This is March 21, 2001 and we’re at the home of Herman and Lina Kress. We’re
at 1414 Haddon Road in Berwick. Buddy’s first name is Herman but we’re going
to let him tell us how he got the name Buddy. Okay, Buddy, you’re telling us
how you got “Buddy”.
Kress: Well my older sister was a few years older than I am and she couldn’t
pronounce my real name so she painted the name of “Buddy” onto me and
that’s what I’ve been to all my friends and relatives for the last many,
Interviewer: You probably have to stop every so often and remember that your
real name is Herman, right? Do you know what your original family name was?
Kress: The original family name was Kress and my father when he came over, he
came over under the name of Benjamin Kress but he stayed with an uncle who had
taken the name of Rosenthal so he took his uncle’s name.
Interviewer: Okay. How did the family come, you were born in Columbus, is
Interviewer: Okay, do you know how it is that your family came to Columbus?
Kress: Well my mother had relatives in Springfield, Ohio under the name of,
their name was Maybruck and they were in Springfield. And she came to stay with
them and then moved to Columbus and met my father and that was back in, do you
remember the date Lina?
Lina: I’d have to figure it out.
Interviewer: Yeah, a number of years ago, huh?
Kress: Many, many years ago.
Interviewer: And where were you born?
Kress: I was born on Donaldson Street in Columbus.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you happen to remember the address of the house you
were born in?
Kress: I think it was 373, I think, something like that, on Donaldson Street.
‘Cause my father had a butcher shop right next door to it and I remember the
house. As a little boy, I remember the house.
Interviewer: So your father was a kosher butcher, was he?
Kress: He was a kosher butcher, yeah.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Were there other kosher butchers at that time?
Kress: Oh yes, there were quite a number of kosher butchers at that time.
Actually there were, let’s see, there was the Katz’s and there was the,
Godofsky had a butcher shop. In fact I found out recently that my father was in
partnership in one time with both of those, with the Katz’s, Katz and Godofsky.
But they went their separate ways for some reason or another and they each had
their own butcher shops.
Interviewer: Were they somewhat in the same neighborhood?
Kress: Well I think the Jewish, at that time most of the Jews lived in sort
of a general area of Donaldson Street and because the Agudas Achim was right at
the corner and then the Beth Jacobs was on Donaldson Street and the Ahavas
Sholom was also on Donaldson Street. On . . . .
Interviewer: So that was pretty much . . . .
Kress: On, Ahavas Sholom was on Washington Avenue just north of the Agudas
Interviewer: Uh huh. So that was pretty much the Jewish neighborhood?
Kress: Yeah and later on he also had a kosher slaughter house and that’s,
my father had this kosher slaughter house and I can recall that when I was a
little boy maybe about eight or nine years old, that I went to the slaughter
house occasionally and I can recall them killing, the shochet killing a
cow, a steer, and the blood running out on the floor and being washed down into
a drain. And the other times of the week, he would slaughter hogs. It seemed to
me that I can recall him slaughtering hogs.
Interviewer: For another, another company?
Kress: For other companies.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So he was trained probably in slaughtering and maybe
there weren’t that many people that knew how to do that.
Kress: Well that, no, I wouldn’t say that exactly because there were other
kosher butcher shops in town.
Interviewer: Were they doing their own slaughtering as well?
Kress: I don’t think so. I think that he supplied a lot of the kosher meat
to the other butcher shops.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Well that’s interesting. Do you remember, did you ever
help your dad in the . . . .
Interviewer: butcher shop?
Kress: No I never helped him.
Interviewer: Well probably watching the slaughtering didn’t help form your
career in that direction, did it?
Kress: Well of course he died, I was only, let’s see, he died in 1922 so I
was only nine years old. So certainly I couldn’t have helped him in any way.
Interviewer: No. So how did your family make a living after your father
Kress: Well my father was one of the first real entrepreneurs. He had
purchased, on credit, a lot of rental properties and after he died, then my
mother handled the collecting the rents and. At one time I can recall that he
had, one, two, three, about five doubles including his own home on, at that time we were living at 492 E. Fulton Street and that was a half, that was a brick double which my mother owned and of course, she had rent from the other half of the double. In addition to
that, they had a place on Engler Street, a double on Engler Street. They had a
double on Noble Alley. They had a double on Main Street. They had a double on
Franklin Avenue. So we, so that’s how she managed to survive.
Interviewer: So your mother became a business lady early in her life too?
Kress: I would say so, yeah.
Interviewer: Was she able to, but she was mainly a home keeper too and
. . . .
Interviewer: How many children were at home at that . . . .
Kress: Well at that time there was, I had two brothers and myself and then
Interviewer: Tell me what your brothers’ names are.
Kress: There is, one was just recently died a week ago, David and Ralph and
myself and my sister’s name was Celia. And she died when she was 16 years old. She had contracted rheumatic fever and that left her with a weak heart and she died.
Interviewer: She died young, uh huh.
Kress: Yeah, she as only 16.
Interviewer: And what about your brothers? Did they marry and have families?
Kress: Yeah I had the one brother Dave who, the one that died only about a
week ago . . . And he had, he married. He was in the Army. He was an optometrist and
he was stationed in the hospital just north of New York City. I think it was
called David’s Island, David Island, by coincidence. And he married a Dayton girl after he got out of the Army.
Interviewer: What was her . . . .
Kress: Her name was Estelle Koltun and they have two children who are also
living in Dayton, Ohio.
Interviewer: And their names?
Kress: And their names, let me see, is all of a sudden, there’s Eddie,
Edward Kress and Maureen Shuler is her married name now.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And so you say he’s the one that passed away about a
Kress: Yeah. And that was the optometrist.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And your next, your other brother?
Kress: The other brother is Ralph and he lives in San Diego and he married
Betty, Betty Wolman was her maiden name.
Interviewer: Okay. From Columbus?
Kress: From Columbus, yes.
Kress: Wolman, W-O-L-M-A-N. There’s a large Wolman family still . . .in Columbus. Well, let me see. They have three children.
Interviewer: We’re surrounded by interesting noises here in the Kress house
and they’re keeping us busy. We’re working around the clock and other noises
but that’s okay. That’s life.
Kress: Well he married, Ralph married, he was the youngest of the three of us
and he, like I said, he married Betty Wolman and they have three children. I can’t
remember their names. Can you fill me in on that (to wife)?
Lina: Well there’s Gerald.
Kress: There’s Gerald. There’s Mike, is the oldest boy, Michael and then
there’s . . . .
Kress: Gerald is the next one.
Kress: And then they have a daughter Judy that married a boy from England and
she lives in England.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Which one of your family was born first? Who’s the
oldest and give me the line-up there. You were the first born?
Kress: I’m, well no. Celia was the oldest. And then there was me, and then there was David and then there was Ralph.
Lina: There was another girl in there.
Kress: There was a little girl who was born.
Lina: She was only eight months old.
Kress: She was only eight or ten months old. She died a long time ago.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you remember any other homes you lived in as a child?
Kress: No the only home actually that we lived in was the one that I was born
in on Donaldson Street and then we moved over onto 492 E. Fulton Street and that’s,
as a child, those are the only two homes actually I can remember that we ever lived in.
Interviewer: Well you had a business establishment there and it was a
community and there wasn’t the need to move that much at that time.
Were there other relatives that lived nearby that you were in touch with at
Kress: Well yeah, there was Harry Maybruck and . . . .
Interviewer: Would that be Ann Maybruck’s husband?
Lina: . . . . Ann Maybruck was from Dayton. Or no, Springfield.
Interviewer: Springfield, I think she was from Springfield.
Lina: Springfield but . . . .
Kress: And then there was . . . .
Lina: but some of them spelled their names U-C-K and some O-O-K.
Kress: And then there was another . . . .
Interviewer: picking your voice up. I think he has to tell us that.
Kress: There was another uncle who was my, another brother to my mother and
his name was Henry Maybruck. And let me see.
Interviewer: Let me see if that picked up. Okay, yeah. Can you relate the
story about an uncle of yours that . . . .
Kress: Yeah well this uncle, for some reason or another, he didn’t get
along too well with Harry Maybruck who was the wealthy one and the successful
one in the family and he decided some, I never did find out exactly what the
problem was, but he decided that he was going to leave Columbus and he was going
to take the name of Kreitzer. I think that was his . . . .
Interviewer: Well move a little closer ’cause I want to hear your comments
Interviewer: Yeah a little closer. Okay.
Lina: It was his mother, you want to know how Kreitzer, his mother’s maiden
Interviewer: Oh so he took his mother’s maiden name?
Lina: He took his mother’s maiden name. Either that or his grandmother’s. It was somebody there . . . .
Kress: I think it was a grandmother’s.
Lina: His mother’s grandmother.
Interviewer: And then what happened to him, what happened to him?
Kress: Well he just, he went to New York and he stayed there for many, many
years and when he came back to Columbus, I guess he didn’t even know that his
sister had, was over here. I guess he hadn’t seen her for a long time.
Lina: He didn’t know that his sister was over here and when they finally
got in touch through writing and so on and talking on the phone, he said,
“Rosie, when did you come to Columbus? When did you come to the United
States?” He thought she was living in Europe.
Interviewer: Oh so he lost track of her altogether?
Lina: Yeah it was at least 50 years before they finally saw each other.
Interviewer: So that was his sister?
Lina: His sister. Just like Henry and Harry was. But he didn’t get along with the other two. So he came here and he visited and he visited us . . . .
Interviewer: But he didn’t stay then, he just . . . .
Kress: No he just came in for a visit.
Interviewer: What about, are there any other relatives that you
recall from your youth?
Kress: Well there was a cousin, to my mother’s cousin, Harry Maybruck. See
that’s another, there were two Harry Maybrucks.
Interviewer: Uh huh. But they spelled their name differently, is that
Kress: Yeah they spelled their names differently.
Interviewer: Now this second Harry Maybruck, how did he spell his name?
Interviewer: And his wife was, Ann?
Kress: Ann, yeah.
Lina: And Stanley.
Interviewer: Stanley’s their son?
Kress: Stanley is their son.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Stanley’s kind of a neighbor of yours, isn’t he?
Kress: Yeah he lives right around the corner.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah. I just saw his wife this morning at the health club.
Kress: Uh huh.
Interviewer: Oh okay so . . . .
Kress: No he was very friendly, Harry, the cousin was very, very friendly
with my mother. He would always stop in, all the time and visit and of course her brother, Harry, the other Harry, he would come over there almost every Sunday. And my mother would do things, a lot of things, for him. She would kosher chickens for him and do things . . . .
Lina: And every Friday she would stuff a chicken neck for him, the helzel.
Interviewer: A helzel.
Lina: And they looked forward to it.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Was your mother a great cook?
Kress: Oh she was a wonderful cook.
Interviewer: Well she had all that meat available so she knew how to handle
Kress: Well we lived at Fulton and Washington. We lived right across from
Harry Center who had a kosher butcher shop.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah I remember hearing about that one.
Kress: And I can remember my mother would buy meat from Harry and she would
take it home and kosher it and then send me over there across the street to have
it ground up and I was always told, “Now you go in the back and you watch
Mr. Center and make sure that he’s putting my meat . . . .” through the grinder.
Interviewer: She wanted to make sure she got back what she gave over there?
Kress: That’s right. And we lived right around the corner, or right next almost to Kroll’s.
Do you remember Kroll’s Delicatessen?
Interviewer: No, I don’t remember that.
Kress: Right at the corner of Fulton and Washington. And we always used to, I’d always go in there and I can remember when I was a kid, I’d always go in for a bologna and I would look at the corned beef and I would say to myself, “When I grow up, I’m going to buy
a whole pound of corned beef and I’m going to eat it all by myself.”
Interviewer: Well that sounds familiar to me . . . .
Interviewer: ’cause I think I had thoughts like that too. We never ate
Kress: No, bologna was 25 cents a pound and corned beef was 75 or 80 cents a
Interviewer: Sure, so we didn’t go for the gold at that time?
Kress: No. Yeah you know . . . .
Interviewer: And now you can’t eat it, you’re not supposed to eat it.
Kress: No I can’t eat it now.
Interviewer: What about neighbors? Do you remember neighbors from your youth?
Kress: Yeah there were, there, it was a lot of Jewish folks lived right in
the neighborhood. Just west of us, between our house and the Fulton Street
School, there was the Cohen family. He was called “Cohen the
Interviewer: Cohen, C-O-H-E-N?
Kress: C-O-H-E-N. Cohen the Motorman because that’s what he did. That’s
what he did for a living.
Interviewer: His sons changed their name to Covel.
Kress: They changed it . . . .
Interviewer: Oh, Covel. Uh huh, the Covels.
Interviewer: Uh huh, yeah. Who were some of, who were his children?
Lina: There was Elliott.
Kress: Elliott was a very good friend. He died.
Lina: And Harold, he died.
Kress: Harold died also.
Lina: And there was another son. He lives in California.
Kress: Yeah, I can’t recall his name.
Lina: The daughter was married to a rabbi? He comes and he speaks here.
Kress: I think it was Bonowitz, yeah.
Lina: He was just here recently or else he’s just coming.
Kress: And then around the corner . . . .
Interviewer: What was her name, the Covel’s daughter’s name?
Lina: Was it Estelle?
Kress: I think it was Estelle. And then around the corner was the Liebermans and across from them was . . .
Interviewer: Who were the Liebermans?
Kress: Lieberman, I know I was very friendly with the son, Sam. Sam, he was
about my age, San Lieberman. He became a dentist and he moved out of town. And
then they were, they had a fairly large family. It seemed to me they had . . . .
Lina: But the father left them.
Kress: The father left . . . .
Kress: Abandoned them. I guess he couldn’t handle it. They had about four, let’s see, there were . . . .
Lina: When the children are little and the father goes away.
Kress: There were . . . .
Interviewer: Too much pressure?
Kress: There were two boys and two girls in that family.
Interviewer: What was their family business, do you remember?
Kress: I never knew because the father left. The father just left them. And right across the street was Levin’s Fish Market. You don’t recall that?
Interviewer: I remember my husband talking about Levin’s Fish Market. He
might have even worked for them at one time.
Kress: And there was another strange thing that my mother did that I never
could under- stand why she did it. She would lend money to these people and when
I asked her, like Levin, Ruby, his name was Ruby Levin, he would come over and
borrow money so he could go up to the lake, to Sandusky, and bring home a load
of fish. And then there was also, what was the name of it . . . .
Interviewer: What would he do with the fish?
Kress: Well then, well he had a fish market.
Interviewer: Oh that was the store. Okay.
Kress: The store. And when I’d ask her, I said, “Mother why are you doing
this?” She said, I’d say, “Are you charging them interest?” She’d
say, “No, no way,” she said, “they’re friends of mine and they
need help”. And then there was also another family, the Hellmans. They had a stand
on the market. And he would come over before Friday, he’d come over on Friday
morning, and he’d borrow money from her to, so that he could go to the
wholesale produce market and buy their fruits and vegetables for his stand. You
don’t remember Central Market do you?
Interviewer: Oh I sure do. I was at North Market today. Yeah, that’s the
successor to Central Market.
Kress: Central Market was wonderful.
Interviewer: Yeah tell us a little bit about Central Market. Well wait, let’s
go back to the Helmans. Is Sam Helman from that family?
Kress: Yeah Sam Helman. I don’t know if Sam even knows that my mother used to lend his
Interviewer: Oh well if he listens to this tape, he’s going to know.
(laughter) That’s an interesting thing though because they trusted each other
and they needed each other. They really did. It was a different time.
Lina: I remember them coming in. We were married at that time.
Interviewer: Who else was in Sam’s family? Do you remember any other
Kress: There was an Alex Helman, his brother. And then he had two sisters.
One of them married the Paine, what’s her name?
Interviewer: Peggy Paine?
Kress: Peggy Paine.
Lina: What is her name?
Kress: Freed. And then there was another sister that was married to a sign painter.
Kress: Schwartz, was that his name? And they lived almost across the street from Fulton Street School only that was further west. They lived on the other side. They lived on the south side and we lived on the north side of the street.
Interviewer: I don’t want to distract you from other neighbors. You know,
maybe you’ll recall some more in a few minutes, but tell us a little bit about
Central Market as you remember it.
Kress: Well when I was a little boy, I know my father, my father banked at
the Market Exchange Bank which was bought out by the Huntington National Bank.
And he would take me and I guess my other brothers or my sister, that I can’t
recall, and it was so wonderful on a Saturday night, the smells and the aromas
and of course we knew everybody on Central Market. And . . . .
Interviewer: I’m just curious, I don’t want to distract you, but you said
“Saturday night”. Does that mean you waited until after Sabbath or did
that just happen to be when you went there?
Kress: We went there Saturday night. After the Sabbath because my father . . . .
Lina: We used to go there too.
Kress: And she used to go there also. Boy it was so wonderful, I mean, the aromas and especially during the wintertime when they had these little stands, charcoal heaters in back of each stand.
Kress: Just . . . .
Lina: And all the guys yelling their wares and . . . .
Interviewer: Hustling. They wanted you to come buy their stuff.
Kress: So my Uncle Henry had a stand. That’s what he did for a living. And he had a stand that, I guess they went three days a week. I think they went, I know they went on Saturday.
Interviewer: Probably Thursday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Could that be
Lina: I don’t know about Friday, but Thursday they did. And Saturday I. . .
Kress: But anyhow he had his stand there, that’s what he did. He actually
was a huckster. He had a horse and wagon and he would work the area around, just
south of Ohio State University. And one year . . . .
Interviewer: Selling produce?
Kress: Selling produce. Yeah he would just drive the horse and wagon and of course everybody knew the time of the days that he was out there and they would . . . .
Interviewer: Kind of look for him?
Kress: they would look for him, uh huh.
Lina: He had a daughter Alice Stone. Did you know the Stones?
Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah I remember Mr. Maybruck too. He used to come to my
Interviewer: Matter of fact, I prepared meals for him ’cause he was a
widower and my father-in-law was a widower and so I used to do a lot of the
meals. Now we’re getting into interviewing me here.
Interviewer: But I know who you’re talking about. He was a little man.
Lina: He and my Uncle . . . .
Interviewer: Oh yeah, yeah. These are familiar names to me.
Lina: Uh huh.
Interviewer: Okay. So that, I know that North Market, or Central Market at
that time was, where was, tell me exactly where that was located.
Kress: Well that was located up and down Fourth Street. It started at around
Fulton Street, very sparsely occupied along Fulton Street, but then as you
crossed Main Street, it got, that’s where all the stands were. And then there was the closed market, the main Central Market, was closed and that’s where, when I say “closed” I mean there were, it was a building.
Interviewer: An enclosed building?
Kress: An enclosed building. And a lot of the meat stands were inside the building. And the fruit and vegetable stands were on the outside of the building under awnings.
Interviewer: Do you remember some of the other vendors?
Kress: I really don’t.
Lina: There was Nate, what was his name?
Interviewer: I know that a lot of the Jewish people had . . . .
Kress: There was a lot of Jewish people there.
Interviewer: Yeah, produce stands and that, okay, well. There’s a question
here that maybe will pertain to you but we want to know what you did as far as
vacations when you were young. Did you go on any trips as a family?
Kress: Well I guess we did. We went to, we took the boys . . . .
Lina: Did your mother go to Magnetic Springs?
Kress: Oh that’s right. Well that’s, but, you know that was a funny thing
about Magnetic Springs. A lot of the Jewish families or, not families, a lot of
the Jewish people went there. I don’t, I can’t recall if my mother ever went
there or not. I know your mother did.
Lina: . . . .
Kress: but I can’t recall.
Interviewer: Where is Magnetic Springs? How far from Columbus?
Kress: It’s only about 30, it was just west of Delaware, Ohio. Northwest of Delaware, Ohio.
Interviewer: And what was it known for?
Kress: Well it was known for the water, the water, the . . . .
Lina: The baths. They used to get . . . .
Kress: They’d take baths there.
Lina: They used to get massages.
Kress: Baths and massages and, the water was a, well it really smelled. It
had a, kind of like a sulphur odor. And it was considered very healthy I guess.
Interviewer: Yeah I’ve talked to quite a few families whose parents went
there. I, I, kids didn’t go there I think, just the parents went.
Kress: No, no.
Lina: Kids went with their parents.
Interviewer: Yeah. But the parents went for their R and R I guess, the baths
and massages. Did you go on any other trips, do you remember as a kid?
Kress: No, no. After my father died we didn’t go anywhere.
Interviewer: Uh huh. All right. Tell us about your children. Where are they?
What did they do as kids?
Kress: As kids? Well the oldest boy, that was an amazing thing with Evan. That’s our
oldest son, the 60-year-old. When he was 11-12 or 13 years old, he used to entertain at a lot of Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs and he was a ventriloquist and an accordionist and he did some magic work.
Interviewer: Oh I remember, I remember him.
Lina: He did birthday parties.
Kress: Oh you do remember?
Interviewer: Yes I sure do.
Kress: Hah, ha. So he used to go a lot of churches and synagogues and
birthday parties and I made him, I was very handy at that time and I had a
workshop and I used, so I made his ventriloquin dummy for him.
Interviewer: Oh you made it?
Kress: I made it for him.
Interviewer: Do you still have it? Does anybody . . . .
Kress: No, he’s got it.
Interviewer: He does have it?
Kress: He still, he’s got it sitting on a chair . . . in Asheville, North Carolina where he lives. And he was a very good accordionist. Actually he taught, he taught accordion. I can’t think of this lady’s name that he taught for, this . . .
Lina: I’ll think of it at three in the morning.
Kress: It was, it was south of Lazarus on High Street and it was a music
store where they sold all type of musical instruments. And so he actually taught accordion there.
Interviewer: So he was able to earn himself a little living as a young man,
as a teenager.
Kress: He did real well.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And where did he go to school?
Kress: He graduated, well he went to, let’s see what high school did he go,
oh he went to Bexley ’cause we lived in Bexley at that time.
Interviewer: Yeah I wanted to ask well, before we go any further, tell us
where you lived in Bexley.
Kress: We lived at 680 Vernon Road. And we lived there for 44 years.
Interviewer: And then you moved to this house?
Kress: Moved to this house.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So your children grew up there?
Kress: They grew up in Bexley and they graduated through the Bexley School
System, Montrose and . . . .
Interviewer: Okay we’re talking about Evan, graduated from Bexley.
Kress: Uh huh. He graduated from Ohio State University. And he worked his way through school, I mean, of course when he graduated the tuition and the fees weren’t anywhere near what they are now. But he still worked. He still . . . .
Interviewer: Do you remember what the tuitions were?
Kress: I can’t even remember what they were when I, I know when I graduated
from Ohio State . . . .
Lina: They were twenty something.
Interviewer: That’s, we were with my sister-in-law two weeks ago in Arizona
and she recalled paying like $25 a quarter.
Kress. Yeah that’s about all . . . .
Kress: Well of course you had lab fees on top of that, a few bucks.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Not in the thousands like we’re talking today?
Kress: No they’re talking thousands.
Interviewer: Yeah. What was the . . . .
Lina: Is Cyril your sister?
Interviewer: Uh huh, uh huh. What was his degree in at Ohio State?
Kress: Business Administration.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And then after college, what did he do?
Kress: Well he worked for Lazarus. That’s the reason he moved out to
California. He worked at Lazarus while he was going to the University and then
afterwards, he worked at Lazarus and he became a buyer and then he went on a
vacation to California and he fell in love with California so he worked for
Bullocks Depart- ment Stores which was part of Federated. And he worked there until he became a manager and then he said, “I can’t handle this anymore,” he said.
Lina: I think he never married.
Kress: He wasn’t married at that time. And he said, “Why does a woman
need four or five coats, four or five dresses,” he said. “I’m not
going to be raising hell with the buyers under me as a manager and force them
that increase their sales all the time, and I think it’s stupid.” So he
dropped out of merchandising altogether . . . And he went to school and became a masseur.
Interviewer: Oh? And was able to make a, was able to make a . . . .
Kress: Made a wonderful living because he was so good at it that he worked
with all the Hollywood people, Merv Griffin and Barbara Streisand and all the
big names that you can imagine. He worked, he was very independent too.He said one time Barbara Streisand called him and asked him to come to her house at night and he refused because he said, “She knows my hours. She knows when I work and I’m not going to go out there to her house”.
Interviewer: Well so he was able to stay firm and . . . .
Kress: Oh yeah.
Lina: Uh huh. Oh yeah.
Kress: He did real well. But then he finally, he finally said that he’d had
enough of California and so they researched, he and his wife, was he, no he wasn’t
married . . . .
Lina: No he wasn’t married. He was living with . . . .
Kress: He was living with this girl and he and his girlfriend then researched
anyplace, all the places to retire to and they decided on Asheville, North
Interviewer: Well they picked a good spot there, didn’t they?
Kress: Oh yes, it’s . . . .
Interviewer: And what does he do there?
Kress: Well he’s a masseur there.
Interviewer: Still, still doing that there? Uh huh.
Lina: That combination . . . .
Interviewer: Did they have children?
Kress: No he never had any children.
Lina: And she is gone.
Kress: Yeah she died.
Interviewer: She died? Uh huh.
Kress: Breast cancer.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you get to go visit him very often?
Lina: Yeah whenever we want to. We drive down there.
Kress: He has a beautiful home. It’s up in the mountains.
Lina: The mountains.
Interviewer: Yeah it’s a beautiful area there.
Lina: In the . . . .
Kress: He’s into all kind of plants. He loves all, he works out in his
garden. He doesn’t have enough sunlight where he lives to raise vegetable so
he’s got all kind of like hostas and all, a myriad number of plants. He’s
just wonderful with plants.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Sounds like a very creative person, very interesting
person. What about your second son then?
Kress: Well that’s a whole story there.
Interviewer: It’s another ball game, huh?
Kress: Another ball game is right.
Kress: No he graduated from Ohio State and he got his Master’s there. And then he got his doctorate at Cornell University. He’s into, Environmental Education is his field.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Sounds very appropriate for this era.
Kress: Yeah and he’s the Vice-President of the National Audubon Society and
he works for the National Audubon. He’s a lecturer and he’s a writer. He writes, he’s written any number of books, a lot of books.
Lina: He’s a bird man.
Kress: He’s an ornithologist . . . And he was very active in his field and he came up with the idea of bringing birds back to the islands off the coast of Maine, the Puffins. And he was, actually he was the one that pushed the whole idea and now his techniques are being used to bring other birds, other types of birds all over the world.
Interviewer: How interesting. What a fascinating life he’s leading.
Lina: Yeah but he’s away too much from home and his marriage busted. Just couldn’t spend much time at home.
Interviewer: Uh huh. He was on the go a lot?
Kress: Traveled a lot.
Interviewer: Uh huh. How long was he married?
Lina: Ten years. No, a little longer.
Kress: He was married almost 15 years.
Interviewer: Did they have children?
Lina: Yeah they had . . . .
Kress: They have two boys. Nathan is the oldest boy. He’s going to be 16
March 27th. And the younger boy is Benjamin. He’s going to be . . . .
Lina: He’s 14.
Kress: He’s 14 years old. He was Bat Mitzvahed last year.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Are you in touch with the kids? You get to see them?
Lina: All the time.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Great. Great. That’s the bonus you get from all these
years . . . .
Lina: They’re not here but . . . .
Lina: but now like we’re going to fly up there for the Seder. And . . . .
Interviewer: And the kids will be there?
Lina: Uh huh.
Interviewer: Uh huh, yeah. Great. Do you remember hearing stories, did you
know any grandparents? Did you know your grandparents at all?
Kress: No. And that’s what I always envied Lina, the fact that she, when we
got married, she had two sets of grandparents. She had two grandmothers and two grandfathers.
Lina: My mother’s parents and my father’s parents.
Kress: And I just, I just . . . .
Interviewer: Did they live here in Columbus?
Kress: Oh yeah. And close. It’s a very, the Friedmans are a very, very close family. So anyhow, I didn’t have any grandparents. I never knew any grandparents so I really envied her.
Interviewer: Yeah that was usually the case though that, you know, families
came and broke away from the elders in Europe, could not . . . .
Lina: They came and they brought their children. So they’re all here.
Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah that is a lucky situation for you.
Lina: I thought that’s the way it always was with the families and . . . .One was Zadie Schneider and one was Zadie Friedman.
Kress: And Lina’s mother was so wonderful. My mother died when she was, she had a stroke and that was . . . .
Lina: She was 62.
Kress: She was 62 years old and she had a stroke and she lasted . . . .
Lina: She lived till she was 68.
Kress: She lasted six years.And at that time we didn’t have Heritage House.So we were very lucky and we found a little Jewish woman. She wasn’t little by all means. And so we, my stepfather and her lived with this woman for, how long would you say she . . . .
Lina: I don’t know, probably four or five years.
Kress: Four or five years.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Let’s see, we’re getting this noise in the
background but hopefully we can work around it. You mentioned your stepfather.
So your mother remarried then somewhere along . . . .
Kress: No that wasn’t really . . . .
Lina: Yeah his mother.
Interviewer: Who did she marry and when? Do you remember about when?
Lina: They were married shortly before we were.
Kress: Uh huh.
Lina: We were married in ’36. They were probably married in ’34 so we . .
Interviewer: Uh huh. And who was he?
Kress: He was a barber. His name was Jacob Kohls. He was a wonderful fellow. Highly educated and spoke quite a number of languages, had a beautiful hand- writing and he was a barber for quite a number of years. He was a very gentle, very quiet, gentle sort of fellow.
Interviewer: So you had a good relationship with him?
Kress: Yes, definitely.
Interviewer: Let’s see. Do you remember, well you talked a little bit about
some of the foods that your mother made as a child. Did you, do you recall going
to any of the neighbors and enjoying holidays or dinners or . . . .
Lina: Tell them about the cholent over at Schottenstein’s.
Kress: Well I know but that was a, I was a real little boy. We lived on
Donaldson Street and the Schottensteins lived right across the street from us.
Interviewer: Which Schottensteins?
Interviewer: My husband’s grandfather? Uh huh.
Lina: He’s the one that was a brother to my Zeyda Friedman’s wife. No, to him, his wife. Hashel’s wife.
Interviewer: Hashel’s first wife?
Lina: First wife was a sister to my grandfather.
Interviewer: Was a sister to your grandfather Friedman?
Interviewer: Okay. I knew there was a big tie-in there. So what about the cholent?
Kress: Well on Saturday afternoon, of course, they didn’t cook. They cooked
Friday and put it in this brick oven on the back of the house and then we would.
. . .
Interviewer: In back of Hashel’s house?
Kress: Back of Hashel’s house.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Give us a description of cholent for somebody who
might not know. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t know but you never can . .
Kress: Cholent as I remember it has meat and some potatoes and it’s
cooked Friday and then put in this brick oven and just kept hot.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Slow cooker. It was . . . .
Kress: Slow cooker. And I can remember as a little boy, it was wonderful. It was just . .
Interviewer: Yeah the smells were pretty good, too. I remember that as a kid.
Well everybody made it just a little differently. You know, some people make it
with . . . .
Kress: Well right across the street as I remember as a kid, there was a
Lehrer family. Did you know the Lehrers?
Interviewer: There’s a Lehrer that belongs to our shul, Agudas Achim.
Kress: Probably, that’s probably him.
Lina: Probably him.
Kress: Hymie, his name was Hymie Lehrer.
Interviewer: Could be. It could be the same, I don’t know.
Kress: As I remember it, but his mother used to make watermelon, pickled
watermelon. I must have been six or seven or eight years old. I still remember how
wonderful that pickled watermelon was.
Interviewer: It’s interesting that you would say that. I was in Phoenix
last week and my sister who’s 86, lives in Akron. She was with me in Phoenix
and that’s one of the things she said my mother used to make, pickled
watermelon rind. That’s interesting.
Lina: They had some at the wedding for that Lillian and Fred, you remember
Lillian and Fred Yenkin?
Interviewer: Yenkin, uh huh.
Lina: Uh huh. They had that. I remember that food, it was so wonderful . . .at their wedding.
Interviewer: Well when you start to talk about food, that’s my language.
What about holiday treats? Any special way of celebrating holidays? How did you,
what were your memories? Wait, hold on just a second. We’re at the end of
this, we’re at the end of Tape 1, Side A and we’re going to stop and turn
over. Okay, we’re on Side B of Tape 1. We’re talking about holidays. How did
you, what do you recall celebrating?
Kress: Well we did observe the holidays but since I didn’t have a father,
we didn’t really get into it very heavily. And I guess my mother was just too busy earning a living and keeping the family together. So we really didn’t do much as far as holidays were
Interviewer: Did you go to the synagogue at all or . . . .
Kress: Yeah . . . .
Interviewer: You went to the shul?
Kress: I went to shul. And I can remember as a little boy, after my father died, going over
to the Ahavas Sholom, which was just north of Agudas Achim, over at, on Friday
night and those men, I thought they were old men at the time ’cause I probably
was only about nine, nine-and-a-half, ten years old. They were so wonderful to
me. I remember the wine they would give me to taste. And it was so, and in the Wintertime I would be trudging just a couple, three blocks and it was so nice and warm and it smelled so good in there and . . . .
Interviewer: So they really took good care of you?
Kress: They really took care.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you, were you Bar Mitzvahed?
Kress: I think I was but I can’t recall.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you don’t remember Hebrew School training?
Kress: Well I did go to Hebrew School. I did go to the, they had a Hebrew School in the basement of the Agudas Achim. It was a Mr. Berman. I don’t know which Berman it was. But he was a rough, tough character.
Interviewer: I think they all were. They used to beat up on the kids.
Kress: Oh he was the, there was a boy there name of Benny Blum and he was a,
he was the kind of a kid that would, you know, start raising hell all the time.
And I remember that Mr. Berman used to slap him across the back of the pants
with a ruler.
Interviewer: Uh huh. I’ve heard that one before. I thought you were going
to mention my husband’s name when you said “a rough kid” ’cause I
don’t think he was a prize student in Hebrew School.
Kress: Well Benny was a very artistic fellow. He was an artist and, Benny was
the one that called me up one time, oh I should tell you about the Schonthal
Center. Do you remember the Schonthal Center?
Interviewer: Well I remember hearing about it. That was just about when I
came into the picture. . . . . finish telling us about Benny Blum, what you
remember about him.
Kress: Well Benny Blum called me up one day and he said, “Buddy, I’m
going to, I’m moving to California. But I got a job, I got a job painting show
cards for Neisner’s.” You don’t know Neisner’s. It was a
five-and-dime store just north, just north on North High Street. He said,
“I don’t want to leave then in the lurch so would you mind taking over
for me?” Well at that time I was going to college so I said, “Yeah, I
guess so. What does it pay?” And he said, “Well I think you get paid
maybe $10-$15 a week and you can just stop in there on your way home from the
University”. Which I did for a couple of years. I would go down, they had a
basement and I would go down the steps and they had a sign paint, a little sign
painting area there and I would paint the show cards for them. And I learned that at the Schonthal Center.
Interviewer: Hmmm. Do you remember what any of the show cards, how they read,
what they were about?
Kress: Yeah they would say, “On sale 25cents”, “Special”,
and that sort of thing. And the manager, who happened to be an Irishman, what’s his name? He had a typically Irish name. And he would have a list of everything, all the
signs, show cards, he wanted me to paint. So I would work a couple-three hours, get on the street car, go home. I lived on Fulton Street at the time, and study till 2-3:00 in the morning.
Interviewer: Keep up with your college work?
Kress: Yeah. I was in Engineering at the time and those Engineering courses
were very tough. And then I’d get on the street car in the Wintertime and go up there
and a lot of times I would fall asleep, ride past the University and get up to
Olentangy Park. And then I’d have to take the street car back . . . .
Kress: to the University.
Interviewer: You were tired out?
Kress: Right. And then you’d have a . . . That’s what I learned. We had a teacher who, a Jewish teacher. His name was Arthur Miller. He taught at West High School. And then that’s what he would do in the evenings. He would come to the Schonthal Center and he would
teach woodworking and he would teach show card painting. They also had a little
print shop down there in the basement.
Interviewer: At Schonthal?
Kress: At Schonthal Center. It was a wonderful place.
Lina: Buddy made furniture down there.
Kress: Yeah I made a lot of furniture. I still got some of the furniture.
Interviewer: Is that right? You were just a super handy guy?
Kress: Yeah I, and both of my brothers, we used to go, the three of us, at
night. Used to go, I think it was Tuesday and Thursday nights. The three of us.
I was the oldest and then there was Dave and then there was Ralph. We used to go down there. My mother would let us go down there. And we walked from Fulton and Washington to 555 E. Rich Street. We probably wentthrough the alleys.
Interviewer: You didn’t have to worry about . . . .
Kress: Not yet.
Interviewer: safety at that time?
Kress: Oh no. We always went through the alleys. In the Summertime, in front
of the Carnegie, it was called the Carnegie Library, that’s what we called it.
It’s the main Library.
Interviewer: Yeah I just found out a couple of weeks ago that that was the
original name of the, they call, since the Library’s been renovated, they call
that part of the Library the Carnegie Hall, or Carnegie . . . .
Kress: It’s wonderful the way they did that.
Interviewer: Uh huh. They incorporated it.
Kress: Incorporated it.
Interviewer: And kept the integrity of the architecture.
Kress: So my brothers and I used to, and then in the Summertime if we weren’t
playing baseball, we would go to the Library and bring home three, four or five
books apiece and I think that’s where I learned my love for reading. It was during that . . . . period.
Interviewer: That’s great, that’s great.
Kress: Yeah we always went through the alleys. Always looking in the garbage cans and in the rubbish cans and looking for copper and whiskey bottles ’cause we had, there was a Jewish fellow, Kaller, his name was, that was Milton Kaller’s father, had a junk yard right
on Engler Alley just maybe a couple blocks west of us and he would pay five cents or ten cents apiece for empty whiskey bottles.
Interviewer: Oh, what did he do with them?
Kress: Well he’d resell them. He’d wash them and clean ’em and sell
them to bootleggers I guess.
Interviewer: Oh so they could refill them?
Kress: They could refill them with . . . .
Lina: They used to do a lot of bootlegging.
Kress: with more. So we always went through the alleys.
Interviewer: So you were earning a couple of extra cents on just moving
around? That’s great.
Kress: You know and I see these kids with these fancy scooters. And I can
remember how we made our scooters. We got a pop bottle case and a piece of
2X4″ and we’d go to Kaller’s and find an old skate and take it apart
and nail one half in the front and one half in the back and a couple of wooden
handles on the top of the box and that was our scooters.
Interviewer: And you enjoyed them as much as . . . .
Interviewer: these hundred dollar scooters today.
Kress: . . . . hundred dollar scooters . . . .
Interviewer: That’s great.
Kress: Whenever I see those scooters I always think, “Boy” . . . .
Interviewer: Brings back memories, huh?
Interviewer: What about bicycle? Did you have a bike?
Kress: My mother would not let us, she was worried. She was a real worry
wart. She was really a Jewish mother because she was afraid we’d get hurt or
we’d get killed or something. So we didn’t, we weren’t allowed to buy a bicycle. But all our
friends had bicycles so we went to rent bicycles.
Interviewer: You had a way of . . . .
Kress: Oh sure.
Interviewer: getting to it? Uh huh.
Lina: Tell them about the time you had the bloody head.
Kress: Oh that was in Mound Street School. That was so funny. That was,
mercuro- chrome had just come on the market. So we’re playing “King of
the Hill” at Mound Street School and really rough. Boys were usually pretty
Interviewer: What’s the object of “King of the Hill”?
Kress: “King of the Hill” has, you got a mound and there’s one
fellow stands up on top of the mound and you’re trying to knock him off of the
mound. Well I fell. I was knocked off of the mound and I scraped my forehead.
So I went into the principal’s office. They took me into the principal’s
office and they washed my forehead and then they painted it with red
Interviewer: Which was a medication?
Kress: Medication. It’s like iodine. Only it’s red. I come home. I’m wearing a cap and I refuse to take the cap off ’cause I didn’t want to frighten my mother. So I went to bed . . . .
Interviewer: With the cap on?
Kress: went to bed with the cap on and she comes in. She couldn’t force me
to take my cap off. I wouldn’t take it off. So she comes upstairs. I’m sleeping and she takes my cap off and her scream woke me up.
Interviewer: Oh, she saw all that red?
Kress: Yeah she thought I’d been scalped.
Interviewer: Oh goodness. Yeah that was fun. Things we remember, huh. Do you
remember any other toys you might have played with as a kid or your family?
Kress: Well . . . .
Interviewer: You didn’t need many toys. I think there were . . . .
Kress: We didn’t have toys.
Interviewer: You entertained each other with . . . .
Kress: We had a wagon. I had a wagon and I can remember going over to the,
used to sit in the wagon on one knee and use your other foot to scoot around. Where the Blind School is now.
Interviewer: The School for the Blind?
Kress: The School for the Blind.
Interviewer: On . . . .
Kress: Parsons, Parsons and Main. There was a rectangular, and every time I drive by there, which I did this morning, I think of that. There was a rectangular, big square with, made with pavement, it was sidewalk.And I would take my wagon from Fulton and Washington, go over to Parsons and Main and I would, in the Summertime, I would scoot around on that with that one knee in the wagon and one foot pushing it. And every time I drive by there, which I did this morning . . . .
Interviewer: You think of it?
Kress: I think . . . .
Interviewer: Uh huh. Huh. That’s fun though.
Kress: It was great.
Interviewer: Good memory, good memory.
Kress: Great memories, great memories. And we had a wonderful childhood. Didn’t
have a lot of money but we always had a warm home and a loving mother.
Interviewer: You had what you needed?
Kress: Great food. Didn’t need anything else. We didn’t know we were
poor. I don’t think we were poor because when Lina and I got engaged, her,
all of her mother’s friends told her that she was marrying a lovely boy
because she was sure that he was worth at least $20,000. That his mother was worth at least $20,000.
Lina: They thought.
Interviewer: Yeah. How, in relation. I’m just going to stop a second and
see how this.
Kress: Oh I want to tell you one other thing. You got the thing on?
Interviewer: Yeah it’s, we’re on. Go ahead.
Lina: You don’t need me do you, right now?
Kress: When my mother heard that Lina and I were engaged, she got very upset.
Why did she get upset? Because Lina had had a divorce in her family.
Lina: One of Mama’s brothers was divorced.
Interviewer: So that was considered . . . .
Lina: A terrible thing, . . . .
Interviewer: a tragedy?
Lina: that we would probably get a divorce. That’s what she thought.
Interviewer: Yeah she thought, yeah.
Lina: She didn’t want . . . .
Interviewer: It was very unusual. We didn’t hardly . . . .
Lina: She thought we wouldn’t stay married, see?
Interviewer: Yeah. That would be . . . .
Lina: Sixty-four years now.
Interviewer: Sixty-four? You fooled them all, huh?
Kress: But she said she was so upset. When I saw Lina, the first time I saw her she was 14 years old and we
were at a lawn fete. Do you know what, do you remember the lawn fetes?
Interviewer: A gathering, like a gather . . . .
Kress: That’s right.
Interviewer: Fete, F-E-T-E?
Interviewer: Lawn, on the lawn?
Kress: Lawn fete.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Nobody ever told us about that and I’m glad you’re
talking about it.
Kress: The Agudas Achim had an empty lot right, just north, just north of
their place. Then there was a family, a brick family, a family that lived in a
brick house just between the empty lot and the Ahavas Sholom. Gee I can visualize that in my mind just like it . . . .
Interviewer: This is great. This is exciting to me because that’s what
these histories, these Oral Histories are supposed to be, bring back . . . .
Kress: So anyhow the Sisterhood, the Agudas Achim Sisterhood had a lawn fete
which they did to raise money and you know. And I saw Lina. I must have been maybe 15 or 16 and she was 14. And I thought she was the most beautiful girl I ever saw in my life.
Interviewer: She caught your eye right away, huh?
Kress: . . . . She caught my heart.
Interviewer: Caught your heart? Isn’t that sweet? That’s great. That’s sweet. It really is.
Kress: So . . . .
Interviewer: But she was too young? You both were too young then to . . . .
Kress: No. And then I . . . .
Interviewer: get serious?
Kress: Then I got busy playing baseball. I used to play in the Sunday Morning
League and we used to play football in the Fulton Street School yard. And all, Sam Lieberman and Izzy Goldberg and all the Jewish boys. Lou Ruben from the bakery.
Lina: You knew Lou, didn’t you?
Interviewer: I knew the bakery, I mean, I remember hearing, yeah.
Kress: And I’m still doing business with Schwartz, David Schwartz from the
Schwartz Bakery only he’s now, he’s with Paine Webbers.
Interviewer: He’s an investments broker, uh huh, yeah. So tell me, continue
with your romance with your bride. How did you finally start your life?
Kress: Well after I learned what girls were all about, after I finished
playing baseball and all that, you know? I used to sit, I knew that she had a friend Lillian Goldberg. This is the Goldberg that was Izzy and Hymie’s sister and she was very good, she’s still very, very close friends with her, her closest friend actually, who lives
in Dayton now. And I knew that she was, in the Summertime she’d always be walking
past on Washington Avenue to get to, close to Main Street. That’s where the
Goldbergs lived. And I knew she always would be walking by there so I made a
point to always be sitting on Sam Lieberman’s front steps so that I could see
Lina walking up to Lieberman’s, up to Goldberg’s.
Kress: And then I would just happen to be passing by and I would stop in.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you kept in touch? He was stalking you. So when did you finally start going together? How did that happen?
Kress: Well she had a lot of boyfriends that, you know, they just. She had
one boy in Dayton and another boyfriend in Delaware, Ohio and . . . .But I don’t know, I just . . .
Interviewer: Finally asked her out?
Kress: I asked her out and we had a few dates and then the other boys just
kind ‘a . . . .
Lina: But we knew each other. I knew you a long time before Morris.
Interviewer: And then when were you married? Tell us about your wedding. How
did that go? Maybe you better get a little bit closer Lina. I want you to give
us some of your opinions about this marriage.
Lina: December the fifth.
Interviewer: How long did you date before you got married?
Kress: Oh we dated for a couple, three years.
Lina: Off and on.
Interviewer: Oh did you?
Lina: Off and on.
Interviewer: Why so long? Why?
Kress: Well she had these other boyfriends.
Interviewer: Oh she had to unload them, huh?
Kress: Yeah. But she liked them and then she didn’t like ’em and then she liked
Interviewer: What about you? Were you dating any other girls at that time?
Kress: Well I had . . . .
Interviewer: You don’t have to tell us who, I just wanted to know if you
were . . . .
Kress: Well I had one (laughter), I had one girlfriend. She was my hay ride
girlfriend. You know about, you don’t know about hay rides?
Interviewer: Yeah a little bit. We had a Jewish Center in Canton too.
Lina: Are you from Canton? Did you know the Shapiros then?
Interviewer: Which one, Shapiros?
Interviewer: From Canton?
Kress: They were in the, they had the Canton Sterilized Wiping Cloth
Interviewer: Oh, no. We had . . . .
Kress: And she was from the Silvers.
Lina: The Silvers . . . .
Kress: They were a very wealthy . . . .
Interviewer: Huh. So anyhow, so when, I’m leading up to, you finally asked
her to marry you? Did your family approve of the shiddach?
Kress: Well it was just my mother. And she was worried when she found out that we were serious. She was worried ’cause Lina had had a divorce in her family.
Interviewer: Yeah that was kind of a shonda wasn’t it, a shame?
Kress: Oh it was.Nobody did that. Jewish people. They just lived together until they
died I guess.
Interviewer: Sure. Till death do us part, uh huh. But this was an uncle of
yours, is that right?
Lina: One of Mama’s younger brothers.
Interviewer: Yeah. Uh huh. So did your family like Buddy from the beginning?
Interviewer: ‘Course you knew each other. You knew each other from . . . .
Lina: My mother worked for his father when she first came over. That was,
well it was a little later but she was probably 16 or something. And she worked for him. His father used to hire these girls from Europe and give them jobs until they could find a
Interviewer: Uh huh. Get them started, uh huh.
Lina: But Mama was working for his father at the time that Buddy was born. So
I don’t know how Buddy got into the shop. His mother must have brought him
over. He was a baby about this big. So my mother was carrying him around and sort of tending to him and she’d laugh later when we would talk about that. She said,
“I never knew I was carrying my son-in-law”.
Interviewer: Isn’t that cute? That’s cute. That’s great. That’s
great. So what about the wedding? How did that, how long were you engaged until
you got married?
Lina: About a year.
Kress: ‘Cause I still was in college.
Lina: He was in college.
Kress: I was a senior at the University.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you had to find a way to earn a living . . . .
Interviewer: get more secure?
Lina: We were kind of young.
Interviewer: Yeah. How old were you when you got married?
Lina: I was 21.
Kress: She was 21 and I was 23.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And what kind of a wedding did you have?
Lina: We had a big wedding at the Agudas Achim. A lot of people and we had a big dinner and a lot of people got drunk and, his people were drunk . . . .
Interviewer: Oh your family were the drunkards, huh? Okay.
Kress: . . . . The tenant, the tenant that lived on the other half of my
mother’s double, he got drunk. He got so drunk, he just fell flat on his back.
Interviewer: Oh goodness. Were they drinking schnapps or was that
Kress: They were drinking schnapps.
Interviewer: The real stuff? Okay.
Kress: The real stuff.
Lina: Yeah and we had a big wedding and then we went to Niagara Falls.
Interviewer: Uh huh. That was the honeymoon spot.
Kress: And we stayed . . . .
Lina: And on the way back we stopped in Delaware where Uncle Jake Worly
picked us up at the train station.
Interviewer: Uh huh. You traveled by train then?
Kress: Oh yeah. We went to Cleveland.
Interviewer: The ghanseh megillah here. Well you said you had a big
wedding. Probably a couple hundred people? Probably . . . .
Lina: At least.
Kress: At least a couple hundred.
Lina: We had a lot of family that was living at that time.
Kress: And then what about your grandmother?
Lina: The Schottensteins were . . . .
Kress: What about your grandmother following the procession?
Lina: Oh my Grandmother Schneider. She didn’t like the idea that they
wanted her to be in the front row sitting down at the shul. And she kept monkeying around out there in the foyer where we were all getting ready to walk down the aisle and my Bubba followed us down the aisle.
Interviewer: She didn’t want any of that sitting down? She wanted to be
part of the show? That’s cute.
Lina: And she was up on the bima.
Interviewer: Isn’t that cute? Well . . . .
Kress: That was a real hot . . . .
Lina: And my other Grandmother Friedman, she just did what they told her to. But not my Grandmother Schneider.
Interviewer: She was a toughie, huh? Well that’s cute.
Kress: Boy it was September 6th. It was a real hot night. And I can remember the sweat running down, had a suit on, you know?
Interviewer: Did you have a tuxedo or a regular dressy suit?
Kress: I had on a dress-up suit.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Did you have a wedding gown on Lina?
Kress: Oh she had a . . . . She’s got the picture right here.
Interviewer: Oh, uh huh. Did you have attendants in your wedding?
Kress: Oh she had . . . .
Kress: she had the whole thing.
Lina: We had . . . .
Kress: The flower girl and . . . .
Lina: The flower girl and we had, when you called the boys, there was . . . .
Interviewer: Ring bearer?
Lina: Yeah we had a ring bearer.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Ushers?
Lina: Ushers and . . . They were all family members.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Well you had a big family. Uh huh.
Kress: And then my brother-in-law and her sister decided they were going to
get married the same time.
Interviewer: The same day?
Kress: The same, no.
Lina: In three months they were getting married. And my father, he couldn’t, he said, “You should have told me. I spent all my money on this wedding.” He said, “I don’t have it for your wedding to do the same thing”.
Interviewer: Oh he blew it all, huh?
Lina: So they were married at home, at my home.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And what, tell me their names.
Lina: Mary and Al Michaelson.
Interviewer: Mary and Al Michaelson? So they were married as long as you, you’ve
Lina: They were. But Al’s gone.
Interviewer: Yeah. Al’s gone, yeah.
Kress: See I went to work . . . .
Lina: And Ann and Ernie Michaelson also. Ann Worly. They were married in June of 1936. We were married in September of 1936 and Mary and Al were married Christmas, 1936.
Interviewer: Oh so that was a big year, ’36?
Kress: But you also had a cousin in Ashland, Kentucky . . . .
Lina: Oh yeah.
Kress: that got married . . . .
Lina: She was married at the same time.
Kress: at the same time.
Interviewer: Uh huh. So you’re married sixty —-
Kress: Sixty-four years.
Interviewer: Wow! Well it was a good romance, a good shiddach. Doesn’t seem like it, does it? We talked about taking the train. Did your family have a car?
Kress: Yes, my mother was one . . . .
Lina: His mother drove a car.
Kress: of the few people that drove a car.
Interviewer: Yeah I don’t remember Jewish women at that time driving cars.
Lina: But she did.
Interviewer: She did?
Kress: Well she was very independent.
Interviewer: Yeah well she had to get into . . . .
Kress: After all she had to be. She raised the three boys.
Lina: She would be looking in my front window when I didn’t even know she
was coming. She would drive herself over our house and looking in the window.
Interviewer: Huh, checking out? But she, so were you, did you drive that car
then when you were a teenager?
Kress: No I think I was past . . . .
Lina: He drove a truck for . . . .
Kress: Well that’s something else.
Interviewer: Do you remember anything about prices like do you remember how
much a car might have cost at that time or how much gas was? When I . . . .
Kress: I remember it was 29 cents a gallon and we bought a Chevy station
wagon after we were married. We went down to Bobb Chevrolet and I think I only
paid $1,800 for it or something like that.
Interviewer: Uh huh. It was under $2,000?
Kress: It was under $2,000.
Interviewer: Uh huh. What about street cars? Do you remember how much street
cars cost you? Everybody went by street—, five cents? Uh huh.
Kress: And that’s the street cars I used to take up to the University.
Interviewer: And fall asleep on sometimes? Well they were dependable too, weren’t they?
Kress: Well except in the, I remember one terrible winter when it was so cold
that the trolley wires snapped.
Interviewer: Is that right? So that . . . .
Kress: And I thought sure that I was going to lose my ears because . . . .
Interviewer: The noise?
Kress: I didn’t have anything to cover them with and there I was standing
waiting for the street car at 15th and High and it was bitter cold.
Interviewer: Oh so you were . . . .
Kress: It was so cold that . . . .
Kress: when we got on the street car and the trolley wires snapped.
Kress: That’s how cold it got. And there we were, I don’t . . . .
Kress: Stranded. I can’t remember how, what happened after that but that was a bad thing. I used to eat across the street with White Castles. I think they were six for a quarter or something like that.
Interviewer: Is that right? Six . . . .
Kress: Six for a quarter. And that’s what I used to have for lunch until they opened up the
Ohio Union. After the Ohio Union was opened up then I no longer . . . .
Interviewer: Didn’t have to go for the White Castles, huh? Well they’re
still pretty popular.
Interviewer: What about movies? Do you remember going to the movies?
Kress: Yes. I remember the movie on East Main Street. It was called “The
Lina: The New.
Kress: The New Theater. And at that time the black people sat on one side and the white folks sat in the middle and on the other side. And I can remember playing the, they
were playing the piano to accompany the movies.
Interviewer: Was it a sound movie or was it still silent movie?
Kress: I think it was a silent movie.
Lina: It was silent in those days.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you remember what it cost you to go to a movie?
Kress: I think ten cents.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And what about did you buy popcorn or any treats then?
Kress: I don’t think we bought anything. I don’t remember buying
anything. Maybe I didn’t have the money to buy it.
Interviewer: No you were lucky you were able to go to the movie.
Kress: I guess.
Interviewer: Do you remember any movies that you might have seen as a kid?
Kress: Well they used to have these serials where, I mean they would leave
somebody hanging on a cliff or strapped down to a railroad track and then it
would be continued next week.
Interviewer: So you’d have to go back again?
Kress: You’d have to go back.
Interviewer: Sure. Can’t miss it. So were movies an important part of your
entertainment as a youngster?
Kress: No not especially. Maybe on a Saturday afternoon . . . occasionally I would go.
Interviewer: What about, well when you dated where did you go? What did you
go dancing or . . . .
Kress: Yeah we used to go to Olentangy Park. That was a wonderful place . . .
Lina: And they had dances up at the University too.
Kress: The University had dances.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Entertainment was pretty much just being together and
visiting with friends?
Lina: No we had parties a lot.
Interviewer: Uh huh. At each other’s houses?
Interviewer: Uh huh. And Schonthal Center was an important part of that too,
Kress: It was great. It was such a wonderful place . . . .
Interviewer: It’s so neat. Every time I interview somebody and we talk
about Schonthal, it’s with great warmth and excitement so it was an important
part of a lot of people’s lives.
Kress: In the Summertime I used to go there to play baseball and the
conditions we played the ball, because it was a small place. And they also had a gym that was the garage. It was a big garage building that had been converted over into a gym. And Max Cooper, you probably know . . . .
Interviewer: Was he a pharmacist?
Kress: That was his brother. He was a dentist. He was sort of, that’s what he did in the Summertime, he was supervisor of the . . . . .
Kress: of the sports and playground and so forth. So we played a lot of baseball there.
Interviewer: And who else do you remember from Schonthal Center, the
Executive Committee or staff?
Kress: Well there was a Mrs. Sugarman.
Lina: Rose Sugarman.
Interviewer: Rose Sugarman?
Kress: She wasn’t a very nice person.
Interviewer: But what was her duty there? She was an important part of it.
Kress: Mrs. Sugarman? She ran the, she ran the whole center. She was the . . . .
Interviewer: She was tough?
Kress: Oh she was a tough woman. But I can remember that place that they had
stuffed birds and animals up on the second floor.
Interviewer: Stuff for . . . .
Lina: I really don’t remember. That was at the Library.
Kress: No at Schonthal Center had, they had humming birds . . . . humming
Lina: That was Carnegie Library.
Kress: Well they had that there too.
Interviewer: So they were on display?
Kress: They were on display in one of the rooms upstairs.
Interviewer: Well maybe it was part of an educational program?
Kress: And that was a beautiful, that was a beautiful building. Of course it
was a mansion, you might as well say.It was . . . .
Interviewer: Is that what it started as, as a mansion?
Kress: Well it was his, Mr. Schonthal’s, they call him “Daddy”,
Daddy Schonthal’s home. He lived there many years and he gave it to the Jewish community as a center.
Interviewer: Huh. Well it was a valuable part of a lot of people’s lives, I
Lina: It was mine. I know that.
Kress: And she used to sing. She was confirmed . . . .
Interviewer: Is that right?
Kress: . . . . I remember one time she invited me up there and on the third
floor they had a pretty good-sized ballroom. I remember the hardwood floors and the stage. She invited me up there because she was going to sing and I remember the song. The song was “Willow Weep for Me”.
Interviewer: Oh isn’t that nice? So you had a pretty decent voice, huh?
Kress: She had a good voice. Well she sang in the choir at the Tifereth
Israel for many years.
Interviewer: Oh that’s neat, that’s good.
Kress: So she invited me up there. So every time we hear that song . . . .
Interviewer: That’s your song?
Kress: I’ll not say it’s my song ’cause I never really liked that song.
Interviewer: Uh huh. But you remembered, uh huh. That’s great, that’s
great. What about in your home, do you remember radio? You probably had radios
and did you have records?
Kress: Well I used to build radios.
Interviewer: You did?
Kress: Yeah. Crystal sets.
Kress: Do you remember the crystal sets?
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Kress: Oy! And the first radio, the Majestic, we bought, my mother
bought a Majestic Radio. The first time we got it I stayed up all night trying
to get distant stations. I remember KDKA in Pittsburgh and some of the other
stations. And you could get stations that were 1,000-1,500 miles away.
Interviewer: That was . . . .
Kress: It was so wonderful because . . . .
Interviewer: It brought the world to you?
Kress: Yeah that’s right. And we had a record player. And I remember some of the old records . . .
Lina: He had records and . . . .
Kress: Jewish records.
Lina: I don’t know what happened to them.
Kress: I remember one record used to be, “Cohen on the Telephone”.
Interviewer: Oh, that’s one of those old Yiddish kind of things,
“Cohen on the Telephone”. That’s neat.
Kress: It was very funny.
Lina: Evan used to love to listen to them. He couldn’t understand the
Yiddish on them at all . . . .
Interviewer: But he got the gist . . .yeah, got the gist of it? Let’s see, telephone, what about the telephone? Did you have a telephone at your house?
Kress: Oh yeah. We always had a telephone. And it was the, what was it, what
was, do you remember your telephone number?
Lina: Uh huh, Garfield 2236.
Kress: And my, ours was . . . .
Interviewer: Garfield 2236? Okay.
Kress: Ours was Fairfax something. I don’t remember what the rest of the number is.
Interviewer: I think we’re, we’re going to start winding up. I’ve
really enjoyed this a whole lot. Let me just ask you a couple of quick questions
to wind this up. When did you retire?
Kress: I retired when I was 75 years old. I’d been running this business
since, I think I bought it in ’51. When I was 75 years old, my business had gotten so big that I had to hire a young man, a college graduate, to help me. At one time I had about 15 people working. We manufactured new bags and we also reconditioned old bags. And then little by little I changed the business over and dropped the manufacturing and became a distributor.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Kress: I bought my stuff. I found out, for a long time I fought that idea
because I was afraid if I would divulge my customers, that the people I bought
my merchandise from would hop, skip over me and go directly to the customers. But I found out later that if I dealt with reputable companies, that I could have them drop-ship in my name so I no longer needed to manufacture the merchandise. Because when I was manufacturing, I never knew exactly what an item cost me. I couldn’t factor in all the labor costs, the overhead costs and material costs. It was much easier to buy it from somebody else and have them drop-ship. Which, that’s when we really started making money, when I got rid of a truck driver and a truck and 15 or 18 power sewing machine operators.
Got rid of all those people and whittled it down to maybe three people. We did a million dollars a year in sales with just three people.
Interviewer: That’s a big business.
Kress: Well it was . . . .
Lina: It’s big now too. Bigger than . . . .
Kress: It’s bigger now. So anyhow.
Interviewer: But it worked for you?
Kress: It worked for me.
Interviewer: Made you a nice living?
Kress: It worked beautifully.
Kress: Good living. So . . . .
Interviewer: I think what we’re going to do is wind up but I want to tell
you how much I’ve enjoyed kibbitzing with you and I think Lina, we’ve
got to get you lined up to have another interview with you ’cause I know you’ve
got a lot to contribute with the big family that you’re from, especially since
you’re my mishpocha too, part of my mishpocha.
Lina: Hashel was the, what do they call him, the shandicken at a bris for Evan.
Interviewer: Oh was he, at your son’s bris?
Lina: Uh huh.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Any other thoughts that you want to share with us Buddy
at this point?
Kress: Well I think we’ve pretty well covered everything. But anyhow I retired when I was 75 and here I am.
Interviewer: Enjoying your retirement?
Kress: Twelve years later still hangin’ in there.
Interviewer: Yeah well we might have had a little background noises here but
that’s . . . .
Lina: I’m sorry.
Interviewer: That’s, well that’s okay. I hope we got rid of the termites
there . . . We had some termites in our way but good luck with them.
Lina: Thank you.
Interviewer: Okay. And when I interview Lina, I want you there too and we’ll
add some more to her comments.
Kress: It was great.
Interviewer: And thank you both for letting us come to the home and do this.
Kress: Well you want me to sign that?
* * * *
Transcribed by Honey Abramson
Proofread by Marvin Bonowitz
Edited by Peggy Kaplan
Corrected by Herman Kress and (son) Evan Kress
Editor’s Notes: Estelle Covel married Rabbi Eugene Borowitz. The third
Covel son was Lenny.
The heaters used at the market burned “coke” briquettes which
were purchased in bags. The market operated Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Rose Sugarman never married.