Rose's Knitting Studio - what a lady, still knitting at 99
While doing some Googling to find out info on this label, I found this news story from 2/6/11 about the 99th birthday of Rose Girrone, who was the owner of Rose Knitting Studio for over 40 years. She custom made the 3 piece knit set above.
She's lived an amazing life and she is still knitting at 99!
From the story - http://foresthills.patch.com/articles/happy-99th-birthday-rose-girone-2
Happy 99th Birthday, Rose Girone
Former Forest Hills business owner celebrates monumental birthday.
By Robin Ziegelbaum
Some seniors stay home when icy sleet covers the ground, but not Rose. Yet despite the cold and wintry conditions, she made her way to The Knitting Place in Port Washington, where friends and fellow knitters gathered to celebrate her 99th birthday on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Rose Girone has blown out her candles in her birthplace Janov in Poland, in Vienna, a brief childhood memory; in Hamburg, the land she was exiled from; in Shanghai, a place of sanctuary; and then in New York, her journey’s end. She readily admits to being a lucky woman.
On the evening of Kristellnacht (the night of broken glass), in Germany, Rose, pregnant and afraid, watched the Nazis destroy her town, burn her synagogue, and make a bonfire of Jewish books in rubbish heaps. That night’s horror continued when they arrested Jews, including her husband, Julius Mannheim. He was transported to Buchenwald Concentration Camp in 1938. Rose gave birth to their daughter, Rhea, two months later with her husband still imprisoned. Julius’s death seemed certain, however, the Nazi occupation was in its infancy, and a brief opportunity presented itself. British relatives sent Rose a visa for China’s Shanghai, and she was able to present this document to authorities and have her husband released. This reunited family of three left for Asia.
Life was surreal on the German ship on which they traveled. Jews were segregated during meals. While others back in Europe were being taken in cattle cars to concentration camps, on board the “Aryans” swam in the morning and the Jews during the afternoon. Rose, who has never lost her sense of humor, sarcastically commented, “I don’t understand it – because we could have poisoned the water anyway?”
Shanghai during WWII was a place of salvation for Jews where they had religious freedom, and rights to study and work. Still, at one point, Rose and her family were forced by the Japanese to live in a Jewish ghetto.
Rose is fearless. During more then one bombing she would lie over her daughter to protect her and make up stories to alleviate her daughter’s anxiety. Later, when Rhea was older, and more bombings occurred, Rose rushed to her school to scoop her little girl up in her arms, safe.
Rose went into business. She hired Chinese laborers to produce her knitting patterns. She drew pictures with measurements, and acted out her instructions. On one occasion six white sweaters were commissioned for Bubbling Well Road, the chic part of town. When they were completed, however, the bottoms of the sweaters were dirty. Rose washed them with soap and water, but they could not be delivered because they were still wet. Rose put them into her oven to dry them. The bottoms became singed. In desperation, Rose massaged flour over the burns, wrapped them up, and sent them to the store. She got paid but never received another order from that customer.
Finally, their crucial visa for the United States arrived. Officially each person could leave China with only 10 dollars. Rose used her knitting skills and ingenuity to take 80 dollars, over the family quota, by designing a secret money button –bills folded tightly and covered in yarn – on her hand-knits. They traveled by ship to San Francisco with their sweaters and bags, and then took the train to New York.
A year after their immigration, Rose divorced her husband and created a new life with her daughter Rhea. Making her own luck, she moved to Florida. Fortuitously, Rose met the family of the owner of The Sagamore, the resort in the Adirondacks, who offered her a job. A temporary store in the lobby was created for her that summer. She hobnobbed with wealthy clients, and learned American ways.
Mother and daughter moved to Queens. Rose opened her own shop on Austin Street. She worked in that location for 40 years. At a knitting store in Great Neck, Rose met Dina Mor, who is now her close friend and the owner of Port’s The Knitting Place.
During their first meeting Dina showed Rose the sweater she was knitting for her husband, Erez. After examining the piece, Rose warned Dina, “It will hurt less – go to Dunkin’ Donuts – and I will rip it out.” After the third ripping, Dina was an official member of Rose’s fan club.
When Dina opened her store in Port, Rose came with her. She enjoys piecing together patterns on the floor, teaching and entertaining fellow knitters.
Port resident Lorraine Barman said, “My mother used to go to her knitting store, Rose’s Knitting Studio on Austin Street, in Forest Hills, and she used to knit sweaters for me. Rose would write out the patterns– measure me…that was the 80s. Now, 30 years later, I walk into The Knitting Place and here’s Rose. She is very special!” Another woman came into the store with decades-old handwritten knitting patterns asking for yarn to complete the pattern…then she looked up and screamed, “Rose!” It was Rose’s pattern.
Throughout this interview, Rose continued to thread and rethread her needle as she pieced together a sweater. It is with great pleasure that I wish her the happiest of birthdays. Rose is a remarkable woman, resilient and talented. You can find her at The Knitting Place every Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Stop by for Rose’s expertise and help yourself to her wisdom.
Rose’s eyes twinkle and her cheeks get a little higher when she talks about her family. She met her perfect mate, Jack Girone, and enjoyed 23 years of marriage. Now widowed, Rose says that Rhea and her son-in-law Frankie as well as granddaughter Gina and her husband Joe are her present sources of joy. Rose has walked away from accidents, escaped the Nazis, survived bombings and has these tips for her longevity:
1.“Have the best children in the world – you have to be lucky with that one.”
2.“Always find something to do – have a plan. Don’t wake up and say, uh, ‘what am I going to do today?’.”
3.“Don’t upset yourself with stupid things. It’s not worth it!”
4.“Eat lots of chocolate!”