This interview was conducted by Bill Cohen for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society’s Oral History Project.
Interviewer: Ok. Well, I think we’re recording. So are you ready over there?
Broidy: You go ahead.
Interviewer: Let’s see. We are talking to Rose Broidy – that’s B R O I D Y.
Beth: And we’re at 59 South Gould. So first of all, let me just, when were you born?
Broidy: November the 11th, 1913
Interviewer: November 11, 1913.So you are 100 years old?
Broidy: 100 years and 6, 7 months, (laughter)
Interviewer: Wow. Ok. So were you born here in Columbus?
Broidy: Yes, I was born in Columbus.
Interviewer: Do you know where it was?
Broidy: It was at 59 Livingston Avenue, one block off of High Street.
Beth: Was it 59, the same address as this?
Broidy: No, must not have been 59 because it was just one block off of High Street, where the expressway is now.
Interviewer: Yes, near Third Street or Fourth Street. Central market was down here, one of the markets was down here then. Anyway, so you were born right downtown pretty much.
Interviewer: …and you lived downtown…what was that like, living downtown?
Broidy: Being very young there, didn’t get too much of an express feeling. I was too young. I can remember going to school with the snow so high my father had to put me on a sled and pull me to school ‘cause I couldn’t walk. I was too small.
Interviewer: And you lived there, about how many years did you live downtown?
Broidy: Let’s see ‘til I was in the third grade.
Interviewer: Third grade, about nine or ten. Then you moved. Where did you move then?
Broidy: Moved to Carpenter Street, Carpenter and Columbus.
Interviewer: The intersection of Carpenter and Columbus. Did it feel it was a Jewish, was it a Jewish community? Were there a lot of different people?
Broidy: There were quite a number of Jewish people because I remember I had a lot of friends there and they were, I think they were all Jewish.
Interviewer: You went to public school.
Broidy: Neil Avenue School.
Interviewer: You’ve got a good memory. You remember everything. Heil Elementary. So was that school all Jewish, no.
Broidy: Oh, no, no, no. It took in quite a, even back of the school, where people lived.
Interviewer: You say most of your friends were Jewish?
Broidy: Yes, quite a few. There was a dancer, Evelyn Thall, lived very close by. A Rappenport lived down the street. I had a lot, a lot of friends there.
Interviewer: And what do you remember about the Jewish community back then? You say most of your friends were Jewish.
Broidy: I would say all my friends were Jewish but as far as the Jewish community, I wasn’t aware of it.
Interviewer: You did have Jewish friends, did you go to Sunday school or Hebrew School, or…
Broidy: Went to Sunday school at the Broad Street Temple.
Interviewer: The Broad Street Temple. And you went with your parents or other relatives? You say when you went to the synagogue, who did you go with?
Beth: Didn’t you go to Beth Jacob?
Broidy: Originally we went to the Congregation of Beth Jacob. My dad was one of the first people when the Beth Jacob was organized and he stayed with them and when they moved over to the new place.
Beth: He didn’t go the one on College Avenue. That’s when he went to Agudas Achim, right?
Broidy: Well, we could drive him during the middle of the week to go to shul, but he wouldn’t ride on Saturday so we asked the rabbi if we drove him to shul and we picked him up would it be all right and he said “Absolutely, no.” Well, if he couldn’t go to shul, we’d drop Beth Jacob and then join Agudas Achim.
Interviewer: The rabbi was basically saying it’s more important to not drive than to go to shul.
Broidy: That’s what he said.
Interviewer: So you changed.
Broidy: Oh, Absolutely. We didn’t have anything more to do with Beth Jacob.
Interviewer: Fascinating. Was the Schonthal Center around then? Was there a Jewish community center?
Broidy: When I was young there was a Jewish community organization off of, I don’t know what street it was, where the Jewish youth congregated but that got to a point where it wasn’t a good place for Jewish people, the children to go to and that’s when the Jewish Center started to build and I was quite young when they were starting to build there.
Interviewer: Do you remember any other particular Jewish businesses or institutions? I know my mother lived at one point on Washington Avenue and she would say, “Oh, I remember there was a kosher butcher across the street, or she had memories like that. Do any come to mind?
Broidy: The only thing I can think of is occasionally Mother would send me to the, with a live chicken to have the shadchen, what’d they call it?
Interviewer: Yes, the kosher butcher? [transcriber’s note – they mean shochet – shadchen is a matchmaker]
Broidy: Which I hated to do but that’s about the only thing. Oh, I remember the Jewish bakery, what was that street? That they made such beautiful breads and they used to bring it along to Mother in a big basket with all their baked goods and Mother would buy their bread but that’s about the only Jewish organizations.
Interviewer: So there was a Jewish bakery and you remember the bread. Tell me about this chicken thing again. You would take a live chicken…
Broidy: that Mother would buy and I would never stay in. I’d wait outside for my brother to come and take me and when the shadchen [shochet] was through, then my brother would go in and get that dead chicken and we’d go home.
Interviewer: So your mother said to you, you take this live chicken to the kosher butcher and the kosher butcher will kill and you didn’t want to go alone to the kosher butcher so you went with your brother. So your mother, just explain, where did she get the live chicken? Did she, did you bring the live chicken from home to the butcher or you went to the butcher and the butcher already had live chickens? Do you remember?
Broidy: Come to think of it, in that house, we had a big yard. My daddy raised chickens! Now you’re bringing memory back. Yeah.
Interviewer: So now your mother would pick a chicken out of the lot and give it to you and says you go get that chicken…
Broidy: …when Daddy wasn’t there. My daddy loved chickens and chickens loved him. Isn’t that funny?
Interviewer: Until they had to go to the butcher.
Broidy: She did that when he wasn’t home.
Interviewer: Very interesting. So you went to Heil Avenue School. That was elementary school and then they had something, I think, called Junior High.
Broidy: Yeah, the Roosevelt Junior High.
Interviewer: That’s where you went, Roosevelt Junior High. So, do you have any memories of the junior high years? You would have been 12 or 13 maybe?
Broidy: Well, not good memories. At that time they decided I had to wear glasses – tortoise shell rim glasses. My feet weren’t too good so I had to wear what was called ground gripper shoes. When people, when boys took a look at me they ran screaming (laughter). That was the wrong thing my mother shouldn’t have done, not in junior high school but I lived through it.
Interviewer: You lived through it. Those are sensitive years.
Broidy: Yes, uh uhn.
Interviewer: …when you’re 12 or 13 so that’s your memory there. And you still had a lot of Jewish friends. Most of your friends were Jewish at Roosevelt.
Broidy: Yes, Uh uhn.
Interviewer: And then did you go to South High School?
Broidy: Yes, graduated from South High.
Interviewer: Tell me what do you remember about South High School and your life there?
Broidy: I remember the teachers were very nice. I had a French teacher Dorchy Fisher who was, well, she liked me and I liked her. I thought the teachers were excellent. I was trying to think of incidents but it doesn’t come to memory but the teachers were very, very good. I took a commercial course, learned to type and shorthand and so forth.
Interviewer: Is that what many of the girls took?
Broidy: Most of them did, yes.
Interviewer: Why was that? Do you know why?
Broidy: Well, when you knew shorthand and typing it was easy to get a job. Oh, I used that to put myself through college. I worked in offices so it definitely came in handy.
Interviewer: You worked as a typist and a secretary?
Broidy: As a secretary, yes.
Interviewer: The boys though in high school when you were young, they didn’t take those courses.
Broidy: Oh no, unh, uhn. None of the boys did.
Interviewer: So what was the difference there? Do you remember what it was? Why did they have the girls take the typing?
Broidy: No, it was just a matter of personal choice.
Interviewer: Did you know what you wanted to do when you were in high school? Did you say oh, I want to have this job or I want to be married or…
Broidy: No, I knew I wanted to go to college. My cousins all, the Shamanskys, all went and I thought maybe I wanted to take me in the medicine also but I definitely knew that I was going to college and I was taking the commercial course to work my way through college.
Interviewer: Your parents, they didn’t go to college or did they?
Broidy: My mother and dad, no they came over from Riga, Latvia, but as soon as they arrived they took the study, became citizens and were very, very good business people.
Interviewer: So let’s talk about your parents a little bit. Did they know English when they came here or did they have to learn?
Broidy: I really don’t know but I know that at home we were taught Yiddish. Outside, Mother and Dad talked English. Where they learned it I don’t know. Maybe it was from me and the kids.
Interviewer: But at home you spoke Yiddish.
Broidy: Mother and Dad spoke Yiddish so I knew, I understood Yiddish. I could speak Yiddish which I have lost unfortunately.
Interviewer: But when you were young you could carry on a conversation in Yiddish.
Interviewer: And you say your parents were business people? What did they do?
Broidy: No, my dad could do anything. You want a shoe repaired? My dad could fix a pair of shoes. You want in the tailor business? Daddy could do work it, anything Daddy could do. But he ended up working for the railroad because a Jewish friend of his got him a job. See, it was a Pennsylvania Railroad that Daddy first with and I remember they went on strike and Dad was out of a job and they never settled it, the dispute.
Interviewer: So he lost his job.
Broidy: He lost his job but this same friend was working at a different railroad and got Daddy a job.
Interviewer: Do you know what he did on the railroad?
Broidy: He worked on the wheels of the rail cars. In other words they have to be in perfect shape and he worked on those which is hard work.
Interviewer: So it was physical work and so he didn’t have to travel with the train. He stayed in Columbus and…
Broidy: That’s right.
Interviewer: … and repaired the wheels.
Broidy: Uhm hum. There was one incident where he was working on the wheel and it got away from him and he was up on a sort of a sloop, a hill. The tire wheel went down and he saw people at the bottom. He rushed at, chased after the wheel, grabbed it and the wheel turned on him and he landed in the hospital with a punctured lung but he recovered.
Interviewer: And he saved other people from being injured.
Broidy: Oh, yeah. When he saw the people down at the foot of the hill…he was telling us about it when he was in the hospital but he saved them.
Interviewer: Did you ever go with him to work or did you ever see where he worked?
Broidy: No. No, that was out of my sphere.
Interviewer: And your mother was she a housewife or did she have a job outside the home?
Broidy: When Dad was out of work, and there was no money coming in, Mother and a Mrs. Baker, a friend of hers, decided that they’d take a stand on market. There was a market on; I don’t know if there still is on Fourth Street.
Interviewer: It’s not there anymore but it was there. My grandfather worked there around Livingston and Fourth. I think it was called Central market but I am not sure. So, your mother had a stand.
Broidy: …with Mrs. Baker and Mother would get up at 3 o’clock in the morning to go to the wholesale houses and pick out the fruit and vegetables and everything that she wanted to sell and she was very particular. Even if she had to pay a little bit more, she bought the very best and that way she got a lot of customers always coming back.
Interviewer: So were her customer’s just regular people who were buying fruits and vegetables
Broidy: Uhm hum.
Interviewer: …for their families?
Interviewer: So she bought the fruits and vegetables wholesale at a good, low price and then she would sell them retail.
Broidy: Uhn huh. And then at the end of the day would divide it, take off what they spent for them, so there was a little bit of money coming in. Mother was a businesswoman definitely.
Interviewer: Did she only do that job when your father was out of a job or did she continue to do that?
Broidy: She continued doing it and Dad would come and help, putting up the bench and taking it down at night time and so forth. They were a really, Mother and Dad, nobody like them.
Interviewer: There was nobody like them.
Broidy: Nobody. They were wonderful.
Interviewer: And so you were in high school. You were at South High. Now tell me you had mostly Jewish friends but were most of the students at South Jewish or was there a mix of Christians and Jews?
Broidy: Oh, Quite a mixture and when I graduated the neighborhood was changing.
Interviewer: From what to what?
Broidy: From White to Black which it is, still is.
Interviewer: So that would have been in the early 1930’s? Do you remember what year you graduated high school?
Beth: We have her high school picture.
Interviewer: Well, we’ll look at it. My mother went to South High school and I think she probably was just a year or two younger than you. I think she graduated in 1933, something like that.
Broidy: Where is that picture?
Interviewer: Yeah, Ok. We’ll see if we can find that.
Broidy: And so South High School, so it was White mostly and then it started changing; a lot of Jewish, and then gradually the Jewish people start moving east.
Interviewer: Did you move?
Broidy: We stayed until Mother said the neighborhood’s gone down too fast, said we weren’t going to stay there any longer. We had a double house. One was my husband and I lived in when we came back from
Los Angeles so we went looking for lots. We were going to build and fortunately we found two lots here in Bexley and uh, we purchased. My sister purchased the one and we purchased the other.
Interviewer: Is that the lots we’re here right now, on Gould?
Broidy: Yeah, here this house and north of this house.
Interviewer: 59 South Gould and 51 South Gould.
Interviewer: Huh. So, you moved here. Do you remember how old you were when you moved here to Gould? You were still a child or were you…
Broidy: No. No, I wouldn’t call myself a child. I was trying to think what grade I was in at Bexley.
Interviewer: But you finished high school at South, South High School. You graduated from there. What did you do after? You went on to college?
Broidy: I worked for about a year. I worked for an insurance company, typing up insurance policies and got enough to pay for my tuition for a year which you can’t do now this year! And I didn’t know really what I wanted to do so I went in to arts for the first year and I knew it would want to be something in medicine ‘cause I was raised up with my cousins who were all doctors and dentists and I didn’t want to be a doctor, I didn’t want to be a nurse. I just ended in something…I wanted to be a pharmacist which is in between. So, I enrolled in the pharmacy school.
Interviewer: At Ohio State?
Broidy: At Ohio State and went through four years of that. In between times in the summertime I would work, got a job taking care of an office, earned enough money to pay for tuition for that year and so until I got out of school.
Interviewer: So what was it like? No this was in the 1930’s
Beth: 1931 is when she graduated.
Interviewer: You graduated high school in 1931.
Beth: “History of My School During 1931 When I Was a Senior.”
Interviewer: OK, so you were just a couple years older than my mother. She might have, she might have known you – Bea Cohen, Beatrice Cohen. Oh, Beatrice Lopper was her name. My aunt was Lena Lopper.
Broidy: Oh yeah. We’re related to Lena Lopper.
Beth: My mom’s best friend.
Interviewer: Lena Lopper, you knew Lena Lopper?
Broidy: She was a good friend of mine all through school. Oh yeah.
Interviewer: That was my Aunt Lena.
Beth: Isn’t that a small world?
Interviewer: Lena Lopper. Yes, she would be about your age because she was a little younger than my mother. Wow. Lena Lopper.
Broidy: Oh Yeah, we were good friends all through school.
Beth: Let me ask you. You went to Ohio State in the 1930’s, a woman in the pharmacy school. Did that make you stand out?
Broidy: There was one other in my class but she flunked out so I was the only woman in my class.
Interviewer: Did being Jewish make you stand out?
Broidy: Um, in a way, yes. There was a sorority that was all Christians. They said “We’re awfully sorry, but our charter says ‘No Jews Allowed.’” That was, when that was said to me, my interest in the school fell to zero but, and I had one professor who tried to keep me from graduating. He said I didn’t turn in my thesis which was necessary for graduation and I said, “I certainly did,” and I made a mistake I didn’t make a copy. So that was the only one. So, I went to Dean Dye (sp?) who was head of the pharmacy and I explained to him that I absolutely turned in my thesis. He called in Max something – I can’t remember his name now. He said “Look through your papers again. See if you can’t find it.”
Interviewer: Oh, he called the professor in.
Broidy: Uhn huh. They found it. That was I just admit. I was the only Jewish girl. There were Jewish boys there but the only girl and I was Jewish and he did not like me.
Interviewer: So you think that’s the reason that he said that, that he said that you didn’t turn in your thesis.
Broidy: Definitely, the one that caused me trouble. Oh yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: How ‘bout the other students. Was Ohio State friendly to you or were there other problems?
Broidy: Oh yes, they were nice. There were Jewish boys there so we got along.
Interviewer: So you felt two instances of anti-Semitism. Did you, at first did you want to join that sorority or were they interested in having you be a member until they found out you were Jewish?
Broidy: Uhn huh. Oh sure, you want to join to be with your friends but that dislike of the school carries on to this, even to this day. They call and want me to come to the different things that they have. I refuse. I don’t donate to the school. The only thing I like about Ohio State is their football and basketball games.
Interviewer: But you have a bad feeling about Ohio State because of what you went through?
Broidy: Unh huh.
Interviewer: Did any of your children go to Ohio State?
Broidy: All did. We had four generations of all going to Ohio State.
Interviewer: Even though you have bad feelings about Ohio State. Did you tell them?
Broidy: The school is good. It’s just my feelings and I wouldn’t discourage them. In fact I encouraged them to go to Ohio State.
Interviewer: Do you think things have changed at Ohio State?
Broidy: I wouldn’t know. They call up, want donations, NO.
Interviewer: Do your children know, do they have good feelings about Ohio /State?
Broidy: Oh yeah. I wouldn’t let my feelings influence them.
Interviewer: So, eventually you moved from Carpenter Street. You went to South High and then you moved here to Bexley? Did you move to Bexley after you got married?
Beth: Well, Mom, after you left college you went to California remember?
Broidy: I didn’t hear you, dear.
Beth: Oh ok, after college you went to California.
Broidy: Oh, that’s right.
Interviewer: Tell us about that.
Broidy: When I graduated I had several jobs here that didn’t pan out and then I worked at Fort Hayes. Fort Hayes was the induction center for the people that were going to war.
Interviewer: World War II.
Broidy: Yes, and I was the pharmacist there. I remember who was it that made such good salami?
Beth: Oscar Meyer? Hebrew National?
Broidy: Osherwitzes..(sp?). The Osherwitz boy was there at Fort Hayes and his father would send him long salami. I mean it took two people to carry that salami and we all got slices of salami. But I understand that he sold out and that’s probably because his son was probably killed in the War.
Interviewer: Now you were the pharmacist at Fort Hayes for when the young men were going off to War and they were probably giving them physical exams and so forth and how did they respond when they saw a woman there and not only a woman, not a woman clerk or a woman secretary but a woman pharmacist?
Broidy: They played a lot of tricks on me. [laughter] Like catching a mouse and putting it in a place where I would open up in the morning and they were all outside waiting to see my reaction. I picked up the whatcha-call it with a mouse
Interviewer: …trap with the box
Broidy: …and I said “let that poor little mouse go.” Then they bet me that I couldn’t watch an operation, that if I could stay through an operation they would get me a big box of candy. Ah, I had a lot of candy.
Interviewer: Because you were able to watch surgery without fainting or getting upset.
Broidy: Those were little tricks that they played on me.
Interviewer: The other army officers or the people at the base…
Broidy: No, the ones who were going to be inducted in to the army.
Interviewer: Oh the boys, the 18, 19, 20 year olds, they were playing tricks you, oh, because they were living at the base for a while.
Interviewer: …before they were shipped out. That’s a great story.
Beth: Well, there’s more then. She met her husband for the first time there.
Interviewer: Tell us how you met your husband.
Broidy: He was sent to Fort Hayes to be inducted in to the War. And when he heard there was a Jewish pharmacist and he was a pharmacist, he made a bee-line [laughter] for the pharmacy and that’s where I met him. He was inducted as a medic on board ship. He brought the wounded boys, people, soldiers back to here and he went to a lot of countries and saw a lot of… he never fought but he was in the midst of a lot of it.
Interviewer: His job?
Broidy: Taking care of the wounded and so forth
Interviewer: And then he helped to bring the wounded back.
Broidy: Uhn huh.
Interviewer: So you were separated from him.
Broidy: Oh we were just friends back then.
Interviewer: Oh, that’s right you weren’t married yet.
Beth: She has more stories about that, about California then, Mom.
Broidy: And then the people at Fort Hayes wanted me to leave the pharmacy and take a course, something in different colors, had to do with the army and I didn’t want that. So, I decided I’d like to go to California. A friend of mine, Florence Furman, married and lived out there and my brother was in the – Joe was captain, what was Joe?
Beth: I don’t know what rank he was but he was in the army air force.
Broidy: He was on the west coast so I knew I wouldn’t be alone. So I packed up and went and took my, I had to take the course all over again to be registered in California. I remember telling the professors when we were out talking, I said, “Well if I don’t pass I’ll get a job as a dishwasher.” Fortunately I passed not real high up but I passed and I had quite a few different jobs, met a lot of friends. When I first went there it was Passover and I didn’t know anybody so I went to an Orthodox shul and asked the rabbi if by any chance they were having meals there, that I would love to join. He said, “No, but I’ll see if I can find a place for you and he called me back and said, “Yes, a Mrs. Israel will take you for the Passover meal. So I found my way over there and Mrs. Israel had her arm, her right arm, no her left arm in a sling and she did the whole Passover meal, serving it, taking the dishes away and her daughter just sat there. I tried to get up. They said, “Sit still, sit still.” And she served the whole meal and then she was going to wash the dishes. I said to her daughter, “Zelda, we’re going to do the dishes. Mrs. Israel, you sit still.” They looked at me, Zelda – what is all this? Zelda was used to her mother doing everything. Well she didn’t. We washed dishes, we cleaned up the house, we did everything. So there were two soldier boys there, too, that were invited. I got invited back for the second seder. They did not. So, we became very good friends. Zelda was a little younger than me and we became very good friends and Mrs. Israel, she made my stay in California wonderful. So, I got a big break there.
Interviewer: So, this was after the War.
Broidy: Well, the War was still on. We went to dances that were with the boys. The soldier boys were invited. It was very nice. And then one day, who should arrive but Samuel Broidy? He said…
Interviewer: Samuel Broidy, your boyfriend from many…
Broidy: “I ran across some of the boys from Fort Hayes and they said you were here in California” and it was a coincidence. His outfit landed and was right outside this place in California and the first thing he did was rush over to find me and that’s history.
Interviewer: Is that when you knew you were probably going to marry him?
Broidy: He was very persistent, let’s put it that way.
Interviewer: That’s when he asked you to marry him,
Broidy: Oh yeah.
Interviewer: In California. And where were you married?
Broidy: Back here. No we wanted to go back home.
Interviewer: Because your parents were here.
Broidy: Uhn huh.
Interviewer: you got married back here in Columbus and then where did you live when you were first married?
Broidy: Oh, we went back to California. When Sam was there he got a little apartment, just one room with a hot plate and so forth. So when we went back, at least we had that little room. Our bed was a converted couch and then what it was, when the War wasn’t on it was a three room apartment and the owner rented out all three rooms to three different people so one person in the middle moved out and we got that room and oh, we thought we were in seventh heaven. We had two rooms, one to eat in and one to sleep in!
Interviewer: That was considered luxury.
Broidy: That was a luxury. That was of course after we were married.
Interviewer: Of course.
Broidy: Then we were there for quite a while and Sam wanted to go back home. He wanted to be closer to his parents. So, I talked to Mother and she made an enemy by telling the person who lived next door that they had to move because we were coming back home and Mother wanted us to live next door to her.
Beth: It was on Carpenter. That was after Steve was born, right?
Broidy: Yeah, well, Steve was born in California.
Interviewer: Your oldest son.
Broidy: He was one year old when we came back, took the train back to Columbus. It’s been such a long time ago I can’t get the sequence right.
Interviewer: So you have how many children?
Interviewer: Three children. Who are they?
Broidy: She’s the middle.
Interviewer: Give us the three names.
Broidy: Well, my oldest is Stephen Jack Broidy, Beth Lynn Broidy, Seladana ? Now and Michael Albert Broidy.
Interviewer: So you have three children. Oh, I forgot to ask you. Do you have a Jewish name yourself? Sometimes people have an English name and a Hebrew name.
Broidy: No, but I was called Rachel, wait a minute. I was called Raiska. Oh no, I was called Raiska when they were mad at me. [laughter]
Interviewer: Does that mean something? Does that have a meaning?
Broidy: Well a cross between Rose and a rascal.
Interviewer: Oh, your name is Rose and they were calling you a rascal and they put those two together and what did they call you?
Broidy: If I can get it again, Raiska.
Interviewer: Raiska. They were saying, “You little rascal, you.” Raiska, wow. It sounds a little Yiddish but I understand it now. So eventually, let me ask you this, do you remember any Jewish businesses? Let me ask you, Martin’s Kosher Foods. Do you remember Martin’s?
Broidy: Oh, yes, we were very good customers of Martin’s.
Interviewer: Martin Godofsky.
Broidy: Uhn huh.
Interviewer: And where was it first located when you remember it, do you remember? I thought it used to be on Livingston or Whittier, maybe close to where you were born or lived on Carpenter.
Broidy: I don’t remember them being closer. I know that they were someplace south before they moved here in Bexley.
Interviewer: So you remember them in the old neighborhood.
Broidy: I can’t remember exactly where.
Interviewer: That’s not important but you remember, you remember when it was in the old Jewish neighborhood.
Broidy: And that they moved here which was wonderful for us being so close.
Interviewer: Yes you were here on Gould and they were over here on Broad Street.
Broidy: On Broad Street
Interviewer: Two or three blocks away. Do you have any memories of Martin’s Food Store?
Broidy: I have some memories. I mean everything we got there we liked. They were very good people and uh, I know that we missed them terribly when they decided to close down because we bought everything from them.
Interviewer: You did all your shopping at Martin’s?
Broidy: I mean most of that, that we could. Course we had little grocery stores and so forth but everything was Jewish.
Interviewer: And uh, did you, did you, when you would go to Martin’s, did you meet a lot of other people you knew from the Jewish community?
Broidy: Oh, always.
Interviewer: What was that like to…
Broidy: Well, I mean if we hadn’t seen each other for a while, we’d stand there and talk. They didn’t mind even if customers had to walk around us. It was, could you say a meeting place? You know we could always get the type of chicken we wanted. All their (port?) beef was absolutely perfect. As I said it was heartbreaking to lose them.
Interviewer: Today when you go to regular food store you really don’t know any of the other customers but when you would go to Martin’s you would see people you knew.
Broidy: Oh, yeah. And then when Pesach came, we could buy everything we wanted at Martin’s. It was perfect.
Interviewer: Uh, did you ever go to the Jewish Center?
Broidy: Uh, yes. Mostly the kids were very active with the Jewish Center.
Interviewer: Do you remember what they did there? Sports, or…
Broidy: They did everything including taking care of the children, going to camps.
Interviewer: Oh, they worked, sometimes they worked there?
Broidy: Oh, yeah. They did everything at the Jewish Center.
Interviewer: Is there any way you can, how would you describe the Jewish community in Columbus? You spent almost your whole life here. How do you feel about the Jewish community?
Broidy: I never gave it a thought. I mean Mother had a lot of friends. I had my girlfriends but I don’t know what you mean by what I thought of the Jewish community.
Interviewer: It sounds like you’re saying you didn’t really consciously say to yourself, “I’m a member of the Jewish community even though you are. You’re Jewish and you’re active and…
Broidy: No, I just took it for granted. I mean I felt I’m more comfortable with, in Jewish crowd than I would in a Gentile crowd, but outside of that I never gave it a thought.
Interviewer: So you had the two experiences of anti-Semitism at Ohio State. How ‘bout outside of Ohio State. Did you ever feel that people discriminated against you or treated your poorly because you were Jewish?
Broidy: No, I never ran across that.
Beth: What about the drug store, Mom?
Broidy: What Hon’?
Beth: What about the drug store.
Broidy: Drug store.
Beth: The drug store where they used to paint things on the windows on the outside, “Broidy’s a Jew” and all that stuff?
Broidy: You mean our drug store?
Broidy: Isn’t it awful? My mind has wiped that out.
Interviewer: Tell me I didn’t know. So, you were a pharmacist and then you owned a drug store?
Broidy: When we came back we worked for somebody else until my husband decided that he’d like to
Work for himself. He was backed by his father. He found a store up at Oakland Park and Indianola, up north and had the big sign, “Steve Broidy Drugs.” And between taking care of the house and the children, I would work in the store, too, but I didn’t remember the anti-Semitic. Maybe I just wiped it out of my mind.
Beth: You have, but it wasn’t a dominant thing.
Broidy: But, there was a Catholic church around. They all came.
Interviewer: Yes, Immaculate Conception is right there.
Broidy: Uhm hum. They came in the drug store and bought things and Sam ran a nice store. We had a fountain.
Interviewer: Oh a soda fountain?
Broidy: A soda fountain which the children definitely liked, but if a bunch of boys came in and started trouble the girl who worked the fountain had instructions, she told them, “No service. If you’re causing trouble, no service.” And boy they towed the mark. And they enjoyed it. We had a juke box back in the corner that the kids could listen to and eat their ice cream and so forth and we had a whole rack of comic books which they could leaf through, incidentally which my father decided that was his territory and he took care of the comic books. He came into the drug store and he allowed the boys and girls to read the comic books but they had to put it back in the right place. [laughter]
Interviewer: Your father? So, he helped out too. Did you say that the pharmacy was called Steve Broidy?
Broidy: Steve Broidy Drugs.
Interviewer: Steve was your son. No, am I mixing up things?
Beth: You’ve got it right but tell him why Dad called it Steve Broidy Drugs. You remember?
Interviewer: Why did it say, why didn’t it say Sam Broidy Drugs? Why did it say Steve?
Broidy: Wasn’t it that a Steve Broidy who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and lived?
Broidy: Do you remember the Steve Broidy?
Interviewer: That was a big news event that happened.
Broidy: Oh, that was a big, that someone would jump off the Brooklyn Bridge and still live. So, instead of Sam Broidy, he was always called Steve Broidy because of Steve Broidy who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Interviewer: Your husband Sam was called Steve all the time as a joke or because people just started
Broidy: Started out he was Steve, not Sam.
Interviewer: After that incident people started calling him Steve Broidy.
Broidy: That incident happened way back in history but a Broidy automatically became Steve Broidy.
Interviewer: So, was that your only pharmacy or did you have others?
Broidy: No, that was the only one.
Interviewer: That was it. So you were the pharmacist there and your husband was the pharmacist there.
Broidy: And we probably would have still had the store but next door was a gasoline station and we didn’t’ know it was leaking in to the basement of our store and we had a fire. Is that when we quit?
Beth: Yeah, it exploded and it exploded the drug store.
Interviewer: It burned down?
Beth: Well, it exploded and it never…
Interviewer: An explosion in the drug store. Ok.
Broidy: Then after we got through with that we were two pharmacists without jobs but headhunters came looking for pharmacists and here were two of them together. There was Gray Drug and let’s see, there were two others
Interviewer: Chains, chains.
Broidy: Chains wanting us to work for them so we had a good time deciding which ones we wanted to work for. I went to work for Grays and Sam went to work for …
Beth: Kroger. He worked for Kroger. I don’t know if that was his first one.
Broidy: The Kroger was I can’t remember the name of it.
Interviewer: So instead of being your own boss you went to work for someone else.
Broidy: Which was nice. The kids were still young and we arranged that when Sam worked the night shift I was free. If I worked the night shift he was free so even though there was someone taking care of the children there was one of us always there.
Interviewer: So your three children, did they go to Bexley Schools?
Interviewer: And you lived here in Bexley for fifty or sixty years.
Beth: Since 1963 about, we didn’t all go to Bexley all the time.
Interviewer: Ok, you lived here for about 50 years and your kids went to Bexley sometimes and other times they went
Beth: to Roosevelt Junior High. My older brother and I went to Roosevelt.
Interviewer: You went to Roosevelt Junior High.
Beth: uhm hum.
Interviewer: Back in the inner city where you were because your family still lived.
Beth: We grew up in the same house she grew up in, on that side of the double.
Interviewer: Your children still ok.
Beth: Then we moved to Bexley.
Interviewer: Then you moved here. Ok. Ok.What’s it been like to live in Bexley?
Broidy: No different than living any place else. When they were young there were lots of boys and girls, Jewish boys and girls living across the street and Beth had quite a number of girlfriends. They inducted her in to the sorority of Bexley
Beth: the Jewish high school sorority
Broidy: and the children enjoyed living in Bexley quite a bit, made lots of friends. It’s funny because notice the difference when you live in one place for this long. When they were young there were a lot of youngsters, children here and then gradually the children disappeared and only older people and now back, you can see the baby buggies and the children riding bicycles back to where it was fifty-some years ago. It’s lovely to see the changes.
Interviewer: It’s a cycle.
Broidy: Unh huh.
Interviewer: So you are 100 years old. Do you, how old do you feel?
Broidy: Oh, about thirty, thirty/forty years.
Interviewer: You feel good it sounds like.
Broidy: Yeah, outside of not hearing very well. I don’t feel a hundred years old.
Interviewer: I’m sure people ask you this all the time but what is your secret? They say, how did you come to live to be a hundred years old.
Broidy: You know I’ve often asked myself that. I don’t know. Is it because I didn’t smoke? I didn’t drink? I didn’t like vegetables. [laughter]. When people say, “You have to have greens,” I didn’t. The children didn’t until they grew up and had their own homes and they love vegetables. I don’t know why I lived this long. My husband lived to be 90 and I thought well, it won’t be long before I join him, but here it is ten years later and I’m still here. I don’t know, if I didn’t have my arthritis, I’d be up and having a good time but, unfortunately arthritis has kept me down.
Interviewer: Is there any message as we end our interview here, is there anything you want people to know, uh, that we haven’t talked about? Is there something you want to tell people either about your life or Columbus, or being Jewish or anything? Is there anything you want to leave people with?
Broidy: No, I can’t think of anything. I mean I’ve enjoyed my life here. I’ve made a lot of friends and unfortunately all the friends I’ve had have passed on. Just like Lena Lopper. She lived a pretty long life too, but the only thing I miss as I said are my friends. They’re all gone so it’s kind of lonesome and I can’t get out to make new friends so all I can say is if you have to live this long, it’s better if you’re still active.
Interviewer: But you have your family here.
Broidy: Yeah. What would I do without my family? My daughter runs two houses, hers and mine. My son makes sure he’s over every day, makes sure everything’s all right. The one that lives out of town comes in every Sunday, rain or shine to see me. Who could ask for better children, especially that one? [laughter]
Interviewer: Rose Broidy, it’s been a pleasure talking with you for the Columbus Jewish Historical Society and we wish you many more years of life and health. Thank you very much.
Broidy: Thank you. It’s been enjoyable.