18
Dec

KP and Duty

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The Washington Post

March 22, 1999

While in 1943 I shared the unhappy Army experience of picking up cigarette butts, pulling KP, scrubbing floors and other “pleasant” GI assignments described by Richard Cohen in his Feb. 18 op-ed column {“Binding Us Tighter”}, I now realize that these chores produced positive results including discipline, the ability to obey orders and respect for Army regulations.

Mr. Cohen’s mention of “abuse from morons with stripes” makes no sense. The “morons with stripes” were corporals, buck sergeants, staff sergeants, first sergeants, tech sergeants and sergeant majors — noncommissioned officers who had to relay orders received from commissioned officers. The Army could not function with only privates, in the same manner that a corporation cannot function without section supervisors, department managers, etc.

When my Army unit arrived in Europe in 1945 and went into action, we realized that in order to survive, we had to follow orders from the “morons with stripes.” Without discipline and law and order, the United States might not have emerged the victor in World War II.

LARRY ROSEN

Rockville

16
Dec

Close to Home

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About five years ago I submitted an article to the Washington Post, “Close to Home” section that was published. The article featured my memories of the busy shopping area of F Street, NW before the rise of the many strip centers and regional shopping centers had been erected.
A recent visit to the Warner Theater on 13th and E Street NW brought back memories of a different downtown Washington.
Back in the ’40’s a dollar would get you into the Earle, now the Warner. Your buck paid for a full-length movie, a vaudeville show, cartoons and a newsreel. The vaudeville show, usually featured singers, comedians, dancers, and occasional magician or acrobats. Without a doubt, the most memorable performer, I saw at the Earle, was the King of Swing, Benny Goodman and his orchestra.
Before he became famous, Red Skelton often played the Earle. Often, he would greet patrons at the theater entrance. One afternoon, as I was handing the usher my ticket, I spotted Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney ahead of me.

The Earle wasn’t alone downtown-other popular nearby movie houses-all segregated-included the Fox theater(later called the Capital),between 13th and 14th Street, on F, and also Loew’s Palace and the Metropolitan on the same block as the Capital.

The headquarters for stage plays was the National, located near 13th and E Street, NW, (Still there). My older brother, Sam, ushered occasionally at the National. One of his most important duties was distributing paper fans and cups of water during the summer months, since there was no air conditioning provided in those days.

Before or after hitting the movies, we would walk up and down F Street, which was crowded with shoppers and visitors. The popular stores of that era were the National Shirt Shop, Eiseman’s Men’s Wear, Hahn’s Shoes, Babbitt’s Cut Rate Vitamins, Hecht Company, and Garfinckel’s–all vanished.

 

For many years, a familiar f street sight was a legless gentleman who had a small monkey solicit donations by extending a cup to passerbys. When the man passed away it was stated that he had been a lawyer at one time.

When it was time for a snack, we’d go to the mayflower donut shop across from the capitol or into the little tavern that featured small but delicious hamburgers, the price being somewhere between 5 cents and a quarter.

Bassin’s at the corner of 14th Street NW And Pennsylvania Avenue, featured a huge selection of full-course dinners and sandwiches. My favorite snack was one of their delicious hot corned beef sandwiches on rye. Snacks were also available at the drug stores that all had soda fountains and sold the average sandwich for about 25 cents, coffee 10 cents, ice cream cones also 10 cents and milk shakes for 25 cents, that retail today for about $5.00

Other popular not to be forgotten entertainment centers were the gayety burlesque house on Ninth Street, which featured comedians and strip tease dancers. Near 14th and New York Avenue there were two popular night clubs-the lotus and casino royal that offered dining, dancing and entertainment at a price affordable to the many dc government employees.

After a long absence from downtown, two movie houses are arriving-the e street cinema, with seven screens, at 11th and E Street, NW, ¬†and the regal gallery place with 15 screens, at 791 Seventh Street, NW. –both a far cry from the single-screen theaters way back.

It is difficult to predict what movie houses will offer 50 years from today, but i hope they will continue to operate down-town, I’m sure popcorn will still be offered for sale.

 

Larry Rosen
Rockville

lazer66@msn.com

When my article was published in the post,i had many comments,–at this time i welcome your comments

I welcome any of your additional memories of f street,nw.–

 

16
Dec

Also Destroyed By Riots

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Also Destroyed Riots

The Washington Post

April 20, 2001

In every riot description, such as the recent one in Cincinnati, little is written about losses sustained by innocent merchants whose businesses are destroyed.

In the ’68 riot in the District when my drug store was burned down, insurance did not cover or pay for loss of livelihood — the value of a business, since there is no insurance for that loss.

Despite a recommendation by the D.C. Council in ’68 to pay reparations for losses not covered by insurance, nothing happened.

The same situation undoubtedly exists after every riot in every city.

LARRY ROSEN

Rockville

16
Dec

Answering a Holocaust ‘Revisionist’

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Answering a Holocaust ‘Revisionist’

The Washington Post

July 19, 2009

I was happy to read in the July 14 Metro article “Write-In Effort Blocks ‘Revisionist’ ” that a last-minute campaign enabled Colin Mills, a write-in candidate, to defeat Holocaust “revisionist” Ken Meyercord. Mr. Meyercord had been running unopposed for a seat on the Reston Citizens Association board.

As a member of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division, certified by the U.S. Army Center for Military History as a liberator of the Dachau concentration camp on April 29, 1945, I witnessed hundreds of dead bodies in boxcars, as well as the gas chambers that Mr. Meyercord claims did not exist.

I don’t see how Mr. Meyercord’s emphasis that he’s a “Holocaust revisionist” differs from being a denier.

A few days ago, my son, who is touring Europe, visited the Dachau concentration camp. He described to me all the structures that are still there, including the gas chambers. If the 23 people who voted for Mr. Meyercord still doubt the existence of concentration camp gas chambers, I recommend they make a similar visit. At the very least, they should do a simple Google search.

LARRY ROSEN

Rockville