Interviewer: Okay. This is Bill Cohen for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and I am with Al Kauffman:, K-a-u-f-f-m-a-n. We are here in his apartment in Columbus and Mr. Kauffman, let’s start with, with your parents. Tell us about your parents. What were their names?

Kauffman: Okay. My mother and father actually got married in Detroit, Michigan in the, during the first World War. My mother’s name was Evelyn Saffer and her father owned a jewelry store in Detroit.

Interviewer: Safferd.

Kauffman: Saffer. S-a-f-f-e-r.

Interviewer: Saffer. Okay.

Kauffman: …and I do understand that down the line we got a few of her relations that were rather in the wealthy side living in Texas owning apartment houses. I never verified that or never cared to. My father’s name was Jack and he was just old enough to be deferred from the first World War in about 1917. They got married, I think, in about 1918 and he was working for a factory there in Detroit and he was born and raised in Columbus and…

Interviewer: He was born and raised in Columbus but he…

Kauffman: …moved to Detroit during the War to stay, I don’t know that he did it to stay out of the War but when you work for a war factory you didn’t have to fight. You worked. You worked, so somehow or another that’s when they got married and right after that they moved back to Columbus which my mother never had ever been here before, so, my dad was always in the fruit business and always had a pretty good job. In the mid-thirties he was a sales manager for a company on Town Street where his business eventually was formed, called, I’m trying to think what the name of the company was. It was a Jewish concern that he worked for them as their sales manager from the time… he was born and raised in Columbus and the only time he left was when he went to the War in Detroit.

Interviewer: the factory that was involved with War materials.

Kauffman: Yes, the factory, right.

Interviewer: So, when he came back he was in the fruit, did you say fruit business?

Kauffman: Yes, he worked for, I don’t know how many companies, but he and a partner both worked for the same company and his partner’s name was Joe Goldslager and…

Interviewer: Joe Goldslager and their job was to be, were they wholesalers?

Kauffman: Yeah, they were wholesale fruit people and my dad knew so many growers and people in Florida that everything that he bought he bought on consignment.

Interviewer: Oh. he said, “You’ll get paid if I sell this food.”

Kauffman: With a set amount of money. There’s no way could he ever take a bath. A lot of his competitors, they would have to go to Cincinnati and buy a car load and buy a truck load of fruit with the idea that if the market flunked or whatever, he was in trouble, they were in trouble, so he was never in trouble.

Interviewer: So, he figured out, you’re saying he figured out that he would never lose money because he wouldn’t have to pay the growers.

Kauffman: Right.

Interviewer: …for the fruit unless he had already sold it for a profit.

Kauffman: Right, for a profit or in his case, 10 percent or whatever the amount that they figured on. He had customers which he would know that would pay on time or wouldn’t pay on time and I went to work for him for many years. For man years I would work for him and stand there and listen to him sell and I never in my mind could understand how one guy would get one price. The other guy would get another price and maybe the third guy would get a third price because of their ability to pay or they each had a story that he knew that I never knew.

Interviewer: So, you’re saying that your dad figured out that he might charge different prices. He would get as much as he could get but sometimes he had to accept less money from somebody who didn’t have that much to pay.

Kauffman: Exactly, but I never in my head could get it straight in my mind how you could do business that way.

Interviewer: Now who were his customers? Were his customers restaurants or retail stores?

Kauffman: Yes, his customers were basically grocery stores and the market. At that time there was Central Market going, North Market going, a couple of these super places where they would have a hundred fruit stands or…

Interviewer: …stalls

Kauffman: stalls, right.

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: And that’s with Central Market, in fact my mother had a stand in front of Dick’s Fish Market that I hated every Saturday morning because I was a pretty good athlete at high school and every Friday night I participated either at basketball of football and would, you know, get home nine ten o’clock at night. Well, I had to be up at two or three o’clock in the morning. That’s what you had to do. You had to set up a stand and set the vegetables out and your first customers used to get there by six/seven o’clock in the morning.

Interviewer: But again, you were selling not to the general public but you were selling basically wholesale.

Kauffman: No, not at that time.

Interviewer: Oh.

Kauffman: At that time, we had a retail fruit stand…

Interviewer: …in the market…

Kauffman: …in the market. My dad would furnish us merchandise at a price and, of course, we had fifty/sixty/seventy customers who would come just to us and get there whenever on Saturday morning and I could fall asleep right next to the bar. I could be waiting on you sleeping.

Interviewer: So, and in effect your father sold wholesale and then he also basically sold retail.

Kauffman: Exactly. Yeah, this was, this was really not my father’s business. This was my mother’s business.

Interviewer: I see, he, your father set your mother up in a retail business.

Kauffman: right.

Interviewer: …while your father kept doing the wholesale business.

Kauffman: Right. He did that. He had very little to do with, just to come out and see how things were running if every…or needed any help or any.

Interviewer: Okay. Let’s go back in time though to when you were born.

Kauffman: Alright.

Interviewer: You were born in Columbus.

Kauffman: …Columbus, in 1927. That was a time when things were very different, during the Depression.

Interviewer: You were born in 1927, so when you were two years old the Depression hit in 1929 was the Crash.

Kauffman: Right.

Interviewer: So, what do you remember about those early years when you say it was tough….

Kauffman: The early years were not very difficult for me ‘cause I had been an athlete all my life, one of the few Jewish people in my era that was in every sport there was. I started in elementary school in sports. That was pretty young.

Interviewer: What sport?

Kauffman: There was years we had…course, baseball was our big deal and basketball and I was always, even though I was little, I was pretty decent in those sports.

Interviewer: So, even though you were…

Kauffman: …small. I never got over five foot six at my tallest and I jumped center when I was a senior in high school.

Interviewer: You were the center on, what high school was that?

Kauffman: South High School.

Interviewer: You were the center on the South High School basketball team…

Kauffman: It was a major school.

Interviewer: …and you were five-foot-six.

Kauffman: …five-foot-six because, I could jump. I had a coach in junior high who, Bill Rush, who was a major league catcher that was the greatest coach. He was the great at everything and taught me this is sport. In other words, you could be a good basketball player if you didn’t know how to block out or do the specifics, you could play basketball with the big guys. I could play with the big guys ‘cause I rebounded right with ‘em.

Interviewer: Now, you grew up on what street?

Kauffman: I actually grew up on 22nd Street, two different places on 22nd, the one, of course Eleven Thirteen which was south of Whittier.

Interviewer: South Whittier.

Kauffman: ‘Course that put me in Heyl Avenue District which was two blocks away.

Interviewer: Heyl Avenue, that’s H-e-y-l. That’s the elementary school.

Kauffman: H-e-y-l Elementary School and I can remember I had a brother die in 1939. He was a graduate of South High School. He was one of those, I won’t call him a scholar athlete then or now but he was a very intelligent guy and was going to Ohio State and was in engineering and had appendicitis.

Interviewer: Appendicitis.

Kauffman: Minor appendicitis, was in Grant Hospital for two days. He’s ready to come home and peritonitis set in. Two days later they bury him.

Interviewer: And his name was?

Kauffman: Willard Kauffman.

Interviewer: Willard?

Kauffman: Yes.

Interviewer: W-i-l-l-a-r-d.

Kauffman: Graduated in 1938. He would have been a hundred years old this year.

Interviewer: and he was your older brother.

Kauffman: older brother and I remember like yesterday what day he died. By then we had moved to 976 22nd which was on the other side of Whittier.

Interviewer: North of Whittier.

Kauffman: North of Whittier.

Interviewer: and was that, was that a predominantly Jewish neighborhood or were there a lot of Jews?

Kauffman: Yes, yes, prominently Jewish, yes, prominently Jewish, if you weren’t Jewish you were German.

Interviewer: What do you remember about that neighborhood in terms of it being somewhat Jewish?

Kauffman: Okay. Of course, the thing I remember had nothing to do with that but I gotta’ tell you this story anyway…

Interviewer: Yeah.

Kauffman: across the street from me was our closest friend by the name of Bommer B-o-m-m-e-r, and he was maybe two years older than me and but was an athlete but every weekend my mother would slough me off to them rather than have me spend my time down on market. In other words, I wasn’t, I was still probably in elementary and young so they would put me over there and the father had been a butcher. Every Saturday like clockwork he would, he would come out with a dish of ribs, one bite lamb chops, one bite lamb. It was like eating gold. You know, it was the best meal. Today I can still remember lamb chops, but that’s what I remember about the old days but we had where I lived maybe two/three houses, no Jewish families close. In other words, our closest next-door neighbor was a detective. The next door to him was a roofer. They were all Goys. There were no other Jewish people real close. Two or three houses down was all Jewish peopl

Interviewer: Oh, Okay.

Kauffman: …and everybody in my neighborhood, we all walked to shul. We belonged to Agudas Achim at Donaldson and Washington.

Interviewer: At Donaldson…

Kauffman: and Washington.

Interviewer: Washington. That was Agudas Achim.

Kauffman: That was probably three mile, maybe four mile from where I lived. That was a pretty good piece. Down on Livingston on the other side, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Livingston… you’re not familiar? Livingston Avenue?

Interviewer: Oh, Livingston, yes, uh huh.

Kauffman: And Livingston used to run into Parsons…

Interviewer: Yes.

Kauffman: and Parsons then run in to the real South End, Donaldson, and that’s where the Agudas Achim was.

Interviewer: So, you walked three miles to the synagogue.

Kauffman: Yeah for the Jewish holidays, only for the Jewish holidays. Yeah, we were, were not, my grandparents were Orthodox. That was as close to being Orthodox as we were. We, my mother never kept kosher, but when we would do it with my grandparents, we did kosher. That was, because they belonged, they were actually the founders of Agudas Achim.

Interviewer: Your grandparents.

Kauffman: My grandparents. That would be my dad’s mother and father.

Interviewer: And their names were? Your grandparents’ names?

Kauffman: Ada and Joseph. They…

Interviewer: What was her name?

Kauffman: Ada.

Interviewer: Ada A-d-a, and Joseph.

Kauffman: Right. They were put together from the Old Country.

Interviewer: They were put together by a matchmaker.

Kauffman: Right. Yeah, by a matchmaker. Each one had a son or a daughter when they got together. Tushband was my aunt’s name.

Interviewer: Now what you say, that your grandmother and your grandfather already had the children…

Kauffman: Yes.

Interviewer: from earlier marriages…

Kauffman: From earlier marriages.

Interviewer: …and they were matched up…

Kauffman: On the boat coming over.

Interviewer: Okay, on the boat coming over.

Kauffman: That’s when they put them together and when they got here, they had, my dad had two brothers and a sister.

Interviewer: So, your dad was born here.

Kauffman: My dad was born here.

Interviewer: Wow. Okay. And so, your parents helped to start Agudas Achim Synagogue.

Kauffman: They, I had nothing to do with it, that’s what, my grandfather was a very religious man and he had a stand on Market. He made a living originally with fruit like ninety percent of the Jewish people. That’s what they did. They were in the fruit business, so…

Interviewer: …in the food business. Now what do you remember about the Jewish community from back then back when you were young? Do you remember Martin’s Kosher Foods when it was on Livingston?

Kauffman: Oh, certainly, that was where we went when we dealt, we dealt with all the Jewish stores. There used to be one on Washington, down on, down on the, more South Park, like Ann Street. In those years…

Interviewer: …south of Livingston.

Kauffman: there were businesses but they were Jewish businesses. There were a couple delis. That’s what we ate. We didn’t’ go to goyishe restaurants. You know, my mother, not that she was ever a religious lady, but that’s what, you know, she dealt with her peers, and they were good people, my mom and dad, and my dad, and, both of them, like I said, I was a pretty good athlete and I don’t remember them ever missing one of my contests no matter what I did. I started out in junior high school and you’ll find that we won the first and only basketball junior high championship at Roosevelt Junior High School, and I don’t know after, since or whatever it’s no longer there, that anybody ever won a championship.

Interviewer: and after junior high at Roosevelt, then you went to East?

Kauffman: No, I went to South.

Interviewer: Oh, you went to South. Okay.

Kauffman: …and I was, I don’t know that we had over two or three Jewish athletes. One was my best friend, Harold Soppel, – S-o-p-p-e-l- – –who also made Ohio State. He was a hell-of-a basketball player and was always an outside shooter. Today he would have been a great scorer because he would have gotten that extra point. Then in our days, hell, it was nothing for him to make eight or ten three-pointers but they didn’t count three points.

Interviewer: They didn’t count them as three points back then.

Kauffman: Right. We did it rebounding but he’d rather get out there on the front line and shoot three pointers because he was good.

Interviewer: So, when you played basketball at South…

Kauffman: Right.

Interviewer: …you were only five-foot six.

Kauffman: I was five-foot six but I could jump. You gotta’ realize that I could jump with the big guys. They would be, hell, Harold was over six foot and I could out jump him like it was nothing, you know, ‘cause I knew position and that’s what I always like to point out, that I had such a good coach in junior high that he taught me what I needed to know that I became the athlete that I was.

Interviewer: Now, when you were at South High, and you would have been at South High…

Kauffman: In 1945 I graduated.

Interviewer: Okay, so in the early forties you were at South High.

Kauffman: Right.

Interviewer: There were a lot…

Kauffman: There were six…

Interviewer: …the Jews, I assume, well you tell me. Were a majority of the students Jews or just a big chunk?

Kauffman: We might, when I was a senior in high school, if I could pick out five or six Jewish people, only one athlete that I knew that went to South. They all went to East. Most of the Jews that I knew that I participated in and I, you know, we would form leagues, and everything else, every night and they would all be Jewish but they didn’t go to South.

Interviewer: So, you’re talking about the athletes there.

Kauffman: The athletes.

Interviewer: What about the athletes? A lot of your friends were the athletes?

Kauffman: Yeah, that was all I had. I had a friend, my mother and her best friend, they had a daughter that was a cheerleader and that was always in the back of my mind. They wanted us to together. They’d always, you know, and she was always in different type of groups, sororities and a couple times a year, I would get invited to one of her affairs. I never dated her or never tried to get in her pants or anything like that because I didn’t do things. We didn’t do things like that, you know. In our day you stood up, you peed. That’s what you did and it was, I look back on it and I had a, my oldest son, he was a, he had girlfriends coming at his tuchus. Well, I was always good at, well, I always try to tell this story. He was a baseball player for Ohio State.

Interviewer: This is your son Tim.

Kauffman: Yeah, and Tim was like a movie star, very handsome. This is Tim.

Interviewer: Yeah, I see his picture.

Kauffman: Okay. Tim was always a, but he was a great athlete. I can remember, we, and Mary Lou, my wife and I, used to, we made a couple of the trips completely around the Big Ten and a lot of the Big Ten schools had cheerleaders that were their bat people and movie stars. In other words, they didn’t have a bat boy. They had two or three ladies that served as bat boys.

Interviewer: I understand.

Kauffman: You know, with the, couldn’t get shorter shorts, or, you know.

Interviewer: They dressed provocatively.

Kauffman: Without a doubt, so Tim, always ended up with one of them, so we were playing, I don’t know who, and the next day we go down to breakfast and the coach sent half the team home. He took a bed check and everybody who had girls in bed with them weren’t there and he didn’t mess around. He got ‘em a ticket home. My son wasn’t there. I said, ‘oh, shi-oot, where is he?’ Anyway, he was under the bed with his girl and he never got caught.

Interviewer: Your son was hiding.

Kauffman: He was hiding.

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: So, they finished the series. That was like a spring deal of one of the Big Ten seasons and he, he was always the leading scorer. I think his first…

Interviewer: He took after you.

Kauffman: No, he was much better.

Interviewer: He was better.

Kauffman: Oh yeah, he was a ball player. I, I was never, I was good. At least, I thought I was good, but, in fact, the down-pull of my whole damn near career was my senior season at South we were, we probably got beat in the final game of the season, because we were good. We were good all four years at South and every year we would play for the championship or whatever, so, my senior year we got a new coach and the first meeting we had, we’re sitting there with our group and he made the statement that whoever can jump the highest is gonna’ be my center. You know, things like that, I’m five-foot six and he didn’t know it but I knew it and I could hold my own against anybody on my team and we had, like West had a guy that was six-six and they all had people like that even in those years that, but I could out jump ‘em because I cheated. In most case, I was able to get up maybe a hair faster than I should’ve and had no problem beating everybody, but that’s what I did, but then we always had a play that every time I would out jump somebody I’d come down, go around ‘em. I’d get the ball and I’d have enough a shot and we’d be ahead two to nothing.

Interviewer: You’d have an easy shot.

Kauffman: Every time. I mean, that went on probably seven or eight games in the, that season and I ended up with a recognition, Second Team, All-City but then I went immediately to a guard. That was my claim to fame jumping but then I went to, I was one of the point guards, regular guards. I never -ever shot from the outside ‘cause I couldn’t’ shoot. Everything I did, I did underneath the basket.

Interviewer: Let me ask you about, when you were on the South High basketball team and you had a teammate who was also Jewish…

Kauffman: …right.

Interviewer: …but I assume most of the players were not Jewish, so what I’d like to ask you is how did you guys get along? How did the Jews and the non-Jews at South get along?

Kauffman: We, because we had nobody else we had no choice and consequently we were as good or better than most of them, so, we had, it was no problem whatsoever. I never, all the time I was in school, my only problem and I tell this, it’s down here, that my senior year in basketball, someone after the season formed an All-City team and because of it being elected, I think I might have been Second Team or something high enough to make that team and I was one of probably seven or eight guys that was on that All-City team. We beat everybody because we had some really good players and then at the end of the season, I was elected captain of our baseball team because of the season we’d had the year before…

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: and I was a pretty decent baseball player and at the same week that I was elected captain I was signed a pro-contract to play a year at [Devonne].

Interviewer: [Devonne?] that’s one of the lower minor leagues.

Kauffman: That was the lowest. You couldn’t get any lower but they could play.

Interviewer: This was why you were…

Kauffman: They were so much better

(phone rings)

Interviewer: Just let that go we’ll continue. Wait, we’re going to let the phone ring and we’ll…
(phone continues to ring)

Kauffman: Anyway, when the season was all over, we’re ready to play our first baseball game. I was the captain and I’m ready to go and the coach came in and says, “You’re ineligible.” I says, “For what?” I knew I got decent grades but he said, “You participated, you and…” he named every one of the players, nobody else on our team. Thank God, I was the only one of our baseball players, and we were all ineligible for our senior year participating in baseball. This was like, like being electrocuted. In other words, this was the biggest disappointment. I never had a disappointment like this in my whole life, and, ‘cause we were good, you know. When I say we were good, as I remember, we had seven or eight players back from the previous year that played for the state championship. We got beat for the state championship my junior year by a run, so that was my biggest disappointment ever and I probably knew it. That was what, that was the worst part of the whole thing. I probably knew I couldn’t do what I did because they probably warned us enough times, but…

Interviewer: Did you experience any anti-Semitism?

Kauffman: None. Absolutely all my, all my, and I was around a lot, in other words, but I never. Basically, I probably, because I didn’t look Jewish and I didn’t have too many Jewish friends and such even though I went to shul only at the Agudas Achim, and, but I’d say nine out of ten of my friends at school were not Jewish, because I didn’t have, Harold Saffer was my closest friend, ‘cause we grew, we went to junior high, elementary and were teammates on so many of our teams.

Interviewer: So, even in the nineteen-thirties in elementary school and in the early forties in high school, you don’t, you didn’t experience anti-Semitism?

Kauffman: I had none. ‘Course, I don’t think, we didn’t have, actually I never thought we had that many Jewish people when I went to South High School. Like I say, the only female, I never dated a Jewish girl, until I got married.

Interviewer: You dated non-Jewish girls.

Kauffman: Well, there wasn’t anybody else to date? There was nobody else to date, actually that had any pretty looks about them. Oh, we had two or three or four, maybe five or six Jewish people that went to shul when I did and I was, I can always remember that, that Agudas Achim had eight or ten steps leading in to the shul and we would stand out there. We would congregate, you know, before the services, anybody that went to school with us and there was always a couple of the ladies that, we used to call them beesikayitz which you don’t know what that is. The word beeses…

Interviewer: It’s a negative term for…

Kauffman: Real negative.

Interviewer: For?

Kauffman: …a girl. If you were obese you were, you had it. So…

Interviewer: So, you dated mostly non-Jewish girls and your parents, they didn’t have a problem?

Kauffman: Yeah, they didn’t like it. Oh, they didn’t like it.

Interviewer: Oh, they didn’t like it.

Kauffman: No, no, no, no. They wanted me to date Jewish people but there wasn’t too many that you know, that, if they would fix me up, I would date one, you know. That would happen occasionally. One of their friends would have somebody that, okay, you know, and then when I went to Ohio State I did date a few Jewish girls, from Cleveland. Everybody for some reason was from Cleveland. I don’t know why but that’s where all the Jewish people came from. So, that was my historical…that’s…

Interviewer: How did you meet your wife?

Kauffman: She had been a cheerleader. She was not Jewish and she was the first graduating class form Linden-McKinley High School, but she had been a cheerleader all the years in high school. We participated, South High School against Linden – McKinley. That was before Linden was made one of the City League schools.

Interviewer: South played Linden even though Linden was not officially in the League.

Kauffman: …at that time. Her, I think maybe last year in school, they made ‘em a member of the City League.

Interviewer: So, did you meet her in high school, during high school?

Kauffman: Yeah, I met her, how I met her was my dad had a friend who had a daughter that played basketball or baseball or some sport at Linden so he told me to look her up. He didn’t ask me. I get the wrong girl. Course I picked the one I thought she was the prettiest lady which was the one I finally married, but it was not the one that I was supposed to meet…

Interviewer: Oh, I understand.

Kauffman: …so, I ended up calling this lady and a few months later, we, she had a boyfriend at the time. Well, she was a cheerleader. In those days all the pretty girls had boyfriends but I wasn’t smart enough to know that, you know, so, but we got along well and what finally capped the whole thing off that she had relations that were hunters. In other words, she had two uncles that owned a hunting lodge in London, Ohio. Now you might want to visualize this, but the day that Michigan and Ohio State played November the thirtieth, 1950…

Interviewer: 1950, the infamous “Snow Bowl.”

Kauffman: Snow Bowl. We’re hunting at their lodge in London, Ohio. The two of them, I think her mother, I don’t know who else, but they had a, they had a school house that they’d made into a couple bedrooms, and things like that, and that morning, which was, I’m not sure, eight or nine/ten o’clock in the morning, we got our guns. We decided to go hunting. You couldn’t see this far in front of you because it was snowing so hard.

Interviewer: So, you and your girlfriend were out at this…

Kauffman: Me and my two uncles, [correcting himself] her two uncles…

Interviewer: You and your, her two uncles were at the hunting lodge…

Kauffman: …and started walking to the area that we would be hunting in.

Interviewer: In the middle of a blizzard.

Kauffman: …in the, right at the beginning of the blizzard. We probably, as I remember, might’ve got a hundred yards, might’ve got a hundred yards. Without one word, automatically, we turned and came back, got in the car, so, we’re coming, I don’t know if you remember, where Ohio State was, Sandusky Street. That used to be a hill right off of Broad Street, used to go from Broad up the hill to Olentangy and that used to take you in to the Ohio State football, so this was right about that time and we tried to get up the hill but couldn’t get up Sandusky Street hill. I lived in the South End. She lived on 23rd Avenue which you had to go that way to get to her house.

Interviewer: You were trying to get to her house.

Kauffman: Trying to get to her house which was during the beginning of the probably twelve o’clock right about the football game time and couldn’t make it. They turn around, went to drop us off on 22nd Street, her and I at my parent’s house. I lived on 22nd.

Interviewer: So, you and your girlfriend are now at your house.

Kauffman: You couldn’t, for three days walk, you couldn’t walk on the street. It’s snow like that or higher.

Interviewer: The snow was four feet high…

Kauffman: Four or five-foot high.

Interviewer: …and you’re saying that you and your new girlfriend were now at your house on 22nd Street…

Kauffman: …for two or three days…

Interviewer: …with your parents…

Kauffman: …with my parents…

Interviewer: … trapped in a blizzard.

Kauffman: …trapped in a blizzard.

Interviewer: So, how did that go?

Kauffman: It finally got to the point where that’s how I got married because they liked each other very well, got along, which until that point, there was no love lost, because she was not Jewish and they, even though we were not that Jewish, always wanted me to date Jewish people and go out with Jewish people.

Interviewer: So, up ‘til then your parents were not enthusiastic about this girl…

Kauffman: …unenthusiastic…

Interviewer: …but did this experience change things?

Kauffman: Right, so right after, I got married January of ‘Fifty-One.

Interviewer: Just two months later.

Kauffman: Two months later. That’s when I got married.

Interviewer: And did, so your parents changed their minds?

Kauffman: Yeah, changed their whole mind, thinking, couldn’t like a person any better than they liked her, as it turned out, you know. We had dinner every night. They went shopping, did things that, you wouldn’t think would happen.

Interviewer: So, you’re saying that your parents didn’t like this girl because she wasn’t Jewish and they didn’t want you to date her, but after they spent two or three days with her at their house, at your house, they changed their minds. They embraced her.

Kauffman: I had dated her before. It wasn’t something that I just started dating.

Interviewer: Right.

Kauffman: I had probably dated her a month or two months or whatever, so, that was probably my biggest downfall – her, because everything else I did was because of her. When I went to Ohio State, I got a full-time job because I wanted to get married. I didn’t want to go to school. I was, wasn’t that bad a student but I was more interested, so I got a full-time job and ended up as a personnel director at the County Engineer for thirty-two years. Only job I ever…

Interviewer: At the County Engineer’s Office.

Kauffman: …only thing I ever did, only job I ever had.

Interviewer: Did you say the worst thing you ever did?

Kauffman: Only because I ended up being there full-time. I didn’t, I never made any money. I wasn’t, most of my peers were wealthy people. You know, they were all sales people, or oh, good families. I, my family was never bad except my relations owned the Green Cab Company. They went in to business the same year my father did in the mid-thirties. They had nothing at that time, but in a few years, the cab business was very lucrative business, so, my two uncles and my aunt who married one of them, were my relations owning the Green Cab Company.

Interviewer: What was the name of the company?

Kauffman: Green Cab.

Interviewer: Green Cab.

Kauffman: Right. It became Yellow Cab as time went on, so, my, I have a nephew that’s running that company right now. In other words, his dad was my first cousin about eight or ten years younger and his dad, I’m gonna’ guess, was a mistake because, I don’t know, my first cousin was Kenny Kauffman:, was one of the best athletes at Bexley, was one of the, he was a football player and a fast-pitch softball player and he graduated from Bexley same year I did from South, so, we, and then this son, Tom Kauffman: had a son who now runs the cab company, Morgan Kauffman:, and I’m gonna’ guess he’s mid-twenties to early thirties. He runs the company right now.

Interviewer: So, you were saying that when you took this full-time job, that really was financially not a good thing in the long run.

Kauffman: Yeah, I made, I think when I took the job, I made fifty cents an hour, you know, like a summer job, but immediately after I got there, they put me in the personnel office as one of the…I had typing in junior high…

Interviewer: Say that again.

Kauffman: I had typing in junior high school, so that sort of was about the best thing that ever happened to me. It got me into the position as a personnel office because I could give with that, so, but anyway, I worked there thirty-two years and, as time went on, see these things over here, these statuettes?

Interviewer: Yes.

Kauffman: That’s what I did after, I retired after so many, after thirty-two years at the County, I retired ‘cause we lost an election. The union came in. My job actually was running, I was personnel director but I also ran our political campaigns and I hated that job because I had to ask people for money. There is absolutely nothing worse than asking people for contributions. I don’t know if you ever had to do that, but that’s a very, very difficult situation.

Interviewer: Your job was to ask people for campaign contributions to keep the county engineer in office.

Kauffman: …to run a campaign…exactly. I needed a lot of money. In other words, we spent over a hundred thousand dollars on television ad even in those years.

Interviewer: Do you remember, what was the name of the county engineer?

Kauffman: Well, the one we got beat was Ed Hauntaun [sp?].

Interviewer: Ed Hauntaun [sp?].

Kauffman: The guy that I lasted the longest with was Guy Elbin.

Interviewer: Guy Elbin

Kauffman: E-l-b-i-n. and they were, and then Cletus McPherson and they were more religious people than county engineers because that’s what they like. They were very Metho…as I remember they were all Methodist.

Interviewer: Methodist.

Kauffman: …and high Methodists to the point where they were like preachers. They were county engineers but they could give a sermon. They were very religious and that didn’t hurt us any, them being religious.

Interviewer: Let me ask you this. After you retired from that job…

Kauffman: Okay…

Interviewer: …and you began to make, describe these.

Kauffman: Okay. To start with, part of my position as a personnel director was taking pictures of the roads. My boss, originally at the county engineer’s, was the official photographer for the Columbus baseball team.

Interviewer: For the Columbus professional baseball team? The Jets?

Kauffman: Right. Joe, his name was Joe West, and he was their official photographer and one of his sidelines was making what I call statuettes.

Interviewer: …which are actually photographs…

Kauffman: …put on wood…

Interviewer: …put on wood…

Kauffman: …8 x 10 photograph cut out like a three dimension and I thought well, I could do that. At the time, very, very few people, if anybody, did it. In fact, I didn’t know of anybody so that’s what I did. I started, what I did was get customers. I tried to get somebody that would be interested in maybe giving one of these away as a senior award and I got a couple companies. I got North High School. That’s when North was still in operation and I got their photography job. I got a Columbus Academy, which had umpteen seniors three times a year, fifty/sixty seniors every semester which is a hundred and fifty or better. I got, one of my secretaries had a daughter that was a cheerleader at Ohio State while they worked for me and they got me that job taking the pictures of the cheerleaders at Ohio State. At that time, you never realize they had fifty or sixty cheerleaders at Ohio State. You know, that was because every noon they would have a function where they would have to send five or six or seven cheerleaders, so, consequently they had a lot of them and that was a job I had for fifty years.

Interviewer: So, people wanted to have a statue…

Kauffman: Well, no I just did a general public picture but primarily they all got statuettes. That was just part of the, my specialty.

Interviewer: When, after you got married, your wife’s name was…

Kauffman: Mary Lou Dearth

Interviewer: Mary…

Kauffman: Lou, L-o-u, we called her Louie…

Interviewer: Mary Lou and her last name was…

Kauffman: D-e-a-r-t-h.

Interviewer: Spell that again.

Kauffman: D-e-a-r-t-h.

Interviewer: Dearth? Dearth, Mary Lou Dearth was your wife, and what religion was she when you married her?

Kauffman: What was her what?

Interviewer: What was her religion? [ he must have thought he asked “relation”]

Kauffman: She would have been a cheerleader at Linden-McKinley.

Interviewer: What was her religion?

Kauffman: Oh, we were never, she was never a gung-ho-er, yet she went to church, you know, like all non…religious people would go to church every Sunday, you know, and have their Sunday School and…

Interviewer: She wasn’t religious you’re saying.

Kauffman: Oh, no. I got her to convert. She was a convert and she, something we kidded about all our lives, what she had to go through to convert. You know she had to go through, I don’t know if you know much about it. Probably you don’t but there was what they called the mikveh.

Interviewer: Yes, the mikveh, the ritual bath.

Kauffman: …a ritual bath…

Interviewer: Did she also have to study Judaism?

Kauffman: I, she had to study to a point where, the rabbi helped her and we had a great rabbi, Rubenstein…

Interviewer: …from Agudas Achim, yes.

Kauffman: …from Agudas Achim and he was our rabbi. He married, I think, and had bar mitzvahed all my kids and married them all. At least, I know he married my daughter.

Interviewer: And so, you continued to go to Agudas Achim.

Kauffman: Yeah, I never, I never wavered from the time I was born that I knew of. I don’t remember ever paying until, you know, I got home from the army and they sent me a bill or something, but…

Interviewer: Now, Agudas Achim moved from the Near East Side all the way into Bexley.

Kauffman: Exactly, in 1951.

Interviewer: You remember the year?

Kauffman: No, no, but I do remember. I don’t know why, because that’s the year I got married.

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: I got married in ‘51, but that’s all I remember was at Roosevelt and Broad.

Interviewer: And your wedding, was it at Agudas Achim?

Kauffman: Yes. Yes, that’s where it was…

Interviewer: At the new Agudas Achim.

Kauffman: …and what I do remember, one of the things I always remember about my mom and dad. I never in my life paid rent. In other words, everybody I ever knew always had an apartment when they got married. In my case, we bought a house.

Interviewer: And where was your house?

Kauffman: On Eastmoor Boulevard where Eastmoor High School, Weyant Avenue.

Interviewer: Weyant Avenue in Eastmoor. So, earlier you had been living with your parents in the old area on 22nd and then when you got married you moved…

Kauffman: …immediately into the new house. The marriage ceremony, I never stopped in between and went right to my house. ‘Course we’d had a couple months to fix it up and do what had to be done.

Interviewer: So, you were like a lot of young Jewish people in one way in that you lived in the old Jewish area…

Kauffman: Right, right.

Interviewer: …Parsons and Bryden and the old 22nd but then after the War, a lot of people moved to Bexley and Berwick…

Kauffman: Exactly.

Interviewer: …and Eastmoor.

Kauffman: …mostly the East End. As I remember, we all sort of congregated out or I went to school.

[phone rings]

Kauffman: Forget it. I’m sure that’s my son. I’ll call him back when we’re done.

Interviewer: We’re going to wait two minutes until the phone stops ringing so, this part of the interview, whoever is transcribing it and just rest for a while.

Kauffman: …okay we got a rest period.

Interviewer: We’ll be back in about two minutes. [but phone stops – no rest period]

Kauffman: That’s a picture of my brother.

Interviewer: Okay. Let’s resume because the phone has stopped, so, we’re going to resume now.

Kauffman: Okay.

Interviewer: So, you raised your children Jewish.

Kauffman: Always Jewish, had bar mitzvahs for all three of my children at the Agudas Achim. All three had bar mitzvahs.

Interviewer: You had three sons?

Kauffman: Two sons and a daughter.

Interviewer: You had two sons and a daughter so your two sons were bar mitzvahed and your daughter was bat mitzvahed.

Kauffman: … daughter was bat mitzvahed, exactly. That’s some of their pictures.

Interviewer: Yes, I see their pictures. What do you remember about the Jewish community after you moved to Eastmoor?

Kauffman: Very little. We were never…I remember the Schonthal Center.

Interviewer: …Schonthal Center, that was back in the Old Neighborhood.

Kauffman: That’s where the Hebrew School was. It was across the street. It was a Hebrew School across the street but, the fact that I was a basketball player and a baseball player at Roosevelt, they never, I won’t use the word forced, but, made me go to Hebrew School.

Interviewer: You didn’t have to go to Hebrew School when you were young.

Kauffman: When I was young I always had a tutor and he charged me fifty cents a lesson and whether I was there or not he would take the money and I always felt that I was one of the worst people that ever was bar mitzvahed at Agudas Achim. That was what I felt but everybody else wanted to make me a cantor or a rabbi ‘cause they thought I was so good, but that had to be bologna because I couldn’t even read.

Interviewer: You felt that you didn’t read Hebrew or understand Hebrew well at all but everyone told you you did a great job.

Kauffman: Exactly, and that was bullshit, but I was a pretty good basketball player, but I also and this is in my notes, my mother gave me twelve trumpet lessons when I was like a lot of other twelve- year-olds at Lazarus at a dollar a lesson with the final outcome of buying a trumpet. That was the bottom line and they had me playing – do you know who Harry James was? They had me better than Harry James.

Interviewer: They thought you were better than Harry James.

Kauffman: Exactly, so, that was my story as a trumpet player, but, when I got into the service and I don’t know who told me this, but, tell them everything you ever did prior to the time you had this interview which was taking a trumpet lesson was one of them. Normally, you wouldn’t tell somebody something like that, you know. What was twelve lessons? I couldn’t even play the scale let alone knew how to put the mouthpiece in a trumpet, but anyway to make a long story short, I’m at Camp Hattabury, Indiana. On a Friday night I went from Fort Hayes…

Interviewer: …here in Columbus…

Kauffman: …here in Columbus, on a train. They took us to Union Station, five or six, most of the guys I went to school with, put us on a train for Camp Hattabury, Indiana. We got in. Again, I’m guessing. It was still evening, wasn’t dark yet and we’re sitting around and here comes some, I’m saying he was Black only because he was Black, and big guy, and he’d been a… had stripes all over him and they had these furnaces went from base, went from floor to ceiling, big metal furnaces and he comes a long and womp that thing, “Kauffman:!” and I’m sitting from here to there and I vibrated. Anyway…

Interviewer: You’re saying he hit you?

Kauffman: No, hit the furnace.

Interviewer: He hit the furnace. Okay. Why did he do that?

Kauffman: …to get my attention.

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: … ‘cause we’re sitting there five or six of us and talking and he says, “You Kauffman:?
“Yeah.” “Get your ass out. There’s a truck out there. Get in it. We’ll be right out.” I ain’t gonna’ argue with the guy ‘cause I didn’t know what the, you know, what I was doing. Finally, I go out and I get in the truck. There was two or three other guys sitting there like I was. We all had civilian uniforms on and nobody knew anything, so, anyway, half hour later, the guy comes out, same guy, gets, starts driving. We drive around Hattabury for maybe five/ten minutes. Hattabury was a pretty big camp and all [?]busses, and drives into Indianapolis, drove us around for probably ten minutes. We pull up in front of a building which I thought was a school. It was a USO and this was like seven o’clock at night, whatever. Anyway, we go in and a guy asks us what our names was. I told him. Hands me a trumpet, a brand-new trumpet, never been opened I don’t think, and I look at it, “Thank you.” He says, “You’re the third, number three trumpet player.” I says, “Thank you,” and he points out bleachers, you know, and.there was maybe two or three guys already sitting up there and the two or three or four of us as we came in. We got our instruments and immediately went up and sat down.

Interviewer: So, you were supposed to play music.

Kauffman: I was supposed to play at a USO on a Friday night.

Interviewer: …and you had never rehearsed. You had never seen the other musicians.

Kauffman: Never rehearsed? I never, couldn’t even blow the God-damned horn, let alone make anything come out of it, but these guys all were players. You know, I notice everyone of ‘em. One guy had a saxophone. Christ, he’s out there {blowing sounds}. You know, he could play. They were, I won’t say they were professionals but it was on our record that they had been instrument players and they had me down as a trumpet player.

Interviewer: So, did you continue to play in a band, in the USO…

Kauffman: Friday night. That was Friday night. Come Saturday they said, ten o’clock Saturday to be here. I was there. Same thing went on Saturday and at the end of Saturday night the guy says, “Tomorrow morning at ten o’clock we’d like to have you here for a practice.” I knew I didn’t have to practice ‘cause I couldn’t practice. What was I gonna’ practice? I didn’t even know how you opened the God-damned case, so, I decided I wasn’t going to show up, so, anyway, I took the trumpet, went to him, told him that, you know I don’t think I can make your band again, so I wasn’t going to be there. Here’s my trumpet, so that was the end of my…The next day I think I was on my way to Tyler, Texas, and basic training. They did it that fast.

Interviewer: Say that again. After you told them that you would not be in the band, what happened?

Kauffman: Then the next day which was Sunday, for some reason, I think Sunday they had us in uniform. We didn’t have a uniform, so Sunday maybe noonish, whatever, they had us as a group get uniforms, get ready for basic training which we were on a train for Tyler, Texas for our basic training. That, at that time, that was a seventeen-week experience, so, I got done basic training before the end of the year. It was still, I don’t know what month it was, but Tyler, Texas was miserable climate, just a terrible hole-hell, so next thing I know I’m on a boat for Germany.

Interviewer: …and what year would this have been?

Kauffman: 1948.

Interviewer: 1948.

Kauffman: I just graduated high school in ’45. This was 1945. [these are the dates said]

Interviewer: So, the War was starting to come to an end.

Kauffman: It was. In other words, it lasted another couple months.

Interviewer: You were headed to Germany.

Kauffman: Headed for Germany. I graduated in June and this was October/November that I was over there.

Interviewer: Okay. The Germans had already surrendered.

Kauffman: The Germans were out of it. This was strictly Japan and it was, I think, the War was just about, it was, in six days I think the War ended. I had a highlight. Oh yeah, my biggest highlight, for instance my typing got me into a position that I didn’t have to go to the infantry. They put me in Special Services in a [?] office, by, it wasn’t any intention, it was just the luck of the draw but that’s where I ended up as a secretary because I had typing down. I was, maybe fifty people in the office, I was about the only enlisted individual. The rest of them were all females or WACS or WAVES and beautiful. Oh, all girls. I’m gonna’ average thirty years old. None of them was much older than that. Nobody was twenty years old, my age, you know. They were all, oh, it was like a being in a, utopia. I’m there one day and I find out that they had a fast-pitch softball team. That was my sport. They didn’t know that. I knew. That was the only thing. I was pretty good. I was, when I say pretty good, I was one of the best in this area and I would get invited, like my son, to national tournaments because I was a pretty decent player. I never got paid. He always got paid. I did get my expenses in almost all cases, but he actually got money.

Interviewer: Okay, so go back to when, just a few sentences ago you were talking about how they didn’t know you were a good player.

Kauffman: Right.

Interviewer: …so, what team was this?

Kauffman: Our team name happened to be Bolling Boys, B-o-l-l-i-n-g. He was our General. B-o-l-l-i-n-g, and he was probably he was four years older than me. He was old, you know. He’d been at college and somehow or another he went through the ranks and was like a one-year General, but it was a perfect position for him because he had been an athlete and his job was scheduling and buying uniforms and the fundamentals of sports.

Interviewer: So, what happened?

Kauffman: Well, we had a softball team and it was, it so happened it was a good one. I was a high school, I was the only high school. Most of these guys were pro-baseball players or all military, married, had children, that got drafted. They couldn’t get home fast enough and they played fast-pitch softball, so, we got into a tournament and I don’t know how we got in it or what but it was over a hundred teams, double elimination. They told us that, you know, you’re going to be here for a couple months. This thing don’t, you don’t do it in a week. You do it, it takes a while, but we were good, so I knew we didn’t have any trouble. We had a couple pitchers and that’s what it took to become a half-way decent fast-pitch softball team.

Interviewer: What was your position?

Kauffman: I was an infielder. I was always a third baseman and I don’t know why, but that was a position that was always open that, I was nutty enough to play third base, and would take a bath. They’d hit balls down to me that never got hit harder to anybody, but…

Interviewer: So, how did your team do?

Kauffman: Won the tournament, naturally. Three months later it was almost, I was ready to go home and like I say, we won the championship. Each one of us got a Rolex, self-winding wrist-watch. That was a big deal. That was like giving us a Cadillac. In other words, it was probably worth a hundred bucks. We thought they were worth five million dollars, but we all had one, engraved on the back of it. Something. Unbelievable. Even the girls liked me then. After winning, I was one of their, even though at that time they wouldn’t have anything to do with me, but then I thought, well, I could get laid here if I played my cards right, but I was never smart enough to do that either, so…

Interviewer: So, you found that your athletic ability helped you with the ladies…

Kauffman: Oh, everything, and my typing ability got me my position and now I’m ready to go home to be discharged. I’d been there almost a couple years. I’d been in Germany. In other words…

Interviewer: You were in Germany in the military for two years and the War had just ended…

Kauffman: …at this position and it wasn’t quite at two years but it was, I thought it was forever. I didn’t like any of it. Yet, you know, I had some rank. They felt sorry for me and gave me a stripe or two stripes or whatever I got and every time I got a stripe I got money, so that wasn’t all bad I lived where I worked. We worked at a, it was called the Elizabethan School and it had been, must have been one of the biggest schools in Frankfurt, Germany, because they had their own mechanical garage and we had a motor pool there, that not only did my General have an automobile but so did a couple other staff, we had chiefs that we had a motor pool, so, like I say, I had a pretty decent position even though I wasn’t, I didn’t think I was much, but…

Interviewer: Now, were there a lot of Jews in the military or around you?

Kauffman: No, none. I don’t remember any Jews in Germany, but I’m sure there were. I don’t know that I went to shul or anything else. I was a non-Jewish, you know, I never thought about Jews at that time.

Interviewer: So, again, you didn’t feel any anti-Semitism?

Kauffman: Absolutely not. I don’t know that too many knew I was Jewish, only because I didn’t flaunt it or didn’t do anything. I might have had a staff or so that I got friendly with that I found out was Jewish but that was my doing, and that he was always from Chicago or one of the major cities. I was from Columbus. Nobody was ever from Columbus, you know, and unless you were a college person, but, other than that. Columbus, nobody even knew where Columbus was. We had some cows and horses, you know. That’s what everybody thought we had.

Interviewer: Now you mentioned of course that you went to Agudas Achim synagogue for many decades. Were you active at all at the Jewish Center?

Kauffman: No, Jewish Center wasn’t there yet. There was no Jewish Center. There was a Schonthal Center that I was active to a point where I think I might have played in a basketball league of, with some other Jewish guys that needed a player and they knew I was a player and they would get me to play. It was quite a distance from where I lived. Jewish Center from 22nd Street was maybe four or five mile.

Interviewer: When the Jewish Center was built here in, just south of Bexley, there were a lot of athletic teams and so, were you involved then?

Kauffman: Always then, always then. I even tried to get a job there. I almost thought I had a job there.

Interviewer: …at the Jewish Center.

Kauffman: …at the Jewish Center, ‘cause, like I say, I had been a real good athlete and I was playing ball a couple nights a week. When I was in Columbus, we had our softball leagues. There were three softball leagues that were the best – Franklin, Buckeye and some other and I always played in all three leagues.

Interviewer: You played in all three leagues.

Kauffman: We all did. If you played in one you normally played in all three, like a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and we had, each team would be as good or better than the other, depending who your pitcher was.

Interviewer: Were they, were these teams based at the Jewish Center?

Kauffman: None. None. None. No, they played, one was at Franklin Park. That was the Franklin. One was at State Hospital.

Interviewer: State Hospital, out on the West side.

Kauffman: On the West side. They had as good a ball diamond as there was.

Interviewer: Out on West Broad Street.

Kauffman: On West Broad Street. and that was one of the three nights that we would play and they would have four games. They’d have a six, seven and eight or whatever game and, you know, concession, and we…I saw the time and I’ll tell you this situation that most of the time Falter Packer was the best team around.

Interviewer: What was the name of the team?

Kauffman: Falter, F-a-l-t-e-r. It was a packing company and they were the best.

Interviewer: Meat packing.

Kauffman: Right because they were the best because they had the best pitcher – Todd McKinney and Todd McKinney was like a nationally known, the best nationally known pitcher in the country. He got paid for every game he pitched. He didn’t pitch a game unless he was [he said wasn’t] paid. Every weekend he played nationally and when he didn’t play nationally he played for Falters. I played with him when they needed a ball player which was almost every time they had a big game or so I sat on a bench and I pinch-hitted and minor things because I was a good player but I wasn’t good enough to make their team, so they won the state championship on a given day, given week. They went through the state championship in Cleveland and with this Todd McKinney pitching they could do that. Nobody got too close to him. The next week, our team was good and we were going to play them for the city championship. They had just won a state championship. We were playing the next week for the city championship. Well, to us it was a big-ass deal, you know ‘cause here we are, we were, we were almost good enough to make their team and other than that, we had players that were good enough to make it, so, the Dispatch made a really big deal out of it in that our pitcher had pitched six straight games without giving up a hit.

Interviewer: Wow.

Kauffman: That was our pitcher. Their Todd McKinney had given up, in umpteen games hadn’t given up a run or anything so, the two of us were gonna’ meet in an all-world situation. Well, the Dispatch had headlines about our game on a Thursday night and ‘course we get out there and they had to have five hundred people. You couldn’t get in the ball diamond. Five hundred people was a multitude.

Interviewer: That was a big crowd for that league.

Kauffman: That was a gigantic crowd. They had bleachers, couldn’t get anybody close to the bleachers. We had ‘em all the way out as, but anyway to make a long story short, we go through seven innings without, I’m not too sure we even had a foul ball. They didn’t have many more and it was nothing to nothing going in to the last inning and I’m up with two outs…

Interviewer: This is like a movie.

Kauffman: It’s like a movie, with me coming up. Now I can remember I prided myself on not striking out. He couldn’t strike me out no matter what except I had struck out three or four times up to that point. Everybody had. Hell, he struck everybody out. That’s what you did.

Interviewer: On both sides, everybody was striking out so, it was zero to zero.

Kauffman: Yeah, zero to zero, nothin’ to nothin’ going in to the last inning…

Interviewer: And you come up to bat…

Kauffman: …and I come up to bat with two outs and he had not, to my knowledge even got two strikes on anybody let alone walk anybody. Well, I happen to get a couple strikes on me and then he tried to strike me out. Well, I wasn’t going to let him strike me out if I had to eat the ball. I made up my mind that he was going to hit me before he could strike me out. I crowded the plate, I did… but anyway, long story, he walked me.

Interviewer: He walked you. Then what happened?

Kauffman: Now I’m on first base and ‘course there’s time out and there’s argument because it was a close pitch and he, you know, can’t be, couldn’t be, couldn’t walk, never walked anybody the whole year, the whole season. Now I’m on first. Our coach, we take time out and I had a little speed, not much but I could run. I was probably as fast as anybody out there on our team, so, I’m on first and he says, “You gotta’ go.”

Interviewer: In other words, he’s telling you, you should steal.

Kauffman: You gotta’ go and you really can’t stop.” In other words, you gotta’ keep going. What he wanted me to do, was just go right around from second, you know, not even slide, so…

Interviewer: He wanted you to steal second and keep going all the way to third base.

Kauffman: All the way. To make a long story short, I’m on first. Here I go and the catcher who, again, I grew up with, our best friend and he was the best, and he throws a, it hit the ground but it hit the catcher, the second baseman on the shoulder.

Interviewer: He threw the ball to second to try to get you out but the ball hit the second baseman….

Kauffman: …and I slid. He told me not to but I slid, might have got part of him, but anyway, knocked the ball and it was only, if it got ten foot it got four and I don’t stop, you know, I’m coming.

Interviewer: You kept going past second base.

Kauffman: Past second base, past third base…

[Someone came in. Voice]

Kauffman: Hello

Interviewer: We’re doing an interview here for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society with Al Kauffman: and we’ll be done in just a few minutes.
[Voice: Okay. I’ll be outside.]

Kauffman: So, anyway…

Interviewer: So, you kept running past second base.

Kauffman: …so, I came home. If one guy hit me, eight guys hit me.

Interviewer: Wait a minute.

Kauffman: Yeah, I…

Interviewer: You went past second base, you kept going to third and…

Kauffman: …kept going…

Interviewer: …and you kept running and you ran all the way home?

Kauffman: Right, all the way home.

Interviewer: And…

Kauffman: …which the ball, the right fielder came and picked the ball up. That was the ball hit off of second baseman and here comes the right fielder and he probably jumped. I don’t’ know what he did. I didn’t watch him, ‘cause I kept running.

Interviewer: You ran all the way home.

Kauffman: Ran all the way home…

Interviewer: …and you scored?

Kauffman: Well, I scored and I know that four guys hit me.

Interviewer: Hit you…

Kauffman: …knocked me,

Interviewer: …in other words to celebrate you.

Kauffman: No, no, to get me out. The catcher hit me, the pitcher hit me, I don’t know how, the first baseman. They all knocked me as I’m scoring and I kept hearing “He’s out a step and a half.” And the referee said I was safe.

Interviewer: Oh, I see, the players on the other team, they did have the ball, and were trying to tag you out.

Kauffman: They were knocking me, hitting me [mic drops] Oh, shit. I didn’t have the ball. Hell, all I wanted to do was score…

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: …which I did, you know…

Interviewer: …and you scored.

Kauffman: …and I scored. Well, from that point on, it had to be a half hour later. Our coach was a little guy, Clyde Batton. He probably weighed a hundred pounds. Their coach was a big guy and they got in a pushing contest whether, about me. They’re pushing the umpire and the umpire’s pushing them. To make a long story short, they declared me the scorer and gave us the run and the ball game.

Interviewer: And you won. It was like a, like a movie ending…

Kauffman: …and everything else and Todd McKinney, the pitcher for them, went home in disgust. Nobody ever beat him. Hell, he was national champion and here a rinky-dinky city-league team beats him, you know.

Interviewer: And you were the hero of the game at five-foot-six inches tall.

Kauffman: Five -foot -six and my only problem was I was dilapidated. I had bruises and bumps and I don’t think I had any blood but I was close to being dead.

Interviewer: So, that’s one of your big athletic highlights of your entire life.

Kauffman: That was my biggest, yeah, that was one of the biggest and today we still talk about it that our manager and their manager, and how we won the city championship, so that was a highlight.

Interviewer: Well, Al Kauffman:, it’s been a pleasure to chat with you today.

Kauffman: Okay. I don’t know if I can help you in any way, shape or form, but I’m available, you know, if you have any questions. One of the…

Interviewer: Okay, we’re going to end here.

Kauffman: Let me leave you with…

Interviewer: Oh, okay, you have something else you want to tell me. Go ahead.

Kauffman: One other thing. Do you know whose name is on Mt Carmel Hospital on a building?

Interviewer: There’s a plaque or on the building on Mt Carmel Hospital?

Kauffman: On an outside building, there’s a name of a surgeon that’s on that building.

Interviewer: Okay.

Kauffman: He happened to be a first cousin of mine. His original name was Tushband.

Interviewer: Spell that.

Kauffman: T-u-s-h-b-a-n-d. Tushband.

Interviewer: Tushband.

Kauffman: He died on a New Year’s Eve celebration. I don’t know what year it was. This kid was probably my age. We were about the same age. His mother was from Beach…was from Dayton. He was part of my aunt and uncle’s relations. She married a guy that owned a window cleaning company. They had this son change his name to whatever his name was and he became probably the best surgeon in the world. They named a hospital after him and his name is on the outside of that Mt. Carmel East Hospital. He was my first cousin, so, I wanted to throw that out. We were so close I don’t know what his name is.

Interviewer: But your point is you’ve had, not only you and your family, but your extended family is well-known…

Kauffman: …because of the athletic ability of some of my relations. ‘Course I thought my best athlete was my son Tim. He was outstanding. He should have made the New York Yankees and I actually thought that he had made it. One of the Yankees coaches was a guy by the name of… he had been an assistant coach at Ohio State under their head coach who drafted Tim and he also was assistant with the Yankees. He had been a Triple A player and at spring training he was one of their coaches, and of course, he knew Tim because of me and knew that he was an outstanding…he was one of the best hitters on Ohio State…Alex Clossen.

Interviewer: Alex Claussen.

Kauffman: I don’t know if you knew that name.

Interviewer: He’s another, like you, he is, he has his picture on the wall at the Columbus Jewish Center as one of the best Jewish athletes in Columbus. You share something with him.

Kauffman: He was the best. He owned a bar, partners with Tommy Hendricks. I don’t know if you know who Tommy Hendricks was, but they were, they owned a bar downtown, not a bar but a restaurant, one of the classiest restaurants in Columbus and they were partners and he, when they came home from spring training, Tim’s first year with the Yankees, he said, “He’s made the team.”

Interviewer: Alex Clossen thought that your son had made the New York Yankees team.

Kauffman: …thought he had made it because he was hitting the ball all over the place as a high school player, and man, I’m getting tickets to New York, man.

Interviewer: You were excited.

Kauffman: How could you not be excited when one of their coaches tells you, and the worst part of the whole story is George Steinbrenner who was the president of the Yankees, lived in Columbus and would come to my office almost every day. He was stationed at Lockbourne Air Base and he also managed fast-pitch softball teams but he had a girlfriend who was our, I don’t know what she was, but that was one of his girlfriends and I got to the point where he would stop and see me and we would talk, but I didn’t have enough balls to check Tim out. I wanted him, he should’ve looked Tim up when he had been in spring training but I didn’t do that and that was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life, other than play basketball on the wrong team.

Interviewer: Well, we will interview your son Tim one of these days…

Kauffman: Okay.

Interviewer: …we hope and we can see that your athletic ability runs deep into your family.

Kauffman: Tim is pretty sharp. He used to be the assistant director of the Jewish Center. He was assistant for five or six years and I don’t know what he does. He’s always had good jobs and was always a pretty classy guy.

Interviewer: Okay, well let’s conclude this interview with Al Kauffman:. Al, thank you so much. This is Bill Cohen for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and we’re completing the interview with Al Kauffman:.

Kauffman: And I do appreciate it very much.