Biography

All posts in the Biography category

25 September 2020

Published September 23, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

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As fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remain in our midst, it seems easier to forget. It’s not taught in schools and increasing numbers of misinformed believe the Holocaust never happened. 

INTERVIEW WITH PRISONER A5714

Remember Robert Clary as LeBeau of Stalag 13? Hogan’s shortest hero? The connoisseur of French cuisine.  

               He reminisces about the rabbi who helped him study for his Bar Mitzvah. “He smelled of schmaltz, herring, onion and garlic.”

             “Ah food.”

             He shrugs. “In Buchenwald we had little to eat. I sang for the prisoners and sometimes the chef in the kitchen gave me an extra piece of bread.”

             “What’s your greatest achievement? Performing?”

              “No.  I’m most proud to have spent twenty years keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Warning against man’s inhumanity. While I am living, I have to tell.”   

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Writing Prompt – Gallivant

Published June 20, 2020 by rochellewisoff

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in Sammi’s comment section.

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

A sharecropper’s son, Matthew Henson never lived in one place very long.

The twelve-year-old dropped out of school in Baltimore to go to sea.

With explorer Richard Peary, Matthew gallivanted from Nicaragua to the Arctic.  

In 1909 Henson planted the American flag on the North Pole.

****

27 March 2020

Published March 25, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Jeff Arnold

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Another installment to celebrate Women’s History Month. 😀 This week, a woman from my own tribe. Some of us remember her from the TV show in the 60’s called “I’ve Got a Secret.” 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

FOR SUCH A TIME

“I would’ve been taller.” Bella gaffed off her daughter’s complaints. “But we couldn’t afford it. Back to your homework.”

            At 5’10”, twelve-year-old Bess stood head and shoulders above her classmates, garnering her the role of Olive Oyl in the school play. An honor she didn’t want.

            As she matured, her awkwardness became statuesque grace.

            Bess’s sister entered her in the Miss New York beauty pageant. Although embarrassed, she competed, refusing to use a pseudonym that didn’t sound “so Jewish.”

            On August 15, 1945, in the shadow of the liberation of Auschwitz, Bess Myerson proudly wore the crown of Miss America.

*******

13 March 2020

Published March 11, 2020 by rochellewisoff

 

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PHOTO PROMPT © Ceayr

The frog’s not blue, but will be if you don’t click her. 

Genre: Women’s History

Word Count: 100

FROSTED YELLOW WILLOW

“Wong Liu Tsong often played hooky from school to see movies at the Nickelodeon.” Lily Wu read her report aloud. “When she grew up, she changed her name to Anna May Wong and overcame many obstacles to become a famous film star.”  

            Tim Wu rolled his eyes. “If it’s a great Chinese actor you want, write about Jackie Chan.”

            “It’s Women’s History Month. Now—one of Anna’s biggest disappointments came in 1935 when Hollywood passed her over for the role a Chinese woman in The Good Earth.”

            “So?”

            “The role went to a Caucasian actress. What’s wrong with this picture?”

*Frosted Yellow Willow is the literal translation of Wong Tsiu Tsong. 

CLICK FOR MORE

21 February 2020

Published February 19, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn Miller

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

 February is National Black History Month in the States. There are so many amazing people, history ignored. I enjoy meeting people I should’ve learned about in school. 

QUEEN BESSIE

             Bessie surveyed the Waxahachie, Texas Fairground. She never dreamed she’d be performing in her childhood town. Shielding her eyes, she gazed up into the sky. The only place she could truly be free.

            The entrance to the park read, “Whites Only.”

            Head held high, pounding with indignation, she stormed through the gate and barged into the manager’s office.

            “I didn’t go all the way to France to earn my license for this. Am I not the first colored pilot in America?”

            “Yes, Miss Coleman, but—”

            “If my people aren’t treated with respect, there’ll be no show. Understood?”

            “Yes, Ma’am.”

*Note: I call this fiction because, while I know the incident is fact, I don’t know the exact words Miss Coleman used to get her point across. 😉 

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15 November 2019

Published November 13, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Hop right up and Click the Frog

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

O MEIN PAPA

             Papa belted out prayers with off-key passion. A few small congregations who couldn’t afford real cantors hired him as a ba’al tefillah.

            Shabbos mornings, Natty Birnbaum stood close to him and sang. He’d bask in Papa’s approving smile. It was the only time he ever saw it. 

            When Natty was seven Papa passed away while reading prayers.

            Nearly 100 years later, Birnbaum, better known as George Burns, remembered with a wry smile, “After he sang in one little synagogue, the following synagogue, instead of hiring him, they kept it closed during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” 

            Natty never forgave God.

 

Wanna know more? Got 10 minutes? To watch the video CLICK HERE 

28 June 2019

Published June 26, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Click the Frog and Hop Along

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

GROWING PAIN

After a day of enduring Alfalfa’s foul temper and pranks, such as sticking chewing gum in a movie camera, the frustrated “Our Gang” director pulled him aside. “Kid, I swear, the day you turn 21, I’m going to find you and beat the shit out of you.”

            By 1940 the thirteen-year-old was a has-been. Although he landed some small roles in a few pictures, he found it necessary to supplement his income by bartending or training dogs.

            A bullet ended his downward spiral in a heated dispute over $50. On January 21, 1959, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer took his final bow.  

***

25 January 2019

Published January 23, 2019 by rochellewisoff

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As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

I must make mention here, that in the going on 7 years I’ve hosted Friday Fictioneers, this is one of the few Ted actually sent for use as a prompt. Usually I just ‘borrow’ them (with express permission, of course. 😉 Thanks, Ted. 😀

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

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Genre: Historical Faction

Word Count: 100

MCMLIII

“What’s so special about 1953?”   

            For one, Bob Wisoff bought his first car. A ’53 Chevrolet Bel Air.

            September 4, he and Evalyne welcomed their second child.  

            On the same date, West Indian native, Clothilda Jacobs delivered her 5th child, Lawrence. It was the twelfth day of New York’s longest recorded heatwave.

            The Chevy is long gone.

            Lawrence went on to delight audiences as Sweathog Freddy “Boom-Boom” Washington with a cocky grin and, “Hi there.”   

            Bob’s daughter, Rochelle, married and raised three sons. She still creates art, literature, and, occasionally, a bit of havoc.  

            It was a very good year.

 

28 December 2018

Published December 26, 2018 by rochellewisoff


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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Randy Mazie

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For those who celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Another rerun this week. For those who have written for this prompt (and you know who you are) feel free to post a repeat as well. This is my story from July 12, 2013 . Time flies, doesn’t it? Thanks to all who have hung with me for the past 6 years. I’d list them, but I’d be sure to leave someone out. Hard to believe this is the last Friday Fictioneers post for 2018! A HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL! Shalom, Rochelle 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

BRIGHT BLESSED DAY, DARK SACRED NIGHT

            Life in 1907 New Orleans made Rebecca Karnofsy question the “land of the free”. As in Russia, they were still persecuted. Scapegoats.

            After circling her hands around the candles, she recited the Sabbath prayer, ending with, “Omayn and Gut Shabbos.”

            “Gut Shabbos.” Louis’ smile eclipsed his midnight-brown face.

            “A fine boy.” Bernie patted his head. “Already he’s repaid my loan.”  

            One of the Karnofsky boys sniffed. “He just bought a dumb old horn.”

            Eyes wider than wide, Louis jumped up from his chair. “Someday dis whole wonderful world gon’ hear my trumpet an’ know my name is Louis Daniel Armstrong!”

Young Louis Armstrong with his mother and sister.

Amen.

****

ANNOUNCING:

My Coffee Table book A STONE FOR THE JOURNEY is now available on Amazon KINDLE or Paperback. Hardcover is available at Barnes & Noble.com

The print version is also available on Amazon.co.uk. Amazon Australia and India have the Kindle version only. I’m not crazy about the formatting job they did on the Kindle, but it’s all there. 😉 

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7 December 2018

Published December 5, 2018 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit. 

As always, please be considerate of your fellow Fictioneers and keep your stories to 100 words. (Title is not included in the word count.)  Many thanks. 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dawn M. Miller

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Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

JOURNEY TO THE FRONT OF THE ROOM

“Tell me ‘bout when you was a boy, Daddy.”

            Henry hugged little Hattie, the baby of his thirteen children.  “Last time I got sold I mighta been nine, maybe ten.”

            “Play your banjo, Daddy.”  Her huge eyes shone. “Please.”

            “Only if’n you sings along.”

***

            After performing in carnivals and minstrel shows, Hattie McDaniel set her sights on Hollywood.

            In the 1940’s and 50’s the NAACP criticized the Oscar winning actress for her servile screen roles.  She defied her accusers saying, “Until you offer a better alternative, I’d rather portray a maid for $700 a week than be one for seven.”

 

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