• Interviewee: Piller, Ira
  • PDF Interview: piller_ira_part1.pdf
  • Date: June 22, 2020
  • Place: Clearwater, FL
  • Interviewers:
    • Shaun Illingworth
  • Transcript Production Team:
    • Jesse Braddell
    • Molly Graham
    • Kathryn Tracy Rizzi
    • Ira Piller
  • Recommended Citation: Piller, Ira. Oral History Interview, June 22, 2020, by Shaun Illingworth, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
  • Permission:

    Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Shaun Illingworth: This begins an oral history interview with Ira Piller for the Class of 1970 Oral History Project at the Rutgers Oral History Archives. The date today is June 22, 2020. I am Shaun Illingworth, and I am in Hightstown, New Jersey. Sir, if you can just say your name and where you are at right now?

Ira Piller: This is Ira Piller, and I'm now in Clearwater, Florida, formerly from New Jersey.

SI: Okay, great. To begin, can you tell me where and when you were born?

IP: I was born in New York City, on December 1, 1948.

SI: For the interview, can you tell me what your parents' names were?

IP: My mother's name was Ethel, and my father's name was Samuel, Sam.

SI: Starting with your father's side of the family, can you tell me a little bit about what you might know about the family background and where the family came from, if there is an immigration story, that sort of thing?

IP: Sure. My father's side of the family was from Poland, is my understanding, from Krakow, Poland. I think that's the second-largest city or at least was the second-largest city in Poland. I'm guessing that Warsaw, the capital of Poland, I believe, perhaps, would be the largest city. I think that's where my grandmother was, as well. My grandfather immigrated to the United States either in the late 1800s or the early 1900s. I recall, when I was in seventh grade, that I actually had an assignment from my English teacher that we had to do an autobiography. I do recall that my grandfather, he was old, but I do recall interviewing him, perhaps much like this, and he shared with me that he was--this is what he said to me--he said that he was a Rough Rider. He was part of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Rider army, if you will. I believe that was perhaps the Spanish American War or something attached to it. [Editor's Note: During the Spanish-American War, which occurred from April to August in 1898, future president Theodore Roosevelt led the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, which was nicknamed the Rough Riders. The unit gained fame for its participation in the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba.]

My father and his siblings are actually first-generation Americans. My father had two brothers and two sisters. Their mother died at a very young age, and the oldest child in that family was a daughter and that sister basically cared for all the children. She was the oldest. My father was the second oldest. He had one brother after that, Larry Piller. Then there was Sidney Piller. I believe the youngest child was Ruth Piller. Sarah, as I said, cared for that family and pretty much served as the mother. The real mother died at a very young age. I don't even remember her name.

On my mother's side, a little bit different, and there's a little bit of irony to this, as I'll share with you briefly, but my mother's family, my mother's mother, my grandmother, her name would be Regina and she was from a town that is now considered Poland, but I believe then was considered Austria or even possibly part Ukraine. Those countries seem to all blend together or mesh together geographically, but my mother's mother, her name was Regina. She was born--and the reason that this is so specific, Shaun, is that recently, I participated in Ancestry.com, and I found out so much information on my mother's side. A long-lost cousin saw me on Ancestry.com. It's an incredible story. But let me just get back to my mother's immediate family. She had three siblings. Abe was her oldest sibling, her brother. My mother, Ethel, was number two. The next child was Lillian, and the youngest child was Beatrice. Through this connection, I discovered a second cousin on Ancestry.com, and this is very recent. It's quite a story.

We found out, she's a bit of a genealogical buff, an amateur genealogist, and she was able to find out that my grandmother Regina and her grandmother were sisters way back in the old country, again, in Austria, Ukraine, now Poland. She found out that my grandmother came to America in 1900. She was born in 1880. Her sister stayed in the old country. The tradition was for the oldest child to stay and care for the family. She was born in 1875. Again, not to go too crazy here, but all of those people perished in the Holocaust. This woman, who I just mentioned to you, my second cousin, her father is one of seven or eight siblings that also is the only one to survive the Holocaust, and her mother survived the Holocaust. It's kind of a long story, not worth getting into, unless you want to pursue it.

In any case, that's my mother's family. So, my mother and her siblings are also first generation. They lived in Greenwich Village in New York City on the Lower East Side. I don't really know where my father's family lived. It could've been in the Bronx. It could've been in Brooklyn. It could've been in New York City, but those are the two families.

SI: Do you know how your parents met?

IP: Yes, I do. My understanding is that my Uncle Abe, on my mother's side, knew my father. They were all in World War II. They all were in the service. I guess I should've mentioned this. My father served in the Air Force in Paris. I don't think he served actual combat. He was in the radio telecommunications receiving part of his unit. He and Abe had developed a friendship somewhere along the way. Abe introduced my father to my mother, vice versa, and that's how they met. I even have discovered old love letters from my dad and my mother when he was in Paris and anticipating his return. So, that's how they met. I think they met--obviously, the war was over in '45, so they obviously knew each other in the mid [1940s], maybe in '43, '44, '45. I was born in 1948. They were married, I'm going to guess, in 1946, certainly not later than 1947, and I'm an only child.

SI: Initially, they only knew each other through correspondence.

IP: Oh, no. They had met. They had dated when my father perhaps was on leave. But, no, they had known each other, and they had met, dated. Then, he went back to Paris or to the war, wherever he was assigned.

Again, not to bore you or anything, but the Ancestry.com connection is almost unbelievable. The reason that I say that, and digress for a moment, is that on my mother's side, the three siblings, they all were married [and had] no children. So, I was the only child of these four siblings. My grandmother died in 1957. We still were living in the Bronx. So, I was about eight, perhaps nine years old, when my grandmother died. So, my grandmother never saw her sister back from the old country since 1900. She somehow separated. She made it to America. The other sister stayed behind. But the fascinating thing about this, and this is a bit of a mystery, is that through my now-second cousin who I've connected with, literally Shaun, only in the last month, it's an incredible story. This connects to what we're going to be talking about. When she wrote me an email through Ancestry.com, she made the connection through a letter that my mother wrote to her father, remember, the only surviving sibling in the Holocaust on that side of the family. She wrote a letter to Abe. Her father's name was Abe, also. Ironically, her name, this second cousin of mine, is Lily. They live in Buffalo. They settled in Buffalo. That letter that my mother sent to Abe, she was reading it. She quoted lines from that letter through her email to me via Ancestry.com that my mother said--this is in 1968. This letter was from 1968. My mother says, "I have a son who's a sophomore at Rutgers, and I'm very concerned about him and with the war in Vietnam." She had the presence of mind to write about that, but never mentioned my name per se.

It is fascinating on a few different levels, but my mother, for whatever reason, and none of my aunts told me anything about that side of the family. It's really a bit of a mystery. I'm a little bit upset with my mother, may she rest in peace, because she never shared with me this cousin, this family, which would've been fascinating to learn about. But she did write a couple of letters apparently. So, this woman, who is now my second cousin, only joined Ancestry.com in 2016. So, she couldn't make a connection with me. She tried to Google me, but she didn't have my first name, so it's a little bit difficult. But she was literally jumping onto Ancestry.com every week, she says to me, hoping beyond hope, that maybe, who knows. It's all because of my daughter giving me Ancestry.com as my last birthday present in December.

Because of the pandemic, I finally had some time on my hands. I did the vial. You have to produce some sputum. I put it in the vial in April, and I got the results in mid-May. So, it's all kind of coming together, but I am a little bit upset with my mother for never sharing with me this other cousin or side of the family. So, that's basically my mother's side of the family. I wish I could share with you more. I can tell you this. I will say this to you in closing, that when she read to me that letter, I knew it was a connection. I knew everything was accurate. So did she. I guess it's not like meeting a long-lost brother or sister, but my legs were tingling because of this long-lost connection.

SI: That is a very interesting story. Do not feel like you can't tell stories like that. Those are the kinds of things we are hoping to hear. Part of what we have been finding in these interviews is how people go about finding their own family history and then the influence of these new tools like Ancestry or 23andMe. It is really interesting. Did your parents ever tell you anything about their lives during World War II or earlier during the Depression, what their lives had been like before they got married?

IP: Yes, my mother worked. My grandfather, who I'm named after, his name was Isadore. He was a tailor, from what I understand, and my grandmother was a seamstress. From what my aunts and my mom told me, she actually worked in a factory and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, ILGWU, which I still think is a significant force in politics and social causes and whatever but back then was very pioneering. My mother did not go to college. Well, I shouldn't say it. My mother did not go to college. Lillian did not go to college. Their youngest daughter did go to some college at NYU [New York University], Beatrice. Abe actually went to Columbia, and he was a pharmacist. That was his profession. My mother worked, I think, in retail sales of sorts. My Aunt Bea, the one that I said I think went to college, worked in the accounting department at CBS, Columbia Broadcasting [System]. My Aunt Lil worked, I remember, for a scarf company called Baar and Beards. I would guess they're out of business now. [Editor's Note: The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was a labor union that was in operation from 1900 to 1995.]

My father and his two brothers, they had, I believe, a stamp business, a stamp and coin business of sorts in the '30s and perhaps before they were drafted. One of the brothers, Sid--he and my father both went to the service. The other brother, Larry, did not go to the service. I think back then, for World War II, if you had a family of, in this case, three brothers and you had a business, I believe one of them was allowed to stay and run the business. That's my recollection.

By that time, they had changed businesses, and they had gotten into the material handling business. What that is basically is their business was supplying all of the secondary accessory items, including hand trucks. They did manufacture moving pads for the moving industry. If you were going to move your house, you would hire, let's say, Allied Van Lines or the Seven Santini Brothers, or any of the big companies, I'm sure it's changed a lot, or a private company, a smaller mom-and-pop company, that company needs moving pads. They need hand trucks. They need straps, all of those kinds of items, hundreds of items. That was their business. The name of the company was Elkay Products, E-L-K-A-Y. I think it was named after, in part, their father, my grandfather. His name was Elias Lewis Piller, so the E and the L, I think, came from him. I could be wrong about that. So, that's where the L-K came from--E-L-K-A-Y. Anyway, they had run that business, I guess perhaps in the late '30s, the early '40s, or whatever, until the war, and then Larry ran the business. Then, upon their return, they all joined, they rejoined the business as one unit. That was my father's livelihood and career.

SI: I meant to ask earlier, are you aware if the family name changed at all, particularly when they came to the United States?

IP: I'm not aware of that. I am aware, however, of some other slight quirk. Again, through this cousin that I've recently met, and, by the way, we Zoomed for three hours on a Saturday night a few Saturdays ago. It was a fascinating conversation, but she found my mother's--she's quite a gal--she found my mother's birth certificate. Apparently, the birth certificate, my mother's legal name is Fannie, but somehow it was changed, or she didn't like that name or who knows what. It was changed to Ethel. I don't really know exactly why, but as far as the last names, I don't have any knowledge.

SI: You were born in the city, but grew up in New Jersey.

IP: We lived in the Bronx until I was--I remember celebrating my tenth birthday in Springfield, New Jersey, and I remember starting--I was in fifth grade. I remember it distinctly. The name of my elementary school was Edward V. Walton School on Mountain Avenue in Springfield, and I remember, obviously, starting that year in the Bronx. We lived in the Bronx, and I moved when I was well into my ninth year because school started in September. I remember we moved, Shaun, just before Halloween. [I've] lived in New Jersey since I'm pretty much ten years old.

SI: Do any memories stand out of your neighborhood in the Bronx, or your school there?

IP: Yes, that's a good question. Of course, it was very urban. I will tell you perhaps, a little bit about that. Sometimes you remember where you lived. So, we lived on a street called Popham Avenue, P-O-P-H-A-M, in the Bronx. My parents told me that if we had stayed living in the Bronx that the high school I would've gone to would've been DeWitt Clinton. I think Clinton was a governor of New York and perhaps a general in the Revolutionary War. I'm not a hundred percent. [Editor's Note: DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828) was the Governor of New York from 1817 to 1822 and again from 1825 to 1828. He had also been Mayor of New York City and one of New York's Senators. His uncle, George Clinton, was a general in the American Revolutionary War and the first Governor of New York.]

It was a wonderful childhood. I do remember coming home crying when I was in second grade. I couldn't read, and one of our neighbors, my mother's best friend, she literally sat me down when I got home from school, maybe four o'clock in the afternoon. It seemed like forever; it must've been three or four hours. Whatever she did, I was able to read the next day. I wasn't scared about being called upon in class. That was in second grade. The best teacher I ever had was in second grade. Her name was Edna Kelly. I'll never forget her. She became friendly with my mother and my two aunts, who also lived in the Bronx. Abe, by the way, lived in Queens.

Anyway, my recollection of living in the Bronx, I have two basic recollections. I have a couple of recollections. One is that I was a huge Yankees fan then; no longer. That's another story. We live in Florida and we live in the Tampa Bay area, and I do not like the Yankees. I became an anti-Yankees when George Steinbrenner took over the team, but, again, that's another story that we can talk about. But I was a big Yankees fan. Back then, this is now the '50s, the Yankees were in the Bronx, the New York Giants were in Manhattan in the Polo Grounds, and the Dodgers were in Brooklyn. So, there was a fierce rivalry in New York City baseball. The Yankees' big star was Mickey Mantle. The Dodgers big star was Duke Snider and, of course, Willie Mays with the Giants. They all played the same position, centerfield. I remember my father taking me to a Yankees doubleheader probably in the late '50s. I remember watching Mickey Mantle hit a home run. The next batter up was Yogi Berra. He hit a home run, and the next batter was Elston Howard. He was a catcher with the Yankees--very, very good player, the only black player with the Yankees back then--and so I got a chance to see three home runs hit in a row, which is pretty special for a seven or eight-year-old kid.

The other thing I remember, of course, is going to Hebrew School, which was drudgery. No kid wanted to go to Hebrew school. We were all forced to go to Hebrew School. I remember playing hooky to Hebrew School when the Yankees and the Dodgers were in the World Series. It must've been '55, '56, something like that. I remember back then; we didn't have big box stores. They had mom-and-pop television shops, where they would put the televisions in the front window, and so people could literally not go into the store, but [were] able to see a TV show through the window. So, I remember, it was either against the Dodgers or the Yankees. It might've been '57, when the Milwaukee Braves with the great Hank Aaron were playing. I remember playing hooky. I'll never forget my father waiting for me because the Hebrew School teacher called my parents, and I got a whipping. I do remember that. That's my recollections of the Bronx. Of course, the beautiful part of moving to New Jersey for a kid who likes baseball is that I never had seen green grass before, for baseball. All the baseball we played was on hard court, asphalt courts and fields in the Bronx. So, one of my big thrills was seeing grass baseball fields for Little League in Springfield. So, that's my recollection of the Bronx.

SI: Do you know, specifically, why the family chose Springfield to move to?

IP: I don't know that, but the reason we moved was that my father's business, with his two brothers, the business was located in Manhattan. From what my understanding was, they had outgrown whatever warehouse-type facility they had. They needed to expand. They needed some breathing room. What they did is, the brothers--my father and his brothers--they were looking in New Jersey. They knew nothing [of] New Jersey, but they were looking, and apparently, they found this location in a place called Springfield.

SI: Well, tell me a little bit about the neighborhood you grew up in, in Springfield. What were your neighbors like? What was the street like, that sort of thing?

IP: Well, it was a big departure, as you could imagine, from the Bronx. It was a suburb of Newark, New Jersey, a big change in terms of green grass, a lawn, a house, as opposed to an apartment in the Bronx, all those kinds of physical and geographical changes. It was, again, a lovely childhood, a wonderful childhood. We lived on a circle, a large circle. It was called Briar Hills Circle. It was the last block of Springfield, and our house was literally the last group of houses. Literally, in our backyard, I could put one foot in Springfield, New Jersey, and my other foot could be in Mountainside, New Jersey, which is the adjoining town. [I had] lots of friends. We belonged to a synagogue, where lots of kids in my neighborhood also belonged to that particular synagogue. It was a wonderful childhood--a lot of sports. Little League, we played through middle school. I was bar mitzvahed there. I was a pretty good student. Again, I had to go to Hebrew School, but I think in New Jersey, we didn't have to go every day. That was a big relief, but we had to still go two or three times a week. In any case, I was very active. I played soccer in high school. I was, as I said, a pretty good student, and academics was very much emphasized. My father loved sports, and I became a very big sports fan in general.

SI: Can you tell me a little bit more about the role that religion or faith played in your life? Did you go to synagogue every week?

IP: That's a good question. My parents, first of all, kept a kosher home, which is we didn't have--by kosher home, we mean, in Judaism, there were two sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy. As a child, I never had a hamburger with milk--never. I'll never forget. After soccer practice one day in high school, we were waiting for the bus [at] the bus stop, and even most of my Jewish friends, they did not keep kosher homes. It was a bit difficult. But I'll never forget going into this deli. The name escapes me at the moment, but it was an Italian deli. I had never seen ham before. They had all of the delicacies in there with the olives inside some of the cold cuts, whatever. I had never seen that before. It was a little bit of a new world for me. When I went to Rutgers, of course, that all changed. I would have a hamburger with milk and think nothing of it.

My parents were religious. In the Bronx, we belonged to an Orthodox synagogue because that's all that there was in the Bronx or in New York City. There was no such thing as Conservative or Reformed. When we moved to New Jersey, there was, in our community, a Reformed synagogue and also a Conservative synagogue. We belonged to the Conservative synagogue. I went to Hebrew School, was bar mitzvahed.

The one thing that we did that was kind of nice was that, again, in the Jewish religion, there are services every morning, a short service Monday through Friday. Of course, Saturday is a bigger service. We had what we call a minyan. A minyan means, in Judaism, you have to have ten people to actually have a service. So, they divided the congregates, I suppose, so that they could get ten people Monday through Friday. My father and his brother--[who] had a son who was about my same age. We were only four months apart, but we were in different grades. I was a grade ahead of him. Between the two of us, we had four people already, so we only needed six more people. Then, there was another family who had a son. They had two younger sons. The younger son was too young. Between that family that had three, we had four--we had seven people already.

It was a traditional thing where every Monday morning at seven o'clock in the morning--it was a little early--we had a service, but I am not quite as religious as, I think, my mother and father were, but we are. We don't keep a kosher home at all, but, of course, we are still in a Conservative synagogue. But religion was a little bit more important, perhaps, when I was growing up than it is today. But we're in the same ballpark, if you know what I mean. Now, I will tell you this--I don't know if we want to get ahead of ourselves, but this is also perhaps germane to the questions you might be asking me later on.

SI: Go ahead.

IP: But I think you'll find this very interesting or the future viewers of this might find this interesting. I told you we had another synagogue in town, a Reformed synagogue. The rabbi of that synagogue, his name was Israel Dresner, D-R-E-S-S-N-E-R, or maybe one S. [Editor's Note: Israel Seymour Dresner is a rabbi and civil rights activist who was close friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For twelve years, he was the rabbi of Temple Sha'arey Shalom in Springfield, New Jersey, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in 1963 and 1966. In 1961, civil rights activists rode interstate buses in the Jim Crow South to protest segregation in the Freedom Rides.]

I don't know if you know your history--I have a feeling you do--but early in the Civil Rights Movement, we're talking like--I was in high school, so this had to be--again, we can look it up. But in the early to mid-'60s, there was a group of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders. There's been books written about it. There's a movie, I believe, about it. Four men--two white, two black, I believe--were murdered. [Editor's Note: Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were murdered by Ku Klux Klan members while working as civil rights volunteers in Mississippi during the summer of 1964. They had been trying to register African American voters as part of the Mississippi Summer Project.] They were activists. I believe it was in Mississippi. One or two of them were Jewish. I know one for sure was Jewish, and he was killed. The rabbi of the reform synagogue, Dresner, was also from what I understand, a Freedom Rider. He had developed a friendship with Martin Luther King. I remember, in high school, Martin Luther King came to that synagogue. Sha'arey Shalom was the name of that synagogue. Our synagogue was Temple Beth Ahm. Their synagogue was, I believe, Sha'arey Shalom.

He came to little Springfield, New Jersey--fifteen thousand people--for a speech. I believe every Jewish family was invited to that speech, but no children were allowed or could get in because the place was packed. I remember this distinctly--my parents going to it. I'm sure all of their friends went to it, and that was a big moment in Springfield's history. Martin Luther King was a dynamic speaker, and he only came to Springfield. The only connection was to that rabbi and to the Freedom Riders and the Civil Rights Movement. I remember Dresner was active in the Civil Rights Movement in the mid '60s. So, I'm going to guess--I graduated high school in '66. I'm going to guess that this was--and Martin Luther King was assassinated in '67 or '68.

SI: '68.

IP: '68. So, I'm going to guess that this event was either '65, '66, '67, perhaps '68, somewhere in that timeframe. I remember that distinctly. I forgot where we were. [laughter]

SI: I will stay on that for a moment. Did the Civil Rights Movement become something that you discussed with your family?

IP: Yes.

SI: Was that something they were interested in following?

IP: Yes. My mother, from her mother's roots in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, we had some liberal democratic leanings and feelings and orientation in my family. I think my father was more middle of the road, but he eventually also became a Democrat. But my mother's influence was a little bit stronger, and the Civil Rights Movement, of course, was just burgeoning in the mid '60s. I became very interested. I don't know how active I became, but I became more interested in history and politics in all of that kind of stuff. I was pretty knowledgeable about who our Congresspeople were, who our Senators were, and all of that. I became not active-active, but I became attuned to what was happening around me. I leaned toward a Democrat, liberal bent, definitely. I remember the '67 riots very clearly because one of them was in Newark and, of course, Detroit. So, that hit home clearly.

SI: Well, we will come back to that, but going back earlier, what was the town like when you were growing up in Springfield?

IP: Well, ironically, for a town that was a small town, give or take fourteen, fifteen thousand people, we did have a somewhat significant Jewish population. Let me capture it for you--I should have done this earlier--a little bit about Springfield. It was a bedroom community of Newark and New York. So, we had several fathers that would take the bus to New York, go to the Port Authority. It's only about forty-five, fifty minutes away by car. But it was a unique community in a couple of respects. Number one, the Black community was separated. It was a part of Springfield. Our schools were always integrated, but they lived all together in a certain part of town, off of South Springfield Avenue. It was a nice community, but it was separate. The other interesting thing about Springfield, and this will be good for posterity--Springfield is famous for two things. One, there was a Battle of Springfield in the Revolutionary War that was significant. In the center of Springfield, there is a cemetery with lots of old, from the 1700s, tombstones. The other thing that Springfield is famous for is the home of the Baltusrol Golf Club. Have you ever heard of the Baltusrol Golf Club?

SI: Is that the African American one?

IP: No, just the opposite.

SI: Tell me about it.

IP: Baltusrol Golf Course was then even more exclusive. Now, it's still exclusive. But Baltusrol Golf Course was anti-Semitic--no Jews, no Blacks, no Catholics-- strictly WASP [White Anglo-Saxon Protestant]. It literally enveloped the entire town of Springfield. Ironically, our block of Springfield--when I told you we lived in Briar Hill Circle--our block, or our little development, butted up against one of the holes of the golf course. As kids, we would go under the fence and kind of fool around on the greens every once in a while. Once we saw the golfers come, we would scramble. Some of my Jewish friends were caddies on the weekend at that golf course. But why am I telling you this? I am telling you this--this was all through the 1960s. When Richard Nixon lost the governorship to Pat Brown--that's Jerry Brown's father--back in the '60s. He had lost the presidency to John F. Kennedy. He's a Californian, returned to California, and I believe he ran for governor, I'm almost positive, in 1962 and lost. I was pretty much involved--I knew my politics even back then. Nixon moved to New Jersey, practiced law in New York, lived in a very exclusive part of Bergen County, up north, and he was a member of the Baltusrol Golf Course. When he ran for President in 1968, he had to renege his membership.

Then, later, in the early '70s, I think a couple of token Jewish people were admitted, and all that. But the other reason I'm telling you this, and this will get a chuckle--not recently, but Baltusrol, back in the '60s, '50s, '60s, '70s, had hosted more US Opens than any other golf course in America. I remember reading an article in Sports Illustrated, as a teenager, where they did a cover story on the eighteen most difficult golf holes in the United States. Two of them were from Baltusrol Golf Course. I think every other golf course had one. Pebble Beach, I'm sure, had one. So, 1970, is the US Open at Baltusrol Golf Course. I'm home from college, or maybe I was home that weekend. My father and I went, and my uncle and his son went.

Now, remember I told you that Baltusrol Golf Course pretty much enveloped all of Springfield, or at least a very large part of Springfield, so much so that some of the homes could literally abut part of the golf course. It cut through a very Jewish section of Springfield. That particular Sunday--and this was carried by ABC television--Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper, and Jack Nicklaus were the last foursome. Billy Casper was winning, and when the US Open--I'm not a golf buff, but I know this--the tournament, Shaun, is not only for the professional golfers, but there's also an amateur component to it. Believe it or not, there was a golfer from Houston, Texas. His name was Marty Fleckman. He was Jewish. He was the leading amateur going into the last day, and he was right up there with even the leaders. He did not have a good round at all, but one of the holes was right near this Jewish community of Springfield. All the ladies were in their backyards, in one backyard or two backyards, all congregating and all sitting on their lawn chairs. My mother told me this because she was watching it on real TV while we were at the tournament. He made a very good putt. All these ladies clapped and sang out, "Mazel tov, Marty," which in Yiddish means, "Congratulations." Mazel Tov. So, that was kind of a funny thing, especially at a golf course that was no Jews allowed, no Jewish members.

I'll never forget, at the ceremony, after the tournament, they have a big ceremony, they give out the awards and even though Marty Fleckman did not make it to the big--he didn't have a good enough round to do well for the professional side of the tournament; he still finished number one as the top amateur. When he was given that award, all the members were up there, not one of them clapped. That really hit home to me, that it really was real. Because as a child, I had really never experienced much anti-Semitism, but you might want to make a note. When we get into my high school years, I did experience it. But, in any case, that was my first--I should say, that was my second experience of really seeing anti-Semitism right out in the open.

The first one I'll go back to real quick, because when we were freshmen at Jonathan Dayton Regional High School--our high school, by the way, at one time, was the high school for several towns: Scotch Plains, Mountainside, Berkeley Heights, Kenilworth, New Jersey, etcetera. My senior class in 1966 was the last class to only have one other community, Kenilworth. Kids from Kenilworth were bussed into Jonathan Dayton Regional High School on Mountain Avenue, and they stayed with us through my senior year. Kenilworth got its own high school the following year. So, my cousin, for example, who I told you was four months younger but a grade back, his graduating class would have been the first graduating class with Springfield just on its own. When I was a freshman, we never knew any of these kids from Kenilworth. Are you familiar with Kenilworth? Okay. It's in Union County, right next to Springfield. Heavy Italian population, heavy Catholic population, very few Jewish people. I think at one time, back then, they told me there were only ten Jewish families. We're all freshmen. We don't know these students because we've never gone to grade school with them, never gone to elementary school with them. So, they didn't know us, and we didn't know them.

I'll never forget our first physical education class. We had to jog to the football field. That's how it was set up. It was about a half a mile, whatever it was. A bunch of the kids from Kenilworth, who we didn't know at all, they called us kikes. I had no idea what they were talking about. I know it wasn't a good thing because they kept making fun of us. I went home that night, and I asked my father. He told me, that's slang, a derogatory way [of saying] you're Jewish, or if you're Italian, wop is the name. I won't use the N-word for Black people. So, there was a real diversification there our freshman year, and eventually, we became friends with these people. But I do remember that as an anti-Semitic--are you there? I lost you.

SI: It dropped out for a minute.

IP: Okay. Anyway, I just thought that the Baltusrol thing you should know about, and the other anti-Semitic thing you should know about. Maybe that perhaps solidified my liberal leanings, who knows.

SI: In your neighborhood in Springfield, did you have primarily Jewish neighbors?

IP: It was a mixture. It was a mixture, and everybody got along. It was a mixture of people. But it was just that Kenilworth, we had not gone to school with them. We had not socialized with them. We had no connection with them other than they were all of a sudden at the high school, which was our high school.

SI: Well, tell me a little bit about your education there in Springfield. What subjects did you gravitate towards? Were there any teachers that stand out in your memory?

IP: I was very academically oriented, as my friends were. I knew that I wanted to go to college. I was on the soccer team my senior year. I remember a very, very good history teacher, Mr. Pfeifer, excellent teacher. My bent was more towards social studies. I took all the math courses you had to take, but I was certainly not an "A" student in math, but not bad, just maybe a "B" student, as I recall. I was in the National Honors Society, which at least was some level of academic achievement. But science wasn't my thing. I don't recall taking physics. I do recall taking biology and doing the dissection of a frog or whatever. I might have taken chemistry, but I'm not sure at all about that. I was certainly more history-oriented, more English-oriented. I dreaded going to French class, was not very good in French, although I do remember, again, being nervous about that. When we get to college, I can tell you a funny story, but I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. Yes, I was pretty academically-oriented.

I was involved also in our Jewish social organization for Conservative synagogues. There's the youth group called USY, United Synagogue Youth, and I think I was an officer. I might have been vice president maybe at some point in my high school years. Again, just in general, [I was] sports-oriented. I know I was on the debate team at one point. I had my share of friends and didn't date very much. I think I was a little bit scared of girls.

SI: What kind of activities would you do with the United Synagogue Youth?

IP: The USY?

SI: Yes.

IP: Yes, just the normal--they would have a bowling night, I guess, or sometimes you'd get together with other--you'd have sleepover weekends with other communities, but nothing heavy-heavy on the religious side. It was more of a social interaction, boys and girls type of thing, pretty much.

SI: You mentioned that you were very interested in politics and news and that sort of thing. Do you remember yourself reading about things like the Civil Rights Movement when you were in high school?

IP: Yes, and let me also mention that I do remember, in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson was running for President. He had been the Vice President, and then he ascended to the presidency after Kennedy's assassination. We all went to--I think, our high school group--I know I went with a bunch of people from our high school. I think it might have been, I don't think, required, but I remember going because the reason we were able to go was the convention, the Democratic Convention, was in Atlantic City. So, that made a connection. By the way, Shaun, can you see me clearly? Your face is fuzzy now, but that's fine.

SI: I can see you okay.

IP: Okay, you can see me. Just so that you know, the video on your end does not have clarity, but it's fine. Anyway, I remember Paul Newman, the actor, speaking in front of the convention, at least the day that we were there. I believe it was an afternoon. So, it was kind of exciting, actually. That was maybe my first real--1964--really getting a taste of politics in front of me, a real connection, not just Washington, D.C. or some senator or governor in Trenton or in DC giving a speech, but a real physical presence with an actual political episode. I remember also--you're right. I do remember Civil Rights was becoming more and more of a prevalent issue in the country, so I definitely remember all of that kind of coming to a head in high school.

I remember even back as far as eighth grade when I think Kennedy was elected, I definitely remember it. Now, it's coming back to me. I even had a very strong connection to Kennedy, to the whole youth of his administration, the Camelot feeling, Jackie Kennedy, the brothers, and all of that. Now that I look back on it, yes, I had a definite interest, deep interest in politics, now that I'm thinking back on it, way back when I was in seventh and eighth grade. I remember doing a project in seventh grade about the election campaign with Nixon. I remember Kennedy winning the primaries. He had to fend off Hubert Humphrey, Stuart Symington, and probably a bunch of other Democrats back then. I definitely remember now--it's coming back to me--having a real keen interest and favoritism towards Kennedy. That I remember now and was very much saddened by the assassination in '62.

SI: '63.

IP: '63.

SI: I was going to also ask if you recall how the Cold War affected your youth. The Cuban Missile Crisis comes up a lot.

IP: Well, just to backtrack for a half second. I remember, in the Bronx, as a child in elementary school, with the atom bomb drills that we had to do underneath our desks and all that kind of stuff. We even did that in New Jersey also. Yes, I remember distinctly the Cold War. I distinctly remember the blockade, the Cuban blockade, when Kennedy got in. I remember the Bay of Pigs fiasco. I definitely remember even Dwight Eisenhower. I remember Nixon being his vice president. I have a clear recollection now, of even back then, having as a child--I guess I was only--well, in 1960, I would've been twelve years old. So, even as a ten, eleven, twelve-year-old, I was pretty fairly knowledgeable, pretty knowledgeable. I would say above the normal child of that era, not more than some people but as much as some people. I was very interested. [Editor's Note: On April 17, 1961, Cuban nationals, supported by the CIA, invaded the Bay of Pigs, Cuba to overthrow dictator Fidel Castro. Authorized by Kennedy, the operation proved to be a disaster, as Castro's forces destroyed the invasion force on the beach. In the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, the United States demanded that the Soviet Union remove its nuclear missile installations on Cuba. The U.S. placed a naval blockade around the island nation, creating a tense standoff between the U.S. and Soviet Union that many feared would lead to nuclear war. The crisis was averted when the Soviet Union agreed to remove its nuclear missiles from Cuba, in exchange for the U.S. removing its nuclear installations in Turkey.]

I remember the Peace Corps. I remember distinctly Kennedy's inaugural speech, "[Ask not] what your country can do for you--[ask what] you can do for your country." Those are great lines. I think Ted Sorensen wrote the speech, and I remember all the personalities. I could probably rattle off for you his cabinet, one of which, by the way--Orville Freeman was the Governor of Minnesota. His son [Michael O. Freeman] was a freshman in our class. I'm pretty sure his son was a freshman in our class. I remember [Bobby] Baker. Dean Rusk was the Secretary of State. McNamara was the Secretary of Defense. [C. Douglas] Dillon was the Secretary of the Treasury. I remember, back then, we actually had Republicans inside a Democratic cabinet. I remember the Cold War. I remember [Nikita] Khrushchev banging his hand or his boot at the United Nations on the desk. I remember Adlai Stevenson, our United States ambassador, who ran for President and lost twice against Dwight Eisenhower. I remember him showing the Russian missile sites in Cuba itself and really calling out the Russians. I think [Alexei] Kosygin was the Russian Ambassador or the Russian Secretary, their foreign minister, or whatever. I remember that very distinctly, and yes, there was a lot of tension with the Cuban blockade. That was it. I remember that. People were scared.

SI: Were there other community activities that your family was involved in, either you personally or your family?

IP: I just remember my father's company sponsoring a team in the Little League, but, no, I don't remember any other, off the top of my head, community activities.

SI: Before you went away to college, did you have much opportunity to travel beyond the North Jersey and New York area?

IP: Well, just so that you know, I went to camp just about every year. When I lived in the Bronx, I went to a camp in Upstate New York. When we moved to New Jersey, I think that first summer, we didn't really know too much, so we belonged to, I think, a swim club of some sort. Then, from there, I did go to camp. My parents did some traveling. They would take vacations to, I think, Canada, Nova Scotia. I think much, much later on, they might have taken a trip to Montreal. I think when I was in college, they once, yes, they went to Alaska.

I don't remember ever even being on an airplane until my junior year at Rutgers. The summer between my junior and senior years, Rutgers had a plane or a charter, or whatever, and I finally went with a friend of mine, who went to the University of Pennsylvania, he was a camp friend, the plane went from JFK [Airport] to Amsterdam. A bunch of my fraternity brothers, they peeled off, and they went on their own trip throughout Europe that whole summer. I then was in Amsterdam for a few days on my own, and I met my friend [from] the University of Pennsylvania, who was going to meet me in London. I remember meeting him, and then we went off for the whole summer. We went to all the hostels and all that kind of stuff. We went to Wimbledon. We're big tennis fans. But that was the first time I was ever on an airplane.

We did take vacations to the Catskill Mountains. We did take vacations, I think, to Delaware, but I don't recall ever going, certainly not out of the country. Did not go to California yet. My parents went to California, but there was never any time during the school year to go traveling, and in the summer, I was always in camp.

SI: I am curious about your activity with the USY. Was Israel a big issue, learning about Israel, and awareness of issues related to Israel?

IP: A little bit. A little bit, but not like it became, let's say when I got to my college years or beyond. Israel was not quite as controversial back in the [1950s and 1960s]. I think the War for Independence was in '48, the year I was born. I remember, of course, they had the one conflict with Egypt. Was that in 1957, maybe? Something like that. [Editor's Note: In 1948, Jewish leaders declared the independence of the State of Israel. Israel's victory in the subsequent Arab-Israeli War preserved that independence. In 1956, Israel, France, and the United Kingdom attacked Egypt after it nationalized the Suez Canal.]

SI: 1956.

IP: Yes, with the Suez Canal. That was a big thing. But the whole Israel-Arab thing was not--I think because of the media in the last thirty, forty years, [it's become] such a bigger issue. It wasn't quite top of mind as it's been since the '70s, let's say. But back in the '50s and '60s, it was pretty contained. So, I don't remember Israel being a big deal, but then again, I was so young, I don't remember everything. Again, this would've been before the war in '67, and then the subsequent war in '73. I guess when I was in college maybe, the beginnings of that was the first war in '67, and that I remember being a pretty big thing. But then the '73 war, that was even bigger because that was on Yom Kippur. That was the Yom Kippur War, when Egypt literally struck on the holiest day of the year. [Editor's Note: In June of 1967, Israel defeated an Egyptian-led coalition and captured large amounts of foreign territory in what is known as the Six Day War. In 1973, Israel once again defeated an Egyptian-led coalition in the Yom Kippur War.]

SI: I am curious, you talked a little bit about your family's religion. Was there anything you would point to that was unique to the family background that they tried to keep up in the family, like a tradition that was not just a religious tradition but also may be tied to the Polish side of the family or the Central European tradition?

IP: I really don't. I honestly don't remember any religious connection to something from the so-called old country. Again, even back then, the Holocaust was not, even in my youth, something that had nearly the notoriety or interest as in later years. For instance, my daughter, she's twenty-nine years old. All the kids in Florida, all across the country, I think, at least when she was in school, learning about the Holocaust was part of the curriculum. It was not part of the curriculum back in our youth at all. It was just something that we learned about through religious studies or whatever. So, there really wasn't; I don't recall, no. I will say my parents did go to Israel. They made a couple of trips to Israel. I think one, but I think I was in college then too. I don't remember.

SI: Going back to your high school years, you said you played soccer. Do you have any memories about playing soccer? Who were your big rivals and that sort of thing?

IP: It was a funny thing. Springfield really didn't have--at least back then, we weren't particularly good in any sport. I remember though that a bunch of my friends, we decided that the soccer team wasn't very good. Even though we weren't very good, probably, we all tried out for the soccer team, as I recall, literally our senior year. We did have one excellent player. He was from Europe and he landed in Elizabeth the year before, and he was fantastic. I remember that. That, I do remember. I remember we lost virtually every game. I remember our last game of the year--this is kind of funny. I started some games, or I was a substitute. I lettered, but I think I started maybe half the games and half the games I didn't start, something like that, but I played in all the games it seemed. I remember the very last game was against Hillside, and Hillside was just as bad as we were. The game, I think, was in Hillside, and I actually scored a goal. I remember a bunch of my Jewish friends on the team screaming out, "Wow, first Jewish goal of the year," or something like that. I think we actually won that game. It might have been the only game we won the whole year or one of the few. But that's what I remember.

SI: It sounds like your parents were always encouraging you to think about furthering your education.

IP: That's true.

SI: When you got to your senior year, were you thinking about other schools? How did Rutgers get to be where you went?

IP: Sure. So, I was not a particularly good test-taker. I think that my college board scores were only slightly above average, so I was happy that at least--but I did have a fairly good--I mean, I made National Honors Society, so I was a B-plus student, something like that. I knew that the Ivy League schools were out of my reach. I thought that Rutgers had a very good reputation, and back then, Rutgers only had--I could be wrong about this, but I think that--first of all, it was all male back in the mid '60s. Did it only turn in '73, '74 to be coed? [Editor's Note: In 1970, the Rutgers Board of Governors voted to admit women into Rutgers College. In the fall of 1972, the first women enrolled in Rutgers College.]

SI: It was in '72, yes.

IP: Okay. Douglass, of course, was always there as the all-female school. Rutgers had a very good reputation, and I thought I had a good chance of getting in, being a New Jersey resident. I remember applying, but there were other schools. My reach school was Franklin & Marshall [College], and I also applied to Lafayette [College]. I think I got into Lafayette. I don't know if I got into Franklin & Marshall, but we took a trip up to Lancaster. We'd actually vacationed in Lancaster one or two times and I liked Lancaster, but it was a small school. I got into Northeastern, and I got into Temple. I think those were my five or six schools that I applied to. So, it was a pretty easy choice with the fact that Rutgers was a very good school. It was home but still forty-five minutes away from Springfield. So, it was enough of a distance for some separation there. I wanted the campus life, and it was a reasonable cost. I could be wrong, but I think the whole school was only 6,700 boys. I could be wrong about that, but it was certainly nothing near what other state universities were. I'll never forget, we had a couple of fellows on my freshman floor. I think my freshman dorm was Scott Hall. I don't know if Scott is still--back then, it was one of the newer dorms, but I don't recall. Mettler Hall?

SI: Yes, there is Mettler. Scott Hall is a classroom building.

IP: Oh, is it?

SI: Yes, maybe Clothier.

IP: Clothier, yes. I remember it was a brick building. There were like or three of them in the courtyard there. Then, next to them were the older [dorms], then, next to them were much older, but I'm sure nice, but much older ones.

SI: Yes, Brett Hall.

IP: I was in Brett. That was it. Shaun, I was in Brett Hall. That's coming back to me. I'm pretty sure I was in Brett. My roommate was from Hyattsville, Maryland. He was an engineering student, but I remember on my freshman floor, we had two fellows from the Chicago-land area. They thought that Rutgers was an Ivy League school. We had to explain to them that Rutgers was not an Ivy League school. So, I don't know if they got bad information from somebody, from their guidance counselor. I have no idea. But I do remember that we had to convince them. [laughter] One was an engineering student, I remember that. But Rutgers had a very good engineering program, so whatever. I was very happy when I got into Rutgers. I remember my mother opening the letter. I remember that was a happy time.

SI: You said you had been going to the camps in the summer. Did you start working at the camps, or did you ever have a summer job?

IP: That's a good question. Can I just interrupt for a second? My daughter, who is visiting us from New York, is a little loud in the other room. She's on furlough. She's not on furlough. She's now back. She's off of furlough, but let me just tell her to tone it down a little bit, okay? Can I have one second?


IP: Yes, I got into college. [laughter] I made it into college.

SI: I had asked about summer jobs, and you were going into a story.

IP: Oh, right. So, I went to camp. The camp that I went to when we moved to New Jersey was actually--it was not a religious camp, but it was sponsored by the B'nai B'rith Jewish organization. It was called Camp B'nai B'rith. It was in Starlight, Pennsylvania, pretty high up. Anyway, I loved camp. When I was in college, I then became a counselor for two years. Yes, two or three years, I was a counselor at that camp and enjoyed that a lot. Then, while I could have returned to camp as a counselor after my junior year at Rutgers, that's when we decided to go to Europe for that summer with my friend from Penn. He was from New Rochelle, New York, but he went to the University of Pennsylvania, so we went together. I did have college--now, let me just try to remember. Okay, I was a camp counselor through my college years, but I did take off that summer leading into my senior year, so I did go to Europe.

SI: Can you tell me a little bit about your first experiences at Rutgers? What was that freshman year was like living away from home and finding your way?

IP: Yes, I remember distinctly one of the first--and by the way, we had to read three or four books that summer. One I remember was--the author's name was [Michael ]Harrington, and it was a book about poverty. It might have been called The Other America. I don't recall, but it was a classic book. Then, there was another book that we were required to read by Brzezinski, the former National Security Advisor under [President Jimmy] Carter, I guess--[Zbigniew] Ziggy Brzezinski. He was a professor at Columbia. He wrote a book that I'm pretty sure we had to read.

Anyway, I'll never forget the very first scare that I had as being a freshman. We were all in this big lecture hall--I think the whole freshman class--and whoever was lecturing--it must've been orientation of some sort--they said, "Look on your right and look on your left. One of the three of you will not complete your freshman year because of the academics." I remember that distinctly. In general, I remember, it was hard. It was hard.

I took English comp [composition]. I took the baby course, English 101, or whatever it was. I remember we were required to take a science, so I took geology, which is probably the easiest science to take, either geology or geography. I'm pretty sure I took a history course. The one thing, just to pick up on something I told you earlier, my year of languages. What language do you think I took, thinking I might have a leg up?

SI: Hebrew?

IP: Yes. I took Hebrew, okay. I took Hebrew thinking, like the other kids in the class, that we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but we [did not expect it to be] excruciatingly hard. Well, it turned out to be excruciatingly hard. First of all, we were all boys. Douglass and Rutgers had a relationship where you could take courses and vice versa. So, we had a bunch of Douglass students. Do they still call them Coopies for Cooper Hall?

SI: No, they do not.

IP: Okay. We would call the students at Douglass "Coopies" or something. I think they had a hall there. Anyway, we had a bunch of those, and, of course, they were smarter than we were because Douglass was even harder to get into than Rutgers. The professor, I'll never forget his name, his name was Curt, C-U-R-T, his last name was Leviant, L-E-V-I-A-N-T. He was Israeli. He was born in Israel, but you would never know that he was Israeli. He was as American as apple pie in terms of his look. Well, he did have a darker complexion, but he [had] perfect English. Curt Leviant was considered at the time the foremost translator in the world of a famous Israeli poet and author called [S.Y.] Agnon. We were really getting a high-level teacher to basically teach the basics of Hebrew.

Now, back then, you had to take two years of a language. Four out of the five days of the semester, you were in language. I'll never forget, it was Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Wednesday was the happiest day of my life because on Wednesday: no Hebrew. It was extremely difficult. It's one thing to learn it in a Hebrew School where you're just saying a few words here and there. It's another thing to learn it as a language where you have to write it, interpret it, speak it. It was hell. So, I did that for two years. I remember that. I literally had to beg him not to fail me. I think I got "C's" and "D's". I had to literally beg--a bunch of us had to beg him not to fail us the fourth semester or the second semester of our sophomore year, but it all worked out.

But school, I had to study a lot. I did pledge a fraternity, and a lot of the kids in my fraternity were all academically-oriented. It was ZBT [Zeta Beta Tau]. So, I did do a lot of studying, I remember that. I was in that library almost every night, studying. The one course I think I did well in was actually political science. I remember doing very well in political science. I remember getting on my first paper, an A-minus, and I don't think I ever got an A-minus again, but I got A-minus on the very first paper. I did pretty well in most of the courses, but it was a struggle. It was a struggle.

SI: What attracted you to ZBT? What was that process of pledging and that sort of thing like?

IP: Well, I did want to pledge a Jewish fraternity. There were four or five of them. I remember one was Sigma Alpha Mu. They were our rivals. They were right next door back then, and subsequently, their house burned down, and I understand our house either burned down, or I know it's now replaced on Union Street, I think, or Mine Street, one of those. But probably I was attracted because it was a Jewish fraternity. That was probably my inclination. Not everybody was Jewish in the fraternity, but the overwhelming majority was Jewish.

SI: Yes. This was a period when the restrictions in a lot of the fraternities on Jewish Americans were breaking down. There were maybe some fraternities that you could not even go to or approach.

IP: Correct. Yes, I remember there were some fraternities that were noted for not taking Jewish kids. We had so few Blacks in our class. I'm exaggerating, but you can count on two hands. I know there were more than that, obviously, but it was a very, very low percentage of Black students. I would be shocked if Rutgers, for better or for worse, percentage-wise, didn't have the fewest amount for a state university. I'm talking strictly state university. I've got to believe that Rutgers was one of the lowest ranking schools in terms of percentage of Black students attending. Yes, there were some fraternities that I think were noted for not taking Jewish kids, but I wouldn't have gone to those fraternities anyway, most likely. I forgot which ones, but we knew who they were and they might have had a token Jew. I don't recall.

SI: Tell me about what life in the fraternity house was like in the late '60s, early '70s.

IP: Well, it was actually my freshman year, which would have been '66. I pledged in '67, technically. I pledged my second semester freshman year. You were not allowed--we did not have any pledging as a freshman first semester. The earliest you could join would have been second semester freshman year. A lot of fun, some peer pressure, but generally speaking, I wasn't a big beer drinker but had some beers. Of course, being not the most aggressive socially, it got me to be a little bit more comfortable in social situations with girls. I feel that I did mature. I felt it was a good decision for me. It was nice to have a support group of sorts, and it was a positive experience. It was a positive experience. There were drugs on campus, though. That was another--back in the late '60s, drugs were a big thing on campus, as you probably know, a big thing.

SI: Yes. Do any professors stand out in your memory that you worked with either in your major or outside your major?

IP: Well, I remember my freshman poli sci [political science] teacher was very good. His name was Josef Silverstein. I enjoyed several of my--I was an art history major, so several of my art history professors were very good teachers. I can't recall many of them off the top of my head. But I did take quite a few--I minored in political science, so I did take at least one political science course as I recall, every semester. Actually, it's funny. Silverstein's specialty was Vietnam, Southeast Asia. There was another good professor, who I know is still teaching, or I saw him on a YouTube Rutgers, perhaps Zoom lecture, but Ross Baker, I believe, is still or was pretty active. He was a poli sci teacher, and he was a very good teacher. His bent was politics, as I recall. In fact, when I saw him in the last year or two, he had a beard. I recall he had a beard. Maybe he shaved it off since, but he didn't have a beard back in the '60s that I remember. [laughter] But I don't remember any other professors really by name.

SI: What led you to art history as a major?

IP: Okay. Good question. Part of it was the easy way out, but not completely. I think I took my first art history class--I don't think it was as a freshman. I could be wrong, but certainly, at the latest, it would've been my sophomore year, the first semester. I took it because you needed some--I'm losing my brain. What do you [call] the courses that you have to [take]? Not secondary courses, but it's not your major …

SI: Prerequisites?

IP: Yes, prerequisites, exactly. Thank you. You had to take a certain number of prerequisites for your bachelor's degree, and so I think it was a choice between art, history or music history. So, I chose art history. Through the fraternity, I had heard some good things about art history, and I took it as a lark. I knew I wasn't a good painter, but I knew that it wasn't painting per se; it was about the history of art. By the way, the more I think about it, I think it was my sophomore year. So, I really enjoyed it. I just took a liking to it that I was taking something that I actually enjoyed and that for the first time ever, it was a course that wasn't being forced down my throat. It wasn't something that I had to take. I could've taken, like I said, music, or I could've taken perhaps another couple of courses in psychology, sociology. But it's something that I took on my own, and it connected with me.

I have a pretty good memory. In art history, a typical test in art history was they would give you unknowns, an unknown painting by an artist, and the key to that was to be able to see the artist's trend or style and be able to marry that to what the answer would be. So, of course, you could get lucky when you're studying the books. You could get lucky and come across that unknown in your research, but more times than not, it was a pure unknown they would take. You would have had to be a scholar to pick it out, so it was a challenge. It wasn't awfully hard, but it was a challenge. It wasn't easy, but I really took a shine to it. Again, it was my first time maybe being a little independent and doing something that I wanted to take. So, I said, "You know, this has got a real possibility of being a major." I knew that if I wanted to go to graduate school or law school, you didn't have to major in anything per se. You could still get into graduate school or whatever, even if you were an English major or a chemistry major or whatever. I knew there wasn't much I could do with it. That much I knew. I knew by the time I was a junior, it was drummed into me, "Look, if you really want to have a career in art history, working in a museum, you have to speak--not speak--but you have to be pretty proficient in two languages." I knew there was no future in art history.

By the way, subsequently, one of my fraternity brothers majored in art history. We just had a fiftieth Zoom reunion in April, and he became the chairman of the Art History Department. I knew he was in art history, but he became the chairman of the Art History Department at the University of Rhode Island. So, you can do something with it, but I didn't know it at the time. He obviously was very good at languages. That's kind of interesting.

Again, just to backtrack a half a second. While my professional career had nothing to do with art history, it has come back to me, because in my retirement, here in St. Pete [St. Petersburg, Florida]--we live in Clearwater, but in St. Petersburg, which is the main city in Pinellas County, we have several museums, and one of them is the Salvador Dali Museum. Outside of his museum in Spain, it's considered the foremost collection of his art. It's a beautiful museum. So, long story short, my first six months of retirement, they had a program called "Coffee with a Curator." Every Wednesday morning, they serve coffee, and a presentation is given for the public. I went, and the person giving the talk was the librarian of the in-house library at the Dali Museum, not for the general public, but clearly for scholars. Afterward, I developed a rapport with this woman. To make a long story short, I've been a volunteer there ever since, for five years. Once a week, I do research, I help her, and it's been a wonderful relationship. So, my art history, I actually was able to use it later on in life.

I just took a shy to it, and I literally adored it. I remember our book, our main textbook, was a huge book called The History of Art, and it was edited or whatever by [H.W.] Janson. He was an art history professor, very well respected, a leader in the field, at New York University. That book was literally--I underlined--that book was entirely yellow after that course because I was constantly [highlighting] everything. So, I'm not sure how much it was worth because the whole book was--every time I saw something, I would highlight it. But it was a good course, that opening course. Anyway, I enjoyed it. I actually focused--I think my thesis my senior year was on medieval art. There's a type of art, back in the medieval days, in the 1400s and 1500s--it was called Lindisfarne. Lindisfarne was where the letters of the alphabet were formed into art, and that was my little project. That's my art.

SI: That is very interesting. Is that named after the monastery?

IP: Yes, I think so. Yes, that's what I recall.

SI: You came in, in '66, which was the 200th anniversary year.

IP: Yes.

SI: Do you remember any events tied to that?

IP: Yes, I do. Hubert Humphrey gave--we'll have to look this stuff up. I'm ninety-nine percent sure that Hubert Humphrey came and gave a speech because he still would've--now, let me see. In '66, he still would've been--yes, he would've been the Vice President. He would've been Johnson's Vice President. So, yes, that makes sense. We'll have to look that up. Will you promise to look that up for me to make sure that I'm right, the next time we chat? I remember attending that, and that was a big deal. I don't remember my courtyards. It was in one of the main courtyards at Rutgers, near Old Queens. I remember that. I remember that bicentennial. [Editor's Note: Hubert Humphrey spoke at the Rutgers Bicentennial Convocation on September 22, 1966. Humphrey served as the 38th Vice President of the United States under Lyndon B. Johnson from 1965 to 1969.]

I also remember--let me apologize. Again, fast forward a couple of years, but did you know that in 1969 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of football, we played Princeton, which back then we played Princeton every year. It was a big rival of Rutgers. We played Princeton in the 100th anniversary game at Rutgers, and that was a nationally televised game. I think Rutgers won, but that was also a big deal. It was the 100th anniversary game. [Editor's Note: The first-ever college football game was played on November 6, 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton. On September 27, 1969, the two teams faced off in the centennial game, and Rutgers won 29-0.]

Remember, I told you that I went to Europe between my junior and senior years. I'll never forget, in Rome, at the Spanish Steps in Rome, where all the American kids would wait at the American Express office for their mail at the Trevi Fountain, I think, we met a bunch of gals from the University of Michigan. We struck up a conversation with them, and we struck up a social connection with them. We actually then wound up traveling with them, for, I think, two weeks throughout Italy. We kept up a correspondence, and two of them came to the 1969 football game, and my friend from Penn, he came also. We had a nice weekend. I remember that.

SI: Do you have any memories of the game itself?

IP: I can't remember. I think we won. [laughter] I think we won. Actually, in '69, I think we had a pretty good team. Again, nowhere near the level of football that the University of Michigan played, for example. I remember being invited--they invited us to a game at the University of Michigan. Now, that game I actually remember more because that game was against Purdue. This was at Ann Arbor in Michigan. In that game, the star of Michigan was Ron Johnson, who was a running back, and the star of Purdue was their quarterback, Mike Phipps, who went on to have a reasonably decent pro career. Michigan won that game, but I believe it was Bo Schembechler, who became a very famous coach for Michigan. I think that was his first year coaching Michigan. I could be wrong, but I remember, I had never been in a stadium of a hundred thousand people. I couldn't believe it because Rutgers had only twenty thousand, maybe. That was a little overwhelming to me, a little overwhelming. Anyway, I don't remember all that much about our game; I'm sorry to say. I apologize.

SI: No problem. I am curious, since you were active in the fraternity, from what I have heard from others, a lot of the events revolved around the sports weekend.

IP: That's true. That's true.

SI: Do you have any memories of events tied to that?

IP: Just that back then, at football games, many of us, especially in fraternities, we were all wore sports jackets and ties. That was the tradition. I just remember a lot of the weekends were built around the football games. Girlfriends from other schools would come down. Yes, I remember that football games were a big deal. Then, after football games, you'd go back to the fraternity, and there would be a brew on tap and there would usually be a party, I'm sure. Every home football game, there'd be a party. So, yes, I definitely remember that flavor of college life. Of course, I was very--but basketball [was my] true love, and because there's so many games, it wasn't as quite as social oriented. But usually, after a home basketball game on a Saturday night, there would be fraternity parties. Yes, I remember that. I only missed two--my recollection is I only missed two basketball home games in my entire four years at Rutgers.

SI: Back then, they were in the Barn on College Avenue. [Editor's Note: The College Avenue Gym was nicknamed the Barn.]

IP: Oh, yes. The Barn, exactly, the Barn. That was quite a place. I think the capacity was 2,800 people. Again, you'll recall when we get to that part of the interview, that was where my parents in 1969, December 1st, my birthday, were sitting in the mezzanine, and those games--Rutgers had a very, very good team in my four years. My freshman year, if you want to know, was the 1966-'67 season. Rutgers made the NIT [National Invitation Tournament]; the coach was Bill Foster, who was a fantastic coach. The star of the team was someone by the name of Bobby Lloyd. He was a tremendous shooter, but the point guard or the other guard on the team--I'm sure you'll know this name--was Jim Valvano. They were seniors. I was a freshman. The tallest guy on the team was maybe six-five, six-six. There were no Black players on the team back then, which was common for many college teams, certainly not the Big Ten or the Pac-10 or many teams in the East, but we just didn't have any.

It was a wonderful year because [in] the old Madison Square Garden, we beat Utah State second round. We beat the University of New Mexico, second round--excuse me. We beat Providence, which was a very big power back then. [In the] third round, [we] beat University of New Mexico, whose star was a black player by the name of Ira Harge, H-A-R-G-E. Then, of course, we, unfortunately, met our match in the semi-final round. We had to play Southern Illinois with Walt Frazier, and he went on to become a Hall of Fame player for the New York Knicks. I definitely remember the old Barn. I mean, it was a pit, but it was our pit, and we had a very good home record--wonderful memories of those games.

SI: I want to ask separately about the December 1st story, but I'd also heard--and maybe it was after you were at Rutgers--that there was one game in particular.

IP: The Final Four?

SI: No. There was a protest where the African American students …

IP: Yes, yes. It wasn't during my years. I remember there being a protest. I don't remember the exact particulars of that. But, yes, I do remember that. [Editor's Note: On December 4, 1973, Rutgers students staged a sit-in at the Rutgers basketball game against Pittsburgh. Rutgers player Phil Sellars appealed to the protesters to leave the floor, but Rutgers ended up forfeiting the game.]

SI: One of the years you were there, they went to the Final Four?

IP: Well, after I was there. In 1976, we made the Final Four. I was living in New Jersey, followed the team avidly. It was a fantastic team. Unfortunately, ironically, the University of Michigan--they pop up again. The Final Four, which was in Philadelphia that year--and this is back when there were only thirty-two teams, so it was a much smaller tournament. We beat Princeton in the first round on a last-second free throw. It's a long story. But Rutgers was unfortunately demolished in that semi-final game against the University of Michigan--very sad. We were undefeated that year until that game. That was the year that there was another defeated team. They went on to win the championship. That was the University of Indiana. Rutgers was as high as the third rank that year, I think in all the polls, and we'd been living with that memory ever since. [laughter] But that was a great year. I did follow the team very closely.

SI: Did you work at all when you were on campus?

IP: No, I didn't. My parents were fortunate enough to pay for my education, and I was fortunate enough that I did not have to work. It would've been tough. It would've been tough because, again, I studied a lot, but a lot of kids did.

SI: Yes. I try to get a sense of what a typical day was like during these different periods we study. What were your daily routines when you were just going to class, studying, that sort of thing?

IP: Pretty normal. When I was in the fraternity, I lived in the house during my sophomore year in a very small room with two other guys. It was very tight quarters. Brett Hall wasn't all that much bigger, but there were only two people in that room. But you went down, we would have breakfast, go to class, come back to the class for lunch, go to class, dinner, study--that was pretty much it. But I did take advantage of as many lectures, evening lectures, as I could. I participated in some intramurals, sports, maybe basketball, perhaps a little bit of flag football but not much as I recall. The thrust was academics, I must admit. That's why the fraternity at least was somewhat of a social outlet for us. We played a lot of touch football with our fraternity brothers, but it was pretty routine. It was nothing super-duper special.

I was involved with a political campaign [during] my senior year for a congressman. I know he's still alive. He lost, but he was a Democratic challenger to an entrenched Democratic congressman who was in Congress for decades. His name was Ed Patten. This was the New Brunswick area. The young candidate that I was working for--and I did go door to door and do all that grunt work--his name was Lew Kaden. He wound up being very active. He was a labor lawyer, a young labor lawyer. He had worked for Bobby Kennedy in his legislative office. He and I hooked up again when I worked--I was very active--I think I might have told you this--in Governor Byrne's campaign. Lew was an advisor to Byrne. I think, in Byrne's first or second year, Lew wasn't a cabinet member, but he might've been his legal advisor or something like that. He was very active.

Actually, I take that back. I actually did work. In my junior year, I worked as a guide for at least a half a year, if not more, for the New Brunswick Home News [Tribune], the newspaper. We would conduct free guided tours of the print plant back in--I think it was in Franklin Township, maybe. I forgot the street, but it was in Franklin Township. One of my fraternity brothers was working there, and they needed somebody. You had to do some studying to brush up on all the print aspects and machines, but I did that on a Saturday morning for at least a half a year, if not the whole year, my junior year. I did actually make a little bit of money. I forgot all about that. It's kind of fun. A lot of school groups would come there. Religious groups would come, clubs of some sort, outside of the university, and it was good. It was good.

SI: How did you find out about or become involved with Kaden's campaign for Congress?

IP: Just by following politics. By following politics. Keep in mind, at that point, the Vietnam War was front and top of mind. I had been to the March on Washington my senior year, so politics was now part of my world. I was new to politics and would not have been comfortable with an establishment candidate. So, when I saw this young candidate who was associated with liberal causes my senior year, I thought this would be a good experience for me to get my feet wet with the nuts and bolts of politics. He lost. He put up a decent race, but it was a long shot. We knew it was a long shot.

SI: I want to delve into some of these political activities more deeply in the next session, which we'll definitely need, but I want to just ask a few final questions about the social and academic side.

IP: Sure.

SI: Then, I wanted to finish up by asking about your trip to Europe. It sounds like that was pretty impactful.

IP: It was great.

SI: Going back, just so that I have it on the record--you showed me the pin earlier. Could you show that again for the recording?

IP: Sure. Can you see it?

SI: Tell me the story about that.

IP: There's not much of a story. I remember, as freshmen, we got two things. We got this, and they gave us a little dinky hat, like a little dinky hat or some such thing. I can't find that one. When we had our Zoom reunion of my fraternity brothers back in April, I was able to produce this. They all got a kick out of that, and they all remembered the cap, but I couldn't find it. I remember that Mason Gross, the president, who--I don't know if you recall--Mason Gross had another part of his life that was very infamous. He was on one of the quiz shows in the '60s. He was apparently--I don't know if he was the judge, but he was connected with one of the shows, where he was the final word on the answers to questions. Anyway, I remember that we all met him for lunch. It was a freshman function during perhaps orientation that very first week of school. We were there ahead of everybody else, and I remember wearing the pin and that it was a nice memory. I was, of course, overwhelmed with meeting the president of the university but whatever. [Editor's Note: Mason Gross served as the President of Rutgers University from 1959 to 1971. He was a panelist for the quiz show Think Fast from 1949 to 1950 and a judge for the quiz show Two for the Money from 1952 to 1955.]

SI: Did they have any kind of freshman hazing or something you had to do?

IP: No, there really wasn't. Even in our fraternity, I would not call it hazing. I think we might have walked on eggshells at one time. We were blindfolded. I don't know the specifics of other fraternities, but I think they did have some hazing at some of the other fraternities. I can't vouch for that, nor do I remember what it was.

SI: I am curious. For a long time, the fraternities [inaudible] … Did it drop out?

IP: Your last maybe minute or so. You were beginning your question about fraternities, and then you dropped out.

SI: Okay. Can you hear me okay now?

IP: Now I can, yes.

SI: What I was saying is, there were these traditions of these things, like formal dinners, house mothers that went by the wayside shortly after your time. Do you recall, in general, how formal your experience was?

IP: Either you've been studying, or you have a good memory. We had a house mother. She was elderly, as I recall, quite elderly. Every fraternity, I think, had one. They were usually widows, but I can't vouch for that. I know ours was. I know that she always had to be helped down to dinner by one of the officers or whatever. She was a lovely older woman, very sweet. You were required, I guess, to have an adult on the premises at all times. Yes, we had formal dinners of sorts. I think Friday night, as I recall, was where we would get, perhaps, a jacket and tie. Again, I can't vouch for that completely, but there were some traditions, yes.

SI: At the time, the ZBT house was on Union, on fraternity row.

IP: Yes, we were on fraternity row. We were on fraternity row. I remember we were next to Sammy, Sigma Alpha Mu. I think across the street was Tau Epsilon Pi. I think all the way in the corner was AEPi [Alpha Epsilon Pi]. Then, on Mine Street, I think was Phi Ep [Phi Epsilon]. I think Phi Ep is long gone. I think they were actually folded into ZBT back in the '70s, if I recall. But there had to be at least ten houses on that--between eight and ten houses were on that one block. I remember there were some on College Avenue--DKE [Delta Kappa Epsilon], which was a big jock house. That was their nickname. I can't remember. Sorry. There were a few on College Avenue.

SI: Yes. I know that at an earlier time, I would say from the '30s to the '50s maybe if you were not in a fraternity, you were really missing out on a social life.

IP: Yes, that's what I heard.

SI: Was that the same way when you were there?

IP: I don't think it was quite that severe. Of course, Douglass had no sororities that I recall. I don't think that was their orientation. The Greek life, if you will, or the Greek whatever, it was pretty big. It wasn't as big for sure, as you said, in prior years. The other thing that I'm sure you've heard of that [inaudible] some of the fraternity life was drugs because with having that outlet, you didn't need to be in a fraternity. If there wasn't that outlet, then alcohol would've been the big outlet, and alcohol was associated with the Greek life or [inaudible] life. There were some of these fraternities that were known to have more drugs going on than other fraternities. I think that the coming of age of the drug life cut into the popularity of fraternities. It was very normal in our years--I was very active my sophomore year, active my junior year. The tradition was, whether there were drugs or not in other years as I recall, is that when you're a senior, I didn't go inactive, but I wasn't near--you could actually go inactive. There was a status. You could be an inactive member and not pay perhaps as many dues or whatever, or you didn't have to eat your meals there. You could only eat some of your meals there. I obtained an active status, but my passion for the fraternity life or my interest was not as keen and not as strong. I still went to the parties or most of the parties, but if I missed one, it wasn't the end of the world, or if I didn't see my fraternity brothers, it wasn't the end of the world. So, there was definitely some conflict and some competition within the social world of Rutgers, I would say.

SI: Well, I will have more questions for our next session tomorrow, but I wanted to end by asking more about this trip to Europe. How did the opportunity come up? Could you tell me a little bit more about your experiences there?

IP: Going to Europe abroad during the summer was a--how shall I say? I wouldn't say a trend; [it was] an inclination that several students had. They wanted to not necessarily take their junior year abroad, which would've been a whole year abroad, but for summer was an alternative. Also, it was a way to get away and maybe have a little bit of a treat for your senior year because your junior year in college--I don't know how it is now with the kids, but back then, the junior year in college was considered the most important academic year for furthering your education. Senior year was always looked upon as not that you could coast, but that it wasn't--most of your grades were already in by that time. You really couldn't change your cumulative average all that much because it's only going to be one or two semesters. In fact, really only one semester because, by the time you're in second semester, you've already applied and accepted to college. So, it was really only that one semester you needed to have any kind of serious dedication to academics. I think a lot of kids like myself wanted to celebrate or wanted something different. My parents, thank God, could afford to help me do that, because I'm sure it was expensive. Of course, when we went to Europe, we were staying in hostels or pensions--very cheap--not hotels, but very cheap arrangements.

The other reason that I was really looking forward to that summer abroad was that I wanted to take advantage of my art history knowledge and background and research and scholarship because all the great museums in the world, other than the Met [Metropolitan Museum of Art] in New York--I'm sure. Obviously, all of our cities have great museums, but in Europe, the Louvre, the Prado in Spain, Italy--I mean, so many--Uffizi Galleries in Florence. You can go on and on and on, and I was really into that stuff. I was really into art history. I was into culture. What better way to do it than to actually visit these places? My friend, who I told you about that I went with to Europe, went to Penn, and he was more in the business school, the Wharton School. He had no affiliation with art. I told him about this stuff, and he didn't mind me teaching him a little bit. So, it was actually kind of a kick that when we would go to the Louvre or the Uffizi Galleries or whatever museum in Germany or in Amsterdam, London, of course--so many great museums in England--that I was almost teaching him or mentoring him or educating him or at least shining a light on the great art in the world. I think he enjoyed that. I know he enjoyed the whole art flavor. So, that's what I was looking forward to. It was a wonderful experience.

I remember, when we got home, the most popular movie that summer, or one of the most popular movies that summer, was a comedy called If it's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium. It was with a bunch of comedians, and it was about an adult bus tour of Europe, literally cramming in ten countries in nine days. In other words, they would go to one country one day. They never knew where they were, albeit the title, If it's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium. We saw that movie when we got home. It was very cute because it's a little like what we felt, although we would be in one country or one city for three or four days, Italy, for over a week easily. But the nice thing also, if I may say, about my background with art history, because I knew a couple of off-the-beaten-track cities, we would visit them as opposed to exclusively the major cities. For instance, in France, we went to Toulouse, T-O-U-L-O-U-S-E, because I knew that there was an art museum there that wasn't maybe the most famous, but it was something that I had studied. Or, in Italy, outside, I think, of Florence or maybe outside of Rome, there's this town called Ravenna. I was big on mosaic art in medieval times, and Ravenna was famous for mosaics. I remember when we hooked up with those gals from the University of Michigan in Rome, I suggested, "Let's go to Ravenna." It's off the beaten track, but no one else will really--when you go home and tell your friends or your parents, none of them, unless they studied it like I did, would know of Ravenna. We went to Ravenna and saw these beautiful mosaic walkways and art, etcetera. So, I really enjoyed that summer immensely, just as much for the social as for the education, as for the art.

SI: Did you only stick to Western Europe, or did you go any further east?

IP: No, I think the countries we went to were--well, I started out in Amsterdam, and then I hooked up with my friend in London. Then, from London, if I recall, we went to Paris. Then, from there, we went to Spain. The other thing that we did in Spain that was kind of interesting--again, because I knew about this--not quite connected to art, but back then, the whole Spanish government, in the summertime, would move to San Sebastián, Spain, which was the Spanish Riviera on the coast of Spain. So, we did that, for example. Then, I think we went to Paris, to Nice, or vice versa, made it to Germany and Austria, and then I had to make my way back to Amsterdam. I did have a little bit of--I will tell you as a slight diversion. I don't want to bore you, but we had a hairy experience in Germany.

So, we're in Germany, and back then, of course--talk about the Cold War. East Germany: Communist, West Germany: free; East Berlin: Communist, West Berlin: free. Berlin was situated, if I'm not mistaken, in West Germany [East Germany]. I could be wrong about that. But East Berlin was Communist, and there was Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie, you had to pass through. [Editor's Note: Checkpoint C, known as Checkpoint Charlie, was the nickname of a crossing point at the Berlin Wall to get from West to East Berlin.] You could only be in East Berlin for seven hours. So, we were able to make the proper protocol and the connection, and we were in East Berlin. Maybe it was because it was a gray day, an overcast day, but I remember East Berlin being the most dull, boring six or seven hours of our trip. The people were not smiling. It really looked like they were under intense pressure. But the part of the story that is hairy is that we're now all set to go to Denmark. The train that you had to take to go from Germany or Berlin to Denmark was located in Berlin; the Communists controlled it.

I recall that train [ride]. The Communists wanted to impress Americans and the West. The train was beautiful. But then we had to get off in Frankfurt, as I recall. Bottom line, we get our tickets, and we go on the train. It was at night. Now, we're on a German train, and there's all kinds of laughter and drinking. It's two o'clock in the morning, and we're just minding our own business. About four o'clock in the morning--this is a train that's, again, controlled by the Communists, and we're going through East Germany. I remember, literally, back in 1969, farmland in East Germany with oxen. They were toiling the farm, the land, with stuff that I thought was from the 1800s. But the bottom line is that all of a sudden, the train stops, and the soldiers get on the train. I'd never seen a soldier before. They get on the train and in German or Russian or whatever--it wasn't English--they're asking apparently for, not passports, but for transfers. What's the other thing? What's besides a transfer and a passport?

SI: Visa?

IP: Visa, thank you. They're asking for a visa. We don't have any visas. I have no idea what they're talking about. My friend and I are looking at each other. We're like twenty years old, nineteen-twenty years old. We're scared. We see soldiers, and we had to get off the train. I said to myself, "My God, we're in a Communist country. I have no idea what's going on." No one ever told us apparently that we needed to get a visa. So, we're there, and they put us in this station, like a kiosk type of thing with guns and a soldier. [laughter] I don't know what happened. I don't know if we talked ourselves out of it or they liked us, but they put us on a train that went to Salzburg, Austria. That was the happiest day of my life until that point. I honestly didn't know. I thought we were going to be--I thought they were going to take us prisoner at one point. I didn't know what to think. We never got a visa. So, I recommend getting a visa. Well, of course, now it's changed, but scary, scary. Anyway, end of story. So, we went to Austria, and then we went from there, I think, to Denmark, Copenhagen.

SI: Wow.

IP: That's it.

SI: I have more questions, but, unfortunately, I am out of time.

IP: Me too. That's great.

SI: Thank you for all your time, and I look forward to continuing tomorrow at one-thirty.

IP: Okay.

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Transcribed by Jesse Braddell 8/7/2020
Reviewed by Molly Graham 8/23/2020
Reviewed by Kathryn Tracy Rizzi 9/16/2020
Reviewed by Ira Piller 3/3/2021