Photo Gallery and Biography
Elizabeth Simon was born in Orkuta, Austria January 10, 1885 to George Simon and Maria Sech. Her sister, living Roslyn, Washington offered to get together the necessary finances that would allow for Elizabeth to come to Roslyn. Her sister then borrowed the money from Stefan Bendzak for her passage. Upon arrival in Roslyn Elizabeth lived with her sister for about 6 months. Sometime during that period, she learned the family could not repay the monies owed to Stefan, and it was said that she should marry him. Stefan owned his own home and was financially secure. He was a hard worker and very involved within the Slovak community in Roslyn. At the time of their marriage he was an officer in the newly formed Croatian Lodge in Roslyn. Elizabeth agreed to the marriage and the couple were married on July 20, 1901. Into this union nine children were born, one child (Stefan) was stillborn and another (Margaret) died shortly after birth of Diphtheria. The other children Steve, Joe, Mary, Elizabeth, Anna, Olga and Albert all grew up in the little house on 21 West Idaho in Roslyn.
The death of her husband left the family without any means of income. Her oldest son Steve quit school and took a job working in the coal mines at the age of 16 in an effort to support the family (her youngest, Albert, was 10 years old at the time) . He was paid by the piece, not an hourly wage, the harder and longer he worked, the more money he could bring home to the family. When he had finished loading a car, his “check” would go on the car and he would get paid for the coal he dug. Later the company workers who laid track, rope riders, maintenance in support of the miners would get paid a flat $5.00 per day, the coal miner themselves drew $7.00 per day. The family garden and preservation of food for Winter was more important than ever. Albert recalls, among other vegetables, they grew cabbage. In the Fall of the year they would fill a 30 gallon barrel with a layer of sauerkraut and a layer of apples, another layer of sauerkraut and a layer of apples and so on until the barrel was full. In the Winter months he would reach down into the barrel for an apple to eat, and the sauerkraut could be eaten or be used in cooking. Albert recalls the ”pickled” apples as being really good She canned fruit from the family’s trees and even took in a boarder to help make ends meet.
Albert recall the widows in Roslyn making their own wine and selling it to help with the family income. Elizabeth found companionship with several other women in the neighborhood who had lost their husbands. There was Mrs Bruketta, who lived across the alley and Mrs Medvedic who lived nearby also. These ladies had much in common and became very close friends.
To add to the many challenge facing Elizabeth she was diagnosed with diabetes, shots of insulin were required and many times her sister Mary would stop by to administer the shots.
Elizabeth’s granddaughter, Arlene recalls her grandmother’s easy going disposition. Arlene loved to go to visit grandma and one of her many fond memories of her grandmother are of her beautiful long hair and the way she would braid it and wrap it in the style of the day, on the top of her head
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