Rheba Sher and Heather Sher

Recorded October 12, 2009 Archived October 12, 2009 30:59 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: dde000333


Heather Sher (40) interviews her grandmother, Rheba Sher (89) about growing up above the family bar in Baltimore, adopting two sons, and retiring at 85. Heather and Rheba now live together.

Subject Log / Time Code

- Rheba’s parents came from Russia, mat at temple in Baltimore.
- She grew up over Fink’s Cafe, the family bar and restaurant. Favorite relatives.
- Bar was open from 6am to 2am to accommodate 3 shifts of steel workers.
- Meeting Sidney, her husband. Early draft number, went into the Army.
- Finding out she couldn’t have children, adopting 2 boys.
- Rheba describes a robbery at the bank where she worked.
- Some of Rheba’s travels after Sidney died-- going to China.
- Her honeymoon, trips to Atlantic City with Sidney.


  • Rheba Sher
  • Heather Sher

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type




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00:03 My name is Heather Sher and I'm 40. And today is October 12th 2009 and we are at The JCC in New Orleans and a speaking with my grandmother. And what's your name? My name is Reba Cher. I am 89. I don't know today's date September what October 12th October reading?

00:29 So when I'm not working, I don't know what day it is October what 12/12 when in 2009 when and where were you born? I was born in Baltimore, Maryland April 12th 1920.

00:51 And where did you grow up grew up and bald outside of Baltimore in a little town called ethics?

01:01 And in the county, Baltimore County

01:05 What would you say is the ethnic background of your family my background for my family, my mother and father were born in Russia. They came over of my mother was 18. I think my father was 20.

01:21 I got married but nut and well, it was an organization through the temple for Russia people ever. Wanted to meet other people from Russia. I don't know how long they went together. I never told me but they had a good marriage for 42 years. My father didn't make 70. He died of 69. My mother died at 42.

01:54 I don't know why I'm 11 so long. I'm ready nine. I thank God for my good health. I'm on mine.

02:06 Can you tell me any more about when you were living with your parents? Do you lived over thanks. Cafe is not true. It was spin stuff for my uncle. My mother's brother who return younger brother have a they had a real long Russian name and they changed it to think because the older sister was married to a sprinkler. I haven't got the name something. I don't remember what my mother's name was. I really don't what was it like living over the cafe with as a child all I didn't mind that my mother raised two nieces.

02:47 Her brother's children who were seven and three when they came to live with us. So we were for girls. We slept them one bedroom or two double beds and I can assure you that nowadays. No children are going to sleep for in one room.

03:06 So when you were all living together there, who would you say was your favorite relative? Who was my favorite relative?

03:14 I'm a saint.

03:17 My

03:20 Mother have a younger brother who was named Jake we adored him.

03:29 He didn't live too long. He died at 49, but my mother raised his two daughters cuz his wife didn't live it to be 30.

03:40 And they were three and seven when they came to live with us. So we were for girls. We slept in one double and one room with two double beds and I guarantee you you wouldn't get for children in one room today.

03:57 So I wouldn't take it. They wouldn't want it. So Uncle Jake was sick at one point and he had to stay in a sanitarium and didn't you go to visit him who uncle Jake? Oh, he was in a sanitarium. He got TB.

04:14 And we adore him.

04:16 He was a wonderful guy and way ahead of his time. He was the one that wanted to open the business business with my father and my father worked because he couldn't do it. He wasn't that well, he was well, but not that couldn't work the hours like you the bar opened at 6 and closed it to

04:40 My mother always let my father take a nap during the day so he could stay the night and he went to bed after 2 and got up at 6. What kind of people came to the bar what kind of people came to the bar?

04:57 World where we lived there were only a few to you about 5 Jewish families, and they all had businesses there.

05:10 They weren't Jewish people that came in the bar.

05:14 Very nice class of people they worked at a mill. That was a big Eastern stainless steel where they worked and they had three shifts.

05:27 So course we were open from 6 in the morning to 2 at night.

05:33 Only because my mother father used to my mother would let my father take a nap during the day because it was hard work that was done. They worked hard on my mother raised her two nieces when her brother's wife died, and he didn't live much longer after she did. He didn't 42 he was in his 40. I don't remember now exactly what how old he was.

06:03 But we adored him.

06:07 I had was my mother's made sure the girls got married.

06:13 After we were all married, my mother died and her late for the switch was young.

06:21 But she with us one of her for she closed her eyes. She said to me I'll see what the glad but all of us for marriage.

06:31 Will you tell me about when you went to visit uncle Jake at the sanitarium when you went to visit uncle Jake at the sanitarium tours him?

06:42 But didn't let us get too close to him, but I don't know where the TV. I just was catching at that time. You couldn't couldn't kiss him. We couldn't touch him.

06:57 But we really just wanted to be near we adore them. So how did you do that? How did that we start in the room where he was in his in his bed and we would sit on chairs near the bed not that close to him. He wouldn't allow us to be that close now. I don't know how they handled TV, but I'm sure it's still touching. You have to be careful.

07:28 When you were little girl, did you ever dream of being something in particular when you grew up that I ever really want to be something when you grow up. I was raised mostly during the Depression 89 now and I thank God for my health and my mind I went back to work at 8 a.m. The bank and I didn't think they would hire me but they did for peak time 19 hours a week. I thought that's all I want Monday Friday and a half a day Wednesday. I'm at work till I was 85 and I said three bucks. Don't be a nut.

08:09 Your mother died at 49. Your father was 52. I had to go 13 miles one way. So it was 26 miles back and forth and I was enough for brother after 5 years. I said, you don't know how long they have bump it to herc.

08:28 So, can you tell me about how you met Sid your husband how I met my husband I met him.

08:37 I have a friend's house we get together.

08:42 She has some people over her house and I happened to be there at the time. She was a friend of mine now. I'm trying to remember her name and I don't remember.

08:53 What's I was married 42 years?

08:57 Sudden, he didn't live too long. He died at 69 and why I'm still living to 89. I don't know. I'm 89, but I thank God for my health and my mind. What was your first impression of said when when you first met him, would you think he was a very good-looking guy tall? I never made 5 seat. He was 510.

09:25 He asked me I know he didn't he called me after during the week after I had nothing. I was over my friend's house now. I don't remember what whose house he's been going over 20 years, so.

09:42 It's hard for me to remember that was he already in the military when you met him.

09:48 Was he was already in the military when you met him he was in the service something or wasn't long after I met him that he was called all we had an early number and he was called in the before the war just before the war. The war was in December and he was called November.

10:14 So he was in the army toy after the war.

10:18 Thank God I was pleased but he wasn't sent overseas. He's was sent to Alaska which I was glad the last couple hoping that no war would be there.

10:32 What would you say was the happiest moment in your marriage? What funny what was the happiest moment in your marriage?

10:43 Well, I guess is when I got ready when I realized I found out when I was married 9 years that I was this one doctor finally said I was born with a womb with a wall in another room.

10:59 I only had one pregnancy but I lost it after two and a half months, but I had already had a day when I hug her.

11:09 9 years I was married when I got today.

11:15 I of course the second time I wanted a little girl. So the doctor said, how can I tell the mother you'll take it if it's a girl and if it's a boy you're not interested while it was another boy Fallout how to put songs.

11:35 What were your first thoughts? When when you adopted Eddie when you first got him they hand them to you. It was a gorgeous child blond hair blue eyes course. It doesn't look a thing like me or I when I would walk with him though. People would look at him and then look at me but he was a good child and I will send me a door. He was crazy about feeling Elijah's of course to Jeffrey gave me a little problem course the second time. I will not call the doctor when he was 3 years old. He said, how can I tell the mother you'll take it if it's a girl and it's cuz you're right if I had my own I couldn't pick us it was another boy, but what can you do? I have granddaughters. Thank God I have you.

12:30 So what was the first job you ever had a first job I ever had I think was in the five-and-ten because I was like 16 a little over 16 the house where we lived we lived on the corner of Eastern Avenue and Taylor.

12:52 And then have a bar there and I went to

12:58 I said I want a job I want to work so they said this is when Eddie was growing a Jeffrey was growing already and I said I want a pic time Monday Friday and a half a day. But when you first started working at the bank, it was Marilyn National Bank, right? And that was that was 5 days a week, but no I didn't want for this week. But I think I did work everyday when I first started but they left her while I said, I don't want full time. So when they had an opening for Pink time, which was Monday Friday half a day Wednesday.

13:40 The Daily Buzz Chun-Li

13:43 And how was it working at the bank? Did you enjoy it? I loved it. That's some very nice people.

13:55 And for quite a while even after I left the bank I've kept in touch with some people and they kept in touch with me.

14:05 Did you ever have a robbery attempt when you were at work? I did have one robbery.

14:11 I was in the bank then about four years or so, but the young man came in with a mask on his face and he gave the bag to one of the girls and said fill it up and take it down the line. Well, we didn't realize we were being robbed.

14:35 Until she came

14:38 Because there were other people in the bank at the time, but he said it quietly and she could stay anything and then we have an empty whatever we had a nerve.

14:49 Stories put the monitors David to her for the night. She gave it to the guy but in the meantime, one of the girls went out and told the boss that we were being robbed. So he'd made a call to the police and it took a while till they call them but they call them we all lived in Lake Worth. They caught him. I think in Delray, it was a couple months after he had robbed our pack. But thank God he didn't shoot anybody, but you never know what they're going to do.

15:29 If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would you do? What would I do mine? I'm 89 living much longer than my parents. My mother was 49 on my father was 52 when they passed away and my sister who was 4 years younger.

15:56 Didn't live to be 80, but she has been gone for quite a while.

16:01 I remember when you were 75, you said to me I'm going to China while I can still walk. I'm going where to China and I did go and I went when I was 75, but I said heck I'm in good health and if I get sick, they'll send me back. That's what sort of things to do in China.

16:25 It was a very nice trip. It wasn't that big of a group and we were there for Africa 10 days or the too close to two weeks. What do written by truckers to different cities and we went into Banks a lot of the Buns to see how they worked and it was a nice trip. The weather was good. It wasn't cold then of course we went in the summertime and I enjoyed it. I'm glad I went I would never get over to China Norwalk.

17:04 I went with a group that was going not my group for I lived in Lake Worth and I lived in a condo a group that live was going with the cross the street from Wells from where we live and when I heard about it, I said the put my name on the list if they got a cancellation or two and a half weeks. I called and said are you still interested I said yes, I like to go so they took my name and I gave my deposit.

17:39 After you lost Sydney and you were still living in Florida at some point you got a new boyfriend. How was that to start dating that late in life who was know? How was it 2 to start dating again after being with someone?

17:58 Someone I think he's still living. I don't know. I never called back. He lives in the same group world love and

18:11 After while I said, I don't want this every other night every night either he wants me or he doesn't want me so I cut it off.

18:26 How would you describe a perfect day a perfect day?

18:31 Everyday, I thank God for my good health and my mind.

18:36 And

18:38 Thank God for giving me so many years.

18:45 Sydney died he didn't make 70.

18:50 I-69 and I don't know why I'm still living at 89.

18:57 My father my mother died at 49. My father was 52. My sister did live to be 80.

19:05 But I don't know what her I'm still live in good health, and I don't think it's cuz I didn't like smoking.

19:14 I remember you used to play mahjong a lot. I just saw used to I don't know if I could still play hun. I got to have gotten a game early. So they bother you about it here. Would you have the women over to your house? Sometimes I used to play with four of us who used to play course. I lost some we lost one or so and then the game broke up and that was it.

19:44 What's one of your favorite memories with your sister Mossy? Well my sister and myself were very close. She was born on my birthday course when I was 4 years old. I wasn't too happy about that. I said who's going to give us to present their $1 and they never let me forget it but

20:05 We were very close.

20:08 She did live to be 80.

20:11 But she was four years younger than me.

20:15 Where would you guys play since you were living on top of a bar when you were children? Where were they play? Well when we have a very big kitchen almost not quite as big as this room.

20:28 I have been there was another little room smaller room next to it and that was set up with a sofa chair. And we played there really were outside a little bit. There wasn't much grass around it. We were on the corner.

20:48 Are the business was on the corner?

20:52 I know we played either up we played at our house and we went down the street to play with the other girls.

21:01 Is there anything else that you'd like to talk about?

21:05 Oh, how would I want to talk about? I'm very happy. I have you you're my oldest friend shop.

21:15 I really am lucky that God has been so good to me. No one in my family loves all the storm.

21:26 Near the Pioneer for us.

21:29 Well, thank you for doing the interview baby. Thank you, baby.

21:42 Children

21:44 Well, I got them through my doctor. I told him when I found out that I was born with a room with a wall in another room when I was married 9 years. I told him I wanted to adopt so I called my doctor and I said regardless of what a boy or girl. Well, it was a boy. Of course the second time I wanted a girl he said, how can I tell the mother while you'll take it up with the girl? I said, you're right if I had my own I couldn't pick it. It was another boy so I have to songs.

22:23 Explain to them. What being adopted men at that time. They were smart. I'm going back. My son is 56 is Eddie now 6060. That's right. He's just a big birthday. They said no is she receiving you say the word adopted in the house? Because as soon as the child goes out to play they're going to say to him, you know, it's not really your mother your adoptive. We did use the word adopted in the house and he said I know when they said that to him he didn't realize till he was a little older.

23:00 And that was very smart because otherwise he would have been very hurt. You know, they can make fun of them or they could do Seiko saying that's not your mother but didn't know she yours and I'm going back. He's 60.

23:18 They said you say the word around the house because they'll tell they'll say to him. You know, that's not really your mother you're adopted. He did not for course not but when he was about seven or eight he had he understood what the word adopted then we told him to so when they said it he said yeah, I know but he never knew what the word meant.

23:44 First heard the word adopt they were smart when they said that and I'm going back kind of he's now 60, isn't it your daddy, sexy.

23:58 Well, I have Heather and Aaron and Josh Wright and Melanie and who Melanie for my great-grandmother Melanie was married separated now, but she has three children, right?

24:21 Carmen

24:23 And Ruby movie bright and Erin just had winter. That's why they're on House 1 2. I have four grandchildren great-grandchildren.

24:36 And how would you describe your son Eddie and Jeffrey are those that's their name? How did how would you describe your son's?

24:47 What are there large?

24:50 No, they're not that very good friends. Eddie is with her father. I think it's my first

24:59 He's a very very good guy. I'm very lucky. Jeffrey. Never calls me. I don't hear from him.

25:10 But he's been he's separated isn't he? He's not divorced for a long time horse for quite a while. Danny is his daughter. His wife's name was Ilona alone. Oh, that's right.

25:27 You're right. It's been awhile.

25:32 Heather do you have any stories about revived things that you heard from your dad are running up there?

25:40 She's very close to me. In fact didn't come back and said she was coming back.

25:53 My son called up and when he found out I was by myself, but she didn't come in two days later. She knocked on the door.

26:04 She was here.

26:14 A really good dancer

26:16 She loves to dance we go usually on Sundays and it's hard to keep her off the Floor. Come back, but she's really good at it.

26:31 I'm very lucky.

26:34 I thank God for my good health. I went back to work at 8 in the bank and they hired me for peak time. I said, I don't want any more.

26:44 And I work 5 years. I said don't be a jerk, You don't know how long as I have enough is enough. So I and it wasn't like it was closed. It was 13 miles and 130 miles by what do you like to do now that you're retired?

27:06 And I thank God that I have Heather and we're very close.

27:13 And I thank God for my good health and mine.

27:18 Tell Bobby I wanted to ask you. Did you go on a honeymoon with Sidney? I have a honeymoon. Yes, honey, but when I went on a honeymoon you didn't go far.

27:30 I think we went to Virginia Beach to know I'm we were living in Baltimore wasn't that far now? We they take trips all over the world, but we did go on a little honeymoon since I didn't spend time like they do now.

27:49 But we did go. What was it? Like when you used to go up to Atlantic City city with Sydney? It was busy busy.

28:00 We used to go up there for like a week or 5 days, whatever we could get away with some far and you could leave too long and you know the hours from 6 in the morning till 2 at night. It wasn't easy, but we managed.

28:25 What sort of things would you do in Atlantic City? What are we doing Atlantic City Walk The Boardwalk went down on The Voice on the beach that has a big.

28:38 Lana saying before you go out to the water, but that was as close as we got to the Ocean, Atlantic City.

28:47 And when we would go it would be like either five days or week whatever we could get away.

28:57 Because the bar Honey is open from 6 in the morning to 2 at night.

29:02 At 7 days a week.

29:05 Sydney

29:09 Jeffrey Eddie Eddie Eddie Uncle telling my brother-in-law they were look partners.

29:20 And they were one week liberating the dinner of normal people in need of a next week. You were eating at 3 before he would have to go to work for for the night.

29:38 It is still there. I found archival photos of it and satellite photos of it and it's still the same structures.

29:47 But my dad visited it and said it was not exactly thrilling.

30:03 No reason it was a neighborhood bar. And you knew most of the people, you know that came the same people came in all the time, and it was a rough shift. So, I mean we were open from 6 in the morning until 2 at night.

30:22 And my husband would I would try to get him to get take a nap during the day in between around 2 to 4 or whatever he could sleep because it wasn't that busy. Then people didn't come in then after work. They would come in.

30:46 Anything else? I thank God for my good health in my mind. I'm a wonderful granddaughter.