Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Esther Rutner Joshowitz--As Remembered by Her Granddaughters

I've done multiple Ancestor Deep Dives, tracing direct ancestors through documentation.  But there are some who actually remember these people--so I've asked them to share their memories.  Here's the first of several.  Thanks to my mother's first cousins, Barbara Lockspeiser Jaffe and Judy Lockspeiser Rosenbaum, for sharing their memories of my great-grandmother (their grandmother), Esther Rutner Joshowitz.  A deep dive into Esther's life can be found here.

Judy Lockspeiser Rosenbaum
I have some memories of visiting  my grandmother on Sundays.  We lived on 4222 Upview Terrace in Pittsburgh.   My parents would pack us ( my brother Marty, sister Barbara  and me, Judy) up into the car and we made the trip to McKeesport and spent Sunday afternoons.
Esther Rutner Joshowitz with husband Josef, 1947

When I was entering 3rd grade my grandmother asked my parents to move to White Oak , PA so that she  would be able to have a comfortable place to live.  A bedroom with a full bath was added to the new house on Vermont Ave.   I remember coming home from school and my mom and grandmother would be ironing in the basement.   They used coke bottles with a shower head shpritzer attached to moisten the clothing.  The moistened clothing would be rolled up and put into a bushel (otherwise known as a laundry basket !)
Esther Rutner Joshowitz, 1947

Shortly after we settled into our new home my Bubby had a stroke.   She was not able to walk or talk but she fully understood  all conversation.  I believe she had use of one arm and the only word she could say was "vus" (Yiddish spelling) which means "what".  She ate all her meals with us at the kitchen table..... Always in her wheelchair.   She watched a lot of television in the living room. She needed help in every aspect of daily living .  When it became too much for my mom (Ruth Lockspeiser) to care for Bubby full time we had help come to the house  to cover some of the shifts.

At least once a week my uncle Izzy would bring my cousins, Randi, Jimmy, Steven  and Shimon to our house to visit with Bubby.  Uncle Izzy would line up my cousins in our kitchen to give each of them a spoonful of honey.
Esther Joshowitz Rutner

Looking back on those years I give my parents so  much credit for caring for my grandmother with love and respect.

Barbara Lockspeiser Jaffe:
I remember my grandmother well.  We used to live in Pittsburgh (Stanton Heights) and we went almost every Sunday to visit her in her house in McKeeport ( I think the street was Wigham St but not sure).  Note from Lara: They did live on Whigham Street.  We sold our house and moved to White Oak in 1965 so she would have somewhere to live. We added a room onto the house for her so she had her own room and bathroom.  You are correct that she was extremely stubborn. This continued even after she could not speak anymore. She had a stroke in 1966 or 67. I remember it vividly,  as your grandmother (my Aunt Minnie) called on the phone to speak to her. I went into the room to call her to the phone (no cordless phones then) and found her on the floor. The result was that she was paralyzed on one side of her body and could not speak. She could only say “vos” ( what) but she certainly managed to get her point across. We had day help in the house for her and she often made it difficult for them by not cooperating.
Esther Rutner Joshowitz with granddaughters Linda (my mother) and Barbara Lockspeiser, October 1956

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