Sandra Stewart Holyoak: This begins an interview with Howard McGinn on April 5th, 2011 in New Brunswick, New Jersey with Sandra Stewart Holyoak and Conner Mason. Thank you very much Mr. McGinn for driving in today to speak with us. For the record, could you tell us where and when you were born?
Howard McGinn: January 11th, 1944 in Hartford, Connecticut.
SH: To begin, let us start with your family history. Can you tell us about your father and his family background?
HM: ... Genealogy is one of my hobbies so if I go too deep into this, flag me down. My dad was Frank McGinn, born in Yonkers, New York, raised in Yonkers, New York. Quickly, as far as some of his life experience, he ... finished high school, went to NYU for a while, and I understand he was a salesman for American Standard plumbing in New York before the Depression, apparently lost his job during the Depression. One of his great lines that I heard many times is that he walked the streets for two and a half years during the Depression. He ultimately ended up in nursing school in Westchester County, became a registered nurse. I once asked him why as an Irish Catholic from urban Yonkers, why he was a registered Republican, and he told me that a Republican politician had helped him get into nursing school, and his promise was that he would be a Republican, and he was, and he stayed a Republican.
SH: You said he went to college. Did he have a large family?
HM: No, he had one sibling who died in infancy, so he was an only child. His dad, also Frank, was a fireman in Yonkers, New York and to go back further, the first of the family that I'm aware of here is ... around 1850 in Kingston, New York, James and Sarah McGinn from some place in Ireland. We haven't figured out where yet, although I have a tombstone that I found of one of their children that says he was a man of Toriras, land of Carnally, County Armagh. Toriras, I assume is an estate, Carnally is a town land, and I've driven around that town land, and County Armagh of course is in the north. ... The Irish records are difficult to find much on, so I haven't been able to get further back. Their son Edward married a Mary Deegan who was a neighbor in Kingston, and they came to Yonkers--1860 approximately--and he was a wagon man and had a fairly good business in Yonkers, I understand, and they had seven or eight kids, and Frank was my grandfather. I recently ... met a fellow from Kingston who is a descendant of the Deegan's, and we've been trying to find out where that family came from without great success either. My dad became a registered nurse, graduated in 1939, and my mother was a nurse, had gone to nursing school in Upstate New York. She was raised up in the Rochester, New York area, and she was working Downstate. At one point she worked at the Cornell Medical Center, and then, she worked at Grasslands which is a Westchester County Hospital. Some of it was psychiatric hospital, some of it was, I guess, general care. I assume they met somehow there and they were married in White Plains, New York in 1940, and I was born in '44 at which point my dad was a nurse working for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company. He was forty at the time. ... One of the genealogical things you look for is the draft registrations, and I've looked for a draft registration on him and didn't find one, so I don't know if late thirties or early forties, that age was beyond the draft registration time or not.
SH: Was his father employed during the Depression?
HM: Yes, I believe so. His obituary is in the late '30s, '38 or so, and he was a fireman. At that time, I think he was a lieutenant in the fire department, so I guess public service jobs like that were fine.
SH: Did your father say if he lived at home or with the family when he was working with American Standard?
HM: I think if I recall right, the 1920 census shows him living with his family. ... I'm not sure what 1930 shows, but ... we didn't talk much about family. One of the great regrets we always have doing this genealogical research is we never talked to the older folks when we should and dig out the information they know.
SH: One of the things that you showed on the pre-interview survey was that he was part of a CCC camp in 1934 or 1935.
HM: Yes, somewhere there was a photograph of him, I think in a CCC uniform, and I don't know that I ever heard much more about that. I think he was up in New York State, Northern New York, Plattsburg area or in the CCC camp, but he never talked a great deal about that either, except that he had that experience.
SH: He was about thirty-seven when the war broke out?
HM: About that, yes ... approximately.
SH: I think you said that he had already become a nurse. I am wondering if that would have been a deferred employment.
HM: Quite possibly, yes, because he graduated in '39.
SH: The draft really did not start until 1940.
HM: That could well be.
SH: Did he have specialty in nursing?
HM: His job through all of my life was as a psychiatric nurse. ... After the war, we moved. I'm not sure if he was terminated from the job at Pratt & Whitney, or why it ended, but we moved to upstate New York. For a while, we lived with my mother's father in Fairport, New York, and my dad ... worked at the Veterans Administration hospital in Canandaigua, New York, which was a psychiatric hospital, primarily. ... Well I guess it had a medical component, but primarily psychiatric, post World War II. ... Actually, for a period of time--I was probably three, four years old--we lived on the grounds of the hospital in a Quonset hut. They had a row of Quonset huts where employees lived. So, I had the experience of living right on the grounds of the psychiatric hospital, so I remember sometimes hearing, you know, screams coming from the buildings across the way.
SH: Was it frightening when you would hear things like this or was this just the way it was? Were there explanations?
HM: In 1952--my dad's goal was to move to Florida long term--he transferred to a hospital in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and he never got any further south than that, but I remember hearing, whether it was in Lebanon or Canandaigua, about the lobotomies that were done at that time, and so forth but I don't recall being frightened. I remember occasionally chatting with some of the patients on the grounds.
SH: Did you have free reign as far as where you could go on the grounds?
HM: Yes, in fact, adjacent to and part of the property in Canandaigua, had been an estate, there was a beautiful garden, big old mansion was the single nurses' residence, and as a kid, there was another kid about my age that lived there, and we'd wander and play there and go all over the place. Now, if you go up to Canandaigua, New York, that garden is now called Sonnenberg Gardens, and it's a public garden that you pay some money and go in and tour around, ... little Japanese gardens and gold fish ponds and so forth. I went up there a few years ago and saw some of the places we used to play. Now, today, a three, four, or five year old, nobody'd let them out of their sight, but in those days you could go and play and not have any problems. ...
SH: Before we go really any further, I would like to ask you to talk about your mother, her family background and her maiden name.
HM: Her maiden was Wissick, W-I-S-S-I-C-K, in Germany it was Wissig, W-I-S-S-I-G. Her grandfather, my great grandfather, Johan Georg Wissig, came over probably in the 1850s, served in the Civil War. I have his Civil War records which are interesting. He was shot at the Battle of Cold Harbor in the arm, was out of service for a while, but went back into action. I forget the various places, he was in Virginia, and he was with one of the New York regiments. I recently found a book on the history of that regiment, so I've been able to pull a little bit together on what might have happened at Cold Harbor. Apparently, on the way home from fighting, the story is he was hit by a train, run over by a train, but he lost his arm below the elbow, and I have his wooden arm, hand carved wooden arm with leather washers and a metal hook on it, and this strap that would go over the shoulders. ... It had to be a postwar accident, because his various pension petitions talk about various things, but not the loss of the arm, so that was not a war injury, but apparently occurred on the way back. ... During the war he married Mary Bergmaster, who was Dutch. She had come over from Holland with her folks. I forget the exact dates, but I know one of her siblings died on the boat on the way over, a young child. They had eight or nine kids. He was a painter and a farmer in the Palmyra, New York area, and their son Daniel was my grandfather. He was a farmer initially. I guess he and his brother had a farm, and then, later in Fairport, New York where he moved, I think in the twenties, he was a factory worker, worked for the Certo Plant. They had my mother, and she had one brother, Howard, afyer whom I'm named. I'm trying to think of other interesting parts about that family, but that's sort of that history.
SH: On the pre-interview survey you had said your mother was born in Spencerport.
HM: Spencerport, New York, a small town somewhere up in that Rochester area, must have been along the Erie Canal to be named Spencerport. I've never been in that town.
SH: I was just curious why the family would have been there. It is interesting that she was born in Spencerport.
HM: He may have been working on a farm there. He probably started off as a farm laborer. ... I probably have their 1920 census report that would indicate what he did, but I forget off hand, but I would suspect he was a farm laborer.
SH: As a kid growing up do you know if your mother spoke German or was she totally immersed in American English at that point?
HM: Her grandfather, my great grandfather, may have been pretty much German-speaking. I do have some documents. One of her cousins, his confirmation certificates from the Lutheran Church are in German, all rolled up, beautiful documents but, I don't know if she ever had much German language skills, and I don't know about my grandfather. If he did, I never knew that.
SH: I noticed too that it said that your mother converted to Catholicism when she married your father.
SH: Was the church important for you as a child growing up?
HM: Yes, in upstate New York when we lived up there ... in a little town called Shortsville, near Canandaigua, I went to public school through the beginning of fourth grade. When we moved to Lebanon, there was a Catholic school there, so they sent me to the Catholic school. ... I did Catholic school from fourth grade through graduation from high school, and I was an altar boy. ... Well, going to school in a Catholic school, it's a significant part of the life. My mother as a convert was probably more devout than my dad or myself.
SH: You were born in Hartford, Connecticut.
SH: Why was the family in Hartford then? Was Hartford close to one of the hospitals that your father was working in?
HM: ... The Pratt & Whitney factory was in or around Hartford. ... I don't know how they got from Westchester County to Hartford, whether he got the job, and then relocated there or not. I do know, I think my uncle had told me, my Uncle Howard was in World War II, and he never talked much about it, but one night I got him, after a few drinks, got him going a bit, and I think he's the one who told me, that after the war he may have gone up to visit them in Hartford, and my dad's job had been terminated. I'm not one hundred percent sure of that, and that's when they relocated to stay with my maternal grandfather.
SH: Pratt & Whitney probably built up during the war, and then downsized after the war, just like other war industries.
HM: Right, exactly. That would be the assumption, yes.
SH: What are your earliest memories of growing up?
HM: Canandaigua Hospital, Canandaigua would be the hospital, yes. I have memories of playing there, and so forth, ... I don't have any recollection of Hartford particularly, but I do recall Canandaigua. ... Before school, so I was probably three or four, we moved to Shortsville which is a small town, five, ten miles from Canandaigua, very small crossroads town. I do recall that move. ... I was four when I started kindergarten. I was young for my class. With a January birthday, I snuck in, and I recall going to school there. Again the freedom to roam, at that age, I rode my bike to school probably eight or ten blocks, probably in first grade, and we had the run of the town, that little town. I was in the Shortsville Elementary School through third grade, and then there was a consolidation at school starting fourth grade. There's two towns, Shortsville and Manchester, and they consolidated their schools into the Red Jacket Central School District in honor of Red Jacket, the Indian chief up in that area. ... I don't know the nation or the tribe, but he was a quite well-known Indian chief, and I started fourth grade there, bussed over to Manchester, the little adjoining town. Then it was October of 1952 when we moved from Shortsville down to Lebanon, Pennsylvania and went on from there.
SH: Was your mother continuing to nurse?
HM: No, she pretty much was a stay-at-home mom through Canandaigua, Shortsville. As I got older in Lebanon, she worked part-time. I remember she worked for a while. There was a place we used to call the "Widow's Home," a home for aged women, and she worked there part-time. I don't know if she did any hospital nursing part-time, never full-time outside the house.
SH: What were the social activities that you remember the family being involved in?
HM: My dad was quite a joiner of organizations. ... I found some clippings again in my genealogical research, I guess in Canandaigua, I saw he was some sort of a mental health outreach adjunct or coordinator, I found an article on that. In Shortsville, I know he was in the Lion's Club. He was a secretary treasurer of that organization, and I think he was in the fire company as a record keeping organizer. ... It didn't strike me that he ever went out and actually fought fires in the volunteer fire company. My mother is pretty quiet, did a lot of knitting, was not a real outgoing social person, so she was not much of a joiner, but dad was very outgoing, would strike up a conversation with anybody.
SH: What about family vacations or outings?
HM: ... The ones I think of primarily were to the Jersey Shore, speaking of Jersey Shore this week. My dad, I guess as a young man, had gone to Asbury Park from Westchester County from Yonkers. I remember him telling me he had seen the Morro Castle burn. Now, the Morro Castle was a ship, that I guess had a fire and grounded itself right off Asbury Park, and I think he said he saw that. We used to go to Asbury Park or sometimes we'd stay in Ocean Grove for a week in one of the little hotels in Ocean Grove. [Editor's Note: The SS Morro Castle, a Ward Line luxury cruise ship, caught fire and burned off the Jersey Shore en route from Havana to New York, killing 137 passengers and crew, on September 8, 1934.] ... When I was quite young, we did a road trip out to Chicago in the late '40s, early '50s, it was the Railroad Fair in Chicago. ... We stopped at Notre Dame in Indiana, and my dad was in the Moose Club in Canandaigua, so we stopped at Mooseheart which was a children's home that the Moose ran in Illinois, and we saw the Railroad Fair in Chicago. I remember seeing a Native American pueblo there, but I have some memories of that. ... My dad had two maiden aunts, Aunt Dell and Aunt Mary, who lived in Yonkers together in an apartment building. We used to go visit them, and Mary passed away in Yonkers. Then in Lebanon when I was probably eight, nine, ten years old Aunt Dell came and lived with us for several years in the house. One, or both of them, made that automobile trip with us to Chicago, I recall. I'm trying to think of other vacations. ... The series of Jersey Shore things and Chicago are the two that come to mind. There are probably some others.
SH: Were there other family trips? Did you see them on holidays?
HM: Generally at home. We'd go visit my mom's family up in Fairport with some frequency, and sometimes we'd meet for dinner halfway between, up somewhere north of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. ... Her father lived in the same house from the '20s, and when he passed away, his son, my uncle and his wife, lived in that house. That house in Fairport was in the family until about four years ago when my uncle passed away. ... That was sort of the family homestead. ... My dad was an only child, but he had obviously had a lot of cousins. I never really knew much of that family. We would occasionally visit some relatives in Yonkers. In fact, I found some information which leads me to believe that the part of that family that stayed in Kingston, New York may have lost contact with the son who went to Yonkers from what I can tell. So, there was really not much of a family on my dad's side, and my mom had some cousins in the ... Rochester, New York area that I had some contact with.
SH: You have traveled a lot. Is your entire family interested in genealogy?
HM: Not too much. I'm now working on my grandkids' lines. I sent what I'd found to my daughter-in-law's dad not too long ago, and he was very impressed with that. He's French Canadian, and I've got some stuff back into Quebec. My son-in-law's parents, particularly his mom, is very interested in some of the stuff that I have found. I've been working on them in between other stuff recently.
SH: That is good that you have got the whole family interested.
HM: ... What I'd like to do is put it all together. I've got a program that creates a pretty nice printed out thing, and I want to get that. My oldest grandchild, granddaughter, is twelve now, and I think she's about the age when she might appreciate that, so I hope to put that in form for the grandkids. ...
SH: That is great. Do you think your father was involved in administration when he was a nurse?
HM: At best it was perhaps as a ward supervisor. He wasn't chief of, you know, whatever they call the chief nurse or anything like that. He had aides working for or with him. I remember him talking about it, and I've met some of the aides at times doing different things, but not high-level administration. ...
SH: Can you describe your time in Lebanon and what you remember about the town?
HM: Yes, Lebanon ... at that time was a steel town. Bethlehem Steel had a good sized plant there. The Lebanon Steel Foundry was a smaller independent company. I guess when I was in late grammar school, a boiler manufacturing company called Cleaver-Brooks from Wisconsin moved into town. I ultimately did some summer work with them. Lebanon had about twenty-five, thirty-thousand people. We lived in the suburbs of the city, South Lebanon Township, didn't live right in the urban center, but a nice town. ... Again, from fourth grade up, you know, the free reign playing any place around. There was a bus service, so we usually took a bus downtown. A lot of people that grew up there stayed there. I have my fiftieth high school reunion coming up this June, and there's a group of people that still live out there. I think one of their big social events is every couple of months, they meet to plan the next reunion.
SH: It is a good reason for coffee and breakfast.
SH: What were your interests as a kid growing up? Were you in the Boy Scouts?
HM: ... Sports, Boy Scouts, I was in a very small high school, it had a band, and when I was, I think in fifth grade, the band director was soliciting people to learn to play instruments, so I wanted to play a trumpet, but I didn't have the right mouth formation for it, so I ended up playing the clarinet. By the time I learned how to hold the clarinet I was in fifth grade, and they gave me a uniform, and I went out and marched with the band on the football field at halftime. So, I was in the band. I was moderately active in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, never became an Eagle Scout. I think the best I got was Star, but I did summer camps at Boy Scout Camp with them. I did a few years at a YMCA summer camp ... fifth, sixth grade, in that era. I played little league baseball, midget football one year. They had a weight limit that I was sort of close on so that was tough. ... They created the Little League baseball team, probably when I was eleven or twelve, so I only played one year on that. We had a record of one win and nineteen losses and we lost a game fifty-one to one in six innings. [laughter] I played eighth grade basketball. ... They had a diocesan tournament, so we went out to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania for a weekend to play in that diocesan tournament. I don't know how good we did, but I did that. Yes, those were the grammar school years. ... The elementary school I was in was through eighth grade, and then, I went to the local Catholic high school which brought some kids in from some other parishes, and let's see, sports wise, I played freshman and JV basketball, freshman, JV, varsity football, went out for baseball, didn't make the baseball team, and those were the sports. I stayed in scouting. I actually went to, in scouting, I went to one of the Boy Scout Jamborees, 1956 Valley Forge, where the Boy Scouts come in from all over the country, and that was a neat experience. It was with a group from our whole council, so I got to know other kids from that Lebanon area and just to wander around and meet kids from all over the country. Swapping patches and that type of thing was a big thing then. I remember some of the Texas kids were swapping live ... little horned toads, creatures that I had for a while. ... It was Vice President Nixon at one of the big assemblies, '56, would that be right, yes, that would be right, Vice President to Eisenhower, in the '50s, ... was at one of those assemblages. Also in the Scouts, our council got a group of boys, and we did Philmont Scout Reservation in New Mexico which is still there in Cimarron, New Mexico, a hundred twenty thousand acre ranch in the mountains in the, Blood of Christ, Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico. ... We drove out there, had adult leaders who drove us in three station wagons in a car caravan, and we stayed at military bases along the way. We stayed at an Air Force base in Ohio and an Air Force base in Illinois, and we spent a couple of days in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson and toured some of the tourist attractions there. Then at Philmont we hiked for a week, ten days, hiked one mountain up to about thirteen thousand, no maybe eleven thousand feet, and camped there. It was a fun experience, very interesting experience. I went back and saw Philmont several years ago when I was out in that area. So that was scouting. ... I did well in high school. I was the editor of the yearbook, student council, that sort of thing. ... I graduated as valedictorian. It was a small, somewhere between ninety and ninety-five graduating students in that class.
HM: Thank you. [laughter]
SH: Did your parents ever talk about the decision to send you to Catholic school rather than to continue on in public education? Were you privy to those conversations?
HM: I don't recall anything about that. Obviously my mom had not been to Catholic school. I don't know if my dad went to Catholic School in Yonkers or not. No, I really don't know anything about that call. ... I got a bus to the Catholic School within a block of the house. I could have gotten a bus to the public school within a block of the house, so it was not an issue of ease of access, and I don't know whether it was primarily my mom or my dad or who or why.
SH: During the period after World War II, did you have to do civil defense drills?
HM: Yes, I recall in school having the air raid drills and getting under the desk, that type of thing. I know our next door neighbor, a fellow who was a school psychologist in the Lebanon public schools, built a house right next to us while we lived in Lebanon, and during his construction or post construction, he built a little bomb shelter adjunct to the basement there and stocked it up with goods, with food, and so forth. I don't remember any great fears about it, but it was there, and we practiced for it. Jumping ahead a bit, I remember one night at Rutgers, sophomore year, we were in Livingston dorm, and I guess it was when, that had to be '62, '63 when the US got involved with Cuba, and we were looking, we were on the fifth or sixth floor in Livingston and sort of looking up in the New York direction to see if we'd see any bombs falling up there.
HM: Yes, I remember that night ... some concern about what was going on there.
SH: This would be jumping ahead, but I'm very curious about how the University portrayed the Cuban Missile crisis to the students. Was this something where everybody kept the televisions on to watch what was going on?
HM: Very few televisions in the dorms at that point in time.
SH: How was the news disseminated? Was it through radio and newspapers?
HM: I'm not sure. I just sort of remember that evening and that sense of wonder or foreboding or whatever. ... I don't remember any particular communications from the University. I assume Targum may have covered some things at that point in time. ... Some of us got some of the regular newspapers, no specific recollection of that though.
SH: To return to your high school years, was there any interaction with the public school system and your Catholic high school in terms of sports or organization? Did your sports teams play within a Catholic league or did they play public schools too?
HM: No, our sports teams in football were a league of, I guess smaller high schools, Reading, Lancaster area, both public and parochial. The basketball league was more the parochial schools, we'd go up into the coal regions, Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Pottsville, Shenandoah, but we played area public schools in non-league games. We played a Catholic school down in McSherrystown, way south of Harrisburg. Otherwise there was not a lot of interaction with the public school folks. I got to know a few kids through Scouting in the public schools. I remember one year, junior year, we had a lay teacher, a non-nun for English, Miss Nichols, and we went into class one day, and she said, "Well, I want you to write a poem about peace. There's a contest for high school students." So, I sort of hacked around for a while and was sort of playing beatnik poet with things, and I finally slapped out a few lines, and it turned out, I got second or third prize. I had to miss football practice to go the public high school to get the prize, and the English teacher said, "Did you really write this?" [laughter] "Yes, I did." I won a little book of Emily Dickinson poems, but she was suspicious I think.
SH: Were there other incidents or memories of that time that we did not ask about before we start talking about your decision to come to Rutgers in the early '60s?
HM: I'm sure there are, nothing really jumps out at this point in time that I can think of.
Conner Mason: Catholic schools used to have a stereotypical view of the nuns' physical discipline. Do you have an experience with that?
HM: I remember in eighth grade, seventh and eighth grade in elementary school, they separated the boys and the girls, so it was a class of boys, a class of girls. The eighth grade boys' teacher was a little tiny nun, drawing a blank on her name, but she had the ruler, and I remember once she had a ruler that was made of segmented pieces of wood neatly inlaid, and she whopped somebody and the whole ruler fell apart. ... I remember one time, by eighth grade some of us are getting a little tall. There was one fellow in the class who was probably the tallest, one of our basketball players, Ray, and he did something while in line one day, and I remember she had to jump up to slap him in the face, but she got there and hit him. Those are two of the incidents but, yes, the nuns were interesting in that regard.
SH: If you were in trouble at school were you in trouble at home?
HM: I was sort of "goodie-goodie." I didn't get into too much trouble at school, but I suspect the general attitude in those days was yes, don't tell your folks you got in trouble at school because you'd be in deeper trouble at home.
SH: Who was the disciplinarian at home, mom or dad?
HM: Probably mom more than dad.
SH: Did your father work a fairly regular day shift, work at night, or did it vary?
HM: ... Grammar school, high school time, I remember high school times, he consistently worked an evening shift, 3:30 to 11, and my folks became great fans of, my mom loved Jack Paar, the predecessor to Jay Leno, and the subsequent people who were on TV at 11:30 after that. ... We had one car in the family. ... I remember one time after I got my driver's license, I had a date, and I had to pick my dad up from work at 11 or 11:30, took the date along, picked him up, and dropped him off home, and continued on with the date. ... [laughter]
SH: What a way to get a curfew.
HM: A little impingement on the social life to some degree. ... I'm not sure why he did that. I don't know whether there was any shift pay differential there or not. I think under the federal system that pay grade was the same no matter what shift you work, but for a long time, that sort of cut back on his outside activities. I know in Lebanon at one time he was very active in the Optimist Club, so he must have been on days earlier on, and then shifted to evenings for some reason, but he was steady evenings for a long time. I remember, he was in the Optimist Club. I've seen plaques that he got after I was out of the house there for involvement with kid sports. Again, mainly record keeping, and he's typically the treasurer or the secretary of the various organizations.
SH: What were some of the big news events that you remember before you came to Rutgers?
HM: ... I looked at a couple of these interviews with other people, and one thing jogged my mind. Going to Catholic School in 1960, I graduated in '61, of course, the Kennedy campaign was a big thing. I remember him coming and speaking in the town square in Lebanon, and they either let us out of school, or trooped us all down there to hear that. So the fact of a Catholic running for President was a big thing. ... Sputnik, the first Russian orbiting satellite, I remember hearing about that in school and the push for increased science study. That was a big thing. [Editor's Note: President John F. Kennedy, having been elected in November 1960, succeeded President Dwight D. Eisenhower in January 1961.]
SH: What did you think of Kennedy? You were a junior going into your senior year when Kennedy is elected.
HM: ... I thought that the fact that it opened up the door and he was young and vibrant and the inaugural speech. ... I'm sure at school they must have trooped us in to watch the inauguration on TV. ... Speaking of the Royal Wedding coming up--really shifting gears--I remember in grammar school, and it had to be '52-'53, Queen Elizabeth's coronation they showed us. They trooped us into the auditorium, and we watched that on a big screen in grammar school, but yes, Kennedy was a good thing and hopefully bringing new things.
SH: Even though your father was Irish Catholic he was also a Republican.
HM: ... I don't know, he probably voted for Kennedy. He wasn't a diehard flip the lever or "X" in the Republican block. ... I don't recall any specifics about family talk or anything about that. ... Another thing I remember--sort of weird and speaks of the times--living in Shortsville, up in New York State which was age four to eight roughly, we lived right across, the street from a railroad track up on an embankment, and we heard that President Truman was going to be coming through on a train. So a lot of people in town just trooped out and looked up at the, he didn't stop, the train just went through, and we understood he was on that train, but we trooped out there to see the train that President Truman was going by on.
SH: You mentioned you were valedictorian of your class, so it sounds like you could have gone anywhere to college. Why did you pick Rutgers?
HM: Honestly, my dad was more involved in some of that than I was. I was sort of lackadaisical in that regard, but there was a guy in town, the son of the owner of the local steel mill, that lived in a big mansion with walls around it, he was a Yale grad, and he was trying to pump up people to get to go to Yale, and a guy a couple of years ahead of me had gone to Yale. So, I applied to Yale, and I applied to Rutgers. Rutgers was my backup school from Pennsylvania, Rutgers, Ivy League school, but yet a good price. So those were my two college applications. Again, somewhat unlike today where you read about kids applying to ten or twelve schools. Yale, I'm not sure if I was outright rejected or got on a waiting list. I know law school I applied to two schools, and my first choice I was either waiting list or rejection, so I didn't get into Yale. I got into Rutgers, and so I came to New Jersey.
SH: What were you planning to study?
HM: I started off as a math major, and I had thoughts that maybe insurance actuarial work would be interesting but I flunked five-credit calculus my first semester. I read another interview from a guy who is a little ahead of me in the fraternity, Stu Friedman and it sounded like he had much the same history. ... [laughter] So, I had calculus and physics and chemistry and English and whatever else and somehow, physics was all calculus, somehow I felt that I batted the bull on the final. ... We had the reverse grading, one was good, five was bad. I got a four in the physics course, but I got a five in the calc course, and somehow, I got a three in chemistry. I guess that was not so much calculus. So, a little change in direction was necessary, and I forget what I did second semester, but I ended up doing summer school after my first year. I took baby math to make up for the calculus, and I aced that. ...
SH: Did you take the courses here at Rutgers?
HM: Yes, I came down and stayed in Ford Hall. I ended up switching to a business major second year. I took one of those ... multiphasic personality tests. In those days, you stuck a pin through the paper ... instead of a computer marking and that suggested law. I had not really thought about being a lawyer, but sort of went on from there. ...
SH: Had you come to visit the campus before your freshman year?
HM: I think we had once. I forget whether I had an interview. I'm not sure if I got early admission, if they did it in those days. I don't recall that.
SH: I just wondered how Rutgers got on your radar from Pennsylvania.
HM: Yes, again my dad was sort of the studier of that, and I guess the reputation, and reasonable cost. ... You'll groan at this, but I did four years at Rutgers undergraduate, including spending money for ten thousand dollars from 1961 to 1965. [laughter]
SH: When you first came to campus did your parents drive you down? Did they drop you off and say goodbye?
HM: Yes, I had the experience of being one of the students in the first year at what was called the Interim Dormitories at University Heights. What's now called the Busch Campus was known as University Heights. What were then called the Interim Dormitories are now Davidson dormitories, and I've joked that the "interim" at Rutgers is always a very long time. They had just constructed them. There was mud and still grading to be done. [laughter] ... There was a nice basketball court out in the center. There was a dining hall there. The dormitories were four H-shaped buildings which I assume are still the same, but there were no rooms. Each student had a unit. Each unit had a bed. Underneath it were ... two or three dresser drawers. Attached to the end was a closet. The back behind the bed was a wall that had corkboard on it, I think with one shelf. I think under the bed was a little slide out desk, and that was your room. Two of these would face each other down the hall, and in the middle of each of the wings was a narrow little study room which had long desks and a big wall dividing each side from the other. That's where they dropped me off with, I don't know, one hundred fifty other freshmen. I think Rutgers was just getting into the bus service mode then, because we had to take busses down to the main campus. Everybody would have an eight AM class on a Monday, and there'd be one bus, and we'd pack one hundred twenty five kids into a bus. It was quite an experience, but that was probably the main thing I remember. ... I had a guy who was in my opposite unit who got into staying up in the lounge all night--there were a few guys who would do that. I don't know if he made it through first or second semester, but he didn't make it beyond the first year. Second semester, after several people flunked out or left, some of us would take those units and shift them around. I remember there were three of us that got four of the units and made ourselves a little room out of them, two other guys and myself. So, that was the living experience. Classes, went to classes, got befuddled by calculus, all the classes were down here, ... all on College Ave, had mandatory gym. I was in ROTC. I saw one of the interviews you did, they said it was mandatory. I wasn't sure ... whether everybody was in that or elective, I'm not sure.
SH: I think the first two years were mandatory until the middle of the 1960s.
HM: ... I don't seem to recall everybody getting in uniform, but I did get into Air Force ROTC. I did two years of that.
SH: Did you consider continuing with advanced ROTC?
HM: At the end of the second year, I did think of that, and I applied for advanced, but I have bad eyes. ... For many years at that time and since, not able to see the big letter on the charts, so they turned me down. So, I did not get the opportunity--good or bad--to do the Air Force.
SH: Were you involved in any extracurricular activities or anything like that?
HM: No, went to class, and Wednesday afternoon was drill. Everybody'd gather on Senior Street, form up, and then march out to Buccleuch Park and go through various marching. In the class, I remember we had a professor, Captain Billy Gregory, I guess a former fighter pilot, he was quite a character, interesting guy, interesting classes, ... may have instilled the interest in wanting to fly, but again, didn't get to go advanced. Later on I did get a private pilot's license.
SH: Did mandatory gym take place in the old gym here on College Avenue?
HM: Old gym on College Ave, middle of winter it was swimming. We'd have to, eight o'clock on a Monday morning go swim, and bit of variety of different things. ... There was a field house with a dirt floor down behind what was the Commons. I don't know if that building is still there or not, but sometimes we'd do things there or in the gym. I forget all the activities. I do remember the swimming in the middle of winter. ... Freshman year we had mandatory chapel which was not religious based, but it was in Kirkpatrick Chapel here on Old Queen's Campus. ... We couldn't have gotten a whole class in there, so I guess everybody had a different time. It was something like Tuesdays at eleven, and they'd have different speakers and so forth. I don't know if that was the whole freshman year or just first semester.
SH: Were there any speakers that you remember?
HM: No, nothing stands out.
SH: When you were having trouble with calculus, was there any advising or extra help that was offered?
HM: If there was, I didn't pick up on it or take advantage of it. Yes, I don't recall there being much of anything, and it was a grad student teaching the course, I guess, but I'm not sure.
SH: Was there any interaction with the administration here at Rutgers at that time?
HM: Not really, I mean we were aware Mason Gross was the President. He was quite prominent in the country because of his TV stuff, and the Dean of Men was Dean Boocock, I think, and I don't know that I ever met him. I think he was an older gentleman probably not my age now at the time, but ancient. [laughter] I was not a great get out and meet people person either. I probably was more of my mother's personality to some extent than my father's as far as being a joiner.
SH: Was the decision to change majors something you changed yourself or was it something you discussed with someone else?
HM: There was an academic adviser, and vaguely recall maybe meeting whoever that was once. I may have discussed that. I don't know if that was after I had had that aptitude type test.
SH: Where did that come from?
HM: I'm not sure what the sequence was there. ... It may have just been second semester, freshman year, liberal arts, and then I took economics at summer school to get oriented toward the business administration, but the sequence of how that all happened I don't recall.
SH: I was just curious at what kind of accommodations the university made for their students at that point. When did the decision to join a fraternity come about?
HM: Well, freshman year I rushed, and I pledged a fraternity with a nice group of fellows, but there was a hazing incident that was sort of troubling. They had us down in the basement, and I remember sitting on the floor. They had us draw a Jewish star on our arms or legs and pluck the hair out in the sign of the Jewish star. ... That seemed a little strange, and when I mentioned it to some other people, you know, they found that quite offensive, maybe more offensive than I did at the time. ... That was an incident, and being at the Heights, it was a little hard to be as involved with the fraternity stuff, so I ended up de-pledging that fraternity. Sophomore year, living in Livingston Hall my preceptor was in Phi Epsilon Pi which doesn't exist anymore. I think years ago it merged into ZBT, Zeta Beta Tau, and he was a nice fellow, and he said, "Oh, why don't you come over to the house rush time?" ... I did, and I got along well with everybody, and they asked me to pledge, and I did, so I ended up as one of, probably a large handful of non-Jewish guys in Phi Epsilon Pi, so it was sort of an interesting change around.
SH: Where was the house?
HM: 4 Mine Street, the building is still there, and it's a different fraternity now. I went over last year reunion and looked, and I forget the name of the fraternity that's there.
SH: Did you live in the house then your junior year?
HM: Junior and senior year, I lived in the house, right. We pledged sophomore year.
SH: What were some of the traditions that you kept up? We have heard stories of dinners in jackets and ties and having house mothers.
HM: We had a house mother. I had two during my tenure there, and there was a late dinner with jacket and tie. There was an early dinner that was casual. I forget when the transition was, but the first house mother was Mom Brands, and she was quite old, probably seventies or eighties, and one of the traditions was if you went to late dinner with jacket and tie if you could get in with Mom before dinner, you'd have a little sherry with her. One of the stories I heard, apocryphal or otherwise, is before my time somebody came to late dinner in jacket and tie and that's it. Now, whether that's true, I don't know, but he met the rules. ... I guess Mom Brands retired, and then we had a Mrs. Shannon. She was nice, again she enjoyed sherry too, so we'd do some sherry before dinner with her. I remember one time she had some relatives in Boston, and she wanted to go to Boston. She had a car, so I drove her to Boston, and she went off with her relatives, and I visited with some of the guys who were in school in Boston who'd been in the fraternity or something, I did something like that up there. ... There were house mothers. ... I met a fellow recently who was in Phi Ep at Penn a few years earlier than me, and he said they lost their charter or got in trouble when they hired an eighteen year old house mother there. [laughter] I don't know if that's true or not either.
SH: What were some of the activities that the fraternity was involved in?
HM: Intramural sports we liked, had a fairly good basketball team. I played intramural football. Traditionally, the house had the position of business manager of the Anthologist magazine which was a literary magazine at the time. I don't know if it still exists, so that job got handed to me. I had that job, didn't involve very much work, but that was traditionally a Phi Ep position. Parties, we had a reputation as a pretty good party house, not big drinkers as in some of them, but I remember once we had a beach party and ... filled the basement with sand. That was quite a party. I remember ... a night shirt kind of party, similar to a toga party and none else jump to mind. Going back to the sports thing, when I came to Rutgers as a freshman, I went out for football as a walk on, and I recall there were about one hundred and twenty guys. At that time freshmen could not play varsity. I think I made the top sixty-six and the top forty-four got uniforms, so I sort of frittered away from that. ... I thought about playing lightweight football, but the idea of getting myself from one hundred seventy down to one hundred fifty pounds or whatever it was, just didn't work.
SH: Did you attend the football games? Was that still the tradition?
HM: Yes, in jacket and tie usually. ... I haven't been to a football game here in years, but I guess the tradition is a little different today. [laughter]
CM: It is a red T-shirt.
HM: Red T-shirt.
CM: Or body-paint.
HM: Body-paint. [laughter]
SH: I am thinking of the guy that showed up with the jacket and tie.
HM: ... I don't know if anybody did that at a football game.
SH: Was there freshman hazing from the sophomores?
HM: Yes, as freshmen you wore a dink and a tie. The dink was a red hat, I don't know how long that continued, and the Rutgers tie you had to wear all the time. ... I remember Alex Kroll, who was a star football player back when I was a freshman, would sometimes yell at freshmen to put their dinks on. ... I forget if there was a freshman, sophomore event to end that dink tradition. There must have been something, but I forget what it was.
SH: Was there a tug of war?
HM: Maybe tug of war. ... When I was younger, my dad took some college classes at Lebanon Valley College which is right nearby, and there the freshmen and sophomores would have a tug of war across a creek, and I'm wondering if I'm mixing that with a tug of war here, but there had to be some sort of event.
SH: I think there was a tug of war traditionally behind the old gym.
HM: Behind the gym. Yes, vague recollections of that. In fact the tie was also part of the Phi Ep pledging ritual, and we had to wear our Rutgers tie during our pledge period. We'd put our pledge pin on the tie and some of the hazing involved throwing various kinds of old food, salad dressing and so forth on it. ... By the time you finished pledging, that tie was almost stiff with various substances. I do recall that. I suspect a lot of that hazing stuff is pretty well by the boards these days. A fraternity at Lehigh just lost their charter for a second hazing incident, so I guess some places it goes on.
SH: Was there drinking in your fraternity?
HM: Some, but not a great deal. I remember at one point in time we'd get kegs of beer, and we'd end up with only half drunk kegs, and, so we went to buying quart bottles of beer instead of kegs because we were wasting all that beer in the keg. So it was not a big drinking organization.
SH: Were there mixers with Douglass at that point?
HM: I remember freshman year, there were mixers with Douglass and I remember doing a couple of them. In fact, I remember my first night here as a freshman, the guy who was not across from me in the bunk, but we were back to back, we were both here a little early, and we walked across town to Douglass just to see what it looked like. But I do remember some mixers with Douglass. I remember a bus trip, probably sophomore year, junior year, a mixer with Centenary College up in Hackettstown, New Jersey which is up near where I ended up. I remember riding up there in a bus and meeting people at Centenary, yes, and Georgian Court comes to mind. I think maybe there were mixers with Georgian Court down at the shore. So, they did have organized mixers. Used to do entertainment at the Ledge, I forget what years, but I remember was it Kingston Trio or the Chad Mitchell Trio, and Smothers Brothers entertained at the Ledge.
SH: Were you on the roof or in the main body of the Ledge?
HM: In the main body of the Ledge.
SH: I have heard people talk about attending dances on the roof of Ledge.
HM: I don't recall that. I remember a couple of entertainment things in the main floor of the Ledge. ...
SH: We were talking about fraternities. What percentage of students at Rutgers were involved in fraternities?
HM: In fraternities at that time?
SH: This would be from the period of 1962 to 1965.
HM: '62 to '65, I'd really be shooting sort of in the dark, but ... a guess it would be maybe sixty to seventy percent maybe. There were a lot of what we used to call weekend commuters in that time frame, and I assume there may be now, who would be here, who would stay in the dorms during the week and go to classes, but every weekend out of here, going home whether to work or socialize or what the purpose was, probably some of everything. So, I suspect a lot, quite possibly a lot of those folks would not have joined fraternities, because, they're not involved in the social life but, yes, to hazard a guess, sixty to seventy percent were involved.
SH: Were you aware of the gathering place for commuter students when you were here?
HM: Well, the Ledge was a social spot certainly. It was "the" student center at the time. I guess the Douglass Student Center to some extent.
SH: Were there any women in any of your classes?
HM: A few. I remember freshman year there were a couple of women in the large physics lecture hall. Later on, summer school had some women in the economics class. Later on, I think it was rarity, few if any. Some of the guys would go over and take Douglass classes. I know some of the people in the fraternity would take courses at Douglass. Whether it was for social interest or to take advantage of the unique academic offerings over there, I don't know. [laughter]
SH: How was the agricultural school viewed on campus at that point?
HM: They were referred to as the "Aggies" there. It was a neat place. I remember people used to go over there to tour the animal barns. Supposedly, there was a cow with ... somehow a window in its side, so you could see the various stomachs. I never saw that, but I heard that was the case. I don't know that it was in anyway second class, it was one of the schools.
SH: Was there the "Rutgersfest?" Did that take place when you were at school?
HM: Rutgers who?
SH: Rutgersfest or Ag Field Day?
HM: Ag Field Day rings a bell, I don't know that I ever went over to it, but that does ring a bell as something that occurred. ... There was a log cabin or something over there, the fraternity had a party over there.
SH: It is a beautiful place.
HM: Yes, as I recall. I guess it was a fraternity function, I'm not sure, I just recall going there for an event at one point in time.
SH: You talked about the beginning of the busing system. How many busses were there and how often did it run?
HM: It ran often enough that you could get back and forth for classes at various times. I think they were just working out the kinks of how many busses they needed at a particular time with those incidents where we'd have to pack a lot of kids on a bus for an early class. But it was inconvenient as I mentioned, from the pledging standpoint, it wasn't easy to participate, but it was frequent. In my later years here, I tended to study in the library. Freshman year I just didn't study enough any place I guess, but I don't think I got into going down to the library at night. I guess some of the people did, but it ran well into the evening and fairly frequently.
SH: Was there any interaction, good or bad, with the people of the surrounding towns?
HM: I don't remember too much interaction. I do remember one incident, and I don't know what year it was, but I was walking down College Avenue towards town near the little observatory that's there on the corner of Queen's Campus, and somebody pulled up in a car, and I don't know if they asked a question or something but they ended up spitting at or on me or the guy I was with, and I assume that was a townie. Hopefully it wasn't a Princeton student, at the time of the Princeton game, but I don't know.
SH: Did you beat Princeton in the years you were at Rutgers?
HM: That was a big event. My freshman year was the undefeated 9-0 football season. Of course, we were playing Princeton, Lafayette, Colgate, Lehigh, those teams. ... We must have won that year because we were 9-0. Subsequent years I'm not too sure if we won or not, but there was always a pep rally the night before down on Old Queen's and it was a big thing. ... It was always at Princeton Stadium because our stadium was small, so we'd get down there and see the game but, yes, football was a big thing, not as big as it is now. ...
SH: What about homecoming? Did your fraternity participate in homecoming parades?
HM: Yes, I remember. ... They used to make floats with crepe paper, sort of looking like floral floats. I do remember one, the night before the Saturday, Friday night in that field house, the dirt floor big old World War II building down by the Commons, everybody would get a space and put together a float. I remember we did, we were playing Lehigh, because we made a float that looked like a dam and it said "Dam Lehigh," and as it went past the reviewing stand, we had a lot of blue balloons in it, and the dam opened up, and the blue balloons floated up. So, I remember making that float and being in the stands and seeing it go by. Probably I have a photo of it within my slide collection some place. I don't know, that's the only one I remember the fraternity making. I don't know if that was such a venture that we wimped out, and didn't do it the subsequent year or not, but that was quite a homecoming with the floats was quite an event.
SH: Did you attend the sophomore dance?
HM: ... I was not too social. I remember the big weekends, ... Soph Hop, I think they called it. They'd have Homecoming, they'd have Soph Hop, I forget some of the others. ... A lot of those weekends there would be big entertainment. I was telling Connor that analogous to Snooki being here, one of the entertainers on one of those weekends was Soupy Sales, who was a comedian, a sort of a slapstick comedian on TV during those days. Ray Charles was here, some big name entertainment. I didn't have much of a dating social life here in college. I don't think I ever went to any of the big dances.
SH: Did the "Mili-Ball" exist?
HM: Mili-Ball existed, yes.
SH: Was that mandatory for ROTC students?
HM: I don't think so. I don't recall going to that my first two years when I was in ROTC.
SH: Were there any adventures into New York? You talked about some of the mixers with some of the girls' schools around.
HM: ... I just mentioned this the other day, I remember a bus trip, I don't know if the Ledge sponsored it or who ran it. We went to see "How to Succeed in Business" which has just reopened again on Broadway, and I remember seeing that show in New York. We'd go in either by bus or train occasionally. I do remember an incident freshman year. I think the drinking age was eighteen in New York at that point in time, and I was still seventeen, and I remember a line of four or five of us going into a bar in Greenwich Village, and somebody showed their ID and handed it back to me, so that I would also show an ID that I was over eighteen at the time. I also celebrated my twenty-first birthday in one of the local tavern restaurants after having been a regular patron there for a year or so. I probably shouldn't, I guess the statute of limitations has run, ... but I don't know if I should mention it. It still exists in a different location. [laughter]
CM: What was Easton Avenue like at that time? Is it still similar today?
HM: I haven't been down there for a while walking. The Phi Eps used to, those who were of drinking age or could pass, Old Queen's Tavern was up at the corner of Mine Street and Easton Avenue, there was a waitress Lib was the waitress there. Everybody knew Lib. There was a laundry mat down the street toward town on the left. I remember there was a sub shop on the corner where that large dorm that's now down on the corner of, what is it, Somerset and Easton. Phi Gamma Delta had a fraternity house on a corner of Easton Avenue. That burned at some point I think, if I recall, but that was an active fraternity. Easton Avenue was nice and walking across town to Douglass was doable without any issues. I guess there have been periods of time in the interim when that might have been a little rougher.
SH: Has downtown New Brunswick changed at all?
HM: The theater district and the restaurants and so forth are a big difference. I remember summer school, the year I was here at summer school, right after freshman year, there was a movie theater at Albany and George that at one time might have been a porn or a quasi-porn theater, but that summer it showed older movies. I remember I was here for twenty-one days and I saw twenty-five movies or something like that. They did double features, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and some of those things, and that was a great movie theater at the time. The NBL, the New Brunswick Lunch, was a restaurant-diner up on Albany Street right across from the train station. That was a favorite spot, but yes, quite a bit of change downtown as far as the restaurant scene and the theater district. Although the State Theater was a movie theater at that time and there was a Rivoli Theater up closer to probably where the J&J complex is now, was a Rivoli Movie Theater. ... Freshman year we had a dining hall up at the Heights, so we ate there. Sophomore year, it was on your own for meals and a lot of people would eat in the Commons. We lived up in Livingston, and my roommate and I pretty habitually walked down George Street on the left hand side, just past the underpass, was a place called the Scarlet Room Restaurant, and most of the time that's where we'd have dinner in the evening. I guess we didn't care for the Commons food. Things probably don't change too much.
SH: Did you have to work during the summers or while you were here on campus?
HM: I didn't work during the school year, summers I worked at home. The first couple of years were tough. I remember one job I had, my next door neighbor had a relative who had a contract to clean telephone booths, so I was a sort of a freelance telephone booth cleaner. I'd go out, I had a certain number of booths I had to clean, and I'd take a bucket and cleaning supplies and go out and find these telephone booths around the county and clean them. At some point in time I sold ice cream at Fort Indiantown Gap, a military base out in central Pennsylvania. One year a fellow from Lebanon who ... had a casual restaurant, he was partners with some guys who had a contract, so we were legitimately there, and they had Good Humor trucks, and they'd drive around, and we'd take two or three boxes of ice cream pops, chocolate coated ice cream pops and run out to the troops and sell ice cream to the troops. ... Sometimes there were ROTC guys doing their summer encampment, but more often National Guard. I remember one time running out, in between they'd pull the lanyard on the howitzer, and we'd sell them an ice cream, and then, subsequent summers, sometimes we did that sort of on the sly, sneaking into the military base to sell the ice cream. When we were legitimate there, we used to have lunch at the NCO club. I remember some great ping pong games we'd play at the NCO club at the military base. Later on I worked at the Cleaver-Brooks boiler factory. ... I don't know if that was college or law school or in between, but I did two summers. One summer I worked in the plant as a parts chaser. ... There was a main building, and then a couple of peripheral buildings. ... If they needed parts, pipe pieces, and so forth, I would drive the truck over to the main building and pick parts to stock the bins there, and the second summer I worked in the office doing time sheets. They were on computerized time keeping, and I would check the time sheets and make corrections. Those were in the days when the computer was this humongous thing with punch cards, and one guy ran the computer, but I would review the time sheets and work on that stuff.
SH: Speaking of technology, was there a big change from the time first you came to Rutgers to the time you graduated?
HM: I don't recall any great changes. ... It was pre-computer. ... When I came, it was bring a slide rule for your calculations. I guess handheld calculators were just starting to come into being. I forget if there were controversies about the use of them or not. It's quite possible, somewhere in my mind, I guess by the time they became more prevalent I was sort of away from those scientific courses, more into the business and liberal arts stuff, so I didn't see too much of it, but they came in during that time.
SH: You said you were the business manager for the Anthologist, but were you also writing for it?
SH: What do you remember about the Targum?
HM: ... You'd wait for it every day, you'd want to get it. I remember the Mugrat on April 1st. ... Hopefully that still exists, I don't know.
CM: They do not always do it on April 1st. They just put it out randomly.
HM: ... Maybe it wasn't April 1st, but you'd have to be careful sometimes, if it was a Mugrat as opposed to the Targum, and, yes, I'd read it conscientiously all the time.
SH: Were there any controversies with the Targum that you are aware of? How did the Targum view fraternities?
HM: I'm sure there were. I don't know that I recall any specifically. No, nothing comes to mind in that regard.
SH: We talked before about the reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Were there other things going on in the country that were being discussed at the fraternity?
HM: Toward the end, Vietnam, of course, it was in the early stages of the dissent and so forth. Senior year I guess they had the, at that time, infamous teach-in. I think I might have gone to some of that, but the big upshot from that was when Eugene Genovese, the history professor, apparently said he would welcome a Vietcong victory and that later became of interest because the following year when I was in law school, Richard Hughes was running for governor against Wayne Dumont and Dumont made a big thing of that, and Dumont was a fairly conservative senator who was from Warren County where I ultimately ended up, and I got to know him to some extent. He was a good legislator, a little too conservative from my point of view, but he was a very good legislator for his constituents. I guess after I left here is when things got a lot more heated about Vietnam. I do recall the weekend that Kennedy was shot. ... Friday afternoon, I was in an economics of labor class and came out and learned that.
SH: What was the reaction across Rutgers to the assassination?
HM: Yes, it's interesting getting this reaction myself, I never had this emotional reaction thinking about this, ... but the whole fraternity was just sort of moribund, just hanging around the house. I remember one guy, Pete Graziano, was working on a painting of the house dog and worked on that that weekend, but it was a real shock. Yes, just utter shock for the whole weekend, and then, through the funeral and so forth.
SH: Were you glued to the television?
HM: Yes, again not a lot of TVs around. ...
SH: How did you keep up with what was going on?
HM: I guess there was a TV in the house, there must have been, that we watched, but not a lot of them, probably listening to the radio. As I remember in the living room of the house there was a radio, so probably listening to stuff there and then maybe there were a couple of TVs around.
SH: Were there any musical programs? Did you have a convocation?
HM: I don't remember anything the university did. I would suspect they must have done something, maybe a convocation or something at the chapel. I was pretty much, insulated within the fraternity at that point in time.
SH: Did you attend or participate in Glee Club concerts?
HM: I didn't participate, I don't sing. This is totally off the point, but you mentioned Glee Club. An interesting thing recently, I've been perusing Kingston, New York newspapers in the 1880s over a week or two ago, ... trying to find some information about the death of an old relative. ... They had an article, the Rutgers University Glee Club was on tour, and they sang in Kingston, and it was a fairly critical review. [laughter]
SH: Was this is in the 1880s?
HM: In the 1880s, yes, so nobody can be offended at this point in time, but I found it very interesting that they were critical of the bass for something or other, and oh, too many of the old college songs, I think was one of the criticisms, but I just sort of chuckled at that. ... Glee Club was, you know, very well-known. I had at the time, probably may still have one or two of their records. I haven't played them in years, but they are thirty-three albums which are hard to play anymore, but I do have a collection of them.
SH: Some fraternities were known for singing after dinner or participating in intramural sing-a-thons. I just wondered if your fraternity did that.
HM: I don't think, we never got into that one. I think sports, and I don't know what else we did on a competitive basis but, yes, I don't think we were much in a way of singers.
SH: Were you involved in the Inter-Fraternity Council?
HM: No, but we had representatives to it. ...
SH: What was the discussion about Civil Rights on campus as an undergraduate?
HM: I don't have any specific recollection of too much, and yet I know there were very few African-Americans then, and yet '63 was the big march in D.C. and I don't recall too much about it. I was friendly, in my freshman dorm was a fellow named Gil Sherman who was African-American from Belleville, and he was one of the two guys that I ended up sort of creating that little room with, and so, I got to know him fairly well. He passed away quite young. I went up, and I did a weekend at his house in Belleville at some time during school or during the summer. I don't recall a lot of activity in that area, but I remember really that the number of African-Americans in school at the time was really a handful. I remember Jimmy McCoy was a freshman football player from Pittsburgh who then stopped playing football and did a lot of artwork. I remember a few of the fellows, but don't have any great recollection of what went on in that area.
SH: You talked about the famous teach-in that took place here at Rutgers. Were there other demonstrations that you remember for or against the war?
HM: I don't recall any. I was not particularly involved one way or the other in that issue. You know, I was aware of it; I don't know when my opinions were formed as to those issues. ... The things that I think had some prominence I believe occurred after I left more into the late '60s, early '70s perhaps. So, I don't have any specific recollection of anything.
SH: Did you have a favorite professor?
HM: Well, Sidney Simon was--I think that was his name--he taught in the business department. ... Business majors took a five or six credit course in business management. He was quite a colorful guy, well-known on campus. I think he was a retired naval officer. So, he was interesting. I know that for my colleagues or fraternity brothers who were history majors, Warren Susman was sort of a great figure in their eyes. In fact, my roommate became a history major maybe because of Warren Susman. We had a lot of history majors who liked the history department. ... Peter Charanis, I never had him. I never had either. I took US history, and I forget who the professors were, they weren't that colorful. I remember taking an economic statistics course with an Indian professor, Dr. Dutta, and that was interesting because he had a pretty heavy Indian accent, and in the beginning the course was "economic stat-is-tic." [Editor's Note: The interviewee is speaking with an accent.] ... It took probably two or three weeks to get used to that cadence and rhythm to follow that. I remember being scared to death taking German my freshman year, went into the class--I'd had two years of German in high school--I went in, and this fellow wearing an old trench coat and a hat [that] looked very European came in, and I think for the first two or three weeks he never spoke a word of English and that was rather intimidating. [laughter] Finally, I learned that he could speak English after a while, but it took a while to get that. I took an American civilization course with Jacques Marchand. He was an interesting fellow. I think he was in the history department. I understand he had been years ago, a member of the same fraternity. My recollection is that he didn't like the fraternity people. Maybe he had a bad experience or something but he was interesting. Nobody else jumps out.
SH: Where did you apply to law school? What were your plan and your focus?
HM: Okay, I applied to the University of Virginia and to Rutgers Newark. I guess it was separate applications, Rutgers Newark and Rutgers Camden at that time. At that time I think Rutgers Newark was a little more prominent than Camden although I think later on it sort of switched. ...
SH: Did you know what type of law you were interested in?
HM: No, never thought of myself much as a lawyer. ... You think of lawyers as outgoing and theatrical and so forth. ... I never considered myself much in that vein, but the fact that the test predicted it, and it just seemed it'd be interesting to get into, and it would be a good background for whatever you might want to do. So, I had no preconceived notions of what I'd do.
SH: You never were part of the debate team or anything like that?
HM: I'd done a little debating in high school. ... I did take a speech course here at Rutgers. I guess maybe with the contemplation of going to law school that it would be a good course to take. I remember a speech that I wrote about how I snuck into the gym to watch one of the symphony orchestra concerts without a ticket. ...
SH: Did you visit the law schools in Newark or Virginia? How did you do your research?
HM: No, well, I knew Rutgers. I knew people that went to Rutgers. Virginia had a good reputation. ... I doubt if I'd been to Virginia. I think just by reputation, it seemed like it'd be a neat place to go to school. It had a very outstanding reputation. So, that's how I chose them.
SH: We talked about how you had applied to Virginia and to Rutgers Newark for law school. You went home and worked for the summer and then came back to Rutgers in the fall?
HM: Yes, initially Newark had no dormitories at the time and the only residential facility up there was the YMCA in downtown Newark. I don't know if that exists anymore; it's just off Military Park, and initially the plans were that I might stay in the YMCA which is a block or two from law school. But it turned out that I had fraternity brothers also going to Rutgers Law School in Newark, so we ended up renting an apartment in the Colonnade Apartments on North Broad Street in Newark. It's two Mies van der Rohe buildings built during urban renewal, I guess in the '50s or early '60s, and we had a two-bedroom apartment there and four of us shared that apartment. We could walk down what was then Plane, P-L-A-N-E, Street to the law school. ... As Rutgers Newark developed, that became University Avenue. It's now University Avenue.
SH: Before we go any further, I would like to go back and talk about your time on Livingston and your experience living there.
HM: Yes, I mentioned that I lived in the Livingston Dormitory for my sophomore year. I was referring to the uppermost of the three river dormitories, Frelinghuysen, Hardenberg and at that time the third dormitory was called Livingston Dormitory. I just learned today that it's now called Campbell. ... I was not on Livingston campus. Freshman year I was at University Heights which is now Busch Campus in what is now the Davidson dorms after a long interim, and sophomore year I was in that third of the river dorms, the uppermost of the river dorms.
SH: Then you went to the fraternity house?
HM: The fraternity house for two years, yes.
SH: Thank you for clearing that up. How was law school different from undergraduate work? Was it a tough transition?
HM: Much more interactive, most of the professors would do the Socratic method of quizzing the students. My first day in criminal law class with Professor Knowlton, I think I was one of the first people that got called on, sort of really shocked me a bit. They taught a case about cannibalism on a shipwrecked boat or something like that, but yes, much more interactive, a lot of reading to keep up with to prepare for the classes, and I guess the other big thing is no periodic tests or quizzes; a final at the end of each semester, that was it as far as the grading was concerned. So, make it or break it on the final exam.
SH: Was there a large attrition rate among the first years?
HM: No, no. I don't know what the numbers were, but it didn't seem to go down too much.
SH: Was the population integrated?
HM: Integrated by gender to some degree. I don't know what the number in our class was-- maybe a hundred--I think there were ten or twelve women in the class, a few African-Americans, not a large number.
SH: When did you finish law school?
HM: Finished law school in '68, the spring of '68.
SH: This is before the riots in Newark?
HM: No, the riots in Newark were the summer of '67.
SH: Were you there?
HM: ... My first two years I lived in Newark at the Colonnades with fraternity brothers or other people from school. I got married in June of '67, and we lived in Belleville right on the edge of town--edge of Newark--right across from the northern end of Branch Brook Park. My wife at the time--now my ex--was a public health nurse in Newark, and I was working that summer at the General Motors warehouse up in Englewood. So, I would meet some guys by the Parkway and drive up to Englewood. We had a guy selling insurance--in fact a former Zeta Psi from Rutgers--who was in the insurance business, was at our house one night and talking away, so we watched no television. I went to work, and she went to work in Newark and encountered tanks running down the streets in Newark, and that's how she learned of the riots there. I had no first hand involvement particularly. ... That was the summer, July of '67.
SH: You were able to access your home? Was there martial law or anything like that in the city?
HM: ... I'm sure she encountered areas she couldn't go in. ... Since we were north of town, north of Newark, and I was heading to Englewood back and forth. I really didn't have any involvement, but I don't know if she was tied to the office. Her office was on Roseville Avenue which was not in the Central Ward. I heard some stories. I know one of my fraternity brothers, his dad owned a liquor store in the Central Ward, and I know he told me later that some people came to his dad and said, "You know, we'll try to protect the place, but you better get out of here," and I don't know whether it was destroyed or not.
SH: Was this discussed in law school? Did you go to school for semesters?
HM: Right, we went September to May, late May, so we weren't in school at the time. I think maybe the people studying for the bar exam might have been taking their classes in Newark at the time. It might have even been during the bar exam, I'm not sure--and how much of it was downtown there, I'm not too sure. ... Academically I don't recall it being discussed particularly, but in the '60s Rutgers Newark Law School, had some folks who were very activist in a variety of areas, as far as the war was concerned and some civil rights issues. One of our professors, a constitutional law professor, Arthur Kinoy, was quite famous. ... He was a very short fellow, very vigorous, but he was actually carried out of the House Un-American Activities Committee meeting in Washington protesting about something. He was a law partner of William Kunstler who was a very active, I don't know if you'd say leftist or liberal lawyer at the time, but they were law partners.
SH: Was the House Un-American Activities Committee something that you had heard about? The McCarthy era was prior to your time there.
HM: Yes. I wasn't particularly aware of it. I do recall seeing McCarthy era hearings on TV in the '50s. I don't remember what the issue was before HUAC at the time that Kinoy had his run in. ... We learned about it, heard a lot about it, saw tapes of it and so forth, but I forget off hand what the issue was, but I know he was vigorously involved.
SH: What other stories can you tell us about law school? Did you have a favorite professor?
HM: I don't know that I recall any favorites. It was vigorous, I know. The saying at the time, and it was sort of true, is that the first year they scare you to death, the second year they work you to death, the third year they bore you to death, and [it is] sort of true. I puzzled some of my colleagues with some of the courses I took. I know one semester I was taking ... trusts and estates and also taking poverty law at the same time, which sort of puzzled people. My senior year I worked part-time at a legal services office in North Newark on Oraton Street, worked there with a fellow named Gordon Zaloom. I don't know whatever happened to him, but that gave me a little experience dealing with clients and, you know, sort of counseling to some extent. That was a good experience. The location of the law school changed. ... The first few weeks of our freshman year, the Rutgers Law School was in what was the old YWCA building on Washington Park in Newark. It's now been incorporated into the Newark Museum, and then, they opened the new school, the new building called Ackerson Hall on Plane Street, which later became University Avenue. I was down at NJPAC for an event a couple of weeks ago and drove down there, and I see now that that building is a College of Nursing building at Newark. The Newark campus was just developing in that area at that point in time. They did a lot of construction between University Avenue and High Street, and now that's just filled with Rutgers Newark buildings. Since then the law school has been at two or three different locations in Newark. I guess now they're some place on Washington Street in a fairly new building. I haven't been there. I don't know if I was at any of the interim buildings. ... In law school second year we had moot court. It was appellate court where you argue before judges, not moot trial court. ... They didn't get too much trial practice then. The interesting fact was that one of the judges for my moot court--it was two students and one faculty member, and the faculty member was Ruth Ginsburg who is now a Supreme Court Justice. So, I've argued a case before Justice Ginsburg although not in her present capacity. [laughter] Yes, law school was good, I enjoyed it, made some good friendships with a lot of people. There was a lounge in the basement at Ackerson Hall with the coffee machines known as "The Pit." Spent a fair amount of time down there. I didn't make law review, didn't have any outstanding grades, sort of middle of the road academics there, but found it interesting and yes, thinking of professors, there were a lot of colorful professors, but I don't know that any would strike me as favorites.
SH: Were most of them practicing law and teaching at the same time?
HM: No, most were academics where they were full-time professors, and some of them very colorful. I recall one of my classmates, after law school, came back and was perhaps an adjunct professor, somehow was involved with the faculty at the time, and he told me afterwards, he said, "You know, when I was a student in law school, I looked at these professors, and I was just awed by them, and then, when I had to sit in on some faculty meetings I sort of changed some of my opinions of some of them." ...
SH: Did you have adjunct professors who were practicing attorneys?
HM: There were a couple. Federal taxation, I think if I remember right, Mark Hughes taught that, and I believe he was a practicing lawyer teaching part-time. Some may have done contract work or outside consulting work or so forth, but they were primarily law professors. I know Professor Knowlton, the criminal law professor, worked with some of the study commissions on revision of the whole criminal code in New Jersey. It came into effect in '79, so I know he worked on that commission. Professor Brooks was an evidence professor, and I think he was consultant to commissions that studied the Rules of Evidence or made revisions to the Rules of Evidence. He did that kind of work.
SH: How does the Vietnam War fit into your life? Were you were eligible for the draft after law school?
HM: Yes, I was eligible for the draft. ... I had a student deferment for law school, and after I finished law school, I got a judicial clerkship in Warren County, New Jersey working for the sole full-time judge in Warren County, and I thought that there was the possibility of a deferment for a judicial clerkship. I was married at the time, no children. They had a lottery, and you got a number. I forget what my number was exactly. ... After law school, I'm in that clerkship, and a fellow that I knew out in Lebanon through Scouting, I heard was the judicial clerk for a judge in Lebanon, and of course the Lebanon, Pennsylvania draft board would have had jurisdiction, so I figured, well, I'd see how he's making out as far as a judicial deferment is concerned. I wrote him a letter, and I got a response from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was in the military, so his judicial deferment didn't work too well. I was called in for a draft physical on Lincoln's birthday of 1969. ... A bus picked me up in Philipsburg, and I thought I was going to Newark for a draft physical, and it turned south on Route 31 and that sort of puzzled me. I was hoping we weren't going right to Fort Dix, but we did end up in Newark, and I ultimately failed the physical, again because of my eyesight. I was classified 1Y, only called in time of national emergency, not 4F where they'd never take you. I guess with my eyes they wouldn't trust me with a gun, you don't know who I'd shoot. It was sort of ironic because after going through the testing a soldier took me aside and sat me down at a table and said, "Young man, I'm sorry to let you know that you failed the draft physical, and we have counseling services and so forth, and perhaps we can help you along," and so forth, and I said, "Well, I'm probably okay because I just graduated from law school." At the time I was pleased not to go. After that, very much more in recent years, I don't know if it's the correct term, but I've felt an institutional guilt that I didn't serve, you know. I got involved through Rutgers with the Vietnam monument here on campus and so serving in the military was an experience that I missed. Perhaps the people who had that experience will say, "God bless you. You're lucky you didn't get the experience," but that feeling is sort of there.
SH: You were working in Philipsburg for the Warren County judge.
HM: In Belvidere, New Jersey, is the county seat for a judge.
SH: Who was the judge?
HM: Charles Paulis, at that time. With my family in Pennsylvania and my wife at the time was from Bergen County. I applied to Western Jersey, two judges, Judge Paulis in Warren County, and there was a Judge Consilio in Sussex County, the two northwestern New Jersey Counties. Judge Paulis accepted me, and so we moved to Washington, New Jersey and worked in Belvidere. At that time with eighty thousand people in the county, he was the one full-time judge in that county and there was a part-time county district court judge, Martin BryNildsen who sat a couple of days a week. It was a good judgeship to work for because I got a variety of cases. I had friends who clerked for example in Hudson County, and the only kind of cases they ever heard all year were rear-end auto accident hits whereas I'd get a variety of work there.
SH: Did your wife continue to do public nursing?
HM: ... When we moved to Warren County she got a job with the county public health nursing agency and worked there.
SH: She was not commuting then?
CM: Did you have any feelings towards the counterculture in the late 1960s? Did you hear about Woodstock?
HM: Really not involved with it. I was, you know, embarking on the professional career, nothing opposed to it, but just not involved in that.
CM: Did you know anyone who went to Woodstock?
HM: Later on, I know one of our fraternity brothers ended up owning the bookstore in Woodstock, New York, and I've never gone up to visit him, but he ended up there, and he would have been involved in the culture. ... My first exposure to marijuana, we were in law school living in Newark with my fraternity brothers, and one of the guys came back from grad school, at either Michigan or Wisconsin, some place out there in the Midwest, and he brought pot with him. ... One of the guys in the fraternity in college grew up in Jersey City, and he might have had a little exposure to marijuana growing up. ... I don't think I smoked it at that time. One of the guys did and ended up, he wanted to call his girlfriend, and he dialed her name and wondered why he couldn't get her. That was of course in the days of the rotary phone which we talked about recently, and we wonder if anybody could have the patience to use a rotary dial phone today. But I was pretty straight and conventional and "goody-goody."
CM: What was your experience with the media coverage of Vietnam?
HM: Well we watched the news all the time, and it was very graphic as far as what was going on. ... At some point it seemed to me that what we were doing there was futile. I don't remember where along the line, or probably some of the news coverage may have contributed to that opinion. I don't know if I was ever hawkish about it or probably wasn't that concerned or whatever about things, never greatly, politically, or, you know, "cause" involved, I suppose over time, but it was there all the time on the news, and that's the one thing I've watched through the years and still watch, my main TV is news, although there's too much of it on now, but, with CNN and such.
SH: Did you have fraternity brothers or people that you knew that did serve?
SH: When did your class begin to plan the Vietnam memorial on campus?
HM: I was thinking of that the other day as far as the timing. It was maybe five years before our twenty-fifth anniversary. I remember there was a meeting, and I think it was in one of the basement classrooms in one of the River Dorms. I was there, Bob Norton was one of the guys who was there. He had been co-captain of the football team our senior year. I think Roger Cohen who was ultimately on the faculty here in the School of Communications, and I don't know, maybe five or ten of us. Somebody floated the idea of the twenty-fifth class gift being a monument to those who had died in Vietnam, and very honestly I wasn't real impressed with the idea, although I became very involved later on. Maybe the reunion before our twenty-fifth is when the idea came up. My roommate from the fraternity, he was ROTC, and he must have done advanced Army ROTC, so he did a tour in the artillery and a few of the people that I knew served. Bruce Lawrence, whose name is on the monument, was Air Force ROTC. I knew him peripherally, he played freshman football. He also played varsity football, but I knew him from the freshman football team and maybe from hanging around some dorms. He was Air Force who went down and was not recovered. It became more interesting when I ultimately relocated to Warren County, because he was from Philipsburg, and one of our current judges out there now was a classmate of his. In fact, one of my colleagues in the Prosecutor's Office when I did my last stint there had received his scholarship from Philipsburg High School. So, some of those things come around.
SH: Was there a time when you were working during that war that anyone asked why you had not served?
HM: I don't think so. I don't recall any negativity about that.
SH: Who was involved in the research for the monument?
HM: The research on who should be named was done by Bob Marguccio and the Rutgers Alumni Association and that caused some interesting situations. At that time, the RAA was the Rutgers Alumni Association, and it only included Rutgers College, Ag School, engineering school. It didn't include University College, the night school, it didn't include this that and the other thing. So, Marguccio and that staff pulled out, I guess maybe, twelve names of people within that group of colleges who died in Vietnam, and after the fact, we discovered a couple of people who legitimately should have been on, and they were subsequently added. But there was one ongoing thing for a while, somebody wrote these continual letters, "This fellow John Paul Vann ... should be on the monument." It turned out, I guess, he'd gone to University College, not one of the RAA component parts. There's a thick book called A Bright Shining Lie (1989) I just learned about that not too long ago, in fact maybe you mentioned that to me, I'm not sure. But I bought that book, I had my kids buy it for Christmas. It's so thick I haven't gotten into it yet, but it looks like he may not have even died in action. I think he died subsequent to the war as a CIA or diplomatic operative or something. But there were a couple of people who kept writing that we got to get this guy's name on the monument, and I would buck it over to Marguccio, and he'd say, "Well, he's not qualified, or not-qualified in that he's not eligible."
SH: I think he did get his degree from University College while he was here teaching with the ROTC. There are a couple of gentlemen that he had taught when they were in the ROTC here. His name is John Paul Vann.
HM: Okay, that's right, yes. ... We sort of just followed Bob Marguccio's lead or the RAA's lead on that deal. We did learn sometime after the monument was dedicated, of one or two guys who we added at subsequent reunions. We also learned of a classmate, Rich Mosenteen, a fighter pilot who went down in Korea in the '60s, and what we did there is we donated money for a study carrel at the library or microfiche carrel. I was up there when I dropped those materials off about the monument, and we were looking for it, and I don't even know if that exists anymore, but we did donate for it.
SH: There must be a plaque on it.
HM: Hopefully so.
SH: Who picked out the design? It is a very interesting design.
HM: ... Roger Cohen was very much involved, Carl Woodward I think also, and some other guys. Another fellow who, I see his face, but I don't have his name, ran a contest to have designs submitted, and I think there were quite a few different designs, and I wasn't involved in this at all. This committee then chose the design. It was designed by an architect, R. Allen Christianson. It was designed in such a manner ... with these slots, each with a name, as the sun passed from morning to evening, each of those names would be illuminated, and so it had to be oriented in a very specific direction and that was chosen by the committee as the winning design and went from there. Records of the project are in the Special Collections and University Archives. [Editor's Note: A guide to these records is online at http://www2.scc.rutgers.edu/ead/uarchives/VietnamMemorialb.html]
SH: Was it difficult to find a place for it on campus and dealing with campus administration? It went up in the 1980s I believe.
HM: Let's see, twenty-fifth anniversary. ... I don't know if we finished it by '90, the years sort of blend together here, and I'm not sure whether we finished it, or we started the real push for it. The site, I'm not sure. Again, I think Roger Cohen may know more about that. ... We felt it was in some ways particularly suitable. That building, now known as Scott Hall, was known as the General Classroom Building when we were on campus, in honor of, we always said of "General Classroom," the great Civil War hero. But we thought it was appropriate because in that classroom in Scott Hall, or General Classroom Building, is where that Vietnam teach-in had occurred and this is right outside the back door, of that location. I don't know if the architect scoped around and tried to find a good location, or how that all worked out. I got more involved subsequently. ... We were at a reunion dinner and I forget the year, but I either went to the bathroom at the wrong time, or one of my classmates yelled out my name, and suddenly I became president of the class for the next five year period. That was the period in which we were raising money, and so we hadn't built it yet. We were raising the money, and ... getting all the finalization of the contracts and design and donations and contractors and so forth, so I wasn't really involved up until that point. That's where Roger and Carl and some of those fellows have more awareness of the details.
SH: That was a significant visible contribution from your class. Are there other activities that you have been involved with at Rutgers as an alumni, either in the fraternity or in general?
HM: The fraternity hasn't done much. Of course, it got merged and absorbed. I keep in touch with some of the fraternity brothers. For a while I was doing some of the alumni recruiting. I forget what the organization was, but I went to a couple college fairs. I remember I did ... North Warren Regional High School some years ago. There was the period of time there was a push to get more out-of-state students. ... I remember there was somebody from Easton who was involved in that. I don't know if I lived in Easton at the time or still when I was living in Warren County, but I did get involved in that for a while. That sort of petered out and other than that, I don't think of any particular Rutgers activities I've been involved in.
SH: Do you want to talk a little bit about your career in Warren County?
HM: Okay, if that's appropriate. Yes, I clerked for a year with the judge, lived in Washington, New Jersey. After that, I got a job as an associate with a sole practitioner in Washington, New Jersey, a fellow named Arthur Alexander. That would be in the fall of '69. I worked with him for, until '72, and decided I wanted to start my own practice, which I did in '72 in Washington, New Jersey, a small-town general practice, real estate, wills, small businesses. I did not do an awful lot of personal injury litigation, ended up doing a fair amount of municipal practice, planning boards, zoning boards in central Warren County. I've had, in a legal career, sort of ten year cycles. So, I started in '72, and late '70s, it was cooking along. I had brought in an associate in the late '70s I guess it was, so there were two of us. The Prosecutor's Office at the time, the prosecutors in New Jersey, years ago had all been part-time and were turning into full-time, and there was talk about whether the prosecutor's position would become full-time. I wrote a letter to Brendan Byrne who was the governor at the time and said, you know, "I'd be interested in that if it were full-time position," and never heard much about it. ... There was a prosecutor appointed who then became a judge, so the vacancy was there. ... I've never been very political, never run for office, never would run for office, but the Bar Association, I don't know if they got wind of my interest through Bob Meyner, the former governor who ... worked closely with Governor Byrne, I believe. ... Anyhow, the Bar Association suggested, or recommended me as county prosecutor, and Governor Byrne did appoint me, still part-time. So, from 1981 to 1986, I did both the Prosecutor's job part-time and the private practice at the same time, which was sort of crazy. But the Prosecutor's job was very interesting, I liked public service, liked the people I worked with, got a lot of interesting things that I dealt with. Governor Kean was elected, a Republican, and the Prosecutor's job is generally by party affiliation, not always, sometimes they'll appoint someone who is with the other party. But I was a Democrat appointed by Governor Byrne and Governor Kean was elected, and my term was up, and so, knowing that I wouldn't be reappointed, I resigned from that position to go back to general practice in June of '86. My Governor Byrne story, I told him this story at one of the things we got together on. I don't know how accurate it is, but I told him I was partially responsible for him running for governor. He had been Essex County prosecutor at one time, and then, he became a judge and became the assignment judge which is a chief administrative judge of either a county or a group of counties, and he was stationed in Morris County in charge of Morris, Sussex, and Warren County. During that time, he would come out to Warren County and actually hear cases. Usually the assignment judges would come, they'd chat with people, they wouldn't hear cases, but he would sit and hear cases. ... Some of the municipalities did not have municipal courts, so sometimes the superior court judge would hear motor vehicle offenses including drunken driving cases. So I tried this drunken driving case on behalf of a fellow who was charged, and, you know, hacked around for two or three hours trying to win that case, and Judge Byrne found my client guilty. Shortly thereafter Judge Byrne announced he was running for governor, and I always theorized that he had said to himself, "You know, I'm not going to spend the rest of my life listening to this kind of baloney all the time. I'm going to run for governor." He did not disavow that, but he did not say that was actually true either. [laughter]
SH: Did not credit you either way.
HM: No, but I went back to full time private practice in 1986. Then, again that itch set in in the late '90s. Private practice was getting tougher, never made much money in private law practice very honestly. ... I had appointed a fellow as an assistant prosecutor who then became Prosecutor, and he brought a fellow that he'd worked with in Passaic County who then later became the Prosecutor. So anyhow, I talked to that fellow and said, "If you ever have an opening, you know, I'd come back and work as an assistant," and he did, and I did. So, my last ten years I spent as an assistant prosecutor in that office where I had been the prosecutor some years before part-time. I did that full-time and enjoyed it, enjoyed working with the people, enjoyed public service. ... My primary role most of the time was Megan's Law work. I retired from that in 2009 and have been retired for a couple of years volunteering at a genealogical and historical society in Northampton County and doing some photographic work and genealogical research, staying very busy.
SH: Photography of the genealogical records or in general?
HM: Generally, in fact if you look at the 2011 Rutgers calendar, I'm Mr. August. It's a shot of Bishop that I took at reunion last year, the plaza there.
SH: Are there other passions that you have that keep you busy now that you are retired?
HM: Those two. ... I spent about a year-and-a-half not doing much of anything important or significant. Last fall, I'm a member of ACE--Arts Community of Easton--a group of artists, and I've done some exhibitions of photographic works and they needed a treasurer. So I volunteered for that, so I'm now the treasurer of that group and doing my volunteer work and doing some traveling here and there. ...
SH: Are you getting involved with Rutgers as well?
HM: Not too much, I go to the reunions, go to the class reunions and that's about it. I have not been to a football game in years.
SH: Did any of your children attend Rutgers?
HM: No, I got my daughter to apply, my son didn't even apply. My daughter applied and was admitted. I'm not sure if she was admitted to Douglass or Rutgers. She ended up going to Villanova for two years and transferring to Penn State and graduating from Penn State, and my son went to Boston College. I couldn't get them here, even though they were legacies.
SH: Are there any areas that we have not covered or any questions you would like us to ask? I really appreciate you coming in and talking with us.
HM: Sure, no problem, enjoyed doing it, usually don't talk about myself, so I got a chance to do that. I don't know, there may be other stories, but any other areas that I touched on that you have any interest in or any other areas you wanted to deal with, I'd be happy to talk about.
SH: I think that it is wonderful to have this different insight into how the campus was evolving, and then the law school. As you said, it was really beginning to expand in Newark.
HM: There were some interesting characters in law school in Newark. ... We had some real radicals. One of the fellows had been thrown out of Berkeley during the Free Speech Riots, and then, went to Howard, whether it was Howard undergraduate or Howard Law School, and then, was at Rutgers Law School. He was a character and a couple of others. ... One of our classmates was the widow of Michael Schwerner, one of the three Civil Rights workers who were killed in Mississippi in the '60s. ... Spring of '68, I recall the Martin Luther King assassination which was relevant--yesterday was the anniversary. I do recall after that they had a walk in Newark where suburban citizens just expressed their concern. I remember walking through the Central Ward with a large group of people doing that. Also while taking the bar review course at the Military Park Hotel in Newark which is now where NJPAC is, it was there that in June of '68that we learned of Bobby Kennedy's assassination so that was a significant spring. So, those were sort of the memories of those two unfortunate events.
SH: With all these assassinations, was your outlook positive or negative on the world?
HM: I don't remember specifically. I'm sure there was, you know, boom, boom, boom, especially the spring of '68, those two assassinations and, you know, following John Kennedy in '63. I don't remember specific feelings, but I'm sure there was, you know, what the heck is going to happen next? ...
SH: The war was still going on in Vietnam. I just wondered as a young adult coming into your own, what you were experiencing.
HM: Yes, I guess I've never been really, I just sort of plod along and what comes, comes. I guess I've never been a planner, or never to a great degree. Things happen, and you know things are going to go on, and hopefully things won't get too bad. ...
SH: Basically optimistic then.
HM: I guess so, yes, I'm fairly optimistic although sometimes of late as things are going, one can find it harder to be optimistic. Between budget crunches and foreign involvements and so forth. I guess there's always that older generation wondering how the younger generation is going to handle things, you know, which they said about us, and I guess we screwed things up maybe, I don't know. [laughter]
SH: I think that is the irony that we do live long enough to become that other generation. Well, thank you so much for talking with us. We will conclude the interview.
HM: Okay, you're very welcome. Thank you for having me.
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Reviewed by Alexandra McKinnon 1/21/12
Reviewed by Nicholas Molnar 3/8/13
Reviewed by Howard McGinn 6/20/13