First Podcast Interview

I am happy to announce my first Podcast interview about FRED: Buffalo Building of Dreams on the Penny Wolfgang On Target Show.

 

 

MY POST PUBLICATION ADVENTURE BEGINS

My new adventure is underway and my goal is to publicize heartwarming tales, memories, and experiences of twelve decades of life as a modest apartment building. I’m destined to share my tenants lives. They were culturally and ethnically diverse and came to America from all over the world to be free.

My mission is to pass on the power of hope my tenants displayed under stressful circumstances, during their historical lifetimes filled with unpredictability. Freedom was the common denominator and the glue that allowed  tenants from many cultures to become lifelong friends and acquaintances.

During the past nine years I have gathered many friends and supporters who believed in me because many of their parents and great grandparents were immigrants, refugees, internal immigrants and descendants of enslaved peoples of Africa. They were Italian, Sicilian, German, Irish, Polish, Canadian, Jewish, Puerto Rican, Hungarian, and African Americans.

I believe “Everyone is special and deserves a life of freedom, truth, and choices.”

Mission Achieved

Dear LinkedIn Contacts and Supporters,

FRED: BUFFALO BUILDING OF DREAMS, a historical novel, has been published today, on April 19, 2021. Thank you for your interest in this special project. My mission as FRED’S author has been achieved after many years. He would like to share an important message with you. “ In the past hundred and twenty years I’ve witnessed the tragedies, joys, hopes, and dreams of my treasured ethnically and culturally diverse tenants and their families. I observed their lives first hand and learned that it takes never ending hope to thrive and survive in America in the 20th Century and beyond. Their legacy inspired this novel.” ~FRED

FRED’S NEW MEMORY OF HOPE

During the past several years FRED: BUFFALO BUILDING OF DREAMS 2021 struggled to survive long enough to be published, What FRED has learned most from his culturally and ethnically diverse tenants is hard to believe and often harder to maintain.
It is the power of HOPE in the middle of desperation that kept generations of Fred’s immigrants, refugees, internal migrants, and descendants of enslaved peoples of Africa survive and thrive in America. Their hope helped them survive long enough to face their fears and cope with many losses. Fred learned first hand that hope is a powerful force that can last a lifetime.
Best.
FRED

Journey Back in Time

Dear friends, my long journey from back in time taught me to be a good listener and silent observer of human behavior. My historical novel is a glimpse into the lives of generations of tenants from various parts of the world in search of personal and economic freedom in America.
My observations helped me understand what it must be like to be human and shaped my destiny to share their legacy with current and future generations. They no longer have a voice. My author’s words speak on behalf of all of us.
My tenants’ personal tales enriched my life beyond belief. They became family to me. I held their secrets, disappointments, grief, and was fortunate to share their many moments of joy and success within my walls. I was a silent member of their families, entering their lives without their knowledge, with the exception of one special young boy who grew up protected within my walls.
I was able to connect with my tenants and their families, whose lives were impacted by historical events beyond their control. My firsthand history lessons are vivid and extensive as I imagine them in my mind’s eye, filled with unbelievable actual events. I learned about the Civil War, the Hooks, the Great Strike of 1899, the Suffragettes, World War 1, the right to vote, the Buffalo Children’s Aid Society, the News and Black Boot Boys, and major events that took place around the world during this 120-year period.
You might ask me “Why is this story important?”. And, I will tell you.
I am a survivor, a modest apartment building with a heart and soul and tales to tell. I’m still standing proudly like my tenants were when they first moved into my building.
My hope is that readers will be able to step back in time and see themselves in the struggles and hopes, the heartaches and dreams, and the common humanity that all my tenants shared – and share with you.
In a way I’m like my tenants. I have ups and downs, fears, unknown challenges, only I have no control over what happens to me. My fate is in my owner’s hands. How I wish I had the free will to make the types of choices my tenants made to survive and thrive.
FRED: Buffalo Building of Dreams (Publication in 2021: BookBaby Publishing)


A Note to All Fred’s Friends and Followers

We know this is a difficult time for everyone during the Covid 19 pandemic; author Fran Schmidt sends you a heartfelt message of hope and a sincere message to please stay safe and well.

 

Granny Mattie’s African American Treasures

In the early 90’s, eighty-five-year-old Granny Mattie Brown, the mother of 15 children and 31 grandchildren moved into one of my apartments with her youngest son Douglass and his wife. Please use your imagination to visualize a small cozy living room, with a small two-tiered table in the center. On the top of the table was a small collection of Mattie’s favorite items, but her most precious treasures were placed on the bottom shelf. It held her collection of books and family journals. At first, I wondered why Granny Mattie celebrated “Memory Sundays”. I can’t tell you the answer right now, but when you read my story, it’ll give you food for thought.
The first book I saw on the bottom shelf, was an original copy of abolitionist, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin – an anti-slavery novel published in 1852. This book was based on actual events from freed slave narratives, anti-slavery newspapers and first-hand accounts. More than 10,000 copies were sold in the first week.
The second book was written by another abolitionist, Fredrick Douglass. It was an autobiography of his life titled, The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, An American Slave.
Beneath the copy of his book, was a large faded black and white copy of Harriet Tubman, wrapped in plastic. I found out that in 1849, Harriet, along with her two brothers, escaped slavery from Maryland and fled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They followed the North Star on their 90-mile journey.
Mattie’s most important items on that shelf were her great, great Granny Pearly’s slave journal and her own family journal.  When you read the novel, soon to be published, you’ll step back in time to learn the importance of family names and the many truths regarding Afro-American history including the value of “Memory Sundays”.

 

Comfort Food and More

Food is such a big part of life and community. Restaurants on the West Side of Buffalo, NY, where I live, have offered a continuing source of nourishment and gathering for decades.  Two restaurants in particular, Santasierio’s and Deco Restaurant are near and dear to my heart.
I was 21 years old when Dominic Santasierio opened his restaurant at 1329 Niagara St., just doors away from my address at 1469 Niagara. Dominic’s sauce made from a family recipe, is still used today, and proof of its popularity. Santasierio’s is best known for comfort food, consistency in quality, large portions and reasonable prices.
This popular Italian American restaurant was the site where Sammy Consiglio and Molly Murphy, two tenants in my  had their first date. After that, whenever they could, they would go back there again and again. They struggled for a whole year to keep their relationship quiet. I’ll share more about them another time.
David Abramovich, a Russian Jew and his 41-year-old cousin Samuel Jaroslow , a Polish Jew who came to America from the Pale of Russia in 1910 moved into my building in 1935. I can’t share their harrowing story now, but I can tell you that Santasiero’s helped them survive when they couldn’t afford kosher food. It was good, cheap and filled their bellies after a long workday.
The smells of all their leftovers – spaghetti, Italian wedding soup, eggplant parmesan – was delicious! Boy did I wish I could taste that food. Dominic Santasierio’s descendants will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary in 2021 and if I could shake any other building’s hand, this is the one I would choose!
Deco Restaurant first opened in 1918 when Gregory Deck opened a small stand on the corner of Main and Lisbon. The success of this stand gave way to more than fifty Deco lunch counters that eventually sprouted up around the city of Buffalo, NY. Molly Murphy, yes, the same one who dated Sammy Consiglio, got a waitress job there in the early 1930’s, in the restaurant on West Eagle Street, on the corner of Pearl. She worked the late-night shift. It was a favorite spot at night for cops, late night revelers, and the homeless. Young, old, rich, poor, came together to get a good cup of coffee for 10 cents, 5-cent hamburger, or a hot dog and Cherry Coke. The spot was small but popular, and you were lucky if you could get a dining stool at the counter. Molly just loved working there.
I honor Santasierio’s and Deco, for their dedication to the local customers of Buffalo, NY. These restaurants fed hundreds and hundreds of people, helping them survive tough times and celebrate good times.

 

1941: America is Forever Changed

Benedict (Benny) Farley and Bianca Martucci were a young couple who lived in separate apartments in my building. They were on a date at the Marlowe Theatre on December 7, 1941 when their lives and the lives of all Americans were forever changed. I wasn’t physically with them at the theatre but heard the shocking news as soon as they came home. Yes, you probably already know what I’m talking about – it was the day the Japanese Army bombed Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II.
My tenants were scared – truly panic-stricken. All many could do was stand up and volunteer in the War effort, while their hearts and souls prayed for peace. When you read my upcoming novel, you’ll learn more about these troubling times – about V-mail (Victory Mail), Production Soldiers, Ration Stamps, victory gardens, and the meaning of The Blue Stars of America.
Benedict and Bianca’s story however involves a hasty marriage and a monumental goodbye. I’ll share more details later, but here’s a little bit of insight about this couple. Shortly after they started dating, Bianca invited Benny in to have a cup of coffee and a piece of homemade chocolate cake. This is when I overheard them talking about their childhoods. It was a serious conversation and I was listening intently as Bianca wiped a tear from Benedict’s eye.
When Benny was only thirteen years old, he became one of thousands of children put into the Orphan Train Movement. He was suddenly taken from his orphanage and put on a train with other children ranging from five to thirteen years of age. All that Benny and the other children were told was that they were going on a long train ride, but they were really headed to the Midwest to join farm families – some in the US and others to Canada. Benny’s story may shock you when you read more about what happened. Bianca too unfortunately became an orphan at the age of seven, although she was sent to the Saint Vincent DePaul Female Orphanage Asylum in Buffalo New York. Here she grew into a young woman before heading out on her own.
Their remarkable tale and the tales of all my tenants helped me understand life’s twists and turns and in turn made me stronger. Each decade of my life has been filled with a rich history, and the life lessons I’ve learned from my tenants who came to live with me – special people from all over the world. I hope when you read this historical novel, you’re inspired in the 21st century, by stories of the past.

 

My Suffragettes, World War II, and the Right-to-Vote

This is an illustration for the Official Program Woman Suffrage Procession in Washing DC on March 3, 1913By Benjamin Moran Dale (1889–1951), for the National American Women’s Suffrage Association – Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24024303
I have many memories that are waiting in line to tell their tales but wanted to share this highlight as it has been on my mind of late. I was watching three men working recently on my kitchen renovations when I heard them talking about the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and World War II. This took me back to the 1900’s when two young, female, Irish college students, Patricia and Kathleen, moved into one of my apartments. It was around this time they became Suffragettes – women fighting for the right-to-vote.  Why these smart women didn’t have that right all along, I don’t fully understand, but it was an honor to watch them work hard for this deserved cause. 
Their struggles in this fight often made me feel helpless, mainly because I couldn’t do anything to help them, except to provide shelter and the freedom to hold their weekly, secret Suffragette meetings. The twins and many other supporters marched in the first national Suffrage Parade in the nation’s Capital on March 3, 1913.  Later, when you read my full story, you will experience first-hand what happened prior to their arrival in Washington D.C.
Little did the twins know how I lived so vicariously through their lives and for the right to vote in America.  And oh, how I wished I could have joined them in the march! I also felt their anxiety, anguish, pain, tears, and shock when their friends were drafted into World War II. What these two, fine women, among many others, did to help the War effort was heartwarming.  I wanted to cry for the troops and families left behind on the home front, instead I suffered in silence. Readers will also be able to find out how this experience too, influenced my twins’ lives.
Patricia’s and Kathleen’s immigrant family history goes back generations and coming to America indeed saved them from poverty and despair. I discovered how difficult life can be and realize that I have an important role as a cornerstone of all my tenants and their families’ lives. I know they need me, as much as I need them. I too have had my share of my ups and downs – suffered abandonment, survived auctions and the destruction of my apartment building in the middle of the night, and in recent times harbored the overwhelming fear of being torn down. But I am a survivor and my full story will be told in the early Spring of 2021 with the publication of FRED: Building of Dreams. There are more memories waiting to be told.

 

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Frances R. Schmidt Author