04 October 2012

A Tribute to Greenwoods'

I learned a few days ago that Greenwoods' Bookshoppe in Edmonton is closing at the end of this week.

I learned a few weeks ago that Brad Greenwood, one of the owners of the store, died suddenly of a heart attack in July.

Both of these pieces of news, coming so close together, stunned me, and saddened me deeply.  Why?

I used to work at Greenwoods' Small World (their children's store) in the late 1980s.  The Greenwood family were very good to their employees, and treated many of us like family.  After the end of my first marriage, I remember going to dinner with Carole or Cynthia, or some other staff member.  It was than 25 years ago, so  I can't remember all the names.

I still have my Greenwoods' staff name tag

I do remember going to dinner with Carol (the youngest sibling, who was not involved with the store), out for drinks with Laurie, and even over to Laurie's house for movies and ice cream.  I remember how tolerant they were that I missed work a little more often than most people because of my chronic illness.  

And speaking of illness:  in late November 1990, at the beginning of the Christmas rush, I was feeling unwell.  My co-worker Helen finally convinced me to call my doctor, who insisted I go straight to the ER.  Soon I learned that I'd had a mild heart attack. 

I ended up being hospitalized for over a month, having quadruple bypass surgery, and then recuperating at home for the first quarter of the next year.  The store's health insurance representative recommended that they fire me, but the Greenwood family wouldn't agree to that.  In fact, they helped me out financially by giving me a huge bonus that helped cover my rent while I was hospitalized.

I don't live in Edmonton anymore, and I miss Greenwoods'  profoundly.  It's one of the few places I made a point of visiting whenever I was back.  And I'll miss being able to do that.

1 comment:

  1. Jan M9:11 PM

    Yes, we are losing a much-loved landmark in Edmonton. The Greenwood family contributed a lot to this city over the last few decades. As you showed us, they are a wonderful group.


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