[Mollie Plotkin Cohen was the granddaughter of Shchedriners.  She was born Feb 1884 in Pittsburgh.]  


the story of Shedrin


        To begin the story of Shedrin, Jews were not permitted to live in the cities.  They were not permitted to have property.  There was a man whose name was Mr. Shedrin who had done something very specifically pleasing to the government of the Russian Czar so that they gave him a choice of what- ever he thought he would like for his people.  He decided that he would like to start a Jewish community and because his name was Mr. Shedrin; they called the village Shedrin. 


        This village was started about 1850 by thirteen men who were given a tract of land and each of the thirteen men was of a different profession. There was a shoemaker, a baker, a tailor, etc.  There were thirteen Jewish elders who came with their families and they started the village.  They had very large families for the most part.  Most of the families had a dozen children.       


        They had each a tract of land given equally. They each had some livestock and a garden, besides practicing the profession that they really were trained for. There were Rabbis who also acted as leaders of the synagogue, they were able to teach children and perform the religious functions of the Sabbath and daily service and holiday service. They generally organized the shul activities. In fact, there were two or three different shuls because one of the men happened to be a Hassid.


        There were thirteen heads of the family and each family contained probably fifteen members and as these children grew up, by the time they were eighteen or twenty, they would seek marriage arrangements by a shatham and many of them had to go to neighboring towns. There were many non-Shedriners who married into Shedriner families and when they married, they remained in Shedrin.  When a man married off a daughter, he had to promise the son-in-law so many years of free board.


          They call it Kess.  The father would go to some yeshiva where there were a lot of young boys studying and practically living in the synagogue and eating every day in a different household.  They ate one day's meal at one family and the second day's meal with another and finally by the time these boys got to be about sixteen or seventeen, the Jewish elders of the community would start looking for son-in-laws.  So, they would come to these boys who had spent all their time in chader learning and had no equipment to make a living unless they would be a teacher.  They took these boys in and they said "learning is the most important thing and we would be more proud of you if you continue to learn than if you had a profession or a business."  So the boys would come to the family, live with the family and have children, and many times the period of Kess (free board) would last for ten or twelve years.  By the time the man would be free and mature enough to earn a living, he already had five or six children. 


          Usually the women were the heads of the family at that time.  They would go and start little marketing businesses and they would practically earn a living for the family in addition to having children.  The parents, of course, paid for all the financial responsibility of the children.


        They lived exclusively for their own needs.  They worked for each other and made a living from each other.  There was also one type of industry.  There was a family named the Halidetzes [G/Holodetz], they were the "millionaires."  They were Jewish people and they were the real wealthy Jews and they had a lumber concession where everyone worked. The big business was chopping the lumber down during the wintertime and when the spring thaw would come along, it would be floated down the river.


          My mother was an orphan.  Her mother died when she was about three years old.  So, my mother grew up with a step-mother and this stepmother happened to have an only child.  This child happened to be my father.  My mother was ten or twelve years old, she never was permitted to go to even a heder to learn to write.  There was no formal education at all for girls so my mother had to work. She worked for the Halidetzes doing housework, taking care of children when she was younger and when she was older she would scrub floors and polish silver.  They were immensely wealthy people.  They had a big household.  She was happy to work there because there she really had something that was good to eat. 


          My mother's father had a brick factory.   He got clay, and baked and made bricks and with the bricks they would build ovens in homes I doubt if they had very many brick homes as they had a lot of lumber there but the chimney had to be made of bricks.  My grandfather, Lazar Plotkin, who was my mother's father and one of the original thirteen founders, had a brick business.  They sold bricks only in the town.  Each family had so many children that within a generation there were a few hundred people from the thirteen original families. 


          [Ed. Note: Molly confused the end of the Czar with the rise of Nazi’s] About 1940 after Hitler came into power in Germany.  When he came into Russia there were 3,000 people in Shedrin at that time, though a lot of them had emigrated. 


          [Ed. Note: it was under the Czar’s that boys went to service.]

          During these years every boy that grew up had to go into the service at the age of eighteen.  Many times if parents didn't want their son to go into the service.  It often happened that they would cut off his forefinger or hurt a toe.  They really did physical damage to themselves so that the child wouldn't go into the service because the service had a terrible connotation. 


          The Czar Nicholas, who reigned a little before this time had decreed that all Jewish people that went into the service had to serve for twenty-five years. They absolutely never came out again whole.  There was a law that if you were married or a father or an only support for a mother then you were exempt from service, and they would also leave the oldest son to take care of the family.


          The Jews also were actually so afraid of the Czar grabbing young children.  This the Russians did as they knew that when these children were older that they would either run away to Germany or other countries, so they took these children.  They sent a great big wagon around and they would grab these children off the street.  They called them "chupers" and they had a great big truck. They would grab the children and the parents would never see their children again.  Many times when the children were still young they were taken into the service. They would shine boots, they would carry water, they were slaves of the army.  They were beaten.  What the Russians wanted to do was to convert them to Christianity and if they didn't accept Christianity readily, they made it so miserable for them that many of them died early or were beaten.  They eventually never came back as Jews for after twenty-five years they were so hardened, you very rarely ever heard of them again.  There were times when the mother would dress her little boy as a girl so that they wouldn't be "chupped" or grabbed away.  When they were warned that the "chupers" were coming the mothers would hide their boy until they would leave and maybe they wouldn't come around again for six months or a year later.  When the "chupers" came around there were no young Jewish children left.


          As a matter of fact, the Jews in that country were so abused that it was absolutely considered a crime to even read a Russian book or even to try to get any Russian education.  The Jews were indoctrinated in their own ways and they studied the religious books but no Russian at all.  The only thing that they learned was the religious education.  They devoted their entire life to learning to read and write Hebrew and to learn the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, and learn the Talmud and Gamora and the commentaries.  Children were brought into the heder early in the morning when they were six years old and stayed there probably until 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock at night.  Some children were even too small to walk and in winter. They would be carried by their parents to the Rabbi’s house or the teacher's house and they would stay there and learn all day.  That was their life except for a Jewish holiday or festival when they were permitted time off from school.

          The political situation was such that when the boys got to be about nineteen or twenty they started thinking about what their alternatives were.


          Everyone's aim was to get to America because the Jews were so mistreated.  They were not permitted to own land.  The only land of this special concession that Mr. Shedrin got was a very unique situation.  The aim was to get to America, to get to Germany, or anywhere else where a person who was hard working and physically fit could pull himself up by his own bootstraps, literally.


          Getting to America was not an easy thing.  You had to get past the border in order to get through, you had to bribe them or slip through under a wagon of hay or something like that.     


          But I think the longest honeymoon that I have ever heard of was Mother and Dad's honeymoon. They were married on a Thursday night and on Sunday morning they left for America, and never returned.  By means of bribery they got through.  On the border there was an inn where they sold liquor and put people up over night.  My mother was able to get a passport to come to America but my father couldn't because he was to serve in the army.  So they went to his border inn and bribed the officials.  The officials were always open to graft.  You may talk about graft or bribery in this country or any other country, but there was nothing that could beat the bribery and graft that happened in Russia in those days.  The people were so suppressed they had nothing and they were given no opportunity to advance themselves so if an official could get twenty or thirty rubles by graft that would be a fortune that might represent as much money as he could earn in one whole year.  My mother accompanied my father and they came to this inn.  In the middle of the night when a certain guard was on duty and the guards colluded with each other, the guards from the next country would count the number of people they had and they would divide so much money for each person.  In that way, mother and father got across the border. 


          Then there were all kinds of red tape when they got into Germany.


          My father's father, who had divorced his wife before my mother's father married her and came to America after his divorce and married an American woman and had a long line of seven or eight children probably.  My father had gotten a letter from his father whom he had never remembered seeing because he was about two or three years old when his mother was divorced from him.


          The letter stated, "I know by this time that you must be a grown-up son and I want you to come to America and here is a ship-cart."  (a passageway, a ticket)  "when he got this letter he wrote back to his father and said I am going to get married before I come."  Somehow, they got enough money to pay for my mother's passage so the both of them came to America.


          The trip across was in steerage where they had no bunks, they lay on the floor to sleep and were very crowded in a large hold.  Their baggage consisted of mostly knapsacks and they carried all their possessions in a great big laundry bag.  That trip across in that steerage, which was full of rats, took at least a month.


          There was little food.  In the first place, the food was not kosher so they wouldn't eat much of it.  In the next place they would just give the passengers a lot of hot soup and maybe hard boiled eggs that were stale. There was no refrigeration.


         At that time the passage probably cost about fifty to ninety dollars.  I know that my mother was dreadfully sick on the ship.  Many of them died on the way.  On finally arriving, they landed on Ellis Island.  They deloused them in Ellis Island and checked them for disease and so forth.  Ellis Island, at the present time is abandoned because there is no need for that type of thing.  But that was the first stop that they made.  There were some civic-minded Jews who did come to visit them to help the new immigrants. 


         After arriving they went to Philadelphia and they went to stay with my father's father who had a large family of his own.  This family lives in Phila-delphia and they still are there as far as I know.  In fact, we met some of them thirty or forty years later.  They stayed in Philadelphia and the father insisted upon the money that the young couple earned.  They were given a place to stay and food to eat, and my mother went to work sewing in a pants factory and my father went to work and all the money that they were earning, the father would just take away from them. 


         That didn't seem a very satisfactory future for them and my mother happened to have a cousin who lived in Pittsburgh, Mr. David Weiner, my mother's first cousin from her mother's side.  They corresponded and he said,  "Harry, you come to Pittsburgh.  It's a pretty good community.  You can make a living."  So one day he told his father and step-mother that he and his wife were going to Pittsburgh and Mr. Weiner met them at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station.  They got off the train, he brought them to his home which was a room or two and the next day he gave my father a little chip-basket with notions and different small items and said,  “Go peddle.  Sell the stuff", and he told him the price range to charge.  Mr. Weiner was working at a railroad job because he could speak English.  My  father couldn't speak English.  Where would he learn?  He went to work early in the morning and worked all day.  At that time, they didn't have the night school for foreigners or Americanization classes.


         Father peddled for several years after.  Esther was born and a year-and-a-half later Mollie was born and Ben was an infant when Mollie was four or five years old.  Father used to go out to peddle on a Monday morning.  He would take a sack of samples and carry it like a laundry bag and go way out.


          He  took a streetcar ride for a nickel out to Homestead or Rankin or someplace and got off and walked to some farm area or sparsely populated community and start selling his wares, and he would take orders, and come back to deliver the merchandise.  You must remember that the language barrier wasn't so bad because he was going among the people that didn't speak English either.  They spoke Russian and Polish.  There he was more oriented among these people than he would be in the city where people were speaking English.


          It took a few years until Dad saved a few hundred dollars and then one day Mother took Esther and Mollie to show them a little store at 2211 Fifth Avenue.  Mother already had three children and she was pregnant with Lou, her fourth.  They rented a little store with one room in the back and we were going to start a business.  So, with about one hundred and fifty dollars we started in a little business with one bedroom in the back.  This was about 1897 about the turn of the century, Lou was born in 1898, and that was about six months or so after we had already lived there. 


          We lived in one room with one bed.  We used an outdoor commode.  For water, there was a spigot in the yard.  We had to carry buckets of water.  That's where we started.  Then, when Lou was born and we already had three older children, there was a row of single rooms behind our house and I remember that my mother rented one room for us three older children to sleep in.  So, she would come at dark and carry a lamp.  We had no heat and no electricity.  We had no heat at all in this one room and   she would come and put us in this room at night and lock the door.  We had a little slop jar if we had to do something.  Then she would go back to the one room behind the store to sleep.  She kept Lou with her because she was nursing the baby.  And of course the store was open from 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night as long as there was any customer coming into the store the door was open.  Even in later years it was open 6:00 o’clock in the morning until midnight every night.  The store was open every day, except that we had Pennsylvania Blue Laws and if you did want to sell on Sunday you had to sell, on the side, but one could always arrange to buy something then too.


          The next spring we moved across the street and there we had a storeroom with two rooms underneath the store.  We had to walk down the steps from the storeroom and that was 2214 Fifth Avenue.  There was no water inside and we used an outside toilet.  One room was a kitchen and the room next to it was completely dark because it was a partition off the other room.  We had one bed, mother and father slept in the bed, and we children slept on the bottom of the bed but Lou had a cradle.  We lived that way for one year and then we earned a little more money so we moved upstairs to the two rooms on the second floor above the store and we had a Polish family living in the two rooms on the third floor above us.  That was only for a few months and these Polish people moved so we got the entire third floor then we had two rooms on the third floor and two rooms on the second.  So, we thought we were really living it up because we had a kitchen and what was supposed to be a dining room and the third floor had two bedrooms.  We had gas for light too.


        We already had four children and mother was pregnant with a fifth so my father managed somehow to put a bathtub in one of the back bedrooms. Someone had been remodeling a big mansion, there was a porcelain tub standing on high legs, and it had a wooden border around the tub.  We carried the water but we had a drain, though you weren't allowed according to the laws to do that.  We had our business open until 12:oo o'clock Saturday night and Sunday morning we were all lined up and mother would start bathing the children.  Of course, we wore black stockings and one set of underwear.  That was a whole week’s supply.  We wore the same stockings all week, and the same set of underwear all week and the same dress all winter.  In summer, we had two dresses and in winter, we had one dress.  Mother would bathe the youngest, which was Nathan.  Nathan was born there.  She would bathe Nathan first, than the water would get cold.  She had a little gas hot plate.  We used to have a kettle of water boiling and she would add that to the cold water.  So, she would bathe the baby first and then she would add a teakettle of water and put the second child, which was Lou, in the tub.  Then she would add another teakettle of water in the same bathtub and put the third child in, which was Ben.  We had to carry the water and heat the water and that was hard work.  It was probably a two-hour job.  I didn't know what a Turkish towel was until we moved to 2220 Fifth Avenue in 1907.  Mother used to take a sheet.  The first baby used the sheet and got dry.  By the time the fifth child had the sheet I guarantee you there was more water on that sheet than there was in the tub.


That's the way we lived and of course everybody worked in the store. From the time we were eight or nine years old our parents couldn't read and as soon as we could learn to read we used to have to read the mail.  When we were ten or eleven years old we were writing out the checks and kept the bank accounts.


In 1907 when we moved into 2220 Fifth we really thought we were something.  We had an inside toilet.  It wasn't a real inside toilet.  They had taken a hall room and put a thing in there.  We had a flush toilet for the first time in our lives. Then on the second floor we had the kitchen. Dad kept building to these things, which was interesting.  When we first moved in there was no electricity.  We bought this from a druggist.  We had a motor in the cellar that made electricity.  But it was only for the store lights.  Apparently, electricity was too expensive but they had their own generators.  I remember you had to go down and start the generator too.  We were only there a year or so until we got rid of the generator and got electricity just for the store but we did not have this for our living rooms. Upstairs we had gas lamps with mantles.  If you jumped upstairs the mantle would break and then the flame would just be bare gas burning.  I want you to know, at that time, we were amongst the wealthy people at that time because some of our friends used to come and take a bath in our bathtub, all of cur cousins, the Hurwitz’s, the Friedman’s.  On Sunday, my poor mother had a job.


They had several public baths.  They did have a swimming pool and that swimming pool wasn't much but it was a place to take baths.  For two cents or something like that, you were allowed to take a bath.  As a matter of fact the barber shops at that time also would have a tub in the back, and they would charge so much for a bath and so much for a towel.  And all the foreigners used to come in there and pay for their bath.


          It was the custom in those days that once somebody got set up, he started sending for the other members of his family.  I remember the number of people that dad brought over to this country.  I 'm thinking particularly of when the Plotkins came over.  Uncle Nochem came with Al and Joe and Mollie and they stayed with us. We put them up in the house as crowded as we were.  Dad would go out and lend them some merchandise from the store and they would go out with a pack and start peddling and when they made enough to get going on their own, they set themselves up in business. Dad brought so many over.


          We worked from the time we were eight or ten years old.  We never were out on a Saturday in our life.  On weekdays my mother knew we were coming at 3:00 o'clock from school so there was work lined up for us to do whether it was in the house or the book-keeping or mopping the floor or trimming the windows. It was an education. We stayed open until we were falling off of our feet, maybe 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock.  When we'd see a person walking on the street we would think maybe he was coming in to buy a shirt so we would wait until he passed and when the street was completely deserted and we were all tired out, we would all go to bed.


          In the summertime in 1916, we got our first car.  We paid exactly $440.00 dollars for it, and about two months after we bought it Ford dropped his price from $440.00 to $360.00.  That was on of the worst tragedies ever and Dad was so burned up.  After a long day of work, we used to sit down after we closed the store sometimes 10:00 o'clock and sometimes 11:00 o'clock at night and we'd take a ride up to Schenley Park.  We would pick up a couple of kids s o there were always ten or twelve of us.  We would sit out in the park and eat ice cream.  They would close the park at a certain hour.  When the cops came around, and saw Mother and Father and all of these kids eating ice cream he would say "that's alright you can stay."  Fifth Avenue was all cobble stones at the time and when we got to the park it was asphalt and the car rode nice and smooth.


          Every family from Shedrin had our address. They would just come and call up.  We had a P & A phone.  Anybody who came to America had Harry Friedman's address and we used to get company unexpectedly.  We had two bedrooms and we had a kitchen and a dining room and the dining room had 3 folding bed and that folding bed was always in use for newcomers who came over to this country.  We had to delouse them and give them all American clothes.  We went down to the store and freshened them up, fitted then up in a new outfit, and we always had somebody sleeping in the folding bed in our dining room and we also had a folding bed in the kitchen for these strangers.  We always had visiting new comers. 


          There were more than a hundred over the years.




For the 100th Birthday of

              MOLLIE COHEN

February 28, 1994





Luncheon at Rodef Shalom Pittsburgh, Pa.

Feb. 19, 1994



Approximate Chronology



Founding of Schedrin


Sarah born to Lazar Plotkin


Harry born to Galia Friedman


Gallia's husband chased out of Schedrin for smoking on Shabbat.  He went to Philadelphia, Pa and remarried


Sarah orphaned at age 3


Lazar Plotkin married Galia Friedman (nee Horwitz). 


Lazar's children Basha 15, Nochum 13, Sana Mara 9?, Sarah, Mollie 9 months


Gallia had Harrry 3.


Subsequently they had Sam, Jake, Morris, Rose, Esther


Sarah and Harry married at age 18, left for America.  Originally stayed in Philadelphia with Harry's father


Sarah and Harry moved to Pittsburgh

Sept. 23, 1892

Esther born.  Family on Vickroy St.

Feb. 28, 1894 

Mollie born.  Family on Elm St

June  1896

Ben born.  Sarah was quite sick.


Harry started business and family moved to 2211 Fifth Ave.


Lazar Plotkin died in Schedrin

Dec. 30, 1898

Lou was born.  Lou was named after Lazar Plotkin.


Mollie had serious whooping cough. Treated by sitting over                river on the new 22nd St. bridge


Harry brought Galia with her five younger children to

Pittsburgh from Schedrin.

April  1900

Family moved to 2214 Fifth Ave. with new store


Sarah's younger sister Mollie came to live with family.  She was called "big Mollie".


She married Jacob Meyers a year later in 1901.


Family lived above store.

Sept. 10, 1902

Nathan was born.


Louis was born


Mollie had duties in store to read invoices and mark prices

on merchandise.(Harry and Sarah never learned to read

English) Mollie also had duties putting baby to sleep, etc.

Mollie and Esther worked regularly in store until married


The Meyers moved to 2128 Fifth and opened a store for pots and dishes, later taking in hardware and nails.


Harold in 1912.


Nochum Plotkin (Sarah's brother) arrived from Schedrin and opened a Cheder.  Esther and Mollie attended and learned to read Hebrew and Yiddish.

Jan. 1, 1905

Sarah's niece Julia (Nochum's daughter) married at the Friedman home to Bennie Alpern.  They opened a store on the South Side, across the bridge, with Harry's help. They had Margaret and Al.


Harry bought building at 2220 Fifth.  Their first indoor toilet.  Gas grates for heating the dining room. No other heat


Family acquired second-hand piano and Esther and Mollie started lessons with Sally Mazer

June  1908

Mollie graduated Soho Public School with honors.  She  was given responsibility to manage another store on Center Ave. Through the summer

Sept  1908

Mollie and Esther started commercial course at Fifth  Ave. High School. They subsequently were taken out of  school to work in the store and finished high school at night school.


Cousin Julia Zeligman married Harry Alpern.  They had Nathan and two other children.

June  1909

Esther and Mollie confirmed at Tree of Life Synagogue.  Ben was Bar Mitzvah at the same time.


Sarah had emergency gall-bladder operation with removal of two large stones.  Her gall-bladder was never removed and she had later further problems and partial surgery and she had a drainage tube late in her life from age 82 till age 91 when she died.


Friedman's Department Store enlarged


Harry founded Anshe Lebovitch Shull on Erin St. and also the Anshe Lebovitch Cemetery in Millvale.  He was the president for many years.


Galia Plotkin (Sarah's stepmother died and buried in Anshe Lebovitch Cemetery


Esther and Mollie joined Solidrams (social, literary and drama) club


Family bought a Ford car.  Mollie began driving and continued for 60 years, never committing any offence or receiving a tag.


Ben married Ida Marcuson.  They had Ruth, Florence, and Shirley

April  1918

Esther married David Busis.  They had Sidney and Jean.  
Mollie married Sam Cohen the next day.  
They honeymooned together.


First home on Zulema St. in Oakland


Mollie enrolled in Hadassah.  Mollie is still a member.          

Mollie had a baby girl with heart defect.  She lived about 8 months.

July 6, 1921

Norman born.


Moved to Jackson St. in East Liberty.  Lived upstairs of mother.

June 14, 1924

Bernie born


Moved to Hays and Chislett, living above Esther


Jacob [Meyers] died at age 48 of stomach cancer in 1925.


Began study of Jewish History at YMHA in Oakland; was star pupil of Rabbi Halpern; continued interest in Jewish History throughout her life.


Summer visits over many years to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  Often Mollie helped there in Gardner's shoe store and Levinson's Dept. Store.


Nathan died at age 27 after tonsillectomy


Depression. Lost business and home.  Moved to Stanton and Negley, living upstairs of Esther


Father Harry died about age 63.  Was living on Pocusset St. in Squirrel Hill

Feb. 29, 1932

Harriet Natalie born.  Named after Harry and Nathan.


Started to lead a Hadassah Study Group. Continued as the leader for 40 years


Moved to Elgin Ave. Lived above Mother and Lou.


Drove Sam about Western Pennsylvania on his business for years

1943 - 1946

Worried about Bernie in the South Pacific and China Sea on a small landing craft in the Navy


Learned to swim at the Y in Oakland.  Continued swimming for 45 years. Mollie was member of the Y for 50 years

Feb. 15, 1945

Norman married Hilda Kaplan in small wedding on Epiphany St.



GRANDCHILDREN (of Norman, Bernard, Harriet)



May 10, 1948

Miriam (N)

Mar. 30, 1950

Bernie [Cohen] married Anne Foner at Beth Shalom

Nov. 27, 1951

Don (B)

Aug. 10, 1952

Harriet married to Marvin Apple at Roosevelt Hotel in town

Dec. 7, 1953

Judy (B)


Mother very ill with Gall-bladder infection, had surgery and drainage tube rest of her life. Mollie attended to irrigations and dressings for 10 years

Oct. 3, 1956

Fred (B)

Sept. 13, 1957

Jim (H)

Feb. 13, 1959

Tom (H)

July 13, 1959

Joey (N)

Feb. 3, 1960

Rick (H)

April 21, 1961

Ernie (B)


Ben died in his sixties

May 1963

Dave [Busis] died at age 70

June 20, 1964

Mother Sarah died at age 91 after long illness with Mollie attending her


Pacemaker inserted in heart; replaced after 11 years.


Judy to Mike Rogal at U.S. Steel Towers

Nov. 26, 1979


July 26, 1981


Dec. 6, 1982



Moved to Maxon in Squirrel Hill.  Esther and Lou moved there too.

July 31, 1984

Sam died after months of illness.


Fred [Cohen] to Susan Porti

Nov. 6, 1985


Dec. 28, 1987


Aug. 1989


Nov. 3, 1993

Megan Rose

June 19, 1988

Tom  to Linda Gutkowski in New York

Aug. 12,  1991


July 28, 1993


June 1959

Lou died at age 91

Dec. 7, 1991

Esther died at age 99

March 1992

Cataract surgery successful

Sept. 6, 1992

Rick to Carolyn Engelhart at Rodef Shalom in Pittsburgh




(and births of their children)


Sept. 16,  1973

Don to Eve Longini at Forest Glen Rd. Pittsburgh

Dec 22, 1984


Jan. 10,  1990


July 3, 1978

Miriam to Eli Zangi in Jerusalem

Feb. 1, 1980


Aug. 12, 1981


Mar. 7, 1983


Jan. 31, 1985


Aug. 25, 1986


Aug.  1989


Aug.  1992


Nov. 25, 1978

Jim to Denise Heskett on Kipling Rd. in Pittsburgh

Aug. 5, 1980


Jan. 13, 1983


May 22, 1984








Poems by Bernard L. Cohen                                                     Feb.28, 1974



On Mother's 80th Birthday


A pillar of the Temple

          Is our dear Mollie C.

          She also is an expert

          On Jewish History


She raised three children tenderly

          Without even a baby-sitter

          She gave them everything worthwhile

          Although the times were bitter


She taught them to differentiate

          Between what's right and wrong

          The value of hard work

          And the beauty of a song


She gave them a love of learning

          And an interest in science and math

          She watched their health and diet

          And often made them take a bath


When her children grew up, her mother got

          Her attention and her care

          She cleaned the house and washed the clothes

          With energy from God knows where


grandmother supreme she soon became

          To each as dear as can be

          She took up swimming and did quite well

          She sure can out-swim me


Now she's 80 and looks 60

          And acts like 43


Twenty-first Century - better look out

          You'll be dealing with Mollie C.

  Poems by Bernard L. Cohen                                          March 1983



Anniversary Sixty-Five


  Sixty five years of marriage

          Hasn't been all a barrel of fun

          Lots of battles were waged

      And riot all of them were won


  There were lots of troubles and sorrows

          And lots of hard work was done

          But there was plenty of pleasure and joy

      In this sixty-five year run


  The nineteen-twenties were mostly O.K.

          Though a lost baby was not a good Start

          But rising income and two healthy children

      A car and new home played their part


  The 'thirties started out tragic

          Lost business, lost home, and bad health

          But a sweet baby girl brought joy

      A new business gave hope for new wealth


  The 'forties brought financial security

          Graduations and a wedding too

          But children leaving the nest

      Could not help but make them feel blue


  The 'fifties saw two more weddings

          And six new grandchildren born

  Lots of baby-sitting and cooking

      And sewing up clothes that were torn


  The 'sixties were the last years of working

          Enough was enough after all

          After sixty years of hard labor

      It was time to get out of the brawl


  The 'seventies were years of retirement

And ill health began taking it's toll

          But there were also plenty of pleasures

      As each grandchild accomplished a goal


  The 'eighties have not been all pleasant

          Age has it's burdens to bear

          But they have wonderful memories to cherish

      Sixty-five years of loving care


  Congratulations Mother and Dad

          As   we celebrate this day

          And thank you both for everything

      That you have brought our way


  Thanks for life, for care, for help

          For guidance from above

          But most of all we thank you for

                          Your ever-lasting love

Poems by Bernard L. Cohen                                 February 28, 1984



                              To Mother, on her 90th birthday


   On February 26, 1894

            A stork came knocking at the Friedman door

                   He didn't want something from their dry-goods store

                           But rather a precious bundle he bore


   Mollie they named her, this blue-eyed blond

            And she grew into a child of whom all were fond

                   A   great help at home, a scholar at school

                           She never made trouble, and was nobody's fool


       As she grew older, she worked in the store

            And helped with many another chore

                   There was very little time for parties or play

                           Few clothes and no luxuries there were in that


        At age 24, she was a married dame

            And a new young mother she soon became

                   A sickly child drained deep her love

                           One of the saddest stories you ever heard of


   But two strong healthy boys then came along

            Uplifting her spirits like the bird's spring song

                   And later a daughter, pretty and sweet

                           Made her child-rearing years a rewarding treat


   She showered her children with love and care

            Although in those days there was little to share

                   She taught, encouraged and inspired them all

                           Helped each find and follow a noble call


   She took care of the house and did the wash

            She kept everything clean as a whistle, by gosh

                   She would chauffer and sew, and cook and bake

                           From kugel to cookies, and delicious cake


   Her children matured and took husband and wives

            Making her a mother in three more lives

                   And then came grandchildren, nine in all

                           Turning family dinners into a ball


   She nursed her mother through years of ill health

            Giving more than could be purchased with any wealth

                   Consistent self-sacrifice was her life's theme

                           Doing good deeds under a full head of steam


   She loved and inspired as her grandchildren grew

            Easing their way to adulthood too

                   She never mentioned the pains she went through

                           No visitor with her ever left feeling blue


   A heart condition slowed her, but not for long

            To the invalid class she could never belong

                   She takes care of her husband and her apartment too

                           More cookies were baked by very few


   Great-grandchildren now add spice to her life

            She's a wonderful mother and a devoted wife

                   A sister supreme, and a grandmother dear

                           A bad word about her you never will hear


   A wonderful person, to all that is clear

          As she now completes her 90th year

                   To many more years we look forward with glee

                             With our inspiring matriarch, Mollie C.



To Mother, on her 90th birthday



A hundred years ago this week

A stork the Friedman house did seek.

It left a bundle that made all jolly,

A baby girl, whom they named Mollie.


Life was far from easy

In that   place and time

The toilet was an outdoor pit

With stench reduced by lime.


An outdoor pump by hand

Was how they got their water.

Hot water wasn't even known

To this growing up young daughter.


She attended nearby Soho School

 And then Fifth Avenue High.

 And Hebrew School and Sunday School

 No learning for her was dry.


 She worked in the family dry goods store

 Until quite late each night.

 It was hard to fit in homework,

 But she always got it right.


 The family prospered and bought a car

 Which Mollie learned to drive;

 A hand crank to start, flat tires to fix,

 On a day's drive, four or five.


 I have to hurry with this tale

 There's a hundred years to cover.

 So far, I've only told of twenty,

 There is no time to hover.


'She met and married Sam

 Nineteen eighteen was the year.

This brought lots of love and happiness

 And three kids to bear and rear.


 Sam was made a partner

 And the family's prospects rose.

 Then came the great Depression

 And their finances froze.


 Sam's business failed, he tried again

 But that went busted too;

 An insurance salesman, he became

 Very slowly their income grew.


 Mollie raised the children;

 She never left their side,

 Baby sitters she never used;

The kids were her love and pride.


 There was sickness and pain a-plenty

 And other troubles children cause,

 But she was always there, and in control;

 Problems never made her pause.


 The children grew and finished school.

 One by one they left her home;

 She kept in touch and gave support

 Wherever they did roam.


 She and Sam traveled abroad

 And all over the USA;

 She studied Jewish history

 From ancient to present day.


 She daily walked and swam the pool

 And exercised a lot

 She was always full of energy

 As the battles of life she fought.


She was active in organizations

Supporting causes that were good;

She was always very charitable

And helped others however she could.


She nursed and helped her mother

Many hours every day.

She supported her brother and sister;

She was the family mainstay.


Her role as grandmother of nine

Was high on her priority list;

Great-grandkids twenty one she has

Each an angel, she'll insist.


And so the years rolled by

A blend of joy and sorrow.

She faced it all and never flinched

With equanimity I'd like to borrow.


A hundred full eventful years

And nary a one was hollow.

We wish her health and happiness

For many years to follow!


Some of Mollie's favorite poems




Health enough to make work a pleasure

Wealth enough to support your needs

Strength enough to battle with difficulties and forsake them

Grace enough to confess your sins and overcome them

Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished,

Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor

Love enough to make you useful and helpful to others

Faith enough to make real the things of God

Hope enough to remove all anxious fear concerning the future





Count your garden by the flowers

          Never by the leaves that fall


Count your days by the golden hours

          Don't remember clouds at all


Count your nights by stars - not shadows

          Count your life with smiles - not tears


And with joy on every birthday

          Count your age by friends - not years





Take time to think - it is the fountain of strength

Take time to love and be loved - it is a God-given privilege

Take time to laugh - it is the music of the soul

Take time to pray - it is the greatest power on earth

Take time to read - it is the foundation of wisdom

Take time to work - it is the price of success

Take time to be friendly - it is the road to happiness

Take time to give - it is too short a day to be selfish

Take time to play - it is the secret of perpetual youth

Take time to save - it is the foundation of your future

Take time to keep your health - it is, above all, gold and treasure