Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year
Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy New Year
This attached story was handwritten on May 10, 1977 when I was 47 years old. Though I can't recollect exactly what prompted me to do it. I sort of think I had become aware of a small publication that printed "personal stories". For years I have been unable to find it though I doubted if I had thrown it away. Recently I had been searching for my brother's birth certificate - he was going off to the Dominican Republic on vacation - and it turned up. I cried when I finished reading it - It brought back so many memories. One thing to remember is that Sasha was older than her half brothers who had left Russia as young boys or men, so they had probably not lived with her very long before coming to this country.
by Rosalyn Monosson
Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003
There are conflicting stories of how Sasha came to this country. I had always thought that she was a prisoner in Siberia - released through the efforts of my uncle- interned in Japan and held for ransom. But when the family paid the ransom, she was allowed to come to this country. But in a chance conversation with an older cousin whom I rarely see, he mentioned that Aunt Sasha had walked across Siberia to freedom. Unfortunately, there is no one to ask, because all the principals in this drama are long since gone.
I was only about 11 when Aunt Sasha arrived - I think it was about Spring of 1941 and almost immediately it was whispered there was something wrong.
My first look at her was probably within a few days of her arrival and I remember very well how she looked - I doubt if she was five feet tall - but was very plump and sturdy - with a tremendous shapeless bosom that looked like she should topple forward - a tiny round reddish face with her hair pulled back in a bun.
Sasha didn't speak English and we didn't speak Russian so other than hand pats and kisses that smelled like lemons or oranges, we didn't have too much communication. Besides, the adults were monopolizing her. As a matter of fact, Sasha always smelled like lemons or oranges - later I was to know why. She had very soft skin and she attributed it to rubbing her skin with the rind of either or both of these fruits. Sasha had lots of "home" beauty or health treatments - cucumber slices on cuts - alcohol rubdowns as a regular routine - and of course the rinds.
We didn't see her too often in the beginning because she lived with either of my two uncles for a while - but when my Aunts could no longer bear her, she came to stay with us. It was our turn. The main problem with keeping Sasha was that she had arrived in this country with a disturbed mind. The whispered stories included a husband who had been shot while walking at her side on a Moscow street and her time spent interned in Siberia and Japan. When she landed in America, it was on the West Coast and she was taken to Seattle where her sister lived, only to find her sister had died before she got there. And on her arrival in Boston she found that my grandmother was also dead. Now my grandmother was her Stepmother and my father and his brothers were her half brothers, at least 20 years younger than she. So all these traumatic events had taken their toll and neither Sasha nor her half brothers were ever able to enjoy the relationship they had anticipated.
Sasha came to our house in the winter and by this time we were in the war. We lived on a street where there was a Public health hospital and it seemed like ambulances and hearses went by more than normal. Sasha had a terrible fear of both. She told us those were the cars they used to "take you away".
By this time we were all communicating a little better. Sasha carried several English foreign language dictionaries. She could speak German and French in addition to Russian and somehow or other she always managed to make herself understood. In retrospect, I think how difficult it must have been - in her 70's, in a strange country, with strangers for family and unable to speak the language. I'm afraid sometimes everyone was less than as kind as they might have been because they were so disappointed in her mental condition and because they couldn't cope.
But Sasha was a clever fox too. She knew money was the way to get around in this country and she learned early about taxicabs and used them as often as possible. One time she had an argument with my father and disappeared all weekend. But Sunday night about 7 o'clock a taxi pulled up at the door and Sasha and the drivergot out with what must have been ten dozen long stemmed gladiolus - so long stemmed that they seemed taller than she. It was a peace offering.
Now Sunday nights in our house were "open" to all my father's friends, their wives or whoever they brought with them. My father and a few particular cronies played pinochle surrounded by dishes of candy, dates, figs and nuts and huge bowls of fruit topped by bunches of grapes while the others just sat and talked or kibitzed the games. The women in the living room - the men in the kitchen. If I knew what it meant in those days, I would probably have described the whole scene as a salon.
I'm not sure if it was the same night as the flower peace offering, or another time - because all the Sunday nights run together in my mind, but a friend of my father brought his mother along - Mrs. Santarpio spoke only Italian which apparently was one of the few languages Sasha didn't speak, but they had no trouble communicating. Sasha entertained by playing the baby grand piano, her feet not even reaching the pedals, and she and Mrs. Santarpio sang together.
You could often tell Sasha's moods by how she played. Naturally she played only the classics, but if she was upset it was loud and booming and if she was in a better mood it was softer, lighter pieces.
She never totally accepted the American way of men talking to other men's wives without the husband present. One time when my mother was in bed with a cold and one of father' oldest friends, a very harmless bachelor sat in the bedroom talking to her, Sasha straddled the doorway with a chair and sat in it the whole time as a chaperone.
The winter of Sasha's stay was very cold and snowy, but she thrived on that weather. How bad could it have been after Siberia. She would literally force my two sisters and I to take a walk with her after supper - crunching over the hardpacked snow behind snowbanks she could not see over for about a half hour when we would reach a steamy delicatessen - and lest you think Sasha would buy us hot chocolate or other warming drinks, don't be fooled. Sasha would order a large bottle of ice cold gingerale and insist we drink it, beating her chest all the time to say how good we should feel. She never buttoned her coat no matter what the temperature, but maybe that had something to do with high blood pressure. Because, sometimes Sasha would come down to breakfast in the morning, looking like her bosom had blown up even bigger overnight. It turned out that she was hot and she would put huge turkish towels into cold water, wring them out and stuff them into her bosom to ease the heat. My father used to get angry with her, but it never stopped her.
My older sister and I shared a bedroom on the top floor and Sasha was in the other bedroom, but Sasha's fears were not abated by our nearness. She stuffed the keyholes and the curtain rods with paper and placed huge enamel pots of water around the room so the gas couldn't hurt her. Truly Sasha knew things we didn't.
One day in March - what year I don't know, Sasha left the house without a coat - no one heard from her for a while when she called from Philadelphia. She had promised to buy my sisters and I, rings and it seemed her late husband had relatives in Philadelphia who had a jewelry store. So Sasha with her foreign language dictionaries and her innate though disturbed intelligence had gone to find them. And she did. Sasha probably could have found anyone. My uncle used to go to New York on business and more than once on leaving his hotel room (always the same one), he would find Sasha sitting on the floor in the corridor waiting to see him. Sasha knew he had money so she probably always kept track of his activities.
I don't remember her ever living with us again. I think she was sent to live with a family who were to take care of her.
My father died in late 1945 and in our sorrow we didn't think too much of Sasha or where she was. And like many families, unfortunately we didn't see my father's family too often. Years later we heard she had been hospitalized where one day she washed her eyes with her urine and evidently because she had diabetes, she became blind.
And still later, one day we visited my father's grave in the family lot and sawa blurred cardboard marker indicating Sasha was buried there. No permanent marker has ever been put there and my sisters and I talk about doing it, but so far we haven't. But I did get a puppy two years ago and I named her Sasha and we give her lots of love and affection and cherish her dearly and I am sure Aunt Sasha won't mind being remembered with a dog's name as long as we are giving it what we should have given her.
On reading this over, I became very melancholy, and really wish Sasha's life could have been better. My father was a very loving man, and larger than life, and we were young and our lives so devastated and disrupted that we probably could not have made a difference for her. I know that the reason I gave my beautiful German Shepard her name, was because I had always planned to name a child after Sasha. In the limited year or so she lived with us we loved her and she expressed her love for us, but it was not a happy time for any of us.
How really great when MYBLOG reaches a family member that I had lost contact with. Such is the case with Bernie, my first cousin on the ARONSON side. His father Jack was my mother's brother. So I was very pleased when I received an e-mail from him recently when I sent out an update to my Aronson-Price group. We have been e-mailing since and besides updating family stuff have discovered similar interests.
Below a short slide show.
Good luck Lior from Saba,Sabta, Rutie and all the family. Take things easily!!!!
"My brother, Steve, wrote a sort of nostalgia piece about Warshal's Sporting Goods and the new hotel and restaurant at 1st and Madison. It was printed in the Seattle Times today with is picture and an old picture of Warshal's. I thought I would pass the link on to you to read Steve's piece."
I have some interesting photo of Uncle Fred when he visited the Warshal's in 1959-1960. Note the young girl on the far right with the glasses.... young Laurie Warshal aged 15. William and Adolphe are sons of Frieda Monosson, half sister to David, Fred and Isador Monosson. Feida had a sister, Sasha, who at one time lived with Isador's family. Roz Monosson wrote a lovely and sad story about Sasha that I will blog.
By Steve Warshal
Special to The Times
COURTESY OF STEVE WARSHAL
The spirit of Seattle's Warshal's Sporting Goods store can still be felt on the corner of First and Madison in downtown, where it used to stand.
LONDON — Seventy-one years ago — on Feb. 26, 1936 — my father, William Warshal, and his brother Adolph celebrated the grand opening of the new Warshal's Sporting Goods Company on the corner of First Avenue and Madison Street in Seattle.
It was the first large-scale sporting goods emporium on the Pacific Coast — with the most complete range of camera equipment, fishing tackle, outdoor clothing, camping and athletic gear, and a comprehensive gun department. Warshal's prospered for many years, but eventually gave way to a multistory hotel/condo/restaurant complex.
In June, I took my 89-year-old mother Edith (who was working at "The Store" as a young cashier when it first opened) to visit the new hotel. In our "tear it down and build anew" culture, it was comforting to imagine the spirit of Warshal's still flourishes in a corner of the new building.
The boutique restaurant, Boka, now resides where fishing tackle and a myriad of colorful lures, bait and sinkers were displayed. The Studio bar area has taken over the spot where outspoken Sam Angel and other camera-department specialists dispensed knowledge, gossip and photographic supplies to regular customers.
The gleaming foyer reception area now stands in place of the gun department. In the old days, customers bought handguns for the sport of target shooting, and rifles and shotguns were essential for sportsmen. Hunters proudly displayed their catches of elk, moose and deer outside the store after a successful weekend in the wilds. And the venerable Hollywood gunslinger, John Wayne, was filmed in the gun department in "McQ," a 1974 action movie.
The hotel guestrooms now occupy the old warehouse space once crammed with Evinrude motors, Spalding and Wilson athletic equipment, Brunswick bowling balls, Coleman coolers, Pendleton shirts, Zebco rods and Penn reels, a ski and camping rental department, a shooting range and more. A two-year supply of bat guano was also a prominent warehouse resident. My dad had purchased yet another special "closeout deal" from the bat caves of Arizona. We sold that guano for years — and it is now recognized as one of the best natural fertilizers.
But without doubt, the highlight of our nostalgic trip down First and Madison memory lane was a visit to the The Golf Club on the lower ground floor. Promoted as "a spectacular experience in a virtual-reality setting," you can hit real golf balls with real clubs on more than 40 top international golf courses, thanks to new technology and your own vivid imagination.
Bill Warshal passed away in 1999. He was an avid golfer and would have absolutely loved this golf-course fantasy world.
When we moved from Madrona to Bellevue in 1957, he found a Chicago supplier who would ship him old driving-range golf balls, which he would hit into Meydenbauer Bay. It was great practice and good physical therapy. As Bellevue grew and more people used the water, the local Coast Guard eventually told him, "This practice must stop."
Enjoying the atmosphere of the hotel golf club, I could only think how much my father would have approved of this innovation. I am sure he is looking down on the golfers, wishing he could be playing with them. If only the technology had been available, he certainly would have installed this virtual driving range in the store's warehouse — and probably in the basement of our home as well!
The new occupant of this historic downtown site, Hotel 1000, has produced a 2007 experience incorporating cutting-edge technology and design. Without realizing it, it has also created a meaningful link to the past.
The aroma of flowers and cologne may welcome sophisticated travelers on arrival, but it is the unmistakable scent of sports activity on the floor below that I will always cherish.
Steve Warshal, a Seattle native, worked at Warshal's until the early 1970s. He now lives in London and works with Greenpeace UK and creates conferences with Centaur Media. E-mail: email@example.com
Tuesday, August 7, 2007 - 12:00 AM
Permission to reprint or copy this article or photo, other than personal use, must be obtained from The Seattle Times. Call 206-464-3113 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
In the mean time Paula and Kent where featured in the Virgin Island Newsletter Tidings
Below is the excerpt:
This past winter season Friends of VI National Park launched the Volunteer Work Party, a new volunteer program that has the potential to be a real catalyst for change in the level of maintenance of our hiking trails and historic ruins in Virgin Islands National Park. Modeled after the volunteer program in Acadia National Park, volunteer Jeff Chabot spearheaded the program’s development and brings to us his knowledge and experience as a volunteer working in the Acadia program, and Denali National Park.
The program began late in the season, but in only seven Saturdays, the volunteer crew repaired and cut back vegetation and rebuilt stone stairs on the Lind Point Trail, cleared vegetation from the Caneel Hill ruins, and removed vegetation, uncovering the previously hidden enslaved peoples’ huts at Annaberg Plantation ruins. Tools for the program are supplied by Virgin Islands National Park and the Friends, so that participants can simply show up the morning of
the maintenance project with water and sturdy hiking shoes. The maintenance projects vary weekly, and Jeff provides instruction on proper vegetation removal and trail construction techniques. We plan to expand this program for next season offering the Volunteer Work
Party on Thursday mornings in addition to Saturdays. The program will resume late November.
The Annaberg Docent Program is a volunteer programwith a little more time under its belt. Begun five years ago by Paula and Kent Savel, the Docent program continues to offer visitors to Annaberg Plantation ruins with an unforgettable glimpse at the earlier days of the plantation and St. John. These devoted volunteer guides share the story of this historical site and VI National Park, while walking visitors through the process of producing rum and molasses. Three new docents joined the volunteer program this season, bringing with them some fresh perspectives and new energy. Docents are on site at Annaberg Monday thru Friday 10-2:00 December thru April.
Thank you to all the volunteers who donate their time, knowledge, and skills to help preserve and protect the resources of VI National Park and make it a better place to visit! For information about either one of these programs please contact the Friends at (340) 779-4940,or check out our Website
"Here is little Nickel--born last night around 9pm.Alex and Dana are fantastic, Mia was wonderful with her little brother, and the grandparents said a "she hech ki ya nu" (prayer for special occasions)
Some news from the ARONSON side. Just met a new cousin, Rachel Nason. She is the granddaughter of my first cousin Barbara so that makes her my first cousin twice removed.... confusing...... well Rachel has opened a great catering service and those in the Boston vicinity are in for a real treat. You can see what she is doing at
Looks de li cious !!!! Good luck Rachel !!!!!
And another congratulations are in order.....
June was a busy month for birthdays around here. Naom, Yael's boy, was 2 on the 10Th, Yael had her 40th in the 13th, and Ruth,46, on the 19th. Today we are off to more birthday celebrations... a barbecue at Naomi's to celebrate Mor's birthday, 5th of July and Shabtai's on the 10th. I made a great lemon chiffon pie....
Hope you enjoy.... I am trying to shoot RAW and in manual mode..... thanks for taking a look!!!
I wish to express my deepest condolences to Ruth Poley Goldstein on the passing of William "Sonny" Goldstein on June 4th 2007. Ruth Poley is our first cousin once removed, her father Joseph was Minnie and Esther's brother.
It seems only yesterday that we visited you at your home in Newton..... we had such a grand time.
You made such a lovely reception at your home so that we could meet all of your family. Here is a photo that I took of Sonny at that time....fall 2002!!!!
Condolences to you and your family.
Ira wrote:"We are well except that Aviva's mother died on January 1, 2006 at the age of 96. Aviva still is the career counselor at Culver City High School. Elana was married on November
21, 2005, and she works as a realtor. Danielle has been a diplomat with the State Department since 2002. After learning Turkish, she spent two years in the US Consulate in Istanbul. For the past 19 months, she has been assigned to the economics section of the Near (Middle) East Branch of the State Department in Washington, DC. One of her projects has been serving on a team that is trying to end the boycott of Israel by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait. She has been to the Persian Gulf regarding this last year and again this year. Ari ran in the Macabbi Games again in 2005 and won a silver medal. He is a young businessman here in Los Angeles. I semiretired in 2003 and work 1 1/2 days a week, sometimes less. I keep busy with volunteer work."
I met Ira and Aviva several years ago when their son Ari ran in the Maccabi games. I also met his daughter Danielle when she visited Israel.
Uncle Aaron sent me some images of Zoe Monosson's recent BatMitzvah. Aaron wrote: "Steven and Linda had their daughter Zoe's Bat Mitzvah on April 21 in San Mateo...we were there with marsha to celebrate...Zoe did a super conduction of Shabbat Services in Peninsula Temple Sholom in San Mateo." Congratulations ZOE !!! Here are some images Aaron sent of the occasion.
Zoe and Marsha
Gloria celebrated her birthday with her family in Puerto Ric0.Debbie wrote, "We all went to Puerto Rico to celebrate my mothers birthday...amazing 11 of us could get along for 6 days!".
Here are a few updated photos from the vacation.
L-R Jamie Scherzer, Robert Seherzer,Susan M., Judith M. Scherzer,Alex S., Gloria, Debbie M, Ben Letcher, Sophie Letcher, Emily M, Sam Letcher.
Here is one of Gloria and her daughters:
L-R Susan, Judith, Gloria, Deborah, Emily
Great shots!!! Congratulations Gloria!!!!