It’s Tuesday, night, January 21, 2003. I’m Molly Lakin and I’m sitting here at my home and I’m talking to Ethel Rosen. Hi Ethel.
Interviewer: Ethel, you were born here in Columbus weren’t you?
Interviewer: I’m not going to ask you how old you are but I know that you remember a lot of things about Columbus. Tell me, can you, where were you born, in Columbus?
Rosen: Born in Columbus, I think on Parsons Avenue at, near Kossuth.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And that was a Jewish section at one time?
Rosen: A lot of Jewish people in the south end.
Interviewer: And what was your maiden name, Ethel?
Rosen: Ethel Weisenberg. There were two Ethel Weisenbergs. One lived on Engler Street and I was the one that lived on Parsons Avenue.
Interviewer: Did you come from a large family Ethel?
Rosen: No, there were three living children although my older brother was the first one to live. There were three born prior to him.
Interviewer: And you were all, you grew up, you went to school here in Columbus?
Rosen: I went to school all but three years. From 1929 to I think ’32, I lived in Buffalo at that time. Can’t remember the exact years. Graduated from South High in 1933.
Interviewer: Do you remember any of your classmates Ethel?
Rosen: Well Marion Soomsky tells me she graduated with me. I think Sarah Kahn who married Lou Robins. They were both in classes at South. I think Lou was, yeah they were both in some of my classes I think.
Interviewer: Quite a change in Columbus from those days, isn’t there?
Rosen: Oh it isn’t the same city at all.
Interviewer: Whereabouts did you live did you say, on Kossuth Street?
Rosen: On Parsons.
Interviewer: On Parsons?
Rosen: At two houses from the corner of Kossuth.
Interviewer: What was the city like then, I mean, traveling and street cars? What was there?
Rosen: Well I don’t know what to say about what the city was like.
Interviewer: You were going to tell me who lived there, who lived in the next block.
Rosen: Across the street, catty-corner from us lived the Horkins. There was Marvin Horkin who became a dentist. I think a family by the name of Clebone I think lived next door. The Schwartz family lived in that block.
Interviewer: What was that, Dave Schwartz?
Rosen: There was Louie Schwartz who played football at one time at South High School. Betty who married Joe Schaffer. Jannie who married a man from McKeesport and Lou Baer and Jack Schwartz who married Esther Goodman. And Eve Baker lived around the corner on Stanley Avenue. That was Eve and Julius Baker.
Interviewer: Was that Julius Baker the rabbi? Oh no.
Rosen: Eve married Levinson, one of the Levinsons.
Interviewer: Dave Levinson?
Rosen: Dave. Eve married Dave Levinson.
Interviewer: Then you remember quite a few of them. They all lived . . . .
Rosen: The Levys, which about that time when I was small, the Levy family lived on Whittier Street.
Interviewer: Which Levy family was that?
Rosen: I tell you . . . . it’s Shkolnik. Fagey, Fay, well Fagey and Ethel and there was Mendel and . . . .
Interviewer: What Levy?
Rosen: and Lena. Lena I think was the eldest.
Interviewer: There was a boy, another one . . . .
Rosen: . . . . the youngest one . . . .
Interviewer: Yeah and the youngest, yeah.
Rosen: Let’s see.
Interviewer: Butch Levy they called him.
Rosen: Butch. He was born much later. I don’t think I was even living there at the time he was born. And he was . . . .
Interviewer: Who else lived around there?
(Tape is too quiet; can’t hear conversation.)
Rosen: And then our block were the Seidenbergs, Helen and Arthur and Betty. Later on came Ruthie and there was Lillian who went by her previous name . . . . but it made . . . . There was “my children”, “your children” and “our children”. So Lillian was the daughter of Mrs. Seidenberg, Elkin was her name, Elkin. She married Dave . . . .
Interviewer: She moved to California?
Rosen: Right, and his name was Dave, I can remember that.
Interviewer: And Mr. And Mrs. Seidenberg, Ruth, Ruthie Seidenberg who’s now Ruthie Kahn was the baby, was the daughter of both Mr. and Mrs. Seidenberg.
Rosen: That was “our” child.
Interviewer: That was “ours,” yeah. It brings back a lot of memories too, doesn’t it? Did you, what shul did you belong to?
Rosen: Beth Jacob.
Interviewer: Where was Beth Jacob then?
Rosen: On Donaldson west of Washington Street. It was “the Little Shul”.
Interviewer: Why was it called the little shul?
Rosen: Because it was the little, it was smaller than Agudas Achim. Agudas Achim was called “the Big Shul”. Beth Jacob was called the little shul and there was Ahavas Sholom who was second, a very small shul. It was on the same street with Agudas Achim. That was Washington Street I believe. Now that’s called Second Street, Washington Street.
Interviewer: Washington Avenue?
Rosen: Yeah it was called Washington Avenue. And Ahavas Sholom was next door to Agudas Achim. That was tiny, it had a big front yard. It sat back a ways and it was the littlest shul.
Interviewer: Was it the Orthodox shul?
Rosen: Oh they were all very Orthodox, all three.
Interviewer: All three of them were Orthodox?
Rosen: Oh yeah. The women sat upstairs.
Interviewer: What was it like then?
Rosen: I used to like to go. There was no Sunday School in those days. We went mostly on the High Holydays. The men went on Passover but only the men went. I don’t think the women went. The women only went on the High Holydays.
Interviewer: Where were the grocery stores then?
Rosen: Kroll’s on the corner of Washington and it was the only kosher deli. It was on the corner of Washington and I think Fulton and on the east side there was Harry Center Butcher Shop. On I think Fulton Street, I could be mistaken, but Harry Center Butcher Shop was there.
Interviewer: What else . . . .
Rosen: And Kroll’s Deli.
Interviewer: Was there a bakery there?
Rosen: Oh Schwartz’s bakery was on the corner of I think Washington and Mound. I could be mistaken. But that was Schwartz’s Bakery.
Interviewer: You mean Dave Schwartz?
Rosen: I don’t remember the first name. But they came around, the truck came around and the driver came into the house with the baked bread basket . . . .
Interviewer: Is that . . . .
Rosen: full of bread, covered with an oilcloth. He picked up the oilcloth and you selected the bread that you wanted from his big basket.
Interviewer: That was nice. Were all things delivered that way?
Rosen: Milk got left on the front steps of course. In the cold weather it sometimes froze and it popped up out of the bottle.
Interviewer: The cream?
Rosen: The cream was at the top. It popped out of the bottle. There was a man, a shochet. When he killed, when he slaughtered the beef or whatever he slaughtered, he got to keep the organ meat, liver, lungs. He would, he got to keep it. He could bring it to you and sell it to you.
Interviewer: Do you remember his name?
Rosen: Oh there was a shochet I think by the name of Silverman. I’m quite sure. Yablok, oh Yablok was a Hebrew School teacher.
Interviewer: Wasn’t he the mohel?
Rosen: He might have been a shochet or his father . . . .
Interviewer: Wasn’t he the mohel? Wasn’t he the mohel? Wasn’t Yablok the mohel?
Rosen: I don’t recall. I really didn’t know . . . . But there was Silverman who was a shochet and there might have been, I know a Mister Yablok was a Hebrew School teacher. Whether he taught . . . . or he was also a shochet. The name is in my mind but I right now can’t recall. But there was I think a Hebrew School teacher by the name of Yablok. See the Hebrew School was on Rich Street across the street from the Schonthal Center.
Interviewer: What was the Schonthal Center?
Rosen: It was the Jewish Center of its day.
Interviewer: Is that right?
Rosen: It was a gray stone building and that was the place for Jewish kids to hang out.
Interviewer: It was a very popular place for . . . .
Rosen: I didn’t used to go there much. My brothers might have.
Interviewer: Were you going to talk about the Berlin family? Who were the Berlin family?
Rosen: Nate Berlin . . . .
Interviewer: Nate Berlin?
Rosen: Did you know Nate?
Interviewer: Was he with the automobile company? What was his . . . .
Rosen: His family lived on Parsons Avenue facing Beck Street.
Interviewer: Who was his family?
Rosen: The father was an older man who owned considerable property in that area and he just ran around taking care of the property. In that family the young—, I think the youngest daughter, her name was Alice. I always thought she was very attractive. She had long, black thick curls that hung down her back, even when she was in high school. There was a sister Sarah. When she got married they lived on Champion Avenue, I think on the corner of Forest. I think the last name was Adelman, A-D-E-L-M-A-N. I’m quite sure I have that right. They moved away. I think they moved to Texas State. I think they had a jewelry store. He was a jeweler I think. They moved to Texas. I would say in the 20s they moved.
Interviewer: Who were you related to here in Columbus?
Rosen: Well Harriet, to the Shusticks.
Interviewer: The Shusticks were a big family, weren’t they? They were a big family here?
Rosen: They were. There was Bobby and Molly and Fannie and Abe and Cecil and Harriet. Harriet became Harriet Korn. She married Harold. Fannie became Fannie Bonowitz, Marvin and Roselyn’s mother. She married A. J. Bonowitz who had the men’s store on Mt. Vernon Avenue.
Interviewer: The Shusticks, Abe and Cecil were in the roofing business, weren’t they?
Rosen: Abe took over the roofing business. He always worked with his father.
Interviewer: Oh his father had the business?
Rosen: Oh his father started it all and he started the business out of his, when they lived on Parsons Avenue between Forest and Columbus Street, and they had several garages in the back and. But Cecil became a dentist but when he came back from World War II, he had, he couldn’t use his hands any more to do dental work. He had something. It might have been arthritis, that he could not use his hands to do dental work. So he gave up his dental practice and he went into the roofing business. He didn’t do any of the work. Abe didn’t. They managed the business. They were not roofers themselves.
Interviewer: They lived in Columbus many years, didn’t they?
Rosen: I don’t know when they came to America. My aunt and uncle . . . .
Interviewer: Who were your aunt and uncle?
Rosen: Sabel was her name and George. They were married in Europe, I’m quite sure. My parents were married in America.
Interviewer: This Sabel family, did they have any descendants?
Rosen: Sabel was the mother of Cecil and Harriet and Fannie, Bobby.
Interviewer: Oh, oh.
Rosen: She was Sabel Shustick.
Interviewer: Oh, oh.
Rosen: Her maiden name would have been Sandler. And actually in Russian the name was Xandrish and that name was spelled with an X, Xandrish, X-A-N-D-R-I-S-H. But when I think it was . . . . Mary Michaelson. She was Mary Snider and Lina I think is her name. They were two sisters. They lived on Stanley Avenue around the corner from Parsons Avenue and their . . . .
Interviewer: No Lina . . . .
Rosen: They’re both. I saw them the other night. I mentioned Eva Baker who married Dave Levinson. The Levys who lived for a while on Whittier Street, then they moved to Parsons and Columbus. I mentioned them. Who else? And I did mention the Schwartz family that lived over there?
Rosen: With Betty and Fannie.
Interviewer: Were they an active Jewish group over there?
Rosen: They didn’t have the same things going on. There used to be, way out South Parsons Avenue into the country, there used to be a place called Heimendale Grove. They had a Jewish picnic. The Jewish community picnic was held every summer at Heimendale Grove and the fellow who was the ringmaster of all the goings on was Abish Wolman, Abe Wolman. He always ran the show. They had a wheel . . . .
Interviewer: Ferris wheel?
Rosen: No the ferris wheel takes you up. It was a game of chance that you . . . .
Interviewer: Oh, oh, oh, oh. A gaming wheel?
Rosen: Yeah. And they gave prizes away. You bought tickets, you bought tickets to enter too and it was like a park. There was a lot of trees, a lot of trees I remember.
Interviewer: A lot of Jewish people . . . .
Rosen: I can’t recall if you brought your own food or not.
Interviewer: Was, they all used . . . .
Rosen: Fagel might be able to answer some of these questions. Not so much Ethel ’cause she’s younger but Fagel could maybe.
Interviewer: You mean they used to congregate there on Sundays?
Rosen: No, where at . . . .
Interviewer: At Heimendale Park?
Rosen: No, Grove.
Interviewer: Oh Heimendale Grove?
Rosen: Heimendale Grove. No a picnic, a Jewish community picnic every summer, one time. Trying to think if they had a horse and wagon. I think I might have gone to those picnics with the Levy Family, Fagel and her family, Mrs. Levy and Mr. Levy.
Interviewer: How did you get there, by street car?
Rosen: No somebody, even a truck, even a flat-bed truck that I sat in the bed of the flat-bed truck and I think that was with the Levy family. I don’t know what were, what were their first names, Fagel’s mother and father? You’ll have to ask Fagel. Course she’s away now. But Ethel, you could ask Ethel.
Interviewer: You mean there was an outing in the summertime?
Rosen: There was a grocery store on Parsons Avenue on the east side of Parsons Avenue between Columbus and Forest Street and we knew that grocery store in one way. It was called the “Armonis”. Armonis means widow. She had an unmarried son.
Interviewer: Who was she?
Rosen: They lived in this house. They lived in the back, maybe upstairs and the grocery store was right there in the front. It was a very small grocery store. I would go there to buy things, a lemon, maybe a pound of sugar. During World War I . . . .
Interviewer: What was it like then?
Rosen: we didn’t have white sugar. We had brown sugar and I remember we had to use corn meal. There wasn’t much flour to be had.
Interviewer: It was scarce during the war?
Rosen: I remember something else.
Interviewer: What was that?
Rosen: Not so good. A boy named Charles Fredstein went swimming with my brother Mott.
Interviewer: What was Mott’s last name?
Interviewer: Weisenberg, uh huh.
Rosen: Charles got caught in a whirlpool. They went, they had gone to, I believe, Alum Creek. And Charles drowned.
Interviewer: How old was he?
Rosen: About 15.
Rosen: About, just about that time the Fredsteins lived in Parsons Avenue, I believe next door to the Shusticks, between Forest and Columbus. There was an alley between Forest and Columbus. The Shusticks lived on the corner of that alley and on the next corner, if it was Beck Street maybe, there was a white church there. But the Fredsteins lived I think between the church and the Shusticks and they had this son Charles . . . .
(Side A of tape ends)
Interviewer: Now we were talking about who’s home . . . .
Rosen: I wish I could recall who had a fire in that area also. In the 20s this would have been. Someone had a fatal fire. I’m going to have to put a pencil and pad next to my bed.
Interviewer: Good idea.
Rosen: At 3:00 in the morning I . . . .
Interviewer: Now wait a minute.
Rosen: Across the street from the Shusticks.
Interviewer: A grocery store across the street from the Shusticks. What street?
Rosen: And the man was Wiseman, W-I-S-E-M-A-N. I know they sold ice cream. I went, a cousin gave me a nickel. I was a little kid. I went across the street and for a nickel you got an ice cream cone that was half a pint of ice cream in those days, and a delicious cake cone. I’m crossing the street and I carried my ice cream cone upside down. That, there too that man was a single. I think he had some kind of an affliction and he and his mother lived together behind the grocery store, like one room across from . . . . . I wonder if Harriet would remember anything.
Interviewer: You are remembering things.
Rosen: I wonder if Roselyn would remember.
Interviewer: I doubt it, I doubt it.
Rosen: When you talk to, well I’m going . . . .
(Side B of tape ends)
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END OF INTERVIEW