Letter, Charles and Anna Mantinband to friends; 1963
THE MANTINBAND MEGILLAH 1963
On November 13th I addressed the annual meeting of the American Jewish Committee in Dallas. Rabbi Levi Olan introduced me. After a complimentary reference to the speaker as a "Rabbi's Rabbi", he went on to say: "My colleague left Mississippi to escape the tensions of that area. He thought he could enjoy peace and serenity in Texas. Let him wait. He'll find out". Prophetic words. Within ten days the shocking news of the President's assassination in Dallas stunned the world. We wept with grief and shame, for we were great admirers of John Kennedy, unlike so many others in this part of the country. Here is a Profile in Courage. Boruch dayan emes.
The year 1963 was quite eventful. Primarily there was the decision to pull up stakes in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after eleven good years, and make Longview, Texas, our new home. A major consideration was the proximity to our children (Carol, Abe and their four in Shreveport, Frank and Toni in Dallas, Bill and Edith and their five in San Antonio). Irony of ironies. Bill promptly moved to St. Louis; he is with the U. S. Air Force as cartographer. And now the Dallas-ites contemplate, departing to points north....And the heartache over Clyde Kennard and Medgar Evers, both good friends, not to mention the recent gubernatorial election and its portents, will remain.
There were the usual trips and talks far from home. Outstanding were two visits to Chicago, the first in January with the National Conference on Religion and Race, and again in November at the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. Ours was a notable experience at the White House with President Kennedy in June, also on the race situation. Some 200 clergymen had been invited from all over the country. We had an intimate session with the President for almost two hours. Other addresses and committee meetings took us to Fort Wayne, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York. There was occasional writing also, some collaboration with Harry Golden, and "The Diary of a Southern Rabbi" which appeared in American Judaism.
Highlight. I escorted our grandsons Guss and Martin, 17 and 16, on a 5000-mile motor trip through Virginia (Williamsburg to Natural Bridge), Washington, New York, Boston, the rolling Berkshires and the White and Green Mountains, and then Canada - Quebec, Montreal, Toronto - returning via Niagara, Gettysburg and Cherokee in the Smokies. We included a Broadway play, a Big League ball game, and all the sights of Great Gotham. En route I officiated at an interdenominational religious service as we sped along the highway at 70 miles per hour. During this period, Anna and Carol deposited the younger children at Camp Belle Aire and trekked around the country together, footloose and fancy free. Thank God, our health for the most part is good, and our zest for life abundant. Texas is a world in itself. There is always the unexpected.
In early May, Anna's only brother passed away in Florida. His was a good and useful life. We hope to visit the Kest family in Florida this winter.
The longer we live, the more we prize our friendships. Mail comes regularly from our family in Israel, Hungary and England. Old army associations bridge the distance to Alaska and Honolulu. We cherish our ties on the home front no less......May the New Year bring abundant happiness to you all. Keep in touch.
Charles and Anna Mantinband
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