Showing posts with label Fox Street. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fox Street. Show all posts

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday's Faces from the Past: Kindergarten Twins, circa 1924

This school photo was taken more than 90 years ago, when the Schwartz twins (my mother Daisy and her sister Dorothy) were in kindergarten. Since the twins were born in 1919, I estimate the date of the photo to be 1924. Mom (1919-1981) and Auntie (1919-2001) would have been 97 years old this month.

Although I don't know which twin was which, it's easy to spot them sitting side by side in the center, with the Buster Brown hairdo so obviously popular at the time.

How did the photographer get these youngsters to sit still long enough to capture the image so clearly? Maybe that's why the kids aren't smiling!*


As the photo indicates, the twins went to school at P.S. 62 on Fox Street in the Bronx. This elementary school was across the street from the apartment building at 651 Fox Street where the family lived (and where the twins were born, at home).

I'm posting a fragment of the 1920 Census, showing the twins (age 0/12) and their older brother "Fredie" (age 7) with their parents, Theodore Schwartz and Hermina Farkas Schwartz, at that address.

With a magnifying glass and a little imagination, this Census confirmed what I already knew--that my Grandpa Teddy was born in Ungvar, Hungary and my Grandma Minnie was born in Bereg (now Berehovo), Hungary.

The Census-taker wrote the town names in parentheses under "place of birth" for all immigrants on that page...later the town names were crossed out but still visible.

By checking the original rather than relying on a transcription, I could see the birthplaces for myself. Faces and places from the past!

*Actually, the kids aren't smiling because the convention of smiling in a photographic portrait was only coming into favor around this time, as Time explains.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mom in the South Bronx on Friday the 13th

My cousin just sent me this photo of my mother and her twin sister, with their aunt Rose, who often babysat for them.

It was taken on Friday the 13th, in July of 1923. (I know because the date is written on the back.)

Grandpa Teddy Schwartz and his wife, Grandma Minnie Farkas Schwartz, ran a small dairy store in the neighborhood, so relatives like Rose helped look after the twins and their older brother during the long hours when the store was open.

Fox Street and the South Bronx in general at that time were usually safe, although my Grandpa's store did get robbed once, during the Depression, on Thursday, December 16, 1937. Here's the story as published in the New York Times:
Band Robs 3 Stores
Three Armed Men Get $300 in Series of Bronx Raids

Three armed men within an hour and a half held up three store-keepers in the Bronx last night and escaped with $300. About 9:30 o'clock they entered the grocery store of Theodore Schwartz at 679 Fox Street, hit him on the head with a pistol butt when he resisted and took $50. Half an hour later they went into the grocery store of Louis Lepperman at 422 Jackson Avenue and hit him with a pistol, but left quickly without taking anything when his wife screamed from a back room. In another half an hour, they forced Leonard Gaglio and his brother, Milton, liquor dealers at 1012 Morris Park Avenue, into a back room and took $250. 
Probably Grandpa Teddy's worst ordeal came when he had to come home and explain the loss of the hard-earned $50 to Grandma Minnie!