Reinventing Rosalee

Never Too Late to Live Your Dream

This film tells the remarkable and inspiring life story of Rosalee Glass. Born and raised in Warsaw Poland, at 18, Rosalee had her own successful business, manufacturing and selling men’s shirts to men’s stores around Warsaw. At 19, she married violinist, Abraham Glass. Shortly afterwards, the war broke out. They fled Warsaw’s German occupied territory for safety in Poland’s Russian occupied territory in Bialystock, Poland leaving behind her entire family, with the exception of her younger brother Jacob.  Months after arriving in Bialystock, she gave birth to a baby boy, Elias.  Two weeks later, in the middle of the night, she heard banging on the door. A Russian soldier insisted that she, Abraham, Jacob, and her baby follow him to the open truck which took them to a cattle train where they were forced to board and taken to an unknown destination.

They soon found themselves in Arkangelsk, Siberia, confronted by Russian soldiers pointing rifles at them, leading them into a small room with no heating and a bed of only wooden boards. Immediately, they were forced into labor, finding stems from chopped down trees so that they could grow potatoes. They were only given one piece of bread and water every day. Thus Rosalee wasn’t able to produce breast milk to feed her infant. Trying everything to save his life, the baby starved to death. Immediately following the baby’s death, she was forced into slave labor, chopping ice on the frozen ground. On rare occasion, the Russian soldiers announced that meat from butchered cows was available. But prisoners had to walk miles in the freezing tundra. Abraham couldn’t go because of a busted lung resulting from a Russian guard beating him. A short while later, Rosalee’s breast milk returned and she had another baby boy, Manny.

After years as prisoners in Siberia, Rosalee, Abraham, Jacob, and baby Manny, were taken via cattle train to another unknown destination. In the middle of their journey, the train suddenly stopped and two Red Cross nurses boarded to ask if anyone was injured. An unknown prisoner volunteered that Rosalee’s brother Jacob’s foot was injured. So the nurses quickly removed Jacob from the train and he was never heard from since. The train continued and they soon found themselves in a remote area of Kazakhstan, with no food or shelter, forced to live with chickens in a coup.  Abraham learned to make shoes, which Rosalee then sold on the Black Market. They had a baby girl, Perla, who died several years later due to tuberculosis, lack of medical assistance, and poor nutrition.

Following her death, they found themselves in a Displaced Person’s Camp in Germany where it was discovered that Abraham had tuberculosis. Taken to a hospital, he had a lung removed and was sent to a sanitarium. With no money to visit her husband, Rosalee then made and sold bras to women in the DP Camp to afford train trips to visit Abraham over the course of three years. Finally recovered, they registered to go to the USA, arriving in New Orleans aboard an immigrant ship. They were then given three one way tickets to Miami.  A year later she gave birth to baby girl Lily. Then after a doctor’s visit, Abraham discovered he once again tested positive for tuberculosis. He was sent to a sanitarium in Colorado for three years, while Rosalee alone raised the children with little money, not speaking the language, and no help from anyone.

When Abraham finally returned, Rosalee became the breadwinner, finding work making drapes while Abraham was the house husband. Long hours prevented her from seeing her children, so they began their own drapery business. After retiring, they moved to California to be near Lily, until Abraham passed away at age 90.  After being together 60 years, Rosalee struggled, but adapted to widowhood.  Three years later, tragedy struck when son Manny encountered a medical malpractice situation, being improperly intubated by a doctor who was only a doctor for seven months, resulting in Manny becoming a vegetable and dying. Devastated, she went into a deep depression and Lily, living in NYC at the time moved Rosalee in with her who constantly cried, couldn’t eat, sleep or find enjoyment in anything. She wanted to die.

New Beginnings

Then one day she woke up, deciding to embrace life and live it to the fullest and do things she never did before – piano lessons, tai chi, boxing, tango dancing, swimming, French acting class. Her acting teacher thought Rosalee was a natural and should pursue acting. So, in her 80’s Rosalee got an agent and began performing in plays and commercials. Then accompanying her daughter on international business trips, Rosalee embraced seeing the world and the two of them developed a deeper mother/daughter bond. Traveling across the globe, Rosalee also went back to Russia and Poland to face her dark past. While the two were in Poland Rosalee discovered her daughter’s international best-selling book Toxic People in Polish.  It was through that experience that Rosalee realized why she survived the war- so that Lily could help change the world through her books.  After Poland, she and her daughter visited Italy and surprisingly found themselves at the German Pope’s Coronation where Rosalee was directly blessed by the Pope himself and she felt that his blessing healed her from what happened to her during WW2.

After her world travels, in her 90’s, Rosalee’s acting career took off!  She appeared in many commercials including, Google, Porsche, Hallmark Cards, Blue Cross, ESPN’s Xtreme Games to name a few. At age 94, she won the title of Miss Congeniality in a Senior beauty pageant. Then at the age of 97, she was seen by millions in a Dodge Wisdom Super Bowl commercial. At 99 she decided to make a book with her daughter entitled “100 Years of Wisdom” where she shared her original sayings that she believes are the secrets to her longevity and happiness.

At 100, her daughter threw her a birthday dinner party with all her friends, and asked Rosalee afterwards what she wanted for her birthday. Rosalee said she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to helping people by giving people personal advice and she also wanted to ride with Sled Dogs in Alaska. Her daughter agreed that Rosalee would be a natural at giving positive advice over the internet so she arranged for Rosalee to have her own website.  But she wasn’t keen on Rosalee going to Alaska in the middle of winter, riding sled dogs at 100. Through a series of doctor visits, an injury, physical therapy, and convincing her daughter she could survive the trip, Rosalee traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska where she lived her dream, celebrating her actual 100th Birthday riding with the sled dogs. She loved it so much that she insisted on going again…this time in Big Bear, California where she rode with champion dogs and a champion musher.