Family News

Shebby

By December 7, 2020No Comments

This will be updated as more members of the family tweak their memories.

12/6/2020

From Fred:

I asked David Fuchs to share his recollections about Shebby who he also knew as a child. Here’s what he sent back:

She had an Italian husband, but she was German from somewhere in the Alsace/Lorraine region which changed nationality every few years. A tiny woman whose age, in my mind, remained in the general category of ‘grown up’ all the time I knew her. In my mind she is permanently at the iron board in the kitchen, with my Mother seated nearby, pressing things and folding them. There was a running conversation of which I followed nothing, except that she had a couple of girls, one I think named Dolores, whose various adventures in school were legendary. Since she also worked for Aunt Kay, there were a string of the girls adventures that bounced back and forth between Woodhaven and Putnam Ave. I had a role of my own
In that ongoing saga. When my Fuchs grandfather died, I was sent around to her house, only a few blocks away in Woodhaven, to play Pinocle with her after school on Thursday afternoons. I managed to forget the date every week. So I would burst into the kitchen everytime, come upon Shebby and my Mother who would say “David , You are supposed to be at Grandma’s!’ That led to a sprint down the dead end block we lived in, a hoist over a wall into a garden, a lunatic cut across Forest Parkway, then two more blocks and ringing Grandma’s doorbell. Grandma and Grandpa owned a two story house on 85th Street. I would ring the bell. She would be sitting at the top of the stairs, in a kind of regal  chair. She pushed a button. The door would spring open, and there I was. The usual greeting was ‘You’re late, you stupid boy.’  Ah well, a glass of orange soda came with the game.
PS: she was a terrific cook. I remember especially the stews she made, and the applesauce from the tree in our back yard.

As good as this is, the punch line is still to come. You see that David begins with the family legend that Shebby  was German and had an Italian husband, but then David’s common sense kicked in. If her husband was Italian, her name would not be Shebelein! What if she was of Italian origin and her husband was of German origin. So we learn something new details of Shebby’s long service to different family households, but also a family legend gets corrected finally? I do wish we knew what her first name was.

So this wonderful woman who was so loyal to mother remains wrapped in mystery. I do wish we knew what her first name was. There were many Schebleins who lived I Brooklyn: they were plumbers, police officers, secretaries, one was a mechanical engineer, another a stamp collector. Maybe we will find out where she lived someday.

Love to you all,  Fred

12/06/2020

Mary Alanah wrote:

Yes, I thought of her daughter Delores’ name this am at mass. Actually as I recall, Delores lived not too far from Shebbie when Shebbie lived on Putnam Ave (close to Metropolitan Ave in Ridgewood, Brooklyn, near Fresh Pond Ave.)

Thanks for confirming the amusing story of David, “you stupid Boy”. Foxy loved to tell us that story when she lived along the oceanfront at Breezy when we were children. Of course, David was never a stupid boy but it made a good story from the German grandmother!

I can’t check this to be true, but I believe Shebbie’s first husband  died during the war when they lived in Italy. I’ll wait to hear more of Shebbie’s story in the weeks ahead.

love MA

12-06-2020

Francis commented:

So if that is true that her husband died during World War I, she may have emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-to late-1920’s. If she began working for Foxy and for Kaye (Grandma McGinty) some time thereafter, she would have perhaps been a witness to David being called ‘stupid boy’ by his grandmother in Woodhaven in the late 20’s/early 30’s. Then Foxy and Kaye would have passed her on to Remare in the 1950s. I never remember Shebbie arriving at 110th Street. As far as I knew, she was always part of our world then.

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