Monday, January 23, 2012

Matrilineal Monday: Daisy's Ticket to College (unpunched for 30+ years)

My mother, Daisy Schwartz, graduated from James Monroe High School in the Bronx, NY in January, 1936, at age 16. She didn't get this "college entrance diploma" until June, 1936, because (1) she had to pass statewide exams in certain subjects and (2) the state education department had to certify her coursework.

In those days, an academic diploma was required for college entrance in New York state. To get such a diploma, the high school grad had to have passed exams representing 4 years of English, 3 years of a language (hers was French), and intermediate algebra, plane geometry, and American history. Notice that no science was required, luckily for Mom. She went straight to work to help the household (this was, after all, during the Depression) and so her twin, Dorothy Schwartz, could go to Hunter College in New York. (Her older brother had already graduated college by that time.)

Nearly 35 years later, Mom returned to college to accumulate credits and earn raises, as a school secretary. She enjoyed the literature courses, in particular, but often said she would not go for a degree because she could never pass the science or math courses. Working during the day, going to classes in the evening, and studying at night was no picnic but she did it! And she insisted that every one of her children go to college (which we all did, and then some).

Daisy's matriarchal line: Daisy Schwartz's mother was Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964); Hermina's mother was Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938); Lena's mother's name in NagyBereg, Hungary (now Berehi, Ukraine) was Toby Roth.

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