Good afternoon. This is November 5, 2002, and I’m at the home of Bertha Schilling at 3165 Medway in Columbus, Ohio, and I’m Naomi Schottenstein and I’mdoing the interviewing this afternoon.
Interviewer: Bertha, I’m going to first ask you your whole name.
Schilling: Bertha Schilling.
Interviewer: And what is your Jewish name?
Schilling: Baela Ratzie.
Interviewer: Okay. Do you happen to know who you were named after?
Schilling: Yes, Baela was after my mother’s mother and Ratzie
was named after her aunt.
Interviewer: Okay. What was your mother’s mother’s last name?
Schilling: I have no idea ’cause I never knew her. She was in
Interviewer: Okay. And then what about your second name? Do you know
who that person is?
Schilling: Yeah, her last name was Pass but her first name I have no
idea, I can’t remember what her first name was. But her last name was
Pass. They lived here.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Can you tell me your maiden name?
Schilling: Felger, F-E-L-G-E-R.
Interviewer: Okay. Was that the original family name?
Interviewer: Okay, so it wasn’t changed?
Schilling: Well that I don’t know. Somebody, I mean, somebody says
that it was spelled Felgod and then they changed it to Felger or they
changed it when they came over.
Interviewer: But as long as you’ve . . . .
Schilling: I’ve always known it as Felger.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And your husband’s last name. Do you know if
it was always Schilling?
Schilling: Yes, as far as I know, yes.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you don’t know that it was changed?
Interviewer: Do you know how your parents came to Columbus? Why they
settled in Columbus? What brought them here?
Schilling: Well my father came here because his two sisters lived
here. And they brought him over.
Interviewer: And who were his sisters?
Schilling: Well, Bega Perel, that was her Jewish name because
that’s what we always call her, Minna Bega Perel and . . . .
Interviewer: What was her English name? Do you know?
Schilling: I really never knew her English name.
Interviewer: What about her last name?
Interviewer: Oh Felger?
Schilling: Felger, yeah. And his other sister was Ida Goodman, Chaya
Sora, Ida Goodman.
Interviewer: Okay. And what did . . . .
Schilling: And my mother, you want to know that?
Schilling: My mother, her aunt brought her over, Mrs. Pass. I forgot
her first name.
Interviewer: Do you happen to know when they came?
Schilling: I have no idea.
Interviewer: Did they ever tell you about where they came from?
Schilling: Well my mother came from Biditchia in Russia. And my
father I think came from Kiev, I think from Kiev.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Lot of people in Columbus came from Kiev.
Interviewer: And even today, they’re still coming from there.
Schilling: Oh really?
Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah. And tell me again, I wrote this down, but
you tell me where you were born and when?
Schilling: I was born in Columbus, Ohio, June 15, 1917.
Interviewer: Okay and tell me about your family business, what you
dad did for a living.
Schilling: My dad was a tailor.
Interviewer: Uh huh, and where did he work?
Schilling: Well he had his own in the house, he was his own boss. And
then later on he worked for Bunny Ruben and then he worked for Lazarus
as a tailor.
Interviewer: Uh huh. What was Bunny Ruben’s business? Do you
Schilling: Yeah, on Third Street, he had a, well it was a men’s
Schilling: And my father was the fitter and the tailor there.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Did your family always live in Columbus? Your
Interviewer: And do you remember some of the places that you might
have lived in as a youngster and as you grew up?
Schilling: Let’s see. I’m trying to think. We lived, I know we
lived on Fulton Street and we lived on, see I can’t remember. I
remember the street but I can’t remember the name. I can’t remember
Interviewer: Do you remember any of the people that lived around you,
any of your neighbors?
Schilling: No. I know we didn’t live far from the Center Meat
Market. I remember that was on Fulton Street and . . . .
Interviewer: I’m going to ask you more in a little bit about
businesses that you might have remembered as a youngster. So after
Fulton Street, where did you go?
Schilling: I think Fulton was done after. Then we lived out here.
Then we lived on Wager Street and then . . . .
Interviewer: How about when you got married? Where was your family
Schilling: We were on Livingston Avenue. No, no, no, no, no. We lived
on Carpenter Street when we got married.
Interviewer: That area was like a little shtetl wasn’t it?
Schilling: Uh huh.
Interviewer: That’s where all the . . . .
Schilling: Yeah, on Carpenter Street and Gilbert and all those
streets around there. Most of the Jews lived . . . .
Interviewer: Is Carpenter where you lived before you got married?
Interviewer: Until you got married?
Interviewer: Uh huh. And can you remember any of the neighbors at
Schilling: No. I think across the street from us, no that wasn’t on
Carpenter. Oh on Carpenter Street, next door to us lived the Wolmans.
Interviewer: Do you remember their first names?
Schilling: Let’s see, what was his first name. I know he and my dad
used to play pinochle together all the time. And . . . .
Interviewer: Did they have children too?
Schilling: Yeah, was Eva Wolman . . . .
Schilling: Eva and Ookie Wolman. I don’t know what her real name
was but her nickname was Ookie.
Interviewer: Everybody knew each other by their Jewish names?
Schilling: Oh yeah. And Jack Wolman who was a son. And then Tootie,
maybe his name was Stuart but we always, it was Tootie. And he lived in
Indianapolis. He was a pharmacist.
Interviewer: Would that be Abe Wolman’s family?
Schilling: Abe Wolman, right. Abe Wolman was the oldest. And then
across the street from us was the Finkelsteins. What their first names
were I have no idea. I know one daughter is named Bessie. Of course, now
she’s Betty. And the other daughter, Frickie, that’s what we knew
Interviewer: Frickie Finkelstein?
Schilling: Frickie, what her married name was: Weiss. Frickie Weiss.
Interviewer: She no longer lives in Columbus. She moved out several
Schilling: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Well how did you interact with your neighbors?
Were, did you play with your neighbor friends? Did you go to any . . . .
Schilling: Well when we lived on Carpenter Street, let’s see, we
couldn’t have been married from Carpenter Street because Brenda was 5
years old when we lived there. So I must have been married from
Livingston Avenue, when we lived on Livingston Avenue. It must have been
after Carpenter ’cause when we lived on Carpenter Street, Brenda was 5
years old already. She was going to school.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Okay. It will fit in along. Sometimes you
Interviewer: Especially if you’ve lived in several houses.
Schilling: Yeah because Herbie Wolman and what was his brother’s .
. . .
Schilling: Benson. I mean they used to play together, Brenda. So that
was on Carpenter Street. I mean that was, we were married from Carpenter
Interviewer: And so then what you probably remember is that you were
married from Living- ston Avenue?
Schilling: Either Livingston Avenue or Parsons Avenue. One or the
other, I can’t remember.
Interviewer: You lived on Parsons as well?
Schilling: Yeah. My dad had a tailor shop in front and we lived in
Interviewer: Uh huh. So he had his own tailor shop then on Parsons?
Interviewer: Were there any other businesses around there that you
remember, Jewish kinds of businesses?
Schilling: No, not that I know of.
Interviewer: No delis, butcher shops, that kind of thing?
Schilling: No, not. Oh, Mendelman used to be on Livingston Avenue.
Interviewer: Butcher shop?
Schilling: Right. They weren’t far from us.
Interviewer: Okay do you have any brothers or sisters?
Schilling: No just my brother.
Interviewer: You have one brother?
Schilling: One brother.
Interviewer: And his name?
Interviewer: Philip Felger?
Schilling: Uh huh.
Interviewer: Does he have children?
Schilling: Yes he has two.
Interviewer: Tell us who his children are?
Schilling: One is, his daughter is Sharon Solomon now. She’s
Interviewer: Where does she live?
Schilling: She, they live in Atlanta. And Douglas Felger, who lives
in God’s country in Michigan someplace way up.
Interviewer: In the wilderness?
Schilling: In the wilderness.
Interviewer: Is he married?
Schilling: Yes he’s married.
Interviewer: Does he have children?
Schilling: Yes he has two children. He has a daughter and a son and
he’s a dentist.
Interviewer: Philip’s daughter, she’s married. Does she have
Schilling: Yes she has twins.
Interviewer: Twins? Okay. What are their names?
Schillng: Stacy and Scott.
Interviewer: Stacy and Scott. Are they married, too?
Schilling: No, no. Not yet.
Interviewer: Okay. Tell us about some of your other relatives that
you remember growing up.
Schilling: Well I was always close to the Goodman side. My mother was
related to this Pass that brought her over; her aunt brought her over.
She had three daughters that were cousins of my mother. But she wasn’t
close to them. She went over to my dad’s side, the Goodman side, and
she was very, very close to the Goodmans.
Interviewer: Tell me how the Goodmans are related to your dad.
Schilling: Well what I said, Bertha, not Bertha, no her name was
Bertha too, Bertha Byer, but her mother was named Ida. That was my
father’s sister, Ida Goodman and I guess . . . . was my father’s
sister. So my mother was . . . . to them and but she was very, very
close to them.
Interviewer: To your father’s relatives? At this point you don’t
even know, it doesn’t matter . . . . . because you have a warm
Schilling: Yeah and me with all the children and everything. We’re
very, very close.
Interviewer: Uh huh. What were some of the other cousins’ names?
Can you tell us?
Schilling: Of the Goodmans, do you mean?
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: Bertha Meyer . . . .
Interviewer: And Bertha lives in Columbus?
Schilling: Yeah she lives in Columbus.
Interviewer: At Bexley House?
Schilling: Right, right. And Lou Goodman who just passed away. He
passed away a month after my husband died. He passed away last November.
And Willy Goodman. And Ann Ozeroff who was in the area. She’s been
gone for a long time and Esther Schwartz. Do you remember Jack Schwartz?
Schilling: . . . . and his wife Esther. We were very, very close,
very close. We were insepar- able. In fact, Esther and Bertha and
myself, they called us “the three sisters” who were, we were
Interviewer: Grew up together?
Schilling: Right, right.
Interviewer: Probably as close, well you weren’t really that close
in age. There was an age difference?
Schilling: Yeah there was an age difference, only a year or so.
Esther was two and a half years older than me and Bertha, I think Bertha
should be 92 by now. I think she’s 92. So there weren’t, you know,
but we were still very, very close.
Interviewer: Well age didn’t make a lot of difference.
Schilling: No, no it didn’t.
Interviewer: What did you do as kids, you and your, the buddies you
just talked about? What did you do?
Schilling: Well my actually life, I mean they were my friends and we
were very, very close. But I had, there was five girls here and we were
inseparable. There were five of us that was very, very close. There was
Goldie Slaven, Tillie Rosenthal, Ann Green- berg which she’s Ann Isler
now. She lives in California. And myself and who was the fifth one? Oh,
Minnie Sherman. We were the five and we were inseparable.
Interviewer: And you were the same age?
Schilling: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: You go to school together?
Schilling: Uh huh.
Interviewer: You all went to school together?
Schilling: Yeah. Uh huh.
Interviewer: And after school what did you do? Did you go to clubs
together or were you active in a synagogue?
Schilling: No, not really.
Interviewer: Just kind of visited with each other?
Schilling: Yeah, that’s all. I mean we’d hide in the kitchen and
Interviewer: Did they catch you?
Schilling: . . . . catch us. We were about 14 years old, something
Interviewer: Well you had to try it.
Schilling: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: Did your parents smoke? Anybody in your family?
Schilling: My dad. My dad was a heavy smoker.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Uh huh. That wasn’t unusual for that time.
Schilling: Yeah, I know.
Interviewer: Women were making . . . .
Schilling: That’s right.
Interviewer: Yeah I remember that. Uh huh. Do you know how your
parents came to meet each other?
Schilling: Yes. My husband’s father was a booking agent, a booker,
for musicals. For shows, not only musicals, for shows. He was like the
Gallery Players. He was, only in Jewish. And so my dad, because he came
here before my mother, so he belonged to that like the Gallery Players.
I don’t know what they called them then. And then when my mother came,
so she joined. So that’s how they met. My mother and father . . . . .
Interviewer: A drama group, maybe musicals . . . .
Schilling: Right. My father was a great singer, my mother was a
wonderful singer. That’s where Bernard got all this. It’s was from
my mother and father.
Interviewer: So there was talent . . . .
Schilling: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: What about you? Were you a singer?
Schilling: No, no. I danced, I danced. I used to be a tap dancer and
I used to be, in fact I never took any dancing lessons but I had two
girlfriends. I don’t know if you remember the Newpoffs or not.
Interviewer: Yes, yes I do.
Schilling: So anyhow, so their two daughters were dancers and singers
for . . . . they came home.
Interviewer: Were they professional dancers?
Schilling: No, no. They just. Yes, well, Leah their mother used to
introduce us as the three Newpoff sisters and we’d go to different
organizations or something and dance but not, it wasn’t professional.
Interviewer: But you entertained?
Schilling: Yeah we entertained. Yes. And . . . .
Interviewer: You had the confidence to go on . . . .
Schilling: Oh yeah. They came, and they would come home from their
dancing classes and they’d come home and they’d teach me. So we
were, so we danced well together.
Interviewer: Good. So you were part of the group?
Schilling: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: But you didn’t go to any other communities?
Schilling: No, no, no. It was here. Yeah, right.
Interviewer: Did your family speak Yiddish at home or Russian or
Schilling: No they spoke, when they didn’t want us to understand
they spoke Russian. But they spoke Yiddish. My dad spoke English
perfectly well; that’s how we got to, even Brenda understands Jewish
because they spoke Jewish.
Interviewer: You said Brenda lived on Carpenter . . . .
Schilling: Well she was born, Brenda was born, I became pregnant. You
see my husband had a job in Louisville, Kentucky, in a haberdashery
store at that time. And then he was transferred to . . . . I became
pregnant then. And then we moved and then he was transferred to
Cincinnati, the same outfit. And she was born, she wasn’t born there.
She was born in Columbus but, ’cause I had my doctor in Columbus.
Every month I used to travel from Cincinnati to Columbus to see the
doctor and then we moved back to Columbus and . . . .
Interviewer: Who was your doctor then?
Schilling: My cousin, Milt Goodman.
Interviewer: Milt Goodman?
Schilling: Dr. Milt Goodman. Yeah. He was my cousin and he was my
doctor at that time. I used to come, and then . . . .
Interviewer: So she was born . . . .
Schilling: She was born. Well actually she was born here but we lived
in Cincinnati for about a year. She was about a year old when we moved
back to Columbus.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Why did you move back to Columbus?
Schilling: Well my husband had this job at that time, so he didn’t
make much money and paid that kind of salary so but his boss came to
town one time to the store so my husband said to him, “I want to
have a $5 raise.”
Interviewer: Do you have any idea what he was making at that time? It
was kind of . . . .
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: $35. And he says, “I’d like to have a $5
raise,” he says, “because I have a baby now and I need a
little bit more money.” So his boss said, “So I didn’t tell
you to have a child.”
Interviewer: Oh my.
Schilling: So that’s when he quit.
Interviewer: That was the end of that?
Schilling: That was the end of that. That’s when he quit so we
moved back to Columbus and my dad got him a job at Ruben’s where my
dad was working so he was the window trimmer and salesman and buyer and
everything at Ruben’s at the time. And then the war came out, then he
went to wherever it was, what did they call it at that time, that they
built the airplanes out here.
Schilling: No out here in Columbus.
Interviewer: Oh where the airport is?
Schilling: Yeah. Right.
Interviewer: North American?
Schilling: No, I forgot the name of it. Isn’t that awful.
Interviewer: Did you move in with your parents at that time?
Schilling: Yes. We actually came back to Columbus and they were
living on Livingston Avenue and we . . . .
Interviewer: Do you remember your address on Livingston?
Schilling: No. No. And I remember the address on Parsons. It was 589
’cause my mother hit the numbers on 589.
Schilling: That’s where we were married. We were married from
Parsons Avenue. That’s it because she hit the numbers and was able to
make me a big wedding.
Interviewer: Oh that was very timely, wasn’t it?
Schilling: Right. So . . . .
Interviewer: So they did use the knit vest at that time, didn’t
they? I remember . . . .
Schilling: Oh sure. You see it in the paper. You could read the
numbers, what came out that day would be in the paper.
Interviewer: The lottery. Like the lottery. Uh huh.
Schilling: So anyhow, so she kept betting on 589 and then 589 came
Interviewer: At the right time?
Schilling: At the right time.
Interviewer: So you actually lived with your parents then?
Schilling: We lived with my parents and it was very small. I’ll
never forget. It just had two, was very, very small ’cause my dad,
like I said, my dad had the tailor shop in front and then we had, we
lived in the back. And so it was just two bedrooms and a kitchen. That
was it. I mean.
Interviewer: One bathroom?
Schilling: One bathroom, I’m sure, yeah. And I remember when we
moved back here so we put the crib in with Lou and I in the same room
and then one morning or one evening Brenda says to us, she says, “I
want to come in bed with you.” So Lou picked her up and put her in
bed with us and he gets out of bed and gets in her crib.
Interviewer: Oh he was playful?
Schilling: She laughed so hard at him and it was so cute.
Interviewer: It sounds like he was a fun person.
Schilling: He was, he was great. He was great.
Interviewer: That’s cute. That’s a nice story to remember.
Schilling: Yeah it was so cute.
Interviewer: Yeah, that’s good. So you got along with your . . . .
Schilling: So then from there we moved to, first we moved to Ann
Street I think. No, no, no, no, no, no. No it must have been Carpenter
Street. I don’t know ’cause, no my mother and dad always lived with
Interviewer: Oh okay.
Schilling: Then we took over everything and then we moved to, I can’t
remember the street, what was it? Where did we move to?
Interviewer: Did you ever live on Bedford?
Interviewer: That was a different Schilling?
Schilling: No. Oh that was my brother-in-law.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: That was Lou’s brother, Jack.
Schilling: Jack and Ann. Yeah. They lived on Bedford. Yes. And then
we . . . .
Interviewer: So then you moved and your mother and dad continued to .
. . .
Schilling: They always lived with us. Yes. Then after my dad passed
away, why my mother still lived with us.
Interviewer: Do you remember when your father passed away? What year
it might have been?
Schilling: I know he was only 57 years old when he died. What year
was it? Oh I know ’cause we bought this house on Chelsea. We moved to
Chelsea, that’s it. Chelsea in Bexley we moved to and we hadn’t
lived there a year and my dad passed away. So I think it was . . . .
Interviewer: And Brenda was how old by then?
Schilling: Ten. She was 10 years old when my father died and so what
year was it?
Interviewer: When was Brenda born? Let’s talk about . . . .
Schilling: Brenda was born in 1940.
Interviewer: Okay so your father passed away in 1950?
Schilling: Yeah. That’s about right. Yes.
Interviewer: Okay. Tell us about Brenda. What’s her birthdate?
Schilling: Brenda’s birthday is June 3, 1940.
Interviewer: Okay. And tell us about her family. What was her name .
. . .
Schilling: She married Fred Davidorf who is an opthalmologist and
they had three children, Brad, Melissa and Michelle.
Interviewer: Okay. Tell us about each one, how old they are and what
their family situation is.
Schilling: Well Brad is married to Beverly which, they live in
Atlanta and they have a little boy who will be 2 in January.
Interviewer: And his name?
Schilling: His name is Matthew. And Melissa lives, she used to live
in Atlanta but then her husband was transferred to Omaha, Nebraska.
Interviewer: What’s her husband’s name?
Schilling: Adam Pressman. And she had two children. She has a little
boy Larry. There he is right there. He was born 19–, he’ll be four
years old in July and she has a little girl Dobby who was named after
Fred’s grandfather who’s name was David so she named her Dobby.
Interviewer: Oh that’s cute.
Schilling: They named her Dobby. And Michelle married, she lives here
in Columbus. She married Shaun Zimmerman and they have a little girl
that will be a year old; when will she be a year? I don’t know.
Interviewer: I met her recently and she is a cutie.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: She’s pregnant again. Yes, yeah.
Interviewer: That’s nice. Well at least you have them close.
Schilling: Yeah. But they bought a place in Millersport, a great big
4 acres of land or something and redoing a whole house and everything. I
very seldom see the baby now. I said, “When you go to Millersport,
I’ll never see her.”
Interviewer: Well you’ll have to go and stay overnight.
Schilling: Yeah that’s what he told me. He said, Shaun says to me,
he says, “You’ll come here.” So I said, “What am I
going to do, walk?” So he says, “Oh I’ll come and get you
and you’ll spend the night with us.”
Interviewer: Well that sounds like fun.
Schilling: Yeah. She’s a doll baby. She’s ten months old I think.
Oh she’ll be a year on December 12. She’ll be a year.
Interviewer: Well you remember that.
Schilling: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: Now when the kids grew up, Brenda and her family grew up
on acreage too, I remember where . . . .
Schilling: Gahanna. In Gahanna. Like that’s where Michelle was
born, in Gahanna.
Interviewer: Well she probably remembered the outdoors.
Schilling: Oh yeah, it was great. In fact after she and Fred
divorced, why she kept staying, and the kids were gone and went to
school. She was living there all by herself. I said, “What do you
need a house with enormous…” I said, “what do you
need this big house for?” So she said, “I love it.” So I
said, “I know you love it but it’s ridiculous, you know.” So
after a while some attorney came along and asked her if she would like
to sell her house. And so she did . . . .
Interviewer: It was a good opportunity . . . .
Schilling: That’s right. And she sold it and she built the house in
Interviewer: So she now lives in New Albany?
Interviewer: Does your family have many opportunities to get together
for reunions or simchas, of course?
Schilling: Oh always, always.
Interviewer: So when you gather together is it just Brenda and the
children or your relatives, your other mishpocha?
Schilling: Well if it’s a lunch, now when Fred’s mother was
living, Brenda was very close to her. She was very close to her and she
still always called her “Mom.” So even after they were
divorced, she still called her “Mom” and included her in
everything and the grandparents too. I mean, it was, well the Davidorfs,
they were great people. And . . . .
Interviewer: I think I remember Brenda telling me at some point that
she, a lot of her recipes came from her mother-in-law.
Schilling: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: She must have been a great cook.
Schilling: Yeah she was a great cook and so for Passover, the gefilta
fish would come into, I think my mother did. My mother, she gave her, my
mother you know when they gave you a recipe, they used to say shiteran,
put this in, shiteran. They never had a
measurement, there was no measurement. So Brenda would sit down at the
table and she would say to Bobba, she said, “Give me, tell
me what it is and I’ll put it in a cup and then I’ll write it
down.” That’s what she did.
Interviewer: Uh huh. She transferred it . . . .
Schilling: Yeah, that’s right.
Interviewer: so that she could remember it?
Schilling: Remember it and the amounts, you know. And then some
pastries my mother used to bake all the time. Momma used to call it fafaschia,
a soft strudel. It was cookie dough rolled up with different kinds of
jellies and all kinds and it was just delicious. So Brenda makes that
all the time. She bakes that on Rosh Hashonah, she always makes that.
And gefilta fish,she bakes it for Rosh–, no we don’t have gefilta
fish on Rosh Hashonah. Pesach we have gefilta fish. And . . .
Interviewer: And kreplach?
Schilling: And kreplach, yes. That’s right. Mama taught her
how to do the kreplach, that’s right.
Interviewer: So Brenda’s a real old-school cook?
Schilling: Oh yes, when she cooked. I mean when she did, she always
Interviewer: Well when her family . . . .
Schilling: Yeah that’s right.
Interviewer: Now it sounds like your mother really is the one who,
your mother and Brenda’s mother-in-law are the ones who taught her.
Interviewer: I mean you . . . . cook, or you didn’t . . . .
Schilling: Me, I was never. When my mother and dad lived with us, I
told my mother, I said, “Look,” because two women in the
kitchen never got along. I says, “You take care of the kitchen and
I’ll take care of the rest of the house.” So that was it. So my
mother did, took care of the kitchen and she did all the cooking and I
took care of the rest of the house.
Interviewer: So you both were happy in your new . . . . and that
Schilling: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
Interviewer: And then your mother lived with you until she passed
Schilling: Until she passed away. Right.
Interviewer: Do you remember when your mother passed away?
Schilling: Oh I’m sure it’s in here but I don’t know where it .
. . .
Interviewer: Looking at a family Bible and she’s got a lot of
information written in there about births and deaths. That’s a good
idea to write some of those things down.
Schilling: (shuffling pages) This is where the kids were born.
Interviewer: Well so how old was Brenda then when your mother passed
away? Was Brenda married yet?
Schilling: Oh yeah, Brenda was married already. Yes, yes. ‘Cause my
mother walked down the aisle with her.
Interviewer: So that was a, making Brenda a lot of wonderful memories
too growing up like that with that kind of love and care.
Schilling: Oh yes. It just starts giving the kids names and who they’re
named after, the Jewish names, the grandchildren.
Interviewer: Yeah, it’s a good thing you wrote them down. We can’t
just forget those names. . . . .
Schilling: ‘Cause Brenda’s Jewish is Brondel Pescha.
Interviewer: Who was she named after? Do you remember?
Schilling: Brondel, I think it was my father’s mother. Which I
never knew, I mean, she was never here. His father came here but I never
remembered him. I mean, the Good- mans all remember him, because I was
too young. Because maybe I was a year and a half old when he passed
Interviewer: But he lived in Columbus?
Schilling: He lived in Columbus, yes, right.
Interviewer: What was his, do you remember what his, well what would
his first name be?
Schilling: Oh his name was Pinchas, that’s, my brother’s
named after him.
Schilling: Pinchas. . . . . of course he was . . . . There was
no English name for him. And . . . .
Interviewer: Well that was kind of popular too if you had a Yiddish
name. That’s how people . . . .
Schilling: . . . . too.
Interviewer: I’m just curious . . . .
Schilling: Brenda was divorced in 1983.
Interviewer: 1983? Uh huh. Well that’s twenty years ago. Well let
me ask you a couple of other questions.
Interviewer: When you were a kid or as long back as you can remember,
tell me about some of the things you remember as a little kid. I know
that when we were little, I don’t remember toys. When my kids ask me
about toys, I don’t have very much to tell them about toys. We didn’t
have very much of that.
Schilling: I can’t remember. I remember I had a little sewing
machine, a little tiny sewing machine. I think my cousin got me that.
Interviewer: Maybe they thought you would take after your father.
Schilling: And what . . . . Oh I had a doll, until my brother and I
started fighting over it so my dad got angry and he took the sewing
machine and threw it out of the window. (Laughs)
Interviewer: That was the end of the sewing machine?
Schilling: That was the end of the sewing machine. And I had dolls
and of course, Esther and I used to make a doll bed, you know, or
something put together and we had dolls and we played with them and . .
Interviewer: How about games outside? Did you play outside a lot?
Schilling: I guess we, yeah, well we, sure we used to play on the
corner. Used to get on Wager Street. We used to get on four corners and
“Go Sheep Go” or things like that we used to play.
Interviewer: Run from one corner to the other?
Schilling: Run to the other or somebody would hide and you had to go
Interviewer: Hide and Go Seek?
Schilling: Hide and Go Seek. We used to play those kind of things,
yes, when we were little.
Interviewer: So it didn’t take, it just took imagination and . . .
Schilling: That’s right. That’s all.
Interviewer: And you had a lot of fun?
Schilling: That’s all.
Interiewer: Well you didn’t have television and not everybody had
radios then either, did they?
Schilling: No, no, no.
Interviewer: Do you remember listening to the radio?
Schilling: Oh and how. I loved the radio ’cause I used to love to
read. I can’t read any more ’cause I can’t see, but always used
the radio and read at the same time: read and listen to the radio.
Interviewer: Do you remember any of the things you listened to on the
Schilling: I think it was soap operas.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: I think it was soap operas and . . . .
Interviewer: Do you remember the names of any of them?
Schilling: No I can’t remember. I think they’re still on. I think
they’re on TV now. I think they still are. So no, I can’t actually
remember . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have a telephone as a youngster in your home?
Schilling: Yeah, we had a phone.
Interviewer: And how did you get around?
Schilling: My dad drove.
Interviewer: Did he have a car?
Interviewer: What about a bus or street car?
Schilling: We used to take a street car. Sure we used to take a
street car. In fact, when I used to go to work, was it a street car or a
bus at that time? I think it must have been a street car.
Interviewer: Yeah, could you describe what the street car was, you
know, in today’s world, we don’t have street cars . . . .
Schilling: It’s just like in San Francisco where they have the
cable cars, the same idea. And . . . .
Interviewer: They ran by electric poles?
Schilling: I imagine, I guess something, I guess so, somehow or
Interviewer: Do you remember what it cost to go on the street car?
Schilling: Three cents I think. I think it was 3 cents on a bus too.
Schilling: Yeah, and then I remember we had a dog named Tarzan.
Interviewer: Oh. Tarzan was popular.
Schilling: Anyhow so he was a great dog and my brother just adored
him and so when my brother would be home ’cause his nickname, ’cause
I couldn’t say Pinchas when I was little so I always used to
call him “Picky.”
Schilling: So for Pinchas, I used to call him Picky, so he
still is. He’s still Picky.
Interviewer: That’s how I’ve always known him, as Pick.
Schilling: That’s right. We still call him Pick.
Interviewer: Or Phil would be his name?
Schilling: Yeah that’s the same name. So Mom used to holler,
“Go get Picky. Go get Picky.” So the dog would run up the
stairs, you know, and try to find my brother and, ‘course he wasn’t
there. And then my mother-in-law gave me a little tiny puppy, just a
tiny little puppy. So this Tarzan used to watch over this little puppy;
you never saw anything like it. I left the house to go to get on the
street car or the bus, I can’t remember which it was, and I would have
to cross the street to get on there. So the little puppy would start
following to go across the street. But Tarzan would take his paw and put
it right on top of her to stop her from going across the street.
Interviewer: To protect the puppy. What was the puppy’s name?
Schilling: I don’t remember. I don’t remember.
Interviewer: But you have fond memories of having puppies and Tarzan?
Schilling: Oh yeah. Tarzan.
Interviewer: I don’t know if I asked you what your brother did for
Schilling: He sold for Schiff’s.
Interviewer: Oh that’s right. I did ask, have that down. Yeah.
Schilling: Yeah, he used to work for Schiff’s.
Interviewer: And what about . . . .
Schilling: Called Shoe Corp. at the time.
Interviewer: Shoe Corp. Right, I remember. How did the girls dress at
that time? Where did you buy your clothes? Did you buy them? Did you
have them made? Your dresses? You didn’t wear slacks at that time, did
Schilling: No, we never wore slacks. Well we used to go to Roberts
and buy clothes.
Interviewer: Was Roberts a . . . .
Schilling: A dress shop downtown. And see my aunt, . . . . mother, .
. . . mother, she used to sew. I don’t remember if she made anything
for us or not. I can’t remember. I know she made a lot of clothes. She
was a great seamstress.
Interviewer: So what were some of the other stores that you gals
Interviewer: Lazarus? It was always Lazarus?
Schilling: Lazarus was always around. Then there was, what the hell’s
the name, . . . . shoes, maybe we . . . .
Schilling: Morehouse. And then one on, the store with a little, was
on Main Street. I’m trying to think of the name of it. Oh, I tell you
. . . .
Interviewer: Was this just a ladies clothing store . . . .
Interviewer: or department store?
Schilling: Yes a ladies clothing store. I can’t remember the name.
I remember ’cause I always had a large head, always had, and at that
time they used to wear the straw hats with the wide brim with the ribbon
going down the back.
Interviewer: Oh yeah.
Schilling: And everybody used to wear them and I wanted one so badly
and I could never get one to fit my head ’cause it was so big.
Interviewer: They didn’t have a lot of variety of sizes in there?
Schilling: No not too much. So anyhow, I can’t remember the name. I
keep wanting to say White’s but that’s not right. That was a
furniture store, White’s.
Interviewer: What about other kinds of stores? I get a lot of the
same comments about like butcher shops and bakeries and so forth. You
said you lived on Parsons Avenue and it seems to me I remember Godofsky’s.
Didn’t they have a butcher shop on Parsons?
Schilling: Ummmmmm. I don’t remember. I don’t think it was on
Parsons. I think Godofsky’s was on Livingston.
Interviewer: Yeah I remember that on Livingston.
Interviewer: What about any of the deli stores or any of the other
Schilling: There was . . . . was Hepp’s, that was a delicatessen.
That was on, was it on Fulton or someplace? Then there was Center’s
meat shop. That’s who my mother used to deal with all the time was
Interviewer: What about bakeries?
Schilling: Bakeries? Schwartz’s, Schwartz’s Bakery.
Interviewer: That was it?
Schilling: Yeah that was it.
Interviewer: And they did have good stuff?
Schilling: Uh huh.
Interviewer: Uh huh. What about what was then Schonthal Center before
our Jewish Center as we know it now? Did you go there?
Schilling: Always, always.
Interviewer: What were the activities that . . . .
Schilling: Oh we used to be in plays and I danced there and we used
to have affairs there, you know, and then there was a Jewish, I don’t
know if he was a football player or basketball player at Ohio State. He’d
come there and teach us to play basketball and I was, I went there and
we used to walk. I, we lived on Parsons Avenue and we used to walk all
the way to Schonthal Center. And that was right across from the Hebrew
School; the Hebrew School was right there too.
Interviewer: Did you go to the Hebrew School?
Schilling: Yes for a little while. Not for long. And . . . .
Interviewer: Uh huh. Who was your teacher then, do you remember?
Schilling: Mr. Solomon.
Interviewer: Mr. Solomon?
Schilling: Mr. Solomon.
Interviewer: The same Bernard Solomon that we, I remember?
Schilling: Yeah, yeah. . . . . I think Mr. Metchnik, I think that was
Leah Godofsky’s father.
Schilling: Metchnik. So he was the principal of the Hebrew School.
And I remember we used to walk. I mean . . . . by myself I used to walk
down, straight down Parsons Avenue to go to the Jewish Center, to the
Schonthal Center . . . .
Interviewer: Well you wouldn’t walk out the door there now?
Schilling: Yeah, never. I mean the people, we sat around, the blacks
are loose . . . . pay attention to you even.
Interviewer: No, it was a different world.
Schilling: That’s right, oh yes, much, much more.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: Yes. Because it was . . . .
Interviewer: It was a lot easier . . . .
Schilling: Right. That’s right.
Interviewer: Do you remember any of the music from that time if you
were a dancer and you were involved in . . . .
Schilling: Oh we used to go, we’d go to Olentangy Park, we’d go
Interviewer: On North High Street? Way up on North High Street?
Schilling: Right. And they had the great bands used to come there.
Frank Sinatra came there.
Interviewer: Did you see Frank Sinatra?
Schilling: And then we used to go to Buckeye Lake and they used to
have dancing there. It was great. At Indianola. Not Indianola. Was it
Indianola? There was a lot of places we used to go dancing. In fact,
when we worked, the Ionian Room at the Deshler Hotel, they used to have
dancing in the afternoon.
Schilling: Afternoon. Lunch time. And also there was a State
Restaurant on State Street. Was it on State Street? Must have been if it
was State. And they used to have dancing in the afternoon too, lunch
time. Used to go there all the time.
Interviewer: During the week?
Schilling: During the week.
Interviewer: So if you went for lunch, you could stay and just . . .
Schilling: Dance. Right.
Interviewer: Did you pay extra for dancing?
Schilling: Huh uh. No.
Interviewer: Part of . . . .
Schilling: It was part of the thing. That’s right.
Interviewer: So that was the era of the big band sound?
Schilling: Oh yes, oh yes. It was great, it was just great. The music
was so wonderful.
Interviewer: You mentioned Frank Sinatra. Were there other name stars
that you remember or bands you remember that came by?
Schilling: Louis Prima. He came back. He came to my, when my husband
started working, we went into the bar business and the grill, so first
he went to work for Jack Sher. Jack Sher, do you remember him? Jack and
Shirley Sher? Well they had, the brothers had bars all over and Lou, my
Lou, he used to go from bar to bar to check . . . . .
Schilling: to check it out, you know.
Interviewer: Do you know what the name of their bars . . . .
Schilling: Sons bar.
Interviewer: Like S-U-N or S-O-N?
Schilling: S-O-N. And anyhow, they had a manager, they had a store at
Main and High, a restaurant and one of the managers there at that time
was married to this woman who had a sister that was married to Louis
Prima. So they brought Louis Prima to that place there.
Interviewer: I’m going to stop this tape and turn it over and I
want you to tell us a little more about Louis Prima because kids won’t
know what we’re talking about, but I know what you’re talking about.
Interviewer: At this point, I’m going to turn the tape over from
Side A to Side B of Tape 1.
Okay, we’re on Side B of Tape l. You were talking about Louis Prima
and what can you tell us about Louis Prima?
Schilling: Well there’s nothing much to tell, I mean, I just adore
him. He was just great.
Interviewer: He was a singer and . . . .
Schilling: A singer and he used to dance. Have you ever seen Louis
Interviewer: Yeah he had a band.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Schilling: And he was funny, he was really funny. He was just great.
I used to love to listen to him and I remember when he came here, so my
daughter and her husband, we all went there to be with him, you know, to
Interviewer: So he was kind of like . . . . all relationships?
Schilling: Yeah, right. Then we, then Lou and I, I don’t know if we
were in Las Vegas or California, I can’t remember where we were, and
Louis Prima was playing some- place and we went up and we talked to him
and he talked to us. It was just great. And another time, do you
remember Circleville, what was his name?
Interviewer: Ted Lewis?
Schilling: Ted Lewis. We were in Boston visiting, my brother was
living in Boston at the time. And we were in Boston and we went to this
restaurant and Ted Lewis was playing there. So Lou sent him back a note
that we were from Circleville. All he had to hear was Circleville, that’s
all he had to hear. He said, “I’m sorry ladies and gentlemen, I
have to quit.” He said, “I have my friends here from
Circleville and I have to sit down and talk to them.” And he came
over and he sat down and he talked to us and he was just wonderful. He
was just . . . .
Interviewer: He was a very warm person.
Schilling: Oh he was just great. He was just great. And we didn’t
tell him we didn’t live in Circleville but . . . . we had business in
Interviewer: Did he know you? Did he know who you were at that point?
Schilling: No, no, no, he didn’t know.
Interviewer: He had been traveling the world.
Schilling: Yeah, oh yeah. He had a wonderful wife who was wonderful.
He was wonderful too to Ted Lewis’ niece and nephew, the Friedmans
here. He was wonderful to them.
Interviewer: Yeah they have wonderful memories of him. You mentioned
Las Vegas. Did you and Lou travel very much?
Schilling: Well no. We went to Cal—, Fred was interning in
California so we went out there to visit.
Interviewer: Right. Very wonderful.
Schilling: Yeah. And so we went out to visit and Brenda was there and
Brad was already born. And we went out to visit them and they said,
“We better go to Las Vegas.” That’s the only time we were in
Las Vegas, that one time. So that’s, Brad is 37 I think, so it’s 36
years ago. He was a year old. That’s when we saw Frank Sinatra too. He
was there. In fact, he was the next cage to Brenda and he was getting
money for, he used to take little velvet bags and fill them with silver
dollars to give it to all the waitresses. He was very kindhearted.
Interviewer: How generous.
Schilling: Yes, he was very nice. And then we went to, of course my
brother lived in Boston so we went to visit him in Boston and then we
went to Europe one time. We went to Israel twice. One time we went with
the Federation and the next time we went with Fred and Michelle; no
Michelle wasn’t born yet I don’t think. Melissa and Brad. And we all
went to Israel together.
Interviewer: Oh that was nice.
Schilling: Oh it was just wonderful. We had a private manager of a
car and he took us to places that nobody ever went to, just great
places. And it was just wonderful. And then we went to Europe with our
neighbors when we lived on Chelsea.
Interviewer: Who were the neighbors?
Schilling: Westermans, Edith and Art Westerman. And he was already in
Europe and so we met them there.
Interviewer: What was he doing in Europe?
Schilling: Well he was working for Battelle and they sent him there
for a business for some- thing or other, some kind of business. So,
anyhow, we went there, it started in London but we went from New York,
from here to New York to London and then we met the tour people, you
know, and we went to London, we went to Paris, we went to Rome and to
Switzerland and oh, it was just delightful. It was just . . . .
Interviewer: How long were you gone?
Schilling: Don’t remember. We must have been, must have been . . .
. but we had a great time.
Interviewer: So you had some nice traveling experiences?
Schilling: Yeah, yeah. . . . . we were very, very close to the
Westermans, so we went to New York together and then we went to one of
the, in Ohio, these little places where they have golf and things like
Interviewer: State park?
Schilling: Yeah . . . .
Interviewer: Did you ever play golf?
Schilling: Yeah, we played golf. We belonged to Groveport, the
Westermans and us. So we always played golf.
Interviewer: And Lou played golf too?
Schilling: Yeah, oh yeah.
Interviewer: How long ago has it been since you played golf?
Schilling: Well when I quit, stopped, couldn’t see, then we
stopped. Then Lou stopped feeling well so we just stopped playing.
Interviewer: What is your eye problem?
Schilling: I have macular degeneration. It gets worse all the time.
There’s nothing to do for it, nothing at all.
Interviewer: What was Lou’s illness?
Schilling: When he passed away? I really don’t know. I keep asking
Alan about it. So he says, “Everything was failing.” His
kidney was failing and everything was just failing in him and so . . . .
Interviewer: Alan was your doctor?
Schilling: Alan Weinberg, yeah. He’s a doll baby.
Interviewer: Well, you had a nice life together.
Schilling: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: How many years were you married all together?
Schilling: Sixty —
Interviewer: What year were you married?
Schilling: 1937 and he died in ’91.
Interviewer: Uh huh, so it sounds like 64 years?
Schilling: Something like that.
Interviewer: Can you tell us about your wedding?
Schilling: Well our ceremony was at Lou’s parents’ house. We had
the ceremony there.
Interviewer: Were they living on Livingston Avenue?
Schilling: Yeah. And then after the wedding, then we went, belonged
to Beth Jacob at the time and we had a dinner and a dance at Beth Jacob.
It was very nice.
Interviewer: Who was the Rabbi at that time?
Schilling: Rabbi Greenwald. And then for our honeymoon, we went to,
where did we go? To Chicago. We went to the Palmer House in Chicago.
Interviewer: It’s still there too.
Schilling: Yeah. Yeah.
Interviewer: How did you travel at that time?
Schilling: In a car.
Interviewer: You had your own car?
Schilling: Lou had his car. Yeah. And we got as far as Lima, Ohio,
and the car breaks down. So we had to have it fixed. So we took it to a
garage and they fixed it and, it was the funniest thing, and we went to
a hotel to go to rest and we rested and the car was finished and then we
pulled up, something was wrong with the radiator or something. So we
get, pull up in front of the Palmer House and the radiator was all but
dirt. We pulled up, looked like a bunch of hillbillies, pulled up in
front of the Palmer House and the windows were all black and everything
. . . . (laughter) . . . . the neighbors must have thought, “Who
are these people?”
Interviewer: The Palmer House is a beautiful place.
Schilling: Yes it is a great place.
Interviewer: So that was a great memory too?
Schilling: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: Let’s see now, what else can we ask you about? What
about during the war, during World War II? What was your life like at
Schilling: Well Lou worked for, out here at — why can’t I think of
the name? They used to make airplanes out here in Columbus. Oh . . . .
Interviewer: North American?
Schilling: No, no. Oh I can’t, isn’t that awful that I can’t
think of the name. You get . . . . that you can’t remember things.
Interviewer: Well the only ones I can think of are Rickenbacher and .
. . .
Schilling: No, no, no it was here in Columbus.
Interviewer: Port Columbus?
Schilling: No, no. So anyhow, so he worked there during the war and
then he was called up to go but they refused him because my mother went
to a certain doctor, I can’t remember his name either, and he was on
the board of the, checking if they’re well enough and this and that,
you know, and my mother was so upset. She was so upset that Louis is
going to go to war, he, Louis, and my God. So she, so he says, “Don’t
worry about it.”
Interviewer: She convinced him?
Schilling: So he wasn’t, and he refused him. So he didn’t have to
go to war.
Interviewer: Well that was lucky.
Schilling: Yeah, right. So anyhow so . . . .
Interviewer: What about during the war? Did you do anything special
like for . . . .
Schilling: I don’t remember. No, no, I didn’t.
Interviewer: Do you remember rationing during the war?
Schilling: Oh yes, with those stamps and everything. Oh sure.
Interviewer: Tell us a little bit about that. Somebody asked me not
too long ago to describe it.
Schilling: Yeah. They had, they had stamps and you were allowed so
much meat with the stamps and that’s all you could get. And . . . .
Interviewer: You used your stamps up and you were done?
Schilling: That’s right. I mean you had to be very careful ’cause
they were rationing everything. They were rationing gas. They were
rationing everything at the time.
Interviewer: I remember sugar.
Schilling: Oh sure, everything.
Interviewer: Margarine. Margarine or butter.
Schilling: Butter yeah. Everything, they were rationing everything.
Interviewer: But nobody starved here. Somehow we managed.
Schilling: No, no.
Interviewer: I remember trading stamps too. If you were short one . .
. . a neighbor or a friend or relative, and . . . . change your
Schilling: That’s right.
Interviewer: Did you have a lot of your friends and Lou’s friends
that were in the service?
Schilling: The only one that I remember that was in the service, ’cause
none of the family was in the service, oh my brother. What am I saying?
My brother. He was even hurt. He was in the Medical Corps which was
overseas, which was just great and then my big shot brother decides he
doesn’t want to be in the Medical Corps. He wants to be a lieutenant
in something. So they sent him back to Columbus and he should be a
lieutenant and they’ll teach you here. So they said, “You might
be a lieutenant overseas but you’re not a lieutenant in the
States.” So he wanted to learn to fly a plane. He wanted to learn
to fly a plane. I said, “You’re nuts.” So anyhow, so what
happened, they put him in the Engineer Corps which was a terrible corps,
I mean they went out before the soldiers went out and then he got hurt.
He was hurt, I mean, something hit the jeep he was in or something and
it turned over . . . .
Interviewer: Where was it?
Schilling: I don’t know where . . . .
Interviewer: Was it overseas?
Schilling: Yeah he was overseas. I remember he was someplace, I don’t
remember where it was exactly. So yeah, he was injured and he got a
Interviewer: Was he shipped back at that time then? Shipped back to
the country? To here? Or did he continue?
Schilling: No he continued. I don’t think he was shipped back at
the time. I don’t think he came back until everybody was coming back.
And I remember he came by train up there at the train station and my Dad
went to meet him and he gets off and he had everybody crying at that
train station. He got off the train and he bent down and he kissed the
Interviewer: Your brother did?
Schilling: My brother did. That he was in America, you know. And
everybody standing around waiting for their family to come in too, you
know, and everybody started crying when he did that.
Interviewer: An emotional moment?
Schilling: That’s right. That’s right.
Interviewer: Yeah. You mentioned our train station. That was a
Schilling: Oh it was a great place. I wish they would have the trains
back again. I loved the trains. I just loved them. Loved to go to the
dining car and eat there. It was just great.
Interviewer: Did you travel by train?
Schilling: Not so very much. We went to Cleveland by train and where
else did we go? I don’t know, we didn’t travel much. But it was just
a great place; it was won- derful. In fact they have the arch someplace,
don’t they? Where is it?
Interviewer: The arch is near Nationwide . . . . yes. Yeah, the arch
is there. And do you remember the arches on High Street, on what we now
call “Short North?” They had arches over the street, metal
arches with lights. Do you remember that? The reason I mention it is
that I just saw in the paper where they’re redoing High Street and
they’re going to put arches back up.
Schilling: I don’t think I remember that.
Interviewer: Columbus at that time was referred to as “Arch
City” or “Arch Street.”
Schilling: Really? I don’t remember.
Interviewer: We’re going back . . . .
Interviewer: Do you remember when television first came out?
Schilling: Yeah we were one of the first on the street. At that time
I think we lived on Ann Street and all the kids used to come in and sit
on the floor and watch TV.
Interviewer: It was really a phenomenon.
Schilling: Oh yes . . . . Milton Berle . . . .
Interviewer: We were spellbound when Milton Berle . . . . and gave us
an opportunity to see a lot of other things and people. And then little
by little, everybody got one.
Schilling: Yeah, everybody got one.
Interviewer: Did your family always have a telephone?
Schilling: Yes. We always had a phone. Yes.
Interviewer: Let’s see. Well we talked about a lot of things that
kind of tied up together. How do you feel about the way life is going
now, you know, in terms of socializing and all the things that are . . .
. such wonderful inventions for us? Are you comfortable with the world
as it is now? Or do you think back a lot to where life used to be?
Schilling: Well, I think back a lot like it used to be. It used to be
wonderful. I mean, you look back, you had your whole family here and now
there’s nobody here, none of the family is here. There’s only one
with Bertha and . . . .
Interviewer: Well but Bertha has children and . . . .
Schilling: She has children. She has two sons so she canahora,
I think she has 9 great- grandchildren. And I think another one’s on
the way. Yeah, I think Debbie’s having another child. So she’ll have
Interviewer: Well and they live in Columbus.?
Schilling: They all live in Columbus. Except one grandson. One, no,
yeah, it’s a grandson. One grandson lives in New York.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you get to interact with your nephews and
Schilling: Yeah, once in a while. Not too often, not too often. They’re
too busy with their own lives, you know, their own family and
Interviewer: Well that happens too.
Interviewer: Families get bigger and it isn’t always easier . . . .
Schilling: That’s right. Of course, when we have a big affair like
Melissa’s wedding and this and that, then they’re all invited, all
of the . . . .
Interviewer: Special events?
Interviewer: What are memories of some of the Presidents that we’ve
had? Today’s Election Day so . . . . start to recall . . . .
Schilling: I hope my little David won.
Interviewer: David Goodman?
Schilling: I hope he won.
Interviewer: Part of your mishpocha?
Schilling: Oh yes.
Interviewer: Well he certainly has done some wonderful advertising.
Schilling: He’s such a doll baby. I just love him.
Interviewer: Yeah he’s a wonderful person. I think he has a good
Schilling: Yeah. I hope so.
Interviewer: That’s on record.
Schilling: How many days . . . . that’s on record. In fact that
other girl, she never advertised on TV. The only time was when they
talked about David, they showed her picture that she wasn’t any good.
She didn’t do this and she didn’t do that. But she never commented
herself, you know, about . . . .
Interviewer: She probably didn’t have the . . . .
Schilling: The money?
Schilling: I’ll have to ask David where he got his money, where he
got his funding.
Interviewer: Be sure to ask him.
Schilling: I am.
Interviewer: Let’s see what he tells you. What about any of the
Presidents? We have to talk about Presidents that we remembered and . .
Schilling: Oh I remember President Roosevelt, naturally and he was
here forever. And he wasn’t as good as we thought he was. At the time
we thought he was marvelous.
Interviewer: Yeah but during the time, we thought he was great.
Schilling: That’s right. We thought he was . . . .
Interviewer: It took a few years afterwards to realize that he wasn’t
Schilling: That’s right. And I remember Kennedy . . . .
Interviewer: Why wasn’t he great, let’s put that in too.
Schilling: I don’t know. I think they found out that he wasn’t
that good with the Jews.
Interviewer: That’s exactly right.
Schilling: Yeah, he wasn’t very good with Jews. And we thought at
the time that he was.
Interviewer: Well also, we didn’t realize at the time how much
damage was being done in Europe, how many Jews were dying.
Schilling: Yeah, right.
Interviewer: And then after that, we found out that there could have
been a lot of possibilities, that he might have been able to save . . .
Schilling: That’s right. And then when Kennedy was shot, I remember
when Bertha and Esther and my aunts and myself were in a car and went to
the dry cleaners and we didn’t know anything about it. She came
running out and had a horrible look on her face. We said, “What
happened?” She said, “Somebody just shot President
Kennedy.” Well we all ran home and sat at the TV and just bawled.
We just cried.
Interviewer: It was like a personal thing, wasn’t it?
Schilling: That’s right. It was just awful.
Interviewer: You mentioned you ran home. Not too long ago, of course,
we had the World Trade Center collapse . . . .
Schilling: Oh God.
Interviewer: a little over a year ago and that was one of the things
that a lot of people talked about, was when it happened, wherever they
were, out of their own home cities, they wanted to get home to their
families. They wanted to connect with the warmth and comfort of their
Schilling: That’s right. I know I was talking to Brenda on the
phone. I said, “They just ran into the Trade Center,” and she
said that she was watching TV at the same time. She said, “Oh my
God,” she said, “here comes another one.” And oh, God, it
was awful. It was just terrible.
Interviewer: You mentioned that you did work. How long did you work?
You said you worked in the office.
Schilling: Yeah I worked in the office.
Interviewer: What kind of work did you do?
Schilling: I was secretary to Harry Grodstein. Do you remember Harry
Grodstein? He was married to a Schwartz girl.
Interviewer: Harry Grodstein?
Schilling: Grodstein. He was married to a Schwartz girl, in fact a
cousin to Jack Schwartz she was. And I . . . .
Interviewer: Jack Schwartz was married to your . . . .
Schilling: My cousin.
Interviewer: Your cousin?
Schilling: Yeah. . . . . So I was there for a while and I was going
with Lou and then we got married and then we moved to Louisville. And in
Louisville, I worked with Lou.
Interviewer: You worked also with him?
Schilling: Yeah, I mean he was working and we moved there cold, we
didn’t know anyone and so one morning he said to me, “You take me
to work, drive me to work,” he said, “and you can take the car
and then you come and get me.” I said, “Okay.” And I
said, “Where am I going? I don’t know anyone.” So I took the
car and I parked it in front of the apartment and I got out and went
back in the house. So finally after that then I became his cashier. I
just stayed there and was cashier and worked with him, you know, stayed
there all day.
Interviewer: Well that was good for you . . . .
Schilling: That’s right. And I tried . . . . I used to work with .
. . . once in a while you know . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. Let’s see, are there any other reactions that
you want to talk about or any other situations? Let’s see, we talked
about education, travel, well . . . .
Schilling: Lou and I, we always used to go to, with Brenda, to the
Cayman Islands. We always went, every year, over the Christmas and the
New Year holiday. We used to go. And then after a while, we didn’t
want to go any more. He didn’t feel good and he didn’t want to go
anymore so we didn’t go. This year, Brenda and I are going. Yeah. So
we’re going this year in Christmas Day, we’re going.
Interviewer: But you haven’t gone there for a long time?
Schilling: No we haven’t been there for a long time.
Interviewer: Are some of her kids going to join you?
Schilling: Melissa from Omaha. Her family is going to join us.
Michele’s not coming ’cause she’s pregnant and I don’t know
about Brad. I haven’t heard whether . . . .
Interviewer: Will she be renting a place?
Schilling: Yeah, we rent, she rents a condo there. But so far, it’s
only Melissa. I haven’t seen her two kids for ages. In fact, this
Friday, she’s going to Omaha to visit, to see the kids.
Interviewer: Uh huh. But you’ve been there too, haven’t you?
Schilling: Not to Omaha.
Interviewer: Not to Omaha?
Schilling: No. I went to Atlanta, I went. Omaha is too . . . .
Schilling: Oh yeah. I don’t know how many times you have to change
. . . . so I don’t go there.
Interviewer: Not a direct flight?
Schilling: No. So we’re going, he’s supposed to move to
Washington. He’s supposed to be transferred to Washington. So they
went there and he wants to go there ’cause they have a wonderful
building . . . .
Interviewer: What kind of building?
Schilling: It’s, now everybody asks me what kind of business it is
and I never can remember. What is that, it’s (phone rings.) Oh excuse
Interviewer: I’m going to turn this off while you get the phone.
Well, we’ll go back to, you were trying to remember about your
grandson, that they were moving from Omaha to, possibly moving . . . .
Schilling: Oh why didn’t I ask him? I should have asked my brother.
Interviewer: possibly moving to Washington.
Schilling: You know where they take the census, not the census, where
they take the polls, where they take the polls. What’s the name of the
. . . .
Schilling: Not the pollsters, it’s another one.
Interviewer: Oh you mean like in voting?
Schilling: Yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: They take polls and . . . .
Schilling: But that isn’t what he does. I mean, he’s a
salesperson for them, I mean, so he, so when he got the job he was in
Atlanta. Then they transferred him to Omaha and he was promoted and he
went in Omaha. So now, they want him to go to Washington . . . . but
they couldn’t sell their house . . . . ’cause I’m sure they would
have moved to Maryland, you know, where all that horrible business went
Schilling: Yeah, terrible. So anyhow, so far, right now, they took
their house off of the market and then, ’cause it’s too late now.
Everybody’s in school and everything.
Interviewer: . . . .
Schilling: So . . . .
Interviewer: Well I hope that they do or are able to make the move
Schilling: Yeah. Yeah, that’s the . . . . as I said . . . . direct
flights and it’s wonderful.
Interviewer: Well I think we’ve covered a lot of your life. I mean,
you’ve been real great about remembering a lot of things and I
Schilling: There’s a lot of things I don’t remember.
Interviewer: Well . . . . we all . . . . you know, I have a hard time
recalling . . . .
Schilling: You should see what us girls, like you say that lightly,
when we get together and start telling each other some stories sometimes
and we’ll say, “Let’s see, what was her name now? What was her
name?” And this one will say, “I don’t know, I can’t
remember. I know who you mean but I can’t remember her name.” It
goes on and on.
Interviewer: We’ll have to get you girls together. It would be fun
to record that and you can help each other . . . .
Schilling: Oh . . . . it’s so funny . . . .
Interviewer: It sounds like you still have fun together?
Schilling: Yeah. Oh we do. It’s great.
Interviewer: While we were talking, the phone rang and it was your
brother calling to set a date with you for dinner tonight.
Interviewer: Do you go out to dinner most nights?
Schilling: Well yes, I do. ‘Cause Tuesday night I usually go with
my brother. Now Wednesday, we play cards and sometimes we play cards and
then we go out to dinner.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And that’s your canasta group?
Schilling: That’s the canasta group. Thursday nights we go to
dinner. I go with my cousins, go with Brenda and with Jane Goodman, with
Lou Goodman’s wife, and we go out to dinner then Thursday nights.
Interviewer: Yeah, I’ve run into you girls . . . .
Schilling: That’s right. That’s right. And then Friday, Friday
stay home. Friday I’m home and then Saturday night we’ll go to
dinner and then we play cards.
Interviewer: Oh after dinner?
Schilling: After dinner.
Interviewer: Same group?
Schilling: Yeah, same group. Yeah, so . . . .
Interviewer: Keeps your mind working and your brain cells going and
you enjoy each other.
Schilling: That’s right.
Interviewer: All right, Bertha, then I want to thank you on behalf of
the . . . .
Schilling: You’re quite welcome.
Interviewer: Columbus Jewish Historical Society and it’s been fun
for me to hear all this and you were wonderful about it and at this
point . . . .
Interviewer: Thank you.
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