Alice Kosa as a young woman

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This is me Alice Kosa, as a young woman.

After the wedding we lived in Sepsiszentgyorgy, as the grocery he and his brother opened was there.

And he didn't want me to work. The shop was in the Csiki street, where the bookshop is today, next to the corner. 'Kosa Brothers'.

But his brother [Laszlo Kosa] was five years older, and he was the shopkeeper. Now, what happened?

It occurred that my husband didn't learn this professions, he was just measuring.

But the money too was taken in by his brother - they noted what people took home [and paid for later] -, he purchased the goods, he managed the money.

It didn't go, it didn't go [the business for us]. I couldn't accept it, I told Jeno: I can't stand that Laci is taking the money, and you are serving.

What if I need a pair of stockings, should I ask money from Laci? I tell you I can't bear this, we have to do something. I didn't like this at all.

The merchants opened a huge groceries warehouse in Brasso, to have a Hungarian one.

Well, the Saxons all had their own large shops, and the Hungarian grocers from Brasso and Haromszek decided to open a large depot in Brasso.

Well, I found out they were looking for a chief stock clerk. But I didn't know whether my husband was suitable for this, though we were married for four years already.

I didn't know, I didn't know him in this respect. I had no idea that he wouldn't be able to learn it.

He came home, we were talking, I say: 'You submit an application immediately, you will apply for this job.'

He did so. I will never forget that when he applied for it, it was a nice weather, we were taking a walk in the evening.

And he was crying. For what was going to happen. He felt it for sure, but I didn't know his abilities.

I didn't know him. I couldn't get to know him in four years.

He says: 'Now we quit the shop, the secure, and what if the other won't work?'

I answered: 'No problem if it won't work, we are young, we will get out of it.' That's what happened, we had to get out. Within two years he received his notice.

I didn't despair. It never came to my mind how courageous I was, but now, after all this, that I'm alone, I inquire myself if I would dare to do those things I did back then.

In Brasso the rents were extremely high, well they [the owners] lived of that.

We rented an apartment with two rooms and a bathroom, but not a first class one.

It was very nice, but one could access only the kitchen from the hall, and [from there] you got into the rooms.

And it gave onto the yard [not on the street]. And still, we paid two thousand two hundred lei for it.

So, we had this big debt [rent]. I was looking for other apartment.

Accidentally I met an acquaintance from Malnas, he says: 'How are you?' I told him that we didn't have a job, that was it.

He says: 'Hey, there is a very good shop in Bikszad, rent it.' I said I would take a look.

There are several houses in the railway station area in Bikszad, just as it used to be.

One of them was a house with entresol, down there was a shop and a pub.

They wanted to sell the shop, because the manager got married and moved to Kolozsvar.

I took a look, alone, well, my husband did what I wanted him to do.

Because my husband admitted without words that he didn't understand business.

That's why he lost it [his job]. He didn't know what to do as a stock clerk. [We rented the shop, and moved to Bikszad.]

Since we stayed near the railway station, it was a very good shop. Because I made of that shop a well going one.

Half of our shop was with brandy [a pub], but in the other part one could find everything.

I introduced all kinds of things, because I was a skillful trader. Though I didn't learn it. I was selling everything, not only what I had taken over from the former manager.

I had more than three hundred woodmen from the surroundings of Barot, they were cutting the trees in the woods, they came on Saturdays for bacon, curds, things like this.

These woodmen bought the food in advance for one week. I liked the workers very much, and they liked me too, because I purchased everything they said.

'Madam, bring me this. For me that. I need a saw.' And I said: 'What should I look at [a saw] to buy a good one?' And they showed me how to sound it, how to listen to it.

I went shopping, my husband couldn't have gone, he didn't even know the goods.

Me either, but I learnt it, he didn't, because he wasn't interested in it. Formerly the wholesalers had traveling agents, who offered the goods.

The wholesaler produced [distributed], let's say spices, so his traveling agent called on the traders in villages and everywhere, he was offering the shopkeepers what they had, what they needed.

And the shopkeeper told him to send hundred kilograms of sugar, send him this and that.

For example a traveling agent was frequenting us too, from Brasso, from the hardware shop.

I was ordering everything, I was selling everything I knew a worker would buy: shirts made for workers, dark-colored shirts, two types of alarm-clocks, sandals, boots, saws, small and big storm-lanterns.

It was a very good shop. One could have become rich of that. I paid only a rent, the owner lived in Malnas.

But the apartment was large, because I even had two rooms I could let out.

Interview details

Interviewee: Alice Kosa
Emoke Major
Month of interview:
Year of interview:
Sepsiszentgyorgy, Romania


Alice Kosa
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Country name at time of birth:
Austria-Hungary pre 1918
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