Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
Oral History Interview with
A. J. Granoff
Kansas City, Missouri
April 9, 1969
by J. R. Fuchs
FUCHS: Mr. Granoff, I wonder if you would mind starting
this interview by giving us a little of your background, where you were
born, where you have lived and your education, and anything else that
you think might be pertinent to researchers who are interested in knowing
who this interviewee is.
GRANOFF: I was born on February 22, 1896, in the Province
of Kiev, Russia, one of three children, the oldest. My father, a tradesman,
deserted the Russian army, my guess is around 1898 or
like that. He hitchhiked clear across to the English Channel, and then
got over to England and eventually became "ballast" on the Battleship
St. Louis and landed in New York. It was then easier to get into
the United States than today, I assure you. He had no trade, but got
a job in a sweatshop on the East Side of New York City. He never could
articulate how he got the pennies and the nickels to bring over this
family, his wife and three children, and we arrived here on Labor Day,
1904. I caught sight of him from the ship--they wouldn't let us off
on that day, Labor Day, until the next day. He moved us into a dilapidated
tenant house on Monroe Street in New York City. There he remained about
a year, developed lung trouble and moved his little family to Palmerton,
Pennsylvania, where he became a peddler with an old dilapidated horse
and wagon, to try to make a living; in a way he never could make a
living, poor man.
I entered the public schools immediately, I spoke Russian
fluently--I don't know a word of it today--and Yiddish, but I learned
English very quickly. He then moved us from Palmerton to Allentown,
Pennsylvania, and continued his peddling. To cut a long story short,
I graduated from the Allentown High School in 1914.
Meanwhile, while working on a fruits and vegetable counter
in a butcher shop, I learned how to cut meat, and I became a meatcutter,
a butcher. By the way, some of the clients I have had probably still
think I'm a butcher. Anyway, I became a butcher and I worked my way
through college in that capacity. In Lawrence, Kansas, where I went
to law school . . .
FUCHS: What college did you go to?
GRANOFF: I went to Muhlenberg College for a year and a
half, in Allentown, but I never got my undergraduate degree. I did get
my LL.B. from K.U. Law School.
FUCHS: How did you happen to go to K.U.?
GRANOFF: Because it was the most convenient.
FUCHS: When did you move to Kansas City?
GRANOFF: Oh, I forgot to say, in 1915.
FUCHS: That was with your family?
GRANOFF: My father came first and then he brought us here
in 1915 and we have lived here since then, with the exception of close
to three years when I practiced law and cut meat in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
FUCHS: How were you able to gain admittance to K.U. Law
School without a college degree?
GRANOFF: In those days you didn't need one. Anybody could
get in those days. It was different times in those days.
FUCHS: Was that a three-year course?
GRANOFF: It was a three-year course.
FUCHS: And upon graduation you went to Tulsa?
GRANOFF: I went to Oklahoma as a tutor of three or four
classmates, who paid my way there, to take the examinations. I went
FUCHS: State examinations, you say?
GRANOFF: State bar examinations. While there I decided
to take the examination, too. It was no effort for me, pardon my immodesty,
but I didn't need a tutor.
FUCHS: Had you already passed the bar of Missouri?
GRANOFF: No, I took that much later, by motion.
there almost three years, and the only thing I can show for it is the
beautiful girl who decided to marry me, and she lived in Tulsa. You've
met her already. She's not as beautiful today as she was then. You can
tell her that.
FUCHS: Neither are we.
GRANOFF: At any rate, I finally left there because my
father and my mother were almost literally starving and I had to quit
Tulsa and come here. I got myself a little office and tried to make
a living, but at the same time I cut meat at 6th and Walnut Streets,
and in those days it paid very well, you know.
FUCHS: What market was that?
GRANOFF: It was Kansas City Market, between 5th and 6th
on Walnut, on the West side of the street, owned by Hickman Brothers.
FUCHS: Where was your law office?
GRANOFF: In the Scarritt Building. I had rented a desk
with George K. Brasher, who is now gone. I couldn't make a living, and
got myself a job with a law firm known then as Achtenberg and Rosenberg,
for one hundred dollars a month, and I worked seven days and seven nights
a week, which Mr. Rosenberg will confirm. He's still alive. I was with
them for quite a while.
FUCHS: What year was that, about?
GRANOFF: Oh, let me think. I'd say 1924 or 1925. I became
associated with this man--Phineas Rosenberg withdrew from the firm,
and Mr. Achtenberg asked me to become a member of the firm. A big deal.
The firm became Achtenberg, Fredman and Granoff. And my draw was increased
from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five dollars a month.
That was my partnership.
Later on, Mr. Fredman and I withdrew and organized what
was known then as Fredman and Granoff Law Firm. That was an unfortunate
venture for me. Mr. Fredman turned out to be dishonest and it cost me
plenty of money. I had to pay creditors for his defalcations, but it's
unimportant. I then went out for myself and stayed that way until I
had to retire six years ago because of ill health.
While in school, I participated in debate and oratory.
It's hard to believe to hear me talk now, but I turned out to be what
they said was the number one orator of K.U. in 1920. I represented the
university in the association then known as the "Big Eight," and came
out second as a speaker and debater.
I then developed a fairly good practice. By accident I
became known as an expert in bankruptcy, an allegation I never have denied.
I used to laugh about being an expert, but the lawyers and the
courts made me an expert, and I handled many hundreds of cases, mostly
from other law firms and assignments from the courts. Later on, thanks
to then Senator Truman, I was appointed as a public member of the War
Labor Board, Ninth Region, eight or nine states. It was quite a job
and I eventually was the chairman succeeding Bill Wirtz, who went to
Washington, and I succeeded him as chairman of the region. You know,
Secretary of Labor.
GRANOFF: A fine gentleman, by the way. And after the agency
was dissolved, subsequent to the end of the war, the parties made me
an arbitrator. So for the next fifteen or sixteen years, until I was
disabled, I was quite a notorious labor arbitrator in this general
a number of states. I heard hundreds of cases, some of them small, some
of them large. One lasted some sixty days in St. Louis, involving millions
of dollars. I used to love that work. It didn't pay very much, but I
sold myself the idea that I was contributing something to industrial
peace. I loved the work. I was just called for a case about a month
or so ago, but I told them I couldn't handle it. My vision is bad and
so on; but I enjoyed that, so I became a labor expert, too, an allegation
which I would not deny. But a lot of my work at the bar, a good portion
of it, was trial work, mostly for other law firms, highly complicated,
technical cases, no criminal cases, all civil. I would try these cases
for other law firms, and was well compensated. I appeared, I think,
only once in a state court in twenty-five years, just once. All my work
was in Federal
Court, sometimes by and through the bankruptcy courts,
sometimes, of course, from the District court, to begin with.
In the meantime, of course, I married, and I have two
wonderful children, and I'm grateful that my poor poverty-stricken father,
who never could explain where he got the pennies--thankful for being
in America, a fact which my children, I'm afraid, do not appreciate
as much as I do. I dont know, sir, if that's enough of my background
or not. I might say this: It sounds immodest. Although I never got an
undergraduate degree, a college degree, I studied constantly: sociology,
economics, history, philosophy. I had a veritable library around the
bed. And I like to boast that I've given myself any number of degrees
in these subjects, degrees I would not have had time to obtain if I
had stayed in school. Again, I'm supposed to be somewhat
of a scholar,
also an allegation that I do not deny. Now that's the situation. I never
was interested in politics, and, only to raise a few dollars for a man
by the name of Harry S. Truman when he was running for office, outside
of that, I never was interested in politics. I did agree to make speeches
the first year, about 1924-25, but I didn't like it, and I gave it up.
I never was active in politics excepting to solicit funds, Eddie Jacobson
and I, for a man named Truman, little pennies and nickels, it wasn't
too much, but it raised a little money. That is my background.
Oh, I have been active in the community. I have held some
very high offices. I organized, as chairman of the committee, the Kansas
City Jewish Federation and Council, and was its chairman for over a
year. That's the most powerful of the local Jewish organizations today.
It's all philanthropic, you understand, to raise
money. I went through
almost every chair, high and low, of the Bnai Brith.
FUCHS: When did you first become associated with Bnai Brith?
GRANOFF: My guess is at this moment, about 1924. I'm sort
of notorious in Bnai Brith. I'm now a life member of the Hillel Foundation
Commission of the Supreme (International) Lodge of Bnai Brith. There
are very few, there are just about five or six life members and I am
one of them.
FUCHS: Just what is the Hillel Foundation, for the benefit
of the users of this transcript?
GRANOFF: The Hillel Foundation was organized some forty
years ago to try to bring a semblance of relationship between Judaism
and the Jewish boys and girls attending our universities. It now is
functioning in 273 campuses: United
States, Canada and Britain. It employs
approximately two hundred rabbis full-time, and some forty or fifty
part-time rabbis who supervise the activities of these kids on the university
campuses, religiously, sociologically, and to keep them interested in
their religion. Although we do our best, it's an unfortunately discouraging
effort. The same thing is true with the Newman Clubs of the Catholics.
They have the same problem. Kids are not today interested in such things.
Now, that's it. I've held other high offices in Bnai Brith.
FUCHS: We discussed in our preliminary conversations that
Bnai Brith entered into the story of the creation of Israel, and we
also mentioned that Hillel was part of Bnai Brith. Just what is Bnai
GRANOFF: Well, Bnai Brith is a brotherhood. Bnai Brith
means "sons of the Covenant."
It is a brotherhood, functioning over
the years on philanthropic fronts. It has since spread its activities
on political fronts, like the Anti-Defamation League, you may have heard,
that is also a B'mai B'rith agency, just like Hillel is. It is to protect
civil rights, not only Jews, but everybody. B'nai B'rith tried to promote
religion, social activities, patriotism, and has a membership now of
approximately three hundred thousand men and women.
FUCHS: Has B'nai B'rith taken a stand, a policy stand on Zionism?
GRANOFF: That's an excellent question. To begin
with, no. To begin with, they were so-called neutral. Why? Because a
good many of their members were Reformed Jews, many of whom, in the
early years, were violently opposed to Zionism, on the theory, which
I never believed
in, that it split their citizenship, half American,
half Zionist. And it's only since the creation of the State, that to
be a Zionist is no longer unpopular today among most Jews. And yet a
lot of people belonging to the Reform Temple, a lot of people still
FUCHS: Are you speaking of your own experience in the
Temple in Kansas City?
GRANOFF: No, no, generally.
FUCHS: As a general term.
FUCHS: Well, now, several men, such as Frank Goldman,
who I believe was president at the time we're mainly interested in,
of Bnai Brith, and Maurice Bisgyer, were, it would seem to me, in
my limited reading, rather pro-Zionist to quite
GRANOFF: That's right. But at first they had to sort of
cover it up, but they then became openly zealous.
FUCHS: This was their own personal feelings.
GRANOFF: Their feelings were pro-Zionist, but it was because
of the large membership of German Jews, Reformed Jews--and of course,
Hitler decimated the German Jews, so you had left only the Eastern Jew.
I sometimes wonder that if Hitler had failed to kill 6,000,000 Jews--a
lot of them, of course were German Jews--as to whether or not they would
have succeeded in stopping the establishment of Israel. They were very
strongly opposed to it. I might say to you, while I'm at it, that one
year I joined the Zionists, got a card and gave them five dollars for
their annual dues; Eddie Jacobson
never did join.
FUCHS: What year would that have been?
GRANOFF: I'm talking about 1923, 1924 or 1925. I attended
one meeting. The gentlemen were so fanatical--there's no use going into
detail--so fanatical that to me it offended me, my sense of fairness,
my sense of love for my country, that I quit. I never had a damn thing
to do with them. And Eddie and I were non-Zionists, we were not anti-Zionists,
if you know what I mean, but neither Eddie nor I were Zionists. And
to be a Zionist in the days we started talking to the President is another
story. It was like waving a red flag in front of him, because they abused
him terribly, frightfully. They tried to contact us all the time, but
we wouldn't speak to them, none of them.
FUCHS: When did you first become acquainted with
GRANOFF: I think I said it must have been in the early
thirties, or the middle thirties would be more accurate, when he stopped
at my house on Edgevale Road to pick up my son to take him to Sunday
School. Now how he got to do it, whether Mildred--she doesn't remember--but
that's when I first met him, more or less casually, and then paid no
particular attention to him until he moved across the street, his office,
916 Walnut Street. And we used to, on, say, Saturday afternoons, he
and two friends and we'd play gin rummy for pennies.
FUCHS: In his office?
GRANOFF: His and Mr. White's and Mr. Gershon's office.
FUCHS: Were they all in the same suite?
GRANOFF: They had two sets of offices.
FUCHS: They were selling . . .
GRANOFF: . . . he was selling shirts and pajamas, and
Harry White was selling roof material, and Gershon was selling notions
of some kind.
FUCHS: I see. When did you first become acquainted with
GRANOFF: I met Mr. Truman, I'd say, within a month after
that barbershop at the Title Building opened up in May 1924.
FUCHS: That was Frank Spinas?
GRANOFF: Frank Spina was the barber. I came down one day
for a haircut. We had the office upstairs, just moved over there. I
had just started with Achtenberg and Rosenberg, just began my tenure
with them. I went downstairs and this poor little Italian fellow, about five
feet tall, standing back of his chair doing nothing, and I took
a seat there, and that's how I met Frank Spina. This was in 1924--that's
forty-four, forty-five years ago.
FUCHS: Did he introduce you to Mr. Truman?
GRANOFF: Well, I wouldn't say he introduced us. Then one
day, while I was coming in or going out, a man by the name of Truman
walked in, whether we were introduced or not, I don't know. But we started
talking. And we would see each other in the barbershop, or on the street
then. At first it was very, very casual.
FUCHS: Do you know what he was doing at that time?
GRANOFF: I've forgotten his title, but I do know this,
he was working for the county. He doesn't remember, I checked it with
him. I think he was making $230 a month; but he had some kind of a minor
job in the county and Jim
Pendergast, who fought with him in the war,
got him this job. Jim was a nephew, you see, of Tom. But our acquaintance
was very, very casual for several years. I hadn't met or heard of Eddie
Jacobson for ten years.
FUCHS: Well, now the facts were that Mr. Truman, of course,
was elected Eastern County Judge in 1922 and served in 1923 and 1924.
GRANOFF: Then, I say he was a county judge, of course,
but I don't remember that.
FUCHS: Well, I'm interested, because in the period 1925
and 1926 when he ran again for Presiding Judge, he was out of county
government and I wondered if he had been in one of those interim jobs.
GRANOFF: I don't remember that. Our acquaintance to begin
with was extremely casual.
FUCHS: How did it develop over the years? Was there a
certain amount of relationship other than in the barbershop?
GRANOFF: Hardly any. I didn't handle any political cases.
FUCHS: Did you ever belong to a political club, a ward club?
GRANOFF: Never did, never did. What was the question that you asked?
FUCHS: How your relationship developed over the years?
GRANOFF: It developed later when I became acquainted with
Eddie. Eddie once or twice or three times invited me to his house, or
some of his friends to their house, to play poker. I remember that two
or three of those poker players became very fast friends, and Truman
was one of them. Caskie Collet became another, and got pretty
across the table--and Al Ridge.
FUCHS: You don't recall ever being in Mr. Truman's haberdashery
when he and Eddie Jacobson were there?
GRANOFF: No, no, I don't.
FUCHS: Do you recall anyone else who played poker with
you, you and Mr. Truman?
GRANOFF: Oh, sure. Well, his brother "Doc," amongst the
others, Hy Vile, Earl Trainin, about seven or eight of us.
FUCHS: These games were generally at Eddies?
GRANOFF: Generally, when I was invited, they were at Eddies.
FUCHS: Where did he live then?
GRANOFF: Near Oak Street. I've forgotten the number.
FUCHS: Was it on Oak Street?
GRANOFF: No, it was a side street. That's when I got really
acquainted with him, not ever dreaming that he would ever be Senator,
Vice President, or President, in those days. I never had thought of
it, of course. He was a lot of fun, a lot of fun. And these things developed.
We used to sit next to each other and talk about things, and I seemed
to have made an impression on him, don't ask me why.
FUCHS: Were Jewish affairs, specifically Zionism, ever discussed?
GRANOFF: Never. Never. Nothing, not even politics, unless
generally. I'm supposed to dislike, and I do dislike risqué stories,
I don't like them. I never told them and I don't dare tell them. Truman
would participate in trying to embarrass me by telling some off-color
story, and then
claimed that I blushed. Maybe I did. Even in the White
House, many times, he and Eddie would get into these dirty stories,
and then roar with laughter when they claimed that I was blushing. There
was no deep conversation of any kind. Those two men were quite good
judges, Caskie Collet, and Al Ridge. But nothing of any depth was discussed
even when we would stop for a half an hour to have a bite to eat. Just small talk.
FUCHS: What were your impressions of him as a poker player?
GRANOFF: He was a good poker player, and I never was,
by the way. I think I told you that--maybe I didn't--if held sit next
to me, held lean over and look at my cards and say, "I got you beat already."
FUCHS: Did he like to drink?
GRANOFF: Yes, and he did have pinkish color in his cheeks,
but never drank to the extent to where he would be in any way offensive.
Never. He knew his limits. The limit was then--he could drink.
FUCHS: How did your relationship with Eddie Jacobson develop
over the period?
GRANOFF: Well, I told you we got started by playing gin
rummy, but the real start was when he bought, I've forgotten the year,
when he decided to buy that store. I represented him. Later on, he got
mad at me because I wouldn't charge him anything. It wasn't much work
at all. It was a simple matter. He more than paid me back, you know,
suits and shirts and socks and pajamas and what have you. And we got
to know each other pretty well, pretty well. Then he would come in with
little legal matters after he bought the store. It didn't amount to anything
and I would always take care of him. I never sent him
a bill. He sent me all of these other things, and never sent me a bill.
We were very, very close. We would talk about our families and things
of that kind. But we never discussed Jewish questions or anything of
that kind. We'd see each other maybe once a week for lunch at Bretton's
or some other place--it wasn't known as Bretton's then, it was known
by some other name. Until I had that call from Washington, which I told
FUCHS: This call came in what month and year?
GRANOFF: To the best I know now, I may have a record of
it, but it came in, I would say, around in June of 1947. May or June,
my guess now is that it was June, 1947, from Maurice Bisgyer, who started
talking, and Frank was on another extension. Maurice was executive vice-president
and Frank was president. I had served under
them and we knew each other
very, very well, almost intimately.
FUCHS: Did you hold office at that time in this area?
GRANOFF: Yes, I did, some commission or something . . .
FUCHS: . . . of Bnai Brith?
GRANOFF: Yes. I was called on frequently on their problems
in this area, and I was most active, not only locally but nationally,
in Bnai Brith. He called up and we started, "How are you," and so
on. He said, "Frank is on another line. Do you know a man by the name
of Jacobs?" He said everything excepting "Jacobson." "A man by the name
of Jacobs, Jacobstein, or something like that, who is supposed to be
a very close friend of President Truman?"
I said, "Yes, you mean a man named Eddie Jacobson."
Well, at that time it was too early for the partition
business, but he wanted to discuss with him the matter of the hundred
thousand refugees, the refugee problem, to persuade Britain to lift
up the bars and let these poor refugees go in.
I said, "I'll talk to him and let you know."
I called up Eddie and he said, "Sure I'll talk to him.
He, like Truman, cussed a blue streak. Every word was a damn or a hell
or something else. "I don't know what in the hell I can do, but sure
I'll meet him." He passed it off as if it was nothing.
I made the appointment and Frank and Maurice came to Kansas
City, and I had these two gentlemen meet. Once in a while he talked
to me about going to see Truman, but he couldn't get anywhere. He could
with Truman, but Truman couldn't get anywhere with Britain, you
see, on this refugee problem. And gradually, of course
we fell into this partition business.
FUCHS: Now, Bisgyer and Goldman were both New Yorkers?
GRANOFF: No, Goldman was a Massachusetts man, that town
close to Boston, I've forgotten, Ill get it for you later.
GRANOFF: Lowell, yes. And Bisgyer originated in New York.
FUCHS: They called you from New York?
GRANOFF: No, this was in Washington, because the home
office of Bnai Brith was in Washington.
FUCHS: Now, how had Eddie Jacobson come to their attention,
do you know?
GRANOFF: I guess I know, but I can't tell you right this
minute. I'm sure they told us but I
FUCHS: Now, when you met in Kansas City, do you have a
recollection of the meeting?
GRANOFF: Oh, I was with them the several hours they were
here, then they flew back. Eddie agreed to see Truman, and did, of course.
And he continued to see him, and then of course, gradually came to the
FUCHS: Do you remember when he first saw Mr. Truman about
the refugee problem?
GRANOFF: I would imagine within a week thereafter.
FUCHS: Did he go to Washington?
GRANOFF: Yes, and he couldn't afford to, really, in those
days, and he went at his own expense. And I went at my own expense.
FUCHS: Did you go with him on that first visit?
GRANOFF: No, sir. I had nothing to do with the refugee
problem. He didn't ask me and I certainly didn't volunteer and I had
no activity except to discuss with him, to orient him to the problem.
Of course, he knew next to nothing about it, you see. He hardly read
the newspaper about it, he didn't know the refugee problems until they
were mentioned to him. I would then brief him on things, you see.
FUCHS: It wasn't at this time, though, he took what has
been termed a rather intense course in Jewish history?
GRANOFF: No, he never took an intense course in Jewish
history. I don't think he did. He did it the easy way. I would go with
him a lot of times, you see.
FUCHS: He didn't become at this time in 1947
committed to [Chaim] Weizmann's policies and Zionism?
GRANOFF: Well, Weizmann was never mentioned. Weizmann
never came into the picture until almost a year later, you see.
FUCHS: Yes. Well, now what is the next recollection that
you have of you and Mr. Jacobson becoming involved in negotiations with
the President, clear recollection?
GRANOFF: Well, the clear recollection is, and I can't
pinpoint the exact date, is when the idea of implementing a Jewish state
came to the fore, became intensely interesting, intensely interesting.
And Jacobson took hold right away.
FUCHS: Was this prior to the resolution of November 29, 1947?
GRANOFF: Oh, Lord, yes. It had to be. Oh, yes. It started
almost at the very beginning. No, when it came to the resolution, it
started to appear in the United Nations around in, I'd say--I'd have
to look--in August 1947. And then, of course, it grew and grew. Of course,
Russia was for it strong. I have often wondered how much that one factor
influenced us, influenced Truman. Russia, from the very beginning to
the end, was very strong for the Jewish state, and there's a reason.
Of course, its motives, it's only a guess, one, that they would get
a foothold in that area, I'm sure. It's just a guess, of course.
FUCHS: Your thinking is that Truman felt that he had to
trump their cards?
GRANOFF: No, it's a funny thing. I discussed with Eddie
this Russian factor, but as I sit here,
I cannot recall as I sit here, a single instance when
I was present, which was many times, when Russia was ever mentioned,
by either Jacobson, Truman, or myself. I do not recall, excepting that
Eddie and I, more than once thought about it and talked about it, but
we never mentioned it to the President.
FUCHS: Could you hazard a guess as to how many times Mr.
Jacobson or you and Mr. Jacobson went back prior to the March, 1948 . . .
GRANOFF: You mean, prior to November?
FUCHS: Well, I was thinking from the period, say, when
the U.N. Special Committee on Palestine came out in favor of partition,
up to the time that Mr. Jacobson went back to influence Mr. Truman to
see Weizmann to recognize Israel?
GRANOFF: Most of my visits with Eddie, excepting on three
or four occasions, thereafter, like
that testimonial dinner that I told you about, were prior
to November 29. I always remember that a few days later, and when Eddie
and I got together that Saturday afternoon when the news came out, we
both couldn't restrain our tears, when the partition resolution passed
by a vote of 33 to 13. I remember that it was a day or two later, I
told you, that he was very much emotionally aroused. He called up, and
that story is in that article, he calls up, Eddie, and he said, "I got
"What's on your mind?"
He said, "We have bothered the President so many times,
don't you think we ought to go there right now to Washington and say
only, 'Mr. President, thank you and God bless you."'
I said, "Do you call that a brainstorm? That's an inspiration.''
And we two poor guys dug into our little bank accounts
and went there. We were ushered
in and stayed quite a while. The article says we didn't
but we stayed quite a while. And we came here once in our lives not
as king you for anything. Just to say thank you and God bless you."
FUCHS: Now, this was after the recognition?
GRANOFF: No, no, after the partition.
FUCHS: After the resolution was passed.
GRANOFF: Yes, I'll tell you the date offhand. It was December
8th. It happened to be Eddie's twenty-eighth wedding anniversary. We
got in there and he said, "Sit down, you bastards, sit down." That's
the way he talked. And those two buddies started talking about each
other. And I think they forgot that I was even there, trying to relive
and all of a sudden Eddie said, "Harry, where was I twenty-eight years ago today?"
He looked up, thought for a minute or so, and to quote
him directly, "Twenty-eight, 1919, why, you and I were on 12th and Baltimore
Streets losing our asses in that store."
The President of the United States.
He said, "No, indeed not. I got hitched that night."
"My God," he says, "I got hitched in June of that same year.
And they said, it was a bitterly cold night, and they
started to tell the story how Truman went over to Eddie and they were
going to kidnap Bluma. The wedding was at his father's house, Eddie's
father's house, and they were going to kidnap Bluma. "I'll tell you
what I'll do, Ill go downtown, get my car. " Dont forget, this is
1919. No heater and the cars were not equipped with any closed doors,
there was just canvas, you know. He went down--and he described the
bitterness--of that cold night--
he went by streetcar downtown from
43rd and Prospect to the garage downtown, eventually came back and took
him and Bluma over with his sis and a couple of other friends to the
station on the way to St. Louis, to the station in Independence. They
got there. You should hear them describe this. It was a red bellied
stove. They were frozen to death, Truman, Eddie and Bluma. They turned
their behinds--he used another term--to thaw out and when the train
stopped the conductor said, "Oh, you're the newlyweds. Theres a big
crowd out there that's looking for you, at Kansas Cit