Bernie and Barbara Kaufman oral history interview, 2014 October 27. OH-02175. [Audio recording]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada. http://n2t.net/ark:/62930/d1kw5b892
Standardized Rights Statement
Which one of you wants to tell me first the story of moving to Las Vegas? How did you decide this is where you were going? Well, my brother, who I'll tell you a little bit more about later, came out here and opened up a discount store in town, in the north end of town. It was called the Golden West Shopping Center. It was a discount center like the Kmarts and the Wal Marts; that type of thing. Then two years later, in '68, they bought the Wonder World store. There was one on Decatur. In two years, it went to four stores and we got the four corners of the town. They were all hundred thousand square foot. He asked me to come up here and help him in the business. So made the big decision and moved up here. Wow, that's amazing, a hundred thousand square foot stores. That's what the Wal Marts and all those are. Yes, but back then that seems like? Right. Exactly. ?really huge. What was the population at the time when you moved here? About two hundred and fifty thousand. Yes, in Clark County. Very small. In Clark County. I hated it here when we first moved here. But it grows on you. What did you hate about it? That I was alone. I had so many friends in St. Louis and I had nobody here. But I got active in Beth Sholom Sisterhood and started doing plays and started doing stuff with them. Got active in Judy Bayley auxiliary for the Cancer Society and did stuff for that. So I started to make friends, which was much, much easier. But I used to put my kids in the car and we would drive around to see things because we didn't have anything to do during the day. That's how I learned to get around in this town. If you're way out north, just look for the hotels and that will take you right back to the Strip and I knew how to get home. Where did you first live? When we first moved here, we lived on Koval, off of Twain and Koval; that area. Yes, we had an apartment; that wasn't too long. And then we bought a house on? Sahara and Arville; that area. Then we moved to Sam's Point Circle, which is off of Harmon between Pecos and Eastern. Yes, between Trop and Flamingo; in that area, and Eastern. We lived there for twenty seven years and then moved over here. In this town, it takes you at least a year and a half to two years to make friends, or it did at that time. You had to be a member of the temple and Beth Sholom was the only temple at that time. So if you were involved in that. And to do things...at that time the nucleus was very small that ran things. So once you got to make friends. This is a melting pot city because you get them from North Carolina, Texas, New York. There's a lot of different things. If you're born and raised wherever, everybody thinks the same or does the same thing. You can be rich, poor, dumb, smart. It's the same attitude. Well, when you move here you have a mixture. So it takes a little while to make some friends. This is true. I mean it was a small town. But what I disliked was...I'll give you an example. I went to the grocery store, which was attached to Wonder World at the time. I needed a brisket. I went up to the butcher and said, ?Do you have any briskets cut?? He said, ?No.? He said, ?We don't have any fresh ones. We probably won't even have any until a couple of days from now.? Oh, okay, I'll try looking somewhere else. He says, ?But you know what? I can hold one for you.? I said, ?Okay.? He said, ?What's your name?? I said, ?Kaufman.? He said, ?Kaufman from next door?? I said, ?Yeah.? He goes, ?Wait a minute; I'll cut one for you.? And I got so mad. It was like if I was Joe Schmo from the street, I couldn't get a brisket; but because my name is Kaufman, you're going to give me a brisket? That made me so angry. And I encountered that several times. It's like you treat everybody the same way, not just because you have a name that they recognize. I just didn't like that. That's one of the things I disliked about here.