Shaun Illingworth: This begins an interview with the Honorable William H. Huber on May 18, 2005 in Toms River, New Jersey with Shaun Illingworth and …
Sandra Stewart Holyoak: Sandra Stewart Holyoak. Thank you so much, Judge Huber, for taking time to talk with us this morning. To begin the interview would you tell us where and when you were born?
William Huber: March 26, 1922 in Bridgeton, New Jersey in Cumberland County where my father was a county agent, county agricultural agent.
SH: Tell us about your father, his background, where he was born and raised?
WH: Well, he was born in Woodbridge and raised [there], he had two sisters. I think his father had a grocery store one time and they really didn't have much money. The sisters both went to Trenton Normal School and ended up as school teachers in the Woodbridge School system, and he went through the Woodbridge schools and came to New Brunswick and entered Rutgers in, I guess it would be 1909. He would have graduated in 1913. He broke his foot in 1913 playing basketball and he then graduated with a subsequent class. He majored in agriculture and met my mother at Trenton Normal School, where she was a roommate of his sister, and then they married. But between college and marriage he went off to World War I and he was a pilot. All the pilots were in the Signal Corps in those days and they used to fly over the lines observing, and so forth. I guess, some of them fired their machine guns but I don't recall him saying that he did. He was a county agent in Cumberland Countywhen my mother had an initial child named John, who she miscarried after a fall on the porch where she was living. … Then they had me and I was born in the Bridgeton Hospital and then they moved back to New Brunswick. … Then he got a job at Rutgers and then they moved to Highland Park and they moved from North 5th Avenue to North 8th Avenue and then my sister was born a year and half [later]. … Then five years after I was born, my brother, George, was born and then ten years after George, Dave was born. All of us married. … George lost his wife shortly, about a few years, before I lost mine. We're … kind of a prolific group. I have seven children. George has seven and did have eight, I think he lost his first son. Mary had eight and Dave had four.
SH: What was your mother's her family background?
WH: Well, my mother lived on a farm in East Brunswick. Her father was married twice. He had children by his first wife and then he married a second time and my mother was one of three sisters and a brother. … The brother ended up … owning the farm, which later, many years later, was sold by his two daughters for a million dollars to a developer. On my way back from my reunion I went by the farmhouse because I had read that it was given to theTownship of East Brunswick by the developer to be used as a museum but I think they need to probably renovate the building. The house is still standing.
SH: What was her family name?
WH: My mother's name? Smith. Well, it was Schmidt until World War I came … They used to go to mass at St. John's church, which is in downtown New Brunswick, and if you go there today you'll see under the Stations of the Cross, that they are in German, and that was the German Church … They would go in the horse and buggy and they would go to mass. It could take them, about maybe an hour or two to get there. My mother's sisters, Sarah was a teacher, Rose, I don't know what she did. Ethel, I don't know what she did, except Sarah and Ethel married brothers. Their names were Franklin, and they lived in Helmetta, which is a little town near Jamesburg. It was between Jamesburg and South River, and it was named, curiously, after Etta Helm, the daughter of the Helm Snuff- maker, that was where the factory was, and Ethel's husband worked in the snuff mill. … His sister Lillian was a teacher. She was principal of the Helmetta Elementary School. … Sarah married Churchill Franklin, who was a physician in Trenton, and he died in the '30s. He was a relatively young man, and I remember that we were down at the Shore when that happened and we … went up to the funeral. But I was just a small kid, I don't know how old. … Rose had two children. Ethel had two children, and Sarah had two children. … Larry had two daughters and a son and his son sort of ran the farm. Larry died after his father and his father lived to be, I think, ninety. That's my grandfather.
SH: You were very young when you moved to New Brunswick.
WH: Well, I was a baby and I don't remember anything, but I had lived in Highland Park, I guess, through my time of my memory.
SH: As a young boy growing up, were you interacting with your cousins?
WH: … My parents would visit the farm just about every weekend. I think, they'd bring back food and they would also play bridge in the farmhouse with a couple that they would see named Mike and May Walsh. They were from Sea Girt and Mike was a retired New York policeman and he gave me a couple of law books when I was a boy, you know, old statutes. They would play and we would just sort of scurry around. I mean, they had a little grape arbor; we'd pick grapes. They had a jail for the roosters that acted up, and they had them in there, and we'd go look there, you know, to see where they were. They penned them because the chickens were kind of free ranging and they didn't want them fighting all the time, scratching and biting each other. Then they had an apple orchard that, … well, it made it a prime piece of property. … My grandfather operated … it, when he came from Germany, he must have been a teenager, and then as a young man he got a job as an engineer on the railroad, the Raritan River Railroad, which ran down, … alongside the farm, and he looked at the farm as he was doing his job and decided that he would buy that farm. … I think one year in the '30s, he was named Farmer of the Year by the State, and then he bought more farms and they raised soybeans, among other things. But the apple orchard was where the house was and it was on the Milltown Road between Milltown and South River. My mother had cousins. We used to call them "The Three Fates." There was Martha, Elizabeth and Roselle; and Martha and Elizabeth were single, but Roselle did marry later. She married one of the Franklins, who had been married to Ethel and Sarah, their cousin, Leonard, and they had no children. But when Sarah was widowed, I think a house was built right on the farm there, right next to the farmhouse, and she moved back with her two kids from Trenton and then she got a job, because Martha was principal of the elementary school and so Sarah fitted right in. They were interesting gals. They lived on High Street, and it was amazing, you're up so high looking down into South River from the backyard. … They had a garden, a lot of people had gardens in those days, [and] they raised the food for themselves. They didn't have supermarkets there in the old days. I lost my dog. We took the dog out to Grandpa's farm and he ran into the highway and that was that. … I remember having my ears pierced, you know, they did that when you had an earache. They had to call the doctor out to the farm a couple of times for me. Luckily, none of the other kids had anything like that. But, it was a good life growing up. I'm going to have my 65th reunion, June 11th, for Highland Park High School, and I have to work up something, because I [was] editor of the school newspaper and they reminded me of that. My friend called from Massachusetts and he said, "We'd like you to write something up." So I've been mulling it over and calling the high school, thinking about calling the high school, and maybe going up before the 11th of June and seeing if they have the newspaper from sixty-five years ago. I'd be surprised if they did. But, you know, you were in the Boy Scouts. My dad was in the Legion and they sponsored the troop, and we went to Camp Sakawawa in Blairstown, Middlesex County Council for BSA. … My dad was on the Scout's Council and they gave him an award, and he said that he had three sons, he said, "One was a Life Scout, one was a Tenderfoot Scout, and one was wearing a neckerchief," the triangle, you know, that was a diaper. He didn't have to spell that out to the audience because diapers were, you know, they were triangular shaped, and you tucked them up. I went to Rutgers, it was sort of automatic, because we could go, in those days, faculty children paid just the student fee. … I lived at home so I didn't have a dorm charge, but I joined the fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, and my dad had been in that one. Before it was Phi Gam, it was Scarlet Club and he was a member. … They had a chain, and every member has a link, and you can find his link and you can find mine. A lawyer … that was accepted in the last few years, … said, "Hey, you are on the chain!" and I said, "Yeah, I am on the chain." … Then I applied for ROTC and I was underweight and I had flat feet, so, I used to spend time curling my toes over the steps leading up to the second floor until I certainly could make an arch, or fake an arch, and I ate a lot of bananas and drank a lot of water on the day that I was to be weighed. I was accepted. We did our duty, and then we went. We were called to active duty. … We left, I think, probably FortDix by train and that's where we got the name "The Black Fifty because we were all so dirty when we got down there to Fort McClellan. We were with different college groups and I made a friend from the University ofPennsylvania and Walt (Camonish?), his name is. His mother used to send him Goldenberg's Peanut Chews and he was very generous with those. There was a group from City College in New York, and, of course, they were really out of their element, because, you know, there were no cities around us. … There was the University ofMississippi, and there might have been Brown, but I can't recall, [but] I can recall chanting a vulgar slogan, "What's the color of horse shit? Brown, brown, brown." But we had to, you know, assert ourselves. As someone once said, "What are Rutgers?" … Then we … used to walk up Baines Gap and … we were exhausted, and the trucks would go by with the Africa Corps, who had been working in the forest, where Fort McClellan is situated and they were so healthy and sturdy and we were kind of fainting off to the side, you know. We managed to … finish every march. … I remember Jim Dickerson, I don't know if anyone else has mentioned it, he forgot his gas mask and so he's walking like this [Judge Huber Demonstrates] after they called "gas," with his hand over his face, and, of course, this is the hose that goes to the gas mask, his arm. I don't know if he was ever caught. I know I was dozing once and we wore helmets, not the steel helmets but the plastic ones, and I got a rap on the plastic helmet from the cadre stick. It's a knob on the end of a walking stick, whack, to wake up, and that was the last time I fell asleep during the lectures. It was a loud, loud sound. Then we came back to Rutgers, as I recall. … Then we were slated to go to Fort Benning, so down we went and we had our course. I had problems with the wall, you had to climb over the wall. I never was athletic and it showed at this point. They were going to wash me out, and … I went in to see the tac officer, and I said, "It's not fair," I said, "You've given me no command duties, you know, … platoon leader, company commander, you haven't given me anything like that to do." Well, the next day when the roster went up for the week, there I was. So there I was and there they were, and I'm giving commands and they're, I don't think they were giggling, but I think they were chuckling a little bit, the Rutgers guys. You know, "What's he going to do?" But I finally got over the wall. We used to go out in the woods, and the others have mentioned that, giving voice and command. You'd speak to the trees at night, you know, "Right turn, left turn, ten hut!" You know, that type of thing, in a good, loud voice, developing that. So finally the great day came and we were commissioned and you paid a dollar to the first person that saluted you and there's always a little African American shoeshine boy who was outside. He was collecting these dollars from all of us. … Then we went to Alexandria, Louisiana. We were in the 86th Division, it was the 342nd Infantry, and Rutgers guys were scattered through it. Bill Greenberg and I were in the 342nd. He had a couple of Rutgers people in his, either his company, or his regiment, or his battalion. He was the 1st Battalion, A Company and I was in 3rd, K Company. Our captain was a Captain Bruce McAllister, in K Company, and I don't think he liked me very much. Well, I was a complainer. You have three squads, the 3rd Platoon is three squads, by the time shoes and clothes are to be handed out, "where are they? Where are the ones that fit?" … I was worried about shoes, you know, walking, your shoes are supposed to fit, and "couldn't they sometimes change the order of giving it out? Instead of 1st Platoon, 2nd Platoon, 3rd Platoon, why don't you switch, 3rd Platoon, 2nd Platoon, 1st Platoon, and give us a shot here?" Well, that idea sank, and then we're going to Europe and I had, they were college kids, ASTP and mountaineering people from West Virginia, too, and, you know, a mixture. … We're on the deck of this ship, theLeif Erickson I think was our ship, it was a transport, and all lights out and nobody smoking on deck. But they're out there in the dark and I think it was Private Lopazinski, Henry Lopazinski, that came up to me and he said, "Lieutenant, since we're going to combat, can we call you Bill?" I said, "Absolutely not," and, of course, over in the shadows, you know, giggling starts. I was very conscious because I weighed about 120 pounds and I didn't eat very much. I liked peanut butter, that was about the best thing they served me, and even when I was an officer, I didn't weigh very much. So, of course, I had to maintain my dignity and my control over them. I'll never forget, we were lined up and I'm leading PT from under the platform, and you were chanting but then as you reached the end you raised your voice. Only they didn't wait for me to raise my voice, they raised their voice to bring it to an end, if you know what I mean. So I said, "We're not done yet," and so we started again and then, you know, it's that old song that says, the fellow says, "somebody says quitting time," "Who said quitting time?" "I'm saying quitting time," "Quitting time?" Well, that's what we had to do, or I had to do, to just keep an eye on these guys, if you know what I mean. So they were afraid to speak to me, and I was glad about that, and they would grumble. … then when we got to Europe, Huber is a very common name in southern Germany, near Austria, and they would bring me the little names plates from the apartments. I don't know, I had maybe ten or twenty of them at one time. I probably left them somewhere. They would complain about when we go and stay in a building that had floors, you know, first floor, 1st Squad, Second floor, Second Squad, Third floor, Third Squad, somebody came in and grumbled, and I said, "Well, all right, fine. First floor, Third Squad, Second floor, First Squad, Third floor, Second Squad," and, you know, "we'll just mix it up." I don't remember our trip except that, eventually we came across the Isar River and we had a river crossing, guns were going off, you know, and, "Come on, guys, let's go." … We lost a Lieutenant Dick Brown, a nice guy, played the guitar, he was a redhead from Portland, Oregon and when I went around the country, after law school, I visited his parents and we went out to his grave at the National Cemetery inPortland. … When we first got to Europe, the assistant division commander, Brigadier General George Pope, looked over the files and he said, "get me an aide." Guess who they got? So I went up and the only thing I remember about my aide duties was that we stayed in a castle on the Rhine and the bathtub was twelve feet long and I could push with my feet back and forth, you know, it was like a little pool. He said to me one day, "Do you want to go back to your company?" I don't think he was, I hope he wasn't displeased with my service, but he could see combat had started and I wasn't there, so I said, "Yes." He turned and said, "Colonel, take Bill to his company." I'll always remember that. … I came back and Company Commander Captain McAllister said to me, "If you are here [just] to show off, you won't like it," because they had been in combat, and I said, "No, I'm here to stay." "Well, then go to your platoon." "Okay." I did. My sergeant was a Sergeant Rudak from Connecticut. He was acting platoon leader. They didn't have another lieutenant in my place. So here I am back and then we, I remember the crossing. Well, there was another time, we were crossing a field, I didn't remember this, but Captain McAllister was killed, and there was a second in command who was a Bob Kohn from Carmel, California, now, and he became the company commander. We stayed in Germany and kept moving south. Then we were slated to go to Japan and fight. We would have been in the first wave, the 86th. Because we'd been in Europe, we've been in combat, so we headed west and we trained, I believe, at Camp Cullen in San Diego, where we did offshore training. Down the rope ladders and then coming ashore from landing craft, that type of thing, and then we went out to Ulithi in the Pacific. We saw like a collection of islands, and we must have had forty boats, big ships with troops waiting, and then they dropped the atomic bomb so we didn't have to go to Japan. But we went to thePhilippines. We were on Mindanao, in the Del Monte Pineapple Plantation, and all the high-point men went home, and so I was left as the company commander. So I got a jeep, K1 [and] I got a pistol, we would go out and shoot the reflectors off telephone poles with the pistol. We had our clothes washed by a lavandera, the Filipino washer ladies. At one time we rounded up Japanese prisoners and they were not very well fed. I'll never [forget] that their glasses were held together with wire I mean, they were really in sad shape, I think they were happy to be picked up. But what they did in the camp, they set aside half their rations for their Sumo wrestler. So when we were invited to a Sumo wrestling match, there were these two or four huge guys and all these little fellows cheering for them because they had given them their food. Yeah, that was what we were told, and I could see [it]. Where would you get the food for him you know, he's 300 pounds or something? When I first came in, I met the going-out guy, who was moving, high-points, and this I remember, he said, "I have a list of the things you have to sign off. You have to accept them." So I looked at the list, and I said, "There's a locomotive on here. Where is it?" He said, "I don't know." I said, "Are you asking me to sign this?" He said, "Please." He said, "Please, sign, I can't get out of here if you don't sign." "All right," so I signed and I never saw the locomotive. I think, it must have been used in the pineapple plantation to haul the pineapple to a collecting point and then somebody would ship pineapples overseas. But I never saw it.
SH: Still looking for it?
WH: Yes. "Mr. Huber, this is President Bush, where is that locomotive?" [laughter] Then we came back and we came back to, I guess, Camp Kilmer, and we were discharged. They asked me if I wanted to re-up, would I sign [up for] the reserves, and I said, "all right", and I signed. Then I went back and this time I lived at the fraternity house, and we went to class, that was when I met Professor Peterson. He told me he believed I had been killed and he prayed for me. There was another Huber who died.
SH: Tell us that story, please.
WH: He was just one of my great teachers. Then I went up to Harvard. I wore my uniform, and I knocked on the door. I think, it may have said 'admissions' and I knocked and somebody said, "Come in," and I did, and there was Professor Seavey, Warren Seavey. I guess he was doing, you know, interviewing or something. This was before the days of the LSAT, we never had such a thing. So he said, "I see you're in the infantry." He said, "I was in the infantry in World War I." He finally said to me, "Would you like to come here?" and I said, "Yes, I think I would." "All right, we'll see you in September." Then I went continuously, which as I look back on was a mistake. I should have taken [the] summer to see what being a lawyer was like, and I wasn't a very good student. The old saw, which I'm probably not saying correctly is that, "the A students teach, the B students make the money, and the C students are the judges." I'm sure the judges would prefer me to change that around. So I was between a C and a D, and I said one time to my roommate, who is the grandson of a Presbyterian minister, who was a fraternity brother from Rutgers, George W. Coomb, Jr., I said, "You know, I think I'm going to be a Maryknoll missionary priest." Oh, he says, "You'll stop that crap when your grades [move] up." I still read the magazine, but I didn't consider it once the grades went up, I thought I better stay in this country. I didn't go to graduation from Rutgersbecause I was up starting my [law studies], I graduated, I got a degree, but I wasn't at graduation ceremonies, [or] at commencement. I wasn't at commencement in law school, because I was on a bus trip going around the country, saying hello to people that I had served with. Then I came back and I had to get a job as a law clerk. Well, I bought a new suit, it was a wool suit, and I'm in Newark, which I came to by train from New Brunswick, and I'm going around knocking on doors in law firms, and I come to Cox and Walberg. Well, William H. D. Cox was a big man, with a loud voice, who smoked cigarettes in a holder. … We carried our notebooks at Harvard Law in a green bag. It was a green book-bag, you threw it over your shoulder, it lasted for three years, you know, it was sturdy. He said, "I don't want you to bring any of your fucking notebooks in here." He said that, when he hired me, and I said back to him, "I won't bring them in here, I wasn't a very good student." So, "You're hired," just like that. You know, there were times you just get so tired of being stepped on that you just shout out and say "I'm not bringing my notebooks in", and I never did. Then I didn't pass the bar. So this, I don't know, this makes a good story but I'm not sure I want my children to know all this, but they'll never see it. I didn't pass the bar, so I came in, said to him, "I'm going to go." He said, "Good luck. If I can ever help, let me know." So I said, "Thank you." So I was going to go to Flemington, or I was going to go to Toms River. So I came down on a bus, and I looked around I'd been to Red Bank and they said, "We don't pay law clerks." "Well, how do you eat, you know?" "Well, they pay us." "Well, never mind, thank you." So I came to Berry and Whitson, a firm on the main street. It had, the vice chancellor retired, his nephew Franklin, and Bill, and other people. I knocked on the door and I asked about that, and they said, "We need a clerk and we'll pay you twenty-five dollars a week." So I said, "Fine," and I got a room in Mrs. Lauer's Rooming House, where the Baptist Church is now, on Main Street TomsRiver. I started out and I tried to add up everything that I spent, and there was each week I read the Saturday Evening Post and I also smoked a cigar. So I added all that on, and then I went to them and said, "I have to have more money." So they raised me a little bit. So I stayed and took the bar a couple of more times. I had a girlfriend from New Brunswick, and then I was recalled to active duty. It was the Korean War. "Captain Huber", "yes?" When I got to Fort Benning after my wedding, "The next captain that they request is you." "Okay", you know, what am I supposed to do? Cry? So, fine. Betty and I went into officers' housing, and she taught school, and I was in training publications, and I was studying the M1 rifle or something. Then I passed the bar, got [my] notification, they said, "How about going on the Judge Advocate's Office?" I said, "Fine." So I went over there. Well, we went on one maneuver. I slept on the ground once, [and] it was so stiff when I got up, "You know, this is not for you. You're very lucky that they didn't need that other captain of infantry, because, you know, [it is] out front, follow me." At the back of your helmet, you know, is a white stripe, vertical. The non-coms were horizontal, but [officers are] vertical, sticking up, and "Follow Me" was the motto of the infantry school, and that's what we were, you know. So then I came back to Toms River, and, meanwhile, Henry Wiley, [he] was from Maplewood I think, he was at my desk. So they said, "We have an office for you in Ship Bottom," so down I went and Betty and I had a baby, John, and Pat was born within a year. So, I think, we probably had two babies. When John was, oh, I don't know, whatever age he was, he had appendicitis. He was just a baby, and he had to come up toLakewood from Ship Bottom. There was Dr. Dodds, who was the only doctor on Long Beach Island, and Dr. Dodds operated on him. Our doctor up here was Dr. Sawyer, Blackwell Sawyer, who has delivered hundreds of babies. He said to me, "the baby is in the wrong position," before John was born, "and maybe Betty would like to have her father, or somebody else from New Brunswick deliver the baby?" I asked Betty about it, and she said, "Oh, no." John turned out to be, you know, something like eleven pounds, he's was a big guy, with a big head, and all I remember is John on his knees banging his head against the crib. Then he didn't swallow right and we had to take him to a psychologist up in Red Bank and squirt water in his mouth with a turkey baster to get him to work his tongue properly. You could put your fist down John's throat, it was like a dog, you know, dog sort of, that's what he was doing. Well, that straightened out. When Pat was born, the nurse thought that the new baby was crying, [that] the baby had been born in the car, [but] that was John and Pat was not yet ready. So they took care of that at Paul Kimble Hospital in Lakewood. We went down at Ship Bottom and we lived over Nate (Leaverson's?) Grocery Store, and next to the Shore Bar, and the office was in Ship Bottom. I went everyday, and, of course we had the baby. I'll never forget that our neighbor across the street had television and they said, "We're going to," they were English, Irish, or something, "we're going to watch Queen Elizabeth be crowned. You want to come over and see the TV?" So at like three in the morning, I think, we crossed the street, with the baby, and watched the TV and had a little refreshment. I stayed down there for a couple of years, and then I met a lawyer named Bill Mee and he was a clerk, had been a clerk here for a lawyer in Toms River, and, I think, he was looking to leave, and I said, "you want to be partners?" He said, "Yeah. Yeah, let's do it." So we moved into an office over [on] Main Street, at the corner of Main and Washington Streets, the building [has] since burned down, [and] has been rebuilt. It had one window and it had an airshaft, with an office, and prior tenants had thrown, you know, whatever they wanted to down the airshaft. "What shall we call ourselves?" "Well," I said to him, "I thought Mee and Huber was ungrammatical, I think it should be Huber and Mee." He said, "I get the window, you get the shaft." I said, "I'll take the shaft." It was a great place to watch the Halloween Parade in Toms River, which is a big thing, you know, you're upstairs, looking down. So we got along fine. We never wrote anything down, and I don't think we ever discussed our business with our wives, which worked out fine for us, because every time we got 200 bucks, we'd split a hundred each, and then do something, you know. He had two kids and I was busy, you know, building a dynasty, and never really asked Betty about that. She loved them all. We didn't socialize, as families, you know, we just enjoyed what we had as lawyers. We had a secretary. She came at eighteen. Her father was the superintendent of public works and when my well went dry here, he brought a huge tanker truck and put it outside the house so we could, in the street there, so we could bring in water and everything. His name was Jack Thomas and her name was Phyllis, Phyllis (Geyer?). She stayed with me for forty-two years, and I retired as a judge at the end of August of 1998, and I gave it thirty-two-and-a-half years, and Phyllis turned out the lights and we left. It was a good relationship, I think, and I tried not to say mean things, but I never learned to operate a computer. So I would write everything out long hand, and then I would read it to her and she would take it down. Then I would do that with opinions, or I would do that with my opening and closing. I got active in Democratic politics here, and just on my own, without asking the permission of the county chairman I decided to run for the Assembly. So I did. My opponent was seventy-five- years-old, … (Ledy?) Savage, lovely lady. … [The] last year for paper ballots. The Asbury Park Press called and said, "If you and your wife are going to be home," they thought I'd won, "we're going to come and take your picture on the couch." Well we waited for forty years; they never showed. I came within 212 votes. So, you know, the Democratic Committee, State Committee, sent me three thousand dollars for a recount, but they said, "Don't spend it, if you don't have to." So I said, "Let's take two little towns." I think I picked up five votes in Lavallette and lost seven votes in Seaside, so by the time I was [beaten], that was the only two [recounts]. Then, Governor [Robert B.] Meyner won, so, of course, the prosecutor was a Democrat, Howard Ewart, who was a superior court judge for Middlesex County, and he had retired. … His daughter married Bud Lomell, who was the hero who's in Tom Brokaw's book [The Greatest Generation]. In fact, Bud and Charlotte were both there [May 13, 2005 Rutgers Living History Society annual meeting], and I was like third assistant and he made me try a case, it was very funny, some poor fellow in Lakewood couldn't get to the bathroom in a bar, and he was urinating outside against the wall. But, where else would he urinate? … Of course, I think, that's how the jury looked at it, but they were hung, and so I had to try it again, and, I think, they weren't in five minutes and they came out with loud laughter, and said, "Not guilty," which is, I was delighted. Anyway, Howard went to his father's, [and] in his hall, dropped dead. … The first assistant was Tom (Muchafori?), who was from Middlesex County, and he had clients who were fighting with the State Department of Agriculture, and so he couldn't take a Deputy Attorney General job. So I got the nod. … Then Governor Meyner was followed by Governor [Richard J.] Hughes, and I was hoping that I would get a chance, you know. … The State Senator, who was [William] Steelman Mathis, whose father was Tom Mathis, the old-time powerbroker in Ocean County. You know, when each county had its own senator, he was as important as the one from Essex County. The gossip in the courthouse was swirling around that I don't have a chance. They'll pick somebody else. So I went to see Senator Mathis, and he said, "I'll tell you what happened." He said, "I got so sick of the legislature down there inTrenton, it's Christmas time, I just decided to come home." But he said, "Don't worry, come January, I'll be back," and he was, and he kept his word, and I was prosecutor. … I had been assistant for two years and then I was prosecutor for four years. … We'd come in everyday, and there wasn't that much crime, but there were murders, you'd hear about them overnight. I'd come in and check in the office. We were part time, so I could still keep my secretary, and so forth, my own office. My partner moved to New Mexico, and wound up in a house that had been an owned by an author of westerns, and I can't remember his name now, but it was apparently a house that Lyndon Johnson had visited. … It was one of these houses that are set around a courtyard, you know, like in the Spanish. … They lived near Santa Fe in a place called Madrid, not Madrid, but Madrid, which is where the State Prison is and where little Billy Mead would ride with the children of the prison guards back and forth to school. That's where Bill went, so I kept my office in the buildings across the street from the courthouse. It was the old convent for St. Joe's, and I had the office in the front, and there was a light above in the ceiling and they said that's where the altar was, so I said, "can I forgive sins?" I said to some Catholic and he cursed me. … We had our troubles. We had the sewer pipe break down on a Sunday, I'll never forget it, and we're in there with shovels, shoveling. … Well, we got that fixed and that cost, and, finally, somebody bought the building. Now that I think about it, … Bill and I and our real estate guy, a friend, and then another friend, who ran off with somebody's wife, but we were the four partners in the building. … Then an opening came and you didn't have to be checked by the State Bar in those days, you ran an election in the County Bar and there were like four judgeships open all at once. So I was one of the four.
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SI: Please continue.
WH: You start with easy cases and the lawyer that didn't make it sat in the back and every time I made a ruling he went like this. So I thought to myself, "He has a right to sit there but I don't have to look at him." I looked anywhere but not him. He, eventually, got tired of that and left. I'll never forget this fellow, he had a bad record, and he had AIDS, in the first stage of AIDS, so when the sheriff's officer brought him in, they wore moon suits, helmets, and all these stuff, and he was there to be sentenced for some, he hit one of his friends with a two- by- four … up the side of the head, you know. But he had, in another case, he was the only person that went and attempted to rescue a child from a pit bull, and I looked at him and he was sitting next to me, and he was going to enter a plea of guilty. … I said, "You know, you did a wonderful thing in your life," because he was dying then from AIDS. He was trying to save that child, didn't succeed, but he was the only person who would go in there and get that child. So then when he entered his plea, he reached over his hand to shake my hand and I shook his hand. … Then he died, some months later. I don't think they ever even took him to State Prison. They just probably set him up in a quiet place and maybe took him to the hospital and let him pass there. But that was quite a gripping thing. … Then I had a lawsuit, a criminal case involving the former president of the State Bar, the roommate of Peter Falk, when Peter Falk, the actor, was a student in Syracuse, his roommate, these two men, both lawyers. Some hoodlum's son got involved in a fight, Saturday-night fight at the Shore Bar over in OrtleyBeach, and the fight was with a moonlighting State Trooper, who didn't have the permission of the colonel to moonlight. … There was a State Police sergeant who played some part, but I can't quite remember what that was, and there was some talk of altering the police report, to change things. So the lawyers got a call from the father of this fellow and they showed up and defended him. But it was a Saturday night brawl, it should have merited a five hundred dollar fine, and, maybe, the weekend in jail just to teach you a lesson, "don't fight people in bars." Well, instead, we had all this, and high-powered legal people. We had as character witnesses about ten chiefs of police, with their lawyer, the lawyer who had been president of the State Bar, and we had a priest and a nun, who gave me a medal, Benedictine medal, and we had lawyers. We had quite a trial, and the lawyer who was Peter Falk's roommate, as I recall, he was found not guilty. When Peter Falk visited the trial, everybody in the courthouse ran to the windows along the street to see him get out of his limo. They said the courthouse tilted and Phyllis was going to ask him to stop smoking cigars when he came into my chambers, to stop by to say hello, you know, and he looked just like he does in the movies but he didn't have a cigar in the courtroom and he wasn't wearing his raincoat. But he stayed [at] the whole trial that day, you know, [the] full day. After all the fussing and fuming, and a lawyer who I likened to a junkyard dog, the lawyer for the State that I had to, I felt that I had to restrain, or we're going to turn this thing over and have to do it all over again; the upper court will say so, you know. But he was up against tough lawyers and he was a tough lawyer himself. Well, he convinced the jury. … Then the priest walked by the bench and said to me, "We're going to appeal." "Oh, okay." Then the next thing I heard is, "Judge, So and So has lied on the stand." I think he was the State's witness. "Well," I said, "If you have information," I said, "you're coming in the chambers and you're going to put it on the record, and everybody is going to be there to hear it." I said, "Come on in," and the Appellate Division, when they looked at the case and wrote the opinion, they said, "We don't believe lawyer So and So." Neither did Judge Huber. You know, they didn't believe him, and I didn't believe him, and they affirmed it. So, of course, it's only a Third degree offense, so the lawyer didn't get any time, and I don't know whether there was any, I don't think there was some discipline given to the guy that was moonlighting. I think, he may have left the State Police, and then I think the sergeant might have left the State Police, too, but I can't recall. But I'm sitting in my courtroom later all by myself, sometimes I did, they had left, everybody [had] left, and I was writing some things down, I looked up and there was the lawyer who had been convicted. He has a summer home on Long Beach Island and he was selling real estate. He said, "I'm doing great." "Well," I said, you know, "Good for you." That was quite a trial, that was my biggest trial. My time at Fort Benning after I was, by this time I was a captain, had gotten a … reserve promotion when I joined the reserves. I don't really recall anything of note there, and Betty and I came here and we lived in Pine Beach for a while. Father Donovan had bought what was called the (Ill?) St. Joe's Estate and he turned the house over to the principal of the high school. I can't recall her name now, she was a nun, and we lived over the garage and that's when Pat was born, and when we went to the hospital and they thought it was John. John was crawling and they thought it was Pat. My kids all went to Saint Joe's, and to Saint Joe's/MonDon High School, Monsignor Donovan High School. John wrestled and played football. Mike played basketball. When Mike was a small boy he fell off his bicycle, it shattered his elbow and we went intoPhiladelphia, and there's a famous doctor who has a son named Brian, Dr. De Palma, Brian De Palma, was aHollywood director. Well, his father was a surgeon for Mike. … We didn't see Mike for a long time while we were there, you know, so I went and asked. "Oh he'll be out." Well, when they wheeled him out I took a look at the chart, before the nurse snatched it, and what they had done, inadvertently, was give him too much anesthetic. So they had to bring him out, you know, and, boy, she grabbed that chart out of my hand, but we didn't, wouldn't do anything. Everybody does their best. I've never sued anyone personally, you know, maybe we're lucky. Anyway, Mike went on through high school. He was admitted to Dickenson and Cornell, and he turned Cornell down. [At] Dickenson, [he] met his wife in his freshman year, and married her, Debbie. Years later, Tom comes along. Well, oh, I took John and Mike to Rutgers. … Wherever I was, it was a place to eat, and I came to the booth where they were and I dropped the tray of sodas. … I remember doing that. "Oh, Dad," you know, they were horrified, and so Mike picked Dickenson and John picked the University of Dayton. He had came home and said to his mother, "I don't want to go back." Well, she had a lot more sense than her husband, she said, "Just finish the year and we'll find another school." He said, "Okay," without telling his father, and he went back and made friends, and by the time May came, he was fine. He stayed on in Dayton. Summers he worked as a summer policeman with his friend Mike Brogan. Mike Brogan was a captain in the Port Authority … [on] 9/11 and he's been on television describing what they did, and so forth. He and his buddy, they were in the police department, and they drove their sergeant crazy at Seaside Heights. At one time, this is funny, I wonder if [we] shouldn't turn this off. John is a policeman in Dayton, Ohio; he has two children. He married a policewoman, who I call a policeman, and she retired twenty-five years. She got a Medal of Valor, twenty-five years late, but she got it, because she was in an undercover narcotics sting. Her hair in those days was long, down her back. She was in "civvie" clothes, she was wearing a wire, and the hoodlum that she was talking with, trying to make deals with drugs, tried to get her into the bedroom, and that's when she gave the magic words and they burst in and they arrested him. So she got this award. Anyway, she no longer is a policewoman; she is director of security for certain banks. But John has continued on, and he went through the ranks and he became a lieutenant, and then he was a commander of the police academy. … The next rank is not captain, it's major, but you have to move into town, and they had moved out because he was sort of grandfathered in, to be able to move out. … They live inCenterville and it was a great high school for their children so they were delighted for that. He wasn't interested in giving that up, or having a department for four nights out of seven, or something like that, in the city. He has had enough time in to retire but, I think, he's going to keep going because Brian's a freshman, no, he'll be sophomore next year at Bowling Green, and Lizzie, she'd be graduating from high school next year. … My daughter Pat married Lou, you don't see Lou in there [family photograph]. Lou died September 1st of last year; he had a brain tumor. … They have no children but she was with the State Department of Education. Then Mike became a lawyer. He clerked for a judge in Burlington, Judge (Van Sciber?), and then he and Debbie … now live in Haddonfield and they have two boys, Mathew, a junior, soon to be a senior at Bucknell, and Andrew, who just finished up a great year at Haddonfield High, and is going to Boston College. Then, Mary Lou went to CatholicU. She wanted to go to Boston College like her friend, but her friend had an uncle who is a priest. So, Mary Lou's mother got on the phone with Catholic U, and wouldn't hang up until they admitted her, because Boston Collegeput her on a waiting list. So Mary Lou went down and she got herself a job, after awhile, keeping books and then she met her husband, who was also a Catholic U graduate. They have four kids, Colleen, who is a teenager now, Tom, Mary Kelly, and Kevin. They live outside Washington, in a place called Vienna, Virginia, and Mark, her husband, Mark Griffin, he sells real estate, places, mortgages, real estate guy. His father wrote murder mysteries for teens. He worked for an insurance company in Connecticut and he has since passed on, but that was his forte. Martha wanted to get as far away from us as she could when she went to college. So she went to FloridaSouthern, which was built by Frank Lloyd Wright, low buildings, some of which have mold on them. But Martha was always an interesting person, like the time she told me that, "I can't find my plane ticket." So we bought another one, well, of course, it was in the jacket somewhere. … She got down there, and she can sing, and she began to sing in groups for old people, singing groups for prisoners, and then she went to work in a bar, and the bar was owned by a young man, who was also a graduate of Florida Southern. … Well, she was a waitress, she was a hostess, she was a singer, and then she was a wife. [Yes] she became a wife, got a man. … When I was in the graduation line I thought I would say to the president, "She not only got a degree but also a husband," but I decided that that was a little too corny. … Martha moved to Florida and they moved away. The bar was sold. He went back to the family accounting firm. They have two kids, Caroline and Nick, and they have a lovely home outside Fort Lauderdale, in a place called Cooper City. It's one of those gated communities, which always stops grandpa, you know. … Then she, Caroline, I call her my 'street daughter.' She took a year of college, and said, "That's for you." She went to Mount Saint Mary's for a year and came back and said, "That's for you, okay?" and she moved out. She had a boyfriend. She was down in his cellar for a little while and then, I think, his mother got unhappy about that and she called me up and she said, "Would you pay for secretarial school?" And I said yes. In those days you could run down to the Jersey Shore, and say, "I want four thousand dollars" and they said, "Okay, we only give thirty-eight hundred, we take the interest first." So she went to secretarial school. She moved back in. I [set] the rules. She said, "Fine," and then she did her year, Stewart School, up in Wall Township. … She … got a job at Allied Signal, and she said, "They're going to pay for college, I'm going. I'm not going to be the only one." So away she went. She went to Ocean County College for a year, that gave her, her two years, she had Mount Saint Mary's, and then, she had Georgian Court for two years, and then she got a degree. … After that, Allied Signal downsized, and she was looking for work. Eventually, she ended up at like a temp, Kelly Girls, and she would tell me about it. Because her income depended on placing jobs, … she was very blunt. "Take the earrings out," "cut the hair," "put on a shirt and a tie. It's my income we're talking about here." So in effect, "get with it." Well, after a trip to California and back again, she went to a dinner party for a friend and there was a man there that I don't think she appreciated him, particularly. But he didn't give up, and of course, eventually he convinced her that they would be married, and she, of course, said, "Yes." Has two children; Will is autistic, he's going to be seven in July. He's a talkative autistic and he has things like the Yankees to interest him, and he's starting to read now. … Then they have a daughter (Sheilan?), who would be four also in July, who is extremely bright and extremely sort of demanding, but I think she's going to be Will's best teacher, because they're together, and she makes you think. She said to her mother, "You don't talk to me," and that's probably true because who's getting all the attention? I have a picture of Saint Thomas More, we named him after Saint Thomas More and the principal, a teacher at the high school, said, "Tom, how come I never knew your middle name?" Well, he doesn't like his middle name. … I offered him a picture. Tom said, "I want to go in the Peace Corps, but I have to get a job." So a family named (?), they [have] had a shoe store for years, and one son has it, and the other son … was doing house construction, and so he said, "I'll take Tom on," and he became a gopher, and so forth. Well, he was assigned to Bolivia, in a place called Ansaldo, and he had a partner who left after two weeks, so, that left Tom in the village and he spent two years. Some of his friends left to go to law school. Well, he was going to stick out the two years, and I was delighted to hear that. Of course, John claimed that Tom probably would home with some kind of strange disease, and he would tell Tom that when we'd meet at Christmas, or whenever Tom would come back. Anyhow, Tom stayed there. He went to every village wedding, every village funeral. He bicycled for miles to a place where they were laying pipe, that was his job. He helped build the school, but the Peace Corps wouldn't let him teach. So when he went back to the Peace Corps, he told them that they should not send anybody down to that village anymore because you get their hopes [up] and then nothing follows, because he wanted to teach English. The kids loved it. He did teach sanitation with the toothbrushes and everything, standing in front of them, and it had a very deep impression on him. … In '93, he called to say that, "I think I'm going to Chile with some of the friends for Christmas," and we said, "fine." and his mother was home by then. She was there with nurses around the clock in the dining room, and we hadn't really dressed that up for Tom and anything you know. But she knew, although she couldn't speak, she could hear, and she knew that, well I had told her he might go to Chile, and I tried not to make it seem so ominous, if you know what I mean, and then he called and he said, "Nobody's going, I'd like to, will you spring for a ticket from La Paz to Newark?" Well, not direct of course, you know, Miami and, "sure, so come on home." Well, he spent the last two weeks of his mother's life with her, and it was really good. She had great care from nurses here. They sang to her, they read the Bible to her, they just enjoyed it. At one time I tried to say the Rosary, the neighbor ladies came over, and we knelt around the bed, and Betty looked at me, and she knew that I didn't know. I hadn't said the Rosary in years, and I could tell from her eyes because they flashed at me and I knew that she was laughing inside. So I tried and my voice began to fade away, and, finally, the women caught on and they picked it up in volume, thank goodness. A senior moment. But Tom was here, and then he went back. … In his freshman year he had met Christine, and Christine had four brothers. She's a big woman now, you know, but a big girl, athletic, and she didn't like Dickenson very much until she met Tom. That's so her mother says. … So Thomas said to me, "You know, Dad," because I said, "Why don't you got to law school first, get that behind you?" He said, If I go to law school, I'll never go to Bolivia," and he was right. He came back and he went to Duquesne Law School. He spoke Spanish, so he did a Spanish radio broadcast where they were selling this cheap furniture, you know, in Spanish, to people who couldn't afford it, you know, and he did Duquesne. Meanwhile, Christine had a great job with Mellon Bank. She was a trainer and gave lectures, and so forth. She's been to Russia twice, when she was a student, and speaks Russian, and tried also to be a teacher in one of the tough city schools for a while. … Then they married, and I'd never seen this before, the (Master Rocco's?) left, gave each of the guests a basket with wine and everything in their hotel room. It was really a nice thing. When the priest said, "What's the most important thing?" this is at the marriage, Pat shouts out, "Communication," you know, and her sister is looking at her, because she's still single, and Mary Lou and Martha, I think, are married by the time Tom married. Caroline, I think, came later. … Then they stayed in Pittsburgh, and Tom got a job in the biggest firm in Pittsburgh, four hundred lawyers, and after two years he told them that he felt that he'd like to try another kind of law firm. So they gave him a party, said, "We'll keep your medical benefits until you find a place," and he did. He joined the law firm of Lieber and Hammer. Lieber is a Princeton graduate, he's the husband, Hammer is the wife. She does domestic relations and matrimonial, Lieber does all kinds of interesting cases. The only one I'll mention, because it sticks out my mind, is the former chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who was removed because he had become addicted to drugs and was apparently sending out employees to buy drugs for him, deal drugs for him, he would like to have his license back. So the court asked Mr. Libber, the senior partner, "Would you take this on?" And, of course, he said, "Yes," and he did, and they got the license back. Tom likes to be where there are people, you know, and it's a small firm, three lawyers, and a retired lawyer and, maybe, a paralegal or a couple of secretaries. So he seems very happy. I tried to get him to OceanCounty, but he looked at it. Christine's family had a grocery store. They can go and get the groceries from her brother now, the father is retired, and the grandfather, her grandfather, used to take lady friends to Las Vegas and get a new Cadillac every year. He was the one that started the grocery business and he lived to be in his nineties, and so they live in a suburb of Pittsburgh. It's still the city, but it's called Mt. Lebanon, and they're very happy, and that's Tom story, and he still hasn't picked up the picture of Thomas More. What amazes me is how well the children are doing in their marriages because I know they're strong people. The sons married strong women and the daughters married strong men and they have a great affection for each other. For example, a year ago when Pat turned fifty, Lou was sick from the brain tumor and it wasn't appropriate to have something for Pat. Well, this year, Martha came from Florida, Marylou came from Virginia, Pat is here, I mean Caroline is here in Little Silver. Caroline says to her husband Randy, "Take the children and go to your mother's. It's girl's night in, all night." So in the afternoon they go to a spa, they get sprayed with lavender water, or something, they come back to the house. Their cousin Susie, Betty's sister's, who is deceased, Betty sister's daughter who lives in Monmouth Junction, she comes over. The four girls have the night and they just have a ball, and then the next day, they have a great luncheon in Rumsen and then they scatter. But they gave the weekend that they wanted to give her before. When Lou became very sick, Mike and Debbie showed up with Pat at the University of Pennsylvania. There's a hotel on top of the medical building. Mike arranged for Pat to stay, Debbie took notes when the doctor spoke, Debbie's the teacher, and, you know, somebody's taking notes, you're doing your best to be coherent and making sense. … The doctor said that the brain tumor was so deep, he said, "I only see about one of these, about one a year," and he does it all the time, and he just couldn't get it all because if he had it just would have been nothing. So then they operated a second time, … did some chemo, and did some radiation, but, and meanwhile, they're all backing Pat up. Randy is Caroline's husband, he's a businessman. He has a family firm, the four boys are in it with their father, or three boys with their father. They all live in Monmouth County, and Randy is there giving advice after Lou dies, Randy takes Pat's car and Lou's car and puts them together and gets Pat a RAV, one of these little Toyota things, four- wheel drive stuff. Dean, Martha's husband, has a brother, Drew, he is now Pat's financial adviser. Randy is a brake up here, telling her not to spend so much money, and Mike is around, and they have just been great. It was such a warming feeling. … Pat, who can put on a dinner or anything, decided she'd get involved in the Mass, which is at St. Greg's in Hamilton, new wing to the church. … She spoke to the pastor or the priest and told him that she really didn't want a homily, or a eulogy, she wanted a talk about Pat and Lou, how they met in the bar, how Lou asked Pat to dance, and everything went on from there. He came to the viewing in the afternoon, he knelt in front of Lou's mother and put his hands against her face and spoke to her, I mean he was a great priest. … Caroline's father- in- law, Don Grant, who is a very active Episcopalian said, "If all the priests were like that we'd all be Catholics." … He was just great in reading and meeting, and it was just so impressive, and she had such support from her siblings. … Carol, John's wife, is a woman of wisdom, that's what I call her. She is, you can talk to her about anything and she just has a great ability to see through, and Pat is there, she's there for Pat, at the end of the phone, and they're coming for Andrew's graduation. Andrew is, you know, athlete of the year in Haddonfield, all kinds of things, and we were at a luncheon they gave … , like a little sports awards from some club in Haddonfield that started in the '40s or something. … I was sitting at the table with Mike and Deb, and there were some fellows from another high school and they read Andrew's SAT score and the guy next to me, he says, "He's a genius." But it's all that kind of family stuff, and as I say, … when I look at them, that's what I see, and I don't know why really, because I don't think Betty and I took any courses. But I think it was their mother; they think it was their mother. The father is who, "Tom, it's time for school," and Tom would take a shoe, he tells me this now, and throw it against the wall to make me think that he is up, you know. … I came home one day and Martha's outside crying. Mike has locked the door. He said, Dad, she was absolutely impossible, we had to lock her out," and I said. "don't ever do it again, Mike." But, you know, Mike said that when Betty got angry, which was very rare, he went in the cellar. He couldn't face her. Sorry, too much of this family stuff.
SH: No, no, this is wonderful. Usually I ask the question … what you're most proud of and it's very obvious, I don't need to ask that question. I think it's your family.
WH: Yes, I am proud of them. They've done very well and, you know, they've done well on their own. They picked their towns where they live. To be frank, I think, they got tired of hearing people say, "Are you Judge Huber's son? Are you Judge Huber's daughter?"
SH: Well, let's back up a bit and talk about Judge Huber's experiences at Rutgers.
WH: Well, it was a tumultuous time. I came in the fall of 1940, and I had my freshman year. We were paddled as freshmen. We wore dinks on our heads, a little black thing with a red button, little black cap. We were initiated into our fraternities, and that gave me college life because I lived at home. … There was a fellow named Bob Feil, I think he died during the war. He had a car, and he would drive me home, and he'd come in and meet my parents, and so forth, and it was nice to have a friend that I didn't have to wait for the bus all the time. My sophomore year came. I think that's when I got into the ROTC, I can't remember now. But I tried out for sports. In high school, I tried cross country and they put in the sports [column], and I'm the editor of the newspaper, and the columnists writes, "they're clocking Bill Huber with a sundial." Well, that was true. So then I thought, "Well, I'll go out to wrestling." I didn't wrestle, I'd never wrestled, and I got water on the knee in my freshman year and they wanted, the doctor wanted to maybe aspirate or something, my father said, "no." My father was a track star at Rutgers. He was known as Spider Huber, and his mile record lasted for maybe five years. You know, after that, milers got faster, and so forth. But Spider said, "no," so that was that. So I ended up as a baseball manager. If you've ever kept score in baseball there are all kinds of symbols and things that you put down. It was hectic. But I also made the arrangements for lunch and for the busses and we would go to Lehigh or Lafayette, and I was the manager, and I'd forgotten who the, his name was Frank, but I can't remember who the baseball coach was. I think he was probably an old former professional baseball player. … Then it was debating, and I was in that, and I never did pick up my letter sweater from the university for baseball manager. I just felt that the letter should be reserved for them, I mean, who played … [the] game. So then everybody went away, and I ended up as president of the fraternity for a few months, and then it was my turn to go. … I sat next to Bill Greenberg at various courses, G and H, or … near him. … After Betty died, I had been to Bill's wedding, his mother had come to my wedding, I think he was in Europe, and after Betty died I called him up and said, "I'd like to visit." She and I had visited there. In fact, when she was there, a dolphin splashed in front of their house. There was a running stream there on MarcoIsland. So they said, "of course," so down I came and I've coming for the last ten, or eleven, or twelve years. But I'm only allowed to stay five days, because after that they have to charge, and I said, "Well, that suits me, because, frankly, you're boring me and I'm boring you. We're saying the same things every year to each other and so it's time for me to move on." I hope to see him this coming February. Then I go east to Martha's, and Martha has been talking about a Murphy- bed, but, "Never mind, Martha, just, if you can just give me enough space to open my suitcase, and if Maggie doesn't bark at me." Now Maggie is a dog they took in, and given my health, the diabetes, the whole bit, I'm up at nights, and, thank goodness, Maggie is listening but she isn't saying anything. … They have a cat named Spooky, and they had Spooky clawed, the front claws, but they left the back alone so that Spooky could climb a tree with her rear legs in case something is chasing her. … They would put the food on top of the piano over there for Spooky and she'd just jump right up and eat it, because Maggie would eat it if it was down on the floor. So that's Martha's, and then her in-laws have a home in Marathon, or north of Marathon on the Atlantic Ocean, a place called (Grassy Key?), and they've opened up this business, said, could I be a house sitter for them? Okay, well, they come down each weekend from the accounting business. Everybody works in the accounting business, and they come down and nobody cooks, and they take me out to a meal and, if they'll stand still long enough, I'll buy them breakfast. So they agreed to that, and this is interesting, because there's a ring of coral around the Keys, I never knew that, that's below the surface of the ocean but it stops the surface of the waves so you don't have a beach like that is [pointing to painting]. Our neighbor did that, Frank McGinley. You don't have that sand, like the water comes all the way in, about a foot of water, and then it's four feet of water, but that's about it. You go up, way out, when the tide is low. So that's the kind of place, and this place has everything. They have all the kind of things that their grandchildren can use. The brother, Drew, has five boys and they use all that, Ski-Doos, and whatever they have out there in the ocean, and I go down, [to] kind of a little exercise place, and I eat in or eat out. … I've gone out to the dry Tortugas, Fort Jefferson, which is where Dr. Mudd was kept, Harvey Mudd, the fellow that treated Wilkes Booth, after his thing, [who] was believed to be part of the conspiracy. But he saved people from the yellow fever, treated them, and, I think Grant or some other president, what was the president after Lincoln? Andrew Johnson, I think may have pardoned Dr. Mudd. His relatives were always trying to get it to [be] set aside, but I don't [think] they ever did. … Then I went up to Key Largo and found a little boat that was used in the African Queen, belongs to a retired lawyer whose son puts the logs in. … Of course, I was disappointed because I went out on a glass-bottomed boat, too, and everything was gray. You don't see the reefs unless you really go out to that (Pentacamp?), John (Pentacamp?) coral reef. I think it's either a State Park or a Federal area, and then you can see colored fish like on TV. That's what I do when I go there, and I stay too long, and I'm always glad to get home when I get home.
SH: That's good. Can you remember where you were and the reaction around you when you heard about Pearl Harbor?
WH: Well, I guess, … I don't recall my own reaction. I know what I had to do, what we signed up to do, was to go out- of- town to a place with a little building in it, and monitor for approaching aircraft, and make a log of the aircraft. That's what I did. That was part of the fraternity thing, and, of course, I was in the ROTC, I think, probably as a freshman.
SH: The first two years were mandatory.
WH: That's about it. I don't remember anything. … It didn't strike me like 9/11 did. 9/11, Mike, my son, was down in Jersey City, and just couldn't believe that it. He was at a worker's comp case in the courthouse, and he was where he could see across and it was, you know, it was a terrible sight. … I think Pearl Harbor was something that I learned about. But JFK [John F. Kennedy] was somebody I had seen. He was the only president I had ever seen. … I didn't meet him or anything, I was in a crowd at Trenton, where we [had gone] down … that night, and there he was in his dark blue suit and his white shirt and his red tie, he looked like something out of a picture book, and I was really devastated about his death
SH: You had come back after World War II and then you get a call up for Korea, you said then, you went to the JAG?
WH: No, initially, I went to Fort Benning, and I was in something called training publications, manuals dealing with the rifle, and then, when I got notice that I passed the bar, I asked if I could be, personnel or something, "Could I go over to [the] Judge Advocate Generals?" and I assumed because I wasn't going to be there very much longer. I think I only served, maybe, fifteen months, I can't recall now. It wasn't very long. …
SH: What were the cases you were seeing at that point?
WH: Well, I don't recall seeing very much to tell you the truth. Now Bill Greenberg has a story and I'll accept it. He claims that at one time in the Eighth Division I was a defense counsel for courts martial and he was the prosecutor and he won every case. Now whether that makes him a better judge than me, I don't know. But I got the job. We've been kidding him and he kids me a lot.
-------------------------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO--------------------------------------
SI: This continues an interview with the Honorable William H. Huber on May 18, 2005 in Toms River, New Jersey with Shaun Illingworth and …
SH: Sandra Stewart Holyoak. I had just you asked you, before the other tape finished, what was your most memorable memory of World War II?
WH: The night we crossed the Isar River, under fire, from the Germans on the other side. We had to get in small boats, and we had to get across, and we did, and our boat was not hit … and I may have mentioned Lieutenant Brown, redhead from Oregon, his boat was [hit] and he was killed. That's my clearest memory. There is another memory, too, it's a little different. After the war, I recall our platoon was sent down to a holding center and it was a building, there were no lights in it, and on the second floor it was crowded with German soldiers, and there were Hungarian soldiers, and there were Romanian soldiers, and I went upstairs with a flashlight and I spoke to them in my high school German, and out of the darkness, a voice straight out of Oxford said, "Lieutenant, if you don't mind, would you please speak in English." So I said, "Well, now hear this. You're getting out of here. You're going down on the street, you're going to line up by twos, and you're going to a center where all the prisoners are going to be. Now go, now." So they got out, they lined up, Germans in the front, Hungarians next, Romanians in the back, and Romanians worked in the kitchens, they cleaned pots and so forth. We started, well, before we started, the officers had been taken away from these units. The Hungarians had an officer candidate in charge, called an Officer Aspirant, I'll never forget that, and I thought to myself, "oh, man what a job," because they're all kind of snickering at him, his Hungarian troops. But he held in there and I thought, "If he needs help I'll help him out," because I had been an officer candidate myself and I knew the feelings he might have. So we started out to march, we didn't march, we walked, strolled, I guess. Germans did fine, Hungarians did fine. The Romanians began to fade away and I just decided that, "I'm not going to go collect Romanians," You know, "they're out in the countryside, there are gypsies in the countryside, they can take them in," but they just kept increasing the interval and it's dark, you know, we're moving at night. There are no streetlights, or anything, so that was another memory that I had.
SI: When we interviewed Mr. Greenberg the other day, and particularly, when I interviewed Mr. Hale, he felt a lot about these river crossings and how the Germans used natural barriers to their advantage. Can you take us through a river crossing, with what you saw and what you did?
WH: Well, all I can say on that river crossing was that it happened and I don't have a recollection of doing anything but seeing that the men got in the boats, and that we got across, and we got out. But I don't remember special fortifications or anything like that. That was the battle that I got my Bronze Star for; that was the incident that I got my Bronze Star for and I have the article, you know, that they …
SI: I'm going to read the citation for the Bronze Star Medal for Judge Huber. It says "Bronze Star Medal Second Lieutenant William H. Huber 0555090, Infantry, Company K, 342nd Infantry Regiment, United States Army. For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy in Ingolstadt, Germany on 22nd April 1945. During his company's attack on Ingolstadt, Germany, Second Lieutenant Huber personally led his men through enemy artillery, mortar and small arms fire. His company entered the town and secured it before the enemy had an opportunity to form for a counter attack. Second Lieutenant Huber's courage and leadership while under fire was an inspiration to the men in his company and is a great credit to himself and the Armed Forces of theUnited States. Entered military service from New Jersey." It's signed by Major General Harris M. Malansky.
SH: Were you given your Bronze Star at that time or did you receive it later?
WH: I think it was at that time.
SH: You also have a Combat Infantry Badge.
SH: When did you receive that?
WH: Oh, it maybe at the same time. I really can't recall. We all got those, because we'd been, you know, that's what brought the little star on the European Ribbon, one battle incident, you know, that was it.
SI: When you first went into combat, how did you feel, and what were your fears, and where did you first go into combat? It was beyond Cologne wasn't it?
WH: Yes. This is the combat that I really remember, and, frankly, I didn't have any fears then, because I was too busy. I really couldn't stop for a moment because we had to get across the mines. We had things to do, you know, things we were told, and I sort of had a personal philosophy too that I had no wife, I had no children, I was second lieutenant and in the usual combat, second lieutenants don't last very long, and I didn't really consider that anything; that if that happened it happened and that was my job to do and, I mean, I don't mean to sound smug or stupid about it. I'm sure when I went back, as a captain, I had something to lose, if you know what I mean, and I remember sleeping on the ground one time and on getting up, I mentioned that to you, feeling so stiff and not realizing that now at thirty years of age this is not for you as a second lieutenant. Get up to headquarters.
SH: The men that were under you in your company, where were they from?
WH: All over. Most of them were college kids, not graduates, but in the ASTP program and they were, I'm not sure whether they enlisted or drafted, some came from southern states, like Georgia, and others came fromCalifornia and Connecticut, different states. I didn't know any of them before and I don't think I saw many of them after, but I did see some, and the sergeant that I knew and somebody else and someone else and riflemen, and so forth. But a lot of that was gone from my head.
SH: As a young man from New Jersey, suddenly now in Alabama, how did the South impact a young man fromNew Jersey?
WH: Well, I don't know that I looked at it as the South. First of all, we're in a military setting, where we're training, and when we got a moment off we go into a little town and we have a milkshake, a banana split, a sundae, you know. I mean, we load up on all this stuff, and, of course, it doesn't mean anything to the body because you're exercising, you're young, and that's about it, and I didn't really stay long enough in any town to come to conclusions about people.
SH: How did they treat the military when you were going in to towns?
WH: Oh, fine. We brought money, you know, I didn't go at night so I wasn't being thrown out of bars, and so forth, and outside of getting whacked in the helmet by Sergeant (Vopat?) I think that was his name, I don't recall if there was anything wrong. I remember peeling potatoes and I would make them into squares, you know, like this, and our mess sergeant was called Ladles Logan, and, I think, he was from New England, and I think in punishment for something or other I had to clean the grease pit, where all the grease was. It was a dirty, messy job and it was reason enough to try to stick it out [in] OCS so I didn't have to go back to the grease pits again. But, no, I don't think I had any philosophical thoughts about the South, about race relations, anything like that. I was in the Army and this is what we were doing, and this is where we were going, and this is how we were going to get there, and so forth.
SH: Did you feel you were well trained for the job that you ultimately did?
WH: Yes. But I had to learn on the job, too. I'll never forget the first time I walked down the line of soldiers looking down the rifles and I said to one, "Your rifle is dirty," and he said, "No, it isn't." Now what do you do?
SH: What did you do?
WH: I moved to the next soldier. What could I do? I couldn't arrest him. You know, I couldn't punch him. He would have decked me. He was a bigger guy, and I was a new shave tail … he was just waiting for me. They tell a story that when the lieutenant can't get up a flagpole, he says, "Sergeant, would you take over?" and then he walks away. Well, I kept walking, but it didn't happen a second time. Because by that time, if a rifle was dirty, something followed. There was no talk back to me. But I took it that first time because I just didn't know what to do, and I didn't want to embarrass myself.
SH: Did you have a good sergeant?
WH: Yes, Sergeant (Rudak?) was very good. He was a dedicated guy. He went strictly by the book, and he didn't play favorites, and, I think, he treated the men square and fair and I thought it was a good platoon, maybe some of them didn't like it, but I thought it was pretty good.
SH: Did you ever have to send anybody back because they just couldn't handle being in combat?
WH: No. I don't believe so. I remember, we were fired upon, I think, by Hitler Youth, from bushes or something, from some distance and we jumped off our vehicles and, you know, got on the ground and I looked down and somebody at the end of the line was waving a white handkerchief, so, you know, I yelled, "Put that down." … then they went away, whoever the enemy was, just vanished and we got back in the trucks again and I had a little talk, but I didn't report him. He was coming near, the war was just about over, I think it was in April of '45 and I just sort of kept an eye on them. I called them to myself, "the Gold Dust Twins," and just let them be. Maybe I could scratch their names out, I wouldn't want to embarrass [them] now, but it was toward the end and I didn't think that merited any discipline on my part, because, you know, nobody took them up on their offer. I guess, they were scared, but that's about it …
SI: When you were in the Philippines, what … [were] your impressions of the Philippines? It must have been so different from America, or in Europe.
WH: Well, I found the Filipino people very easy to know and very easy to get along with. They, I think, appreciated being liberated by the United States and they were helpful. They were very clean. Their clothing was clean, and they were good people, and we really, it was leisure time in a sense. The only time we did anything of a serious nature was to bring in the Japanese, who were happy to come in. They weren't fighting anymore. Then it came time to come home.
SH: When you were shipped out from California, how soon after that did you know that the war was over, how long had you been at sea, when the bombs were dropped on Japan?
WH: Well, I think, we had reached our destination when the bomb was dropped.
SH: You were at sea?
WH: Yes, but I don't know what day that was. As I recall, the bomb was dropped in August, but I can't remember the date. I think it was August '45, wasn't it? … I do know that we would have been very busy if we had to invade.
SH: Were you on a regular troop transport when you went to Ulithi?
WH: I think we were. I only remember the Leif Erickson from Boston to Cherbourg, I think, or La Havre, I can't remember. We went to a camp named Lucky Strike, you know, they had the camps that were named after cigarettes, and we went in January, I think, or maybe February of '45. So we really weren't in combat very long, just a couple of months, and it took us a while, you know, to get across the Rhine, and go south, and so forth.
SH: What do you remember about the weather? There has been much discussion of how tough that winter was.
WH: I think we were past the tough time. It was tough around Christmas and the Battle of Bastogne, and we were probably still in France at that time. They were gathering us up, I guess, and going to move us here and there, so I really don't have any recollection of snow.
SH: When you were in France did you have any interaction with the French people?
WH: I didn't. Some may have gone down to Paris but I didn't. My only interaction with a French person was a boy, who was walking along the side of the road, I'm not sure I told you this, and he said to me, "Buchenwald?" And I said, "No." … I laughed to myself, I said, "I know I'm thin, but I didn't think I looked like that." This was before combat, you know, while we were still at this camp. I don't know where I met him either, but I do remember that incident, where he asked me if I'd been in one of the camps. Now he might have been asking just because, you know, "Had you been there? Did you see it?" and so forth, but then I thought, "What do I look like?" I'm sure I went to the mirror.
SH: When were you first aware that there were camps like Buchenwald?
WH: When I was over there then. I didn't know about it before, and it's a tale that has to be told but we can never resolve, "Why didn't they do more? Why didn't the United States do more about it?" … There are various theories about the State Department not being interested, the military not wanting to bomb trains that were heading there, but I don't think we'll ever really resolve the question. …
SH: We thank you so much for taking time and letting us come to conduct the oral history.
WH: I'm glad I did. At least I got it out. It's kind of piecemeal, but, I think, I'm a people person. In other words, I remember who was killed in the boat, but I don't remember if there were any fortifications, if you know what I mean. In other words, frankly, I was probably so excited that I, you know, "Wow, come on guys, get in the boat!" You know, "bang, bang, bang, bang." "Row, damn it." You know, "Get across there you guys."
SI: I have one last question. You mentioned you were in the Boy Scouts. Do you think your Boy Scout experience influenced what you did in the military at all?
WH: I think my Boy Scout experience made it easier for me to be in basic training, because in the Boy Scouts you march, you also camp out, you learn to get wet in the rain, and your mother is not there to say, you know, "Put a towel over your head," or something, and so I think it was good preparation, and I also think that my father's service was also good preparation, although he never said anything to me. My father was a strong man, and he would liked me to have been an athlete. You know, … there were boxing gloves, there were skis, there was a basketball that he bought that had ridges on the outside so [I] could play in the driveway. Never took. But when I became a 2nd lieutenant in the Infantry and I went to battle, even if it was only one battle, you know, a little combat, and I think that he could shake his head, and say, "Yes, I have a son." … My brother … was in the Navy, but he joined, I think, maybe toward the end of '45, or something, I really can't remember, and, of course, I don't have any of my sons that are in the service and I like to think that John would have done well. Mike would have been tough. Tom, well, he was in the Peace Corps so he knows what its like to sleep on the ground and eat strange food, and so forth.
SH: Did you become a Boy Scout leader with your boys?
WH: No. I can't remember why, but I'm not sure that they were in scouting very long. My mother always thought that my Scoutmaster ate the food that should have gone to the Scouts. I don't remember that. He was awfully heavy. No, John was a scout. I don't think Mike was interested. I don't think Tom was interested. John, actually, he went to Philmont, which is that camp in New Mexico, and so that was our contribution, and Pat was a Girl Scout. I think Martha may have been. She built a fire in the front yard here for some test. … We would take them around to visit colleges and, of course, Martha, she would step over and step into James Madison's bathtub. You know, we're always saying things like, "Martha, get out of there," you know, and there was a docent, the lady that goes around, and when her back is turned, Martha is nowhere to be found. So we've had some of those experiences. Then we went to college, and I said to Tom, "Tom, there's a Huber Hall in Gettysburg, right on the main street," because that's one of the ones he was accepted at, "Do you think that you might want to go here?" "Oh, Dad, no." All right. "Dad," we went one weekend I remember they were having a barbecue, "Dad, don't tell anybody that I'm coming here." I said, "I'm not going to. Am I allowed to eat at least?" "Dad, don't start talking." "You're so loud." Well, I'm loud now because I have a hearing aid but then I was just loud because I was loud. But he chose Dickenson and I'm glad; he got his wife. He was a big brother because he's like that. That's what Tom is, you know, and so that's my life, and that's my family, and that's me.
SH: We truly appreciate your doing this.
SI: Thank you very much.
WH: Well, thank you …
----------------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW------------------------------------------
Reviewed by Nicholas Molnar 8/12/05
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 9/20/05
Reviewed by William H. Huber 11/3/05