Schwartz, Shecter

Sara Schwartz, left and Sylvia Schecter, right

“REMEMBER WHEN…”

My name is Renee Levine. I am program chairman for the
Columbus Jewish Historical Society. I want to welcome all of your here.
Tonight’s program is a result of cooperation between the Over 55
Club
, Darlene Reyes and Bobbie Schehr, all who worked diligently to
get us together this evening to share a wonderful program. It was just
too good for you to keep to yourselves or for us to ourselves. And at
this time, I would like to introduce the president of the Columbus
Jewish Historical Society, Bob Glick. (Date – April 23, 1985).

Bob Glick: Thank you, Renee. We are still bringing some chairs in, so
don’t get upset! Good evening and welcome to another special program
in our popular series entitled, “Remember When.” This evening’s
presentation is a double delight. First, the Columbus Jewish Historical
Society has joined the 55 Plus Group for this exciting honor. And did
you all know the dynamic duo for tonight is Sylvia Schecter and Sara
Schwartz? Before I let our guests charm you with their tales, just let
me take a minute or two to talk about the Columbus Jewish Historical
Society. The outreach into the community is very rewarding. This is
evident by the growth of membership numbers. But there are still many,
many individuals in Columbus and Central Ohio who should be part of the
group. We ask you to act as emissaries to unite and enroll them as
members. Our society is unique because it is the only organization among
all the Jewish groups, temples, synagogues and agencies that acts as a
repository of information for all. It is the singular society which is
the recorder of what has been and is now our history. It collects our
valuable materials and memorabilia and makes it available for viewing
and research. It disseminates historical information to researchers and
students. It cooperates with the Ohio Historical Society, the American
Jewish Historical Society and other local and out of state groups. The
only way our society can retain history of local Jewry and be available
for our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren is by
increasing the membership, foster and supporting the society’s work.
The contributions made by Columbus and Central Ohio Jewry is remarkable
and should not be lost. Join the society if you are not a member. Spend
a few hours a month at the society office, helping to catalog the
donations, contribute old records, photos or memorabilia to expand the
archives collection. We have several displays the general public can
view. Each year, we have new old items, they are always being sought. Or
if you know of anyone who has a history that they’d like to give
orally, we’ll be glad to arrange for some of our members to come out
for interviews so that they can tell about the history, maybe some of us
didn’t know about, so it can be recorded for posterity. I am certain
that you realize I can talk at great length about the effectiveness of
our society and its future. But I’ll stop now because it is time to
introduce our very special guests. Their knowledge of Columbus is
encyclopedic, their contributions to the community are innumerable. And
they are here to share with us their memories, nostalgia and joy of
being native Columbusites. With the greatest of pleasure, here are
Sylvia and Sara to help us to “Remember when.”

Schwartz: Welcome everybody. I think Sylvia and I are thrilled to see
so many of you here. As I look out, I think I know practically everybody
in this room and I think I’ve known practically everybody in this room
for a long, long time. Sylvia and I have debated whether we should tell
you how long we’ve been friends. I’m going to tell you. Most of you
won’t believe it. Sylvia and I have been friends for 72 years. I tell
you, I can’t believe it. This all started about a year ago when I was
asked to make a presentation on Columbus The Way I Remembered It, The
Way We Were
. From that has grown all of this tonight and we’re
thrilled and delighted to share with you some of our remembrances of the
old days. Columbus remembered sixty, seventy years ago because we
remember Columbus seventy years ago.

Now, we have to start out with a caveat or a disclaimer. I must tell
you that these are our own memories. Whatever we tell you tonight are
things that we remember about the way we lived and the way we grew up in
Columbus in those days. Many of you here tonight share the same
memories, share the same time spent in the same place but you may not
share the same memories. We’re going to give you all an opportunity to
come up here and talk about your own memories because I’m sure when we
say something, there will be people in the audience who will say,
“It wasn’t that way at all and I remember it differently.”
After we make our presentation, we’re going to give you an opportunity
to share with all of us some of the things that happened to you when you
were growing up in Columbus a long time ago. Sylvia is going to put this
whole report into its proper perspective by telling us a little bit about
where we came from and who we are.

Schecter: Of course I share everything Sara shares. After 72 years,
we’re bound to have some of the same memories, some of them. Steven
Birmingham’s book, The Rest of Us, best describes our
immigrant forefathers who first came to this country in the late 1800’s
and early 1900’s. I want to quote from his book. Incidentally, he will be
appearing here at the Jewish Community Center on May 1. He wrote Our
Town
and The Rest of Us.

‘The Jewish immigrants who came to America between 1881 and
1915, seemed at first glance, to be culturally unadaptable, poor,
hungry, ill-clothed, often sickly, speaking no English and in some
cases, actually illiterate. They were also steeped in a religious
tradition that even America’s older established Jews considered
barbaric and bordering on fanaticism. No culture could have seemed
more alien to our shores.

What could possibly be done with these
people? These united escapees from a distant despotic land. How and
where will they ever fit in? And yet, barely a hundred years later,
we are people of prominence and influence in every major American
city and marry in every walk of life. We have survived anti-Semitism
from both Christians and fellow Jews and have prospered in a wide
ranging spectrum of businesses from Wall Street to Hollywood as well
as in science, education, politics and the professions and even the
arts. Our prosperity has contributed to the prosperity of America at
large. Ours has been a success story in what the sociologists call
simulation.’

Schwartz: Now that you know where we came from and who we are, I must
tell you, those of you who are familiar with Steven Birmingham’s book,
that he wrote one book about the German Jewish immigration called Our
Crowd and he wrote another book about the Spanish Jewish
immigration to America called Grandes. And this one is
called, The Rest of Us. This is the book that Sylvia is
quoted from and this is the book he will be discussing when he comes
here.

Because he made those distinctions, I think it is important that we,
as we begin to talk about the past, make the same distinction. I think
we have to understand the dichotomy that existed between us, the
Russian-Jewish immigrants and the German-Jewish immigrants. Us and them.
I think in order for you to understand this, I’m going to tell you a
story of something that happened to me a long, long, long time ago. I
was education chairman for the Council of Jewish Women and one of the
women came up to me and said, “You were great, your program was
wonderful, but, kiddo, don’t kid yourself. You’ll never be president
of the Council of Jewish Women. In the first place, you’re from a
Russian background. You’re Orthodox in your background and you live on the
wrong side of the tracks.” Now the tracks, as we knew them, came
right down Main Street and I’ll have Sylvia tell you now that both of
us will talk about where we lived.

Schecter: And tonight, as we begin to relate to you the names and
places on this map that I’ve prepared, we lived in this particular
area of Columbus, Ohio. I call this our little world. The section to
which fresh immigrants flocked to band together, to develop together and
to begin our fortunes in this wonderful land of opportunity we call
America. You will recognize names of those whose children have become a
vital part of this community, bringing recognition to their families and
to our heritage. Here we are, lucky to have the chance to develop these
inner resources that we possessed. To spread our wings, so to speak, and
show the world that, given the freedom we so earnestly treasured; we
could zealously seek the education we always cherished and utilize our
efforts to produce a generation of men and women we can proudly call
successful and important. Yes, we were poor but not beggars. Our parents
worked industriously, day and night, to get ahead to provide for us the
education they knew was important for their children to have.

The first thing I can recall of our earliest days, on this map, I
will begin to show you what we called “our world.” I go from
Town Street – this is the way the map is set up because this is the
world we lived in. Others lived in the outgoing areas around 18th
Street on that side up around Town Street and Bryden Road but this was
the section where Sara and Sylvia lived. This was Town Street to the
north and at the south was Livingston Avenue. To the west was Grant
Avenue or 7th Street as we knew it and to the south was
Parsons Avenue. Between the streets ran Town Street, Rich Street, Main
Street, Mound Street, Fulton Street, Donaldson and up the center was old
Washington Avenue. And everything we wanted around Washington Avenue and
all of the streets. There were no cars, there was no transportation, we
had to depend upon ourselves, our legs and we went. We traveled by
ourselves, in groups and I think we socialized more in those days than
they do today. Everybody sat on their porches, everybody conversed
together, everybody went to the same programs and went to synagogues
together. The synagogues were clustered around here on Washington and
Donaldson was the Agudas Achim synagogue – the first one that was
organized in the community was in a small home someplace around Town
Street, if I remember.

Off that, there was a group of people who said that Agudas Achim just
wasn’t their kind of davening. They were Ashkenazi and some
Sefardic and some others who didn’t agree because when you get three
Jews together, you have three opinions and that was what happened. Three
opinions. Off of that became the Beth Jacob synagogue down the street on
Donaldson. Off of that became the Yoder Mishner shuls we used to call
them Ahavas Sholom which opened up right next to Agudas Achim. Agudas
Achim remembers children playing on the lawn that was next to the
building in the back. We also had a huge lawn in the back of Beth Jacob.
Sara went to Agudas Achim, I went to Beth Jacob. But we all got
together. And how did we get together? It so happened that I lived on
Stauring Street which is a small street between Fulton and Donaldson. At
the end of Stauring Street, next to Ahavas Sholom, was a Jewish
settlement house. Thoughtful German Jews – I think of them quite
differently – I think of them as the ones who bolstered us and
encouraged us and made us learn how to live an American way of life.

The Jewish settlement house and this is where Sara and I met at the
ages of two and three. In this environment, in this large house on the
corner of Stauring and Donaldson, the forerunner of this beautiful
Jewish Community Center which we all enjoy today, there was an
opportunity to learn. We had small classrooms for children at the ages
of two and three. The Americans think they have a Head Start program, we
started way ahead of them. That’s where Sara and I first met, at
pre-kindergarten schools.

From there we had this teacher who walked around in her white blouse,
dark, long skirt, watch chain at her chest and we loved her. I loved
her, anyway. We all knew there were all these people who tried to direct
us in our way of life. We must admit that this was patterned after the
settlement houses that existed in the New York area. They had first
thought of this as a way to Americanize the Jewish immigrants who were
coming to this country. It was a take-off on that and they did a very
fine job. Because they were so successful, we had the opportunity when
it arose, when a very philanthropic and gracious guy by the name of
“Daddy” Schonthal bought the big mansion at 555 East Rich
Street and it was called the Schonthal Center. Next to the Schonthal
Center, in back of it, was a huge stable. The stable became the
gymnasium where the sports were held. And in the Schonthal Center we had
an opportunity to learn how to sew. The sewing room was on the second
floor next to a library and in between was the office. And we had the
opportunity to learn how to cook. We had a huge room, about as large as
this room here, set up with cupboards three times around the room and on
top of the cupboards were these Bunsen burners type ovens, hot plates.
Down below we were experts at making cream sauces. One day Charlotte
Kahn comes to my house and I had cream sauce and she said, “I never
tasted cream sauce like this. This is delicious. Where did you learn
it?” I said, “The Schonthal Center when I was about seven or
eight years old.” We also learned how to crochet and to knit and to
sew. I think those things are lacking today at the Center because we all
gathered. Then we took back this noise to our parents and Americanized
them. Next to the Schonthal Center was a nursery. It was an orphan home
nursery for little children in little beds. In those days, there were a
lot of deaths especially during the World War. We had influenza where so
many people died. And the orphans’ home was there for little, tiny
children because the other orphanage was in Cleveland in Bellefaire
which is now Bellford. When there was no need for an orphans’ home
anymore, the children moved out and the little children were taken care
of in other ways. This became the 571 Shop. When refugees came over
during World War II, we opened up a beautiful bakery and sewing place.
We had the finest of baked goods and the finest of needle work that
anyone could ever enjoy in this community. We’ll always remember that.

Schwartz: Among some of the things I remember, of course, I went to
Miss Gregord. How many of you remember Miss Gregord? How many of you
remember Miss F. Gregord? She was the teacher at this pre-school. We
very seldom crossed over Main Street into their territory. This was our
particular enclave. And I don’t think we could have called it a ghetto
because strictly speaking, it wasn’t a ghetto. There were blacks,
there were non-Jews in the neighborhood and we were friends with them. I
will tell you a story about one of my friends who was not Jewish. But we
did cross over to Schonthal Center and we also crossed over Main Street
when we went to the library. Saturday afternoons we would spend in the
library. We would walk there and it was the most wonderful time for all
of us because the library, which is still on Grant Avenue right across
from Grant Hospital – I think it’s already a landmark – was the most
wonderful place for us where we could sit and spend the whole afternoon
reading and looking through the ________ ________ and see all those
wonderful pictures, and then taking books home. The magazines, St.
Nicholas and all those magazines. I remember once, when probably I was
in the third or fourth grade, my teacher sold one of my poems to the St.
Nicholas magazine and I got $3.00 for it and that was so great.

We lived clustered about our synagogues and our butcher shops and
there were a lot of butchers. I’m going to let Sylvia tell you where
they were and who they were. They also lived on the other side and they
were clustered about their own temple – Temple Israel, which was at
Bryden and 18th Street. It’s a funny thing, we had so
little contact but I don’t remember even knowing any of the young
people my own age who lived on the other side of the tracks until I was
in college. I think somebody like Ed Schlezinger – I didn’t know him
until I was in college because he also lived on the other side of the
tracks even though he went to Tifereth Israel. He didn’t go to Bryden
Road Temple. But Tifereth Israel, Sylvia tells me, and I don’t
remember, was also what we call, Hungarisine Shul (Yiddish).
The Hungarians broke away from the Agudas Achim and they formed Tifereth
Israel on Parsons and then the Ahavas Sholom was right next to the yard
where we used to have our lawn fetes and then Beth Jacob was right down
the street.

Before I turn the mike back to Sylvia, I want to tell you a story
about my friendship with a little girl who lived not too far from us.
Her name was Kathryn Pratt. We must have been five years old. When we
played games, she always held her hand over her heart and we knew that
she was sick. When she was about five years old, she died. My mother
told me I was not to go over to her house but I went anyway. I was a
rebel, even then. I came in and her mother greeted me at the door. There
she was, lying resplendent on this bed. There was a taper. You can
imagine a five year old little Jewish girl coming into this environment
for the first time. There she lay. She had short blond hair an she had a
great big white ribbon on the top of her head. She had a beautiful white
dress on and around her neck she had a gold necklace with a big cross
and she had a gold bracelet on. I didn’t envy any of that but what I
did envy was she was wearing black, patent leather Mary Janes. I never
had a pair of black, patent leather Mary Janes. We got two pairs of
shoes a year. We got a pair of shoes at Passover and we got a pair of
shoes at Rosh Hashana and they were always ugly and utilitarian so I
thought, “Isn’t…it was a shame to put those black patent leather
Mary Janes that were so shiny and sparkly, in the ground.”

Schecter: I’ll tell you about our grocery stores because I think a
lot of the socialization centered around the grocery stores. That’s
where people went and were able to exchange ideas and talk and so on.
The one I remember the best was Kanterovitche’s on the corner of
Stauring and Washington, caddy corner from the settlement house. Doctor
Kanter’s mother and father, they were short people, very intelligent.
They must have been intelligent. From that grocery store, they produced
two doctors and a lawyer. Education was primary for everyone in those
days, for their children especially. But little Abe, he was not little,
he was tall and his mother was short. Talk about rebels, he was an
ornery little devil. He was always getting into mischief but he was big
for his age. But his mother was small. If he did something wrong, she
would pull out a chair and she would say, “Hey, Burl, pick me
up.” He’d pick her up on the chair and she’d give him a slap
across the face. And she’d say, “Never, ever! Take me down.”
Also because she was one of the very few who was really educated, the
women would gather in her grocery store and they would listen to her
read from the Jewish papers. She used to read constantly from the a
Romane
, serial romances, and the women would gather and listen to
her read from the papers so they could all know what was going on in
other worlds and they were able to fantasize for themselves.

The next grocery store was over on Donaldson, almost opposite Beth
Jacob. It was called Zuravsky’s Grocery Store. The name familiar to
you? Many years ago, on the corner of Fulton and Washington was Center’s
Butcher Shop. I wonder how many of you know how Center happened to come
to Columbus? A lot of the work that went on in the community, seemed to
emanate, seemed to me anyway, as Sara says, everybody puts things into
perspective according to themselves, in our home, and they were talking
about the fact that meat was so High, it was unbelievable compared to
the other prices. We heard everything because the Furman’s, my mother
was a Furman, all were very involved in the Jewish community. The
community decided to import their own butcher. They opened him up in a
little shop on Fulton Street, in an alley just down the street from
Washington. He prospered and did very well and decided to go into
business for himself and he opened up his own store on the corner of
Washington and Fulton and that’s where Centers was until seven years
later when someone bought the store out and he had to move somewhere in
the neighborhood. And whose house did he buy? He bought my mother’s
house – at 517 Fulton Street and converted it into the butcher shop and
grocery store that most of you still remember.

Next to the butcher shop was the place where they shaycheted
the chickens. I happened to say something at Passover time to my
children. They just couldn’t believe it. I was fixing the chickens
that I get from Martin’s and I said, “Do you know how we used to
do chickens in those days? We went down to Central Market which was on 4th
and Main Street or else sometimes a man came by in a truck with these
big crates and we bought live chickens. The women would see if the
chicken was fat. We would buy our chicken by the pound that way. Then we
would take it down to the Shaychet who was next door to Centers. I think
it’s good to remember. There was a trough in which were herded, and,
of course, the Shaychet has a formula. He made one slit and stuck the
chicken’s neck down in there and the blood would run down into the
water. The ingenious of the American Jew kept clean all the time. Then
we’d take the chicken while it was still flopping around, put it in a
bag and you took it home and you plucked it. And when you got through
plucking it, you had to open it and clean it. I’ll tell you something,
I have never touched a live chicken. My mother knew that when I got
married , she did my chickens, and after that, I paid an extra $1.00 a
pound to Goldfarb, in those days, who had a poultry shop between Mound
and Main, on Washington. Down the street, next to the shaychet was
Levins who had poultry and fish. Everything was centered around there.
Down the street on Mound Street was Luper’s Bakery which Schwartz
afterwards bought out. Down on Fulton Street opposite Fulton Street
School was the Fulton Street Bakery. Incidently, my mother married Mr.
Rubin.

I want you to know, when Marc Raphael did his book and he did a
street to show how the Jews in the _________ lived and he came to the
Federation to show us how the Jews lived in areas and he chose Stauring
Street as an example. I was hysterical because that was where I lived
with my uncles, there were four uncles and an aunt on Stauring Street.
Mrs. Eiseman lived there and Mrs. Goldberg, Mrs. Ross’s mother and
then my uncle, Mr.______ Cohen who was one of the most ardent and first
Zionist to leave and make Aliyah to Israel and he helped his
sister-in-law in the Hula Valley in Israel. I was really involved and
when he talked about this whole area, I got so excited because of all
the streets to take, he took mine.

On the corner of Livingston and Washington was Mendelson’s Grocery.
Mendelson is Diane Cummin’s grandfather, grandparents. On Washington
and Fulton was also Kroll’s Delicatessen. Everybody knew where Kroll’s
was. About three houses down was the Robbin’s Barber Shop. That was
the barber shop for men to go to. Just think of the name, Robbins. Their
grandchildren, today at the Federation and their son heads Heritage
Village. Isn’t that unique? On the other corner of Fulton and
Washington, was what we used to call Rattle Box’s Saloon. This Rattle
Box’s was before and during prohibition. During prohibition, we would
go there and buy root beer, tall pitchers. By the time we walked home,
half of it was gone. After Rattle Box sold out – he sold to the
Bornsteins. The reason I want to mention Bornstein, was, that if there
was ever a first supermarket, that was it! Mrs. Bornstein, an old,
elderly lady, she had this large family. Today the Bornstein family is
the Restaurant Food Supply, the food supplier of groceries for all the
restaurants in this area, almost. If ever there was a supermarket, it
was the first one that had a check-out counter. There, Mrs. Bornstein
sat with her hair piled high, a big white apron, and she would sit at
the end of the store, next to the door, with her feet apart, next to the
register and you went, you bought whatever you wanted. The food came in
barrels. You dished out and weighed yourself up. You came to the door
and she would check you out. That, to me, was the forerunner of today’s
supermarkets. On the way to Schonthal Center on the corner of Main and
Washington (always around Washington) was Detective Gordon’s
Delicatessen which afterwards became Hepps.

Schwartz: Before we leave the subject of Schonthal Center, I’d like
to talk about Minna Cowan. Minna Cowan was our teacher at the settlement
house. She taught us how to set a table. I don’t know if you remember,
but at my house, we didn’t have a set on the table. We had all the
silverware in a glass, vase or something like that and you needed a
fork, you got a fork but then Minna taught us how to set a table with
the fork on the right and the knife on the left and the spoon and
everything like that. Minna Cowan married a rabbi and she’s living in
Billings, Montana. She comes to Columbus very frequently and some of you
may have seen her when she’d come in for family matters.

Another thing I don’t think Sylvia mentioned is, who ran Schonthal
Center with an iron hand, that was Miss Sugarman. Now she was not a
Mrs., she was never married, she came up from Atlanta, Georgia and she
never lost her southern accent. All the years that she lived here, our
mothers were terrified of her, so frightened of her because they had to
come to her. She was the family service. There was no family service and
if you needed money to buy shoes for your children, you went to Miss
Sugarman. If you needed money to send your child to business school, you
had to go to Miss Sugarman. Of course, Pop Schonthal was probably the
most important Jew in town as far as the non Jewish community was
concerned. I must tell you that this was the day of ___________Jewry.
When Jews had to be represented in court and Pop was always the one the
judges listened to. There is one story that I must tell because my
husband was the attorney for the man who was accused of having neglected
his wife, which he did. He spent most of his time in 606. He was accused
of having beaten her – even then were beaten Jewish wives – and he
neglected their four children. He came to court and the judge turned to
Pop Schonthal and said, “What shall I do with him?” and Pop
Schonthal was Hungarian, he had this heavy accent and he said, “If
I was you, Judge, I would throw him in jail and I would throw away the
key.”

There’s one other thing that I must tell you. One of the results of
my having written my memoirs a year ago, was the fact that some of it
was picked up by Dr. Kenneth Lebo and he included them, he was nice
enough to include them, in a book called We Live There, Too.
The part of my memoirs that he thought was so important because this is
also about Russian immigration, the Russian Jews. This is a very, very
interesting book. I think it’s a much more scholarly book than Steven
Birmingham’s book, but I won’t tell him that when he comes! It’s
about how we took care of our own. How the Russian immigrants, even
though the German Jewish immigrants helped us, we took care of our own.
We had societies and I must tell you that one of the most important ones
was the Ezras Noshim Society and my aunt was the president of that. I
don’t think they ever had another president. Two of her grandchildren
are here tonight, Dr. Jerry Brief and Gertrude Roth. She was president of
the Ezras Noshim Society and I remember her riding around and she had a
big, black Packard with isinglass windows and she had a big black
chauffeur and his name was Ernest. At this time of our lives, Ernest let
us sit on those shiny seats in the Packard. My aunt would ride about
with Mrs. Shifman and a few other ladies and they would deliver coal,
food and Passover supplies. We had a society called the Achnausus Orchid
Society. Incidently, the Ezras Noshim became the Jewish Family Service.
That was the forerunner to the Jewish Family Service. The Achnausus
Orchid Society was the transient society where transients stayed. They
stayed overnight, we gave a bus ticket or train fare to the next town.

We had the Voliner Society and the Ladies’ Free Loan Society. Now
the dues were a quarter a month and you could borrow up to thirty
dollars. That doesn’t seem like a lot of money but sometimes it meant
the difference between a man being able to buy another horse when his
horse died or buying shoes for his children during holidays or even
holiday supplies. You had to repay the loan a dollar a month. So if you
borrowed thirty dollars, it took you thirty months or two and a half
years to repay it. And you paid a quarter a month when you paid
meetings.

We had lots of organizations. We had the Mizrahi which was started in
my mother-in-law and father-in-law’s home. And we had the Columbus
Home Lodge. We had the Ivreeyah Society, next to the Columbus Hebrew
School when we were on Rich Street, right across from Schonthal Center.
The Ivreeyah Society would give the prizes for the scholarships. They’d
give us little gifts – candy for the holidays. The Voliner Society was
also a self-help and it was supposed to be limited to people who came
from Voliner, Bovari, but we had a lot of Litvaks in it, too.

And, of course, there was the Jewish National Fund. We children would
go out on Flower Day and we would sell the little blue and white flower
of the Jewish National Fund. I remember going around collecting with the
Pushke and one lady gave me eight cents – I’ll never forget it. I
thought that was such a wonderful thing.

When we got a little older, we went downtown and sold roses down in
the Deshler Wallick Hotel. I think that was the only unpleasant
incident that ever happened to me while I was growing up. I was selling
roses (I was a teenager) and I was pinning a rose onto this portly, fine
looking man. He handed me a dollar and he said, “What is the money
for?” And I said, “To buy land for the Jews in
Palestine.” With that, he grabbed the dollar out of my hand and he
tore the rose from his lapel and threw it down on the floor. And I
cried. I don’t think I cried so much because I felt insulted but I
thought there was a dollar, a whole dollar that the Jewish National Fund
could have had. That is about the only incident that I remember of any
overt anti-Semitism.

But, I do remember one other thing in the early 1920s when the Ku
Klux Klan was very, very powerful and came walking right down Washington
Avenue, right past the shul. We lived on Washington at the time, about
half a block from the synagogue and my mother took all six of us and she
made us stay in the house, and she pulled the blinds down. Then there
were only five of us. I don’t think my little sister, who’s here
tonight, was born yet. My mother pulled the blinds down and we weren’t
allowed to go out. We didn’t know. Maybe under those white robes there
were neighbors of ours or people who had been very nice to us and here
they were marching down the street. It was a terrifying, terrifying
experience.

Schecter: I mentioned this incident and he remembered it. He was the
only person I know about who remembered it. That was when the Armistice
was declared – incidently, Agudas Achim was the rallying point for
everything. If there was a light on Friday night or any night of the
week, everyone knew there was going to be an important speaker from the
Zionist -organization or from across the seas or some big American would
be there to speak. And we would assemble at Agudas Achim, even if we
didn’t belong there. But that day, on Armistice Day, we all gathered
because we were celebrating the war was over and they were going to have
a large parade down High Street. We came down to the Agudas Achim and we
all – girls were dressed in white, my mother belonged to the Mothers’
Alliance of America along with all my aunts and uncles and they took us
on this flatbed truck which was donated by Sara’s aunt, the Goldberg
Steel and Iron company – I remember being lifted, as a child of six or seven
and put on this truck with a big Jewish flag in my hand. Across the
truck was written Mothers’ Alliance of America with a Jewish star.
Just imagine in 1918, parading down High Street in this truck, with all
these children with Jewish flags – that shows you the zealousness of our
Jewish people for the land of Israel.

We went to school at Fulton Street School which was between Grant and
Washington. I don’t know how many of you remember Mrs. Dawson – she
just died a few years ago. Mrs. Newnon, Mrs. Paper, Mrs. Hillelson, Mrs.
Ellison. Mrs. Scott was the vice principal. From Fulton Street School,
we journeyed, those who lived in this area, to Junior High School on
Mound Street and 3rd. It’s not there anymore. How many
recall the Toonerville Trolley which is what we used to call Mound
Street School? It was a cartoon in those days of a broken-down car that
used to go down the street and the wires would come off the electricity
wires. That was the Mound streetcar line which was terrible. The Road
bed there was crooked and we just bounced around and everybody knew
about the Mound Street trolley. We went to Mound Street Junior High
School and those that lived on the other side of Parsons, went to
Roosevelt Junior High School. Those that went to Roosevelt went to South
High School and those that lived on this side, went on to Central High
School. I graduated in 1927.

Talk about bootlegging. Myron Trope’s father had a saloon and
grocery store on the corner of Fulton and Parsons. Kanterovitches moved
afterwards to Fulton and Parsons too and Myron’s father had his saloon
and grocery store there. I must tell you a little story, it’s too good
to keep. In the early days of prohibition, everybody was into
bootlegging. Men and women, every kind had their own little stash,
especially in this area, there was a lot of blacks on 7th
Street and some of our own families were into bootlegging. On a small
scale, not the kind that they do by the mafia today. There was a woman
by the name of Tasha – I’m not going to mention her last name – she
was caught. They brought her to court and she was a very ingenious and
smart lady. She was also a little, tiny thing. She went down, she got
all the kids in the neighborhood together, went to court and told the
kids to shry and stamp their feet that this was their mama. And she
stuffed her dress with pillows. The judge felt so sorry for her, he let
her off.

We shopped on Main Street and further up between 4th and 5th
Street was Newman’s Department Store, ____________ and then on the
corner of 3rd and Main was this huge store called Reiser’s. At
the age of eleven, I was a stock girl there. Whenever they had a
birthday, they’d have a huge birthday cake that took up two big
windows. Great big birthday cake! They had the cake in the window for
almost a week. On the day of their birthday, they’d light the candles
and everybody came and had a piece of cake. How we stood in line for
that stinky piece of cake! But we did and we went and had our piece of
cake.

I want you to recall because it’s important. On Town Street near 4th
was Gilbert’s Shoe Store. As you remember, he added and added sections
to it. But the important thing was, any immigrant that came and any
young man who wanted to go to college, he gave them jobs. They had a
place to go to earn money. I think Schottenstein does that today. I
think it’s wonderful when our people help others and that’s been our
role throughout the generations, to help each other.

Schwartz: Richard Barrett, who is the editor of the Columbus and
Central Ohio Historian, was nice enough to include my memoirs in this
book and I understand they gave Barbara Schehr some of them.

I have two recollections that I want to share with you of World War
I. We were just little girls and Sylvia told you how they marched in the
Victory Parade. I remember that they told us how the Kaiser was being
brought to Columbus and they were going to bring him right down
Washington Avenue. Why not? After all, it was our little neighborhood.
We collected piles of stones so we could throw stones at the Kaiser.

One other story that I must tell you about the war that I remember.
My father drove a truck then for one of the butchers, Mr. Rosenthal, who
we haven’t mentioned yet tonight. At the time, we had a dog whose name
was Prince. Prince jumped out of the truck and he was killed. I want to
tell you, we always had dogs, they were always of the royal family –
Queenie, King, Lady, Prince. We never had Brownies or Blackies – we
always had dogs and they always got killed. And we children would mourn
for them.

There is a lot to tell you about Agudas Achim which was the
acknowledged leader of the Orthodox community and where most of the
important speakers of that age – the Zionist speakers – came to speak.
All you had to do was light the light outside the shul and the people
from the whole neighborhood would come flocking because they knew they
were going to hear a speaker and get a cup of hot tea. They’d fall
asleep during the lecture but they’d get their cup of tea and a cookie
afterward. I remember sitting with my mother in shul. The shul was so
beautiful and we had a stained glass window – I’m sure you’ll all
remember – in the back – the rose window. Harry and I have traveled all
over the world and we’ve seen stained glass windows and rose windows
in cathedrals, you name them, we’ve seen them, and that rose window in
the shul was the most beautiful.

Another thing I want to share with you is what we did on Sundays. On
Sunday every organization had a picnic. Either we went to Olentangy Park
or we went to Indianola Park where on the dance floor they had a big
ball going around which shed a light on everything. I was too little to
dance with boys. Then we went to Hymandale Grove. We used to drive to
the end of the car line on the old Parsons Avenue car and then we’d
get on trucks. My Uncle Goldberg had great big yellow trucks. We had our
picnic baskets and we couldn’t wait to eat lunch. We ate lunch the
minute we hit the Grove. Then we had games of chance, we children
played. I don’t know how much money they could have raised but this
was our recreation and this is what we did. We used to play hide ‘n
seek
. We’d play go sheepy go. We’d hide in the bushes and
tremble until it was time to run out. We didn’t have Atari games and
Trivia and all kinds of VCR’s but we had lot’s of fun and a
wonderful, wonderful life. I’m happy to have had an opportunity to
share it with you. I gave a copy of my memoirs to Ruth Fisher, who
married Myron Schwartz’s brother. She sent it back saying how much she
enjoyed it.

Schecter: She remembered the ice wagon. Do you remember when the ice
man used to come and he always chipped the ice? There were all these
chips of ice left over so we could have them to suck on. Then we had the
man who tarred the streets and there were always pieces of tar that we’d
grab up while still hot and we’d chew on them. It didn’t seem to
hurt our teeth. Then there were the lamp lighters and they’d throw
down the charcoal and we would mark the streets with the charcoal that
the lamplighters would throw down. We would make hopscotch with the
charcoal. There was also the coffee man. He had a little wagon with
coffee and tea. I close my eyes and still see the little wagon with the
horse. He’d come around and sell coffee and tea. He had all kinds of
premiums. Mrs. Erland – Florence Waltman’s mother – sold Larkins Soap
and she gave premiums, too. I still don’t know what happened to those
beautiful creamed glass – there was a butter dish, a pitcher – with gold
on them. They’d be priceless today.

One thing about recreation. The most entertaining thing on Sunday
afternoon was to go to the movie pictures. On the corner of Main and
Washington was the Main Street Theater. Afterwards, it became Katz’s
Tire Store. Down the street, half way was the New Theater and now it is
Zal Rosenfeld’s second hand store. This was part of our recreation.

We didn’t talk about education. Sara just mentioned the Hebrew
School. The first Hebrew School was in the basement at Agudas Achim
synagogue. Who was my teacher? Old man Melman whose daughter, Freda, is
here. Afterwards, came Professor Beckman who was going to school and
taught Hebrew. In this class where Sara and I attended Hebrew School, we
started attending at age five, before we were enrolled in school, we
were the only two girls in a class of all boys. When you think of this
friendship all these years, we didn’t just know each other, we
actually lived with each other. I treasure the friendship Sara and I
have had these many years on a very intimate basis for seventy-two
years. I only wish that some of our children will have that experience
someday.

Schwartz: When I started, I told you that someone had said that I had
lived on the wrong side of the tracks. I think it’s appropriate that I
end this story by telling you that even though most of my friends and my
neighbors had moved to Bexley and Eastmoor and other places, I live now,
seventy-two years later, north of Livingston, south of Main Street,
still on the wrong side of the tracks! You’ve been a wonderful audience.

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