Aaron, always good to see you. . . . Now just tell me, when did you come here and where were you born?
Interviewer: In Russia?
Interviewer: In Minsk?
Zuckerman: Yeah. I came here just a few months old, four or five . . . .
Interviewer: How old were you?
Zuckerman: Four or five months.
Interviewer: When was that Aaron?
Zuckerman: 1908. Last part of the winter, 1908. Could have been the first month of ’09 but around December of ’08 or January of ’09. I was born in August.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And came over with your mother and father?
Zuckerman: No, just no, my dad was already here. My dad came over with Max.
Interviewer: Max Gurevitz?
Zuckerman: Yeah, Normie’s dad. And I came over with my mom and after that the first thing I remember was a few things.
Interviewer: Where did your dad come to, Aaron?
Zuckerman: He came to Columbus.
Interviewer: Straight from Russia?
Zuckerman: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: What was your mom’s name?
Zuckerman: Chana, Chana, Elana in Russian. Chana in Jewish. And in English we called her every-thing, Lena, Anna, you know, Elena. It should have been Helena or, you know, for Elana. But at the shul when they buried her, they give her the name Hannah . . . .
Interviewer: She was a Gurevitz?
Zuckerman: Yeah she was a Gurevitz. She and your mother-in-law were sisters.
Interviewer: Dora Lakin?
Interviewer: And Basha Kahn.
Zuckerman: Yeah, yeah. And Meyer and Dave and Sam. All the same family. And after I come here though I remember, you know, when I was four years old for sure I remember, I remember before that, my dad drove a milk wagon and he used to have, I think it was a shepherd dog used to go with him to do milk. And then he got a confectionery and my mom worked with him.
Interviewer: Where was that, on Mound Street?
Zuckerman: No, Washington Avenue near Mound Street. And all I can remember about it is the biggest sale is ice cream cones, two for a nickel, two for a nickel. And so about the same time I started kindergarten. And I used to, when I came home for lunch, Mom fixed it before she went back to work and the neighbor, Herman Goldstein, who was up maybe to 7th or 8th, it was Livingston Avenue School. It was just an eight-year school. There wasn’t no junior high. So the neighbor picked me up. I would be waiting for him in front of a blacksmith shop. I’d be shooting marbles waiting for him. And he took me to his class in the afternoon. So I sat there in the afternoons with all these older kids.
Interviewer: You mean Harry Goldstein?
Zuckerman: No Herman Goldstein. Harry Goldstein, he’s younger than me. I’m talking about a guy that was probably eight or nine years older than me, a neighbor. And so sitting in the class you got to learn something. You know, listen to the older kids. So when I was five they put me in the second grade . . . . So I started two years ahead . . . . I decided early you just couldn’t do all those things . . . . kindergarten when you’re four and sit in a classroom with the older boys. You couldn’t do that now. And then of course my dad, after the con- fectionery, had a grocery store in partners with Meyer.
Interviewer: Meyer Gurevitz?
Zuckerman: Yeah. And it burned down.
Interviewer: What kind of business were they in?
Zuckerman: Grocery business.
Interviewer: Oh, uh huh.
Zuckerman: When it burned down, my dad moved across the street but he was in business by himself on Mound Street, at Mound and Washington, the southeast corner. And my mom worked with him and I used to come there and deliver groceries on a bicycle, you know, handle–, between the handlebars was a basket for the groceries. I was probably 10 or 11 or so and then when Lou was born, my brother Bob and I had to baby-sit for him, see.
Interviewer: You had a sister too, didn’t you?
Zuckerman: Freda. Freda passed away just a couple of years ago. So she’s five years younger than me. Lou is ten years younger. So we baby-sat for Lou and all I can tell you about that he should remember, once in a while when Tante Dora, one came over or something to see while Mother was working, you know what I mean, or he asked to sleep over . . . . and Lou was over there one night. They lived on Monroe Avenue and he raised all kind of hell and they couldn’t take it so they wanted me to come over and get him. So I had to get him in the middle of the night.
Interviewer: You were the father of the house, huh?
Zuckerman: Threw him over my shoulder, took him through all the alleys along where my dad had a delicatessen then on Long Street. See my mom worked in the grocery store during the day and he works in the delicatessen during the day and she helped him at night. And so you know there was nothing to do but I wasn’t going to mess with him in that mood, you know what I mean, at night anyway. So I took him, threw him over my shoulder and tracked all the way downtown, you know, a couple of miles. Went all the short cuts, all the alleys. You can’t do that now. They wouldn’t let you through there.
Interviewer: No you can’t walk through there now. But you didn’t mind walking all that way?
Zuckerman: No it was nothing for a kid to, I walked when I couldn’t afford it, I’d walked to the Ohio State University for a football game. I mean, I remember when I was real young I was there Shabbos. So I wouldn’t ride on Shabbos when I was real young. But after that there were some times when I couldn’t afford a nickel or a dime for the streetcar and I’d walk over. That was nothing. That was probably a five or six or seven mile walk each way. And then . . . .
Interviewer: So you went to school here in Columbus?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, yeah. When we were kids, we always saw Bobba and Zeyda you know. I went to shul with Zeyda every Saturday until I was Bar Mitzvahed and then before that for years when we were kids, every Hanukkah Bobba and Zeyda had a latka party. That’s kind of prevalent among Orthodox Jews . . . . and latka parties and all the grandchildren were there and there was about, the last one I went to, was probably 22 or 23 and I think there were 21 grandchildren there. That’s before Sue or Dickie was around and Sam wasn’t married yet and I don’t know of all the babies, the Kahns or what, there were probably some babies already. Everybody else was accounted for except Norman. Norman wasn’t born till ’27 so everybody but Norman, Dickie and Susan were at the last party I went to, the Hanukkah party. And besides all the latkes, we got Haukkah gelt.
Interviewer: From who?
Zuckerman: Bobba and Zeyda. What do you mean, who else would give it to you? And Bill Kahn was the oldest. He was two years older than me. He got a half a dollar. Then came Benny and Sammy and myself.
Interviewer: Sam Gurevitz? Little Sam?
Zuckerman: (That’s Myron, that’s Myron.) We were all the same age group and we’d get quarters. The next age group was my brother Bob and Bootsie and Martha, Sammy’s sister Martha. They got a dime. The rest of the people all got nickels I think. And it was wonderful. Then the kids all played Lotto which was a form of Bingo. It was a card affair. It was a big party and wasn’t room over at Bobba’s for that, for Lotto, so we’d go over to Big Dora’s and Dave’s, next door, they had a big house. We’d play Lotto over there. Over Bobba’s we . . . .
Interviewer: Did you all live around the same area?
Zuckerman: Well Bobba lived right next to Dora and Dave and Tanta Dora and Harry lived in back of Bobba. And there was a beautiful grape vine running from Bobba’s house to Harry and Dora’s house, from her back to their back. And Tanta Dora and Harry had a goat in the yard.
Interviewer: Some people like goats.
Zuckerman: Yeah they had a goat in their yard.
Interviewer: What did they do with the goat?
Zuckerman: Milk I guess. I don’t know what else. I don’t know what else you could have a goat for. But to us, you know, it was something different. And the family all lived close together, you know, within walking distance.
Interviewer: Yeah, that’s what was so nice.
Zuckerman: Bobba had, besides the grapevine, had a fruit tree, I think only maybe one in her yard but next door Dora and Dave had three or four fruit trees in the front. And then in back of Dave’s house was a barn. They used to, Dave and Sam, I don’t know if Max was in there or not, the three of them, they used to buy and sell hides and furs. Sam would go out and buy them and Dave and Max probably would clean them and stretch them out and, what was wonderful about it, people didn’t like skunks but you get used to it and I’d say, “I love the odor of skunks”. And when I used to drive later on in life, on the road, and I’d smell skunks, I loved them. You know, you get used to it. Skunk smell was not bad at all. I got used to it. I liked it. And after that, I can’t remember what we did as kids there. I went to Mound Street School, junior high school. And we took high school courses which I got credit for.
Interviewer: Oh you must have been pretty young . . . .
Zuckerman: Went to South High School and graduated in 1923, the last class of the old high school on Deshler Avenue. And now they’ve got the new high school. That was the last class, 1923. And when I started Ohio State, the fees were $15 a quarter. So for three quarters, $45, you had your fees paid for the year if you were an Ohio resident. But $45 today is probably over a couple thousand dollars just for fees for in-state residents. It’s more for out-of-state residents. And my family moved to Louisville so I used to stay, the first year I stayed with Max and Sadie. I think I stayed with Dora and Harry one quarter or something like that. And my grandfather and grandmother on my Dad’s side, Zuckerman, I stayed with them for a quarter. You know what I mean?
Interviewer: Your folks moved away?
Zuckerman: My family wanted me to stay with relatives. Although I had an offer to go to college for free at Notre Dame. Yack Gilbert, Jake Gilbert, we called him Yack, he ran the Gilbert Shoe Store on Town Street. His brother Harry had a breakdown and went to California. So Yack was the boss and he took a shine to me, you know what I mean. And so the first job I had there was selling used shoes, used shoes.
Interviewer: While you were going to school? College?
Interviewer: While you were going to school?
Zuckerman: Yeah, used shoes. And then they cut out the used shoes after a year or two, after I was there. They sold them before I was there. They had a big store, you know, one of the biggest shoe stores in town. And I worked there. When I went to school, I worked there afternoons and Saturdays, afternoon and Saturday. And . . . .
Interviewer: You paid your way through school?
Interviewer: Paid your way through school?
Zuckerman: No, naw. Saturday I got $5. Later on I worked there and I was out of school for a couple of years and I worked and paid my way, you know, worked all week. But my family moved to Louisville. That’s why I was staying with them, you know. And then my dad moved to Chicago and I didn’t go with him but I visited there. And Freda met her first husband, Paul Smith, in Chicago and my folks moved from Chicago back to Jeffersonville, Indiana. I don’t know when, it was 19–, probably ’31, I don’t know, could have been ’30. They were having sort of a sandwich shop near the high school, you know, where kids gathered, bought drinks and food, potato chips, whatever. And Paul came in, Freda was married in l932. So a lot of people from Columbus were there, Bill Kahn, Min Gurevitz, I’m trying to think who, I don’t know. But anyway we had a good time and then my mother passed away the next year, in 1933. My mom had some new flu or pneumonia, whatever it is. The doctors usually didn’t know how to treat it and so the doctor in Jeffersonville where we lived sent her to a hospital in Louisville across the river. And gangrene set in and they didn’t expect her to live. But she bounced back from it and then she had a setback, passed away. But what was bother, was the doctor who took care of her to begin with was a drug addict.
Interviewer: Oh my. In those days?
Zuckerman: Yeah. So that’s probably what caused her to be delayed in her recovery or whatever, wasn’t right. You know, by that time, gangrene set it and today a pill would have saved her life. You know, Max had pneumonia three or four times and the pills helped you in those days. You know, you had sulfa first and then penicillin. They didn’t have those things there. In fact in the first World War, along our block and everywhere they had just the common flu and I’d say every other house had a death on the street. Very common in the war years, you know, after the war, right after the first World War. A lot of flu killed thousands of people all over the country. But they didn’t know how to treat things then.
Interviewer: They didn’t have penicillin then?
Zuckerman: No. And then I got out of school. I bummed around, worked here and there. Then I went to Florida with Bill one year, Bill Kahn. And the next year I went with Ben and his mother Basha and Fannie. Drove over ice, bad roads, to get there.
Interviewer: You drove down there?
Zuckerman: It was terrible.
Interviewer: How long did it take you to drive down there?
Zuckerman: Well we got there the second day because I drove. Ben and I took the wheel, Ben couldn’t handle it and I remember Stanley Schwartz’ wife stopped over when we went in, you know, some little town along the way. We went all the way to, I imagine we went to Atlanta I guess, you know, the first night, and stopped over. We got there the second afternoon, Florida. So, usually some people took three days, you know. We were there in two days. And when I went there I had Yahrzeit. So that’s why I wanted to get there in the afternoon. And the only person I knew was Rose, Sam was dating Rose. So I went to, I knew where she lived, you know. I had an address. So I went there to an apartment house. Rose’s family went there every winter and had an apartment there and I got on the first floor and I saw an attractive girl there with a beautiful blue knit outfit on and I said to her, “You know Rose Slutska?” She says, “Yes, it’s up on the second floor”. So I went up there and saw Rose and told her I’d like to go to shul at night and she told me where there was a shul close by. And on the way out I said, “By the way, who was that broad down- stairs?” and she said, “That’s my sister”. . . . . I didn’t say anything. I didn’t see her on the way down and I didn’t bother about it because I was kind of tired when I go on a trip and so it rested, you know. And got lot of, I went out to the beach and so on and just relax and about the end of the week, I called her for a date. And she says, “I knew you were going to call me. I broke a date.” So I knew her after I met her, maybe I was there another week at the most.
Interviewer: You dated her?
Zuckerman: I said we were together all the time after I met her. In the afternoon to the beach and at night we’d go, there weren’t any homes and apartments. There was only three hotels on the whole beach. In the north it was all empty and we used to go out to . . . .
Zuckerman: the beach and we’d have parties, you know, friends there and relations. And Ned had two cousins there. They were photographers or something. And so one night we had a mock wedding for Annette and I. The two cousins arranged it. Anyway one week, that’s all I knew her. We come back, we corresponded a little bit. And over the telephone mostly. And then we talked about her coming to Columbus and she said, “Well I’m not going to come to Columbus unless we got married”. See, she’d tell me. So she come to Columbus. We got married secretly ’cause, you know, her folks were in Florida and everybody else. We borrowed her a ring from the Kahns. The only ones that knew it was Ben, Ben Kahn give us a ring and . . . .
Interviewer: They had the jewelry store?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. Thirty-six we got married. They had a jewelry store for a few years already. And we went to Jeffersonville to get married because I knew the Mayor’s son and the Mayor’s son was going to arrange for his dad to marry us. But when we got there the Mayor thought the Justice of the Peace wouldn’t like that if he did it so we went to the Justice of the Peace but the Mayor’s son was our best man. Then we went over to Louisville for the night, you know, and I explained to the people when I registered at the hotel that I didn’t want anybody in Louisville to know that we were married when we came down here. So although we had one room, they registered us in separate rooms, you know what I mean. And so I went to visit friends, you know and do it. Anyway when we got back we went to bed. There was a special honeymoon suite they had. There were notches all over the bed you know for everybody that had been there. And I noticed the door didn’t close good. I mean it was too loose or something but I paid no attention. And when I go to sleep I take everything out of my pockets and I put it on the dresser, money, watch and so on. And Annette wasn’t much, or she kept it. The ring was on her finger. And somebody come in and robbed us that night on our wedding night. Yeah.
Interviewer: Did you hear him?
Zuckerman: And I didn’t hear him and but Annette said later when we got up that she thought she saw somebody. I said, “It’s a good thing that I didn’t get up ’cause there would have been trouble”. So when I went to check out I couldn’t pay them. I didn’t have any money. So they weren’t worried about that. They didn’t want me to sue them or something. So I didn’t pay the bill. Now I haven’t got any money to get back. I couldn’t ask for the money. So I called a close friend of mine and told him that I was robbed, see.
Interviewer: Oh gee, on your honeymoon night?
Zuckerman: Yeah. The only thing they didn’t steal was the ring on Annette’s finger . . . . So I borrowed money from him to go back. I didn’t tell him that Annette was with me. They didn’t see the separate rooms, that I was robbed. And got back with six dollars, without money. It was only the very little money I had. Then we kept it a secret so I stayed in a hotel first. I think it was the Fort Hayes on Spring Street. Used to be a Fort Hayes Hotel. And then I went to stay with Freda and Paul and Lou took my place at the hotel. You know, I took his room you know from there and Lou would stay at the hotel. And anyway Sam and I once in a while went to lunch at the, on High Street there was a Mills Restaurant right north of Broad Street, right next to the Deshler Hotel. They had another restaurant farther south of the block that was like a cafeteria. So we went to the restaurant, Mills, Mills Buffet they called it. We were sitting down eating and I finally said to him that I got married. He looked at me like in shock, you know what I mean. You know, Rose was a little older. He’d been going with her, I didn’t . . .
Interviewer: Oh he wasn’t married then?
Zuckerman: No, no, no, no. So anyway when we got married. When the folks come back, we had a Jewish wedding in the yard of their home in Cleveland. And on that day Sam and Rose announced their engagement, the day that we were married. And they got married in July, see. So after that, like I say, oh while we were in Florida and we went out a few nights, Annette fixed up Ben Kahn with a girl she knew, what’s her name?
Zuckerman: Charlotte, yeah. And we went to a nightclub where Milton Berle was the, you know, star of the show. I knew Milton Berle because when he came to Louisville my Dad used to sell slicing machines and like that. It used to be B and G Sandwich Shops, like a chain maybe over the country. I don’t know, now there weren’t many that day and so I guess they needed help so my Dad got Bob and I a job. I didn’t like to fool with meat and make anything so he and Bob got this job at the counter making the sandwiches and I was a cashier. So the show was right near the B and G Shop, the theater they played. And Milton Berle and his mother came in to the B and G Shop.
Interviewer: Were they playing there?
Interviewer: They were playing there?
Zuckerman: Yeah in a show. And his mother traveled with him when he was younger. He’s about my age, maybe a few months older. And they came in the shop and ordered. It was an in-between time so it wasn’t busy. Just the two of them I think were at the counter and I was, Bob served them and while they were waiting for the food they were talking in Yiddish and cussing me, you know, the worst words, New Yorkers, Jewish. I sat and listened. Finally I answered them in Jewish.
Interviewer: Oh my God.
Zuckerman: See. So they were so surprised. So we become friends. He liked to play pool. So we played pool when I was off and when he was off from the show. But while he was there for about a week maybe. So anyway so after, knowing all that, you know from the . . . . we went to Florida and we went to his show, I thought, “Well I’ll go but I don’t like to kiss these people’s butts or anything.” I don’t care who they were. I don’t want no auto-graphs . . . . But I knew him. We played pool. So I went over when his act was finished, you know, or before, and I says, “Beryl,” his mother called him Beryl, that must have been his Jewish name . . . . Beryl. So I says, “Beryl, how’s your pool game?” And, you know, he looked at me. He knew me to begin with. But he didn’t want to answer me, you know what I mean. Like it wasn’t right at that place where he was. So he says, “Where you sitting?” Said, “Over here with Ben and Charlotte”. He never came over, you know what I mean. So I never said any more to him and years later I was at the Deauville Hotel and he was there. So I got on the elevator and he was already there. He was on a higher floor. And I saw him, he saw me. I didn’t say a word to him. (Laughs) Didn’t want any part of him and he didn’t say anything to me but he knew who I was. I knew who he was. And then later on Bob and I went to San Francisco in 1930, right after the ’29 Crash. We worked our way. We took Ted Goldin. He was in medicine school, in Medical School, but he had a quarter to stay out.
Interviewer: Oh you were both going to Medical School you mean?
Interviewer: Who was in Medical School?
Zuckerman: Ted Goldberg. He became a surgeon later. He married Clara Goldsmith, Rose’s sister. I think the name was Goldsmith, I’m trying to think, Clara, anyway Rose something or other. Anyway he went with us. Just stayed until his next quarter started. So we started working like in August or September, started our way out. But before that we celebrated. The money the company gave my brother Bob, we spent it in Cincinnati you know, drinking, you know what I mean. And then we stopped in Lexington and we were with a few girls and when we got to Louisville we had no money. The money we were supposed to go to California with. And we borrowed from a friend of ours in Louisville who worked in a jewelry store and . . . . to get the money to get there. So we worked our way out there. And so when we got there, we started on Labor Day and we got to San Francisco on Labor Day. But on the way we stopped in Reno, Nevada, where there’s gambling. So we divided up the money we had between us and we all lost our money. We ain’t got any money again. So Bob says to the boss . . . . the boss of the floor, he said that we were going to leave and he told him we’re going to drain somebody’s gas tank, you know what I mean to get gas. So he says, I don’t think he even asked us how much, he just gave us a hundred bucks. Yeah, from the gambling table. We didn’t, I don’t think we lost that much . . . . but we paid him back after we got to Frisco. And we worked in Frisco and although the Crash come from east to west, we didn’t feel it until the next year. So right after the end of ’30 the Crash started hitting California. So I didn’t stay very long. Bob stayed on a while and I came back and when I came back my folks were in Jeffersonville, Indiana. And that’s about all, you know. Maybe covers most of my life.
Interviewer: Well that’s before you got married?
Zuckerman: Huh? Oh yeah. I didn’t get married till ’36. And when I came back Freda wasn’t married yet, see. I came back in 1931, see, early in ’31. She got married in ’32. And of course after my mom died, I didn’t stay very long with my dad. Then I came back and I think I stayed with Tanta Dora and Harry for a while till I got an apartment with my brother. Bob followed me a few months later and we got an apartment. He works for the Shers at a bar, the sandwich shop, and we worked there and I worked at Gilbert’s till I went back to school again in ’28 to ’30. And that’s the main things that happened till I got married, I mean, we traveled. And little Lennie was born in ’48. Oh yeah, when Lennie was born White Cross Hospital on March 31, 1948, she was the first baby to stay with her mom in the room. Didn’t go to the big wards they had for children. ‘Cause they were trying to prevent the, . . . . the nurses were trying to prevent these diseases they used to get. One babie’d get it then all of them would get it in the nursery. So she was the first one and so I, very nice for me the first day, I burped her the first day. Otherwise I wouldn’t see her probably for a week or . . . .
Interviewer: Oh you were in the room with them?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. I burped. Anyway she was the first one I think in the whole United States that did that, or at least in Ohio or something. They took her picture.
(Speaking to someone who knocked on the door) Hi, is this the mail?
Interviewer: How are you?
Zuckerman: Thank you, thank you.
(Voice: There you go.) (Blank space on tape.)
Interviewer: That was the postman who came in.
Interviewer: That was the mailman who just walked in here.
Zuckerman: Anyway . . . .
Interviewer: You were telling me about . . . .
Zuckerman: I was telling you about Lennie. So this happened, it was newsworthy. So the next morning, the Ohio, there were two papers then, Ohio State Journal had Annette and the baby on the front page.
Interviewer: Is that right?
Zuckerman: . . . . the newspaper, next morning. The headline, you know, about being the first one to be with her mother. So Lennie and I bonded that first day, you know what I mean. And not much else to tell.
Interviewer: You know that’s a very important thing. You say “bonding”. It’s proven that you do bond earlier.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. I think kids hear you, you know, and remember, I think. I’ll always believe that anyway. A lot of mother say that too. They think they, kids hear. Some people say that they can hear you while they’re in the womb.
Interviewer: That’s right. That’s right. There’s a little . . . .
Zuckerman: So that’s all. That’s all exciting that happened until Lennie got married, for excitement. And of course . . . .
Interviewer: Do you remember Columbus way back?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. Street cars. Nickel a ride I think. And we lived on new addition, before I went to college. Before that we lived in several homes that. We lived, when I started to Ohio State, we lived in the new addition of the Driving Park, on Lilley Avenue. In fact, ours was one of about only three homes there, almost all alike, next door to. I would walk down Lilley to Livingston and get a car on Livingston and Kelton. Then I’d get on and pay my nickel or dime or whatever it was, get a transfer to High Street and take High Street to the University.
Interviewer: Was it all farmland then?
Interviewer: Was it all farmland there? After Kelton was it just farms?
Zuckerman: No east on, I remember on Livingston. Main Street where Capital University is now was all farmland. My Dad had a mare he kept on the grounds though right where Capital University is now.
Interviewer: Is that?
Zuckerman: Yeah. When my Dad was in business, the grocery business, you know, they had a horse and delivery wagon. And they kept the delivery wagon in a barn behind our house and the guy who worked for us would pick up the horse in the morning. I don’t know where he picked him up. And he was a wild horse to begin with. And I think he was one-eyed. Anyway one day I got on the wagon with him in the morning and the horse took off down the alley and ran away all the way to Columbus Street. For a wild ride. And then my Dad got a truck, a red Cadillac truck.
Interviewer: What year was that?
Zuckerman: Well I’m trying to think. It could be around the 20s, you know, after the World War. It could be before that. Around the Second World War, that time. And, you know, a red Cadillac truck with crank on the side. See later on the Ford, all the Fords cranked in the front or any car I guess. And I remember when we’d go riding in the Ford we’d sometimes take turns cranking it, sometimes.
Interviewer: Why did you have to crank it?
Zuckerman: To start it. They didn’t have any self-starters.
Interviewer: Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Zuckerman: You didn’t have self-starters then. You’d crank and sometimes you could bust your arm if it would run back on you if you didn’t follow through, see. It was very strong. And so it was a job sometimes cranking. Sometimes it cranked easy.
Interviewer: That’s funny.
Zuckerman: And the cars were top heavy. Of course I remember S. Myron and Muddy Ziskind and I went to Pittsburgh in ’29, 1929, the first day Ohio State ever played Pittsburgh. And it was a top-heavy Ford, you know. And it wasn’t a roomy one. There was just room for the three of us on one seat. It didn’t have a five- or six-seater. And you could feel yourself in danger, feeling it was going to tip over a lot of times. So we got to Pittsburgh and we went to the game and we didn’t have anywhere to park it so we parked it right downtown at the hotel.
Interviewer: What kind of roads did they have that you traveled?
Zuckerman: Oh the roads were, didn’t have paved roads, you know what I mean. You had some concrete or you had some dirt. There was no problem getting there. You just couldn’t go as fast. And then after the game we came back, there was no car there. They pulled it in because we were not allowed to park there, you know what I mean.
Zuckerman: So now we needed to bail the car out. We had to bail the, get the car out. So that took all our money but we got home, you know.
Interviewer: You mean the police towed your car in there?
Zuckerman: Yeah. Well they do it here in Columbus, they tow cars in.
Zuckerman: When people leave it where it weren’t supposed to be. And that’s how they get their money, paid for illegally parking. They didn’t think that they’d, you know, have to chase you down. This way you couldn’t get your car out till you paid. It was a racket too of doing it, you know what I mean. After all it was a football game. All the people parked. But that was a lot of business, I mean. People that towed your cars, they charged the city for it, you know what I mean. We paid them and then we paid for parking. And it was kind of an exciting time.
Interviewer: You used to follow football games then?
Interviewer: You followed the football?
Zuckerman: Oh I followed since 1920. I was 12 years old, I followed Ohio State. Before they had a stadium. The stadium was on North High and Lane Avenue, field, you know what I mean. . . . . the bleachers.
Interviewer: You mean before they built the horseshoe?
Interviewer: Before they built the horseshoe?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, the horseshoe was built in 1922. In 1922 I was one of 10,000 people that broke a fence because it wasn’t completed. We broke the fence to get into the football game for free, 10,000 of us. Nineteen twenty-two they dedicated the stadium against Michigan and then they finished it up the next year I think. It was unfinished in ’22. That’s all I can remember in particular about it, I mean.
Interviewer: Are you tired Aaron?
Interviewer: Are you tired?
Zuckerman: No, no, I’m okay.
Interviewer: Let me turn this off.
(Tape is blank for a while.)
Interviewer: Life was a little bit easier then or was it just that you were younger?
Zuckerman: No but more fun then. We didn’t have any problems.
Interviewer: Oh you’re kidding.
Zuckerman: I mean there was the Depression and all that but we seemed to live through it and however the Crash came in ’29. People like my dad probably didn’t have too much money. Whatever money he had in the bank, he lost it, I mean. And it was a time where people got rich by buying the mortgages out of. The savings and loans all went broke. They got like John Galbreath, that’s where he started making his big money. He bought mortgages for maybe a hundred that were worth maybe two thousand or three thousand, you know what I mean. Banks were just desperate to raise their money. And so guys like Galbreath, there was other guys too that made fortunes out of the Crash by buying up the mortgages. And, but people bounced back. There was the tough years of the 30s. Actually it didn’t do good until after the World War started, II. You know what I mean?
Interviewer: Well let me ask you, was it as bad here in Columbus as it was in the, back east? Was it very different?
Zuckerman: Oh I don’t know.
Interviewer: See Columbus was not a manufacturing city?
Zuckerman: No it was not, see. So we didn’t have the things we got now. But we had the University and it was the Capitol so it was a little easier than most places, you know, to exist. You know, I think it came easier because we could stand more here with all the people, the warehouse here from all over. They got main offices here, people who were in New York and other places moved their offices here, head office, and they got the central warehousing here because it was the middle of everything. So more than ever we were safer here than anyplace else. But then we didn’t have all that. It was still better than it sounds because of the Capitol, the University and everything and I guess . . . .
Interviewer: It wasn’t hit as badly as some places.
Zuckerman: No, no. But it was some time and the good times didn’t come until the World War happened so they got everybody busy, you know, working.
Interviewer: Did they have the Depot here then?
Interviewer: Did they have the Depot here? That came with the World War.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, the World War, oh yeah. Annette worked there while I was in the Army.
Interviewer: I mean did they have a Depot here before the war started?
Zuckerman: Oh I’m, they could have, I’m pretty sure that it was part of the Army . . . . have some. We had a Fort Hayes here, was the Army and I don’t know whether the Depot was here. But it became the biggest depot in the country, see. And Annette worked there, the Wright-Patterson Air Field. Wasn’t a depot, it was Wright-Patterson Air Field and . . . . directly for the Army, Wright-Patterson, the airplane people. And she worked in the office until she joined me at my field where I was in the Air Corps in Belleville, Illinois. Then she joined me and we were lucky enough to get a home where an officer was going to Alaska and we got the home with the provision that if he came back, he would stay in an apartment, you know as long as he was in the States, you know. But he only came back once where he stayed overnight one time. So we had this beautiful home and Annette raised watermelons there. We had watermelons. And she worked in an office and I went back and forth to Belleville to Scott Field every day.
Interviewer: So you were stationed in Belleville?
Zuckerman: Yeah while I was in the Air Corps there.
Interviewer: I see.
Zuckerman: In Belleville. And she stayed there until I was moved to Wisconsin and beautiful there. That’s just where I worked, where we went to school. And any time off I had I’d go to the University, sit on the grass overlooking the water and beautiful. And Lennie went there later on because it was a case of trying to get into Michigan. She couldn’t. You know, at Michigan you had to be a top-notch student. She was an ordinary student actually. But when she went to college each year she became a better student, you know what I mean. And she was married in her last year there. But Wisconsin was beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
Interviewer: But you came back to Columbus? You settled here in Columbus after the war?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. Well at first I, from Wisconsin I went to Illinois then they had to release us. If you were my age and you had two year’s service was the first ones to go, which wasn’t fair because people who had been in the Army for five years and risked their lives couldn’t go home. You know, they took them in rotation. But anybody my age that had two years of service, that would get you home real fast. And if you were within 300 miles like I was, I went immediately. And guys like Bob, he was overseas, but he come home real fast. Then Lou was in Europe. They were transferring him when the first part of the war was over, they were transferring him, were shipping right to Japan. And he was on the way from Europe to Japan when the, that war ended. So he come back. So within a few months we were all civilians, Lou, Bob and I.
Interviewer: Must have been a heck of time during the war.
Zuckerman: Yeah. All three of us were in there. Kind of unusual for one family. But everybody survived.
Interviewer: Yeah. Thank goodness for that. But they stayed in Columbus.
Zuckerman: Yeah, yeah. Come back to Columbus. Got an apartment on, Annette was staying with Sam and Rose. Got an apartment on Drexel Avenue right next to the drug store, north of Main and Abish Wolman owned it. And it was supposed to be price-controlled rent but the figures he give me, I mean he got high rent. So after we were there a year or so they for- tunately, they reduced the rent. He didn’t give me a rebate but we stayed there. And then before Robinsville was built by Jay Robins on Broad Street, you know, the big apartment complex, when he was going to built it I heard of it and he was raising money. I paid him six months rent in advance, maybe a year before it was ready. So we were the first ones in there. I got the choice northwest corner, not northwest, southwest corner, the first apartment east of James on the third floor. And we were the first ones in there.
Interviewer: . . . . ’45, ’46?
Interviewer: About ’46, around that . . . .
Zuckerman: I think in ’46, ’47. I remember Lennie being a baby and leaning out the window and she was old enough to talk and she, everybody talked to everybody out the window. And everybody was related to her. She remembers she knew of a cousin or somebody, or aunt or uncle, you know.
Interviewer: Those apartments are still there.
Interviewer: Those apartments are still at the corner of Hampton.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. I think Dora lived there for a while.
Interviewer: Right, right.
Zuckerman: With Dubbie. And . . . .
Interviewer: We lived there. Phil and I lived there for a couple of years.
Interviewer: In ’53, ’54.
Zuckerman: He built real well. Jay Robins built nice places, you know what I mean. He built a lot of homes. The home where Sam and Rose lived was built by him. The one that Ray Kahn lived in was built by Jay Robins.
Interviewer: On Fair Avenue, yeah.
Zuckerman: On Fair Avenue. He built a lot of homes on Fair Avenue. No he was a good builder.
Interviewer: He was a nice guy too, Jay was.
Interviewer: He was a real nice guy.
Zuckerman: Yeah Jay Robins was very nice. But he went broke . . . .
Interviewer: He did go broke?
Zuckerman: Well I think so. He gave up all these homes and they were selling them pretty cheap . . . .
Interviewer: What did they go for, $25-, $30,000?
Zuckerman: So all those homes like Dickie told me . . . . I don’t know what Sam and Rose paid for their apartment, the home, unless they paid $60- or $70,000, let’s say. I don’t think it was any more. I think it was a lot less. When they moved, somebody bought it for something like $125- or $150-. They added maybe a room and they sold it for a quarter of a million later, you know what I mean. The same home.
Interviewer: Isn’t that amazing?
Zuckerman: From $30- or $40,000 to a quarter of a million . . . .
Interviewer: . . . .
Zuckerman: And Dick always felt bad because they didn’t sell that home to him.
Interviewer: Yeah he would have liked to have had that home. That would have been. No Ray and Pauline Kahn, their house on Fair Avenue, that’s where Murrey and Norma Kanter still live there.
Zuckerman: Yeah, yeah. They’re all nice homes out there.
Interviewer: He was good builder, Jay.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, he built nice, he was a quality builder.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Definitely when they start building up Bexley.
Zuckerman: Yeah. He was one of the, well I tell you, I don’t remember any other builders built so many homes to begin with, I mean. He built a lot of homes. In those days they didn’t have these big companies that developed homes for individuals, see. So he was one of the first ones built a lot of homes in Bexley. One of the first people living in Bexley was Harry Mellman and his family and he bought a home, I forget. I think it was, could have been on the first street north of Main.
Interviewer: Drexel, oh. On the corner of Drexel?
Zuckerman: No, north of Main, going east and west of the street in Bexley. And they were one of the first Jewish people I know that moved into Bexley.
Interviewer: Not too many people . . . .
Zuckerman: Many years ago, I was there. I know about how old I was because we used to go there to steal the car at night from his dad. Whenever we met a girl and wanted to show off, we’d steal the Cadillac just to take them out. And then we must have been 14 or 15 so that had to be, I was born in ’08 so it had to be around 1922, ’23 or even before that because I went into the college. We’d do that already so it must have been between ’20 and ’22 when they moved to Bexley. And anyhow there was two uncles that lived with Mellmans, Mrs. Mellman’s brothers. I forget their name, their last name. And one night they caught us stealing the car. But the uncles was pretty nice. I guess they didn’t say anything. But we couldn’t do that again and . . . .
Interviewer: Were the Mellmans in the auto business?
Zuckerman: Harry was the used car business. And then he got in the new car business. And where he got the auto, his father was not in the auto business. I think he was in the junk business. I don’t know. Could have been in the used car business . . . . I know the place was on Main Street right east of Washington on the North Side. I remember the fence for the big yard there. And I forget whether it was the junk business or the used car business. Could be the used car business. And Harry did real well when he ran the new car business. He stayed out of the Army, you know, going in the car business and then Myer joined him later in the manufacturing business.
Interviewer: Myer Mellman?
Zuckerman: Yeah, the manufacturing business. So that’s what was, during the Army Harry got out of the car business, went into manufacturing. That’s what kept him out of the Army and he did well in the manufacturing business.
Interviewer: What did they manufacture, war . . . .
Interviewer: War products?
Zuckerman: No I mean, I don’t know what, they made parts for something, I know that. Auto parts. He manufactured auto parts. ‘Cause I remember I traveled on the road and sold some of his parts for a while as a sideline while I was doing something else. And he made a quality product and then he took in his brother for free and they took in another partner, oh I can’t think of the name, and he became a third partner. And then they pushed Harry out of it.
Interviewer: Is that right?
Zuckerman: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: Well that’s when Columbus started, people started becoming prosperous.
Interviewer: People started getting, going into business.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. The War, World War brought prosperity. There was Depression all through the 30s after the Crash of ’29. The 30s were rough until the war started, you know.
Interviewer: People managed though.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah . . . .
Interviewer: Raised some nice, some wonderful families.
Zuckerman: The world goes on. The life is for the living, their lives. And Columbus is a nice town. People were moreso even now, adapted very easily and came from out of town, I mean.
Interviewer: It’s a warm city.
Zuckerman: . . . . big city or small city. Columbus is sort of a nice metropolitan, give it a little bit of everything.
Interviewer: I think so too.
Interviewer: A lot of people came from the East and settled here.
Interviewer: Many people came from the East and settled here.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, from all over. This is a great center because within 500 miles you have the bulk of the population in the United States. You go 500 miles or 600 miles east to New York. You go west to Chicago for 3- or 350. You go north to Detroit, 200. You know what I mean? You go south to Charleston, West Virginia, a couple of hundred. Go down to Louisville, 200. And it’s . . . .
Interviewer: It’s a big city, huh?
Zuckerman: Yeah. That’s why you got so many people warehousing here now. It’s a central location to keep the things to ship out. And why you got so many offices here now. Lot of people moved their big offices from New York to here. Big companies. Yeah it’s just sort of a insurance center too. A lot of insurance companies moved into Columbus.
Interviewer: What, Nationwide and . . . .
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, Nationwide plus other companies . . . . lot of, sort of a center, you know what I mean like probably up East where the big insurance companies are. But this is a smaller center but a lot of insurance companies here in Columbus. Nationwide of course is the biggest.
Interviewer: It’s a nice Jewish community . . . .
Interviewer: It was always a nice Jewish community.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. Broad Street used to be lined in the middle with trees and beautiful. But they cut out that . . . .
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. They’re talking about doing it again. They want to put them back on Broad Street, you know what I mean.
Interviewer: From downtown?
Zuckerman: Oh ran them from downtown east for several miles. Right downtown to I forget how far east but like, probably, to maybe to Washington Avenue or something like that.
Interviewer: Like a boulevard.
Zuckerman: Yeah, right in the middle. Beautiful trees and plants. It was beautiful. You could pick it out. Because heavy traffic, you know, that made the street wider there. Nowadays they just talk about it. A year or two ago they were going to put back here in the middle.
Interviewer: Wouldn’t that be beautiful?
Zuckerman: Very beautiful.
Interviewer: That’s when everybody started moving out east?
Interviewer: The Jewish people mostly were out around Driving Park area, right?
Zuckerman: Well at first, yeah. But the big area to begin with was . . . .
Interviewer: Have something to drink.
Interviewer: Have a something to drink.
Zuckerman: I don’t want to. I get tired. I’ll just take a taste of it. I don’t like it. No there was a big ghetto around Washington, you know, from say Main into Livingston and from Grant Avenue east maybe, you know, sort of a ghetto. And south on Parsons, you know, to Columbus. But sooner or later they all moved and people, not necessarily bought homes although in the old days they tried to buy homes. They started getting into rental apart- ments I guess. I remember the first home we lived in when I was a kid going to kinder- garten and earlier, we had a home without a bathtub. My mother put my brother and I in a big washtub to bathe us, big washtub she bathed us. You know what I mean? So the first home I know had no bathtub. After that we had bathtubs in our home.
Interviewer: But they managed. The families managed pretty well.
Zuckerman: We had everything we wanted except a bathtub. But as kids it didn’t mean anything to us.
Interviewer: No, no.
Zuckerman: My mom bathed us in a washtub. So we probably thought everybody lived that way.
Interviewer: That’s true, if you don’t know any different it all seems the same. A lot of people . . . .
Zuckerman: That’s right.
Interviewer: The whole mishpocha lived close by, didn’t they?
Zuckerman: Oh yeah, within, no one lived more than a mile apart. I mean closer to a half mile. A lot of people lived within a few blocks of each other. We were in walking distance of everybody. Porches, you sat on porches. People went by, you’d say, “Hello,” and you’d join them on the porch. You didn’t lock your doors. You never locked front doors in those days.
Interviewer: Now the sisters and brothers and their families . . . .
Interviewer: There’s quite a crowd of them, weren’t there?
Zuckerman: Yeah well Meyer had a home on Livingston Avenue and Dave and Dora on Mound Street next to Bobba and Harry and Dora. In back of Dora, Basha on 18th Street south of Fulton and she had a big cherry tree used to overlap the fence and people used to come and steal cherries there and who else there? Mayer there, Basha, Dora, my mom and Max . . . .
Interviewer: Max wasn’t married, was he married then?
Zuckerman: No Max didn’t get married until the 20s. I don’t know, he bought a home or he met her to begin with. See Norman wasn’t born till about ’27 I think. And Sadie died in second childbirth. I don’t know when that was. But then Sam stayed with his mother.
Interviewer: He wasn’t married then?
Zuckerman: No he didn’t get married until after I got married, in ’36. And so I don’t remember . . . .
Interviewer: The whole bunch of you got married late in life, I mean in your 30s.
Zuckerman: Yeah well I guess a lot of us. That was Bill been married, Benny got married, Sam got married, I got married in the 30s. S. Myron got married in the 30s. S. Myron and Esther, I got to tell you something. You know Myra Jean was only, maybe five or six months younger than Lennie. But how she was born is a story. Esther couldn’t get pregnant and she went to Mayo Clinic, she went to New York. No one helped her. But she had a lot of chutspa about her. She knew Annette was pregnant. So she ran up to her baby doctor and . . . . “What did you do for Mrs. Zuckerman?” He said, “I didn’t do anything to her. She was pregnant when I got married to her.” But meanwhile he examined her. He found a deficiency in her pituitary gland and he fixed it up and she got pregnant immediately. So that’s why Myra Jean is here.
Interviewer: Even in those days they had problems.
Zuckerman: Yeah so when I see Myra Jean I always think about that, ’cause she’s only I’d say about four or five months younger than. So she must have gotten pregnant immediately after the doctor . . . . fixed up the other conditions that she had. So you’ve got to be thankful for those things.
Interviewer: That’s right, life is always changing. You never know what causes things.
Interviewer: You’ve got to be very thankful. It’s wonderful for Myra Jean now and it’s wonderful for Esther. That Myra Jean . . . .
Zuckerman: Yeah, I said it was terrific. But it wouldn’t have happened if she wasn’t the kind of person she had. She had a lot of guts, you know what I mean to go over to the doctor and say, “What did you do?”
Interviewer: How did Sammy meet her?
Interviewer: He met her in Dayton?
Zuckerman: Who, Sammy? I don’t know. I remember, all I knew about Sammy is we all used to kid him. I’d say, “Whenever you get married, I know his wife will have big breasts.” Esther did have big breasts. I always knew he’d marry a big-breasted girl. We used to kid him about it. S. Myron. And S. Myron had a tough time. You know he was in the Army right in the middle or his law practice. He got out because they didn’t want the olders or some- thing. Then they took him back in and before he was married he was investing in real estate, you know what I mean. He talked a lot of people into buying stuff like Abe Wolman bought things that Sammy recommended and then when he got out, he sold some of his lots because he needed money, you know what I mean. He practiced. He had a rough time at an age where he could make a lot of money. And but Sammy had his eye on real estate and he had a good . . . .
Interviewer: Good sense?
Zuckerman: He knew what to buy or where. He got a lot of people made a lot of money through him. I remember Abish Wolman bought a lot of stuff that Sammy recommended and Sammy bought some of the stuff himself but he sold some of it early, you know what I mean, before it become of real value. He was hard up for money. And he was a lawyer that people liked. He gave it all the time to his fee. If it was a $25 fee, he worked on it like it was a $1,000 fee.
Interviewer: He was honest.
Zuckerman: He was so proud to win a case . . . . very thorough. No matter who he was. I mean money didn’t mean nothing to him. Winning that case and getting that guy the most money or whatever it is. He was very proud and very efficient.
Interviewer: And he was very honorable too.
Interviewer: He, he was one of the few honorable attorneys.
Interviewer: At that time.
Zuckerman: Very honorable. And that family, they’re all gone now. When Mark passed away, that’s the last of them.
Interviewer: That’s right.
Zuckerman: Everybody. Five children. Let me see, four girls and one boy, Mark, Ann, Min, Toots, yeah. All of them gone. Now they’re the only family that was all gone. Kahn’s had seven children but they’re two left.
Interviewer: Two girls?
Zuckerman: And Dave and Dora still got one left. I think they got a girl, sister died and Butch died and Izzie died. And Dora and Harry have both children left Hesch and Debbie. And my mom, we lost two children but two of us are left. And Max’s Normie is gone so there’s nobody there. And Sam’s children are still alive.
Interviewer: They’re younger.
Zuckerman: He was the last one married. So there’s not many left of the whole grandchildren life the same . . . . 87, let me see. Go down the line . . . . Meyer David has one left. And the next oldest is Basha, there’s two left, that’s four. And Basha, you go to my mother, there’s two left is six. Then you go to Dora and there’s nobody left. You go to Max and nobody left. And then you go to . . . .
Zuckerman: Yeah Sam, he’s got the two children. So that’s seven I guess. That’s right. That’s all there is Zuckermans. Out of maybe 25, you know what I mean.
Interviewer: You used to, you used, remember that big picture, the family picture? You’re on it.
Interviewer: The family picture.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. I don’t know where our copy is. Somebody got a hold of it. I haven’t got it anywhere.
Interviewer: All the kids have them.
Zuckerman: Beautiful picture. Yep. I can see Bobba and Zeyda, my mother there with Max and Basha with the kids.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Where did you take it? At their wedding anniversary?
Zuckerman: Oh I don’t know. It was taken many, many years ago. Freda wasn’t even born then.
Interviewer: Is that right?
Zuckerman: So it was just Bob and I.
Interviewer: Oh sure.
Zuckerman: He was born in 1913. It was taken before 1913. And got to be around 1910 or ’11 or ’12.
Interviewer: What, you remember the other reunion we had in Cincinnati?
Zuckerman: Yeah, yeah . . . .
Interviewer: Now the kids are talking about doing another one
Interviewer: Robert and Susan did the first one. Now nobody wants to take charge of it. But it was wonderful.
Zuckerman: Yeah, so nice. Like I told her at that reunion that it’s not new with our family. We had them at Hanukkah years ago. The same idea that all the family were together.
Interviewer: Well that was so wonderful for this Hanukkah. We had such a wonderful time Aaron, all the little kids and the. And Susan . . . .
Zuckerman: I can’t complain about my youth.
Interviewer: No, no. That’s what life is.
Interviewer: Thank goodness we . . . .
Zuckerman: Yeah we were lucky, I mean. Parents weren’t as strict as you’d think they would be. They were very liberal and they tried to give their children opportunities . . . . And they busted their ass to help us children. They were . . . .
Interviewer: Well there is so many crazy things happening in the world.
Zuckerman: Oh yeah. It could happen to any of us, you know what I mean. But for the grace of God what you see could happen to us. Just look around here, you know what I’m talking about.
Interviewer: That’s right. . . . thank goodness we’re . . . .
Zuckerman: I forgot to ask Gracie about Sol Schottenstein. I didn’t know he was in here.
Interviewer: Yeah . . . .
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