with Baba Mim....
Check out my other websites too:
Not Retired From Learning! http://www.notretiredfromlearning.com
Bizic Education Enterprises.
"The Power of Three"--> www.mimbizic.com
And the Moon Township Historical Society website:
“We ask that you be mindful that each milestone is but another commencement-and to recall the words of our Lord, “Behold, I make all things new (Rev.21:5). Today, invite Him to continue to come into your lives anew, into the life of your parish, and to show you the way for the ongoing upbuilding of your Church and Parish according to His divine plan.”
So wrote Right Reverend Bishop Christopher (now Metropolitan Christopher and at one time parish priest V. Rev. Velimir Kovachevich) for the celebration of the Holy Trinity’s Serbian Orthodox Church’s (now Cathedral’s) Burning of the Mortgage June 10, 1984.
Twenty-two years later, on November 3, 4 and 5, 2006, the congregation celebrated another milestone, this time 100 years of Serbian Orthodox heritage in Pittsburgh. Metropolitan Christopher returned, along with Bishop Longin and Bishop Mitrophan, leading more than 400 worshippers in a celebration of the past, present and future of Serbdom in Pittsburgh. Current Parish priest Fr. Rajko Kosic (who was elevated to Protonamesnik by Bishop Mitrophan in recognition of his leadership role in Pittsburgh), HTC builder priest V. Rev. Fr. Dragan Filipovich, and Very Rev. Fr. Rodney Torbic, invoked the Lord to continue coming into our daily lives, fulfilling His divine plan for the parish. Deacon Dragoslav Kosic, who just the day before, celebrated the baptism of his second daughter, Teodora, worked smoothly in his role as Deacon, representing the Holy Angels around God’s Throne. Also assisting were longtime HTC Readers David Manko and Joe Hayden.
Patriarch Pavle, who had visited Holy Trinity in 1992 and again in 2001 in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary celebration of the Serb National Federation, sent greetings from Belgrade, and also prayers “to God that He grant the benefactors and contributors who have passed into eternal life, and who helped build your temple, everlasting rest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Who were these early pioneers who built the first church of St. George in Pittsburgh in 1906? For the most part, they were immigrants who left their homes in the Gormije, Krajina area of present day Croatia, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to find a better land for themselves and their progeny. These Lic(h)ani and Kordunas(h)i had little in the way of monetary wealth, but they brought with them exciting possessions that enriched America’s coffers significantly: most importantly, a non-yielding spiritual wealth for God and their Serbian Orthodox faith; a true treasure chest of Serbian cultural heritage; assets of belief in themselves, dreams of well-educated children and grandchildren, a willingness to work hard and to sacrifice whatever it took to make those dreams come true.
Upon arriving in Pittsburgh, many of the very early immigrants from the end of the 19th century went first to McKeesport, then settled on the South Side, finding long hours and low-paying jobs in the Jones and Laughlin (J & L) mills surrounding the area. Instead of the beautiful green and fertile fields they left behind in the old country, they were lucky to find other immigrants in poor, close-together tenement houses who had already come, who were willing to make room for them until they could find a home of their own. Census records of 1900 and 1910 show that it was nothing for families of six, eight or ten to make room for three, four or five relatives or bachelor boarders in their alley homes.
Cousin Joelle Bobik sent one of those email lists that show what life was like in 1906. The average life expectancy was 47 years. Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone, and you know they weren’t our relatives then! The average wage was 22 cents per hour, with the average worker making between $200 and $400 per year. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year. More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME. Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound. Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death were: 1.Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke. (One can only imagine the devastating grief our ancestors went through losing so many of their children to the 1917-19 influenzas….).
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help. We can be sure the reigning steel barons Carnegie, Frick, and Jones, who built mansions for themselves that can only be compared to the finest fairy tale castles in our immigrant grandparents’ imaginations, had multiple servants. These mill owners were ruthlessly anti-union, and used intimidation tactics and violence, while supposedly maintaining an “open” shop, which only meant that the workers remained free to accept whatever management offered. There were shootings, beatings, no work, infamous black lists, just about anything to discourage any kind of organized labor.
Stuart Boehmig writes in his 2006 book IMAGES OF AMERICA: PITTSBURGH’S SOUTH SIDE: “Conditions were deplorable for most workers and their families. Working 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week, the men had little time to maintain a household. There was a desperate need for water, which was carried in buckets to the apartments. Common water pumps and shared outhouses served rental properties rarely updated by landlords. In 1914, 85 percent of the employees were non-English speaking, placing them at a terrible disadvantage in moving beyond their present living conditions.”
Research at the tight-security University of Pittsburgh Labor Archives on 7500 Thomas Blvd. in the Point Breeze section of Pittsburgh shed some light upon a few of our Serbian men and their wages. One early labor card I found was for Samil Mamula, #4402. This “Servian” born in 1898 was earning 17 cents per hour on May 1, 1910, was employed in the Blooming Mill as a brakeman. SIX YEARS LATER, January 1916, he got his first raise, up 4 cents per hour to 21 cents, and finally, 33.5 cents per hour by October, 1917. WWI accounted for the sharp raises, just like for WWII, not from the goodness of the hearts of the owners. Little wonder then why industrialist Henry Clay Frick replied to a dying Andrew Carnegie proposing a truce after two decades of separation, “Tell him I’ll see him in Hell, where both of us are going.”
Mom’s uncle, Rade Mamula, was a Laborer, #9914, then #13347 and then #13068. He was born in 1888, but was an American citizen, living first at 2713 Larkins Way in 9/19/22 making 30 cents per hour. By the time he moved to 2707 Sarah Street, he was working at the South Side works #11 Mill, was married, and making 44 cents per hour when he suddenly left on September 25, 1933. Cause? The card says “Died.” It doesn’t say that he was killed in the mill when a big girder struck him from behind in the head. Nor does it say anything about the widow and four children he left behind. Ironically, I found where he had to place his signature after being hired in 1922 on the back of his stamped card, “assuring” he had safety training. Wonder if it was authentic, since most other cards didn’t show the same.
Interestingly enough there was a Mildred Mamula, Serbian, employee # 80520, whose Social Security number was 211-__-____. The eighteen-year old lived at 2512 Carson Street, and worked as a Laborer in the Hot Mill, employed on 4/11/44.
There was a barrage of Nikola or Nickola or Nicholas Mamulas. One of them lived at 2714 Larkins Way, was a locomotive engineer and made 71 cents per hour on 9/29/39. In case of accident, J&L was supposed to notify his cousin, Dusch Mamula in the Blooming Mill. Other Nicks lived at 2426 Burnham Street, 3118 War St., 2104 Sidney S., 2713 Larking Way, 2826 Larkins, 323 Overbrook Blvd., and finally mine, my grandfather Nikola Mamula, from 2716 Sarah Street!
This 2716 Sarah Street address was also home to the Steel Workers Organizing Committee, of which we were always so proud because of what the union was able to accomplish for the workers. Records show that a Mary Winowich worked for the SWOC at $25 per month when it was briefly located first at Liberty Hall. Then, the SWOC rented at 2608 Sarah Street but moved when the rent went from $30 to $50 per month in just the two months time it was there. U.S. Census records from the 1930s show that Eli Radovich lived there with his wife Martha, roomer Milton Cetina, Nicholas Doycinovich and his son, Nicholas, and the six members of the Blasko family, led by Agnes (45 years old) and son Charles (23). All “Serbian”.
There were many Serbs actively involved in the leadership of SWOC, especially Milkovich (Acting Chairman), Bielich (President) and Brnilovich. In fact, a special executive meeting had to be held on Feb. 5, 1941, at 5:00 PM at 2716 Sarah Street to determine Mike Milkovich’s position as Clerk once he returned from his government’s service, in accordance with the Selective Service Act.
Josephine Mamula, Nikola Mamula, Laura Mamula Karlo, 1943, 2716 Sarah Street, S.S. Pittsburgh, PA
The SWOC United Steelworkers of America #1272 stayed at 2716 Sarah Street until it located its CIO Headquarters on 2325 Carson Street many years later. Boehmig says the SWOC organized in Pittsburgh in 1936, grew to 125,000 workers in 154 lodges. It played a major role in assuring the 40 hour week and increased wages of 15 cents per hour, and securing recognition of independent grievance committees, all under the leadership of Phillip Murray.
Paul ("Pi") Belosh, Milana (Mim) Karlo Bizic, Paul M. Belosh in stroller.
Pouring over the SWOC lodge minutes from 1937-1943 at the Labor Archives, I saw the rent for my grandfather’s bottom floor front rooms was $20 per month, including heat and light.
A look at Aliquippa, PA’s early Jones & Laughlin steel history from 1907 offers a glimpse of how hard it was for Pittsburgh’s steel workers and primary wage earners who worked for the same J & L company.
“Forged in Steel” by: David Pacchioli (Research/Penn State, Vol. 20, no. 1 (January, 1999))
Fred Schmidt, Master music and band teacher at South High School, where all South Side Serbs attended, wrote the Alma Mater for the school. “When those flaming mills, light those clouds and hills, there’s a golden glow on the scene below….”
Now, South Side is a yuppie haven, complete with the finest restaurants, clothing and book stores. The steel mills are gone. But 50 years ago, it was hard to put out laundry as it would soon be covered with soot. People washed their windows several times a week to keep them clean. Historian James Pauton wrote: “Pittsburgh is smoke, smoke, smoke—everywhere smoke—by night it was Hell with the lid taken off.”
But no matter how hard the conditions of working 12-16 hours per day, sometimes working seven days a week, at the dirtiest of jobs, our Serbian pioneers endured. They came home covered with black soot, and the women who had been busy all day watching the children, baking bread and providing meals, still found the strength to wash their husbands’, brothers’ and boarders’ burning feet and filthy clothes.
I can still see my grandfather’s clothes where he took them off in the middle of the kitchen. Completely covered with dirty soot and black grime, they could almost stand by themselves, in sharp contrast to his white long sleeved underwear. The women labored heavily, but instead of burning steel mills, in bumpy white-washed cellars with slits for windows, with wringer washers and “automatic” dryers that consisted only of row after row of clotheslines strung back and forth like precise, evenly spaced band member formations found on a football field.
Many steelworkers, like Rade Mamula, were killed in industrial accidents, leaving helpless widows and their children to fend for themselves. Some, like Stevan Trbovich, from 26th and Sarah Street, were injured. Stevan, who emigrated from Lapovac, a small village near Veljun in present-day Croatia (Austro-Hungary), was given $100 and transportation money back to the old country when he lost an arm. While here, he was active in the church as an elder and secretary. Stephan helped carry the cross to the St. George cemetery for its dedication.
Somehow, the Pittsburgh Serbs still “made it.” They lived through times of unemployment, unresolved grievances, and the devastating Great Depression. Despite all the hardships, they managed to build a church. Then two. Finally, a magnificent award-winning Cathedral designed by architect Jovan Tomich. “Our” American Serbs became doctors, lawyers and engineering chiefs, pharmacists, dentists, financial experts, teachers, administrators, world-famous architects and authors with beautiful homes, big back yards-- some with Olympic-sized swimming. Pools. How? How was this made possible?
The Serbs had great family support systems, extended families with strong emotional ties, and closely knit relationships with one another. They were people who valued Education and loved their God. They used their treasures, talents and time wisely.
Popular songstress Vinka Ellison entertains in Pittsburgh, Nick Lalich right behind. Two ladies to the right of Nick is +Kuma Sonya Kalember from Gary, Indiana. Photo by Milan M. Karlo, published in his American SERB LIFE magazine, 1948.
John Maxwell, Motivational expert, says: “People who use time correctly are purposeful, committed to values, attuned to strengths, choosers of happiness and equippers.” Look how our early pioneers practiced these without ever hearing of Leadership Principals.
Five Characteristics of Wise Stewards of Time
#1 Purposeful: People who use time wisely spend it on activities that advance their overall purpose in life, consistently channeling time and energy toward an overarching purpose.
Our pioneers’ main purpose (after the welfare of their own families), was to safeguard their Orthodoxy and Serbian heritage. They established Serbian lodges first, and attended other churches, but felt a need to have a church of their own. On October 8, 1905 they organized a church that was incorporated as St. George Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church on January 13, 1906. It was only a small house on 123 S. 25th Street on South Side, but it was the first S.O. Church in Pittsburgh.
#2 Committed to Values: People who use time correctly underscore their values with the time they spend. By acting in accordance with their beliefs, they find fulfillment. Clarity of values is like a beacon of light, guiding the way through life’s twists and turns. When extended to an organization, values inspire a sense of broader purpose. They make work worthwhile. In an organization, if vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul.
The Pittsburgh Serbs were committed to values they held dear. In 1910 they purchased land in Carrick for the St. George Cemetery. The faith of the humble community thrived. Soon they purchased larger quarters from the Lutheran Church in 1911, at 103 South 16th Street. They added a belfry in 1917 and established a church school and choir.
(I’m fortunate enough to own one of those school desks, a gift from my mother, who was lucky enough to purchase one from a nearby antique shop. She always regaled me with her stories of Serbian school and the strict “Miss Mamula”.)
When an argument arose about burial between a parishioner who lost his young child in an accident and the priest, many families left to form the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, just 5 blocks away.
#3 Attuned to Strengths: People who use time correctly play to their strengths. By doing so, they are most effective. As Jim Sundberg says, “Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.” You are blessed with a unique set of skills and talents. Find them, refine them, and let them carry you toward success.
Our Serbs did just that. By the 1920s. the ladies formed the Kolo Srpskih Sestara, the indispensable part of the parish. Andja Mamula had many skills. She was an elementary school teacher in the old country, and had writing and speaking skills that served her well in leadership roles. Early photos attest to her as President of the Kolo at St. George’s, later President of St. Sava’s Kolo, and also President of the Ladies’ Lodge, Majka Jugovica.
Another example of “attuned to strengths,” can be seen in this example. When St. Sava’s parishioners purchased the Cemetery/picnic grounds in Castle Shannon, each male in the family was supposed to cut down five trees. My Uncle Chappy (George), home fresh from the *C.C.C. (Civil Conservation Corps), not only cut down his five trees, with his brother, Uncle Joe, but cut them also for his blind brother, Steve, his Dad, and for good measure, going beyond what was ever expected of him, cut five trees each for each of his sisters: Martha, Rose, Millicent and Latinka (Laura) to their lifetime pride.
This “attuned to strengths” philosophy didn’t die with the pioneers. You see it today with the leadership skills of George Topich and his sons and their extended families. Bobby leads the HTC choir and Dane for many years was “Mr. Shadeland.” Speaking of Shadeland, there’s Milly Radovick and her mom and whole family, serving not only Holy Trinity, but the whole eastern KSS! There’s Dr. Nenad Janicijevich and his beautiful family of medical experts: Wife/Dr. Milena, daughters Dr. Jelena and Nurse Nada and son Dr. Bora, who recently received his medical degree from Belgrade University. Dr. Nenad led in the founding of the American Serbian Information Center during the terrible years of disinformation (1990-2000) about the Serbs, he led the Relief efforts of the Eastern Diocese, along with the help of countless volunteers and especially his brother, Predrag. For the 100th Anniversary, Drs. Nenad & Milena donated $10,000, with another promised “matching fund” of up to $15,000 for HTC’s new Capital Fund Drive.
Just look at all the committees who worked tirelessly and diligently to plan and execute this year’s grand celebration, especially those led by Lara Trbovich, Rudley Mrvos, Valerie Tassari, and the Slavkovichs with their White Angel Productions.
Look no further than Fr. Rajko himself! Besides being a caring, loving, dedicated priest, he has the talents of a carpenter, just like Christ. He used those talents to construct the frames for the 29 icons that adorn the back wall of the altar. Each is 50” by 8 feet!
4. Choosers of Happiness: People who use time correctly choose happiness by prioritizing relationships and recreation. Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness.
With the above, we make mention of the members, parishioners and organizations of both Holy Trinity and the present-day St. Sava, Randy Lugares’ orchestra, and other Orthodox friends who made it possible to celebrate the historic Serbian Orthodox Heritage weekend in such a fine fashion. But then, we could go all the way back to the Neven Tamburitza Orchestra playing on a street corner in the 1930’s, Choir socials at Liberty Hall in the 40’s, Savez Day picnics up at the cemetery, weddings, bridal showers, Turkey Trots or New Year’s Eve celebrations at the American Serbian Club, Serbian Days gatherings at Kennywood, or a week or two at Shadeland Camp, where the Serbs CHOSE to stick together and enjoyed each other’s friendship and conviviality. Not that they didn’t participate in other, more “American” activities, but they genuinely love “their own.” Other parishioners are looked upon as “one family” in God, extended family members. It’s so true, family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness and “Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade” couldn’t be more correct in instances like this! God bless the Serbs!
#5 Equippers : People who use time correctly equip others in order to compound their productivity. They realize the limitations of individual attainment, and they build teams to expand their impact. By developing an inner circle of leaders and investing in them, wise time-users multiply their influence. Equippers recognize that legacies are carried on by people, not trophies. They pour themselves into the lives of others and watch the ripple effect of their leadership spread through those they have taught and mentored. Equippers seek significance over the long term, which causes them to have a vested interest in the success of their successors.
These of course were our fathers and mothers, Sunday School Teachers, talented choir directors, jr. tamburitzan leaders, our Djedos and Babas. And mainly our priests.
While I have only the fondest memories of Fr. Zivojin Ristanovich, Fr. Velimir Kovachevich and Fr. Milan Savich, we cannot overlook the tremendous and tireless deeds of Fr. Aleksija Savich and his immense role for Pittsburgh Serbdom.
He not only administered to his flock, he kept increasing it by making countless trips back and forth to Gormije in the early 1900’s, where he would personally shepherd people to Pittsburgh. Since he knew them all so well personally from serving in the Gormije Monastery—their strengths and weaknesses--he would match up young bachelors in America with brides from the “Old Country.” (My Karajlovich-Karlovich-Karlo/Batalo grandparents were testimony to his matchmaking skills. People, not trophies!)
If you look up Aleksije Savich in the Ellis Island immigration records, perhaps only one or two examples will appear. But if you research deeper, looking at alternative spellings, you’ll find many more. He was a dedicated worker, and “equipper,” building “teams” to expand the Serbian impact in America.
Laura Karlo, then secretary of Holy Trinity KSS, wrote in the SRBOBRAN about the KSS celebrating their Silver Jubilee, the 25th anniversary of “Renewed” unity, on Sunday, October 25, 1987. In so doing she said they were honoring the eighty years of service and devotion, “founded and perpetuated by the parents and grandparents of today’s Kolo members. This commemorates the consolidation of the St. George and St. Sava Kolos in 1962, separate entities then, but with a common goal-UNITY, a goal that had been reached through common sense, hard work and inspiration of the church organizations.”
Shy Laura, signing herself only as “Reporter,” continued: “It was back in 1905 that the St. George Church Board, a catalyst of Pittsburgh Serbdom, originated. With foresight and pride, with a noble purpose of preserving their religion and traditions, a former Russian church (originally a Lutheran one) was purchased. Father Sava Vojvodich was the first priest to serve in what was to become the St. George Eastern Orthodox Church of Pittsburgh.
“It was on January 3, 1928 that the forerunner of the present Kolo was organized in the home of Andja N. Mamula, with a total of twelve members. + Cveta S. Kosanovich, a charter member and STILL active, proposed the name ‘SLOGO,’ personifying peace, harmony and goodwill.”
Current President of Holy Trinity, George Topich, found several wonderful old documents for the historical display in Holy Trinity’s historical files. One of those was a little handbook signed by +Jovo Miljush, President, and +Mile Trbovich, Secretary, authorizing +Simo Verlinich to solicit donations on behalf of the Congregational Committee of the St. George SERVIAN Orthodox Church, for purchase of a Church Building on the corner of Sixteenth and Roland Streets, on the South Side of Pittsburgh, which he handed in on September 14, 1907.
It is very interesting to note that Jovo Miljus was the father of the famous baseball player, +Johnny “Big Serb” Miljus, who made his professional debut Oct. 2, 1915, and played his final pro game, September 25, 1929. Johnny played for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1917-1927) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1927-1928) before playing for the Cleveland Indians (1928-29). Miljus played in several World Series games, the most “famous” (infamous) being the October 8, 1927 game where he was a relief pitcher for the underdog Pirates against the Bronx Bombers, the NY Yankees. In the last of the 9th, with the score tied, and bases loaded, including Babe Ruth (who had given Miljus his nickname of “Big Serb”) on 2nd, Miljus struck out Lou Gehrig and Bob Meusel. Miljus had 2 strikes on Tony Lazzeri, but a wild pitch allowed Earle Combs to score the winning run, and the Yankees were now world champs four years in a row!
Jovo Miljus is also famous in Pittsburgh Serb National Federation history, as he is the one who purchased on a visit to Serbia, the magnificent gusle with the whole history of every Serbian ruler engraved on the bow. This incredible gusle can be seen at the Heinz Western Pennsylvania History Museum, located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.
Another “treasure” George found with the help of Anna Marie Belich, church secretary, was the “PRILOZI” or list of donations for the purchase of Pittsburgh’s St. Sava Church 1942-1943. Simo Vrlinich led the way with a $200 donation, followed by Jovo Miljus’ $105. The next list of donors each gave $100: Nikola Vrlinich, Jovo Vrlinich, Nikola Mamula, Janko Karamarkovich, Simo Mrvosh, Stevo Senjan, George Soknich, Nikola Bruich, Milosh Niksich, Stevo Savich, Stana Milich, Bogdan Vuynovich, Smilja Stojanovich, Jovo Chotra, Nikola Vukchevich, Milovan Momchilovich, Milovan Vukelich, Milovan Milkovich, Jotso and Gojko Lalich, Petar Stipanovich, Sava Tomashevich and Nikola Jankovich. There were 49 other donors listed, with gifts ranging from $50 to $1.
But imagine pledging so much money at a time when most workers were making a little more than $5.00 per day with large families to care for! They put their time, treasures and talents where their mind, hearts and souls were! Vision, mission, values.
Also found was a list of the Rules and Regulations for the St. George Independent Serbian Orthodox Church Cemetery of 1937, with the word “Independent” blackened out. The final regulation, #34, was that no priest or priests were permitted to conduct any religious or funeral services in the Cemetery other than the priest of The St. George Serbian Orthodox Church. Anyone living through the 1963+ nightmare understands how hard that must have been on people who owned lots there.
Another find was the list of charges for services, cemetery lots, etc. at St. Sava S.O.C. in Pittsburgh, January 15, 1946. Interestingly enough, a lot of eight graves cost $200 for members. One small grave was only $15, with a large one priced at $35. I say interesting as my “eyes always on the future” Grandmother and Aunt Marty purchased 32 graves in one spot, assuring that the whole family could be buried together.
Finally, I’d like to end by giving you a glimpse of life around this time.
I am fortunate to have inherited my Baba Andja’s diaries from 1936-1962. From them I can glimpse life as it was, the comings and goings of Andja’s children, friends, the church celebrations, the good times and the sad times. I know what I did almost every day of my early life (1941-62) thanks to my grandmother who recorded it for posterity. It was simple, but interesting. For instance, going back even before I was born….
January 3, 1938-"Dosao ovde Rade Pozderov sin Nikola, a Latinka za njega pise "theme." (Rade Pozderov's son Nikola was here, and Laura wrote his theme for him.)
January 6, 1938: Nikola (Papi), Josip i Batalo su pecenica donesli od Bucarne. Vagao je 150 funti." (Papi, Uncle Joe and Batalo brought home the pig from the butcher's. It weighed 150 pounds!)
On Sunday, Jan. 9, Kumin bojs Walter, Chedo Milich i Slobodan Pekic su dosli u podne. Lepo su. Jeli keksa i pili vina. Lai i Smia su osli u show, vidli su sliku koja se zove "Stage Door." (Kum Walter came, along with Chedo Milich -later editor of the SRBOBRAN- and Slobodan Pekic, in the afternoon. Pleasantly, they ate cakes and drank wine. Laura and her friend Smia went to the show. They saw "Stage Door.")
Jan. 17, 1938- "Laja otisla na tanac koji su drzali Pgh. Serbs Basketball Team. Veli da nigda nije toliko naroda videla. Dosla kuci u po druge. (Laura went to a dance held by the Pgh. Serbs Basketball team. They said they never saw so many people in their lives! They came home past midnight.)
Aunt Marty gave my mother a diary on Dec. 24, 1935 which my 17 year-old Mom wrote in English, Serbian AND German when she didn’t want anyone to know what she was writing. We’re lucky to have this:
January 3, 1936: Kuma Potkonjak made us rehearse our program through. Skaljak came up and told us of the Serbs and the Slavic race. We left about 9:45. We kids played basketball in the gym, boys and girls together. (Some German words here) We joined our King Peter II gang in front of the A.O.H. (Ancient Order of the Hiberians, which was directly across the street from Baba’s house!). We sang various Serbian songs until 10:45.
January 16, 1936: Pete, Nick, Erdel, Mitzie Musulin and their Helen, Bus (Helen Basara) and Duddy and Smia here. Sang church songs from 7 to 8. Then the gang went out for a snow fight. Erdel gave me a good sock with a snow ball. Enjoyed it all immensely. Mitzi told me she is going to have the “Apostle” the first day of church and I the “Vjeruju.” (But it was Aunt Marty who actually sang it, for the record!)
January 25, 1936: In the evening our gang went down to Serbian school to organize our new choir. Lugojna gave a very interesting speech on the organization of choirs, etc. Chose the name “Phillip Visnich,” after the famous Serbian composer. Sloboda Pekich, pres., Erdel-VP, Mitzi Musulin, Sec’y; Marty (Belosh) treasurer. Nick (Stone), Bertha Milkovich and I are on the membership committee. We three went around and collected money from men and women there to pay 25 cents a month to help our choir. Met Angie Codan. All the Grubesich kids were here, Nickie sure grew. 36 members in choir. Whole gang walked home together. Nick and Previs treated me especially nice.
January 27, 1936: Wanted new dress, so Peep and I went to the Merky (Pittsburgh Mercantile Company- the huge company department store on 26th and Carson Streets. for the Steel Mill across the street!) Bought one for $1.95, Mom made me take it back. Manicured nails, wore a beautiful pink silk sport dress with brown jacket, very becoming. Program didn’t start until 9:15. Sure was a hit. Many congratulations over my poem (St. Sava’s day declamatica); Didn’t dance except one with Mitzi as floor was too slippery (Mom was in a cast most of the time for her leg.) Was sorta a big shot. Nick and I went around and collected $3.50 for our choir, sure acted like a good sales lady. Had a good time with Bus who got a new permanent and talked with Violet Pekich, Mitzie and Nick Grubesich. Spent 30 cents on refreshments. Helen Shatlan was with me part of the night. Very big crowd, very surprised. Mom and I left at 1:10 AM. Went to sleep and slept pretty well.”
Here’s the part I love. My Mom would read and re-read her mother’s diaries and her own, too, to bring back memories. One of her favorite memories is when she repeated the poem she said on Jan. 27, 1936 at the Serbian Club for St. Sava’s Day in 1987(?).
Well, there was an addendum added to her diary, 10/4/94 on the Jan. 27th date of 1936. It says, “Remember, Mimbo (she knew I would find this!), “Dvadesetog ovog veka….”
So here I am, twelve years after she wrote that, and six months since she passed away, remembering the joy she had of teaching us her favorite poem because the audience made her feel so good in 1936: “Dva desetog ovo veka, Sveti Sava na nas ceka. Za visinu un nas gleda, gde brat bratom mira neda. I cude se nase glase, gde neki rusi pravde… ponizuje nasa slava, gazi, ruzi pravoslavne. Sve visnim se molim Bogu, da nam daje ljubav, sloga. Da se brat za bratom miri, da se Srpski jezik shiri, da se slavimo Srpske Krsna Slava, to nam zeli Sveti Sava!”
One hundred years. I can only give you a brief glimpse of life in that time frame. Mom saved some things that helped. I found her “Novo Odusevljenje” or “Renewed Excitement” certificate of appreciation from January 29, 1984 signed by Fr. Dragan Filipovic. Fr. Dragan, who led a HTC contingent to Washington to proclaim “Kosovo is Serbian, Kosovo is Serbia.
Before that, Mom Latinka was like Simo Verlinich from 1906-07, offering to serve as a solicitor for her church, but instead of St. George, or for her old St. Sava, this time it was for Holy Trinity. Her certificate of Solicitation was signed by +President Samuel Vignovich, Rev. Fr. Milan Savich, George Topich (Finance Committee), +Nicholas R. Stone (Building Committee) and +V. Rev. Zivojin Zdravkovic.
The Solicitor’s Pledge went like this: “I pledge allegiance to the Holy Trinity Building Fund and to the progress for which it stands. One beautiful building, under God, indivisible, with brotherhood and love for all.”
From poor immigrant steel mill roots, HTC is a magnificent Cathedral poised to continue serving its American Serbian population. Other Americans marvel how we have maintained our Serbian language through our songs and great traditions. We know we’re lucky to have what we have. It was all jealously guarded and handed down to us for us to preserve and pass on. Niko Nema Sto Srbin Imade! Happy 100th Anniversary, Holy Trinity!
“Ongoing and upbuilding your Church and Parish according to His divine plan! Together, we can!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++MOre (More about Steel Unions)
*The CCC was a public works program that put over three million young men and adults to work during the Great Depression of the 1930’s and 1940’s in the U.S. It was sometimes called “Roosevelt’s Tree Army.
“Forged in Steel” by: David Pacchioli (Research/Penn State, Vol. 20, no. 1 (January, 1999))
Somehow, Vacca relates, the Amalgamated managed to sign up enough workers to start a local affiliate, Beaver Valley Lodge 200. The company’s attempts at intimidation only intensified. Lodge officers’ homes were subjected to round-the-clock surveillance; neighbors and visitors were followed and questioned. “We received word yesterday,” the Lodge president wrote in early 1935 to Frances Perkins, FDR’s Secretary of Labor, “that the police department of the Corporation had taken into the plant a machine gun, gas guns, shotguns and rifles, and placed them at convenient places.” He adds, plaintively, “We are American Citizens, not Reds, as the police say we are.”
In another incident, a laid-off worker who had been seen collecting signatures for the union abruptly vanished, to the dismay of his wife and seven children. It was later found that he had been dragged off the street by police on unspecified charges, held in jail for some days, then spirited 60 miles to a state mental hospital, where he was committed. When union officials finally determined his whereabouts, they contacted the governor, reform-minded Gifford Pinchot, who ordered the man’s release. Stirred to anger, Pinchot also sent a detachment of state police to protect Aliquippa’s citizens. First lady Cornelia Bryce Pinchot, herself an outspoken labor advocate, traveled to town to give a speech. “I am against Jones and Laughlin first, last, and all the time,” she told a large crowd of workers. “I am with you in the fight you are making . . . for the chance to call your souls your own.” Several of the men who attended Mrs. Pinchot’s speech were fired – veteran workers who suddenly, according to later company testimony, became incompetent or negligent or violent.
“This process,” Vacca says, “is something the workers really saw as evidence of their economic citizenship. Here was their chance to stand up and say things were unfair, and to get them resolved. Particularly for the immigrant and black workers, who had always been restricted to the lowest, dirtiest jobs, here was protection from the arbitrary decisions of foremen. It was a system they could use – and they used it.”
(Mom Laurie wrote this when she attended Writing Classes at the University of Pitsburgh in the 1970's)
They stand there,
Evidence of what was.
A genetic procreation.
Gone, but living
Into other generations.
I look at them,
Mute as they,
But not cold nor dead.
I am here, today.
Well-known Matriarch and staunch Serbian pioneer immigrant, Andja Mamula, with her oldest daughter, Martha Mamula Belosh, and granddaughter, Milana Karlo (Bizic) bending over Andja's infant daughter's grave from the 1917 flu. This is at the old St. George Serbian Cemetery in May, 1943. Andja and the rest of her family are buried in Holy Trinity's ST.SAVA cemetery in Castle Shannon, PA.
Milan Karajlovich-Member, Serb National Federation-Sprski Narodni Savez, 1940.
We in Pittsburgh were lucky to the the Serb National Federation headquartered in Pittsburgh.
Metropolitan Christopher said in his letter of congratulations to the SNF on it's Centennial in 2001:
"The history of the SNF abundantly documents that the Serbian people have rejoiced together, mourned together, labored, prayed and suffered together, and because of that has survived over a hundred years to yet remain a vibrant, concerned and dedicated Serbian institution which continues to emphasize and reinforce our values and heritage. A prominent historian and philosopher once said: 'If a man is fortunate, he will before he dies, gather up as much as he can of his civilized heritage and transmit it to his children. The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future.' "
Bishop Longin wrote: "The SNF has played an irreplaceable role in the preservation of everything that is 'holy and honorable' for the Serbian people."
Baba Andja Mamula, in front center. To her left, and our right, is her daughter, Martha Belosh. Behind them is Rev. Fr. Alexis Savich of the St. George Church that was located at So. 16th Street on Pittsburgh's South Side. Baba was the President of the Serbian Society "Majka Jugovica". We have a ribbon of that says 1917, and it has on it the 4 C's: "Samo Sloga Srbina Spasova."
Click the lower right hand corner of the photo to enlarge.
More 3-Day fun/Castle Shannon picnic grounds.
More history coming!