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Interview with: Mary Taub Hibbard
Interviewed by: Elaine (Mace)
Date: May 7, 1982
Archive Number: OH 414
EM: This is an interview of Mrs. Mary Taub Hibbard of Houston, Texas. It was conducted at 12:40 PM on May 7, 1982 at the residence of Mrs. Hibbard here in Houston. The interview is part of a 3-year study conducted by the Houston Center for the Humanities and Public Policy under a grant from the National Endowment on the Humanities, which is entitled Houston the Development of an International City. The interviewer is Elaine (Mace??).
EM: Hi, again. Now we’re getting started. As we said before, I talked to you about a lot of things, but we didn’t really go into any kind of history of your family or your grandparents and when they first came over and all. So I’d like to start out by asking you if you could tell me something about when members of your family first came to America, and to Houston in particular, and anything you can remember about how they came, where they came from, why they happened to choose Houston.
MH: Well, Elaine, I can’t tell you why they chose Houston, but my grandfather came first.
EM: What was his name?
MH: J.N. Taub.
EM: That was J.N. Taub? What did J.N. stand for?
MH: Jacob Nathan.
EM: Jacob Nathan Taub, okay.
MH: Why he came to Houston, I don’t know. He had a good friend in New York.
EM: Was he living when you were a little girl?
MH: Oh, yes.
EM: That was your grandfather.
MH: Yeah, he was living until my children were born.
EM: Oh, for goodness sake. So you do remember him?
MH: Yeah. As a matter of fact, when my grandmother died, the day she was buried I said that I was pregnant. I said if I had a little girl I was going to name her Joanna, for grandma, which I did.
EM: I see. That was her name.
MH: He came in 18-something, but I couldn’t tell you the exact date. I should know, but I don’t.
EM: 02:21.7 Do you know whether he came as a little boy?
MH: Oh, no. He was a grown man and had a wife and six children in Hungary. In spite of what Henry said about his grandfather—see, Henry isn’t really wasn’t a Taub. His mother was a Taub.
EM: Why? Now what did—?
MH: EJ is his name, you see.
EM: You know what? Something we maybe should get straight right now, people will be listening to this tape down the years and the thing they’re going to know is Ben Taub Hospital. Why don’t we set in perspective who Ben Taub is in relation to you and the rest of the whole Taub family?
MH: He’s my uncle and my father’s youngest brother.
EM: I see.
MH: And they were born in Hungary, all of them. Daddy was 11 when he came. Uncle Ben was a baby.
EM: I see. Okay, well let me go back just a minute to J.N. Did you call him—did people call him—you called him grandpa, but did people call him J.N. or Jacob? Do you know?
MH: I don’t know what they called him. Isn’t that funny? I guess they called him J.N. I just don’t know—Mr. Taub. I think he was a very, very severe-looking man. I was a little afraid of him when I was little. He was quite tall and had piercing blue eyes and white hair and a white moustache.
EM: Oh, very handsome?
MH: Very good looking.
MH: All of them were tall. I’m a runt they had. (laughs)
EM: We’ll get back to that in a minute. You said you were a little afraid of him.
MH: Because he was very severe.
EM: The kind of man that people would call Mr. Taub.
MH: I don’t think they would call him anything but Mr. Taub. Daddy called him the old man.
EM: Did he play with you?
MH: No, see, that made a difference. Grandma did, but he didn’t.
EM: Do you remember your grandmother’s maiden name?
MH: Yes, it was Joanna—oh, Lord—wait a minute—Berger.
EM: She married—?
MH: They lived in Hungary. They lived in a small town outside of Budapest. I can pronounce it, but I can’t—I don’t know how to spell it—Nagytarcsa they called it.
EM: Say that again.
EM: I see. So he came over with your grandma?
MH: No, he came alone.
EM: You said he was married when he came.
MH: He was married, but he left Grandma and the children until he could afford to send for them. They all came over steerage. And Daddy never went back. He didn’t want to.
EM: You mean never to visit or anything, ever?
MH: No. He was eleven, and he was so smart that—they went to that old Rusk School out on McKinney, wasn’t it? You’re too young. You wouldn’t remember. Anyway, every few months they put him up a grade because in Hungary they went to—what did they call those schools? It wasn’t a school. They had professors.
MH: Gymnasium, that’s what they called it.
EM: Is this your grandfather you’re talking about or your father?
MH: My father.
EM: Okay, well let me—okay, back up. When your father—how old was your father, then? Your father, what was his name?
MH: No middle name. None of them had a middle name.
EM: Okay, how old was he when—?
EM: He was eleven. Okay, would you list for me the names of his brothers in order?
MH: All right. Uncle Max—Max Taub was the oldest, then Daddy, then Uncle Otto, Aunt (Alga??), Aunt Risa, and Uncle Ben.
EM: That was the baby, Ben?
MH: He was a baby in arms.
EM: In arms when they came over? I see. And so your father was eleven?
EM: Okay. He went to school—come on in Mary. This is Marry Hibbard (Wright?) the daughter of Mrs. Hibbard now joining us.
MH: (Bebe Wright Cooper??)
EM: Oh, here’s Bebe. We’ve got three generations here.
MH: Tell Dora to give you some soup. We’ve got plenty. We’ll move that.
EM: We’re talking about your family and all about your great-grandparents.
EM: We didn’t get Bebe’s full name. It’s now Beatrice Wright Cooper. Well, getting back to talking about—you just told me there were six children.
MH: That’s right.
EM: He was eleven, and you were saying he went to school and he was so smart that they—
MH: They put him up a grade every few months or something.
EM: You said because he had gone to the Gymnasium back there?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative). He could speak Latin and Aryan and English.
EM: What about Max or the other brothers? Were they as smart?
MH: I don’t think they were as smart as he was.
EM: If you’ll start just kind of reminiscing in whatever area you’d like—like you told me a little bit about your family—I mean—your grandfather being stern and your grandmother was loving? Did you all visit the grandparents?
MH: Oh, yeah. We went every Saturday and ate lunch, my cousin and I—Rosa Taub.
EM: I guess, in your own family, what all did your father tell you about his early years here in Houston growing up? What year would that have been?
BB: When he was nine.
MH: No, he was eleven.
BB: He was born in 1889.
MH: Is that right?
EM: Okay, so that would have been about 1900.
BB: I’m not sure. I have it on the wall, when he was born. It’s in my office. If you want to know I can go find out.
EM: We could double-check that. Okay, moving right along.
MH: Well, they had a big house on the corner of Main and Polk.
EM: Who are they? Is this your grandparents?
MH: My grandparents, the Taubs. They had this—I thought it was the biggest house in the world.
EM: Where was it located?
MH: On Main and Polk, where the Continental Bank is now. Across the street was this wonderful old couple. I thought they were old. I guess they weren’t then—where the 09:11.3 (Humble??) building used to be—the Dixons—Major Dixon. And every Christmas, Grandma sent me over there with some leps, I guess, that we used to make. Do you know about leps?
EM: No. How do you spell it?
MH: L-e-p-s, wonderful cookies. Yeah, I guess. German, I guess, they are. What’s the date, Mary?
MW: August 6, 1876.
MH: Well, Daddy was born August the 22nd. That’s his birthday.
MH: August the 22nd, that was his birthday.
EM: And he died February 17, 1956?
BB: Whose house was it that had 09:59 (__?) put on the side of it?
EM: Okay, you were saying about the house?
MH: Well, it was a beautiful house and everybody had their own bathroom and everybody had their own room. They sent to St. Louis and some mural painter painted the walls and had scenes all over them.
EM: Well, they must have been quite well-to-do then, at this time.
MH: I guess so. Not rich, but well-to-do. (laughs)
EM: It was at the house that they first lived in, your grandparents?
MH: No, they lived it—it used to be called the Second Ward—way down on Franklin. Everybody lived in the Second Ward when I was a baby. But they soon built this house. It had two dining rooms—a big dining room and a little dining room. When there was a big to-do, we ate in the big dining room. It was quite a room. The table was bigger than this. It was enormous. It was painted and had a fireplace and a library and a big front hall.
BB: How old were you?
MH: Well, I remember it so well, so I must have been 6 or 7, don’t you imagine? Mary remembers things before she was born, so—(laughter). I’m not sure if she inherited that from me or not.
EM: Mary, this is something you wrote before, and I was just—you said you don’t remember it. I was just wondering, maybe you would just read it now, and then we can keep talking about other things. It’s interesting.
MW: My grandfather, Sam Taub, was one of six children born to Joanna and Jacob Nathan Taub. I do not know my great-grandmother’s maiden name. When Jacob was 40 years old—
MH: Joanna Berger.
MW: Berger? That’s interesting. When Jacob was 40 years old, he decided that here was no future in Hungary and decided to come to America. He came first and when to stay with a cousin in St. Louis. His cousin told him that either St. Louis or Houston, Texas would be, in his opinion, the best places to settle.
EM: Before you—I mean—is there anything you need.
MH: I knew nothing about St. Louis.
MW: My grandfather told me that.
MH: He went to New York with that cute old man that we had dinner with one time. He had onion pie, and I had never eaten onion pie. I thought it was disgraceful. (laughs) He’s the one that met him at the boat when they brought Grandma’s body back. I can’t remember his name right now, but I’ll think of it in the middle of the night and let you know. He did go to New York.
MW: Jacob saw Houston and like it. He then sent for his family. The four boys came first, steerage. Their names were Max, Otto, Sam, and the baby, Ben. Then the two girls came with their mother. Their names were Risa and (Alga??). Actually, I guess the baby, Ben, probably came with his mother and the girls since he must have been a baby in arms. Sam—I had him at 9 years old when he came here. You say he was eleven. Jacob became a peddler with a pack on his back selling anything he could carry. To stimulate trade, he also held a lottery each Saturday. I’ve heard it said that my great-grandmother won the lottery, usually.
EM: Hold it a minute. Was that tales that you heard? And your grandfather told you that?
MW: Uh-hunh (affirmative). My mother or my nanny—probably my grandmother. So J.N. wouldn’t have to give anything away. At any rate, he must have made enough money to keep his large family, but it must have been a struggle. I imagine all the boys, at least the three oldest, got jobs. I know Sam got a job selling the morning paper.
MH: 13:30.6 The Houston Chronicle he sold. Colonel R.M. Johnson was so crazy about him.
MW: It wasn’t called the Chronicle then, Mama, I don’t believe. It had another name. It did.
MH: Colonel Johnson owned the Chronicle until Jesse Jones bought it.
EM: This was when he was a young boy?
MH: Eleven or twelve years old. He sold the paper after school, and Colonel Johnson would go out and get him and he’d stand on the corner in the middle of the night waiting for the paper to come out. He’d make him come lie down on the couch in his office.
EM: How did he meet Colonel Johnson? He just sold the paper and then Colonel Johnson liked him?
MH: Evidently. That’s Harry Madison’s grandfather.
EM: Oh, I see.
MW: He told me that on cold winter mornings when he would arrive at the paper before the morning edition was ready, Colonel Johnson, who owned the paper, would invite him into his warm office and let him sleep on the couch until the paper was printed. He never forgot Colonel Johnson’s kindness to him, and years later, when the Colonel’s daughter was destitute and an old lady herself, he paid to keep her in one of, if not the, finest homes, Holly Hall. She had her own room and furniture, and it was quite a lovely place. I went to see her there many times, and I know it was lovely. No one ever knew he paid for her keep because he believed in the Jewish way that good deeds must not be made public.
EM: Would you read it slower?
MW: Sam went to school during the day after selling the paper. He was so smart that they kept promoting him. He was out by the time he was about 13 years old. While in school, one of his chums mentioned that his father was selling his tobacco business. Sam investigated and decided that it was a good, sound business and went home and told his father that he thought he ought to buy it. Jacob decided that Sam was right and did buy it.
EM: Hold on just a minute. That’s how your grandfather got in the tobacco business? What was he doing before that, do you know?
MH: Pack on his back.
MW: He must have made—
MH: This was before I was born.
EM: I see, so this is—he was in the peddler business then he got into tobacco.
MW: Don’t you suppose, Mama, when he got some money he started making loans, and that’s when he started his loan business?
MH: And buying a little property.
MW: And buying property and foreclosing on all the widows and orphans.
MW: 15:54.2 Really. How do you think they got that property all over town?
EM: Well, now do you really mean that they foreclosed on widows?
MW: He was a mean old son-of-a-bitch, J.N. was.
MH: Now, Mary doesn’t remember him. You better not—
MW: I remember him dying. I remember a lot of talk about him, Mama.
MH: All right, but you don’t—
BB: All the impressions are probably true. Don’t want to broadcast it publicly, though.
MW: You told me that he said that all the boys should be kept and the girls sent to an island someplace.
MH: Oh, yeah. I got up and left the table when I was quite little.
EM: You mean just in dinner conversation?
MH: Yes, just in dinner conversation. “Put them on a barge,” he said, “and just send them out in the ocean.”
EM: What happened to the two young sisters, Risa and (Alga??).
MH: Alga is Hilda’s mother—Hilda Swartz.
EM: I don’t know her. How do they feel being raised in a family where they should be sent out on barges?
MH: Well, they didn’t hear him. There were only two grandchildren for 10 years—you see—my cousin and I.
MW: They must have known his attitude, though.
MH: Like I said, I didn’t like it very much, and I was scared of him when I was little. He was so stern. He had piercing blue eyes.
MW: He had blue eyes?
MH: Oh, yes. Uncle Max had red hair.
MW: That’s right. Uncle Max had blue eyes.
MH: I don’t have blue eyes.
MW: That’s how come I had a blue-eyed child, I guess.
MH: Well, your husband’s got blue eyes.
EM: What did Sam look like, your father?
MH: He was a very nice looking man. I’ll show you.
MH: Oh, yeah.
MW: Big brown eyes.
MH: Not blue eyes, big brown eyes.
MW: Beautiful brown eyes. He put the three oldest to work right away.
MH: Naturally. (laughs)
EM: That’s Max, Sam, and Otto.
MW: The tobacco business. It soon became a very successful business. As the years passed, the boys realized that they were doing most of the work in the tobacco business while J.N. was mostly occupied with a large loan business which he had built up. The boys were now grown men with family responsibilities and their father was paying them a pittance. They were practically working for free. They elected Sam to go to their father and offer to buy him out. J.N. said he would sell, but for $1,000,000.00.
EM: About when was this, do you think? How old were the boys?
MW: All right, Sam was born in 1876, so by 1900 he was how old? He was 13.
MH: Grandpa was still in the business when I was born.
MW: Okay, you were born in 1904?
MW: 1904, so how long—?
MH: 18:12.6 Well, I remember when grandpa was the one.
MW: You suppose this was 1920 or something.
MH: He told Daddy—he said, “You can’t get the money. Just forget it.”
EM: I just meant, roughly—this was before they were married. They were still young.
MH: No, they were all married, when Grandpa was still head of the business.
EM: I see.
MH: Uncle Otto went to law school, and he never was in the business. He went to the University of Texas.
EM: When was it that he started—?
BB: He was the first Jew in the fraternity.
EM: He was the first Jew in the fraternity? Where?
BB: Law fraternity in Texas.
EM: Otto was? I see.
MH: Whatever the law fraternity.
BB: The school didn’t even accept—
EM: What I was wondering was, when the tobacco business started, how old was Sam then—when he said, “Hey, I’ve got a good idea. You should go into business.”
MH: He was a grown man, and I was born.
MW: No, no. You misunderstood the question.
BB: When it first started, he just graduated from high school.
MW: You told me he was about 13 or 14. You told me he was very young when he heard about this tobacco business.
MH: Oh, I’m not talking about that.
MW: Well, that’s what Elaine is talking about.
MH: Oh, he was a young boy, but he always was smart.
(Speaking at the same time)
MW: Nanny and Sammy got married in 1899, because I have it on my ring, right?
MH: I guess so.
MW: Okay, 1899.
MH: I was born 6 years after they were married.
EM: We didn’t establish, or you never got to say—I just heard you tell Mary—you were born when?
MH: Houston, Texas. No, no hospital. They didn’t have hospitals.
EM: You were born at home?
MH: I guess so. We lived on Pease.
BB: Did you live on Pease, Mama? I used to work on Leland.
MH: Oh, did you?
MW: Isn’t that fascinating.
BB: 20:06.1 Well, at least I know what part of town it is.
EM: We’re going to get back to that in just a minute—the house and where you lived and what it was like.
MH: I remember we got out of there fast. (laughs) I think mother said it was $30.00 a month rent. Isn’t that amazing?
EM: Let’s see. This is—your father and mother—
MH: Well, they lived—they must have lived there 6 years because I was born 6 years after they were married.
EM: Okay, before we—since they were already married with children when they bought him out, we’ll just stop for a minute and find out how your mother and father met each other.
MH: Well, Daddy owned the Houston ball team when he was 19.
EM: When he was 19?
MH: The Houston Buffaloes.
BB: That was the preview of the Astros?
EM: Now, he was being paid a pittance by his father. How does he get the money to own the ball team?
MW: He gambled.
MH: Oh, now I don’t know that he gambled. (laughs)
MW: Yes he did. He won a diamond ring gambling, remember? And then he got it stolen in a whore house.
BB: Oh my God!
MW: Aunt Bebe told us all kinds of things.
BB: Aunt Bebe made up a lot, too.
EM: Now, how was Aunt Bebe related?
BB: She was my mother’s sister.
EM: Oh, okay. That was Aunt Bebe. Pass the cookies. We might as well have that on tape. These are delicious cookies for anybody who’s listening in generations to come.
BB: She makes the best cookies.
EM: What kind are these?
BB: Just sugar cookies.
EM: Well, getting back to how your mother and father met.
MH: Well, Bebe said to mother, “You better go to the ballgame because there’s a man taking the tickets that has a great big diamond ring on and beautiful hands.” He had beautiful hands. So Aunt Bebe dragged mother on the streetcar to go to the ballgame, and that’s how she met him. He fell in love with her. I think Aunt Bee was always in love with him.
MW: She was in love with him, and he was in love with Nanny.
EM: That’s your grandma?
MW: Un-hunh (affirmative).
EM: Well, tell me something about your mother and her background and where she came from.
MH: Her grandmother lived on the corner of Main and Texas, across from Annunciation Church.
EM: When did her family first come to America, or Houston?
MH: They were here. Grandma was born in New Orleans—my grandmother.
EM: Your grandmother was born in New Orleans? That was the same generation, then, of J.N.?
MH: Yeah. Grandpa came from—
MH: No, no, Austria—Vienna, because Aunt Bebe went back with him many years later. But I don’t know how Grandma and Grandpa met. They lived in Paris, Texas. But whenever Grandma had a baby, she came to Houston to her mother’s.
EM: 22:45.0 This is your mother’s parents?
MH: Yeah. It was on Main—I mean—on Texas Avenue and Crawford, I guess. It was across from the old station and the Annunciation Church.
EM: Did your mother ever talk—your grandmother—well, it’s your mother. Did she ever talk about her grandparents?
MH: When I was born, my great-grandmother’s name was Mary Rodman. That was my maiden name.
MH: And Mother said, “What shall I name the baby?” to her father. He said, “Name her after your grandmother. She’s the best woman I know.” Which I thought was very sweet.
MW: So your middle name is Rodman. So is mine.
EM: There’s some Rodman’s in Atlanta, Georgia now.
MH: There’s some Rodman’s in Philadelphia.
MW: It’s a very English name, actually, Rodman is.
EM: So actually, your mother’s side was in America a long time? You don’t really know—
MH: I don’t really know, but they were in America a long time. And Grandpa did something with the railroad. When the railroad moved, he moved. He had a store, I guess.
EM: Were you closer to—they didn’t live in Houston when you were—?
MH: Oh, yeah. They always lived in Houston.
EM: The grandparents of your mother?
MH: Oh, yeah.
EM: Were you as close to them as to the Taub side or were you closer—?
MH: I was closer to my grandmother on my mother’s side. Don’t you think you always are? For some reason there’s a full-blood relationship. And I just loved her. She was a beautiful woman.
EM: Did you visit there?
MH: Oh, my! I was there all the time. Every time Mother wouldn’t let me do something I was right there.
EM: Was your maternal grandfather around?
MH: Yes, and I liked him alright, but not like I did my grandma.
EM: Was he not a stern man like the other one?
MH: No, no. He never was successful.
MW: He was a bookish person. He read a lot and studied.
MH: He read a lot of beautiful books, but he was not too successful.
EM: Did your mother have a lot of brothers and sisters?
MH: Yes, she had two sisters and two brothers.
EM: Would you tell us your names?
MH: Yeah. Estelle was the youngest. Jerome was the baby and then Estelle and then BB and Uncle Buddy and Mother. There were five children. I went backwards.
EM: Are you close to any of your paternal relatives now here in Houston?
MH: Yes, my cousin—one cousin. That’s all that’s living. Uncle Ben is 25:02.2 (__??). He’s living in Methodist Hospital.
MW: Now wait a minute. That’s not maternal. That’s fraternal.
MH: Oh, no.
MW: There are not maternal living relatives.
MH: There are no maternal. None of them had any children but mother, and she had one.
EM: I see. You—you’re an only child.
MW: That’s why she was so spoiled. Well—I mean—that’s why you went to Grandma’s all the time and Aunt Bebe’s.
MH: Oh, sure. I was rotten.
EM: Where did they live?
MH: They used to live on Jackson, and we lived on Austin and Hadley. I used to take my bicycle and go down there at the drop of a hat.
BB: Who was the other cousin?
MH: Rosa Taub Strauss.
MW: Rosa was—that was—
BB: You were the only grandchild?
MH: I was the only grandchild on my mother’s side.
EM: On the whole side of your mother’s family. Okay, go back to your childhood. You were saying you rode there on a bicycle. What did you do? What was a typical day? How did you spend your time as a child growing up?
MH: I went to dancing school, I went to music. God, there’s nothing I didn’t take.
MH: Oh, yes. Mother thought that when we went away in the summer I should learn to sew. I went to the only private school in Houston when I was child—Professor Welch. It was on Caroline and Austin, right behind us. Isn’t that something?
EM: Professor Welch? What kind of school was it?
MH: 26:24.1 Up through high school.
EM: Oh, a private school up through high school? It was the only one?
MH: The only one. 26:28 (__??) came after that. All the nice girls in town went and all the bad boys.
MH: Yeah, they were always shooting craps outside under the trees. He was preparing them to go to Harvard and Yale and God knows where. And he was really a character. Now you talk about being scared of somebody. I was scared to death of him. I couldn’t wait to scoot out of his way.
EM: Were there other teachers there?
MH: Oh, yes. One of his daughters taught and somebody else. When I was 15, my best friend was having dates, and Mother thought that was terrible. So away I went to school in the East.
EM: Oh, because of that?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative). She thought that was terrible. It was Katherine.
EM: Where did you go to school in the East?
MH: I went to the last of the girl’s boarding schools, Oaksmere and (Mrs.Merril’s??) School for Girls in Mamaroneck, New York.
EM: I’m going to go back a little bit first before we go on to that school. You sound like you had a lot of fun there.
MH: I did.
EM: You weren’t dating. I was going to ask you about that sort of thing.
MH: Oh, no.
BB: How long did you stay at the school?
MH: Two years.
BB: And then you came back to Houston.
MH: I was 18. I was finished. I finished. It was a finishing school, and they finished me.
EM: Were there some people that you went to school with that you’re still friends with now? Names that we would know?
MH: A few. Somebody that I roomed with, but I never see them anymore. It’s been so long.
EM: Getting to the Jewish aspect—
MH: I’m not much on that. (laughs)
EM: Before we take you up to finishing school there, let me ask 1) were your friends at this—was there anything Jewish in your life at this point, from your grandparents or your parents?
MH: No. Well, I was confirmed.
EM: You went to Sunday school?
MH: I went to Sunday school and I was—
EM: Where did you go to Sunday school?
MH: Beth Israel.
MW: Your father was very religious.
MH: He went once a year.
MW: My impression of Sammy was that he was that he was very religious.
MH: He read the bible, but he wasn’t—he didn’t believe in the forms of religion. He went to temple on religious holidays.
MW: On the high holidays. That’s right. And we always had Passover.
MH: We had matzo balls.
MW: We had matzo balls, too. That was Passover. We didn’t say anything. There was no Seder.
MH: And all our friends were not Jews, you see.
EM: Were any of your friends Jews?
MH: Well, yeah. One little girl, Bernice Jacobs, was a good friend. We went to—and who else?
MW: And Nanny’s poker playing pals were all Jewish.
MH: Well, not all of them. Jessie Agnew and May Robinson, no, they weren’t all.
MW: Okay. What was her name?
MH: Ms. Jeanne?
MW: Yes. No, and the other one.
EM: I just have to turn the tape.
(Break in tape)
MH: 29:21.4 Well, she lived down in an apartment on Austin Street and we walked to Sunday school every Sunday.
EM: Were your grandparents still living at this time.
MH: Oh, yeah. They were living until after they were born.
EM: Since he was from the old country, so to speak, typically, they used to be very religion oriented. Was he at all?
MH: He went on the high holidays, and if anybody died he went to their funeral rather he knew them or not.
MW: Who? Grandpa Taub? You’re kidding.
MH: Oh, they used to read the paper and say, “Old man at so and so’s funeral.” (laughs)
BB: He’d go. Maybe he like funerals.
EM: Preparing himself, I guess. What cemetery is—?
MH: Beth Israel.
EM: And what about your maternal grandparents?
MH: They’re all buried there.
EM: Did your maternal grandparents belong to temple?
MH: Yeah, they belonged to Beth Israel.
EM: They belonged to Beth Israel, too? So what you’re saying is that none of your friends were Jewish? Did you know that you were Jewish?
MH: Oh, sure. I’m bound to know. I went to Sunday school. (laughs)
MW: She suspected when they sent her on Saturday.
MH: I knew something was going on.
EM: Did your family—like you were saying—Otto was the first Jewish person who was accepted in the law firm. Did your family, up to this time, have any kind of anti-Semitic incidents to report?
MH: Never. I didn’t know what that was when I went to school—anti-Semitic.
MW: Did you get that at school.
MH: No, that was—30:59.9 (Helen Amy Epenstein??) from Elgin, Illinois was Jewish, and she didn’t know I was. Isn’t that funny? And the Bamberger twins from San Francisco. There were about 4 or 5 Jewish girls at this school. But I never felt anything, which is good.
EM: Okay, going back, then, to when you got through finishing school, do you have any particular remembrances or experiences there that you’d like to share?
MH: Well, it was all fun. We went to the Metropolitan Opera.
MW: Didn’t you go home with the cousin of the girl of the boy who kidnapped—?
MH: That was Helen Amy.
MW: Tell her that she was related to the Leopold and Loeb.
MH: She was a cousin of the Loebs.
EM: She went to this school at this time?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative). And right after that—I guess it was during that time that we were at school that this boy was kidnapped and murdered. I remember I didn’t call her. I guess I wrote to her because in those days I wasn’t so free with the telephone.
EM: You probably didn’t even have a phone.
MH: Daddy would have popped me on the head. (laughs)
EM: When you got through with your finishing school, you came back here?
MH: After I was finished.
EM: After you were finished, you came back here to Houston. Before we continue with that, should we get you to finish reading what you were doing?
MW: Sure. They elected Sam to go to their Pa. He never thought the boys would raise that much.
EM: Just to reiterate, you’re saying that at this point they wanted to buy him out.
MW: Yes. They elected Sam to go to their father and offer to buy them out. J.N. said he would sell, but for $1,000,000.00. He never thought the boys would raise that much.
MH: He told them that. He said, “You can’t get that kind of money.”
MW: But with Sam spearheading them and with his connections in the banking world and his reputation as a sound businessman, he managed to get the $1,000,000.00. Don’t forget that a sum like that in those days was equal to about $3,000,000.00. Well, let’s say 5 or 10 million.
EM: Did he ever talk to you about that?
MH: Yeah, he laughed about it.
MW: Oh, he loved that.
MH: Houston National—Harry Fox was the president of Houston National. He was a good friend of Daddy’s. They used to play cards together.
MW: Old J.N. had to sell out, of course, but he never forgave Sam for raising the money. As a consequence of their actions, excluding Ben—he was probably too young to be in on the deal—when J.N. died, he left his estate in trust with Ben as sole trustee and put a clause in it that said, “If any one of the five heirs,” Otto was then dead, “so much as questioned what Ben was doing, he would be out of the estate and his or her portion would be divided equally among the remaining heirs.” The trust was run to run for 20 years, and at the discretion of Ben could be continued for another 20. When he died, he could appoint another trustee to take his place. But that’s against the law.
EM: Were you able to break that sort of thing?
MW: Yes, we were. We were able to get Mother her distribution, because you can’t leave things in perpetuity.
EM: Why was he not angry at Ben and he was angry at the rest of them?
MW: Because Ben was the baby, and he wasn’t involved in it.
MH: He wasn’t married and he took care of his father and he was a big mess. He was a mama’s baby. They were afraid to tell him grandma died because he (inaudible).
EM: So your grandfather—it was one of those things with a battle between the father and the son?
(Speaking at the same time)
MW: Max was dear. I loved Max. He was so nice.
MH: I loved Uncle Otto.
MW: Well, I didn’t know him. My grandfather was liked by pretty much everyone that met him. He and Jesse Jones were like brothers. There were a whole bunch of them that played poker regularly together. Jesse Jones, Gus Wortham, W.P. Hobby, Mr. Evans—he was head of the gas company.
MH: No, Mr. Evans was head of the cotton thing. He wasn’t head of the gas company.
EM: You’re talking about your grandfather? Your father?
MW: I’m talking about Mr. Hiney, who was head of the gas company.
MH: 35:07.6 No, Mr. Heine was head of the (Jones Interest??).
MW: No, there was a Fred Heine.
MH: Fred Heine worked for Mr. Jones.
MW: Not that Fred Heine. It doesn’t matter.
MH: Well, it was the light company—you know—Malone—Clarence Malone.
MW: In his younger days, he managed the Houston Buffs for a time, and that’s where my great-aunt, my grandmother’s sister, first spied him. She loved baseball, and what first attracted her to Sam was a big diamond ring he wore when he was selling tickets. She dragged my grandmother out to the ballgame, and Sam fell in love with her. I once asked him where the ring was and he looked sheepish and told me he lost it in a house of ill repute. (laughs)
BB: That makes it sound like he fell in love with BB.
MH: Oh, no it doesn’t.
MW: She dragged my grandmother out to the ballgame, and Sam fell in love with her.
EM: It sounds like she dragged her, and then he fell in love with her.
MW: Let me make myself perfectly clear. He fell in love with Nanny, not BB, unfortunately for Aunt BB.
EM: And why did BB take her sister instead of just herself?
MH: Well, there was only two years between them.
MW: Because, probably, her papa wouldn’t let her go to the ballgame by herself.
MH: That’s probably it.
MW: In those days, ladies didn’t go places alone. I bet she dragged Nanny out there just so she could go. She never dreamed Sammy was going to fall in love with her. That wasn’t in her plans at all.
MH: Ironic, isn’t it?
MW: Now, this is my version of how he got into the banking business, which he told me. I remember he told me this way. He says that he was walking down the street one day and Jesse Jones came up to him and said, “How would you like to go into the banking business?” He says that he replied, “Hell, Jesse, I don’t know anything about the banking business.” And Mr. Jones said, “Well, we’re going to buy a bank and you’re going to help run it.” Mr. Jones bought the bank and soon Sam was its president and chairman of the board and then executive chairman of the board.
MH: He never was president. He wouldn’t accept it.
MW: There was never a large loan that bank made that Sam didn’t first have to approve. During World War II, Mr. Jones was made head of the RFC and consulted constantly with Sam.
MH: Every day.
MW: When President Roosevelt came to Houston once, he rode on my Uncle Arthur’s yacht because of Sam’s connection with government financial—(speaking at the same time).
EM: Who’s Arthur?
MH: That’s Aunt Bebe’s husband, Arthur Burton.
MW: All who were in the banking world knew that Sam Taub was a financial genius. He was offered many jobs and positions, which he always turned down. He preferred to be behind the person who got all the limelight. Many editorials which appeared in the Chronicle when Emmett Collier was editor were first approved and sometimes rewritten by Sam Taub. Whenever he got a questionnaire from Who’s Who, he would never fill it out. It used to make my Grandmother wild. He used to throw it in the trash, so he always only had a short squib under his name. This used to irritate my grandmother to no end. I remember seeing the questionnaire once and offering to fill it out for him, and he got mad at me for even suggesting such a thing. If he knew that the county hospital is named Ben Taub, he’d be horrified. It was no pretense with him. There were some things you did and others that you did not do, and there was never any compromise. Jesse Jones never had any money in his pocket, and Sam was always having to pay. But I would bet on the fact that Sam always made Jesse pay him back. They fell out once for about 2 years because of something that Jesse had done which my grandfather disapproved of. But they were too close to remain apart forever and became fast friends once more. I never knew what it was, but I daresay Jesse Jones must have admitted it was wrong or put it right before the friendship was resumed. My grandparents celebrated Christmas in that they always had an open house on Christmas Day. I remember we couldn’t eat until Jesse Jones came, even if it was an hour after everyone else had gone.
EM: Do you remember that?
MH: Yes, he came every night. Jesse Jones was dating Kate—not Kate Rice—Lottie Baldwin Rice, which was Mr. Rice’s middle daughter. He had a Town Car. I don’t know what it was—the chauffeur out in the rain. We lived on Austin and Hadley and here would come Mr. Jones and the chauffeur. He was so tall that he had to have a big car. His legs were so long he couldn’t get in a little one. He’d come and eat dinner, and he’d rear back in his chair and Mother would say, “For God’s sake, Jesse, stop rearing back in the chair. You’re going to break it into pieces.”
MW: I remember we had to wait until Jesse came because it was an open house and my grandmother’s famous eggnog. We couldn’t sit down to Christmas Dinner until he came in and had eggnog and left.
MH: I don’t remember that, but that’s okay.
MW: Well, being a child and hungry, I remember it.
MH: Always hungry.
MW: We had to wait until he and his sweet wife, Mary, put in an appearance. This used to make my grandmother angry, but my grandfather was adamant on this. I remember the first time I saw Jesse Jones. I couldn’t have been very old, and I asked my mother if he was a giant in the circus; he looked so large and tall to me. He was like a giant in the circus.
MH: That’s pretty well written, Mary.
BB: She writes good.
MH: 40:09.4 Aunt Bebe wrote wonderful letters.
MW: Oh, fabulous. You may not—well, I won’t say it because it’s of no interest here. John’s mother wrote fabulous letters. I asked her to sit down and write a history of the family for me and she never did it. I’m very sad about that because I’d like the children to have a history.
BB: I have no idea what it’s like.
EM: This is John, your husband? John Wright?
EM: Okay, getting back to it. You grew up with a family—your sweet mother, her family, and then it sounds like your father with the high-powered people—
MH: They were always at our house.
EM: Always there, so you grew up with Jesse Jones and Gus Wortham and the whole—?
MH: Mr. Evans, he was so sweet.
EM: What, then, was your relationship with your father?
MH: I was very close to him. I admired him, and I knew—I was a little in awe. I wouldn’t do anything that he didn’t approve of.
EM: Was he so busy that he didn’t have time to wonder what you were doing?
MH: Oh, no. Never.
EM: He always knew what you were doing?
MH: Yes, and always was interested.
EM: Even with that little school with Professor Welch and what you did?
MH: Oh, yeah.
EM: He was not a foreboding figure?
MH: 41:23.5 Oh, no, not like Grandfather.
MW: He adored children.
MH: I’d sit on his lap on the porch and he would tell me stories about the big man that lived in the tree and all kinds of crazy things.
MW: The giant that drank red ink. He made up all kinds of stories for Joanne and I.
EM: He made them up?
MW: Oh, yes.
MH: The same ones that I remember.
EM: You remember it?
MW: No, but he lived in the tree outside Sammy’s room. I remember that.
MH: Remember the night of the big storm?
MW: The hurricane, yeah.
MH: He tried to calm you all down.
MW: We all got in bed with Sammy. Joanne and I got in bed and he told—
EM: Who’s Sammy?
MW: Sammy was my grandfather.
EM: Oh, you’re calling him Sammy.
MW: We called him Sammy.
MH: They never called him Grandpa. They called him Sammy.
MW: We called them Nanny and Sammy. They were too young, they decided, for us to be calling them Grandma and Grandpa.
MH: Isn’t that ridiculous?
EM: Nanny, that’s kind of—
MW: Yeah, but that was her real name.
MH: That was Grandma’s sister’s name. She was named for Grandma’s sister.
EM: Oh, that was her name? Her real name? Nanny?
MW: That was her real name.
EM: Let’s just talk a second about Ben. You were saying, first of all, that your grandfather—your father—would have turned over in his grave, so to speak, because he didn’t believe in doing things publicly.
MH: Right, and Uncle Ben’s the only man that’s ever had something named for him after he died. That’s never happened to anybody.
MW: A public building. You said when he read all the nice things about him in the paper he thought he’d died.
BB: That is weird. Who decided to do that?
MH: The hospital board.
MW: The county commissioners.
MH: He was head of Jeff Davis Hospital for many years.
MW: He’s the only one who ever took an interest in the charity hospital.
MH: And he was head of Faith Home. You see, he was wonderful to me as a child. He’d take me to town and buy me all kinds of goodies. Children think that’s wonderful.
MW: Well, certainly.
EM: Well, why are you kind of now looking down your nose about him? You feel he did this for self-aggrandizement?
MW: No, he didn’t, but what happened was that he hung on to the money to the point where if he hadn’t distributed it, when he died the government would have said, “This was all yours. You treated it as your own.” And the inheritance tax would have taken everything that belonged to mother and the people that were left that should have gotten part of that five—those five children. In other words, he liked to dole out the money. He got power mad from always having control of all this stuff.
MH: See, he never had any children of his own, and he thought he was the big one. He wasn’t going to give it to you unless you cried.
MW: 44:00.3 You had to cry and beg and kiss his ass, and we weren’t going to do that.
(Speaking at same time)
EM: What do you mean by that Bebe?
MH: I don’t know what she means. I don’t know anybody like that.
MW: Well, it certainly does run in the family. It started with old J.N. He used to give you a picture of what you wanted for Christmas instead of the present.
MH: Oh, I forgot about that.
EM: He did?
MW: Oh, yes.
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative). He’d bring a magazine.
MW: He was a wonderful person.
MH: That’s why I didn’t like him.
EM: He’d bring you a picture of it?
MH: No, he’d say, “Here’s a magazine. What do you want for Christmas?” So I’d show him and he’d tear it out and give it to me. Isn’t that awful?
EM: Did he ever come around and give you the real presents?
MH: No, Grandma did. She went into debt way over her head and he’d have a fit, but she always bought us beautiful presents. They went to Europe every year until the First World War She always brought us something extra nice. Besides the 44:50 (Cunard??) bands to put on our hats.
MW: Oh, how cute.
EM: As far as—speaking of, let’s say, the Taub money, did it come from the tobacco business or did it come from the loan business?
MW: The loan business.
MH: I think that would be the—that’s where he got the land.
MW: That’s where he got the land. The tobacco business made a lot of money, mind you, but that was a partnership.
MH: You see, Daddy went to New York every year and reinstated the different brands of tobacco and things. Nobody else had the sense to do it, or the charisma. Mr. Hill that was the head of American Tobacco Company was Daddy’s friend.
MW: But it was a partnership between the three boys. It was in the partnership agreement that when one of the partners died, the other two partners were to buy him out. There was not to be anything about—the wife and the kids were not to have any part of that money. So the tobacco business ended up being Henry’s.
MH: Which he had no right to.
EM: Who is Henry in all of this?
MW: Henry is Risa’s, who is one of the daughters—her child. He shouldn’t even be Taub, actually. It should be Henry Sandler.
EM: And he changed his name?
MH: When she got a divorce, they all took—his name was just Henry Sandor and he took Grandpa’s name.
MW: Henry J.N. Taub.
MH: Don’t ask me why.
MW: Because he wanted to something that he wasn’t.
MH: So it went from Uncle Ben to him. And he hasn’t been fair about what we own.
MW: That’s right. He stole it from us, basically.
MH: And he won’t sell anything.
EM: It’s all wrapped up in property so you can’t divide it?
MW: Yeah. Anyway, we don’t want to get into all that.
(Speaking at same time)
MW: It ain’t libel, it’s slander. It’s true.
EM: I did want to get the story straight of how Henry’s name is Taub.
MH: That’s how.
EM: Did John ever marry?
MW: Oh, twice. His wife died and then he married again.
EM: I think both of them went to school with my sister. She remembers both of them.
MH: They’d have to burn the University of Houston down to get Henry out.
BB: Big Henry? Little Henry was—
MH: No, he’s all right. He went to Texas.
EM: Going back, again, to your family and your father being this very successful man and a very good husband, it sounds like he was a very good father. Incidentally, when did he die and what of? How old was he?
MH: He had a heart attack. He died of cancer of the lungs. It was in ’56.
MW: There it is—February 17, 1956.
EM: Oh, I see. How old was he?
MW: He was born in ‘76, and he died in ’56.
EM: He was 80 years old.
MW: He would have been 80.
EM: Was your mother—?
MH: She died 4 years before Daddy in ’52.
EM: From what?
MH: She had the shingles and it went to her brain.
MW: Encephalitis. She went into a coma.
MH: Twenty-one days or so.
EM: Where were they living in those days?
EM: When did they move there?
MH: They moved there when it opened. Wasn’t it in ’42?
MW: No, no, it was after the war. It had to be after the war. They didn’t build anything during the war.
MH: Daddy said he didn’t move—(speaking at same time).
MW: ’46, maybe—’47, maybe.
MH: Whenever the Shamrock was built.
MW: Whenever the Shamrock was built, they moved.
EM: Well, we’ll just hop and skip. The last time I talked to you, which was in ’71—at that time I was asking you a lot of things about your Jewish identity, which we covered a little bit now.
MH: I’m not too good at that because, you see, it never bothered me.
EM: In answer to the question that I would ask everyone here—how did being Jewish impinge on your life in any way? It did not.
MH: I married a gentile.
MW: It impinged on my life.
EM: How did it impinge on your life, Mary?
MW: Because I was sent to a Catholic school, which I adored, but there was never any—I think I was there from the—
MH: First year of high school, or before?
MW: When I got out of Sutton School. I was there from the sixth grade to the twelfth, because I graduated in the twelfth grade. We didn’t go thirteen grades. There was only one remark ever made in all those 6 years about—and the nun that was there at the time almost killed the girl that said it. So I never had any feeling of being an outcast in this school, but where I had a feeling of being an outcast was in Sunday school. The girls in my Sunday school class resented me. They didn’t like me going to a Catholic school because they thought I was trying to pretend I was not Jewish, so they didn’t accept me. I wasn’t accepted by the Jewish. Oh, they were horrible to me in Sunday school. And the Catholics didn’t accept me. I couldn’t go out with Catholic boys because I was Jewish.
EM: Why couldn’t you go out with Catholic boys?
MW: Well, I did go out with them, but the Catholic boys in those days, they didn’t go out with anybody but Catholic girls.
EM: It was the Catholic boys who didn’t accept you.
MW: Well, no. It was the girls. Oh, no. It wasn’t that I didn’t accept them. I would have gone out, and I did. I went out with Beck Tuftley. He was my first date. But the Catholic girls didn’t want their boys going out—their contemporaries going out with a Jewish girl, so it was difficult for me there. Although, I was not into dating.
EM: But you were labeled.
MW: I was labeled.
EM: Whether you wanted to or not, that was the label that you had?
MW: That’s right.
MH: Dumb girls—if you come to a Jewish Sunday school, my God, they should know you are Jewish.
MW: But they thought we were trying to be better than everybody else by going to the Catholic School. I should have been going to St. Josiah. I shouldn’t have been going to St. Agnes. It was a private school.
EM: Oh, the fact that it was private and it was Catholic.
MW: It was private and Catholic and they thought that those—they think that—so I never felt accepted by the Jewish kids, ever.
MH: How about Joanna?
MW: I’m sure she had the same problem. I don’t know. I guess she did.
BB: Did you ever go out with Jewish men?
MW: Yes, because I was short somebody was always introducing me to their short brother.
MW: I have nothing against Jewish boys.
BB: I don’t think I’ve ever gone out with a Jewish boy.
MH: We are a funny—
MW: Anyway, I felt—later on, I felt Jewish for no reason that I could possibly tell you.
(Speaking at same time)
MH: Because you instinctively are. I’m not ashamed to say what I am no matter what I am.
MW: They tried to convert me in the Catholic Church.
MH: Oh, I know that.
MW: And when I went to Catholic School—and I really studied it and thought about it, but it was just not for me. I felt that I was Jewish and I couldn’t be Catholic.
EM: What I was saying—when I did talk to you then I remembered it was right after the 6-day war, and a lot of people who were Jewish that had been to Israel—it made a big change in identification. I know you had said at that time that once—the only change that you remembered is somebody made maybe some anti-Semitic remark and you were able to answer it back.
MH: I always speak up when they do.
EM: Had you ever spoken up before then?
MH: Oh, yeah. I think so.
EM: In other words, was there a difference or do you feel differently now about Jews in general, let’s say, since there is the State of Israel and from when you were growing up?
MH: No, because I’m an American and not an Israeli.
MW: I do. I’m more proud to be Jewish because of the—I really felt good about being Jewish because of the Israeli 6-day war. I thought that was really neat.
MH: Oh, I thought that was wonderful.
MW: And the thing at 52:44 (s/l Antebie), too. That’s the kind of person I want to be.
EM: Mary, you seem to be almost saying you—well, you’re saying you’re Jewish—the background—you married someone who was non-Jewish, also. Although, you’re a product of a marriage of a Jewish—
EM: When you say you’re Jewish, do you feel that—is there anything that you participate in, in the Jewish practices, the Seders or anything else?
MW: I joined the congregation. I did join the temple.
EM: Which temple?
MW: Beth Israel.
EM: Are you a member now?
MW: Yes, indeed.
EM: Which brings up Bebe. We might as carry this out 4 generations, which is interesting. What is your feeling now towards your background, part of which is Jewish?
BB: It doesn’t bother me at all, if that’s what you mean. I feel kind of proud of it. It’s funny, when my friends make remarks and I make remarks, too. I say, “You’re being such a Jew.” Or somebody will make a remark and I’ll say, “You can’t say that. I’m Jewish.” And that really shocks them because I don’t look like I am. And especially since I didn’t marry—I married a black, Irish Catholic.
MH: (laughs) A black man.
BB: Well, he’s got black hair. He looks Jewish. He could pass for Italian.
MH: I thought he was Italian. He looks Italian.
MW: No, he’s Irish.
EM: Do you identify as—how do you see yourself? Do you say that you’re part Jewish?
BB: I don’t know. I guess maybe it’s the suffering part. That may be weird, but I feel the suffering part. When I’m in my very introspective moods, I can relate to that.
MH: You haven’t made up your mind yet, though. (laughs)
BB: No, but I can feel how people as a whole could suffer, as Jews have been persecuted in an entire history. I feel that, and it gives me strength. I know it’s giving Mom strength inside to, no matter what, especially with personal growth and problems, to keep going because we’re bettering ourselves. And that part I can feel and I’m proud of. But I don’t think I would have ever married a Jewish person.
EM: Why is that?
BB: I don’t know, probably because of the example. My mother married such a WASPish guy. I almost married one almost exactly like him—tall, blond, German, blue-eyed. I almost married him. I didn’t, but I don’t think I’ve ever dated a Jewish person before. I don’t know why.
MW: You almost married—what—a WASPish guy? Are talking about like your father? But you didn’t.
MW: But you also didn’t marry a Jew. You think you married a compromise or something?
MW: As a way to tie the two?
BB: Because he doesn’t look or act—
MW: He doesn’t look WASPish.
EM: What’s WASPish mean?
MW: Well, Richard was a WASP.
MW: White American Anglo Saxon Protestant.
MH: How did it get to be WASP.
EM: The initials.
MH: Oh, thanks.
MW: By the bee sting.
BB: They guy I almost married was Protestant. And I think I did that because he was my father’s image. I mean, that’s natural for a girl to do.
BB: But Joe is a compromise, because he doesn’t look like anything. He could be Spanish.
EM: Have you tried to check into any Jewish roots or Jewish congregations or anything Jewish?
BB: No, I haven’t, because there might have been a conflict that I didn’t know of, but I also felt that we never—in our family anyway—and it was the same aspects—that you married a non-Jew. We never made a real commitment toward it. We just knew it was our background and felt it, but we never—we weren’t really active in it.
EM: Do you feel an active involvement in another religion?
BB: No. It was a problem when Joe and I got married because his family is very, very strong Catholic and they wanted us to get married by a priest. It was a big deal and we went and saw, as a matter of fact, it was a monsignor. It was in Kingwood. And his attitude—I guess not having a practiced religion, my attitude is really open with religion. I expect certain things from it—to open its arms. If you want to practice my religion, hey, come in. And this guy was very, very—turned me off completely. He just said—he practically called me a godless creature. He did call me a godless creature.
MW: Well, that’s terrible.
BB: Because I was a Jew. I was just—I couldn’t believe it. I was like, “If you think that I’m going to go—” I mean, if he represents—he’s next to a bishop—if her represents the Catholic Church, I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I don’t think anybody—I hope to say that in my religion, people wouldn’t do that. They would say, “If you want to get married by a rabbi, great.” You know—you come to the congregation once or twice or whatever you have to do. He would have had to sign a piece of paper that said the children would be raised Catholic. I couldn’t do that. Even if it was a joke when we did it, it still meant something.
EM: Does your husband care, when you had children, how they would be raised?
BB: No, because he stopped going to church. He went through his own thing with it and stopped going. He was forced to. My mother took us, too.
MW: I took you to temple.
BB: A couple of times, but—
MH: I went to Sacred Heart Church when I was a child every Sunday with the O’Briens. I sat on the curb and if they didn’t take me I’d have a screaming fit. They lived across the street, so I went.
MW: Rosie O’Brien was your best friend.
MH: That’s right, so I went every Sunday to Sacred Heart.
BB: I went to St. John’s. I went to church in college.
MW: They learn about God, and I figure God is everywhere. I don’t think he picked out anybody in particular.
MH: The minister in the Episcopal Church I went to in the village of Mamaroneck said, “It doesn’t matter where you worship God as long as you do.”
MH: That’s how I feel.
MW: I think you’ve got to live your life worshipping God.
MH: Are you running out of tape?
MW: You know—people that go to church on Sunday and gamble and whore on Saturday—I don’t think that cuts it in my opinion.
MH: They’re Baptist; they vote dry and drink wet.
(End of audio D1)
(Start audio D2)
EM: 00:03.1 We’re on again.
MW: Well, I’ll tell you something right now. I feel more Jewish now than I’ve ever felt in my life, and I’m very proud of it.
MH: I’ve always been proud of what I am. I’ve never felt—
MW: I’ve not always been proud of it. There’s been too many funny things said when I was growing up.
MH: Well, I don’t like that. I was at a lovely party in Paris. It hasn’t been too many years ago. It was at (Beegan’s??). And how we got on religion I will never know.
MW: It’s a no-no, for sure.
MH: But anyway, they started talking, and this very hoity-toity said to me, “And what church do you go to?” And I said, “I’m Jewish.” Well, there was a death-like silence.
EM: Really? This was recently?
MH: Yeah, about 5 years ago. That was the end of that conversation. Like I was a—
MW: Like you just said you were a leper.
EM: I was going to ask what your perception was—let’s see—when you were growing up, what was your perception of what the gentile community felt towards Jews? Then I’m going to ask you to contrast that with what you think it is now. When you were growing up, what did you feel?
MH: I didn’t feel any different, you see. This is terrible.
EM: What did you think that they thought?
MH: I thought they were nuts.
EM: No, what I mean is, how did you think that the gentiles thought about Jews? Did you think that they thought Jews were peculiar people when you were growing up?
MH: I think they all thought there was something strange about you.
EM: Did you think that they thought, like the stereotypes, Jews are pushy, Jews are all rich?
BB: Do you think they thought that about Sam, about your father?
MH: No, I don’t think so, not at all.
MW: He was a gentle man. They couldn’t say that about him.
MH: Not gentile. (laughs)
EM: Now this is what I’m getting at. When you were growing up, you didn’t really feel that the gentiles felt strangeness towards Jews, did you?
MH: No, not at all.
MW: It’s because of the admiration that everybody had for Sammy. They all loved him.
BB: I’m sure that subdued a lot of—(speaking at same time).
MH: I’m sure it did. I’m sure it did because—
BB: They respected him.
MH: 01:58.2 Ninety percent of the people that came to our house were gentiles.
EM: And after you got married—well, the second time, let’s say, to the non-Jew—and then the people that you went with, did you feel that—in the back of your mind somewhere—that you knew these stereotypes existed of Jews, but maybe they didn’t apply to you, or did you not think about it?
MH: I don’t think it applied to me, you see, because I didn’t think about it. I never had that association. I don’t know how to describe it.
MW: You never felt set apart because you were Jewish?
MH: No, not at all.
EM: Okay. Well, I can understand that because I used to feel the same way.
MH: I knew it existed.
EM: You knew it existed then?
MH: I knew it existed. Oh, sure.
EM: You did know it? You were aware of it?
MH: If you read you’re going to be aware of it.
MW: But as a child, do you think you knew about it? Did you know you were a Jewish family?
MH: I went to temple, so I must have known I was Jewish.
MW: No, but I mean did you feel you were a Jewish family?
BB: Did you feel different?
MW: As opposed to a gentile family? Rosie O’Brien’s family, did you know there was a difference?
MH: No, they went to one church and I went to another one.
MW: And that was the only difference?
MH: That was it.
EM: And your family never—you mother—she didn’t go to temple any more than you?
MH: Oh, no. She was worse. (laughs)
EM: I see. And your father was—?
MW: Actually, if you’d have asked me as a child if there were any Jews in my family I would have said that my grandfather was Jewish and my grandmother wasn’t.
EM: On which side, now, would you be talking about? You’re mother’s side.
MW: On my mother’s side.
EM: What was he like? Why would you have known he was Jewish? What did he do?
MW: Because we used to go to temple with Aunt Risa on the holidays and he was always there. Nanny was never there. The Taubs went to temple. Her side of the family didn’t.
MH: They never did.
MW: The Taubs are the ones I went to temple with.
MH: Grandpa did.
MW: Well, but I didn’t know him. He died before I came. The Taubs were Jewish and the others weren’t.
EM: That figures, I guess, because they’d been in America for so long.
MH: That’s right. That was it.
EM: Do you think your father—what with his smartness and his friends and so on—he could have been in politics if he had so chosen.
MH: Yes, well, he ran a lot of politics.
EM: Yeah, behind the scenes. Why do you think he chose behind the scenes? Did it have anything to do with his being Jewish?
MH: No, it was personality. He was a very retiring sort of man, and he was not going to flaunt what he did, regardless.
MW: He felt there was more power back there, too.
BB: There really is.
MW: And there really is. He’d set them up.
MH: Before they elected anybody, they all came to our house and had a big discussion. I was sent out of the room.
BB: You missed the good parts.
MH: Sure, and whenever they told a dirty joke it was, “Mary, get a glass of water for Mr. So and So.” I’d spill it all getting back. (laughs)
EM: I’ll have to—when I hear the tape I can go back over it, but I’m just thinking, again, what all he was in—Sam, your father—and I’m a little confused this time. What was he doing? He was in banking?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative), and he ran the tobacco business.
EM: He still ran the tobacco business?
MH: Oh, yes.
EM: There was some kind of editorial that you mentioned—something he was rewriting.
MW: Oh, well, he had The Chronicle—Jesse Jones was his good friend. The man that wrote the editorials for The Chronicle frequently called up and read them to Sam and asked him what he thought.
(Speaking at same time)
MH: And when they had those—you know—conference of Christians and Jews, Daddy said that was a lot of baloney. He said, “That will never work, it never is going to work, and I don’t believe in it.”
MW: Well, he said that he thought that one day for Christians and Jews wasn’t enough. He thought that the whole year had to be Christians and Jews. He never did support that.
EM: That’s interesting.
BB: And he was also in the ball club thing.
MW: Oh, that was long since gone. He lost the ball club, probably in a crap game.
MW: He quit gambling when he got into the banking business. He told my grandmother she couldn’t go out there to (Jakies??) because it wasn’t seemly for a banker’s wife to be out there gambling.
MW: She went anyway, later.
MH: No matter where it was—
MW: She almost got caught, too, by the Texas Rangers. Remember? She came out of Jakies and you had to go down through the outside to get to where they ate, and she said, on her way there, “I hear the Texas Rangers are going to raid this place.” He said, “Yes, Ma’am. We are.” And there he was right behind her. There she was, the banker’s wife.
EM: You mentioned Harry Fox before. I know he was an old name in banking. This was at—?
MH: Houston National.
EM: Was he a contemporary of your father?
MH: Yeah, he was.
EM: Harry Fox, was he Jewish?
MH: Yes. He didn’t pretend to be, but he was.
MW: He didn’t admit it?
MW: Oh, is that right?
MH: It’s an old family, the Foxes.
EM: I thought that was.
MH: He was head of Houston National.
MW: Well, your grandmother’s name was Fanny Fox, wasn’t it?
MH: No, that was Grandma’s best friend.
MW: Oh, Grandma’s best friend.
MH: Aunt Fanny Fox.
EM: Okay, getting back. I had asked you what you thought your perception of the gentile community to the Jews was then.
MH: Houston was a very small town then, and I don’t think it made any difference. Do you think so?
MW: It always had made a difference, but I don’t know.
EM: What I was going to ask you, getting back to today, what do you think the larger gentile community’s perception of Jews is today?
MH: How would I know?
EM: Well, just your feeling. You don’t know. I just mean what do you—?
MH: I have no feeling about it.
EM: 07:51.6 Still? Okay. From what Bebe just now said, and that she was saying she was kidding with her friends if someone’s pushy she says, “Oh, don’t be Jewish.” Evidently, the stereotypes are still there just as much.
MW: Yes, they are.
MH: Oh, I’m sure. It always will be.
BB: I think so, too.
MW: And Jewish mothers, certainly, are always telling me to quit being a Jewish mother.
BB: And then Joe tells me that Irish mothers are worse.
BB: Talk about food oriented. You should see my grandmother cook if you think yours is bad.
MH: My God how my grandmother—she had a Hungarian cook.
EM: Now this is your maternal or paternal?
MH: Paternal. Grandma was the one who would cook on the maternal side. But Grandma Taub really—she had an iron stove and a gas stove in the kitchen.
BB: That must have been hot.
MH: It was.
EM: And she had a Hungarian cook?
MW: A wood stove and a gas stove?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative). Well, they didn’t have electric stoves when I was a child.
MW: I remember Aunt Bebe had a wood stove. Yes she did. I can see Georgie putting the wood in that stove—not Georgie, but 08:57 (Ionie??). She did, on Lovett. Mother, she did.
MH: No, she never had a wood stove.
EM: I think I cut you off before, and I am interested to describe the house that you grew up in, because you said it was a big dining room and so on.
MH: That was my grandmother’s house.
EM: Oh, that was your grandmother’s house.
MH: We had a very nice house, but it wasn’t anything like Grandma’s. Not as elegant.
EM: Is there anything different about the houses like the wood stoves or the refrigerators?
MH: No, upstairs and they had a downstairs bathroom with nobody had in those days.
EM: Now is this your house or your Grandmother’s house?
EM: The Taubs?
MH: We had one in our house on, too, on Austin Street. But it was Grandma Taub’s house that had the fancy bathroom downstairs. And at Christmas, she’d put a present by everybody’s fireplace in their bedroom like Santa Claus came down every chimney.
BB: They had a fireplace in every bedroom?
(Speaking at same time)
MW: They celebrated Christmas?
MH: Oh, sure, they celebrated Christmas.
MW: Yeah, but they’re Jewish. What are they doing celebrating Christmas?
MH: Don’t ask me, Mary. You’d have to go up there and ask Grandma.
MW: Yeah, but that’s interesting because this is three generations, four generations, past that—no wonder we’re not Jewish, really, we have this feeling of being not Jewish, if they celebrated Christmas.
MH: We always had Christmas dinner.
EM: Was this your grandparents?
MH: Yeah, my grandparents.
EM: That means J.N.?
EM: They celebrated Christmas and did not really set—was there anything Jewish that he did except go to temple?
BB: Wait a minute, did he go to Yom Kippur and all that stuff?
MH: Yom Kippur? You need to learn how to say it.
MW: Yom Kippur? Yes.
BB: Did he go by himself or did he bring—?
MH: No, Grandma went, and she’d drag me sometimes. She would take candy in her purse so I would sit still.
MW: Aunt Risa used to give us horehounds so we’d sit still.
EM: Give you what?
MW: They were called horehounds.
EM: I can’t say I ever heard of them.
MW: They’re sugar things.
MH: Oh, they’re horrible.
MW: I don’t know what they are. They’re awful. Aunt Risa used to—that’s all she had, so we ate them. They’re clear candy, like rock candy.
MH: Kind of brown.
MW: 10:57.4 Yeah, only they’re—
MH: Oh, they’re nasty.
BB: What flavor?
MH: Oh, terrible.
MW: Horehound, whatever that is. It’s an herb, I think.
BB: Kind of spicy?
MH: Grandpa used to take us—Grandma made Grandpa take us to the picture show, Rosa and I, which was the Queen Theater. We’d walk, of course. We wouldn’t sit by him because he’d blow his nose and make such a ruckus and then he’d go to sleep. The minute he went to sleep, we’d scuttle away and go sit in the waiting room.
MW: Like you didn’t know him.
MH: Then he never could find us when he woke up.
EM: Which uncle was this?
MH: This was Grandpa.
EM: Oh, grandpa. That’s J.N.
MH: He’d take us to the picture show. He’d go to sleep. First he’d blow his nose and then put his handkerchief on the back of the seat.
MW: Oh no!
MH: We were so embarrassed we couldn’t stand it.
MH: Isn’t that funny? I’d forgotten all about that.
EM: 11:46.3 One of the last questions about the Jewish business, too. The Yarzheit—
MH: They always did that.
EM: I was going to ask you that. They did do that? And how did they observe that?
MH: They just went to temple and stood up.
EM: They stood up at Beth Israel?
MH: Whoever you were in mourning for—you stood up, but the rest of the congregation sat down.
EM: I thought just at orthodox temples they did that.
EM: Because now at reforms, they all stand up.
MH: But only the people that were in mourning stood up as a prayer for the dead.
MW: Is that 12:20 (Cottish??)?
MH: (Cottish??), yeah.
MW: But I’ve never heard the other term, Yarzheit.
EM: Yarzheit. Yarzheit is, I guess, the Hebrew word for it. In other words, on that eve they went—do you do that?
EM: Did your father?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative).
EM: And your mother, but you did not?
MH: I did for a while.
BB: Did you really?
MH: Uh-hunh (affirmative). Hilda used to make me go.
EM: Who used to make you go?
MH: Hilda, my cousin, Hilda Swartz. But you can grieve without going to temple. Reform is a religion I never—(inaudible).
EM: Where will you be buried?
MW: I’m going to put her right there.
EM: I better preface that with a Jewish cemetery?
MH: No, we all have a place at Lawndale, or whatever it is out here.
BB: Forest Park.
MW: It’s awful.
MH: What’s the difference? You’re not there.
MW: I’m going to be cremated.
EM: So am I.
BB: You don’t want to be cremated?
EM: The only reason I’m getting at that is a lot of times people who are Jewish, or whatever faith they are, when it comes time for burial they want to either be where their parents were or in a religion-based cememtery.
MH: I don’t want to be in a mausoleum in a cold stone place.
MW: Well, you’re going to be in a mausoleum. That’s a cold, horrible place, too.
BB: Who is Forest Park? Why are you going there?
MW: Go-Go’s there.
MH: Go-Go’s there and Tommy’s there.
EM: Who’s Go-Go?
BB: Don’t get them started on Go-Go.
MH: That’s my wonderful cook and nurse I had for 47 years.
MW: You knew Go-Go.
EM: Oh, yes. I was just out of—I thought this was another cousin or aunt.
MH: No, this is really a member of the family.
MW: Yes, she was.
EM: You know—why don’t you talk about that because a lot of Northerners and other people have funny ideas about blacks and whites and relationships.
MW: I’ve written a story about Go-Go, actually, which I’m going to send to Reader’s Digest.
MH: I wish you would.
MW: I have.
MH: Have you? Good. She came to me when Joanna was 3 months old, and died here. She died in the hospital when she was with me.
MW: She was with us 47 years.
MH: And I was with her. She helped raise the children, and she was my friend. When I was pregnant with Mary and she took a day off, which wasn’t often, she’d call and say, “Do you need me? You want me to come over?”
MW: She used to take me to town with her on her day off. She got off after breakfast and had to come back before dinner. We’d go down to the bus stop, and I got to sit in the back of the bus.
BB: That was a thrill for her.
MW: I didn’t know that it was not supposed to be good. I got to sit back there with all the folks.
MH: All her friends.
MW: 14:47.4 That’s right, all her friends, and then we’d go to (Cress’??) and she’d meet her friends and they’d—
(Break in tape)
MH: Their mother would say, “Come on, Beatrice, he’s going to read the—unintellibible; laughter). So we always called it (s/l remicikisses??).
EM: Who was it that said that?
MH: My grandpa on my mother’s side. He was the one that was buried—
MW: What was his first name?
MW: Edward, that’s a pretty name. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say what his name was.
BB: Edward, that’s a nice name. I was thinking about names for children.
EM: What’s the last name again? Edward—?
EM: Edward Moskowitz, that’s your maternal grandparents. I see. I’ll ask you a big whopper question now about how—you had an unusual family life in that not all people were privileged to have such a big name. Still, thinking of family life in general and values and so on, how would you say that family life today is similar to or different from when you grew up?
MH: Well, that depends on the family, don’t you think?
MH: I don’t think there’s the closeness there was when I grew up. I know that the Taubs and the Moskowitz’s were all a very close family.
EM: You mean with each other or to their own?
MH: No, to their own family, not with each other. (laughs)
BB: Don’t you think that continues today with our family?
MH: I think it does with our family, Bebe, but I don’t think it does with everybody’s. I think it’s too bad.
EM: You mean children with their parents, with their cousins and brothers and sisters?
MH: Yeah, right. There’s always been that unity with us. It’s a bond, I guess.
MW: Well, you pass that feeling on. That’s the way you see it done.
MH: Well, my mother and Aunt Bebe saw Grandma every day.
BB: Why not? So many people come down here and they leave their families behind, they never see them.
MH: I don’t understand that.
BB: I don’t know.
MH: It’s pretty sad.
MW: Well, I think it’s sad because the only thing important in this world is your relationships with other people.
BB: In your family you share life experience with them. You get to see them from the time they’re born until—at least the ones younger than you are. And you don’t get that with a lot of people.
MH: Well, it’s their mother’s fault, BB, I feel. Bob doesn’t have the same feeling for his family that I have for mine.
MW: No, not at all.
MH: Not at all, and it worries me. I’m always edging him on. “Call your sister.”
EM: A lot of wives seem to do that for their husbands. Is that what you’re saying? You think it’s a female thing?
MH: Yeah, I guess it’s a female thing.
MW: Maybe it is because I do that with my husband, too.
BB: Yeah, but they’re both gentiles.
MW: Do you think it’s Jewish?
EM: No, I know in Jewish families it’s the wife who’s always telling the husband.
MH: “Call your mama.”
MW: Yes, it’s true.
MH: Well, I don’t know. Look how Papa was with his mother. He went every day to see his mother when she was old and sick. My husband went every day to see his mother, and sometimes twice a day.
MW: Yeah, he did. He had a very strong feeling for his mother.
MH: She said when he was quite little, after her husband died—I think Bob was only 11—that he came out on the porch one night and she was sitting in the swing and he said, “I think she needs me.”
MW: Aww, isn’t that cute?
MH: She must have told me that 750 times.
EM: What do you think, in looking back in your family, would you say—the one you were raised in—the core values were of that family, what it stood for? Is that kind of an abstract question?
MH: You mean like integrity?
EM: Yeah, whatever. What do you feel that our family—that you learned from your family—you know—rights and wrongs?
MH: Very strictly what was right and what was wrong, and no monkey business about it. You either did this or you didn’t do it.
EM: And what were some of the rights and wrongs?
MH: Oh, that’s hard to say.
MW: Well, you didn’t cheat, you didn’t lie, you didn’t steal.
BB: Stealing was bad, huh?
MH: Oh, yeah. And be honorable.
MW: Integrity. First was integrity. I learned that from my grandfather.
MH: Not from me?
MW: Well, I guess through you from him.
MH: Yeah, right.
MW: I don’t know, he impressed me with his staunchness and his morals. Because of the things I heard about him that you told me. He was on the board of every company in this town, and he never used any inside information to do anything with it. And, to me, that’s morally strong and right.
MH: 19:29.8 That’s integrity.
MW: That’s integrity, and that’s how I hope to live my life because I had that example. Well, he was the man in my life, if you want to know the truth. He was the strong male figure in my life.
MH: That’s right. Well, when I got a divorce—I’ll never forget—he wired me. I was in Florida Springs when we started it. He said, “We wouldn’t have Joanna and Mary if you hadn’t married, so don’t worry about it.” And I think that’s the nicest thing.
MW: He adored us. He was very supportive.
EM: Now I forgot, you would have been without a father there for a while, so he would have been the male figure.
MW: Even after, he was the strong male figure in my life. He always was.
EM: In a sense you’ve answered this. I was going to ask Mary about what she learned, but I’d also like—if either one of you or both of you were to leave—evidently there’s a Jewish—
EM: Yeah, the Ethical Will. I don’t know anything about it.
MW: Yes, I saw it on TV the other day.
MH: What is that?
MW: It’s an interesting thing.
EM: Why don’t you explain it, because I was going to ask what each one of you would say.
MW: That before you die, you sit down and write a will, an ethical will, what you’re going to leave your children as far as life—the things you know about life.
MH: Not material things?
MW: No, not material things. An ethical will—how you perceive that you have lived your life and how you would like them to live their lives. You write that all down, and you leave it to your children and they have it when you die. I think it’s a fantastic thing. So, really, I feel that my grandfather left me an ethical will, although he never wrote it down.
MH: I guess he did me because I feel the same way. So evidently he did.
EM: You were saying, too, that you learned that from her. And of course you did because of the father figure missing you were saying that that—
MW: Right. Of course.
EM: If you were both making an ethical will right now, is there anything you’d add to that, or is that what you’d say?
MH: Well, I guess I would say how much I loved my children and how much they meant to me and I hope they would always have a happy life, as happy as you can be on this earth and do the things I tried to teach them.
BB: What would you say?
MW: I don’t really know. I would have to give it a tremendous amount of thought.
MH: I’ve thought a few times about sitting down and writing you and Joanna.
MW: Well, you should do that. You should do that.
MH: Somebody sent me a thing that their granddaughter said at a grandmother’s funeral. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever read.
MW: Really? I’d like to read it.
MH: I had in the desk drawer.
EM: Bebe, you’ve been raised the third generation. Have some of these things come through to you in your own family? What would you say that your family that you were raised in stood for?
BB: I think we were very close, my family, my mother and father and brother. I think the closeness comes through generations.
MH: Oh, it’s just bound to.
BB: I really do. I’ve given a lot of thought to how close we are and is that good? But we recently got all together in Austin again, and we had such a wonderful time. Even when we went to San Francisco and you came with us, we had such a good time. We always laugh and we have such a good time when we’re together. I don’t know. It’s very neat. It’s unusual, and I think that’s really neat. And also, all my cousins that are my age and older—mostly older—but not that much older. You know—when you get older the gap closes. When you’re 6 and 10 there’s a big difference.
EM: This is Joanna’s children?
MW: No, this is Papa’s children—grandchildren.
BB: Tommy and Dick’s children. Yeah, his grandchildren.
MW: His grandchildren.
BB: His grandchildren that range from 24 to 30. One just got married. Anyway, going through Dick’s son marriage this last couple of months, I really felt for the first time—we always would come here—all the cousins would come to grandma’s house, and we would have Christmas dinner or Christmas party or Thanksgiving. We’d all be here and everyone would have a drink and we would sit around. But it was always kind of scattered. We’d all be here and we enjoyed that, but we never really communicated with each other, I didn’t feel. But the last couple of times this happened, even last year when you had the party, I relly felt like we communicated and that we really felt like we were a family.
MH: You were all together.
BB: And it’s kind of the thing where everybody—all the kids—I’m relating it from a child’s point of view—but as a child, we’d get here and we’d all do something afterwards alone. We’d all go off. When you had the party at River Oaks, all of us stayed. Mary Catherine and Rob and Bobby and his date and Todd and his date and Dick came and Becky came. We all went out afterwards, and it was the first time we had all been out together.
MH: Wasn’t that fun?
BB: We had such a good time. It was like, why haven’t we been doing this before? Why haven’t we really gotten to know each other? I guess it’s just age. You get to the age where you’re all almost the same experiences.
EM: It is, and it’s really beautiful to see three generations like this sitting and felling the way you do, all of you.
MH: I think we’re very fortunate. I’m especially fortunate.
MW: We’re all fortunate that we all get along. We all had our troubles, but they’re gone.
MH: Yeah, but they’re gone.
MW: We have a good relationship.
EM: Let me ask this before I turn this off. We’ll come back again if either one of us thinks of anything. Is there anything that any one of you would like to say that we haven’t talked about that we should have, or comments that you’d like to make about your family or any family members?
MW: Well, we never mentioned Aunt Bebe. She was a very important part of our lives.
MH: She was my mother’s sister. She never had any children of her own, so I was like an only child. Mary and Joanna came along and they were like her children. And Bebe and Charlie came along and she adored him, and Joanna’s children. She really was a remarkable woman.
MW: She was an incredible person.
MH: She was the most maternal woman I know that never had a child.
MW: She made you feel as if you were her favorite. When she died, we were all convinced that Aunt Bebe loved us best. I think that’s incredible.
MH: And when Bebe was born and Mary named her for her, she was in Paris. I called her from London and I said, “Aunt Bebe, little Bebe is here.” Well, I thought she would die, and then we both cried.
BB: I wish I would have been there.
MW: You were.
MH: You were.
BB: I mean to hear that. That would have been neat.
MW: She went right to Cartier’s and bought me two gold bracelets.
BB: That’s right. We still have them.
MH: (__??) bought the thing to go on them.
BB: We still have them.
MW: You’ve taken them away from me.
EM: Did Bebe look like your mother?
MW: You mean Aunt BB?
EM: Did Aunt Bebe look like her sister?
MH: No, she was not as pretty as my mother. She was very stylish, very smart looking. Grandma always said, “Mrs. Burton is stylish and Mrs. Taub is beautiful.” Mother was very pretty.
BB: What did Arthur do—her husband?
MH: He was in the automobile business.
BB: That’s right.
MW: A.C. Burton.
EM: Did your father ever tease your Aunt Bebe because he knew she was going to want to get together?
MW: Aunt Bebe had the brain. Sammy liked to talk to her because she was smart and intelligent and she loved to talk to him. She always asked his advice about everything.
EM: If your mother was the beautiful one, as opposed to Bebe, how did your father treat your mother?
MH: Like she was the Queen of Sheba.
MW: Spoiled her rotten—I mean rotten.
MH: Have you seen a picture of Mother and Daddy?
MH: Well, come into my bedroom.
EM: Incidentally, I would like to ask you this. If you have any documents or mementos or anything that copies could be made of to possibly give to the archives—
MW: Yes, I have some.
MH: Mary stole them from me. (laughs)
MW: I didn’t steal it. It was tossed in a drawer someplace, and I said, “Would you give it to me, and you said certainly.” I said, “I’m going to have it framed and hung in my office.” I’ll make you a copy of it.
EM: Please do.
MH: I have the original. When I kick the bucket you can have it.
MW: I have it framed. It’s in my office.
MH: I’ll take the frame. (laughs)
EM: Okay, I want to thank all of you for being here today. We’ll get back and talk another time. Meanwhile, thank you very much for your time. We’ve enjoyed it. You want to say goodbye?
MH: Yes, thank you for coming.
(End of dictation)