April 16, 2011
I was sad but not surprised when my long-time friend Shirley phoned this evening to tell me of my Uncle Sam's passing. Sam Feldman was the owner of Metropolitan News Agency at 1248 Peel Street, Montreal.
My father, George Rubin, served the public at Metropolitan News day and night, in all kinds of weather, for 37 years, and almost every member of our extended family worked at Metro at some time in our lives. I started working there when I was eleven years old and I was there the day Sam closed the doors on the Peel Street location in the mid-1980's.
Sam started selling newspapers at Metro for the original owner, Charlie Manella, when he was just eight years old. He was smart, meticulously clean cut, athletic and always on the go. He expected all his employees to keep up with his pace. Once he invited the family to work at Metro in the mid-1940's, Sam was rarely in the store himself. My father took care of almost everything. But Sam was behind the counter after my father resigned, and he continued his devoted operation of the business he loved so much when he moved the store from Peel to nearby Cypress Street in the mid-1980's. Sam was on the job every day until he was in his nineties. There were good times and bad times, but Sam affected all our lives substantially.
I am glad Uncle Sam had such a long life and that he was well cared for in his last years. Downtown Montreal will never again be as rich and interesting as it was when Metropolitan News was at the corner of Peel and St. Catherine. Volumes could be written about the famous and fascinating people who passed through our store every day and every night through the decades.
This is a sad time, but I would like to think that Uncle Sam is now with his beloved Esther again. They have been apart for so long.
For those who have memories of Metropolitan News, you may be interested in reading
REMEMBERING MY FATHER, GEORGE RUBIN
METROPOLITAN NEWS AGENCY - AT THE CROSSROADS OF THE NATION