Back when I put up the Wallace Armer receipt, I forgot to show you the back. It was from the brief glory days of the square serif.
Everyone in the Capital District remembers Freihofer’s. In my mother’s day and before, they were the major home-delivery bakery. You put the Freihofer’s sign in your front window and the truck (and before that, the horse-drawn wagon) would stop and bring fresh bread, cookies and cakes right to your door. Even when I was a child in the early ’60s, the Freihofer truck still came by. At that time they were also famous for a local children’s television program featuring Freddie Freihofer. Every child dreamed of appearing on that show. Freihofer’s still exists, but no longer as a family owned bakery. Now the name may be as well known for the nationally prominent women’s 5K road race as for their breads and cookies. There’s no more home delivery, alas.
This receipt, like some of last week’s entries, was from my grandfather’s short-lived drive-in restaurant in Aqueduct.
The contract (or, in its own parlance, “approval memorandum”) for my great grandmother’s casket, presumably supplied by the Mancini Funeral Home in Amsterdam. Mancini wasn’t big on branding his correspondence, apparently. The woman buried in it is something of a mystery to us, even though she was my mother’s grandmother and alive and living nearby until I was three. We don’t know her maiden name or even, for certain, her national origin. She apparently never learned much (or perhaps any) English, and wasn’t the warm and engaging old country grandmother type. More the scary old lady who sat in the corner and never said anything type, from what my mother can remember. This receipt is the only evidence we have for where she is buried.
A couple of weeks ago we looked at the lovely and highly detailed receipt for my great grandfather’s funeral, from Schenectady’s Baxter Funeral Home.
In that same year, in a different line of the family, my great grandmother died. As seen here, the Mancini Funeral Home (presumably in Amsterdam, though I didn’t look it up), took a decidedly more casual approach to its receipting obligations. The “from the desk of” clip art is typical of its day. Forty dollars for a solemn high mass: bargain! But don’t be fooled by that total price. As we’ll see tomorrow, casket not included.
So while we’re enjoying a trip through my grandfather’s receipts folder, let’s have a look at this stylish invoice from the Schenectady Gazette. This is his second notice to pay for a classified ad in the Gazette in 1957. There’s a lovely cut of the Gazette building (alas, now gone), and the gentle but firm reminder that “This advertisement was charged to you as an accommodation, and prompt payment is expected. May we have your remittance in the next day or so. Thank you.” No business today asks for anything in the next day or so.
Sometime in the late 1950s, for a very brief time, my grandfather ran a drive-in restaurant on Aqueduct Road in Schenectady, not far from the Aqueduct (Route 146) bridge, and now the site of an auto junkyard. A lot of his receipts from that business were saved. In this age when everything is computer-inventoried and printed out in tremendous detail, it’s refreshing to remember a time when receipts were handwritten, had varying levels of detail and legibility, and had a little bit of personality of their own. This receipt was for a bushel of oysters from the Albany Frosted Foods Company, and fans of giant warehouse fires will recognize the address of Colonie and Montgomery Streets. The business was long since bought by gargantuan food supplier Sysco; the building is just an empty shell, lined with cork to keep things cool and waiting for redevelopment.
(And we can’t talk about oysters without mentioning Lewis Carroll.)