This interview is for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and it’s being recorded on July 17, 2014 as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project. The interview is being recorded at 2894 Castlewood Road, Columbus, Ohio. My name is Flo Gurwin and I’m interviewing Saul Laub.
INTERVIEWER: Saul, would you tell us your full name?
SAUL: Full name is Saul Laub.
INTERVIEWER: Do you have a Jewish name?
INTERVIEWER: And what is it?
INTERVIEWER: And who are you named for?
SAUL: I was named for my father’s mother.
INTERVIEWER: How far back can you trace your family?
SAUL: Well, we grew up in Brooklyn, New York. We had a big family at that time. So we dwindled down but we used to meet at my mother’s uncle’s house every Shabbos after coming out of shul ‘cause he had a big house and we’d go there and have a snack. He’d have a spread like we have at Tifereth Israel.
INTERVIEWER: What was his name?
SAUL: I don’t know.
INTERVIEWER: We can come back to it if you want. Do you know any legends or stories of the past which have been told and retold in your family?
SAUL: No, not really.
INTERVIEWER: And what is your mother and father’s full name?
SAUL: My mother’s full name is Anne Laub. My father’s full name was Samuel Laub.
INTERVIEWER: What country were they born in?
SAUL: My father was born in Romania. My mother was born in Russia.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know what part of Russia?
INTERVIEWER: When did they come to this country?
SAUL: My mother came to this country when she was three years old. My father came to this country when he was 21 years old.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know what port of entry they came in to?
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Did they have family already in this country when they came?
INTERVIEWER: Who was here?
SAUL: Well, we had, my mother’s uncle was here.
INTERVIEWER: What was his name?
SAUL: Gees, what was his name? His first name was Morris, oh, Morris Calico.
INTERVIEWER: Calico like the cat, calico?
INTERVIEWER: Okay, and what about, those that were in this country when they came, that’s where they went? Can you remember hearing any stories about your mother and father when they were young?
SAUL: Not really.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know the names of your mother’s or father’s sisters or brothers?
SAUL: My mother had two sisters, Lilly and Bessie.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know what their last names were?
SAUL: Hochburg. Bessie Hochburg was one.
SAUL: Hochburg. H-o-c-h-b-u-r-g.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. And the other sister was Shetson.
INTERVIEWER: What was the name?
SAUL: Schetson, the last name.
INTERVIEWER: Schetson. Spell it.
SAUL: S-c-h- can’t spell it.
INTERVIEWER: Where do they live? Have they passed away?
SAUL: Oh, yes, long time ago.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know of any relatives who still live in your mother or father’s country of origin?
SAUL: The family slowly dwindled away. There’s only one, there’s only one or two cousins left: Irwin Hochburg and Charles Calico. That’s only two that are left. The rest are all gone.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know where they live now?
SAUL: They both live on the island.
INTERVIEWER: New York?
INTERVIEWER: Do you know the names of your grandparents or great-grandparents?
SAUL: My grandmother’s name was Chita. We used to call her “Chita”
INTERVIEWER: That’s C-h-i-t-a?
SAUL: Yes. My grandfather was Morris.
INTERVIEWER: And what was his last name?
INTERVIEWER: Himmelstein? Was that your mother’s?
SAUL: My mother’s parents.
INTERVIEWER: What about your father’s?
SAUL: My father’s parents, they died in the other country.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know how your parents met?
SAUL: Through a shidduch.
INTERVIEWER: Where were they married?
SAUL: They were married in Brooklyn, New York.
INTERVIEWER: Why did they come to this country? Do you know?
SAUL: Well, my father was in the Austria army and they fought the Italians. Actually the Italians won and my father was taken prisoner and after they released him from captive, that’s when he came to the United States.
INTERVIEWER: Do you know what year that was?
SAUL: Well, I was born in ’29. My brother was born in ’27 so, it had to be at least 1921.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What is your brother’s name?
INTERVIEWER: And where does he live?
SAUL: He’s passed away.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What did you parents when they were young to earn to living?
SAUL: I don’t know but my father was a butcher. He worked in a kosher butcher store up until the time he retired.
INTERVIEWER: Did your mother work?
SAUL: I don’t think so.
INTERVIEWER: You had just one brother?
SAUL: One brother.
INTERVIEWER: And his name you told me was Ernest.
INTERVIEWER: Where did you live when you were growing up?
SAUL: Brooklyn, New York.
INTERVIEWER: What brought you to Columbus?
SAUL: Uh, a job. Uh, I was working at the time in the Garment Center and I met a good friend of mine who was my competitor and he told me that they had an opening in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. It was a traveling job and he didn’t really give me much time to think about it. He says, “We need somebody in the territory right away.” So, I jumped at it. I wanted to get out of New York anyhow. I came to Columbus in 1971 and I only lasted six months at this job, because they went out of business.
INTERVIEWER: And then what happened?
SAUL: Then I had several jobs and I hooked on with the Cohen family. I think they’re still there.
INTERVIEWER: And what’s the name of that company?
SAUL: It was Columbus Janitor Supply but they changed the name to Clean Intervention.
INTERVIEWER: And you’re still there.
SAUL: Forty years already.
INTERVIEWER: Forty years there.
INTERVIEWER: So, how did you get involved with, so involved with the Jewish War Veterans?
SAUL: Okay. You know Harry Topolosky? I’m sure you did. He was the one that got me involved. He met me once or twice and after the second time I committed myself and I joined the Jewish War Veterans which was twenty-five years ago, no, more than twenty, close to thirty years ago and when I joined the Post, I became active and I did a lot of things in the Post and I worked my way up to Commander of the Jewish War Veterans.
INTERVIEWER: I gathered from that that you were in the service.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about that.
SAUL: I went in to the service in 1952. I was in during the Korean War and I lucked out. My whole Division was sent to Korea. The reason why I lucked out, I got the German Measles while I was on a field trip. In those days when you got any kind of sickness you went in the hospital two or three days. I was in the hospital for about eight days with German Measles and while I was in the hospital, as I said my Division shipped out to Korea and when they released me from the hospital they told me I would be going overseas but they wouldn’t tell me where. The first thing I thought was Korea. I came home and they gave me a furlough for two weeks and they said, “At the end of two weeks, when you come back you’ll be shipped out.” And I told my mother and father that I’m being shipped out overseas. So, what do you think happened? The first thing my mother said, “Oh, you’re going to Korea.” I said, “I don’t know where I’m going. I’m being shipped out.” When I came back, we went over to Germany as a Division, eighteen thousand troops. We were the first ones there and we were put on the Russian border and we didn’t have an easy time. We lived in foxholes. I was in a foxhole for nine months and when I arrived in Germany, I was allowed to call home, so, I called home and my mother got on the phone. I said “I want you to know,” I says “I’m, I was shipped to Germany instead of Korea.” So, she says, “I don’t believe you.” I says, “You’ll find out,” and I sent her a letter two days later. Course it came from Germany so she was convinced I was in Germany.
INTERVIEWER: What part of Germany were you in?
SAUL: I was in Hohenfels. First of all I was in Augsburg. The first stop was Augsburg, Germany. That was east, the eastern part of Germany and then, right after Augsburg we were shipped to Hohensfels. It was the Russian border.
INTERVIEWER: What was going on there that you were in foxholes?
SAUL: We were waiting to be attacked.
SAUL: … by the Russians.
SAUL: We were told, in fact, I would see the Russians going to training every day. That’s how close we were to the border and we were told that, “You guys, you better take your work serious because you don’t know when the Russians are going to come across the border.” That’s how bad it was in those days. That was considered the Cold War.
INTERVIEWER: What year was that?
INTERVIEWER: So, how long were you there?
SAUL: I was there nine months. Then I was shipped back to the States.
INTERVIEWER: And then what happened?
INTERVIEWER: So, you weren’t in Korea?
SAUL: No, I was in the Korean War but..
INTERVIEWER: You were in the service during the Korean War.
INTERVIEWER: So altogether you were overseas nine months?
SAUL: Nine months.
INTERVIEWER: And then how long were you home before you were discharged from the service?
SAUL: It took about a week.
INTERVIEWER: So how long were you in the service altogether?
SAUL: Two years.
INTERVIEWER: So, when did you get married?
INTERVIEWER: That was after you came home. And how did you meet Muriel?
SAUL: Through a shidduch. My aunt introduced us. My aunt was friendly with this couple. They used to see each other at shul every Shabbos and they got involved talking and “Oh, I,” my aunt says “I have a very nice nephew. I understand you have a very nice granddaughter.” So, we got introduced and that’s what happened.
INTERVIEWER: So, you met in New York.
INTERVIEWER: And then, was this after you moved to Columbus or before you moved to Columbus?
SAUL: When we were married?
SAUL: Well, we got married in New York.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, so this was when you got out of the service?
SAUL: When I got out of the service.
INTERVIEWER: So, you hadn’t moved, you hadn’t gone to work for this company yet.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. So, you got married. What was the year you got married?
INTERVIEWER: Okay and you have two children, right?
SAUL: Two children.
INTERVIEWER: What are their names?
SAUL: Mark is my son. Debra is my daughter. Oh I have to tell you this – my great- granddaughter, my third one coming up in January.
INTERVIEWER: Mazal Tov. What are your grandchildren’s names and whose children are they?
SAUL: Okay. Andrew and Ariel are my daughter’s children. My son’s children are Lindsay, Ashley and Matt. He has three children. My daughter only had two.
INTERVIEWER: And whose children are your great-grandchildren?
SAUL: That’s my granddaughter.
INTERVIEWER: Which one?
SAUL: Marc’s, daughter.
INTERVIEWER: What is her name?
SAUL: Her name is Ashley.
INTERVIEWER: And what are her children’s names?
SAUL: Okay. Bennett is the boy’s name and the girl’s name is Sarah.
INTERVIEWER: You said you had three.
SAUL: Yeah, well, the third one’s on the way.
INTERVIEWER: And what is Ashley’s husband’s name?
INTERVIEWER: How long have they been married?
SAUL: Well, the boy is four years now but they waited uh,‘til they, ‘til she had her first baby ‘cause he was going through his internship. He’s an ER doctor at Riverside.
INTERVIEWER: What does she do?
SAUL: Nothing right now.
INTERVIEWER: What did she do before?
SAUL: She had a good job.
INTERVIEWER: What was it?
SAUL: She worked at one time for the Towers, you know, next to Heritage House. She was, she had a big job there.
INTERVIEWER: What was her job?
SAUL: She took care of all the..
INTERVIEWER: Was she the Activities Director there?
SAUL: Yeah, she took care of all the people, all the things done. She did a very good job. They were sorry to see her go ‘cause the job was really done well.
INTERVIEWER: Was she a social worker?
INTERVIEWER: What does Lindsay do?
INTERVIEWER: Lindsay is a beautician.
INTERVIEWER: And what about your grandson Matt?
SAUL: Matt right at the present time is working for my son.
INTERVIEWER: And what does your son do?
SAUL: General Manager of Byers, Subaru and Mazda.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. What about your daughter. Tell me a little bit about her. What is her husband’s name? Your daughter’s name is Debra, I know.
SAUL: Her husband’s name is Steven. He is an accountant.
INTERVIEWER: And does Debra work?
SAUL: She works part-time for a doctor.
INTERVIEWER: What about her children, what are their names?
SAUL: Andrew is the boy. He’s in the first year at Ohio State and Gabrielle will be finishing up high school about another year.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little more about the Jewish war Veterans, and how that…I know you told me how you got involved with them but tell me a little bit more about what they do and what you remember about them and their history.
SAUL: Well, Jewish War Veterans was activated back in 1896. That’s how old the organization is and we were a big organization at one time but today we’re slowly going downhill, ‘cause, we’re losing members because they’re dying off. The members that we have now are old and sick. That’s how it is, very little activity. If it wasn’t for me the Post wouldn’t be in existence. I keep the Post going because I do a lot of things. We have dinners. We have the blood drive three or four times a year and I keep them activated as much as I can. I was having monthly meetings but I stopped that because there’s no attendance. At one time we used to have twenty members attending a meeting. Now you’re lucky if you get six. For six, doesn’t pay to have a meeting for six people. Actually what you have to do, you have to have a minyan, a minyan because at these meetings there’s a lot of things that come up that you have to vote on. You can’t vote ‘cause you don’t have a quorum.
INTERVIEWER: How many members altogether are there in this Post?
SAUL: Right at the present time, 102. When I joined the organization, believe it or not, we had 675 members.
INTERVIEWER: From a hundred and some members you only can get six members to come?
SAUL: ‘Cause, as I stated before, a lot of them are sick and they’re old and especially in the winter months they don’t want to come out ‘cause it gets dark early and you don’t any participation at all.
INTERVIEWER: So, you do have meetings though, just not very frequently?
SAUL: Not very frequently.
INTERVIEWER: Yeah. Tell me some other things that the War Veterans do or what they did maybe in the past?
SAUL: Well, in the past, we were very active.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me some of the things they did.
SAUL: Well, what did we do? We used to take them to ball games, we used to take them to Scioto Downs and we always had them, you know, doing something but..
INTERVIEWER: What’s the main purpose of Jewish War Veterans?
SAUL: Well, Jewish War Veterans, like any other organization, the JWV, The Jewish War Veterans, you have the American Legion, you have VFW and they also are in bad shape. Membership is really dwindling down. You can’t get any new members here.
INTERVIEWER: Why is that?
SAUL: They don’t want to come in yet. You know, I had five years ago, I had somebody attend a meeting. He had just got out of the Navy, he’s about 44 years old and he attended the meeting and at the end of the meeting I handed him an application. He’s looking at me and I said, “Aren’t you going to fill it out?” He said, “No, I changed my mind. I changed my mind ‘cause I don’t want to be with a bunch of grandpas.” Yeah, his comment was “I don’t want to.. .Tell you this here, the young kids today don’t want to have nothing,’ they don’t want to come in with us ‘cause we’re old guys. Let’s face it .What do they have in common with us? And I get this all the time when I talk to people: “Why don’t you recruit the kids that were in Iraq and the kids who went to Afghanistan?” And I’ll tell you why we don’t. None of them are from this area. None of them are from this area. You see I’m at the USO every Monday and we have kids going out to basic training and I check the roster every Monday. There isn’t a Jewish name on that roster. No Jews at all and the kids are from outlying areas, areas that I’ve never heard of and some of them have never been on a plane. They’re like Hillbillies and it scares me to see these kids going in to the service with that mentality. You know what I mean? I mean, we weren’t like that when we went in to the service. We had some education. But I’ll say it again. You’re not going to get any Jewish kids in there because Jewish kids go to college.
INTERVIEWER: Let me take you to another spot. You mentioned USO, that you volunteered there. Tell me about that, your volunteering efforts at USO. How long have you been doing that?
SAUL: I’ve been with the USO for about, uh, close to twenty years, and I started to volunteer about fifteen years ago and I like it because you meet a lot of interesting people. You meet a lot of men going through, going back to their basic training area, or they’re going on furlough. There’s a lot of activity in the USO Lounge every week and we give them snacks. We give them so much snacks it’s just unbelievable. In fact, a lot of them com e in there and they sit down and they sit down and they eat and eat and eat until they’re ready to leave.
INTERVIEWER: Where do the snacks come from?
SAUL: We buy them.
INTERVIEWER: Who’s “we?”
SAUL: USO. I have a credit card that I use at the GFS. I go in there every week. I buy..
INTERVIEWER: What’s GFS?
SAUL: Gordon Food Supply.
SAUL: They’re located on Tussing Road, and we go through so much stuff every week that I buy a lot of stuff every week. We go through pop, water, cookies, all kinds of types of candy bars. As I said, they eat you out of household, these guys. They sit down. They eat and eat and eat.
INTERVIEWER: How have things changed in the twenty years that you’ve been doing this or have they?
SAUL: Yeah, they’ve changed.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the changes.
SAUL: The change is you don’t have the kids who go in today that have some sort of education. You know, they know nothing. You know, some of them have a hard time filling out… they have to fill out where they’re from when they come in, the county. They have to fill out where they’re going for basic training. A lot of them go up to the sign in sheet. They’ll stand there. So I’ll say to them, “Can I help you, please?” “Yeah, I can’t seem to fill this thing out.” I says, “What’s the problem? Don’t you know what county you live in?” “What is that?” That’s how ignorant they are today. So, that scares me when I see that.
INTERVIEWER: That didn’t used to be like that?
SAUL: No. You had people that were much more aggressive, intelligent.
INTERVIEWER: What other kinds of volunteer things do you do?
SAUL: Well, I’m active in the shul.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about that.
SAUL: I’m there, I’m there every morning. Of course, I’m there every Shabbos when I’m in town, and it’s not easy.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me what you do there.
SAUL: I have a title as Head Usher, but they’re going to change that now. There’s not going to be ushers anymore. They’re going to be called Greeters. Your daughter-in-law got involved in that, too. In a way, I says,” Why are you calling us ‘Greeters?’ So, [Rabbi] Ungar got involved and he says, “You’ve got to be more friendly to the people when they come in. You got to talk to them, ask them where they live, ask them how long they’ve been living there.” I mean, what do I do, give interviews to everybody who comes in? But I will ll tell you this. The synagogue has changed.
INTERVIEWER: In what way?
SAUL: We’ve lost a lot of members. We’re not as big as we used to be. I think we’re under a thousand in membership, and you know, they’re trying. I don’t know whether you get there when Rabbi Woodward is still up there leading the minyan. I think you get there later on. Don’t you get there around the Torah reading? He started something. It makes me nauseous. He’s up there davening and to me, you daven, you should be reading Hebrew. He‘ll start off with a melody: La la la la la, La la la la la. I mean, yeah, and I want to tell you something. A lot of the old timers don’t like it and they resent it. And if you look around, when you’re there on Shabbos, there are very few old timers in the sanctuary.
INTERVIEWER: What other things can you tell me about that you do, that you volunteer? I know you’re very active in the community.
INTERVIEWER: So, what are some of the other things that you do?
SAUL: Well, I’m active at the VA. I’m on the board at the VA. I attend meetings once a month We have a meeting here once a month. Of course, you know, I don’t know if you know whether you know this or not, the VA is having problems today. Did you hear about that?
SAUL: Yes. It’s going to take a while before they get it straightened out.
INTERVIEWER: Do they have problems in Columbus?
INTERVIEWER: What kind of problems do they have in Columbus?
SAUL: People have to wait too long for an appointment.
INTERVIEWER: I see.
SAUL: Yes and the place is like a zoo. Every time I go in there, you know, I don’t go there because they give free coffee nd they give free snacks. As soon as they hear that, some of them are there every day, just for that.
INTERVIEWER: How’d you get started going to the VA and volunteering there?
SAUL: Well, I went to the VA to join. At the beginning, you know, you fill out an application and you had to put down financially if you having any property, do you have any this, do you have any that, and I refused to put all that down. I used to leave it blank. And they used to say to me, “We can’t give you a VA card because you didn’t fill out all the information.” I said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Listen, I’m a veteran and you’re stopping me from coming into this facility?” I says, “It doesn’t make sense.” Well, they changed the rule. If you go in there and you fill an application out, you have an opportunity to go in there and they give you a VA card.
Number one, I wouldn’t have any of those doctors do anything on me. I have a female doctor. Her name is [ ]. Every year I have to go to a physical, in order for you to get your medication. It’s a five minute physical. I go in. I go in to her office. She says “How tall are you?” “Don’t you have it down?” “Oh, tell me again. How much do you weigh?” I mean, it’s ridiculous. Then she’ll take your blood pressure and after the blood pressure she’ll say, “You have any pain now?” “Right now I don’t have any pain.” “Oh, that’s good. That’s good. Then you must be in good shape. I’m going to renew all your prescriptions.” I only have three prescriptions that I get there. . She says, “I’ll renew your prescriptions and we’ll see you next year.” That’s the physical. I mean it’s a real joke.
INTERVIEWER: So, you still haven’t told me how you got involved with being on their board.
SAUL: Through the Jewish War Veterans, national, I go to the convention every year. Course they have the conventions in different cities and we have a chairman who’s in charge of donating, not donating, assigning members in different cities to be on the board of the VA Clinic. So they happen to grab ahold of me and he said, “Would you like to..” – it’s called VAVS – “would you like to be on the board?”
INTERVIEWER: Tell me what that stands for? V-A is it BS?
SAUL: It’s VAVS.
INTERVIEWER: What does that stand for?
SAUL: Veterans Associated, Veterans Supervisors or something like that.
You have to attend a meeting every month and they talk about what they’re going to be doing, what they have done, how far they have progressed and the one that’s in charge of the meeting does not drag it out. In fact you’re only at a meeting an hour/ hour and a half, only an hour and a half. She runs through everything and she’s the type of person who doesn’t want to be at the meeting for two or three hours, which I don’t blame her, ‘cause you get a lot of people to come to the meeting and ask a million questions, stupid questions, too, but she wants you to have that meeting real fast. The name of that person is Tracy Washington and she’s been doing that job for, I’d say, for about seven years.
INTERVIEWER: And how long have you been on the board?
SAUL: I’ve been on the board for about ten years.
INTERVIEWER: That’s a long time.
INTERVIEWER: I know that you once, you’ve held a national office at the VA, too, haven’t you, or is it a district office, some kind of commander?
SAUL: I was Department of Ohio, twice around. Department of Ohio means that you’re in charge of the entire state of Ohio.
INTERVIEWER: And what was that title? Was it Commander?
SAUL: It is considered a commander. It’s Department of Ohio Commander. That’s how the title reads.
INTERVIEWER: Have you served any higher than that like in the national? Okay. What has kept you going with the Jewish War Veterans? What makes you so interested in it? Why do you work so hard to keep it going??
SAUL: Because I know if we don’t keep it going we won’t have it here. I will tell you another thing. It’s a matter of time until headquarters goes out of business because number one, people are broke, believe it or not, and the next thing is membership. Membership is really dwindling down. I mean, I think in the entire State of Ohio we have nine hundred members, in the entire state of Ohio. We cover a lot of cities. Nine hundred is nothing. We used to have twenty-five hundred/three thousand.
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you something. What accounts, in your opinion, for the fact that at one time so many former servicemen joined the Jewish War Veterans as opposed to now?
SAUL: I think the younger generation, I say this all the time, is more or less interested in their families, especially with their kids. They’re taking their kids to soccer games, they’re taking their kids to basketball games, if they have any daughters they’re taking them to other interesting activities and they do not seem to have any feeling for any organizations today. All the organizations are down because the younger generation, they’re not interested. They’re interested in family lives. It isn’t like it was years ago. Years ago you were interested in joining your Post.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me something, Saul, is there anything else that you would like to share with us that we haven’t discussed?
SAUL: No, I don’t think so.
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you, what values would you say did your family instill in you which you live by today, because some of that, your interest in volunteerism, must have come from somewhere?
SAUL: Well, I was always head man. Like I was in the theater business when I was in New York and…
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about that.
SAUL: ..and I held a big position in the theater business, Assistant Manager and besides being Assistant Manager, we used to have a big usher staff. We used to have three shifts of ushers and the ushers had to be dressed in uniform and if you came up before you… if you came up on the floor to report for duty you had to be inspected. You had to make sure that your uniform was not wrinkled, your shoes were shined and they didn’t have regular shirts. They used to have these cardboard fronts and you had to make sure, ‘cause you know it was very easy to mess up the cardboard. You’d see wrinkles in it, a lot of times they would get pop on their board there, or eating some food and they had to be, you know, real sharp when they came on the floor and it was, those days were different. You took people down to their seats, not like it is today.
INTERVIEWER: So, it was a movie theater.
SAUL: A movie theater, and this was a big theater, four thousand seats and in the evening I had to put on a tuxedo. We had four managers who had different titles. We had a general manager, manager, assistant manager, treasurer, (? ) and after five o’clock you had to change into your tuxedo. If you worked the morning shift you wore a regular suit, but if you were there after five, change of command.
INTERVIEWER: How long did you do that?
SAUL: For a long time.
INTERVIEWER: What do you call a long time?
SAUL: Well, for about, well, about seven years.
INTERVIEWER: How old were you at the time?
SAUL: I started when I was sixteen. I worked my way up. I was an usher, I was an Assistant Chief and then I was Chief of Service. Chief of Service was in charge of all the ushers. In those days you had a big staff. You didn’t have one or two kids come up on the floor and if they would get lost you couldn’t find them. They were at different positions that you knew where you knew where they were in case you wanted them.
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you something else? What did you do after that, after that position? What made you leave there?
SAUL: I left there because Muriel wanted me to get better hours.
INTERVIEWER: So, you were married?
SAUL: I was going with her. I wasn’t married yet…
INTERVIEWER: I see.
SAUL: …and she felt that now’s the time to get yourself situated where you’re home at a decent hour because in the theater business you’d never know what time you get off.
INTERVIEWER: When did you go to college? I know you said you had gone to college.
SAUL: I went to Brooklyn College.
INTERVIEWER: Were you working while you were going to school?
SAUL: Let me see, 1948… I was working part-time when I was going to school.
INTERVIEWER: What were you doing then?
SAUL: Same thing.
INTERVIEWER: In the theater?
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Who had the greatest influence on you when you were young?
SAUL: My brother.
INTERVIEWER: Why is that?
SAUL: He was well-educated. He was the smart one in the family.
INTERVIEWER: What did he do?
SAUL: He went into his own business.
INTERVIEWER: What business was that?
SAUL: He was like a Wasserstroms in New York City. He covered New York, Long Island and New Jersey so he had a big territory. He had a partner and he had a lot of salesmen working for him because it was a big territory to cover.
INTERVIEWER: And he did, what exactly did, you said like the Wasserstroms – commercial kitchens and things?
SAUL: Kitchens, practically everything that Wasserstroms would sell.
INTERVIEWER: I see. So, he’s the one that had the most influence on you?
INTERVIEWER: Did you ever work for him?
INTERVIEWER: For how long?
SAUL: I worked for him, not in the business he was in. I worked for him… he was also in the theater business, but he didn’t stay in it too long. He got promoted real fast to Chief Usher and I was just a plain usher and he would really crack the whip.
INTERVIEWER: During tough times, who helped you get through those tough times?
SAUL: Well, it goes back again to my brother. My father was easy going. My mother was the same way. She was what you’d call a real hamishe Jewish woman. We never went out. We’d have cooked meals every day, never used salt. Salt, salt was never on the table and I grew up without taking a salt shaker. We’d go like this here. Course, here is the exact opposite…Gotta have a salt shaker.
INTERVIEWER: So your brother got you through the tough times?
INTERVIEWER: How do you feel about society today as compared to when you were young? Do you, for example, feel television has influenced your society or do you think children today are different from when you were young?
INTERVIEWER: In what way?
SAUL: Kids today have more than we had and it’s different. It’s a different society today, definitely.
INTERVIEWER: Are there any stories or any things that you’d like to tell me that I haven’t asked you?
SAUL: Not really, no.
INTERVIEWER: If you could give a message about life or love to your children and grandchildren and the generations to come what would it be?
SAUL: Be good to other people. Don’t give your parents any aggravation. I know I never gave my parents any aggravation. My brother was the tough one. He used to, I’ll never forget this, he used to get in around one, two o’clock in the morning and my mother would get up and she’d say, “Where were you, where were you?” He’d say “Oh, I was out with the boys,” always.
INTERVIEWER: You didn’t do that?
SAUL: I didn’t do that.
INTERVIEWER: Anything else you would like to add?
SAUL: Mmm…not really.
INTERVIEWER: Well, Saul, I thank you for this interview…
SAUL: You’re welcome.
INTERVIEWER: …and on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project I want to thank you for contributing.
INTERVIEWER: This concludes the interview.