This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded on January 31, 2008 as part of the Society’s Oral History Project.  The interview is being recorded at The Esther Melton Community Service Building, 1175 College Avenue, Columbus Ohio.  My name is Naomi Schottenstein.  I am the interviewer and we are here today to interview Geri Ellman.

Interviewer:  Geri, spell your name for us.

Geraldine:  It really is Geraldine.  It’s G-e-r-a-l-d-i-n-e, middle name is Ruth, maiden name was Polster, P-o-l-s-t-e-r, and for my 50th birthday we incorporated that as part of my legal name and the last name is Ellman, E-l-l-m-a-n.

Interviewer:  And your Hebrew name?

Geraldine:  Gittel Rochel.

Interviewer:  And do you know who you were named after?

Geraldine: Yes, my grandmother who was Gittel Wasserstrom.

Interviewer:  And that would be on your mother’s side?

Geraldine:  Mother’s side.

Interviewer:  Okay.  And your nickname then is Geri.  G-e-r-i.

Interviewer: Okay.  That’s how we mostly know you.  Talking about the.. your Polster name, was that the original family name?

Geraldine:  Yes.  My grandfather emigrated from the Carpathian Mountains in Czechoslovakia.  He met my grandmother there, whose name  .. his name was Charles Yitzhak Polster and her name was Edda…. we called…her English name was Bertha Rothman and they were married in Europe and emigrated here.

Interviewer:  So, your family is… as far as your life is concerned, started where?

Geraldine:  In Cleveland, Ohio.

Interviewer:  And, we’ll talk more later about how you came to Columbus.  Okay.

Interviewer:  When did you come to Columbus?

Geraldine:  I came to Columbus to attend Ohio State University in 1952, I think.  I think that’s right, maybe March of ’51.

Interviewer:  That’s close.  Close.  What was your father’s family business?

Geraldine:  My father worked for my uncles in a steel company called Builders’ Structural Steel and it was owned by my two uncles, my mother’s two older brothers, Jack Friedman and Herman Friedman.

Interviewer:  What was the name of the company?

Geraldine:  Builders’ Structural Steel.

Interviewer:  Did your family move around much as a child?

Geraldine:  No.  No.  I only lived in two houses.  I was born and came home to a house at 11405 Whitmore Avenue in Cleveland.  That was in 1932, when I was born and in 1939 we moved to 3605 Washington Boulevard in Cleveland Heights and I stayed there until I went away to college.

Interviewer: So you were pretty well established?

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  Can you tell us about hobbies as a youngster?

Geraldine:  The most interesting thing when I was ten years old, I was riding on a bicycle on Shabbat when my mother told me not to, fell of the bicycle, injured my knee,  had water on the knee, had a cast from my ankle to my hip and spent the whole summer sitting.  I had a wonderful aunt who taught me how to needlepoint and knit during that summer and those two things have really been life-long hobbies.

Interviewer:  Okay.  I know you’ve done a lot of needlepoint.  While we’re in this area, why don’t you tell us about some of the needlepoint you’ve done and what your interest is in developing that stuff.

Geraldine:  The nice thing was I made dining room chairs, each of which had a tree that was indigenous to the property to our home.  So I have ten or twelve trees that had needlepoint that we have on the seats of the living room.  I’ve also done a lot of pillows and decorative kinds of things and I’ve done a lot of family trees and done… a family many times in puzzle form, whereby like a cross-word puzzle everybody’s name is linked to somebody else’s and those are revised and I maybe make a new one about every five years when we have two or three new additions to the family.

Interviewer:  I’ve seen some of your needlepoint and it really…

Geraldine:  I think one of the inspirations for me,  because it has so much family meaning and those are really heirlooms.  I hope so.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  I’m sure they are. Did you have siblings?

Geraldine:  Yes.  I have one brother who is ten years younger than I.  And, so —  We were raised as two only children really.

Interviewer:  The big difference in —

Geraldine:  Yes — enough difference to have your own interests.  That’s right. Yes, that’s right.

Interviewer:  Tell us about him.

Geraldine:  He now lives in Arizona… recently.  He  moved from Cleveland to Columbus, spent several years here and moved on to Arizona and he is very happy and content there.

Interviewer:  His name?

Geraldine:  Marvin, M-a-r-v-i-n Polster.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  Is he single or married , never got married?

Geraldine:   No, he was, but he is no longer.

Interviewer:  But no children?

Geraldine:  Yes, he has a child, here in town, who is a resident of the Shalom House Apartments.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  Okay.  Tell us about other relatives that you remember growing up.

Geraldine:  Well,  the fun thing about being in Columbus is I remember coming to Columbus  as a little girl because Morris Polster was a great-uncle of mine and when … he had birthday parties that were located in Columbus, my dad and mother always brought me and … we had close ties.  Mrs. Hirsch who was Harry Polster’s mother-in-law,  was a favorite of my dad.  Mrs. Schlezinger

Interviewer:  Which Schlezinger?

Geraldine:  The matriarch of the… Schlezinger family?  — of  the Schlezinger family, was a great-aunt of my dad.  His grandfather had two wives.  His father was the product of one wife and the Polsters in Columbus were the products of another wife.  So that was of interest… and interesting background. Because on the other side of the family, we’re related… my mother’s side, we’re related to the Wasserstroms and the Gutters and that family.  So, we are quite intertwined in Columbus.

Interviewer:  So you are really quite connected to very prominent large families who really established themselves in the community?

Geraldine:  Yes, yes. The advice I was given when I moved to Columbus was you never say anything because you’re probably related to most of the people.

Interviewer:  I almost was going to say you are not related to the Schottensteins but —  you are.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  I am.

Interviewer:  I got that part of it.  Can you tell us about family vacations you remember as a youngster?

Geraldine:  Well, we did not travel as a family.  We… that wasn’t part of our life.  We went to see the important ones, I think, and that was it.  So, we kind of made it an institution with my children.  We try to go away.  After the children grew up and they went to college we thought it was very important to have people come together… have a reason to come together.  So, we went away on our trip during the winter holidays with the entire family and this past winter we had twenty people who went.. went away.  So it was a wonderful experience because not only my children but my grandchildren got a chance to intermingle and have fun.  So, that’s the fun thing we do.

Interviewer:  You created those opportunities to connect?

Geraldine:   Yes.  That’s very important to us.

Interviewer:  And probably when I ask about travel and vacations as a youngster it seems like most of the  people in our era, vacations were just visiting family–  in other communities.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  That was important.  Right.  And a fun experience.  Right. And it’s always warm and welcoming. Yes.

Interviewer:  I think this is a good time for you to tell us about your children and your grandchildren.  And let’s just take each one and tell us what you can about them.

Geraldine:  Okay.  Well, there is Laurie.. is our oldest daughter and she was born in 1955.

Interviewer:  How do you spell Laurie?

Geraldine:  L-a-u-r-i-e.  Lauren, L-a-u-r-e-n, really, but —  Okay.  And she has four children, the oldest of whom is Seth and he just graduated from Penn last year.  She has a daughter, Arie, who is now in New York  at Parsons University, Parsons College probably, getting a bachelor’s in management.  Another son is Benjamin, who is going to graduate from high school and she has a son who was just fifteen, Jonathan. That’s her family.

Interviewer:  And her last name?

Geraldine:  Scoblionko.   S-c-o-b-l-i-o-n-k-o.

Interviewer:  And they live in Columbus?

Geraldine:  They live in Columbus.  And then we have Mark… who was born in ‘56—M-A- R-K.  This is important as time goes on.  Of course.  Spelled right.   And I’m delighted to tell you that he was just married this past December 30th for the very first time, to a wonderful lady named Alla, A-l-l-a-, Smorodinsky , S-m-o-r-o-d-i-n-s-k-y.  Thank you for the spelling.  [She laughs].  She’s just lovely and we had a wonderful time in California and participated in a very, very, very traditional wedding.  So it was a wonderful thing.  We have another… we have a son, Stephen, who was born in ‘58, who was divorced from  Susie Tanur, who is the delight of our life, and they have three children.  They have Elizabeth, who is a freshman at Indiana, they have Rachel, and they have Daniel.  Rachel is going to Columbus Academy, Daniel goes to Bexley.  Stephen, spelled S-t-e-v — ph.

Geraldine:  And Karen is married to a terrific fellow named Rick Shaine, S-h-a -i-n-e.  Spell Karen’s name.  K-a-r-e-n.

Geraldine:  And they have a three-year-old daughter, named Isabel, I-s-a-b-e-l. They reside in California. Rick is a film editor and Karen is an artist.

Interviewer:  Tell us about her art work.

Geraldine:  She is a wonderful sculptor and painter.  We have many things hanging in our house.  I think she had a showing here at the Jewish Center a couple of years ago. So, it’s something she has kind of taken a hiatus from since the baby’s been born. And  I’m sure she’ll get back to it, eventually.

Okay.  And we have a son, Bruce Ellman, who is married to Rabbi Michelle Misshagieh,  M-i-s-s-a-g-h-i-e-h.  She is rabbi of Temple Israel of Hollywood and Bruce has had a wonderful career change for….  He graduated from Brown, he graduated from Yale and then he was in the money business for a long time, finance and that kind of thing.  Three years ago he decided that was not for him and he decided to go back to school.  So with the blessing of his family he went back to Pepperdine University and became a psychologist and last year he got his Psy.D., I think it’s P-S-Y degree, that’s a Ph.D. but it’s  Doctor of Philosophy.  So he’s doing wonderfully and Michelle is, as I said, is rabbi of her … assistant .. not assistant, associate rabbi of her congregation.

Interviewer:  How old ..  have you told us the year Karen was born?

Geraldine:  Oh, okay. Karen was born in ’60 and Bruce was born in ’62.  Okay.  And then our youngest child is Judy Ellman Schottenstein born in ’64.  She  is married to Dr. Michael Schottenstein, and they have two sons, Gabriel Schottenstein and Jonah Schottenstein. And they live here in Columbus –

Interviewer:  What are their ages?

Geraldine:  Jonah was born in … Oh, Jonah is going to be ten,  tomorrow  I think.  Ten tomorrow and Gabie was just ten.. was just eleven early in January, the third.

Interviewer:  A lot of babies to keep track of…

Geraldine:  Yes.  And then… Oh, I forgot. I forgot to tell about Bruce’s children.  Okay.  Bruce has three children.  He has Jael, J-a-e-l and she was born in 1999.  He has Sivan, S-i-v-a-n, who was born in 2002, and he has Ezri, E-z-r-i, who was born in 2007.  Okay.  Okay.  What else?  Now, do any… let’s see, we…Laurie, does she have a career? Or —  Not at this time.  She is a full-time mom. Okay.  And Stephen?  Mark?  Mark is, as I mentioned before, has a very religious life and he does a lot of studying.  That’s a full-time thing. It can be.  Susie Tanner works for the Columbus Jewish Foundation.  Okay.   I guess that’s –  Pretty much covers…

Interviewer:  and Judy. She’s —?

Geraldine: Judy’s a full-time mom.  She also runs Michael’s classes.

Interviewer:  Oh.  She takes care of Michael’s classes.  She’s a good partner then.

Geraldine:  Yes, absolutely.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  That’s good, that’s good.  Tell us about some of the experiences you have with your grandchildren.

Geraldine:  We do wonderful things together.  The most fun is when they come over to our house.  We have tried to make our house child friendly because when we moved into our home there was a backyard swimming pool.. and I did not swim.  So we filled in the pool and after Judy graduated from college, our youngest, we decided we need something to bring the children home.  So we built an indoor pool.  And so the children would have something to do during their vacation time and then I learned how to swim.  Eddie said he would build a pool if I learned how to swim and I said, I’d learn how to swim if he built an indoor pool. So, we did. And .. that’s really …the indoor pool has really been a source of great things for the children.  All our children learned to swim at a very early age which was a delight because I was afraid of the water.

And we’ve traveled with our children and … we just do things at home.  It’s just nice to be with them. We have Shabbas dinners together and we have holiday dinners together and it’s a joy to see them progress in that manner as well.  — the kids get to know their cousins a little better that way.  That’s it.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  Well, that’s beautiful.  It sounds like you have a great bit of fun with your—-

Geraldine:  We try. Yes.

Interviewer:  Do you remember any stories from your parents or grandparents of their life before —  ?

Geraldine: Well, it was interesting.  We went back to Czechoslovakia,  to the place where my mother was born several… about fifteen years ago.  We had a wonderful experience with a young man who understood the dialect of that particular Vatanec,  V-a-t-a-n-e-c, Czechoslovakia, which is where we went.  It was a very small shtetl.   My mother had described it to me for years .  Six houses on one side, seven houses on the other; the cows in the front yard; the chickens in the backyard; and at the end of the street was a big church.  And we had occasion to go back, and you know, I found it very much the same.  Except now they have the satellites for TV, but the same buildings and so forth.  And there was a story that our family was the only Jewish family in this shtetl. And my grandfather had a large farm and he used to store the potatoes in the cold cellar – which I did see, which was still there.  The orchard and so forth and the cold cellar was still there.  And then he used to  help them feed the rest of the people who didn’t have money.   But once there was a fire in the church and my grandfather ran and he took out the statue of the Virgin Mary and since then he was the hero in the… you know in the  little shtetl he was a very a very respected  man.  So that was kind of a fun story.

Interviewer:  You went back in history.

Geraldine:  Yes.  But I found it just as my mother had described it.  It was really  just like opening up a book and seeing… it was wonderful.

Interviewer:  Now, were they observant?  Your parents?  I’m just trying to establish —

Geraldine:  Yes. No.  My grandfather of course was very religious.  I grew up in a kosher home.  We did ride on Sabbath, so were not shomer on Shabbos, but we lit candles Friday night and  we had all the holidays and… so that… I think the big thing was the… keeping kosher because that wasn’t always an easy thing to do.  Um.  But once they were in Cleveland… once your family came to Cleveland that was one story but when you are in this little  village – Yes.  It was very interesting because I asked the same question because they davened twice a day.  And my grandfather was the only Jewish person in his shtetl.  But, if you go on the road as it is today, it takes about  an hour to get to the next village.  But, if you went behind the village and you went through the forest and so forth, it only took about fifteen minutes.  So when I asked the question of a cousin of mine, who has since passed away, she said they used to walk.  They used to go through the forest and it was not that far so they got together with other families to have a minyan.  My grandparents were very observant.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  It’s interesting to see how they could maintain that–

Geraldine:  That’s right.—being so isolated.  Right.

Interviewer:  And kosher. And that’s really a challenge.

Geraldine:  Yes.  But I think there were Jewish families, even in Ohio – Yes.  That settled in small communities and were able to maintain attached to Judaism.   Right.  Um-hm.  It was a very important part of their life.

Interviewer:  Sure.   Well, that’s interesting.  It’s nice you had that opportunity to go back.

Geraldine:  Yes.   It might be interesting… I don’t know how far back you want to go… but my father was one of ten children and my mother was one of seven.  And the older sister of my mother, along with the two youngest children, perished in the Holocaust.  And the rest of the older sister’s children came to the United States and have been extremely successful.  So it is very nice.  And –

Interviewer:  Where do they live?

Geraldine:  They live in Denver, in Detroit and in Columbus.  Neil Moss  is a cousin of mine… a second cousin –  because his mother was a first cousin.  His mother was my mother’s niece.

Interviewer:  Hm.  So these people have had a wonderful.. a wonderful life.

Geraldine:  Oh, that’s interesting. And then my father was one of ten children.  He… my grandmother was a very  strong lady.  Her husband died as a young man and she raised the children mostly herself.  And on Sunday afternoons we used to go to my Grandma Polster’s and everybody who took piano lessons and dancing lessons or whatever, had to perform. You showed what you did all week.  And  it was always nice.  We had… we always had cottage cheese and tuna fish for Sunday night.  Oh.  It was a standard meal… A standard meal and it … it was wonderful.  And our family was very close and very happy and growing up it was only my brother and myself.  So we were like two only children and I was determined that we would have a family… a large family when I got married.  And so I did want ten children but, especially after I met Eddie, and we were married… because he was an only child.  So I really wanted ten children but I figured if I got a little over half of everything I wanted in my life I would be very wealthy, so we were blessed with six.

Interviewer:  Well that was a great plan.

Geraldine:  Yeah. It was wonderful.  Yeah, and they happened to be three boys and three girls–  That’s it

Interviewer:   –that’s a nice balance, as well.

Geraldine:  That’s because it never made any difference.  That’s why it turned out that way.  (Laughs)

Interviewer:  Yeah.  Are some of these relatives still .. of your parents… still living?

Geraldine:  Yes, I do have first cousins and we do keep in contact.   We’re a very close family on both sides… both the Friedmans which was my mother’s and the Polsters so I do keep in touch with the on holidays and happy occasions and these people  are up in age now so it’s really very nice.

Interviewer:  That’s great.  Well..  and you’ve had a lot of opportunities to get together —

Geraldine:  Yes, we try.   We try.

Interviewer:  Well, that’s interesting.   Do you know how your parents met and how they got married?

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  Tell us about it.

Geraldine:  Yes. My mother came …  my father was born in the United States… my mother came here when she was about sixteen or eighteen years old. We’re not quite sure of the records and their parents knew each other in Europe.  They were Hungarian…. depends on the year, but they were Hungarian… and they knew each other and I think it was through a circle of young people who came at that time when my mom came and my father was from a large family and they met because their parents knew each other in Europe.

Interviewer:  So it was kind of almost — almost fixed up…

Geraldine:  —but  — They met through mutual family and friends.  It was that kind of thing and they were married in 19—

Interviewer:  A good relationship.

Geraldine:  Yes.  They married in 1929.  They were married in Cleveland and spent most of their life there until they moved to Columbus in their later years.

Interviewer:  When did they move to Columbus?

Geraldine:  They moved to Columbus – my parents became ill and so they moved to Columbus,  about …my mom’s been gone twenty years… so about  twenty-five years ago, maybe.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  So your mother passed away first, is that what happened?

Geraldine:  Yeah, my mom passed away first and then my dad –

Interviewer:  What year was that?  When your mother passed away?

Geraldine:  ’81.  Um-hm.  And my dad lived for seven more years and he lived with us and then we had a home as part of the Columbus community.. it wasn’t Heritage.. it was the house that was right here on  Brookwood —

Interviewer:  Yes, there was a separate home – A home

Geraldine:  –for individuals to live there.  Yes.

Interviewer:  A home atmosphere.

Geraldine:  Yes, a home atmosphere.  He lived with seven other people, I believe  in a household under the auspices of the Federation.  And, it was wonderful because of it was sort of like a sorority house.

Interviewer:  It was an experimental situation, wasn’t it?

Geraldine:  Yes.  Yes. It was right here on Brookwood.  And it was wonderful for my dad because he lived in a big family, he got along beautifully with people and these people cooked for themselves.  They had staff twenty-four hours a day and it was before … assisted living with all the live-in amenities.  This was just a regular home and it was wonderful.  He spent most of those seven years until he fell and then he came back and lived  with us again until he passed away.

Interviewer:  So he never lived at Heritage House?

Geraldine:  No, he never lived at Heritage House.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  It was Barbara Brandt’s mother’s family who sponsored it.

Geraldine:  The Kantor  family.  The Kantor family, yeah.  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  It’s no longer operating.

Geraldine:  No. It’s no longer operating.  When the assistance came along with the amenities of…  you know, social interaction and this kind of thing.  And this was only for seven… this only had seven people in it, so it was really like a family. And my dad had a joyful  time there.

Interviewer:  Yeah.   I remember when that opened, it was … there was a lot of interest – going on about it.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  It was wonderful.  It was wonderful.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  It sounds like you had a lot of interaction in terms of telling stories among your immediate family, your children, you and your children; and your parents apparently have given you a lot of information.

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  When you  get together with the kids, you still exchange stories…. Or are they curious?

Geraldine:  We talk  a lot… I love pictures.  In our home, you know, I keep saying my Degas and my Picassos and so forth are my family pictures so the children know that they are connected to something.  They’re not just floating around, so I’ve always thought that family was very important because I did have a wonderful experience as a child and came from a very loving, supportive family.

Interviewer:  Do you do … I know you have holidays in your home.  Can you tell us a little bit about how some of those holidays are celebrated?

Geraldine:  Well, for the past fifty years I have had all the holidays at our house, with rare exceptions.  We have a large table, everybody sits at the table.  I have been doing it myself for all these years.  And, last year I decided that I don’t want to be the glue that holds our family together.  You know, because getting up in years, you want them to get together with or without you.  The holidays should not be based on if I’m here sitting at the head of the table.  So last year what I did was I had four pieces of colored paper and the colors corresponded with Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Seders, and Thanksgiving – these four holidays.  Everybody picked one and so this year we are trying an experiment and one of my children will host one of those things in their home and give it their flavor.  We have kind of a formal kind of thing… I take out the nice dishes and we have a pretty table and Eddie sits at the head of the table and he does most of the holiday kinds of things and we try to bring the children in who are out of… not my children, because Michelle is a rabbi and that’s when she works so we can’t do with all my children but we spend holidays together.

Interviewer:  She can’t take holidays off?

Geraldine: That’s right. So we try to bring the grandchildren home.  And they’re big events.

Interviewer:  So are your children able to accommodate all these people?

Geraldine:  We’re going to try… we’re going to try this, this year..   I’ll have an addendum to my oral history and tell you next year if it works.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  Well, they might have to use your house..

Geraldine:  Yes, that’s why.  That’s why if it works well like that.   It lends itself to that kind of thing.

Interviewer:  It certainly does.   I’ve seen your table and there aren’t many like that.

Geraldine:  No.

Interviewer:  That’s great. That sounds like it’s really very wonderful–  It’s wonderful.

Geraldine:  Really and warm.  It really is.  It really is.

Interviewer:  You talked to us … I was going to ask about family heirlooms. And you’ve talked about photographs and of course those wonderful needlepoint.  Are there other heirlooms  or keepsakes that are?

Geraldine:  No.  There really aren’t.  You know, we never had any heirlooms.  We weren’t of an economic sense or  even in our mindset to have things passed on.  I have something from my mom but … what I’ve tried to do when my granddaughter’s ten years old, I gave them each a ring that has three little diamonds in it.  Just a very nice thing because my mother gave me mine when I was ten and I gave it to my oldest daughter when she was ten and then she passed it on to her daughter so I felt the other girls needed something so each one.. each one gets a ring and then for their bat mitzvah they get… the girls get a pair of diamond earrings.

Interviewer:  Big or little diamond earrings?

Geraldine:  Nothing big, just a remembrance.  And the nice thing that I had occasion to do was when…  my mother had passed away and when Steven married Susie, I gave her my mother’s wedding ring which I have now and hopefully it will pass down to Daniel or somebody.  And I had two diamonds that I gave to each  of my other sons and their wives all have them as their engagement rings.  So that was a nice continuation … those are the heirlooms.   So really my pictures are my heirlooms.

Interviewer:  I’ve been reading recently in.. and I kind of started this for my own family.. it’s kind of writing down things that the kids want at some point – I do.  I told everybody to put a piece of a stick-em on a piece of furniture or some … I don’t have to see it and I really don’t want to know.  But if there’s something that they want.. it’s very difficult to do, though.  First of all, it’s a difficult thing to realize that you’re not going to have them anymore.. of course you are not going to be here, but then it’s difficult to equate them.  So I have to figure out a way to do it.  I know that my daughter will get .. my mother gave me a diamond that I wore at the time and my oldest daughter will get that.  Other than that we haven’t .. haven’t gone into other things.  I don’t leave that many things but I kind of ask for suggestions.

Geraldine:  Yeah, it’s kind of nice to know —  maybe the feeling of satisfaction to know that certainly things are going to the kids that you know that  -they want.  Yes.  Well, they’ve taken some of the silver.  I really have an awful lot of silver because in the year that I got married everybody had silver and now no one wants to polish it or keep it or anything so –  So, every time all the children get together… I keep it in the cedar chest and I say, you know, “please take whatever you would like to have now” so some of the things have gone in that manner.

Interviewer:  It sounds very democratic

Geraldine:   Well, I don’t know what else to do. [Laughs]

Interviewer:  Let’s go back to your childhood again.  Do you remember what games you played as a kid, or what toys you had?  Maybe songs that you remembered or?

Geraldine:  You know, we didn’t .. I don’t remember doing much of that.  I was an only child and I grew up in a kind of an adult world.  These cousins I mentioned before, who survived the Holocaust,  whose parents died, came to the United States in about 1938 and they always stayed at our house, until they found their own bearings.  So we always had people staying in our house so most of the things involved adults.  I really did not.. and my cousins…it was all family so there weren’t any games that I remember or any particular things like that.  Mostly it was cooking with my mom and, you know, that kind of thing.  Not games, particularly.

Interviewer: Playing in the street?

Geraldine:  Yeah, but I was not particularly athletic.  Not one of those people who believed that athletics was good for you, so… I did play basketball in high school .

Interviewer:  Did you?

Geraldine:  Well–  Yes, Yes.

Interviewer:  –that’s athletic -.  Yeah

Geraldine:  -ambition.  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Do you remember any youngsters that you had in —?

Geraldine:   I still have friends.

Interviewer:  What part of Cleveland did you live in?

Geraldine:  We lived on Whitmore, which was in East Cleveland and then we moved to Cleveland Heights.  But I still have friends… my very best friend,  who lives in Cleveland,  lived a few doors away from .. our parents were friends.  So I still have a lot of friends in Cleveland and I go back for my Cleveland Heights High School reunions.  I had a wonderful time there.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  That’s fun.

Geraldine:  Yeah, it really is.  It really is.

Interviewer:  Especially if there’s still enough of them there to —

Geraldine:  Yes, well so far there still are.  So, in fact I just got a notice that’s why it came to mind.

Interviewer:  Well, it’s a big school –

Geraldine:  Yeah, right.

Interviewer:  -and it was very big.  Yeah. Very big.  Yeah.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about how you and Ed met, and how your life started.

Geraldine:  I came….I graduated in January and I came to school in March, which was spring quarter. Eddie had come  to Ohio State the preceding September.  He started in September,  I started in March.

Interviewer:  Where was he from?  .

Geraldine:  He was from Dayton. He.. I was in Baker Hall.. I lived with a person from Cleveland.  We made arrangements.. we … I had a lot of friends in high school who had joined a sorority at Ohio State.  So when I came to Ohio State I pledged AD Phi.  Eddie was a Sammy.  So in those days they had exchange dinners.  The Sammy pledges would invite the AD Phi  pledges for dinner and vice-versa.  So Eddie and I met that way.  He was social chairman of Sammy’s and we had a dinner and I happened to be his date for the dinner.  So that’s how we met.  We met in March of the year that I came, he came to visit me that summer in Cleveland.  The following year he… we weren’t going steady or anything… somebody else had asked me out and I was going to homecoming with this other person.  I was dating this other person even before the homecoming. However, Eddie asked me six weeks ahead of homecoming to go.  And I remember vividly calling my mother and being very upset because, what should I do?  Eddie had asked me out and I was dating this other boy.  What should I do?  And my mother told me, “You have to go with the first one that asks you.”  So I ended up going with Eddie and—

Interviewer:  He was the first one.

Geraldine:  And.. he was the first one.  And then we started to go steady and then we were pinned and we were engaged on New Year’s Eve of  ’52-’53.  And we were married in 1953.

Interviewer:  So then, you continued with college, then?

Geraldine:  Yes, I did.

Interviewer:  You did. You did.

Geraldine:  We finished college.  He was in law school, I was in the College of Education and the interesting thing was my parents didn’t really think I had to finish college if I was going to be married.  That wasn’t really essential.  And I had to have the …. the dean of the College of Education at Ohio State write to my parents and say they felt it was important that I continue and so forth and I did graduate.

Interviewer:  Well, good for you.  You –

Geraldine:  Yes.  And I taught for one year until I got pregnant with Laurie.  It was interesting because I was the first Jewish teacher that Bexley ever hired.  I and another teacher that same year, who was the kindergarten teacher.   And I felt very badly having to go to them at Christmas time and say, you know, “I’m pregnant” because at that time they weren’t… teachers who were pregnant couldn’t teach.  But they did let me finish the year so I taught one year at MarylandSchool and consequently my children went to MarylandSchool.  So, it was a fun time.

Interviewer:  It was a continued  tradition, kind of —

Geraldine:  Um-hm.  Absolutely.

Interviewer:  You mentioned you were the first Jewish teacher at Bexley, along with another kindergarten teacher that same year.  Can you tell us anything you remember?  That sounds a little bit like maybe Anti-Semitism.

Geraldine:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  What was the atmosphere?

Geraldine:  I spoke with Dr. Jarvis who was superintendent of school at the time.  I had, when it came to Easter, I had a woman come in and sit in my class to see how I would talk about Easter.  And I did… and they also came in when I talked about the Jewish holidays, talked about Hanukkah and so forth.  So I was observed when I was discussing those things to be sure I did the right thing.

Interviewer:  So it was acceptable —

Geraldine:   It was fifty years ago remember, more than fifty.  More than fifty years ago so Bexley was not primarily a Jewish community at that time.

Interviewer:  That’s right.  But there was that feeling of separate —

Geraldine:  Yes

Interviewer:  The Jews lived separately –

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  And anti-Semitism.

Geraldine:  Right.

Interviewer:  Kids had to be accepted in their groups as well.

Geraldine:  Yes.  Yes.  That’s it exactly.

Interviewer:  Tell us about the homes that you and Eddie have lived in.

Geraldine:  Okay.  When we got married Eddie called me one night very excited  that he had found a lovely garden apartment in a place called Beverly Manor.

Interviewer:  That was the first place you lived?

Geraldine:  Yes.  And my never having lived in an apartment.. and only having lived in two homes my whole life… I thought a garden apartment was a lovely apartment  –  that you looked out and saw a garden.   I did not realize the garden apartment was a basement apartment where the windows were at ground level.  So we lived in Beverly Manor for a year until our first daughter was born.

Interviewer:  Where was Beverly Manor located?

Geraldine:   It was a wonderful project on James and Maryland, that has just recently been torn down.

Interviewer:  It was kind of Uzi alley.

Geraldine:  Yes.  That’s exactly what it evolved into.  And then we moved…when Laurie was born, we moved up a floor and another apartment.  And we lived there.. not very long because eleven months after Laurie was born, Mark was born. So –

Interviewer:  I’m going to stop at this point.  And, we’re gonna…this is the end of side A, tape 1, and we’ll turn this tape over.

Interviewer:  Okay.  Continue side B, tape 1.

Geraldine:  Okay.  We lived at Beverly Manor  and –

Interviewer:  Can you remember what the rent was there?

Geraldine:  Sixty-seven fifty.  I know that exactly because my father paid the rent.  And he paid directly to the apartments.  We didn’t even see the money.  Sixty-seven fifty.  And when we moved, when Laurie was born,  we moved upstairs, to a two-bedroom which was sixty-nine fifty.

Interviewer:  In the same complex.

Geraldine:  Same complex.  Just another building.  ___________________ that building though I had to carry the diapers down two floors to the washing machine.

Interviewer:  And diapers, those are cloth?

Geraldine:  Those are cloth (laughs) diapers.  Not disposable.  We lived there for a short period of time and when I became pregnant with Mark, who was born eleven months after Laurie, we moved and we moved to 2982 Brownleigh Avenue which is off of James Road.  We had a very nice house and we lived there … and Stephen was born there and I believe when I was pregnant with Karen we moved to 131 North Cassingham and we stayed there through Karen, Bruce and Judy.

Interviewer:  Now, was that a home or –

Geraldine:   It was a house.  Yes.  It was a very nice house –

Interviewer:  Do you remember what you paid for it?

Geraldine:   $28,000.

Interviewer:  That was a ton of money, wasn’t it?

Geraldine:  It was a lot of money. Yes.

Interviewer:  What was Eddie doing at the time?

Geraldine:   Eddie was always in the insurance business.  He … when he graduated from law school, he had a cousin by the name Mel Frank, who was … who was.. I think a prominent person in the Jewish community here in Columbus.  He was really a lovely, lovely man.  He and his wife..  his best friend had an insurance agency.  And, when we were planning to get married, my father suggested that maybe Eddie should get some insurance.  So he went to visit Mel to buy insurance. And in the process of estate planning —  that kind of work was just coming into prominence — and Eddie had a law degree and Mel offered him a position to do estate planning and insurance and so on, to be with him.  And since Eddie really had no connections to the law community, there was nobody with whom he could go into business or anything else he could do, he went into business with Mel.  And that’s how he got into the insurance/finance and that kind of business. So-

Interviewer:  It was a nice – —

Geraldine:  Wonderful.  Yes.  And they were wonderful, wonderful people.

Interviewer:  Yes. Yes.  I remember everybody liked them.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  A big smile and handsome people.  They had no children, so Eddie and I were very close to them.  It was very nice.

Interviewer:  So , it meant a lot to them –

Geraldine:  Yeah. We ate dinner with them at the Maramor with them  more often because they ate dinner every night at the Maramor.

Interviewer:  They did.

Geraldine:   Maramor.  Um-hm.  So often times they would invite us and that was a big treat because it was very expensive.  You got very dressed up and it was a very formal dinner.

Interviewer:  It … it looks like we are getting a little off track. Yes.

Geraldine:  But while we’re here, tell us a little bit more about the Maramor because that was really quite an establishment.  Oh,  it was a small beautiful restaurant on Broad Street between Third and Fourth .. it was …sometimes they had entertainment come in, but it was a very .. very intimate, very fine food and it was really a very special occasion when we went there.

Interviewer:  Very expensive for that time.

Geraldine:  Very expensive, yes. Yes.

Interviewer:  Okay.  Now you’ve bought your first house

Geraldine:  Yes.  We bought the house on Brownleigh .. we bought on land contract.

Interviewer:  Oh. Okay.

Geraldine:  So we bought that one.  And then I know the house on Cassingham was $28,000 and then we purchased the house on .. at 260 [Columbia]  and we’ve been there since 1967.

Interviewer:  How long did you live in the home… the last home before you moved to your new home?

Geraldine:  About eight years.

Interviewer:  And then you moved into your home, but you’ve expanded on your home a lot, haven’t you?

Geraldine:  Not a lot.  The home was built in such a way that we had no small rooms… that when everybody went away to college Eddie and I didn’t have a place to sit.  There were just the two of us and we didn’t look like we were waiting for company so we built a small room… a sun room off the kitchen and that… and we built the pool.  So those were the only two additions that we put on.

Interviewer:  Can you tell us a little bit about your home?  It’s really a quite special place.

Geraldine:  Yes.  It really is.  We really feel like caretakers because it really is a home that cannot be duplicated today.  It was built between ’27 and ’29.  It was built by the  Batan(?) family.  There were –.

Interviewer:  Who were they?  What was their—   ?

Geraldine:  He built gas line, gas pipes or something and he only had one child and Kelly Crum is the grandson if that name means anything to anybody here in town.  But he was a grandson of Mr. Batan(?) .  His mother was born in that house.  And so, it was a house that everything was built  — [Tape fades out, buzzing; difficult to hear for about  2 minutes .]

Interviewer:  There are a lot of people with lovely homes who don’t open their doors they way you have.  And it lends itself to that.

Geraldine:  We’ve had chamber music there.   The living room is.. the acoustics are magnificent .  It’s just a fun place to be.

Interviewer:  Some of your children were married while –

Geraldine:  all of them –  Yeah.  All the ones in Columbus  were married there.  Laurie  was married there and Judy was married there and Stephen was married there.  I think I’ll have some water. Let me… may I just share this with you.  So also when our children had bar and bat mitzvahs  the Friday night before the bar mitzvah we always had dinner at our house, you know,  for out-of-town guests and some close family and then we… the children always had a song.  They make up a song and sing the song to the child, so that’s been a kind of tradition.

Interviewer:  That’s fun.  Hm-hm.

Interviewer:  It brings them together and they have to work together.

Geraldine:  That’s right.

Interviewer:  What do you remember in raising your children about stores that were in the community?  Maybe starting with some of the Jewish butcher shops, delis, bakeries –

Geraldine:  Well, I know we had a lot more than we have now.  Why, I tell you, we met … my mother came with me … when I was first married … to Columbus and she met Martin Godovsky and she told him that he was to give me the best meat, well-trimmed and first-cut lamb chops only and we’ve been a customer of Martin’s all the time that we’ve been in Columbus.  And it’s been delightful.

 Interviewer:  Martin Godovsky was one of a kind.

Geraldine:  Yes.  Butcher, supplier.  That’s for sure.  Yes.  He was wonderful.  He delivered food to our house.  Our children never thought you bought an individual can of anything because we always bought food by the case.  We bought tuna fish by the case, we bought Campbell’s tomato soup by the case, everything we bought by the case.

Interviewer:  Well, you consumed a lot of things —

Geraldine:  We did.  And for many years my children thought that Kleenex and toilet tissue also grew on our third floor because we always had cases of that up there.  When they went into housekeeping for themselves  they were surprised that you had to go out and buy those things.

Interviewer:  So that was a surprise.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  Oh, and the stores were Lazarus and there was no other store, and my children to this day remember the charge card number of Lazarus.  Isn’t that funny?

Interviewer:  You must have used it a lot.

Geraldine:  We used it a lot, because we used to call up at holiday time and our boys were husky.  So, I used to order, you know, three husky blazers in various sizes and gray pants and a white shirt and a blue shirt and a red tie.  So the boys had that for the holidays  because, not like today,  but  years ago  everybody used to shop just before the holidays to have brand new clothes.

So we used to go en masse and when I used to shop, I used to shop sometimes on sales for the girls’ clothing and I used to take it to camp when they went to camp and when I went for visitors’ day I would bring boxes and boxes of clothes I had purchased.  On the sales in June when we used to go in July – you know.  And so that’s when the got their winter coats and stuff.

Interviewer:  Hm-hm.  So you bought at the right time.

Geraldine:   I tried.

Interviewer:  You probably bought the sizes that would that would be  —

Geraldine:  Well, when we bought twelve pairs of shoes at a time in all sizes  because you needed  a pair for school and a pair for Sunday school.

Interviewer:  So that was another tradition.

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  Now Lazarus wasn’t the only store downtown.

Geraldine:  No.

Interviewer:  What was the other — ?

Geraldine:  That was the place that we went because I had to go someplace for convenience.  And you could find everything  there.  And when I shopped for myself, I shopped at the Union.    I enjoyed that, though.  I mean,  that was a grown-up place.

That was another department store or two that were on — Morehouse, Fashion and Madison.  But as I say, I went for convenience where I could buy quickly.

Interviewer:  Sure.  I can understand that.

Geraldine:  Holidays were special at Lazarus, too.

Interviewer:  Yes.

Geraldine:  And there were a lot of memories  of that.

Interviewer:  Right.  Right.

Geraldine:  And lunches in the tearoom.  We talked about that a lot in our family.

Interviewer:  Yes.

Interviewer:  The kids look forward …

Geraldine:   Yes.  That was special occasion time.

Interviewer:  Hm-hm.  How did you travel with eight children… eight people rather, six children and two adults?

Geraldine:  (laughs) It was very difficult.   We didn’t travel a lot.  We went to Cleveland and we had a station wagon.  We used to have dinner and we used to put the children in the station wagon.  Everybody would have blankets and pillows and we’d go up to Cleveland.

Interviewer:  Not just for the day —?

Geraldine:  No, for a weekend, if we went.  We… eight people could not invade any home for any length of time.

Interviewer:  No.  I can understand that.

Geraldine:  You know, so we used to go for short visits and we have very good friends, the Meizlishes, Arthur and  Marcie Meizlish family who had six children.  They were the only…. five children, I’m sorry.  We had six and they had five.  So they were the only home where we could go and we were the only home that they could go.  And when we traveled together, we used to look at ourselves and say, “You know, there are eleven children between the two of us.”

Interviewer:  Did you travel together as two families?

Geraldine:  No.  No, we never traveled as families.  Too many people.  We did go, as the children got older, we did go to London and we went places but it was very difficult.  It was very … We had to take three cabs, you know, in London, because everybody couldn’t fit into one so Eddie had to go in one with some of the children and I went in the other and then, you know, the older kids could go by themselves , because they couldn’t accommodate all of us.

Interviewer:  So.. but they had a lot of nice experiences in other.. at other types of venues.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  We’ve gone to Israel and we’ve gone to London and we went to Hawaii for several years at holiday time in the winter and everybody seems to have nice memories.

Interviewer:  That’s great.  That’s fun.  Sounds like a lot of fun.  As a youngster do you remember favorite movies or songs or anything you can tell us about how people were entertained?

Geraldine:  Once again, our family was so.. was the focal point.  My parents never… because we had such a big family, such a close family, I don’t remember a lot of friends.  My mom played Mahj, which I found I still had her set, recently.  But I don’t remember a lot of that kind of entertainment, that kind of thing –

Interviewer:  Movies, you might, probably have to movies—

Geraldine:  Yes, movies we used to go every Saturday afternoon but I don’t remember the movies,  I just remember the serials.  We used to have serials where…. And you come back next week and see… and see what happens and that sort of thing but we didn’t … it wasn’t an important part for some reason.  It was just a fun thing that we did periodically.  I did with friends.

Interviewer:  Do you remember how much it cost to go to a movie?

Geraldine:  Probably twenty-five or fifty cents, something like that.

Interviewer:  Yeah, we were just talking about that in our family recently .  I think so.  Yeah.

Interviewer:  How much bus fare or streetcar fare —-?

Geraldine:  I had a problem because I was always tall and you could ride the bus until you were ten or twelve maybe for a certain amount and then you had to pay the adult fare.  And I always had to prove that I was younger because I was a tall person.

Interviewer:  You looked older —

Geraldine:   I looked older.  And I was… I think it was ten cents, too, without a transfer and then you had to pay a transfer.  That I remember.

Interviewer:  Yeah, yeah.  Cleveland had a great transportation system —

Geraldine:  Yes.  We rode straight down Euclid Avenue or Carnegie.  We went to all the stores all the way from ________ all the way down to May Company and there was a whole line of stores…. You just.. you shopped.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  Do you have any collections of importance other than the ones you told us about … your artwork  and pictures and such and needlepoint ?

Geraldine:  No.  It was interesting.  It was interesting.  We… I just mentioned to Eddie last night and said, “You know we are really strange.” Because we don’t collect anything.  We really don’t.

Interviewer:  Not everybody does.

Geraldine:  Yes.  No.  But we really don’t do that.

Interviewer:  And you told us a little bit about how your family dressed and got ready for holidays – Yes.

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  -and so forth.  What schools did you attend in Cleveland?

Geraldine:   I … the elementary school was Chesterfield, which was in the city of Cleveland, and then when we moved I went to Taylor Road School in Cleveland Heights.  I went to Roosevelt Junior High School in —

Interviewer:  Cleveland?

Geraldine:  In Cleveland.   And I went to Cleveland Heights High, is where I graduated from.

Interviewer:  Um-hm.  How did you get to school?  How did you —–?

Geraldine:   I took two buses.  My mother didn’t drive so I took to Roosevelt I took two buses and to Heights High I took one  and to Taylor I walked because it was close-by.

Interviewer:  How long did it take you when you took two buses, do you remember?

Geraldine:  Oh,  probably a half hour to forty  minutes.  You had to wait.. it wasn’t a long bus ride but buses didn’t come that often.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  And in the wintertime

Geraldine:  you walked

Interviewer:  You walked and didn’t think anything about it.

Geraldine:   No.

Interviewer:  It’s pretty cold in Cleveland, Ohio, —

Geraldine:  And few of the mothers drove. I mean, few families had two cars.

Interviewer:  That’s right.  Do you remember when TV started?

Geraldine:  Um-hm.  Because Eddie and I were at Beverly Manor in our basement apartment and … I think I… I think my folks had TV at home.  But it was a very little set and I didn’t  have  …. I was a great radio  listener.  Loved the radio.  ‘cause as soon as I came home I watched.. . you know, “Backstage Wife” and “Stella Dallas” and all those wonderful programs.   So I wasn’t really interested but I do remember when we moved to Beverly Manor we got our own TV set when we saw Elvis Presley the first time.

Interviewer:  It was the early ‘fifties.

Geraldine:  Um-hm.  We saw … and they only showed him from the waist up.  I mean —[Lots of static on tape for about 90 seconds, discussing TV shows?] 

Interviewer:  There were a lot of great comedies.  Sure.

Geraldine:  Most of them seemed to involve Jewish actors or writers. Yes.

Geraldine:  They were wonderful entertainment.  They were.  And you just …. And they were clean and they were wholesome and they were good.  You know Sid Caesar and even Sullivan… Ed Sullivan, who, Ed Sullivan and …

Interviewer:  Things you could watch as a family.

Geraldine:  Yes. Yes.  And you came away feeling good.  You weren’t interested in somebody’s psychiatric problems and all that kind of stuff.

Interviewer:  It was pure entertainment.

Geraldine:  Yes.  It was pure entertainment.  Sunday night was a great night to watch TV.

Interviewer:  When you and Ed were raising a family, did you have opportunity to go to shows…theatre in Columbus?

Geraldine:  Very little, I’m sorry to say.  I’m really sorry that we didn’t … we didn’t take advantage of the cultural things as much as I would have liked to.  When we were in school in Cleveland, we used to go to Severance Hall once a year from  school and everybody who’d be…. …the orchestra we learned about prior to going and we learned about the music that we were going to hear.  And it was something that has stayed with me all these years. And I’m sad we didn’t do more of that… we didn’t… it was very hard to bring six children … they are eight years apart… there were six children in eight years, so it was rather difficult logistically–

Interviewer:  Sure.

Geraldine:  to move everybody. So didn’t do as much of that as I would like to have done.

Interviewer:  That.. as a couple, did you go anywhere much at all?

Geraldine:  Oh, we… I loved …not really cultural… I loved the circus.  So went to the circus a lot. In fact, my granddaughter who is coming in February , I’m going to take her to the ice capades.

Interviewer:  Oh, fun.

Geraldine:  But, but… I find that my grandchildren aren’t as excited about those things as I was because they see them on TV and really, they’re different –

Interviewer:  Different interests.

Geraldine:   Different interests, yeah.

Interviewer:  Do you remember what you paid for babysitters–

Geraldine:  Ah..

Interviewer:  — as you were raising—?

Geraldine:  Oh, it was terrible because when we got to, you know, two dollars an hour.. it was a lot of money.

Interviewer:  It was a lot at the time.  Yeah, and especially for six kids they probably charged a little more.

Geraldine:  Yes.  But we didn’t go out … to be very frank with you, we did not go out.  We did not go out that much and when we went out it was usually my mom came into town for something … something of that nature ‘cause  I really could not … by the time I got everybody ready for bed and bathed and… I was exhausted and we didn’t go… but what we did do, we did go out every Wednesday night for dinner.  The children had hamburgers, I had a lady who came in on Wednesdays and on Saturdays to help out. And she—

Interviewer:  She helped with the house care?

Geraldine:  Um-hm.  She gave the children .. they loved her dearly.  She just recently passed away.

Interviewer:  What was her name?

Geraldine:  Mary Jefferson.  She was delightful.  And so we.. the children had hamburgers on Wednesday nights.

Interviewer:  Where did you go?

Geraldine:  We went to The Top Restaurant, which to me was like a date, because it was dark and there was music.

Interviewer:  It’s still that way.

Geraldine:  Yes, yes.  And we went to The Top and even .. I used to go even after the ten o’clock bottle feeding, and we used to go at eleven o’clock.  Because there was usually a bottle somewhere in there to be fed so we… we tried to go out because we never had a chance to be by ourselves.

Interviewer:  You’re talking about just you and Ed?

Geraldine:  Just Eddie and I.  If we went out on the weekends, we always went out with another couple and always there was such a rush to get ready to be at a certain place at a certain time… so it was difficult.   It was very difficult.  So Wednesday night we went out whenever we could after the last baby was fed the last bottle for a while.  And we would go out to The Top, that was a great .. a great place.

Interviewer:  What about.. do you remember drive-ins…when drive-in restaurants really started?

Geraldine:  Not the restaurants, but the theatres.  That’s what we would do with the kids.  We would go to these drive-in theatres with the children because we used to put everybody in the back of the station wagon and we could watch a movie.  We didn’t do.. we didn’t eat a lot of fast food for some reason.  I cooked three meals a day, you know, for a minimum.  I know, six to eight people.  So we didn’t do any —

Interviewer:  I just remember that was the era when McDonalds—

Geraldine:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  –McDonalds and those type of places started.

Geraldine:  Yeah, right, right.  Right.

Interviewer:  The Beverly —  Yeah, well, ah, the Beverly and also Howard Johnson’s.  And then I would prefer to go to Howard Johnson’s on Broad and James.

Geraldine:  Hm-hm.  You know that’s where we would sit in the corner booth and everybody could sit at the table.

Interviewer:  That must have been a great gathering spot for the community, too.  Yes.

Geraldine:  Yes.  Then that’s where we went.

Interviewer:  What about activities at the Jewish Center as your children were growing up?

Geraldine:  Well, that was really a focal point.  I have to tell you that when I grad…. When we got married in August of ’53, the following summer I was a counselor at the JCC.  Leslie Wexner and I were counselors together.  And the JCC from then on really became a part of our lives because Eddie played basketball and he played baseball after we were married.. and it has been a godsend for us.  Our children went to Mrs. Kraus at Tifereth Israel.  I think Laurie went there for the first time for pre-school things but then she went to the Jewish Center and we have just.. we loved the Jewish Center ever since they built it.  It’s just a wonderful thing for our family.  My children went there through pre-school and activities and basketball and my dad enjoyed it very much.  So it has been.. it has been the entire family—

Interviewer:  Your dad was involved in activities there?

Geraldine:   He went to the health club a lot.  And so he… for the time that he was at… it was the Manor…. I forgot… he was.. he  used to walk over there and it was a great source of joy for him.  I really feel it’s the premier institution of the community because it brings everybody together regardless of affiliation, of philosophy, of dress, of height, of weight, of anything.

Interviewer:  Right. It’s a place where everybody can feel comfortable.  And –

Geraldine:  hey also have a great theatre department, to which — Yes, it’s coming back into its own.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  Yes, it is. So we cover the whole spectrum, so—

Interviewer:  Do you take   your grandchildren —

Geraldine:  Absolutely.

Interviewer:  –to activities?

Geraldine:  Yes, yes .  Yes.

Interviewer:  Do all your Columbus kids go to the … you did say where they go to school.

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  I’m thinking about the schools that they go to here in Columbus .

Geraldine:  Some went to Academy, some went to Bexley.

Interviewer:  What do you remember as far as cars that you’ve had through the years?  Do you remember the prices of cars?   I ______ estimation.

Geraldine:  We had our first car… Eddie did not know how to drive.  I taught Eddie to drive.

Interviewer:  Really?

Geraldine:  That was —  and when we were in college he bought a car from his uncle for, I think, I don’t know, a couple of hundred of dollars.  When we got married it was a big thing.  We bought a stripped-down dark green Chevrolet.  And my father had to give Eddie the last five hundred dollars for the car, however much it was.  And, then the year that I taught at Beverly… at Maryland Avenue School, I earned $2,300 .

Interviewer:  The year?

Geraldine:  The year.  And that was the year that we bought our first new car other than the green Chevrolet  because I needed a car and Eddie needed a car.  So that was going to be my car.  So it was a wonderful Pontiac.. a black and yellow Pontiac. And it was beautiful. And that was the last brand new car we bought until recently because Eddie always felt that the moment you drive a car off the lot it depreciates, so he always bought a car that had a few thousand miles on it.  So my car was the last car —

My whole … my whole salary went to my car. And that was it.

Interviewer:  Well, that was pretty exciting, though, for you to be driving —

Geraldine:  My car.

Interviewer:  –your own car.

Geraldine:  My own car.

Interviewer:  Prices sure have changed, haven’t they?  [They laugh].

Geraldine:  Yeah. I always try to interject prices because —

because it shows you a comparison –

Interviewer:  –yeah, we need groceries –

Geraldine:  -Yes.

Interviewer:  It’s unbelievable –

Geraldine:  Yes, yes. Right.

Interviewer:  — how they have changed even–

Geraldine:   Absolutely. Oh, yes.

Interviewer:  — after the last year.

Geraldine:   Oh yes.  Groceries have gone up immensely, and gasoline.  Terrible.

Interviewer:  Do you remember what gasoline was many years ago?

Geraldine:  Thirty-five cents a gallon or something.

Interviewer:  Right, there was just something on the TV about that.  Yeah.

Geraldine:  And now, oh, it’s 3.10, —

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Geraldine:  or something like that.  Um-hm.

Interviewer:  Those are changes.  What about your synagogue affiliation?  Can you tell us something about that?

Geraldine:  That was interesting, too, because when we were first married, my uncle Morris Polster came over and said, “Of course you will join Tifereth Israel.”  Because that’s the Hungarian synagogue. So we joined Tifereth Israel and we have been a member ever since.  So at different times we were more active than other times.  So we are not particularly active at the present time but that’s been our affiliation since we were married.

Interviewer:  Were your daughters Bat Mitzvah?

Geraldine:  Yes.  They were Bat Mitzvah on a Friday night.  Bat Mitzvah and everybody was Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah at Tifereth Israel.

Interviewer:  And now girls get Bat Mitzvah on Saturday morning as well.  What kind of background did Eddie come from in Dayton?

Geraldine:  Pretty similar to mineYes.  Very similar to mine.  He had an unfortunate experience inasmuch …his mother passed away when he was a week old– So he’s named after his mother.   So his aunt in Dayton and his grandmother raised him and he stayed in Dayton until he was about thirteen.   And after he was Bar Mitzvah he went to military school.. in Virginia.  And his father went to Richmond, Virginia and lived with his brother… his father’s brother.  So then from military school he came to Ohio State.

Interviewer:  So he had a different kind of upbringing—

Geraldine:   yeah, yes.

Interviewer:  –in terms of parents–.

Geraldine:  Yeah. Yeah. Right.

Interviewer:  But he got through it fine.

Geraldine:  Yeah, definitely.  Yeah.

Interviewer:  What  about memories of State of Israel.  How did you and Ed participate in and those kinds of activities?

Geraldine:  Um…

Interviewer:  I’m sure you visited many times.

Geraldine:  Yes, we went on missions and Eddie… and  our home was always open to the fund-raising activities and even today people come up and say, “ remember when.. you know, this time we came to your house and so on and we had a fund-raising meeting” so we have gone and we have supported  and some of our grandchildren have gone and it’s an important part of our lives.

Interviewer:  Do you know how many times you have traveled to Israel?

Geraldine:  Maybe .. maybe four or five, something… not recently. But, we’ll go back. I went .  I went a couple years ago because our daughter-in-law Michelle  Misshagieh was a Hartman Scholar and was taking a… had two weeks in Israel and she had a baby at the time.  So I went to take care of the baby and she went to her classes.  So we had a nice time in Israel during that time.

Interviewer:  Tell us about some of the… I know you have gone on some magnificent trips…you and Eddie.  Can you tell us about some of the places you have visited?  Around the world?

Geraldine:  Well, we went to  … we’ve gone to London…we’ve gone to Italy, we’ve gone to part of the Orient  which was China,  and our son Bruce spent a summer in Kyoto and we met him there and went to China, which was very interesting.  We went to…we had a wonderful trip.. went to India, went to Tibet, and went all the way across India and went up … and ended up in Israel.  It was a wonderful, wonderful trip.  And what we found out when we traveled … was people are very much the same.  It’s too bad that they just can’t get along.

Interviewer:  Okay. Let’s go back.  As much as you’ve traveled, you said you always look forward to —

Geraldine:   I always  –coming back home.  I always welcome being back home.  Columbus has been a wonderful city. It was wonderful and it’s a great place to bring up children.  We met a lot of wonderful people, had a lot of wonderful mentors — Sylvia Schecter and Janet Lehman, and Sarah Schwartz, were all important people in my life because when my children were very young they provided me with an outlet because Sylvia Schecter started a new B’naih B’rith chapter called Candlelight Number 888.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I remember that.

Geraldine:  And I was part of that young women’s group who were instrumental in beginning that and I was … I don’t know… the third president or something.  But it gave me a wonderful outlet to be with adults because I was with children all day long –.

Interviewer:  Sure.  –and  a way to give back to the community.

Geraldine:   It taught me an awful lot and she, along with Ben Mandelkorn, were really important people in a phase of my life that I did not know as a child.    Our family did not engage in community activities or civic things and it was very, very family centered when growing up.  So in Columbus it was neat to need to be involved  in the community and to have friends and mentors outside of my close family so it was … it proved to be a wonderful thing.

Interviewer:  Well… the mentors that you mentioned have been so instrumental in establishing the important facets of our communication

Geraldine:  Yes

Interviewer:  –Ben Mandelkorn of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and —

Geraldine:  He insisted he persisted he wouldn’t take no for an answer and got this going. Absolutely. His doing was very important and, you know, it was great and the Federation has had its ups and downs too, you know.  It was —

Interviewer:  I was going to ask you to describe your experiences with the organization.

Geraldine:  Yeah, well they’ve been really very positive because, as I say, it took me out of the milieu of young, young, young children.

Interviewer:  Sure.

Geraldine:   It gave me… I learned a lot.  I learned a lot about people, I learned a lot about how communities work.  I was able to give back—

Interviewer:  Great education, isn’t it?

Geraldine:  Wonderful.

Interviewer:  Yeah.

Geraldine:  Just wonderful.  And I have truly enjoyed it.  I remember that when I was living in Beverly Manor,  Betty Gordon came to solicit for the Federation and she asked me for twenty-five dollars to belong to Young Matrons.  I had never heard of anybody giving twenty-five dollars away.

Interviewer:  That’s a lot. A lot in my life, absolutely.  Never.

Geraldine:  So I talked it over with Eddie and he said, “Not this year, but maybe next year.”  So she came back the next year and I was able to give the twenty-five dollars and that is really what started … I became active in Federation and Young Matrons and just when I… when I’m …and it’s been a wonderful community experience.

Interviewer:  It’s nice  to know that twenty-five dollars was a lot then and it meant a lot to you to be involved in  giving

Geraldine:   Absolutely.  I never heard of anybody… my mother had a blue box we would drop coins..—into the blue box.  That’s right.  It was deductible.  Twenty-five dollars was unheard of.

Interviewer:  What about some of the other organizations?  Were you involved in … you’ve got that all written down. Yeah.

Interviewer: It’s a good thing you did because I know you’ve been very involved –

Geraldine:  Well, no. But the interesting thing was, too, that I always felt very close and my close loyalties are to the Jewish community.  But I thought it was important be involved in the general community, too. So, I did serve on the board of United Way and I did serve on several committees, you know.  And I thought that was good for the Jewish community as well because we need a voice and I think I would do it again.  I don‘t necessarily know that we would _____.  I was also president of Jewish Family Services  years ago and that was a wonderful hands-on experience, too and I loved that because at that time it was an organization whereby you saw the results of your efforts right away.  It was during the acculturation period and people were coming over and resettled and we had lots of experiences with that.  We might help people get their furniture, had people for dinner, you know, people coming over.

Interviewer:  They didn’t know the language or —

Geraldine:  They didn’t know the language.  No.  And one of the things when I traveled I really had such a great appreciation for these people because to go in a country where you can’t ask what time it is or  anything else is, and to realize that these people have come here.  They have to support their families, they have to make changes.  It gives them a great deal of respect.  They didn’t come into the situation like my family did, where they came to family.  They had great support systems .. a lot of these people just came.

Interviewer:  The communities that they came to, like shtetls in a way –

Geraldine:  Yes. Yes.  Because –

Interviewer:  –it gave them a support system. 

Geraldine:  Yeah. And then I was active in Federation on the board and education committee.. lots of committees.  And the Center, too.   I was active in the Center, was president of that as well.

Interviewer:  What else?

Geraldine:   I’d been asking about Eddie’s participation in organizations ‘cause I’m hoping that he was planning to be interviewed as well–  I think he will.  I think he will.

Interviewer:  Yeah. 

Geraldine:  Cause this was a gift from my children for my seventy-fifth birthday.  And I was really very pleased and very proud that that was what they chose.

Interviewer:  Yeah, I think it’s important for me to interject at this time that I think it was you that really started the idea of giving gifts of interviews for  —

Geraldine:  Yeah.   Well, I thought it was important.  I really think that with the mobility of society today, few people feel connected to anything.  And I feel it’s so important that you have roots someplace and that you can look back and say, “Oh, you know, this happened here, she did that there.. and this is where I came from.”

So that’s why pictures are important to me and my household and family histories are important to me and that sort of thing.

Interviewer:  I sure had experience and I.. I really marvel with how much you have done.  You have raised a lovely family,.  I don’t think we talked about your wedding.  You told us you got married – Yes.

Interviewer:  Where and how and when?

Geraldine:  Well, okay.  We were engaged that December.. we were married the following… the following August, August 30th, 1953.  We were married at the Wade Park Manor —

Interviewer:  In Cleveland.

Geraldine:   In Cleveland.  My parents  asked me if I wanted to have a large wedding and just a reception or I wanted to have a small wedding and then a dinner.  And I chose the big wedding with the reception.  Because we had lots of friends and I wanted them to share with me so we were married there and then–

Interviewer:  Do you remember how many guests there were?

Geraldine:  There were probably 150 people.

Interviewer:  Which was a big wedding.  A big wedding.

Geraldine:  Absolutely.  And then Eddie and I had dinner by ourselves at the… and my mother, I remember, decided to have trays brought in to her home for the out-of-town guests.  But we were not there.  But that’s what they did –

Interviewer:  After the wedding.

Geraldine:  After the wedding.  Just a last minute kind of thing.  And then the following day we came back and my mother had … the out-of-town guests came for lunch.  And then we flew to New York, which was the first time that either Eddie or .. Eddie and I had been in an airplane.  We went to New York for our honeymoon and .. there too, I was interested in the local color and the uniqueness of New York so I was looking for the artists.  I always think they had artists on the street and so we were walking down the street and Eddie saw this little old lady carrying a bag and a babushka -Um-hm.  – and he leans over and we often think if we speak loudly to somebody that they will understand you.

Interviewer:  Whether it’s a different language or not —

Geraldine:  That’s right.  So he went over and he said, “Could you please tell me where the sidewalk painters are?”  And she looked up at him and she said, “Sonny, they haven’t painted the sidewalks around here for years.”

Interviewer:  That’s great.

Geraldine:  You know that … that showed how naïve we were.  We were… we also stayed at the St. Moritz Hotel and we stayed in one of the lower level rooms because they were less expensive than the ones way up and in the middle of the night you hear this clopping. Couldn’t image what they were building .. what they were doing.  We look out of the window and we see horses and carriages.

Interviewer:  Oh.  Gallopping.

Geraldine:  Galloping around.  So, you know, we had fun.  We also went to the Russian Tea Room and we thought again we would see something authentic and wonderful and marvelous and our waiter was from Toledo.

Interviewer:  Oh, gosh.  So —  Yeah.  -__________ than they are.  But it sounds like you still – how long was your —

Geraldine:  A week..  We spent a week there. And then Eddie had to go… and then I came home and Eddie had to go to Canada to get some education life insurance.  For Canada Life.  So he took me to Cleveland and he left me there and my mother was so embarrassed she wouldn’t let me go out of the house for a week because she thought the neighbors would think –

Interviewer:  For a new bride to be deserted.

Geraldine:  That’s it exactly.

Interviewer:  That’s funny.

Geraldine:  Isn’t that, though.

Interviewer:  What… we are going to stop now because we are at the end of this tape and—okay.

–end of side B, tape 1.

Interviewer:  Okay.  We’re on side A, tape 2.  And you were telling us that after the week..

Geraldine:  after the week of the honeymoon .. Eddie had to go  off to – Canada

Interviewer:  -to Canada and you were deserted and _________ at home…

Geraldine:  My mother would not let me out of the house because she thought everybody would talk and say I was deserted and I assured her he would come home..  And he did.  And then we came to Columbus.

Interviewer:  He probably called you a lot, did he?

Geraldine:  Yes.  Yes.  He had some fun experiences. I hope he’ll get a chance to tell you about some of the things that happened to him in Canada.  I kind of wanted to bring that call thing in because  I’m thinking about the difference in today when the kids use cell phones and are always texting.  Well, I called my mother every day.  And the only discussion that Eddie and I ever had was, he couldn’t understand why I called my mother every day.

Interviewer:  Well, it was a big time… long distance .

Geraldine:  Yes, but the reason was that after you have the second or third child no one is interested that he threw up that day, or who got a new tooth.  Even he wasn’t that interested.  So my mom was always interested.  So I had to give her the update on what was happening with all the children so that was… our telephone bills were quite expensive in those first few years.

We used to wait for the certain hour – yes.

Interviewer:  –to make a call.

Geraldine:  And, you know, that was a whole different experience, being on the telephone.  I think that we need to.. we are going through this presidential election business for two years.  Yes.

Interviewer:  Do you have any memories of past presidents?

Geraldine:  Yeah.  I grew up with President Roosevelt and I think I first became a cynic when I realized he’d turned the Jews away from our shores.

Interviewer:  But you didn’t know that until–?

Geraldine:  Until I was an adult because he was wonderful, he was marvelous, he did all these wonderful things and he was my president.  And I remember that I was riding my bicycle down the street when I heard he had died.  And it was really very traumatic for me but I really.. I was so sorry to hear about all his fancies and all his.. all the things that he did that I was not aware of as a child because –

Interviewer:  To view him negative –

Geraldine:   it did really leave me very, very cynical.  And I remember where I was when President Kennedy died.  I was.. my son Mark was having his tonsils out and so we stayed in the hospital overnight.  So the only thing we could see on TV was the funeral.  You know, so we watched that, but Mark had his tonsils out then and that’s where I was for that then

Interviewer:  And presidents through the years, you kind of just

Geraldine:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  –take them for what they are.

Geraldine:  Yes.  You know what, I feel very grateful now that we are in a presidential year because regardless of who wins, we are not going to have tanks in the streets, we are not going to have people running around with guns.  We are all going to go on pretty much as we have before and I really thought that was one of the strengths of living here.  There isn’t going to be any…  I don’t know if its democracy or it’s just what we have .. that the transition is not felt by everybody  immediately in the form of violence if your candidate doesn’t win and the worst thing is what we see on TV

Interviewer:  you know, nasty things.

Geraldine:  But we are so.. so very fortunate

Interviewer:  Do you think that the conversations are … during these debates have gotten pretty rough, much more rough than they were in the past years?

Geraldine:   I’m sure they concentrated that much on the conversations in past years with —  I think people are analyzing too much. I just think that people say things and everybody is blowing things out of context … if Obama slighted, Hillary  by turning around when she extended her hands …. It’s ludicrous because —

Interviewer:  There wasn’t much time to deal with —

Geraldine:  No.

Interviewer:  – you know, canvassing and trying to get votes–.

Geraldine: –and waste so much time.  But this, too, we analyze .. I  have a feeling that in general in society… we analyze things to death.  And sometimes we analyze to paralyze.  I mean we don’t move because you see all the various viewpoints so you can’t move.

Interviewer:  Have you ever traveled to countries where you have seen more … very deplorable situations? 

Geraldine:  Yes.  India was that way.  India was that way, and also Africa was that way.  But you know, what I found even in those countries that are deplorable, there are people who look content, they are surviving… there was a hierarchy.  You know, when you get more than three people you have the leader and you have followers and I found that in India too, people who were so-called the Untouchables—they sweep the streets.  They  sweep the streets every day and they sweep the same place every day ‘cause each one has a job that you do it from point A to point B.. and they sweep the streets and then a goat comes by and it messes everything up and they sweep again and that’s just their life and they believe that that’s their destiny, that they can’t do anything to change it.

Interviewer:  So it’s acceptable –?

Geraldine:  It’s their religion.  I don’t know if it’s acceptable, but they have accepted it.   And in Africa we saw the people living in mud huts, walking barefoot, and if a man really likes his guest of honor, he’ll offer him his wife for the night.  I mean things like that .. are still going on .. it’s really—

Interviewer:  As you are telling me this, I am thinking about our children.. our grandchildren, rather, and we are hopeful they can have experiences where they can go to other countries and be able to realize what we have here.. how wonderful it is.

Geraldine:  Absolutely.  Because we take so much for granted when it’s under our nose.  Well, it’s interesting because I found my older grandchildren have realized that other people don’t live the kind of family life.. that we live as well.  Once again, in Columbus we are like a family a rather homogeneous group.  Our friends are friends we’ve had for many years so our children have grown up that way.  But I had an occasion whereby one of my grandchildren went to somebody else’s house for a holiday and they said, “Oh gram, it was very different than at your house.  People were anxious to get away from the table and go do other things, they weren’t interested in being together”   and it was interesting.

Interviewer:  Can you elaborate a little bit on your Passover Seders—[She laughs]. — that I’ve heard about?

Geraldine:  Well, we try to do something that is going to be interesting to the children.  One year we had a tent.. we built a tent  in the hallway.  We all sat around on pillows and everybody came in robes or pajamas or something of that nature so it looked interesting and that’s when we told the story.  And everybody came around … we had a script .. and everybody came around and told different things.  It …it was a lot of fun.  We really enjoyed that and we … Several years ago I put … I went to the Women’s Seder, which I thought was wonderful that the Federation did, and I learned about putting an orange on the Seder plate.  So I put an orange on the Seder plate every year and the orange signifies that women were going to become rabbis… were going to become ordained.  There was a rabbi who said, “When a woman becomes a rabbi, we’ll have an orange on the Seder plate.”

Interviewer:  Oh. That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard that one before.

Geraldine:  So we have an orange.  We also have Miriam’s bowl, which we learned at the Seder is like a healing kind of thing.

And so we have a pretty dish that was my mother’s that I put water in and then I put sprinkles on it, you know, so it looks a little bit different .  So we have that and this.. it’s just that I try to incorporate things in the…that were my mother’s.  That’s the time I take out her things and we have it.  And the children all make pillows, you know, throughout the years at their preschool and everything else so everybody has their pillow.  And they also made Seder plates in various stages of… and I have all those.  So what I do, I take out all these things that they have from a hundred years ago and all the Hagaddas they made in pre-school.  So they have fun, looking through those things, too.  So-

Interviewer:  For the story of Passover, as Ed must lead it … you all use the same Haggadah –

Geraldine:  We’ve gone through a lot of them.  You know they have evolved through the years.  But last year we went back to the old Manischewitz …that small one.  The kids wanted something historic.  We had gone through the ones that emphasized Russian Jewry and all their problems and a lot of  those over the years… but we came back and it was very interesting… Maxwell, it’s not Manischewitz.. Maxwell —

Interviewer:  Maxwell House –.

Geraldine:  Yes.  –Coffee.   Haggadah.  And that’s the one we used last year and the children kind of enjoyed it.  We’re now adults and its different.  You know, when they’re children, you put frogs on the table and, you know,  things like that to make it interesting but now that they’re adults we can maybe get into maybe some better conversation.

Interviewer:  Well, it’s great learning experience..learning about Passover.

Geraldine:  Yes.  Learning about the importance of family.  And sharing.  You find out what’s  important to the children, too, because if you ask them good questions, you see what they’re thinking.

Interviewer:  And that’s what Passover especially should be about –.

Geraldine:  Yeah.  That’s right.  Asking questions and getting answers.

Interviewer:  Yes. That’s it.

Geraldine:  And trying to come up with satisfactory answers.

Interviewer:  Right.  Right.

Interviewer:  Do you have memories of during World War II — what was going on in terms of the Holocaust and the army, the United States Army and soldiers  —

Geraldine:   Yeah.  Well, I loved all the songs.  I just recently heard on television the Army Air Force song, and the Navy song and that… that I remember vividly.  In high school we had sororities and I remember in our sorority meetings that Eddie Razner, his name is not.. the Razners from Cleveland who … His nickname was Eddie but now I notice he’s an oder man, it’s not Eddie anymore.  But he used to come and tell us what was happening, you know, in Europe and so on.  And we collected money, I remember, as part of the sorority thing.  So we were very much aware, as I say, these cousins… this is when I was older.. but as a youngster these cousins that came over… just before the war when it was just brewing—So.. so they told you what life was like there–

–because we didn’t hear a lot about it – No, and … when we went to Israel on one of our trips we went to the kibbutz that had the Warsaw Ghetto illuminated  and it showed how.. how that situation went and how they came in and so on.  And along the walls they had pictures of the people behind the barbed wire.  And there was a little girl there who looked exactly like me when I was a little girl, with black curls, and just looked very much like me.  You know, I thought very often but for the grace of God that could have been me.

Interviewer:  Could have been you.

Geraldine:  Yes.

It really touches your heart—

Geraldine:  It really does.  It really does.  Israel has done a fantastic job with showing us all these —

Interviewer:  Yes, that’s right.  That’s right.

Geraldine:  –educational … fortunately the youngsters have opportunity – They do now

–through Federation and other —

Geraldine:  Yes.  My children have gone, Arie has gone.

 Interviewer:  And during the war, do you have memories of .. during the war–?

Geraldine:   I have a cousin who was in the war.  He was stationed in Fort Worth, he was the youngest child of the family who perished in the Holocaust,  was stationed in Fort Worth, Texas, and I remember as a little girl writing him letters and he was just… he was seven or eight years older than I, maybe… and he wrote me.  He was a very handsome man, who was dressed in uniform, he sent me a picture and all that.

He was kind of a hero— He was wonderful. And I was going through my closets and I save everything .. every, every every thing…I have every piece of paper that a child ever brought home..  in a box.  And I was going through these pictures and I found letters that he had written me and I sent them back to him.  And it was really a very thrilling experience I had.  He was in the Army and I had an uncle that was in the Navy.

And so I had pictures and I had letters and I sent them back to their families now so I thought…  It was fun.

Interviewer:  Um-hm. You are a saver–

Geraldine:  I am a saver.

Interviewer:  It’s also a good thing you have a house where you have room to do that–

Geraldine:  That’s the only reason because no one wants those things anymore.  I asked my children to please take the boxes.  I said “You have to throw them away when you’re done with them.  I can’t throw anything away.

Interviewer:  I can understand that.  I never could throw a picture away–

Geraldine:  No.  Yes it’s a part of you.

Interviewer:  Yeah.  I can appreciate that.  Yes.

Interviewer:  I know what meaning it has to you, I can appreciate that.  Do you remember after the war.. the excitement at the end of the war?

Geraldine:  Yes. I was… I remember the beginning .. I remember December 7, 1941, because my parents were planning a big party and they had the radio turned off at the time because they were planning this big party.  And everybody came in.. to the party, very sad.  And we didn’t know what had happened.  And they had bombed Pearl Harbor.  So, December 7th, 1941 will always be.. you know an important –

It was on a Sunday —  Yeah.  And they had a party and so I do remember and … The Second World War was.. was… I lived through these cousins more than anything else.  So when the end of the war came, Eisenhower was a big hero, until I found out about him too.  It’s not good, we shouldn’t know all these things.

No.  You want to know the good parts.

Geraldine:  Yes.  That’s it.  There was something good about it.  Of course.  Of course.  Yes, and there’s a shady side, too – And we don’t have to know that. I mean that doesn’t have to be public, I don’t really think.  But—

Interviewer:  And now we know it even more about what our leaders do in office –

Geraldine:  Yes.  Yes.  I don’t know who would want to run today.

Interviewer:  I’ve said that often.   Yeah.

Geraldine:  I’m glad nobody has ever really asked my husband to be president.

That’s right.  I would have to turn them down.

Interviewer:  Yes.  [They laugh]

Interviewer:  Well, I think you’ve given us a lot of great information.  Are there any other issues or  topics you want to deal with?

Geraldine:  No.  I just think that my children should know that we thought Columbus was a great place.  We are ever grateful we decided to stay here and that I hope that they… whatever community they come into, that they will be contributors.  Because I think that each one of them has a lot to contribute.  You know everybody makes mistakes and some people go back to redo an awful lot of things in their life but I think that shouldn’t hold anybody back from continuing to do —

Geraldine:  Go on with life.  There is still good left.  That’s it.

Interviewer:  You and Ed certainly have been great mentors and your philosophy of life is beautiful –

Geraldine:   I hope so.

Interviewer:  –and hopeful that it will continue –

Geraldine:  I hope so.

Interviewer:  And, on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society, I want to thank you personally and on behalf of the organization.  You  have been very generous with your time and–

Geraldine:  Well, you have, too.  You were a great interviewer.  We are very fortunate to have you.

Geraldine:  Well this is very important to me.  If you don’t have history –it helps to set the path for the future.. the good or the bad.

Interviewer:  That’s right.

Geraldine:  There are bad things and you don’t have to make those mistakes again

Interviewer:  —That’s right.

Geraldine:  You don’t want to take them into the future

Interviewer:  That’s right.

Geraldine:   That’s right and then there’s only one path.  You can’t go back and pick it up.

Interviewer:  But you’ve also been fortunate because you had lot more conversation with your parents apparently –

Geraldine:  Yes.

Interviewer:  Especially with the kind of extended family –

Geraldine:  Yes.  It was important . Yeah.

Interviewer:  Because a lot of us were limited.  Our parents were too busy with what they had to do

Geraldine:  Sure.  That’s right.  It was a different—

Interviewer:  Well, it was too sad.  I mean –

Geraldine:  And  you didn’t talk.  People were very private.  That’s right.  They didn’t talk about things as openly.

Geraldine:  ‘Cause lot of it was so sad.  No, you never mentioned an illness, you know.  You didn’t… you didn’t mention—Suffered privately.

Geraldine:   In families, I don’t know how… we have to find moderation.  Today everything, you know, comes out into the open and you know more than you want to know at times.  I’ll give that to you.

Interviewer:  Thank you very much.