall, wall hangings of material, very lavish.