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Interview with
Harold D. Lindemann

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

Harold Lindemann

Date of Interview: January 28, 2000
Name of Interviewer: Flora Higgins
Premises of Interview: Mr. Lindemann's home, Eatontown, NJ
Birthdate of subject: August 30, 1908
Deceased: December 13, 2000

Mr. Lindemann: It's great to be alive.

Ms. Higgins: Yes, it is.

Mr. Lindemann: That is my favorite slogan.

Ms. Higgins: And on such a beautiful snowy day.

Mr. Lindemann: I was born and raised in Wisconsin. There is a lot of snow there, and I love snow. (Laughs...)

Ms. Higgins: Again, good afternoon Mr. Lindemann. How are you?

Mr. Lindemann: Fine. You?

Ms. Higgins: I'm fine.

Mr. Lindemann: That's good.

Ms. Higgins: How did you come to live here in Monmouth County, and when?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I was living in North Jersey, and I was single when I first came down here, which was in 1934, and I rented a room and board in a home in Long Branch for $10.00 a week. (Laughs) I'd like to get that today!

Ms. Higgins: (Laughs) Yes, really, you can't get breakfast for that now.

Mr. Lindemann: I was working for Swift and Company, meat packing in Long Branch, and I worked for that company for thirteen years. Then, I got married. My wife and I wanted to be in the Shore area, so we moved here. I was in the real estate business for forty-six years, thirty-seven years as a broker. I've seen quite a few changes. I came down first in 1934, and one of the changes was my playing golf. I got interested in golf.  I was a broker for the first golf course in Monmouth County, Howell Park. I made my second hole-in-one there.

Ms. Higgins: Oh, did you?

Mr. Lindemann: So, now they have seven golf courses, I believe.

Ms. Higgins: Very beautiful ones, too. The county park system is wonderful.

Mr. Lindemann: And the Howell Park was in Golf Digest Magazine. It is listed as one of the fifty best public courses in the nation.

Ms. Higgins: Well, we might as well start out talking about something controversial: the golf course is a county golf course. It has been regarded by some people as an unnecessary luxury that the county sponsors. How do you respond to that criticism?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I sold the land, the 300 acres, to the county. There was a need for it because there hadn't been any golf courses built, and the golf courses were being sold to builders, so there was a real need. But now, I am of the opinion that the courses should be sold.

Ms. Higgins: All of them?

Mr. Lindemann: All of them.

Ms. Higgins: No more county golf courses?

Mr. Lindemann: No, I don't think it is good for any government business to be into private business. There has been quite a bit of controversy about the people who don't play golf who are supporting the golf courses. I don't think they make much money. They don't pay any taxes, they have rangers riding around. I played Old Orchard for years, and there was no ranger riding around. But the public has a point there, that the courses should be sold.

Ms. Higgins: How about Seven Presidents Park? That's a county park.

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, well, that is a little different because that is used by everybody.

Ms. Higgins: Everybody likes the seashore. (Laugh.) That's an interesting distinction.

Mr. Lindemann: Well, yes.

Ms. Higgins:  Did you ever run for public office?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, I ran for Monmouth Regional Board of Education. And I made out well. I was the top go-getter for Eatontown. And then, I was in the real estate business, and my business wasn't progressing too well, and I resigned. I hated to do it ,but family came first. So, I was on the first Monmouth Regional Board of Education.

Ms. Higgins: Was Monmouth Regional the first regional high school in the area?

Mr. Lindemann: No, I believe there were other ones. I can't recall, but I don't think we were the first. But I've belonged to a church for fifty-two years: the Hope Church of Tinton Falls. I was also a member of the Shrewsbury Church for eight years: the one on Sycamore Avenue.

Ms. Higgins: Have you lived here in Eatontown almost all the time you've been in Monmouth County?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes.

Ms. Higgins: Eatontown is a nice town.

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, I love it. I love it.

Ms.Higgins: With satisfactory growth?

Mr. Lindemann: Oh, yes. We have quite a few apartments. I've seen that transition. I think there are over 3,000 apartments in Eatontown. And, in my real estate business, I have seen the transition of the farming industry. There were quite a few dairy farms years ago. Now, I believe there is only one large one left, in Upper Freehold Township.

Ms. Higgins:  Did this area have dairy farms?

Mr. Lindemann: Not necessarily in Eatontown, but throughout the county. I have sold real estate throughout Monmouth County and part of Ocean County, but years ago, in the farming area and Farmingdale area in Marlboro, they sold marl and shipped it all over the United States. 

Ms. Higgins: What is marl?

Mr. Lindemann: It's a green soil, which had terrific properties. That's how Marlboro got its name. And there are pits. I remember one place I had for sale was a big pit made for digging marl.

Ms. Higgins: Is it a sediment kind of thing?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes.

Ms. Higgins: What is it used for?

Mr. Lindemann: To enhance soil.

Ms. Higgins: Okay.

Mr. Lindemann: And then way back in the history of the county, Monmouth County was one of the biggest potato counties in the East. They shipped potatoes all over in big barrels. That's all gone now.

Ms. Higgins: As you went through your life here in Monmouth County, how did you express yourself? If you saw something that needed done or you wanted to make a change, how did you make those opinions known?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I have been a great one for going to the Town meetings, and I have been writing letters to editors. That has been my hobby all my life.

Ms. Higgins: I've seen many.

Mr. Lindemann: The Asbury Park Press honored me for sixty-two years of writing letters to the editors of the press. They called me down to the meeting, and they had about thirty people there who write letters. And the editor asked how many have been writing to the Press for five years, and then ten, twenty, thirty. There was only one hand up when he said sixty, that was mine. (Laughs)

Ms. Higgins: Well, congratulations!

Mr. Lindemann: And, when I came down here, there was in the Sea Bright area, a little town called Galilee. They had teams of horses that would pull the fishing boats out of the ocean, in Galilee. Have you ever heard of that?

Ms. Higgins: Where was this Galilee?

Mr. Lindemann:  It is near Sea Bright.

Ms. Higgins: Why would they need to pull the boats?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, bringing in the crop of fish. You know.

Ms. Higgins: Teams of horses?

Mr. Lindemann: Teams of horses pulling the boats. That had just discontinued shortly before I came down. And then, there was a railroad track running through Sea Bright. I don't know how far down it went along the coast, but that was abandoned. 

Ms. Higgins:  Do you know Les Whitfield?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes.

Ms. Higgins: Well, he told me the track used to run all the way out to the Colts Neck. And they had the ammunition out there as well. Isn't that interesting? The horses pulling the fishing boats.  Well, what major events do you remember taking place down here in Monmouth County?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I think one of the big ones was when Monmouth College ceased the Long Branch High School night classes and bought Shadow Lawn in the 1950s. I don't know the exact year. When I was working as a salesman, I had it for sale for $400,000. The funniest thing, I think it was a Mr. Reedy, I'm not sure: But he came into the office one day and said, "We want to buy a piece of land to build a University." And I took him out in the car and on the way I said, "We have the Shadow Lawn for sale for $400,000." He said, "We've been talking to them." So that cut me out completely. The next week they bought it. I kind of figured they thought we might sell it out from under them.

Ms. Higgins: Well, again, the people I've interviewed have said they were graduates of Monmouth Junior College or Monmouth College, depending on their age, and it has been a very influential part of our county.

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, my son graduated from there.

Ms. Higgins: Do you remember Brookdale?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes. It was a transition.

Ms. Higgins: Brookdale was a big, big farm, wasn't it?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes.

Ms. Higgins: Did you have that one on your list?

Mr. Lindemann: I wasn't involved in that. The mall in Eatontown was a forty acre cornfield. I remember that. And, it was sold for the shopping center, I believe for $140,000.

Ms. Higgins: Do you think that has been a big help in Eatontown?

Mr. Lindemann: Oh yes, yes. I also remember World War II. Fort Monmouth was flooded with soldiers training. And they would go long lines on Wyckoff Road from the Fort out for hikes. And almost daily.

Ms. Higgins: Military hikes?

Mr. Lindemann: Training hikes.

Ms. Higgins: And they had to train on the road?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, they had them hiking on the road. The Army made them hike to strengthen their legs and everything.

Ms. Higgins: What is your opinion of the industrial parks that followed the developments of the mall?

Mr. Lindemann: Oh, they have done well. I have seen that transition.  I saw the Parkway come.

Ms. Higgins: How did that change your life?

Mr. Lindemann: It didn't change mine much, but the people who owned property on the highway figured, "Oh my goodness, all the traffic is going to be gone from the highway," but it worked out just the opposite. Before the Parkway, you could buy some highway frontage for twenty dollars a front foot, which is very cheap.

Mr. Lindemann: With all the people coming down in the area, property prices just skyrocketed. The Parkway actually helped those people who thought they were going to get hurt.

Ms. Higgins: Were your children educated here in Monmouth County?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, my son went to Long Branch High School, and then Monmouth Regional was built. He finished his last year there. He then went to Monmouth College, graduated and went to work at IBM. He has been with them for thirty-one years. He is ready to retire. He has done very well.

Ms. Higgins: Does he live around here?

Mr. Lindemann: No. He is up in Hyde Park, NY. And then my daughter went into nursing. She graduated from Saint Luke's Hospital Training in New York. She has five children. Incidentally, this Christmas, I watched the Christmas Eve at Saint Peter's, although I'm not Catholic. My grandson went in to the Ministry for receiving priesthood, and then he gave it up after a year and became a stockbroker. At thirty-six years of age, he decided to go in for priesthood again, and he went out to Illinois for a year. They transferred him to Belgium.

Ms. Higgins: Is he a priest?

Mr. Lindemann: Not yet, but after Christmas Eve, he and sixteen students had communion with the Pope. My daughter was up last Saturday, and she brought a picture of him receiving a rosary from the Pope. I told Nancy, "You've got to get me a copy of that picture." I believe the ministry is the greatest profession, helping people slide into the great beyond, right? How much more can you have in life, right?

Mr. Higgins: Yes.

Mr. Lindemann: I have been very fortunate in life. I outlived three brothers. They all died in their seventies. I just wrote the Mayo brothers. A friend and I were eating lunch today and I was telling him that I've been typing all my adult life. When you throw a stone in a pond, it creates ripples to both shores, right?

Ms. Higgins: Yes.

Mr. Lindemann: I think that typing is what caused me to live to ninety-two. I wrote Mayo to check it out. I think that typing each day stirred my blood a little bit, right?

Ms. Higgins: And all the muscles went out like your pond.

Mr. Lindemann: I was in the hospital a week or so ago, and I was sitting in the lobby where they have the television for the public. The lady told me that her mother said that her hands and her feet were stirring the blood. I think I've got something there.

Ms. Higgins: Well, you know, women in general, live longer than men. And so much of what we do is knitting and little things like that.

Mr. Lindemann: Washing and all that.

Ms. Higgins: That's a fascinating theory, Mr. Lindemann. You are not only ninety-two, but you are vigorous and healthy. You look healthy, and you get around, and that's the way to be ninety-two.

Mr. Lindemann: Thanks. I have a different theory. I wrote to Mayo Brothers about it too. You know Bill Bradley and his heart trouble?  I'll tell you what I think. He played basketball at top speed for four years in high school, four years in Princeton, and, I think twelve years with the Knicks. Mrs. Joyner, the Olympic sprinter, died at age thirty-six. Walter Payton, the Chicago football player, the greatest, almost died at forty-three. Chamberlain died at sixty-five. And Catfish Hunter, the pitcher, died at sixty-five. And, you know something? When I was in high school, I told my brother I was going to be a professional baseball player. I was a good baseball player. He said, "They all die young." He discouraged me, you know? This isn't for the book, I don't think, but it is for passing on to somebody.

Ms. Higgins: It's a very interesting theory, it really is.

Mr. Lindemann:  I had two grandsons who played football in high school in South Jersey, and they would go and press the iron, you know, on the machine. And all that running in basketball games at top speed all the time is not good for the heart, I don't think. A man once told me that there are only so many beats in a heart. And I have heard it all my life that  ballplayers die young, which is true.

Ms. Higgins: So you played baseball? What was baseball like around here when you were playing? Were you playing here?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, no. I just played baseball out in Wisconsin when I was in high school. But, I have been trying to figure out how I could outlive three brothers who had lived good lives. They didn't drink or anything like that. And I figure this typing with the fingers all the time, almost everyday, may have helped  me.

Ms. Higgins: If that is true, we are going to have the longest living people in the world soon. We are all typing on our computers. I wanted to ask you about restaurants in the area back in the 1940s and 1930s, around the War. What restaurants in this area did you like to go to in the 1930s and 1940s?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, we were raising two children, and we didn't go out to eat too much.

Ms. Higgins:  I guess that's what made it special when people went out.

Mr. Lindemann: Now it's just the opposite. Everybody wants to go out and eat. I don't recall going out too much.

Ms. Higgins: Okay. What about movies? Were there opportunities to see movies and dance and theatre in Monmouth County?

Mr. Lindemann: You won't believe this. I have only been to two movie houses in forty years.

Ms. Higgins: Mr. Lindemann, I'm shocked. (Laughs)

Mr. Lindemann: (Laughs) And I don't read fiction books. I read nothing but nonfiction.

Ms. Higgins: Do you like the theatre, live theatre? Dance, or symphony music?

Mr. Lindemann: No, I don't. My hobbies all through life have been reading and writing.

Ms. Higgins: And, of course, your real estate. You were very astute at that.

Mr. Lindemann: I made out well and I saw the changes of how the apartment buildings came. We have over 3,000 apartments in Eatontown.

Ms. Higgins: Do the owners have children that go to schools? Does Eatontown support the schools?

Mr. Lindemann: Oh yes. They do well. We have good schools.

Ms. Higgins: My niece is thinking of moving over to Broad Street. I want to ask your opinion about some of the things that have been going on here in Monmouth County. A few years ago, there was a heated debate over trash disposal and incineration, yet they never even had a study done.

Mr. Lindemann: I was writing a column for a paper, The Wall Herald, for three and a half years. And Freeholder Narozanick called me one time. He said, "We've got a bus load of people going up to Westchester County to inspect an incinerator. We'd like to have you go along." So, I went there and the incinerators were working, but I couldn't see any stuff coming out of them. So, at lunch time, I asked the superintendent, who was giving a little talk, why I didn't see any smoke coming out of the incinerator. He said that that's all been taken care of. But then our incinerator project got defeated badly and they spent $400,000 on the research. But that happens in life. Between the landfill and the incinerators, we are facing crises all over the country, and unless we cut down on the use of products, we are going to be in terrible shape. Our country is creating twenty-five percent of the pollution of the world, and we only have four percent of the population. We are the culprits causing this global warming problem. I think an incinerator is better than a landfill, because the landfill creates odors in the neighborhood. I know that for the one out here, they bought all kinds of property, a whole stretch of property around it, just because there are odors, and you can't get rid of those odors.

Ms. Higgins: Isn't there leaking also?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, into the water table. 

Ms. Higgins: We saw incinerators in Europe and the operation looked very clean. They were using energy generators to provide electricity for the town. This was energy from the decomposition.

Mr. Lindemann: This must have been going on way before Jesus' time. Micah said, "The land shall become desolate because of the people therein."

Ms. Higgins: Yes, it's a shame when you see that. Well, do you remember any ice boating on the Navesink?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, we've had the mild winters so that has died out, but that was quite a thing, the races.

Ms. Higgins: Were you a boater at all?

Mr. Lindemann: No, I wasn't. I didn't participate in that.

Ms. Higgins: We saw the ice boats on the Navesink River once in the 1950s. Can you think of other major projects that the county was involved in?  Or that you was involved in as an individual?

Mr. Lindemann: I think they've done a great job with the Brookdale and they've done a great job with the golf courses, but I feel that they should be sold now. And the Freeholders have done a lot of wonderful things. That's why they are voted back in all the time. And you know when you look back, I think Joe Irwin was the director for about thirty years. He and Harry Larrison directed for about thirty-five years? This county is one of the greatest Republican counties in the United States. We had the five Freeholders. We have the senators. We have the assembly people, Ms. Derringer and Dr. Smith and all that. We have all the representatives in the assembly. We have the sheriff. It's solid Republicans. This is one of the strongest Republican counties in the United States right now.  

Ms. Higgins: How about Governor Whitman? Are you for her?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, you know, all these people now, like the President last night, are submitting budgets higher than last year. Mrs. Whitman's budget is six percent higher. The inflation is only about three percent. And each year, those budgets are all higher than the previous year, every year. I don't get it.

Ms. Higgins: Could it simply be numbers? You know there are more people, more employees in the county and state government. 

Mr. Lindemann: You've got a point.  Mrs. Whitman's budget is a six and a quarter percent higher, the president's is about six percent higher, and the county is six percent higher.

Ms. Higgins: Well, as they say, that could just be because they are administering more acreage. The county has bought a lot more acres. The employment rolls are up because we need more teachers, more policemen, and so on.

Mr. Lindemann: I have a friend, Lou Herring, who has been in a nursing home in Eatontown. I am ashamed to say it, but I haven't been over to see him. The last I knew he was ninety-eight, but  I don't know what shape he is in right now.  I've had my own problems. I've been in the hospital twice in the last year, but I've been very fortunate in life, very fortunate. I had a little hernia operation, that's all. I used to go down to the beach every day for years when I had my car.

Ms. Higgins: Which beach?

Mr. Lindemann: Seven President's Park, the County Park. I would be down there in the wintertime. I'd be down there walking up and down the beach, and I talked to about 5,000 people in thirteen years. I catered to college students and high school students. I recited a little poem, "Go to college. Get that knowledge. Stay there until you are through. If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can make something out of you." (Laughs) You know, when I went to the hospital a couple of years ago for a hernia operation, I got a card from the beach signed by fifteen young people.

Ms. Higgins: Oh!!!

Mr. Lindemann: I got to them right over here. You can't buy that for three million dollars in the drug store. 

Ms. Higgins: That's really neat. Speaking of the boardwalks and all. There are some people who want the boardwalks to remain made of wood, and there are other people that like it made out of recycled material. There are some boardwalks that have a little of each. What is your opinion on that?

Mr. Lindemann: It's hard to beat wood, I think. But maybe the other material lasts longer, I don't know.

Ms. Higgins: Yes, I think it does.  Where did you go to school out in Wisconsin?

Mr. Lindemann: Juneau, Wisconsin. A little bit of a town.

Ms. Higgins: And did you go to college?

Mr. Lindemann: No, I just took two courses at the University of Wisconsin.

Ms. Higgins: How did you get into Shakespeare?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, reading and writing have been my hobby all my life.  Do you see that set of books on the right on the top shelf, the big set?

Ms. Higgins: Yes.

Mr. Lindemann: That's Carl Sandburg's Life of Lincoln. The war years and prairie years, 3,000 pages. I have read that three times. That's 9,000 pages I read.

Ms. Higgins: That's one I've always wanted to read.

Mr. Lindemann: Lincoln is my favorite president. He was great. He said, "Why should the spirit of mortal be proud.?" That was his favorite saying, but I don't think I can give you any more information. I tried to rack my brain for different things. I saw the transition in Monmouth County, but it is hard to describe it.

Ms. Higgins: Yes, yes. Well, that story about the horses is a fascinating one. Do you remember how any medical practices may have changed in the past fifty or sixty years in Monmouth County?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, the hospitals have grown tremendously. And I keep away from doctors. I figure if I go to a doctor he'll give me something to make me sick. (Laughs)

Ms. Higgins: What would you say has been one of your greatest achievements?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I would think my influence on those people on the beach is one of my greatest achievements. I can go down to the beach and people know me.  I have walked up to people and talked to people.  I walk up to people and say, "Who put all that water there?" (Laughs) Then they laugh. A lady said, "Oh, I think it was left over from Noah's flood." (Laughs) And that's the way it goes. And then one fellow said to me that all his life he has worried about how the clouds are held up in the sky. Now I have been asking that question to people. I can't figure it out. 

Ms. Higgins: I don't know, either.

Mr. Lindemann: And I ask people. How are the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean stuck to a round ball? Well, they say, "That's gravity." "Well," I say, "Go home and put some water on a ball and see if you can keep it on the ball." (Laughs) I ask questions about golf. Do you ever play golf?

Ms. Higgins: No.

Mr. Lindemann: I played for thirty years, twice a week.  I didn't ride a cart. I think that's one of the things that has helped me live to be ninety-two. And I say to people, when golfers putt in the United States, the ball goes down in a hole, right?

Ms. Higgins: Right, that's the game plan.

Mr. Lindemann: Now in Australia, underneath us, does the ball go up in the hole? So I wrote this to the Star-Ledger, and they put a big cartoon in the center of the page. They showed the world and a guy on top putting, and a guy underneath putting up. And then I had a little sentence at the end. And I said, "That's why people have been going to church, and synagogues, and mass for years, and will continue to do so." They put that cartoon right in the center of the paper. I must have had twelve cartoons in the Star Ledger.

Ms. Higgins: Have you ever thought of collecting all your letters and having them edited?

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I wrote a book. I had it copyrighted in Washington. It is in the files in Washington. You might find something in there about the county. I have to be careful, my legs are giving out. I had an inner ear problem, which causes instability. 

Ms. Higgins: The County Percolator is the name of the book.

Mr. Lindemann: It's really corny, a lot of jokes and everything.

Ms. Higgins: It is copyrighted 1990 and has the Library of Congress number. 

Mr. Lindemann: I sent it in to a couple of places to have it published, but I got a return slip. (Laughs) You can copy anything out of there.

Ms. Higgins: Thank you very much. Just a few more questions of a general nature. What concerns you most about the state of the world today?

Mr. Lindemann: I tell you, I watched the President last night. (I'm a Republican from way back.) He said that we're better off than we've ever been. He's not right. We are awash in gambling. All the states are into it. Drugs, alcohol, too. 15,000 people killed on the highways each year because of drugs. I've been trying to get alcohol off the airways. Pornography. It's terrible what's on the airways. People flying into bed with each other all the time, and children seeing that. It's not right. And the violence. People say our nation is going down the drain morally. You've heard that haven't you?

Ms. Higgins: Yes.

Mr. Lindemann: And he says we're better off. Better off economically probably, but morally, we're going down the drain. So, I think you will find a few things in the book you can use.

Ms. Higgins: If people listen to this or read it, maybe fifty, seventy, one hundred years from now, what kind of advice would you want to give to future generations?

Mr. Lindemann: That's a good question. It requires a little thought. I think I personally feel that there is a supreme being. I have gone to church regularly for sixty years every week almost. I was at church last Sunday. I had a lady take me to church. 

Ms. Higgins: You've been an active member of the Friends of the Monmouth County Library. Whenever we need something done, we call on the Friends. 

Mr. Lindemann: I can't attend the meetings anymore if I don't have a car, but they have done good work.

Ms. Higgins: Yes, they have done a lot for the county.

Mr. Lindemann: Do you have grandchildren?

Ms. Higgins: Six, and we have a great granddaughter.

Mr. Lindemann: Well, you will have some information in that book that will help you. I taught my son and my daughter to read before they got into kindergarten. Six months, half an hour a day with the phonics. I think it was a terrible thing when the Federal Government got into education. That was the worst thing they could do. They started in with the new math. Remember the new math? The parents couldn't figure it out. Then they switched to the sight-reading, and now millions can't read. I give somebody something to read, and I could read it in half the time that they take to read it.

Ms. Higgins: Are they back to phonics now?

Mr. Lindemann: They're trying to get back into it. Now they are coming out with a new new math. The Federal Government should have never gotten into education. They've ruined the education system, I think. The first thing they decided was that you have to give the children liberty in the classroom, and let them walk around. That was the worst thing they could have done. I went over to the mall when I had my car everyday. I'd go to the beach in the morning, and I would be in the mall in the afternoon.  I got a college education in the mall just by talking to people. One old man told me that when he went to school, he had to sit still and be quiet, and if he didn't behave, he got a whipping and then he would get one at home, too. The people supported the teachers. Now, the teachers are at fault.

Ms. Higgins: You must have found being on the Board of Education somewhat frustrating at times.

Mr. Lindemann: Well, I wasn't on it long enough. It's unfortunate, I really hated to quit it, but my business was going downhill thinking about the schools all the time, and my family came first, so I resigned.  I blame all our problems in this country on the Federal Government.

Ms. Higgins: And you are a decentralist?

Mr. Lindemann: Yes.

Ms. Higgins: But Abraham Lincoln, your favorite president, held the Union together.

Mr. Lindemann: Yes, he did it. He made a speech just before the war ended and he said, "With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have born the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan, and achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and all nations." You know before that speech, they called him every name in the book: "gorilla," "warmonger," everything. After that, they were sorry when he got killed the next week, because they knew he wouldn't give retribution. Those words in the beginning of that speech, "With malice towards none and charity for all," bound the south and north together again. He was a great one, and you know he only went to school one year.

Ms. Higgins: Really?

Mr. Lindemann: And he educated himself on the Bible. He would lay in front of a wood stove and the red coals provided the light for him to read. 

Ms. Higgins: Do you remember that when Lincoln was killed Reconstruction was quite regarded as being quite harsh in the South? I don't think Lincoln would have been that harsh.

Mr. Lindemann: No, they really gave the South the shaft, terribly. And that wouldn't have happened if Lincoln were in charge.

Ms. Higgins: So Mr. Lindemann, we are about out of our time here. It has been such a pleasure. (Offers to shake hands.)

Mr. Lindemann:  I am not shaking hands with people anymore.  All the churches now have people shake hands during the service. I think that's the worst thing they can do. A man in the mall who's a member of a church in Whiting with 6,000 members told me the priest said, "Don't shake hands with the people." In the New York Times, they had an article that said, "Hand shaking has lost its grip." (Laughs) And they quoted a Boston medical group as saying that a multitude of diseases are spread by hand shaking. We got rid of the kissing of the mouth. We are going to get rid of the hand shaking. It's coming. Donald Trump doesn't shake hands with anybody.

Ms. Higgins: Thank you. This has been a lovely afternoon.

Mr. Lindemann: If you enjoyed it as much as I did, then we are even.

  Flora T. Higgins, Project Coordinator
  Monmouth County Library System 2001
  Last Revision  Friday, May 11, 2001