Sometime during the last 100 years of the Czarist rule in Russia, Jacob Schulder and Minnie Schmerz were married. Because records are not available, we do not know many facts and dates. However, we do know that six children were born to Jacob and Minnie. In order of birth, these children were Eheal, Harry, Herman, Louis, Rose, and Irene. The family settled in the city of Odessa, in the Ukrainian part of southwestern Europe.
The accounts from family memory tell us that Minnie died in 1905 when Rose was only five years old. Four years later, in 1909, her father Jacob also died. Thus, before the age of ten, Rose was an orphaned child. However, Rose responded in a way that represented the strength of her culture. At the age of eight, Rose started to work making straw chairs in the seaport city of Odessa, the city of her birth.
Life was never easy for the orphaned children. Although two of Rose's brothers were able to make their way to the United States, Eheal, Louis, Rose, and Irene remained in Odessa. However, in 1910, when Rose was ten years old, she left with her brothers and sister; and, with the aid of a Polish guide, they were able to make their way, unnoticed, past the Russian border guards and crossed into the freedom of a new life. They made their way to the Belgium capital, Antwerp. There, with passage arranged by their brothers in the United States, they boarded a ship and sailed to New York.
Rose and Irene lived with their brother, Harry. However, Rose later moved and lived with her brother, Herman. Although the lifestyle and language was different, Rose attended school, learned English, and the ways of a new life. By the time Rose was fifteen years old, she was working a full time job and moved out on her own.
With the experience of working since she was eight years old, Rose was well aquatinted with hardships endured both in Russia and in the United States. Thus, she became involved in a variety of efforts designed to improve living, social, and working conditions. As a single woman, at the age of 23, Rose met Joseph Padgug, who was 24. Sharing many beliefs and ideas about social organization and philosophy, they dated for about six months and then married. Rose continued her activities in social reform until her duties as wife and mother required her to turn to the duties of home.
Although economic conditions necessitated that Rose continued working, she involved herself, successfully, in the role of mother. She gave birth to three children: Louis, Ella, and Susan. Rose learned early in life that nutrition was a critical part of good health. Thus, she employed nutritive health foods with her growing children long before this was stressed in greater society. She became an expert seamstress, making clothing both for herself and her children.
Rose sincerely enjoyed working. She worked for many years as a salad maker for R.H. Macys Department Store in New York. Later she worked as a cook in a variety of children's camps. She cooked for hundreds of children with the same loving care as when she cooked for her own family. She was very proud of this career.
As her children grew and began to raise their own families, Rose initiated a new career, that of loving grandmother. As a fiercely independent person, Rose continued to nurture her offspring. With every visit, she provided her children and grandchildren with food, blankets, and foot warmers ("booties"), all of which was prepared, knitted, and sewn with her own loving hands. Some of her grandchildren were sometimes surprised when they chose not to attend school for a day, only to meet their grandmother miles from home at Santa Monica Beach. Rose became the family babysitter, to free her children to work as adults, Rose spent many hours and days babysitting the grandchildren when they were sick. She was loved and respected by all of them.
In her later years, she would love to fly to different parts of the world, to Tokyo to visit her son, Louis, and his family, to London, to see the sights, and to New York, to visit family and old friends. Rose always made sure that Joe had plenty to eat in their home, would pack her valise and be off on another trip. She always made friends were ever she went and would correspond with them for years and years. Upon her return home, she would tell Joe of all she saw, then he would relay the stories in letters to their grandchildren.
In her independence, Rose refused to take medications or to utilize the service of doctors for herself. Normally a strong and healthy person, who was "never" sick, it became apparent in the last year and half that her health was failing. She lost her voice and was unable to speak. However, she substituted a pad and pencil, which she carried with her at all times, writing notes and maintaining communication with her family and friends. She indicated that she was grateful to still be able to walk around on her own. Throughout this period, she kept a keen sense of humor, writing jokes and smiling at the humorous statements of others.
On March 1, 1983, she was hospitalized, bright eyed and intellectually strong, but unable to regain her physical health. She expressed her wishes on her ever-present note pad, stating that she had lived a long and healthy life; and, that now she just wanted to go to sleep forever. She passed away at approximately 1:30 PM on March 22, 1983.