Thursday, October 3, 2013

You can still download the Kindle editon of Can We Come in and Laugh, Too? FREE

Rosetta still in her teens
This PJ party picture might have started the "Crash of '29." It was probably right around that time
You still have until midnight tomorrow to download a FREE copy of Can We Come in and Laugh, Too? Rosetta was one of those ordinary women with the extraordinary ability to Currently #6 in the Top 100 Free Memoirs and #16 in Top 100 free Biographies. make people believe in themselves and find the silver lining in every cloud. My sister and I were so fortunate to have her in our lives for so many years -- How many make it to 97 and are writing their one and only book at 80?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The North Pole was discovered in 1909, the year Rosetta was born

Over a century ago, explorer Robert Peary earned fame for discovering the North Pole, 
but did Frederick Cook get there first?

Frederick Cook and Robert Peary

On September 7, 1909, readers of the New York Times awakened to a stunning front-page headline: "Peary Discovers the North Pole After Eight Trials in 23 Years." The North Pole was one of the last remaining laurels of earthly exploration, a prize for which countless explorers from many nations had suffered and died for 300 years. And here was the American explorer Robert E. Peary sending word from Indian Harbour, Labrador, that he had reached the pole in April 1909, one hundred and four years ago this month. The Times story alone would have been astounding. But it wasn't alone.

A week earlier, the New York Herald had printed its own front-page headline: "The North Pole is Discovered by Dr. Frederick A. Cook." Cook, an American explorer who had seemingly returned from the dead after more than a year in the Arctic, claimed to have reached the pole in April 1908—a full year before Peary.
Anyone who read the two headlines would know that the North Pole could be "discovered" only once. The question then was: Who had done it?

Read more:

Friday, June 21, 2013


1920s - Rosetta is in the middle of the second row

This isn't a mystery, but Rosetta was the inspiration for 80 year-old Flossie, the Silver Sisters' mother, in the Silver Sisters Mysteries. The only crime here would be if you don't download a copy while it is still FREE.

I edited this book and this morning woke up to a nice surprise. Here are the rankings for "CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO?" in the FREE Kindle store at 6:30am PST:

 Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820 Free in Kindle Store
    #3 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Biographies & Memoirs > Memoirs
    #9 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment > Humor


Thursday, June 20, 2013

CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? now at #7 in FREE Kindle Memoirs

Rosetta in 2004 at 95

Rosetta in 1923 at 23


Today is the first day of the TWO DAY FREE OFFER for the Kindle edition of Rosetta Schwartz's charming memoir CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? She was the youngest of ten children, born into a zany immigrant family in 1909, and throughout her long life (almost 97 years) she was an ordinary woman with the extraordinary ability to make people believe in themselves---and no matter how bad things got, she always got through it with humor. When she was a child, there was so much laughter in her family, neighbors knocked at the door to ask if they could come in and laugh too. It is currently at #25 in Kindle Store Memoirs.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Typical Gibson Girl outfit
The "horrible" hobble skirt
If you are following this blog or have read Rosetta's memoir written at age 80, CAN WE COME IN AND LAUGH, TOO? you know we're now following milestones during the years of her life. If you don't have a copy of this endearing book, it is available in Kindle and paperback editions.

On November 18, 1910, Rosetta was one-year-old .
The Gibson Girl was in the last year of its popularity because women had begun to turn their thoughts toward more comfort in 1910, but many made a bad choice when they quickly fell for the hobble skirt.  Imagine trying to walk with speed and balance practically bound at the knees.

Fabrics became lighter, colors brighter, and styles looser. Shockingly, lowered necklines became popular, spurring sales of cold cream and lemon extract.

1910-Rosetta's sister Jean and her husband
Many other fashion trends were introduced that year, like the sack, the sheath, oriental costumes, harem trousers, and the Hellenic tunic. Head gear and furs were also popular. Rosetta's sister Jean was about 19 then and probably would have loved to indulge herself with trendy clothing, but they were a poor family and every penny counted.

During the 1910s, Rosetta's older brothers would have worn tweed jackets and striped blazers. The wealthier business men wore striped trousers, a morning coat and starched white shirt. Some wore top hats and frock coats.

So how about little Rosetta? Well, although the most radical changes were in women's wear, from 1910 to 1919 kids' fashion was characterized by more clothing designed specifically for children than ever seen in history. Take the sailor suit for boys for instance. By 1910, the sailor suits we see in old movies were predominantly worn by younger boys as their main outfit. They might even have had a fancier sailor suit for special occasions, but believe it or not, this was what many wore until adolescence.

Imagine how someone of that era would have reacted to seeing the teens of today. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Historical Milestones During Rosetta's Early Years

Rosetta was born in Chicago, Illinois on November 18, 1909. Just three months before she entered this world, the first race was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world's most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.

It was built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana by local businessmen as a testing facility for Indiana's growing automobile industry. The idea was that occasional races at the track would pit cars from different manufacturers against each other. After seeing what these cars could do, spectators would presumably head down to the showroom of their choice to get a closer look.

You have to remember that cars were not very prevalent at that time, so this was an innovative venture to promote those newfangled motor cars. The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. For the day, that was real speed. The track's surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster because it broke up in a number of places and caused the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.

The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed "The Brickyard," the speedway reopened in December 1909, just after Rosetta was born. Her parents were too poor to even think of owning a motorcar and wondered if this fad would catch on.

 In 1911, because of  low attendance the track's owners made a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500--a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes. In those days, that was a fortune.

Rosetta, like many women of her era, never learned to drive. The thought of women racecar drivers was thought to be as ridiculous as putting a man on the moon. Well, both happened.

In her book, "Can We Come In and Laugh, Too?" Rosetta spins tales of what it was like growing up as the youngest of ten children in a zany family and the former Charleston Champ takes you through the Jazz Era, World War II and more.  Paperback and Kindle

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