Chapter Sixteen, the last chapter in Part I focuses on the economy and the homeless problem.
Editor’s Note: This was, of course, written in 1989 when Rosetta was 80 and not much has changed relative to her “Last Word”. Rosetta even wrote to President Bush and asked why they couldn’t do something like the WPA to help out the homeless problem. Barbara Bush wrote back that she would discuss it with George, but at least she did get a White House reply.
I cannot conclude my memoir without mentioning my opinion on the subject of street people in this generation. During my parent’s generation as well as mine, no matter how tough it was to get by at times, you did not see street people sleeping on sidewalks and in doorways. It was bad enough when you saw adults doing that, but now you see families with little children on the streets with no place to live.
When my parents left Latvia, a part of Russia, to settle in the United States, they didn't have much to back them up. They were newlyweds, and my father had two brothers living in Chicago. One of them was willing to accommodate my parents by letting them live in his apartment and was happy to put them up until my father was able to find a job and an apartment.
This is how the majority of foreigners that came to America from Europe and other continents solved the problem. Living on the streets was unheard of. People helped each other out. The only really bad times I can remember when we lived in Chicago, Illinois, was during prohibition days with Al Capone as the head of the mob. It was a time of great corruption in my city and my husband also had to pay protection money to the gangsters to stay in business.
I’m afraid this present generation not only has a bad drinking problem, but in addition to that a bad narcotics problem is killing our young people. Teenagers are so addicted to dope that they cannot support their habit and so many have committed suicide. It's not only the teenagers, but unfortunately this problem also includes the rest of the age groups. They rob and kill to support their habit, and eventually become street people. How is this all going to end? The answer as I can see it is that we have to stop the Central American and South American countries from shipping these narcotics into America.
As for work, after the Great Depression there was the WPA and it put people to work rebuilding our country. They could earn money which allowed them to hold their heads high while taking care of roads, bridges and more. Maybe that’s what we need today.