Showing posts with label Hermina Farkas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hermina Farkas. Show all posts

Monday, February 22, 2016

Matrilineal Monday: Another Twin Birthday

Happy birthday to sis and me! Here we are, on the lap of our grandma Minnie, reading the funny papers.
And here's a photo of our mother and her twin sister, taken at about the same age.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #17: Minnie Farkas Tosses Her Engagement Ring

When teenaged Minnie Farkas (1886-1964) crossed the Atlantic from Hungary to join her parents in New York City in 1901, she and her older teenaged brother Sandor were responsible for shepherding their baby sisters, Ilka (age 4) and Frida (age 3).

Imagine boarding the S.S. Amsterdam in Rotterdam at age 15, sailing for an unknown country and in charge of keeping two small children safe and fed and entertained day after day after day as the ship lumbered across the ocean. By the time the ship steamed into New York Harbor, I'm sure she and the other Farkas children were up on deck to see the Statue of Liberty, signalling the end of a long voyage.

At Ellis Island, Minnie and her siblings were collected by their father, Moritz Farkas (1857-1936) or their mother, Lena Kunstler Farkas (1865-1938). To help support the family, Minnie got a job in a necktie factory run by Adolf Roth, a cousin of either the Farkas or Kunstler family. Like the rest of her siblings, she would hand her pay packet to her mother Lena at the end of the week, and Lena would dole out a couple of dollars for the following week's subway fare and coffee.

Although her parents picked out a well-situated young man for her to marry, Minnie refused. The family story is that the gentleman came to the apartment with an engagement ring and indignant Minnie threw the ring out the window. (Supposedly, one of her younger brothers ran down the stairs and retrieved it, but no one knows what became of the jewelry...or the young man.)

Minnie insisted on marrying Teddy Schwartz (1887-1965), an immigrant born in Ungvar, Hungary. They met in a Hungarian delicatessen on the Lower East Side and after they were married, Minnie worked alongside him in his grocery store in the Bronx.

Grandma Minnie at right, with three of her five sisters
This 1928 photo shows Minnie at far right, with the two now grown-up "baby" sisters she accompanied to New York and, at far left, one of the Farkas sisters born in America. In all, Minnie had five sisters and five brothers. By the time of this photo, Minnie was a mother three times over, but never (to my knowledge) had or wore an engagement ring.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past: Grandma as a Young Lady

Grandma Hermina Farkas Schwartz (1886-1964) arrived in New York City from Hungary two days after her 15th birthday. She was accompanied by her older brother Alex and two younger sisters, Ella and Freda.

The photo at left was taken about 1910, by Gustav Beldegreen, the photographer who served as official photographer for the Kossuth Ferenc Hungarian Literary Sick and Benevolent Society--a group that my Farkas relatives helped to found in NYC.

At right, another Beldegreen photo of my grandma, possibly the same day but certainly around the same time as the photo above.

Given that Grandma was an expert seamstress and made her living sewing silk ties, she might even have stitched the stylish dress she's wearing.

She makes quite the fashion statement with her scarf, hat, umbrella, gloves, and shoes!

These photos were probably taken the year before grandma married Theodore (Tivador) Schwartz (1887-1965), who was from Ungvar, Hungary and who encouraged both his brother Simon (renamed Samuel) and his sister Mary (Marushka) to come to America.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: "I am your Pop (Ma is included in this)"

In 1943, when my Uncle Fred enlisted in WWII, the entire family geared up for a lively stream of correspondence to keep him company wherever he was posted. (The same steady stream of correspondence flowed to Fred's sister Dorothy Schwartz the WAC, and to Fred and Dorothy's first cousins in the service.)

Here's the second page of a letter to Fred from his "Pop" (my grandpa), Theodore Schwartz, written on November 9, 1944. Grandpa learned English after arriving in New York from Hungary as a teenager, and his spelling/punctuation weren't always perfect. He and my grandma ran a busy grocery store, which in wartime had the added burden of having to collect and sort ration coupons for many foods.

Instead of ending his letter to Fred by signing off with "love" as so many parents do today, he says something much more old fashioned: "With best wishes to you, I am your Pop" and adds: "Ma is included in this."

This letter reads:

Dear Fred,

Your 3 letters in a row at hand and been glad to hear that you, at last got what you wanted and also received the klippings [sic] describing in detail the work. It must be interesting, at least from the beginning. You will only have day work and nobody to rush you. There is not much news here. We are all well--just got a letter from Bobby F___ he is on the other side [meaning he's fighting in Europe]. Received a few letters from Dorothy, she is well, of course she does not get any steaks for every dinner but she is getting ours.

We had a nice [family] meeting at Ella's [Fred's uncle] Sunday. [Uncle] Albert's father-in-law, if you can remember him, celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary. I am slated for the next presidency in the family tree.*

With best wishes to you, I am your Pop
   Ma is included in this.


*The Farkas Family Tree was created during the 1930s, with members being the descendants of Moritz Farkas and Lena Kunstler Farkas, along with their spouses and kids. Grandma Hermina Farkas Schwartz was the oldest daughter of Moritz and Lena, and Grandpa Theodore's marriage to her made him eligible to serve as president of the tree, as he boasts in the final sentence of his letter to Fred. One of the fun rituals at each tree meeting was singing a family song written by one of Fred's aunts. More on this tree in future posts!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Matrilineal Monday: 1920s School Days in the Bronx

Late in 1984, my aunt Dorothy Schwartz wrote my sis a letter enclosing a newspaper article about her alma mater P.S. 62 at 660 Fox Street, which at the time was "an island of stability in a crumbling neighborhood" of the Bronx, according to the New York Times. P.S. 62 served students in K-4 in 1984 and K-5 today (left), but then it had one of the highest student turnover rates in the city.

My aunt's comments:
P.S. 62 was the elementary school we attended, only then it ran to the 6th grade. I never knew the area was in the South Bronx; I did know it had been renamed Fort Apache. To me, the South Bronx was below 149th St.!
Auntie Dorothy, her twin Daisy (my mom), and their older brother Fred were born in the apartment building across the street from P.S. 62, at 651 Fox Street. Their parents, Minnie Farkas Schwartz and Teddy Schwartz, moved every few years during the 1920s, but always stayed in the neighborhood.

My aunt remembers that after 651 Fox, they lived on Leggett Ave., a few steps away from Teddy's Dairy (my Grandpa's grocery store), which today is a hop, skip, and jump from Bruckner Blvd. Later, the family moved to 712 Fox Street. Finally, they settled at 672 Beck Street, around the corner from Teddy's Dairy store, where they stayed for many years until everyone was grown and my grandparents retired.

Now for some class photos of Daisy and Dorothy at P.S. 62 during the 1920s. Sorry, no notes about which twin is which. Note that the kindergarten class, in a photo taken around Halloween, has more than 30 students. Looking at the other photos, the classes are even larger!
Kindergarten: Daisy and Dorothy are in identical outfits and haircuts with bangs, center of 2d row, with a jack o'lantern between them

Second grade: Daisy and Dorothy at left of center, in matching outfits and haircuts again. Poster at far right is for American Junior Red Cross.
The twins were apparently separated during fourth grade. This is class 413--the twin is in closeup, below.
Dorothy or Daisy in class 413

Class 407, with the other Schwartz twin (along left wall, see closeup below).
Daisy or Dorothy in class 407

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Grandma Climbs a Tree

My maternal grandma, Hermina Farkas Schwartz, had this photo in one of her (sparsely-filled) photo books. She had come to New York City in her teens, but tried to escape the heat every summer with a week or two upstate. My guess is that's where this photo was taken, right around the time of her marriage to Theodore (Tivador) Schwartz. See their wedding photo at top right of the blog's masthead!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (almost): Identifying the Twins

Most of the time, my mother (Daisy Schwartz Burk) didn't bother to mark photos to identify which of her twin daughters was which, since she could tell us apart. Luckily there are a few photos where we're identified.

Here, I'm on the left and my sis is on the right. We're sitting on the uncomfortable empire-style couch in the Bronx apartment of our Grandma, Daisy's mother, Hermina Farkas Schwartz.

Grandma had long hair rolled into a bun, pinned at the back of her neck. I believe she crocheted the antimaccassar shown here. (Don't see those any more, huh?!)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fearless Females: Heirlooms--Grandma's Lavalier

Minnie (Hermina) Farkas may have brought this lavalier from Hungary when she took her long journey to America...but more likely, she received it as a gift from Teddy (Theodore) Schwartz, sometime after they were married in New York City on October 22, 1911.

Grandma and Grandpa both worked to help pay for relatives to come to New York. Minnie and her parents brought her siblings here; Teddy teamed up with his older brother, Samuel (Simon) Schwartz, to bring their youngest sister Mary Schwartz here.

Grandma was far from wealthy, but she left each of her grandchildren a bit of jewelry in her will. I received this gold lavalier and a cocktail ring, both of which remind me of her courage and perseverance. Thank you, Grandma!