Saturday, December 27, 2014

Manhattan Bridge opened to traffic December 31, 1909. Rosetta was about a month-and-a-half old.

Historic Milestones
Under construction in March 1909
Rosetta was not quite a month and a half old on Dcember 31, 1909, the day the Manhattan Bridge. a suspension bridge that crosses the East River in New York City, connecting Lower Manhattan at Canal Street with Brooklyn at the Flatbush Avenue Extension officially opened.

At 2:00 pm, the 6,855-foot-long (2,089 m) Manhattan Bridge was opened to traffic, after eight years and 26 million dollars had been spent on its construction. New York City Mayor George Brinton McClellan, Jr., who was on the last day of his term of office, rode in the first automobile of a motorcade from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Full span with the Brooklyn Bridge below it
The Manhattan Bridge was the last of the three suspension bridges built across the lower East River, following the Brooklyn and the Williamsburg bridges. It has four vehicle lanes on the upper level, split between two roadways. The lower level has three lanes, four subway tracks, a walkway and a bikeway. The upper level, originally used for streetcars, has two lanes in each direction, and the lower level is one-way and has three lanes in peak direction. The bridge once carried New York State Route 27 and later was planned to carry Interstate 478.

Monday, December 15, 2014


The proclamation of Republic of Latvia 18  November 1918
Rosetta's parents were immigrants from Friedrichstadt  a town in Latvia on the left bank of the Daugava River about 80 km southeast of Riga. So it is interesting to me that the Republic of Latvia was proclaimed on November 18,1918, Rosetta's 9th birthday, and that date became a key date in history. Finally after long years of oppression Latvians took the steps to proclaim their country. Every year there is a military parade in Riga and other celebrations.  

The revolution in 1905 was the first sign of Latvian national awaking and the thought of breaking from Russia. Although the main force in the revolution was Latvian social democrats, the whole revolution was made against foreign oppression. The attacks on German mansions and calls for Latvian autonomy had national character. The next crucial point was the First World War. 

In 1915, the German army invaded Latvian territory. 567 000 people fled Latvia to Russia. Had Matilda and Eli Schwartz not immigrated to the United States in the late 1800's, before starting a family, they might have been among those refugees. It was a catastrophic situation when half of Latvian population left their homeland. Nationally minded refugees organized self-support committees in all Russia. Only Jewish refugees were more organized than Latvians. The German army stopped near Riga and stayed there until 1917. To fight Germans Latvians organized national rifleman regiments. Latvians gathered under the Russian banner to protect their land. This was a birth of the Latvian national military.

Rosetta was 6 years old the year the German army invaded the area where her parents lived in Latvia. By then the Schwartz's were secure in their home in Chicago. It is unknown whether close relatives had remained in Latvia and were part of the mass exodus, or worse yet, were murdered. Rosetta was the youngest of their ten children, and while the family didn't have much money, and  they did have two priceless things. LAUGHTER AND FREEDOM 

Friday, December 12, 2014


Most often we don't stop to think about all the advances made in the past century and this one. If Rosetta were still living, she would be 105 years old, but she left us as she neared her 97th birthday.

Let's go back 100 years. What happened in 1914, the year she was 5 years old?

— The Ford Motor Co. increased wages from $2.40 for a 9-hour day to $5 for an 8-hour day. Ford went on to sell 248,000 cars the same year.
— In Washington, DC, the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was put into place.
— “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs was first published.
— The Great War (WWI) started. President Woodrow Wilson declared the United States as neutral.
— The Harrison Narcotics Act, regulating and taxing the production, importation, and distribution of opiates, was signed into law.
— Zippers were relatively new and used mostly in boots and tobacco pouches.
— Charlie Chaplin made his film debut and Babe Ruth made his Major League Baseball debut.
— Mary Phelps Jacobs patented the brassiere.
— The Greyhound Bus Co. began its first passenger trips.
— Beginning the first of June, the use of alcohol was prohibited in the U.S. Navy. Welch’s Grape Juice was the recommended substitute.
The average annual income was $577. The average cost of a new car was $500 while a new house averaged $3,500. A gallon of milk (mostly sold by the quart) carried a 32 -cent price tag while a gallon of gas was 12 cents. A loaf of bread cost six cents.
— Life expectancy for males was 52 years and females, 56.8 years.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What happened on December 7, 1931? Rosetta was 22 years old.

Memories of yesteryear. In 1931, Rosetta was 22 years old. She was a flapper and Charleston dancing champion.  In 1989, at the age of 80, she wrote "Can We Come In and Laugh, Too?" which was published in 2012. 

In 2000 she was 91 years old and still dancing. 
Rosetta left us in 2006, nearing the age of 97.

DECEMBER 7, 1931

U.S. 1931 U.S.A. Ford Model A Dec. 7th, 1931 : Ford produces the last Ford Model A and discontinues production and closes the factory to retool ready for the Ford V8 which is planned for production starting in April 1932 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

September 1910 - Handful of women led to citywide garment worker strike in Chicago - Rosetta was 10 months old at the time

1910   There was still much to be accomplished for women to make their voices heard, but Rosetta was born at a time when women were attempting to stand up for their rights. She was a lifelong advocate of fair treatment for all.

That strike was a bitter one and pitted the strikers against not only their employers and the local authorities, but also their own union.

In September, 1910, 17 young women made history in the Pilsen neighborhood when they abandoned their sewing machines and walked out of Shop No. 5 at 18th and Halsted Streets of Hart, Schaffner & Marx, then the largest clothing manufacturer in the nation. All that the women wanted were improved working conditions and better wages, but by initiating a strike that would last for four months and eventually involve some 40,000 workers, the group sent reverberations throughout the garment industry and laid the groundwork for the formation of a second major union in the industry.
The clothing industry, according to historian N. Sue Weiler, was then Chicago`s biggest employer, bigger even than the city`s famed stockyards. Hart, Schaffner & Marx, headquartered in the garment district centered around South Franklin and West Van Buren Streets, parceled out contract work to mostly immigrant workers, half of them women, in its 48 shops.
In December some 20,000 striking workers marched from West Jackson and South Ashland Boulevards for a rally at the Cubs ballpark, which was then on the West Side. It was almost a festive affair, as the workers marched to the beat of the Marseillaise, which they sang over and over in Yiddish, Polish, Italian, Bohemian and Lithuanian.
As the strike dragged on, tensions intensified. Companies hired private detectives to protect their nonstriking workers from ``agitators.`` Some shops gave firearms to their employees and even instructed them to shoot strikers who interfered with nonstriking employees. While escorting two teenage workers home, Tony Yacullo, a private detective employed by a downtown tailor, allegedly shot Charles Lazinskas, a striking workman, through the heart. Less than two weeks later, Frank Nagreckis, another worker on strike, was killed by a police officer. The strike also proved fatal to three other persons: a delivery boy, a bystander and a Hart, Schaffner & Marx guard.

Friday, April 18, 2014


ROSETTA SCHWARTZ, whose story is told in "CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO?" was born November 18, 1909
Reprinted from
Traveling in the 1910s by taxi, ice truck and chauffeurChildren were hired to work in factories, mills, and mines for long hours in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.  Though efforts to pass a federal law proved unsuccessful, by the middle of this decade every state had passed a minimum age law.   A commission found that up to 20% of the children living in cities were undernourished, education took second place to hunger and while children worked, only one-third enrolled in elementary school and less than 10% graduated from high school.  The status of the Negro worsened.  Skilled negro workers were barred from the AF of L.   Women were also striving for equality.The first suffrage parade was held in 1910 - the 19th amendment finally ratified in 1919.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014


How interesting to realize that when Rosetta Schwartz was 4 months old the Wright Brothers were just beginning to instruct aspiring pilots how to fly their newfangled invention - the aeroplane!

The Wright Flying School, also known as the Wright School of Aviation, was operated by the Wright Company from 1910 to 1916 and trained 119 individuals to fly Wright airplanes.

The Wright Flying School in Birmingham, Alabama. Later this became the site of Maxwell Air Force Base.
When she moved to California from Chicago in 1953 she flew aboard a propeller plane. The trip took over 8 hours and the few people who flew got very dressed up to travel. For women it was a hat and gloves. For men, suit an tie.

Now we zip all over the world in relatively few hours, often wearing comfortable sweats. Particularly when flying to far-away destinations like Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa and more. Something unthought of in Rosetta's day when those places could only be reached by ship.