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.
FROM THE BOOK:
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.