by Barbara Sherf
— Part Two
In addition to sharing his philosophy on a host of issues on the front window, Milt Jacobson, 84, owner of a unique collectibles store at 251 Keswick Ave. in Glenside without a name, has placed numerous personal ads front and center because he just wants to find someone to cuddle with at his well appointed Ambler townhouse. Instead of posting his personal ads on a website, however, Milt has put them on his store front windows for all pedestrians to see.
Clearly his journalism background and sense of humor come into play while describing himself as a piece of furniture: “FREE GIFT for a Lucky Lady, an 84-year-old relic…Vintage 1930s chest in good condition with sturdy legs and frame. Previous owner died. Needs a permanent home. Guaranteed to give you pleasure for years to come. Other features: Made in Philadelphia, Almost 6 Feet High, Top Drawer, Polished, No Delivery Charge, Self Cleaning, Enjoy it in your Bedroom, Significant Crack in Backside (does not deter its value), No Joint Problems, Will Not Come Unglued, 30-Day Trial Option, Worth Thousands, Will Fit in Your Car, In Remarkable Condition, Handle with Care, but Please Handle. The above piece of work described is me! Come inside and view, interview and review, touch, feel, accept or reject, or call 215 680-4193.”
Always a writer and observer, Jacobson chose to study journalism as an undergraduate at Temple University, and during that time he met his first wife, a student at Tyler School of Art. They had one son together, but seven years later she ran off with a 19-year-old guy (she was 30), leaving Jacobson to raise his son alone. “We came out of it fine,” he said. “Where others see tragedy, I see opportunity.”
While eating lunch at Stauffer’s Restaurant in center city, he “took a shining” to the cashier. While he and his buddy were leaving the eatery, Jacobson commented, “That’s the kind of girl I’d like to meet. The sweet, innocent type.” His friend sent him back into the eatery to ask the cashier for a date, and she agreed. That was the beginning of 44 years of marriage to his beloved Merylyn. Ever the optimist, and noting that his mother lived to 98 and both grandfathers lived into their 90s, he believes he may find another woman to “love and cherish” for his final chapter.
Until then, Milt spends most days at the shop, taking a break to go over to Whole Foods and have lunch and people-watch. Then it’s back to the store to chat with customers, fellow business owners and “make a few bucks.” His prices are remarkably low, and he often takes money from his Social Security and Penn State pensions to cover rent on the commercial space. “The store breaks about even most months. I don’t make any money, but it’s a great way of life,” said Jacobson.
While there are about a dozen of his handwritten notes on the front window at any one time, he handed off a bag of another two dozen faded notes that had been posted over the years and has toyed with the idea of self-publishing a book that would include signs like this one:
• Golf – Humans paying too much attention and too much emotion to holes in the ground.
• Religion – There are hundreds of them, but only mine is right.
• Beliefs – Beliefs believers believe are facts.
• Old Age – The worst stage of life that we are all hoping to experience.
• Psychiatrist – A learned listener who may or may not have common sense.
• Hospital – A great place to stay overnight if you want to appreciate home.
• Collectibles – What mom threw out.
• Phillies, Eagles, 76ers – Men whom we love and will shun if they are unsuccessful.
Jacobson, who has three children and six grandchildren living out of the area, shared his thoughts on happiness. “If something appears tragic, you need to sit back and see what happens,” he said. “I have found time and time again, when something horrible happened, I would later say, ‘I’m glad that happened because it opened so many doors that I was able to take advantage of.’”
Jacobson looks at the positives in his life and prefers not to dwell on the negatives. “Here I am a widower living alone, but I am not alone because of this store and the customers who come in, and who knows, maybe I will be able to find another woman to share my life with. It pays to advertise,” he laughed.
Milt’s store can be reached at 215-680-4193. He does not have a web site, do e-mail or Internet dating. Stop by to see if he is your treasure chest.
Barbara Sherf is a Flourtown freelance writer, legacy planer and personal historian. She can be reached at 215-990-9317 or CaptureLifeStories@gmail.com.