In 1898 you and your family, the Goldean's traveled by ship to escape the violent massacres in Russia of Jewish families condoned by Czar Alexander 111.
You have just arrived in America, the land of opportunity where you have the right to religious freedom to worship as you choose. Your home will be in Newport News, Virginia with your parents and sister. Your parents are very religious and have chosen a man for you to marry from the old country. But you have met and fallen in love with an American boy.
Your parents say you can not marry him. “We have chosen your husband, David Shapiro.” The man you are to marry speaks many languages and is considered very educated and is a Hebrew school teacher. He has no refinement, but to honor your parents you must marry him. Your name is Bechie Goldean Shapiro.
After a year of marriage, you make a wonderful dinner with a lovely tablecloth on the table with your finest china, silver ware, and glassware. Your new husband sits down and pulls off the tablecloth saying, “It is much to fancy for me.” He has a remarkable gift for removing the Tablecloth from the table without damaging the dishes or silverware but, he is unable to earn a living with that skill.
What will you do? You have to find a way to support your husband and child. You have a baby daughter Belle.
You have several beautiful teacups and saucers. You decide to try selling them on the side of Jefferson Avenue. That day you discover you have a gift for selling and over time you start a department store called Shapiro's. It becomes a family department store where housewares, clothes, and shoes are sold for men, women, and children. Your daughter Belle will work at your store as a teenager as will your son Max.
On her daughter Belle's 20 th birthday on August 12, 1924 Bechie Goldean Shapiro dies of Cancer. Belle Shapiro Frank, my father's mother, and my grandmother continue the store. Belle buys beautiful clothes for women in New York City. She married before her mother's death a man she chose, my grandpa Louis Charles Frank from Lithuania.
Grandpa came to America as a young teen-ager, 11 or 12 years old, and always jokingly said he arrived by covered wagon to America. He worked in the men's department store of Shapiro's as did their son, Robert, my father. Robert worked as a teenager in the shoe department. After working at Shapiro's Department store helping people who had forgotten to wash their feet try on shoes, he was inspired to study harder so he could go to college and become an engineer or a doctor. He was the first in his family to graduate college. Shapiro's Department Store lived on to support the Shapiro and Frank family for over 25 years.
What are the 3 lessons you can learn from Great- Grandma Shapiro about solving your problems?
1) Have a positive attitude and always have a paper and pencil ready, wherever you are, in case you think of a solution to your problem.
2) Give yourself time each day to ponder your problem. Be observant and listen carefully to others, as you never know where you will find your solution.
3) Think of your problem as an opportunity and a new door or window will open up for you and never give up on solving your problem.
Great- Grandma Shapiro found that she had a gift for selling and it was her opportunity to make a living and support her husband and child.
By following these three steps you will be able to solve your problem like
Great- Grandma Beckie Goldean Shapiro and make it into an opportunity to learn, grow, and change your life for the better.