This is July 17, 1998. I’m Mrs. Naomi Schottenstein. I’m with the
Columbus Jewish Historical Society and we’re at 1145 College Avenue at
Heritage Tower. We’re here to interview Rose Nafzger. Rose, I’m going to ask
you some specific questions, as I said before. Do you remember who you were
named after?

Nafzger: One of the grandmothers or great-grandmothers I would say, way back
in, from Russia, but of course in Columbus, Roseleh.

Interviewer: What was your maiden name, Rose?

Nafzger: Maiden name was Thall.

Interviewer: Thall, T-H-A-L-L?

Nafzger: …L-L, yeah.

Interviewer: Okay. And where were you born?

Nafzger: I was born in Columbus. I was born, I can tell you where I was born.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: At, I believe, like 505 Elmwood Avenue. I’m making a guess about
the number.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Elmwood?

Nafzger: —wood, yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: That’s near, between, that’s close to Livingston Avenue.

Interviewer: Yeah that was a popular area, wasn’t it for Jewish people?

Nafzger: Yeah, Donaldson, Elmwood.

Interviewer: Right.

Nafzger: Fulton Street.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you remember any of your neighbors?

Nafzger: Well I’m not sure. Oh…

Interviewer: Well maybe you’ll think of it as we go on. Tell me who your
parents were, your mother and dad’s name.

Nafzger: One of my neighbors was Garek.

Interviewer: One of your neighbors…

Nafzger: Molly Garek.

Interviewer: Molly Garek?

Nafzger: And her father and mother. I think it was Molly Garek, the Garek

Interviewer: The Garek family? Yeah they were well known in Columbus for
years, weren’t they?

Nafzger: Uh huh. Uh huh.

Interviewer: Tell me your mother and dad’s names?

Nafzger: All right. My mother was Rebecca; don’t know of another name.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: And my father was Hyman.

Interviewer: Hyman Thall?

Nafzger: Hyman Thall?

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Only their names were really Tartacofsky.

Interviewer: Oh is that what it was originally?

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: How do you spell that? Do you know how to…

Nafzger: Yeah. T-A-R-T-O-C-O-F-S-K-Y. How am I doing?

Interviewer: You’re doing great spelling. You passed the spelling test with
flying colors. There are other Thalls in town. Are you related to the other

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: Well we’ll talk about that later. We’re going to catch up
with that.

Nafzger: Blanche Suid is a Thall.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: She was Blanche Thall but she’s Blanche Suid.

Interviewer: I see.

Nafzger: Married Suid. I forgot his first name. Yeah.

Interviewer: Oh. Back to your mother and dad. Now what was your mother’s
maiden name? Can you tell me that?

Nafzger: Rebecca.

Interviewer: Her maiden name before she married your dad?

Nafzger: Yes, Spivak.

Interviewer: Spikva?

Nafzger: S-P-I-V-A-K.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Where was she from?

Nafzger: Where was she from?

Interviewer: Do you remember where your mother was born?

Nafzger: I did know.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Was she born in the United States?

Nafzger: No.

Interviewer: She was born in Europe?

Nafzger: She was born in Russia.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: My father and mother both lived in Berdichev.

Interviewer: Oh?

Nafzger: Bardichiv.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: And also, oh I knew some other names, Bardichiv…

Interviewer: Do you think that probably was Russia?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: I think so.

Interviewer: Do you have any idea how old they were when they came to the

Nafzger: I would say pretty old, in the late twenties.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Were they married when they came to the States?

Nafzger: No.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: No.

Interviewer: They each came over separately?

Nafzger: Yeah, yes, yeah. And what was the boat they came on?

Interviewer: Well it’s not important. Don’t worry about questions that we
don’t know how to answer. We’ll just continue with it. So you were born on
Elmwood? Okay. And tell me…

Nafzger: They arrived in New Jersey.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: They arrived in New Jersey and located there, some of the small
towns there. I can’t think. Union, New Jersey, perhaps. They arrived in New

Interviewer: Was that your dad?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Oh they first went to London. They first went to England.

Interviewer: You say “they.” Now are you talking about your mother
and dad or just…

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: So then they were married in Europe?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: Yeah they were married there.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Yeah. Came over as husband and wife.

Interviewer: But did they have any children in Europe or were your siblings
all born here?

Nafzger: But they had a contact in the United States in New Jersey…

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: that allowed them to come here.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Oh I wish I could tell you more.

Interviewer: Well that’s okay. It’s hard to remember. That was from a

Nafzger: New Jersey, yeah.

Interviewer: And then your father, did your parents first come to Columbus or
did they go someplace else first to live? Where did they establish their home
when they first came to the states?

Nafzger: In, I think it was New Jersey.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: They landed in New York, then New Jersey. And, you know they
shortened their name to Tar after they came here, from Tartacofsky.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: And they lived in New Jersey. But they had, it was Blanche Suid
Thall’s family that they had contact with.

Interviewer: Oh I see.

Nafzger: They allowed them, and there were other Thalls.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: I wish I could think…

Interviewer: Now you say that was in the early 20s?

Nafzger: Yes.

Interviewer: Uh huh. When did they eventually come to Columbus?

Nafzger: Let’s see, I was, wait a minute. I was born in 1907.

Interviewer: You were born in 1907?

Nafzger: Yeah. Here.

Interviewer: Here? Oh so they came…

Nafzger: We got that all wrong.

Interviewer: Yeah. So well let’s go back. It’s not unusual Rose to get
confused. I think we all kind of forget…

Nafzger: I should have prepared myself…

Interviewer: Well that’s okay. Don’t worry about it Rose. We’re going
to make the correction.

Nafzger: My brother Isadore was born ahead of me. He was two years older than
me so that makes it 1905 for him…

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: in the United States, in America.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: They arrived in New Jersey. That’s where he was born. And there
were two other children in there that, you know, he was…

Interviewer: Let me help you get onto some track here. Your brother was born
in 1905?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: And his name was Isadore?

Nafzger: Isadore, yeah.

Interviewer: Okay and then you were born in 1907?

Nafzger: ’07. Yeah.

Interviewer: Were you born in Columbus?

Nafzger: Yes.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: Yes.

Interviewer: And then who was born after…

Nafzger: I was born on Livingston Avenue in Columbus.

Interviewer: On Livingston Avenue?

Nafzger: Yeah. After me came my sister Tillie.

Interviewer: Tillie? Do you…

Nafzger: Two years later.

Interviewer: Two years later.

Nafzger: Let’s say two years later, Tillie.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: Then came Mary, seven, nine, ten, eleven — I think Mary was born in
1912. That would make it, wouldn’t it?

Interviewer: Okay we’ll talk more about them as we go on.

Nafzger: You want to… in case you want to write something down?

Interviewer: No. So there were four of you? Is that your whole family?

Nafzger: That’s the family but there were others stillborn.

Interviewer: Okay. Now tell us about Isadore’s family. Let’s kind of get
caught up on your siblings. Did he marry?

Nafzger: He really was a very, had a high I.Q. to begin with.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: And he had wonderful grades. He went to Fulton Street School and he
went to South High School like I did. And he was not interested in any social
life. Was very, well you don’t want the story of my brother, do you?

Interviewer: No, well I just need, did he marry eventually?

Nafzger: He got married and he graduated with honors at South High School and
went to Ohio State and graduated with honors in Pharmacy.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: Became a pharmacist.

Interviewer: Did he live his life in Columbus?

Nafzger: Columbus, yeah. And he had quite a write-up. I wish I had that even.
Isadore Thall had quite a write-up in the Dispatch about his being
honored at Ohio State University with a top grade in Pharmacy when he graduated.

Interviewer: Well that was…

Nafzger: That was fairly recent.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: It was repeated.

Interviewer: Oh they remembered it. They remembered it from way back.

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: And who was he married to?

Nafzger: He was married to, oh, I can’t remember her name. Ann.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: And he was introduced by a neighbor to her in Columbus and they went
together, Ann Thall, and they got married.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did they have children?

Nafzger: They had children.

Interviewer: Who were their children?

Nafzger: Well one child died but the child that lived, is still living, is
Barbara Thall.

Interviewer: Barbara Thall?

Nafzger: Barbara, their daughter.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Does she go by that name now or is she married?

Nafzger: She’s married.

Interviewer: Uh huh. What’s her name now, do you remember? You don’t

Nafzger: Yes I know it now. Yeah. Charley Brandt. Do you know the Brandts?

Interviewer: Yeah, uh huh.

Nafzger: They’re all kind of related.

Interviewer: Kind of related, uh huh.

Nafzger: One Brandt used to bowl with us. Does that ring a bell with you?

Interviewer: Well I haven’t been that much of a bowler so it’s kind of
hard to remember.

Nafzger: She married Charles Brandt.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: They have a couple of children. We didn’t, she’s so shy that we
could never get together. Mary nor I could become, we’d invite her and they
wouldn’t show up. Charles Brandt was a darling fellow, full of personality,
and they’re still living together, still happy.

Interviewer: Well that’s interesting. And Tillie, she was married, you were

Nafzger: Tillie, also high I.Q. Very smart. She wrote a book called
“Know Thyself,” a philosophical book about, you know. So guess what? I
had the book here for a long, long time. Some neighbor wanted to see it. I gave
it to her to see and she kept it and I accused her of having my book. She says,
“I don’t have your book.”

Interviewer: She lost it?

Nafzger: Yeah it disappeared.

Interviewer: Too bad, too bad.

Nafzger: That one book that I wanted with my heart and soul.

Interviewer: Yeah, I can understand.

Nafzger: I shouldn’t have given it away. She kept it. “Know
Thyself,” you know.

Interviewer: Yeah. And Tillie you said was married?

Nafzger: She married Sam Weisenberg.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Was he from Columbus?

Nafzger: Yeah they’re Columbus. Do you know any Weisenbergs?

Interviewer: I don’t happen to know any but I don’t know everybody in

Nafzger: Yeah, Sam Weisenberg.

Interviewer: So did they live here?

Nafzger: They lived here, probably Sam lived here all his life.

Interviewer: And did they have children?

Nafzger: He became a plumber. Made good money. And they had five children,
four boys and a girl.

Interviewer: Goodness.

Nafzger: Four boys and a girl. And the girl is in Columbus and she bowls with
us, Ethel Weisenberg. But she has another name.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: We didn’t get that close, you know.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: I’m trying to find some pictures of some of them.

Interviewer: That happens in some families. You were telling me what happened
then even- tually to Tillie.

Nafzger: So Tillie; we corresponded. She had all these children. He couldn’t
make a living. He went from one town to another, one place to another, as a
plumber. A very sweet guy. And so they moved to Georgia, Atlanta, Georgia, and
tried to make some money there and they couldn’t make it. They had five
children. You’d think their boys would be grown up enough. I think they’re
the ones that took care of them. Took care of them. Four boys.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: And we just didn’t correspond and she quit corresponding. We tried
to keep in touch, Mary and I.

Interviewer: It’s hard sometimes when your life is not going the way you
want it to.

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: And then what eventually happened?

Nafzger: So they moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and then they, oh, they didn’t
have enough money to buy a house. They bought a van. They lived in the van.

Interviewer: Goodness.

Nafzger: They lived in the van and they one day said, this has only been
about a year ago.

Intervierwer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: They decided to, I lose track of time terribly.

Interviewer: Well that’s not hard to do. I do too Rose, I lose track of

Nafzger: Yeah. And they decided to come to Columbus to visit us, but to get
money really.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: So they came. Mary says it’s been a year now. I can’t believe
it. But I have a picture here of them.

Interviewer: Well that’s okay. Don’t worry about the picture now. We’ll
look at the pictures afterwards. And then what happened?

Nafzger: So they came to Columbus in the van and my husband was at work. And
so I said,
“Can I come in and see the van, visit… house.” We went in,
everything they owned, do you know people like that… Do you know people
like that who live in their van?

Interviewer: Well I don’t happen to. There are a lot of people that do.

Nafzger: They didn’t have money.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: So I went in the van and I never saw such a mess in my life.
Everything they owned was in the van.

Interviewer: Goodness.

Nafzger: The stove and the refrigerator and I guess that’s not too unusual.
They lived in the van.

Interviewer: Well that was their home.

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now Rose they’re not living any more are they?

Nafzger: They committed suicide.

Interviewer: And you think that was just not too long ago, huh?

Nafzger: It’s been longer than I thought. Mary said, “Rose,” she
said, “That’s been a couple years ago already.” I lose track of

Interviewer: Yeah. I understand that. Let’s talk…

Nafzger: When she came, I looked at her and I said, “Your complexion is
beautiful.” She was a blond.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: She was blond. Her unlined face, I didn’t understand it.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: And…

Interviewer: You’re talking about Tillie?

Nafzger: Yeah. And I told her how wonderful she looked. She thanked me and so
forth, you know. But they both had only one thing in their mind: money. I didn’t
know that. I really didn’t know it. Young and innocent. I didn’t know. And I
said, “How can you live in the van?” She says, “Oh it’s all
right, it’s all right.” No they were sick, they were sick people, hiding
it, trying to hide it…

Interviewer: Let’s continue so we can get all this information that I need
to get on here. About Mary. Now Mary’s your other sister? She’s a couple of
years younger than you, is that right?

Nafzger: She’s four years younger. Abe Dworkin.

Interviewer: She was married to Abe?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah we interviewed Abe several months ago. And we were
so happy to have…

Nafzger: Nice write-up.

Interviewer: Yeah, yes it was. You saw that in the Chronicle, didn’t

Nafzger: But Abe killed himself, yeah.

Interviewer: You think he did?

Nafzger: Abe, yes, he took poison. He didn’t… Mary’s saying that
they found him dead from a big heart attack. The way he was talking to me, they
wanted money. Mary asked me for money.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: So all right. I gave her money. I gave her a thousand dollars.

Interviewer: Well we’re not going to put that, we’re not going to talk
about that.

Nafzger: No.

Interviewer: That’s private business. We’ll let that go.

Nafzger: But I’m telling you. I just want you to know. Yeah.

Interviewer: But Mary has two children, does she?

Nafzger: Mary has three.

Interviewer: Three?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: She has Bobbie and Marilyn…

Interviewer: Bobbie Izeman?

Nafzger: Marilyn, I don’t know her last name right at the moment, and
Steve, Steven, Steve.

Interviewer: Does Steve live out of town?.

Nafzger: Steve was an intellectual sort of.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: Fifty per cent intellectual. He was always trying to absorb

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: But he doesn’t live here. Bobbie is the only one lives here.
Bobbie makes good money. She’s a booking agent.

Interviewer: A bidal consultant?

Nafzger: That’s right. You got that right.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah. Well let’s get to your family now. You have how
many children?

Nafzger: I have only two boys and…

Interviewer: Tell us about your boys.

Nafzger: There’s pictures of them right there.

Interviewer: Yeah there’s a handsome-looking family here.

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: There’s a bunch of really nice-looking pictures here on the

Nafzger: Yeah I did want to show you; they’re all hidden right here.

Interviewer: Well okay, you just…

Nafzger: All right, here’s one son. There’s the oldest son Lester.

Interviewer: Lester?

Nafzger: And yeah, there’s a granddaughter.

Interviewer: Okay. Now you see, we’re on tape now so we can’t…

Nafzger: Oh.

Interviewer: Yeah

Nafzger: I forgot.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: My son, the oldest son is in Woodstock, New York.

Interviewer: Oh yes?

Nafzger: And he works for Radio Company, let’s put it that way.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: He’s an advisor in radio in Woodstock. And the other one is Silver
Spring, Maryland, and he’s an attorney. And that’s it. He does a wonderful .
. . .

Interviewer: What’s your younger son’s name?

Nafzger: He is Richard?

Interviewer: Richard?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now Lester is married, is he not?

Nafzger: Lester is married.

Interviewer: To?

Nafzger: To… anyway he made me very happy. He married a Jewish girl.
The other son didn’t.

Interviewer: Oh well, that’s okay. It’s okay. And Lester, who’s Lester,
Lester has children doesn’t he?

Nafzger: Lester has one daughter Whitney. Whitney is an attorney.

Interviewer: Well I know you’re real proud of her.

Nafzger: Yeah, she’s in there too.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: Very cute.

Interviewer: Is Whitney married?

Nafzger: Whitney is married to Andy Hurd. Her husband is a hospital
superintendent, put it that way. He oversees all the hospitals where they live.

Interviewer: Do they have children?

Nafzger: No children.

Interviewer: Okay.

Nafzger: She wants children badly.

Interviewer: And then Richard, now tell me about Richard, Richard’s family.

Nafzger: Dick married Joanie Williams from Bexley High School.

Interviewer: Oh.

Nafzger: They both went to Ohio State together.

Interviewer: Childhood sweethearts?

Nafzger: And also Ohio U.

Interviewer: Oh.

Nafzger: And they’re married and they have two children. There they are,
Hillary and Aaron.

Interviewer: They’re beautiful.

Nafzger: Those two.

Interviewer: Yeah we’re looking at their picture. They are beautiful.

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: All right, let’s go back to your marriage, Rose. I know you
had an interesting marriage. Do you remember what year you got married?

Nafzger: 1933.

Interviewer: 1933?

Nafzger: Yeah, this is my granddaugher.

Interviewer: Oh I don’t think so Rose. She’s showing us a pretty risque
picture here. Rose is ornery. Always has been. Is always pulling jokes on us.
(Mixed voices.) Now Rose, tell us about your marriage.

Nafzger: Well.

Interviewer: Who were you married to?

Nafzger: I was working at WBNS.

Interviewer: Doing what?

Nafzger: This had to be 1929 and ’30. I was a secretary and a fill-in
pianist, piano player. I filled in, this was radio.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: When somebody didn’t show up, they’d rush to my office. That’s
the truth. I can see my boss, George Immerman, rushing in, “We need you.
Get in there.”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Henry Dray was another, yeah. There’s something. And so that’s
what I did.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: I was a secretary there, 13th floor, Fort Hayes Hotel.

Interviewer: Oh goodness, you remember that. See, you remember the important
things, Rose.

Nafzger: Yeah, 13th floor.

Interviewer: And how did your meet your…

Nafzger: And my husband became, he worked there for a couple of years, then
became Chief Engineer of radio.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: He died before television took ahold, you know. But in radio. He
spent a heavy part of his life in radio. It was very difficult but he loved it.
He graduated I think in, was it, I forgot the state Honey, that he went to
college and took up…

Interviewer: But he was an engineer?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: In radio?

Nafzger: An engineer in radio. Exactly. He became Chief Engineer and had 60
people, engineers, under him.

Interviewer: So he was quite accomplished?

Nafzger: He worked his head off. He worked very hard.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: And that’s where we met.

Interviewer: Now and how did your marriage come about? Did you date very long
before you married?

Nafzger: We dated secretly because my mother and father were living.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: And I was in total fear of what I was doing so I…

Interviewer: Why did it have to be secret?

Nafzger: Because he was gentile.

Interviewer: Uh huh. And you knew your parents wouldn’t approve?

Nafzger: They would have died. So then Lester, my husband, wanted to get
married. He said, “Let’s not fool around, let’s get married.”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: We went secretly to Cleveland, Ohio. Take it back. We rode clear to
Batavia, New York.

Interviewer: Oh that was a long drive.

Nafzger: Yeah. We got married secretly and, this is not the real me. I’m
very nervous.

Interviewer: Oh well just relax. Maybe I’m not making you relaxed about
this. So actually you…

Nafzger: Here is what I did.

Interviewer: Goodness. So you went to Batavia and that’s where you got

Nafzger: Went to Batavia, New York, happened to stop in Batavia, New York. It
happened to be a convenient stop at the place, you know.

Interviewer: And that was about 1933?

Nafzger: I was in love with him. I was crazy about him.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: And so was he, you know. Well meantime during that period, my father
passed away with heart trouble. He knew nothing about this.

Interviewer: Where were you then? You got married in Batavia?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: And then what did you do? Did you come back to Columbus?

Nafzger: Come back to his job. He had a wonderful job. Worked at it for about
30 years. I think I’m saying the right thing.

Interviewer: But your parents didn’t know that you went…

Nafzger: No.

Interviewer: But they knew that you went away? Where did they think you went?

Nafzger: Went to visit friends. My mother and father were kind of still
hanging on to that refugee…

Interviewer: Old World stuff, huh?

Nafzger: Old World stuff, yeah. They believed it. They believed it all. And
my mother became ill with gall bladder trouble while I was secretly married.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: So I came in from Cleveland to see her and at the hospital, she, you
know, looked at me and was happy to see me and all, but she was dying. And she
said, “Rosalah, find a nice Jewish boy and get married.” So you see
she wasn’t tricky. She wouldn’t say that.

Interviewer: Yeah, yeah.

Nafzger: So I knew that she didn’t know. My father definitely didn’t know
because he would have killed me.

Interviewer: Uh huh. How long were you and Lester married before your mother

Nafzger: Oh.

Interviewer: Do you think it was a while? In other words, your mother never
knew that you married Lester?

Nafzger: She never knew.

Interviewer: Uh huh. But how about your sisters?

Nafzger: I went to Cleveland alone. And he stayed here on his job.

Interviewer: Oh I see.

Nafzger: Yeah. I had to leave. I couldn’t stand it… He would come
very weekend. He was faithful to me and didn’t plan on doing anything, you

Interviewer: Uh huh. What did you do in Cleveland?

Nafzger: I worked. Got a job at WJAY.

Interviewer: So you were with a radio station there?

Nafzger: Yeah, through people that knew me and helped me get the job, you
know. Oh what was one of the managers there that everybody knew?

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Oh.

Interviewer: Well that was a along time ago. We probably wouldn’t have
remembered him.

Nafzger: Yes you would know, he was famous.

Interviewer: Huh.

Nafzger: Can’t think of it.

Interviewer: Well if it comes to you, we’ll get that in later.

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: So you were married how long to Lester, how many years do you
think you and Lester were married?

Nafzger: Oh we were married 42 years.

Interviewer: Forty-two years?

Nafzger: Yeah. He died in ’76; we married in ’33.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Nafzger: Add that up.

Interviewer: That’s pretty good math.

Nafzger: Stayed married.

Interviewer: So you had a happy marriage with him?

Nafzger: Oh yes. We were worried that we were separated. Only when my parents
were gone, that’s when we got back together.

Interviewer: So that might have been just a couple of, was that a couple of
years do you think that you lived in secret?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. That was really hard on you to not…

Nafzger: Yeah. We would take a room at a hotel or someplace, you know, when
he came in. But I lived in a house, you know, but it was just one bedroom for
me, you know, so I don’t know why but we took a room somewhere. We went
somewhere, I can’t think.

Interviewer: So the children were born after your parents were gone?

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: What about your sisters and your brother? Did they know that you
were married?

Nafzger: Yes, not my brother because I didn’t know how he would react. Very
religious, very faithful to his religion. And my father forced him into that. He
couldn’t, it was a forced, you know, he was afraid of my father.

Interviewer: I don’t think that was terribly unusual in that time. We had
tremendous respect, maybe it was called fear.

Nafzger: Yeah he did. He was fearful.

Interviewer: That Old World fear?

Nafzger: And so…

Interviewer: Did you work most of your married life?

Nafzger: No, not at all, no.

Interviewer: But you entertained, Rose?

Nafzger: Yeah I kept entertaining, yes. But after my mother died I came back
to Columbus and we took an apartment, real nice apartment in Grandview. That’s
where we lived, openly now. And that was open. And even my relatives came to see
me but certain relatives I was a little worried about. It was a fearful
experience and I was dating a Jewish fellow, dating while Lester and I, while we
were in love, put it that way. And Dick Goldstein was the fellow and we wanted
to get married, he wanted to get married. But I was secretly seeing Lester.

Interviewer: Uh huh. You were already romantically involved?

Nafzger: Yeah. So then Lester and I got married openly and got a house on
Roosevelt Avenue together. He bought the house. This was open. In fact, I’m
trying to think how the emotions were running then. Who should come to my house,
oh, who should run into me but Dick Goldstein. And we were married. Dick was
going steady with the girl he’s married to, oh she died. Finkel, I was going
to say Finkelstein, something like that. But Dick saw me on Main and Roosevelt
so he says, “Rose you want a ride? I’ll drive you home.” I said,
“Fine.” So I got in the car and we went to 903 Roosevelt and Lester
was home and he said, “How did you get here?” I said, “Dick
Goldstein saw me and brought me.” He wouldn’t drop it. (laughter) You
know what I mean?

Interviewer: He didn’t like the idea?

Nafzger: Jealousy, see? The guy that I was about to marry.

Interviewer: Oh and he knew about it?

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah about what?

Interviewer: Lester knew about…

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah, he knew about that. In fact Dick Goldstein came to see
me while I was married, came to see me at the place where I would play the piano
like at, you name it. Oh Schonthal Home, places like that. There’s a nice word
to put in.

Interviewer: I want to talk about your career, Rose. But let’s finish. Tell
us about Lester’s career. I know that he had other interests. He was involved
in radio, short wave.

Nafzger: Yes, yes.

Interviewer: Tell us about the short wave interest?

Nafzger: Ham radio.

Interviewer: Ham radio?

Nafzger: Yeah. That’s the nickname for it and it’s called “amateur
radio.” He started as about a 13-year-old boy because his father kept
listening to it all the time. His father became postmaster in Westerville. By
that time he was just a working man and his father became very interested in
radio so Lester became terribly interested. So he begged to go to school. They
sent him to maybe New Jersey or New York to a school…

Interviewer: That specialized in…

Nafzger: Yes, yeah. The early days of radio and…

Interviewer: Of course radio was our main form of communication.

Nafzger: Yes, exactly. He’s a pioneer and I’ve got the picture that says
he’s a pioneer.

Interviewer: Well we’re going to look at the pictures after.

Nafzger: All right.

Interviewer: But we’re just going to concentrate on talking.

Nafzger: He’s one of the top pioneers of radio and so then he was, he came,
lived in Westerville and then I was already working at WCAH, Fort Hayes Hotel.
And he came in and got a job there.

Interviewer: But this ham radio thing, did you become involved in it too?

Nafzger: Yeah but not ’till real late, later On W—…

Interviewer: Your call letters?

Nafzger: On KATPO. It’s right here on this table. Did you see one? Here it
is, here this is me, right there.

Interviewer: That’s your call license number?

Nafzger: Yes. My name is on there.

Interviewer: KATPO, uh huh.

Nafzger: King, Ace, Tango, Poppa, Ocean. You know why I say this? I say it
because, so the operators can understand the letters.

Interviewer: Okay so that was your call letters? So you became involved in
ham radio too?

Nafzger: Yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: Were your sons interested in that?

Nafzger: Oh they were ham radio operators. Yeah.

Interviewer: So that became…

Nafzger: First my husband was WABSY, and Dick, but not Buddy, not the oldest,
just Dick was a ham, is still a ham radio operator. And we would be in touch
with each other on the air and find each other and talk to each other.

Interviewer: Well that’s fun isn’t it?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: Now people do that by computer, that’s the Internet and all
that kind of stuff.

Nafzger: That’s right.

Interviewer: But…

Nafzger: Do you use a computer?

Interviewer: Not yet, not yet. But we’re fighting it.

Nafzger: Well you’d be good at it. You’ve got a lot to do with it, yeah.

Interviewer: I hope so. And so tell us, I know you’ve had a very colorful
career, Rose. You’re an accomplished pianist. We’ve got to get that on

Nafzger: Well let the public know that I can’t read music, don’t read
music, never took a lesson and got it from my father who played the fiddle from
Russia. Came back, already knew how to play the fiddle, probably from his
parents. Played the fiddle and I inherited it and beginning with the age of 8 or
10, I was going like this, “I want a piano Pop, I want a piano.”

Interviewer: Just pretending like you were playing piano?

Nafzger: Yeah, oh yeah.

Interviewer: You didn’t have a piano at home?

Nafzger: No. So he finally bought it and where did I play first? Somebody got
up and said, “Who can play Rock of Ages?” I’ll never forget

Interviewer: Where were you at?

Nafzger: We were at the Schonthal Home.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Schonthal Center you mean?

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: That’s like the Jewish Center, a gathering place?

Nafzger: Yeah, it was like on Town Street, somewhere closing in near the shuls
and things like that.

Interviewer: Yeah we have some information on record about Schonthal. So you
volunteered immediately?

Nafzger: I said, “I can, I can.”

Interviewer: “Rock of Ages?”

Nafzger: Sat down and played it right away, “Rock of Ages.”

Interviewer: Good for you!

Nafzger: Yeah I can still play it. I know that. And any other religious tunes
that I knew at that time. Like, what are some Jewish tunes?

Interviewer: Did you go, maybe we ought to go back…

Nafzger: Where is this going to be?

Interviewer: Well I don’t know. It’s going to be on record in the office
of the Jewish Historical Society. So you…

Nafzger: Okay. Well be sure that you don’t, if it’s going to be printed,
that you don’t bore ’em with it. Pick out high points… And I don’t
need to tell you about it that.

Interviewer: Okay so that was your first, your entry into . . . .

Nafzger: Yeah.

Interviewer: your career?

Nafzger: Yeah. “I want a piano.” And by golly, he bought it.

Interviewer: Okay. And you played “Rock of Ages” at Schonthal. And
then after that how did you eventually accomplish your musical career?

Nafzger: I went to Fulton Street School, I played the piano. But mainly South
High School is where I began to blow a little, you know. And they would call me
in to play, you know, “God Bless America” and “Star Spangled
Banner.” I could play all of them. And I couldn’t wait to play.

Interviewer: And you did all of this just by ear?

Nafzger: Yes, yes. I can’t read notes. And the only notes I can read is
what we read in grade school, you know, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do.

Interviewer: Yeah I can even do that.

Nafzger: Do you know people who play by ear?

Interviewer: Well Michael Feinstein.

Nafzger: Absolutely great. The greatest. He’s great. The reason I say
“the greatest,” because he makes his fingers fly while I didn’t
practice doing that. So I do fingering but not the speed the way he does.

Interviewer: Can you remember some of the places that you played at through
the years? Is that going to tax your memory . . . .

Nafzger: Oh yeah. I played in the Ionian Room of the Deshler Hotel. I played
for, oh what was his name, an agent that had talent all over town. Oh gosh I
wish I could think of . . . .

Interviewer: Did you play with different bands?

Nafzger: With different bands also.

Interviewer: Local? Were they all local bands?

Nafzger: Yeah they were local.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did you ever go out of Columbus to play?

Nafzger: I arranged my own band. I had my own band. Do you see the picture on
the wall?

Interviewer: Over, let’s see, I saw it someplace, Rose. Well we’re going
to look at it . . . .

Nafzger: A big band. It’s right there.

Interviewer: Okay, right.

Nafzger: Right there.

Interviewer: Yeah that is a big band. How many were in your band?

Nafzger: Well . . . .

(Mixed conversation)

Interviewer: I’m going to have Rose go over to the piano and play some of
her famous music now. “Rock of Ages.”

(Music plays)

Interviewer: Let’s get a little bit of peppy jazz music. I know you like to
play that.

(Music plays)

Interviewer: That was great Rose. Okay, you want to do one more song?

(Music plays)

Interviewer: Okay, one more. Let’s go into Jewish tunes.

(Music plays)

Interviewer: Wonderful! Bravo, bravo! Rose we really enjoyed this musical
interlude we just had. This is rare for us in an interview to have the
entertainment that we’ve just had. But just a couple more questions I wanted
to get before we come to a con- clusion here. As you were growing up, Rose, did
you participate in any synagogue activities or what were the activities that
young people became involved with? I know you mentioned Schonthal Center. Was
that the main . . . .

Nafzger: Yeah. Not too much, Honey, not too much. I was, you know that young
and just simply participated. But in the back of my head was this urge, this
feeling, that anything I heard I could play it, see. But I had no piano at home
and I was trying to convince my parents that I could. But my father would get
out on the front porch on Wager Stree, where we used to live. And a neighbor of
his, Mr. Snyder, you may even know this Snyder family, very well-liked people,
he played the fiddle too. They both got out on the front porch, the back, the
front, the front porch, and played the fiddle together. And that’s where I
began to play, strum on the table.

Interviewer: Well you had a very honest love of music from the beginning.
That was your . . . .

Nafzger: Natural.

Interviewer: That was your calling for life it sounds like, huh?

Nafzger: Yeah. Yes, yes, yes. And then right away, psychologically, you love
the praise that you’re hearing and the people saying, “Rose come on and
play,” you name something, you know, way back, from way back. I would play
it and I would get applause. Well it builds up and you begin to have confidence,
you know.

Interviewer: Sure, sure, it encourages you a lot.

Nafzger: And here’s who the booker was after I had graduated high school.
The booking agent was Jack Sherrick.

Interviewer: Oh Jack Sherrick, sure. He was well known. Your’re right. You
said . . . .

Nafzger: Yeah he was the booker who booked me and booked me at the famous
Ionian Room of the Deshler. I got to play there.

Interviewer: Sure. Did you ever play on radio?

Nafzger: Played on radio, yes I did. I played on radio. It was at WBNS but it
was WCAH, Fort Hayes Hotel.

Interviewer: Oh I see.

Nafzger: Thirteenth floor.

Interviewer: So they recorded from there?

Nafzger: That’s where I met Lester. He was all radio. He started at the age
of 13. His father got him interested, you know.

Interviewer: Did you ever play for TV? Have you ever played on TV?

Nafzger: Oh once or twice.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Nafzger: Recently. I was caught on TV and they told me that they saw me and
so forth. My son saw it and I begged him, I said, “How did I look? Tell me,
tell me. I never got to see it.”

Interviewer: Oh well they should have done a recording of it for you. Rose,
we’re almost at the end of our tape and on behalf of the Jewish Historical
Society, I want to thank you for the interview.

Nafzger: You’re very welcome.

Interviewer: I’ve really enjoyed my visit with you. We bowled together at
some point and we haven’t done that for a while, but…

Nafzger: I think you’re a great interviewer. I don’t know how you do it.

Interviewer: Thank you. It’s people like you that make it interesting. Not
only that, but we’ve got you on tape playing piano and that makes it really
special so we’re at the end of this tape and thank you again.

Nafzger: Okay.

* * *

Transcribed by Honey Abramson