McDonald's Kitchenware: They Sold Nostalgia
One loyal customer of the downtown shop recalls the brother and sister proprietors as 'odd people who sold odd things.'
Local radio personality George Russell was fascinated with McDonald's Kitchenware Store, long before the news Saturday, that proprietor Judith Rolfe, 66, was found dead inside the Belmont Street home she shared with her brother, Duane Rolfe, 65, now accused of her murder.
Duane Rolfe is scheduled to be arraigned in Nashua District Court on Jan. 22.
"I've been going in there for five years, probably on average once a month. It's 100 feet from the radio station door. I even did a live show in there, once. Over the years I got to know Judy halfway decently. Duane – he never talked," said Russell.
The one time Russell recalls having a conversation with Duane Rolfe, it was about the century-old cash register used to cash out customers.
"He went through every aspect of how that thing worked, all the nostalgia and history of that cash register. Other than that, he never talked; he sat and he watched," Russell said.
Until the details of the murder are known, all people can do is speculate, said Russell. But anyone who'd spent any time in the store picked up on the fact that Duane was "peculiar," he said.
"Everybody knew that there was something about Duane that wasn't right. It's not a secret. It was just accepted. They will now have to do some tests to find out what his issue really is. The situation is a shame – Judy was a pleasant woman who'd smile and tell you whatever you wanted to know about an item in the store," Russell said.
"They were odd people, they sold odd items – I probably spent $150 or more in there over years, for crock pots, percolaters – little things that reminded me of childhood," Russell said.
That was the big draw – the Rolfes sold nostalgia, and most if not all of what they sold was made in the U.S.A.
"I was fascinated that they were able to sell the stuff they sold there, in this day and age. I don't even know where they got their stuff, but they were constantly getting inventory. It always looked packed in there with the stuff you and I bought when we were kids; that's what started me going in. I tried to buy as many kitchen utensils and items made in the USA, because they'd last, and it wasn't cheap," Russell said.
"From my perspective she carried him, and the store. She gave him a place to work. If Duane was the only one running that place, it never would've survived. It was all Judy," Russell said.
"And if you ever met her, you'd know she was as sweet as a flower – gentle, quiet, even temperament. When the weather was good, I'd see them outside the store, sweeping the sidewalk. I'd always say 'hi' and ask if they had anything new. Of course, they never did – just the same old stuff," Russell said.