This interview for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society is being recorded on February 23,
2011 as part of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project. The interview is being
recorded at 2200 Welcome Place in Miriam Shenker’s apartment and my name is Naomi Schottenstein
and I am interviewing Miriam Shenker.

Interviewer: Okay, Miriam, what is your full name?

Shenker: Miriam Elizabeth Winter Shenker.

Interviewer: Okay.

Shenker: Winter is my maiden name.

Interviewer: Okay. And Shenker, can you spell Shenker for me?

Shenker: S-H-E-N-K-E-R.

Interviewer: Okay. Do you have a Jewish name?

Shenker: I’m Miriam bat Koppel Halevi.

Interviewer: bat?

Shenker: bat Koppel.

Interviewer: Bat Koppel?

Shenker: Halevi.

Interviewer: Okay, sounds like an important name.

Shenker: Well he was important.

Interviewer: Who were you named for?

Shenker: A great aunt.

Interviewer: A great aunt?

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: On your mother’s side?

Shenker: My mother’s side.

Interviewer: Okay. How far back can you trace your family?

Shenker: To that, actually just to the 1894 European or later migration.

Interviewer: Go ahead. Eighteen…

Shenker: ’94…

Interviewer: Wow!

Shenker: …that European wave of migration.

Interviewer: From?

Shenker: Russia.

Interviewer: From Russia? Interesting. Do you know any stories of the past which have been told in your family?

Shenker: Well lots of stories but are we talking about Europe?

Interviewer: Yeah from as far back as you can think, why they came and why they left where they were.

Shenker: Grandfather was in the Russian Symphony and in his
young age he was ready for conscription to the Army and they took out
and left.

Interviewer: They didn’t want, he didn’t want to be in the Army?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Now what was going on in Russia at that time?

Shenker: Pogroms and whatever went on with liberty.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Doesn’t it sound like some of this is happening today?

Shenker: Right away.

Interviewer: You’d think we’d learn, wouldn’t you?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: That’s over a hundred years ago. What is your mother’s full name? We’re going to talk about your mother first.

Shenker: Anna Bonowitz Winter.

Interviewer: Bonowitz was her maiden name?

Shenker: Name, right.

Interviewer: Do you happen to be related to the Bonowitzes here in Columbus?

Shenker: Yes sir.

Interviewer: Well we’re going to come to that in a little bit.

Shenker: Yes.

Interviewer: I just wanted to pop that in. Do you know exactly where she was born? Kind of hard to pin it down?

Shenker: I kind of remember the name Mirianko, Poland.

Interviewer: Poland?

Shenker: I remember the word Mariampol, Lithuania.

Interviewer: Mariampol?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Kind of hard to spell so I guess we’ll just have to . . . .

Shenker: Forget it.

Interviewer: . . . . phonetically get through it, but Lithuania?

Shenker: Yeah I think that’s right.

Interviewer: Uh huh. And when did your mother come to this country?

Shenker: She came over, she was two years old, 1894.

Interviewer: 1894?

Shenker: Right, well.

Interviewer: How did she come to this country? They probably had options.

Shenker: She came, the Bonowitz family came in a group, everybody came to Circleville, Ohio.

Interviewer: Circleville?

Shenker: Yeah. They ended up with the Gordons.

Interviewer: Gordon?

Shenker: Gordons, uh huh. Ken Gordon eventually became Mayor of Circleville.

Interviewer: Oh yes I remember hearing that.

Shenker: And in that home they had a minyan of their own. They had all nine sons and they were able to have a little shul in
their home.

Interviewer: Oh that’s interesting, yeah.

Shenker: And the whole Jewish community, everybody came to their house, to Circleville.

Interviewer: Why Circleville? Do you have any . . . .

Shenker: That’s where the Gordons were and they must have sponsored them.

Interviewer: Do you know what, what were the Gordons doing there?

Shenker: I have no idea.

Interviewer: Yeah, you kind of wonder how they found Circleville.

Shenker: And why Circleville?

Interviewer: Was it more important than Columbus at that time or . . . .

Shenker: Must have been, maybe somebody had a little store or something.

Interviewer: Yeah some business or something.

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: It’s usually some business that got them there.

Shenker: Yeah, right.

Interviewer: So you already had, your mother already had family in this country?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Can you remember any stories your mother told about being young?

Shenker: Well only that she remembered being in steerage
in a boat coming over. She was two years old and she had had a ball and
it ended up the captain was so wonderful and he . . . .

Interviewer: That was not a luxury liner, that’s for sure.

Shenker: No, no. They packed hard-boiled eggs and, however many days it took, they ate what they brought . . . .

Interviewer: Do you have any idea how many days it might have been?

Shenker: Seems to me she said “five” but I don’t remember.

Interviewer: Probably a longer time than that.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: They probably wanted to forget how long it was.

Shenker: Right. And they came through Ellis Island

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did she ever tell you anything about Ellis Island, what it was like when they landed there?

Shenker: No not really. She just remembered that it was . . . .

Interviewer: Well that was a big, important part of her life.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: How old was your Mother? Oh you said two years old, yeah, okay. Do you have relatives who still live in your
mother’s country of origin?

Shenker: Not that I’m aware of.

Interviewer: No, no that was a long time ago and they all were scooting out at that time.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Sure. Do you know the name of your grandparents on your mother’s side or your mother’s, your grandmother’s maiden name?

Shenker: She was Sarah Gornetsky.

Interviewer: Gornetsky?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Well we’re going to have to play around with the spelling of that.

Shenker: Even that . . . . not too clear but it’s G-O-R-N-E-T-S-K-Y.

Interviewer: That sounds like, you spelled it like it sounds.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah and that’s probably what they did too.

Shenker: No doubt.

Interviewer: Did your parents tell you how they met?

Shenker: I assumed, they never really told me but I just,
everybody grew up in that same two streets in Columbus and everybody
knew everybody else . . . .

Interviewer: So your parents met in Columbus?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Okay. I’m going to go back now and get information about your father’s side.

Shenker: Okay.

Interviewer: What was your father’s full name?

Shenker: Harry Winter.

Interviewer: Harry Winter? Well there also was a Winter family in Columbus.

Shenker: You bet.

Interviewer: Okay well we’re going to pull that all together in a little bit. And so he was born in, was he born in Poland?

Shenker: Yeah, obviously. I don’t know for sure.

Interviewer: Okay. It was hard to tell because they were . . . .

Shenker: White Russian. Minsk.

Interviewer: Yeah it changed so much anyhow. It was
under different ownerships at different times. And how did he come to
this country? How old was he when he came?

Shenker: He was already ready to go to work . . . go to school here.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you know if he had any schooling in . . . .? Did he ever talk about . . . .

Shenker: Actually he . . . . formal education . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: But he could do anything.

Interviewer: Handy guy, huh?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Did he also come in through Ellis Island?

Shenker: I would assume. I’m not sure. I’m sure he did.

Interviewer: Kind of hard to record that. Did he also have family in this country? Was the Winter family already here?

Shenker: There must have been a Winter family here. I’m really not sure.

Interviewer: ‘Cause they came, somebody sponsored them.

Shenker: . . . . sponsor.

Interviewer: Did you remember your father telling stories about when he was young?

Shenker: No I don’t really have any recollection of his
growing up. But the stories that we got from him was the way he went to
work when he got here and what he did.

Interviewer: I think I have the same recollection from my family. I think they just wanted to forget where they came from . . . .

Shenker: Probably.

Interviewer: and it was painful.

Shenker: And the rest of these things were not painful. He was very proud of them.

Interviewer: And in most cases they did leave some family behind and that was hard . . . .

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: . . . . to come, yeah, and go through. Do you know the names of any of your father’s relatives and where they might live?
Well mostly his sisters, his siblings?

Shenker: His sibling was Martin Winter and he was never, he married Helen . . . . but there weren’t any children from them.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Where did he live, in Columbus? And who did, what was his wife’s name?

Shenker: He eventually married Helen Gruber . . . .

Interviewer: Helen Gruber?

Shenker: . . . . who was a cousin of ours.

Interviewer: Oh, uh huh. Yeah it wasn’t terribly unusual for relatives and cousins, to marry.

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Do you know any of your father’s parents? Tell me about your father’s parents or grandparents.

Shenker: My father’s mother was Molly Levinson. Levinson was her maiden name.

Interviewer: Her maiden name Levinson?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And her husband was Louis . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: His grandson who was a metallurgist. He called himself a metallurgist. He was, in those days . . . .

Interviewer: Oh well, somebody had to do that.

Shenker: That’s right. And he was good at it.

Interviewer: And they didn’t go to college for that. They just learned it on . . . .

Shenker: Oh sure. They came over here and he knew . . . .

Interviewer: . . . . right there.

Shenker: . . . . shoe horses or whatever he was doing.

Interviewer: Well it’s like changing tires in today’s world. Isn’t that so? Did your parents ever tell you how they met?

Shenker: No not really.

Interviewer: Usually somebody just introduced them or . . . .

Shenker: Probably . . . . He had lodge affairs, some type of lodge affairs and probably had dances and that sort of thing.

Interviewer: Do you remember what any of the lodges were?

Shenker: Somewhere I’ve got a picture of. That picture over there has his uniform.

Interviewer: Oh, uniform from what?

Shenker: That lodge.

Interviewer: From the lodge?

Shenker: Yeah. They built these things to help each other.

Interviewer: That’s what they were for, uh huh.

Shenker: They didn’t ask for help.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Yeah I remember hearing that before. And it worked.

Shenker: And it worked.

Interviewer: They loaned money to each other.

Shenker: That’s right.

Interviewer: And helped them find jobs and so forth. So
the lodge was really an important part of their life. But I didn’t hear
about the uniforms before. That’s interesting.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: We’re going to look at it after. Okay. You told me what year they both came. So how did your father earn a living?

Shenker: He started off the first job he had, he had a motorcycle, and he read the meters for gas company . . . .

Interviewer: Oh. He had a motorcycle and . . . .

Shenker: and he read the meters for the gas company. I don’t know what else he did before that.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: And after they were married, Mother didn’t like
him on that motorcycle. That’s when he gave that job up and decided to
go into . . . .

Interviewer: Wonder if it was a Harley Davidson.

Shenker: (Laughs) I wish I had it now.

Interviewer: Yeah I wish you did too. That would be an
important antique, wouldn’t it? But it probably was less expensive
than a car . . . .

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: and a lot more efficient for his needs.

Shenker: Yeah he loved cars.

Interviewer: Yeah. Did your mother work, do you remember your mother working?

Shenker: Before she was married she worked in a, I forget the name of the department store but she sold hats.

Interviewer: She sold hats?

Shenker: Hats.

Interviewer: Well that was real important . . . .

Shenker: Oh very important.

Interviewer: . . . . ’cause everybody was wearing hats.

Shenker: They were so beautiful.

Interviewer: Yeah. Do you have any pictures of hats?

Shenker: I have one picture of her with a hat.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: I’ve got it stored in my book.

Interviewer: Yeah but it’s a fun memory.

Shenker: . . . . red or whatever the feathers were.

Interviewer: The plumes.

Shenker: Plumes.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well you weren’t fully dressed
unless you had that hat and especially for the holidays. But they wore
them even not on holidays.

Shenker: Ladies wore gloves.

Interviewer: And gloves too. Do you remember wearing gloves when you were little?

Shenker: Oh yeah. Even my children in a picture have gloves on, yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah that wouldn’t happen today.

Shenker: No way.

Interviewer: Okay. Did you have brothers or sisters?

Shenker: One sister, Esther Frances Rosen.

Interviewer: Esther Frances Rosen. Rosen was her married name?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: And so she was married?

Shenker: She married Mitchell Rosen.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. That name sounds familiar.

Shenker: Yeah Ben Rosen was his father.

Interviewer: Ben Rosen was his father?

Shenker: And Emil was his brother.

Interviewer: Oh yeah, Emil Rosen.

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: And neither of them are living, are they?

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: Yeah, I remember . . . .

Shenker: . . . . passed away and she was only 57.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Where did you live when you were growing up?

Shenker: When I was born we were on Ohio Avenue.

Interviewer: Ohio Avenue?

Shenker: Yeah and during that time Dad was building a
store building up on Cleveland Avenue, going into business so we were
obviously living with grandparents.

Interviewer: Was he going into his own business?

Shenker: Yeah he opened up a department store in Milo, just below Linden.

Interviewer: Milo was below Linden?

Shenker: Below, yeah . . . .

Interviewer: That’s north? Yeah.

Shenker: . . . . Fifth Avenue.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: In that area.

Interviewer: Hmmm. That was pretty enterprising . . . .

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: to go in . . . .

Shenker: . . . . But I remem—, my first memories were as a little tiny tot watching him building a wall.

Interviewer: Well that was interesting.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: You didn’t see very much . . . .

Shenker: He built apartments on top of it.

Interviewer: Do you happen to know what year that might have been or what kind of a period . . . .

Shenker: Probably 1923.

Interviewer: 1923? What were you like as a teenager? Do you have any recollection?

Shenker: All I wanted to do was to, go, and go and go to college.

Interviewer: Go to college?

Shenker: I always wanted to get out of school and go.

Interviewer: What was your first job?

Shenker: Probably working. Well my parents had a store
so I always worked with them. ‘Course it wasn’t a paying job but my
first . . . .

Interviewer: This was the store your father had built?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And starting college to get a few bucks I worked at Lazarus in the Shoe Department.

Interviewer: Didn’t everybody?

Shenker: As an extra.

Interviewer: Yeah as an extra.

Shenker: I knew . . . . good shoes so that’s where I ended up.

Interviewer: Oh wow. Do you remember what you got paid?

Shenker: Twenty-five cents an hour.

Interviewer: Wow!

Shenker: And I can remember that because that’s what a pack of cigarettes cost.

Interviewer: Really?

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Did you smoke at that time?

Shenker: Not until I was after college.

Interviewer: After college, yeah. Smoking was an important part of everybody’s life it seems like.

Shenker: Oh . . . . many, many years until 1973 I decided that’s it.

Interviewer: Yeah, then we got smart huh?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Where did you go to school?

Shenker: I started at . . . .

Interviewer: Start at elementary, yeah.

Shenker: Elementary, Milo Elementary and from there
McKinley Junior High but it didn’t, I didn’t last long ’cause I got out
of there in like a year and I just went to East High School.

Interviewer: McKinley Junior High?

Shenker: It was Linden-McKinley.

Interviewer: Linden-McKinley? Oh so that . . . .

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: . . . . became Linden, I see.

Shenker: Now it’s a high school. Now it’s probably something else.

Interviewer: So did you graduate from East High?

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Were there other Jewish kids at East High School?

Shenker: Oh yeah, that’s why I wanted to go there.

Interviewer: How did you get there? That’s not walking distance from the Milo area is it?

Shenker: By that time we had moved out to Gilbert Street.

Interviewer: Gilbert Street?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: That was the compound where so many . . . .

Shenker: . . . . got to get out to the Jewish community.

Interviewer: Yeah. Do you remember any incidents or any days of the Great Depression?

Shenker: Oh definitely. I can remember people standing on street corners selling apples for a nickel.

Interviewer: Wow!

Shenker: And I can remember the day of the stock crash, the market crash.

Interviewer: You remember the crash?

Shenker: I can remember not understanding it or remember
my mother saying to my dad, “Don’t do anything drastic”. People were
jumping out of windows.

Interviewer: Committing suicide?

Shenker: Yeah. That made a real impression on me. But things were tough and we got through them.

Interviewer: Isn’t that interesting how people helped each other too?

Shenker: That’s right.

Interviewer: Yeah. Everybody was in the same boat.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: So your family was able to cope?

Shenker: Yeah we ate, as Dad would say, “We’re eating off the shelves,” or whatever was in the inventory was not getting replaced.

Interviewer: Yeah. Was that from your own home, when you say “eating off the shelves”? It wasn’t from your store?

Shenker: No, the shelves in the store.

Interviewer: Oh the store? A department store but they sold food as well?

Shenker: When things got difficult for the small store . . . . ’cause the big stores, the Boston Store opened up. They couldn’t . . . .

Interviewer: The Boston Store was downtown wasn’t it?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: On High Street?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: There was another one called Moby’s.

Interviewer: Moby’s?

Shenker: Yeah. And then it got tough in the retail.

Interviewer: Competition, yeah. Let’s talk about World War II, what you can remember, you know, what you did during World War II.

Shenker: Only I can remember I was offered a gorgeous job in a munitions factory in northern Ohio.

Interviewer: Admission?

Shenker: Munitions.

Interviewer: Oh, munitions in northern Ohio?

Shenker: My father wouldn’t let me take the job.

Interviewer: Where in northern Ohio?

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: But anyplace north of home was far.

Shenker: It was the main place in Ohio for munitions.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: I can’t remember.

Interviewer: Why wouldn’t he let you take the job?

Shenker: He considered it risky being in munitions.

Interviewer: Oh being in munitions, uh huh?

Shenker: Yeah. At the same time I was dating Martin and he had physical problems so he didn’t pass the test to go in the Army.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: He went for the Air Force and didn’t make it. And so he became an Air Raid Warden.

Interviewer: Air Raid Warden?

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Well first of all, just tell me your husband’s first name.

Shenker: Martin.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: He became an Air Raid Warden. I remember it was dark out so . . . .

Interviewer: Tell us a little bit about what an Air Warden did.

Shenker: He checked to make sure that everybody had their
drapes pulled, that there were no lights on, and anything that was
dangerous that might have been seen by the enemy.

Interviewer: And you were in Columbus at that time?

Shenker: Uh huh. And every block had . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh. But there weren’t any, there wasn’t any firing or anything.

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: They just were protecting . . . .

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: . . . . in case the enemy would come over. That was a paying job, right?

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: No, it was a volunteer?

Shenker: Volunteer, just like being in the Army.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well that was interesting. Somebody had to do it here. That was an important . . . .

Shenker: That’s right.

Interviewer: job for him here. How did you and Martin meet?

Shenker: On the steps of Temple Tifereth Israel on a Yom Kippur day and we snuck out and took a ride down to Lancaster.

Interviewer: Oh. He had a car?

Shenker: And our parents . . . . wouldn’t dare do it.

Interviewer: Well you were daring, weren’t you, at that . . . .

Shenker: What?

Interviewer: You were daring then, weren’t you?

Shenker: Yeah there was quite a group of us. It wasn’t just us.

Interviewer: Yeah, well. How long did you date Martin before you got married?

Shenker: Well, we went together about seven years.

Interviewer: Seven years?

Shenker: Uh huh. I wanted to get in Pre-Med and I wanted to go into Medicine.

Interviewer: Well wait. We got you through East High School. Now where did you go after East High School?

Shenker: Ohio State.

Interviewer: Ohio State?

Shenker: Yeah . . . . and we decided that it was better
to get married. So . . . . But we had gone together all through
school. It was . . . .

Interviewer: Did he go to Ohio State or East High School as well? Did you . . . .

Shenker: No he came in, he was born in Bremen, Ohio and lived in Lancaster so he came in from Lancaster.

Interviewer: Bremen, that’s north isn’t it? South?

Shenker: South of Lancaster.

Interviewer: Oh south of Lancaster?

Shenker: They were in the oil business, oil wells.

Interviewer: Oil wells in Lancaster, around that? Interesting.

Shenker: That’s what they were doing. Yeah. His parents had a store where they sold equipment to the oil rigs.

Interviewer: Hmmm. Well that was probably a good situation to be in, wasn’t it?

Shenker: Absolutely. And finally the oil ran out in southern Ohio and they all went from here to Michigan.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Just transferred over. But they stayed here.

Interviewer: Did you continue in . . . .

Shenker: No they . . . . He was Bar Mitzvahed and his
father passed away shortly after and his mother came to Columbus and
built a new . . . . grocery.

Interviewer: Went into the grocery business?

Shenker: On north High Street.

Interviewer: Huh. So she was in the business on her own?

Shenker: On her own.

Interviewer: Well that was pretty daring wasn’t it?

Shenker: She did everything on her own.

Interviewer: Wow! Were there other children in the family?

Shenker: Oh yeah. There were two sisters and one brother.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Who, give us their names?

Shenker: Jeanette Rubin. She was married to Harry Rubin. Jean Goldstein. She was married to Richard Goldstein. A brother, a
man, Manuel Shenker, was married to Ann. I can’t remember her maiden
name. She wasn’t Jewish.

Interviewer: Did they live in Columbus?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And my Martin.

Interviewer: Uh huh. How old were you when you got married?

Shenker: Twenty-one or 22.

Interviewer: So . . . .

Shenker: So we married in ’44. I would have been 22 in May.

Interviewer: What’s the date of your wedding?

Shenker: January 16, 1944.

Interviewer: And where were you married?

Shenker: Congregation Tifereth Israel.

Interviewer: It sounds like your life started there . . . .

Shenker: It started in Kindergarten.

Interviewer: From Kindergarten on?

Shenker: I remember the whole deal from there on. My first Kindergarten teacher was Clara Neustadt.

Interviewer: Oh Neustadt, sounds like a familiar name.

Shenker: From the Chronicle family.

Interviewer: Chron-, yeah they had the Columbus Chronicle.

Shenker: Yeah. That was in this beautiful building or estate behind where the Temple is now. I remember class was in a bedroom.

Interviewer: Somebody’s house?

Shenker: Yeah, in that house that was on the property. It was an estate or was to be, and it was huge. And after that my
father was, he was a founder of Tifereth Israel and he wanted Hebrew
classes so he built with his own hands, built Hebrew rooms.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Shenker: Classes in that building.

Interviewer: So he was also, well he built the store.

Shenker: That’s right, so he had . . . .

Interviewer: And he didn’t have formal education for that?

Shenker: No, no, no. But brilliant, read a lot.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: So we had Hebrew School. We grew up and
eventually he became President of the Temple. And Mother was very
active with Sisterhood. So our whole history is tied up with the

Interviewer: We’re going to probably come back to a
little more about that but let me continue. You told me where you were
married. Was it a big wedding?

Shenker: Oh yeah, yeah.

Interviewer: You send invitations?

Shenker: Oh invitations, dinner in the Temple Social Hall.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Everything happened there.

Interviewer: Did you have a band?

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: No?

Shenker: No it was a Sunday afternoon wedding.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And so many people came from Cleveland and all over that they had to drive back.

Interviewer: Yeah that was a little bit of an effort.

Shenker: Oh sure.

Interviewer: That was like traveling. But everybody had a great time and . . . .

Shenker: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: it was a time to get together and just talk and reminisce and . . . .

Shenker: And we were active with Temple so it was a whole, it was . . . .

Interviewer: Okay. Who was the rabbi that married you? Well if you think of it as we . . . .

Shenker: Well Rabbi Rivlin was the Rabbi before Zelizer.

Interviewer: Rivlin?

Shenker: Rivlin. They were from Canada.

Interviewer: How do you spell it? R?

Shenker: R-I-V-L-I-N.

Interviewer: Okay.

Shenker: So it might have been he . . . . Cannot, got to look at the certificate . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah well that’ll be on your certificate.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: You still have your . . . .

Shenker: Sure.

Interviewer: Sure, you have to keep that. That’s a memorabilia.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Did you go on a honeymoon after that?

Shenker: Yeah we, it was January 15. There was an ice
storm outside. So we were supposed to head to Cincinnati and got as far as Lancaster.

Interviewer: Lancaster? You didn’t get very far then did you?

Shenker: No. Eventually we got to Cincinnati but we
didn’t stay out long because Martin was head of the grocers association
and they had a banquet. He had to be here.

Interviewer: So you . . . .

Shenker: We got back and that was the end of the honeymoon.

Interviewer: So that was just a few days?

Shenker: Yeah just a few days.

Interviewer: Well but your life started.

Shenker: We did a lot of traveling later.

Interviewer: Yeah your life started together then.

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: Where did you first live after you were married?

Shenker: On Chittenden in the campus area in a, we were lucky to find an apartment.

Interviewer: Yeah they weren’t very available then. There weren’t a lot of apartments at all.

Shenker: He followed a milkman until he finally found one that was empty.

Interviewer: He followed a milkman?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Well that’s interesting.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: I never heard that but that’s a good way to do it.

Shenker: That’s the way you got an apartment.

Interviewer: Good. Do you remember what you paid for your rent?

Shenker: Couldn’t have been very much.

Interviewer: Yeah. Chittenden. That’s not exactly in the Jewish neighborhood but.

Shenker: Oh no, no, no. That’s what we were able to find.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Then eventually, ’46, two years later, we bought a house on Seymour Avenue.

Interviewer: Seymour Avenue? I remember that one too. Kind of in the Driving Park . . . .

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: . . . . area.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: What were the first years of your marriage
life like, like your friendships and what did you do socially and how
did you keep yourself occupied?

Shenker: I still had many of my same friends and did as much organizationally . . . . I taught Hebrew at the Temple.

Interviewer: Did you get paid for that?

Shenker: Oh yeah, not, yeah eventually.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: A little bit. And then I, teaching in the school, Sunday School.

Interviewer: Sunday School?

Shenker: Finally took over Confirmation Class. I had ten years of doing an original cantata with my confirmands.

Interviewer: Oh wow!

Shenker: Those were, we were very busy with the Temple at that time.

Interviewer: Well it sounds like it was a big part of your life.

Shenker: A big part.

Interviewer: But you loved it?

Shenker: Yeah, still do.

Interviewer: Yeah I still hear stories about, I run into
somebody every once in a while who remembers you with great fondness
’cause they were your student.

Shenker: And those kids, that was the beginning of the youth movement, USY.

Interviewer: Was that when it started?

Shenker: I took my groups in New York, Chicago . . . .

Interviewer: Well that was fun for you too.

Shenker: Oh sure.

Interviewer: Tell us about your children.

Shenker: Marcia Lynne, married name Levy.

Interviewer: Levy?

Shenker: Yeah. Went to school. Both kids grew up in
Bexley. We were on Montrose Avenue and the kids both went through the
Bexley system and went to Ohio University in Athens.

Interviewer: In Athens, uh huh.

Shenker: School teacher, education.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And she went right away, quick, as soon as she
graduated, went to Connecticut, . . . . Connecticut ’cause she had to be
close to where she could go skiing, close to Vermont.

Interviewer: Oh skiing was an important part of her . . . .

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: She didn’t know that they have skiing areas in the Ohio region at that time.

Shenker: And I told her, “Well you can go there but you
got to go to the Jewish Center and find some nice Jewish friends.” So
that Sunday, first Sunday, she went there and she met a boy from
Cleveland. His mother had told him the same thing. They ended up back
in Akron.

Interviewer: They came back to Akron?

Shenker: And got married, seven months, eight months later.

Interviewer: How did she meet him then?

Shenker: At the Jewish Center in Connecticut.

Interviewer: In Connecticut?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: So you got to be at the right place at the right time.

Shenker: That’s right. Well that worked out really
funny. Anyway, right now, she never really taught. He was a builder.
He was with Ryland Briant Homes and oh, they moved to Atlanta and they
built houses there for sale. And she handled the offices.

Interviewer: Oh. Do they live in Atlanta now?

Shenker: Near Atlanta, . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Dunwoody.

Interviewer: Dunwoody?

Shenker: Yeah. And right now they’re . . . . on Lake Lanier?

Interviewer: Lake Kinnear?

Shenker: Lake Lanier.

Interviewer: Oh Lanier, uh huh.

Shenker: And other daughter . . . .

Interviewer: Wait a minute. Do they have children?

Shenker: Yeah they have two children, a son and a daughter. That’s this first . . . .

Interviewer: Okay, we’re looking at pictures here on the wall.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Well but that tells a story though.

Shenker: And she has, she has five grandchildren.

Interviewer: Oh so, oh, five grandchildren? No wait a minute.

Shenker: She has five grandchildren.

Interviewer: So they’re your great grandchildren? Yeah.

Shenker: And her son . . . .

Interviewer: What are the childrens’ names?

Shenker: Um . . . .

Interviewer: Well you probably don’t see them very often, do you?

Shenker: Oh but I should know their names. Eliana, Jonah, Sarah, Lila, Ethan.

Interviewer: Well that’s all right. We’ll come back to it, we’ll come back.

Shenker: Isn’t that awful?

Interviewer: Let’s see, do you remember, okay, let me see, you have more than one daughter?

Shenker: Yes. The other daughter, I have, one daughter’s here.

Interviewer: Lives here in Columbus?

Shenker: Yes Janet Sue Carlson.

Interviewer: Janet Carlson?

Shenker: Janet Carlson. Her husband is a lawyer, Leonard Carlson.

Interviewer: Leonard Carlson?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. And do they have children?

Shenker: They have a son and a daughter.

Interviewer: A son and a daughter?

Shenker: Yeah. And the son is Erik and he’s on his first journalism job in Lexington, Kentucky.

Interviewer: Oh, Lexington.

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: I have a grandson who lives in Lexington.

Shenker: Oh really?

Interviewer: Yeah, yeah.

Shenker: I hope he finds a Jewish girl down there.

Interviewer: Well we’ll see what we can do. We’ll have to be . . . .

Shenker: . . . . work on it.

Interviewer: (laughs) See if we can make a deal, huh?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: So that . . . .

Shenker: And then the daughter is Jennifer and she’s doing mortgage work for Chase Banks.

Interviewer: Uh huh. That’s an interesting business to be in today . . . .

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: . . . . the mortgage business.

Shenker: Yeah she’s doing well.

Interviewer: She’s doing okay?

Shenker: Yeah they keep moving her around.

Interviewer: Yeah. Is she married?

Shenker: She’s going to be married in June this year.

Interviewer: Oh good. Well that’s something to look forward to.

Shenker: My dress is ready.

Interviewer: Your dress is ready and you’re ready.

Shenker: I’ll be there.

Interviewer: I hope so, sure. How about vacations that you have taken when you were young?

Shenker: Oh, well we always took Florida. I had an aunt
and uncle down there in the Palm Beach area, West Palm Beach, so with my
parents it was always a trip to Florida.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: After we were married we still went to Florida every winter.

Interviewer: Well you knew that it was warmer than Ohio . . . .

Shenker: That’s right.

Interviewer: that’s for sure.

Shenker: That’s where we knew how to . . . . We had one
wonderful trip to California and many short trips like the kids were at
summer camp in Ramah. We’d go up to Michigan. It was nice.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did they both go to Camp Ramah?

Shenker: Marcia did.

Interviewer: Marcia did, uh huh. Camp Ramah was very important for Tifereth Israel youngsters.

Shenker: Oh very, very.

Interviewer: And still is.

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: So your grand–, how many grandchildren do you have altogether?

Shenker: I have four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Interviewer: Wow, that’s nice. It goes on and on, hopefully will keep going on.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Is there anything special that you do with your grandchildren or great grandchildren?

Shenker: I don’t get to see them often enough. I get to
see pictures now since I can’t travel, on the internet. I have 250 in
their roll of that thing.

Interviewer: Oh, yeah on the internet? Oh so you do have some computer access?

Shenker: Oh yeah I have my own computer.

Interviewer: Great.

Shenker: I don’t spend as much time on it as I should but it’s difficult to . . . .

Interviewer: Do you have Skype, do you Skype at all?

Shenker: No I wish I had it.

Interviewer: Yeah I’ve got it and I’m not daring enough . . . .

Shenker: I’m on the Facebook.

Interviewer: Facebook, oh boy. Well you can, you’re in touch with the immediate world then, huh?

Shenker: I’ve found a lot of my old fogies.

Interviewer: Well then that’s what they’re doing too . . . .

Shenker: I’m sure of it.

Interviewer: obviously. What about your interest in community work?

Shenker: There. And I’m not able to do it . . . . but always was a volunteer.

Interviewer: Volunteer?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: In what organization?

Shenker: . . . . into the B’nai B’rith, Sisterhood . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: always through somebody else.

Interviewer: Let’s see now, you’re definitely retired now, I know that. Are you definitely retired?

Shenker: I’m definitely . . . .

Interviewer: Retired and tired, huh?

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: What about hobbies? Do you have any hobbies that keep you busy now?

Shenker: My main hobby is crossword puzzles.

Interviewer: Crossword puzzles? That’s good for your mind.

Shenker: Oh I want the tough ones though.

Interviewer: You what?

Shenker: I want the tough ones. I don’t want the easy . . . .

Interviewer: You want the tough ones?

Shenker: I get . . . .

Interviewer: New York Times?

Shenker: New York Times . . . .

Interviewer: Do them in pencil or ink?

Shenker: If I’m brave it’s with ink but most . . . . pencil.

Interviewer: Yeah, ’cause I remember somebody telling me
they only do them with ink and I was very impressed. But I’m not a
crossword puzzle person.

Shenker: I don’t like messy puzzles. . . .

Interviewer: Well you mentioned, I just want to go back
just a little bit. You mentioned some organizations that you were
involved in. What about Hadassah?

Shenker: In my earlier years.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Not lately. But we started out with Junior Hadassah . . . .

Interviewer: Junior Hadassah, sure.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: But I got too involved with Temple stuff.

Interviewer: I know. The Temple was your, Temple was your main Temple.

Shenker: My main Temple.

Interviewer: Yes sure, I understand that. Did you ever travel out of this country on vacation?

Shenker: Afterwards. Oh we used to go to Canada
occasionally. But after Martin passed away a dear friend, Lottie Cohen
Lieberman . . . .

Interviewer: Lottie Cohen Lieberman?

Shenker: She worked at Temple as the rabbi’s secretary, Temple secretary, for years.

Interviewer: That’s why it sounds familiar to me.

Shenker: And her husband Mark Lieberman passed away three
months before my Martin passed away. And afterward we didn’t know what
to do with each other so we went on cruises.

Interviewer: Oh.

Shenker: We went on cruise after cruise ’till we got very
tired of them. We found one in the Mediterranean and we had a
wonderful trip through Europe, Spain and . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Portugal.

Interviewer: Well travels were fun at that time too.

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: What year did Martin pass away?

Shenker: 1990.

Interviewer: Ninety?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: What did he pass away of?

Shenker: Prostate cancer.

Interviewer: Prostate cancer, uh huh. But you had a long life together . . . .

Shenker: We had almost 50 years . . . .

Interviewer: Oh, well that’s beautiful.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Yeah that’s beautiful. Are there any other
relatives or real dear friends that maybe are no longer living that you
might want to talk about at all?

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: Or do you have friendships that are still from years back?

Shenker: Oh Shirley Kaufman from earlier, from the earlier years at Temple.

Interviewer: Shirley Kaufman?

Shenker: Yeah. She took over some of my teaching jobs.

Interviewer: I have very fond memories of Shirley Kaufman.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: Her daughter and my daughter were born the same day.

Shenker: Oh really?

Interviewer: Yeah, Janet.

Shenker: Oh my goodness.

Interviewer: And they grew up together.

Shenker: When she came to Columbus we latched on I think and did everything together.

Interviewer: She was a smoker. I remember that.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah. But she was very active in Temple.

Shenker: I don’t think she had a perfectly happy marriage with, but she got through it.

Interviewer: Yeah, she was a good mom.

Shenker: Yeah. It was a shame that she passed away so early but I’ll never forget Shirley.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: And had a cousin Rose Winter.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Much older. She was married to a veterinarian
and they went to Willimantic, Connecticut ’cause he was a veterinary for
large animals.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And then we were, I was supposed to . . . . And then we didn’t talk about my grandfather David . . . .

Interviewer: Oh okay.

Shenker: Because there were some really interesting people in the seven daughters, seven sons, seven daughters and two sons.

Interviewer: David Bonowitz?

Shenker: David Bonowitz.

Interviewer: So that was your cousin?

Shenker: My grandfather.

Interviewer: Your grandfather, yeah.

Shenker: And in that large group of people as his children, he had Joe was a professional baseball player with the Southern League.

Interviewer: That was unusual for a Jewish person.

Shenker: Yeah, he’s now in the Hall of Fame at the Jewish Center.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: A daughter Goldie. She’s was Gail Bonney. Went into radio in Chicago and went from there to Hollywood and was in movies.

Interviewer: And she’s, goes by the name Gail?

Shenker: Gail Bonney?

Interviewer: Bonney?

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Was Bonney her last name or that she kind of like, she took that name?

Shenker: She took, I think she had it legalized.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And she was married to Joe Solomon who was Charley Solomon’s brother . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: Also in that family was, oh yeah, he played, he played basketball, pro games.

Interviewer: Oh, some athletes in that family.

Shenker: Athletes . . . . The rest of them are pretty smart people, mostly into . . . .

Interviewer: How did Marvin Bonowitz fit into that group?

Shenker: David Bonowitz, David Bonowitz, that was my grandfather’s brother so we were cousins.

Interviewer: So Marvin is your cousin?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And Roselyn, yeah Roselyn Margulies.

Interviewer: Roselyn Margulies, yeah, it was his sister. Uh huh.

Shenker: Yeah we were close friends at school.

Interviewer: Uh huh. So the Bonowitz family was a big family?

Shenker: Yeah. In fact Grandfather David Bonowitz was
one of the first real estate licensed operators in Ohio. All the deeds
in that Parsons Avenue area has his name on it.

Interviewer: Oh really?

Shenker: Uh huh.

Interviewer: Well that’s, ’cause there are a lot of businesses on Parsons Avenue, one after . . . .

Shenker: Yeah, he built a building. It’s still there and he owned flats.

Interviewer: On Parsons, south Parsons?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: And it’s still there?

Shenker: As far as I know.

Interviewer: Wow! Parsons Avenue has changed dramatically.

Shenker: It could very well be, last time the kids came
in from, Joe Bonowitz, the baseball player, his daughter came in and
wanted to see that building and we drove down . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: So, okay.

Zarate: End of side one.

(Mixed conversation)

Zarate: You were talking about, relating to naming Jewish businesses on Mt. Vernon Avenue.

Interviewer: You know I was going to lead into that in a little bit. Yeah.

Zarate: And then I was also going to suggest to ask if she kept kosher when she was . . . .

Interviewer: Okay.

Zarate: So let’s see. So let’s go to the second side here. Give it a second.

Interviewer: Let’s see, we ended up on Parsons Avenue, right?

Zarate: Uh huh. You were talking about taking your kids down there and watching that building so hold on a second.

Interviewer: Okay, we were talking about Parsons Avenue. Let me go back just a little bit or maybe a whole lot and Parsons
Avenue reminds me that there were a lot of Jewish businesses in that
area. Jewish businesses, a bakery, meat market and so forth,

Shenker: Yes.

Interviewer: Can you tell us a little bit about that, what you remember?

Shenker: I don’t remember . . . .

Interviewer: Maybe even from your first, when you were first married on to later . . . .

Shenker: No I don’t remember much about Parsons Avenue at
all. We were already over on Ohio Avenue and Gilbert Street and that
area . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: The . . . . to movies.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: What was, there was a lot of stores though in that area too.

Shenker: Oh Martin’s Grocery was first for years on Livingston and the Driving Park area.

Interviewer: What about butcher shops and bakeries?

Shenker: Oh butcher shops. We lived on Washington Avenue . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: . . . . and there was a delicatessen.

Interviewer: What was the name of the deli, do you remember that?

Shenker: Oh I should remember. I don’t . . . .

Interviewer: Yeah I remember there was a couple of popular . . . .

Shenker: Yeah everybody, that was a friendly Sunday morning spot, everybody was . . . .

Interviewer: What about bakeries?

Shenker: Well Schwartz’ Bakery was in that area too. And they supplied all of the kosher bread all over the city.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Did you keep kosher when you were first married?

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: You didn’t?

Shenker: My husband had not grown up that way and he wanted steaks.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And we decided that made him happy, that’s what we did.

Interviewer: Sure.

Shenker: I didn’t eat other things.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: But, and not only that, his mother was in the grocery business. We were getting the best of everything.

Interviewer: Well that’s understandable too. It was right there.

Shenker: Yeah and he would work right along with her.

Interviewer: Uh huh. What about the Jewish Center in that area, in the, well, it’s kind of in the Parsons area, Donaldson Street.

Shenker: No that was from my mother’s era.

Interviewer: Oh yeah.

Shenker: In fact my sister was born on Stanley Avenue, which is down in that area.

Interviewer: Off of Parsons?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: Uh huh. What about Jewish Center activities? Were you ever involved?

Shenker: From the day of the first Jewish Center over there I was out going for membership, doing all I could do to get it going.

Interviewer: What was, where was the first Jewish Center that you remember?

Shenker: I’m thinking, I was talking about the one they built . . . .

Interviewer: Oh the one that’s on College Avenue now, yeah.

Shenker: Prior to that, in my high school days, we were very active with Schonthal Center, on Rich, Rich . . . .

Interviewer: Rich Street, yeah, Schonthal.

Shenker: Very active ’cause there was, during the war
years with a beautiful little German pastry shop in that area with these
German women that baked beautiful . . . .

Interviewer: I wish those stores were still here.

Shenker: I sure do.

Interviewer: They were delicious . . . .

Shenker: Oh out of this world.

Interviewer: and reasonable and available.

Shenker: Yep.

Interviewer: I understand that part. So did you have, did you go to clubs at the Jewish Center on Rich Street?

Shenker: Oh yeah, everything was . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh. So between that and the Temple . . . .

Shenker: Temple, we were busy.

Interviewer: Yeah. Was your husband ever involved in organizations?

Shenker: Oh yeah. He was a real artist so he handled the
Temple, he handled arts and crafts with the kids while I taught Sunday

Interviewer: Well good.

Shenker: He bowled with B’nai B’rith so he belongs to B’nai B’rith. I don’t think he did too much other than that.

Interviewer: Uh huh. Well that kept him busy.

Shenker: . . . . family, busy with work.

Interviewer: Sure. Did you ever hold board positions with some of the organizations that you belonged to?

Shenker: I was on the Board of the Congregation.

Interviewer: Okay. What about, what do you remember about the State of Israel when it first started, 1948?

Shenker: Only that we did everything we could and we were so thrilled that it finally got to be a state.

Interviewer: A lot of excitement, huh?

Shenker: A lot of excitement. And so much of the things that we did were centered around Israel with Hadassah Hospital and . . . .

Interviewer: Do you remember fund-raising events?

Shenker: Only that we sure contributed.

Interviewer: Yeah everybody had to pitch in.

Shenker: Everybody contributed. . . . .

Interviewer: Did you make a lot of phone calls?

Shenker: Sure.

Interviewer: You didn’t call people in person though very much did you? I think most of that was fund raising by phone.

Shenker: Yeah. I don’t think, I remember knocking on doors.

Interviewer: You did?

Shenker: It was a certain list.

Interviewer: Probably to collect the pledges that you got on the telephone?

Shenker: Right, right.

Interviewer: Well but everybody came through one way or another?

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: And then Israeli Bonds?

Shenker: Oh yeah, oh they were important.

Interviewer: Uh huh. And Israel Bonds are still being sold today.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: It’s a decent investment, isn’t it? Can you tell us something about family life during holidays?

Shenker: Well of course the focal point of the year was
always Rosh Hashonah, Yom Kippur and we sure dressed for those occasions
and everything panned around that ten days. But Passover was a
beautiful holiday in our Jewish homes.

Interviewer: Did you get together with some other family, relatives?

Shenker: Always at mother’s.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: . . . . And there were beautiful Seders.

Interviewer: Lots of people?

Shenker: Right.

Interviewer: They worked hard with all the food?

Shenker: Purim wasn’t much. We spent a lot of time with the children at Temple.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: But holidays were important.

Interviewer: Do you still have strong family ties with your relatives? Do you get together on occasion, on those who are . . . .

Shenker: No, no. There are not many of us left.

Interviewer: Well you’re an important part of that . . . .

Shenker: . . . . it’s a lot different than it used to be and children are now grandchildren.

Interviewer: Sure, sure.

Shenker: Naturally they’re not as . . . .

Interviewer: Can you tell us anything about values that
your family instilled in you when you were younger? Sounds like they
were enterprising and ambitious.

Shenker: Integrity first.

Interviewer: Integrity?

Shenker: Don’t do anything that would shame our people. Whatever you do is important to our people.

Interviewer: Your people? Not just your immediate family?

Shenker: But your Jewish family.

Interviewer: Jewish family?

Shenker: Right. Education came first.

Interviewer: Yeah it sounds like education was a big part of your . . . .

Shenker: Education and boy you better bring home the
grades. Consequently I went straight through every Summer School I
could go to and take all the classes you could take. I have to go to
campus . . . .

Interviewer: You were fifteen?

Shenker: Yeah much too young.

Interviewer: Yeah that is pretty young, that is. So grades were important in . . . .

Shenker: Oh boy yeah.

Interviewer: And you didn’t mind getting good grades did you?

Shenker: No indeed. My father avah sholom read every book I ever brought home. What I studied, he studied.

Interviewer: Is that right?

Shenker: So he got his education.

Interviewer: Oh that’s interesting. Did they have schooling, your parents in this country?

Shenker: Mother had, in fact schooling in German Village and she went to the eighth grade.

Interviewer: Through the eighth?

Shenker: Yeah. I don’t think he went to school at all. If he did, he sure knew how to write.

Interviewer: You try to understand how he learned to read and write.

Shenker: Well and that was, and his mother, my grandmother spoke fluent English but she couldn’t read.

Interviewer: Oh?

Shenker: She would get on a bus and if it had the “L” she knew it was Livingston.

Interviewer: Oh that’s good.

Shenker: (Indistinct)

Interviewer: But she got to where she wanted to go?

Shenker: She got to where she wanted to go.

Interviewer: Great, great. We talked a lot about,
recently we’ve been having a lot of conversations about the new age of
digital life, cell phones and so forth.

Shenker: I’m fascinated . . . .

Interviewer: You’re fascinated by it? I think it’s great that you are involved in the computer.

Shenker: I still have a cell phone that doesn’t take
pictures and I’m jealous. I think it’s silly to buy one now that does
everything. Now they do so many different things with them, Blueberry?

Interviewer: Blackberry, blackberry, uh huh.

Shenker: Oh I watched this through the . . . .

Interviewer: Can you compare that, the era of electronics
today to when you were growing up? What was a phenomenon that was
happening there electronically?

Shenker: The first I remember was being in Cleveland as a child and I saw an escalator.

Interviewer: An escalator?

Shenker: Yes.

Interviewer: Moving steps?

Shenker: Moving steps. And I saw an air door where the
door just opened when I wanted to walk through it. These things were
magic . . . .

Interviewer: . . . .

Shenker: Yeah, magic.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And I feel very much the same as these kids pop out their Blackberry and do something with it.

Interviewer: What about telephones when you were growing up?

Shenker: I remember I had an appendectomy. I played the
piano and I was at a concert at East High School at the piano and I had
an appendix attack. And . . . .

Interviewer: During the concert?

Shenker: During the concert.

Interviewer: Wow!

Shenker: And . . . .

Interviewer: Did you finish the piece you were playing?

Shenker: I probably did. And when they took me home from
the hospital two weeks later, that’s how long it took for an
appendectomy in those days.

Interviewer: Sure.

Shenker: We were on Gilbert Street and in this house bedrooms were upstairs and we had a phone downstairs.

Interviewer: You only had one phone in the house?

Shenker: And my father figured out how to move a wire upstairs so I could use that phone.

Interviewer: So he was able to wire . . . .

Shenker: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: the phone so you could talk . . . .

Shenker: He figured out right how to do it.

Interviewer: Well that’s pretty ambitious, isn’t it? He
figured it out. That’s a good thing, great. So you didn’t need those
Blackberries and cell phones?

Shenker: No.

Interviewer: You found a way.

Shenker: He ended up, he ended up with all the juke boxes
in Ohio and he started out with Stones’ Grills, the Shers, and that’s
how he finally retired.

Interviewer: What, did he maintain them or sell them, the juke boxes?

Shenker: No they just had a route where they collected the coins . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: He’d place the machine and then pick up the coins from them.

Interviewer: Do they still have juke boxes today somewhere?

Shenker: I’d like to have some of those old Wurlitzers.

Interviewer: They were fun, weren’t they?

Shenker: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: What has helped you get through some of the tougher times during your life?

Shenker: Well in 1973 I had colon cancer and ended up
with a colostomy and some bone removal and other removals and I had
given up, I really had.

Interviewer: There wasn’t much talk about the word “cancer” until . . . .

Shenker: No you wouldn’t . . . .

Interviewer: …until close to that time.

Shenker: “The big C” and that’s all . . . .

Interviewer: “The big C,” uh huh.

Shenker: I remember giving up completely, lying on the couch and my son-in-law Leonard came in . . . .

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: . . . . and he said, “I’m planting tulips out there. When they come up in the Spring you’re going to cut some tulips.”

Interviewer: How about that? That was encouraging, wasn’t it?

Shenker: Yeah. And I thought boy if he’s looking that far ahead I can too.

Interviewer: Good, that’s very good.

Shenker: So that’s been the way I’ve looked at life ever since.

Interviewer: Beautiful. That’s a great stimulation. Uh huh.

Shenker: And these last few months have been just tough.

Interviewer: Yeah it’s a lot of fighting. But you like to get to the next day, don’t you?

Shenker: I hope I . . . . All I want to do is walk again?

Interviewer: Sure. I can understand that. How do you feel television has influenced our life?

Shenker: I like the news. It’s kept me really up on the
news. I’m not interested too much in anything else except for
“Jeopardy” and I’ll stick with “Wheel of Fortune”.

Interviewer: Those things are good for your brain too.

Shenker: Yeah I want to be able to beat those guys on Jeopardy.

Interviewer: Well I hope you do.

Shenker: Not often but I try.

Interviewer: No but it’s encouraging when you do get there. Well that probably helps with your crossword puzzles too, don’t it?

Shenker: Oh yes.

Interviewer: You got to keep that brain going. Can you think of any stories that I haven’t asked you about?

Shenker: Well not only after the Temple years, oh when
the Temple, they brought in this wonderful outfit from New York for
education, the Melton Institute.

Interviewer: The Melton Institute?

Shenker: Yeah, they brought in the Melton Institute with a
system of education and I left because it was such duplication. I
didn’t feel that I was serving my purpose and . . . .

Interviewer: As far as your Temple education?

Shenker: I’d never give up the Temple but I felt that they’d taken over. They brought teachers in from New York.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Shenker: And then I went with Nate Nateman and they were
building houses and I was fascinated with it so I worked in that office
building houses. And from then on I went with Ernest G. Fritche and we
built, I was with him for twelve years.

Interviewer: Builder also?

Shenker: Builder, yeah, the mortgage end, the closing.

Interviewer: Well you had interesting jobs didn’t you?

Shenker: I just loved it.

Interviewer: When you talked about the Melton Institute, did you ever have any work situations, did you work with Florence Melton?

Shenker: Oh many, many, many situations.

Interviewer: A dynamic woman, huh?

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: How was that for you?

Shenker: Pardon?

Interviewer: How did that work for you? How did you . . . .

Shenker: I learned a lot and oh, I learned a lot from the whole thing.

Interviewer: Let’s see what else we could tell. Any other thoughts that you want to share with us, stories?

Shenker: Only that I’m very proud of my children and
Janet is now working in all 16 Westerville schools, elementary
buildings, teaching gifted, I guess high gifted, teaching teachers. So
she’d worked in the system for 35 years and retired and they called her
back the next . . . .

Interviewer: Well.

Shenker: So she’s back to work.

Interviewer: I would think that you were a great encouragement with that education part of her life.

Shenker: Yeah wanting to be in schools.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Shenker: Yeah.

Interviewer: If you could give a message about life and
love to your children and grandchildren for later generations, can you
think of some thoughts that you would share with them?

Shenker: Yeah, only do things with a lot of integrity and
continue your education. Be with everybody. Do unto others, that
Golden Rule.

Interviewer: Well you know the value of that, don’t you?

Shenker: And you’ll make friends. You’ll live a long, happier life.

Interviewer: Well you can’t buy that with money. That has to come from your heart.

Shenker: You sure can’t.

Interviewer: Well I’ve really enjoyed this interview. I haven’t done this for a while and . . . .

Shenker: I hope there’s been something of substance and . . . .

Interviewer: There certainly has been. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve learned some from it and our cameraman here has helped us a great deal.

Shenker: I’m sure there are many things I should have added but I’m not as quick with it as I’ve been, now that I’m 89 years old.

Interviewer: Well ’89?

Shenker: I’ll be 90 in May.

Interviewer: Well happy birthday before.

Shenker: Thank you.

Interviewer: You can start enjoying the year and the
years ahead, many years ahead. I’d like you to introduce yourself, the
recording manager here.

Zarate: My name is Jeff Zarate. I’m the Assistant
Archivist at Columbus Jewish Historical Society. And I could just say I
wish to thank you for your time today on behalf of the Society and

Interviewer: Yeah. This has been a wonderful experience
for me. On behalf of the Columbus Jewish Historical Society I too am
thanking you and this will be part of our archives and if you have any
further thoughts let us know and we appreciate your time.

Shenker: It’s been my pleasure and a privilege.

Interviewer: Well I know it’s something you were looking forward to.

Shenker: I really was.

Interviewer: It’s kind of fun to be able to pull the past together.

Shenker: That’s right. You think when you’re gone it
will be all over and nobody will know you were even here. But now
somebody will know.

Interviewer: For sure.

Shenker: Thank you.

Zarate: You’re welcome.

Interviewer: There was a beautiful quote in here. Well,
“Preserving the life stories of our closest relatives is a priceless
gift one generation bestows upon another”. Those were not my words.
They’re the words of Dorothy Shapiro, whoever she may be. And I think
that’s a beautiful way to end the . . . .

Shenker: Absolutely.

Interviewer: And again on behalf of the organization I appreciate your time.

Shenker: I appreciate you.

Interviewer: And glad your energy held up too.

Shenker: Thank you.

Interviewer: Uh huh.

Zarate: This ends the interview.

Interviewer: Terrific.

ADDENDUM: Miriam’s siblings are: Minnie Riffle, Lillian
Gruber, Fanny Canowitz, Anna Winter, Zelda Bonowitz, Esther Bayer, Gail
Bonney, Joseph Bonowitz, and Elliott Bonnie.

Transcribed by Honey Abramson
Corrected by Miriam Shenker

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