Kurt Piehler: This begins an interview with Dr. Martin Sherman on October 14, 1998 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick New Jersey with Kurt Piehler and …
Rich Colton: Rich Colton
KP: I'd like to start by asking you about your parents, particularly your father. What problems did he encounter in coming to the United States?
Martin Sherman: Well, of course, as you know, we were Jewish and they came from, both my mother and father, came from Russia. My father from the Ukraine, my mother from what is now Belarus and they came, I guess they were in their twenties. I never really could find out. When I tried to look up the records for my mother, she would get sick all the time. I found the ship she came in on; I think it was called the Lapland, and I was going to go into New York to look at the records because I figured she was a little older than my father, but wouldn't admit it. And my father was a tailor and so even during the poorest of times he always worked for himself. He was a tailor and had a tailor cleaning business. He used to work from seven in the morning to eleven at night, and this was six days a week. So, growing up we kids helped in the store, pressing stuff and delivering, and he always wanted me to be, of course, a doctor, you know. My father was drafted, and he was in, I believe it was, the Rainbow Division, but on December 12, 1917, he joined the 38th US Infantry Regiment, Third Division. Within four months, he was shipped overseas to France, and apparently they had had a battle already, the Battle of Belleau Wood, and Third Division was involved, the marines, and so forth. And he was in every battle except Belleau Wood. And he was one of the three men in his company who weren't wounded. Then he spent several months, I guess it was six months in the army of occupation in Alsace-Lorraine and he, that's where I understand he became a citizen of the United States.
KP: In the army?
MS: It was in the army, correct, and then he came back and he apparently met my little mother. He also, I don't know whether he worked for someone else for a while but, ever since I've known him he has owned a little tailor shop and he was introduced to this young lady, and they got married right away. I came about a year later, 1920, the later part of 1920, and all my life, the both of them, my mother was a tailor and my father was a tailor. And so, we used to have a doctor who served in the Third division with him, Dr. Haskell, and I really, he used to come to our house for tea all the time, you know, when he was in the area, and so I had a specific liking for him, this was strengthened when I got into the eighth grade. I went to the same school from kindergarten to ninth grade and the school was a half a block away. It was called Cleveland Junior High School, and it was right, we lived on Bergen Street in Newark, which was about a block from what is now known as the "black ghetto," or the black section, or whatever. Well, now all the area is black. Growing up, I went to school with the blacks, we got along okay and all, once in a while I got held up for a quarter, but we don't have the violence we have today, anywhere. Life was different then. So, they married. My father would always talk about the war. In fact, I remember one of the things, distinct things is that one day I'm in the store and this big, tall guy comes in, my father was busy on the pressing machine, he didn't turn around. He heard him come in and he says, "What can I do for you, sir?" And he says, "Can you press my pants while I'm in 'em?" First he said, "Can you press my pants while I'm in 'em?" And my father turned around and looked at him and man, my father was only about five foot two and he ran up and started hugging him. It was his sergeant from his outfit in France, and so, they started talking about this and that, and then I heard a story that he was in a foxhole. I guess it was, yes, it was a foxhole. It wasn't a trench and he was in this foxhole with this other guy and he had to go back a distance to get some water. There was this mud and muck, and he came back and there was this headless corpse in the thing. Apparently, there'd been a mortar or something had hit that damn place. There was this headless corpse which he presumed was his buddy when he went back. When he withdrew from the lines, they had to say what happened to this guy, that guy. He reported that this guy was dead, and he said about five years later he's walking down the streets of Newark and he sees this guy. And he came up and mentioned his name and the guy just took off, he never saw him again. That I thought was very interesting. Anyway, all my life I was raised [with these stories] and the stories weren't very pleasant.
KP: Your father taught you a lot about what war was really like.
MS: That's right.
KP: He didn't tell you the happy times he went to Paris.
MS: That's right. He never mentioned his leaves. I don't think he ever got to Paris. And as I say, you know, I got into the army less than twenty-five years after him. So he was still a young man, in his early fifties. I volunteered and he cried like a baby. He said, "I want to go instead of you. I'd rather go." Can you imagine that? I'm sure that's happened in a lot of cases.
KP: Did he join the American Legion?
MS: No, he only joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
KP: So he never joined the Legion?
MS: No, and he never joined the United Jewish Veterans either, nothing like that, he just joined the VFW.
KP: Was he active in that?
MS: No, he wasn't active at all, he was busy. Same thing with me, I didn't join the, I joined as a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars only three years ago, and then last year I joined the American Legion. Not as a life member, as a regular member. But I haven't been active either. I haven't been involved with any of the local chapters. I just belong to the national chapter. They write me letters. I give them money every once in a while. I was involved in my own life afterwards. Being in the air force, we came from everywhere. It's not like in the infantry. In Hawaii we had the 442nd regimental combat team, which was a magnificent group of Japanese who proved that they were really true Americans. They were the most highly decorated combat team in the army. Well, they, of course, all came from the same place, or from California and Hawaii and they meet all the time and their whole life is centered around that group. Many of the infantry groups are like that. The air force, especially myself, we came from everywhere. My group, overseas in the Eighth air force, we came from everywhere. I didn't belong to a veteran's group. They had reunions I discovered two years ago in the VFW magazine. We had the 482nd bomb group. But I called the guy up, he was an old man and I didn't get him, I got his wife, and I never got an answer from him. I guess he figured it was too expensive to call Honolulu about what was going on. So I've never seen any of the guys I've served with.
KP: You've never seen any of the guys from the airfield?
MS: What? No, none of the guys I've served with. As I say, two years overseas, never saw any of those guys again.
KP: You mentioned that your father never had a lot of money, it sounds like things were particularly tough in the Thirties.
MS: Well, you know, during the Depression, he always had a job, so he always had money. You made twenty dollars a week in those days, it was money. Bread cost you five cents a pack, and milk was ten cents or less, I don't know. For me to get any, I didn't get any spending money, I had to practically crawl on my knees to get five cents, you know, to buy something. I turned out to be kind of stingy. My brothers turned out to be just the opposite. When they had money, man, they threw it around like nothing. Like it was never going to end. It was hard for my parents to send me to school, and as an undergrad, they paid for all. I didn't, I was kind of selfish I guess, I never worked when I came back on the weekends. I, well, at first I commuted. Then, after six months I found it was rather difficult because by the time I got home it was six or seven o'clock. I missed having a lot of fun, so I moved into Winants right after that. Life got much better. Yes, I really owe my folks a lot because they did scrimp to send me to college. Money was bad, but we were never starving.
KP: Your parents really assumed you'd be going to college.
MS: Oh, yes, from day one. I was going to go to college. I was a sassy little kid, but I was always pretty bright, and even if I say so, and I never had any trouble.
KP: Since we're on education, people have spoken glowingly of the Newark school system.
MS: Oh, it was the best! Well, no, it was the second best. New York City, believe it or not, City College of New York, you know, they paid more for their professors than Harvard did, and they turned out brilliant people, City College. In Newark we had foreign languages in the sixth grade. We, it was, as I say, the school system was absolutely wonderful and my neighborhood, of course, was mostly immigrants. I came, they had, you know, ethnic neighborhoods. I came from a mixed neighborhood. My family was Jewish, we owned the house, my father never bought anything he couldn't afford. He would save anything. He would save until, to buy his house he paid 10,000 dollars in cash that he had saved over the years. I don't think he took credit in his whole life. And so, on both sides of us we had Polish families, then we had another Jewish family, and then there were a couple of German families. And on the other side of the block, we had a doctor, because there was one three story house, a single house where a doctor was living. And they had several different kinds of doctors in there at one time or another, different nationalities. And across the street there were all three story houses, you know. So it was a real working man's neighborhood. On the other corner was a grocery store. And I was friends with the Arthur Silver. He got killed during the Ploesti raid. He was in the Fifteenth air force, he was a navigator. I went to West Side, instead of South Side, where most of the Jewish kids went. So I was with a bunch of Italian kids. They used to think I was Italian, you know, and as a result, I've always felt half Italian. And so it was a lot of fun. I walked from Bergen Street it was quite a number of blocks to West Side High School. I spent three years at West Side because Cleveland ninth grade took care of the freshman year. And so it was fun and a lot of teachers from Cleveland were customers of my father because our shop was only two blocks away. And this is where I discovered, you know, when we were in eighth grade, I saw my first microscope, my science class, and I got involved. Prior to that, I wanted to be a historian, I was in love with books. I used to go to used bookstores all the time, I'd come back with a cart. It's not a cart, they call it something else, a wagon. I used to go up there about ten blocks away. Some of the books he didn't want he'd give me for practically nothing. I had all kinds of history books, I wanted to be a historian, then I wanted to be a lawyer, but in the '30s you know, the lawyers were selling shoes. Then I wanted to be a doctor because we had this doctor who used to come and visit me, so that was the beginning of that, and of course, Newark did have an excellent school system. Par excellence!
KP: I take it you must have spent some time in the public library?
MS: Oh, all the time. As I say, I was an avid reader. My mother would say, "Go out and play." I used to sit, you know, we had one of those "railroad apartments" that they made in those days. You had the back stairs, then you had the kitchen, then you had the dining room, and the kitchen was about as big as this. That was the room we spent most of our time in. Then you had the bedrooms, then you had the living room, you know. I used to sit in the living room in a soft easy chair, because that's where the sun would come in, and outside on Bergen Street they used to have a trolley. I would sit there all day long. Mom would say in her little accent, "Go out and play, go out and play," and I would say, "No, I'm enjoying this." So I was an avid reader. In those days we didn't have TV, I had no trouble reading. It was just a pleasure. It was my pleasure because I didn't play games, I was always little and shrimpy, and despite being little and shrimpy, I looked pretty good, and I didn't want to get banged up. I was picked on for a number of reasons, I was small and Jewish and so forth, but I developed my tongue as a counter instrument of torture. I could say things that would last long and hurt long, and so I always developed a good gift of gab, and this helped a lot. Even in the later years, as a college professor, I never took any crap from anybody. But that's another story, but it's very important because many of my colleagues, many professors go into this because they are very shy and timid and introverted, rather than extroverted, and aggressive.
KP: They're eaten alive.
MS: Oh, absolutely they're eaten alive! I told my, this will be edited. I told my professor, well, when I first got out to Hawaii I was an assistant professor in the middle of the rank. We had a grade called senior professor, which was the highest you could get, and we had this incompetent Alabama bastard who had just been hired as a senior professor and head of the department. He didn't know I was Jewish, and he was really prejudiced. He and his wife loved us the first three months because my wife and I were both beautiful and we were very attractive and people really took to us. When he found out he felt that we had put something over on him. He started giving me trouble and hell. So within three months of being hired there it got to the point where I looked at him and said, "Henry, go fuck yourself." Right smack in the face, you know. And he tried for many years. I got promoted in spite of him, because, you know, I didn't fool around. In many instances I took up, you know, defending some of my colleagues, even people that weren't in my department, but other departments that I felt that were getting screwed by their departments, you know. When I first came to work for the university … I've been working in college, I've had research assistantships and fellowships at Rutgers and Cornell,, and I always thought, "Boy, to work in a university! These people, all they think about is their work and social life, no politics, it's really clean, really wonderful." Then I went to work for Beechnut Packing Company after I got my doctorate to gain some more experience, and this was really a political thing and I said, "This is a lot of crap. I'm going to go back to the University where there are no politics at all." Oh, boy! And then as I say, three months after that I told this guy what to do. I got involved real deep into this kind of stuff and I enjoyed every minute of it, you know. I never picked on guys below me, I always picked on equals or above.
KP: I'm tempted to follow up, but …
MS: No, we gotta get back to this thing.
KP: You mentioned being picked on because you were Jewish.
KP: How frequent was that?
MS: Well, it was pretty frequent. Because as I said, we were friends with the neighbors. The Poles are notoriously anti-Semitic, but they liked my parents and they liked me, but some of the parents were bad. The kids were great. But every once in a while, you know, they would say, "You killed Jesus," this and that, because they were raised in parochial schools and this was, the Catholic Church was very avid in this sort of thing. I had a lot of that stuff. I remember in print class, where we set up type, one of the things that happened there is certain letters would be missing or in low supply so we'd find some and hide them from the next class so the other guys wouldn't have them. It wouldn't look as nice with the black spaces. There was this one Polish kid, I guess, he must have been, I don't think he was very old but he must have been six foot two, you know. So he was picking on me one time, you know, and I must have come up to his belly button. He said something to me, tried to punch me, and I ducked and kicked him in the shins, you know, hard, I mean really hard. So he collapsed and I looked up and I was feeling pretty proud. Man, I got an oily rag. The teacher, that was his weapon when guys would act up he'd have these oily, greasy, print rags, they used to clean the type, and he'd use that. He must have been a baseball pitcher, because it hit me right smack in the face. I'll never forget that little incident. I stayed away from the guy for a while. I developed a mechanism of coping with hostility. I kind of liked being the guy on the outside. I developed a technique where, even when I'd go with my friends to the park, I don't know whether you know much about it, West Side Park on Orange Avenue, just before you get to Irvington, and we used to play there a lot, or we'd go to Weequahic Park which is way down there. I used to love to play "fox and hounds." I would always like to be the fox, so that they'd always be chasing me, and I would hide because I was a runt, you know. So anyway, that's what that was like.
KP: How observant was your family growing up?
MS: Well, they weren't observant. My mother held a Kosher house, but we never, well, we'd go to Synagogue on holidays. They belonged to a small orthodox schul down around Prince Street. The blacks followed the Jews; as the Jews moved out, the blacks moved in. The neighborhood, by the time I got there, was Jewish and black and they still had the schul and we used to go down there. Now, speaking of that, my Bar Mitzvah didn't take place until I was fifteen years old, and the reason was I got bored with studying for it. They used to send me first to orthodox schul. I got bored so I stopped going. They got so desperate they sent me to B'nai Jeshrum, which was the elite reform Temple, and I didn't like that either. So, I had another brother, a younger brother, who was a year younger than me, that was a blue baby. He had a bad heart. He recovered eventually, because he was one of the first to undergo open-heart surgery, but that's another story. But when my youngest brother was approaching thirteen, he, they hired a lehrer, a teacher, who was, I still remember him to this day, his name was Mr. Forman. He was an old man, he must have been in his seventies. I considered him an old man then, but I don't anymore. Anyway, he was an excellent chess player and an excellent checkers player, and a very exciting guy and he was teaching my brother. While he was teaching my brother, he apparently was a good pedagogue because he got us involved in it. So, we would play checkers, chess, and he would teach us and we would follow. So, what happened was when my brother had the Bar Mitzvah, all three of us had the Bar Mitzvah. He was thirteen, my other brother was fourteen, and I was fifteen. At that time I was already in, well, it was four months later I was at Rutgers. See, I had graduated from high school in January of '37, and so I didn't enter college until September of '37. And, when I entered college I was very religious. I layed tefillin; I prayed morning and I prayed at night. This went on for seven or eight months while I was still living in Winants Hall. Then I just gave it up and I didn't become religious again until I had children and then I still wasn't religious, but I joined a temple. I sat at the temple in Hawaii and eventually became a member of the board of trustees. I couldn't read Hebrew, but I was head of the Sunday school committee, that's a long story. But anyway, we weren't very religious, well, my mother was.
KP: Yes, well, keeping a Kosher house …
MS: My mother was, tried to have me live Kosher when I came to Rutgers. She even, they had that restaurant, Stohlman's, where this radio shop is on Somerset Street, I guess it was before your time. Called Stohlman's which was run by a Jewish family, but it wasn't Kosher, you know. I used to eat there all the time. My mother went in there and told them, "Please see that he eats Kosher," and they said, "Oh, yes, yes, yes, of course." But in fact, the first time I ever had a shrimp in my life was when I was a cadet at Yale. It wasn't shelled or anything. They brought this stuff out, it looked good, I ate it shell and all. I said, "What the hell are people so crazy about this?" Shellfish aren't Kosher. You're not supposed to eat it, so I never had that stuff. And I looked around and saw the other guys peeling it. I loved every minute of it. It was good. [Laughter]
KP: I guess before leaving Newark for Rutgers, people had a fairly idyllic remembering of Newark, the movies, the theaters …
MS: Oh, yes, the movies! As I say, you know, I used to fight every, a little bit, but Newark was, I didn't come from a wealthy family. Some of the kids may have come from the Weequahic section and that is still rather nice looking, I understand. I haven't been to Newark in a long time. My house, I was lower, I would call myself upper/lower class, or middle class. My father worked, I guess, that made us middle class. But we were poor. My father never considered himself poor because he came from a little shtetl like they have in Fiddler on the Roof. I don't know if you saw Fiddler on the Roof, but they had dirt floors and they used to tell me about their family life. That's the reason they left Europe, to avoid going into the army there, where they lost their Judaism. My mother had marks from the pogroms when the Cossacks used to come there and whip 'em, you know, and stuff like that. So I was raised on stories like that. As I say, my background was very typical of first or second generation kids that came from poor immigrants who had nothing, to become senators and professors and it can only happen in America.
KP: I'm interested, since we're on Sid Goff, how you and Sid first met?
MS: I don't know how we first met, we were, he was a year behind me. We were the same age, but he was a year behind me. His house was my house; we lived across the street from one another and we just … After school we'd just go together and spend all our time together. Then, when we got to college, I didn't see more of him because I was living on campus and he was commuting. I knew his first wife, and I knew his second wife, and so forth and so on. Sid and I were family. I knew his brother, his brothers, they died young, you know, his older brother, Barney, his younger brother, I forget his name just off hand. It's as if we were first cousins because his home was my home. Then I had Danny Bender, whose parents had a dress shop on Springfield Avenue a block away. All three of us … Then we had Marty Wortzell, whose father was a druggist on the other side. He became a physician. He died recently. And later on, when I went away to school, they started a fraternity, various guys. I was invited to join, I just didn't want to, and these guys still have their fraternity.
KP: This is a local, neighborhood fraternity?
MS: A local, neighborhood fraternity.
KP: … that still is meeting today?
MS: That is still meeting to this day. In fact, my sister-in-law's brother is a, was a big shot in one of these communications companies, retired now, he comes from Southern California. He's gonna be here for their next meeting which is, I guess it was yesterday, or, no, this coming Sunday. They still meet once a year, the local guys more frequently. We've held our family ties. I lost track of those guys for many years and then I rediscovered them, you know. I suddenly thought about them and when I started coming back here I started visiting them and we'd meet. Actually, we probably didn't see each other for thirty years and lately we've been meeting once or twice a year when I come here. They don't go out to Hawaii. If they do, I'll see them again.
KP: Some people I've interviewed have remembered, very vividly, the Bund activity.
MS: Oh, yes, well, I could tell you a lot about that. My father …
KP: Please do, the stories are very interesting.
MS: Because as I say, I forget the names of the families. My father's tailor shop was on Camden Street, which was a block from Bergen Street. On Springfield Avenue there was a, I guess, it was a furniture store. It was a business section, a middle class business section, and then next to that was a house with four families, and they were German, and very active Bundists. And they always told my father, "If we take over here you guys are good Jews, we'll take care of you, we will protect you." Okay, but they were very friendly towards us, but they were very active in the Nazi movement. And their son, later on, became a fighter pilot, which was strange for me. He fought in the 9th Air Force against the Germans, even though he was raised as a Bundist and pro-Nazi. They were very active, because you see, Newark, at that time, as you approach Irvington, you see, which was Germanic … Newark was made up of various ethnic neighborhoods, and they had neighborhoods like mine which were multi-ethnic; most of them were pure ethnic, you know. You go from, I guess, it was from around 11th Street, or 11th Avenue, I forget what is now, up to Springfield Avenue, was towards Irvington and Olympic Park and all that, it was strictly German. And the same thing, that went all the way over above, towards West Side High School.
But most of West Side High School was from below there, 15th Avenue and stuff like that, that was strictly Italian, solid Italian. And so, as I say, it was extremely interesting. In general, with the exception of children's fighting, you know, and "Dirty Jew" and this, you grow up with that, I had very little problems. And later on in life, my name, "Sherman," was the original name my father had because we wrote letters to, until Hitler came, Russia, to the Ukraine, "Sherman," and my father came to this country and he wanted to change his name to "Sher," but they, it must have been an Irishman, said, "Sherman is a perfectly good American name." And as far as I could find out, the derivation is from the Germanic, Sher, is a scissor and man, is a person, so sherman was a tailor, or something like that. And in this country, Sherman is both a Gentile name and yet many Shermans are Jews, you see, and I happen to be one of them. My first name, Martin, could be either a first name or a last name. So when I matured, you know, I saw very little anti-Semitism because nobody took me as being Jewish, until I told them I was Jewish. I had no problems with that. For that I consider myself very fortunate, because it was a big problem with many people.
KP: You mentioned that your parents were determined that you would go to college.
MS: That's typical.
KP: And you wanted to do it?
MS: Oh, yes, as I say, I was a reader. What I wanted to be varied from time to time. I wanted to be a historian because I loved reading about history. Then I wanted to be a lawyer, but lawyers were selling shoes. I probably would have been successful in any one of these things. Then I wanted to be a doctor. Now why didn't I be a doctor? Because I went to Rutgers and I signed up in pre-med, I did very poorly at physics. I did very well in the other things, and I knew from past experience that I would never get into medical school if I didn't have all A's. So I looked around, got the catalog in preparation for, maybe, later on going to med school, and I found entomology. The only thing I ever had to with insects was in my father's tailor shop … You'd have these big horse flies trying to get out, I'd capture them, put a needle and thread through their body, the thorax, put it around my neck and let them crawl around and tickle me. That's the closest I ever came to entomology, but I took entomology because the curriculum was just like pre-med, you see. And so, I became an entomologist, and I used to tell my students later on when I was … See, I never used to give them their exam grades back, they had to come and see me. So I got to know all of the undergraduate students that I ever taught. I'd ask them very personal questions, so I knew their family history, and with very rare exception they did not consider me nosey. This was very rare because most of them were Oriental and they're very, you know, they don't outwardly speak about such things. And I told them, "You can be anything you want to be. If an avenue is closed to you, you can find something else and can be very happy." I would have made a good lawyer, I could have been a great physician, I could have been a tremendous psychologist. In fact, during the war, I acted as the unofficial psychologist for my squadron. I was married to a psychologist, you see. And so, after the war was over, I wrote to Cornell to get in for my doctorate, and I also wrote to a number of medical schools. I never heard from Cornell, so I took a train up to Cornell and I walked away with an assistantship in toxicology. But that's another story completely. So anyone of us could be very happy in any number of things. Entomology gave me entry into an area that was absolutely magnificent. I never did become a collector. I became a killer, because my field was insect toxicology, you see, so I was also a chemist. So I was killing them, you see, and I killed millions of them. I became, as I say, a chemist, as well as a toxicologist, as well as an entomologist, very successful. And I was also in a small little school at first. I became president of the Pacific branch of the national society. I was on the governing board of the national society. I probably could have been president of the Entomological Society of America if I had wanted to be, you know. I'm in Who's Who of the World, in Who's Who of America. Since 1984, my life is a successful one and I try to tell anybody, "If you can't get into what you really want to be, you can change, you can find something else that can satisfy you. If you're in a job that you hate," the thing I used to tell my students, "I know people who get up every morning and say, 'Shit, I gotta go to work.' And these are people who are trapped because they have a family, got kids, and they can't afford to change. They're making a living, at least, but they're hating every minute of it. They hate the people they work with and everything else. I feel really sorry for those guys. If it ever came to that, I don't know what I'd do." And I used to feel, I really felt guilty for getting paid for what I did. Now, can you have anything better than that? I don't think so. And it was the same thing with the army. I went into the cadets corps but that's, maybe we'll get to that later on, but along the same lines, because I wanted to get something out of the army that I would not have gotten had I not gone in. And I didn't know anything about radio when I entered the cadets. I knew I would never make it as a pilot because I was very poorly coordinated. When I tried to play games and stuff I was a klutz, and so, I couldn't do any of this. I went in to learn something about radio. I went into communications, and from there I went into radar, you see, and I really enjoyed myself. Many students at the University of Hawaii take eight years to graduate. I don't know how many do that at Rutgers. Why? Because they enter one field and they don't know what the hell they want to be. Then they do poorly, then they do something else, and something else. So, you see, I really felt sorry for those kids. As far as I'm concerned, unless you're wealthy, education is the place to learn to make a living. That's the way I saw it. I didn't come from a wealthy family. Get in and get out! It took me four years to graduate from the University. It took me a year and a half to get my masters with a half-time assistantship. The reason it took me that long is I gave it up to enter the cadets. I quit in order to enter the cadets. I found it was eight months before I could go into active duty, so I had time enough to finish my degree. I took my final exam on a Friday, and on Tuesday I was on a train to Florida. It is the same thing when I went for graduate school. I just went up there, knocked on the door, talked to them, and I had a research assistantship and a job. The guys today say, "I don't know what to do, I don't know what to be." I really feel sorry for this stuff. I said, "Be. Decide. And then if you happen to make a wrong choice, you're young, you can do whatever you want to do." But that's me, that's my whole life.
KP: Why Rutgers?
MS: Well, at one time I almost went to Upsala and I went up there, then I thought of Seton Hall. I didn't have a high expectation of Rutgers in high school. People didn't think too highly of Rutgers. Princeton, I knew I could never get into.
KP: Why didn't you think you could get into …
MS: Well, because of the religious factor.
KP: You thought the Jewish quotas …
MS: No way, I just wasn't rich enough. I think if I came from a rich family it would be no trouble. I just wasn't rich enough. I was pretty bright, but I just didn't think I had it.
KP: What about City College?
MS: Well, that was in New York City. I lived in New Jersey. Of course, I wouldn't have had that problem at City College, although I don't know if a Jersey guy could go to City College. I never even thought of City College. But City College, in my generation, put out some of the best people in the world, Nobel prize winners and everything else. Here we get one or two Nobel prize winners. When I went to college here, I think we had 1,700 students. My class was the biggest, I think we had a thousand. I think three hundred and something finished. That's my count, I don't know whether it's exact or not. I tried commuting but it was just too hard on me, and my parents were willing to sacrifice more. After I got into grad school, they didn't have to pay anything because I got the magnificent sum of fifty dollars per month, plus my tuition, and I got an assistantship, so that was paying some. So I did all right. But growing up, as I say, I think, many of my colleagues will tell you, people of the same age group as me will tell you that our time of growing up, our time of existence, you know, from the Twenties through the Depression, through the wars, through all this other stuff, I think, it was a terribly exciting period of American history.
KP: You mentioned you were very religious when you were in college, praying in your room …
MS: That lasted, yes.
KP: Did you have to go to mandatory chapel?
MS: I didn't mind that at all.
KP: Really? Even though you were very religious?
MS: I didn't mind that at all. My friends did. Sid Berkowitz told me he used to argue with Dean Metzger all the time about this. No, I went, one day a week, or what I would do if I wanted to avoid it, I would say I had to go home to work, so I would go home. I didn't go there.
KP: You didn't object?
MS: I didn't object. I avoided it whenever possible, but that part didn't bother me as much as it did later on in life because my daughter became a Jehovah's Witness and they do their praying before meals. So I told her, when I visit my son-in-law, I always tell him, "Just avoid," and in effect they do. I tell them, "Look, you can pray out loud, I don't object to that." To me, it doesn't matter. I think religion … More crimes, more people have died in the name of religion than any other causal agent and I think religion is supposed to be good, but, "if you don't belong to my religion, you're worthless, you aren't even alive," and you can see this wherever this is going on. It's going on in the Middle East, it's going on in Ireland, it's going on in Bosnia. The one good thing you can say about the communists, they put the fear of God into a godless society at that time because these various religious groups didn't dare act up. They intermarried, I'm talking now primarily about the former Yugoslavia, it's terrible. Religion is a terrible thing. I never was an atheist. I was at most agnostic. I think now, I believe in, I don't want to say a god, I believe there is a supernatural something or other causing this sort of order we have. I think it's awfully egotistical of man to say we are in his or her image. I refer to God more as a female than a male because the males are really superfluous. Many species of insects have no males. The only time a male is created is when it is needed to produce an egg for over wintering as in aphids, for example. In Hawaii, where we have an even temperature, no male aphids have ever been found because the females just produce other females. And you look at the other animals, the male is killed right after he fertilizes the female. The male is superfluous. Man's culture, what has happened, we have made it into a male dominated, male-oriented culture. Primarily, our religion is male-oriented and everything is male-oriented, and now, we're getting a little bit of fairness towards the female of the species. I think what I regret really about what is happening now, I …
------------------------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE--------------------------------------
MS: It's sexist … It was written by man, for man … Woman, man is part of woman, you know, even the name. I developed a thing that woman is stronger than man. Man is the weaker of the species. In all of my doctorate studies, sex played a very important role. I studied the sexual differences in insect susceptibility towards insecticides, and with very few exceptions it takes a hell of a lot more of this stuff to kill a female than it does a male. I also studied the death ratios of all kinds of animals. Women really survive man, or have a better survival rate to all diseases except those associated with pregnancy. So, females are the strongest, and, as I say, in many species of animals, males are completely unessential. I think with the, eventually what might very well happen with the ability to clone and stuff like that, that women will take over from man, and man may actually be eliminated, if we ever develop that far. But, I'm against this political behavior that has gone into our present-day talk and writing, it's bullshit! As I say, they talk about the "Iron Man." You know what the "Iron Man" is, Woman. Iron, "Fe," if you take any chemistry. Man, male, "Fe" - male, female … So the "Iron Man" is actually Woman, you see. Using man in the generic term, meaning human. So this political correctness, as far as I'm concerned, is stricly bullshit. I think that right now, as far as medicine is concerned, fifty-one per cent are women in medical schools, not men, and in many of the other countries, you know, in Russia and other places, in France, I think, there are more female doctors than there are male doctors. I think eventually these things will work out, but I'm against political correctness, completely.
RC: As long as we're on the topic of women, can you talk a little about your social life at Rutgers while you were an undergrad?
MS: Yes, well, I was a virgin, but I used to go out. Before I met my wife, I went out with twelve different women on twelve different nights. These were mostly "townies." You see, I was pretty young and so I didn't do a lot of drinking. I didn't drink because I couldn't. I've always tried to obey the law, not because of the law itself, but because I would always feel that I would be the guy to get caught. I don't know whether that makes me a law abiding citizen or not, but that is the reason I obeyed the law. But as far as my dating, yes, I had dates, nothing that sticks out. I went out a lot. Then, I met my wife. She was going to NJC. I'll tell you about that, if you're interested. I met her through a sister, a friend of hers who was a sister of my good friend Sidney Berkowitz. What happened there was, she told me about this very beautiful Jewish girl who wouldn't go out with anybody who wasn't a musician. She'd gone to see the Dead End Kids. She became a fan of Billy Halop, who later became a movie star and he was on TV, and stuff like that, and he had a sister who was in the thing, too. So I looked them up. I wasn't a musician; I didn't know beans about being a musician. So when I called her up and said, "I'm a professional friend of Billy Halop and Florence Halop. I know them well." I lied like hell. I told her, "My name is so-and-so and I'd like to take you out on a date. I don't know you, you don't know me, but you were recommended to me," and I said, "You ask around and I'll call you in a week." And so I called her in a week. This was in January, of 1941 and it was cold and miserable and I took her out and she was a pretty girl, but nothing hit me. I took her to the movies and we had a coke and I asked her, "Do you want to go dancing?" And she says, "I don't dance." So I took her home and she came down with the flu because she'd taken a shower just before she went out and I didn't think of her anymore. It just didn't hit me. Then in April, they had a record rally up at NJC on a Friday night. I went up to a record rally.
KP: What was a record rally?
MS: A record rally was put on by the girls at NJC whereby they'd play dancing music. And the guys would come up from downtown, or if they lived up on the agriculture campus, and we'd would meet the girls there, and the guys from the fraternities. Primarily, the fraternity ran their own party but the Barbarians would come.
KP: This was a Barbarian event?
MS: Primarily, but it was open to everybody, but it was mostly a NJC event. And so, I saw her and, man, it just hit me right between the eyes. You talk about love at first sight, this was love at second sight. It just hit me right between the eyes, and she was a junior at the time. I was a senior. She was there with her freshman sister, a beautiful girl called June Darling, a beautiful name, you know. She had very severe scoliosis. Her face was like a madonna, gorgeous. And so, I didn't remember that Ruth told me she doesn't dance. So I went to her, "Ruth," and I said, "Do you want to dance?" She said, "No." She was mad at me, I guess, for some reason, and her little sister said, "Ruthie, you better dance with him or I won't eat for a week." So she danced with me and we were okay, and I never let go of her. I had some dates set up between then and Wednesday. I made an appointment with her that Wednesday, but from that following Wednesday, every day, including weekends, until June, when, a week before my graduation I had an appendix operation. I had to go to the hospital. I was gone about a week. While I was there, I guess I didn't write or anything, because she wrote me a letter saying, "Dear Mr. Sherman, Have I been jilted? Ruth G. Goldsmith." I immediately called her. From then, as I say, with that exception, I saw her every day until I went into the army. So that was my thing. Then in the army, when I got my commission, I came back to New Jersey. My parents wanted me to get married so the family could be there and everything else. She didn't want to get married until the war ended. So I returned to Boca Raton. Glenn Miller's Band was still there. She was a great fan of Glenn Miller, and I told her about the Saturday nights, they had these big dances. So she came down there with her mother and we got married. That was my, that was the biggest thing about my girl things. I had lots of girls, none of them made an impression until she came along, but she was gorgeous.
KP: You never joined a fraternity?
MS: No, but I was good friends with the guys at Phi Epsilon Pi. Well, I always was poor, you know, so … But the only … Oh, the Phi Gamma Delta guys invited me until they found out I was Jewish. Personally, the guys liked me, you know, of course, in those days fraternities were restricted. We had the Sammys, the Tau Delts, and the Phi Eps. The friends I had were primarily Phi Eps, the rich guys. So I used to spend summers there for nothing. I'd go out with the guys but I never joined the fraternity. And I lived in Winants Hall and I had a lot of fun.
KP: I've interviewed, you may have known him at the time, John Melrose?
MS: The name just doesn't … Was he in my class?
KP: He was a year behind, he was '42.
MS: I know a lot of '42 guys, too, you know.
KP: He just described that Winants was fairly organized.
MS: Oh, yes, it was great. I had a cousin, Abe Gorowoy, who lived there, too. I really loved him. One day I came into my room, everything was upside down. The whole room hung from the ceiling and everything else. I was pissed, man. I was really pissed. That was the only time I had any trouble with my fellow residents. But we used to have water fights. You know, we'd plug up the toilets with toilet paper, the shower with toilet paper. We lived up on the third floor, the fourth floor. Water overflowed the stairs. The Administration used to get really mad at us. And then we'd take bags of condoms and fill them up with water and drop them. All we'd see, the way the Winants is built, was a pair of feet before the head, and everything else. So we knew if we saw a toe, a shoe heading out, that if we let go at that moment that the body would be directly in the center of this area and they would get a direct hit. Certain people knew to go through real fast to avoid it, and we hit a couple of deans, too.
RC: I asked you earlier if you hit Dean Metzger.
MS: I don't know whether I hit Dean Metzger, but I didn't particularly care for him. I don't think he, you know, Dean of Men, Metzger, was not one of the best liked persons.
KP: Well, yes, I always ask everyone that. Did you have any run-ins with Dean Metzger?
MS: I never had any real run-ins, but I get a, as I say, an impression that I didn't like him particularly. I've had a couple interviews with him but I didn't particularly care for him.
KP: You mentioned that Professor John B. Schmitt was your favorite?
MS: He was my favorite. The reason is, I was the only guy majoring in entomology in my class.
KP: The whole class.
MS: The whole class. The whole Class of '41. I was the only one. There were several in later classes. In order to have a, in order to be an entomologist you had to take general entomology, which was open to everybody. Then you had a few others, which were open to people all over, and then you had such things as taxonomy. You know, the description of insects and morphology, you see, is restricted pretty much to people with a distinct interest. Well, I expected when I was the only one that he'd cancel a class. I thought that I couldn't be in entomology, that I'd have to be something else. And he was an instructor at the time. He wasn't even listed as the teacher but he did the teaching because these other guys did other things that were listed and he would take me. Now, ordinarily what a lazy professor would do, if you had one student, you'd turn it into a seminar, or you'd turn it into a reading thing, where you assign readings and the guy comes in once a week and is tested on the readings. No. He got up at the classboard, I sat down, and he gave a lecture, just for me, you see. It was as if he had a class of twenty, or a class of fifty, or a class of one hundred. It was exactly the same, with the same kind of preparation, and to me, that signified dedication. To me, I don't know of any other teacher, I'm sure there may have been, that was willing to do exactly the same thing. As a result, years later, when I got … I used to come back every year because I got an award. I applied for a grant from the US Public Health Service and I had it for about ten years. It came to a total of about 800,000 dollars. In the '60s that was a lot of money.
KP: That's a princely sum in the '60s.
MS: As I say, and … I always put in funds so I could come here, not only to attend meetings, but to visit the department and to visit my family. What the heck! And so I always came back. Every time I came back, I came directly to see that man, for years, and this had an influence on me later on because there are times at every university when the administrators will say that you need seven students to run a class, and I would get up there and say, "Hell, no. If the professor's willing to have a class, or that class is absolutely essential to get a degree in a thing, we owe it to that guy to give him that class." And we had that class, you see. If he had done away with that, I probably would not have been an entomologist, or, if he had a seminar type of thing, I would have had different ideas, but here's a guy making peanuts. He probably got a thousand dollars a year for his job in those days. Can you imagine working for a thousand dollars a year? And he was willing to do that, and I'll tell you, that really affected me.
KP: Were there any professors, you don't have to name names, who weren't as good?
MS: No, not at Rutgers, but there was at Cornell. At Cornell there was a very famous professor, his name was Knudson. He was a … See, my minor was always plant physiology at Rutgers, of all things. I can't tell one plant from another because I never took a course in plant taxonomy. But I always was interested in physiology, so plant and animal physiology was very important to my field of toxicology and one of the guys, actually, the guy that invented the principle of growing orchids was my professor, Knudson. Well, I took his course. He wasn't my minor professor. I took his course, and he was deadly. As you know, orchids in Hawaii and orchids all over is a very expensive hobby and it cost a lot of money. The way he did it is, nobody could grow orchids normally, they had to do it in the wild or … He discovered if you took agar, you see, and mixed the nutrients with agar in an Erlenmeyer flask, which is one of those flasks which is shaped like this, or a small flask, you could grow, from seed, you could grow orchids, and he took out the patent on that. I don't know if he made any money. When he lectured, he may have been a great scientist, but when he lectured, the class slept. And the reason was he was monotonal, very low and very soothing, not at all exciting as a lecturer should be. A lecturer has to have a lot of a ham to be successful. I was pretty good, because I, as you probably can tell by now, I'm a bit of a hambone myself, and I made my classes interesting, very often I would finish a lecture and the class would stand up and clap. I can understand that for a visiting lecturer, but to get that. And you know I never taped myself, until after I'd been teaching for twenty years, and then I listen to them and say, "Yes." You know how I knew whether I had a good lecture? I didn't care whether they clapped or what, it was how I felt after I gave that lecture. If I felt kind of excited, up in the air, it was great. I used to have to walk back and forth to work myself into a frenzy before I lectured. I'd get sick, too, to my stomach, sometimes, before a lecture. But it was a performance sometimes, I loved it. He was just the opposite, we just sat there and snored. At Rutgers, most of the guys were pretty cool.
KP: I'm also curious about politics, both growing up and here at Rutgers. What did you father think of Franklin Roosevelt?
MS: Oh, he loved him! My father was a socialist. He voted for Norman Thomas every election from the '20s, you know, whenever he ran. And until Roosevelt, he never voted for a Democrat, he had voted for Norman Thomas, and as Norman Thomas so aptly put it, "They took my platform away." Remember that? I think that's a quote given him. They asked him why he didn't run anymore and he said, "The Democrats took my platform." Well, the only word I could say was reverence, reverence. In fact, I became a Democrat. When I had to go visit a Republican, I felt dirty going in to Republican headquarters, like I had to take a shower afterwards. I've changed my mind, but …
KP: What about your fellow students? How did they …
MS: Well, we, you know, science students weren't politically active. One of the things I was always, I was never political. This I think, whereas later on, during the Vietnam War and everything, until then, American students were not political. In most countries of the world the uprisings and revolts all took place first on university campuses. Until the Vietnam War got started, American students never were. Well, I'm not talking that way. There were, of course, political science and history majors and these guys that didn't have enough time on their hands. The scientists never were political. We were busy. I think the guys that got active were guys like my nephew, who should have been an engineer but went into philosophy. You know, he lived with the hippies and so on. Guys like you, probably. I found no scientists when we had our activity on the Hawaii campus, you know, hold-ups in the administration building and so on. That didn't come till the Vietnam War. I don't think any of us were politically active and we were ultra patriotic. America could do no wrong, and I think that was a good feeling, a little erroneous, but a good feeling we had. We had good thoughts about the President of the United States; we had good thoughts about a congressman; we had good thoughts about our mayors, you know, and even, for most of us, even the police were pretty nice guys, for the most part. It isn't until recently that things have changed. Even when we had the riots at the University of Hawaii, when a student came up to me, and a test was due, he said, "Can I go strike?" I said, "Sure. As far as I'm concerned you can strike, I don't care. It's up to you." He said, "Well, what about my exam?" He said, "Will you give me another exam?" I said, "No, unless you give me a doctor's prescription that you were ill, otherwise you will get a zero. If you don't want to come to class, you have every right to do exactly what you're doing, but you will get a zero." He got a zero, you see. So, but there were very few of those guys. This one guy stands out. The guys that were involved were the guys that were in school for no other reason than to stay out of the military. And what they were doing, they weren't interested in studying, they were interested in getting by and killing time. I had no sympathy for them. In the middle of the war I was on a Fullbright to Denmark, I had one to Japan, too, at the University of Tokyo. Anyway, I had a Fullbright to Denmark and the Danes spoke English. I was at two places, the state, federal pest control lab, where I went first and later on I went to the Landbo, the College of Agriculture. At the state lab, three guys were actual communists, they were very rich, but they were members of the Danish communist party. I was a, at that time it was 1963, I was pretty much of a hawk. I believed the stuff that they were telling us and by the way, they just had on the Learning Channel, a series on the Vietnam War, which was very excellent. And I went to the embassy because every time I would eat with these guys they would take me over the coals about what we were doing to the Vietnamese. You know, we were just horrible, and how we treated the blacks, these guys, holier than thou attitude. I loved them, great guys, but they would gang up on me. And so I went to the embassy, and a cultural affairs officer said to me, "Hey, do you want me to go over and talk to these guys?" I said, "No, just give me the material and I'll talk to them. I'll have no trouble talking to them, and, you know, these are college graduates. I have no problem." Then all of a sudden it dawned on me, you know, those guys have a colonial past, had a colonial empire. They had the Virgin Islands, which they sold to the United States. I wonder how they treated the locals. They have a province called Greenland, which is ostensibly on equal status with the mainland Danes, but I've heard rumors to the effect that those guys are really discriminated against, because I read the paper. So I did a little research and the next time they ganged up on me I said, "Gentleman, you tell me how you guys are a poor little country and you're always on the side of the little guy, and how generous you were." And I went into their history. You know, at one time they were a world power, little Denmark. They owned Norway and they owned Sweden, and they had the entrance to the North Sea, and every ship that had to go through the North Sea had to pay them duty. And it wasn't until the 1860s when Germany beat the crap out of them in the war, that they lost part of Jutland and they lost Norway, and Sweden became independent. So I said, "You guys have been giving me this holier than thou attitude, how about your treatment now of Greenland?" Those guys are always complaining that they're considered "Greenies," you know. I got no more crap from them about Vietnam. But in general, I found that scientific personnel did not get involved as much politically. I mean, we voted, as you know, coming from a state university, we weren't allowed to be active in political parties, and we weren't until, in Hawaii, they elected only Republicans. You couldn't get elected dogcatcher if you were a Democrat, prior to 1952, and finally, in 1951, while we were getting shafted… I think we had a budget for two years of 500,000 dollars, for the university budget, can you believe that? It was nothing. We didn't have any raises. We didn't know how much we were getting. I was hired as an assistant professor in those days at 4,700 dollars, of which 200 dollars a month, we didn't know whether the governor was going to give it to us or not. So it was poor and we were cramped all the time. So our president, a member of the Democratic party said to us, "Gentleman, we've been apolitical because the law said we were apolitical. Join the parties." We had a meeting, he was very dogmatic. He said, "I want some of you to join the Republican Party and I want some of you to join the Democratic party," so we did. Some of the historians joined the Republican Party, and were immediately taken into writing the platforms and everything else. The Democratic Party, we did the same thing. I was a delegate.
KP: It was very calculated.
MS: Oh, yes, absolutely. For a purpose of self-sufficiency, we had to do something. Well, things changed after that. The Republicans got elected but they had a platform that included some stuff of benefit to the university. Most of us became Democrats. The returning Japanese war veterans all became Democrats. We lost the first election, but after that, it's been solid Democrat. Since that time, the Democrats are doing what the Republicans used to do. A Republican couldn't get elected dogcatcher, until this year. This year I'm voting Republican for the governor. I was going to vote Republican for the congressman, because I hated the present Democratic congressman's guts. He always was a revolutionary. He would come to faculty senate meetings when he was just a graduate student and raise holy hell, until I used to just leave. He had long hair and everything else. They elected him. I wouldn't vote for him. I've never voted for him. But this year, because I'll tell you, this year I'm voting for him because I don't want, I want the Republicans to lose the goddamn House. I'm for Clinton. He can't keep his dick in his pants. He's done nothing more than all these other guys have done, and I think what has happened was strictly a political thing. And it's changed, I'm sure it changed the presidency forever. No matter what happens to him. Who's gonna run for president now that your present personal life, not only your personal life, your past personal life is up for grabs by the press? The press used to protect these guys, you know. What he did, that's between his wife and his family and his god, if you can call it that. I think as a President, he's done a damn good job and so, I think, I'm angry at what has happened. I don't even blame the Republicans because they're doing their job. What I blame is the fact that now the ordinary press has become no better than the grocery press, the Globe, the Star, and things like that, no different. And TV is supposed to have a rating for children. They pull out this thing, it's the god's honest truth, I didn't look at it. I didn't watch it, it's just been overdone. How did I get off on that subject?
KP: How much of a sense did you have when you were growing up about what was going on in Germany?
MS: My parents wrote regularly to the Ukraine. My mother's family, my father, he was the only one from his immediate family that came over. He had uncles and cousins, but only he, so he had brothers and stuff that were lost in the Holocaust. He used to write frequently, always addressed to Sherman. My mother was named Norkin, was her family name, N-O-R-K-I-N, and they wrote to Belarus. And in those days, prior to the war, nothing much was going on, life as usual. Then, of course, when the war happened, it happened there first. We didn't get much of that but we realized. I felt these guys were getting clobbered because of the way they treated the Jews in Kristallnacht and everything else, we knew …
KP: You were very aware.
MS: I was aware of that because, as I say, I believe I was. It's rather hard, difficult …
KP: No, I know.
MS: It's hard thing to realize because there's been so much talk about it lately. Is whether we got that thing, and I think we did. As a historian, you might clarify, was it not in the newspaper?
KP: Oh, yes, it was reported. One thing I'm curious about, do you remember the minutemen?
MS: No, I don't. I take it from the name it was a rightist …
KP: No, actually they were Jewish war veterans.
MS: No, I don't know them. I didn't know anything about the minutemen. From the name, I would have thought, but, no.
KP: On Rutgers' campuses, what were peoples' attitudes towards the war, say in '38 and '39 in particular?
MS: Well, I can only, as I say, sixty years ago it's hard to separate my feelings from what went on. My feelings were … I could tell you exactly when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Ruth, my future wife, and I can tell you. See, I had relatives in Heightstown. They were farmers. We, the family, used to go from Newark every week. So growing up, my cousins came from Heightstown, Irvington, New York, all would come to New Jersey for the weekend. The relationship was there, like brothers and sisters. I remember I was there on Sunday, December 7th, with Ruth. What happened was about seven o'clock their time, I don't know what the time distance was, but it may have been in the afternoon, we're listening to the radio and all of a sudden I heard, "The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor." And I started jumping around because we were in the war now, and I said, "First of all, where's Pearl Harbor?" I didn't know where Pearl Harbor was. I knew it was in the Pacific some place. So I was very happy. I said, "Boy, how stupid I am." From what I believed in our military capabilities …
KP: You didn't think it was that big of a deal?
MS: I thought we would get in there and kill them in six months. I thought it would be over and I thought Hitler was gone now. We're going to finally get in there and do something to Hitler. And I thought … I jumped around and clapped, and said, "The war's going to be over in six months." I didn't realize it was going to be four years more.
RC: You didn't anticipate at the time that you'd be involved?
MS: No, I didn't think I'd be involved.
KP: What about the peacetime draft?
MS: Well, I can tell you a little about that. I was pretty young. A lot of guys, the statement was at that time "Put your year in now and you're free." Everybody, when they turned eighteen were eligible to go into the army, you see. Well, I met, later on in the service, doctors and so forth and so on. One doctor had just gotten married before he'd gone in. He didn't see his wife for five years. They were still together some six years after the war when I went to visit them in St. Louis. But I … The war started in my class in 1939. Recruiters came on campus, particularly from the Marine Corps, although the army also, and they said anybody who was a junior or more would go to …
MS: OCS and some of my guys did. One of the guys went into the Coast Guard, and was killed, which is rare for the Coast Guard.
KP: Before the break, you mentioned that a lot of students weren't politically active and, if they were politically active, they tended to be political science or history. You were in ROTC like everyone else?
MS: Yes, the first two years.
KP: But you decided not to take advanced ROTC.
MS: That's correct, because, as you know, I didn't want to be in the infantry anyway.
KP: Even though your father was in the infantry?
MS: That's the reason I didn't want to be in the infantry.
KP: I guess that's one of the things you learned from your father.
MS: That's correct. As I said, I heard so many tales of the thing and it wasn't pleasant at all. I'd seen such things as "All Quiet on the Western Front" and I'll tell you, I didn't have that kind of bravery. I didn't want to put my ass on the line in an area where I had no control over it.
KP: I'm curious about "All Quiet on the Western Front," did you see it when you lived in Newark?
MS: Well, I'm sure I saw it then, but I've seen it subsequent times. I've taped it.
KP: What about your father? Did your father ever see "All Quiet on the Western Front?"
MS: No, I don't think he went. When they went to the theater, they went down …
KP: Did they go to the Yiddish theater?
MS: They went to the Yiddish theater. I went to the Yiddish theater. I loved it, it was great. At one time, as Lincoln Steffans used to say, the Yiddish theater was the best in the United States and, of course, many of those people did become famous in the movies, and so forth and so on. I really enjoyed that stuff. You may not know, I guess I didn't say anything, I didn't speak English until I was five years old.
KP: You spoke Yiddish in the household?
MS: Yiddish in the house. It wasn't until I went to school, I had friends, I stayed close to the house. So I spoke mostly Yiddish just about until the time I went to school, then I learned English. The same thing in Hawaii, the Nisei and the Issei. The Issei are first generation immigrants. The Nisei are very much like me. Their parents would speak Japanese to them and they would answer back in English, and their parents would understand the English. Afterwards I went to school, my parents, would, at first we would talk Yiddish back and forth, but later on I went to school, they would speak Yiddish and I would answer back in English. To this day, I think most children of immigrants after they become mature and old, they don't lose the ability to recognize the meanings of the words as the words are said in the language. When it comes to speaking in that language, it takes a little time and practice to get back into it. This is one thing, as an educated man and a politically active man, I'm very much for making English the official language of the United States. I am very much against teaching in a language other than English, even to young immigrant children. Children will learn English on their own where they are exposed to it. If the parents don't want to learn English, that's their business. So I feel … And what happens is, with foreign students coming in the United States and going to school, the way they really pick up English is if they live among people that speak only English, or speak languages other than their own. So I really feel there should be a law; I'm all for this. I considered myself a liberal until the word was taken over by the ultra liberals, the ultra left. I'm very liberal, I guess I call myself a conservative. I figure anybody can do anything they want to do. If they hurt somebody and they get caught, they don't cry. They say, "Oh, I didn't mean to do this." If you do something wrong, you pay the price. I don't know if that's conservative or not, or liberal or not. I am very against giving things to people without their earning it because they don't respect it. So, when it comes to language, English is the language of the United States. To do business in the United States you should learn English. You get into these ethnic Latino places; people are born in America and speak with a Mexican accent. They live in that community. The blacks, very many of them speak with black accents, many do not. Many teach themselves to speak proper English. That's the way, I am fairly convinced of this, and that's the way it should be. It happened to me, it can happen to you.
KP: You were here at Pearl Harbor, you had graduated …
MS: I graduated in June and Pearl Harbor happened in December.
KP: What were you doing?
MS: Well, I was going to school.
KP: You went to Cornell?
MS: No, no, no. I was working on my masters degree at Rutgers. What happened was, I graduated in June and immediately got an assistantship in the graduate school, working on toxicology.
KP: When you heard of Pearl Harbor, did you think you'd have to go in right away?
MS: No, see, I was still very young. I was twenty, or something, I guess. I had registered for the draft. My number was way, way down there. I had no indication that I would go in at all, for a long time, you see. It was an argument I had with my professor, which I don't know, I've been interspersing these things, I don't know whether I've talked about this. I was working on my masters and I'd finished the year, I guess this was in early 1942, I hadn't quite finished the year, and we were injecting cockroaches. Did I talk about that?
MS: Okay, well, we were injecting cockroaches and he had this doctorate. He was a chemist, primarily. He was working on a fellowship there. He was a research professor at the university, and, he actually was a graduate, not with an entomology degree, but with a degree in chemistry, from Brooklyn Poly-tech. He was particularly … He had a fluent language of "fuck" and "shit." He kind of taught me. I didn't really develop my colloquial language, which I am very fluent in anyway, which people don't like, but I do it anyway. In the army I picked up my …
KP: You picked up your …
MS: … slang and all that stuff in the army. But he also helped lead me toward that because he used it, all the time. We were screening plant derivatives for their insecticidal properties. We were doing this by injection, cockroaches, with … and in order to inject, in order to make sure, you know, the dosage, nothing could leak. In those days we had very complicated instruments. We had a mercury-driven drive. One guy had to sit there and inject the cockroach. The other guy had to be on the drive. We knew what the weight of the cockroach was. We had to measure how much we put in to know what kind of a dose it got. In order to know what the dose was completely. There could be no bleeding, and if it bled we had to throw the cockroach away. Well, this day was a bad day and we were throwing cockroaches away, more cockroaches than we could use. As a result, his temper was short and he was cussing me out and cussing me out, backwards and forwards and I still had a year to go on my masters, but I was fed up. "I might as well join the army." So that's what I did. I went, and I went down to join the Aviation cadets, and I didn't want to be a pilot because I knew I would never make it. When a ball came, I could never play baseball. I was the biggest klutz you could ever see. I was very poorly coordinated.
KP: Is that why you went for crew?
MS: Well, crew, I wasn't even going to go for crew. I was small; I was little. The reason I went for crew was, I was going to be cockswain. I was going to tell 'em the beat, or whatever it was. I didn't have to do anything. I was a little shrimp and they needed shrimps, because, you know, cockswains need to be tiny, like a jockey. I was fit for that, until I grew too big. But, anyway, I still weighed only 115 pounds. I was a skinny little thing. Anyway, I looked down the list of available openings in the cadet corps. I wanted to be in the technical training command and they had such things as armoror. I can't do that. What am I going to do with that after the war? And the meteorology, which could have been good, but I didn't care for mathematics. All of a sudden I came down to communications. I wasn't very good at physics. I didn't know much about radio, but if I could be a communications guy, it could help me later on when I'm trying to do some little repair work myself. So I signed up as a communications cadet. And so, I enlisted as a private, with the thing that I would be accepted into the cadet corps, in the program for communications. So I went and resigned. He said, "What'd you do that for? You're almost through with your thesis. You got another six months or seven months to do it." I said, "I'm just fed up, taking all this crap from you." I loved the guy, we were good friends. "I don't want to take this crap. I'll come around until I'm called up. I'll just come around and do this work with you." And so, a week later I got a letter saying, "You're accepted, but there will be a delay of eight months before you're called up for active duty." They didn't have any equipment. They didn't have nothing and so I went back and they reaccepted me into the program, in fact, my name must be somewhere up there on the agricultural building with the names of the guys on the staff who served during the war, and then what I did, I finished my masters six months early and did my final examination for my masters.
------------------------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO------------------------------------
KP: This continues an interview with Dr. Martin Sherman, on October 14, 1998 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Pichler and …
RC: Rich Colton
KP: You mentioned finishing up.
MS: So I finished up on a Friday. By Tuesday, I was on a train, in civilian clothes, to Florida, Boca Raton, Florida, which was the technical training command post. While I was at basic training. I didn't get a gun for three or four weeks. The first couple of weeks I think I was still in my civilian clothes. I didn't even get a uniform for a while, so, even though we had been at war, this tells you how poorly prepared we were, it took us quite a while to get a uniform. We were privates, at that time, not cadets, we were privates in the army. So we took our basic training down there and we wore semi-officer type uniforms. We had little epaulets on our shoulders. We had our squad and regimental insignia. But we were still strictly privates. We just took our basic training, the military stuff, and Boca Raton is pretty wild, the forest where the airport was, and we were out with all kinds of guns. You'd think we were in Guadalcanal, you know. We were … I sent photos back to my mother and, man, she cried. She must have cried for an hour. I said, "We're just playing games, you know." I've got a collection of these pictures of me with my buddies, in battle gear in the wilds of Florida.
KP: Well, in Boca Raton, it must have been different.
MS: Well, I don't know it's that much different. I was back there when I worked for Beechnut Packing Company. But, anyway, Boca Raton then, as cadets, we weren't on the base. We lived in the hotel and the hotel was, as I understand it, it's gorgeous. It still is gorgeous, and beautiful lagoons, the most beautiful water you'd ever want to see, not what flows out by Miami Beach. It was just the bluest blue. It was very deep, you know, twenty or thirty feet. You could look right down to the bottom. The most beautiful blue thing. And we were, at that time, one of my friends went into one of the first classes, let's say, that's a name I will give you. He was in the first class and they were roughly handled. But we went in, I think it was seven guys to a suite and we used to say, "Boy, if these walls could talk." This Boca Raton was built for people who were rich. The industry was strictly electrical, utilities, and the big shots used to go there for meetings.
KP: Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, the elite?
MS: The elite, of the elite, of the elite. We used to say, "Boy, if these walls could talk." But anyway, we used to have to polish the brass. It was all brass, absolutely magnificent, and we used to have Glenn Miller and his orchestra playing for us there when we ate. You know, it was just absolutely wonderful, just great, and the town, well, I never did get into town. I never got into town. No reason to get into town. So we did our basic training. Then, I, after graduation, they sent us to Yale, which is where we got our technical training. Glenn Miller had left Boca Raton and gone to Yale and so he used to, we lived in Sterling, one of the colleges and there, again, we had a suite of rooms. And the lawyer I just had to settle my wife's estate, went to law school, he went to Yale, and he lived in that same suite, of all places. There we got our training in the scholarly things, in radio, in physics, and stuff like that.
KP: So, Boca Raton was essentially basic training?
MS: That's correct. Then after I got my commission at Yale, when I graduated, we took a month off. We had a month off and people were assigned then to various airfields and groups. I, because I had a masters degree, not because I had any particular ability in communications, was sent to go to radar school. Because they figured if a guy could get a master's degree, he could really … And I was poor, I was a lousy radar officer.
KP: My impression of radar is that there's a lot of …
MS: Well, it's physics, but not really, we had all the equipment, and rather than trace it all we'd just kick the stuff and get a new instrument and put it in, you know. You did a lot of kicking and a lot of smacking and stuff. Anyway, we were supposed to know what we were doing. I'll tell you, part of the thing I didn't like was when we were learning Morse code. And I can't remember whether it was down in Boca Raton, for some reason I think it was in Boca Raton, but it may have been in Yale. I used to sit there listening to the damn thing. It was so boring, "Dit Dat Dat Dat." And I was poor in that, too. I wasn't really very good at that stuff because it wasn't my field of interest and I used to sit there drawing skulls and crossbones, you know, all these miserable things and we had a female instructor and she used to get mad at me because I wasn't really listening. So, I did very poorly. But, anyway, they sent me on to radar school. I was supposed to be one of the elite. The real elitists they sent to MIT, and they went to school for about two years and radar was new then because it had been a British invention and it was relatively new. And so they sent me down, back to Boca Raton, but this time as an officer. I was a student officer. Instead of living at the hotel, we were living in the damn field and we lived in pup tents, not even buildings, you know, in pup tents. It was so hot, I lost weight, I couldn't eat. But on Saturday, we'd go to the club and dance. So I told my girlfriend about that. See, my mother told me, my mother wanted me to get married when I was on leave, after Yale, and my wife didn't want it. And so, when I told her about all these dances we had, afterwards, you know, she decided to come down with her mother and get married down at Boca Raton. And I got a house down at Del Ray Beach, which has built up tremendously. But that was wonderful because I was there for about six months and most of it was married life. I rented a house that had been empty for about three months. It was a beautiful house. My wife had a little house in Spotswood. She always wanted a big house, three or four bedrooms, this is what I got. My class was at night, so I was free in the daytime. I went to class from ten o'clock at night until six.
KP: It was almost as if it were a nine to five job?
MS: Yes, except it was from ten to six in the morning. So, what I would do when I got back, before I took a nap was … When I got the house, I wasn't going to live on base, I was going to prepare, clean the house and do all that stuff. The house had in the bedroom, a beautiful bedroom, it was very nice, but it had a quilt, you know the little cover with tufts of cotton. It's the kind of a thing they even sell today. I had been busy cleaning and mopping floors. I took a shower and, naked, I laid down on the bed. I was in the bed no more than five seconds when all of a sudden it was like a torch had been lit up and down my back. I jump up, rub myself down, there are millions of these little fire ants. Well, that was the history of my early months of marriage was fighting the fire ants. I was an entomologist, you know.
KP: So you sort of knew what you were doing?
MS: Yes, so I dumped that all out. And, you know, that's before the days of DDT. All we had was rotenone and pyrethrum, which don't last long and are not very effective. My job was, "Where the hell are these damn things coming from?" So I used to look around but, anyway, I was getting married. So I got some tuna fish cans and some kerosene, and I put the legs of the bed into the cans and put kerosene around it and I made sure it didn't touch the wall or anything, so no ant could get in there, you know. I cleaned everything up, did everything up. It used to be … We got married, and we got married on the base. We had a Jewish wedding, except I didn't have ten Jewish friends to make it a minion. So, I had some Danish and some Scandinavian guys that served as my minion, but I had a Jewish wedding with an orthodox rabbi and Hebrew marriage certificate. It worked okay.
KP: Was it in a chapel?
MS: It was a chapel, the military chapel, which is, of course, converted. It could be Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, non-denominational, they have alternate changes. They have that same thing in Hawaii. So I used to run by one on our junior college campus. So it always reminded me of the chapel I got married in and all the old bases have exactly the same style, it's a colonial style thing with a steeple, very nice. Anyway, we battled the ants until I left. Before I left to go to Langley Field, I found out how they were coming into the house. They were coming into the house through a crack in the stucco by the front sun room window and they were based down at the bottom of a palm tree that was just outside the place. But if we, for example, put down a piece of cake, just a second without looking and ate it, you'd get bit. Well, actually, not bit, you'd get stung. So we learned to eat very carefully and it was a lot of fun, but it kept us on our toes. So that was our introduction to married life. The ants kept it really interesting.
KP: How hard was it to get the house?
MS: It wasn't hard at all.
MS: This house had been vacant for three months and then, what happened was, when we were scheduled to leave they were bringing in guys from the 15th air force, and so one of the guys, a navigator, I got to know was looking around for a house. I said, "I'll give you my house." Well, "You'll have first dibs at it." Well, he got that. He was on leave to go to radar school, and so he took our house and we went on. From that day on, until I left for overseas, we were just living in rooms.
RC: Did you tell him about the ants?
MS: Yes, of course, I told him about the ants, of course.
KP: You were on the home front, you weren't in the military the whole time, because you were at Rutgers in '42, and the second time you went back to Boca Raton you, in many ways …
MS: That was one of my problems. My problem was, "When the hell am I going to get out of school?" Because I was going to school for almost a year, you see, and I was very desperate to get into the thing. So I was very pleased. One of the guys played a joke on me. He told me I'd been assigned to teaching. And so they sent me from one office to another, to another. This was on April Fool's Day. The son of a bitch, I really got mad at that bastard and he was promoted to captain that day, too. He'd never seen overseas duty and I hope to hell he was shot down somewhere. He sent me all around from one place to another. A whole bunch of guys were in on it. It wasn't until afterwards they said, "Hahaha." I said, "Funny joke." I always said this guy was an anti-Semite, that's the reason he did it. Afterwards he met me at the officers' club, with my wife, and he said, "I'm sorry, Lieutenant Sherman, I didn't really mean to …" I said, "The hell you didn't, you son of a bitch." I told him, "If I ever get …" You know, we hated these cadet training teachers, both as, in the schools and as instructors in basic training because these guys, they're doing their job, they are supposed to be cruel, just like you hear about some of the stuff. What I always aimed for was, I would one day get see one of these bastards and tell them off, and I did. It was in England at an officers' club. I said, "I remember you." He said, "I remember you." He tried to shake my hand, I said, "You son of a bitch. I'm so happy to meet you because I've been wanting to say this." He said, "I was just doing my job." Afterwards, I realized that, and I said, "Okay," and I shook his hand. But we hated those guys.
KP: What about training? It sounds like you had your fair share of chickenshit.
MS: Oh, the whole thing was chickenshit and the point is, this is the only thing about military service that I didn't like. Because when you got chickenshit, you couldn't do what I was free to do outside, what I did all my life, to be able to tell a guy what you really think of him. If you got a guy that you don't respect, and he's your boss, you tell him that, you're in deep strudel, you know. It's really bad, that's the only part of the military I didn't like. Outside of that, it was great, and my experiences were, you know, mine weren't life threatening as an individual, you know, we were in England. I'll talk about that if I have time, because I want to get out of here by four o'clock. But, what happened with … In general, I would say, my military service was very satisfying. It was really wonderful. I missed my wife very much. You know, I was separated for just about two years and, but, we got back from … Anyway I'd like to, once we got back from Europe, things began to move very fast. Anyway, I'll talk more about that.
KP: Yes, we'll get to that. How many people didn't make it through training?
MS: Well, I, I don't know. It wasn't such critical, I think one or two didn't get it. It hadn't made an impression on me. My friend Sid Berkowitz in meteorology, said that three quarters of the guys didn't get through. What they did, instead of sending them to another, they just made privates out of them. They just busted them, you see. Which I thought it was particularly inefficient. But he could talk to you about it. Most of my guys, I think, finished. The guys I went with …
KP: You disliked it. You didn't have it where people would be drummed out.
MS: No, no, no, we were all college graduates. All of the guys I knew were college graduates. The physical training was rather extensive, very difficult. I felt very good about that, because I was always a shrimp at five-six. We had these ex-football players, and when we were up at Yale we had this guy Kipnis as our military instructor and he was head of the athletic department at Yale University. And he was a world renowned expert on exercise and he used to have us do endurance tests, you know. We had to swim, we had to run, and one of the things we had to do was go up and down steps, you know. Up and down, up and down, up and down, for five, ten minutes, and the guys that were heavier, even though they may have been stronger, he used to be there with a stick and hit them on the ass every time they didn't make it. And I, you know, we had push-ups and sit-ups. I always did very well, even though I wasn't trained in that stuff. So I enjoyed all of that stuff. You had to jump off a balcony into the pool, you know, because if you were going to go on a ship and the ship could be sunk, you know, you have to be ready. They didn't tell you that in the wintertime you had three minutes in the ocean and you froze to death, you see. Anyway, I flew over, I didn't go by the ship and they told us the same thing when we flew over, if you crash, you're dead. There's no way to be saved. So anyway, my overall experience in the military was wonderful. You know, there were parts I didn't like, but it was nothing.
KP: You said that while you were training you were eager to get overseas.
MS: Yes, you know, I was just tired of going to school.
RC: Had you heard about combat or the experience?
MS: No, because my thing was, what I figured I would do, I would be on a plane, on a B-17, in charge of a radar set, you see.
KP: That is what you were trained for?
MS: That's what I was trained for, you see, that's what I expected to do. To be assigned to, well, I didn't know I was going to the 8th air force, but to be assigned, some of my friends went to the Pacific in B-29s. They were radar officers. Later on, I met them at Cornell. We were friends, best of friends as cadets, later on at Cornell. Dr. Walter Mueller went on to become a professor of plant physiology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. We communicated … His wife died, and we were going to visit one another, then he died, but I'm still here. But anyway, I expected to go into combat on a B-17 as a radar man, but I never did do that. What I did was … Well, anyway, so after I get out of school, I was shipped to an anti-submarine squadron, just as a holding period, temporary duty at Langley Field, Virginia. Also, I served as a medical officer, as an entomologist, temporarily, while I was awaiting further assignment, for mosquito control. See, by that time, you know, they were hiring, you know, I could have gotten to be a major as an entomologist, even though I didn't have any doctorate. I only had my masters. I would have been down in the South Pacific which was where these guys were.
KP: One thing that comes to mind is you would have been a prime candidate for the chemical weapons …
MS: If I had my doctorate, I would immediately have been a first lieutenant in the medical corps, and gone on into that, or they could have put me into chemical or biological weapons. There's all kinds of things. You know, you had all kinds of opportunities, except I chose to go to the air force, and I don't ever regret making that choice. But then after spending time at Langley Field, I hated that area because we lived outside and we didn't live on base and the weather was absolutely horrible in April. And then, eventually, I was assigned to fly from there to England, to a place called Alconbury. … So I got there in April of '43. …
KP: '43 or '44?
KP: I think, because you didn't graduate till '42, and you spent two years in training.
MS: That's right, well, it wasn't two years. It was three months, three months, three months, I think it was nine months. Anyway, cut the thing while we're waiting. Oh, okay, all right, then I was assigned, then I was sent to Langley Field and I was there, I think, four or five weeks. Then I said goodbye to my wife, and then I went on to Scotland. Yes, okay, and I went to Preswick, Scotland. We all took off for England, but we stopped in Newfoundland, and what happened in Newfoundland, we all took off to go Scotland. But we were halfway across the ocean, just before the point of no return, and our radio operator got sick, you see, and was vomiting and throwing up all over the place, throwing up and everything else. Oh, and by the way, my trip from Langley Field in a B-17 to Bangor, Maine was one continuous vomit. I vomited from Langley Field, Virginia to Bangor, Maine. We had Dixie cups, we'd overflow the Dixie cups, and it overflowed onto the floor and all over anything. I was the only nauseous guy. I was riding in the radio room.
KP: Had you flown before?
MS: Oh, yes, we flew, because what happened was, when we were down at Boca Raton as officers, they gave us flight training. Well, not training, getting accustomed to … and the first question a guy would ask, "Have you flown before?" There were three, or so, of us on that little training field and we said, "No." "Well, we'll give you a flight." So we flew down to the Keys, over every bridge and under the bridge, so the guys were vomiting over everything. That was their job, and that wasn't very pleasant. That's where we got our flying experience.
KP: It was not like that.
MS: No, what it was, we were in one storm, this was not a calm fllight. This B-17 was kicking, and if you've been on a boat, it was the worst thing in the world. I vomited from, as I say, Philadelphia to Bangor. You know, we flew to Philadelphia and there we hit storms, and so I vomited all the way over. The first thing, when we landed, and then, of course, we were up there at 25,000 feet using air masks, you know, the gas masks, when I wasn't vomiting. Everything froze, so you couldn't smell anything. But the very first thing, the order the captain gave us was, to me was, "Martin, get something and clean this goddamn thing up." So I went into the PX right away in Bangor, Maine, and got some cleaning material, got some perfume, and I tried to clean up the place, but, you know, I was, my clothes, my flying clothes were completely ooky. So I never got that clean. What I did was just try to rub it off later on. But the worst thing was my stomach. You talk about vomiting, that's great abdominal exercise. But, if you hadn't had any abdominal exercise for a long time before that, my muscles were so damn sore that I spent two days in bed and fortunately I rested. We were there for a couple of days until the weather cleared and while we were there … So, then, we took off for Newfoundland and we were scheduled to just spend the night there, you know, in the officers' quarters. So the next morning, we took off. Then, from Newfoundland our radio operator got sick, and so we had to return. This time we were stuck in Newfoundland for almost a month because the weather was so damn lousy, we couldn't fly over. Meanwhile, one of the generals who, the general from Italy, I forget his name …
KP: Mark Clark?
MS: Mark Clark, thank you. You're more familiar with him than I am. But Mark Clark was there. He spent some time there. He was on his way back from, he had just finished getting Monte Cassini, and stuff like that. They had the lost battalion that the Japanese-American soldiers had saved, so he had just come back from that. So anyway, we were stuck there for just about a month, three weeks or so, and, of course, I got pay away from base, so I made some money. They tried to collect it afterwards, you know, we were on per diem. You know, it wasn't very much, but it was something, seven dollars a day because we had to buy stuff, and stuff like that. We had to pay for our meals, and I think meals were like a buck, or something like that. So I made out, it was pretty good. But later on, when we landed, they tried to get the money back, I told them to go to hell, they never followed through on it. So we stayed there, we got there and a month later to … Oh, and while we were there, as we were landing, Jesus, I hadn't thought of this in years, we were landing in Newfoundland, you see these huge, monstrous aircraft all lined up in Newfoundland. I had never seen anything like this before. They were twice as big as the B-17, of course, it, they turned out to be the B-29s. And while I was there, they kept coming, on to Asia via the Azores, coming from Kansas and places like that. That's where I met my friend, Walter Mueller, again, you know, on his way to the Pacific, to Tinian, I guess, is where he went, and we went through the damn thing and, man, it was fabulous. You had to crawl, to get form the main quarters to the back, you had to crawl to get over the bomb bay, through this tunnel. We were really, we were told not to say anything about it because it was secret at the time. They were just considered to be, just for the records. I'm sure you've heard it, "the Super-B-17," the latest model. I had the model G, it was the model E, a B-17, you know. That was the first time, and, of course, while we were there, we saw a lot of them come in and go, a lot of them with my friends. So when we finally did get to Preswick, we got to Preswick, a lot of guys we met afterwards thought we went down in the drink. We told them that we were leaving to return to the base, we had to call back to the base to make sure we could get back. Then we went to Preswick, Scotland. The most interesting thing about Preswick, Scotland, we go into the officers' club and beer, oh, man, obviously I'm dying for a beer. I'm old enough to drink beer, so I just went up to the bar and asked for a beer. I took a drink and immediately spit it out and the guy, it didn't bother him a bit. He handed me a rag and said, "Clean it up, sir." I said, "What is this stuff?" He says, "This is English," and I guess it was bitters. It is the lousiest tasting stuff until you get used to it, and so, and apparently he was used to it, and so everybody did that. I was assigned to Alconbury. Alconbury was … a research center. It had been a permanent British base and it was strictly a radar experimental group. The people there, the paddlefeet, I was a paddlefoot, that's what the English used to call the guys on the ground. I was in charge of a, I was assigned to a squadron, the 812th bomber squadron, of the 482ndbomb group, and I was assigned in charge of maintaining the blind bombing teaching mechanism which used sonar, little crystals, which imitated radar. So that, we were teaching the navigators to run blind bombing, Mickey equipment, was what they used to call it. Mickey, which was a dome underneath the radar screen, would go back and forth. It would look just like these things we played on the screen, and so, this was built to imitate land, well, actually, part of a map of Europe, you see. We made them for every run that was going to be made by bomb groups. And how it was done was, planes from our group would go out alone over potential bombing sites. France first, in our area, France first, and then, eventually, Germany, and the stuff was photographed, the screen would be photographed. The photographs would be sent to the various bomber groups that had been to our school where they had learned how to use this thing. Because this stuff on the ground would come out on the screen just as it would on the, and it was fabulous. I still have pictures of the stuff and it looks just like the screen would look. And anyway, my purpose, I was in charge of a master seargent and four technicians. I didn't know beans about it, I used to be a record keeper. I'd keep, we worked this many hours, we fixed this many … I didn't learn this stuff because I hated it. But anyway, that was my job, and, we also, from this outfit, we were experimenting with groups. Our basic thing was training navigators to use blind bombing. The pilots we used on our planes were all pilots who had done their twenty-five or their thirty-five missions and were scheduled to return home. But they got screwed, it was kind of voluntary. They were put on additional training flights, you see, to take these guys out over relatively safe, or to go out as single guys on these planes. And there, I met for about two months a guy who used to be a football player from South River High School, and he was a friend of Ruth's. So we became, in fact, he was in my squadron for about six months until he went home. We also had the British and we had MIT guys. So it was a real experimental group, new types of equipment. One of the things we had, we were investigating triangulation bombing, where you could go on lousy days and if you could use these triangles, these sets that were emitting things on the set, you knew where you were. Our people were a mile behind the lines, so we had to service those guys, once in a month. When I first got to the base, we were very much concerned with German parachutists coming in, so we underwent these nighttime drills.
KP: On your base?
MS: On my base.
KP: Even though you were in England?
MS: Oh, yes, it was done on all the bases in England. Back when I first got there, was it the early part of '44 you said, April of '44, right. We got there, at the beginning, there was a very serious concern about British, I mean German paratroopers coming in, you see. The Germans still had an air force in the early parts of '44. And so we had these training things in the middle of the night we'd be fast asleep and all of a sudden we'd have to put on our sidearms and jump into a slit trench and it was a pain in the butt. But, this was a serious problem for a while and we used to have … We were located, Alconbury in the Midlands, which was a relatively safe area. We were in the 2nd bombardment division. The first and third divisions were at the coastline, they were at the coast, down below London and the Midlands. We were near Canterbury. Not Canterbury, Cambridge, you know, between Cambridge and Peterbourgh, and so it was right in the center of town. We were not on the path of the buzz bombs, or the V-bombs, you see, so we didn't see the buzz bombs. I saw them later on, when I visited London regularly. We ignored the V-bombs because there was nothing you could do about it. You'd hear an explosion, then you'd hear an alarm go off. So I used to go in weekly. I enjoyed it very much. I remember, particularly, going to, I forget the town, but it began with a "B," Bedford. They opened up a Red Cross club in Bedford, a brand new Red Cross club. The Queen of England was going to be there and so a bunch of us, we were in Bedford, so we said, "Let's go see what this was all about." They lined us up and she came through, and unlike her daughter, she was a beautiful woman. Her skin was the smoothest, and this was not makeup. She actually had beautiful skin. She had this damn floppy had that came down like this. Anyway, she was going by and shaking hands with people and cameras were right there. And she would ask them, "Where you from?" I was nervous as hell. And so she actually shook our hands. She shook our hands and I said, "I'm Lieutenant Martin Sherman." The guy before me said, "Texas." I said, "Newark, Texas," and I was real nervous. She went on, I couldn't have my picture taken because the guy was on the other side. So she still had a lot of people to go see, and so me and my friend, I forgot who he was right now, well, you know, this is kind of boring. We've had our tea, we've met the Queen, so let's go. We didn't realize protocol called, you don't leave before the Royal Family unless they leave first. So we just walked out, you know, and the place was lined with English people and I got a funny feeling, you know, these guys are looking at us rather askance, "What's a matter, who are these people?" I didn't realize until later on after we got away from all this, that we weren't supposed to leave. So that was a rather interesting thing. But the other interesting thing I had outside of my usual job, was we did get occasionally one of those, not very often. I used to go into London, but I was talking about servicing these crews that were out there with these beacons. What they used to do, is take some of us paddlefeet along with the flying crew. And so I hadn't been on one of these trips so I signed up for it and they let me go. We were gone for about ten days, it was 1944, late November, early December, 1944. We went to, we landed, I forgot which one we went into first, we got to Brussels and we could see the Germans, you know, from our hotel. And we had been close to (Nymegan?), and (Nymegan?) was a place that the Americans tried to take. I think the American paratroopers did take (Nymegan?), but the Canadians had tried to take (Arnhem?), which was very close, and they got clobbered very badly. So, we could see movement through the glasses and we could see, looking to the east, we could see V-2 rockets between us and them, because the British had the coast, I mean, the Germans still had the coast. And so we did a lot of very interesting things. We landed, as I say, in (Mill?) and a few other places, but this was one of these places which was over-run in the early part of the Battle of the Bulge.
KP: So you would actually land?
MS: Oh, no, we didn't fly over, we spent … We would land in a B-17 and go to one base and stay there for about three or four days. We landed on the ground, and I, you know, the Canadians were in it at (Arnhem?) and I gave the shirt off my back because I was interested in getting guns. I'm not a gun collector, but my brother is, and my father-in-law was chief of police.
KP: So this was not like shoving supplies out the door?
MS: Oh, no, we landed. We landed and they came in, we landed, we were in town. We got there and we visited around, we went to Brussels. We had a great time in Brussels, you know. I had a lot of pictures taken and, as I say, I was freezing to death because it was December, November, December. I think the Battle of the Bulge started on the tenth, and we left the fourth or the fifth, you know. So we were near Holland and so that was the cause of it. The only time I got to the … They booked us at what had been a whorehouse. It was very interesting, it smelled like rosewater. The gals that were off, they were going home, they weren't particularly attractive prostitutes, but they were sweet. They were very nice to us, but they, most of them were in their late thirties, early forties, you know. We had a real wonderful time, it was very, very interesting. Then we flew back. And then I was glad they had given us flying clothes which were gone by the time … I came back just in my uniform. I was freezing to death. So I wrapped myself up in a blanket, or something, but fortunately for me, they never asked for the flying clothes back. That was a good point. But that's the closest I ever came to combat. Although my records show that I have five decorations, but I don't qualify. I mean, I qualify because I was there and everything. The other interesting thing was I remember D-Day very, very well. We were, prior to that, see, our group had gone out and taken pictures of blind bombing pictures of Normandy. We knew something was cooking. But, as I say, we were outside the vicinity, we were in the Midlands, and most of stuff was on the coast. Our bases, our active bombing bases were on the coast, most of them. So we didn't get them, but we knew something was up because we were not allowed to travel to certain areas and then, we were forbidden to go to London. So I know the damn thing was going to happen. We went to bed and that night the guys came back. We could hear bombers going out really early in the morning and we used to see, in fact, when we were on the mainland, in France, we'd see these damn things go over for an hour. Thousands, but we used to send over 2,000 planes, "bzzzz" and a vapor trail, hours, hours. They started in the dark and they circled, you know, as people probably have told you, and then they'd circle around certain guys, then they'd meet, then they'd circle in a bigger group and they'd meet, and finally they'd stop. We used to see them in the morning every day with us, but when we were on, in France and Belgium, my God, they were just coming over for hours and I was literally impressed. The other thing was, I'm sure somebody has told you, because a lot of people have been in the 8th air force, one of the very interesting things that happened to me was after the war in England and Europe was over, the 8th air force, by the way two weeks after V-E day, the 8th air force was gone. But right after the German surrender, we flew hundreds of flights, eight hour flights at one hundred feet elevation in B-17s and B-24s, each containing twenty people, ten flying crew, and ten ground crew. The reason they drew the flying crew is because, until then, they up there at 25,000 feet. And so, this was at a hundred feet, and we lost people that way, too, in crashes. We were a hundred feet off the ground. At a hundred feet, you could see people's eyes. You could see the doors. I remember crossing, we crossed Omaha beach and Utah beach. At this level, we saw, we got all up into the Rhine. We saw these prisoner of war camps …
------------------------------------END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE------------------------------------
MS: Because all the toilets were all on one side and these guys were just sitting around doing nothing. I'd say, tens of thousands in these prisoner of war camps. We flew over Cologne, right over the thing, you know, where the bridges were knocked down, the whole area. The only thing left standing was Cologne cathedral, everything else was leveled. All right, Cologne cathedral really wasn't standing, the only thing that was standing were the four walls, or the five or six or seven walls. It was burnt completely inside. I went back later, after the war, I went back to visit Bayer Farben Fabrique as an entomologist and a toxicologist and they gave me a tour of everything. So that was burnt, and the papers said, "The precision bombing we had." Man, precision bombing, here's Cologne cathedral, all the bridges are out and everything around it. But here's the cathedral. They didn't say that the goddamn thing was nothing but gutted walls. That's all there was. We went to a town called Julich. I'll never forget that thing. The only thing standing was a chimney. Everything else, we could tell, people were walking and there was nothing higher that their waists, just rubble. Boy, I'll tell you, it gave you a feeling of power. I was sitting up in the nose, I was very lucky during that time, I was right up there in the nose where the bombardier was sitting. I had beautiful vision, of course, I changed later on. The main thing I had, was, man, that is power! We did this. Because, you know, we went up and down it, into Alsace-Lorraine, we went up the Rhine, spent eight hours on this trip. It was the most magnificent thing I've ever had, you know, just fabulous. I'm just sorry I never took a camera along, so I never took pictures, or anything like that. That to me was the highlight of my entire service. And the guys that were actually in the active combat thing enjoyed it just as much because they had never seen anything like it. And we were going in formation so the pilots had to watch what they were doing. But that was an exciting trip. I'm sure somebody else must have told you about the same thing.
KP: I think you're the first one.
MS: Is that right?
KP: Yes, no one's told us about that before.
MS: Oh, that is, and you know the whole 8th air force did that. And then, our base was taken over by none other than the famous Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart, and we had just built, just finished the biggest circular bar in England, just before we heard we were going leave. First, we were selling drinks for ten cents a piece, then we were giving them for free. Another thing I think was an integral part of the 8th air force, was the women. You know, we had food, the English didn't have food. We used to bring in for the officers, I know they did the same for the enlisted men, we used to bring in truckloads of women every Friday night or every Saturday night. We'd have open house, dinner, and some of the women wouldn't leave until Wednesday. And, you know, it was very interesting. They were available because … The Americans were good-looking. Their men, many of them actually had met people and lived with them at their home, many of these were wealthy women and they were, as you know, their people, for the most part, had been gone three or four years, and so they hadn't heard from them, hadn't seen them. So many of these gals … And the Americans were free, you know, if you couldn't … Let's see, what was it they used to say, something about, "If you couldn't buy it, it was, eat it, drink it, or fuck it," you know, and it was common, you know. Some of these guys were really very coarse, I mean crude. I don't know whether you want to hear this or not, I guess you can …
KP: Oh, no, no, no …
MS: It's part of it, you know, it's part of it. And what they, this one guy, handsome Irish guy, he used to start dancing with a gal and he'd gone no more that two or three feet, he says, "You wanna go fuck? Let's not waste time. You wanna fuck?" And if she said, "No," he said, "What am I wasting my time for?" and he'd leave her and find someone else. If she said, "Yes," he'd say, "Why are we wasting our time, let's go." And so, but I was an observer, because I didn't want my wife to screw around and I figured, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. She doesn't know about, I don't know what's going on, I don't want to give her anything. And this does not mean I was asexual. I was horny as hell, and I would dance with these girls, even though I never told her about this. When I'd get horny, I'd go to one of my, I lived in a bunk type thing, but all the officers lived, the higher ranked officers had a room or two, and I'd ask them for a room and I'd go and jerk-off. Sometimes, I'd jerk-off two or three times rather than, as I say, violate my ethics. Okay?
KP: I take it, not all were as conscientious?
MS: No, it's not conscientious, it's, I can't say, I was being a Jewish boy. A lot of people did this. I'm sure I'm not the only one. But most guys screwed like hell, available, married, non-married, they had it available. Now, the reason I'm telling you this, too, is that this went on every week. It was wonderful. I enjoyed myself because the food there was the thing and I met lots of women that would invite me to their houses, which I had as a social evening. It was very nice. I had an English couple, I used to hitchhike, I used to get picked up, and there was this married couple, they were wealthy as hell, in Cambridge. They had a fabulous place. And I stayed there instead of, I had a, my first day there I stayed there and they treated me well. I'd bring them food, but they had plenty of food. I was there for dinner and I spent the night there, and in the morning I didn't have my clothes on or anything. I just covered myself. The lady of the house, she must have been forty-ish, I was in my twenties, and she would come in and give me breakfast. He would go to work and we would stay together for a visit and stuff like that. It was nothing sexual, but I'm sure it could have been, eventually, sexual. But anyway, I would have continued with that field but what happened in that case, was some of their relatives got bombed out. So the next time I came, I brought food and stuff like that, and they were a bunch of damn … Many of the English aristocrats were anti-Semites, you know, and the first couple was absolutely wonderful. They didn't know I was Jewish, I was going to tell them, but it just never came up. But then, these, her old aunt, and these people, she started talking about, "the Jews eat this, they use up all the butter and we don't have anything." So I felt they were a bunch of Nazis, but I didn't say anything. I ate and I went to bed and I left the next morning, and I never went back. Two weeks later, I got a letter from the hostess saying, "Martin, we miss you very much, we're very fond of you, and everything else. We realize we're older than you, and this and that, but we enjoyed your company very much, we enjoyed you talking about your family," and it was a three page letter, and I never answered it, because I was really upset. Another thing in England, what I heard about, I was interested in what they had about Judaism. They had the British/Israeli movement, Israel/British thing. I was very tempted to go knock on them, but I'm glad I didn't because that is an anti-Semitic group, which said that the Jews were not the same Jews of the bible. But we, in England, are the inheritors of the lost tribes. So there was an awful lot of that stuff. I didn't realize that, but with the exception, you know, I met lots of other people, but I would have liked to maintain my relationship with this very interesting, older, forty, older couple.
KP: Well, forty, then, was old to you.
MS: Well, I was a twenty-something, I guess, I was twenty-three, twenty-two.
KP: I often get the impression from interviews that people just acted older. If you look back at the yearbook pictures, everyone was in jackets and ties and …
MS: Well, we were more formal then, you see. But that is on the mainland. You know, in Hawaii, the only time … First, when I got there, people used to, business people used to wear suit and coat and they had what they called an "Aloha Friday." Now, hardly anybody wears suits. Lawyers, sometimes, when they go to court, they wear a suit in honor of the judge. So they tell you, when you go to court, don't go in slippers and … But I come from a very … This, to me, is formal dress. This is my traveling clothes. Ordinarily, even at the University, I was in shorts. Except for the first day of lecture, and the last day of lecture. The first day of lecture, I would wear a suit and tie. The last day of lecture, I would wear at least a tie. And when I gave my lecture one time, we were talking about these organo-phosphates and insecticides, and how poor they are … This was my most effective lecture. This was the last lecture of the day. We were talking about how dangerous these things are to human beings. I said, "Yesterday, I was out on the field," and I'm wearing a suit and tie, and I'm getting emotional an everything. "Yesterday, I wore this mask, and, you know, you can smell the (parathymone?) on the mask." I took a deep breath and passed out cold, passed out cold. The next thing I know, I was staring up and my concerned students were all around me. I said, "Where am I?" They said, "Dr. Sherman, what's going on?" I must have passed out. And I consider that my most effective lesson. But outside of that, I never wore a suit and coat.
KP: I'm curious about the air force, because my impression in a lot of the interviews is that the air force was, in many ways, was a more informal branch.
MS: Oh, absolutely.
KP: Because the Navy …
MS: Oh, absolutely. We were over, you know, talk about racial prejudice and stuff, the Navy, of course, the most. A lot of my Jewish friends were in the Navy, and did very well. I think blacks were in, you know, every war. World War II was a very discriminating war. All Asians that deserved the Medal of Honor, didn't get it. In fact, our Senator Inouye, among other things, got the Congressional, I mean the Distinguished Service Cross. And they got a whole series of awards. Now, here's one of the guys who's up for, and the guys they're picking are guys that they gave the Distinguished Service Medal, or the Distinguished Service Cross, the equivalent of the Navy Cross. And those guys, obviously, if the guy said he was of this (?), he wasn't going to get it. I'm sure they did the same thing with Jews, too, but a bunch of Jews got the Medal of Honor, anyway. I think the air force … I'll tell you why, most of the guys were young. Our group commander, a colonel, was twenty-eight years old and he could hardly write English. We used to see his signature written underneath, written by hand. We used to make fun of him all the time. It would say, "By Order of Colonel so and so," we'd say writ by hand. And so, no, ours was, you know, a lot of our officers got into a lot of trouble because, I think in all the armies, the German army, too, the air force, in many ways, was the "Knights of the Realm" and they were very knight-like. We wore hats, non-uniform, the flight guys were very non-formal.
KP: I've also got the impression that there was much more informality …
MS: Even with the enlisted men, it was more of a partnership. Because the enlisted men were your crew and they had to love you, otherwise, you depended on them.
KP: A ship's captain depends on his ship's crew. There is that same …
MS: Well, it could be, but, as I say, in the air force, I found, that it was a fact of life that you had less respect … You liked him or you didn't like him, but you did what they told you to do. The general affair was, in fact, some of these guys never saluted, we had to be told to salute, and, of course, the medical corps, too, you know, you didn't have that army shit. We had some of it, but not as much.
KP: You mentioned earlier that you were something of an amateur psychologist.
MS: Well, you know, psychology, as I say, I was later married a psychologist and I took one course in college. In fact, I never took the exam, I never got credit for it because that was the course I took when I was a senior, and I didn't take the exam because I was undergoing an appendix operation. So I didn't care, I didn't need the points, the credits, so I didn't take it. But it was common sense, and guys, for example, going back to the one guy who used to say, "Do you screw or not," he was a married guy, handsome, and we're going back, just before we went back from England, he was going back to the mainland and have a month's vacation, and then we'd meet again in Victorville, California. He came up to me one morning and said, "I'm getting a divorce." I said, "Why? What happened?" [He said,] "My wife got knocked up. She gave birth to a baby girl." So I said, "Hey, buddy, what were you doing all this time?" He was living with this gal, "What were you doing all this time? Were you pure? Did you keep your virginity to her?" "No, but I'm a man." I said, "Hell, man, I used to go and jerk-off instead of doing what you did. You had the fun, and, you know, she probably needed it, too. And she made a mistake and she's suffered from it. Why don't you do this old buddy: Why don't you wait until you see her, and you see the daughter, and you see your wife? We're going to meet again at Victorville, let me know what you decide. If you want to divorce her, it's your privilege. You know what you're doing. But don't forget, you weren't pure." And I did this for a bunch of guys. They used to come to me to talk about this stuff. After we met at Victorville, he said, "Marty, you know you were absolutely right. I love her. I love my wife. My daughter is … my daughter," little things like that, I, you know, bullshitting around. So I considered myself the amateur psychologist.
KP: Your unit, did people in your base fly missions?
MS: Yes, our base, as I say, was primarily an experimental group. The missions they flew were solitary flights.
KP: Single engine …
MS: … not single engines, they were single plane, a B-17 or B-25, alone. They'd have other planes going in other areas so that they could be picked up. People weren't too worried about … But it was a full fighting crew.
KP: Did they all come back?
MS: Oh, yes, as far as I know, all of them came back, and most of them, as I say, were guys that had fulfilled the … The pilots, at least, had done their missions. I don't know about the navigator, and we didn't have any bombardiers.
KP: But you had gunners?
MS: I beg your pardon? They had gunners. Oh, yes, they had gunners.
KP: So I wouldn't say they were milk runs, but …
MS: Yes, right, and they were, actually, they were later on, they were included, very often, some of those guys later on would go off on a mission for a future bombing raid. So that's what they did. And also, they sent guys on individual planes going out, photographing these potential targets … And, while I was there, our unit didn't get any meritorious service, but our group did get one, prior to my arrival there, some of the early days of the blind bombing, because when I got there the war was half over already.
KP: What was a typical day like for you?
MS: Geeze, I hadn't thought of that in a while. Well, what I would do, as I say, a work day, I would get up, I would have breakfast at the mess and go to my little building where we would talk to the guys. I'd say, "How was your night?" If they'd gone off or something, "How was your day," and everything else. Then they went around fixing things and setting things up. I sat in my little office once in a while just doing junk work and it was a, I guess this is how I got to be a data keeper. I was keeping how many hours, how much efficiency we had and all that stuff. I'll tell you, for the last five years, I write down on a piece of paper, every night, how many times a day I went to the bathroom, and what date it is and what time it is, every day. All my athletic endeavors, I put down exactly how far I've run, how long I took, and how much time I spent in exercise and this and that. At the end of the week, I add it up; at the end of the month, I add it up and, at the end of the year, I do all of that stuff and, I guess, that's where I started doing it, because this stuff was kind of boring, you know. I didn't like it. So, what I did enjoy was my weekends when I wasn't on duty. I went out. And the other interesting thing was the fact that nobody ever stayed in our squadron headquarters. The reason we never stayed in our squadron headquarters was that, you know, we were on a farm, or adjacent to it. We had a huge pile of pig shit, you know, downwind of the pile. That's why I often wondered why the hell did I always find the commanding officer in the, I was going to say faculty club, the officers' club. The air brought the odors from the pigs through one window, through his office, out the other, and out of the other window, you see. So the place stank like hell. The only guy that was there was the sergeant that took care of that. The officers were all gone. But you know, we did a job of training these guys. I hated what I was doing, but the guys I had were really damn competent. The only thing I would do, if they needed new equipment they would let me know. I would do the requisitioning and stuff like that. They knew more than I did about it because they got into that thing and I didn't like that stuff. If I had been on a plane doing it, I would have done it.
KP: Did you ever try to fly a mission?
MS: No, I never did. The only mission I did, I wanted to get on others. I never did a mission, because we, I don't think any of my guys went on a mission.
KP: So, in some ways you had the enviable …
MS: Well, it was a great job. The only thing, as I say, when I went to London, it was a danger to me. But it was so remote, bombs would be bursting all the time, you know. People would go down there and sleep in the subways, but I never did that. I slept in either the Red Cross or I slept in a hotel or something like that. To me, it was really a wonderful experience as I remember it. Some of these things I haven't even thought about. So, it was nothing special. That's why I say my father had a much more exciting time than I did.
RC: Dr. Sherman, you mentioned the low level flights over Germany after the surrender.
MS: Yes, that was right after the war, after VE Day. … Well, what they did, as I say, as soon as VE Day was all over, I thought it was a general thing, I don't know. What I heard was, we signed up for times to go, and, as I say, we sent out about six-seven planes a day. I think this went on for a week. Because we were gone in two weeks, two weeks from VE Day. As far as I know the … What happened was, you either flew home or you went by Queen Elizabeth. It was the first time that the Queen Elizabeth went with her lights on. So half our guys went by Queen Elizabeth and half of us went by plane, and I went by plane and, as I say, two weeks and everybody was gone. Our base was taken over by a photo-recon group which was headed by Brigadier General Jimmy Stewart. They came right after that. Our field, that we were on, and the field Jimmy Stewart was on, is still an active American base in England, Alconbury. And we flew to Greenland. We spent some time in Iceland, then to Greenland, or vice versa, and then we went into Manchester, New Hampshire, there's a field there that's outside Manchester. Then we went to something just outside of, I guess, I don't know if it was Mitchell Field? It couldn't have been Fort Dix, because Fort Dix was the last place I came to, after I was discharged. What was interesting was, when we came home, the points system was in effect. If you were an enlisted man, you had a certain amount of points you needed. If you were an officer, you needed more points. Well, our group, originally, some of our guys, in fact, the guy I remember was Captain LeBaron, who was our flight medical officer. He had been one of those guys who had gotten through medical school, gotten his residency, finished, and got his degree, and did all his work married, and decided he would do his one year tour of service in the army. Well, of course, he was caught. They didn't allow him to go home. They immediately shipped him to Iceland. In all the years from 1941, when he went to Iceland, from Iceland to England, they shipped him to Africa. From Africa, he was shipped to our group. We became the very best of friends. He had this gorgeous wife, and he was a nice looking guy, too. I saw her some ten years later and she was still gorgeous, and they were still together. But they had been married only six months, just like me, and he didn't see her for almost five years, six years. I was just surprised that they were still together, you know.
KP: You were surprised at the time?
MS: Yes, even at the time I was surprised they were still together, because, you know, separation is … even I, when I came back and I was with my wife again … The first thing they always used to say was, "What is the second thing you're going to do when you get home?" "Take your shoes off." Even in my case, as sensible as I am, it was almost a rape sort of thing. Later on, let me know, but this is the way it was, and I was kind of a calmer guy, but this is the way it was. So I expected, but as far as I knew, he was pretty faithful, too. But it's a long time. You forget what they look like, even though they send you pictures and stuff like that.
KP: Five years is a really long time.
MS: This is why the women in England, the British, you know, I'm surprised, the British Tommy, this guy, had a lot of guts and they were treated terribly. Once they went away, they didn't get their leaves like most of our guys did. It happened that these guys were kind of stuck. If you were on the mainland, you'd get a leave of absence and stuff like that. But these guys never got leaves of absence. As a result of this, there was a whole group of those guys, in my outfit, they had fabulous numbers of things, both enlisted men and officers. As soon as they hit New Jersey, or New York, or we landed, I forget exactly where it was, I'd have to look on my, they were separated from the service, or they were discharged from the service, immediately, they went on a, they gave them, you know, the contamination thing, or they'd talk to them. Those guys were free, and this was absolutely amazing. And we were to meet at Victorville, California and when we got to Victorville, California, we could go anywhere we wanted. So, my wife was picked up by this friend. This was another guy named Rose that I went through cadets with but he was from another school. But we met on our way out and we were good friends, and he was at another base. But he, his wife was going with a group from New York, so they stopped in New Jersey, in Spotswood, to pick up my wife, and then they drove all the way to California. I took the train. It was hard to fly in those days. We met and we were greeted by a lot of hostility because we were supposed to take over the Victorville air base and these poor guys that were there, it was a training outfit, they were to go to the Pacific to finish up the Japanese. So, in the meantime, until this transfer took place, we got housing in Victorville itself, just outside, the round house the railroad. So it was a terrible place in a motel we had there. Our duty was, we had to report to headquarters, see what was on, nothing was on, I was free for the rest of the day. And so, eventually, we got to the point, this was July we got back, I guess I was only there a week, then it was August. What was it? August 12th? Something like that? It was VJ Day. It was over, and so those guys were saved, and we were saved. In the meantime, we visited Hollywood and one of her relatives, a distant relative, was a cartoonist, Gould, I guess his name was, who was very world-famous and was in the movies and stuff like that. We went to their home in Beverly Hills. They treated us very nicely and then we came home. Oh, before I resigned, before I quit, while I was there, I did a dumb thing; I did two dumb things. One of the things I did that was dumb was I asked to have my rating increased to radar officer air, from radar officer something. I went up another grade. And then I also asked, I joined on the last day, this was later on, but while I was in California, that was the first dumb thing, radio officer air, okay? I get to Yuma, Arizona for a week, which is a hellhole on the earth. People used to go there and get married, because Las Vegas wasn't developed yet and that was the hottest place. You talk about cockroaches. Cockroaches up and down the walls, and crickets, the seventh year and fifty-year [kind]. The seven-year locusts had just come out. You couldn't walk without stepping all over them. It was kind of, you went into restaurants and it smelled. There was no air-conditioning except in the lobby of a hotel and I said, "How could people consummate marriage in a thing like this?" It was so damn hot, you just sat there and sweat. And I was hoping, because right there I found out I got my separation thing, "report to Fort Dix for separation," and my military specialty, my new military specialty wasn't separable. So what I hoped was, it officially didn't get there, when I got to Fort Dix, and it turned out it didn't get there yet. So I was able to be separated from the service, but before I separated from the service, I did my other stupid thing, and that was, I raised my right hand and said, "I do," to the reserve.
KP: You were talked into it?
MS: I was talked into it, like a jack-ass.
KP: Were you talked into it because of the pension?
MS: No. I was talked into it because they said you would have your first lieutenancy and see, I didn't know what I was going to do. I knew I wanted to go on and get another degree, but I was assured you wouldn't be called unless everybody was called, which is a lot of bullshit, as it turns out to be. All right, I signed up. I was separated from the service. Unfortunately, all this stuff got, I couldn't get home. My brother was scheduled to be married, I tried to get an earlier train, I couldn't. So I missed my brother's wedding by one day. Okay, then I was in the reserves. Subsequently, I went to Hawaii in 1949, September 15, 1949. In 1950, there was an event known as the Korean War. And I used to be, I still was a member of the First Air Division, which was stationed in New York City. I had written when I was in Rochester, New York, working for Beechnut Packing Company, you know, I worked for them, before I went out to Hawaii. I wrote headquarters a letter: I am moving to Hawaii, please change my address. And when I was in Hawaii, I kept getting the air force magazine, which the reserve corps put out, and all my reserve corps information came to Hawaii via Rochester, New York in a slow boat. It took two and a half weeks to go there, because they took a ship.
KP: It was seeing most of the country.
MS: That's right. And I was, when the Korean War came, here I was, and my, stuck with my family, my wife was pregnant, and I was working at the College of Agriculture. And I kept seeing these guys coming, knocking on my door where I was living, saying, "Do you know where we can get a place for my family?" These were guys who had been in WWII, and, you know, sailors, soldiers, and enlisted men. They had gone to school, they had developed businesses, they had families, and they were called in. I said one of these days, I still kept getting mail, via Rochester, New York slow boat, and I said, "One of these days I'm going to get orders." And I'm going to get orders to report by bus, train, or automobile, and by the time it got to me, I would have a week or three days to get to New York, and that's what happened. I got orders calling me back to active duty, for Keesler Field, Mississippi, and I could go by bus, train, or streetcar, I guess … train, bus, automobile, yes, and I was scheduled to arrive in three days. They gave me a month, but three days. Immediately, we were able to get a three-month deferment for my job, I figured, because I was in a job that was vital to industry and stuff like that. So I started work with the department head, who loved my guts, you know, the guy I told to go fuck himself. So he was delighted to see this happen. But he had to go through the forms of writing the letter, which I saw, which he signed to the president, asking for a deferment until such time. In the meantime, one of my neighbors was a retired brigadier general, he had been in charge of all the PXs, and he saw the orders I got. Oh, before that, I went to Hickam Field and they were delighted. I was the first guy in Hawaii to get called back to active duty in the air force. They were willing to send me and my equipment, by air, to anyplace I wanted in the United States. Anyway, to my home to unload it, then fly me back to Keesler Field, Mississippi. "Thanks a lot," I said, "I'd rather not." In the meantime, I talked to this general. He said, "They can't do this to you." I said, "Why?" "Because you can't follow these orders." Because it didn't say "air."
KP: Or ship.
MS: Or ship. And you are, according to them, still on the mainland. So he says ... He dictated a wire that said something to this effect: Received orders on such and such a date. Can't comply with order because I am in Honolulu, Hawaii. Await orders. And I signed my name. Meantime, the other thing had gone through. Would you believe it, a month later I got one order giving me my three month deferment. I got another one, the next day, from Rochester, New York canceling my orders because I was outside the continental US, and so, I was completely free. I listened to it. That three month one, I ignored. I listened to it. Then I tried to get out of the reserve. It took me eight years to get out of the reserve. What happened in the Korean War was this, the guys that belonged to organized groups that were active in the reserve stayed, for the most part, away from the war because the only guys they called on were the inactive reserve, the guys that didn't belong to any unit.
KP: They didn't call up the whole unit?
MS: No, that's what they were supposed to do. That's the way we enlisted. But they didn't do that. I understand in the air force they did have some rebellion, you know, they had it in Vietnam for the same reasons. They don't talk about it, but it's true. They shot a couple of guys. And the darn thing is, the Vietnam War, the mistakes they made in Korea, they made and doubled in Vietnam. For eight solid years, you know, they say, "Send this form in." I sent this form in. "Oh, you sent it to the wrong place." It was the real run-around. I had constant correspondence, each one different. But eventually, eight years later, I was able to get my orders. Really, I didn't need them. If I'd ever been called to active duty, I'd come in as major, or a lieutenant colonel, or a colonel, not a measly first lieutenant, in a service I didn't know anything about.
KP: How did the war interrupt your career?
MS: Not really, because when I came back, I went right into it.
KP: If the war hadn't come up, do you think you would have gotten a doctorate?
MS: Oh, yes, that was without a doubt, absolutely.
KP: So the war was …
MS: It was just a two year, two and a half year interim. My things were exactly the same thing. When I came back, I looked at a job, because I was married. I said, they called me in for an interview, I went down for an interview in the kind of work that I liked. And I said, "I would like that job, but I want to get a doctorate." He says, "You want to be a doctor, we'll call you Doctor. As far as we're concerned, you'll be Dr. Sherman." I said, "No, no, no. I want to be Dr. Sherman. I want to get the doctorate and do my thing." And I didn't necessarily want to work at the university. I wanted to work in industry, until I found out that the industry was a lot of garbage, and it was politics. Until I went back to the university and found that was even more politics, but I was adept at it. So, no, it merely interrupted. It was what I was in before I entered the service … I would have liked to have been a physician still at that time. But outside of that, my career went on.
RC: So what are your feelings now, as far as the GI Bill?
MS: Oh, it was wonderful because when I came back, I went to Cornell. I got fifty dollars a month, or whatever it was, which helped. My wife went to work and I had an assistantship, which paid maybe one hundred seventy-five dollars a month. So I was living high on the hog. I had a free tuition. So the GI Bill, to me, as well as to hundreds of thousands of people, became a very wonderful thing. The only thing, what it did was it raised the, I should say lowered the degree a bachelor of arts or science, down to a high school graduate. We now have so many who, prior to World War II, if you had a college graduation you were one of the elite. What is it top ten percent, or less, I don't know how many people. Nobody went to college, hardly anybody went to college; after the war, everybody went to college. And so, college became equivalent to, when it came to competing for a job, it was a high qchool equivalent. Thus, now, actually a doctorate today, for many careers you need a doctorate, or you have to have a Masters of Business Administration, or a doctorate and a Masters of Business Administration, or an MD and a PhD. So the degree thing has become more of a, of course, this was wonderful for people who want to go into the professorial ranks. And it served as a good thing because of the people going into these subject matter. One very excellent source of jobs was many universities were building up and you had to get people in there, you see. Whereas, prior to that time, universities were more selective. Now, the last fifteen years has been like it was before the war. We produce entomologists, and the poor bastards can't get a job. We used to have it, when I graduated right after the war, you know, it was cyclic. They'd fill up all the jobs and a year later, so a guy would go on a post-doc. A year later, he'd have an offer for a job, whether it was industry or university, you see. Today, guys are on post-docs for twenty years. What it means is they have to find fields that are, one new thing everybody talks, are computers. When the year 2000 comes, those guys are going to be just like everybody else. Everybody's trained in computers. They're going to have specialties and sub-specialties within the computer field. So that's why I say I was very, very lucky. My jobs were fun. I enjoyed every minute of it.
KP: You've talked a lot about Hawaii, what led you to go to Hawaii?
MS: Oh, that's very simple. When I got fed up with Beechnut Packing Company, because of the politics there, I didn't want to go there any more. I wanted to go back to the university. So I applied … My wife wanted a warm climate because she used to spend winters at home, in Spotswood, straddling the hot air register. And I used to remember going to Cornell with her. I had to grab her by the butt and push her up the hills. She worked at the Grange while I was going to school. I used to push her up by her fanny, up the hill, up the ice and snow. So she didn't like the cold. I said, "Sure I like the warmth, too." So we went there primarily for the warmth.
KP: So it was very calculated then.
MS: Oh, absolutely. Well, it just so happened we were able to get there for that reason. I applied in Kentucky. I was offered a job in Kentucky; I was offered a job in Florida, and this is despite the fact I came from New York. I would have had … They said, "We'll give you a nigger and two mules." That was at a sub-station, you know, in tobacco. You see, so I got really …
KP: They said this to you directly, to your face?
MS: Yes, and prior to that time, I had applied for a job, I forgot, University of Florida, Gainsville, which now has a lot of Jewish people. I applied and they said, "Yes, you got the job." This was as a potato entomologist, which I didn't really want, and, but they said, "You haven't fulfilled any of your personal information. You have the job, but we would like to know your religious background," I said, "Uh-oh," and, you know, economics and so on. So I wrote them and said, "Jewish." I said, "I'll bet you two bits I never get that job." So a week later I got a letter saying, "We're sorry, Dr. Sherman, your qualifications are excellent, but it just so happened the job fell through." So that's why I wanted to go back and have them pay for me at Tallahassee, for the job there at the experiment station. I just took it just to get the offer. And they told me, "We ordinarily don't like New Yorkers, but you come across as calling it the way it is. We like you." And as I say, "We'll give you a nigger and two mules." That's exactly what they said, "A nigger and two mules. You can work with them out in the field," because this was money supplied by the cotton industry, and it's very close to the Georgia border. So it's a bunch of crackers, you know. So I went there, and I just went there to screw them, you know, just get some money out of them for the trip. I would never have taken the job. I did have a job offer from Nebraska, which I went to, and I, they asked me how much I wanted.
------------------------------------END OF TAPE TWO, SIDE TWO-------------------------------------
[This is earlier when I was finishing my PhD at Cornell, I was asked by Geigy Co. to come to Bayonne, NJ for an interview. They paid for my trip.]
MS: Big, big, big company, Geigy. They've changed their name since. That's a Swiss company, you know, the guys that discovered DDT. So it was a very big company. They treated me like a king, you know. I went down there and they showed me everything, told me about the job, treated me to a good lunch, and everything else. They put me up in a good hotel, in Bayonne, which was where the headquarters were. They paid for my price to go there and everything. Then, they got me in there and asked me, "We're very much interested in you and we would like to know what we could pay you to make you interested in the job." And just like that, I said, "Five thousand dollars." Well, as quick as I said five thousand dollars, you see, I got what is called the "royal rush." Everything was fine, all right, thank you very much … and "John, would you see him out." And that was it, man, I was out of there. Okay. I went, the next, that was on, just after I got back from, I went back to Cornell. The department head said, "What did you say to those guys?" I said, "I asked them for five thousand dollars when they asked me how much money I wanted." He said, "Where did you get to that?" I said, "Well, you certainly didn't tell me how much to ask for." I said, "We [the graduate students] used to talk amongst ourselves, how much." Well, in those days, a full professor at Cornell was getting 3,700 dollars a year. But we knew professors got less than commercial people, and that was true. All right, so, that was how I got my introduction to how much you ask for. So I asked him, "Well, how much should I ask for?" He says, "Well, it's really very hard to tell. The thing to do is to say that you are open and how much would they offer?" But, see, I'm an open guy, they asked me and I told them. So that's the way it went. The other thing, of course, is later on I went to, I got an offer from Kentucky. I didn't know much about Kentucky, but it's kind of warm-ish there. A guy, Dr. Price, was the head of the department, and we were living in Rochester, and he came, he was in the area, so instead of going down, he came up and interviewed me and Ruth. We didn't have any children. He took us out to dinner and it was very nice. He said, "Well, as far as I'm concerned, you look good to me." And he sent me back an offer of acceptance and I think the price was 3,200 dollars, or something like that, as an assistant professor with tenure, not with tenure, but with tenure track. And then I also had written to a lot of, I'd written to UC Berkeley, and they'd just hired a toxicologist. They wrote me a very nice letter. They'd hired a guy from Harvard. I became very good friends with both guys, eventually, you know. And then I wrote to Nebraska, and they paid for my way out to Nebraska, and I got a, they asked me again, you know, an offer. I, they made an offer of 3,300 dollars. I said, "3,700 dollars." I could hear them when I was sitting, the faculty was discussing it in another room, "All these young guys today," I guess some of the guys were making 2,500, 2,000, you know, some lower-ranked professors, and here are these guys and, "all they think about is money. This young generation of entomologists, I can't understand it." So they came back in and said, "Okay, we'll give you 3,600 dollars." And so I said, "Okay, I'll have to go back and talk to my wife." And, so, in the meantime, I'd heard about this thing in Hawaii. California had, they were looking for a guy from California and California didn't have anybody. They were looking for a toxicologist. So, California called Cornell, those were the two best entomology schools in the country at the time. He called, the department head called me and said, "Here's an offer, something that you're starting it at the beginning, and it could very well be the beginning of a great career." And, of course, Hawaii, I didn't know beans about Hawaii. I had never been there, but I heard that the climate was good and that the climate was warm. So I called up and wrote a letter. Within a week I was accepted and I turned down the job at Nebraska, and between the time we accepted, about a month, and the time we got there, things had changed. So they no longer, they had taken away the project for insect toxicology. I was given to the US Department of Agriculture. We had no equipment, we had nothing, beans. So I became a field entomologist, which actually made a better entomologist out of me. And I figured that really, I learned that the best equipment was what you had between your ears. I was working in the field with bean insects and sweet potato insects, and published a whole bunch of papers on that stuff and then I got interested in cattle and started going to ranches and working with cattle insects. I became a pretty broadly trained guy, very interested. And then we started going to meetings and then, in 1960-something, I forget exactly when it was, about three or four years afterwards, the guy from poultry came up to me. It wasn't even my idea. He came up to me and said, "Hey, we're having awful trouble with flies, you know, in poultry manure. These things we treat them with don't work." And so, he says, "I've often wondered, can we feed something to the chickens?" He'd gone to the department head and he said, "No." I said, "Sure! Sure, you be my partner." So we started work on it. I used to call it my "chickenshit work." It evolved into a program with the US Public Health Service and Environmental Health, you know, it switched around from one to another. It lasted about ten years and 800,000 dollars, which in the '60s was really big money, man. I was one of the top dogs there. You know, we were in a little school. And so, I, I worked that thing. I published mostly from that because I was getting so little money for the other stuff from the state. I just had very little there. I just had my assistant work on it. So I got a lot of publications. I came to this little school, now a very good school. We have 27,000 students. We've done well in entomology and we've done extremely well. I, myself, as I say, got very active in the politics of entomology. I was first appointed to the board of the Pacific branch, then I got, eventually became chairman, or president of the branch, was on the governing board of the national society for three years, and, you know, I did all right. I had no complaints. As I say, I used to travel all over to these other schools. I was glad to be in Hawaii because these schools were bigger and not necessarily better. The problems they had, you know, we had problems, but their problems were bigger than our problems. And, as I say, I summed it up to some of my colleagues at my fiftieth college graduation, I said, "If I die tomorrow, I'm a happy man because I've had a full life. I've got beautiful children. I'm having a great grandchild; it's on its way right now. For my age, I'm pretty healthy, I haven't suffered from any serious diseases, and I've got it made.
KP: You came to Hawaii, literally, when it was still a territory.
MS: Oh, absolutely.
KP: And when air travel really was slow.
MS: Oh, it took us twenty-four hours to get there. We flew, you know, as I say, those old flying boats. It was, we were dead for two weeks when we got there; we were still on Eastern time. It was, the first couple weeks were pretty horrible. We didn't know daytime, we wanted to sleep and in the nighttime we'd stop from sleeping. We've seen it grow. Hawaii, to me, as I said, there's only one place in the world … Now, of course, it's a very sophisticated place. Economically, we're not doing so well but that's not bad because we're usually three years behind the mainland. When the mainland goes, we're still rich for three years. Of course, the Japanese markets affected us substantially. You know, the value of our property and everything went up. But our taxes, we talk about how we're the most highly taxed place in the world, it is in some ways in that our businesses are taxed, everything about our business is taxed. But, our property tax is less than New Jersey. I've got a house that's appraised today, it was appraised at a million and a half, my property tax has never been over 3,500 bucks a year. As I say, now it's dropped after, you know, the Japanese used to come in there in limousines, see, "I'll take that house, I'll take that house, I'll take that house," without even looking at it. They'd just write a check for twenty million dollars. Of course, what's happened is they've lost their goddamn pants. A lot of this has dropped and, as a result, house values have dropped again. See, my house cost me a total of about, you know, I had to buy my land. At first, I didn't have my land. I had to spend 75,000 dollars for my land. But, my land is worth money. But, my house only cost me 30,000 to build, you know, and it was appraised for three, four hundred thousand dollars, ridiculous. But, unless I was going to leave Hawaii, there was no use selling it. So, I, in my retirement, have more money than I had as a professor because I was lucky enough; I went into an annuity plan, put in a total over many years. You know, I used to deduct from IDS, Investment Diversified Services, which is now American Express, I used to put a hundred in a gross fund, you know, I put a hundred in an annuity. I put a hundred dollars from every paycheck, so two hundred a month, for I don't know how many years, for a total of 36,000 dollars. When I was seventy-two years old, oh, and I stopped it when I did some other thing. I stopped it when, just a year before I retired when I was sixty-four. That thing, when I changed in the annuity, 36,000 input was worth 250,000 dollars. So what I took out was a twenty-year guarantee annuity of 2,500 dollars a month, which is approximately, just over 2,400 dollars a month, twenty years guaranteed. If I die before twenty years, half of it goes to one daughter and the other half to the other daughter. As long as I live, it will pay me. So, if I live twenty years, I will have gotten from that 36,000 dollar investment a half a million bucks and I've got a very good retirement policy. I get 37,000 dollars a year. I quit just before our wages really started to skyrocket. You know, I was one of the highest paid, in 1985, I was getting 60,000 dollars a year, which isn't bad, but it got to be, now, if I was still working there now, I'd be making 95,000 dollars a year. So, with my retirement policy I'm doing very well. My house is paid for. I just set up a trust, finally, because I've gone through this horrible thing with a will. We paid the government, my wife's estate, it cost me for the government estate taxes 450,000 dollars. So, it was worth about two million bucks. She was a very astute lady, you know, and very bright as well as being beautiful. I never stopped loving her. Anyway, that is the story of my life. I better get the hell out of here. I'm going to hit traffic. It's going to take me so damn long to get home. Otherwise, I would've still been talking and I asked how long would I talk.
KP: How long did you think you would talk?
MS: About an hour. [Laughter from all.] Well, you see, actually, what you got was a brief history of my life.
KP: Well, we want World War II, but we also want the things around it.
MS: Because I thought my war history, it was interesting, but nothing exceptional. I've been watching a lot of these programs on TV, you know, I tape everything, and they've just shown the soldier story of Vietnam, which was excellent, on the Learning Channel and, those guys really got screwed. During those years, I was a hawk, until I went to Denmark. In Denmark, as I told you before, they got on me and I became, I was, I hated those bastards, you know. … And when I found out how we treated those guys, and the secret of our lack of success, despite the poor politics and the lousy officering, German, officer corps, we didn't learn a damn thing from Korea. That was what the problem was, you see, and that, I think, is very sad. And we treated the guys worse than we were treated, you know, when we came back we were heroes. When the Korean guys came back, they came back in dribs and driblets, we never gave them any parade. But the Vietnamese, you know, all my nephews are Vietnam veterans, they were treated like shit. It's not on the tape, I hope.
KP: We're still on …
MS: Oh, God, anyway, well, I'm going to go.
KP: You can "X" it out …
MS: Well, I don't care about that. That doesn't bother me. So, I really think, and you know those guys got no special treatment. You know, they didn't get a GI Bill of Rights, you know, and they were treated like dirt. They were, they came down with diseases that the veterans did not. (?), you know, the veterans' health organizations, and the same thing with the guys from our walk away, if you call it a war. You know, many of those guys are suffering. I didn't have any of that stuff. I'll tell you what I did do, I gave a tooth and a piece of my ass to the country. Because while I was in the military, I had a tooth extracted and while I was at Langley Field I had hemorrhoids extracted. A full colonel had to operate on my ass. And that, you laugh at it, but that's nothing to laugh at.
KP: No, no, no.
MS: It's a horrible disease. Because the first time you take a crap, and for six months afterwards, it's like rat-tailed file is going up and down your butt. So don't, people talk about hemhorroids … I don't know how it is today, but in those days when they had to cut, internal surgery, that was horrible, horrible.
KP: Yes, I've heard about the surgery.
MS: It was horrible. You had to wear Kotex because you were bleeding all the time. It just was terrible. Anyway, I used to say that I gave a piece of my ass and a tooth for my country.
KP: Well, thank you very much.
MS: You're welcome. As I say, this has been an enjoyable thing. Before I leave, I do want to give you the addresses of two guys who are modest, but I'm sure had very, very interesting careers. And if you'll contact them …
KP: I'll definitely send them surveys. I just want to say that this concludes an interview with Dr. Martin Sherman on October 14, 1998 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Kurt Piehler and …
RC: Rich Colton.
MS: Thank you, Rich.
-------------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW--------------------------------------------
Reviewed by Neal A. Hammerschlag 8/16/01
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 8/18/01
Reviewed by Martin Sherman 6/29/02