Saturday, March 16, 2013


Rosetta and her sister shared a wardrobe in the late 1920s

My sister Edna was an excellent secretary and when she left a job she always wound up with a better one. Edna and I worked just a couple of blocks away from each other in the downtown section of Chicago. The work week was five and a half days and when we were finished on Saturday afternoon, we met at a cafeteria across the street from Swartchild. We had some lunch and then went shopping in the department stores.


Rosetta is in the third row in the middle. If some of the women look "stoned" it is

 because in those days if anyone's eyes were closed, the photographer painted in the eyes--
not always with a great result!

With meager earnings, we couldn’t afford much of a wardrobe singularly, so we decided to buy our dresses together. Edna was five feet tall, and I am five foot-two. Edna was heavier than me, so what she took up in width I took up in height. 

She tried a dress on first and if it looked good on her, then I tried on the same dress. If it looked good on both of us, we split the cost. I earned all of eighteen dollars a week, and Edna earned more. I don't know how much more, but both of us contributed half of our pay to the household.

We couldn't go on wild shopping sprees, but little by little we managed to increase our wardrobe. We checked with each other in the evenings, figured out which dress each of us wanted to wear to work the next day, and that way there wasn’t any squabbling in the morning.

When Saturday evening came, we got together with our girlfriends and went dancing. We always went in a group. Since we all lived in the same area, it was safer that way. There were dances every weekend in the better hotels and the big bands sure played up a storm. We had lots of good times in those days. I guess we were pretty innocent, but we lived for those weekend dances. I became a champion Charleston dancer.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pictures from the Past

Morgan and Rosetta
This photo was taken many years ago in Chicago when Rosetta was a new mother. And that kid in her arms--well, that's me.

Morgan and Phyllice
It's funny but at one time she told me I was born a bit late in her life because she had a stillborn little girl at least five years before I made my debut. The doctors said she wouldn't be able to have more children, but lo and behold, I guess I just wouldn't take no for an answer. Not only that, but I was followed by my sister Phyllice.

This is one of those stories that isn't in her book. Apparently I was supposed to be born in Detroit, but that was where that first child died. The baby was full term, but her  umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and they didn't discover it soon enough. Somewhere near the end of her term with me she panicked, worried that something would be wrong with me, too, and fled back to Chicago. I was born at 5 minutes after midnight and the hospital certificate says August 25 but my official birth certificate says August 26. The funny part of it is as dementia took hold when Rosetta was in her 90s and I asked about that first baby, she had no recollection of ever having any children besides my sister and me. I guess the mind has a way of wiping out unpleasant things as it moves toward 100. She made it until nearly 97.

If you didn't get a copy of her funny and sometimes heart-tugging memoir, CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO?  the Kindle edition will be FREE at Amazon on March 14-15 and 16. Tell your friends, too, and remember a book makes a great gift. Think about Mother's Day which is not too far in the future, now.

Rosetta's Daughter

Monday, March 4, 2013

Rosetta's family loved dressing in costumes

Rosetta's sister-in-law Lillian and best friend Rose in the early 1950's.
For as long as I can remember, Halloween was always a special time for Rosetta and her friends and relatives. It was a chance to dress up in outrageous costumes and play tricks on each other.

During my childhood and teen years, my family's love dressing for in costumes was shared by aunts, uncles, cousins and friends--they all jumped at the chance. Combined with my father's love of putting costumes together with whatever was at hand, it must have passed through the generations. My three children Scott, Jakki and Jason and my sister Phyllice's son Ross all inherited the talent and urge to dress in costumes. One of my sister's favorite photos taken during the time she lived in Alaska is of her dressed as the Good Witch of the North in a lovely dress and garland wreath with hiking boots sprayed with gold paint. Yes, it was for Halloween, not a casual, around-the-house outfit.

Phyllice as the Good Witch of the North
Rosetta joined right in and although she usually put something together that was guaranteed to produce laughter, she wasn't always delighted with the costumes my father created. Like the time he decided to dress up as Baby New Years for a party at our apartment. Everyone had to stifle giggles when this overweight man with a black "5 o'clock shadow" pranced into the room dressed in a strategically arranged bed sheet, sporting a banner from shoulder to waist proclaiming that he was the new baby for 1951. Belly bouncing, he gaily went from one guest to another touching them with a makeshift wand and wishing them a wonderful new year.

Yes, Rosetta had helped with his getup and managed not to "spill the beans" to the guests so his appearance could have full impact, but as a twelve-year-old hiding in the shadows I could tell she wasn't all that pleased. That was a lot of exposed skin for 1951! She never said a word, though. She supported my father in whatever he chose to do and when it involved laughter it was all the better.

Rosetta's book, Can We Come In and Laugh, Too?,  has delighted thousands with the stories about her zany family's antics dating back as far to her childhood in the early 1900s. It is available in paperback at multiple online booksellers for $9.99 and the Kindle edition is just $2.99 on Amazon.

"This book is  funny, sincere and delightful."  Logan's Library

Keep watching the blog for more stories.

Rosetta's daughter