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Remembering Lieberman’s in Floresville
Floresville High School girls model clothes for Lieberman’s in 1950, including (bottom) Julia M., Nell B., Nell C., (top) Betty B., and Marilu K.
Apple Pie and SalsaFebruary 5, 2014 4,739 views 1 comment
It seems like Lieberman’s had been there forever. I remember the Jewish couple that owned it. They would come down from San Antonio on Saturdays. They had very competent employees running the store during the week. They also had their son, Ira, who as a young man became owner and president of Lieberman’s. I still remember Mrs. Lieberman sitting behind the counter by the cash register close to the entrance of the store.
Through the years they had different managers. The first one I remember was Mrs. Ivor Schultz. She had a good eye for fashion and helped with the buying for the store. She would pick girls and young men from Floresville High and put on a fashion show to promote the store. They modeled dressy clothes as well as casual clothes.
I won’t attempt to remember every single person that worked at Lieberman’s through the years, but there are some that I can’t forget. Two of them are my sisters-in-law, Bertha and Alice. Bertha went to work at Lieberman’s two years after graduating from high school in 1948, and after having worked at Butler’s and for Ms. Savoy at her flower shop. (Anyone remember those businesses?) She worked there until 1963 when she became engaged and was making plans for her wedding. Alice went to work right after graduation in 1953 and worked until she married in 1957.
Others I remember are Betty Zuniga, Norma Mueller, Mrs. Lamberth, and Joe Holcombe. I can still see Betty standing at the entrance when she wasn’t busy and calling out to me when I got down with at least two of the kids in tow, “Cuantos descalzos traes?” (How many shoeless or barefoot kids do you have?) Thank goodness they did not all wear out their shoes at the same time.
I remember the first dress I bought there with my own money. I was working at Vela’s Saddle Shop earning $12 a week, minus income tax. There was a dress I wanted for the Diez y Seis celebration at Yndo Park, and it cost $12. So I put it on layaway and paid it off in three weeks. By the time I wore it to the dance, I was no longer working for Mr. Vela.
Lieberman’s carried a little bit of everything -- apparel for men, women, and children, shoes, and hats and purses, and materials by the yard. All at reasonable prices. Its slogan was “Always Something New.”
Ira was a very friendly person who always had a smile on his face. If he saw you walk into the store, he made it a point to greet you personally.
For many years the store operated from the building where Avanna’s is now. I believe it was the early ’80s when the business moved to a building that sits just before J.C.’s Super Burger, facing 10th Street. Lieberman’s shared the building with Winn’s Variety Store. Ira was credited with expanding the business to nine more stores throughout South Texas. He eventually closed all the stores in 1985.
Henry and I saw Ira at the first Early Fabulous Fifties Reunion in 1998. Ira didn’t graduate from Floresville High but he heard about the reunion and wanted to see the people that he knew. He still had the same smile.
Ira passed away in 2008 at the age of 84. He had married in the ’50s and he and his wife raised a family in San Antonio.
Two others that I remember from the Lieberman’s era are Leon Johnson and Buddy Howard.
Bertha reminisced over the phone about how in the 1950s families came from miles around, some still in wagons, to do their shopping on Saturdays. They milled around town all day long. The sidewalks even got crowded.
What happened? They call it “progress.”
You too, Lieberman’s. Thanks for the memories.
Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is email@example.com.
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