Alwyn Goldstein interview, 2008
|Alwyn Goldstein interview, 2008 |
|Alwyn Goldstein is interviewed by his grandson, Keith Greenspon. Goldstein discusses his parents, Max and Rosie Goldstein, who owned a clothing store on King Street in Charleston (S.C.); his childhood in Charleston and working in the family store; and starting his own store, Alwyn's Department Store, in Georgetown (S.C.). |
|Goldstein, Alwyn, 1915-2010|
Greenspon, Keith, 1962-
|Alwyn O. Goldstein (1915-2010) was born to Rosie Goldman Goldstein (1888-1980) and Max Goldstein (1891-1967) who owned and operated a clothing store on King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. As a child, Goldstein worked in his parents store until he opened Alwyn's Department Store in 1938 in Georgetown, South Carolina. That same year, Goldstein married Thelma Engel (1815-1968), and the couple had two children: Roslyn and Steve. After the death of his first wife, Goldstein married Frances Ward (1921- ), a family friend. Together, they ran the store until it closed in 1989 after being badly damaged in Hurricane Hugo. Goldstein died in 2010. |
|Related materials in Special Collections at the College of Charlestion include the Alwyn Goldstein papers (Mss 1034-100) and a 1995 oral history interview with Philip Schneider and Alwyn Goldstein (Mss 1035-004). |
|Jewish merchants -- South Carolina -- Georgetown|
Jews -- South Carolina -- Georgetown
Jewish merchants -- South Carolina -- Charleston
|Goldstein, Alwyn, 1915-2010|
Goldstein, Frances Ward, 1921-
Goldstein, Max, 1891-1967
Goldstein Rosie Goldman, 1888-1980
Goldstein, Thelma Engel, 1916-1968
|Alwyn's Department Store (Georgetown, S.C.)|
|Georgetown (S.C.) -- Commerce|
Charleston (S.C.) -- Commerce
|College of Charleston Libraries|
|Jewish Heritage Collection- Personal Papers|
|Alywn Goldstein papers (Mss 1096)|
|Digital image copyright 2011, The College of Charleston Libraries. All rights reserved. For more information contact The College of Charleston Library, Charleston, SC 29424. |
Interviewee: Alwyn Goldstein (b. June 4, 1915 in Charleston, SC; d. March 16, 2010 in
Place of Interview: Charlotte, NC
Dates of Interviews: February 8th, 2008
Interviewer: Keith Greenspon
Transcriber: Lindsay Barnett
Date of Transcription: September 29, 2011
Proofreaders: Lindsay Barnett, Heather Gilbert, Sarah Dorpinghaus
Dates of Proofing: October 4, 2011
KG: My name is Keith Greenspon, and I'm 45 years old, today's date is February 8th,
2008, and we're in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I am interviewing my grandfather, who
AG: I'm 92 years old my name is Alwyn Goldstein, I've lived in Georgetown, SC, from
1938 when I got married, 2004, June 2004, now I'm living here in Charlotte, North
Carolina, at a...
KG: Assisted living.
AG: Assisted living place, named Sunrise Assisted Living.
KG: All right.
AG: And I'm 92 years old.
KG: 92 1/2, right?
AG: Well, 92 1/2, that's right. My birthday is June 4th.
KG: And he looks like he's 35.
KG: All right, so I'm going to ask some questions, the first one Grampsy is, I don't really
know where we got the name Grampsy, but do you remember why we called you that
when we were kids?
AG: Well, they called my father, called him Grandpa, so I think that was, made the name
Grampsy to kind of differentiate between the two of them.
KG: Okay. Now I didn't know my grandmother, your wife, Nana, that well, Thelma, but
I wanted to know how you met her, and how did you know she was the right one when
you met her?
AG: I was in love with your grandmother Thelma, from the time I must have been 10 or
11 years old. And I have to tell you this, what she told me shortly before she died, she
say, "You know" she said, "when I was 16 or 17 years old, I had my mind made up that
nobody was going to have you but me, Thelma Engle." I said to her, "Well why didn't
you tell me that sooner?" She said, "Why should I tell you? I wanted you to chase me, I
wasn't going to chase you." And Keith I can tell you this, your grandmother was sharp,
that's all I can tell you, all the way my two children, Dr. Steve Goldstein, and your
mother, Roslyn Greenspon, been born, the intelligence that they show all comes from
their mama, I don't claim any of it.
KG: I disagree with that, I think it comes from both of you. But you, she passed away
when she was how old?
AG: Thelma died, May the 3rd, 1968, she was - she's a year younger than me, I was born
June 14, you have to kind of figure up the...
AG: In 1968 I would have been what, 53?
AG: Thelma must have been 51, 52 years old.
KG: And so when she passed away, you ended up marrying a woman that we call my
AG: That's right.
KG: Now how did you meet her, and know that she was going to spend the rest of your
AG: Well I knew Francis, she lived in Georgetown, South Carolina, and we were both
members of the Eastern Star, that's the women's organization of the Masons, and she was
really Matron which is like a President, and I was serving and assisting her, I was like the
Assistant President cause I had done this before, and as the time passed by her husband
had died a year before Thelma died, and she's a good looking woman to begin with, and
I'm sitting, sitting there, watching her in action, and every once in a while it would dawn
on me, "Sure is a nice looking girl, why don't you ask her out?" Then I say to myself,
suppose she don't want to go? So I asked her if she didn't want to go, well, too bad for
me. Well I asked her, well, one thing led to another, and we got married. I figured she
was too good of a deal to turn away, turn down.
KG: And now you...
AG: I got to tell you this, I've always compared her, the Bible has the Psalms,
AG: Not the Psalms, it's number 41, 40 or 41. A woman of great worth, that's Francis
KG: And ya'll have been married for how many years now?
AG: We got married in 1969, June the 15th, 1969.
KG: So almost, almost...
AG: This June it'll be 39 years.
KG: Right, almost 40. Okay.
AG: I was married to Thelma 30 years and 3 days when she died, she died of a heart
KG: Right. All right, so, I've never asked you this before, but since I was your first
grandkid, what do you remember about my birth, and me as a little toddler?
AG: You were the sweetest children there was, you had curly hair, your hair looks kind
of curly now, but before I don't think that your mama, we wouldn't let her cut your hair,
because it was so beautiful. And we'd come to Charlotte to visit you all, I remember,
where you lived at Cotswold...
AG: And you were taking me, showing me the neighborhood, and I kept telling you,
"Keith, we lost." "Oh no, Grampsy, I know how to get home." I kept teasing you. "Oh
no, we're not lost, Grampsy."
KG: And I was how old then, you think, about 4? Three or 4?
AG: Yeah, you were old enough to walk around [then?], I would think so, you know,
you were born in...
AG: Yeah, which one?
KG: Florence. Florence, Alabama
AG: Florence, Alabama, yeah, that's up there in the farthest corner of Alabama, whatever
state is next to it. That's where Muscle Shoals was.
KG: That's right, yeah, yeah.
AG: That's the place where all the, where NASA, finally, I think, was originated. The
trip to the moon.
KG: Yeah, that's right. So once my other brothers were born, how did things change
with the whole family structure?
AG: I think we were pleased to death. With your brother Lawrence, we came here one
weekend, and she had just given Lawrence a haircut and we went to the mall, and she
was pushing him in the stroller, and this is no lie, 2 dozen people stopped, to talk to that
child, that's how beautiful he was. And then Michael, I remember we came up here and
had to decide on what to name him, so we finally ended up with Michael Paine.
KG: That's right, yeah.
AG: Lawrence is Lawrence...
AG: Harris. And you're Keith Avery.
KG: Right. And Michael Paine.
KG: All right. You were born in Charleston in 1915, so what was so different about the
world then than it is now?
AG: Well, in 1915, my grandparents, my mother's father and mother - I didn't know my
father's people because he came over from Lithuania when he was about, I guess about
15 years old, by himself, travelled in the steerage he says, and the smart thing he says that
he did when he got there, he picked out a bunk that was at the [elbow?], bunks built on
the side of the walls, he picked the one on the top because he figured out somebody
would get seasick, if he was on the bottom, they would vomit on him. I really admired
[unintelligible] for that. And he landed in Port Chester, New York, and must have stayed
with some relations there at the time, and he migrated down to Charleston, I don't think I
ever knew how he got down there. I believe, I believe he had a brother that was located
in Charleston and he went down to stay with him, of course, you know, he wasn't, he was
still a little boy. And he stayed there a few years and then he met your Grandmama, my
AG: And they got married in 1911. Let me see, 1911, yeah. And he died in 1968, '68,
yeah. No, excuse me, 1967, and Thelma died in 1968. May the 3rd, 1968. But you 3
children were absolutely...you were born, like I said, Lawrence was born in Charlotte, so
KG: Yeah. Right
AG: And you were born in Florence, Alabama.
KG: Yep, yep. Now when you were growing up in Charleston, you and your brother,
what kind of...did you live in a house, or an apartment?
AG: Well, we had a house, yeah, my father had bought a building with a 3 story
building, we had a store out on the street side, and the second floor we lived there and
rented the 3rd floor out to some people as tenants. And I imagine back in those days,
they didn't pay no more than 10 dollars or 15 dollars a month rent, because this was a
tough time. When I married Thelma that was the worst depression that the country had
had since it had been started. From 1932 when Roosevelt took over as president 'til the
war came on in 1941, I think, but up 'til then, things were tough. People were starving to
death, nobody had a job, my father ran a store, and I remember that. Shoes today, because
I priced, they were 150-200 dollars today, we were selling a solid leather shoe for 1 dollar
98, that's right. That's all they could get for it. And like I said, then things started to pick
up, when the war started, then things started to pick up, and everybody started to make
more wages, and money started to flow around because the governor was spending the
millions of dollars fighting the war.
KG: Right, right. So when you were growing up, you and Ralph probably both worked
in the store. What age did you start working in your dad's store?
AG: I worked in my father's store, I guess from the time I was able to walk. Because we
lived right upstairs over the store, and whenever he opened up, we played in the store, we
worked in the store, I guess we slept in the store too.
KG: Did my great-grandmother, your mom, work in the store?
AG: My mother, yes, she worked in the store. I think, I think back, my mama used
to...we lived upstairs so she would cook and come down and stay in the store then go
back up to check up. In other words, she ran the steps I think more than she stayed in the
store, taking care of the business. And one other thing, my father had no education in
English. He never learned to read and write English. My mama was a secretary; she did
the writing, and the banking, and the property decisions, or whatever, had to be made
because he couldn't read or write. He would tell her what to say, what to do, and she
would work it out for him. [unintelligible] I'll tell you something else, I've got to tell you
this, back in those days the movies were silent movies, they had closed caption at the
bottom, or the top, whatever it was and she would take my father to the movies, I think it
was 15 [cents] or 10 [cents] a person to go, and she would read the closed caption to him,
she would translate it to Yiddish, and tell him what the captions said because he couldn't
KG: In the movie?
AG: In the movies.
KG: During the movie?
AG: That's the only way he could go, he - then later on, the sound movies came in the
late 1920's I think [Algie Olson?] sang "[Sonny?] Boy." Anybody that's old as me would
KG: Now she, I don't remember her that well, my great grandmother, but I remember she
was a pretty tough lady right?
AG: Well, she was the one everything had hung on her shoulders. When my father died,
he didn't own 5 cents. She owned the house, and the store we lived in, she owned
anything, the car belonged to her, she was the only one who could read and write English.
But if somebody had to say, "Mr. Goldstein, lend me a dollar" he said, "Well, I'll go ask
my wife can I have one." But that's the way it worked out.
KG: Well, I remember she died in what year? In the...
AG: She died in 1980.
KG: In '80, yeah.
AG: She was 92 years old.
KG: And she was tough until she died.
AG: Well, that's right. She had 4 or 5 brothers, and all of them died, I don't think any of
them lived longer than they were about 70, 75 years old.
AG: But she lived to 92, she was the only...her parents died in the '60s I think. I really,
it's hard, like I say, hard to remember. Nobody knew the ages in those days.
KG: All right, now I've heard this story before, but you've got to tell me again, when you
were a kid, what did you want to do when you were growing up?
AG: My ambition was to study dentistry. But as time went along, when I was in the 5th
grade at public school, at grammar school, I developed near-sighted...was near-sighted,
and I was so near-sighted, that I didn't even understand, I couldn't see what was on the
board, but I probably didn't see anything anyway. They finally figured out why I wasn't
passing the grades, and they fitted me with glasses. And to make a long story short, I
wanted to study dentistry, and in 1935 I ended up at an [AZA?] convention, the [AZA?]
was an organization for young Jewish boys, that was organized in Charleston, and I went
up there to the convention, I went over to the Vanderbilt University, and I enrolled in the
dental school there, and the Dean took me around and through the clinic and all that, and
I was happy as could be. I got back, and I went to the eye doctor at the time, the check
up to see what, you know, about my glasses and all that, and when I told him I wanted to
study dentistry, he shook his head, he says, "Son" he says, "you're not going to make it"
he says. I say, "What do you mean 'You're not going to make it?'" He says, "You are so
near-sighted that by the time you get to be 30 years old" I was about 21 then, or 20 years
old, "By the time you get to be 30 years old, your myopia, your near-sightedness, is going
to advance so much that you're not going to be able to see in somebody's mouth properly,
you're not going to be able to do anything, so I gave it up as a bad job. Well, I wanted to
marry Thelma, so I got to talking to my father and one thing led to another, and he'd
heard of this place called Georgetown, South Carolina.
AG: The International Paper Company was building a new paper plant there. They were
using the pine trees as the supply to make paper out of. And he rode up there, and he
rented the store, remodeled it - took a crew from Charleston and stayed there with them
and directed them how to remodel the store, remodel the front, and put shelving and
everything else in there. Took me and we went to the [Oak City?], and he supervised
buying whatever merchandise, he was a merchant, he was in business from 1911, this
would be 1937, '38, because I married Thelma in 1938, and we bought the merchandise,
then we got back to Charleston, rode me over, rode me over to Georgetown, went over to
the Hotel that was on the main street, there's only one main street...
AG: Rented a room 30 dollars a month, it was a dollar a day, and came back and he took
a key out and handed it to me, and he gave me 50 dollars. I said "What's this for?" He
said, "This 50 dollars, the merchandise we bought is gonna be delivered by railway
express, you're going to have to pay some of this." So he gave me the 50 dollars, to pay
for the merchandise when it come, gave me the key and I said, "What's this for?" He said
"That's to open the front door." Got back in the car and left and I was in business. Now I
had no experience other than working in his store...
AG: In Charleston, but evidently I must have learned something how to run a business,
because from the first week that I opened up, as I look back, everything kind of fell into
place. I understood how to take care of a business. So I ran the business and I hired two
ladies, and they stayed with me from 1938, 'til shortly before one of them died, and I
think, in 1970... in the early part of 1970. The other one, after the, I keep...I gotta think
for a second. We had Hurricane Hugo came there in 1989...
KG: Right, yeah.
AG: And tore the business up, so I had to close up the store because the store didn't exist
anymore. The roof was gone and the merchandise was all ruined, so I closed up the
business, and got the store fixed back up so that you could come in there, and I used it as
an office afterwards. And one thing I found out that I didn't know, when Hurricane Hugo
came I was out of business, I depended on the store to make a living, and I got to talking,
I was married to Francis then, I got to talking, and then you know what I figured out?
KG: What's that?
AG: I didn't know it at the time, I could afford to retire so I quit. I used the store as an
office, and my friends would come in and we would sit down and talk, talk about politics,
talk about the business, and drink beer.
KG: That's right, and what kind of beer did you drink?
AG: Was Schwartz in those days.
AG: I don't know if they make Schwartz today.
KG: I think they do.
AG: I was the beer, the beer supplier.
KG: Yeah. Now so you had the store for 50 years, right?
AG: From 1938 to 1989, that's right. It was sometime in September that Hurricane
Hugo, it tore the town up. The whole street where I had the store, called Front Street,
was all under water.
AG: And the roof came over and I got there...'cause we, Francis and I had come and
stayed at Charlotte, and they had a bad time there at the time. When we got back there I
unlocked the door and looked in there, didn't have to unlock the door. The windows were
all broken out, no roof on the place there, all the merchandise was laying all scattered
around. I don't think anybody took any of the stuff, they might have, people might have
been in there and stole something, you know, because all they had to do was walk
through the windows...
AG: To get into the store. I really don't know, anyway I put it all on the street, and do
you know, 24, 30 hours later, there wasn't a piece of thing left in front of that store.
KG: You sold it at a discount?
AG: People pick it up and took it, all they had to do was dry it out or dry clean it, most
of it, and it was wearable merchandise but I just couldn't fool with it anymore.
KG: So you just basically gave it back to the community, back to the town right?
AG: I gave it back to the public.
AG: But it piled up piles, the store was, was about I think 20 or 30 feet wide, and the
street was piled up in front of the store from one corner of my piece of property, piece of
the street, to the end, 30, was 30 feet of clothes piled up about maybe 4 or 5 or 6 feet
high. And people was quick enough was out there, they came and started moving, but I
just couldn't deal with it anymore. But like I said, I'm pleased to this day that I didn't
know that I could afford to retire. Francis says to me something, I say, "Francis, you
know, we ain't got to worry." She says, "What do you mean? We ain't got no place to go,
no business or nothing." I say, "We can afford to retire."
AG: She never bothered me after that. Course in those days, I told her then in those
days, that if we could accumulate enough income, about 20 or 25,000 dollars a year, we
could live like kings for the rest of our lives, because in those days prices weren't high,
and the inflation hadn't come in like you see today. Today if I rented, like I said, I rented
the store before I bought the building, the people who own it were black people and they
had a bakery there, and I guess they didn't make [unintelligible] they just gave it up and I
bought the building from them, I paid her 40 dollars a month rent and we fixed up the
property. And when she died they came to me and wanted to know if I'd buy the
building, of course I bought it. I paid, I think, 12,000 dollars for it. And I didn't have the
money, I called my father, I don't know where Grandpa got it from, but he said, "Wait a
week." A week later, he sent me a check for 12,000 dollars and I paid for the building.
KG: What year was that?
AG: That would have been in 19...I really don't remember when, it couldn't have been
long after I opened up, because the people, the lady was a widow, and she died not too
long after that.
KG: So you said, you told Francis if ya'll saved 25,000 dollars you wouldn't have
anything to worry about.
AG: That was enough income. In other words, like today, today what we could have
done for 25,000 dollars in the 19..., I guess the 1970's, today would take a million, really,
a million dollars.
KG: Yeah. So how did you go about saving all this money that you saved?
AG: Well I made some investments then I, I got, then I looked back, I got smart. I
started to invest in the stock market.
AG: And in those days you got the beaches not far from Georgetown, and common sense
told you, at least told me, that property on the beach one of these days was going to be
sky-high. So whenever something came up that wasn't too much money, and I was able
to buy it, I bought some of it. I paid, the last property I bought that we sold, still got the
[unintelligible], was 1,000 dollars an acre's what I paid for it, and that was the going
price, was a lot of money back in those days. Today 20, 30, 40,000, 50,000 dollars an
acre, don't mean anything. I saw one piece in the paper that I just happened to know at
was, there was one acre of land on one of the [Rosen?] Islands, that's Pawley's Island, for
over 350,000 dollars.
KG: For one acre that you bought for...
AG: No this was one that I just happened to know about, know about it. The people who
bought it probably didn't pay more than 1,000 dollars for it. When the original owners.
KG: So out of all the investments, this is a tough question, that you've been in, be it
stocks, bonds, real estate, which one you think is your best investment.
AG: The money that I own today and the living that we make it comes from what I own
and the stock market. I would say 95 percent of my assets are in the stock market.
When, like, the market went down these past few weeks, could have cost a half a million
dollars. Because I expect it to go back up, because I've been through these situations
since 1960 when I bought, the first stock that I bought was a Raceway stock. And about,
kept it for 4 or 5 years, and they did me a favor, they went broke. I lost the money. But
other than that I've done pretty well in the stock market when I look back.
KG: So how do you make, how did you make your decisions when you were buying in
the stock market as to what to buy?
AG: Keith, that's something that's hard to tell because a lot of the things that I own
today, I never bought them. They're companies that bought out the companies that I
owned. I owned one called Coney, you know [Coney Wares?], miss?
AG: Coney Wares is glass, is heat tempered glassware. I owned some stock and Coney
bought it out, and we ended up, Coney had, whatever it would take, with all the family,
'cause I would distribute the stock that I owned to the people that, children like you, and
Lawrence, and Michael...
AG: And Francis's grandchildren at their birthday. The stock is worth a million dollars.
Counting everybody they had enough, enough shares, it was 300 dollars a share is what
Coney was worth. About two months later, Coney went down a dollar and a half. So the
million dollars worth of stock was worth 15,000 dollars. I had 15,000 shares; at 300 it
might have been a little more than 15,000 to make a million bucks. But I congratulated
myself that I had a million dollars there. Two months later, it goes down to 15,000
dollars. Now I didn't own the 15,000 dollars, I had about a 1,000 shares of mine, was
only worth 3,000 dollars, and between everybody it was worth 15,000 dollars. Today's
[going?] is about 22, 23 dollars. They ain't going to go back to no 100 dollars a share.
KG: No, no. So...
AG: I depend on the stock market today, if not for the stock market we couldn't exist.
KG: When you were growing up, or even in your adult life, who had the biggest
influence or impact on your life, be it a actor, or president, or...
AG: Oh, that. Well, I wouldn't tell you about politics, because I was too young to
participate in politics, but my father and mother were the people I looked at, my father
really, he never had any education that I figured was worth anything, but he sure had a
sharp mind. Because I remember his friends used to come in, the people on the street and
some of the other people, one fellow opened up, and ended up with, a 10 store chain, a 5
and 10 cent store, he would be out to the store every day asking my father, Max
Goldstein, what to do, and my papa would tell him what he thought he would do. And
this fellow ended up with, I think, 10 or 12 stores, a chain, he finally, finally sold out, and
eventually went broke. The company that bought him out just couldn't make it, but like I
said, that's the way my father spent most of his time giving advice I believe. But he was
a sharp businessman that's all I can tell you.
KG: We were talking about your store that you had for 50 years, I remember as a kid
going to the store over the holidays and actually working in it, but what do you remember
about me and my brothers working in that store?
AG: I depended on you and your mama and your two brothers to come there, particularly
Christmas 'cause that's when the business was, in other words, the work the day before
Christmas, 'cause you closed Christmas day, and help in the store. I've got to tell you the
great joke story. You fellows were so little, they'd bring you, bring you right behind the
showcases. The showcases must have been, I'd say, 2 - about 3 feet high.
AG: Your nose stuck up over the top. And I had a young girl working for me as a
secretary, she said, "Them boys look like a little snitch behind there" 'cause all you could
see was their nose and their eyes.
KG: Did we do a good job though?
AG: Yeah, ya'll did. The main thing was to do was to take care of the customers, 'til I
could get there to sell them something.
AG: But, particularly Easter time was another time that you had to have extra help. But
you fellows were really a big help. And to tell you what was so good about it, didn't have
to give you any pay, you see? Worked for free.
KG: Right, yeah. Just feed us. Well, I know to this day, for some reason I'm good with
numbers, and cash, and whatever else, and I'm figuring, maybe that's where it came from
is working that cash register at your store.
AG: My father was a tailor when he first, first came to this country. When he married
my Grandma, her father was a tailor, and he taught my father how to make men's suits.
My father would, of course, measure the customers up. But, like I tell you, he couldn't
write or read or write when he decided how to make the suit or what the customer
wanted, I think he must have had pictures, he would draw a diagram of it, and that's the
way he knew what to do.
AG: And he'd measure the customers, and in fact, he had a, he manufactured the pants in
the back of the store at 538 [King St.?], he had 3 black ladies working for him and they
would make the pants, now the coats he used to farm out, there was somebody else made
them, and I remember him explaining to me that the coat was a rather tedious operation,
and it was difficult to make, and it was cheaper for him to pay this other fellow to make
the coats than for him to take time to do it. So he made the pants and they farmed out the
coats. And I remember, the African ladies names were Mrs. Pearl, one was Dorothy, and
one was Loretta. Never forgot them.
KG: Your memory still shocks me.
KG: It surprises me that you can remember things from 40, 50 years ago.
AG: Well, at least, all those years, I think that those black girls, or colored, you know,
[would take care?], I said, as children, you know, we played back there, Ralph and I, my
KG: Now I've got, you've got two kids, my mom, Ros...
AG: That's right.
KG: And my uncle Steve. What are the two proudest, what are you most proud of with
each of them that they've accomplished?
AG: I'm proud of your mama for starting the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, you know
AG: If they cure it, she's the one. And she also started the local chapter too, and she was
president for about, at least, [50?] years, she and another lady, the lady didn't stay in
Charleston very long, she moved down to Florida and left your mama by herself, and she
organized the chapter here, and today they've raised millions of dollars that they send to
the grand chapter to try to cure diabetes. And as far as Steve's concerned, Steve studies,
Steve is a gastroenterologist. He practices gastroenterology. I better waste your time and
tell you this. Bernard Warshaw, this is a cousin of ours that lives in Walterboro, South
Carolina, about 60 miles north of Charleston. He called me up a few nights ago, 11
o'clock. "Bernard, what's the matter, what you calling so late for?" He says, "Man, I got
to tell you something." "What is it?" "It's about Steven." "What, Steven, did he get hurt
or something?" "No, I, just be quiet" he says, Bernard is a real, he's [much different?] in
the town business, they even named a health center after him, he's on the board of the
hospital and he was interviewing this registered nurse that they were going to hire, and he
asked her where she came from, she says, "Well I used to live in Paoli, Pennsylvania,
near Philadelphia, so Bernard, this is where Steve practices.
AG: He said, "Do you know any doctors there?" She says, "Yes, I know a doctor, a
Doctor Goldstein that practices gastroenterology." He says, "Doctor Goldstein, Doctor
Steven Goldstein?" She says, "Yes." He says, "You really know him?" She says,
"Know him, I love him." "Why do you love him?" "He saved my mama's life. She was
hemorrhaging from her stomach, the doctors that were tending her couldn't, just couldn't
manage it, they called him in, he put her back on her feet." Like I said, he had to call to
tell me that Steve, so anyway I'll tell you Steve chopped my head off. He said, "Dad" he
says, "I practice medicine Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I do
that every day!"
KG: Yeah. It's nothing unusual, or new.
AG: Weren't nothing to him. Anyway.
KG: So, he's got a son, Rick.
KG: Who apparently has taken after you and he.
AG: This kid is really...Keith, this child, his name is Richard David, they call him Rick,
he's a mathematical genius. If 100 is perfect, that's exactly what he makes, and he's up
into calculus now, is going to graduate high school this June. He wants to go to M.I.T.
whether he'll get there I couldn't tell you. But his grades are A plus, 99, 99 1/2, and 100.
And he's taking these, whatever the off-shoots of calculus, they've got all these various,
whatever, formulas that they do, he's still making 100 percent in it. I didn't, I didn't, they
always talked about him being smart in the mathematics, I didn't pay any attention 'til
only the past 3 or 4 years. One teacher wrote about, I think he was in his freshman year
or second year, and he say, "Rarely" he say, "In my third year of teaching mathematics,
have I had a student that is as well prepared or as intelligent as Richard David Goldstein."
AG: I asked him if he understood what he was doing, you know what he said to me? He
looks at me, he says "Gramps" he said, "How do you think I make 100 if I didn't
understand what I'm..."
AG: Okay. So we're about almost finished now, right?
KG: I've got one more. So what is it when you're no longer around that you want to be
remembered by, or having done?
AG: I want to be remembered as a citizen of Georgetown, South Carolina. To somebody
that lived there when they talk about Alwyn Goldstein they know who I was and what I
KG: And you gave a lot back to that town, didn't you?
AG: Well, look here, I was one of the people that, particularly the Jewish congregation, I
taught Hebrew, and I found a method that was fantastic, and I'd meet friends with the
Rabbi who wrote the, it was called Rocket to Mars, and he was a professor at the Hebrew
Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. That's the reformed branch of Judaism. And then we
had a young student there, in the 1950's, we called him the hula hoop Rabbi, he was just
so good in schooling, and when he'd come to spend the High Holidays with Georgetown
people, and to get training. And I kept in touch with him over the years, and do you
know there's a book called Gates to, Gates to Prayer I think it's called, that the reformed
Jews used, he's one of the people that helped write the book.
AG: So I, like I say, I knew some mighty famous people in their day. And I've got to tell
you one more then I quit. I've got a first cousin, that's born and raised a Baptist. She's
not Jewish. Her father, my uncle, my mother's brother, was Jewish, married this Gentile
lady, and in those days Jews didn't marry Gentiles. And I know his father, his father
didn't live very long after that, I don't think he spoke to that boy anymore, but to make a
long story short, I always heard his name was Maxi, Maxi Goldman. That he, there was
the election, and he stole the ballot box and jumped out of the window, wherever they
had, on a pole and came down and they shot him. Well, in the Post-Courier that
publishes in Charleston, they ran a synopsis of the historical events in Charleston, and
they brought up about this, this election.
AG: So I went down to the library in Charleston from Georgetown, and then dug up the
papers, and sure enough, he stole the ballot box, but they didn't shoot him. They beat him
up is what they did. The person that got shot was the reporter for the News and Courier
at the time what it was called, he got killed. But Maxi Goldman, they described he had
the, where everybody, where they get together to decide what to do...
KG: The election?
AG: No the...they had the meetings where they call
KG: Yeah? I'm not sure, but that's okay.
AG: In other words, the inquiry is what they had.
AG: And they must have been 20 or 30 people that testified, and each one testified that
Maxi Goldman came down the pole, and whoever was down at the end there beat him up
and put him in the hospital.
AG: They left it out he had a job with the city, he was running the Street Department,
because the man that he was backing was elected Mayor. His name was Tom [Stolen?].
I never forgot that either. But I've got to tell you, and I Xeroxed the newspapers and sent
them to his daughter, she really never knew either. She thought that the story was that he
got shot. But now we know they beat him up
KG: Just beat him up.
AG: Spent a week or two in the hospital. So like I said, even the Goldman side of the
family has got some sort of notoriety to it. But he lived, he died in 1955 I think. I didn't
know him that well, 'cause I never saw very much of him, but I knew the, his daughter,
and she married, her husband the Assistant Fire Chief, he died just a few years ago, and
his name is...
KG: That's all right. All right.
AG: Can't think of it, can't think of it.
KG: Now one more question, Grampsy. You've given me enough advice over my
lifetime for 5 lifetimes, but I want one more piece and that is, I'm now in the
accumulation phase of my life trying to save money. What would you, what are some
words of wisdom that you could pass along to me?
AG: It's the only words I have wisdom to say: put your money in the stock market. Now
how and what to do I cannot tell you. Because even when I buy stuff today, you buy it
today, sometimes it goes up two dollars, I had one of them I bought it just a few weeks
ago, I bought it, I think I paid 16 dollars for it, and the article that I bought it against, was
just as [unintelligible] a thing as could be, went down from 16, no went up from 16
dollars to 18 dollars, 2 or 3 days later it goes down to 14 dollars. Then I found out the
reason it went down, they cut the dividend from 60 cents a share to 20 cents, today I think
it's back up to 18 dollars. So you've just got to have more dumb luck than anything else.
KG: You've got to be patient.
AG: That's right. But some of the stocks that I own today, that I don't have any [cost?]
in them at all. I've got one [unintelligible] that will be 20 must have 3,000 shares of it.
And split 3 for 1 the other day it's worth about 50 dollars a share, so one share will be
worth 150 dollars, and I got 3,000 worth 50 dollars a share, so what's that? That's
100,000, 150,000 dollars worth of stock that don't cost nothing. But I've owned it since
1970 at least, so that's 40 years ago, that's what you got to do.
KG: All right.
AG: Invest your money in the stock market.
KG: Well I've got it, I'm glad we could get you off the chair today and get you out here,
and I love you.
AG: One more thing I've got to tell you, the Post-Courier, the Georgetown Times, the
local newspaper, in 1995 ran a series of the, well the prominent, I guess the prominent
people in Georgetown, South Carolina ran a profile for each one.
AG: They did about 15 of them, and I was number 1.
KG: Oh, really?
AG: That's right.
KG: All right, that says it all.
AG: I [had the honor of being there?], cause when they showed up to meet...they wanted
to interview me, I said, "What are you going to interview me about?" So they tried to
explain it to me and I figure, oh, well, okay. I don't know [about?] [unintelligible] [to me
to begin with?] There was 3, 4 [unintelligible] I got to tell you had a picture of me, had
two of my Afro-American customers showed them a [unintelligible] and they had that
picture published in there. I had something to do and I had to go to one of the Afro-
American lawyers, and he got to talking to me and he says, "You know, Mr. Alwyn"
they called me, he says, "those two"...he told me, "I appreciate you putting picture in the
Georgetown Times, I said, "Picture?" He says, "Those two black fellows that you see in
[unintelligible] one is my father and one is my uncle. Now I know who they are. Their
name is [Moran?]
KG: Alright, well mazel tov on that.
AG: Okay, we done pretty good.
KG: All righty.
[End Recording] |