Today is May 28, 2002. This is Carol Shkolnik, volunteer interviewer for the
Columbus Jewish Historical Society and I’m here to do a second interview with
Mary Michaelson. About a year ago we did an interview and after that, she said
that she thought of some things after I left, that she forgot to tell me about.
So this is the reason we’re here today. Okay Mary, what would you like to talk
about tonight? What would you like to talk about?

Michaelson: I have no idea.

Interviewer: The Freedman family?

Michaelson: I think I may have told you all this and what it was I did not
tell you, I don’t know.

Interviewer: Well I’ll tell you what, if you still want to, why don’t you
tell me about the Freedman family and if we already have it, we’ll have it
twice. It’s better than not having it.

Michaelson: All right. The remaining eight children that came to Columbus
with their parents in 1907 were Sarah Worly, my mother Anna Schneider, and the
twins, Sadie Kerchik and Elizabeth Lieberman and Harry Freedman, Herman Freedman
and Abe Freedman.

Interviewer: Now these are your mother’s brothers and sisters?

Michaelson: Yes.

Interviewer: Okay. And where did they come from Mary?

Michaelson: They came from Pilveshok…

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: with their parents, with my grandparents.

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: And they all lived in Columbus. They bought a house on Livingston
Avenue and then they moved to 497 Livingston Avenue and, well I don’t know.
Hate to go into, you know, too much detail.

Interviewer: Well talk about what you think is important for the community to
know and what you’d like your family to know.

Michaelson: Well my parents got married in 1913. My father was a tailor and…

Interviewer: Well tell me what you know about the Freedman family. This is,
which were your mother’s family. Tell me what you know about them. You told
how they got here.

Michaelson: They got here, yes, from Antwerp.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: I think you’ve got that also.

Interviewer: That’s okay.

Michaelson: And they came directly to Columbus because that’s where the
Schottensteins were.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And the first Mrs. Schottenstein, Sarah Schottenstein, was my
grandfather’s sister.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And so that’s why they came to Columbus.

Interviewer: Okay. Well…

Michaelson: And my mother and father met at a Jewish dance here in Columbus.

Interviewer: What kind of a Jewish dance?

Michaelson: Oh every Sunday night the Jewish people would get together and
they’d have a dance. And the girls would go stag and the boys would go stag
and that’s where my mother met my father was at this Sunday night Jewish
dance, every Sunday night.

Interviewer: Do you know where the dance was?

Michaelson: It was at a hall on Oak Street.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you know the name of it by any chance?

Michaelson: No.

Interviewer: That’s okay.

Michaelson: It’s probably changed hands or torn down by now.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Yeah, that’s where they met.

Interviewer: So was it love at first sight?

Michaelson: I think so.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: I think so.

Interviewer: How long ’till they got married?

Michaelson: I don’t know. They were married in 1913.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: My sister was born in 1915 and I was born in 1916.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And my brother Sam Schneider, he was born in 1921.

Interviewer: I see. What are some other things about the Schneider family?

Michaelson: Well my father was the oldest and my grandfather…

Interviewer: I’m sorry. I mean the Freedman family.

Michaelson: Oh.

Interviewer: I’m sorry.

Michaelson: Oh. Let’s see. Oh Mom was one of, in the middle children and .
. . .

Interviewer: Well what about them?

Michaelson: I don’t know, what about them? My grandfather, he was a
peddler. He went out and he peddled.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: He would go out to the farms and buy up junk and gather it
together and then sell it.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And that’s how he earned a living. But his main thing he was
interested in was the Bible and he was very religious and very frum.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And he always was praying. That was his main goal, main thing in
life was praying.

Interviewer: And this is your father you’re talking about?

Michaelson: No this was my grandfather.

Interviewer: Your grandfather? Well that’s interesting.

Michaelson: My mother’s father.

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: And one thing, one of the boys, Herman Freedman, he loved horses.
And of course my grandfather had a horse because that’s the way he earned his
living, he went out and peddled with the horse. And he would, and Herman, on
Saturday afternoon when my grandfather was sure to be praying all afternoon,
Herman would go over to the stable and take out the horse and ride it around,
unbe- nownst to his father.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And he always did love horses. He ended up owning a horse.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And he was something. For a family with that many children and
they all had their all variations. Some were frum, some were not.

They were all in between and it’s funny. Like my grandfather would take
Herman, when he’d go out peddling to the farmers, he would take Herman along
to help him.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And of course my grandfather would not eat anything that the
farmers offered. He brought his own food, whatever it was.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Well one day at a farmhouse he found, oh, he was doing business
with a farmer and Herman, he didn’t know where he was. He found Herman inside,
sitting down, eating dinner with the farmer and his family.

Interviewer: Oh wow!

Michaelson: And so he took him by the ear and dragged him out.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Sitting down and eating trafe in the farmer’s house.

Interviewer: Oh wow! Do you remember that or is that something someone told

Michaelson: That’s something someone told me and that was Shirley’s
father, Shirley Gurvis’ father.

Interviewer: Uh huh, uh huh.

Michaelson: But he was something.

Interviewer: Oh yeah. What else do you remember about your grandfather and
grandmother for that matter?

Michaelson: Well my grandfather, I can only remember him sitting and praying.
That was his main thing. And my grandmother, she was a sweet little woman but
she had all those children and she was so busy. And every Saturday afternoon she
made a cake. Everybody would come over Saturday afternoon and she would serve a
cake. It wasn’t a good cake. She wasn’t a good baker.

Interviewer: Oh no.

Michaelson: But she served a cake every Saturday afternoon.

Interviewer: And but you say “she had all these children,” but by
the time you remember them, the children should have been mostly grown, wouldn’t

Michaelson: Yes but there were three big boys still at home.

Interviewer: Still at home?

Michaelson: And she had to do a lot of cooking for them.

Interviewer: I’ll bet.

Michaelson: And she would say, “All they like is fleisch, all
they like is fleisch.” All they wanted to eat was meat and it kept
her going.

Interviewer: I see, I see.

Michaelson: There were three boys that were the youngest and they were still
at home.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And we went over every Saturday afternoon to visit.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And we lived on Stanley Avenue and they lived on Livingston
Avenue and my grandfather would say, “How did you come? Did you walk or did
you take the street car?”

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Oh my God. Even if we had taken the street car we wouldn’t have
told him ’cause we really would have caught it for riding on the Shabbos,
you know.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: But he was very, very strict.

Interviewer: Did he go to shul on Saturday?

Michaelson: Oh absolutely. Not on Saturday, every day besides. Oh yes. And so
did the Old Man Schottenstein. I can still see him walking, we lived on
Washington Avenue almost where the old shul used to be, and the Old Man
Schottenstein used to walk past our house all the time. So that’s how we got
to know who he was at least ’cause he was always going to shul.

Interviewer: What shul are you talking about on Washington?

Michaelson: Washington and Donaldson, the big one on the corner.

Interviewer: The old Agudas Achim?

Michaelson: The old Agudas Achim.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: You wouldn’t remember it.

Interviewer: No but I heard about it.

Michaelson: The old Agudas Achim.

Interviewer: Rabbi Rubenstein used to talk about it.

Michaelson: Rabbi Hirschsprung was the rabbi there.

Interviewer: Uh huh. But I know that Rabbi Rubenstein used to mention it in

Michaelson: Oh uh huh.

Interviewer: So. Did you go to shul with your grandparents?

Michaelson: We went. We had so many cousins our own age and we would go to
that shul. We would visit all the shuls. We would go to that one
and then we would walk to the Beth Jacob across the street, then go to the
Ahavas Shalom. We had wonder- ful times. We had so many cousins around our own

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And Mr., what was his name, the guy that was the Shamus,
oh he used to drive us crazy. See we’d want to be talking or something. You
know, they had that balcony upstairs at the Agudas Achim. And he was always
shushing us, he was always shutting us up.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did it do any good?

Michaelson: Well temporarily. (laughter) Temporarily.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Yeah.

Interviewer: What do you remember about holidays with your mother’s family,
with the Freedman family?

Michaelson: Oh well they lived in, some of them lived in Delaware, Ohio.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: So they would come in to visit and they would stay at our house
and of course we got all dressed up. We all had to have new clothes or the best
we could do, whatever. And, oh yeah, they were wonderful because we had so
many cousins our age and we were all such good friends.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Yes.

Interviewer: That’s nice, that’s nice.

Michaelson: It was.

Interviewer: So where did you have Rosh Hashonah dinner and Passover Seder
and stuff?

Michaelson: Well mainly, well my grandmother had so many of her own. We ate
at our house.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And I know for Seder, then after we got through eating we would
go over my grandmother’s for the Seder.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Because the Schneiders were a lot more religious and my father
would not make a Seder.

Interviewer: I see.

Michaelson: So we would go over to my other grandparents.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did your father go with you?

Michaelson: And sit there and be bored and listen to it.

Interviewer: Awwww. Did your father go too?

Michaelson: No, no. But later on when we were grown up, he started to make
Seders. He changed.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Yeah, and Mom would always have great big meals.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Oh yes. Serve 14-15 of us, the whole gang.

Interviewer: Wow!

Michaelson: Yeah Mom did it for years.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Oh I’m sorry.

Interviewer: That’s okay. So is there some other, what else would you like
to say about the Freedman family?

Michaelson: I don’t know. I should have let my sister come. She probably
would know…

Interviewer: Well if she is interviewed, that would be separate because this
is one person. We kind of learned that it’s better to do one person at a time.

Michaelson: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Let me stop it for a minute and give you a minute to think about
what else you might want to say.

Okay, who were the Worlys and what do you want to tell us about the Worlys?

Michaelson: Mrs. Sarah Worly was my mother’s sister. She was a Freedman.

Interviewer: I see. What was her first name?

Michaelson: Sarah.

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: And they lived in Delaware and of course in those days, 25 miles
to Delaware was quite a trip.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: But they came in for all the holidays and Delaware being a small
town and my mother, my grand…my Aunt Sarah keeping kosher in Delaware was a
bit of a problem. I remember she would being in the fresh turkey or fresh
chicken, live ones from Delaware in the car, and take them over to the shochet,
whoever he was…

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And he’d kill them. And he would kill them ’cause after all,
it had to be a kosher thing.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And Ann, my cousin Anne, Sarah’s daughter. Did you know Anne

Interviewer: No, the name is familiar.

Michaelson: Yeah, well. Her father let her, she learned to drive. She was one
of the first of the girls to learn to drive. Her father let her drive and oh,
that was great. So she had the job of taking her mother and her aunts from
Delaware into Columbus every week to get the chickens or turkeys to the shochet

to be killed properly. Well one year it was before Thanksgiving and they were
taking a turkey over to get it killed and they had the turkey tied up in the
back seat and the turkey worked its way loose and was flying all around the car

Interviewer: Oh my goodness.

Michaelson: And here Anne is driving into Columbus with a loose turkey flying
around in the back seat. That must have been some trip. I wasn’t there.

Interviewer: I would bet. But you heard about it, huh?

Michaelson: Oh yeah. Anne would talk about it. Oh yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Her mother too. She admitted it. One of those things. The turkey
worked its way loose and it’s flying around, oh boy.

Interviewer: I bet that was something.

Michaelson: Yeah.

Interviewer: That turkey paid for that.

Michaelson: Yep.

Interviewer: These are good stories, Mary. What else, what other kinds of
stories can you think of?

Michaelson: Well I can’t think of anything funny, particularly.

Interviewer: They don’t necessarily have to be funny. They can be.

Michaelson: No. I think that was one of the funniest. How would you like to
be in a car with a turkey flying around, with this turkey flying around?

Interviewer: Nor I. I’ll stop it for a minute so you can think some more.

Okay, wait a second. I just asked you, and I think that’s what you’re
going to talk about, what you might remember about when your grandparents got
old, the grandparents Freedman.

Michaelson: Well, my grandmother died, I don’t know what from. My
grandfather was still living and his oldest sister, his oldest child Rose, Rosie
Shapiro, do you remember Helen Kahn? You wouldn’t remember.

Interviewer: I know the name.

Michaelson: Yeah. Well that was her mother and they, her father died of
cancer shortly before that so my Aunt Rosie, Helen’s mother, moved in to take
care of my grandfather because my grandmother had died. and Helen had to change
high schools. She was a senior in Delaware High School.

Interviewer: Oh, uh huh.

Michaelson: And she said she just hated to leave Delaware High School her
senior year year but that’s what she did because her mother had to move to
Columbus to take care of the grandfather.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Her father had died and my grandmother had died so my Aunt Rosie
moved in with my grandfather.

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: So that was that.

Interviewer: So your grandparents died before you got married, probably?

Michaelson: No I don’t think so.

Interviewer: Oh. Were they in your wedding pictures?

Michaelson: I really don’t know. I was married in 1936 and they died, gee,
I just don’t know.

Interviewer: That’s okay.

Michaelson: My sister might have known much better than me.

Interviewer: No you’re doing fine Mary, just fine.

Michaelson: So then, yeah, eventually all the Freedmans got married and they
were always very good-hearted people. If one of them was hard up, I know for
years this one aunt, her husband died and she didn’t have much and there was
no Social Security in those days. And all of them in the family, they would
always chip in so much every month for living. I mean it was just the thing to

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And they did that for years. Each of them gave her so much a
month, the ones that could. Some couldn’t. The ones that could always did,

Interviewer: Uh huh. I see.

Michaelson: Yeah they were good people.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well.

Michaelson: Now do you want to talk about the Schneiders a little bit?

Interviewer: If you would like to, sure.

Michaelson: All right. There were five. Did I tell you this before?

Interviewer: I think you may have but I don’t know.

Michaelson: I may have, yes.

Interviewer: I’m pretty sure you did. You talked about the families.

Michaelson: Yeah. And they were all musically-inclined. Did I tell you that?

Interviewer: I’m not sure. I’m not sure.

Michaelson: My grandfather, he played the violin. He used to play at all the
Jewish weddings. He played the fiddle.

Interviewer: This was your grandfather what?

Michaelson: Schneider.

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: Grandfather Schneider played the fiddle.

Interviewer: Okay.

Michaelson: And his children were quite musical. One, Aunt Bert played the
piano and Uncle Dave played the drums and my father played a violin and cornet
both. And we used to get together evenings around the piano and sing and we
really had, you know, some good times.

Interviewer: What kinds of things did you sing?

Michaelson: Oh well with the Schneiders, we sang any kind of a song, most

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: But with the Freedmans, we sang Jewish songs. We’d get together
Friday night after dinner and my Uncle Jake Worly had a great voice and he would
sing and we would all sing around the Friday night table.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: In Delaware, you know.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well good. So you made a trip to Delaware pretty often,

Michaelson: Yes we did.

Interviewer: Did you have other relatives in Delaware besides the one aunt
and uncle?

Michaelson: The Worlys and the Shapiros, two families.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Yes.

Interviewer: I see.

Michaelson: Then we’d go Sunday afternoon and that was a big deal.

Interviewer: Uh huh. I bet. So you went up and ate dinner at their house or
lunch at their house?

Michaelson: Yeah we would eat there.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Yeah, uh huh. And my aunt was a wonderful cook. We ate there and,
yeah. And we always said, “Someday Delaware is going to meet
Columbus,” and sure enough, it’s happening. Delaware and Columbus are
getting together.

Interviewer: Yes they are. I don’t know how many Jewish people are there
now though.

Michaelson: I don’t know who’s there now but we knew them all very well.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: All friends. And then, oh let’s get back to the Schneiders. So
they were the ones that were the musical family, the Schneiders.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: With all the instruments and everything.

Interviewer: Did you play an instrument?

Michaelson: I didn’t have any talent. My sister played piano.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And two of my cousins, one cousin just graduated Juilliard School
of Music and the other one was in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Oh yes, they
were all musical.

Interviewer: Now which ones were they?

Michaelson: Huh?

Interviewer: But which one played the piano?

Michaelson: Evy, Evy Groban who is Judy Brachman’s aunt.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Judy Brachman’s mother, Lillian, died young of cancer.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: That’s Judy. And then Evy, she’s the younger sister, she’s
the one that went to the Juilliard School.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: But Lillian, the oldest one, she was in the Columbus Symphony

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: And Dave played the drums. And my grandmother used to complain.
She’d say,
“My livng room isn’t like a living room,” she said. “It’s got
musical instruments scattered all over the place.” She didn’t like it.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Michaelson: ‘Cause it wasn’t like a living room. She had so many musical
instruments in it.

Interviewer: I see, I see.

Michaelson: Yes the Schneiders, they were quite musically inclined.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Have you, well. There is a wonderful, I don’t know what it is.
It’s the, oh you play it through the TV, a VCR.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Michaelson: Did you ever hear of it, the Klezmers?

Interviewer: Oh of course.

Michaelson: Isn’t that great?

Interviewer: Oh I like Klezmer music, yeah. It’s on the radio sometimes

Michaelson: Well that’s a story though.

Interviewer: Oh no, then I don’t know it.

Michaelson: There’s a VCR out.

Interviewer: A tape?

Michaelson: Dale Storm and it’s a whole story about a Russian family that
were all musicians in Russia and . . . .

Interviewer: Oh I see.

Michaelson: and what they did.

Interviewer: Gail Storm the actress?

Michaelson: He’s the one that put it together, Dale Storm.

Interviewer: Oh Dale Storm.

Michaelson: Dale Storm and the name of it is “The Klezmers” and you
can get it at any place where they have these . . . . wonderful.

Interviewer: Well maybe I will. Maybe I will.

Michaelson: Because when I heard that, that reminded me of the Schneiders you
know, and all the music and everything.

Interviewer: Did they play Klezmer?

Michaelson: Um, I never heard that expression, “Klezmer,” no, no.

Interviewer: Do you remember if any of the music sounded like what you now
know is Klezmer?

Michaelson: I really can’t remember. I can’t remember.

Interviewer: Okay. Mary, is there anything else you would like to say?

Michaelson: Well I can’t think, Carol. I don’t know.

Interviewer: Well I think you’ve given us a lot of good information and
eventually it will be typed up and people can read it. Maybe it will even be on
our web site if we get money to have them transcribed. But that takes money. So
if you know anybody who wants to donate money for the Oral History Project, that
might help. Well if that’s the case Mary, we’ll call it a night and I thank
you very much for this second interview.

Michaelson: I’m glad you got here.

Interviewer: Yeah, sorry it took so long. But I kept telling you I was coming
and I finally did.

Michaelson: …those little funny stories, I can’t think of anything.

Interviewer: That’s okay Mary, that’s fine. You did fine. All right. This
ends the second oral history interview of Mary Michaelson by Carol Shkolnik and
we’re signing off. This is the end of this interview.

* * *

Transcribed by Honey Abramson