This is June 20th, two thousand and five; the first day of Spring I think, isn’t it, yeah. My name is Naomi Schottenstein. I’m interviewing Jules Duga. We’re at the offices of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society located at 1175 College Avenue in Columbus.
Interviewer: Good afternoon, Jules.
Duga: Good afternoon. Actually it’s the first day of summer.
Interviewer: First day of summer, thank you. I stand corrected. I’m going to ask you for your full name first of all, your English name.
Duga: It’s Jules Joseph Duga.
Interviewer: And your Jewish name.
Duga: Yoel ben Labe.
Interviewer: Your original family name, was it Duga?
Duga: Yes, it was.
Interviewer: Never changed; so there’s no story about the origins of the family name?
Duga: No. As matter of fact we are quite certain that the family name not only was just as it is, Duga, in eastern Poland but if one goes back far enough in tracing the history of the family name it’s apparent that name was constant even from the late 1400s when our family originated in Spain, and in Spain they had surnames long before they had them in Eastern Europe. So our family actually lived in and came from Spain and then migrated out of there at the time of the Inquisition.
Interviewer: How are you able to trace back that far?
Duga: It’s largely by inference. We know that the name has stayed the same and when I go back towards various stories told by various people, we kind of come to a conclusion that it not only originated in Spain but stayed that way because, of course, as you will recall, during the Inquisition the Jews in Spain had three choices: they could get converted or they could get out or they could get dead. The last choice was not a particularly viable one. We think that a large part of the family migrated out of Spain and went on through Bratislava in Czechoslovakia and to a couple of different places in Poland. But for those who stayed, it was most likely they became not only converted to Catholicism, but then they also were probably engaged in the great Spanish exploration fleet. And we have a legend, not exactly proof, but a legend that this actually happened. I ran across some Dugas who were from the Philippines. And I think that the early Duga family, or the family name that got to the Philippines, came from there probably being somebody within the Spanish exploration fleet. And when the Spaniards were going all over the world and conquering everything, they ended up in the Philippines and while the shipmates were exploring the topography of the countryside, one of my relatives was exploring the topography of one of the natives and that’s where the family got started there.
I ran into some Filipino Dugas — there were a couple of nurses in Los Angeles that I knew of, and there was a gentleman who worked for the US Airways in Washington whom I had met, oh, 20 years ago or so, and have corresponded with him and met several times since then. He was a Filipino named Duga. He was surprised to see he and I had the same surname. But I think there is more or less where the family got started.
Interviewer: That’s interesting, but I was waiting to hear that you were related to Christopher Columbus. And who knows, you might be.
Duga: We might be. One of the advantages of having a Sephardic background is that if I chose, I could eat corn and rice during Pesach.
Interviewer: That’s true, Sephardim are allowed to do that. And that can be an advantage. How did your family come to the states and eventually to Bellaire?
Duga: In about 1880 the family started coming over to the United States. The family actually came through the Port of Baltimore. I think that the reason why they ended up in Bellaire was that the Baltimore & Ohio railroad actually started in Baltimore and when it came to Ohio at that time it essentially ended at the Ohio River, which was Bellaire. They got thrown off the train and they had no place to go so that’s where they settled.
Interviewer: So Bellaire is actually on the Ohio River?
Duga: Yes, about three miles south of Wheeling, West Virginia. One or two came, established themselves; I assume that they had corresponded with the family back in Poland, in Pultusk in Poland. The rest of the family came along. First, my grandfather got here in about 1880 and then some of his siblings and his mother, they came here in the early 1880s, and 1890, and were established in town there and just started their family.
Interviewer: And stayed in Bellaire?
Duga: Stayed there.
Interviewer: Your grandfather first came to Bellaire. Tell us about your grandfather, his name and who he was married to, and so forth.
Duga: My grandfather’s name was Mose Duga. He came, he was actually a butcher, and he established the kosher butcher shop in Bellaire. It was really two butcher shops, a kosher butcher shop and a non-kosher. He had a white line painted down through the middle of it. He had a peg, actually two pegs, one on each side of this white line with these two aprons on it.
Interviewer: In the same store?
Duga: In the same store. As he would cross from one to the next he had a sink there where he could wash his hands as he crossed over, he would change his apron and then he would serve the Jewish customers on one side and the gentile customers on the other.
Interviewer: Interesting. And who watched over him? Now we have the chad la hoir service.
Duga: I don’t think it was that formal then. I think it was based on good faith and members of the community as a whole just made sure my grandfather kept the shop the way it was suppose to be done. Then he got married to a Hulda Londo. They started having a whole passel of kids. There were six of them; a couple of them died quite young, five basically lived to maturity, including my father and his twin brother.
Interviewer: Your father had a twin brother?
Interviewer: Tell us the names of those siblings.
Duga: First we’ll start off with Sam who was the oldest. Then there was Joe who died young. Max was next. Then the twins: Louis was my father, and Julius, after whom I am named; then Allen. All these were Dugas. Allen ended up in Canton; he worked for Sugardale Meat Company.
Interviewer: It’s of interest to me because I worked and knew your uncle then.
Duga: Well, after Uncle Allen was born my grandmother died shortly thereafter. So my grandfather was left with these six boys, actually by the time she died one of the boys also died, Joe had died. So he was left with five boys to raise in a household with 10-12 people living there; my grandfather, the five boys, his mother (my great grandmother) and a few of his siblings, all lived in this one house in Bellaire. My great-grandmother lived in Bellaire until she died in 1926.
After a few years of widowhood my grandfather Mose remarried to Albertina Stahl, otherwise known as Toby. And Toby was one of 13 children who with her parents had come to Bellaire and they lived there. Grandpa Mose and Albertina had one other child, a son Jacob. That was the end of the family. So my father had four living brothers and one half-brother growing up there in Bellaire.
Interviewer: Can you give us a breakdown of your uncles, who they married, and how many children, and so forth? Can you fill us in on that picture?
Duga: Uncle Sam married a lovely woman, a nurse named Nell; they had two children, Esther and Hulda, both of whom turned out to be nurses and both of whom now are living in Texas. Then my Uncle Max never married; he worked for a newspaper down in Bellaire. My father married Lillian Levy from Wheeling. That’s a whole other story, a rather large family from Wheeling and they have a very extended family still living in Pittsburgh. And then my Uncle Allen married Margaret Porter from Bellaire and they had three children; two of whom have passed away and one is now living somewhere in West Virginia, not too far from Charleston, West Virginia. Then the youngest brother, Jacob, married a Rose Hecht from Philadelphia and they have two children; Michael who is now living in Florida and Lillian, Lillian Kauffman who is living in New Jersey.
Interviewer: And you’re probably in touch with some of your relatives.
Duga: Oh, yes. Well, Michael and I stay pretty close in touch even though he’s down in Florida. He comes up two or three times a year for Ohio State football games. He’s quite an avid Ohio State fan although he never went to school there. And I stay in contact with Sam’s daughters in Texas, one in Houston, and the other one, I think lives in Waco or Austin or somewhere out there.
Interviewer: Jules, what memories do you have of your grandparents?
Duga: I remember my, I think it was probably my fifth birthday which was shortly before my grandfather died. There was a party at the home of a great aunt of mine and celebration was in my honor. Everybody was there and I know my grandfather gave me a silver dollar and I looked at it and made some sort of exclamation of “oh, what a big nickel this is”. I always referred to silver dollars as big nickels. Of course, when you’re only five years old almost always looks that big. He also had a really neat dog, a Chow; he was mean to everybody except me. He was a very gentle creature I thought. He barked and snapped at everybody else. But he and I, the dog, got along.
Interviewer: Well, you knew how to talk to him in a dog fashion.
Duga: We sort of understood each other. My grandfather died in 1938. My grandmother, actually my step-grandmother, lived until 1957, she was well up into her 90s. We never knew exactly how old she was because she was a somewhat older lady when she got married so we think therefore she was in error about her age. We got dates derived from different resources: death certificates, tombstones, from writings in the family, pick a number and you’ll find out how old she was. I think she was probably in her mid- to late 90s when she passed away.
Interviewer: There were probably reasons for fudging on your birth date in those days. It’s kind of hard now to not have your birth date uncovered. But then again they had different reasons.
Duga: Yes. I think the one of the ones was the fact she was an older girl when she got married and there some sort of a stigma against single women not getting married back in those days.
Interviewer: Sure, sure, so all you had to do was change that date a little bit and you were okay.
Duga: It didn’t make that much difference.
Interviewer: So you talked about the butcher shop and I’m curious going back to the store, what was the need for a kosher butcher shop in Bellaire, Ohio?
Duga: We had about 100 Jewish families living in Bellaire. Now this was a 100 at the time I left there in 1949, and I think they had even a larger community in earlier years. We had at one time three synagogues: a reform temple, an orthodox synagogue, and a very, very orthodox group. I wouldn’t call it quite a synagogue because they didn’t have an official building, but a small group that were extremely orthodox who had their own separate minyan. They eventually, I believe, melded into what later became the orthodox synagogue. But basically they had two synagogues operating when I was a kid and for many years before that, so there was a sufficient population to warrant having a kosher butcher shop and two synagogues. Unfortunately now, as I said, there were about 100 families there when I left in 1949, now there are about three families, no synagogues. The two in Bellaire eventually closed but they had united with two in Wheeling. Wheeling also had a reform and an orthodox synagogue, and out of four institutions they finally melted into a single one which is still active in Wheeling, and we’re associated with them; we’re associate members, Temple Shalom.
Interviewer: Even with so few Jewish people in Bellaire you still have an association with the Jews in Wheeling.
Duga: Oh, yes. Wheeling has probably about 100 families altogether. They were much larger than that. I don’t know how many there are now; we get the sisterhood bulletin that comes out every year and it has a roster of everyone there. I failed to count the numbers before I came over here. It’s truly a viable organization. They have three cemeteries, three Jewish cemeteries in Wheeling, and there’s one in Bellaire, the old cemetery up on the hill in Bellaire where about 40 percent of those interred there are related to me. Probably another 40 percent are related to my wife even though she’s a Columbus native. The others are miscellaneous Jews who happened to live in town and are not related to either my family or my wife’s family. My mother never wanted to be buried in that cemetery up on the hill. It was called the Winding Hill Cemetery and it got its name legitimately. It’s a road that is composed of a bunch of hairpin turns and very difficult to get up there. My mother often said, “I don’t want to be buried on the hill, the trip alone would kill me”
Interviewer: Well, that makes sense doesn’t it?
Duga: She and my father are buried in Wheeling.
Interviewer: I know of your interest and the information that you’ve gotten from cemeteries, and I have a question about these cemeteries, especially in small towns and even in large towns. I’m thinking of Cincinnati where we’ve gone to cemetery and Cleveland, what is this business with cemetery on top of a hill?
Is there any relationship to Jewish cemeteries being there, or was land just available?
Duga: I think just the availability of land. It was…well, I don’t think all of them are on top of a hill, although a lot of them are.
Interviewer: Not all. I’m thinking Zanesville, that’s very hilly.
Duga: Wheeling, the original one in Wheeling was on top of a hill. The original one in Columbus is not. Of course, in Columbus, there aren’t any hills.
Interviewer: That’s true. But even in Canton it’s very elevated. The cemetery we went to in Cleveland is on a hill, a steep incline you might say. I just wondered if that was just a coincidence or just happened to be where land just happened to be.
Duga: I have no idea. I assume it was just the availability of land.
Interviewer: Well, just trying to make an issue about something that isn’t.
Your father, did he continue in the butcher shop business?
Duga: No. My dad had a small real estate and insurance business in Bellaire. It was a very small activity; and he also dabbled somewhat in politics. He had been a city councilman, and he ran for mayor back in the ‘30s. He didn’t win. Then he was very active in Democratic politics throughout Belmont County. And again did the insurance and real estate business and had a couple of small political appointments. Like he was the deputy sealer of weights and measures in Belmont County, which I thoroughly enjoyed because he spent a lot of his time in the summer going out to stores all over the county checking out the scales to make sure they were accurate, and he would take me with him. So I got a good chance to learn the geography of the county, and furthermore, he’d go to the confectionery stores and almost all of the owners would slip me a piece of candy or cookie or something of that type.
Interviewer: Well, that’s a fond memory.
Interviewer: It’s a sweet memory. Before we get too far off, Jules, tell me when you were born.
Duga: March 21, 1932. We had eight inches of snow in Bellaire that day.
Interviewer: You remember that? I’m sure there are very good stories recalled about that. And you had a sister?
Duga: Yes, I had one older sister; she was really the one with the brains in the family. One of the smartest people I ever knew. She was the valedictorian of the class in high school. Back in those days they had state scholarship tests in various subjects, and every year she came out first in the state in whatever subject she chose. One year it was English, another year biology, another year chemistry. She went on to medical school at Western Reserve and was teaching in the College of Medicine at Western Reserve. Unfortunately, she had contracted lupus when she was quite young, still in high school, and she died from lupus, she was about 35 years old.
Interviewer: How much older was she than you?
Duga: Two and a half years.
Interviewer: And her name?
Duga: Ann, Ann Hulda.
Interviewer: Was she married?
Duga: She was married to a Melvin Ross who was also a physician, and he was from Zanesville.
Interviewer: They didn’t have children?
Interviewer: So, what do you remember about your upbringing in Bellaire, your education, and so forth?
Duga: I think that whatever successes I’ve had in my career have really been the result of my being at the intersection of opportunity and preparation. I was very lucky to have gone through a school system that prepared me very well in a broad variety of subjects. Probably the most important thing in my education derives from the fact that at a very early age, even in pre-school, I was exposed to an awful lot of music. And music has formed a very important part of my life and has formed a basis for a lot of my logical thinking that goes into what my career eventually turned out to be. The school system had excellent music, had excellent mathematics, ansd had great teachers who stressed literature.
Interviewer: Is there any relationship between math and music?
Duga: Oh yes. I think the symmetry of music and the regularity of music helps to establish a framework so you can understand mathematical concepts. But the music program was very important to me and is still important; I’m still a practicing performing musician. And a lot of that goes back to when I was listening to West Virginia Jamboree and hillbilly music on WWVA in Wheeling, which just utterly disturbed my mother. She felt I should be listening more to Brahms and Beethoven and the opera and so forth, which I did.
Interviewer: Was your mother musically inclined?
Duga: Yes. We had a baby grand piano in the living room which was a wedding gift from my father to my mother, and she got me started on taking piano lessons when I was about five years old.
Interviewer: She played?
Duga: She played, not real well, but she played just enough so she could enjoy it. She instilled that sort of love of music and awareness in both me and my sister when we were quite young. In schools, I think that the music in the schools served as a good basis. They were teaching us things in first grade which they don’t even teach in college any more.
Interviewer: You were lucky because some of those smaller communities didn’t bother that much with the arts, period.
Duga: That’s right.
Interviewer: …and especially in music. You must have had — there must have been teachers there that were particularly gifted and encouraged this.
Duga: I’ll never forget Miss Malby who was … well I can’t really describe her adequately. She really knew her stuff. She knew how to teach it and knew how to get students to appreciate it. With some of the some of the other teachers – like the mathematics teachers in high school – they were just magnificent. We had teachers in grade school who would be stressing English and speech and sentence structure, and parsing sentences and basic grammar. And I think that whatever successes I have had as a public speaker in the past many years derive from the fact that I had very, very good training from my eighth grade English teacher; she was magnificent.
Interviewer: Did you have opportunity for public speaking as a young man?
Duga: Not really. There were things like the debate club but I never participated in those; I was much too busy in high school. I was holding down three jobs and I was just very active in an awful lot of other things.
Interviewer: When did you start your musical career? Formal lessons and so forth?
Duga: Well, when I was five years old I was taking piano lessons. I sort of objected to the idea of taking piano lessons because I thought that was kind of a sissy thing to do, until my mother pointed out a young boy in our neighborhood who was the neighborhood bully and he was taking piano lessons.
Interviewer: So that made it okay.
Duga: That made it perfectly okey dokey. I started and took piano lessons for a couple of years, and was recognized having as a fairly good talent. Then I started on violin in fifth grade when I was 10 years old. I always had a good ear. I could hear pitches appropriately and after a couple of years I started playing with the Wheeling Symphony Youth Orchestra. Then I…
Interviewer: As a young teenager.
Duga: Yes. Then when I was in high school I was suddenly enamored of the tuba. I thought that was just the coolest thing. I managed to get a hold of a tuba over my parents’ objections. I was kind of a little kid and my father thought it was a little inappropriate because I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I put forth the argument that I was strong because I had carried newspapers for a number of years. I was strong and could carry this sousaphone on my shoulders. And he pointed out very wisely that when you carry newspapers the load gets lighter as you go along, but with the tuba it gets heavier as you go along. I never realized the wisdom of that until I came to the end of the Rose Bowl Parade in January, 1950; I was with the Ohio State University Marching Band. That 40-pound tuba felt like it weighed about a ton and a half. It was six miles. I started the tuba and basically taught myself how to play it. I knew the fundamental theory of how it was suppose to be played.
Interviewer: Did you buy the tuba yourself?
Duga: No, no, this was a school loan.
Interviewer: You borrowed an instrument.
Duga: I basically taught myself, and within about seven months of when I started I was asked to join the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. And I played with the Wheeling Symphony while I was a junior and senior in high school, and even after I left high school during summer times I would play with them. I just happened to pick it up and it was something that I took to like a duck to water. Shortly after I joined the Wheeling Symphony I became what is known as a “first call” tuba player; that meant that at any time when musical shows would come into the area if they needed a tuba player, I was the first one they’d get in touch with through the musicians’ union.
Interviewer: There probably weren’t too many tuba players in high school were there?
Duga: Well, it just was not high school but it was throughout the entire community; there were maybe a dozen tuba players throughout the whole valley. But I was one they’d call for any sort of traveling jobs. I played a lot of traveling Broadway shows that came through Wheeling, and in fact if there was a need for a tuba player any where from East Liverpool to Marietta and from Zanesville to Pittsburgh, the whole area was one where I would be working.
Interviewer: So not only it not only satisfied your love for playing the tuba but it was probably a source of income for you too.
Duga: Yes, yes. I traveled around throughout that area with the Ringling Brothers circus and when the U.S. Navy Band came through they had a special program for what they referred to as extra talented people (their reference, not mine), and I played with them on a mini-tour through the upper valley.
Interviewer: Do you remember in some instances what you got paid for that? I’m kind of curious see how that worked out.
Duga: I think that I got somewhere around ten bucks which was pretty good money.
Interviewer: For the event?
Duga: For the circus and show events. And I used to do dance jobs, they don’t use tubas in dance bands not very often, but occasionally I would do those. In later years when I was working around Columbus I learned how to play the bass fiddle and I would do a lot of dance jobs here. I learned the bass fiddle mostly because I needed the money: I was in school and it was pretty touch and go, and so I did a lot of work here. Down in Bellaire I was first call tuba and I just played everywhere.
Interviewer: So it was lot of fun for you too.
Duga: Sure, it was fun. It was a whole different experience. It did kind of get in the way of other things. I had a job working at the local Woolworth store as a stock boy and clean up.
Interviewer: Tell us what the Woolworth store is. Some day some body won’t know what the Woolworth stores are.
Duga: F. W. Woolworth was a chain of stores. They were referred to as the “5 and 10”. You could buy things for five cents and 10 cents, and they were still called 5 and 10 even when the prices went up to 25 and 50 cents. It was a variety store, sort of a mini-department store without furniture or clothing. I was working there after school, and I also had a paper route, and I was doing my music at night time. So I was working these three jobs simultaneously and they encroached upon my time for sleep, so I’d make it up sleeping in school to the dismay of my American history teacher.
Interviewer: But you got through high school okay?
Duga: I managed to get through.
Interviewer: With pretty decent grades?
Duga: They didn’t have to burn down the place to get me out.
Interviewer: Okay. So you finished your schooling, your high schooling and so forth in Bellaire, and after that?
Duga: After that I came to OhioState and spent 12 years at OhioState; got three degrees in physics; bachelor’s degree in 1953. The day that I graduated, the commencement speaker that day was Rabbi Jerome Folkman who also got his doctorate that same day. Then I got a master’s degree in 1957 and finished my doctorate in 1960 while I was not only going to school but working at Battelle.
Interviewer: Oh, so when did you start working at Battelle?
Duga: 1956, January 1956, and still there for almost 50 years. I’ve worked there in a variety of capacities on a tremendous variety of projects that covered everything from fundamental sciences in developing new materials for different applications, to materials for medical applications and implants, and then I got involved in the relationship between technology and economics. I’ve done a lot of work in institutional development, working with research laboratories in other countries, particularly in Mexico, and doing strategic planning. Then I spent five years working on projects in India, where I worked with U.S. companies and Indian companies that were trying to form technology-based joint ventures. That was a fascinating experience. I learned an awful lot about the business of technology. I also learned an awful lot about the problems in developing countries. It was quite exciting. I’ve done a lot of work with forecasting. For the past 25 years I’ve put out an annual forecast of research expenditures in the United States. It results in a publication which is fairly highly respected and is reasonably accurate. Because of that, I then got involved with programs with the National Academy of Sciences and for the Congressional Research Service.
Interviewer: I’m going to stop you just a minute and go back to forecasting; could you give us somewhat of a description of the process of forecasting.
Duga: The kind of work that I do in forecasting is take a look at just how much this country spends in supporting scientific research and development (R&D); and the money supplied by the federal government and then research a whole range of activities, medical science, defense related technology, communications. The government spends billions of dollars on this. Then private industry also spends billion of dollars in supporting this kind of research. My job is to take a look at how much is being spent and then what are the factors that are going to change. What are the factors that are going to influence the amount that the government spends and how much the industry spends, and then do a forecast of how much money will be spent in the ensuing year, or ensuing few years on research and development.
This is useful in terms of other people’s planning. For example, companies that deal with providing hardware to the research process, people who actually manufacture and distribute equipment for carrying out scientific research; everything from electron microscopes to test tubes that are just used in chemical laboratories. They have an idea of how much research is going to be supported and then they have an idea of what their markets are going to be. They look at the forecasts as being a business development item for them. I use it largely as a means for talking about how federal policy and federal budget and federal priorities influence the amount of money the government will spend on R&D and where they will spend them. It’s a rather exciting thing, especially when you have to go through the kind of things that are dictated by both technical concerns as well as political concerns.
Interviewer: And financial.
Duga: And financial, yes.
Interviewer: It sounds like a fascinating and exciting type. Jules, you’ve been talking about the work you’re doing, can you give us, for those of us who are not at all familiar with Battelle, just tell about the development of the institution itself.
Duga: Battelle is a not-for-profit organization that was established in 1929. We actually opened our doors in October 1929. For those of you who remember your economic history, that is the same time of the stock market crashed and everybody else started closing their doors. It was established as an organization to help primarily industry in solving technology-related problems. A gentleman named Gordon Battelle had been in the iron and steel business and lead and zinc mines and so forth and he came upon a situation where he had a problem and just couldn’t solve it. So he went all over the country trying to find somebody who would help him solve his problem. Unfortunately he couldn’t find anybody; he went to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; he went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, and he went to various other places. So he came home and in fit of pique he sat down and wrote out his will. It said when he dies his money would go to establishment of the Battelle Memorial Institute, a not-for-profit organization that would be there for the purposes of bringing together the best science and technology that one could find in order to to solve industrial problems. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for the rest of us he died shortly thereafter, a relatively young man; left a couple of million dollars. And it took several years before the trustees of the estate determined what he really wanted to do and that’s why from the time he died, which I believe was about 1920 or 23, until 1929 it took that amount of time to establish the organization and set up the charter.
Interviewer: So he wasn’t living actually when …
Duga: Oh, no. After he died, his mother Annie Norton Battelle (who was one of the major founders of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Westerville), left a few million dollars too. So it was set up with an endowment of about $6 million.
Interviewer: Which was a pretty hefty sum at that time with the market crash.
Duga: Big time bucks. We lived off that endowment and we’d find out who had problems, technology related problems. And the organization, as I said, started in October of ’29 under the directorship of a man who had been hired away from the National Bureau of Standards, and they started in business working with industry, helping industry to identify if they had problems and how we were going to identify solutions to these problems. And we’ve been doing this ever since. Battelle has grown to being an organization that does about $2 billion a year in business. Not only work on contract for various companies – and by “various companies” I mean just about everybody in the Fortune 500. The biggest labs in the world come to Battelle, even those who have their own facilities; people like General Electric and IBM and Bell Telephone used to come to us. One of the big clients we eventually had was Xerox, but the reason we had them as a client was because Battelle was responsible for actually perfecting the Xerox process.
Interviewer: Jules, I’m going to stop you and turn the tape over. We are ending side A of tape 1 and we will continue in a moment on the other side.
We’re continuing on side B of tape 1 and I’m going to let you continue your description.
Duga: We’re talking about Battelle. We do research on contract for private industry, for almost every federal government agency, for foreign governments, for foreign industries, and we even do things for individuals; for any one who will buy our services. It was probably one of the first examples of outsourcing which has unfortunately has a lot of bad connotations now, but if it were not for outsourcing our organization wouldn’t exist.
Interviewer: Are there other organizations in the country or in the world that compare to Battelle?
Duga: Oh, yes. There are quite a few here in the U.S. that do similar things. The Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City is one, and there are several others but I can’t remember who all they are. There are others throughout the world who do this kind of business as well. Sometimes they do it alone and sometimes they do it in cooperation with places like Battelle. We will work with our so-called competitors in other states or other countries depending upon what kind of project it is and what the needs are, we will supplement our capabilities with theirs and vice versa. And Battelle had established two other major laboratories, one in Frankfurt, Germany and one in Geneva, Switzerland. The whole concept of contract research was unknown in Europe, and after the war, the Second World War, Battelle helped to develop these two organizations as an adjunct to rebuilding their technology-based economy. We also are responsible for creating the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, setting up a totally separate research institution there. We did the same thing in Taiwan and we’ve done this in similar places around the world. Earlier I had referred to Mexico where I worked in helping to reestablish, and do the strategic planning for, an already existing institution which was looking toward improving its operations.
Interviewer: How much time did you spend in other countries working with Battelle? I mean when you went on these trips to India and to Mexico, was it a matter of days, weeks, or did you spend more time?
Duga: Well, the Mexico job was about one week out of every month for a period of a year and a half, the second time around (1998-99). When we started on the project in 1993 I’d spend about a week in Mexico City and then a couple of months at home and a week back down there again; it was a sporadic thing. When I’d be working in India, I would spend up to a month in India. I’d be commuting. I think I went there at least once a year for five years. But then with all the communications and the telexes (we first started off with telexes and then we finally got into e-mail) — this was back in the late 1980s — it seemed like I was there all the time. Fortunately, the communications system has improved to the point where you can get an awful lot of work done in India without having to spend 30 hours to get there.
Interviewer: And that’s not bad for you, I guess? That’s a hard trip.
Duga: Yes. It’s a difficult trip but I also found it very enjoyable. I’d go back to India at the drop of a hat.
Interviewer: Did you learn the language?
Duga: Yes, yes, because they all speak English.
Interviewer: Oh, well, that took care of that.
Duga: Actually I tried to spend a little bit of time in learning Hindi but it didn’t take too well and I just didn’t have the opportunity to devote myself to it. I had taken other languages. I used to be quite fluent in German which was helpful when I worked in Frankfurt. I was semi-fluent with my high school French which helped when I was working in Geneva. I’ve forgotten more Russian than I ever learned; I studied Russian in college, but never really got very adept at it. But in India, I didn’t worry about speaking Hindi or Marathi or Urdu or any of the other languages in India because one of the major legacies that the British left was a common language.
Interviewer: Especially when you were into all those technical conversations and deals you were working on. Did Cyril have any opportunities to travel to places with you?
Duga: She never went to places with me like India or Mexico, and one of the main reasons was that when I would go to a place like India I would be working 18 hours a day. There was almost no time for anything like sightseeing, and we’d spend long hours because the trip itself took so long. It’s not as if you were doing a job in Pittsburgh where if you forgot something you’d hop in the car and go back and pick it up again.
Interviewer: Sure, sure, it’s not really a vacation.
Duga: No, it was long hours and very intense work and very exhausting work.
Interviewer: I’m finding the conversation about your work and your affiliation with Battelle fascinating and you still are doing work for Battelle?
Duga: Yes, I’m doing some special projects in forecasting and in international technology development.
Interviewer: And still enjoying it?
Duga: Absolutely. If I didn’t I wouldn’t go there.
Interviewer: Well, you’re an enthusiastic person anyhow. But we’re getting so carried away that I have to go all the way back and ask some of the questions I usually start asking way at the beginning and things like very instance as a kid, as a youngster, tell us about some of the ways you enjoyed playing with kids and your Hebrew school education, your bar mitzvah. We’re going to go back to the beginning of your history.
Duga: We’ll go back six and half decades.
Interviewer: That’s okay; we’re ready to catch up.
Duga: Okay. I did mention before that we had two congregations in Bellaire, the orthodox and the reform. My family were members of the reform congregation there. We did not have a reform rabbi. The services were led by a lay leader who had all the trappings of an ordained rabbi except he didn’t have the official paperwork. He performed marriages and officiated at bar mitzvahs and brises and so forth, but it wasn’t what I would call an environment for a formal Hebrew education. However, I went to Hebrew school at the orthodox synagogue which wasn’t all that exciting because there were only about three boys in the whole town my age. But that’s where I first learned Hebrew and didn’t learn it very well. I also went to Sunday school in Wheeling, at the ReformTemple in Wheeling, where they had a very fine educational program and I learned an awful lot there.
When getting bar mitzvahed there wasn’t an official bar mitzvah because we didn’t have the official trappings of rabbis and so forth. There was a practice in the Reform Temple in Bellaire that if a lay leader so chose he’d ask a member of the congregation to lead the services at various times, and I’ll never forget, on my 13th birthday I was called up to the bima and asked to conduct the services for the entire evening, the Friday night services. And then as a semi-regular role, I would do this every couple of months or so whenever my rotation came up. We would read the services, the Torah portion in English, and would I essentially be conducting the services as if I were a real member of the adult community. And that was as close to having an official bar mitzvah as one would imagine. Actually if you take a look at the Orthodox congregation in Wheeling, as I recall it was not all that common for even boys my age to have what would be now looked as a formal bar mitzvah. We just didn’t get all that excited about those things back in those days, and we certainly didn’t have the kinds of parties they have now.
Interviewer: For sure; I can appreciate what you’re saying having the background that I had. It’s become a really big deal in later years.
Duga: Oh, yes. Then, back in those days, it was more an integration of a young man into the community of elders.
Interviewer: Sure, you were counted.
Duga: Yes, I was counted as a real person and I would go to congregational meetings. And even though I was not a paying member, we had a family membership, but because I was a man of age, my vote and my voice would be heard just as much as anybody else’s. It was a somewhat different type of arrangement.
Interviewer: It was a valuable experience though because it certainly…
Duga: I know.
Interviewer: …helped with your confidence and speaking and being comfortable with people.
Duga: Exactly. In fact you asked earlier about doing public speaking. The only public speaking I can ever recall having done as a youngster was being in front of the congregation and leading the services. But let me digress for just one moment because this also touches on another area of my strong beliefs and interests. And that is that through the music program in the school I learned to get up in front of a group of people and to do some sort of a performance, whether it was playing as a soloist or being a member of a group who was playing in front of an audience. And I think that kind of experience then, and even now, is very important in teaching kids how to have a little more confidence and get up in front of people and express themselves regardless of whether you’re trying to perform a piece of music, or trying to sell something or trying to argue something and get a point across. It gives you a kind of confidence of communications. And that’s why I feel that it’s so important to maintain such things as music programs in the schools at the earliest possible ages and continue them all the way through both the elementary and secondary schools.
Interviewer: Yeah, I’m not sure that kind of emphasis is encouraged now.
Duga: It’s the first thing to go. And as far as playing, I suppose I was very fortunate that I did not have the so-called “advantages” that we have today. We didn’t have organized sports except within the schools. But it was not uncommon for a bunch of us kids to pick up a softball and bats and go on down to the side street and play there and try to stay out of the way of the cars that went by.
Interviewer: Just good old fun.
Duga: Good old fun playing softball or playing football, and we had an old airport down in Bellaire that hadn’t seen an airplane in 30 years but we did have softball fields down there. Every Sunday morning the B’nai B’rith league would play. It gave me a chance to play a good game of softball and also mix it up with my elders because most of them were older folks. We didn’t have as I said so-called advantages, but we also knew that almost every person in town is related to you either formally or informally. I didn’t dare do anything that was as we say “subject to discipline”. Because if I did something bad, if I had broken a window or I had done something nasty, my parents would know about it before I got home. We lived in a city of about 14,000, that’s about probably 3,000 families, so I had 3,000 mothers and 3,000 fathers looking after me.
Interviewer: But also a sense of warmth and security.
Duga: A sense of community and responsibility.
Interviewer: Oh, sure. And maybe helped you develop the interest you have now in all the work you’re doing for… well we’ll talk about this as we go along, your interest in cemeteries and history.
Duga: I enjoyed my childhood. I made lots and lots of friends, Jewish friends and non-Jewish friends. I don’t think very many of us paid any attention to differences in belief. We were all basically part of one community; did not experience any significant amount of anti-Semitism. There were some things though that I think were important in terms of social responsibility which I learned. In the late 40s my mother had been… Well, my mother was a very special kind of person. She graduated high school when she was 15 years old; very bright woman but never had the opportunity to go to college. But after she got married and lived in Bellaire, she got very much involved with things like women’s clubs and mothers’ clubs and this, that, and other thing. But the thing she really enjoyed was getting involved in social causes. I’ll never forget one day in the late 40s, a man owning one of the two theaters, movie theaters, downtown, had came to a decision that he was going to separate people in the theaters. As they called it in those days, the “coloreds” were going to sit on the sides and the “white folk” were going to sit in the center. Well, my mother heard about this. Now my mother was a very proper person. She wouldn’t even go out in the summer time without a hat and little white gloves. She was viewed by everybody as being kind of classy. She went outside, got on a streetcar, went downtown to the theater, called the theater owner out on to the street, and she told him in no uncertain terms that if he did go ahead with his plans that she was going to picket that theater. Now this is a civil rights activist long before it was proper to be one.
Interviewer: Oh, especially a Jewish women.
Duga: A Jewish woman.
Interviewer: I don’t think very many Jewish women particularly, or Jewish men for that matter, got that involved in political issues.
Duga: She was down there with her hat and white gloves and her indignation and said she would picket the place and she just railed him up one side and down the other; right there in the street in Bellaire.
Interviewer: And the result?
Duga: He didn’t segregate the theater.
Interviewer: There you go.
Duga: She was very proud of it. She did a lot of work. She later had taken some college courses at the downtown center of WestLibertyCollege in Wheeling; and written a thesis on segregation and treatment of blacks. Wheeling, at that time, and all of West Virginia, was segregated; separate theater, separate restaurants and she instilled in me a certain sense of social justice. I didn’t realize that one certain restaurant in Wheeling was segregated until I walked in there with a cousin one day to have lunch and there was a big sign that said “We only serve members of the Caucasian race.” And we didn’t see that until we had ordered our food, and we just got up and walked out; decided that was not the kind of thing we’d put up with.
Interviewer: Yeah, there were even places that didn’t allow Jewish people.
Duga: Oh, yes. In Wheeling they had an apartment house, I’ll never forget it, that had a sign out front “No cats, dogs or Jews allowed.”
Interviewer: Isn’t that amazing?
Duga: Absolutely amazing.
Interviewer: Yes, well, that is interesting. Well, take us, we talked about the fact that you went to Ohio State, and got your degrees there. Tell us how you met your wife and who she is and a little bit about her family.
Duga: My wife was the former Cyril Zisenwine, and I think, there are various stories of how I met her, but probably the most accurate is that after some event at OhioState, or it may have been a friend’s wedding, or a party, or something, a group of us came out to the Jewish Center. I just happened to see her there and asked who she was; I was immediately attracted to her. Then it kind of passed. No, I think I had seen her at Temple Israel before, I don’t know, on Bryden Road.
Interviewer: What was she doing at Temple Israel?
Duga: She was running part of children’s program during the High Holy Day services.
Interviewer: I’m saying that in jest in a way because I know that her family had an orthodox background.
Duga: Yes, she was orthodox, and not only was working there but also after we were married she was teaching at the Sunday school at Temple Israel. I, on the other hand as I mentioned before, grew up in the very reform family, after we got married I was teaching Sunday school at Beth Jacob, a very orthodox synagogue.
Interviewer: That’s a switch.
Duga: Quite a switch. But it was something that I was very comfortable with. Anyhow, I met her at Temple Israel, I sort of saw her at Temple Israel. I knew her older sister from Ohio State and I…
Duga: That was Mickey. And I saw her at the Jewish Center. One day I ran into her on campus at Ohio State and we just decided that we would start dating, and we did. We later decided dating wasn’t quite enough and we got married. Didn’t happen quite that quickly.
Interviewer: How long do you think you dated her before you got married?
Duga: A year and a half maybe; something like that. But this coming Sunday we’ll celebrate 50 years of marriage.
Interviewer: Really? This Sunday?
Duga: This coming Sunday.
Interviewer: How neat. Well, happy anniversary.
Duga: Thank you.
Interviewer: Well, I think I’ve known Cyril for 50 years, and then some, and then some.
Duga: And so have I. When we got married we were both in school at OhioState. I was working part-time at a start-up company known as Industrial Nucleonics, which is a company in town that made scientific instrumentation for control devices in places like paper mills and steel mills and so forth. She was in school. She graduated in 1957 and was then later teaching. I had subsequently switched over to Battelle, and was also in school finishing my doctorate.
Interviewer: Where did she start teaching?
Duga: She was at Broadleigh Elementary School on Maryland Avenue.
Interviewer: Still there?
Duga: Yes, the school is still there, and was quite convenient because we lived in the Beverly Manor apartments, which was within walking distance of the school. And we were, as I said, in school when we first got married, and then I was still in school after she graduated.
Interviewer: So your anniversary is June 26th? Okay, we got that in the record.
Duga: Right, 1955. Small wedding in the rabbi’s study and he was late.
Interviewer: Who was the rabbi?
Duga: Rubenstein. It was just the very immediate family and nothing fancy but somehow or other it managed to last.
Interviewer: It worked anyhow.
Duga: It worked out well.
Interviewer: Did you go on a honeymoon?
Duga: Yes, we went to Washington, neither of us had been to Washington.
Interviewer: Washington, D.C.?
Duga: Yes. And that was fascinating. I think we were fascinated by Washington because both of us have always been sort of like curious about and students of history. And we both had fundamental patriotism about us that made us enjoy things like the monuments and the history of our country and the history of our community. We schlepped around all over Washington to the monuments and the museums and since then have had many opportunities to go back. We take advantage of that.
Interviewer: And still enjoy.
Duga: Still enjoy.
Interviewer: Washington is a fascinating city. It really is. And did Cyril continue to teach for a number of years?
Duga: She taught until a few months before our first daughter was born. And that was in 1958; so she only taught for about a year or so. Then the first baby came along.
Interviewer: Well, tell us about your children and what they’re doing.
Duga: The older one, Jan, was born in 1958. She’s an absolutely outstanding individual, much of what she gets from her mother. She’s also a very fine musician, part of which she gets from me. She had started off in fourth grade and, like me, wanted to be a tuba player. The school gave lessons. She had this little tuba, actually it was a small tuba that I had. She started off in fourth grade. I did not have the patience to teach a beginning student so I left it up to the school. But after about six weeks I recognized that she had some real talent and so I took over the teaching.
Interviewer: What school was she at?
Duga: Maryland Elementary School, in Bexley. I started working with her and she was probably the most coachable and most easily taught student I ever had. I had done some teaching at OhioState when I was in graduate school, partial assistantship in the School of Music in addition to having an assistantship in the department of physics. Later I taught at Capital, CapitalUniversity.
Interviewer: In their music department?
Duga: Yes. But she was by far the best student I ever had. She went on to become a really fine tuba player; well recognized throughout the city and throughout the state. She played with the all-state orchestra. She had gotten a partial scholarship to OhioState. She became the first woman ever to play tuba with the Ohio State Marching Band. She received a degree in music education at Ohio State, and then went to graduate school at Arizona State where she received a Regents’ Fellowship and earned a masters degree in performance. She came back to Ohio and was teaching in the Chillicothe school system where in a period of about six weeks she entirely turned around the whole music program. Then she auditioned for the United States Air Force Band and she won a national competition and got the job. She was also the first woman to play tuba with any of the Washington based professional premier military bands. She’s still the only woman after 22 years, she’s a Chief Master Sergeant which is the highest rank you can get as an enlisted personnel. She has traveled all over the world with the Air Force Band. Very much involved in not only the playing but also the management and other operations of the band, and developed a national and international reputation for herself.
Interviewer: It’s quite an achievement.
Duga: She is really something else. And as I mentioned earlier she’s a real little lady. She’s just a marvelous person.
Our younger daughter Terri, also another fine tuba player, but never wanted to be viewed as following in any body else’s footsteps.
Interviewer: Oh, she’s her own person, huh?
Duga: Very much her own person. A fine tuba player all through high school, but did not pursue it in college. She went to pharmacy school, and she’s married. She has two lovely little girls.
Interviewer: Tell us who’s she’s married to.
Duga: She married Joel Ghitman, and has two little girls, Abigail and Michelle.
Interviewer: How old are they now?
Duga: Gosh, nine and 11, more or less. They’re about 19 months apart.
Interviewer: Do they have any musical inclinations at all?
Duga: Yes, Abby, the older one, has been taking violin; I don’t know how serious she is about it. But she seems to be getting along reasonably well with it. Michelle, the younger one, basically with Terri’s help, learned how to play trumpet. And essentially has taught herself much of what she knows about it, although they don’t have brass instruments in the schools until she gets into fifth grade next year. But I’ve heard her play and she obviously has some talent too. She is very active; she’s a fine baseball player. She just gets very enthused about everything she does and I’m sure she will be very good in whatever she tries. If she never touches trumpet again, she’ll still be the kind of person who could do what she really feels like doing.
Interviewer: Sounds like she’s got a lot of personality and get up and go.
Duga: Yes, and if you look at the differences between the two granddaughters and also compare them to the differences between our two children, and if you go back another generation, the differences between my sister and me, I think in all three of these cases the older child is simply much more the intellectual and the younger one much more the clown. Abigail, Abby, is little bit more intellectual, I think, than Michelle; certainly Jan was more so than Terri. And I don’t mean that in a denigrating way.
Interviewer: No, just the difference in personalities.
Duga: Yes, Terri was pretty a clown and she still is. My sister was very definitely the intellectual in our family and I never got deeply involved in that aspect of things.
Interviewer: But you managed to get through life with some intellect.
Duga: Well, with a lot of help. That’s pretty much about them.
Interviewer: Is Terri working as a pharmacist?
Duga: Yes, yes. She had worked in Kroger’s for a while, and was manager of the Kroger store pharmacy in Reynoldsburg. And then she went into a different aspect of pharmacy, managing some activities for Caremark, which is more of a distributor of pharmaceutical goods and local people dealt primarily with drugs that are used for growth hormones and specialized drugs, and she managed the central Ohio operations for that. Caremark closed their local shop, and now she‘s working for a health-care management company, as opposed to retail pharmacy.
Interviewer: Rather than a retail store.
Duga: Rather than pushing pills.
Interviewer: What is Joel’s occupation?
Duga: Joel works for Wells Fargo, he’s a loan officer; he gives away money.
Interviewer: Gives away money; I got to get his telephone number.
Duga: He does ask for it back.
Interviewer: Oh, okay. Well, it sounds like you have a great deal of pride in both of your children and their accomplishments.
Duga: One thing I’ve always thought about, the two kids went in to entirely different areas, but they sort of cover the bases because one of them looks out for the body and the other for the soul.
Interviewer: Oh, that’s everything.
Duga: Yes. Everything anyone needs.
Interviewer: Tell us about your connection with dotting the “i” at Ohio State University, in the marching band. I know that you and your daughter have history in that.
Duga: Well, for those who aren’t familiar with this, the dotting of the “i” when the marching band writes out “Ohio” in script is sometimes the high point of a person’s life. And hopefully I managed, and my daughter also managed, to do some things turned out in the long run to be more important than that. But when I was at Ohio State the practice was that, the practice and custom, was that whoever was the leader of the tuba section would be the one to have the honor dotting the “i” for the entire season. In 1952, my fourth year in the band, I was the squad leader and we had a new director that year, Jack Evans took over as the director; and I knew that I would be designated “i” -dotter for the year. But I went to him and suggested that there were people who worked just as hard who are just as deserving, and I would like to see the policy changed – even though I was a beneficiary of it – I would like to see the policy changed so that everybody got a chance to do it rather than just the squad leader. But being that it was his first year, Jack didn’t want to upset too many apple carts, so he ruled against that; so I was the “i” – dotter for that entire year and I did it five times, which I believe was a record for a single year which still stands, including twice in one game.
Interviewer: Twice in one game? How does?
Duga: At the beginning, pre-game, and post-game at the Ohio State-Michigan game.
Interviewer: Ohio State-Michigan game, that’s a big…
Duga: That’s a big deal.
Interviewer: That is a big deal.
Duga: Then I dotted the “i” when we played Washington State. Incidentally now the band does script “Ohio” almost every game. Then it was very rare to do it; it was something special. We did it there and did it for Washington State game and we did it twice on the road; I believe that year we went to the University of Illinois and the other trip I think was to University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Then when my daughter got into the marching band, she was the first female tuba player. They integrated the band in 1973; they were an all-boys band before that.
Interviewer: Oh, I didn’t realize that. So it was all male until 1973.
Duga: Right and that was largely because of Title IX, equal opportunity laws came into being. Every section of the band, between ’73 and ’76, had some women in it, with the exception of the tubas. It wasn’t until ’76 that the tuba section was the last to integrate and she was the first girl tuba to be in the band.
Interviewer: Did very many women play the tuba in the Ohio State marching band, or in many bands?
Duga: Quite a few since then.
Interviewer: Do they?
Duga: It’s not quite as uncommon as one would imagine. But she was the first women to make it; others had tried out but were not accepted. She was accepted largely because she could blow the socks off the horn and out-play just about anyone in the band anyhow. And in 1979, at the beginning of her senior year, she dotted the “i” at the alumni game. This is when many of the OSU Marching Band alumni come back and they write out four script “Ohio’s” on the field and she was down on the south, dotting the “i” on the south of the field. It was quite a big deal.
Interviewer: Do you participate in the alumni marching now?
Duga: Yes. Well, I did participate in the alumni band pretty regularly and I used be the president of the alumni association, the band alumni, back in 1981 or so. Unfortunately, I’m getting a little too old for that kind of stuff now so I haven’t been marching for the past couple of years; a few medical problems got in the way. But I still go on playing. I don’t play with the alumni band any more but there is a formal British style brass band in Columbus that was formed about 20 years ago, and I’m one of the charter members. I play with them. We’ve played all over the eastern United States. Our band has won the North American Brass Band championship competition nine times since our inception. We’ve played at the British Open, not the British Open Golf, the British Open Band competition in the year 2000.
Interviewer: I understand. How many are in this group locally?
Duga: There’s about 40. For competition we’re only allowed to have 30 on stage at any time. But we carry a base group of about 40 because there are times, when somebody can’t be there. There are school teachers.
Interviewer: How often are you involved in this? Do they meet regularly?
Duga: We practice once a week and we have about 20 concerts a year around central Ohio. In fact, tomorrow evening we’re playing at Jeffrey Mansion. You’ll have to stop on by.
Interviewer: So you’re still actively involved and that phase of your life.
Duga: It’s a great release. I use to tell my boss when I was working at Battelle that if we had a client that would call us and would be angry about something, or if we lost a contract, or even if I got fired, if it happened on Tuesday it was okay because on Tuesday I had band practice.
Interviewer: You didn’t care what happened.
Duga: Nothing else mattered.
Interviewer: That’s great, that’s great. How wonderful to have something like that to fall back and get you rejuvenated, re-energized.
Duga: We gotten involved in so many other things. My wife and I had developed a curiosity relative to organs, the kind of old-fashioned pump organ that people would have in their parlors of their homes back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. We bought one, it didn’t work, but we just bought it because it looked like it would just add class to the place where we were living. After a few years of looking at it I decided to take it apart and see how it worked and why it didn’t work and see if I could fix it so it did.
Interviewer: But it was playable and so forth?
Interviewer: It just looked good.
Duga: It looked good. It just sat there and looked at us and we looked at it. And so I decided we ought to see how this thing works. I had no idea how it was suppose to work. Took it apart and figured out how it was suppose to work and why it didn’t work, and fixed it so it did work.
Interviewer: You took it apart. You mean you took it totally apart, like a puzzle?
Duga: Like a puzzle. There were no two pieces that were left screwed together; there were pieces all over the place. I numbered each piece so I could at least get in back in the same unworkable condition if I had to. I fixed it, recovered the bellows, and cleaned the reeds and did all kinds of neat stuff in there, and it played. And we enjoyed doing it so much we thought about doing it again.
Interviewer: Did you have help from anybody else? Did you talk to people who had done this, or just figured it out on your own?
Duga: Just did it, just took a screw driver and started to work. Then we thought of doing it again. And we did it again, and again, and again.
Interviewer: You mean you kept buying more organs?
Duga: Yes, but then I started repairing them for other people. And I would say that over the numbers of years we did it, we probably restored or repaired a couple of hundred of them, and built a small business out of it. But a combination of events got us out of the business. One was a bad back that kept rearing its ugly head and I just couldn’t do that kind of work much more. And secondly we sort of went out of business because we fixed them all.
Interviewer: That was it? that was the whole inventory, huh?
Duga: Yes. When we fixed it, it stayed fixed; never had any repeat business. In fact, even today, and this is 30 years after we have done some, we still hear of organs of ours that are still working. We enjoyed it because it was something to bring music back into an instrument that deserved it. We knew nothing about it; there were no books. We knew nothing about the history of the instruments. There were about 300 different companies who made them in the U.S. So I started to do some research on them; went to the Smithsonian Institute and found out that my own personal collection of organs was bigger than theirs.
Interviewer: How many did you have then?
Duga: About a dozen; all over the house.
Interviewer: No wonder you’re in a big house.
Duga: Well, we weren’t in a big house then.
Interviewer: Oh, it was a different house?
Duga: Our collection of organs was more than theirs (the Smithsonian) and our collection of information was bigger than theirs, so I published a couple of papers on the history of the organ and they got pretty wide coverage. Because of those papers there were others who got interested in doing the kind of work we did, and there was a reed organ society that was formed which subsequently published a lot of papers. It was sort of a technical society for those who were interested in reed organ business. We traveled all over. I was a dollar-a-year unpaid consultant to the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. They would get inquiries and they would send them to me and I would answer them on behalf of the Smithsonian.
Interviewer: So that’s a real non-profit organization.
Duga: Oh, yes. It was a diversion.
Interviewer: But you were excited about it and had a great deal of interest.
Duga: Oh, Yes. It was breathing life back into essentially a dead carcass. My wife use to say I was the only doctor in town who made house calls and that I did organ transplants.
Interviewer: Before they were popular.
Duga: Before they were popular.
Interviewer: What a great deal of satisfaction.
Duga: Yes, and the kids got involved in it too, particularly Terri, our younger one. She would come down to the basement with me in my workshop, even as a little kid. She could help take apart an organ, and do it in such a way that everything was lined up, all the notes were written up. When she was eight, nine, 10 years old, she could strip an organ and have it all ready for restoration. She was very much involved in that. Furthermore, we used to take the kids to all the museums and antique stores where they would see not only the organs but a lot of other things. And I think with that they got an appreciation of history, and an appreciation of what things were like back in the so-called “good old days”. It was educational for them, and furthermore it made partners out of them. They were partners to us and it was something we worked with them. They were not only our children but they were our assistants.
Interviewer: Great healthy activity.
Duga: It was good.
Interviewer: Did you all learn to play the organ?
Duga: No. None of us did.
Duga: Didn’t learn how to play it.
Interviewer: But that’s not what you’re interest was.
Duga: We didn’t play them; we just made them play.
Interviewer: Somebody else can enjoy them.
Duga: We could play a little.
Interviewer: I’m sure. How about the little ones, do they have any interest in it?
Duga: Michelle, our youngest one, will still sit down and play. She took piano lessons for a year or so. She’ll sit down at the pump organ we have in our house or in her own house and just go pumping away and play.
Interviewer: How many do you have in your house now?
Duga: Well, we got rid of a whole bunch of them so we’re down to probably about four or five.
Interviewer: But that’s still is three or four more than any house I know of.
Duga: Well, we have one pipe organ too. A small pipe organ we rescued from a church out on Hamilton Road, built in 1869, and it’s really a neat organ. The only one that we’ve seen that is quite like it was one that we had seen in a museum in New England. It’s a nice instrument, and needs a little work. It adds some special class to our home.
Interviewer: It sounds like it. It sounds like a lot of fun you’ve had with that and I can see your interest in history has developed into many different areas. [End of first tape.]
We’re on side A of tape two with Jules Duga and Jules is telling us about his interest in rebuilding and restoring organs about his involvement, his whole family was involved with this adventure.
You said it did stimulate an interest in history, where did you buy these instruments? How did that come about?
Duga: I think the first one we saw was just an ad in the paper. Cyril happened to see it and thought we’d be interested in taking a look at it. Subsequently we would look in the paper or go to antique stores, to music stores. We got the word out to most major music stores in town, particularly those that took organs in on trade for new organs, new electronic organs or pianos. We were known by Graves – which is a big piano and organ store, and Williams piano store up on North High Street, and Bunn-Minnick organ company, they make beautiful pipe organs, located over in Victorian Village. All these people got to know we were involved. Quite often they would get requests from people to fix organs and they didn’t do it, and they would refer their business to us. Or they would take an organ in on trade and would want to know how to get rid of it and quite often call us and we would buy it and bring it home. That was basically how we got our collection, got most of our business. We did have a time where there about 15 of these organs around the house, and of course the question comes up “Where did you keep them?”, and the answer is “Everywhere.”
Interviewer: Everywhere, uh? Wall to wall.
Duga: Living room, dining room, basement, garage, just all over the place. And then in a few years ago we started divesting ourselves of our collection because it was too much for us to handle. And I very was particular how we got rid of them. We wanted to make sure they went to good homes and finally just about a year ago I found a man up in Michigan who was in the reed organ business and I contacted him and asked him if he’d be interested in; as far as I was concerned he could have them. I wasn’t interested in selling them. I was interested in making sure they got to a good home where they would be respected. All too often these kinds of instruments ended up in a junk pile somewhere and I just thought it was totally inappropriate to relegate these to a landfill, and I was glad I found this guy up in Michigan who would take them all.
Interviewer: You put a lot of personal love and attention into this project.
Duga: Oh Yes. It was like getting rid of anything else; it had some value, and I wanted to make sure that value was maintained. Now that was a curse and a blessing. It’s a curse in that it forces me to keep certain things rather than get rid of them. But it’s also a blessing in that as with so many other things I have collected I really feel that there’s some value in materials that relate to anything historical. Unfortunately you never know when they might be valuable so I’m a real string-saver. I have stuff around the house from family correspondence and I urge other people if you’re going to be getting rid of things of people who unfortunately have passed away, don’t throw away the letters, don’t throw away the pictures. Somebody, even somebody in your family, or a local historical society or museum or local library should be advised of the fact that there are some things that could be of value for some family member or historian in the future. And it’s been an uphill battle trying to convince everybody in my family that they should keep these things.
Interviewer: I would have a hard time keeping it all, but I can appreciate the value of having a personal touch of the human being who created the words and the hand that worked on that paper or instrument or whatever.
Duga: Sure, and there is so much family history. One of the reasons why we got involved with the historical society is I believe very strongly in there being some sort of a mechanism whereby the history of the community – which is really the sum of the history of individuals – where that can be restored and where it can be maintained, where it can be archived and where it can be used by somebody in the future. I would hope that perhaps my great-grandchildren, if I have any, will one day look back and say, “See, we have all this kind of stuff that tells us where we came from; but the only reason we have it is because Great-grandpa Jules kept it, and stuff that he kept is stuff that had been passed on to him from generations before him.”
Interviewer: Sure. You were able to draw from your past this volume of information and you, and I don’t know anybody who’s come up with more relatives on paper than you have; and it’s been a fascination to me for years ever since I realized that what’s you’re doing is really tremendous.
Duga: Well, there are others who have gone further than I. In fact I was just talking yesterday to a fellow from Cleveland, who I’ve done some work with off-and-on, and he has collected – I wouldn’t call it his collected family tree, it’s just his extended family tree because he includes everybody who’s ever been connected. He’s gone a lot further than I have yet. But he has all this on his computer and I asked him how many people he has on there – 59,500 and some, as of yesterday.
Interviewer: And how many years back does that take him?
Duga: It didn’t seem to take him back real far, but it takes him across a lot, because he includes every cousin of every cousin of every cousin that he could find. He has me on his family tree because we are connected through various intermediary stages, and I am in no way genetically connected to him. But I am connected by a whole series of other people’s marriages. I’ve met him once, in Cincinnati a few years ago.
There are some people on my family tree that I haven’t met, but I’m a little more circumspect than that. I don’t include a lot of people that are peripheral. For example, I referred earlier to my late sister’s husband: he’s on the tree of course because he married into the family. However, I don’t include any of his family because doing that would make things get totally out of hand. Even with that I have about 8,000 people of my own.
Interviewer: I’m in awe of finding that information on that many people, related or not related. I think it’s just fabulous. Tell us about what you’re doing, some of the things you’re doing for the Jewish Historical Society; the cemetery project.
Duga: Well, the first cemetery project started off being one of, actually being inspired by one of the earliest directors of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, Bobbie Schehr. She had advised me of some work that had been done by Leonard Spialter of Dayton who runs the Dayton Jewish Genealogy Society. Leonard had put together a compilation of information on the cemeteries in Dayton. And I was kind of interested in the cemeteries of Franklin County. In about 1992 Cyril and I decided that I would undertook a project of cataloging what was then the 13 designated Jewish cemeteries in Columbus. And I stress the term “designated” because there are a number of places in town where there are Jews that are buried but they are in the more public cemeteries; some in Union Cemetery, and some in Greenlawn, but not in the Jewish section, and there are some in Glen Rest and some of the other places. We decided to catalog the designated cemeteries because the cemetery information is useful for those who are doing genealogy research.
So we started going through the cemeteries and wrote down every name in every one of these cemeteries and the material that was on the stones, just the English side – we did not do the Hebrew (that’s something we’ll have to catch up on). But then I was a little dismayed to take a look at these and see that on many of the stones it would give the year of birth, say 1898 and died in 1956, and that was all that was said. But that’s pretty good for most curiosity seekers; but it’s not really good enough for genealogists. Genealogists want to know not just the year but the month and the day. Was there some way we could tie in more specific information when a person died?
So I took the project, expanded the project to get into other places that would give us those kinds of data. We were fortunate to get cooperation of Henry Epstein and his son, Michael, of the Epstein Memorial Chapel. In addition, we had the cooperation of people such as Dave Schoedinger of the Schoedinger Funeral Home, who handled a lot of the Jewish burials prior to the time when Don Snider established the first Jewish Funeral Home. In addition, the staff of GreenlawnCemetery opened up their card catalogue to me, all 130,000 burials. I could go in and get more specific information about dates of birth and dates of death. At the same time I can pick up more information about who the parents of the deceased were, where some of the people and their parents were born. All this adds to the genealogy database. We incorporated all of that into our data base. We have not published all of that data. We have published the listing of all those who were buried between 1852, which was the first Jewish burial here, and 1999. Subsequently I have maintained a continuing list, daily updates of the Jews who have died in Columbus regardless of who handles the funeral, whether it’s Schoedinger or some times Egan Ryan or O’Shaughnessy or others. We also do the continuing database and sooner or later we are going to publish this on the web so that other researchers will have access to more recent data, rather than jut the book that we did.
The second project we’re involved in covers the Jewish cemeteries in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio as well as in an expanded version of Central Ohio. We’re including Mansfield, where there are three cemeteries, Marion, Steubenville, which has two, Newark, and others.
Interviewer: They’re not specifically Jewish, are they?
Duga: Some of them are.
Interviewer: Some of them are.
Duga: Some of them, let me back up. There are some specifically Jewish cemeteries, as a number of the ones in Columbus are. In addition, there are Jewish sections of large cemeteries, such as the three we have in Greenlawn here and the one section in Forest Lawn Cemetery which is owned and operated by Temple Israel. These are designated areas within a larger cemetery. So we have the three in Mansfield, one of which is a designated Jewish cemetery and the other two are parts of others. Marion, Newark, Zanesville, two of them in Steubenville, two in East Liverpool, one in Bellaire, two in Marietta, one in Athens, one in Portsmouth, and one in Ironton. We’re also including the border cities of Wheeling, which has three, Parkersburg which has one, and Huntington which has two. So all these border cities we’re including because that’s where the Jewish community was and there may be Jews who lived on the Ohio side and are buried there. So that project is under way right now; with any luck we’ll have it completed this summer.
The next project involves Jewish obituaries, and we have the obituaries of most of those who have died in Columbus to the past roughly 10 years. There is access to microfilm records that go back quite far. I know that I have a listing of where the obituaries in the Dispatch are back to 1935.
Interviewer: Is that your source of obituaries, is through the newspaper?
Duga: Yes, yes. And those are very important. They tell you something about the survivors. The funeral home records tell you who the parents are; the obituaries tell you who the children are, and other survivors, and sometimes the siblings who have passed away already. These provide sources of genealogical information, and that’s one of the reasons why we do it. There’s one other aspect of this.
Interviewer: This really creates a history; not just an inventory that leads to the history?
Duga: It’s creating databases. See, genealogy is tough enough to do under the best of circumstances; there is so much one has to look up, and I think that if you can lower some of the barriers, you can lower the brick walls by making available collections of data to the person can come here, for example, and find out more about the obits and about who was who in the family, they don’t have to go dragging down to the courthouse and go through dusty old books. They aren’t going to find a lot of that stuff on the web because there are tons and tons of data that are not available on the internet. If they have it on a centralized location it may help to encourage them to do more work on the family history work, which I feel is important.
Interviewer: Are you aware that this is being done in other communities, other states?
Duga: Yes. There are certain things that have already been done and, well, for example, “Jewish Gen” is a web site that has a lot of information on Jewish genealogy, and what’s in that web site are compilations of all types of data from around the country. There’s a thing called the Family Tree of the Jewish People where you type in certain names, like Schottenstein, and you’ll find tons of data about who all this is; some of this is right and some is wrong, but that’s the way it is with anything on the internet. There are other people who are putting together cemetery lists. I don’t know of anybody who’s put together much of an obituary list. Hopefully our work will not only be responsive to the present and future needs here, but also be inspirational to others to do this as well. I would love to be able to pick up a computerized list of obituaries of who died in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or wherever. We have a lot of our family who died there. There is a very good list available through the Cleveland Public Library which has helped me a lot in my research and there is some available in Boston, New York.
Interviewer: Really fascinating to realize that the obituary has so much information.
Duga: Yes. Unfortunately, not everybody puts in an obituary, and in the old days not only did they not publish a lot of obituaries, but when they did, they published them randomly throughout the newspaper.
Interviewer: Would they have to be paid for? Did you know if that was one of the detriments?
Duga: That’s one of the drawbacks now. Today an obituary in the paper, at least in the Columbus Dispatch, will cost you. I believe the ones in the Chronicle are free so occasionally we will pick up a few that are in the Chronicle that are not in the Dispatch. There aren’t too many. Back in the olden days, I think they were probably free but they were reported as news items collected on a single page. I’ve looked up obituaries in old Zanesville newspapers, and they’re primarily news items scattered throughout the paper, so you have to read the entire newspaper in order to find an obituary of one particular person. At least if you know when they died it helps. Another source, a great source of information, is the write-up of weddings because the weddings were usually not only big time social events, particularly in the smaller towns, but also within the write-ups they would tell you about who was the flower girl and that gives you a name; who was the bridesmaids were, such and such being a cousin of the bride which gives another piece of information.
Interviewer: But to be able to feed that information into the proper slot is a challenge.
Duga: Oh, Yes; oh, yes. There’s a marvelous collection of the old Jewish Chronicle and its predecessor, Jewish Clarion, of Pittsburgh which goes back to about 1894 or something like that. I found a full collection of them at the Rodef Shalom Temple in Pittsburgh and I would love spending some time there reading this 100 years of newspaper history, because in there are the weddings, the bar mitzvahs, the obituaries, the marriage stuff.
Interviewer: What about individual synagogues? Are there records of some value?
Duga: They’re variable. There are some synagogues that throw out old records, much to the dismay of people interested in history. Around Columbus Tifereth Israel has a very good collection of its own relative to its own history, as does Temple Israel. I have not really seen a good collection of materials from some of the other synagogues which will go unnamed; they were not particularly judicious in maintaining all that stuff.
Interviewer: Some of them just struggle to exist, and the other business is just put aside. It sounds like you have a lot more work ahead of you.
Duga: Oh yes. One other thing we have ahead of us is that, I mentioned earlier how before Epstein and Snider funeral homes, our Jewish funerals were handled largely by Schoedinger and by O’Shaughnessy. There were quite a few also done by some of the other, such as Woodyard. One of the things I have to do is go back into the records at Schoedinger and re-do some work that I had done before in collaboration with some of the other people from the historical society. One thing that was very interesting was to go in with a group of surnames and try to get the details of the burials, and they occasionally would have a surname that would appear, for example, let’s take the name “Steinberg”. We would be looking for certain Steinbergs that we knew were buried here in town. We didn’t know if they were buried by Schoedinger so we went through the Schoedinger records and picked out all the Steinbergs, included not only those we knew of but also some we didn’t know of. There were a number of Jewish burials handled by Schoedinger, and presumably by others, that were referred to as being buried in Hungarian cemeteries or Russian cemeteries or Jewish cemeteries. These were basically the old classifications on Alum Creek but they were new ones to us. We would go through the records over at Schoedinger’s and find there were some Steinbergs that corresponded to people on our list, but we also found these additional Steinbergs that were designated as being buried in these other cemeteries, Jewish cemetery, Hungarian cemetery, Russian cemetery and what it turns out is that these were burials many times of babies or transients and they were buried over in these cemeteries but in an unmarked grave. And if it had not been for the fact that we went through the records of the funeral home we’d have never know that there were certain people buried in the old cemeteries, some of whom we know of being connected to existing families, but also there were some of them who were transients, perhaps students at Ohio State or perhaps they were people who were prisoners or others that had no family to put up a stone. This way we can know a little more about who all was who in the Jewish community. I think we found something like 25 to 30 unmarked graves over in the old cemetery on Alum Creek this way. We knew from some old maps there were some unmarked graves but nobody knew who was where. At least now we know “who” the “who” is. And my next step is to go through some of the other funeral homes’ records, particularly O’Shaughnessy, because they were very big I believe in the Orthodox community before Snider came into business.
Interviewer: Is Snider the first Jewish funeral home? Don Snider?
Duga: Right, Don Snider; started in late 1939 and was active in the business for 41 years, covering many hundreds of burials here. Starting in 1979, the business transitioned to Henry Epstein and thus they have been around for a total of 66 years, helping many, many hundreds, thousands of burials here. As an interesting sideline, I took a look at the Jewish burials in the two major sections over in Greenlawn. In my database, I have not only the names of the individuals and the dates and places of birth and death and the names of the parents. In addition, there is a notation as to which funeral home handled the services. It’s interesting to take a look at the percentage of services that were done by Schoedinger and how it started to change in 1939, how it dropped off. You could just see how Snider developed the business and I’m sure that Henry Epstein and Michael Epstein now don’t have a really full appreciation of the extent to which their business actually grew at the very specific expense of Schoedinger’s.
Interviewer: So actually the Epsteins were the only ones after Snider?
Duga: That’s right.
Interviewer: Well, that has developed into an interesting aspect of the Jewish community.
Duga: Oh, Yes. And they have a lot of data in the funeral records. It is really helpful when it comes to people who are trying to do genealogy research. I discourage people from going over to Epstein to ask him, ask for genealogy information; that’s not their business. That’s one of the reasons why the historical society is forming a fairly close relationship with Epstein because we have certain collected data that comes directly from their own records there. We relieve them of the responsibilities of doing something that is not their business, and they don’t want to do that business, and the same time we protect the confidentiality of the information that is the property of Epstein’s but not the property of the historical society.
Interviewer: But they’ve been receptive to you…
Duga: Very much so; extremely helpful.
Interviewer: …and appreciate what you’re doing?
Duga: Yes, I think so, and it’s good marketing for them too.
Interviewer: Is there a financial involvement in this, Jules?
Duga: No, no.
Interviewer: You’re just doing it on your own?
Duga: I am. Yes, we’re interested in strictly volunteer work. Now the work we’re doing with the outlying cemeteries involves quite a bit of out-of-pocket expenses just in gasoline and hotel bills. We do have a grant from the Columbus Jewish Foundation for all the out-of-pocket expenses associated with the project in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. But there is absolutely nothing in the way of any personal remuneration; it’s strictly volunteer time. We get a lot of inquiries here from, actually all over the world, from people who want to find out more about their roots and the Columbus-based roots, and I do a lot of research for them with the stipulation that there is to be no cash transactions unless they want to make a donation to the historical society.
Interviewer: Has that happened?
Duga: Yes, yes. And we’ve picked up a few bits and pieces here and there.
Interviewer: I can see where it would be a lot of expense to you personally but you’re doing it as a volunteer, and the time, there’s no way to evaluate the time you put into it.
Duga: I could do like other genealogists and charge $50 an hour for doing research but I think that would be putting too much of the business aspect into it.
Interviewer: This is your legacy.
Duga: Yes, in some respects it is. We’ve done some very interesting inquiries. A lady from California had contacted us because her father was buried in town and she didn’t know where. And her mother was in the process of dying and they wanted to find out where her plot was, assuming that there was a plot reserved for her. I find out where it was and I gave her all the instructions on who to contact in town. Her mother passed away and Cyril and I went to her funeral.
And then we had a woman from Texas whose daughter was going to celebrate her bat mitzvah. The woman knew nothing about her father’s family who had come from Columbus. I spent about two hours and I put together a family tree out of material I had readily available: funeral home records, cemetery records which were augmented by the funeral home, and a few other personal records that I had. I put together a bunch of data for her and absolutely delighted the whole family.
We had an inquiry from the chief rabbi’s office of London regarding a man who wanted to get married there, but the rabbi needed proof he was Jewish. We did a little research over here. We found out who he was and found out who his parents were. He had been raised in a Jewish foster home in Cleveland. I looked up the obituaries of his foster parents, found out they had a Jewish background. I also found on his birth certificate that his mother was Jewish. I chatted a little bit with Rabbi Stavsky and he affirmed from what we knew, this fellow would be considered as being Jewish and so the chief rabbi of London approved it.
Interviewer: Well, so those are the stories that mean so much, I have very great appreciation of those things. That’s what encourages me to do what I am doing and find it very interesting to be able to talk to people like you and many other people in the community that have offered all kinds of information. And some where it turns up that somebody would like to know this information. Maybe not all of it but any little bit.
Duga: That’s why I say every piece of paper is valuable. Keep it all.
Interviewer: Well, don’t move into an apartment, Jules, it’s not going to work. I’m just trying to think of what other aspect of your life that you can share with us. I think you’ve met a lot of people through the years and found, certainly found your place in Columbus, and you’ve lived here all of your married life.
Duga: Oh, Yes.
Interviewer: So you’ve been here 50 plus years, and I…
Duga: You know I’m still a stranger in town. I still have to ask Cyril who this person was, how are they connected with someone, just like I asked you earlier who these various people were. I think I know an awful lot of people but I can’t really relate to them in the same way that a true native can.
Interviewer: We’re still not considered sabras.
Duga: That’s right. And Cyril still introduces me to people who lived on 22nd Street. I’ve come to the conclusion that 22nd Street was not an address; it was a frame of mind. If everybody who she said lived on 22nd Street or the old neighborhood truly did come from there, the street could not support that size.
Interviewer: That would be a whole community its own, and it was a community in a way, it was. How many homes have you lived in in Columbus since you were married?
Duga: Let’s see. First we lived in Beverly Manor, then in Colonial Williamsburg.
Interviewer: Those are off of Maryland Avenue?
Duga: Yes. The first time we bought was on Maryland Avenue, and…
Interviewer: What was the address on Maryland?
Duga: 2920. It was right at the end of Merkle, and if you drove up Merkle and your brakes failed you’d end up in our living room. Then we moved…
Interviewer: That never happened I hoped?
Duga: No. Then we moved over to where we live now on Bryden Road, 2605 Bryden Road, which was a house formerly owned by Dr. Aaron Canowitz. And there are still some people who refer to it as the Canowitz home.
Interviewer: It’s still the Canowitz home.
Duga: Yes, because that’s who was there when these other people lived in the area.
Interviewer: How many years have you been in that house?
Duga: Thirty six, I think.
Interviewer: Well, maybe you’ll earn that title, it will be the Duga house, the one full of papers and organs and tubas…
Duga: And stuff.
Interviewer: And stuff. I don’t know Jules, are there any other aspects of your life that you would like to share? Travels, vacations? How you and Cyril and children enjoyed their youth?
Duga: One of the things about childhood vacations and children, we used to take the kids with us just about everywhere. Every other year I would be attending a conference in New Hampshire, and we would spend the week in various types of technical conferences. In more recent years our vacations have been very unstructured. We would decide on a certain part of the country we wanted to go see and we’d just hop in the car and go there. No hotel reservations, no plans; we’d get to a certain place and if there was something to do, we’d do it. If there was nothing to do, we’d hop in the car and continue. Almost all of these types of vacations to various parts of the country were, well, they did have a theme. The theme being if there’s something interesting to see, if there’s a museum, or a little synagogue, or a Jewish cemetery of some type or another, we’d go to that area. In one year we had decided to a take plantation tour; in looking at old homes, old American castles along the Mississippi.
Interviewer: So the plantations were the catalyst for the trip to the South?
Duga: South. So that was the target, and that was Natchez, Mississippi, and hopped in the car and the first night we found ourselves in Nashville. But while we were in Nashville we realized that this was where Andrew Jackson’s home was, the Jackson homestead and museum and library. Then we headed toward Natchez, but before we got to Natchez we ended up in Memphis. What’s there to do in Memphis? Well, we happened to go to Graceland. Not that we were big Elvis Presley fans, but also we found other museums there. And then we headed down to Jackson, Mississippi where we came across a marvelous display display of the Jewish historical society, I think it was called the Museum of Southern Jewish Experience, and that was displayed in the Jackson Public Museum. So we stopped and saw that. Then we drove over to Vicksburg where we toured the Civil War battleground, and they had a Jewish cemetery right on the battleground and went to the old synagogue there. Ended up in an old synagogue in Port Gibson, Mississippi; I had never even heard of Port Gibson. Finally, we ended up in Natchez where again we took tours of the mansions; took tours of the cemeteries, tours of the synagogues, and various other historical sites. And that was kind of like a theme for everything.
Last time we hopped in the car to Asheville, North Carolina, to go see the Vanderbilt Museum, but then headed on to Charleston, South Carolina, because of its Jewish history, and Savannah, Georgia. That’s one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to this speaker for our annual meeting, he’s from Charleston, a couple of days from today. And then we went to the Marine Corps museum at Parris Island and ended up in the Air Force museum in Savannah. It happened to come across it quite by accident. President Polk’s homestead, we found that in North Carolina, and just stopped by; it happened to be there, so we did it. It wasn’t on a schedule because we don’t have a schedule. It wasn’t on the itinerary because we don’t have an itinerary. It wasn’t between this hotel and the next hotel because we never knew where the next hotel was going to be.
Interviewer: But it was there.
Duga: It was there and it was just a random thing.
Interviewer: Isn’t that fun though?
Duga: It is fun. And that’s basically the way we’ve been taking our vacations.
Interviewer: You’ve kind of led your life a little bit out of the box, but it’s a wonderful, open-ended adventure that never ends.
Duga: That’s right, an adventure.
Interviewer: Yes, it sure has. Well, Jules, I don’t know about you, but I think we’ve covered a lot of territory and I just want to thank you on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society for spending this afternoon with this adventure, and sharing all your interesting experiences. It’s really fascinating and I know that there will be many people that will enjoy hearing your story.
Duga: If there’s anything else you need, don’t hesitate to ask.
Interviewer: We’ll look you up. We know how to find you. Thank you very much.