Friday, July 27, 2012

Family dinners were like a scene from a comedy

Throughout the time Rosetta lived in Chicago the family dinners were huge affairs. With most of her 9 siblings living in Chicago, plus their kids, imagine up to 40 people crowding into a relatively small apartment. Then add to that the fact that most of them were absolutely zany and you had the recipe for hilarity.

Rosetta, Edna and Jean were known as the "Three Graces." They worked together to serve all of these people like a finely oiled machine--each with their specific chore. From preparation through the dishes, they never allowed other family members to help. Even after Rosetta, Edna and Jean moved to California, the routine for family dinners, although smaller now--maybe around 20 people--persisted. This continued until the trio ranged in age from Rosetta (about 75 at the time) to Edna (around 79) and Jean approaching 90. The younger family members were always told to "sit and enjoy."

From the time the dinner guests arrived it was non-stop fun, with jokes and pranks bantered around like tennis balls. Each tried to top the other. One time they decided to stage a mock rendition of the old TV show "This is Your Life," with MC Ralph Edwards. Edna put on one of her husband's suits, a fedora and drew a mustache with eyebrow pencil. Rosetta made what was supposed to be the "book of life" for their mother, Mathilda. They sat Mathilda in an armchair and one-by-one Edna read the names of her brothers from the book.

In turn, they stood in front of Mathilda and related some funny incident from her life. Poor Mathilda was completely bewildered by this and sat there saying, "What's going on?" in Yiddish as she didn't speak much English. 

I was a kid at the time--maybe eleven years old--but I can remember that particular dinner as clearly as if it were yesterday. It was the epitome of the constant fun that prevailed in the Schwartz family and inspired all of the offspring to find the laughter in any situation.

Enjoy Rosetta's stories, both funny and inspirational in CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? Thousands of copies have been downloaded so why not get your own copy?


Morgan St. James, Rosetta's daughter

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