Chapter 15. Barber and Postmaster

There was a barbershop in town owned by Isadore Smith, where I got my first haircut. In 1934 he became the postmaster - the first Jewish postmaster. He remained postmaster until 1955, when he was succeeded by Louis Katz, who owned the fish store. Only politicians were made postmaster. Mountaindale was strongly Democratic. The party sought to make sure that everybody was registered as a Democrat. They would send a taxi to every farmhouse where there was a Democrat living to make sure the person would vote. If you voted they would give you Hebrew National sandwiches for lunch and drive you both to the voting place and back home again.

My grandfather was a citizen and therefore he could vote. But like many other immigrants he could neither read nor write English. He would always vote a straight Democratic ticket. About 1940 his Republican neighbor and friend Charley Cauthers became Superintendent of Highways and ordered his men to clear my grandfather's driveway and backyard. From that year onward, my grandfather started to split his vote. He would ask me which numbered slot (second, third, etc.) was the vote for his friend, and for that one he would select Republican. That's all I have to say about that.

I never remember seeing any number on a building in Mountaindale. When I saw the 1930 census there were no addresses either. There was no need for numbers and addresses, as everyone had their own mail. To pick up mail there was rural free delivery in the United States, which had started in 1893. Mountaindale was not included in the free service. We did not know that everybody else was getting free delivery while we had to pay for our mailbox and go to the post office to pick it up. If anybody wanted to know somebody's place of business or where they lived, they would go to the postmaster and ask him.