Location: Doylestown, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States
Surnames/tags: Snyder Hassett
When Elizabeth Amelda (Snyder) Hasset was about 90 years old, one of her granddaughters interviewed her and recorded these recollections
Origins and early life
I was born on August 29, 1904 in Springfield, Illinois. My mother's name was Mary "Mae" Griffin and my father's name was George Wallace Snyder. I was named after my mother's sister, Aunt Lizzie. I weighed 7 pounds and it was said I resembled my father because he was dark-eyed like me. I had four sisters: Effie (named after dad's sister), Margaret Mary (named after Aunt Maggie), Helen Elizabeth and Lillian Agnes. Our mother died in childbirth with my sister, Mary, when I was four years old.
My paternal grandfather's name was Oscar Oswald Snyder and he was from Switzerland. My maternal grandfather's name was John Griffin and my maternal grandmother's name was Mary Coleman Griffin. He was born in Ireland and she in Virginia.
I grew up in Springfield, Illinois and Yorkville, Illinois. My father was a saloon keeper and hotel proprietor in both cities. In Yorkville my family lived in the Nading Hotel. I attended St. Malachy's grade school in Chicago and graduated from Yorkville High School in 1920. My parents were very strict about staying out of hotel guests way especially the cook's way! We weren't allowed to run the streets! What I loved about my father was his liking for us. He used to come home each night and leave fruit on the buffet for us to find when we woke up. My teenage years were fun. I played basketball in highschool. I was a forward. That's what I lived for a lot back then-- playing basketball. My sisters and I played together and our two cousins also lived with us: Priscilla and Pearl. We got into a lot of trouble. When we were dating, we would tell the boyfriend we had a birthday coming up so he would buy us a present! My father really had his hands full - 7 girls in the house.
As a young person some of my favorites were: Song: White Cliffs of Dover. We played records on a Victrola but I loved Christmas carols especially. We never went to movies because we never had the money. My favorite book was Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, favorite season: the good old summer time, favorite vacation spot: Quiver Beach about 20 miles from Springfield, favorite holiday: Christmas, favorite flower: White Lilacs, favorite color: pink, favorite sport: basketball, favorite food: chili, favorite subject in school: math, and favorite singer: Perry Como.
Courtship and marriage
In 1920 I met my husband to be at the Hotel Nading where we'd play Rummy, checkers and other games. He was 17 when we met and I was 16. He lived at the hotel while he looked for work. His full name was Versil LaVilla Hassett. His birthday was June 7, 1903. After I finished high school in 1920, I went to Chicago where my sister, Helen, offered to pay for me to train as a comptometer operator. After training, I worked at Sears Roebuck. On weekends, I went to dances. The fashion rage at the time was any kind of dresses, medium length hair, blouses which were quite fancy. No pants in those days. Large hats, gloves (elbow length).
Versil earned his living as a barber. The owner of the shop was a German man and there were 10 barbers. Versil always wore white as a barber. I liked him because he was very very good; he treated people right, he'd do anything for anybody and besides he was very good looking! My father said Versil liked me because I was good looking and Versil liked my family a lot especially my father. Our first date was in Chicago at the Chicago Theater, at State and Randolph. We liked to go to the movies downtown, play cards like gin rummy. Our courtship lasted two years. When I told my father we wanted to get married, he was very happy. He liked Versil a lot - he was probably glad to get rid of me. Ha Ha! When Versil proposed he said "C'mon let's get married and then we'll have a home together! All this back-and-forth is not the right thing to do!"
We were married on September 2, 1922 at 11:00 in the morning at a chapel in Chicago. I wore a brown satin dress with a band of fur around the collar. I was glad to get married and have someone to look after me since I lost my mom at such a young age and my dad was always working. My most vivid memory of my wedding was how we married quickly and had dinner afterwards and then went back to a two room apartment. We didn't get any special wedding gifts. Later we traveled to Detroit, Michigan and while there Versil said "Let's take a trip to Canada" which we did by ferryboat. In Canada we bought a dish as a souvenir which I still have today. It's handpainted and very pretty.
When Grandpa and I were first married, we lived in an apartment on 5th Avenue in Chicago - 5 rooms $85.00 a month. We lived there for 2 or 3 years. My fondest memory of the apartment is the unique furniture the Jewish owner furnished the apartment with. After we were married I quit work. I gave birth to Betty on May 27, 1924. Then we moved to Villa Park, Illinois. Our first home was a rental and then we bought a house at 451 South Michigan When we took trips, we liked to visit Versil's mother, Carrie, in Grand Rapids, MI. Joan was born on February 28, 1942. Her full name is Joan Lorraine Hassett. We chose that name because it was nice and short. Lorraine was the name of a close friend of mine. The color of her eyes at birth was greyish-blue like her father's. She had one sister, Betty. Her favorite toys were teddy bears. I still smile when I think about the time I had a rocking chair and one day when I was reading a book to her all of a sudden she slammed the book down and said , "I've had enough of that!".
Sadly, my wonderful husband passed away on November 23, 1946 at the age of 43. Joan was only 4 years old. Suddenly my life changed. I went back to work and we sold our home in Villa Park and moved to Chicago.
During her teenage years, Rock-n-Roll was new and very popular. Her favorite sport was rollerskating. Her main duties were cleaning her room. She went to dances, loved to read, and do needlework. Her curfew varied but usually midnight. I was strict about Joan being home at a specific time which we agreed upon prior to going out.
She met her husband George on a blind date in July of 1960. They were married on December 28, 1963 at Christ the King Church by Father Andrew Greeley.
Grandchildren (daughters of daughter Joan)
Patricia Elizabeth was born on April 17, 1965 and Margaret Marie was born on April 3, 1970. Patti thought it was wonderful that now she had a sister.
Comment by the inverviewer
She will always be remembered for her wonderful roast beef dinners and great lemon meringue pie.