Hannah, 1922, St. Joseph, Missouri.
Mm-hmm. That's right.
Let's go back. How do you remember when you were just a little girl?
Well, I don't remember the city very well, because my parents moved around that area a lot. And that's where I happened to happen to be there on January the 31st. That's where I was bornme and my sister. I am a twin. So we were both born that day.
Now where were you raised?
I was raised in Marysville, Kansas. It's a community of about four or five thousand people. It's a good community. They have very good schools there, and that's where I was raised.
What did your folks do? What did your dad do for a living?
My dad had a quote quote junk shop, but he also sold automobile parts and stuff like that, you know, tires. . .
Now when you were a small child, the Great Depression hit. Do you remember that at all? Do you remember what it put your family through?
I remember that my mother was a miracle lady that could make anything out of anything. But I did know that we were hard up, as was everybody in that area at that time, and I remember that it was quite a lengthy thing, but I remember that in high school, things eased up a little bit, and we were sort of like "in the money."
Where did you go to high school?
Now what was high school like? Did your twin sister go there also?
Yes, of course.
And were you guys identical twins?
What was high-school life like?
High school was the main thing of the city. The city revolved around the school, so to speakit isn't that way today, but I still correspond with a girl that I went to school with. My school was fun. Choir, . . . the singing, and they had drama class; they had, I don't know . . . everything was a lot of fun. It was a great school, and I could remember many of my teachers, who I really, really, really remember, because they were great, outstanding people.
So did some have an effect on your life?
I think so. . . . I think they didI mean, I can't ever remember anyone particular that had an effect, but I think your schooling stays with you a whole lot. I don't know about today.
Do you remember the names of any of those teachers?
Yes, I do. Miss Hill, Miss Krieger, Mr. Rolandhe was the principal, and Mr. Wohlgast was the superintendent over the school system. They were very fine people.
Do you remember your grandparents at all?
I never saw my grandfatherbut my grandmother was kind of like the main lady of the Brahinsky family; she wore dark clothes; she wore, you know, the hair that was not really hers, but a wig.
Do you remember what your grandfather did for a living?
My grandfatheras I said, I never knew him, but what he didI think it was a shochet or something, I think it wasbut my father said he was the greatest man who ever livedof my grandfather. But I never met him, because he didn't come over to America.
Where was he?
He was in Russia.
Yeah. My parents were from Russia.
Now, did your parents ever tell you the story about how they got to this country?
Yeah, they both came over, at different times. My father came over in 1907; my mother came in 1911; and my father stopped in EnglandI guess the boat went to England, and, as I recall, he said that he lent a man some money, and this man repaid him in England.
Now did your parents know each other in Russia?
Yes, they did. In fact, my father claims that he sent after my mother's sister, and my mother came instead. So they married and had five children.
What happened to his sister-in-law?
I don't know. I don't know what happened to her. But she didn't come over. I think her name was Rose or something.
So your folks used to tell you that story.
So why did your mom come instead?
She just felt like she wanted to go. I don't know. I think she had more nerve than her sisters, because my mother came over by herself. My father came over by himself. He was the first member of his family to come over, and he does tell a very interesting story about his trip: that he was in the ladies' room, on the floor and everything on the way over . . .
On the ship, you mean?
Yes. On the ship. But he came over in 1911. Then he sent after his brothers and sisters and his mother. He was the first one of the family to come over.
And why Missouri?
Well, that's a good story. My mother had a cousin in St. Joe. Her name was Chernicoff, and my mother went directly to them. My father heard of the community and went there also. They just barely knew each other in Russia, but they got acquainted in America. But Mrs. Chernicoff was sort of like I remember her as being referred to as sort of a haughty person. She was more wealthy than we were, and she had a daughter who was a piano player, and that was the interesting thing, but she was a very lovely lady.
Now, was your dad in the service in this country?
How did World War II affect you and your family?
I was already a grown girl by then. We used to have servicemen come over every Friday night. My brother was in the war, so my mother compensated by serving the servicemen on Friday night.
Where was your brother stationed?
He was in Fort Hood for a while. . . . My brother was a violinist. I don't want to miss that point. He was a very good violinist. He was in the Dallas Symphony; he was in the Richardson Symphony for 30-something yearshe was the concertmaster. And I don't want to miss that point.
He was also the one in the service during World War II?
Yes, he was.
Did he get stationed overseas at all?
Yes. Yes, he did. He was in Germany. He helped release the prisoners over there on that day that . . .
He was a liberator?
Yeah. He was a liberator.
Do you know what camps he went to?
No, I don't know which ones. But it affected him; it was months before he could get down to normal. . . . He was placed in the special arts section, and he entertained the soldiers, and . . . I remember Ilona Massey: she was an actress, and I remember that he sent home a lot of pictures with her.
Now was your other brother in the service, too?
Also in World War II.
Yes. He was in the Navy.
OK. Where was he stationed at?
I don't know. He was in the Navy. I don't know where he was stationed.
Now, you have two sisters. One is a twin. Now, twins . . . we always hear stories how close they are. Were you just as close with your other sister, or do you and your twin have that special bond?
Well, my sister now my sister that is living at the Legacy, where I live we're very close right now.
And where's your twin?
My twin is in Philadelphia. She's in Elkins Park. Her husband also was a musician. In fact, that's how she met him, because my older brother introduced them. He was in California for a while, stationed: that's where Henry was, also: Fort Ord, California. And Helen met Morris, and three weeks later, they got married, so I guess it was love at first sight.
After high school: on to college, or to work?
I went right to work. And I worked for I don't know a hundred years or so.
Was there a special career?
No . . . for a while, I was a Kelly Girl you know, they go from post to point, and I liked that very much. I liked that, but when I was in Kansas City, which I went up there by myself, I worked for the Corps of Engi
Dallas. When did you come here?
We came here in 1939, right after we got out of high school. My parents felt like we should be among Jewish people, and there were no Jewish people in Marysville, so we came up, came through Kansas City. My mother also had a sister in Kansas City at that time, so we went up there, and my dad couldn't find work there. He looked all over. So we came to Dallas. He had relations with a family here. Rosenfield. He had two sons, Philip and Israel. And so he came here and worked here in Dallas. That's the first job he had here in Dallas.
How has Dallas grown since you got here?
Oh, we went downtown just the other day. I would never, ever, ever know Dallas. It is so humongous. It's huge. It's tremendously large, the downtown area. It's grown. I mean, I couldn't find my way around it. It's huge now.
Now, are you involved with the Jewish community?
Yes, I am involved. I'm a Hadassah member. I'm interested in everything in Dallas.
Is there an invention in your lifetime that you just thought was really tremendous? I mean, you've seen so much.
I think the computer is, for everybody. I mean, you know, today everything is computerized, and I don't myself even own a computer. My sister my twin sister she does everything on the computer. She does this, she does that, she sends emails. She knows everything, but she says she doesn't know anything about it, because it's a daily improvement. It moves from day to day. It's very huge. That is the big . . .
Do you remember getting your first television set?
I remember we had a radio that we listened to in Marysville, but I don't remember the television set.
What was the happiest time in your life?
Today is as good as any day to be happy.
Now in your lifetime you've lived through so many momentous occasions. Of course, when you were a small child, the Great Depression you told us how that affected you. Of course, you lived through World War II, the Kennedy assassination. Something good in '69: the first moon landing, and of course the tragedy of 9/11. Was there something that really affected you, that you took notice of and knew exactly where you were when it happened?
I've never seen so much literature as the 9/11 event. It was tremendous. Even today they're discovering people who talk about what happened to them on that day. It was a very sad event. I remember the Kennedy event very well. I remember I was working at that time in a furniture store, and somebody actually said out loud that they feared for Kennedy because of the attitude of the people. He said, "Somebody is gonna kill Kennedy." And this was some guy that worked there. I mean, the attitude of Dallas was very sad before Kennedy came, and I feared, and really, I wasn't even that surprised, because I'd heard about Kennedy and the way the people felt about him. So I wasn't surprised.
What advice would you like to leave for the next generation?
I guess: Make the most of every day and be aware of what's around you and enjoy what you can. I think that would be the best to say.
You did a great job today. Thanks for doing this.