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Interview with
Edythe Kaufman

Remembering The 20th Century: An Oral History of Monmouth County

Edythe Kaufman

Date of Interview:  December 16, 1999
Name of Interviewer:  Flora Higgins
Premises of Interview:  Ms. Kaufman's home, Aberdeen, NJ
Birth date of subject:  April 26, 1924  

Ms. Higgins:  Could tell me a little bit about your family?  How did you come to be a New Jersey person?  Where did your parents came from? And your husband's people?

Ms. Kaufman: Well, both my parents were born right in New York City.  My grandmother came over from Austria in the 1870s, my mother and dad were born here. We lived in New York City for quite a while, partially Manhattan and partially the Bronx.  Then, we visited a friend out here who is originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts and who had moved down to the Levitt development in Strathmore.  We were very impressed by what was offered at the time, and we subsequently moved down there; we were very happy there. And so that's the way we started our New Jersey venture. It was about thirty odd years ago.

Ms. Higgins: Were you active in politics in Matawan-Aberdeen?

Ms. Kaufman: I wasn't, but my husband was. Moving to a small town from New York City, he got very interested in local things: how the population exploded, and so on. He was very interested in doing things on a volunteer basis, most of the time.

Ms. Higgins: What was his profession?
Edward Kaufman

Ms. Kaufman: He was a lawyer, and eventually he opened a law office in the Township, and luckily so, because he was the Mayor some years later.  He was able to get to an awful lot of things that were happening in town, because it was a part time position, it wasn't a full time position. My husband and I and our two daughters had moved to Strathmore.  Strathmore is a section of Matawan Township in Northern Monmouth County and in August of 1963 we decided to come down from New York City. Mr. Kaufman was a Manhattan native and a graduate of St. Johns University and Law School. He had been admitted to both the New York and the New Jersey Bar. I was a graduate of Hunter College with a Bachelors Degree in Music and a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. The Matawan Aberdeen School District, where I taught kindergarten for twenty-two years, employed me. At the time of our move to Strathmore, the population of Matawan Township was about 5,000 residents and with a building of 2,000 new homes, one of which we occupied, there was a large increase in population. Lots of stores were being built, new business were coming in, and lots of gas stations also. Mr. Kaufman became interested in volunteering on the Zoning Board of Adjustment at that time. He became a member in 1964 and in 1966 was appointed chairman. Mr. Kaufman believed that the Zoning Board of Adjustment was one of the most important agencies in Matawan Township, because he felt that the zoning ordinance should be interpreted strictly, and variances issued only for good and valid reasons. He believed that this would help to preserve the desirable residential quality of the community. Mr. Kaufman eventually became a Member of the Township Council, later, and after several years of serving on the council was elected Mayor of Matawan Township. He served from 1976 to 1979 in this capacity. During the time Mr. Kaufman served as Mayor, which was a part time position, he devoted a great deal of his time to Township problems and solutions. There were many telephone calls to our house sometimes about snowy streets not being cleared fast enough, sometimes property damage to a neighbor's house, basically all the myriad problems one would encounter in a Township.  Mr. Kaufman had rented an office on Route 34 for his own business, so he was in the Township most of the time. Any fire emergency calls answered by our excellent fire department always saw Mayor Kaufman there as well. He was present at any Township emergency he could get to, so much so, that the workers in the various Township departments awarded him an honorary hard hat for his great interest and concern; however, there was something very strange about this area we lived in. There were two Matawans: Matawan Borough and Matawan Township, with two separate governing councils, two separate identities, but only one name of Matawan appeared on the map of New Jersey. Matawan Borough, the smaller community, was 2.5 square miles with approximately 8,000 residents, and the larger Matawan Township was 5.4 square miles and over 19,000 in population, but it was not even listed on the map.  Matawan Township is composed of several small sections namely Cliffwood, Cliffwood Beach, Strathmore, Freneau, all Matawan Township, yet no designation on the map or even in the Almanac as such. As a result of there being two Matawans, federal and state funds that were designated for Matawan Township had often been mistakenly sent to Matawan Borough. Mayor Kaufman started to check into this and discovered that a public works road project allocated to Matawan Borough was really slated for Matawan Township. When Mayor Kaufman called the Washington Bureau that handled this, the officials were very, very confused about the situation. They did not, at that time, have a clear distinction as to what was Matawan Borough and what was Matawan Township, since only one name of Matawan appeared on the map.  As a result, it was discovered that public works money in the amount of $329,000  would have been sent to the Borough, had there been no intervention by Mayor Kaufman.  Besides this mistake, it was discovered that many census errors had occurred.  Unemployment statistics were inaccurate and it had become impossible to use income tax data for social services allocations to people who really needed help. There were the instances in which telephone calls for fire, police, and the first aid squad had been rerouted to the incorrect town. The Department of Labor Statistics in Washington identified seventy-three Matawan Township businesses as being in Matawan Borough. Also many Township's gross receipt tax credits were incorrect. These difficulties were all examined by the Township's manager and my husband over a period of time. Eventually, due to the many problems, many residents of our community thought it was time to do away with the confusion of two places named Matawan and that a name change might be in order. To investigate this possibility, a committee of twenty members was formed, headed by Lieutenant John B. McGinty of the Matawan Township Police Force. This committee spent two years researching and investigating the possibility of a name change. Many public meetings were held for discussion. No high-pressure tactics were involved. People were supplied with the information they needed about the reasons for a name change and made up their own minds. The committee also began searching for a new, appropriate name for the Township, and eventually it was decided to honor the first settlers who came to the area in 1685. At that time, a group of 165 Scottish Presbyterians accompanied by their minister set sail from Aberdeen, Scotland to seek religious freedom in the new world; somewhat akin to the pilgrims who made the journey sixty years before. Many of these Scottish people had been put in prisons for their religious beliefs. They boarded a small ship called the Henry and Francis and endured a terrible, stormy crossing of the Atlantic. Many passengers were in ill health, and on this crossing a violent fever swept the small ship and took sixty lives. Fortunately, however, the rest of the group survived, came to a new area in what was to be Monmouth County, named it New Aberdeen, and settled here. So in honor of the early settlers, it was decided to change the name of Matawan Township to Aberdeen Township. Petitions were circulated to collect the necessary number of signatures for a vote on the name change. That done, a referendum was held on November 8, 1977, and a majority of the people of Matawan Township voted affirmatively to change the name to Aberdeen Township and thus avoid confusion with Matawan Borough. After the successful vote, there was a growing desire to unite all the small sections of Aberdeen under one zip code. At that time, Aberdeen was served by three post offices and two zip codes. In gaining their own zip code, people of Aberdeen felt that this guaranteed the use of the name Aberdeen Township in the mailing address, and help establish its identity. Despite the fact that the name change had been voted in, the post office decided to ignore that fact and instructed all residents to continue using the name Matawan Township in addressing their mail, and to ignore the name Aberdeen. In a similar fashion, New Jersey Bell customers were surveyed asking whether they would like their directory address listed as Aberdeen, but several Aberdeen residents stated that telephone representatives said that the Aberdeen listing would be unrecognizable and suggested they keep the one they had.  However, there was definitely a need for a zip code change. One incident I can remember concerned a family living at Balmoral Court in the former Matawan Township with the exact same zip code as a Balmoral Court residence in Old Bridge, the community right next door to Matawan. Because of these same zip codes, mail between these two homes often got mixed up.  Other areas in Old Bridge as well carried the same zip code as Matawan did. More important, a resident of the Cliffwood section (really Aberdeen) told the Congressional Representative of our District that her ten year old son almost died following an accident due to the confusion over where to send an ambulance.  "I almost lost my son because of these various post office addresses," she said. "It is time Aberdeen had its own zip code." Cliffwood, a section of Aberdeen Township, had a zip code of 07721. Cliffwood Beach, another section, was 07735, as well as a part of Keyport, a neighboring town, which  also had 07735 as a zip code.  All this confusion prompted Mayor Kaufman, Lieutenant McGinty, and others of his committee to write to the Assistant Postmaster General for Government Operations and then to the Postmaster General himself, that consideration be given to arrange for a new zip code for all of Aberdeen Township. Receiving no replies whatsoever, they decided eventually that a trip to the United States Postal Service Bureau in Washington should be made. At their own expense, a group of residents, Mayor Kaufman, and his family, and some Township officials rented a bus for the trip. Local papers as well as WNBC-TV recorded the group's early morning departure. At this time The Daily Register, a Red Bank newspaper, wrote an editorial dated July 12, 1978 concerning the problem.  It stated: 

"Voters of what was formally Matawan Township last fall authorized a name change to Aberdeen Township, in the hope that their municipality would have a clear identity. Part of the reasoning that went with the decision was that Matawan Township was being confused with the Borough of Matawan by governmental agencies, and just about everyone who did not have close ties with the Township. A prime concern to Township officials was the assumption that the Township could lose out on government grants or government services because bureaucrats could not or would not make a distinction between the Township and the Borough.  In addition, the name change was intended to end the divisions within the Township that had some people thinking that sections such as Cliffwood Beach and the Strathmore development were actually individual municipalities. Aberdeen's Mayor, Edward E. Kaufman, is one of the Township residents who wanted to bring the entire Township together and make it easily recognizable. He believes that that goal cannot be achieved as long as mail for Township residents is delivered in three different post offices each with its own zip code. And the United States Postal Service has been requested to give Aberdeen its own zip code, but urgent pleas have fallen on deaf ears at the post office that served the Township and The Post Office in Washington. Aberdeen should not be faulted and neither should its Mayor for striving to firmly establish the Township's identity. It's our opinion that a separate zip code for the Township is not only desirable but is necessary if the postal service is to effectively discharge its duties. The postal service has developed an arrogance which makes dealing with it most difficult. We hope Aberdeen wins its battle because it also would be a victory for the public at large. Mayor Kaufman deserves praise for his efforts thus far, and we trust he will continue with his campaign until Aberdeen's intelligent and understandable plea is heeded." 

Despite everything that was tried to obtain a zip code for Aberdeen Township, the results were unsuccessful. Mayor Kaufman decided that when he did not receive any satisfaction from the US Postal Service in Washington, he would write to President Jimmy Carter asking him to intervene with the postal authorities. Mr. Kaufman wrote, "This letterhead contains our address as we would like it, but the postal service has informed us that it would not deliver mail so addressed." Mayor Kaufman had described how Aberdeen had been losing federal and state funds that were misdirected when the authorities of various bureaus were unable to determine what municipality was rightfully entitled to them. Mayor Kaufman said, "We have run up against the proverbial stone wall in our dealing with the postal authorities, and I look to you as our last resort in our efforts to acquire the identity we desperately seek." He went on to explain the reasons and desires to have one zip code unifying all sections of Aberdeen. Mayor Kaufman never received a reply from the President. Eventually, a letter was sent to Mayor Kaufman from a John Lintner, a spokesman for the Postmaster General stating that if the Township's officials were able to produce evidence that an overwhelming majority of the effected customers approved a change they might look into it.  Mr. Lintner completely ignored the fact that the name change had been voted for. It was not up to him to decide whether residents did really vote this in, they had. It was a legitimate change voted on November 8, 1977 for the new name of Aberdeen Township. His idea to poll residents of the town was irrelevant. Mayor Kaufman sent a copy of Mr. Lintner's letter to President Carter stating, "If the postal service had their way and if their philosophy was adopted in other areas of government, you, Mr. President may not have been permitted to take office in January following your election.  Instead, the Democratic Party would have been forced to conduct a house to house survey to ascertain whether or not an overwhelming majority of our citizens really supported your election. This of course would make a mockery of one of our basic principles that the voice of the people is heard via the electoral process."  Aberdeen Township wasn't successful in getting a zip code for our Township, but we still know that Aberdeen is a strong reality in Monmouth County. It has its own exit on the Garden State Parkway. It has been growing steadily so much so that its offices and agencies have outgrown the tiny building and rental trailer they were originally housed in. Soon after the name change, Aberdeen got a beautiful red brick Town Hall large enough to house all the departments, conduct town meetings in a beautiful council room, and also to accommodate our top notch Aberdeen Police Department. Aberdeen is a thriving community filled with wonderful residents. I'm proud to have lived there with my family for thirty years. I'm especially proud of my husband, Edward Kaufman, who loved the town, was anxious to see it thrive, and did his best for Aberdeen Township. 

Ms. Higgins: Well, thank you very much. I remember well when that struggle was going on.  Don't Aberdeen and Matawan have the same zip code now?

Ms. Kaufman:  They do. We were not successful. You know what they could've done?  Cliffwood has its own zip code. They could've taken that and made that our zip code.  It's not as if they have to pull numbers out of the air.

Ms. Higgins:  In fact, isn't it now a hyphenated community: Matawan - Aberdeen?

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, that's because of the fact that we're a regional school district, so the names of both towns are represented.     

Ms. Higgins:  Was your husband the mayor of Matawan Township? 

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes, not Matawan Borough. 

Ms. Higgins:  How did the Board of Election organize voting districts?

Ms. Kaufman:  Completely separate. There were two absolute entities.  They had their one to ten districts and we had ours. Everything was different; their government was different, they had their own council, their own departments, their own town meeting hall which was right in the heart of the borough of Matawan.    

Ms. Higgins:  Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Matawan -Aberdeen Joint Free Public Library is the only one with joint political structure in the state.

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes, and they're not members of the Monmouth County system as far as I know. 

Ms. Higgins:  Was the Victorian atmosphere in Matawan still there?

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes, but our development was new.  The residents resented us for a awhile.  I can't blame them--- 200 new houses?  Where are all these new people coming from?  Most, I think, came from New York, but many came from other areas in New Jersey as well.  

Ms. Higgins:  Was it a Levitt's construction? 

Ms. Kaufman: Yes, and guess what?  They are still standing; they are still going strong, and they were well built.

Ms. Higgins:   I have many friends there, and I've been to many parties there, and we always admired the Strathmore development.  

Ms. Kaufman: At the time, they were giving you a lot more than other communities for a decent price: wall ovens, central air conditioning, some landscaping, etc. 

Ms. Higgins:  What jobs did people of the borough have?  Were they farmers, tradesman, or something else?

Ms. Kaufman:  They were tradesman basically. It's a small community.  That's where the town stores were, so we always went into Matawan Borough to shop.  You know, the supermarket, drugstores, all that was in there. The township didn't have anything like that.  But of course, as the community got larger and we had more area, some of the malls were built.

Ms. Higgins:  Where did you shop for groceries?

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, there was a Shoprite on Route 36.  There was A&P in Cliffwood.  I shopped mostly in Matawan Borough.  They had a Foodtown there.  It closed eventually and became a liquor store.  Of course later on, a Grand Union came into Aberdeen, but that was much later in our area.  

Ms. Higgins:  Did you come here after the big school explosion, or were you a part of it? When did you come to Matawan -Aberdeen?

Ms. Kaufman: 1963.

Ms. Higgins:  Did they have split sessions kindergarten?  

Ms. Kaufman:  No, they always had two regular sessions of kindergarten, but my daughters were subject to split sessions in the elementary grades.  They would either have to come in very early or come home late by bus.

Ms. Higgins:  The school explosion seemed to take everybody by surprise. When you were teaching kindergarten, had the New Jersey Department of Education decided between a more preparatory style of kindergarten and a kindergarten that came down more emphatically on learning phonetics and basics and reading? What's your approach to that?

Ms. Kaufman:  It's very interesting that you said that because I went through that whole cycle. When we came down it was a nice, comprehensive curriculum--some science, social studies, music, some elementary math -- different things and playtime.  And there was an emphasis of course of alphabet learning.  But there was no pressure put on to read. Some of the children came in being able to read, and so we did have grouping in kindergarten.  And there were lots of other things: we had a record center; children could use with a whole battery of special records - stories and music.  And then we had our slated schedules for doing certain areas of curriculum.  And then all of a sudden came the feeling that children should be reading in kindergarten.  That was okay for the advanced children.  Yes, there were always some children who could read, but some of them just knew their sounds or only the alphabet, but weren't ready to read as yet.  We did teach phonics and there was more pressure on that.  Unfortunately, the other things that I thought were very important like science, fell away as had other parts of the curriculum in some respects.  We did not have too much time as our sessions were only two and a half hours.  I had developed a Marine Curriculum for kindergarten which we had a lot of fun with, but the emphasis was on phonics and reading.            

Ms. Higgins:  How many children approximately were there in a class?

Ms. Kaufman:  About twenty-five.

Ms. Higgins:  Did you have an assistant?

Ms. Kaufman:  No.

Ms. Higgins:  You handled twenty-five five year olds?

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes.

Ms. Higgins:  That's a lot of organization.

Ms. Kaufman:  We even had two classes in one room when I first started. We had fourteen kindergartens, which went down to four eventually.

Ms. Higgins:  Have you seen a diminuation of music as a curriculum necessity in our community?

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, I'm glad to say that Matawan - Aberdeen had a couple on the School Board who thought that the Arts were important.  Some districts did away with the Arts.  

Ms. Higgins:  Do you remember the names of the Board members?

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, Marilyn Brenner was one of them. I remember that she was very strong.  I don't remember the others; I knew her best.  They did keep it going.  First, they thought they might take music out of the Junior High, but they didn't. The High School had a very good band for years, and a lot of good vocal music concerts.  I remember singing the Hallelujah Chorus every Christmas.  Also, I'm very proud of the fact that my daughter, a graduate of Rutgers University, has taught music at the Lloyd Road School for quite a few years now.      

Ms. Higgins:  What were some hot spots in town you could go when you wanted to go out to dinner or have a good time in the evening?

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, a good restaurant that's still there is Jerry Byers.  They have very good food, French cuisine type. About going out -- my husband and I had a thirty-year subscription to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. That's what we liked.

Ms. Higgins:  We've been going for years. It's been a joy to see that develop the way it has.

Ms. Kaufman:  It has some very good conductors. My husband and I were also opera lovers.  So we always went to New York, first at the New York City Opera, and then we went to the Metropolitan Opera some years later, but that was his love.  It's funny, because he really didn't know anything technical about music, and in fact, when we'd sit at a concert, he'd read something in the program notes, and he'd say,  "Tell me what is--," then shortly after, "Oh, never mind, don't bother."  He just enjoyed listening.  He really loved the opera.

Ms. Higgins:  Your undergraduate degree is music.

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes, and I used to sing classically. 

Ms. Higgins:  Did you?

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes.  I sang leading soprano roles at the Amato Opera Company in New York.  I've sung at the Chautauqua Art Colony in New York.  I don't know if you know about this.  It's a wonderful place.  

Ms. Higgins:  Yes, I do. 

Ms. Kaufman:  I was in the opera company up there for two summers.  It was wonderful and I'm still going up there as a visitor.

Ms. Higgins:  Do you sing now? There are so many groups.

Ms. Kaufman: I sang with the Monmouth Civic Chorus for several years.  I used to do church work and temple work as a soloist.  I was a soloist at the Christian Science Church in Keyport for a time.  I enjoyed singing at religious services very much.  But my main love was teaching.  I loved teaching kindergarten tremendously.  I know teachers would say, "How can you teach that grade level?  You need such patience.  You have to repeat yourself so many times."  I didn't mind, -- I loved it.  I loved that age group.  

Ms. Higgins:   So fresh and eager.  

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes, it was wonderful.  I loved the progress about it.  Every grade has progress, but this was so particularly noticeable in kindergarten because the mothers would bring their children in and hate to part from them, and a lot of them would cry.  Early on in the term, usually September, I would have the children draw a picture of their family.  A lot of pictures would be drawn showing circles and stick figures and a small amount of detail.  Then in June I'd have them do the same.  They wouldn't have their same first drawing.  Then I would send both of these pictures home, and the progress was always amazing.  The second drawings had dimension.  They had clothing, face details, hair, lots of color, etc., and I just loved that so much.  It showed growth and progress.  Mothers and dads loved it too.     

Ms. Higgins:  Do you remember what you were doing when you heard that John Kennedy had been shot?

Ms. Kaufman:  I was shopping in a store over in Keyport, in a type of store like Bradlees.  I remember walking around buying merchandise and all of a sudden this loud speaker announcement came on.  Oh, that was so terrible.  I thought that he was a wonderful president.  

Ms. Higgins:  As you look at the school systems, we now have this outbreak of violence in the schools, do you have any comments that you would like to share for posterity about these changes in the culture?  

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, I remember when I first started teaching, everyone was interested mainly in developing self-esteem.  Self-esteem was very, very important; it is important, but to me, a sense of responsibility is most important.  When I taught children, they had to be responsible -- if you've messed this up, even in a simple way, or walked away from something you didn't finish or clean up, you go back and fix it.  It's your responsibility.  Now children could develop a kind of responsibility they could understand and work with.  If someone hit somebody, whatever it was, we talked it out.  I was very big on a sense of responsibility at an early age.  I guess I was taught that way myself.      

Ms. Higgins:  Keeping track of twenty-five of them is wonderful. 

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, a lot of them were very nice, and they always had something interesting to do.  We had many, many activity centers.  We also tried to keep current with some current events.  During the space shuttle era, we got ourselves a large box that a washing machine had been packed in.  I dragged that into school; we painted it red, white, and blue, with USA on it.  That was our space shuttle and the children took turns being astronauts.  They loved it.  From time to time we had lots of conferences with parents so that they always know how their child was doing at school.  Occasionally, even now, I meet parents of my former students, and they are very complimentary about my teaching.  It's so nice to hear that.  

Ms. Higgins:  What were some of the books that the children liked?

Ms. Kaufman:  Goodnight Moon and Corduroy were favorites.

Ms. Higgins:  Were you reading Dr. Seuss' books to the children then?

Ms. Kaufman:  Oh yes. Oh, how could I forget him! 

Ms. Higgins:  Can you tell us something about your family's cultural traditions?  

Ms. Kaufman: Well, we celebrated Jewish holidays like Passover and Hanukah with  various Jewish families, but we also have Christian relatives who we celebrated Christmas with -- Easter too.  We share with all parts of our family.  

Ms. Higgins:  Would you like to make any comments about your husband's interest and involvement with the governing body, dealing with politics in Monmouth County?  Did he want to do any other kind of political service?

Ms. Kaufman:  No, there was a Senator, Richard Van Wagner, a lovely man, and he started out small.  Then he wanted to keep going; he did.  He became one of our senators.  My husband didn't want to go any further.  He was happy.  He always said he was excited because this was a small town.  We came from a big city -- that's all we knew.  It was so nice therefore, to be able to do something and to meet the people in the diner or at meetings.  Mr. Kaufman was happy.  To be Mayor of Aberdeen was an honor for him, and he had no desire to run for any other office at all.           

Ms. Higgins:  Tell us about any fads or trends in Monmouth County that you remember. You've mentioned your love of music.  Did your husband have any hobbies?  

Ms. Kaufman:  Not specifically.  He always said, "You know, you need people to create, and you need people to appreciate creativity, and that's who I am."  My husband was a typical intellectual person.  After he retired, there would be at least five newspapers in the house daily.  He was an avid reader and was at the library a great deal.  He told me that when he was a kid and his mother would say, "Lights out!" at bedtime, he would have a flashlight in bed with him, and read until all hours of the morning.  He was a very easy man to live with, a lovely person, and we did take some nice trips together because he was interested in historical things like I was. 

Ms. Higgins:  Where did you go?

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, we went to England a few times.  Years ago, when I was a kid, I always used to visit an aunt who owned a very old set of the Book of Knowledge.  In one of those books were pictures of England -- particularly one -- a copy of a painting of two little princes who were murdered around the time of Richard III.  Their bodies were buried under the steps of the Tower of London; that painting haunted me.  It  was so beautiful and sad.  Eventually, when I went to England, I visited the Tower and asked one of the uniformed Beefeater guides about them.  I found out what that historical moment was all about.  Then later, we visited Italy, which was beautiful.    

Ms. Higgins:  North or south?

Ms. Kaufman:  We went basically north the first time.  We went to Rome, Florence, and Venice.  The second time we drove down from Milan to Sorrento.  That's about as far south as I got.  We just loved Italy.  It's so full of treasures -- it's amazing. We saw operas outdoors in Rome, in the ancient Baths of Carcalla.  We also visited Paris.  We saw Opera in Paris too, and enjoyed it.  We also traveled through France.  My husband never liked tours.  He would always rent a car and drive it himself.  It was a wonderful way to see the countryside.  After he retired we took a trip to Scotland.   

Ms. Higgins:  Aberdeen?

Ms. Kaufman:  We didn't get to Aberdeen. It is all the way over on the East Coast.  We went to Robert Burns country. We were in Edinburgh, and luckily we just came the day of  the tattoo and saw a wonderful parade.  We also visited the Isle of Skye and the Isle of Mull and Iona in the Hebrides.  

Ms. Higgins: Have you ever been to Nova Scotia?

Ms. Kaufman:  Yes, three times.  It's a beautiful province.  The landscape is so magnificent.  There was an entertainer up there called Jonallan.  John Allen was his name, but everyone called him Jonallen.  We saw him several times, and he always sang the loveliest Scottish folk songs.  My husband and I also went to an Elderhostel in Nova Scotia where there was Scottish dancing and storytelling and it was at the Gaelic College of St. Anne's in Baddeck, Cape Breton Island.  

Ms. Higgins:   What feelings do you have as we enter the Millennium?  Are there any comments or advice? What would you like to leave with the future generations? 

Ms. Kaufman:  Well, I can't solve the problems, and there's a lot of them.  But just care for one another, I think is about it.  Just know that the person you are with is a human being and is entitled to your respect, and if somebody's in trouble, well, you help them as best you can.  Give them as much help as they need.  Children nowadays are having such troubles in school, it's frightening.  Sometimes you expect serious difficulties with adults, but not necessarily kids.

Ms. Higgins:  What do you think of your Monmouth County Library? 

Ms. Kaufman:  I love it, it is amazing.  Any knowledge needed or wanted can be gained in that library.  At one point I wanted to volunteer at a major hospital.  Information I gained led me to Robert Wood Johnson where I have been volunteering for several years in the pediatric cancer center.  Four years ago I was appointed by the Dean of Medical School, Dr. Harold Paz, to be a community representative on the Institutional Review Board of Robert Wood Johnson.  A team of doctors and myself representing the average person read many research papers to decide what would be approved for testing.  These are all different types of tests that people might volunteer for.  We have to approve them first under strict conditions.  If I come across something I believe a person would not understand readily, i.e. medical terms, difficult language etc.,  I would ask for clarification and a possible rewrite.  On a monthly basis, I receive large packages containing these reports.  Very often I take them to the library to read.  There I can spread them out on one of the large tables and fully concentrate on the material.  Then I'm ready for the monthly meeting of the IRB Board at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.  Besides being a haven for study and learning, the wonderful Monmouth County Library has a full variety of books on any subject you may wish to know about.  I have found the staff extremely helpful, and always pleasant.  In addition, the lecture presentations, movies, plays, poetry readings, and concerts are very high caliber.  

Ms. Higgins:  Well thank you, thank you very much, Ms. Kaufman.

Ms. Kaufman:  Thank you, Mrs. Higgins.


  Flora T. Higgins, Project Coordinator
  Monmouth County Library System 2001
  Last Revision  Thursday, April 26, 2001