Chuck Williams: A reminder of Brother Rosenberg

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 31, 2014 

There is a hole in the soul of downtown Columbus.

That hole is located at 1014 Broadway, the empty store front of Brother’s General Store.

Irvin “Brother” Rosenberg, who died Oct. 14, was the Mayor of Uptown.

He never won an election, though I am telling you he could have in a landslide. Many times I told him he should run for city council. Mayor of Uptown was an honor he earned by sheer force of personality.

“A force of nature,” one of my Facebook friends commented over the weekend when I posted a photo of the store and called it the saddest place in downtown Columbus on a Saturday morning.

The store where Brother sold fudge, candy, ice cream and gifts is now closed and has been closed since just before Christmas.

It is empty, kind of like a lot of us feel who knew Brother.

I know this because of the responses to my Facebook post.

They were quick and thoughtful.

“I miss it and will really miss seeing him out front selling his fresh veggies this summer. What a wonderful man,” Ann Lamb posted.

Or this one:

“Miss him and his ‘booming voice’! My grandson learned to play checkers there; also about Beemans gum and the chicken with the prize eggs!” posted Lilah Morgan.

Some people just simply posted emoticons with a frowning face.

Brother touched a lot of folks. And he touched them in many different ways.

For me, I miss the early morning talks when he would walk his dogs in the Broadway median. I would be on my way to work, usually walking, and would almost always stop and have a quick conversation.

But of all the comments, it was one from Lisa Bradfield Powers that really got me thinking.

Come to think of it, I bet I first met Lisa in Brother’s store, a place we both frequented with some regularity.

“Could we start a movement to have something placed in his memory? Maybe in green space directly across from the store,” Lisa wrote. “… I’d be willing to spear head it.”

That is a great idea, and I would be willing to help, Lisa.

There should be something in the Broadway median that pays homage to Brother and his family legacy of business, love and support of downtown.

A bench? A marker? A sculpture in his memory? A well-maintained garden?

Something that makes you stop for a second and remember that booming voice, that smile and that spirit.

At some point the storefront at 1014 Broadway will be something else. It is too valuable a piece of real estate for that not to happen.

And when it happens, there needs to be something in place that reminds us of Brother.

Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.com.

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