DW: This evening is January 10, 1973, and this is Dr. Irving Waltmaninterviewing Mrs. David Weber who has been very active in the Hartford community for many years. She is known for having been a provider of services to others. And I should like to quote from a certificate of award which was presented to her by the Hartford Jewish Federation in 1952. It states, 'Her devoted efforts in meeting human needs and in strengthening Jewish life throughout the world are forever enshrined in the lives she has helped to save and rebuild." It is a real 00:01:00pleasure to have the opportunity of talking to Mrs. David Weber at this time. Mrs. Weber. you've lived in Hartford for a long time.
JW: Since I was a youngster.
DW: How old were you when you came to this community?
JW: Oh, it was in 1906. And we lived down at the east side where the bridge wasbuilt in 1908 and we saw all the festivities there because we lived downtown in Hartford on Morgan Street. And as soon as our children were grown up, we got started, the two of us, my husband and l...
DW: You're getting just a little bit ahead of me. You say you came here in 1906.
JW: I believe it's 1906. I really don't know.
DW: Where were you born?
JW: I was born in Russia.
DW: Do you remember where in Russia?
JW: Yes. In Kiev Gubernia. I always remember my mother used to brag about it00:02:00because they were prominent citizens there till they came over to this country. They brought us along. We were four children that they brought along from Europe. And I was one of the middle ones. There was an older child and than there was two after me, and I was the second one.
DW: Do you remember anything about your trip from Russia to this country?
JW: Well, I remember being on the boat.
DW: Do you really?
JW: Oh, yes. As a child, I remember being on the boat. My mother, wherever shewalked on the boat, had us by her hand, holding onto us, make sure that we were with her, and we were right there. When I came over, I went to the Brown School.
DW: Before you came to Hartford did you live in another community?
JW: No. We came right to Hartford and we lived on Pleasant Street right near theBrown School.
DW: Do you remember very much about your parents' background?
JW: Well, my father was a fruit dealer. My mother was a home wife the way sheshould have been. She took care of us. My father provided working as a fruit dealer. And then from there we moved to Bellevue Street where we had a grocery store. And we were the big salespeople. I don't know whether I should tell you about the incident that I had. My mother had a great big jar of sour salt. And the salesman came along and told us to sell it for 25 an ounce. And I misunderstood him. And I sold it for 5 an ounce. well, before I knew it, I was stormed with customers, and that jar of salt was gone in five minutes. We couldn't weigh it fast enough to get rid of it. But the minute the public heard that we were having such a bargain, they were right there, Johnny on the spot, and they bought it.
DW: Do you remember very much about your home life as a child?
JW: We had a wonderful home life. We didn't have a... we weren't wealthy but wewere all good to one another. We lived together. My mother used to say when we'd go to our table, children, this is what I have, put it all on the table, there were no difference for all of us. There was no steaks for one, French fries for another or French toast for somebody else. She had the same meal for all of us, and we were all content and grateful that we had it because we knew that we weren't wealthy. We had to make the best of it. Then when I part time worked, I worked in Fox's.
DW: Well, before that, we want to continue a little while with your childhood.You went to the Brown school.
JW: Yes. And Mrs. Henkin was my first teacher. Then when we moved up to Bellevuestreet a few years later, I can't tell exactly the date when it was, Doctor, but we moved up to Bellevue Street and I went to the Arsenal School. And I graduated from the Arsenal School.
DW: Do you remember any of your experiences either in the Brown School or theArsenal school?
JW: Well, they weren't like they are today, that I'm sure of. We were very happydown there. There was no turmoil and no things going on like there is today. And we all went to school. We were never afraid to get out on the street at night. And right in the neighborhood everything was peaceful and quiet. And everyone took care of themselves and we were very happy.
DW: Do you remember any of your friends in school who later went on to do thingsof importance in the community?
JW: Yes. Well, Eddie and Dora, Eddie and Dora Honeyman were keeping company. Andhe was the Honeyman automobile salesman later on in New Britain. And they were married and they live in New Britain. In fact, Eddie is gone but Dora still lives there, and we keep in touch with each other. Then there was my brother got married to one of the Cohen girls. And I met Dave at school. And there was no letting go. We were always together from childhood days. And we were friends. And I never had a chance, I couldn't have a chance to go with anybody else. He just said that this is it and that's the way. We were together for many years until finally he decided, I was 19 at the time, and we decided to get married. It was a very small wedding.
DW: Did you go to high school after Arsenal School?
JW: Yes, for part time, for a part time. I didn't graduate high school, Doctor.But thank the Lord I got by somehow with work and always with people. And I learned a lot from a lot of nice people. I worked in Fox's and I had...
DW: Was that Hartford High School you went to?
JW: Yes, yes.
DW: Do you remember any of your experiences there, any of your friends atHartford High School?
JW: Well, I remember Myra Lapuk and many other people, May Lapuk, I don't knowwhat her maiden name was, Doctor. They lived on Edgewood Street at the time. And we all used to go to that same school because Weaver High was the school that everybody went to. But we didn't get to Weaver High. My children did when we got older and had the children, but I never attended Weaver High. I did go to Hartford High for a while.
DW: Did you attend a synagogue as a child?00:03:00
JW: Always. The Emanuel Synagogue was on Main Street. It's now, yeah, stillcalled Main Street. I think it was Windsor Avenue. And the Emanuel Synagogue was there and we remember the rabbis changing there and Rabbi Silverman came in. And we were so well known to him that every time he would see us after we...Rabbi Schwolsky married Dave and me. He sent us off on our own. He was a wonderful person. In fact, only the other day I went to the vault and I found the Ketubah, you know, the Jewish chuppah tradition, and I showed it to my children. They got such a kick out of it. And then I also had the marriage license, naturally. We were married in 1915. And just thank G-d that everything ran along smoothly and we found our way. We lived happily and we had a wonderful family. Nobody ever in their lives, I don't ever remember, and I'm not boasting about it, I really feel very proud, because we never abused one another. We always had patience with 00:04:00each other. And that was our understanding, that we'd say one harsh word that we didn't like, perhaps we'd be sorry afterwards, so we held our tongues.
DW: Do you remember any of the youth organizations in the community?
JW: Yes. I remember the...As far as the Jonathans are concerned, we organizeda...My son was the president, Melvin, who is now in Chicago. He was the president of the boys club of the Jonathans that they organized, and he was the first president. My daughter, Mildred, was the first president of the _______ girls club. That's a branch of the Rebeccas of which I'm a past president of and I belong to every branch of it. And many other organizations that I belong have branch...You name the organizations and, thank G-d, they put me on the honor 00:05:00society and on the executive board with the men and the home for the aged. Is that all right?
DW: What was the Rebecca Lodge?
JW: The Rebecca Lodge was a branch of the Jnathan Lodge. It's called theIndependent Order of Odd Fellows. It branched out in many many cities, and we have gone to many installations. And we have a motto, "Friendship, Love and Truth." If we found anybody that was in need, we were right there to help them, G-d forbid when anybody passed on or if anybody was ill. In fact, I was vice grand. That was my job. To be the vice grand was to visit the sick.
DW: when did you join this organization?
JW: I joined this organization, let me see, I was noble grand in 1932. Here's myjewel, Doctor. This is the one. In 1932. And I went through all the branches of it. It has a welfare society that helps the needy and it takes care of the sick. Our motto is to bury the dead or to do whatever we can to help along in every trial and tribulation that anybody goes through in the Rebeccas. We were right there to help them.
DW: This is a non-sectarian organization.
JW: A non-sectarian organization, yes.
DW: were there many Jewish people in this organization?
JW: Most of them. They do have branches of Gentile people. But if anyone came tous, as long as it was non-sectarian, we were allowed and we were glad to have them join with us. We never discriminated.
DW: You were in this organization a long time?
JW: We were the organizers. It must have been, let me see, I was noble grand in1932. It must have been in existence then about four or five years, so it's been going on since then. And we have a welfare society that helps the sick and we're all like one big family.
DW: You became the president.
JW: No, not the first year. 1932 must have been the fourth year of its existencewhen I became the noble grand. And Jane Hoffman, whom you might know who is with the Nassau Furniture as a decorator, she was my vice grand. And we always worked together with everyone that came into office there. And we've been like one big family ever since.
DW: Do you remember some of the other people in the organization?
JW: Yes. Mary Goodman, Rose Kentow, I can name you at least 50 if I sat here00:06:00long enough to name all of them. And Jean cantor, did you know Jean Cantor of the north end? She was a class noble grand. Essy Cantor was the musician. And, as I said, I could go on and on and name you so many of them, that we're really just like sisters.
DW: Can you tell us a little bit more about what you did in this organization?
JW: In the Rebeccas? I didn't, maybe I should tell you. We had a very poor womanin the organization that was vice grand the year after I was noble grand. She was going to go in as noble grand which is the president, equivalent to the presidency. And she was very poor and couldn't afford a white gown. And we sat around at the round table and one of the past noble grands which I will not mention said that as long as she couldn't afford to go through the chairs, we 00:07:00should just disregard it and let her go on from there, just be a member of the office. And I said no. I said I don't have money to throw away, but I'm very willing to start a fund which would...we should all buy her a gown as a gift and buy her whatever necessities she needs to go through the chairs. And she went into office, went through the chairs. She has never forgotten it because somehow, I never told her but somehow they said that I just wouldn't let it go by and I felt that she should go through the chairs since she started as an outside guardian and went through as inside guardian, conductor, warden, vice grand and than get to the noble grand and just shove her out. That wasn't my way of doing things. I felt that she should go through. And she did. And she's ever 00:08:00grateful to me. They're now in Ohio. They live there. And I can write to her. And it came hack to her that I was the one that...Which it shouldn't have because that wasn't my purpose of doing it, but I felt that she should go through. And then we went, this organization...You know, when the boys were at Windsor Locks stationed here in the barracks, we organized a group of 20 people, including my husband, the late husband, may he rest in peace, and we all drove down once or twice a week. We baked all kinds of goodies. We bought things for them. And we went down and made them happy. And we brought along entertainment for them every time. And until this day I can remember how they sat there and they laughed. It just done a world of good. So we took care of the boys until 00:09:00they finally...Thank G-d, the war was over. And then I sold bonds. There's one outstanding thing in my mind which I mustn't forget. I'm very grateful to G-d for it. I sold bonds for the United States in different places. I sat in Sage Allen many many months and years and I sold bonds. Somebody came along and he said to me, you're such a good lady, I've got to give you two tickets for the circus. I had two tickets for the circus, and I asked my daughter to go with me. And the day of the circus, the woman who was supposed to relieve me couldn't make it. She got sick. And I didn't go to the circus and my daughter didn't go to the circus, and I'm grateful to G-d ever since because G-d knows I wouldn't have been here to be talking to you probably if I did. 00:10:00
DW: That was the time of the circus fire.
JW: The circus fire on Barbour Street, yes. Now, wasn't that something? And eversince, you know, when I give charity, my synagogues or any place will tell you, I never say why or any of that. I always say in thankfulness because I'm very grateful of the things that have happened to us, especially that particular one.
DW: You were also pretty busy raising a family, weren't you?
JW: Oh, yes, yes. But when we had to go out, we had a sitter. Her name wasEsther Rose. She lived on Barbour Street. And we always depended upon her. And when she was sick, she was so reliable that she had someone else take over for her because our business had to go on. My husband used to sit as a babysitter for our vice grand. It was Lillian Stroh, if she ever heard this...You know Lillian Stroh on Asylum Avenue, Jack Stroh, her husband passed on a few years ago. Lillian Stroh was the vice grand and she would call up, and I was the noble 00:11:00grand at the time. A president has to be responsible. So I called her up and asked her if she was ready. She said, Jen, I can't leave this house. I've got to stay with Philip. Philip and Phyllis were her two children. I said, why. She said, they're sick and I can't leave them unless somebody comes over. Well, my husband got into the oar, went over there and he sat for Lillian.
DW: What was your husband's business?
JW: He worked for the State Glass Company all his life practically. That was hisbrother-in-law and his brother. Zelich Max was the brother-in-law and the brother was Hyman Weber who lives in Florida now. And he was with them most of the time, all his life practically.
DW: Tell us something about your children.00:12:00
JW: My children, thank G-d, went through school. They graduated Weaver HighSchool. They graduated the school on Westland Street...
DW: Northeast School.
JW: Northeast School, and then they went to Weaver and after that they went toUniversity of Connecticut in Storrs.
DW: How many children?
JW: Two, two boys, Melvin and Saul Weber. And they graduated and, of course,they served in the Army. Thank G-d they came home safe and sound. G-d was very good to us. And they're on their own. They're big businessmen, thank the Lord. Saul Weber has the Fox Press. Melvin Weber is an executive with the General Electric which is a wonderful job. He's in Chicago. And my daughter, Mildred, married a wonderful man by the name of Norman Brown from Springfield. And he is with the Pyne Davidson Printing. And they have a wonderful, two children. The boy just came home from service, Harvey. Thank the Lord he's back after serving two years. And my grandaughter is in Ohio in college.
DW: In addition to the Princess Rebecca, what other organizations did you...
JW: Would you like to know?
JW: The home for the aged, I'm on the, of course I'm on the executive board pluson the board. The executive board are men which I am very proud, I was honored to ask to serve on it. They get together once in three months. And when my notice comes to go to the meeting I'm really very proud because I learn a lot when I'm with them and I hear a lot about what goes on at the home, the financial conditions and the people they accommodate coming into the home. They're old old timers that I know very well. I served on the admission committee. We took care of the sick. We took people to a Dr. Rosenthal for many 00:13:00years from the home. Gussie Kantrowitz was with me and Rose Hoffman was with me. I can name you many people that... I never drove, and they were wonderful. They always came to the house, picked me up and we went down. We'd take the residents to the home. There's another very outstanding thing that's in my mind. That's Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Gottlieb who we took to Dr. Rosenthal one day and she told us she wasn't feeling well. Well, we were just very anxious to have Dr. Rosenthal take care of her, and we took her home and the next day she passed on which was something. We were grateful that it didn't happen while we took her down to the doctor in the car. And I served in the capacity of the admissions committee. Did I tell you that, Doctor? And I served at the home at the 00:14:00strawberry festivals. We fix up the sukkah every year with Mrs. Avigdor. We have a group of four people who go down every single year. And we fix up and we have the sukkah. We have pictures of that somewhere. And we're very proud of it. We're proud of the cookout that takes place in June. We have Al Jarvis' orchestra and Rachel Saul. And we serve approximately 300 people that day. And I'm on that committee. We go down early in the morning. We don't do the cooking. The men do that. But we set the tables and we help doing everything. And they have a wonderful festive day. Now, the Yeshiva I belong to, the Children's Service, the Princess Rebecca Welfare Society which is part of Princess, the Princess Rebecca Ladies Auxiliary which is a separate part, we serve some of the 00:15:00people that are sick and it's sort of a little private individual club that we have that we work with. And we do what we can for them. I belong to Beth David Synagogue. I'm on the board and work and help them in everything that they have to do.
DW: Were you one of the founders of Beth David Synagogue?
JW: No, of Beth Sholom, I was one of the founders many years ago. That's nowmerged, I guess it has, with another synagogue. Jewish War Veterans, I'm a past president. I was president in 1945 when many of us went down to the Newington home and we'd go around with as many as 200 gifts and we'd get to the beds whore some of them, we'd get cards to play, some we'd give handkerchiefs. And there 00:16:00were others that we would approach that were never going to walk again. And we had socks, white socks, and they wanted the socks so that someday when they could use their legs again they would use the socks. And that's something that always remained with me because I used to go hoe crying. And I go to the Jewish Center. In fact, I was there yesterday morning. We set the tables. I helped serve. The Jewish Council, the Friendly Club of the Jewish Center, the SCS which is supposed to be a younger group, and I'm still included in my younger group. And that is a thing that they plan trips. Just recently we went to Kutsher's, 45 of us. And we had a man that led us. He was with us all the way, which is Al Dressler and he was very capable. And 45 of us had a wonderful time. We all 00:17:00enjoyed it immensely. We were there for three days and three nights. Now, I helped to organize Beth Sholom, I told you that. And then, of course, the Starkel village here, I'm very active. I called Bingo for them today. And then I call different ones that want to go out to lunch to the school program. I'm one of the organizers of the Orchid Luncheon Club which is part of the JCRS, that's the American Medical Center, the JCRS. I was chosen for the degree of chivalry. I don't want to tell you this.
DW: You were chosen for...
JW: To be honored in the degree of chivalry which is something that is given00:18:00only to outstanding people in the Odd Fellowship and Rebeccas. And I just didn't feel as if I wanted to go through with it. I think that will be enough because then I don't want them to get in because they may pick it up. No. And I just accepted because I felt that I had plenty of honors, plenty of pins and plenty of certificates and everything else without that. I didn't need it. And I think if I put on all my jewels and my pins and everything, they'll think it's an soldier that never dies. As you can see...
DW: Does that complete the organizations or are there still more?
JW: No. I belonged on the drill team of the Jonathan Rebeccas. I served on thestaff of the Rebeccas and on the Grand Lodge. During the epidemic of the flu we lived on Worcester Street in the apartment house.
DW: What year was that?
JW: This, I don't know, yea, it was during the epidemic, and Cantor Koret'smother and father lived with us in that apartment. And there were two other couples, they were ill. And my husband and I used to go by the door and they begged for us to buy them some food in the store. So my husband said to Mr. Koretsky, his name was, why do you have a beard ___________? I have no strength, he says, to shave. Well, my husband went in and shaved him. And we brought them food. And I went in and I helped to clean up the house. And I did everything. And, thank G-d, neither I or he got the flu. But we were warned by different people not to go near them because of that but we didn't pay any attention. We felt as long as they needed the help they should get it. I got it marked down here, _________ , you got that and the...
DW: You spent a lot of time at Mt. Sinai Hospital as a volunteer.
JW: Yes, yes.
DW: When did you begin that work?
JW: At least, at least 12, 15 years ago, Doctor, When Mt. Sinai was on CapitolAvenue and Miss Malmud was the head one there, I started my volunteer work there. And as we went over to the old Mt. Sinai and the new Mt. Sinai, we were right there, going along with them in the work. And we'd get in very early in the morning. My husband helped with the flowers. He was very well known by all the doctors and all the patients and everybody knew Dave because he used to take, he was a little man, but he used to take a great big cart filled with flowers and gifts and it was never too heavy for him. He used to go around with 00:19:00it, and he was known for it. They used to say the little fellow with the load, carrying around these flowers and the gifts and everything else to various ones. And when he was taken sick they were just marvelous to him. Everybody ran to see if they could do something for him which proved that they knew him very well there.
DW: You put in many hours at Mt. Sinai.
JW: Many hours. We put in together 6,000 hours. And we have certificates. I havepins and certificates and what have you, to show that we did put in the work legitimately. Whenever the store was left vacant, they'd call me up, Jen, the store is closed today. Well, we were right there, got into the car, we went to the store, and I hsd possession of the key and the money and I would open up that store for business. Mr. Flamme at the hospital knows that. He has acknowledged it. And Dr. Geeter and all of them. And Rabbi Silverman used to go 00:20:00by, may his soul rest in peace, and say, I don't know where in the world we can find another couple like you people are. One night we didn't realize it, we were there Friday night. They had no one to sit at the information desk. We offered Rabbi Silvermsn a ride home. He said, no, _______ Shabbos. We didn't realize it, you know, that it was Friday night because, listen, whenever I went home I lit my candles and that was Shabbos. But to help at the hospital I don't think it was a sin, was it?
DW: No. You spent so much of your time doing things for others. What did you dofor yourself?
JW: Doctor, if I were to prove it today, I'd get up 4:00 in the morning and I'dget my cooking done. I was never tired. I had just the strength, I don't know where I derived the strength from. But I would get up 4:00 in the morning, cook my meal, and when we got home, all I had to do was just heat it. And we sat down 00:21:00and enjoyed it, knowing the fact that we helped others when they needed it.
DW: Well, it seems that we still have more to talk about, so let's turn to theother side of the tape. This is a continuation of the interview with Mrs. David Weber. Now, you wanted to tell us about the True Sisters.
JW: Yes. The True Sisters is an organization that helps in hospitals. They diddo some work at the Mt. Sinai Hospital which I was a member of and we hope to be back there soon to make bandages and things. And they do tremendous work for the sick people. They also take care of the Mansfield Hospital many times a year. 00:22:00They bring them gifts, bring them refreshments and entertain them. And they do a fabulous job, the True Sisters. And I hope they'll be able to continue for many more years to come because I think they do wonderful work.
DW: Have we finished the list of all the organizations?
JW: Well, I served on the home for the aged on the admissions committee. I also,at the home for the aged, I walk through the rooms many times a year, that is, many times a month, I should say. And we go from room to room. And, you know, when you walk in they know you so well, no matter how sick they are, oh, __________________, which I think is marvelous of them to remember. And my husband used to take the gifts that we had, we run the birthday parties for 00:23:00them, and he would take the balance of the gifts and go from room to room, those that were unable to come down to the club or to the banquet hall where they entertained them and served them, he took up the gifts to every individual in the room on the floors, on every floor, and would give them the gift and they were delighted with it. He brought them a lot of happiness.
DW: Did you speak a lot of Yiddish in the home?
JW: Well, as a matter of fact, when I go in there and I stand there and talk tothem, you know what they say to me? _______________ Yiddish. ______________ . So I always tell them that my mother and father, olev ha'sholom, never spoke anything but Yiddish in the house and that's how I happened to retain it end, thank G-d, I know it. I'll say some of the words to them. They just can't 00:24:00imagine how I even remember. But I used to hear it in my house and that's how I knew it, know it.
DW: Did you and your husband speak Yiddish at home?
JW: Not very much, and I really am ashamed of it, Doctor, because I feel that Ishould have spoken to my children more Yiddish because right now and even when they were home they didn't speak Yiddish too much. They would understand every word we'd say to them but never cared to use the Jewish language. And I'm sorry for it because I think they should be a little bit more learned on it. It wouldn't have hurt.
DW: How do you explain the great amount of energy you had?
JW: We had a wonderful life between us. Now, don't misunderstand, we had ourlittle spats, but never would we abuse each other in front of the children or 00:25:00without. My husband used to have a saying, Jen, when I get hot and sore at you, either you go in the other room or I'll go in the other room and then we'll never say things we shouldn't say that we'll be sorry for. And we were never sorry because we were very very fond of each other and we had a great deal of respect for each other. He would see that I'm tired which, many times, I got a little older and I got a little tired from doing all these things, he'd say, so let's go out and have a bite to eat. It will be better. We'll sit and talk things over, which I thought was great. I was ready to go. And we always used to go out, that is occasionally, I should say, and sit down and talk things over and reminisce about the day's work that we did and we enjoyed it.
DW: As you look back upon your life, what are some of the most outstandingexperiences? What gave you the greatest satisfaction? 00:26:00
JW: Well, the greatest satisfaction was that we had our wonderful family. We hadthe two boys and the daughter. And I wouldn't see arguments in the house where sometimes you'll hear in a home. Everyone respected one another. And if it came to a misunderstanding or something, they would straighten it out the right way without abusing or saying things they shouldn't have said. And today too our children, thank G-d, respect one another, and I don't ever remember that one of my children, the boys or the girl, should ever say, Mother, you didn't have to do that, or yell in some way. They speak to me with the highest respect and that's the way they did with their dad. And that's the way our life was, happy, because we never...We lived a normal life. We didn't have much wealth. But whatever we had we were grateful for. And I was never deprived of a thing. Instead of buying expensive clothes and things like that, I bought a little less expensive, but I was happy with them just the same. And he would look at me when I'd put it on and say, Jen, you look as if you have a $100 dress on, not a $10 dress on. And to me, that was music to my ears.
DW: Do you have any regrets about anything you failed to do in the past?
JW: Well, the only thing I reqret...I don't think, I was with my husband everyminute that he was sick, and as I walked into the hospital the last minute when he had his eyes closed, one of the women said to me he was calling for you. But my children thought at the time that I should go home and rest a little bit. I was away when he passed away and I regret that because I think I should have been there, which is one of the things, we've always been together and I used to go there, feed him when he was in intensive care. The nurses were just wonderful to 00:27:00us. I can't begin to tell you, Doctor, how marvelous everybody in the hospital was to us. That's all we needed, but I had to be away the last minute, and that bothers me until this day.
DW: Was it very difficult for you to carry on your community work after his death?
JW: Well, I was sick for several months. I didn't feel as if I just had to liveany longer because Dave was gone and I had no one to be with me and my days and my nights were a nightmare, and I had to have doctor's care and I did get doctor's care. But for many months I just had no desire to be around, and I'm grateful to G-d that I was able to snap out of it and be here. Now, it seems as though, thank G-d in the community as long as they know I'm better, they're just marvelous because I do ads for the Hadassah and the Youth Aliyah. I do ads for 00:28:00the West Hartford Chapter of the American Medical Center and many ads. They mount up to 50 and 60 ads. And whoever I call...I didn't call last year because I didn't have the power. I was sick. And this year when I called and I said, this is Jennie Weber calling. Will you be kind enough to renew your ad? I've been more successful this year than ever. In fact, they applauded me at the meeting last week because the chairman of the ads told them how this year I've gotten ads for $25 and $20 and more, and whoever I called was just marvelous. Is this you again, Mrs. Weber? We're delighted to hear from you. Yes, renew the ad. Now, isn't that music to my ears? I didn't lose one ad of the chapter for the hospital or for the Hadassah. And I think that's a...I feel wonderful about it.
DW: You live in a very unique neighborhood. Can you tell us about this?
JW: Yes. This is...At first I just couldn't get used to it, Doctor, and I'mgoing to tell the truth. But now I feel I'm in a neighborhood that is the federal housing, and the name of it is Fellowship Housing. We have a clubhouse that we're trying to organize different activities. In fact, I spoke with one of the leaders from the musicians' union last night and I think they're going to come in and give us some music for the group. And they play Bingo, I call for them. And I bring them in refreshments when I have a couple of cakes in the house. I go in there and serve it and they're delighted. Today I brought them in some egg kichel. They're Gentile people, most of them, and they just loved them. I said, I'll bring some more because they were delighted with it. They serve it 00:29:00with tea or coffee. And the shopping is wonderful here. You have, no matter what you need, whether it's the Crown Market, there's a plug for them, the Crown Market or the First National, any of the stores around here or a bank or anything that you need, Maxwell Drug. And it's just handy. It's a pleasure. Dress up warm and get out there and you get anything your heart desires.
DW: Are all the people in this project elder citizens?
JW: Yes, yes, they are. We've had a lot of misfortunes. My husband and I hadarranged and they had almost assigned us to two and a half rooms here. But unfortunately my husband died before we were moving in and they called me from the office and said that I could only have the one room because I'm alone now. And that's what I was assigned to is this room. And I'm very glad I'm here now 00:30:00because the work is not hard to take care of. In a couple of hours I can get the place cleaned, immaculately clean, I hope you find it clean here, and I can get out and do anything I want. And my friends are just marvelous. They pick me up, take me down there wherever I go, bring me home. I'll be home a few hours and before I know it, Mr. and Mrs. Ballet or Mr. and Mrs. Sebotka or any of those, they're wonderful friends, they call, Jen, we'll pick you up. I can be with meetings three times a day, Doctor. A meeting and a board meeting in the morning which was yesterday, we had a Hadassah meeting in the center that was wonderful. I went there and from there I went upstairs and I set all the tables for the senior citizens. Then I helped serve the tea and coffee and then Mrs. Schreibelson took me home. So what else did I need? It was just marvelous. I 00:31:00didn't have to get in the bus with the senior citizens to go home. They're always marvelous to me.
DW: Do you still have the energy to put in a full day's activity?
JW: I want to tell you, to be truthful, I am a little long in years, you knownow. And I get home sometimes, I'm so tired I can't sleep but I think it's good for me because if I go home and just sit around all evening long or all day long and think about it and not do anything I wouldn't be happy. And this way I'm very happy. I can go to three things a day like a board meeting in the morning, a meeting in the afternoon and another meeting at Beth David. I was there Monday night. We had three things that day and the same yesterday.
DW: Do you have time to see your grandchildren? How many are there?00:32:00
JW: You'd be surprised when I get home. There are six grandchildren. One, thankG-d, very happily married to a lawyer in Washington. His name is Henry Libby. He's formerly a Westport boy. He's the son of Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Libby of Westport. And my grandaughter, of course, came from Bridgeport when she married him and they live in Washington and Chevy Chase. And he's a successful lawyer. She works for the welfare. And she's a very happy worker. And you would see her, that girl has a smile from ear to ear. And there too. Only recently we were at my son's home in Chicago. My grandson came down with a camera early in the morning. Nana, I want you to sit down. I've got to have pictures of you, a set of pictures. And I hope that when my Ellen grows up and gets older, as old as you are, she should be like you. And I thought it was a feather in my cap. Don't you think so for him to say that? And I have the highest respect. My son has a 00:33:00room for me with all the necessities there. And I'm like a queen when I get there. They're just marvelous. What else can I ask for in life? Is there anything else to do but to say thank G-d and thankful for everything? And that's what I do with all organizations, no matter where.
DW: Have people changed in their attitude towards life since you were younger?
JW: I want to tell you something. I had the greatest disappointment in my life.I was sick for nine months. And when you smile, the world smiles with you. When you're sick and cry, you cry alone. I think that in itself brought me back to life and brought me back my health. This is really, I don't know if I should repeat it or not, but my husband in a couple of dreams came to me. And we used to sit and talk in Elizabeth Park, the two of us and to tell each other how to 00:34:00go on when anything happens, but I didn't realize it at the beginning. But that in itself helped me to get well, Doctor. I think it's the spirit because we always relied upon each other and it's through him mostly I think that I got better. And the help of my children were most patient, but people...People are wonderful but when you're sick and you're ready to cry when they're with you, they just don't want any part of you. I don't want to say it, but it's true. But the minute I got better and I called up, hi, it's Jennie again, they were delighted. They're new people. They call me. They come. They pick me up. They take me home. And if they don't hear from me for a few days, they call up and want to know why. Is that a difference? 00:35:00
DW: Yes. Mrs. Weber, what outstanding events do you remember in Hartford?
JW: I remember very well the fire that Fox's had. During the time of the fire itspread all over practically on that corner and people were very much frightened all around in the community. We were at 55 Morgan Street then, and we almost thought that the flames were coming down the hill because there was no police station there at that time and no garage at that time. That's where our buildings were where we lived. And after that it was only a stone's throw for me to walk up to the corner. As soon as they were organized they had such tremendous sales. They were practically giving away the things that were, you know, scorched or burnt, and I think the whole world, everybody turned out for those sales, Doctor. You were pushed. You just couldn't get into that store. And I was one of them because I went to look for some bargains myself. I needed many things in the house. And then when they finally opened up, they had a little 00:36:00place on Church Street, a restaurant. I don't recall the name of it. Wait a minute, it was by Robbins. Robbins had that restaurant on Church Street. And I went back to work there for a while and that's where we had our lunches down on Church Street. And they came up in no time at all. They were rebuilt and all set. It's amazing.
DW: Do you remember any outstanding Jewish entertainment in Hartford?
JW: Well, there were Jewish shows that were brought to Hartford in the ParsonsTheater. I can't recall the names of the shows, but we saw many celebrities there and we really enjoyed it. And then, of course, there was Molly Picon which is very outstanding in my mind. And then Adler, remember, what was his first 00:37:00name, do you remember what his first name was, Adler? He was a very wonderful actor, full of life, and he was very outstanding in my mind. And I wish I could remember many more names but it's quite a few years ago and I really can't recall the names of all of them. But we used to see some of the most wonderful shows in Parsons Theater on Central Row.
DW: You were an entertainer yourself, weren't you?
JW: Oh, yes, yes. We put on a play for the Princess Rebecca Lodge to raise somemoney for the charity fund. And we really had about 20 people in it. We had music and we put on a show on the stage. And I just couldn't believe it was me to be dressed in an outfit like that to be able to take part in it. But I did. I 00:38:00guess I had more spunk than many other people. And then I belonged to the Choraliers which I had many many happy years with them.
DW: What was the Choraliers?
JW: The Choraliers were a group that we'd go out and entertain in varioussynagogues. We'd go by bus and we had as many as 25 people in it. Many people that you know, Fran and the doctor, that were in this Choraliers. There's Sophie Gann. There's Mike Newman who is right here in the picture with us. Ceil Badek and Mary Goodman and then there was Ann Heilpern and oh, there are really so many here. And of course, Minn, Minnie Zwica was our president of the club. And we had many places that we went to, to synagogues in Torrington and in Meriden and 00:39:00New Britain and various towns, and we used to perform for them and get paid. And we had a good sum of money that we had left over when the club had to give up because of one reason or another, and we gave the money to the Emanuel which was serving a good deed. At least we didn't squander it away, go out for a good time. And Mike Newman was just the most marvelous leader. We learned so much from her that she is something. I'm very proud of her. I see her very often in the community center and we wish we could get together again. Believe me, it would bring more youth into us. We'd sing "This is Life, My Friend" or whatever 00:40:00it was, various songs that just put new life into us. I felt like a young girl up until just about a year ago. They had to give up things at the club because many of the girls were taken ill and there was no going on.
DW: You also helped with an exhibition that the Jewish Historical Societypresented recently.
JW: Yes, Doctor. That was held in Fox's. And I'm very happy that they called onme to help out there for several hours. And it was really worthwhile, something that people would go by and ask what the historical society is. And we had all the displays of Israeli things from the Israeli shop. And whatever the people touched, they wondered what the mezuzah was, they wondered what the challah was or what the cover signifies when you cover the challah on Shabbos, the 00:41:00candleabra, the wine cup. And there were so many things that were really precious there. And people were very much interested and wanted to know what they're used for. And I was glad to be one of them, to be able to help.
DW: You've had a very full life. What yet do you hope to accomplish?
JW: Doctor, I hope that G-d will give me the strength to be able to go on andhelp others as much as I can. I'll be always available as long as I'll be able to walk and talk and to be able to carry on. I'll be very happy to go on from there as long as G-d will grant me my strength.
DW: We hope that you'll have many years of service.00:42:00
JW: Thank you.
DW: This concludes the interview with Mrs. David Weber on January 10, 1973.