Oral history interview with Sam Moss

Samuel Moss fondly recalls the Jewish community in the Greenbush neighborhood where he was born in 1938 at St. Mary’s Hospital. His Russian born grandparents moved to Madison in 1924 to open the kosher Milwaukee Bakery on S. Murray St. His extended family worked as bakers and performed the tasks of selling and delivering baked goods to grocery stores and Italian restaurants in the Greenbush neighborhood, and throughout Madison until it closed in 1952. Sam shares stories of his youth attending the neighborhood's Orthodox synagogue Agudas Achim, going to pre-school at the Neighborhood House, and visiting neighborhood grocery stores and kosher butcher shops.

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    [00:00:00] Introductions.
    [00:00:47] Grandparents coming to Madison.
    [00:06:46] Move to Madison and family.
    [00:09:03] Family Bakery and neighborhood.
    [00:15:33] Cars, bikes, streetcars and getting around.
    [00:19:32] Greenbush neighborhood and its boundaries.
    [00:21:12] Going to school.
    [00:25:02] Sports and recreation, getting along in a diverse community.
    [00:28:59] Prohibition
    [00:32:56] Growing up in the Jewish community.
    [00:40:26] Neighborhood businesses.

    [00:00:00] Introductions

    Interviewer: Today is December 22, 2022. And we're interviewing Samuel Moss for the Madison Public Library's Madison Living History Project. I'm Daniel Einstein, and we're recording at Sam's home on the Near West side of Madison. Today we'll be discussing Sam's experiences growing up in the close-knit Jewish community in and around the Greenbush neighborhood. Why don't we just start by telling us when and where you were born?

    Sam Moss: Okay, I was born in Madison, Wisconsin at St. Mary's Hospital and 1938.

    [00:00:47] Grandparents coming to Madison.

    Interviewer: And just briefly introduce us to your grandparents and your mother, and how your grandparents came to live in Madison.

    Sam Moss: Okay. My maternal Bubbie (Yiddish word for grandmother) was from Russia from the Minsk area (part of Russia called the Pale of Settlement. And my Zaydeh (Yiddish word for grandfather) was from an area -- the Minsk area was then part of the White Russian area, that term from Poland, Russia, and so forth and back and forth. And he was not in the same shtetle (Yiddish word for a small Jewish village) or anything, but he was just north. And his name was Samuel Moskowsky, M O S K O W S K Y. And my Bubbie’s maiden name was Hadassah Urokfsky, U R O K F S K Y. And they -- I don't know when they met, but they arrived and they --apparently, they met while their -- I never had the insight to question her on all this business when she was -- when she was still alive.

    But they knew each other there, but they got out of Russia separately. In White Russia the Czar would conscript young men for 20 years of military service under the May Laws. Local Jewish officials would select 10% of the male population for conscription.

    And they, of course, all wanted to get out of there. [Laughs] So --

    Interviewer: When did they move to the United States?

    Sam Moss: First they migrated to London in 1905. There Zaydeh and Bubbie married. Zaydeh became a Royal Baker for King Edward VIII. Bubbie never mentioned whether she and Zaydeh had a Shadchen (Yiddish word for matchmaker) or a ketubah (Hebrew word for Jewish marriage contract.)

    They had their first four children in London. The first one was my Uncle Arthur. We call -- "Itzi" is what he was called. That was his Yiddish name. That's the way I've always know him. And he subsequently became -- he was the oldest and he became his father's successor after my Zaydeh passed away in 1934.

    Interviewer: So let's move ahead to when they arrived in Madison.

    Sam Moss: Okay. They arrived -- they didn't -- my Zaydeh had no relatives come to this country. And I know little about his background or that. We only have one picture of him, and it's the only one I've ever seen of him. And it's -- I've got a portrait of him in there. My Bubbie had three brothers who were barbers in Milwaukee. And her oldest brother in St. Louis. And she moved to Milwaukee. First she came to Milwaukee and he followed her and got a job in Milwaukee as a baker on the North Side where the former prime minister of Israel lived. I forgot her name now.
    Interviewer: Golda Meir?

    Sam Moss: Golda Meir, there -- in that area there –

    Sam Moss: On 11th Street on the north side of Milwaukee. And he opened up a -- they had a -- they bought a -- what he did when he first moved there I'm not sure, but he became a baker there. And he opened up a place on -- I've got the address and all that. I don't have it here in front of me. But -- and they also bought a rental property there and rented the basement out to Black people. And we -- as far as I know, we lived on the first floor and they rented out the second floor as well to make some assets for them.

    [00:06:46] Move to Madison and family.

    And in 1910, my Zaydeh discovered there was a bakery available in Madison, Wisconsin on Murray Street that was a kosher bakery, but they didn't meet the -- from what I understand, they didn't meet the city health requirements there. But he bought the place much to the chagrin of my Bubbie, who didn't want to leave her brothers in Milwaukee. And they moved to Madison.

    Interviewer: And in what year?

    Sam Moss: That was in 1924; 1924 they moved to Madison. That was after she had her last child in Milwaukee, which was my Uncle Simon. He was the youngest of my mother's other siblings.

    Interviewer: And there were nine siblings.

    Sam Moss: Nine; nine.

    Interviewer: We don't have to name them all, but it was a big family.

    Sam Moss: Nine, yes. And so he opened a bakery there. And they had -- they didn't have any more children in Madison. And I subsequently found out that there was a period between -- they didn't have any children between 19 -- they had children every two years except between 1919 and 1924. I don't know whether my Zaydeh went on a Sabbatical or what, but --

    Interviewer: [Laughs] She took a break.

    Sam Moss: No, no. What happened was she had a miscarriage, and they never talked about that.

    And my Uncle Simon, the youngest, was born in 1924. And my Aunt Sarah was the youngest girl, born in 1919. So, there were -- and I wondered what happened in those five years there. But I subsequently found out from some of my mother's siblings that she had a miscarriage and didn't talk about that.

    Interviewer: So in 1924, they moved to Madison.

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    [00:09:03] Family Bakery
    Interviewer: They buy a former bakery, and they named it the "Milwaukee --

    Sam Moss: Right.

    Interviewer: Bakery".

    Sam Moss: And they also got the house next door, which they rented out. It was 1212 instead of 1214.

    Interviewer: Yes. Tell us what you remember of this bakery.

    Sam Moss: Oh, [laughs] quite a bit. I still have the -- the only remnant I have of the bakery is I have the bell that they hung above the front door. When somebody came in, the bell rang, you know, on the front door. And I still have it. I made it -- I've got a kind of a trophy thing. But that's the only remnant I have from the bakery. And they had a wood-burning furnace, and they had these long planks that they used to shove the raw --

    Interviewer: Dough?

    Sam Moss: Dough into this --

    Interviewer: Oven?

    Sam Moss: Oven furnace --

    Yes, a wood-burning furnace. And they made the Vienna bread, pumpernickel, and challah. They had a time where they made doughnuts, too. But doughnuts were not a big deal back then. That was not a big thing. They had doughnuts in there. And they had coffee rolls. And it all was considered kosher at the time.

    Interviewer: Okay. Some people may not know what a challah is; could you describe it?

    Sam Moss: Okay. A challah is a twisted egg bread that's twisted into -- what do you call that, braids --

    Interviewer: A braid?

    Sam Moss: Braids; right. And the biggest seller was our French bread used by many Italian restaurants, churches, and grocery stores. Challahs were favored by Jews for shabbos meals (Yiddish word for sabbath) as well as non-Jews for toast with butter. Rye, Vienna, pumpernickel, and sugar glazed cluster sweet rolls with cinnamon were extremely popular. And as a matter of fact, when the churches ran out of -- all the churches and synagogues were lacking money, you know? [Laughs] And when they ran out of money, we didn't collect money from them. And but like a French bread was like a nickel for French bread and they were big French breads, you know? And they were big; like they don't bake them anymore like that with the crisp crust on the top and so forth.

    Sam Moss commented later: All breads and other baked goods from the Milwaukee Bakery in Madison were parve (Yiddish word meaning “neutral” and therefore acceptable to be eaten with either milk or meat-based foods.) No preservatives were used to enhance shelf life. Day old bakery goods were given away for tzedakah (Hebrew word meaning charity.)

    Anyway, and so that went on until 1952. My Zaydeh died in 1934. And as I said, my Uncle Itzi, the oldest of the sons, took over the bakery then. And he -- his wife never moved to Madison -- from Milwaukee to Madison, so he used to go there. They never baked on shabbos, but he would go there on Friday and come back on Sundays.

    And he did this --

    Interviewer: So, I'm interested in hearing more about the smells, the sights, the people who came into the bakery.

    Sam Moss: Oh, they had -- and yes -- all in the area they all -- there were a lot of different people of different ethnic groups that came in and so forth; always. And everyone was -- there were no credit cards or [laughs] none of that back then; and it was all either cash, or they would pay later, or whatever.

    And that's the way it worked. And if the bell rang and nobody was downstairs, somebody came downstairs. My Bubbie or my -- one of her daughters would be there available to service a customer.

    Interviewer: So it was a family business? Your mother --

    Sam Moss: Oh, yes, yes.

    Interviewer: Worked at the counter? Was she [overlapping] --

    Sam Moss: Well, let me tell you, there were nine children. And at first, they rented the third floor -- there were two floors above the bakery. And at first, they rented the third floor to a colored family. And then my Aunt Rose got married and she rented the third floor. She married Sam Picus whose father Ephraim was a garment peddler and had a barn with a horse in the Mound Street alley behind the G&S grocery store.

    Interviewer: What years was --

    Sam Moss: Oh, this was early years when I was young.

    Interviewer: Yes. So into the 1930s, there were still horses --

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: Coming up and down the street.

    Sam Moss: Right; right. And also, there was -- there were -- on Regent Street and that there were tracks for a -- for --

    Interviewer: Streetcars?

    Sam Moss: Streetcar.

    Right. And --

    [00:15:33] Cars, bikes, streetcars and getting around.
    Interviewer: Well, let's talk about the neighborhood and how you got around. Did you -- did your family own a car? Did you walk to everyplace?

    Sam Moss: Well, we had -- yes there was a car. We had a truck. And my Uncle Simon drove -- when I was around, he drove the truck to deliver bread to the grocery stores and places that we serviced all over Madison. He had a truck and I'd used to go with him on the truck, you know, to deliver. And I could tell you about all the places we delivered to, but I won't go into the details.

    Interviewer: But -- let -- but I'm very interested in how people moved around the city. You had a -- in the 1940s, you had a truck.

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: But when you were growing up and you were young, did you have a bicycle, did –

    Sam Moss: I had a bicycle, and then I had -- and then when I was 16 years old, my Bubbie -- first of all, I got -- my Aunt Esther, the oldest daughter's husband was Jewish. And he -- his name was Bill Swartz. And he had a Mercury. And he was disabled and he couldn't drive the car. And he gave me the car. It was a 1941 Mercury. And it jumped out of second gear if you put it in second gear. They were all -- there were no automatic drive cars back then. But I had that car from when I was able to drive through high school.

    And when I was -- and I used to take my Bubbie wherever she needed to go. And there was no seat for her on the right side in the driver's area. And I put a box there, a wooden box there for her to sit on. And I used to take her to the cemetery and wherever she wanted to go. And finally, when I was a junior, she got my Uncle Simon, who worked for A J Sweet Company, which was a Jewish wholesale produce company in Madison. And he worked for A J Sweet with my Uncle Simon. And he had a -- when he worked for them, he -- my Uncle Simon had a 1957 Chevrolet.

    And she bought it for $1,000 from him and gave it to me. So I had a hot car back then. And a lot of trips were made with that car, on dates and so forth with a lot of my Jewish friends. [Laughs]

    Interviewer: So you were cruising in the '57 Chevy.

    Sam Moss: Yes, right. And that was a hot car back then.

    Interviewer: [Laughter] So streetcars, did you take the streetcar?

    Sam Moss: No, no, streetcars were torn up then. But there were streetcars on Regent Street or -- because they tore up the Regent Street. And I saw the tracks [inaudible] --

    That were your -- but not -- but there was a -- and the bus system was -- Metro Bus System was on there, and it was a nickel for a bus ride.

    [00:19:32] Greenbush neighborhood and its boundaries
    Interviewer: So, let's talk about the neighborhood. Where did you -- your family live and what would you consider the Greenbush neighborhood? What were the boundaries of it?

    Sam Moss: Well, originally it was from probably -- the area I was most familiar with was from Prospect Street on the east side, right by the Milwaukee Railroad Station, to probably as far out as the cemetery on Franklin Avenue.

    And that was the primary area of the city at that time.

    Interviewer: But you would consider that all the Greenbush neighborhood a --

    Sam Moss: Well, no, not that far out.

    Sam Moss: Not that far out. Probably the Greenbush area, which was the central area -- Central High School area was from Mills Street to downtown.

    Interviewer: Some people talk about the Greenbush neighborhood in terms of the triangle and the 1960s.

    Sam Moss: Right; yes there was more of a restricted area, yes.

    Interviewer: Which would be Regent Park and West Washington. But other people talk about the Greenbush being --

    Sam Moss: Yes, because --

    Interviewer: Going out to --

    [00:21:12] Going to school.
    Sam Moss: Most of my friends were -- went to West High School, which was beyond the area there --

    Including like -- after Longfellow, Harvey (Barash) did not -- he went to West High School; he didn't go to Central High School.

    But Merle (Sweet)and his brother Ron were at Central High School as well.

    Interviewer: So some of the friends that you grew up with by the time it was time for you to go to high school, some went to Central High, some went --

    Sam Moss: Right; right.

    Interviewer: To West. Where were you living?

    Sam Moss: Right in the triangle area.

    Interviewer: What street; do you remember?

    Sam Moss: Murray Street.

    Interviewer: You were living on Murray Street.

    Sam Moss: 214 South Murray Street, right.

    Interviewer: And so you went to Longfellow --

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: Elementary School. What do you remember about Longfellow?

    Sam Moss: Well, very much so; very much. My sixth-grade teacher's name was Beulah Waugh, W A U G H. And she was very close -- my mother and I and Simon all had the same sixth grade teacher, Beulah Waugh. And we stayed in touch for all our lives, even when I moved out, too. And she was very close to my mother. And when I moved back to Madison after I left Parker Pen Company and I went to work here in Madison, I had purchased a home for my mother, who was -- remained unmarried on Segoe Road. I bought a home for her. And I invited Beulah Waugh. They were always in touch, and so was I.

    She would send me greetings for the holiday seasons and so forth. And so I invited her and my Uncle Simon. We both had the same sixth grade teacher. And my mother I think was the first to have her --

    In 1949. And she was a sixth-grade teacher there until she passed away. And I went to her funeral and so forth. Anyway, and so I invited her over to the house I bought for my mother. And my Uncle Simon came with his wife. And first she said something very nice about my mother, and then she said something nice about my Uncle Simon. And then when she spoke about me, she was not so nice.

    Interviewer: [Laughs] She ran out of nice things.

    Sam Moss: Right; right. And she said, "Well, even though Sammy was -- always said thank you when you -- after I kept them afterschool." [Laughs]

    Interviewer: So, you [overlapping] --

    Sam Moss: He always -- yes he always brought me a French bread on Fridays. And I always -- and my Uncle Simon had to blurt out. "Well, that's the way she got -- he got passed on to the seventh grade." And she said, "No, I always gave him a nickel and -- " [laughter] "I always gave him a nickel for the French bread," and --

    Interviewer: So instead of bringing an apple to your teacher, you brought her a loaf of bread.

    Sam Moss: French bread on Fridays.

    Interviewer: Yes. What else do you remember about the school, any of the other teachers?

    Sam Moss: Oh, yes.

    [00:25:02] Sports and recreation, getting along with diverse communities.
    Interviewer: How about the playground?

    Sam Moss: Yes, there was -- we always played with a tennis ball. We played baseball in the area where they had the baseball kind of screened in the baseball area there with a -- we played with a tennis ball. And I pretended I was like a player for the Milwaukee Braves at the time. And this went on for quite some time there. I used to -- I hit a lot of homerun’s worth of tennis balls over the fence, [laughs] as did others as well that played there.

    Interviewer: What other games did you play on the playground?

    Sam Moss: That's the one thing I remember most, yes.

    Interviewer: So what about the other kids in the neighborhood? You grew up in a fairly large Jewish family --

    Sam Moss: Yes, yes.

    Interviewer: And you were very involved in the Jewish community. Was there much interaction with the kids from the Italian part of the [overlapping] --

    Sam Moss: Absolutely, absolutely.

    Interviewer: Some of the Black children?

    Sam Moss: Yes. Yes.

    Interviewer: What do you remember about that?

    Sam Moss: Well, I always wanted to be an athlete like my Uncle Simon; was a very good athlete. [Laughs] And I never -- I was on the football team at Central High School and so forth, but I was too small in that. And I wasn't really fast. And so, I -- but he always -- I thought because he was on a championship team there that I would try to follow his -- but I never could live up to his (accomplishments there). And -- but I did participate. And my best friend at Central was the star Black running back, Albert Smith. And he and I were very close friends, as well as Italian friends and so forth.

    They were all, you know, from Central High School. Everybody was, you know, pretty much involved with one another, particularly if they were in sports.

    Interviewer: Did you experience any discrimination when you were growing up? Was there any anti-Semitism? Did --

    Sam Moss: Well, yes, that always existed, you know? But -- and there were fights, you know, scuffles; nothing very serious, you know? There wasn't any narcotics and stuff like that back then.

    Interviewer: Yes. You mentioned that you had roomers or boarders when you were growing up in your house, or was that in the Milwaukee house that there was a Black family?

    Sam Moss: Well, there were boarders there. But also, in Madison before my Aunt Rose got married, the third floor of the bakery was rented to Blacks. I don't even remember who they were, so forth then.

    Interviewer: But there wasn't a sense that having a Black family as a renter was a problem. Housing discrimination in Madison was pretty significant then.

    Sam Moss: Yes, right, right. That's true. That's true. But it wasn't a problem.

    Interviewer: For your family.

    Sam Moss: No, no.

    [00:28:59] Prohibition
    Sam Moss: And one -- on that subject there's one thing I wanted to -- this story was told by the person that -- Catherine, the one that wrote the Italian book --

    Murray, Catherine Murray. She told a story, and it was -- I've got it printed; about during the period when alcohol was --

    Interviewer: Prohibition?

    Sam Moss: Prohibited. My uncle was -- as I say, my Uncle Simon was a football player on the championship 1941 Central High School football team. And his best friends were Italians. They were -- and Blacks as well; and is probably the -- what the football coach said was that his best player of all time was an Italian named Paul Romano. And he was -- he tried to get a tryout with the Chicago Bears and that didn't work. And both he and Paul went in the Navy together and when it was -- and when the war broke out. And so when they get -- during the Prohibition period, they would always have these -- a lot of Italians were selling prohibitive liquor.

    And so -- and they all had ways of doing this. So he -- they always had a group that would go over to Paul Romano's house on Milton Street. And my Uncle Simon would bring a French bread or whatever with him on the occasion. And while they were there one night, he told me this story that the ones that policed for the federal government came to knock on the door, and immediately -- and the Romano family was a lot of boys in there, big guys, and they kept the door shut until they ran and drained the alcohol in the bathtub. And then --

    Interviewer: So they were bootleggers?

    Sam Moss: Bootleggers, yes; bootleggers, right. There were a lot of those in Madison. And they never -- they didn't catch them then. And what my uncle told me was is that the Milwaukee Bakery, because it was a bakery, the government wouldn't allow -- there was a limit to what --

    Interviewer: Rationing?

    Sam Moss: Rationing of sugar.

    Sam Moss: But they didn't ration the sugar for people who made bread. So they knew where to come to get the sugar for the distilleries. And when I told this story, I said, "I hope there's a statute of limitation!." [Laughter] [Inaudible].

    Interviewer: So your family was trading sugar --

    Sam Moss: For protection. [Laughs]

    Interviewer: So you think there was some gangster mafia [overlapping] --

    Sam Moss: Oh, oh yes [overlapping] --

    Interviewer: Protection?

    Sam Moss: Oh, yes, yes, around [that time but they never came to that bakery.

    Interviewer: The bakery was safe.

    Sam Moss: It was safe, right. [Laughs] And then that story was told by Catherine Murray

    [00:32:56] Growing up in the Jewish community.

    Interviewer: Well, let's talk about the Jewish community and your Jewish experience growing up. Your family belonged to which schul (Yiddish word for synagogue/school)?

    Sam Moss: Initially Adas Jeshurun And that's where I went to Hebrew School.

    Interviewer: Or was it Agudas Achim?

    Sam Moss: Achim yes.

    Interviewer: So Agudas Achim you went to.

    Sam Moss: No, Achim, yes.

    Interviewer: Agudas Achim was the --

    Sam Moss: Yes, right.

    Right. And that's where I went to Hebrew school, and I got the pictures of Harvey and the other group.

    Interviewer: Harvey Barash --

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: Who we also interviewed; yes.

    Sam Moss: Yes; and Merle Sweet --

    And Ben Heifetz and the Rosenbergs, and all these people were in our 1948 picture --

    There; yes.

    Interviewer: So you went to Hebrew School at Agudas Achim but your bar mitzvah was where?

    Sam Moss: Yes, at Beth Israel.

    Interviewer: At Beth Israel

    Sam Moss: Yes, in 1952.

    Interviewer: And what do you remember about your bar mitzvah?

    Sam Moss: Oh, okay, I have a story about that. What happened was is that we have to go to shul I think three times a week for study. And Rabbi Max Lipschitz was the rabbi at both Agudas Achim and Beth Israel

    He moved over there when it -- and eventually became Conservative instead of Orthodox. And he -- so we didn't -- Bob Rubin and I, who was from Rubin Furniture --

    He and I were on the Pertzborn Plumbers 1951 championship softball team. And he played second base and I played left field. And we decided that we were not going to go to shul for Hebrew school, you know, because we wanted to practice for the baseball team. [Laughs] So we went -- instead of going to shul, we went to practice at Wingra Park for the baseball team. And he got -- the rabbi got wind of it. And he came out in his own vehicle right out on the field [laughs] where I was standing, grabbed me by the collar of the neck, and put me in the car. And he said -- it was so embarrassing because all the other players except Bob and I were non-Jews, you know, they went to Blessed Sacrament and so on. [Laughs] And it was so embarrassing that I never missed shul again after that.

    Interviewer: You learned your lesson.

    Sam Moss: Yes, right. He was adamant about that, you know. [Laughs] But anyway, that's just another story.

    Interviewer: What do you remember about the physical space of Agudas Achim the temple itself?

    Sam Moss: Oh, it was the greatest temple in the world. You had a -- the -- it was circular with the -- where the leader davens (Yiddish word for praying.

    Interviewer: On the bema (Hebrew word for the elevated platform in a synagogue where the torah is read).

    Sam Moss: The bema was in the middle --

    Sam Moss: Of the schul. And the torah section was facing the east directly beyond that. And there was a balcony there where the women sat.

    Interviewer: Because this was an Orthodox --

    Sam Moss: Oh, yes, yes, right.

    Interviewer: So the women would be separate.

    Sam Moss: Separate, right, right. And that was up there. And there was a mikvah in the basement. And we always wanted our kids we would always want to look in there to see if we could see any naked women in there. Never saw any. [Laughs]

    Interviewer: Maybe you should explain what a mikvah is.

    Sam Moss: Oh, a mikvah is a ritual bath where the women go to, you know -- to spiritually clean themselves. And --

    Interviewer: And so you were trying to sneak in there?

    Sam Moss: Well, no, not sneak in, but look through the window. But I never saw anyone in there. [Laughs] And it was not a particularly nice mikvah, you know. You could see through a window in there, you know, but I never saw anyone in there. [Laughter]

    Interviewer: What about Beth Israel, you were there when the building was first opened in --

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: In, what, 1949; so --

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: You were one of the first bar mitzvahs there?

    Sam Moss: I was in the second class there.

    Marshall Shapiro and I were a month apart in our bar mitzvah, I think.

    Interviewer: Maybe you should mention who Marshall Shapiro was.

    Sam Moss: Oh, Marshall Shapiro was a very close friend of mine. He went to West High School. He didn't go to Central. And he was a well-known -- he owned the Nitty Gritty here in town, and as well as he --

    Interviewer: He was on television.

    Sam Moss: He was on television, and he was the only one in the '60s to have a live children's television program for kids. And it was a live program. And he was known as “Marshall the marshal.” And you probably heard stories about [inaudible] --

    Interviewer: But he was a friend of yours --

    Sam Moss: Oh, a very close friend.

    ] And I was at his house when he was -- and trying to survive. And he passed away ten years ago.

    And yes, I was there, and we -- related stories, was -- actually our stories got better as we told them over and over again.

    Interviewer: As they often do.

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: So how religious was your family, and did you keep the Sabbath?

    Sam Moss: Yes, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

    Interviewer: And was there Yiddish being spoken in your house?

    Sam Moss: Mamaloshen. (an affectionate word for the Yiddish mother tongue.) That's what I -- yes my Bubbie spoke Mamaloshen, and my Zaydeh, I'm sure -- I didn't know him at the time, but understood when she said -- what she said went. [Laughs] And that's-- "Mamaloshen" is what they call that.

    Interviewer: But you didn't speak Yiddish growing up.

    Sam Moss: No, I didn't because she understood English, and I wasn't used to doing that. But I caught on to more Yiddish subsequently.

    [00:40:26] Neighborhood Businesses

    Interviewer: Let's just talk about some of the businesses in the neighborhood that you remember. How about the kosher butcher Shapiro's, do you remember --

    Sam Moss: Oh, yes, yes. Moishka the butcher, that's the one I just told you about, that my Bubbie always went to. He had sawdust on the floors and that there. But she always thought he was putting his finger on the scale. And she says she's never going back there again. She's going to go to Shapiro's. But she never went to Shapiro's, [laughs] so --

    Interviewer: So where did she get her kosher meat?

    Sam Moss: At Moishka the butcher.

    Interviewer: At Moishka.

    Sam Moss: Yes.

    Interviewer: And what was the other butcher's name?

    Sam Moss: He was Shapiro. He was on Mound Street about --

    Interviewer: Shapiro was the one that --

    Sam Moss: Yes; and he had a wholesale business as well on Murray Street.

    Interviewer: What about Gazevitz Grocery Store?

    Sam Moss: Okay, yes that was right across the street from our Orthodox shul. And he had -- the thing I remember about our Gazevitz was that -- what do you call the honey business. We always went across the street to get those there. [Laughs] He had those there. And he was a big deal at the Orthodox shul.

    Interviewer: But he was Jewish.

    Sam Moss: Oh, absolutely; yes, absolutely.

    Interviewer: So I'm trying to remember candies at a certain time of year.

    Sam Moss: Yes. I can't think of what that's called now.

    Interviewer: Oh, Halloween, or --

    Sam Moss: No.

    Interviewer: A Jewish holiday or --

    Sam Moss: Yes, Jewish holiday. No, not Halloween. (Note: Sam later recalls the name of the treat: halva, a candy made from honey and sesame seeds.)

    Interviewer: What about Borsuk’s Grocery Store?

    Sam Moss: Yes, that was on the corner of Mills and Regent Street. And that was right adjacent to -- near (Abe) Barash’s Shoe Repair Shop --

    There. And I knew Jerry Borsuk very well. And his son was a big writer in New York.

    Interviewer: What do you remember about the store?

    Sam Moss: Not that much. It was a big store. And I didn't go in there that often there. And I don't remember that. My Bubbie went there very often.

    Interviewer: But you would visit Abe Barash’s store]?

    Sam Moss: Oh, yes, absolutely; always.

    Interviewer: Well, because Harvey (Barash) was your (good friend) --

    Sam Moss: Yes, right; right.

    Interviewer: And what did they call Harvey? What was his name in [overlapping] --
    Sam Moss: E L I E Z E R.

    Interviewer: And that was his Hebrew name.

    Sam Moss: Yes, it was his Hebrew name. I always called him "Eliezer" [overlapping].

    Interviewer: And so you and Harvey, Eliezer would go and visit his father in the shoe repair [overlapping].

    Sam Moss: Well, he didn't go with me. Eliezer didn't go with me. But I went to have my new soles put in; not my heart and my soul, my shoes. [Laughs]

    (Note: the final ten minutes of this interview was lost due to an error with the recording equipment.)