Hon. Milton L. Schwartz (page 2)
Miller: So let's ask you just one more question and then we can move on. Did you play any role in the movement of the sign?
Judge: In the movement of what?
Miller: In the movement of the sign.
Judge: I'd better refuse to answer.
Miller: I think the statute ran, Judge. So when did you get your first car, that you had access to on a regular basis?
Judge: My first car was given to me at the end of my Freshman year from Berkeley. There was a lawyer here in town named Albert Sheets. Are you familiar with that name? He and my mother went together - in those days you certainly did not live together. She met him at Governor Jimmy Rolfe's Inauguration Ball. That was 1931. And that started a romance that lasted until the early 50's - it was better than 30 years. And he wanted to get married, he wanted to have a different house. He wanted to buy the house next door so that my mother could be close to her family, her children, and her mother, but not live in the same house because he didn't want a bunch of kids in the same house, and my mother said "That won't work." But he was a regular, seriously regular, attendee at our house and had an enormous influence on my life and he was very, very good to me. I came home one night from my summer job at the shoe store in 1938 and, I came home, and he said to me "You're always making fun of my car and so I thought I show you one that looks better than my car." And I looked and said, "You're right. That's a good looking car." And he said, "Why don't you take the keys because it's yours." Wow. 18 years old and he just gave me a brand new car.
Miller: How did you court before you had a car?
Judge: I didn't really - oh, I could always drive my mother's car. My grandmother had a car and a chauffer - she never learned to drive, and we lived at her house and she had a full-time chauffer that lived in.
Miller: Oh, so you courted very well!
Judge: Yeah. And if I really was in trouble, I'd borrow the chauffer's car if he'd let me. And everybody drove or had access to their parent's car and that sort of thing. And my mother I talked into allowing me, on my 12th birthday, to take the car and go around and visit friends of mine because of my birthday. I can't believe that happened, but it did in those days. Things were very relaxed. And we got our driver's license at 14 if you passed the test and that sort of thing. So we were all driving from the time we were 13, 14, 15 years old. [Text omitted.]
But because of [text omitted] all of our military troops around here, the City Council decided to create a new position of Police Commissioner answerable only to the Council, not to the City Manager. Otherwise it was a pure City Manager type of government, and the mayor didn't have anything other than ceremonial duties. I mean he didn't have any more power than any other Councilperson. So the Council decided we've got to do something. We've got bad things happening, and the War is coming, and all that. And they had an employee who was Superintendent of the Sacramento Water and Sewers Department. And he was also the Adjutant General of the National Guard in his spare time. He grew up in the military. And they said here is the perfect guy, and we won't have to pay him any more money because it will be in addition to his other duties, and he will have this position of considerable honor. And he's got the full salary, and he's got the Adjutant General's salary for the work that he's done. And he did. He went in there and cleaned things up, and heads rolled, and he's a Brigadier General, and he's very patriotic, and the War is coming and all that, and everybody's very concerned about all these things. And so the interesting part from my point of view is that I ended up as his aid, aide-de-camp right after the whole division was mobilized in 1941 before the actual Pearl Harbor. But everyone knew it was coming, so that Division was mobilized and he ended up not too long after that sending for me to come and be his aide, which was in Hawaii.
Nichols: And his name was?
Judge: The General? Mittelstaedt. R. E. Mittelstaedt. Absolutely no sense of humor whatever, but was a very able, able guy. And he was furious because the then War Department changed its table of organization, and he had as his aides two Captains who he thought were the best officers he'd ever seen, and he was right. One of them he liked so much - his name was Carl Jennings - and he was working for Mittelstaedt in the Department of Water and Sewers, he was an engineer, and he talked Carl into joining the National Guard and taking what they called the "10 Series" so you could get your commission by studying correspondence, and it took you about a year and then you took your examination and all that kind of stuff. And Carl did, and then Mittelstaedt was high enough up that he was able to get Jennings detailed to him as his aide, one of his aides. And the other young man that he had was an incredibly able guy who came from the Citadel, the military school, and he was a real soldier. And with the combination of those two people, Mittelstaedt had the best he could. And then the War Department came along and changed the tables of organization and they eliminated - what they did was for Brigadier Generals they could only have as asides no more, or no higher, than a First Lieutenant and a Second Lieutenant. And then for a Major General it could be a Captain and a First Lieutenant. And then for a Lieutenant General it could be a Major and a Captain and that sort of thing. And so Mittelstaedt had to get rid of his two Captains. And he was beside himself, and he sent for me, and he wasn't kidding when he said "I haven't got a second aide yet, and it may take me a while, so you're going to have to do the work. But I want you to know you're going to be replacing two of the best soldiers I ever served with and I doubt very much whether you're going to measure up." I immediately doubted very much whether I was either.
Miller: How did you know him? Or how did he know you is probably better.
Judge: He was President of the Sacramento Riding Club, and one of its founders, along with my mother and several other people. The only thing was that nobody dared replace him. You wanted to change the Presidency occasionally, but nobody ever dared challenge him. He got furious if you did. And so they went along with him until he was mustered into active duty and then I became, shortly after that when they changed the tables, I became his aide then and I served for about a year and a half [text omitted]. When I was asked to describe my service as an aide to a General, I said in all honesty, "The best way I can say this is that 95% of the assignments that are given to me could be done successfully and very well by any reasonable Private First Class, and the other 5% is so hard that no Five Star General could do it. I never found anything that was commensurate with what I thought I could do. And he wasn't very understanding. He was kind of tough.
I remember one night, I will never forget this, but his Orderly - he was grouchy because the Infantry Division triangularized and he was left without a command. Before that it was what we called a square Division and he commanded a Brigade, so he had his own command and then, of course, he was under the Major General who commanded the whole division. And they took out the Brigade. And so you went from a Regiment, commanded by a Colonel, to Major General who commanded the Division, and Mittelstaedt was left without anything, really, to do. But he was the Division - the tables of organization classified him as the Assistant Division Commander, which means do whatever the Division Commander tells you to do. Sort of the Vice President. And he didn't like it very much because the only staff he had, really, was his personal staff, and he caught me saying "I'm the Chief of Staff of the Personal Staff," which consisted of his Secretary, a male secretary that did just regular typing and that kind of stuff, his chauffer, and his orderly, and then his two aides. And so it didn't seem like there was a whole lot that I was supposed to be doing until we went overseas, and then the Division split up and they assigned him the defense of Maui, Molokai and Lanai. And then the Division Commander took the one that was more critical, that was further North, and West, and that was Kauai and that place. So, in any event, then Mittelstaedt liked what he was doing because he had a command and he had a staff and he had me to beat up on.
Miller: We're kind of ahead of ourselves, but did you stay with him throughout your tenure in the War?
Judge: No. I stayed - it was about a year. And then he said, "You know you're never going to be able to get another promotion," because by that time I was a First Lieutenant and that was as high as I could go. And he said "I don't want you to have to stay here," and he didn't say "I'd just as soon get rid of you." But, so I left then and found another job in Division Headquarters that I had a chance to go up higher. And so I stayed with Division Headquarters and liked it a lot better. But I found things to interest me that he'd always find out about. But when he was going to be away he'd say "I won't be here until around 3:30 or 4:00 this afternoon, so you can take care of some of these things that you have to do then. So then I'd go off to other places and I would let the high ranking officers think that I had enormous, enormous power with the General and they'd just treat me wonderfully. They'd get good food out and I'd have meals with them. It was that kind of stuff. But, it was kind of a tough time. And he insisted in speaking in the third person, and I didn't really understand that. No, in the second person. I understood the military protocol where you'd say "Does the General want this or that." And that I did fine. But he used the royal "We." He'd say, "Don't you think we ought to do so and so," and I'd say "Yes, sir. I think that's a good idea." And he meant "Don't you think that I", and he didn't mean "We." And I would slip up on that and, you know, things like we came out and got in the car one day and he said - he wanted the chauffer to open the trunk of the car for something. Oh, I guess he wanted to get his gas mask. We had to have equipment on all the time when we're out. And he said "What the hell is that?" And I said "That's my gas mask." And he said "What is your gas mask doing in the trunk of this car?" And I said "You said don't you think we ought to put our gas masks in the car," and I'd say "Yeah, yeah."
And the time that was the worst was when he said "I think we need a haircut." And I said, "Yessir." And so we went to some barbershop where there were Japanese women that were the barbers in these little civilian places. And he wouldn't look, so he didn't know what I was doing exactly. But he climbed in the chair, and so I climbed up in the chair next to him. And his barber worked faster than mine. And so they would cut - the Japanese women barbers would cut one side of your head only, and then pad around and work on the other side. And so when his hair was cut, he said "Where the hell's my aide?" looking around. And I said, "I'm over here General." He said "What are you doing over there?" And I said "We were getting our hair cut." And he said "Well, get the hell down here, I'm ready to go." And so I had to climb down out of the chair with one side of my hair cut - it was those kinds of things that made my aideship difficult. And so it culminated with 2 a.m. his orderly came rushing into this little tent that I was in, nearby. And he said "Wake up Lieutenant, the General wants to see you right now." And I said, "Oh, God, what do I wear. I don't want to go over in pajamas." And he said "Wear anything, but he's mad and he wants to talk to you right now." And I said, "What about." And he said "I don't know, but don't waste any time, because you and I will both be in trouble." So I slipped on something real fast and came over. And he's sitting on his bunk is this is 2 - 2:30 in the morning. And he's obviously been thinking, and he gets made when he thinks about some things. So I'm standing at attention, terrified. And he said, "Why don't you not be at attention, just stand at ease and listen to me.: He said, "the job of an aide has been created by the War Department because the General is so busy with all of the things that he has to do that he doesn't have time to take care of his laundry, or his place where he's going to sleep, or where his bed clothes are, or anything. And that's why the aide is there - to see to it that these things are done for his General. And I said "Yessir." And he said "What I've noticed is that whenever we move anywhere, you always see to it that you find a place where you're gonna sleep, and that you find a place where you're going to eat." And, he said, "You should be thinking of your General." So . . .
Miller: How old are you at this point?
Judge: 21, 22. Very, very lonesome having been just newly married, and overseas, and feeling very abused, and being you know. So part of these things - and then I realized that I wasn't supposed to be doing what I was doing. But it was difficult.
Miller: Well, we have to go back to Sacramento for a moment. We got your courting concept. What did young people - high school, college age - what did they do for their recreation and their little courting ceremonies in Sacramento?
Judge: In Sacramento, oddly enough, the only movie theatre that still is remaining and in the exact shape it was in in the 1930's when Barbara and I started going together was the Crest Theatre, which was called the Hippodrome and they haven't changed it any. They've just maintained it and that sort of things. And it was very meaningful to me because when I would come home, I don't know - because everybody would do different things and I don't remember what they did - but they'd come home, I'd come home Friday night from school and usually go to a movie. And it would be probably in one of the 3 or 4 theatres in town. One of them was the Alhambra which it's just a travesty that they demolished it. And, you know, there were high school football games, and there were baseball games. Baseball was a big, big place to go. It was always over there where Gemco used to be on 10th and Broadway.
Miller: The Sacramento Solons - is that?
Judge: They were the Sacramento Solons. But they were first Moering Field, and then it burned down - there were wooden bleachers and that kind of stuff - and so then they rebuilt it and they called it Edmonds Field, but it's the same place. And we had the Pacific Coast League, was a very - it was a Triple A League and there was the San Francisco Seals, and the Oakland A's, and it was good baseball.
Miller: And the Hollywood Stars and the Los Angeles Angels.
Nichols: San Diego Padres, Portland Beavers, Seattle Raniers.
Judge: You betcha.
Miller: Great games to go watch.
Judge: Great games. We all grew up and went there. In the summer time, in the summer time the other thing that you did was to go to the dog races - the Whippet races. Very . . .
Nichols: Where were they run?
Judge: Oh, I can't remember. Not too far away from that - that they had
Nichols: At the State Fair? State Fair track, or . . .
Judge: I can't remember. I honestly can't. I used to go there. We loved them. We also loved motorcycle races which were at Hughes Stadium, which was an all-purpose stadium. I'll tell you, and that was another thing my grandfather and grandmother were in. They were subscribers to building that Stadium, which was a City Stadium. And then they gave it to the Sacramento City Unified School District ultimately. But it was first a City Stadium and we got script where we could go for all of our lifetime for nothing if you were a subscriber from the beginning for the building of the Stadium. And Sacramento Junior College football was there, and . . . So there were quite a few outdoor things to do, and quite a few activities, there were movies and there just wasn't any television, but apart from that . . .
Miller: Well how about - that was the beginning of the "Big Band Era." Did the Big Bands come to Sacramento?
Judge: Oh, some. Dick Jergins started here and everybody knew him and this was where he started his national thing. When I came home from overseas he was playing at the big hotel, the big wonderful hotel in Oakland, Berkeley - the
Miller: The Claremont?
Judge: The Claremont. And then he'd play up at Tahoe.
Miller: Did you have a ballroom in Sacramento? To speak of?
Judge: Wills Point, which was Bob Wills and his Western Swing Band, and then Billy Jack Wills, his younger brother took it over. And it was out Auburn Blvd. around - yeah, just out toward McClellan, McClellan Field and visiting bands would come there and there would be good bands that would come by and then we'd go to that. And there was a lot of that. Kay Kaiser used to come, and there were a bunch of them. And that was fun and we went to all of those things - Neil Tippets and that kind of stuff. And then there was, the one bad thing we had, I thought, and I was responsible, almost solely, for getting rid of them, were high school fraternities and sororities, and some of us thought that kids were too young for that kind of discrimination and being blackballed and all that. And when I was on the City School Board I started a move-- . . . I was in a good position to do it because I had been a fraternity boy. If you weren't you don't have the credibility because you're made and you've been passed up, but I was in a good position to do it because I had been in it and my mother had been in and my sister had been in, and those sort of things, and so you didn't have to say I was passed over. And I really fought a battle, and ultimately won, and then, God, we went into litigation for ages. Went to the Court of Appeal and then finally Fred Pierce wrote the opinion on the Court of Appeal and upheld the ban of fraternities and sororities. But, boy, they never let me forget it, I'll tell you. Wow.
Miller: You went to Sacramento High School, right?
Judge: Thank you. That was the only high school there was.
Miller: I was just going to say, was that the only high school then? Was Christian Brothers here then?
Miller: Were there any other private schools in Sacramento?
Judge: There also were some in the County. Grant Union was there from the early 30's. And of course, San Juan is an old, old school and there were a lot in the surrounding areas. But the Sacramento City Unified School District boundaries were coterminous with the City politically. If you were annexed to the City you were automatically annexed to the City Unified School District. None of that is true now, but that's the way it was then. And so in the Sacramento Unified School District the only public high school was Sacramento Senior High School. McClatchy opened in the Fall of '37 and I graduated in January '37, so I was just barely gone. Barbara moved over from - she was 2-1/2 years behind me, so she started at Sacramento High and then in '37 she moved over to the new McClatchy High School. So they still to this day do their reunions together because some of them were both classes and that kind of stuff.
Miller: I wondered - when I went to High School we had special teen clubs that were connected to their high school. We don't have things like that anymore. Did you have things like that in Sacramento? When you went to high school?
Judge: Yes. You mean other than the fraternities and sororities?
Judge: Well, there were honor societies, and there were things that were centered around the school - the Key Club which was the Junior -
Miller: Rotary, or something? Nichols: Junior Achievement?
Judge: Not Junior Achievement . . . Junior - it was a service club.
Miller: Junior Lion's Club, or . . .
Judge: Well, there was Rotary, and there was Kiwanis and there were those kinds of things. And then there were a lot of Eastern Star kinds of people that grew up - there were always Junior versions of those things. There were plenty of organizations. And the fraternities and sororities had dances all of the time. And the Eastern Star, and the Elks Club, you'd rent those places and you'd have your Spring Ball and like that. There was a lot more to do and people knew each other better, and it was just an easier, a lot easier time, if you want to know the truth.
Miller: A lot easier to be a kid than it is now.
Judge: A lot easier to be a kid. And it was much easier to be in the military in the War in which I was than in any of these other wars, because, you know, they were unpopular wars and we shouldn't be there. Nobody ever argued when - it was much easier to be in service than it was for a man not to be, and you had to wear your uniform. You could not wear civilian clothes during World War II.
Miller: And I seem to remember that the men who couldn't go - my father for instance couldn't go because he was a steel mill supervisor and he was one of those people that they forced him to remain exempt. And those men suffered internally and hated it.
Judge: Hated it. And if you were home on leave or something you were wearing your uniform. Nowadays, and for many years since World War II, people had another wardrobe and sometimes it was not very popular to be a soldier and so the minute they got finished for the day they'd go into civilian clothes. While we were not permitted to do that and so we were always in uniform except in a bona fide athletic contest and when we were doing gubby work and then we wore what we called fatigues. But when you'd run into young men downtown that were in civilian clothes, I felt awfully sorry for them because there'd be a lot of people around angry, and half drunk, and choosing them - it was lousy to be, to be in that time to not be in service.
Miller: I know there was a large Chinese community in Sacramento. Was there any Japanese community at all that was affected by the internment? Judge: Well, the Japanese were all of course, they were swept up and moved into the interior.
Miller: Right. And was there a reasonably large population here, of Japanese?
Judge: Yeah, oh yeah.
Miller: How did the community deal with that at the time.
Judge: You know, it was so simplistic. You're ashamed of yourself really, but it was - they were - no matter how much you like them and how nice they are they're Japanese - I mean that's their heritage and if you turn your back they'll stab you in the back no matter what, and all that kind of stuff, and everybody was afraid of them.
Miller: So there was no resistance to it at all. It's what people - everybody
Miller: Interesting, huh.
Judge: And everybody was afraid because we'd gone through this stuff of the Fifth Column in Austria with moving from within rather than attacking from outside and we were always afraid of the loyalists who were working, you know, behind the scenes to take over. It was pretty tough when we were sent to Hawaii and 80% -- I was originally stationed in Kauai, and over 80% of the people on Kauai were Japanese. What do you do, you know.
Miller: Shut the island down?
Judge: But it was, it was tough here, but people just said "Well, we can't take any chances." And that's the way you believed.
Nichols: That was the information that the government put out.
Judge: Oh, yeah.
Nichols: And, you know, people didn't have any reason to believe otherwise.
Miller: Okay. So, what year did you graduate from Sacramento High School?
Judge: January '37.
Miller: And you went directly to Berkeley?
Judge: Well, I couldn't do it because the semesters overlapped and Berkeley got over much and Berkeley got over much earlier. I loved that system, starting in August and the semester is over in May. And of course, so I went to Sacramento City, then, Junior College, for that first semester, and just picked up some extra units and got some things in that I wanted to and then I went on to Berkeley in the Fall of '37.
Miller: Any question in your mind about where you'd go to college? Any struggle at all?
Miller: No? Old Blue all the way?
Judge: My, you now, something like my uncle, my father's brother was the varsity yell leader for two years at Berkeley. That was, my God - two years, a Junior and a Senior, and he was a varsity yell leader. And he was very, very prominent. But there was less than 2,000 students in the whole student body in those days. And my father, after he came home from Hawaii went to Berkeley and then he went to Hastings because when he went there was no Boalt. And my bother Coley went, my mother went there, everybody was a solid Blue.
Nichols: Family tradition?
Judge: Absolutely. You just never even dreamed of going anyplace else. So I went there for four years and then started law school and, because in those days if you took upper division military, which you didn't have to do, but all male students had to take from a land grant college had to go for the first two years. Then if you wanted to go upper division, and they felt you were qualified, then you'd go in for the last two years and then you'd graduate with a reserve commission if you completely successfully.
Miller: They continued to do that until the big riots, and then they decided . . . .
Judge: Yes, and then all the things changed drastically.
Miller: Were you in a fraternity in college?
Judge: Yeah. I went into a local. In those days, no Jewish people were accepted in national fraternities or sororities. In fact they were - that was part of their constitution and by-laws before all these things happened. And some, I guess, were made exceptions of, but it was generally understood that you either went into a Jewish fraternity or sorority, or there were a couple of locals around that didn't have that. And this one, I liked - I thought it was a great fraternity. Former President Robert Gordon Sproul was an ABRA. And I don't know how it came about that I was, but I was pledged into that house in my second semester, and I still have friends, a few friends left from there, and I liked that, and that was a good fraternity.
And I was, yeah, I stayed there 4 years so I really had 4-1-1/2 years with the first semester, and then graduated with a 2nd Lts. Commission in the Spring of 1941, and started law school and was pulled out - Pearl Harbor was bombed while we were studying for our first law school final examination on a Tuesday, and Pearl Harbor was hit Sunday morning. And it was my usual good judgment - I said, "Certainly the Professors will cancel the final examination because the City is blacked out. I mean immediately there were sirens all over the place and you couldn't see anything and people were imagining sighting Japanese submarines at the Golden Gate, and all kinds of things - it was kind of a panic. And so we showed up for our final expecting to be told that we were excused and the Professors weren't really aware that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.
Miller: Don't get distracted.
Judge: No. Heavens no.
Miller: So did you - you finished that first semester.
Judge: I finished the first semester and I went in and I was very ill at the time - I had sulfa poisoning and I found out - sulfa was a pretty new drug at that time, and I'd had a strep throat and I was home for Thanksgiving and I got sick and nobody could seem to find out what it was, but I was running a fever and things were bad. And I went in and said "I'm not - I'm sick, and I'm running a 103 fever, and do I have to - what would happen if I didn't take the final?" And they said "Well, you certainly would be excused. But when you come back you'll have to take it." Which would have been 4-1/2 years. And so they said "If you actually have orders to report, then you'll be excused in the sense that you'll be given an average grade of whatever you got on the other finals." And so I took the first three, and I did not do well, and then I got my orders to report and so I came limping down there and they said "Fine, you'll get your grades," and all that. But I had to fight my way out of that one.
Miller: And this is, then, when you went and joined the General?
Judge: Not quite. I was assigned - first of all I went to the hospital and I was there for a month and they finally got me straightened out. They cancelled my orders to report - we all got orders when they were pulled out and they let us stay until the day after Christmas, because it was December anyway. And I was supposed to report on the 26th of December to Camp San Luis Obispo where I might very well have been. But they - I - they had to be cancelled and so, by the time I got well, my orders were changed of course and I was sent to Ft. Lewis, Washington in February. And that's where I stayed for 3 or 4 months and believed, as I believed every rumor, that we would be there for at least a year training, and by that time very likely the War would be over and I wouldn't have to go overseas. And so I wrote home and invited Barbara to come up because I'm going to be here for at least a year. And so she came up and we were married in Tacoma, Washington, and I was - my rumors were not quite accurate and I was on the high seas three months later. Which was awful. It was horrendous.
Miller: And she was in a strange place and - she probably went home right away, right?
Judge: So she came home and that was - so then I was gone for 33 months without getting home. That's a long time for a newlywed.
Miller: That's a long time for anybody when you think about it - 33 months.
Judge: It was a long, long time.
Miller: With no - you got R & R but it was local? Or did you not?
Judge: I never did, but I didn't even apply because I was afraid that I might stand a better chance if I didn't have a - people were getting passes to go to New Zealand and Australia for R & R kind of thing, but I never did, and just waited and waited and waited, and finally got selected to come home for 45 days and while I was home the atomic bomb was dropped and, boy, the War ground to a halt real fast. Real fast.
Miller: You were in Hawaii the whole time? You were stationed . . .
Judge: Oh, no. No. I was in Hawaii for a total of 15 months counting Kauai, Maui, and Oahu where we were staging and getting ready to go further. And then I went to Guadalcanal for 4 or 5 months, and then we moved from Guadalcanal to New Britain, which is right off the coast of New Guinea, and I was there for 8 months, and then we went in our first real combat which was the Phillippines in, I thing it was, yeah it was December of '44, I guess.
Miller: And what division of the Army were you in?
Judge: Infantry Division.
Miller: And were you in command of something?
Judge: No, I was a staff officer with Division Headquarters and I was doing what amounted to - a lot of it was administrative work but it was doing staff kinds of stuff. Personnel and a lot of things.
Miller: And you guys followed the troops. The administrators actually followed the path of the troops instead of staying in one place.
Judge: I went in - I went in on D-Day on Luzon, which was where we attacked, and I went in probably an hour after the first assault troops hit the beach and we were circling and getting ready to go in and that sort of thing. So no, we were moving right with them and my biggest job was casualty reporting. I had to get around and find out how many casualties we had and whether the evacuation and all those kinds of things. So it's, so it comes generally under the head of administrative reporting and that kind of thing.
Miller: And you were how old at this time?
Miller: Boy, grew up fast in those days, huh?
Judge: Grow up fast. Yeah.
Miller: Do you maintain relationships from the service?
Judge: Well, I used to. Carl Jennings is still - we have an organization here for lack of a better name that one of our members, Joe Coomes, who was in our old law firm, named "Friends of Ed Fairbairn." There was absolutely no reason why you would do that. He just made it up. But Ed Fairbairn was a City engineer and much respected and liked, and then became City Manager. And Joe was the City Attorney and there were other people - and everybody liked Ed Fairbairn. He was a good guy, and so Joe said "Why don't we call it Friends of Ed Fairbairn?" And we got about 5 guys that belong to that. And one of the is Carl Jennings, and one of them is Jim Jackson, who is the former City Attorney, and one of them was Ron Parker who was the City Engineer. And they were all connected with the City, and I did a lot of condemnation work representing the City during the time of redevelopment, and so I was kind of attached to the City people, and had worked for them a lot. And that's still going although we're losing people a lot, but we meet about every couple of months and have a big feed at Frank Fats and there isn't a single item on the agenda. Nothing.
Miller: That's the kind of meeting to have.
Judge: Yep, yep.
Miller: How about high school. Still connected with those people that you went to high school with?
Judge: Yeah, but I'm, I'm fighting very hard to stop the reunions. They didn't have reunions at first because we all were off in the War. And so our first reunion was a 20th reunion, which is quite unusual. And it was a great reunion. And then we had the 30th, and then the 40th, and then we got worried about people dying so we had the 45th, and then the 50th, and then the 55th, and then the 60th. And each time lately I have said "We should have stopped at the 50th. We had wonderful times getting together with people, but, you know, after a while it's the same people that come. And you've seen them, and you haven't got anything else to talk to. You're not renewing old acquaintances, you're renewing the same ones. And it gets very boring and very tedious. And I was on the original committee, and I was the MC of the 20th, 30th, 40th, 45th, 50th, and 55th, and I said "This is it. I am not going to do this and I'm voting vigorously against having any more. But, I will come if you insist on having one, but I'm not going to MC any more." It was that first post-War thing and it just really connected. And for a long while you'd see different people each time. And we've never, we never had less than 400 in attendance. In all these years, including through the 50th. Which is quite unusual.
Miller: It is, it is. But a lot of people stay here, as opposed to where I'm from.
Judge: A lot of people stayed in Sacramento, but an awful lot of them came from all over, and they came faithfully and religiously - they would come back. And that's kind of nice. Only, as I say, if it's the same people over and over again you get tired of it.
Miller: Might as well get together for some other reason, right?
Judge: Yeah, yeah. But the interesting thing is that I've found a number of my classmates that I didn't know that I knew and I didn't remember from high school that I got to know here. Like Joe DeChristoforo. I had no idea until about the 30th or 40th reunion - I said "What are you doing here, Joe?" and he said "This is my class." But it was a big - it was the largest class to ever have graduated from Sacramento High School before or since. Because we were just crammed together. Bursting at the seams. Had 4,000 students in the, in the, with a school that was designed really for not much over 3,000. And there just was a very strong bond because of the pre- War and all those kinds of things. And we all graduated, virtually, from that same school. And so it meant a lot, and we've kept up with the reunions, but I, God, I'm tired of those reunions. I'm telling you I'm tired of them.
Nichols: What are your recollections about being a returning veteran and going back to law school?
Judge: Well, of course, I went through those agonies of here I am a Major, and now I'm going to have to start all over again at the very bottom as a student, law student, in the first year class with one semester behind me and having been gone . . . Imagine starting to take real property, the second semester of real property after 4-1/2 years. And it was rough. 'Cause I wasn't in law school long enough to really get a grounding in it. And then you , so you forget. And it was difficult and I thought - talked a lot about how I could stay in and get a reserve commission, I mean and get a regular commission. And they asked us if we wanted to - most of us that were mustered out at that time and obviously decided against it. I was certainly not what you would call a great soldier. And it just seemed like it would be nice to start out as a Major instead of being a Freshman. At law school. But, you know, it was the old law school and the largest class that they could accommodate was crammed into the first year class room. It was 103 people. And our class actually graduated 65 students, and half of them were returning from the same class, were jerked out in 1941, and came back in 1946, which is amazing that that many of us came right back and joined the class that had started out the semester before.
Nichols: Did the school make any accommodations for the fact that they were getting a bunch of folks who had 4 years of non-law school experience?
Judge: Absolutely not. In fact they were furious with us because they fostered this competition - I mean no matter how good your friends are you are the one that's got to be the top one in the class. You certainly don't want to share things with each other, and work together. And we said this is baloney. We are not kids any more and we are going to get everybody through if we can. I mean there's no - nothing bad about getting all of us through and getting good grades. What the hell do we care. And so we did all of these disloyal things about working together which the Professors hated.
Miller: Did that come, do you think from your military experience. I mean do you think you would have . . .
Judge: Well it came from - most of us by that time were married. An awful lot of us were married then. And we were now settled down and had to support a family, or a wife anyway, and this was not . . . we didn't want to play those kind of games. Those kind of games being if you were selected and hired by a good law firm, the starting monthly salary was $25. And, you say, well I can't live on that. And you say I know it. Your family is expected, somewhere - somewhere you've gotta . . . But this is what we do, and then at the end of your first year at a firm you get an automatic raise if you've been satisfactory to $50 a month. And then from then on things get better. But that's what they did in those days. And none of them were married. You couldn't be married. We tried - a number - I didn't, but a number of them said to their respective parents "Susie and I would like to get married. If you have been sending me X dollars a month to help out, which I deeply appreciate, and her parents have been sending her an equal amount, or whatever, if each of you would continue doing that it would be much better - we would be much more settled down, blah, blah. And the parents would say "Good-bye." The standard answer always was, :Look, when you take on a wife you don't play house. You are going to support between you yourselves and we are not going to be supporting you. That ain't a good way to go. And so we will continue to give what we had planned to, but not if you're married, and it ain't going to happen." And I don't know anybody that ever -
Miller: Ever managed to work it out.
Judge: Ever managed to work it out.
Miller: What did you, what did it - what was the living -what was a living wage at that time when they're offering you $25 a month so that you can have this experience?
Judge: Ah, I know what the standard was when you graduated from high school. White collar jobs here in Sacramento were - my classmates graduated from high school and then went out looking for a job, title companies, banks - banks were big on that - somewhere between $65 to $75 a month, and $75 was big. And you lived on that. My rent in Berkeley - our rent - -- was $45 a month, and it was a garden cottage in back, one of those deep Berkeley lots, over a garage. And it had one sort of bedroom and a nice living room and that kind of stuff. And it was one of the nicest places, and that was kind of the going rate then in Berkeley for rent. And I know that the salaries - you lived on your salary - you could do it on $65 and $70 a month with the other expenses. It wasn't very good, but you did. And then, oddly enough, those were the easiest and best jobs to get because most of them were available. So the $25 you certainly could not live on.
Miller: Well, you're not paying your rent.
Judge: Right. And you weren't really expected to. But they didn't pay any attention to those kinds of things - that most of you were married. And most of us didn't have any clothes. So what we did was, we would - we had sweaters and we had khaki pants that were Army pants that you would wear and that kind of stuff. And it was just a shock to the Professors. And Stanley Surrey, who came to us from Columbia and then Harvard as a Professor, all he could think of was my God, graduate students started wearing suits. You wore a coat and tie and carried a briefcase. That's what the students did. And he just couldn't understand this. And he looked at what we wore - he came to Boalt to teach tax. He was a neat guy, but he just couldn't understand this whole clothing concept. And the guy that I loved there most of all, he was, he had a blue sweater which had sort of unraveled and big chunks of it were off. And his mother got a piece of cloth and sort of made a sleeve underneath and then sewed these pieces of sweater. I mean we were a wonderfully looking rag tag bunch.
And so I had to write a law review article. And I had one to go, and I had done the Note and the Comment and now I had to do a so- called Article. And I hated to do it because I didn't have the time. And they assigned me tax. Which, of course, I am brilliant at, just brilliant at. And I think they let me take a subject that was something like uniform allowances and how they fit into the tax structure. Something that was very complex. And so they sent me down to meet with Professor Surrey and tell him that I'd been assigned to write, under his guidance, an Article. And so I - and we behaved like military people and that was the way students behaved. And they called the Professors "Sir" and they stood up and the whole bit. So it wasn't too much unlike what we'd been used to in the military. And, of course, you were seated alphabetically so the Professor has a chart and he can call your name off the chart. And, so, I came in and I stood at attention. And he said "Good morning." And I said "Good morning, Sir." And he said "Are you down here to talk about a law review article?" And I said "Yes, Sir. And he said, "Okay, you're Summers, aren't you?" And I said, "No, Sir, I'm Schwartz." And he said, "Oh. Summers wears the green sweater, doesn't he?" That was kind of it - the introduction that I was a very important . . . So I thought, "Oh, I don't like this very much."
Miller: Now, how many -were there any Professors at Boalt that had a lasting impact on you?
Judge: Oh, yeah. You bet. First of all, we had two brand new ones who were called instructors, which was the lowest level. And they were very - they were very little older than we were. Maybe 4 years older. But they had gotten through just before 1941 and had graduated. And one of them was Ed Barrett who became the Dean over at Davis - first Dean at Davis. And the other was Frank Newman, who was a classmate of his and who became the Dean at Boalt later. And they were brand new and they related far better to the students than the did to the Professors, who were much older. And so they joined our groups of things and they'd come to parties of ours and that kind of stuff. And they were really nice guys. Ah, the Professors that really - I mean we thought McGovney in Constitutional Law and Ferrier in Real Property, that you could never understand but recognized that he was very good, and, of course, Ballantine was everybody's favorite. A real nice, gentle guy. You could write a law review article under him and he was the most knowledgeable and the nicest and the most accomplished, but didn't expect anywhere near as much from you as the younger guys who were Grrrr, and go get 'em, and fight. And then, of course, the great character was the one they called Captain Kidd, Alexander Marsden Kidd, who was just a wild man. A nice guy off - outside the classroom. Once he told me that he thought my brains had turned to mayonnaise. I never quite understood.
Miller: Doesn't sound good, though, does it?
Judge: Doesn't sound good to me. It does not. But, we liked our - most of our professors and related to some of them very well. I don't really remember. There was a guy named Bill Laube who was very laid back. Really laid back. You almost had to have a couch for him to carry around. He didn't really expect hardly anything. He was so kind of nice and gentle and all that sort of thing. I don't think we really liked very many of the Professors, except of few of them like, I mean, we kind of worshipped people like Ballantine.
Miller: Were you solid in your mind what you wanted to do as a lawyer when you got out of law school?
Judge: Well, I knew what I wanted to do because I had an incredible advantage. I had tried something like 35 major cases when I was in the Army when I'd only had 6 months of law school. Just backwards. But the Judge Advocate General of our Division was nice to me, and he knew that I was planning on being a lawyer, and so he would talk to me. And then he put me on special court martials as a defense counsel first, and then as a prosecutor on the little stuff. And then he just let me keep on going and I ended up as the 40th Infantry Division Chief Defense Counsel. And I was defending misbehavior in the face of the enemy cases with death penalty possibilities, and all kinds of things. And then the soldiers could request a particular person who had had experience to serve as their attorney. And so for a while I was having a blast going around from place to place, wherever the Division was, and defending cases. And the guy that was my nemesis that I defended cases against was an old time lawyer here in Sacramento who was not old time then, but he was probably 6 or 7 years older than I was, was named Ed Boyles. Did you know him?
Nichols: The name is vaguely familiar, but I didn't know him.
Judge: He was primarily a bond attorney and he was a nice guy and we would travel together and then try these cases against each other. And that was really exciting.
Miller: My, that's amazing.
Judge: You can learn those things, you know, with somebody kind of telling you and showing you what books to read and what might be the most helpful. Primarily it was evidence - you got a - fairly important . . .
Miller: And fairly arcane if you haven't had any formal training as well.
Judge: And I knew, I knew exactly that this was the thing I wanted to do more than anything in the world was to try cases. And that's what I decided early on that I was going to do when I got back when I first got the chance. So, it was really very easy for me because I applied for the DA's office immediately, and that kind of thing. But it was enormously helpful, and I really did have a running start on most of the competition because I did have the sense of what you were doing.
Miller: And the absence of fear, I imagine. I mean that's what terrifies most of us. So what year did you start - you came out of Boalt and you went directly to the Sacramento DA?
Judge: I went 2 or 3 months to the 3rd District Court of Appeal as a law clerk because I had not passed the Bar yet, or hadn't been notified and the DA could not take you on then. And so he didn't ask me - he didn't put out the offer and so I didn't know that I was going to get the offer at all, and I started applying at the State. That was a good place to apply. They were paying $295 a month to junior counsel.
Judge: And that sounded pretty good to me.
Miller: Better than $25.
Judge: Yeah. Yep.
Nichols: In law school were there a group of people from Sacramento who kind of hung together?
Judge: There were throughout law school, and in the class behind me were Bruce Allen and Henry Teichert - there were a ton of them in that class. Adolph Moskovitz was in that class. And several guys that came here and located with the State. There were just a lot of them, and they were a very close class. And they have reunions every other year faithfully and still do that coincides with either the UCLA and Cal game or the USC-Cal game, whichever one is up here and all that. And they still do it. We've had a total of 3 reunions since 1948 when we graduated. We were just - a long time. We'd come back from the War. We were all mixed up. We wanted to get going and get out of there and get into the real world. And, boy, it was no great camaraderie and helping each other along or anything else. It was just help the other guy if you can and get everybody through and let's get going, and the hell with these nuts that want to sponsor competition to make you stronger.
Miller: We've been there. Judge: Yeah. So . . .
Nichols: When you went into the DA's office who did you work with, and what judges were you in front of?
Judge: Within a week, the same week, John Sapunor, John Price and I were all hired. That constituted exactly « of the professional staff of the Sacramento County DA's office. We had a Chief and 5 assistants. So there was a total of 6 people. We all went to lunch together, most of the time in the same automobile. And all of a sudden, 3 of them were gone. Kneeland Lobner left, and John Horgan left, and somebody else left - I've forgotten for the moment. And here we've got - I do want to tell you that with the Chief and two assistants, and then 3 people who had never even seen the inside of a real courtroom before, crime did run rampant in the streets of Sacramento, I'll tell you. We just copied things. We'd sit there and listen and we'd come down to the hearings and listen to things. But, God, it was a scream. Trying to get organized.
Nichols: Well, I've heard you talk about Al Mundt. Was he in that . . .
Judge: He was the Chief.
Miller: A lot of people tell stories about Al Mundt.
Judge: Oh, Al Mundt. We just idolized Al Mundt. We were scared to death of him but he was the quintessential prosecutor. And he kept track of everything. And he was fierce and dogged, but by God he was fair and he would wash out cases right now if he thought that there was a chance that we had the wrong guy. Whereas a lot of times the DA's, who are themselves political, would say well, this might be a hot button case so I think I'll just take it to the Grand Jury - it's not my fault - and then if they issue an indictment then it's up to the jury. That kind of stuff. Not Al Mundt. Of course, Mundt wasn't the DA, either. He was the Chief Deputy. But he would wash 'em out, and then those that he figured were legitimate and should be prosecuted seriously, look out.
I mean he'd come around every day or every couple of days and he'd say "How are you working on that I gave you a couple of days ago?" And I'd say, "Well, I'm having some trouble with it." "What kind of trouble?" "Well, I got this or I got that." He'd say "Give me the file." And I'd say "Why?" And he'd say "You'll never win this case, you're not really satisfied in your own mind and you can't successfully prosecute a case unless you really believe in it. It's no black mark on you, and I'm not punishing you for it or anything else. If you have a doubt in your own mind, even the tiniest one, you're never going to prosecute successfully, because it's tough to prosecute them and you've got to have your heart in them, believe me." And he kept track of every case that he had assigned to everybody. And we would have just laid down and died for him because it was just straight - everything you dreamed about. Never cut a corner. Never fudge anything. Never give somebody a special break because he's somebody that's kind of important. And all the kinds of things that you worried about, you never worried about that with Al Mundt. And he was the best boss I ever, ever worked for. And I learned more from him, just incredibly. I rode shotgun after I'd been in the DA's office two days, he just took me in and I carried his briefcase, and did what research he'd have me do and keep track of things. And just learned. God, I've never seen anyone as skillful and as great as he was when he was prosecuting.
Miller: How much old was he than you at that time, do you think.
Judge: I'll just work backwards. When he ran . . . when he ran for Judge against Malcolm Glenn, he was 52 years old and that was in 19 . . . let's see . . . I think it was 1968, I believe.
Nichols: Ah. Mundt was, I thought Mundt was on the bench when I came to town in the early '60's.
Judge: I've forgotten. I can't remember. But I know - I think he - when I came into the office he seemed a lot older. I mean he had a - that bad limp from polio and he was heavy. But he was, he was just dynamite. He started out as a substitute guard at Folsom Prison as a 21 year old and they took him despite the fact that he was crippled at that time. And so he climbed up to the position of Secretary of the State Prison Board of Terms and Paroles, or something like that, which was the forerunner to the Adult Authority. And he was the top administrator of the entire prison system. And he knew every con, fought with them. And he was just a very tough guy, but he was scrupulously fair, and he just was - you were just frightened to death of him when you went in there because he was awfully good. And he was not very patient. He was very impatient with bad, poor lawyers. And, God, he gave some of those guys just a terrible time. [Text omitted.]
Miller: Who was the first U.S. Attorney - I can't remember.
Nichols: I don't know . . .
Miller: We need Shubb here.
Nichols: When I first came here the U.S. Attorney operated out of San
Francisco and we never knew or much cared who that was. then.
© 2002 United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Historical Society.