Tuesday, March 20, 2007


John, John and Jesse, three generations of DeColle's selling used clothes in Blissville. Sadly, senior John only sells on occasion. I used to see him on cold days sitting outside the shop, taking in the winter sun. It's been years, and I still miss seeing the shock of his white hair. Too much time has passed.

I doubt I've ever seen his son, John, and if I have, I wouldn't recognize him. John drives to construction sites all over the city with his stock, used clothes (cleaned) bearing only traces of their former owners, José, Herby, Chris, Abdul, Alfonse, as the red script atop a white oval indicates. John has the heart of a union man, and so he sells only American-made clothes.

Young Jesse tends the store with hours a girl could envy. The old store once sat on the main drag, its displays a call to any worker passing by. Then the rent tripled, and DeColle's had to move. And about that time, Senior John retired. Even so, one of the old signs, painted in bodega colors, still stands on the face of their old home. Graciously, the new tenents, also vendors of work clothes and equipment, point the budget-conscious lost to the new DeColle's, now tucked around the corner on a side street in a basement. But they'd better get there early or on a day off, because out of frame the sign says Open M-F: 8-3:30, Sat: 8:30-1.


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