GRIFFITH might not be the oldest city around, but it certainly has its share of history.
The unveiling of the old Brooks Shoe Store, which appeared in The Area News this month, has certainly got the memories returning.
Mentioned in the article was the old bakery – though it was a mystery as to who owned it.
However, it was not a mystery to Mary Bertoldo.
She shares her story on how she and her husband, Bruno, took over the bakery in 1951.
“On October 18, 1951, my late husband and I purchased our initial licences in Griffith, which was the Ingram Bros Bakery from the three brothers – Reg, Ron and Bob.
“We continued to trade under their name for five years because the bakery was popular and Bruno was only new in town.
“The Banna shop was a couple of shops up from Brooks Shoe Store and has now become the Medicare office.
“It had a shopfront, but also a basement for storage, and the bakery was at the back of the shop with two wood-fired ovens.
“Our purchase also included the number two bakehouse, which is the much-talked about bakery behind the Brooks Shoe Store.
“Bruno worked in it and quickly converted from wood-fired oven to oil burner because he was operating ovens with electricity before he came here.
“One of our staff was my sister, Elaine, who talks about those first years of ours and the good old times and how hard the work was.
“Every day we carried the finished products by hand from the bakehouse to the main shop, along the back lane, in trays and baskets. We were very successful with the cakes, pies and sponges and the baked goods sector.
“The work was getting too many long hours for Bruno, so when the late Stan Harrison approached to buy the bulk bread trade from us, he also powerhoused the number two bakehouse around 1955.
“We paid rents to Jack Venardos of 8.10 pounds every fortnight and 7 pounds to W Brooks.
“I was an impressionable young lady at the time and can remember Mr Brooks as a fair and honourable landlord and a gentleman who dressed well and wore shoes to match his polish and refinement.
“I don’t know who ordered the bakery be demolished, but I do remember when it was, because Bruno asked to keep the door of the wood-fired oven. I still have it at the back of the shed at home.”