This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded on September 17, 2007 as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project. The interview is being recorded at the Melton Community Center Building, 1175 College Avenue. My name is Peggy Kaplan and I am interviewing Marvin Grossman. This interview is being made possible by P. J. and Stan Maybruck and Bobbie and Dick Kohn in honor of Marvin’s 80th birthday. Marvin, would you please state your full name.
Grossman: Marvin Jack Grossman.
Interviewer: And is this “Grossman” the original name in the Old
Grossman: That is something we really don’t know for sure. We think
that our name in the Old Country was Sherman.
Interviewer: Sherman, spelled?
Interviewer: Okay. How do you suppose it came from Sherman to Grossman?
Grossman: I understand my grandfather, when he was met at the docks at Ellis
Island, a Mr. Grossman met him. It was the belief at that time that you had to
be a relative in order to get in. So therefore my grandfather took the name of
Grossman who had met him at the dock and that’s what we came in with.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you have a Jewish name?
Grossman: My Jewish name is Muttle or actually, yeah Muttle
Interviewer: And would that be spelled M-U-T-T-L-E, Muttle?
Grossman: I believe.
Interviewer: Okay. Do you know who you were named for?
Grossman: Honestly I don’t remember. I know one, the Jack was after a
relative out of Detroit, Michigan and Marvin, I honestly don’t remember who I
was named for.
Interviewer: And what was your mother’s name?
Grossman: My mother’s name was Rose Dolmatz. That was her maiden name.
Interviewer: And you spell Dolmatz . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. And so Dolmatz was her maiden name?
Grossman: That was my mother’s maiden name.
Interviewer: Okay. Do you, did you know her parents, your grandparents?
Grossman: Yes I did. Zalman and Gittle . . . .
Grossman: Gittle Dolmatz.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Gittle would be G-I-T-T-L-E?
Grossman: I believe.
Interviewer: Okay. And what country were your grandparents born in?
Grossman: From Russia.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: Batik, or actually I can’t remember the exact name. I may have
written it down on there. I got it from my brothers.
Interviewer: And your mother? Was she born in this country?
Grossman: My mother was born in New York City. My father also was born in,
actually Newark, New Jersey.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you know how your grandparents got to this country?
Grossman: They, my grandparents, I don’t know exactly who brought them in.
I do know they came through Ellis Island. I do know also which is very unusual,
that my two grandparents on both sides knew each other in Europe and that’s
the way my mother and father got together. My father actually was heading to
France when he was in World War I in the Navy and stopped off in New York and
visited their friends at that time and that’s how my mother and my father got
Interviewer: Was their marriage a shiddach?
Grossman: I don’t think so but it was a known thing from both ends of the
family and everybody seemed to be very happy about it.
Interviewer: And your father’s full name?
Grossman: My father’s name was just Benjamin Grossman.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And you say his parents were also from Russia?
Grossman: That is correct.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Now did the grandparents come to this country at the
Grossman: I think there may have been some years difference between them, not
a lot. But the my father’s grandparents were in New Jersey and then migrated
to Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: What brought them to Columbus?
Grossman: It was just the type of work they had. My grandparents actually
stood on market. They did produce and vegetables on the Central Market in
downtown Columbus and that’s the way they made their living here in the city.
My father actually used to sell what they call generators to farmers which was
new at that time and this was, I would say from 1915 to 1920, when my father got
Interviewer: Was there family here? What made them choose Columbus, Ohio?
Grossman: I really have no idea what really seemed to make my father’s
parents come to Columbus, Ohio other than the fact that they had other relatives
that were living here in Columbus and when you have a relative around, it seems
to make it easier on the family to establish themselves.
Interviewer: Did your parents, when you parents came to this country or when
your parents, they knew each other in Russia?
Grossman: That is correct.
Interviewer: They came here?
Grossman: When I say my parents, my grandparents knew each other.
Grossman: But my mother and father did not know each other.
Interviewer: Did not know, so how did they meet?
Grossman: They had met when my dad was being transferred in the Navy from
this country to being shipped overseas to France by ship and he went through New
York City. At that time he met his parents’ friend which was my mother’s
parents. And that’s how the two of them got together at that time.
Interviewer: So he went off to . . . .
Interviewer: France, and then he . . . .
Grossman: During the World War I.
Interviewer: came back here?
Grossman: Came back and met my mother again.
Interviewer: Looked her up again?
Grossman: That’s correct. And the two of them got married in 1920 and that’s
when my mother moved to Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Tell me a little bit about your father’s business.
Grossman: My father actually when he got married went into at that time was
called the shmateh business or textile business and what they did is sort
out old clothing and to woolens and mattresses and things like that at the very
beginning in the 20s. After he was in that they started to then expand out into
the waste paper business, handling corrugated, newspaper, high-grade papers and
things like that. And this took them up into the 30s. And then unfortunately
there was a recession in 1929 and my dad actually had to go out and, he was in
partners originally with his brother-in-law, Joe Romanoff, to start off with in
the 20s. In the 30s he had to go off on his own and he started Grossman and Sons
at that time and we actually have been in the business here in Columbus for over
75 to 80 years.
Interviewer: Wow. Now you mentioned the company collected waste paper and
products. What did you do with that?
Grossman: All right, these, the waste paper that we collected we sorted them
out to corru- gated, newspaper, high-grade for mill consumption. This actually
went to waste paper mills and they made corrugated boxes out of it, other
newspaper out of it, insulation out of it, and things such as that.
Interviewer: It was like a recycling?
Grossman: That’s correct. But at that time it was called the junk business.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And you talked about textiles.
Grossman: Textiles was old clothing and we would sort it out into wiping
cloths and usable clothing that could be shipped to the Third World countries
such as Africa and other countries like that. And we did that for many, many
Interviewer: So the clothing that you collected was sorted and the usable was
sent to people who could use it and the unusable became . . . .
Grossman: Wiping cloths and textiles that were used in industries such as the
automobile industry, any other manufacturing plants where we actually would need
wiping cloths to clean the machinery and wipe up everything.
Interviewer: Is the business still active now?
Grossman: Actually the business is still very active now only but in the
waste paper end of it here in Columbus. My brother Herbie and myself had the
business and sold it out in 1995 at which time both he and myself did retire.
The textile business was sold to a company out of Cleveland, Ohio and then moved
to one of the southern states. My middle brother Herb Grossman, his son is
handling a textile operation in the Carolinas today and the actually waste paper
end of it was sold out to Jefferson Smurfit at the time we did, which is now
called Stone Smurfit Company and they are the largest recyclers in the world.
Interviewer: Back in the very beginning when your father first started the
business, did your mother work with him?
Grossman: No she always was a housewife. She, my mother was like a bookkeeper
for her brother in New York City who was in the dress business for many, many
years and she was like an accountant working with her older brother. And then
when she moved to Columbus she did become strictly a housewife and just raised
the three boys. I have an older brother Arnold, middle brother Herbert, and
myself, Marvin, and we were the three brothers and it’s really ironic that my
dad had the junk business at the time and he always, he never demanded, but he
expected the three of us boys to go in the business. Actually during World War
II or when it started, my two older brothers enlisted into the services. My
oldest brother was a Signal Corps operator and my middle brother was in the
actual Air Force and all of us actually were in a business that we could have
been exempt, my father could exempt the three of us boys, but none of us wanted
to. We wanted to do our part as being Americans and things like that and we
wanted to go into the Army at that time and do the service for our country and
then come back.
Interviewer: So Marvin did you enlist in the military?
Grossman: Actually I did not. I tried to when I graduated high school into
the Navy and my eyesight was not good enough to enlist then and they rejected
me. So I decided to go on to Ohio State. While I was at Ohio State I was drafted
into the Army. Now I had two older brothers that had been in the service and
they seemed to know their way around and they instructed me, “Marvin, don’t
enlist in anything. Don’t volunteer for anything and you’ll be a happier
soldier.” So actually what happened, I actually was drafted. I was put in
the Medical Corps. How they ever did that I have no idea. We took our training
at Camp Crowder, Missouri and then back to Washington, D.C. at Walter Reed
General Hospital for training as a Medical Lab Technician and then from there on
to Coral Gables, Florida where I was with a rehabilitation hospital.
Interviewer: So you never left this country?
Grossman: No I was always in service right within the States here.
Interviewer: And how long were you in the service?
Grossman: Just one year. That’s all I was in. And that came about due to
the fact that I was in Ohio State at the time I was drafted and they did, after
the World War II came to an end, allow people that were in school to go back to
school, which I did.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And your two brothers, do they live here in Columbus?
Grossman: Yes both my brothers lived in Columbus. We were all three born in
Columbus at Grant Hospital and grew up in Columbus and this is where we made our
Interviewer: Uh huh. And Marvin did Herb and Arnie go into the business, the
Grossman: Yes they did.
Interviewer: All three of the brothers. . . .
Grossman: All three of the . . . .
Interviewer: followed the father’s business?
Grossman: Yeah and actually like he didn’t demand it or anything. He just
expected that the three of us boys and we all did and our business really
flourished under the three boys as we grew after World War II.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Marvin, how far back can you trace your family. You’ve
mentioned your grandparents. Can you go further?
Grossman: I really can’t. I know that we had, I honestly don’t know,
Bedicia, that was the name of the city in Russia that my two grandparents came
from but I can’t go any further back than that.
Interviewer: So you’re saying the word “Bedicia”?
Interviewer: Okay. Aunts and uncles?
Grossman: My, we had quite a few aunts and uncles here. My father’s family
had, I’m trying to think, about five sisters. My dad was the oldest boy. He
had an older sister and then he had another brother, two other brothers and
about three other sisters here in the city of Columbus.
Interviewer: Big family?
Grossman: Right. So they grew up here and we knew those fairly well. My
mother, being since I’m the youngest of the boys, used to take me back to New
York until I was about six to eight years old, each year, to visit with my
grandparents there. My grandparents from New York did come to Columbus a few
times to visit their daughter and my mother had another sister and another two
brothers out of New York. But here that’s about both sides of the family.
Interviewer: Can you tell me any names of aunts and uncles?
Grossman: Well when you say names, like . . . .
Interviewer: Who did the aunts . . . .
Grossman: The Barnett family was here which, we’ll start actually really
with the oldest sister was Romanoff family was here in Columbus.
Interviewer: She, she married a Romanoff?
Grossman: The oldest sister married a Romanoff.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: And then the next, my dad was next to her. Then came Aunt Lena who
married a Barnett and they grew a fairly large family here in Columbus which are
no longer living here. Then there, I, he had a younger brother by the name of
Lewis Gross- man. He had a couple girls that lived here in Columbus and then the
youngest brother was Harry and he actually became a veterinarian and he moved to
Detroit, Michigan and had six children. So we have quite a number of people in
Interviewer: Uh huh. Did any of the aunts, uncles or family join your
Grossman: No. I should say just so, one of the boys by the name of Murray
Barnett worked for us for probably 20 years or so.
Interviewer: Do you have relatives still in Europe?
Grossman: I don’t know of any that are alive or living or any that they
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: None that I’m aware of.
Interviewer: Where did you live growing up?
Grossman: Okay I grew, I was born on 844 Seymour Avenue. Also my brother
Herbie was born at 844 Seymour Avenue. My brother Arnold was born on Whittier
Street and then they moved to Seymour. We lived on Seymour Avenue for over 25
years and then we moved to Broadleigh Road, lived there for about another, I
would say 15 years, and then at that point I got married.
Interviewer: Okay Marvin, you just mentioned that you were getting married.
Interviewer: To whom?
Grossman: I married a Harriet Kessler from Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: Okay, now let’s go back just a little bit. You told me where
you lived when you were growing up. What schools did you go to, elementary and
then high school.
Grossman: Elementary was Fairwood Elementary School, Roosevelt Junior High
School and then East High School, which I graduated from.
Interviewer: And when you went to Elementary School, how did you get to
Grossman: Walked there.
Interviewer: And who did you walk with?
Grossman: Walked with some friends of myself. To this day, unfortunately, one
of my oldest, dearest friends just passed away, David Schwartz, and we used to
actually meet on the corner and the two of us used to walk on to elementary
school with another very dear friend of ours by the name of Dan Stone. Danny has
since moved to Florida. But we have quite a number of boys that we grew up with
that have kept in touch with each other and it was a very, very good childhood
and growing up, especially going to Fairwood Elementary school, Roosevelt Junior
High School and then to East High School.
Interviewer: Did you have any favorite teachers during your school life?
Grossman: Well you always have some teachers that you like or you feel you
learn a lot from. I remember in Mathematics, Mrs. Hare who was a great
Mathematics teacher. I do remember her from elementary school. The other
schools, you know, at this time I really don’t remember that well from junior
high and senior high school. The teachers really are sort of foggy to me at this
Interviewer: And while you were growing up, what special memories do you have
such as any favorite family stories?
Grossman: Oh I just never really, I’m trying to think of any particular
family stories. I do remember, which I liked a lot, the Grossman family used to
get together with all the relatives, aunts, uncles, and meet, say like at Old
Man’s Cave. I do remember that as a little boy growing up. Later on I do
remember when I’m still very young, you know, six, seven, eight, ten years
old, going up to Cedar Point at Lake Erie. Also in growing up with my friends
and things like that, I loved going out to Buckeye Lake and they used to have
really top bands in the country come there and we enjoyed dancing and some of
the Jewish community here, we had great dancers that used to sort of perform out
there and I do remember that as a young boy growing up here in Columbus, Ohio.
Interviewer: Do you remember the name of the ballroom?
Grossman: One was called the Crystal Ballroom. The other one was the Pier
Ballroom and I participated in all of them.
Interviewer: And growing up, were there any games that you and your friends
or your brothers played?
Grossman: Oh actually I myself was not really very athletically-inclined. We
used, you know, love to ride our bicycles and things like that and I was lucky
enough especially when I got into high school, I was able to really start
driving at a very young age. I did start driving when I was about 12 years old.
It wasn’t allowed particularly although there was no law against it at that
time. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed driving. And I was lucky enough when I
went to high school to actually acquire my brother’s cars since both of them
had already gone off to World War II so I had a car and we were able to operate
that way and that’s how we actually really traveled the state and went to many
different places and I always enjoyed traveling and even to this day, I’m 80
years old and I enjoy traveling a lot by motorized equipment. And what I mean by
that, I started camping really right after we got married and we are doing it to
this day and . . . .
Interviewer: What kind of camping did you do in the beginning?
Grossman: Well actually, you know, always with like a trailer. We started off
with a trailer and went camping first actually it was out of state. It was in
Michigan. And we did that in the Michigan area. I didn’t know if my wife would
enjoy it or not. We had at that time two little children. We took them with us
and we seemed to get along very well so we kept advancing. We started off with a
16-foot Shasta Trailer then graduated to an 18-foot Shasta Trailer which was
self-contained. And then on to a 30-foot Airstream Trailer in 1964.
Interviewer: When you say “trailer”, is this something that you’re
Grossman: Pulling behind an automobile that we had at the time.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: In the 50s, 60s and 70s, cars were strong enough and stout enough
to actually pull trailers such as that. And we as a family, we had four
children, and as a family Harriet and I have been lucky enough to travel all of
the lower 48 states and also have been in all the provinces of Canada from the
east coast to the west coast.
Interviewer: That’s fun.
Grossman: So we, and we’ve done this as a family.
Interviewer: That’s wonderful.
Grossman: And what’s really wonderful, when the children get together, they
have memories of growing up and doing this and also they themselves enjoy this
type of things. And we have campers that we actually go out with. Next week or I
should say next month, my two youngest boys and Harriet and myself, we’re
going on to Florida by campers and then from there on down to Key West for a
special event down there.
Interviewer: Great. I love Key West. Going back a little bit now, going back
to when you’re growing up, what did you do for entertainment?
Grossman: We loved, well at least I used to love dancing and they used to
have different things like they had dancing downtown especially on Saturday
afternoons. They had things at I believe the Neil House and the Deshler on
Saturday afternoons and growing up that’s what we used to do. That was our
Interviewer: Was it free?
Grossman: It was free to get in there. You usually bought a drink or whatever
. . . .
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: and that’s what we used to do at that time.
Interviewer: Did you go to movies?
Grossman: Oh yes. Definitely went to movies.
Interviewer: Do you remember how much you paid to go to a movie?
Grossman: Not very much. We used to, I used to enjoy movies very much and in
our neighborhood off of Seymour Avenue we had two movie houses easily within
walking distance and we went to those and they were very entertaining for us at
the time and we just really enjoyed that. We lived on Seymour Avenue in a house,
it was a double. One family lived on one side and another family on the other.
We were a Jewish family living at 844 Seymour Avenue. At 842 Seymour Avenue was
a Catholic family. And we grew up as one family. We really did. We did a lot of
things together. They were ardent Catholics and they went to Holy Rosary and
they brought all their children up as Catholics and things like that. My dad
used to play Santa Claus for the Catholic family and it, to this day we’re
very close to what we call the Cavanaugh family. And we thoroughly, thoroughly
felt they were part of our family.
Interviewer: Were most of the other families in the neighborhood Jewish?
Grossman: No they really weren’t. We had some scattering of Jewish people
in our neighborhood but it predominantly was not Jewish.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: Not on Seymour Avenue.
Interviewer: What was it like growing up with two brothers as teenagers? What
was it like?
Grossman: Oh boy. My brothers were, you know, about six-seven years older
than I and since I was the youngest, my mother and dad, especially my parents
used to love to go out on Saturday night and they wanted my two brothers to look
after their baby brother. Well they didn’t like that at all so they used to,
when my parents went out, soon as they left my brothers were gone leaving their
baby brother home. And so I had to sort of fend for myself. But if I told my
parents on them they got very angry and so we, I remember one time as a very
young boy, my brothers from the second story held me out the window upside down
and says, “If you ever tell your mom and dad on us, we’re going to drop
you on your head from up here”. So I, that I always remembered as a young
boy. But we had a very, very good life growing up together. My mother made all
the meals at home. We used to all sit around the table and discuss things, you
know that went on for the day and it was a very good thing. My mother kept
kosher in our household which was very, very good. But we almost knew every day
what was milchek day, which was fleisheck day and things such as
that. So that . . . .
Interviewer: Did you have any favorite foods that your mother made?
Grossman: Well I, everything my mother made I enjoyed. We knew that every
Friday night was chicken and soup and things like that. We knew that Thursday we
would have salmon patties, macaroni and cheese and stuff like that. And it was a
lot of different things that she made but we thoroughly enjoyed her cooking.
Interviewer: Do you remember your first job?
Grossman: Actually, really my first job was like a cash boy for Schiff Shoe
Store and Gilbert’s downtown.
Interviewer: Okay, Gilbert’s or Schiff?
Grossman: Or Schiff. We worked both stores and I remember getting my Social
Security number really at around 12-13-14 years old.
Interviewer: So you went to, you had a job when you . . . .
Grossman: Had a job, you know, especially on weekends working down there.
Interviewer: Do you remember how much you were paid?
Grossman: No, very, I don’t remember at all. It wasn’t very much but
whatever it was, that was my first job. As we got older though, all of us really
worked for my dad. In other words, maybe when I was around 15-16 years old or
especially when we were driving, I was working really for my dad. I used to
actually go to school. When I got out of school at 3:30 in the evening I used to
go down to the plant where my dad had it and I used to close up every night.
Interviewer: Where was the plant located?
Grossman: The plant early on was located in downtown Columbus where the
Veteran’s Memorial Building is today. And then in 1939 our plant moved to 1960
S. Fourth Street and we actually were there until we actually retired. That’s
the area that we had been. My dad actually bought an old street car barn and we
converted it into our plant.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Your college years. You were in college and then you
went in the service . . . .
Interviewer: and came back.
Grossman: Came back and I went to school just really for maybe a couple of
quarters and then really was working more full time at the plant.
Interviewer: So you didn’t graduate?
Grossman: I did not graduate from Ohio State. Went there for a couple of
Interviewer: Now you’ve already mentioned that you married Harriet Kessler.
Interviewer: And how did you meet Harriet?
Grossman: We, I was going to a, the youngest Cavanaugh girl, the Catholic
girl that lived next door to us, this was right at near Christmas time or
actually Hanukkah time and we, I went to her wedding which was at Holy Rosary
Church. Right after all that was over with I was invited to go to a function
from the Temple, Tifereth Israel Temple, for like a Hahukkah party over at a
person’s house and I met Harriet at that time at this Hanukkah party. She
actually lived over on the west side of Columbus and I naturally lived on the
east side of Columbus and I took her home that evening and we started dating and
about a year later we got engaged and married.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And where were you married?
Grossman: We married here at Tifereth Israel Temple in 1952, September 7.
Interviewer: And you have a big anniversary this year.
Grossman: We had a 55 anniversary this year and we’re very, very happy and
proud of our family. We have four children, a girl and three boys.
Interviewer: Okay, tell me their names.
Grossman: The oldest is Sandra Lee Dworkin now and she lives in Jensen Beach,
Florida right near where we live. We never thought this would ever come about
’cause the community, and I have to tell you this community that we live in
and we’ve lived there for about 35 years off and on . . . .
Interviewer: You’re talking about Florida . . . .
Grossman: Florida right, the Florida community. Years ago I had a trailer and
we took the whole family from actually Jacksonville, Florida, we were going to
take A1A all the way down to Key West. When we got to Jensen Beach we found an
area that was just being built that was right on the water and it was an island
out there, just a fantastic, Harriet and myself always loved boating as well as
camping and this was a combination set-up where they had camping and around the
outside of it they had boating. And you couldn’t ask for a better situation
and I absolutely fell in love with the place. So we bought into that place some,
about almost 40 years ago and it’s actually a travel-trailer place that we
bought into, a condominium and we never ever felt we’d ever be able to build a
house there but in 1995 they allowed us to start building what we call custom
houses. And Harriet and I built our house there. We have three bedrooms, three
baths, and we’re just very thrilled. The kids come down there. They enjoy it.
We thoroughly enjoy it. We spend eight months a year down there and it’s just
a very delightful place and I don’t think we could have picked a better place
Interviewer: Now where is Jensen Beach located?
Grossman: Jensen Beach, Florida is actually on the east coast just above
Jupiter or the Palm Beaches.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: It’s 40 miles north of West Palm Beach and it’s right on the
Inter-Coastal Waterway and we have a combination set-up of the Atlantic Ocean
and the Inter-Coastal Waterway all at our doorstep.
Interviewer: Wonderful. So people fly into West Palm?
Grossman: West Palm, that is correct.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Let’s back up just a little bit more. Do you remember
Grossman: I sure do.
Interviewer: Can you tell me about it?
Grossman: Well the, we actually had a rather large wedding I thought and I
had all of my family, my second-oldest brother was my best man. All my friends
were there as ushers and Harriet had her friends there and I believe her sister
was her Maid of Honor and it just really was a lovely wedding. I think we
probably had about 150 people there, maybe close to 200, at Tifereth Israel. And
then afterwards Harriet and myself took a wonderful honeymoon and what I mean by
that is that after we had the honeymoon or after we had our wedding, we went to
New York City for a week and then caught a boat and went to Bermuda and stayed
there another week. Went from there to Nassau. Stayed there for a few days. And
on from Nassau to Miami Beach and we were gone a total of five weeks and Harriet
thought that’s the way it’s supposed to be every year.
Interviewer: Well that’s a very nice precedent to set.
Grossman: That’s right. Unfortunately it didn’t last like that as far as
being able to take off that much time once we had a family and started working
and things like that.
Interviewer: Where was your first home?
Grossman: Our first home was 100 North Roosevelt in Bexley.
Interviewer: You lived there as a bride and groom?
Grossman: As a bride and groom. It was a new house and it had two bedrooms
and one bath down and it had a bedroom, a single bedroom and a bath up. And
actually we had all four of our children at this house. But we literally grew
out of the house and we found another house at 366 S. Stanwood Road and spent 42
years there and really loved it. It was directly across the street from all the
Bexley schools from, you know, elementary, junior, senior high school. And it
was a great way to raise a family.
Interviewer: And you mentioned your children. Your first child was Sandra.
Interviewer: And then?
Grossman: And then we had Gary. And then after Gary was Douglas and then
Bruce. All of them, you know, were born by 1960.
Interviewer: And they all went to Bexley?
Grossman: All of them graduated from Bexley and then they all went to
whatever school they wanted to. My daughter went to Cincinnati University and
graduated from there. My son Gary graduated from Wharton School of Finance in
Philadelphia. And Douglas went to Cincinnati University for a while and then
Bruce went to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Interviewer: Very good. Marvin, I’m going to stop the tape and turn it
Grossman: All right.
Interviewer: So Marvin, your four children, you evidently took many vacations
together. Did you start out right away with the children camping in a motorized
vehicle . . . .
Grossman: Yes we . . . .
Interviewer: in a trailer?
Grossman: Yes we really did. In other words on our, right after I got back
from my honey- moon, I was sort of the outside sales person for our business and
I was calling on customers up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I told them about I had
just gotten married and the fact that we went down and saw Miami Beach and how
gorgeous the beaches were and the people there said, “Well that’s nothing
compared to what we have up here”. I said, “Well what is that?”
And they took me over to another place right outside of Grand Rapids along the
shore of Michigan and it was a beautiful area there that had a very, very lovely
beach. And I called my wife and I told her about it and we decided that we were
going to rent a trailer on the beach itself. And so at that time, I don’t
believe we had any, no we didn’t have any children ’cause I’d just got
married. But we went up there a year later with another couple onto the beach
and we saw how nice it was. We did this a couple years in a row and enjoyed it
so much that I saw people come in and out that were camping with motorized
equipment and that’s when I decided I think that’s what we’d like to do.
Interviewer: Uh huh. How did you get into boating then?
Grossman: Boating I started before we got married. Stanley Maybruck here in
Columbus had a boat up at Griggs Dam and invited me up there to learn how to
water ski, which I did and we, he took me out on his boat. I just absolutely
enjoyed boating very much. I wanted to buy a boat and we didn’t have enough
money for it so I talked my two brothers into going in partners and so the three
of us went in partners but we still didn’t have quite enough money to buy what
we wanted so the fourth partner was my dad. And he threw in the rest of the
money and we bought our very, very first boat which was a 17-foot Chris Craft.
We had it for quite a number of years. Then we graduated to a 19-footer, then a
21-footer, then a 23, then a 25 and then we bought a houseboat and put it on
Buckeye Lake. We had the first houseboat on Buckeye Lake in the very early 60s
and we enjoyed it very much there. Went from there to the Ohio River and did a
lot of boating down there. Also when we had the 25-foot cabin cruiser, we took
it up to Lake Erie and did a number of cruises up there which I liked. It was a
little bit more than what my brothers could take so we did a lot of boating
together down, really on the Ohio River.
Interviewer: So that was the 25-foot boat on the Ohio River?
Grossman: On the, for a while it was a 25 but mostly a houseboat which was a
40, then a 43 and then eventually a 48-footer.
Grossman: Houseboat on the Ohio River. Then later on in the, now we’re
going up to about the mid-80s, my oldest, my middle brother and myself decided
that we wanted to buy a larger boat. We bought a 61-foot Hatteras and we had it
in Florida and just absolutely loved it. It was a great way of life, very, very
expensive to try to keep up and we actually went out to the islands, the
Bahamas, and did a lot of boating with this 61-foot Hatteras for about ten
Interviewer: Did you crew that yourself?
Grossman: No actually we had a certified captain on board. We ourselves just
didn’t have the knowledge to actually go to the ocean and be able to do what
has to be done on the ocean. So we actually had a certified captain on board the
boat all the time. It had four cabins, four staterooms and four baths on board.
Grossman: So it was a lovely, lovely boat.
Interviewer: And you had that for ten years?
Grossman: Ten years, right.
Interviewer: So you no longer have that?
Grossman: We no longer have it, right.
Interviewer: Now did you start downsizing then after that?
Grossman: Well I, during the time that we always had that, Harriet and myself
as a family always had a smaller boat such as like a 21-foot ski boat which we
still have today and I now also have a 25-foot pontoon boat which I really like.
It’s a great way to entertain people. You can take a lot of people on board
and it’s just a great way of going from point A to B and it works out very,
Interviewer: Uh huh. And you keep your boats here in the Columbus area?
Grossman: We do. We keep, actually we have two boats up at Al–, three boats,
actually two boats and a jet ski up at Alum Creek facility, which I really love.
Alum Creek is a lovely area. It has the most water around. Unfortunately this
year the water has been drained down severely and it was the poorest boating
season that Harriet and myself have experienced in all the years that we’ve
been boating because of the low water. But generally speaking Alum Creek is a
wonderful place to boat.
Interviewer: Do you have any other hobbies besides boating and camping?
Grossman: I enjoy doing photography. Not that I’m real good at it. I like
the digital cameras they have today and I do quite a bit of that.
Interviewer: And of your four children now, how many grandchildren do you
Grossman: We have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Are all of your children married?
Grossman: No. Douglas, our third down is not married. All the other ones are.
Interviewer: You mentioned that Sandra lives in Florida. Where do the boys
Grossman: Okay the two boys live here in Columbus. The two youngest boys live
in Columbus. The oldest boy lives in Cincinnati.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And Marvin, you are now officially retired?
Grossman: That is correct.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And you fill your time up with travel and photography?
Grossman: And actually we still have the property that was left over from the
business which I’m in the process now of trying to dispose of and we’re
actually doing rental-type things until I can.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: So for the most part I’m pretty much retired. We kept one small,
little operation in the metal-type of business on Westerville Road. And my son
Douglas, the unmarried boy, is operating that.
Interviewer: Uh huh. During your growing-up time, was your family, you
mentioned your mother kept kosher, was your family religious?
Grossman: They weren’t real religious but we have been really long-term
members of Tifereth Israel.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: And we have been there, you know, all of my lifetime, you know, for
over 80 years, members there. And my mother did keep kosher as long as she could
and we grew up that particular way.
Interviewer: And you celebrated most of the holidays?
Grossman: We definitely celebrated the holidays.
Interviewer: Do you have any special memories of any particular holiday?
Grossman: The High Holidays especially because I used to, as my parents got
older and more feeble, I, it became my responsibility to make sure that they got
to Temple and back and things like that and I always enjoyed that with my
parents until they unfortunately passed away.
Interviewer: Your grandparents, did they speak English?
Grossman: They spoke a broken English.
Interviewer: Did they speak Yiddish?
Grossman: Yiddish very fluently. They did. I couldn’t.
Interviewer: How about your parents?
Grossman: My parents spoke very good English since both of them were born in
the States. And they also could speak very fluent Yiddish.
Interviewer: But you didn’t pick that up?
Grossman: Not me. My oldest brother Arnie could understand it better than my
brother Herbie or myself did.
Interviewer: Were you Bar Mitzvahed?
Grossman: Yes all three of us were Bar Mitzvahed.
Interviewer: At Tifereth Israel?
Grossman: At Tifereth Israel.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Tell me about your community involvement. Were you
involved with the synagogue?
Grossman: Not so much with the synagogue but since unfortunately my parents,
whey they got older, they had to go into the Heritage House. I did become active
over there and sat on the Board of the Heritage House, which I enjoyed very
much. Other things as far as community things, I really did not participate that
much in and I did quite a bit with my Airstream group. I was President of that
particular group in 1979. Been very active with the, what they call the Wally
Bein Caravan Group and we, my wife and myself, actually participated and have
caravanned to quite a number of different areas around the country such as like
Branson, Missouri, the Statue of Liberty thing, and trips to Florida and things
such as that.
Interviewer: Okay so you’ve been very active in your traveling?
Interviewer: How about other Jewish organizations in the community?
Grossman: Well we, I have been a member of like B’nai B’rith and Jewish
War Veterans. I used to bowl with the Jewish War Veterans for many, many years
and enjoyed that very much. That . . . .
Interviewer: Okay. So you were members of various Jewish organizations?
Interviewer: And you were, it sounds Marvin, it sounds like you had very,
very strong family ties growing up. It also sounds like your family, your
children, you also have very strong family ties. You see each other a lot?
Interviewer: You travel together a lot? Growing up, what values did your
family instill in you which you live by today?
Grossman: I, the thing that I, my own individual self, my mother really
taught us to really respect other people, especially older people, with respect
and things like that. And she was very, very strong at that. And I feel that I
myself and my two brothers, all of us grew up that particular way respecting
other people, what they did and things like that. Not to downgrade anybody at
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Grossman: And she was very, very strong on that.
Interviewer: Did you attempt to transfer that same value to your children?
Grossman: I think we have and but you know, it’s a different society today
than what we grew up in and the way we thought of our parents and things like
that. It just, we just showed, or at least I always showed the utmost respect
for my parents because, you know, that’s the way we were brought and taught.
Interviewer: And growing up, who in your lifetime do you think had the
greatest influence on you?
Grossman: I would, since I was the youngest, I would say probably my mother
and, you know, I was lucky that my mother lived to a very, very grand old age of
98 and I was sort of the person that looked after my mother and I very much was
influenced by my mother.
Interviewer: Uh huh. And during tough times in your life who helped you the
most get through or to manage?
Grossman: Well both my mother and father. They, my father was a very generous
individual, a very caring individual. He just, you know, tried to treat
everybody the same, my two brothers as well as myself. And he just liked to
share everything together. Even when my dad was pretty much incapacitated as far
as being able to work any more, he wanted to come down to the plant. I used to
pick him up every morning. He would dress in a suit and he would come there and
sit in the office and all of us boys at lunch time went to lunch together and we
discussed what went on during the day, what our plans are, the future and things
Interviewer: And Marvin, looking back over your lifetime, if you could have
changed anything or something, would you have changed?
Grossman: I don’t know that I would change anything. I had thought that I
really had a wonderful growing-up period. It just, we seemed to enjoy
everything. Every- thing seemed to fall in place at the right time and
everything else like that. I don’t know of anything frankly that I would
Interviewer: And you mentioned, you know, that times were different for you
when you were growing up and times for your children growing up. Do you think it’s
more difficult to raise children today than when you were being . . . .
Grossman: Without a question. You know, there’s too many things out there.
When we grew up, you know, there was no drug problem or anything like that.
Today, you know, it’s driving everything all over the country. I feel that we
were very fortunate with our children to get by that end of it and things such
as that. But I just feel that it’s very, very difficult for, like my children’s
children today. I really do. I have a, my second, both my oldest and
second-youngest grand- children now are in college and they seem to be very
happy and I feel that my children are doing a good job with them in college and
I think it’s great, I really do.
Interviewer: Uh huh. If you could give a message about life and love to your
children and grandchildren, what would it be?
Grossman: I think just to show respect, with, I’ve always had the attitude
I’d like to show respect to the next person as I would like to have the next
person show respect to me. That’s what I would like to teach them. And that’s
what I’ve tried to instill in everything I do, even in our clubs and
everything else that we have, the way we run it and operate it and different
things. That’s the way we try to instill in the people.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Harriet mentioned as a side note that your father taught
Grossman: Yes he, my father actually, he really had a very limited education.
He had to drop out of school when he was in about the eighth grade to go to work
to help support the family. And he really tried to learn as much as he could on
the outside. He did go back to learn how office work, how to type and things
like that. And so he was quite good at that. He read books a lot. He enjoyed,
you know, the Jewish way of life. He was appointed a teacher for Sunday School
and thoroughly enjoyed that, teaching like a high school class at Tifereth
Israel and always looked forward, always studied for it I remember before he
went in with his class and was well liked, very, very well liked by the children
Interviewer: Uh huh. Who was the rabbi at the Tifereth Israel?
Grossman: Rabbi Zelizer was there. In fact I remember him coming in when I
was about three years old.
Interviewer: He came to Columbus when you were about three?
Grossman: Three years old, that’s correct.
Interviewer: Uh huh. Very good. Marvin are there any stories that you would
like to talk about or anything else that you would like to talk about that I
haven’t touched on?
Grossman: Really I think you pretty well covered the things that I could
think of growing up. I feel that we’re very lucky here in Columbus to have
many facilities. Number one, I think the Center is very, very good for our
Jewish community. I feel having Heritage House is outstanding. I just can’t
rave enough about that. I think we’re very fortunate as a Jewish community to
have something like that here and that we support it and everything else like
that. I don’t know about any other things right now that I could think of.
Interviewer: Marvin if there’s nothing else now that you would like to say,
I’m going to say on behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society I want to
thank you for contrib- uting to the Oral History Project. And this concludes our
interview. Thank you very much.
Grossman: Thank you.
* * *
Transcribed by Honey Abramson
Proofread by Toby Brief