Sarah Morrison: This is part two of an oral interview with Mark Morrison, Rutgers College Class of 1964. Also present are Sarah Morrison and Sandra Stewart Holyoak. [Editor's Note: Sarah Morrison is Mark S. Morrison's daughter.]
Sandra Stewart Holyoak: This is November 18, 2009, in New Brunswick.
Mark S. Morrison: Hi.
SH: Hi, Mr. Morrison, thank you again for coming in to talk with us.
MM: Thank you for the privilege of doing this.
SH: Sarah has the good memory to remember where we were in the last interview.
SM: I think we were discussing Kennedy's assassination.
SH: I understand you have some additions or corrections
MM: Corrections, yes, and let me do the corrections first. We had talked about my late cousin's late husband, Herschel Auerbach, because one of your main themes is [the] effects of war, not just when I was in college, but in the family, and I have some corrections. Herschel was not in the OSS, Office of Strategic Services. He was in what my cousins tell me is a more elite group called the CIC, Counter-Intelligence Corps. That group reported directly to Dwight Eisenhower, later President, of course, and he was the Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in World War II, Supreme Allied Commander. Herschel's rank was captain. It happens that, on Pearl Harbor Day, [December 7, 1941], he was officer of the day at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was in charge and had to run the camp when the Japanese attacked. My one cousin, Mark, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, because that's where Herschel shipped out from to go to Europe. His duties were--he had a platoon of men under his command--their agenda or purpose was Eastern European operations, which translated to locating the concentration camps, which they had been made aware of at that point, but without the Germans getting any knowledge that they were being exposed for what they were doing. He did discover some of them and the information he gathered was presented at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. So, I'm sure if I ever went through the volumes that were published for that, it would come out. ... [Editor's Note: Herschel Auerbach served with War Crimes Investigation Team 6822.]
SH: Do you know when he shipped overseas?
MM: ... Lenny didn't give me the date. I assume it was right after Pearl Harbor. I would say 1942 and, at that point, ... I don't think there was public knowledge. There was a big, forgive me, hiding. ...
SM: We could figure it out. You said Mark was born in Jacksonville. Because Herschel was shipped out from Jacksonville, would that not mean that how ever old Mark was, that was the year he shipped out?
MM: No, he could have shipped out before Ruthie gave birth, but I'll have to go into Ruthie's chronology on that. Actually, my cousin's oral history to her grandson, to ... one of Mark's sons, might have that chronology. So, I'm going to pursue that, when he shipped out. Your point's extremely well taken--the chances of it being before D-Day were slim. It may very well have been later '44, and then, at that point, the knowledge of the camps was, even the New York Times wouldn't [deny it], and, you know, [President Franklin D.] Roosevelt was admitting that they existed. All right, they'd shipped out, okay.
SH: Great, because there were operations behind enemy lines.
MM: Yes, but '42 would have been much too early. The Russian Front was active and, at best, we had troops in England, and I don't think that Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Commander until after that squabble with [British Field Marshal Bernard Law] Montgomery, also puts it to maybe '43, before D-Day. Okay, we're back on?
SH: We are on.
MM: Oh, good. Herschel spoke Yiddish, so, when he got to the camps, he could communicate with the survivors in Yiddish and, German being similar, he talked to the guards. Lenny indicated that some of the guards were taken care of on the spot. After what they saw, they weren't going to wait for trials, ... some justice. I mentioned to you before, there's a book called, something like The Forgotten Soldiers, discussing camp liberation. Herschel imputed that and, apparently, there's a picture in it of Herschel ... interrogating a guard. The other clarification is, Wernher von Braun did not surrender directly ... to Herschel, but to his division. ... Herschel did pull him out from the general pool of German prisoners, because he realized he was the German rocket scientist, and said, "You're going to come with us," and the rest is history, because he then went to the United States and developed our rocket program. The quote from Lenny is, the pictures that Herschel took, many of which apparently are in archives, were, the quote was, "Incredible, horrifying pictures." So, the bulk of what ... Herschel had is with his grandson, Michael, my cousin Mark's son, who's in Arizona, who I've not called yet, but I will call him. He was very concerned that this oral history was going to rewrite the history of the war and Herschel had to explain to him what we're doing, which is contributing the family background to the project, not rewriting anything. So, those are the corrections there, and I'll try and get the ship out date. I'm sure I could find it someplace; probably Ruthie's oral history. The other thing I wanted to step back to do, getting back to where we were, ... is to, maybe on a macro level, describe the difference, especially with my hermit-like existence, commuting, how different things were, even the perspective of the Vietnam War, whatever that meant, in 1963 and 1964. No cable TV--the ... so-called anchor desks were the only news outlets in the communications end of things, so, whatever [Walter] Cronkite, or I guess it was probably [Chet] Huntley and [David] Brinkley, whomever, whatever they reported was all anybody knew, whether it was my parents or people on campus, [or] what a newspaper said. So, it wasn't the type of--for good or for bad, and it's mixed--wall-to-wall coverage that we have today, no Internet. So, it wasn't that you had a full grasp, to my recollection, as to what was going on [on] campus regarding Vietnam. Also, it was, and I think we determined, before the Gulf of Tonkin. [Editor's Note: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident was a naval battle between the United States and North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2, 1964. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on August 7, 1964, authorizing the President to take retaliatory action against North Vietnam.] So, there wasn't this troop buildup, but the demark point, getting to about where we left off, was ... President Kennedy's assassination, because, among the many different courses of events, [with] Johnson's commitment to put all the troops in, [there was] the extraordinary pressure when we were in school not to go out of school. [I was] just talking to somebody this week, (Carmen Philipone?). We were discussing our mutual backgrounds in how one was compelled to stay in school because you didn't want to go. The inequity of the draft system, seeing fifty-eight thousand names carved on that wall in Washington [at the National Vietnam War Memorial], is just stark, but, at the time, being essentially adolescents, this was the way not to go, period, okay. The dream was, if you did get drafted, you would go to OCS, to Officer Candidate School, because you were going to go in as a second lieutenant and you were going to be a big shot and all that, because you were a smart, college-educated man. That was all fiction. You'd be slogging it out in the rice paddies with a gun, facing the same possibility of death that anybody else would have had, or driving a truck, or whatever, you know, dropping off from a Huey [helicopter]. ... We had one older friend in our circle on campus and in classes; trying to remember the guy's name. ... I think his name was (Robert Hutner?), something like that. He was a Korean War vet who had come to Rutgers. ... He must have made a great engineer, and you could just tell the level of his maturity, being older, whether he was in battle [or not], but, I mean, if he had come in 1960, he presumably was four or five years older than us.
SH: He had to have been.
MM: Had to have been, even if he went in at eighteen, but he had this worldly air about him, okay, and the importance to him was to get this education. ... We didn't openly discuss the Army or whatever his battle experiences may have been, but he was just somebody [that] ... everybody looked up to him, right. He said something and somebody would really listen, because, "You know what? He's been out there, you know. He's not stuck [here] with books."
SH: In 1964, when you graduate, are images of Vietnam already appearing in the newspapers?
MM: I don't think that they were. Again, it was the limited network TV source. If I was listening to radio, I was listening to music. ... There was no such concept as talk radio. All the stations today were music, of course. There was no FM. It was AM.
SH: You were well aware of the draft and you were aware of what was going on.
MM: I carried the card. I was a 2-S, okay. You were 1-A ...
SM: What does a 2-S mean?
MM: Okay, 4-F means you were not fit for duty. 1-A meant you were ready to go when your number came up to go for the physical. Then, I believe, if you were married and/or with dependents, you were a different classification. 2-S was a student. If you were in college, you didn't get called for the draft, and, as I may have regaled--if I did, fine, we'll go over it again--I didn't get called until July 3, 1967. I was twenty-five years old and I was out from graduate school and I got the call to go to Newark. [The] bus broke down on the way home, and I'd failed because of high blood pressure, even then. In New York, if you failed, they put you in Governor's Island overnight and they woke you up [at] five o'clock in the morning--we would swap stories on the way back--and, if your pressure was normal, out you went. You didn't even go home if you were in New York, okay--you went straight to Fort Dix. So, I had, ... frankly, bought the time in graduate school not to get called for the draft. By the time it was 1966, 1967, we're talking a couple hundred thousand troops. I mean, this Afghanistan and Iraqi thing was nothing. I think, at the peak, [under] our beloved President Johnson, I think it was 350,000 soldiers, which was a massive amount of people, and they never called me back again. [Editor's Note: At its peak, in 1968, US troop levels in Vietnam reached 537,000.] I think, when I left in Newark, ... a degrading experience if there ever was one, by the way, the guy said, "Take care of yourself," you know, because, normally, ... if you had failed at a younger age, they would call you back. This was the height of the time when Cassius Clay had become Mohammad Ali and claimed he couldn't pass the written part of what they had you do, which I think was probably, you know, all fiction, too, but he took that route and everybody knew it. [Editor's Note: On June 20, 1967, boxing champion Muhammad Ali was convicted of draft evasion after more than a year of public acts of civil disobedience regarding his being drafted.] So, ... you lived with concern [about] what would happen after school, but the intimate knowledge, the pictures, ... it's not like today. You didn't see, ... at least when we were still in school, you didn't see footage of what was going on. It was kind of nebulous and I think it was really Kennedy. I think we knew that Kennedy had made the early decision to commit troops, but the actual buildup was either, well, clearly, after his assassination and, ... certainly, right after graduation. The Kennedy impact was immediate. As I believe I said, my American history professor, I'll remember to this day, was not upset, and I could tell you where I was--see, think I'm bad?--College Avenue, that one-way street that goes into College, coming off George [Street]?
MM: Seminary. I was at the corner of Seminary Place and College Avenue, and I said, "Did you hear what happened? The President's dead," kept on walking. You know, it's amazing. Whatever you thought politically, I mean, it was unbelievable. You know, we'd not lived through Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.
SH: That comes later.
MM: That's much later. So, this was like a total shock, and even that coverage was fuzzy, just, obviously, you knew, on campus, the word was out there about it, and, of course, the nation stopped. They didn't even play football.
SH: Can you remember what you thought of Johnson? As a young college student, what was your personal perception of what kind of a Commander-in-Chief John F. Kennedy and his running mate, Lyndon B. Johnson, would be?
MM: Well, I'll work backwards. I will tell you, I voted for Goldwater. [Editor's Note: Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater was the Republican nominee during the 1964 Presidential race.] Whether at that point on campus, I had become--what was the group before Young Republicans?
SM: It was still called Young Republicans.
MM: Whether I belonged to it [or not], somehow, my political [viewpoint], despite the liberalism of the campus, or maybe because of it, [laughter] and Stanley Herman (Fedalbaum?), in particular, my poli. sci. professor, I guess I was starting to move towards a conservative bent. One benchmark was the commercial where the atomic bomb exploded after the little girl with the flower, and I thought that was corrupt campaigning. [Editor's Note: Mr. Morrison is referring to the "Daisy" commercial of the 1964 Presidential Campaign, in which the Johnson campaign raised fears that Senator Goldwater would use nuclear weapons in Vietnam, leading to a global nuclear war, if elected.] Well, let's fast-forward; [laughter] now, that was kindergarten stuff. The perception I have of Johnson, but I can't date it for you, is, and I'll imitate his cornpone response, "My fellow Americans, it's with a heavy heart I have to commit another hundred, two hundred thousand troops." It may have been post-Gulf of Tonkin. ... The Great Society didn't enter, to my mind, which was right away, or was that later?
MM: ... Later, okay. So, that's why it didn't enter on campus. I didn't answer your question yet.
MM: No, no, go ahead, reinforce it. [laughter]
SH: As a young man, having heard this news and had that experience with your professor, what were you thinking of how Johnson will be as the new President?
MM: I will tell you that I don't think any--well, I'm not going to speak for anybody else. I don't think I had a perception of who the guy was. All right, I remember when he was picked. That was a deliberate, which it all is, a deliberate political move, because Johnson was from Texas. He was also Speaker of the House and well-known for his political prowess. Kennedy was "the Catholic." That was an issue. I mean, I was a freshman, but that was a big issue in the country and on campus, that the Pope was going to run Washington and, "Who's this guy?" and all this business. So, I don't think, ... other than his strong political influence in the House [of Representatives], I don't think anybody really knew ... how he was going to turn out. ... We're probably such in a state of shock as to what had happened that it didn't enter anybody's mind whether he was going to continue policies, not continue policies. My opinion of Johnson has come to be much more favorable, but that has nothing to do with when I was in school.
SH: I want to take you back to when you made the decision to support [Barry] Goldwater in 1959-1960.
MM: Well, '64 for Goldwater.
SH: 1964 for Goldwater.
MM: Right, '60 was Nixon, the Nixon-Kennedy debates.
MM: Yes. There, ... I don't think I was a supporter of Nixon, although I've always, as it turned out, looked very, actually, sympathetic towards him, much to the distress of other people I talk to, but the issue on campus, coming out of high school ... onto campus, was his [Kennedy's] Catholicism, all right. Remember, I'm coming from a very white, Caucasian [community]. I had one black person in my class. The bulk of the class was Jewish. We were a small high school across the river, coming to a small campus, a sea of Caucasian faces. Race wasn't an issue, but religion was.
SH: Were you discussing this on campus? You talked about being a commuter.
MM: We had our little group who used to get [together] around lunchtime, whether we sat in somebody's car--I know, when the weather was good, we went across the bridge to Johnson Park. We ate out, because we were headed to the Heights, to the Quonset huts [lightweight, prefabricated World War II-era structures] for the engineering. [laughter] Hello?
SM: I do not know what that is.
MM: Right, well, you think the classrooms are bad now, these were leftover from ...
SH: World War II.
MM: World War II. They were Quonset huts. You sat at a table with chairs. That was the engineering building, more of the engineering buildings. So, we would, with this fellow (Hutner?), if that's his name, ... chat about issues such as the election, yes, yes.
SH: That was what I wondered, where this chat took place.
MM: Literally, a lot of times, in Johnson Park, until it got cold, and then, wherever we moved, if we were in somebody's car or if we went to the library. I've spent most of my life in the library. ...
SH: Were your parents politically involved?
MM: ... Well, the joke in my family is that my mother was a Republican because she used to work the polls and get fifty bucks, at the Lafayette School. [laughter] No, we didn't discuss politics much, right. Considering their first-generation Jewish-American background, to have a stigmatized term, they weren't liberals, bent on, you know, Marxism or anything like that, but, on the other hand, I couldn't tell you who they voted for. They voted, but I don't know who they voted for. So, it wasn't an active discussion. I sensed they were, as we are, as I am today, libertarian more than conservative, you know, but, again, the issues of big government, of media domination of the news, didn't happen. We read the Daily Home News and ... there was a ton of newspapers. My "A+" ninth grade English report; did I? I showed you that, right?
SM: You did show me that.
MM: Yes, I got an "A+." I still have that thing.
SM: On the second grade report card we have. [laughter]
MM: Well, we have all that stuff, but that gravitated into [where I keep my records?]. The Targum was around. It was well-written.
SH: Was that a wink I saw? [laughter]
MM: No, it was well-written.
SM: It was. From what I am reading, it was much better quality back then than it is now. [laughter]
MM: Yes, and it was the intimacy of campus, where, even though I didn't live on it, ... I had the coterie of people who I'd talk with. There were two people I remember; ... at least one of them was out of engineering. One was a guy named Bob (Banta?). ... He lived up in Newton, somewhere up there, and he became pretty well-know after campus, and the other fellow, who I didn't like, which doesn't matter, he became the president of Bell Atlantic. So, there is a Class of '64 person who made it all the way to the top before they merged the Baby Bells out of existence. [Editor's Note: "Baby Bells" refers to the Regional Bell Operating Companies that were created upon the breakup of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1982. By the late 2000s, mergers had condensed the "Baby Bells" into three communications companies.] So, I would have some interchange with them while I was still in engineering, and then, it was a different group of people in the English course, where we had ... to write something every two weeks and read Crime and Punishment in one day or stuff like that. [laughter] It was tough, and then, there was Sidney Irving Simon. So, that was the accounting friends, but there wasn't, certainly, compared to my later decades, especially lately, ... that overriding dominance of political discussion.
SH: Fair enough.
MM: You know, I mean, I can't invent it. It wasn't there. The draft was there.
SH: That is what I am asking.
MM: Right. How to bring the bottles of beer to the football game, that was an issue, why the basketball team [lost]--it was an age of innocence. Remember, I'm a graduate of the decade of the '50s and things were really innocent. The pressures she's had so far, any kid has had, didn't exist, okay. The basketball team was 5-16; well, it still is. [laughter] So, certain things haven't changed. I was very good in the fall, by the way, many soccer games, men and women, volleyball, and, now, we're looking at basketball, on my discounted ticket person, [laughter] ... and then, spring. So, you know, I'm really reliving aspects of what I did and didn't do on campus. ... If Sarah weren't matriculating here, I probably wouldn't be doing most of it. I wouldn't have the incentive to go to a lot of the games and stuff, but, you know, that aspect of intercollegiate athletics was very important to me for those four school years, and the level that I recognize the Rutgers athletic programs now is identical. ... To me, it's very pure sport, okay, you know, with one notable exception that we won't discuss. ... So, we have lacrosse, football and softball coming up, after basketball, and things like track. I was a big track person, as I mentioned, spending a lot of time in Rutgers Stadium, ... but did I answer your question, a thousand words later?
SH: Yes, you did.
SH: What I am trying to get on record is where the information was coming from.
MM: National television, media and newspapers.
SH: What was being discussed? What made it into your discussions over beer?
MM: Right. I remember, when I was younger, reading a headline in the Home News Tribune, I'll never forget this, "Allies pushed back six or eight miles." This was Korea, and I'd say to myself, "Gee, that's the distance between Metuchen and Highland Park." You had no concept of what was going on in the Korean War and it was almost to that extent, to my recollection, as to what was going on. That was even further away in terms of coverage, and that may have been one of the problems with it. Nobody knew what was going on, and then, all of a sudden, we're in this conflagration, whether you like it or not, okay, and there was no concept of where Hanoi was and Ho Chi Minh City and North and South. By the time we got to the end of the war, and I mean long out of school, eight or ten years, then, you understood the consequences of the pull out, because you still have, to this day, the picture of the people hanging on the helicopters from the roofs of the building, okay.
SH: All of this imagery is now on television.
MM: Right, right, and having read--oh, I don't think I've ever read a book yet about Vietnam. I read a real good one about Korea, after we visited the Memorial in Washington, but the stunning impact--I think we've been there twice--I broke down and cried when I saw that wall, directly because I could be on that wall, except for that deferment. ... You know, it's not the right way to have done things.
SH: As a student in grad school, watching this escalate and become more visible on television, were there people there that you knew? Did you keep in contact with anyone? Did you have classmates in-country?
MM: Were over there? No, ... I didn't know and never did know anybody that would have gone over. There was one fellow from high school--he didn't go to Rutgers--he was a fighter pilot, but he had a long career in the Air Force, but that was high school, no.
SH: I was just wondering if that was an issue.
MM: No. By the time '67 came around, that was, I think, the peak of the draft, because the Tet Offensive would have been, I believe, '68, '68 or later.
SM: In college, did you know of anyone or know anyone who dropped out to fight, or were they inclined to stay in school to stay out of the draft? Were there any people who were inspired, like in World War II, to stop their education to go fight in the war? Did that happen in Vietnam?
SM: Never that anyone would go.
MM: No, and the ROTC was active. I saw a great sight the morning I dropped that thing off to you, where everybody was in their T-shirts and shorts.
SH: Every morning.
MM: Right, saluting, you know. Guys walked around--remember, there were no girls--guys walked around in their uniforms. There was no political stigma, as certain campuses still have. Rutgers had a viable ROTC and they would have gone off to service after graduation. Knowing as much as I know, which is really quite extensive, about World War II, that was probably the last time the country stopped their civilian existence and went off to war, all right. My time in college was before the peak of the draft dodging, going to Canada. Whether that was politically motivated or sheer cowardice, ... nobody that I knew was willing to drop out or interested in dropping out--a very good question. ... Was that a lack of patriotism? I don't know, and who's going to stand in moral judgment of somebody else? I didn't want to go, ... but it also could have been partially because nobody understood either the extent of the conflict or why the hell we were over there--same issues as today, okay. The French abandoned ship and we inherited it.
SH: Was the "Domino Theory" discussed?
MM: All the time, right, and that's our friend [Robert] McNamara, among other people.
SM: What is the "Domino Theory?"
MM: Okay, and I think I've mentioned to Sarah and Sophie, if not to yourself, every time I saw Donald Rumsfeld, I saw McNamara, physically. It was really deja vu that I didn't want to go through and, when the gentleman passed away to a higher reward, it came back. The Domino Effect was, the rationale for Vietnam, among several that were put forward, was, if Vietnam fell, well, the entire Southeast Asia would become subject to Communist domination and, therefore, we had to draw the line. Hello, now, we're fighting the Iranian influence in Iraq, for good or for bad, and, hello, the Russians couldn't beat the Taliban for twenty years and they know how to fire a Kalashnikov as well as everybody else. ... Now, our friend is figuring out how many more troops he's going to send in. [Editor's Note: Mr. Morrison is referring to a prospective US troop surge in Afghanistan being proposed by the Obama Administration.] ... [George] Santayana, at the camp, "Those who don't remember or learn from the past are condemned to do it again." [Editor's Note: Philosopher George Santayana's warning, "The one who does not remember history is bound to live through it again," appears on a plaque at the site of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.] So, political situations aside, this was the theory of the day, which, decades later, is, in some format, an analogous theory every place elsewhere.
SH: At that time, if you had found yourself called up for the draft for any reason, would you have gone?
MM: I imagine I would have gone. I can't believe I would have been of the fiber not to go, but I was scared about the thought. Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two years old, you've got this unknown. You know, if our role had been more defined, promulgated, you know, somebody would come around, literally, and say, "This is why we're here," then, maybe you start to wave the flag and become more patriotic in your thinking, okay. Today, we have the reverse. We're bombarded with information, all of which is politically motivated, but the predominant concept was that the Vietcong would conquer South Vietnam, and then, particularly China, with Russian support, would take Cambodia. ... We wound up with Pol Pot anyway, a couple million people dead, and Indonesia, which is a strong point to this day for terrorism and, you know, Al-Qaeda activities. So, we didn't do any better by being there, but that was what they put forward, but they were lying to us, too. ... Probably starting from the time before I graduated, you never knew the true casualty picture, okay. "Moderate casualties," and they'd use these buzz words, and then, all of a sudden, years later, it's fifty-eight thousand dead people, okay, and we were lied to. You know, ... whether we belonged there or not, we were lied to as to the scope of the death that was occurring there. So, with difficulty, I would tell you I probably would have gone. ... Knowing my personality then, I just wouldn't be able to look myself in the face and run off to Canada. ...
SH: Did you know anyone who went to Canada?
MM: Not from campus, no, I didn't.
SH: Or to Finland or another country?
MM: Wherever they went. Yes, I mean, you destroyed your life by doing that. Either you had to stay there [or], if you came back, you were, whatever you were guilty of, [being a deserter]. ...
SH: With all of the television coverage, news reporting and other information, what was your opinion about the war? Were you in favor of the demonstrations or did you want nothing to do with them?
MM: My answer to you is possibly twofold. One is, I don't recall demonstrations on this campus. Now, that could be because I wasn't living on campus. Second, I think the real demonstrations were post graduation. Columbia was after '64. The Democratic Convention of '68 was after graduation.
SH: What did you think of that?
MM: "The whole world is watching?" ... In retrospect, I can't tell you if I had a specific thought. I didn't like Humphrey. At that point, I wanted to see Nixon as President. I thought it was embarrassing. Well, one thing I can definitely tell you is, it was disgusting to watch Chicago police beating up American citizens for whatever they were doing. The Columbia activity and West Coast-Berkeley, I guess, didn't leave as much [of] an impression because I don't think it was as well covered. ... Then, I had to think, if I had gone to Columbia, I guess I would have been out of there in '66, but I probably would have been uncomfortable in that environment. To take over a school is not the right thing to do. There's limits to protests that I would have wanted to have honored. I don't remember anything on campus. Remember this was ...
SH: What about Kent State?
MM: Kent State was a shock, because I can picture it right now in my mind's eye, the girl crying in front of whoever was shot. That was, again, wrong, because you've got a right to protest and certainly don't have to get killed for protesting. That was over the top. [Editor's Note: On May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen fired on students at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, killing four and wounding nine others. Some of the students had been protesting the United States entry into Cambodia during the Vietnam War, while others had been passing nearby or observing the demonstration.]
SH: Was it a shock because you were so near that age?
MM: It was a shock that it could happen in the United States. I didn't particularly relate to it because it was a college campus, to be honest. It was a shock that, in this country, a soldier would shoot a student. There's no justification for that. This is not Columbine, and we didn't have episodes like that then, Virginia Tech, all these whack jobs running around, shooting up schools. ... This was probably the first fatal situation that I think may have ever occurred under those circumstances. It was almost as big a shock as Kennedy. [Editor's Note: Mr. Morrison is referring to the school shootings at the Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999 and on the Virginia Tech Campus in 2007.]
SH: During all this, there was also the Civil Rights Movement.
MM: Yes, my friend, (Bobby Palmer?), and I always discussed what Martin Luther King was doing. We were aware as two Rutgers students and very close friends as to what [was happening]. We knew about Rosa Parks and, well, it had to be while we were in school, "I Have a Dream," but that got huge press and TV coverage.
MM: It did, absolutely it did. The Bull Connor [incident]--sharp again, tonight--Bull Connor was the police chief with the dogs who attacked, at Selma, when the people came across the bridge, okay, but this was a Caucasian, middle-class campus and I was from a Caucasian, middle-class background. We didn't understand--I didn't understand, as either a person or a Rutgers student--what black people had suffered for in this country.
SH: There was no movement on campus to recruit people to go and march or to be part of the Civil Rights Movement.
MM: If there were, it didn't reach me. There may have been, but, again, I think there would have been more apathy on campus, "This is happening someplace else." ... To my recollection, there wasn't activity on campus where you would have a march down College Avenue and, you know, "We're taking the train down to Washington." It didn't happen. I had a boring time here. [laughter]
SH: Did you know of anyone who went to march on Washington, DC?
MM: No. I imagine, frankly, there were a lot of people, if they had more awareness, that they were not supportive of what was going on. I wouldn't want to call them racist, but [they would think], "Those folks don't know their place," type of attitude, okay.
SM: Also, this is the Northeast. It is very far removed from the South and what was happening in terms of behavior and socially. Going from white, middle-class to white, middle-class, you probably would not exhibit anything like that. I could not imagine that there was enough of a black student movement, especially on campus, at the time. That came later, in places like Newark.
MM: ... There were no blacks on campus. I mean, if I find that white book, that yearbook, you're going to see a sea of white faces, let us be blunt, okay. It wasn't that Rutgers discriminated.
SH: What about Livingston College?
MM: Livingston didn't exist when I was here, '67. [Editor's Note: Livingston College was established in 1969.]
SH: That is right. I am sorry, I got my dates mixed up.
MM: That's all right. The Newark riots were closer to home, but even that, and I'm out of school and working, it was kind of a joke, you know, "Get me a forty-two [inch] short suit." You didn't realize the impact of it until a couple days later, when there's forty-five dead people and the city is destroyed. [Editor's Note: The Newark riots, lasting from July 12 to July 17, 1967, resulted in over two dozen deaths, over seven hundred injuries, fifteen hundred arrests and property damage exceeding ten million dollars.] I don't think--how do I know?--I don't think Rutgers ever had a discriminatory policy about who they accepted. I just don't think minority students went past high school in that era. There were, ... and still are, the black colleges in the South. The one black kid in my high school class, (Donny Bell?), went to Delaware State for a while, black school, okay, but there wasn't anybody else, and you didn't see anybody on campus. Let's not limit it to blacks--there probably were very few Asians.
SH: Was there a black presence in New Brunswick that you were aware of?
MM: Always. Back then, New Brunswick wasn't as rundown as it was [later]. New Brunswick High School, even then, was mixed, probably still predominantly Caucasian. St. Peter's High School, which is gone, was probably a hundred percent Caucasian, but there's always been a black presence in New Brunswick, yes, but the town was overall at a ... much higher socio-economic scale for everybody. The poor folk still lived up Remsen Avenue and Lee Avenue, you know, those areas, but ... the economic stratification wasn't there. Most everybody was in a better position economically; yes?
SM: New Brunswick was still Jewish in the mid-1960s, right?
SM: They had not yet left.
MM: That's right.
MM: Right. ... All the synagogues were downtown until '62 and the area south of Albany Street was residential and business, but Jewish.
SH: Here in New Brunswick?
MM: Oh, yes.
MM: Oh, yes. ... If Rutgers was not in session, the town was vibrant. It was more vibrant when school was here, but you had a plethora of very decent shops on George Street. There were, I think, five movie theaters in this town, and the hotel wasn't there, J&J [Johnson and Johnson] wasn't there. All that was small, working-class business environments--butchers, shoe stores, leather goods places. ... A lot of people lived there. The highway didn't exist, okay. So, the campus and the school didn't have ... what I see walking home at night from the train station, the drop off, where you can count the number of people and, once you get past [Old Man] Rafferty's and the other place, the coffee place, there's nobody, you know, it's fast food joints--wasn't that way. Douglass was this far-end thing. We didn't go too much. There were no busses. So, you were active on campus, but ... you could do things in New Brunswick as far as alternate entertainment to what the campus offered.
SH: Was Camp Kilmer still in existence when you were in junior high school? Do you remember when it closed?
MM: The Hungarian Revolution people came through Camp Kilmer in 1956. So, I was in high school. As an active military base, I'd have to take a guess, either late '50s, early '60s. It's still a Reserve unit now. [Editor's Note: Camp Kilmer, used as a staging area for the New York Port of Embarkation in World War II and the Korean War, served as temporary home to Hungarian refugees after the failed 1956 Revolution and continued to serve the US Army Reserve in various capacities until the Sergeant Joyce Kilmer Reserve Center was closed in October 2009. Over the decades, much of the original land was transferred to the surrounding townships and entities such as Rutgers University.]
SH: What did you, as a young man, know about Camp Kilmer and about the Jewish immigrants? How did you hear and know about them?
MM: Jewish immigrants, to come to the area?
SH: No, when the Hungarians came. What were you aware of?
MM: That they were going to settle in New Brunswick, because the ward over here was, and I think still is, heavily Hungarian. Going further back, I believe my sister, ... she graduated high school in 1944, and I think Marcy was active with the USO, because Kilmer was a big [embarkation point]--United Service Organizations, to welcome people back and to see them off to war. There was a big train presence and ... it was a huge military base. So, I think Marcy was active with that. I think it was active through Korea.
SH: It was.
MM: It was, and then, the Hungarian Revolution émigrés, most of whom, or all of whom, were not Jewish. So, there was no connection to the synagogue, growing up, or any of the other synagogues, but the folks came here because either their relatives or their nationals were here. ... I would have to guess the early '60s is maybe when it's [closed]--I don't know, you know. Maybe, well, I'll have to look that one up. Maybe troops came through here to go to Vietnam, that's ... very possible. It was possible. So, what's left now, like, where part of Livingston is and Piscataway Tech, that was all Camp Kilmer. ...
SM: The whole thing.
MM: All the way down to the car inspection station and the post office, that was all Camp Kilmer. It was huge.
SH: It was a huge installation. Because of that, what were your perceptions of it as a child?
MM: Well, again, specifically in 1956, and, also, the troops who were going in and out of there, certainly for Korea, certainly for Korea. So, there must have been plenty of soldiers walking around in New Brunswick as well.
SH: During World War II, I understand there was quite a large number of Italian POWs working on the base as well.
MM: You know more than I do. Okay, ... is that one of your minors? [laughter] There has to be a book written on it. You're giving me so much homework here, all right.
SH: I was just curious if that was something you realized as a kid.
MM: No, I wasn't, certainly, cognizant of that, but ... we certainly knew Kilmer was there. I know a lot of kids in my sister's high school class went off to war, because, in their yearbook, a lot of them were already in uniform. This was June of '44.
MM: Yes. They were ready to go, Navy and Army. ... Army, you would have been processed, probably, out of here to take a train to get to a boat in New York or Philadelphia or someplace.
SH: Did your sister go to high school in Highland Park?
MM: No, New Brunswick. ... When I was born, we lived on Sandford Street, which is up Livingston Avenue, yes. So, she went to New Brunswick High.
SH: What was your father's career during all of this?
MM: During the war? At that point, he was with my Uncle Sam at the factory in Milltown, as his plant supervisor. ... Instead of building compact frames, pocketbook frames or compacts, Uncle Sam was producing bullets.
SH: I remember you telling me.
MM: Yes. The metal actually was turned into bullets, which went for the war effort. See, that's the difference. You asked me before, "Did the country [rally]? Did everybody go off to war?" The answer was yes, okay. People volunteered, because ... there was a huge conflict before the war about staying as an isolationist country or not. That's a whole study. You get into ... my friend Charles Lindbergh and [Franklin] Roosevelt, people like that, but, once Pearl Harbor hit--we didn't have a similar reaction September the 11th, because we weren't fighting a nation or nations, we were fighting a group that decided to kill us. [Editor's Note: Mr. Morrison is referring to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC.] So, you didn't have everybody stop their job and enlist in the Army or go in the Air Force. It's been a volunteer force for a long time.
SH: It has.
MM: Right, ... but World War II, different story. Korea, I think, was a draft. That was another interesting conflict. I think that was a draft, also.
SH: A lot of people who were in the Reserves were called back.
MM: Yes, yes. ... There was a lot of decommissioning of divisions [in] 1946-1947. They were Reserves and they had to be called up.
SH: They were remobilized.
SH: When you graduated with your MBA, what were your plans?
MM: Well, having backed into that, because I show up at NYU ...
SH: Your Selective Service classification changed.
MM: ... I anticipated getting called right away. I graduated. I disliked NYU so intensely, I went the Summer of '65, got out in January of '66, and the diploma, which I have, and have earned, is June of '66. So, they wouldn't have started to look for me, to use a term, until June of '66, and I was waiting. I went into public accounting, with my newfound accounting career, and then, I got the notice. The date was July 30, '67. So, I had to wait thirteen months, but ... was it trepidation? It was still an unknown situation, what I was going to get into if I did go. I went down to Donaldson Park the night before and I sat on the bench at the far end of the park and I guess I kind of calmed myself down. This impacted us probably even in college, certainly in college. The draft board in New Brunswick had three representatives, a Jew, a Protestant and a Catholic. Mr. (Hoddisan?), one of the (Hoddisan?) brothers from the synagogue, was the Jew. That was, how shall I phrase this delicately? to protect each of their own, okay--no minority representation of any kind. There was not a Hispanic presence in New Brunswick, as there was now. Three people, ... they determined--I'm not sure what they determined, if we worked on the lottery [system]. We didn't work on a lottery number. So, I think we got called up by your birth date and they just got around to me because I was carrying the 2-S, and a bus picked us up. It was a little office on the first street after Albany. They were upstairs and the bus was parked there. We went to Newark, had this very degrading experience, which I won't bore you with, then, on the way home, the bus broke down. ... At that point, I guess, I had a sense of relief. Because the guy that was there kind of told me, "Take care of yourself," I knew I wasn't going to get called back. So, I have to admit, from graduation until the physical, it was an apprehensive period. This is right before my father got ill. So, I went from an artificial crisis to a real one, because he passed away a couple months after that.
SH: Oh, my.
MM: Yes, and then, Chicago, and then, the student protests, and then, you start to crystallize in your mind what your view is, but, you know, I didn't have a negative or a positive view.
SH: Were you still working at the same accounting job?
MM: Yes, yes; still working now, but we're trying hard for January 1st.
SH: Even though you were called up, you did not quit your job.
MM: No. You were permitted to go to the physical and, if you passed it, that was the end of your career in accounting, or anything else. You went down to [Fort] Dix for, I think, six weeks of basic training and out you would have gone.
SH: When did you find out that you really did not have to go? Did they tell you on the spot?
SH: Did you have to get a letter?
MM: No. If he told me, whoever the "he" was, "Take care of yourself," they knew that I was going to be classified 4-F, which was anything from flat feet through general incompetence, inability to fire a gun. Even my eyes, I passed on my eyes, which I never understood, because I'm still, probably worse, (20/40?).
SM: Were they that desperate for troops?
MM: Yes. At this point, it was starting to build up and "Uncle Cornpone" [President Lyndon B. Johnson] is announcing a couple hundred thousand more people [being sent to Vietnam]. My opinion of him has changed, for reasons that have nothing to do with college.
MM: Yes. ... He has turned out, in a book I read, he had a lot of warts and it was a lot of [people who] regarded him as, how shall we say [it] delicately? a dirt bag, but I have found out, late in life, as I found out many things late in life, he was a very, very strong supporter of Israel. As a Fundamentalist Christian, he believed in the divine right of the Jewish people to have a homeland. [I] found that out when I was reading the book about Israel's alleged nuclear program and how the various Presidents supported it and didn't support it. ... He reversed a lot of things that Kennedy was trying to shut down, as a matter-of-fact, but I didn't know that until, like, six months ago. So, on that perspective, I've got a different opinion of him. Politically, ... in retrospect, he made all the wrong decisions about Vietnam, aided and abetted by our friend McNamara and my other friend, that [General William] Westmoreland, that crackerjack general that we had. There was a loser. Right, "Well, we had moderate casualties." Yes, the guy had no idea, had no idea. [Editor's Note: US Army General William C. Westmoreland served as the commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam from 1964 to 1968.] So, a dark period in history; it's an insult that the troops that came back ... have had this negative image in the media and in certain quarters for all these decades. ... These guys look like they're beat up, with the bandanas and the beards and everything, you know, but they support the MIA program and a lot of other good things, you know. So, it's an era of conflict. The conflict, to me, was after school, because the impact of the war, except for that almighty draft card, was not as dominant as it became five years later, four or five years later.
SH: Do you remember any of the news coverage of the Americans who were being held in North Vietnam, for example, at the Hanoi Hilton?
MM: No, I don't recall, ... to be honest. I'm not sure if that was after '64 or not.
SH: No, that would have been in the 1970s.
MM: Yes. Well, oh, no, that's after graduation.
MM: Oh, yes, no, that made nightly [news].
SH: I moved on from your induction.
MM: We can move on. You're in charge. [laughter] I distinctly remember Cronkite promulgating that the war was lost and that that had an impact on Johnson's thinking. ... He began to lose confidence in either why we were there or what it was going to take to, quote, "win" the war.
SH: Tell me about when President Johnson went on national television and said he would not run for re-election.
MM: I recall it distinctly. It was very subtle, at the end of the speech. It was around my birthday. It was March, if I remember, and [he said], "I will not be looking to be renewed," whatever buzz word he used.
SH: "If called, I will not..."
MM: Right. "Phew," could have fallen out of your chair, and it was probably a great sense of relief, I think, with a lot of people, probably including myself, because, at that point, we're getting the perspective that we're in something we don't know anything about. ... [Editor's Note: At the end of a televised speech on March 31, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson made the surprise announcement that he would not seek reelection.]
SH: Did you support Richard Nixon in the following election?
MM: Yes. To the distress of some people I'm friends with today, I supported Nixon. I think he was a complex individual. I don't think he was paranoid. He did some bad--not bad--he made some economic decisions. Well, they pale in comparison to today, but with the wage and price controls. He did open the door, for good or bad, for China. He got us out of the war; people ... got to give him credit for that. He was anti-Semitic and supported Israel at the same time.
SH: Did you follow the peace negotiations that were occurring at that time?
MM: In his [Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's] roundtable traveling? absolutely, right. There's another interesting fellow; perception of him hasn't changed too much, but, absolutely, shuttle diplomacy, yes, right. So, at this point, whether it was from this Young Republican base in college, it probably was, and Professor (Firederbaum?) notwithstanding, [laughter] I was becoming politically aware. ... Now, I'm politically obsessed, as my daughter and my wife can attest, but ... the three of us are. The three of us discuss politics. ...
SH: As a young person, growing up, were politics discussed in the synagogue?
MM: No. The only politics discussed in the synagogue were synagogue politics, which were notorious. No, I was in [the synagogue], services started, when the Yom Kippur War happened [in 1973]. ... The Rabbi came in, Rabbi Kletzel, and he said, "Israel's been attacked," and that impact, but, no, that didn't happen, no. ...
SH: I was curious because things such as this might come up within the pulpits of any religious congregation.
SM: Now, it is very different.
MM: Well, as individual congregants, we talk politics all the time, and we have some lefties and we have some righties and we have some middle-of-the-roaders, but, even from the pulpit, there's not [much direction], other than [support for] Israel. I don't recall anybody, Rabbi Mykoff or anybody else, really discussing domestic or international politics, right. My Rabbi Wahrman, in New York, he has very strong opinions, but, again, it's Israeli-based. ... Getting back to our household, when I grew up, we didn't really talk politics. Ike was there as this father figure. I personally find it hard to believe that my parents would have voted for Adlai Stevenson, okay. Ike was on this pedestal from the war. He went off to play golf, he had a couple of heart attacks, we unsuccessfully concluded our situation in Korea, which, ... another one, exists to this day. They're shooting at each other on their little navy boats this week. I mean, you know, it's unbelievable. ... The determination, is it the right word? of my political obsessions, I guess, now that we're blabbing away here, actually started on this campus. As dim as it was, I do know I was a strong eighth grade Daughters of the American Revolution winner, the American History Award.
SH: Congratulations. [laughter]
MM: Thank you very much.
SM: A little belated.
MM: Yes. Let me be bold, they didn't know I was Jewish [laughter] when they honored me, because I wasn't sitting there at the Highland School with a yarmulke. [laughter] They made a mistake, but I was always a student of American history. ... A certain commentator had a program this week and asked his audience--a certain Fox commentator, had an all-black audience, five o'clock, Friday, Glenn Beck--and he asked that crowd, "How many of you are looking back at de Tocqueville?" he didn't name it, but, you know, Federalist Papers, all this good stuff, and almost every hand went up, because people are rediscovering constitutional issues, because of our present society. I didn't have ... any issues with constitutional [issues], perceptions of constitutional threats, in the '50s and even the '60s, but I was into knowing the history of the Revolution and what James Madison wrote, try to get through--Federalist Papers are very difficult to get through, you know, because of the English, or what is it? I guess, Old English--but that obviously must have been in the eighth grade. I guess I impressed somebody that I was an American history student.
SH: Pressed on.
MM: Yes, yes. Civil War, I didn't really study the Civil War. The first war I studied was World War II, but going back to the Revolution, the crossing of the Delaware [River] is Christmas Day, if we all want to go. I think it's a Friday, but we could go in the morning. The fellow who dressed as George Washington passed away. [Editor's Note: Mr. Morrison is referring to an annual recreation of Washington's crossing during the American Revolution.]
SM: Oh, really?
MM: Yes, the guy we saw last year. Did you go with us?
MM: Okay, my wife and I went.
SH: They cancelled it last year, by the way.
MM: No, we went last year. It was the year before; oh, the crossing was cancelled because of the tides, yes. Did you go?
MM: Oh, how come you didn't go? [laughter]
MM: I was saying that early, young Mark Morrison's history interests have obviously come forward, full-blown, to a strong interest and opinions on politics, Rutgers politics included, yes. We had Mason Gross.
SH: Did you graduate before Professor Genovese became famous for his comments?
SM: This is my area of expertise right now.
MM: ... It is?
SM: I am doing Genovese and the Dumont-Hughes case.
MM: That was after me.
SM: That is what I am doing right now. [Editor's Note: Eugene Genovese was a Rutgers Professor of History who stated that he welcomed what he believed would be an impending Vietcong victory in Vietnam. Wayne Dumont, a Republican New Jersey State Senator then running for Governor, met with Rutgers President Mason Gross about Genovese's comments. Governor Richard Hughes, the Democratic incumbent, supported President Gross's decision to support Genovese's right to free expression and academic freedom.]
MM: Well, it was after me.
SM: That was the Fall of 1965, April 1965 when it started.
MM: ... I was not aware. ... I was not aware of a lot of things. [laughter]
SH: Did you see the news stories about Genovese in the papers? Were you astonished that it was about Rutgers?
MM: Not while I was still here. ... I'm looking at Sarah--did that break after I graduated?
SM: Yes, April 1965 is when Genovese got up and said he welcomed a Vietcong victory.
MM: Okay. I was suffering at NYU at that point. Yes, what are you doing that [for], a paper?
SM: I am looking through the Targum archives. No, it is my research here. [Editor's Note: The Daily Targum is the Rutgers student newspaper.]
MM: ... Other than marijuana, I don't think there's anything on campus. That was confined to jazz musicians in Greenwich Village. Hard drugs, I don't think, were not only not prevalent, I don't think they were even present. Alcohol was, that's for sure, beer. That hasn't changed. We really did bring glass beer bottles to the football games. How they allowed that was beyond me, but we used to bring [it] in by the case, not that I had much, but ... I remember the glass bottles breaking.
SH: Did they allow you to bring them in?
MM: Yes, oh, no, we were ...
MM: Believe me, it wasn't hidden.
SM: Was the drinking age eighteen at that point?
MM: Drinking must have been eighteen, because you had to go--no drinking would have been twenty-one.
SM: When you were in college?
MM: I think so, right? I think so, because others--not your father--used to go in the trunks of cars into Staten Island, because New York was eighteen. Yes, it was the reverse, but I remember one game, I don't remember who I was with, but we had glass bottles, one of them broke. ... Guard said, "You've got to be careful." Today, I don't think you can bring in a cup of coffee in there.
SM: You cannot bring in water. They make you throw it out.
MM: Yes, it's ridiculous, but, ... see, that was a pleasantry. Let's dwell on it; I went to the football games. I was not Sabbath observant. I went the one year we were undefeated, was the game after Thanksgiving. The stadium had the ivy on one end. ... People were packed in--they were sitting in the ivy. We were playing Columbia to have an undefeated season. Then, there was a quasi-parade later, down College Avenue, "Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl," and the other end was open, didn't have the, forgive me, ... 102-million-dollar [stadium renovations]. So, it was intercollegiate football at its finest, Colgate, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Lehigh, Lafayette, all this traditional stuff was very, very [prevalent], Princeton, first game of the year. One year was Rosh Hashanah. I didn't go, because I had that much sense not to go, and we went to Princeton. I don't think we ever played here, actually. The game, for some reason, I think, always went to Princeton, because it sat more people. ... Another year, the ninth game, they had one tough game, unlike the cream puff schedule of this year, Quantico Marines. ... 8-0 became 8-1, because these were Marines, who had graduated college, who decided to play a little football and Rutgers took them on that year, but it was school spirit, the Rutgers band, with their stupid cap hats, and they couldn't march. ...
MM: But, it was true, and probably still can't march, I guess. I saw your "R-U" in the Targum, by the way. She's part of the "R."
SM: I was in the "R."
MM: That was school spirit, okay. ...
SH: Did they steal the cannon?
MM: Absolutely. I don't know if it was stolen, but it was being fired off after every touchdown. They still do that? [Editor's Note: Ms. Holyoak was referring to "the Cannon War," a series of pranks between Rutgers and Princeton students in an earlier era. Mr. Morrison is referring to a cannon shot a various times during Rutgers football games, such as when the team scores.]
SM: They still do that.
SM: The cannon is right behind the student section.
MM: We were perceived beyond the athletic fields. We were perceived as an almost Ivy League institution, and that was reflected in the schedule, Colgate, all these eastern schools--none of this Texas Southern and, "Yes, give them three hundred thousand dollars to come up, so [that] we've got a win." There'll be three games left. They may win all three.
SM: West Virginia.
MM: West Virginia is shaky about a win, but ...
SH: We are talking about the current season.
MM: Current season, yes, yes. Syracuse and Tennessee, if they lose, really, they should hang him, [Rutgers Football coach Greg Schiano], and, you know, have him drive the Escalade back to his house and he could stay there. So, one of the Division III games doesn't count. It's probably going to be the St. Petersburg Bowl. Anyway, bowls didn't really exist [in the 1960s]. It was done for the fun of being on campus. There was no spring football practice. It didn't exist. The football players played lacrosse, and Rutgers was ranked nationally in lacrosse. There were no women sports, because this was before Title '67.
SH: Title IX. [Editor's Note: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires gender equity in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding.]
MM: 1967. ... So, the only thing that stank outright was the basketball game, but I was at the Barn, in my usual seat, getting into my card. [Editor's Note: "The Barn" is a nickname for the College Avenue Gym on the Rutgers Campus.] Did you find your card?
MM: ... You'll find your card. So, that was a cohesion with the much smaller campus. ...
SH: Did you take dates to football games?
MM: If I had the courage to find a girl, I would take a date, a girl. If not, we went with the little group with the beer. Well, we wanted the beer with the date, too. There was a story in The Wall Street Journal this week that was very typical. It was a big fraternity thing, of course, to go to the football game, and because of the demand for tickets, currently, in [the] Southeast Conference or someplace, they actually recruit women. Fraternity brothers recruit women to go to the games. They have no idea what the game's about and everybody's blitzed beyond their meat. Now, I guess the girls are the designated driver after the game, but, if they don't go, they have to give up the tickets, okay, because there's pressure--you know, national TV, Auburn vs. Georgia, empty seats in the student section, uh-uh. So, guys are dressing up with jackets and ties. The girls are coming dressed, you know, in dresses, high heels, the whole works. They had one picture of a girl, she was in boots, you know, looked like she was going to a wedding, just to give the reminiscent appearance of school spirit, but that's the way it was here, all right. People dressed up. ...
SH: They bought the girls corsages.
MM: Corsage, the whole works, absolutely, yes, and, if the place sat twenty-five thousand, other than the Columbia game, I don't think it ever sold out, but the hardcore went. The other side was for the visiting team, who maybe had some people show up, not like today, where it's all really Rutgers. ... The University of South Florida actually gave their tickets back. People didn't want to come up. ... I was going to go, because it was a Thursday, not a Saturday.
MM: ... It'll be fifty bucks to sit upstairs. Then, I've got to deal with getting there. I can't go in the drunk bus. [laughter] I mean, I suppose I could. See, Sarah walks from the apartment, which is a great thing. So, I've got, what? twenty bucks to park the car and try to get out of there after, come on.
SM: Yes, it is not worth it.
MM: Yes, I'd rather go with my five-dollar ticket to the soccer game, but ... that was real campus life, ... no TV. WRSU, which I wasn't aware of until afterwards, broadcast, and CTC on the AM. There was no TV, there was no cable coverage. Money wasn't the issue. It was small-time. I don't even think the divisions existed. It was simply college football.
SH: Were you a part of the Daily Targum?
MM: ... No, other than to read it and send letters in, which I'm still very good at doing. My high school classmate, Mark (Perlgut?), was one of the page editors. It was not this thick.
SM: Four pages.
MM: It was four pages. ... Although I was the sports editor of the Highland Park High School paper, I didn't go here. Mark had one of the pages and, when he used to have stuff in, ... or other people, I would make comments, but it was very small. It just seems to be, how should I say? better written. ... Is that a fair statement?
SH: Did the Daily Targum deal only with local matters?
MM: ... It was more parochial. It was Rutgers. Is that fair, or did it [cover], maybe, New Brunswick issues?
SM: It was very much Rutgers-only issues.
MM: I think so, yes. Then, they had The Mugrat. ... Do you still have it?
SM: Now, it is The Medium. It is different; oh, the fake issue?
MM: The fake issue, The Mugrat.
SM: They do not call it The Mugrat.
MM: You still have it?
MM: Okay, which was pretty funny, you know, Mason Gross in shorts, you know, with a cigar or something, stuff like that. ... [Editor's Note: Every semester, the school newspaper publishes a fake issue that parodies the news. There is also a weekly satirical paper, The Medium.]
SH: What about townies and gownies? Did that rivalry exist then?
MM: ... I didn't have an issue with it, but there was, probably, yes, ... this integration, physically, of students into New Brunswick and the New Brunswick townies, ... I think this is what you're getting to, didn't like that. You know, everybody was supposedly ... elitist snobs coming off campus and they were New Brunswick High School types, but that was a misperception, because, again, this was a middle-class school. You know, it had the academic prestige and the thought process. ... You know, probably, listen, a lot of college guys probably looked down on the townies, was probably neutral.
SH: You think so.
MM: Yes, that was probably there, but, again, the town, to me, was a vibrant, shopper-oriented place with all the synagogues, with all the churches. It was a great town up until [the] middle '70s, late '70s.
SH: Before World War II, there were mandatory chapel services. Did you have that when you attended Rutgers?
MM: Yes, I'll have to take a blank. I don't remember. Part of the graduation ceremony was to go to Kirkpatrick, yes, and then, we had this lovely graduation in the stadium, right--be envious, because I know where they have them now.
SM: Voorhees Mall, and you walk through the gates, on the College Avenue Campus.
MM: We walked down. We sat on the field and Mason gave one of his "bring your dictionary" charges. ... We walked down the steps. I think there were steps on the side of the ivy, I don't remember, or at the end of the cement seats, and we walked down onto the [field], very impressive. That was really nice. NYU, I didn't go. It was uptown. I didn't care. [laughter] ... This was good, yes.
SH: He was the keynote speaker.
MM: Absolutely, yes, right. ... Again, the townie issue had to be there, but, being off in Highland Park or only on campus [for classes], I wasn't aware of it. I don't think there's any, you know, overt fist-fights, but that was probably true. There's so much, I gather, the hundredth time I'm saying it, [but] much smaller campus, with the girls at the other end, right. [I] walk around now, I just shake my head. I can't believe it. It's more girls than guys.
SH: There are.
SH: Do you want to put anything else about Rutgers on the record?
MM: The only thing I really want to put on record is, I missed out a lot by not being on campus. I think I opened with that and would have to repeat it. I get more vicarious pleasure over Sarah's multiple interests, of what she's doing on campus. I don't know if she's typical or atypical--she's Sarah--but between this project and the radio station and, I believe, managing the apartment in her spare time, right? and texting to whoever she's texting to. [Editor's Note: Sarah Morrison is Mark Morrison's daughter, a Rutgers student majoring in journalism and media studies and history. She also hosts a radio show on the University radio station.]
SM: I am late for a bunch of things.
MM: What are you late for?
SH: Let me know.
MM: Looking back, I have heavy regrets I didn't do more in the four years, and the vicariousness, if that's the word, of supporting the radio station was the first step, tied to the musical interest, Sarah now being on campus, my ongoing, naïve but pure view of what athletics should be about. If I could ever get involved--I never did join the Committee of 1000 [Rutgers 1000] to protest what happened, particularly the dropping of the ... so-called minor sports--but, if anything could ... ever be done as an alumni to let somebody know, "You've really got to put these sports back, okay," that, I would want to do. It was a terrific liberal arts education that opened me to political thinking and to the world of art, if nothing else, and not everybody had a classroom where they shot a gun off. [laughter] So, that happened--not today, not today.
MM: There weren't a lot of the [problems]. The drug pressure wasn't there. The alcohol was perceived to be part of campus life. ... I think there might have been a bigger fraternity presence. We really didn't talk about that. I was certainly not one to join a fraternity. There were the Jewish fraternities and the non-Jewish fraternities, ... and I thought that was all stupid.
SH: Did you feel any anti-Semitism on campus?
MM: Well, we had the one incident of this, whatever the chapter was, where Chabad is now, where they hung out the Torah. ... I guess it was the bimah cover. [Editor's Note: Chabad- Lubavitch is a sect of the Hassidic Movement that conducts Jewish outreach at university campuses.]
SM: (Twilightzer?). I do not remember which.
MM: Bimah cover.
SM: Some sort of Jewish artifact. They burned it.
MM: Right. ... Within certain elements in the fraternity world, there was definite anti-Semitism. ...
SH: Did you personally feel anti-Semitism on campus?
MM: I was invisible as being Jewish. I was already in my Diaspora mode, without the tzitzit hanging out, didn't wear a yarmulke. [Editor's Note: Tzitzit are fringes tied onto each corner of a tallit, a four-cornered prayer shawl. A yarmulke is a skullcap.] Mark Morrison didn't have the clichéd facial features, so, I could pass, but, if you wanted to rush certain fraternities and they found out you were Jewish, you were gone. There's no doubt. It's probably still true today, but there's alternatives. There's a smaller fraternity presence. There's still the Jewish houses, right? AEPi [Alpha Epsilon Pi, an international Jewish fraternity] and whatever.
SM: Yes, there are two.
MM: ... At least two, and besides which, now, you've got Hillel. You know, you've got this fraternity, and, plus, you have girls--yes, a little more strictly observed over at Chabad--but you have, you know, Hillel as alternatives. ... There was covert or overt anti-Semitism, depending on where you tried to go--not within the classroom.
MM: No, no, I don't think there was anything within the classroom. I don't think it came up. It was apathetic.
SH: Have you stayed involved with any of the alumni groups?
MM: No. I'm not one for that. Well, there's a practical problem. When they have Alumni Weekend, it involves the Sabbath. Could I go to some of the things? yes, but I don't know who to seek out, because I don't remember anybody, being close to anybody, except my friend Bobby. ... I think he's gone to one or two. Mark (Bush?), who was in my class, a lawyer, I think he is involved with sending out the notices and stuff, but I'm not that kind of joiner. I'd rather stay active by, from my perspective, supporting the athletic programs that I like. I got a call from the person soliciting money for the library, but I had to beg off, because it was, like, half-hour to Shabbos. So, I'm sure I'll give a couple dollars there. ... Before I knew Sarah was staying, I gave twenty-five dollars to whoever called about a year ago, but I lectured him on my problems, and I'm not the only one, of giving money because of the football situation, to be candid, okay. I don't want any of it, ever, [to] go in that direction, but, if there's a worthy cause on campus, I will absolutely consider it. Some people have been really generous. Yes, Carl Woodward, who I went to high school with, not in my class, I think he was a year or two before [me in school], his father was a big man at J&J [Johnson and Johnson].
SH: We interviewed his father.
MM: Oh, you did. Is his father still alive? No, he just passed away recently?
SH: Both the mother and he passed away, regrettably.
MM: Right, Carl was Carl Woodward, III.
SH: Yes, and Mr. Woodward, Jr., tried to get Carl Woodward, III, to participate, if you have any pull.
MM: ... I don't have any pull, but, if you think I like to talk, you've got to find Carl. I can hear him now. His father was at J&J, I think, way up there.
MM: Yes, a lovely family, Carl Woodward, III. ... So, again, it's regrets, looking back. I'm old and beat up, but I'm doing what I can. If Sarah weren't here, would I still do it? ... to a much lesser [extent], except for the radio station.
SH: I do thank you for coming in.
MM: My pleasure. Well, we're going to see each other again, in break or whatever, and, if I ever get the yearbooks, you're welcome to breeze through. ...
SH: Thank you again for coming in. We will say goodbye until next time.
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Reviewed by Matt Knoblauch 3/1/11
Reviewed by Noah Glyn 3/1/11
Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 11/21/11
Reviewed by Sophie Morrison 1/29/12