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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The "You Gotta Love That Face!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Staring at that boyish face once again.  I can't remember how many times I have seen the face of Sam Lazarowitz, chaw of tobacco in his left jaw, with that smile spread across his face as he tries to sell another Lancaster Newspaper in Penn Square.  It was back in 1967 that the Lancaster Sunday News asked its readers, "Whatever happened to Sam Lazarowitz?  Sam was one of Lancaster's most colorful characters, selling newspapers as a news dealer in Penn Square.  Worked every day of the week except on Christmas and during the Jewish New Year.  For over 48 years you could count on Sam to have his left arm over a pile of newspapers while holding up the current edition of the paper in his right hand.  Strapped on his belt was his familiar shiny metal coin changer.  He finally gave up his job of selling papers in 1958 so he could work at his Duke Street restaurant and store.  He later opened a grocery store on Church Street.  Sam's photo pictured here was taken by Marjory Collins in 1942 and is one of 25 photographs of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that are included in the book "Times of Sorrow & Hope: Documenting Everyday Life in Pennsylvania During the Depression and World War II."  It appears that a few trolley cars are in the photo with Lancaster's only skyscraper, The Greist Building, in the background next to the steeple of Lancaster Central Market House, the oldest surviving market in the United States.  I'm sure I probably saw him a few times in my life before he gave up his post in Penn Square.  
Coin featuring Sam Lazarowitz
My father worked in downtown Lancaster and I can remember newspapers being sold on the square while being with with my dad.  
As I searched Sam's name on the Internet, I came across aluminum coins that featured his name: Sam Lazarowitz - Newsdealer on one side and a number 3 on the other side.  The collectible coins were at one time worth 3 cents.  I found one for sale on ebay that had a bid of US $56.41.  Seems they are very collectible.  Also found a few of the coins for sale on a Jewish website.  Sam Lazarowitz was buried in Lancaster Jewish Cemetery on East Liberty Street off of N. Lime Street.  He was one of Lancaster's most colorful characters.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.   

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