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Can We Come in and Laugh, Too?

Can We Come in and Laugh, Too?

4.5 2
by Rosetta Schwartz, Morgan St. James (With), Phyllice Bradner (With), Scott Goodkin (With), Jakki Pransky (With)

Born in 1909, Rosetta was the youngest of a family of ten children. They didn't have much money, but the riches of their zany antics and laughter overflowed into the neighborhood. That love of laughter continued throughout her long life. One of her fondest childhood memories was when neighbors knocked at their door, saying, "Can we come in and laugh with


Born in 1909, Rosetta was the youngest of a family of ten children. They didn't have much money, but the riches of their zany antics and laughter overflowed into the neighborhood. That love of laughter continued throughout her long life. One of her fondest childhood memories was when neighbors knocked at their door, saying, "Can we come in and laugh with you?"

Rosetta Schwartz (later Rosetta Shifrin and finally Rosetta Lachman) wrote this memoir in 1989 when she was 80 years old. Her daughter, author Morgan St. James, uncovered it and edited it in 2012, adding her own comments and those from some family members as Part II, along with a reprint of "Shopping For Dancing Shoes," Morgan's short story about Rosetta that is the first story in "Chicken Soup for the Shopper's Soul."

She was a shining light-an inspiration to all. Her smile never dimmed, as seen on the cover photo taken by her grandson Jason Pransky when Rosetta was 95 years old. She passed away in 2006, just before her 97th birthday. We invite you to come on in and laugh with her.


Edna was only four years older than me, but she took care of me like a little mother. Her wonderful sense of humor added to the feeling that living in our family was like being in a full time vaudeville show. There was something going on all the time, and quite often she was the instigator.

We were the only family members to go to high school. The others were lucky if they got to stay in school till the eighth grade. Most of my brothers only made it to the sixth grade. As we grew older, she changed roles from little mother to best friend. Edna and I were as close as two peas in a pod our entire lives. She was a very smart, independent person and her personality sparkled. I loved being with her because she made me feel more confident about what I could do.

My brother Charlie's biggest ambition was to be a drummer. He had begun to take lessons and would practice on his board or anything else that had a hard surface and was handy-walls, floors, sinks-you name it and Charlie drummed on it. He usually started his drumming in the living room, but it was very noisy. My mother chased him from the living room to the dining room and from the dining room to the kitchen. Finally he wound up on the back porch.

Poor Charlie just couldn't win. As he drummed on the porch, the neighbors complained about the noise, and from the porch he went to the basement. But Charlie never gave up, kept practicing and finally did become a drummer.

From the time my brother Meyer was in his late teens all the way to his early twenties, his only desire was to be was an actor. We were living on Ogden Avenue at that time and there was a huge mirror built into the living room wall that went all the way from the floor to the ceiling. Meyer bought a makeup kit and every day he stood in front of that big mirror trying out a different kind of makeup and practicing lines. One of my vivid childhood memories is that I never knew what my brother would look like, because he tried so many different faces.

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CreateSpace Publishing
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.32(d)

Meet the Author

Rosetta Lachman was born in 1909 as the youngest child in a zany family of ten—two sisters and seven brother. Her parents emigrated to the United States from Latvia, and all of the children were born in Chicago.

They didn't have much money but they had a wealth of humor. In 1989 at the age of 80 Rosetta committed her memoir to handwritten notes. Now you can share her hilarious account of a family that had so much fun the neighbors begged to come in and laugh with them.

It wasn't all fun, however, and you get the full sense of this woman whose greatest talent was inspiring confidence and self-worth in others. She was one of a kind.

Rosetta died in 2006 just short of her 97th birthday, but her delightful tales live on.

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Can We Come in and Laugh, Too? 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Martha-A-Cheves More than 1 year ago
Can We Come In and Laugh, Too? – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds, A Book and A Dish ‘When I was very young the only transportation was street cars. There were o buses, elevated systems, or cars. Henry Ford was still working on his Model T. As for airplanes, I believe the Wright Brothers invented their first model in 1914. Also the only form of home entertainment was the Victrola. I remember that after my parents saved enough to buy a Victrola, every couple of weeks my brothers purchased new recordings and played them while dancing around the living room. As for radios, it was many years later when the first crystal set was invented. It wasn’t until around 1946 when my daughter Morgan was seven, and Phyllice was around two, that radios became very popular. We bought a very good radio set, encased in a lovely big mahogany cabinet, and after that we listened to many good programs. Don’t ask me why everyone clustered around that radio cabinet staring at it as thought there was something to see, but that’s what everyone did back then.’ Rose Schwartz was born November 18, 1909. She was the youngest of ten children born to her fun-loving Latvian immigrant family. She later became Rosetta after one of her sisters decided Rose just wasn’t classy enough so when she registered her for school she told them her name was Rosetta and that’s what she was known as from then on. Rosetta married All Shifrin in the 1930s and later Max Lachman. She passed on in 2006 just a few months short of her 97th birthday. In 1988 her daughter Morgan was able to convince her to write her memoirs so the rest of the world could share a laugh from the life of this beautifully, happy woman. Rosetta lived through both WWI and WWI and gives us a few stories about the hard times created by war. She tells of the time she sold Al’s extra shoes only to find out that shoes were being rationed just a few weeks later. There were the blackouts that were mandatory in hopes that if the enemy flew over they wouldn’t be able to see Chicago in the dark. She tells us about her move to Florida and later to California where many of her brothers and sisters also ended up moving to. Her stories are all warm hearted yet cheerful. Whenever there was a problem, she looked at the bright side not the dark and always found humor in even the worse circumstances. She was truly a woman that anyone would love to know and call their friend. At the end of Rosetta’s writings her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews all expressed their own feelings about this lovely lady. They added to the warmth by giving their memories of the woman that was never negative, always loving and always forgave whatever one might have done wrong. This is a very uplifting story about a very special woman. I personally wish I could have asked the question ‘Can We Come In and Laugh, Too?’
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi, I am the 21 year old going to be 22 Great Great Niece of Rosetta Schwartz. I am a very avid reader, so I was ecstatic when I found out from my mom’s dad, Elliott, that his dad’s sister had written a book about our family history. My Grandpa Elliott’s dad was Sam. I just finished the book after getting it in the mail only a few hours ago. It was very interesting reading about how life was from the point of view from another family member. I have heard stories about what it was like for my Great Grandpa Sam and his family but getting it from another view point was very interesting. It is amazing how similar my family and I are to Rosetta and her family. A lot of it must be genetic like the ability to dance, to laugh, to do art, and to write. I even found similar mannerisms in her descriptions of herself and her siblings. I loved every minute of reading about her account of life even the stuff that didn’t go over people that I have heard of. I recommend this to anyone who wants to see how a Jewish family kept strong through hard times. Even if you want a few good laughs or maybe a cry (I am not one to do that but some parts I could see how it could touch some people’s hearts and make them cry). I don’t remember my Great Grandpa Sam and my Great Grandma Mary well but what I do remember is their artistic ability and all the paintings that they left us. I expected exactly what I got out of this book: a zany Jewish family who is constantly supporting and motivating each other just like mine.