Transcriber’s Note: Throughout the majority of this interview, there are birds beautifully singing the the background.

Interviewer:  Hello.  This is Bill Cohen from the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and the date is June 14th, 2021.  We are talking today to Gerald Newhouse at his home in Bexley.  Let’s start with any background on your ancestors.  Can you go back at all to your parents or grandparents?  What can you tell us about them?

Newhouse:  My father’s grand…, my father’s family came from a small town in Russia and they came over by ship to the United States. I don’t know the dates but my mother’s family was here earlier and they came from Hungary.  They got here before my father’s family.

Interviewer:  And your mother and father’s name?

Newhouse:  My father’s name was Ben Newhouse and my mother’s name was Lillian, maiden name was Simon and they lived in Pittsburgh in an area called Squirrel Hill.

Interviewer:  So, that’s where you grew up.

Newhouse:  I grew up in Squirrel Hill. Great place to grow up.

Interviewer:  And what did your father or mother do?

Newhouse:  My father had a confectionary store.  I’m not sure what you would call it today but they sold magazines and little sundry items and candy and little toys and things like that.

Interviewer:  And your mother?

Newhouse:   Uh, she worked with my father.  She was mostly a homemaker but she also occasionally worked in my father’s shop.

Interviewer:  So, Squirrel Hill is a community outside of Pittsburgh or actually, is it inside Pittsburgh?

Newhouse:  Yea, it’s part…yea, it’s inside Pittsburgh.

Interviewer:  And there’s a, there may not be a majority of Jews there but, there’s a good presence…

Newhouse:  Oh, there’s a very large. It was a majority of Jews.  We had…my parents belonged to the Orthodox synagogue.  There were two, at least two Conservative synagogues and maybe one Reform synagogue as I remember.

Interviewer:  And what do you remember about growing up?  What memories do you have of growing up there with a Jewish thrust to it?

Newhouse:  With a Jewish thrust, one of the nice things was in downtown Squirrel Hill we had three or four Jewish bakeries.  We also had probably three or four deli-type places that would serve, and you could buy corned beef and lox and smoked fish and all that. So, it was always nice because we took advantage of that growing up and we had one Chinese restaurant there.

Interviewer:  For the Jews to go to on Christmas.

Newhouse:  [laughter] Yea, on Christmas. That was a big day.

Interviewer:  Did you go to Hebrew School or Sunday School?

Newhouse:  Yea, I, like I said, my father particularly was Orthodox, and I went to Hebrew School and Sunday School there, was bar mitzvahed there in Squirrel Hill.

Interviewer:  And what, how would you describe the relationship between Jewish kids like yourself at that time and, and non-Jewish kids?

Newhouse:  You know, it’s interesting because I don’t remember a whole lot of non-Jewish kids.  We didn’t have any in our immediate circle of friends.  On the street that I grew up on, and my family had a house and lived for many years while I was there, there were seven Jewish boys my age and it was a small street, and so, we had a little gang or whatever you’d call it, would hang out together and I’m still in contact with maybe one or two of them.

Interviewer:  And do you remember your bar mitzvah?

Newhouse:  I remember my bar mitzvah. I particularly remember the party afterwards.  I had a difficult time with learning Hebrew.  I was not a good student. I pretty much memorized my haftarah and I was glad it was over and my father told me that once I become bar mitzvahed that I’m kind of on my own how I wanted to react to the Jewish Orthodox religion and I became Reform, which, he was fine with.

Interviewer:  And what did that mean when you say you became Reform?

Newhouse:  Well, you know, like I’m Reform now and I observe the Jewish holidays and go to a temple. I don’t keep kosher. I don’t daven every day like my father did, or three or four times a day.

Interviewer:  Did your family keep kosher, were, in other words, when you were a child?

Newhouse:  Oh, yes, oh, yes, my, they were extremely kosher. My father had, for example and a lot of people I’m sure, do this, he had toilet paper cut so he wouldn’t have to tear it…

Interviewer:   On the Sabbath.

Newhouse:  On the Sabbath.  I remember distinctly my mother cleaning house and putting newspaper down on the floor so just before the Sabbath  started everything was clean and kosher, and two sets of dishes and all that.

Interviewer:  Were there Jewish groups that you joined at all – a Jewish Community Center, or a fraternity type groups or…?

Newhouse:  As I remember, the Jewish Community Center in  Squirrel Hill had a nice facility as I remember. It was small and I do remember going to dances there at a very young age.  I didn’t really dance but we wanted to see what the girls looked like that were our age and I think that’s all I remember about the Jewish Community Center there.

Interviewer:  What was the, what was the rule or the feeling about dating Jewish girls or dating non-Jewish girls?

Newhouse:  Well, there was no question that I wouldn’t be dating Jewish girls, at least while I was with, living in…

Interviewer:  That you wouldn’t be dating?

Newhouse:  I wouldn’t be dating Gentile girls.

Interviewer:  Oh, Okay. Yea.

Newhouse:  Yea. Yea. So, and I left, we left Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill, I was, I think, 15 and we moved to LA and I, of course, then I was dating some girls who were Gentile.

Interviewer:  And you moved to LA because…?

Newhouse:  My father got in the dry-cleaning business and he opened up a dry-cleaning  store on Venice Beach so we were there for a while, for a few years.

Interviewer:  So, what was that like, moving from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles?

Newhouse:  Tremendous cultural shock is all I can say.  We, I think the thing that was most striking for me was seeing palm trees lining the streets and the good weather that we had there. It was a fun place to live at the age I lived there.  We had the beach and we, I learned how to surf and it was just a great place to grow up also. Squirrel Hill was wonderful too, for many reasons. I didn’t have very many Jewish experiences in LA like I did in Pittsburgh, although it turns out the majority of my friends were Jewish in Los Angeles.

Interviewer:  Did, so, did being in a neighborhood or a city that at least as far as you were concerned didn’t have as much of a Jewish thrust as back in Squirrel Hill, did that do anything to you in particular?

Newhouse:  Yea, I mean it was totally different. The culture in Los Angeles versus Squirrel Hill, PA was totally different.  I mean it was… I don’t know how to explain it.  It was pleasant but, it wasn’t as comforting as living in Squirrel Hill.

Interviewer:  Can you…?

Newhouse:  Well, the friendships I made growing up in Squirrel Hill with the guys and the few girls that I knew there we were all very close.  When I moved to LA, the friendships I had with the people I hung out with were kind of at an length versus, you know, warm feeling, but it was fine.  That’s that’s how they were there.

Interviewer:  And then you moved away from Los Angeles:

Newhouse:  Going in to my, getting ready to go into my senior year, the cleaning business didn’t work out well, because, they, at the time, after about a year, my father, they started opening up, the… I won’t go into that but it just didn’t work out, so we moved to Dayton, Ohio where my sister, my older sister lived and her family and when my transcripts from LA arrived in Dayton, Ohio, the schools in  LA were more accelerated than they were in Dayton, so, I only needed one class to graduate. Fortunately, the high school that I went to had a distributive education program so, I had to take a civics class to graduate and then they wanted to keep me around for a while at school so I took a distributive education class and I was out of school at 11:00 and worked in a department store in Dayton in the men’s department so, as a senior I ended up having a lot of money and I bought a sports car so, it was very interesting and the other interesting thing.  Myfirst day at school in Dayton, I pulled up in my little red sports car and pulled in to the big parking lot and a teacher comes running out and says, “ Is that your car?” and I said, “ Yes,” and he says “Well, you can’t park there.  That’s the teacher parking lot,” and I said, “Well, where’s the student parking lot?” and he said, “We don’t have a students’ parking lot here.”  In LA, they had a huge student parking lot.  Also in LA, I was a smoker and also in LA they had a smoking area outside, outside of the campus where you could, the students would go and smoke and I happened to be walking into the school in Dayton.  I had a cigarette in my hand and they weren’t real happy about that either, so, that was my introduction to Dayton, Ohio.

Interviewer:  So, that was also culture shock but in the opposite way.

Newhouse:  It was the opposite way, yea.

Interviewer:  So, was there much Jewish thrust to your time in Dayton?

Newhouse:  Not at all.  I actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Dayton because once I graduated, I went into the service, which was in 1964 and it was kind of an interesting situation because I was enrolled at Miami University in Oxford and I, my windshield on my sports car had “You can wait for it.  It’s going to take a couple hours,” and I said, “Sure,” and I was walking around and there was a Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps recruiting office there and I had an uncle who was my favorite uncle who was a Marine in World War II, and I idolized this guy growing up in Pittsburgh and he fought in a lot of pacific battles and was, he was my hero and would tell us stories about that so, to kill time I went into the Marine Corps recruiting office and before I knew it, they were explaining to me that if you joined, we’ll pay for your college.  You’ll go to college on the GI Bill, ‘cause they knew I had, I told them I had enrolled in college and was starting college soon and I was 18 at the time so, I didn’t need my parents’ permission and I right then and there decided to make the decision.  They also told me that if I enlisted, I would only have to serve three years instead of four and they would, let me go to boot camp in San Diego so, I’d be getting back out to LA.  At that time, I had a girlfriend who lived in LA so, I figured I’d, not too far away, so, I went home and I thought about it or probably two hours walking around the house before I would tell my parents what I had done and it didn’t go over well, but uh…

Interviewer:  Why is that?

Newhouse:  Well, I think my father said something like, “Well, you would have been the first member of our family to go to college” and “Why would you want to go in the service?  There’s not a whole lot of Jewish people in the service.” And I said, “Well, it’s a decision that I’ve wanted to make and I promise you I will go to college and get at least one degree after, immediately after I get out of the service,” and in 1964, the War in Viet Nam hadn’t started.  If it had started it would have been a different story.  I would have gone to college, but the War hadn’t started.  I never heard the term Viet Nam, so, I went in and went to boot camp in San Diego and my first experience with being a Jewish recruit was when they were producing our dog tags, they had our record and the guy who was putting the information in saw that I was Jewish and he put “No Preference,” and handed me my two dog tags and I looked at it and he said, “Check this and make sure it’s all right” with my blood type and my service number and my name and I says, “Well, what’s this ‘No Preference’ mean? And he says, “Well, I figured with you being Jewish you’d want to put ‘No Preference’ instead of Jewish, and I said, “No, I want to put Jewish on my dog tags so they switched them and this is actually one of my two dog tags.  I told them if something happens to me I want them to know that, you know, my faith, so that was my first experience with being a Jew in the Marine Corps.

Interviewer:  Let’s, I just want to make sure we set the context here. In 1964, there was a war going on in Viet Nam but we didn’t have many US troops. We had advisors.  It wouldn’t be until 1965 that President Johnson would start sending hundreds of thousands of troops there, but, yes, in 1964, many Americans had not even heard…

Newhouse:  Oh, yea.  You’re right.  There were advisors there for many years before…

Interviewer:  But that didn’t, that didn’t really enter your mind.

Newhouse:  No, no, they didn’t, it really wasn’t publicized in the news that much that I can remember.  At least, I never heard anything about it. I’m sure some people did and the older people knew what was going on, but I hadn’t heard anything about that.

Interviewer:  So, when you joined up, you didn’t foresee yourself being on a battlefield?

Newhouse:  No, not at all, no.  I thought I, I scored real high on the exams to go into the service, so, I figured I’d probably get a good job that I could maybe utilize some of it after the service.  That wasn’t the case.

Interviewer:  More of a desk job?

Newhouse:  More of a desk job, right, right, or learning how to, something like a trade, electronics or something like that.

Interviewer:  …repairing airplanes or…

Newhouse:  Yea, right, right.

Interviewer:  So, what happened after the dog tag incident?

Newhouse:  So, after the dog tag incident, I had a couple of other experiences relating to being one of, I was the only Jewish recruit in boot camp at that time out of probably several thousand or maybe a thousand people, so, on Sunday – boot camp was thirteen weeks as I recall – on Sunday, the first Sunday, they didn’t know what to do with me. They would have the Catholic men go to Catholic services and they’d have the Protestant go to Protestant services, and there I was, so, one week I would go to Catholic services and then the next week I’d go to Protestant services.  Protestant services I didn’t have a problem with because it was in English but the Catholic services were in mostly Latin and I tended to fall asleep in it and the drill instructor would come by with a long stick and whoever’s head nodded, they’d smack you in the back of the head, so, I would prefer to go to Protestant services but I had to switch back and forth which was interesting. I have one other example that was really kind of unique.  We had an African American drill instructor named Sergeant Butler who was particularly aggressive towards me.  If,  I finished first or second in like the obstacle course, he would make me run it again and I’d have to beat the slowest guy on the second round, and this went on for weeks and weeks and weeks in boot camp and then just prior to graduating, he called me in his office and called the duty hut, and he said, uh – and this is the first time that you can really communicate with them, you know, other than being scared to death of them, and he said, “ I’m going to tell you why I rode you more than any other of the guys.”  He said, “My” – he grew up inDetroit, Michigan and he, his mother and father worked for a Jewish family, a wealthy, very wealthy Jewish family and his father was like the driver and his mother was the housekeeper for them and cook.  They lived separately, him and his sister.  I mean his family, lived, they didn’t live with this Jewish family.  They lived in their own house or apartment and he said, “My parents were both killed in a car accident and this Jewish family took my sister and I in and helped raise me,” and he was a teenager at the time and he never forgot that, that they gave him that opportunity and then when he graduated – they made sure he finished school, high school, and his sister, and I think his sister went on to college and he joined the Marine Corps and became a career, career Marine, so, I thought that was interesting that he would, he would explain to me why, because they were pretty mean to everyone, because that was their job to, in the training, but I thought that was very interesting that he took the time to tell me that.

Interviewer:  But, if he was grateful for the Jewish family that helped him grow up, why was he especially mean to you?

Newhouse:  He, I had to be, I had to shoot better, run faster than anyone else in the platoon because I was a Jew.

Interviewer:  He wanted to make sure you succeeded.

Newhouse:  Exactly, exactly, you know, more than all the other recruits, even, even the African American recruits and he was tough on them.  It was interesting because if you were Black drill instructor back then, they tended to be very tough on members of their race and I was thrown into that group of, with the Black recruits.  If you were Italian drill instructor, and we had one Italian drill instructor and maybe six or seven Italian guys, he was tougher on them.  It was like the Black boots, recruits had to be better than the Italian recruits and if you were a Southern kid and there was a Southern drill instructor, which we had, they were tougher on the Southern kids, so…

Interviewer:  Being tougher, it was a way of actually being positive.

Newhouse:  Yea, being positive, to be better than a different group in there and to succeed.

Interviewer:  So, that was 1964, but then came 1965 and that’s when there was a huge escalation of US troops into Viet Nam and what happened as a result in terms of your situation?

Newhouse:  When I got out of boot camp, I went, we went to a training called uh, Individual Training Regiment and I became, I made rank real quick in the service and I was, I was made a PFC, and…

Interviewer:  Private First Class.

Newhouse:  Yes, and we had training with tactics and different military things, more than we, we didn’t do much of that in boot camp and then we were put on a ship and sent to Okinawa for jungle training and uh, we were supposed to leave Okinawa after a couple months and go to Mount Fuji in Japan for cold weather training, so we’re in Okinawa and the Gulf of Tonkin started up and the escalation began.

Interviewer:  That was August 1964.  President Johnson said our ship was attacked off the shores of Viet Nam and we were going to retaliate and so, we stated bombing North Viet Nam and the escalation began.

Newhouse:  Right, and it was the second attack that they jumped on the, on that so that was all that was all going on and uh, we were pretty close to Viet Nam and they, I was with the Second Battalion, Ninth Marine and we were the second group to land in Viet Nam.  First Battalion, Ninth Marines landed first.  About three weeks later we landed in Viet Nam.

Interviewer:  At that point, at that point, did you still have in your mind that you were going to have a desk job or a repair job?

Newhouse:  No, I, knew, actually, I knew, when I, when you get out of boot camp about to graduate, that’s when you get your M O S es – Military Specialty Designation, what schools you would go to, or what you would be doing and they made me a communications specialist, field radio operator, so, that’s what I did in Okinawa. We had training in that and then Iwhen we landed in Viet Nam, I was  a radio operator for a forward observation team.

Interviewer:  So, was it, was it, becoming clear…

Newhouse:  Not a good job because  the enemy likes to shoot radio operators and officers so, I wasn’t terribly excited about that.

Interviewer:  So, at this point it was becoming clear in your mind you were going to perhaps be in battle.

Newhouse:  Oh, yes, yea.  About the second week we were in Viet Nam, we were, came under sniper fire walking across a rice paddy on a patrol.  We had no idea when we looked at the water and the rice paddy, and we see little flicks of water jumping up in the air and heard a popping sound, we thought it was fish, and then somebody says, “That’s, they’re shooting at us,” and that was my first experience with being actually in, in combat and, and thinking I may not survive this.  I mean, this is, you know, a war.

Interviewer:  So, what happened next?

Newhouse:  So, I was… I did my job.  I didn’t, I wasn’t a hero.  I did what I was told.  I was careful not to injure any of our people with calling in artillery fire and about halfway my tour in Viet Nam, which was eleven and half months, we were on an operation and crossing an elevated French railroad bridge uh, with the wooden railroad ties, and some were missing, had this heavy radio on my back and  we came under attack and I was blown off the bridge from a mortar attack and the shooting, fell on my back about twenty feet off the, you know, from twenty feet in the air and when the corpsman got to me I had shrapnel in, up in my hairline and evidently you bleed a lot from even the little scratches up in your face so, I had a lot of blood coming down and he thought I was severely injured and I couldn’t move.  I was paralyzed from the waist down for about twenty minutes.  In the meantime, we’re still being shot at, you know, and the guys are shooting back and I thought, “Well, this is the end,” but, maybe twenty minutes, and the corpsman stayed with me and then maybe twenty minutes or so later, I could feel my, I could move my legs and the corpsman had cleaned up my forehead and says, “Oh, these are just scratches, this is not a, you know, I thought your head, part of your head was blown off,” so, that was my experience being injured there. I’m still suffering from back problems.  In fact, the, I go to the VA clinic here and they take good care of me.  They consider me a hundred percent disabled from Viet Nam, part of it due to the fact that we went through areas that were sprayed with Agent Orange, when they started, first started using Agent Orange there in great quantities and I had a heart condition and a heart attack uh, fourteen years ago and they uh, the VA felt that that was, the Agent Orange contributed to my heart condition, so, they consider me a hundred percent disabled veteran.

Interviewer:  So, you were there mostly in 1964 and ’65.

Newhouse:  No, ’65 and ’66.

Interviewer:  Okay.

Newhouse:  I left Viet Nam Friday the 13th of May, 1966, and I know the date exactly because that became, thirteen became my lucky number after that.  I also had my heart attack on a Friday the 13th and survived quintuple by-pass surgery so, thirteen has always been my lucky number.

Interviewer:  Now, in, in 1965 and ’66, most Americans supported the war effort by the US in Viet Nam.  It wouldn’t be until several years later that because the war dragged on so long more people came to oppose it. Did you have feelings, did anything go through your mind in 1965 and’66 over whether it was a good war or a bad war or was that not even part of your…?

Newhouse:  That’s a great question and I hope this is a good answer.  It’s a truthful answer.  My mother saved all my letters and she said, the first couple months the letters were positive about we’re fighting for, to protect these people and for democracy and fighting against Communism and then she said after about six weeks or two months, the tone of my letters changed and I started saying, ‘I’m not sure we should be here.’  The people that we would meet in the villages they didn’t care about politics.  They just wanted to raise their children and have rice and you can imagine the poverty that we saw in Viet Nam in the villages was, was horrific, but they were happy, you know.  Most of the young men were conscripted to the military, the Vietnamese military so, what we saw in the villages, mostly older men or very young boys, you didn’t see, I can’t recall seeing any teenage Vietnamese boys.  They were all old men or very young kids, so, my attitude started changing.  I also saw some corruption with supplies that were going on the black market rather than to the service men, the Army and the Air Force and the Marine guys and that bothered me that the stuff wasn’t being given to us.  It was, somebody in the US government was profiting from it, so, I became very disillusioned about it.  I continued to do my job as best I could and so, I could survive and then and when I left Viet Nam in 1965 [he corrected] ‘66 I was stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and I was one of the first Viet Nam veterans to be stationed with this particular unit in North Carolina and they were  a little bit afraid of me for some reason, that I might have some psychological problems, or, you know, having just come back from eleven and a half months in combat and so, they made me a training NCO and my job, and I also had a secret clearance, so, I had a little office.  I had a loaded .45 and the secret codes, the crypto codes I had in a safe and they were changed every four hours.  Military police would come and give me the new codes and take the old codes.  These were war codes and no one could come into my office, even a commanding officer without my permission, so I had it pretty easy.

Interviewer:  What was the purpose of all that secrecy and…?

Newhouse:  Well, the codes were, if there was a nuclear war, I imagine, or something like that.  These codes would tell us what to do and I could really distribute the codes and know what to do.  I never fully knew what they were for, but I knew that I was, finally had a desk job my last year and I was very happy about that.  I was also by then a corporal, non-commissioned officer and I had it really easy in my last year in the service.   I really didn’t have a boss, so, I was pretty much on my own and it was…I used to drive to Dayton.  I started, I met my wife Judy at the Jewish Center in Dayton at the swimming pool.  When I, when I came home from Viet Nam, I had thirty days leave and I went, got back home.  My parents had a huge party for me and I was at the Jewish Center swimming pool and I I met Judy.

Interviewer:  And her maiden name was…?

Newhouse:  Tanis, Judy Tanis, T-a-n-i-s. Tanis.  I was actually more interested in one of her girlfriends, but Judy, for some reason took a, an interest in me and we started dating.  Her mother was a widow and she was not very pleased with, with our dating.

Interviewer:  Because?

Newhouse:  I think, because I was a pretty rough guy, having just come back from war. I wasn’t, you know, a college student or studying to be a lawyer or a doctor which everyone hopes their…might hope their daughter…I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I needed time to decompress from being in the military.  Uh, I did enroll at Ohio State…

Interviewer:  …as you promised your parents.

Newhouse:  …as I promised my parents I would, and I used to drive home maybe twice a month from North Carolina, Camp Lejeune, to Dayton, Ohio, to take Judy out.  It’s a long drive.  I forget how many hours, but I would get in and be able to take her out on a Saturday, go to a movie or dinner or something and then drive back the next day, and I did that and it, then we fell in love.  It was, it was great.

Interviewer:  So, that was 1966 and now you’re back in school.

Newhouse:  1967 I started at Ohio State and I was, I got in communications.

Interviewer:  Now you were, you were a return Viet Nam veteran.  The anti-war movement was starting to pick up steam especially on college campuses.  What was that like?  Did that have any impact on you?

Newhouse:  Yea, it did.   I, actually in, in one or two of the yearbooks there’s a picture of me, there’s pictures of me in front of the administration office protesting.  There’s a picture of me throwing tear gas back – I had a gas mask I brought back from – I stole it, I guess from the Marine Corps – and I have a picture. There was a picture of me throwing, on the Oval at OSU campus, throwing tear gas back at the National Guard.

Interviewer:  Now wait a minute.  I want to understand.  Now you’ve become not just disillusioned about the war, which you were when you were in Viet Nam, but now you’re a full-fledged, in 1967, you’re now a full-fledged protester?

Newhouse:  I was a full-fledged protester.  One of the jackets I wore, shirt like jacket that I had from Viet Nam, I had an artist paint a big red fist on the back and at this time, I was working for the Department of Photography and Cinema part-time, as I was a student, and it was a very conservative group of people, so, I had to be very careful.   I would take my jacket off, fold it up, and put it in my backpack uh, when I would go into work every day, so, they wouldn’t know that I was involved with that.  I, you know, I could have been fired, I, who knows, but yea, I took a complete turnaround.

Interviewer:  Now, what was your thinking?  In, when you were in the service you were a little disillusioned about the war but, being a full-fledged anti-war protester, what was your thinking?  Your thinking, it sounds like your thinking was even stronger.

Newhouse:  Yea, it was stronger but I, I should point out I wasn’t protesting the veterans, the service members over there.  I was protesting the war, and the politics that we now found out that were going on that we shouldn’t have been over there and it shouldn’t have been escalated. So, that’s what I was protesting. So many loss of lives for no good outcome, no good reason.

Interviewer:  To have actual Viet Nam veterans in the anti-war movement was a very powerful symbol for the movement.  Did you ever wear your  military uniform or did you ever identify to the outside world ‘not only am I against the war, I am a veteran who fought in the war.’

Newhouse:  You know, it’s interesting.  That’s a good question. When I was, came back from Viet Nam and was in college  I lived in an apartment because I was, I was 21 and I didn’t have to live in a dormitory but, very few of my friends knew I was a Viet Nam veteran. My uniform, which I still have, is in a bag somewhere in my garage.  It has, it was worn one time after I got out because my grandfather wanted a picture of me in my dress uniform.  Now you have to picture.  I had, at this time, to take the picture, I had long hair and a mustache which was not part of, and I’ll show you a picture in a minute, which was not part of what you were allowed to do, but, I’ll find it and show it to you. If I could back up a little bit I’ll tell you a cute story about when I was in Viet Nam. We used to get care packages from our families and I had an aunt who would, once in a while, bake me a cake in a metal can so it’d be sealed in the metal can and they’d ship it to me and it was very good, and we shared it with the other guys, you know, in my little group of squad that I was with. And, one time, I get a package and there’s a salami in it, kosher salami that my grandfather had sent.  Now my grandfather couldn’t read or write, my mother’s father.  He was a shoemaker but, he followed the news knowing I was in Viet Nam.  So, I open this package, and the salami looked like it had mold on it, had a grey, looked like mold on it, so I threw it away, and I get a letter from my aunt who lived in the same building my grandparents lived in and she said, “What did you think of the salami?  He spent hours dipping it in wax to preserve it, so, I said, “Oh, it was wonderful. Have him send me another one.” So, one of the things I remember.

Interviewer:  What other memories do you have of your time at Ohio State?

Newhouse:  Well, Judy was going to OU and I was at Ohio State and I worked at jobs the whole time I was in school.  I always had a job, a part-time job.  I got my first degree.  I lived in an apartment, had a nice apartment.  I had a different sports car then.  I had a, a 1954 Austin Healy.  I was into sports cars then and so I was kind of like the big man on campus.  One of the students I met in class was a Jewish kid from Dayton, who was the president of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity and he asked me, he was interested in getting me to pledge the fraternity.  Now you gotta’ understand, I was 21 at the time, had come back from a war and he took me to the fraternity house.  He had a big fraternity house and he showed me where the people were, if you lived in the house where I would be.  It looked, it reminded me of Marine Corps barracks and I said, “This isn’t for me,” you know. “I appreciate it but I don’t need it.” And I’m already dating someone so I, I didn’t need the social aspect.  I, you know, I was in love with a, my future wife, so, that was interesting.

Interviewer:  Now, there was actually a formal group called Viet Nam Veterans Against the War. Were you, were you, did you identify, were you a member of that group or were you kind of on your own?

Newhouse:  No.  I was on my own.  I didn’t partake of that group and then interestingly enough, in the 1980s, I’m not a group joiner but, I did join a group called The Viet Nam Veterans of America and it was a group that was helping Viet Nam veterans readjust and whatever, and I was, became the vice president of that organization for a couple years in the early 80s, so, that was, that was very fulfilling.  I think they’re still in operation but I am not part of that any longer.

Interviewer:  So, did you graduate from Ohio State?

Newhouse:  I got my degree from Ohio State.  I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do, so I went back to get a, my second degree.

Interviewer:  What was your first degree in?

Newhouse:  Communications and journalism.  My second degree was in a new field called medical communications and I was in the first class for that particular degree, and basically, we were learning how to do films and video of, for doctors and nurses, educational stuff, a little bit about teaching doctors and health care professionals how to communicate with patients, so, that was an interesting thing and I actually, when I graduated, I worked on some grants for the school and the College of Medicine, and I did that for a few years.  Judy and I had gotten married in 1969, so we were married when I was going through my last parts of my first degree and my whole second degree.

Interviewer:  So, you end up with a master’s degree…

Newhouse:  No.  I had two bachelor’s.

Interviewer:  Oh, two bachelor’s degrees.

Newhouse:  Two bachelor’s degrees.

Interviewer:  And what happened after graduation?

Newhouse:  After graduation, I still wasn’t a hundred percent sure what I wanted to do.  You know, I’m sure maybe a lot of people are in that situation, but I was working for the College of Dentistry for a while, and, like I said, the School of Allied Medicine and I worked on a several studies for them, cost analysis studies and things like that, and then my, Judy’s grandparents had passed away and they had left us some, some money in their will, not a substantial amount but a good amount.  I didn’t have children yet.  We were married eight years before we had children.  So, I decided to invest in real estate and I really enjoyed it and I went to school to get my realtor’s designation and then worked for, I decided I’d work for a real estate company, which I did, and became the manager of that particular real estate company and then after about maybe a year, I studied for the broker’s exam and became a real estate broker and did that for a number of years and I started a gas-line repair company that realtors used.  I was always doing other businesses and I did that, that for quite a while and then I was kind of a stamp collector but not a really big one but there was a group of stamps depicting events in World War II that were produced and I was collecting them and first day covers and when the last year’s stamps were going to come out, the very final stamp was the atomic bomb with the mushroom cloud and President Clinton, after protest by the Japanese, cancelled that, rescinded that stamp which was the first stamp ever rescinded in postal history by a President and it angered me.  It upset me because one of the stamps in that last of the wars series was the liberation of the concentration camps, showing the Jewish prisoners behind barbed wire in their striped uniforms and the German government didn’t protest that.  They felt it had to be, they had no problem with that particular stamp but Clinton, President Clinton felt strongly that he didn’t want to offend the Japanese so he rescinded that stamp, so, I decided as a protest I was gonna’ print that stamp as what’s called a Cinderella stamp and it has no postal value but, it looks like a postage stamp and you can put it on your mail right to the right of a US postage. So, I got ahold of an artist and I knew what the design of the atomic stamp was like.  I changed it a little bit to avoid any problems and I found a printing firm in New York to print, I think, I printed 1800 individual stamps, thirty-six on a page and however many I had and I had my secretary and all my agents in my brokerage firm put that on all their outgoing mail and I sent a letter to President Clinton and I put it on there, and I gave them to my friends and I had them put ‘em on their gas bills and electric bills and whatever they were, mail they were sending out and I felt really good about that. I didn’t think anything would come of it and then one day I get a phone call from a guy named Red Daley here in Columbus and he said, uh, “I’m General Paul Tibbets’ brother-in-law. I’m the brother-in-law of General Paul Tibbets.”

Interviewer:  Now, Tibbets was the commander or one of the leaders of, of the atomic bomb missions.

Newhouse:  He was the, yes, he was the, he organized the whole operation, trained them and flew the Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  He lived in Columbus on the East Side, so he said to me, “General Tibbets would really like to meet you, because he appreciates what you did,” and I said, I said, “Sure,” and he says, “Well, pick a place and we’ll go to lunch,” and I picked some restaurant, and met General Tibbets and Mr. Daley, and had a nice lunch, and he  talked a little bit about the mission.  I asked him a few questions and it was very nice lunch.  He had two hearing aids.  He had a problem hearing in later years when I knew him, and he, we go out to our respective cars and he says, “Wait a second,” and he writes down something on a little piece of paper and he hands it to me and it was his phone number and he said, “I don’t give this out to anyone, but,” he said, “this is my phone, and it’s unlisted,” whatever.  He said, “Call me.  Give me a call sometime,” and I had my offices for my real estate company in the Park Towers down on Broad Street, so, maybe two weeks went by and I get a phone call from him at my office and he said, told me who he was and he says, “How come you haven’t called me?” and I said, “Well, I didn’t want to bother you.”  He says, “I wouldn’t have,” he sometimes used bad language, he says, “I wouldn’t have given you my damn phone number if I didn’t want you to call.” So, I said, “Alright.”  He said, “Come over to my house this weekend.  I’ll make you breakfast.”  I said, “Great,” so, I went over to his house and he made scrambled eggs and bacon and it was, it was a nice breakfast and we were sitting there talking and he’s opening his mail and he opens up a letter and he’s reading it, from the Iwo Jima Marine Survivors Group Association in Texas.  It’s an organization for Marines and sailors and Coast Guardsmen who served on Iwo Jima…

Interviewer:  Wow.

Newhouse:  …and he opens this letter and he says, “You know, they raised the flag on Iwo Jima on my birthday, February 23rd, and every year they invite me to their reunion in Texas and I have to decline every year because I don’t hear well.”  He said, “How would you like to go to Texas and meet some real Marines?”  I said, “Sure.”  He says, “They pay for everything.  They’ll fly us out there and you’ll get to meet some real Marines from World War II,” and I said, “That’s fantastic.”  So, that was the first trip I went on with him and then a little while later he asked if I would publish some books for him, his, republish books for him that he had had published.

Interviewer:  Books that he had written…

Newhouse:  Books that he had written…

Interviewer:  …about his experience.

Newhouse:  …And would I be his manager? And I remember going home and I told, I was really surprised and I told Judy and I said, “Is this something I should be doing? because I’d have to close my real estate company to do this.

Interviewer:  Because it would be basically a full-time job.

Newhouse:  It’s a full-time job.  So, she said, “I think you should do it.,” and I made the decision and, to do that and that led to about a six-or-seven year relationship with him where I published three different books for him and took him around to book signings all over the country and we averaged 160 days on the road at book signings and engagements from the Smithsonian to the Boeing plant to various Air Force facilities and it was the most incredible job.  It wasn’t even a job, but it was just incredible to be able to do that and we were partners in it.  He technically worked for me but, we divided the proceeds down the middle.  He would spend almost every day in my office because he and his wife didn’t get along real well at that point and he wanted to get out of the house.   He liked the fact that I was Jewish because he thought you must be really smart.  He also like the fact that I was a Marine ‘cause he liked Marines a lot.

Interviewer:  Did he know that you were an anti-war protester?

Newhouse:  He had no, that never came up although he realized when he was at the Pentagon during the Viet Nam War that we shouldn’t be there, so, we did have some discussions about that, but I, we didn’t really dwell on that, but he knew my feelings that, that 58,000 young people would die for no good cause, so, he sympathized with that and we had a wonderful relationship.   He was in his eighties when we started and his health got worse and that ended our, our relationship.

Interviewer:  So, this six or seven-year time period that you were working with him, that was approximately, when was that, in the 80s, the 90s, the 2000s?

Newhouse:  Yea, in the 90s, right after the stamp was cancelled, that period and we  became, we became very close because we would, a lot of times we would share a room in a hotel and he played Gin Rummy and I wasn’t real good at it and he had a photographic memory so, he used to get upset with me because I was doing,  you know, I wasn’t throwing the right cards and he knew right away what I was going to do, so, I don’t know if this should be for publication but he, uh, he told me a story about, uh, early on in our relationship, we were in Indianapolis and he said, “You know I lived with a family” I think the name was Crumm, [sp?] “and their daughter…he was going to go to medical school and Mr. Crumm was a doctor and Paul, this young woman fell in love with Paul.  This is after the war, and see, he was telling me about her and I said, “Did you ever look her up, or anything, find out what she’s doing?  He said, “I know she lives in Florida, and,” he said, “I would like to see her again,” so we did some research and I found out she lived in Orlando, Florida, and I gave Paul – he was in my office – and I gave him the phone number and he called her up and he says, “I, you know, Gerry and I are going to be in Florida, doing a book signing in Orlando.  Can you meet with us?” and she said, “Sure,” and they got together and he realized he really cared for her and she still cared for him in a way. She had been married and was a widow and she came on all the trips with us.  I would fly her either to where we were going or I’d fly her to Columbus and she’d stay at the Marriott, and then the next morning, with Paul, and then the next morning, I would pick them up or Judy would take us all to the airport and she…  The nice thing about that, I didn’t have to play cards with him at night.  I didn’t have to entertain him and uh, we were done working and I could relax and do my thing and he would be with her and he was in a good mood so, it worked out real well.

Interviewer:  Let’s catch up on your life with Judy, your wife, in the 70s, 80s and 90s.  What was happening then?

Newhouse:  Well, we lived in various apartments and then Judy became pregnant and we bought, I bought, we bought our first house.  We used the, a VA loan to get our first house in Eastmoor on Chesterfield Road.  It was a really nice little Cape Cod and then my daughter was born, Amy, and we lived there for a while, and then Judy became pregnant four years later with my son Aaron and we decided that we wanted to be in the Bexley School system.  Now, I was in real estate, managing a real estate office at the time so, I got the inside on a house that was coming up in central Bexley and we ended up buying that.

Interviewer:  What was the address on that?

Newhouse:  Fifty-Four South Cassady, so, it was a three-story stone house.  It was really neat, neat house, so we bought that and we raised our kids there and it was a great place to live.  We lived there for quite a while, I think, 26 or 28 years.

Interviewer:  So, your two children graduated from Bexley.

Newhouse:  Both graduated from Bexley.  Both were bar and bat mitzvahed at Temple Israel where we were members. My daughter went to OU where my wife had gone and a few years later my son went there.  They were both together there for a short period of time.  So, they were both at OU and it was a good time.   They got, they both got a really good education there.

Interviewer:  So, you’ve been members of Temple Israel, and anything else in terms of Jewish connections, the Jewish Center or any other Jewish groups that uh, you’ve been involved with?

Newhouse:  Well, I got involved with the Jewish War Veterans and I was a Vice Commander of that for about a year.  The problem was, I, with that, is I was the only young person with the group and these few, it wasn’t a very large group of people but, they were mostly World War II and Korean veterans and so I was sort of active for a very short period of time with them.  The Jewish Center, I remember, the old Jewish Center had a bowling alley in it and we would take the kids.  We’d go there and that was always fun, and we’ve been members of the JCC for all those years, since the kids were in preschool, since my daughter was in preschool.

Interviewer:  Do you have any specific memories of the old Jewish Center?

Newhouse:  You know, I, I don’t, the thing that sticks out in my mind the most is that bowling alley. I mean, I think that there was two lanes, as I remember.  It was very small.  That’s pretty much all I remember about, about it. Then, of course, they built the new Center and I have fond memories of Temple Israel, because the beautiful, beautiful building we had there and the rabbis were wonderful that we had, and cantor and they still are.  We’ve been members for many, many years there.

Interviewer:  After your children grew up, did you stay in Bexley?

Newhouse:  We stayed in Bexley.  When I had difficulty with my heart condition. It was difficult for me to walk steps up so many flights of steps, so, we found our condo that we’re living in now, about 13 years ago and it’s a ranch.  It’s all one floor so it’s very comfortable for us.  We’ve remodeled it twice now, once, we just finished our second remodeling about three weeks ago, so…

Interviewer:  I ask this question often.  When you were here in the 70s or 60s, most Jews in Columbus lived in Bexley or Berwick or Eastmoor, but since then there’s been a move outward to many other areas and Jews now live in Arlington and New Albany…

Newhouse:  Right.

Interviewer:  … and Granview and Clintonville and German Village.  Do you have any feelings about that, whether that’s been a good development. a bad development or what it’s meant for the Jewish community?

Newhouse:  Well, you know, that’s a great question, Bill. One of the things I liked most about growing up in Squirrel Hill is I had a lot of, my father had three brothers and two sisters.  My mother had three sisters.  We all lived within walking distance of one another in Squirrel Hill, so I grew up with all my cousins who were my age.  No one ever moved away.  They, when they settled in, in Squirrel Hill, they stayed there, in their houses and I remember Sundays.  Every Sunday we would all get together.  My grandparents would take all the kids down to one of the kosher markets and we would get corned beef and then we’d go to the bakery and we’d get cakes and, every Sunday, and it was a big thing and the whole family would get together, and if one of the, one of my uncles and their family was moving to a different part of town, they were very upset about that.  Didn’t stop them from doing it.  When somebody, God forbid, was going to move out of the city, that was really an emotional crisis for a lot of the family.  Didn’t stop them from doing it but, it was…That was one of the nicest memories  of growing up in Squirrel Hill was I had so many cousins who were friends and got to be with my uncles and my aunts and spending time with them, so, very fond memories of that.

Interviewer:  So, do you think we’ve lost something because of the dispersal?

Newhouse:  I think we have, but, you know, most of our close friends now that have children that were, that are my children’s age, I would say, seventy percent of them still live in Bexley.  In fact, we had dinner last night with six other, four other couples at a friend’s house and we all still are in Bexley.  We have friends who, two friends who live in German Village.  We have four or five friends who live in New Albany.  We have some that live in Eastmoor, some in Berwick, quite a few in Eastmoor.  It seems like a few of them lived in Bexley, raised their kids.  When they were done with school they moved out of Bexley into Berwick or Eastmoor for the lower taxes and uh, homes were a lot less expensive than, than in Bexley.

Interviewer:  But that way they stayed close.

Newhouse:  But they were still close.  You know, today, uh, people think nothing of driving to New Albany or Worthington but, when I was growing up, that was, that was a long way to go and people didn’t really want to do that so, it hasn’t really, it hasn’t affected any of my friends that have moved away from Bexley, from this area because we still see them and we get together with them.

Interviewer:  Is there anything we haven’t touched on in your life that you think it’s important for people to know?

Newhouse:  Somebody actually recently asked me what my greatest accomplishment was.  I’ve been fortunate to have business success and financial success and I told them, my family is.  My son lives in Northbrook, Illinois.  He has a little boy and a little girl so, I have two grandchildren with him.  My daughter lives in Manhattan and she has a little boy and a girl, so Judy and I, that’s my biggest accomplishment, and we’re, Judy and I are fortunate that, I retired about eleven years ago from working and we would travel.  We would take a big trip every year and we also traveled to, we’re either on a big trip or we’re in Chicago or New York visiting grandkids or they come here and they all come in on the Fourth of July.  For many years, it’s a big thing for them to come to Bexley and my daughter and son that graduated from Bexley get to see all their old friends because they moved away and they’re in contact with them a lot, so, but that would be my greatest accomplishment, is that my two children turned out really good.

Interviewer:  Maybe we could wrap up this interview with just one final question.  Judaism, what does it mean? What has it meant in your life?  What’s it mean to you?

Newhouse:  Well, being raised by an Orthodox, particularly my father, he instilled, whether I knew it at the time, important lessons about being  a Jew to me, and I haven’t thought about this, but I remember in Viet Nam, when I, when I was injured and on several other occasions when we were in a bad situation, I sort of became religious, you know, that, “God if you get me out of this, I’ll do such and such,” but that’s one of the things that I remember about that.

Interviewer:  You still have some Jewish identity.

Newhouse:  Oh yea, I have a Jewish identity.  I wear my Star of David.  I haven’t taken this off.  My mother-in-law had this made for me before she passed away so, I haven’t had it off in many years.

Interviewer:  It’s around your neck.

Newhouse:  Around my neck as a reminder. One other thing that I was going to tell you, it’s kind of interesting.  My mind just went blank.

Interviewer:  Was it about your father and Jewish identity or…

Newhouse:  Yea, probably…oh, I remember now.  We, like I said, Judy and I would try to take one big trip every year, whether it was Israel, Great Britain, the Scandinavian countries, and I remember on a trip to Scandinavia, we, the group that we traveled with our friends from Bexley.  There’s five families that would travel together every year and we went into, we always wanted to make it a Jewish part.  Whatever country we were in or city, we, we hired our own tour guides and we’d say, “We, we’re Jews. We want to know what the Jewish history and the Jewish locations are in your city,” and they were, they were good at taking us around to where the Jews were, and I can remember that what they almost all said was, “This is, this area is where the Jews used to live before they were all killed or sent to concentration camps,” and we went to a synagogue, um, it might have been in Amsterdam, and we put, put our yarmulkes on when we went in and they had a little gift shop and I remember distinctly them telling us, “ Our bags, our bags, that if you buy anything, are not going to have anything Jewish on it that will identify you as being a Jew. Remember to take your yarmulke off when you, as soon as you leave the synagogue.”  They, their rabbi recently, was a traveling rabbi, was beat up by young people that lived in the area when he got out of the cab to conduct services and there’s a really, large anti-Semitism there with, by the young people and I remember we left the synagogue and I told the guys in my group, the people in my group, “I’m not taking my yarmulke off,” and I took my star and put it outside of my shirt, and they said, “ You’re crazy.”  I said, “You know what? I’m not hiding from this,” so, didn’t have any problems, but they, it turns out they, they were protesting and they had parades.  They were protesting the way the Israelis were treating the Palestinians and they equated what’s going on over there with Jews around the world, that if you’re Jewish, you know, not the Isra…what would be directed at the Israeli Jews, they were, it was directing to all Jews, and that really bothered me that they would do that.  I always had an attitude about that and I didn’t want people to tell me what to do and I didn’t want someone to, I didn’t hide my identity.  I didn’t hide it in the military and I wasn’t going to hide it in Amsterdam, so.

Interviewer:  And with that, we’ll conclude our interview with Gerry Newhouse here in Bexley on this the 14th day of June, 2021.  I’m Bill Cohen for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.

Newhouse:  This is that picture I was telling you about.

(Transcribed by Linda Kalette Schottenstein November 2021)