Donald Grogan reflects on his family history with the Hanna Theater and the development of Play House Square, as well as urban development in Cleveland.
Grogan, Donald (interviewee); Grogan, Betty G. (participant)
Brogan, Laura (interviewer); Wagner, Meghan (facilitator)
Transcription sponsored by Jessica, Jennifer and Kimberly Grogan in honor of Tim, Mark, Molly and Ann Grogan
Donald Grogan [00:00:01] I live at [...] Marlboro Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Laura Brogan [00:00:19] Growing up, did you live in the city?
Donald Grogan [00:00:21] Yes.
Laura Brogan [00:00:23] How close did you live to Playhouse Square?
Donald Grogan [00:00:28] Well, we lived right over here on Guilford Road, but before that we lived in the city in a house on Thornwood which was in East Cleveland. And it was my first memories of that period of time was you couldn't sleep on the second floor. So one of my jobs was to get the hose out at night and wet the roof down. I was about five years old. So you'd cool it down and you could sleep on the second floor. And go to the Ritz Theater. The best movie house was near there too. It's off 123rd [Street]. That is the city. If you went by there now, of course it's nothing like that.
Laura Brogan [00:01:37] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:01:39] Everything changes.
Laura Brogan [00:01:43] Do you remember the city before it was so commercialized or as commercialized as it is now?
Donald Grogan [00:01:51] Well, I was born in 1922. But those first years are kind of blurry. I decidedly remember really well. I think, in fact I have a picture of it when Lindbergh flew the ocean, and there was a great store downtown called Newman Stern. Paul Newman, the actor, that was his family store, and nothing could keep me quiet. I had to go down and I have the picture here upstairs and I got a phony airline suit and I'm looking—I'm 5 years old—looking very smug. Because can you imagine anybody flying the Atlantic Ocean? I couldn't. Alright, what else?
Laura Brogan [00:03:04] What else? When did your dad purchase the Hanna Theater? The building and the theater?
Donald Grogan [00:03:13] I believe everything... Here, give me that. Now, I have to be accurate with this. What did you do... Oh. Here. Yeah, it's all here. You might want to go through this... [recording stops briefly]
Donald Grogan [00:03:38] [Looking at photographs] This is my father and he sang by his radio. He was quite handsome. And he would pose for B.R. Baker, for Burberry coats, Burberry, and his fee was he wanted a Burberry coat. I don't know whether he got the [inaudbile] or not. But this goes way back. There's my dad again. A funny thing somebody said to him [cough], "Ken Grogan the radio nut!" ...1932. This is my father in Cuba in 1939 with a guy named Robert McClure. Cuba before Castro was a very nice place.
Laura Brogan [00:05:00] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:05:01] And it was where everybody went to have a good time. They had things like gambling and things that, you know... And it was cheap, easy to get there. You go to Key West. And you shot right across and there you were.
Laura Brogan [00:05:22] It was a good vacation spot back then.
Donald Grogan [00:05:23] Oh, yes. Oh, yes. And these are things about my father. That's him at his desk. He's saying there's no need for office buildings. Why don't you turn this around and you look at what you... That's our 25th anniversary party. Turn it around and if something catches your eye, maybe I can explain what it is.
Laura Brogan [00:06:01] Okay. The same magazine article. I read about the proposed subway issue that would have linked a vibrant E 105th Street with downtown. Can you talk about this?
Donald Grogan [00:06:13] Yes, it's all in there. I was sort of my father's aide de camp in this. And he was a member of the Cleveland Building Owners and Managers Association. [cough] And they asked him to head up the fight for the subway, which he did, and he took it on a limb. Like all things my father did he got into it with both feet. And also emotionally. Because downtown Cleveland, where he had been very successful... He was from Wakeman, Ohio, and downtown Cleveland was I mean, that's the pinnacle. But anyway, the opposition... I'm trying to think of his name there... it's probably listed there.
Betty G. Grogan [00:07:38] You better not do any names though.
Donald Grogan [00:07:44] Why not? That's what this is about.
Betty G. Grogan [00:07:47] Okay, but that one commissioner, you better not say his name...
Donald Grogan [00:07:47] I would like to have you just let me be here. It's no good unless you tell the truth. It's in the public domain now!
Betty G. Grogan [00:08:04] Okay, okay.
Donald Grogan [00:08:04] For god's sake.
Betty G. Grogan [00:08:10] I remember his name if you said his name. I remember...
Donald Grogan [00:08:13] Well, Gorman was for it. [You're] talking about Speeth was against it. Pat Day.
Betty G. Grogan [00:08:19] Day. Day was his name.
Donald Grogan [00:08:20] Pat Day was the swing vote. But we had voted, like seventy-eight percent of the population of Cleveland wanted a subway. But this was only the beginning. This was the downtown distribution network where you would tie in with [Burke] Lakefront Airport, the airport out at Hopkins, and all sorts of things. And the key was downtown. And there were two types of subway. There was the hook and the loop, either one of which would have been wonderful. And my father got into that emotionally. And when he lost, [Albert] Bert Porter was the opposition. Bert Porter was head of the Democratic Party. His brother was editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And Bert Porter was tough competition, as you'll see in there. And later Bert Porter, he's the one that tried to run the freeway over Shaker Lakes. He'd say, that's the place for the freeway. He says Shaker Lakes are just puddles. Just, you know, that's the Shaker Lakes. The town is named after the Shakers, you know. That's sacred. But anyway. Bert Porter, it came out later, among other things, he had a flower fund. Do You know what that is? Well, that's money that you collect from your employees in a flower fund. Like five percent of their wages. To buy flowers if one of them dies. Or their mother or their father. That's a flower fund, it's a slush fund. And it became quite considerable. But he made a mistake. His secretary got mad at him. Don't ever let that happen to you.
Laura Brogan [00:11:19] [Laughs]
Donald Grogan [00:11:21] And she squawked and they found that Bert Porter was getting all the flower fund money and changing it into hundred dollar bills at the Society National Bank. And he had a couple of big lockboxes there, all filled with hundred dollar bills, right. And anyway, this is a felony. And we got into this with Walter Halle because Pat Day wanted sixty thousand dollars for his vote. Well, bribing a public official is a felony. And you can go bye-bye for that. He was stealing money and locking it up and using it for whatever it was... But a damn few flowers for that. And you know what? Nothing happened to Bert Porter at all. He just sort of faded away. And good riddance.
Laura Brogan [00:12:59] And the subway system never went in. So, did your dad... You were telling me before on the phone, how did how did you guys get continue to get people down to that area?
Donald Grogan [00:13:09] Well, Halle's serviced their own bus service. What they did was buy some busses and go down to the Public Square and pick them up and then bring them back to Halle's. Certain things were just beautiful the way they happened. Now these are people who are acting only in their own self-interest, not for the benefit of the people, not for the good of the community, not for the good of the city, nothing. Their self-interest. And the first thing that happened that you could tell, they cut out twelve hundred and fifty [makes a cutting sound] through-bus runs. A bus run is where the bus started and then where it went from there. One of the best was the Lakewood Express. The Lakewood Express had to stop at Public Square. As did everybody else have to stop at the Public Square. Now, who worked this out? The most surprising people. Higbee's. The May Company. The Old Stone Church was not in on this. The only one that knew the whole story was Herb Strawbridge and he did what he could. He's dead now, but God bless him, the discoverer of The Flats. But anyway, they... See, people make values. And if people come to you or walk by your store, you're going to do more business than no people walking by your store.
Laura Brogan [00:15:37] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:15:39] So how do you prevent them from walking by somebody else's store? It's very simple. You dump 'em on one end of town and make them walk to get any place else. And that dump-off place was Public Square. For every bus, everything, every day. And then it's up to you to get somewhere else. Well, as was my father said at that time, it usually runs lanes on both sides of the street at the same time. So in trying to build up Public Square... We'll take Public Square and say it's for Public Square to 9th Street. And your importance diminishes as you get closer to 9th Street. Playhouse Square, we'll say starts at 18th and Euclid and goes towards Public Square and again importance diminishes as you get closer. But if you are doing your competition harm, you must be doing yourself some good. Ah! But you're not. You're comitting your own suicide. Because as downtown goes, both ends go. You've lost it. It's gone. It's so sick. It makes me sick to look at downtown Cleveland. And that was selfish people acting in their own self-interest alone. And harming others. I know that Walter Halle said once that Murphy—that was Higbee's—wouldn't actually try to hurt you. But, uh... The May Company thought that if they were hurting you they had to be doing themselves some good. Incidentally, that got to Robert Gries that I said that. Robert Bowlby Gries. Bowlby is his middle name. And he was much upset. But it was the truth. You know, when you get older, people think... you live in a big house, people think you got a lot of money, right? And I used to be good copy. Veid and Reyer [?] wanted to get a story or a column and I always had something to say and so would my dad. So they call you, and then the nuts start calling you. The wackos. We've got plenty of those around, yeah. They are all over as a matter of fact.
Betty G. Grogan [00:19:35] Don, if I can interrupt a minute, I think Laura asked you, was it 1957 your father bought the Hanna Building?
Donald Grogan [00:19:40] You'd have to look at it.
Laura Brogan [00:19:41] It's in there. It's '57, yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [00:19:41] Okay. I thought you wanted to talk about that.
Laura Brogan [00:19:48] Let me just go back to the questions here. What factors do you attribute to the decline of downtown?
Donald Grogan [00:19:55] I've just been telling you. Yeah. Now, it is coming. Even then it was coming. But all these things hurried it along.
Laura Brogan [00:20:17] You're saying the decline would have happened eventually?
Donald Grogan [00:20:19] Well, I don't know how much, you see. But you do things to offset it, you hope. Except that people that you think that are working with you are really working against you because it's to their their own best selfish interests. John Kennedy, ask not what you could do for, you know...
Laura Brogan [00:20:45] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:20:48] And I said, oh, yes, come on, sit down. Oh, how's the Euclid Avenue Association? And you tell them we couldn't even agree when the Christmas lights were to be on! We couldn't agree when the stores were going to be open! Does that sound like Cleveland? That's the truth. And yet you had to be so careful of this, because your friend is your enemy only because it's a huge benefit to be your enemy. And the same hand in hand, you're walking to perdition.
Laura Brogan [00:21:32] Hmm.
Donald Grogan [00:21:35] And that's right. I don't... Between the Hanna Building and Public Square, probably 20-25 stores vacant. They used to fight to get on Euclid Avenue. Good merchants, gone. Howard Klein Burroughs, I think he had three or four stores. Clark's had three or four restaurants on Euclid, they're all gone. They're all gone.
Laura Brogan [00:22:06] You think downtown can be revitalized?
Donald Grogan [00:22:13] Well. If you got the guts to do it. And this guy down in Columbus had the guts. Steinberger [sic: Sensenbrenner] or whatever. He was very simple. You want water? You had to buy it from the city. Okay? That's what he did. He traded water for land and Columbus is far bigger than Cleveland now. And far more prosperous. Sad to say. I used to go to these cocktail parties where women seemed to take great delight [in saying], "Oh, I haven't been downtown in years!" Well why would they? They live in the Falls or the Villes or Pepper Pike and there's beautiful shopping centers out there. And really all eating away at... It was one of the greatest shoppers in the world there. Do you go downtown to shop?
Laura Brogan [00:23:40] The stores are gone now.
Donald Grogan [00:23:44] That's what we're talking about.
Betty G. Grogan [00:23:46] I used to a lot. It was great fun to go to Halle's Tea Room for lunch and Higbee's Silver Grille and now all that stuff...
Donald Grogan [00:23:58] She's a model.
Betty G. Grogan [00:23:58] Oh, we're not talking about that.
Donald Grogan [00:23:58] She's a model.
Laura Brogan [00:24:08] So when you guys would go down, when you would go down to work, she would go down and shop?
Betty G. Grogan [00:24:14] No, there were four kids! [laughs]
Donald Grogan [00:24:17] [crosstalk] She's very good at shopping.
Betty G. Grogan [00:24:22] It would be fun to go down for lunch and then to shop.
Donald Grogan [00:24:26] Uh-huh.
Betty G. Grogan [00:24:26] And I used to ride that Halle's bus that he talked about.
Donald Grogan [00:24:28] Well, every department store had a dining room and the food was good—really good—and well done and so forth. But...
Betty G. Grogan [00:24:44] You know, we went down to the stores at Christmas, it was very elaborate.
Donald Grogan [00:24:48] Oh, yeah, trains going choo-choo-choo-choo.
Betty G. Grogan [00:24:51] It was really very nice.
Donald Grogan [00:24:52] Shopping is over. In that day being a window trimmer was a very good job. And it has happened before in other towns and some of them handled it fairly well. But the trend is to escape any problems in the city. I think I was talking to... I think it was [George] Voinovich. He was a tenant of ours. And also a hell of a nice guy. And he was saying that Cleveland will end up with all the old, all the tired, all the broke, and all the blacks. And you can't do business then. That's sad. Can we revive the subway? You're stepping on too many people's toes just even to talk about it. But here's the thing. When you talk about reviving the subway... You see, this was to go right down Euclid Avenue. Then the people come out and they say that all these buildings will collapse into this hole. Well, that's not true. They did it in Toronto, Canada. And it made Toronto. They call it the cut and cover. As soon as you get something scooped out, you cover it up and meanwhile you've got these pilings holding everything together and you keep going on like that. Now, here's your chance to take out sewer pipes that are a hundred years old, electrical things of one kind or another. And this is the time to do it. And I... [inaudible] How old am I now?
Betty G. Grogan [00:27:59] Eighty-three.
Donald Grogan [00:28:02] Eighty-three.
Laura Brogan [00:28:04] March 27th, if I'm correct.
Donald Grogan [00:28:09] March 27th, 1922. Yes, yes, yes. I'd like to see somebody try it but I, you know... People don't seem to have any enthusiasm about it. Because anybody with any get up and go has already left the city.
Laura Brogan [00:28:37] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:28:40] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you'll be interested in this. In the middle of this fight [for] the subway. Full page ad. Plain Dealer. "Suburban Mayors Turn Down Vote on Subway." And then they list the mayor and where he's from. I think there's 68 suburbs around Cleveland, something like that, and they turned it down. Full page ad. Somebody paid for that and so forth. And what does that say? Well, they didn't give a damn about downtown. When you get in to survey the mayors, guys like Don Zimmerman of Richmond Heights and so forth—and I like that one—he was getting I think, eighteen hundred dollars a year as mayor of Richmond Heights. He soon jiggled that around where he was getting thirty-eight thousand a year. Now we're talking about money. But not only that, the suburban mayor can hire his wife, put her on the payroll. You got a cousin who's got a little something wrong with him? [laughs] Let's get him on the payroll! And then there's the police department. They all have police departments and the cops they're looking at their job. You know, they get retirement plans and all that stuff. And there's so many of these entities that the system works for them and works very well for them.
Donald Grogan [00:31:24] Through the battle of the subway, Zimmerman got involved in the Euclid Avenue Association and then with that involvement in the Euclid Avenue Association, he got to meet Walter Halle and these other people—Paul Hoover and so forth—and he built a nice law business out of that. And he was a dear friend of mine. And he's, he's dead now. But we'll find in there are pictures of Zimmerman. And he was a pretty good speaker. I remember they had mayor's court in Richmond Heights, Zimmerman as mayor. I think it was Monday night. And I used to go out there and watch him because he was so careful. Now here's what he was doing. He was a Catholic, but he didn't care. He passed the box at a Methodist church, [inaudible] church, [inaudible] wherever. Hey come on put some money in there... [inaudible] And he had his brother-in-law as city planner first. And they know how to work the system and how to live with it. And it's still because of people like them. And is it too late? I think so, unless you got a Steinberger [sic: Sensenbrenner]. Water for land. I don't see anybody here...
Laura Brogan [00:33:41] [Jack] Sensenbrenner, is that the man you're talking about?
Donald Grogan [00:33:42] Yeah, our mayor couldn't do anything like that. Sensenbrenner, maybe that's it. Our mayor couldn't do anything like that. She's doing the best she can. And some of her own people are running against her. You know, first thing, if somebody runs against you in your cabinet: out. Well, she doesn't do that.
Laura Brogan [00:34:18] When did you join your father's company?
Donald Grogan [00:34:23] Well, I can tell you, I got out of the Army and I finished up in the Reserve. And I think it was 1948. 1948, I joined. Never was any question about it.
Laura Brogan [00:34:46] That's what you planned to do?
Donald Grogan [00:34:47] Oh sure.
Laura Brogan [00:34:48] Yeah?
Donald Grogan [00:34:49] Well, he planted it.
Laura Brogan [00:34:53] Who was the person you admire the most.
Donald Grogan [00:35:03] [Pause] My wife.
Betty G. Grogan [00:35:05] No, your father. He adored his father.
Donald Grogan [00:35:09] Well, you gotta be [inaudible].
Betty G. Grogan [00:35:12] Your father!
Donald Grogan [00:35:16] I saw Ann Coulter on TV today. She's the conservative gal with a long blond hair and she comes up with some good ones. And she was talking about Bill Clinton doesn't know what to do. He's only 58. And he said I would like to be head of the Democratic Party. And he went to the Pope's funeral. And Ann Coulter said Bill Clinton is a horny hick. Ha! [laughs] How about that, huh?
Betty G. Grogan [00:36:06] That's a good one.
Laura Brogan [00:36:07] Do you remember when the theaters started closing?
Donald Grogan [00:36:13] Sure.
Laura Brogan [00:36:14] What was the city like then? Or what was the strip of land like where Playhouse Square is?
Donald Grogan [00:36:21] Well, it goes back. Why did the theaters close? Now, Hollywood makes the films. They have to have a place to show them. So they built theaters like those and Warner Brothers and so forth and so forth. And somebody brought a lawsuit that—he was some hick from out in the boondocks—that he couldn't get what he should get. And he won. So they started to divest themselves. The makers of films started to divest themselves of the theaters. And they did. It was bargain day because theaters are expensive and you got to keep them going all the time. And the early days, it was great to go downtown, catch a matinee. I'd meet her at the Stouffer's and we'd have dinner or something like that. But, you know, it's just not the same. It's... I don't know.
Laura Brogan [00:38:11] How did the Hanna stay in business when the other four were closing?
Donald Grogan [00:38:15] Well, they'd get on a run and they have the national theater league or some words like that. And they will... If a show has a good New York run... A lot of them opened in Cleveland. Katharine Cornell always opened at the Hanna Theater because she felt it was lucky. Always. But anyway, they got to the theater and they are on a run—the national theater league—and they know if they have a long New York run, then they go to Chicago, they can last six, eight months in Chicago. Sometimes they go to Toronto. And then they had some of those coasts. [Recording briefly stops].
Donald Grogan [00:39:37] ... these roadshows and the roadshow's managers keep things going because that's what they do and that's what they do best, and that's where the money is. And the Rust Belt was out of style. This is Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Detroit. And the other things just never were replaced. Because the producers of the films divested themselves of the theaters and they did it rather quickly. It's hard to make money on a theater. The Hanna was a legitimate theater. And Milt Krantz, the manager, was a genius. He handled everything. I don't know if you remember Milt, but...
Laura Brogan [00:40:54] I've been reading about him.
Donald Grogan [00:40:56] Oh yeah. Nothing happened at the Hanna without Milt Krantz. And he was running the Shubert in Chicago when I was at Northwestern. That was 50 years ago at Northwestern University. And I remember my father came in one day and said – he was so happy – he said, I got a guy named Milt Krantz to come to Cleveland. And he said, he won't stay there, he's New York material. But if he gives me a year or two years I can get somebody else. And of course, Milt is not well. He's getting older. But Milt was the Hanna. He used to walk down the opening of every show all the way from the back up to damn near the proscenium arch and then he'd look out around the house and then he'd walk back, it would be "Hi, Milt! Hi, Milt!" He loved it. And once he got back, the show started. A little show business there.
Betty G. Grogan [00:42:25] And he acknowledged you. Fourth row on the aisle.
Donald Grogan [00:42:28] Oh yeah, well, the owner's seats were always...
Betty G. Grogan [00:42:30] We had three seats on the fourth row.
Donald Grogan [00:42:33] D1... 102, 103, 104. Actually, the Hannas owned it then. But we just sort of walked into their seats, their owners' seats, and they... Mr. Hanna, who built the Hanna Duilding and the Hanna Theater, liked the ladies. And he was married five times. He was a good-looking guy, tall, very tall, used to ride a horse around town and he knew how to ride a horse. You gotta know how to ride a horse. But what the Hannas wanted, they got. Marcus Alonzo was the... He was the beginning of the family. And I knew Johnny and Mary, and all the rest of them, and they were a very important part of this community. And one thing that I always liked was attributed to him. McKinley got shot in Buffalo, New York. Some nut killed President McKinley, who had only been president a short time. Anyway, he was in his office, a Senate office in Washington, and they came in and said "Now Mr. Hanna, just take it easy. Take it easy. We got bad news for you." And he says "What's that?" You sit down now, take it easy. McKinley just got shot." You know what he said? "Son of a bitch, that cowboy is in the White House!" That was Teddy Roosevelt. And of course, I'm sort of a historian, and you will be too. And I think this living history is a good idea because somebody's got to do it. And I find the Western Reserve Historical Society very good, but they're cutting back. You see, it's funny. And heavy shooters, they don't throw the money around and contribute like they used to. They used to be able to sit at the board meeting of Case Western Reserve, and they say, well, what's our deficit this year? They'd say three million-five. And William Mather would say well I'll take a million of that and they'd just go around the table to make up the deficit. Those were the days. And it was deductible you know.
Laura Brogan [00:46:34] Right. What was your favorite show at the Hanna? I'm sure you guys saw many.
Donald Grogan [00:46:41] I think it's an easy one. The road show practiced, rehearsed, and opened here, directed by Abe Burrows, How to Succeed in Business Without [Really] Trying. Now, we had it six weeks. Sellout. I mean, it was a hell of a show, and those were just such good characters. But they had... Oh, there was... Dyan Cannon was in there and she married Cary Grant later on and so forth. But anyway, as the show was coming to an end, a friend of mine that lived over here, his name was Mario Boiardi. His father was the famous Chef Boiardi. And I remember having a party at his house—it was this gorgeous house—had a circular stairway going down to the bar and the best of everything. Holzheimer's [Interiors] had a good year when they did over the Boiardi house, believe me, and I have a picture of him too if you'd be interested in seeing it. Well, anyway, we got some busses and we all went to Boiardi's house, and we had a ball. And a guy that was playing the piano. His father or grandfather was Kálmán. Kálmán wrote a lot of these operettas and so forth. And I ended up at 5:00 in the morning down at the Carter Hotel. The birds were coming out. [inaudible] Okay. this is Mario Boiardi, and there is me with a can of Chef Boyardee macaroni spaghetti, which was the fount from which all blessing flow. He's coming in town. He lives in western Maryland.
Betty G. Grogan [00:49:32] Don, you might say when you brought musicals in. First of all, the Hanna Theater always set fifteen hundred and fifty people, and you would run musicals at the Music Hall. Want to talk about that?
Donald Grogan [00:49:49] Well, yeah, if we had a big show... The Hanna was fifteen hundred and fifteen seats, but if we'd take in the balconies on the sides, a little more than that. But anyway, Music Hall was enormous. Now, you couldn't see and you couldn't hear. But it held a lot of people. So we'd have 'em at the Music Hall. And because that's where you make some money, you got some seating. You see this? Oh, yes, I saw it at the Music Hall. The Music Hall was built, I think, because they were going to try to have the Olympics here or something at one time. Cleveland! Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [00:50:43] I'll just interject. My favorite, if you want to know, my favorite was Carol Channing in Hello Dolly at the Music Hall. I love musicals and it was wonderful. That was my favorite.
Laura Brogan [00:50:58] Did you guys go, I mean, what like once a week?
Betty G. Grogan [00:51:01] Whenever there's was a new show.
Laura Brogan [00:51:02] Whenever something...
Betty G. Grogan [00:51:03] New came to town. Yeah, yeah. We would see, oh yeah. We saw lots and lots and lots of shows.
Donald Grogan [00:51:13] Okay to proceed?
Betty G. Grogan [00:51:13] Go ahead, I'm sorry.
Laura Brogan [00:51:15] Oh, that's fine. You're fine. I'll be fine. Let me see what else is here. Historically, through the years, the city has seen many changes and transformations. What period you recall as having the greatest amount of change?
Donald Grogan [00:51:38] Well, I'd have to say when the makers of movies had to divest themselves of their outlets because so much depends upon those theaters bringing people down. You see, they start with the matinee at 11 o'clock in the morning and they run till maybe 1 o'clock in the morning. So you got this turnover and there were people. And just the Hanna, if we had a good show, Pierre's restaurant would be filled, Stouffer's would be filled. This was reflected around the whole neighborhood. These are people who were downtown enjoying themselves, spending money, and it gives life to everything. And when they don't come downtown, they don't spend the money and they don't do this and so forth, there's a gradual malaise that takes over. And that's what we've had here. And it's hard to fight because Art Falco's very good, and Art Falco, I know goddamn well, is struggling because, you know, when you bring in a show, a good show, a nice Broadway run, you have to guarantee them that they aren't going to lose money or they won't come to Cleveland, will say where's Cleveland? Give me a map. I want to look. They won't come unless you... We had, for instance, Lena Horne, we ran her at the Music Hall. And she's okay. The time before she played the Hanna. Now this was when she was married to a white guy. Later she married a colored guy, and all of a sudden Jack Pollock's got to get rid of half his band. He was the orchestra leader for the Hanna. He's got fifteen musicians. Got to be half black, you know. Everyday... Stagehands. Thing is, they're not gonna go on if they don't get this settled. So, unfair... Agents are unfair. They make a deal in New York or Chicago, and ten minutes after the deal is made, they're on the phone making another deal with somebody else, or they think they can make a little more money. Agents are really bad.
Laura Brogan [00:54:56] I saw when I was working on my project that you belong to the beginning Playhouse Square Association.
Donald Grogan [00:55:03] Oh sure.
Laura Brogan [00:55:05] What was that like?
Donald Grogan [00:55:10] Well, it was fashionable to belong to associations. Euclid Avenue Association, Public Square Association, Playhouse Square Association, and there was just another association, and we became members of it. The heyday, the heyday if there was a heyday, was before they had to divest themselves.
Laura Brogan [00:55:49] But they had to be... I mean, they all opened in the '20s, like '21, '22, and then they all were closed by '68, '69. So I mean you had a good... There was at least a good forty-one span for the Hanna Theater.
Donald Grogan [00:56:02] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [00:56:02] But the Hanna Theater...
Donald Grogan [00:56:03] Well there was also... Suburbia is also right out there. And you also having people clawing on your...
Betty G. Grogan [00:56:11] Don, you should tell them how the wind... When the wind blew through—I'll toot my husband's horn—when the wind blew through the Palace, the State, the Allen, the Ohio... Wind and the plaster was falling, he sent checks over the Playhouse Square Foundation to keep it alive, to start it up again.
Laura Brogan [00:56:33] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:56:36] Well, Skip Dodson was the head of it at that time, and Skip Dodson was a nice enough guy. But he would call me and he couldn't make the payroll. And I made it for about three or four months, and there was Gwill York—she was in on this.
Betty G. Grogan [00:57:06] And Lainie Hadden.
Donald Grogan [00:57:06] Lainie Hadden, she was very good.
Betty G. Grogan [00:57:12] Paul Shenko [?].
Donald Grogan [00:57:12] Paul Shenko [?]. We had a lot of people helping.
Betty G. Grogan [00:57:22] Ray Shepardson.
Donald Grogan [00:57:23] Ray Shepardson was a mixed blessing.
Betty G. Grogan [00:57:29] What a way to...[crosstalk].
Donald Grogan [00:57:31] We used to call him a likable rogue.
Betty G. Grogan [00:57:34] Well it said in there, I've read in different things about him that he was really good for the theaters but he really had no business mind.
Donald Grogan [00:57:42] None whatsoever.
Betty G. Grogan [00:57:42] Right.
Donald Grogan [00:57:43] But he had a powerful backer: Lainie Hadden, Elaine Hadden, Mrs. John Hadden. And she thought he was the son she never had, and she thought he was just wonderful. He dressed like a doctor, you know, and he had a stethoscope and everything else, you know? He's... And he always had his office in a basement or something. But he was a likable rascal or rogue. Take your pick. I liked him, but I wouldn't buy a used car from him, you know? That's different, and he's up in... And, well, it's... They go Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka... He's up in the... way up above Chicago right now and I don't know what he's doing. He is good at remodeling theaters because he says, used a lot of red. All ladies used a lot of red—and they like red—and I don't know what he is doing. He called me once. I tried to get him back. I lost the phone number already.
Betty G. Grogan [00:59:25] Really?
Donald Grogan [00:59:26] Well. He has a tendency not to pay bills. Okay? And that's why he kept moving all the time. Soon as the bills would get overwhelming, he'd find something else to do somewhere else. And these are the little people that he hurt, you know, the carpenter, the painter, and so forth.
Betty G. Grogan [00:59:50] Now, tell 'em about the rented wallpaper, when he was doing over the Hanna Theater. Everything was rented including the wallpaper.
Betty G. Grogan [00:59:58] How do you rent wallpaper?
Donald Grogan [00:59:59] Well, I don't know. I don't think he ever owned anything. This is Gypsy stuff. Ray, he'd be around long enough to. Well, he got married here. He married Nanette here. I was at the wedding. It was at Lainie's house, and I... They've been living together for quite a while. I was gonna show up with a shotgun and people talked me out of it. They thought it was in bad taste. I thought it was funny.
Betty G. Grogan [01:00:49] I don't mean to interrupt, but. Ray Shepardson went into the Hanna Theater and he pulled out all those fifteen hundred and fifty seats, piece by piece by piece on piles in the basement...
Donald Grogan [01:01:00] Threw 'em in the basement.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:00] Arms. Seats. And I went down there to try to retrieve D102, 3, and 4. I thought they'd be stacked orderly. Pile of seats, pile of seatbacks, pile of arms.
Donald Grogan [01:01:15] He didn't care if he left it. I mean that, that's for you to worry about.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:18] And those seats were repur[posed]... Remember they were recovered...
Donald Grogan [01:01:21] Sure.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:21] Not four years before, this lovely burgundy, and he took all of them out.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:25] Did you find your seat?
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:27] No.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:27] Oh, you never could 'cause it was too messy, too much...
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:30] It was just a mountain of arms. And I would, I thought that would be cute to have in the office.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:39] Right. Right.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:40] And it was just too much to look for 'em.
Betty G. Grogan [01:01:45] When the timespan... The theaters had closed and Playhouse Square Association had formed to try and save them, did you ever think that they would be what they are now? Did you ever think they'd be able to be that successful?
Donald Grogan [01:02:04] Well, no. Now this is Art Falco doing wonders, I think wonders with very little. He has to guarantee them. They won't lose money if they don't come. And he... That's expensive, and he... We had talked about it briefly, but it's a subject that is painful. It's kind of like being captain of a ship that's kind of going down. And if somebody told me that Cleveland—my town, I was born here—will be fighting it out with Newark, New Jersey, as the worst city in the United States, I wouldn't have believed it. I know about Newark because that never was any damn good. But that's the position we're in now, which is worse.
Betty G. Grogan [01:03:41] But the... I know the State and the Ohio, the owner, I'm not sure the date, but were going to raze them and make parking lots out of them.
Donald Grogan [01:03:52] Well, that was talked about, yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:03:54] Yeah. So I've seen pictures of the deterioration inside the theaters.
Donald Grogan [01:03:59] Well that they did.
Betty G. Grogan [01:04:02] And to go there now and see that they're still standing.
Donald Grogan [01:04:04] That was Sister Perry.
Betty G. Grogan [01:04:06] They're beautiful.
Donald Grogan [01:04:08] You don't turn the heat off in a theater! Now they're expensive to heat, about thirty thousand a year for the Hanna, vacant, just to heat it because the heat rises and... But if you don't heat it, the plaster starts getting funny and then it starts dropping. And they did that to all those theaters. They let 'em all go across the street, and had the results and then they came back in and had to do it all over again and a lot of little people up there doing their...
Betty G. Grogan [01:04:56] That's why I say when the wind blew through those four theaters, the Hanna Theater did well.
Donald Grogan [01:05:01] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:05:02] We did very well.
Donald Grogan [01:05:04] I'll tell you a cute story about the... There was a guy named Phil Garbo—true story—and he's a real character and what he did is he'd bring these artisans from Italy over here to two of our theaters and they would lay on their back, and they'd paint everything and so forth, so forth, and so forth. And he says, he'd tell this story. A guy is standing beneath the ladder and he's saying, Bergenson, we can't use Bergenson, you can't get around with my key, it doesn't mean anything. We gotta get another name. And he says, why don't you call her after me? The guy says, what's your name? And he says, Garbo. Guy says, That's it, Greta Garbo. Ha! Ha! Oh, Greta Garbo. That's how she got her name. I'll never forget it.
Betty G. Grogan [01:06:38] I never knew that. Was that a true story?
Donald Grogan [01:06:43] That's, that's the story, yes.
Betty G. Grogan [01:06:45] True story?
Donald Grogan [01:06:46] Oh. Well, Garbo told me. He should know. He was a real character. I loved him. He did over the Allen twice, 'cause they let it go, and these artisans from Italy, they would come over here and they'd make enough in six months, enough in six months, where they could go back to Italy and buy a farm or a house or whatever it was. They were... They didn't pay much in those days. Skilled labor. But we did. Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:07:32] Did you want to talk about the Hanna Building restaurant?
Donald Grogan [01:07:35] Well, we had many of them in there.
Betty G. Grogan [01:07:39] Twelve.
Laura Brogan [01:07:39] Wow.
Donald Grogan [01:07:42] It started out... Mr. Hanna, when he bought the building, they had just discovered Pompeii. So he called it the Pompeiian Room, and all the frescoes and scenery around there were Pompeii. And the next one was Klein's. Klein was a Jewish restaurant, and the guy's father was mayor of Bratenahl, and that didn't wor work too well. Then they brought in...
Betty G. Grogan [01:08:40] Them 'em about Monaco's wedding.
Donald Grogan [01:08:43] Monaco's. Monaco's was the best restaurant in Ohio, and they had... Ever heard of thé dansant? Tea dancing. In their ads. Well, if you don't have anything to do and you wanna meet a pretty girl, you to go in there and have a couple of drinks, and the band is playing, and you go there and ask some nice girl if she'd like to dance at four o'clock in the afternoon. You can only do that if you own your own business. [laughs]
Betty G. Grogan [01:09:20] Tell them about the wedding. The wedding reception.
Donald Grogan [01:09:23] Okay. Monaco's daughter Dorina is absolutely gorgeous. She's been married several times. The last time, some guy named Reed. But anyway, she was gorgeous, and she was married in Monarco's restaurant. And a few friends were invited, a couple hundred, and there was a buffet and they had... the pièce de résistance was a great big cake. And, you know, when you cut this cake, you weren't really cutting the cake, you were letting out these lovebirds, parakeets, and they all fly. Oooooh, they fly! Everybody's happy. Well, on top of those columns, there are tops of columns, and they get up there and if you come at them with a net, they go [makes a fluttering bird sound] and fly to another. And you'd get a net and you'd try to get a ladder, and then they'd fly to another. They'd [makes a fluttering bird sound]. Took 'em about a week to get 'em out, yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:10:45] With nets to get them.
Donald Grogan [01:10:45] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:10:47] To get the lovebirds down.
Donald Grogan [01:10:50] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:10:50] And may I interrupt for one minute? I've been working with Ruth Flannery.
Laura Brogan [01:10:55] Right.
Betty G. Grogan [01:10:56] And I've given her the whole history of all the restaurants, so if you want to check into that, it has all the restaurants and the years and the interesting characters that owned the restaurants. It was interesting.
Laura Brogan [01:11:12] Oh, I'm sure. I'm sure it was interesting to own the theater and just to be down there during that time.
Betty G. Grogan [01:11:18] Yeah, yeah.
Donald Grogan [01:11:19] Well, Monaco was absolutely the best, and he was a handsome guy.
Betty G. Grogan [01:11:24] I mean you would have to see this. You should... Really, there's an article...
Donald Grogan [01:11:27] Frank Monaco. The women loved him. You know, he'd kiss their hand. And he was always talking about this place in Italy and so forth. So one time, my mother and I went over there and we stayed at Monaco's home. And, by the way, at one time they were from Ostia, which was in northern Italy. They make a wine, very tasty, called ostibubante. That means it has bubbles in it. But anyway, we stayed there. It was a thing of... They were great ones; they weren't anymore. He had three sisters, Hope, Grace, and something else, and they lived there. And the big moment was when Frank came to see them and he would revive the glory of Monaco's for a day or two. He wanted his daughter Dorina, who is gorgeous, to marry this Italian. He was either a duke or a prince, and he had it all raked up, except Dorina was in love with an American guy and couldn't wait to get out and get back. But anyway, you got to touch there. And I never had slept with a mosquito net before. They didn't have any screens. They had Venetian blinds, but that doesn't help any. Gotta have a mosquito net, and it's got to be tucked under the bed. And you go to sleep with a mosquito net and you wake up in the morning and what've you got? There's bugs! All these bugs all over the damn [inaudible]. Oh god!
Laura Brogan [01:13:59] Who would tuck it in? If you already got in bed...
Donald Grogan [01:14:01] Oh you had maids.
Laura Brogan [01:14:01] Maids?
Donald Grogan [01:14:06] And courtiers. Oh, yes. Service. Yes. Oh, yes. Yes. Very good. Very good.
Laura Brogan [01:14:12] What is your fondest memory of the city? [recording stops briefly]
Donald Grogan [01:14:26] It was when we bought the Hanna Building because that was our flagship. We had our office there, you know, our office for a long time, and it was well-located and doing well, and I was very proud of that. And that's all in there. I don't know how we're going to work. I got to see that girl because I don't have any copies of any of that.
Laura Brogan [01:15:11] We could bring it back.
Donald Grogan [01:15:12] Will you do that?
Laura Brogan [01:15:12] We could make copies, and we'll bring it back.
Donald Grogan [01:15:15] Okay.
Laura Brogan [01:15:16] Promise.
Betty G. Grogan [01:15:17] That's valuable.
Donald Grogan [01:15:18] Right. Right.
Laura Brogan [01:15:19] I promise with my children.
Donald Grogan [01:15:22] Alright. Hope to die?
Laura Brogan [01:15:23] Hope to die. I have two beautiful girls. I would never give 'em up.
Donald Grogan [01:15:27] Oh! I got a witness here.
Laura Brogan [01:15:32] We have two witnesses.
Betty G. Grogan [01:15:33] We have goods too.
Betty G. Grogan [01:15:35] Goods on tape.
Donald Grogan [01:15:35] Oh, I feel safe. Okay, you take that.
Laura Brogan [01:15:40] Is there anything else you want to tell us before we're done?
Donald Grogan [01:15:44] Well, let me go through that and I may hit something. This is pretty sloppily put together.
Betty G. Grogan [01:16:01] Laura, do contact Ruth Flannery.
Laura Brogan [01:16:03] Oh, I will.
Betty G. Grogan [01:16:04] Because she has the whole history. A lot. And I gave her a framed original contract dated 1919 when Daniel Rhodes Hanna signed a contract with Gill and Sons for three million dollars to build the Hanna Building.
Laura Brogan [01:16:27] Wow.
Betty G. Grogan [01:16:27] And it's in script.
Donald Grogan [01:16:32] John Gill and Son.
Betty G. Grogan [01:16:32] Pencil in script, and it's all framed, and on the back they have these cute little nails. You know how they used to do these little nails to hold something in? And then I gave her original Hanna Theater...
Laura Brogan [01:16:42] What did the company originally do?
Betty G. Grogan [01:16:44] Hanna Theater stock books.
Donald Grogan [01:16:47] This was our twenty-fifth anniversary.
Laura Brogan [01:16:49] Wow.
Betty G. Grogan [01:16:49] Original shareholders with Shubert's signature and his brother—they hated each other, what was his name? J. J. Shubert and was it John Shubert? Lee Shubert.
Donald Grogan [01:17:03] Yeah, Lee Shubert.
Betty G. Grogan [01:17:04] They hated each other. They conducted business through their agents, and so on these original stock certificates, it has their signatures. And she's just got all the original stuff.
Laura Brogan [01:17:18] Okay, I'll email her. I usually I talk—I have a phone number—but I usually talk to her by email. What was... Your dad was a real estate developer who more than just the Hanna in different parts of Cleveland, different things.
Donald Grogan [01:17:31] Oh yeah, we had quite a few properties, yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:17:34] And tell 'em too, in Cincinnati, the Falks.
Donald Grogan [01:17:38] Yeah, he was a founding father of the Ruhr and Deed?. And he was worried about me. I was 31 years old and I showed no signs of getting married. Well, you can't build a dynasty unless you have something to build it on. So he was always trying to fix me up with somebody, you know. And they'd... We'd go out with a girl and they'd say, well, she come over to the house. So my mother was very nice for the... When I'd leave with the girl, my mother would see me later and say, Where did you get that one? [laughs] It was terrible.
Laura Brogan [01:19:01] How old were you when you got married?
Donald Grogan [01:19:06] I think I was in my 30s. I think I don't know when, actually. How old was I when we got married? This is my second wife.
Betty G. Grogan [01:19:27] No, I can't answer that question.
Donald Grogan [01:19:29] Oh, it's in here.
Betty G. Grogan [01:19:31] How long have you been married?
Betty G. Grogan [01:19:32] Thirty-eight years.
Donald Grogan [01:19:36] Best 38 years of my life!
Betty G. Grogan [01:19:40] I don't know how old you were when we were first married. I don't know, but there was a tragic fire in this house and his first wife died and the dog, and... But the house... You know, Don said that people die in houses all the time. That was a little...
Laura Brogan [01:20:03] Yea,.
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:04] Spooky. And it's true that people die in houses all the time. So we did some decorating and have lived happily ever after. There were four kids. They're good kids.
Laura Brogan [01:20:21] Do they all live around here?
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:22] Uh huh.
Laura Brogan [01:20:23] So that's good.
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:24] Ann, our youngest, lives in Grandma Grogan's house on Guilford.
Laura Brogan [01:20:28] Right.
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:29] And Molly lives in Pepper Pike. Mark lives in Pepper Pike. Tim just moved to St. George, Utah.
Laura Brogan [01:20:40] So, you.... Did the Hanna Building that sold in '99?
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:46] '99.
Laura Brogan [01:20:45] '99.
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:45] Yeah.
Laura Brogan [01:20:46] None of the kids wanted to take on the family business?
Donald Grogan [01:20:49] Oh yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:50] No, the problem was they all wanted to. [laughs]
Laura Brogan [01:20:52] Oh, they all wanted it.
Betty G. Grogan [01:20:53] And they all thought they were little Donald Trumps, and they fought...
Laura Brogan [01:20:58] Oh, really?
Betty G. Grogan [01:21:17] And... [recording stops for about 15 seconds] Oh, yeah, totally. But you know it was too much too soon.
Laura Brogan [01:21:23] Right. Right.
Betty G. Grogan [01:21:25] And none of them are really qualified to...
Laura Brogan [01:21:28] I'm sure he followed in his father's footsteps and he lived it for how long.
Betty G. Grogan [01:21:37] Yeah.
Laura Brogan [01:21:37] How many brothers and sisters did you have?
Donald Grogan [01:21:39] Well, I was an only child.
Betty G. Grogan [01:21:41] An only child.
Donald Grogan [01:21:42] Yeah. Yes. And they knew that after I was born, my mother couldn't have any more. So I had to be a good one.
Laura Brogan [01:21:56] You didn't have a choice, huh?
Donald Grogan [01:21:57] No. No. No.
Betty G. Grogan [01:22:00] You were a huge baby. Weren't you?
Donald Grogan [01:22:03] Yes. And I've had a good life.
Laura Brogan [01:22:11] When you went to Northwestern, what did you study?
Donald Grogan [01:22:16] Well, I was there on sort of a trial basis, and they didn't know whether they wanted me or not. But I talked to Dean Evans, and I used to go around acting, you know, I was kind of a ham. I was really good, but they didn't know it. And Dean Evans says, we'll take you if you go on the school speech. Now, this is... They talk about making speeches, singing, dancing. And lo and behold, one of my classmates was a gal named Barbara Bel Geddes. I never could get a date with her. Her dad was a famous scenery designer in New York, Norman Bel Geddes. But later she was on "Dallas" and a lot of shows. She was good, good-looking gal, Barbara Bel Geddes. And she... Dammit, I used to be pretty good about, just... At Northwestern everything was elevated. [clears throat] Northwestern was the headquarters, real headquarters, of the WCTU, that's Women's Temperance Association [sic - Women's Christian Temperance Union]. It's the world headquarters. No booze. But if you got on the El and you got to a place called Howard Street, one side of Howard Street is known as Evanston and the other side is Chicago. And there were more joints there so they could shake a stick at. Oh god I loved this.
Laura Brogan [01:24:58] [Laughs]
Betty G. Grogan [01:25:02] And then Uncle Sam called.
Donald Grogan [01:25:06] [inaudible]
Betty G. Grogan [01:25:07] And then finished up at Case Western.
Donald Grogan [01:25:09] This is Don Zimmerman. Downtown described as Cleveland's showroom [inaudible] subway... Those kinds... I loved that guy.
Betty G. Grogan [01:25:24] May I interrupt one more time? When Donald was talking about the restaurants downtown, Herman Pirchner's Alpine Village—we mentioned Herman Pirchner—was a big draw, wasn't it, Donald?
Donald Grogan [01:25:36] Yes, it was.
Betty G. Grogan [01:25:37] You went there for special occasions.
Donald Grogan [01:25:39] Herman is still alive. He's 96.
Laura Brogan [01:25:42] Wow.
Donald Grogan [01:25:43] That's pretty good.
Laura Brogan [01:25:43] Pretty good.
Donald Grogan [01:25:44] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:25:46] You know about Herman. Her and I have talked about that.
Donald Grogan [01:25:50] Did you ever go to any of his shows?
Betty G. Grogan [01:25:53] He used to get the rolling pin out when there were...
Donald Grogan [01:25:56] He used to sail out in his lederhosen. This is after he slid in carrying fifty steins of beer [clears throat] in his lederhosen and then he'd say, [inaudible]. How's that for a good laugh? It was a great show.
Betty G. Grogan [01:26:23] Then he'd give 'em a wedding gift of a rolling pin?
Donald Grogan [01:26:25] Oh yes, everybody had a rolling pin. "[inaudible] Cleveland Subway; Brennan sees Peril." There's Paul Hoover. God, he was a hell of a nice guy.
Betty G. Grogan [01:26:55] And Halle's was a lovely, lovely department strore. It was beautiful.
Laura Brogan [01:27:01] Did you take your kids to see Mr. Jingeling?
Donald Grogan [01:27:03] Oh, sure.
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:04] Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Donald Grogan [01:27:04] Sure. I think you knew Mr. Jingeling, didn't you?
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:13] I don't think I knew Mr. Jingeling. I mean, he was around. I don't know... I didn't know him.
Donald Grogan [01:27:20] She was a model, alright? I'm sure she knew Mr. Jingeling!
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:24] Whoever it was under his costume. I don't think I ever saw him without his costume. I don't think so.
Laura Brogan [01:27:30] Who was Mr. Jingeling?
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:33] He was the keeper of the keys.
Donald Grogan [01:27:35] He was the keeper of the keys.
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:37] And then Taylor's department store?
Donald Grogan [01:27:38] Where'd you get that one?
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:38] Laura Taylor's department store on Euclid Avenue? Did you remember Taylor's?
Laura Brogan [01:27:44] No, I don't.
Betty G. Grogan [01:27:47] Between Halle's and, well, back then Higbee's, there was one on the south side called Taylor's, and then across the street from Taylor's was Sterling Lindner, on the north side?
Laura Brogan [01:28:01] Right.
Betty G. Grogan [01:28:02] And then a Bonwit Teller and lots of carriage trade shops.
Laura Brogan [01:28:10] Who did you model for?
Betty G. Grogan [01:28:13] Bonwit's and Halle's. They were fun.
Laura Brogan [01:28:16] Yeah.
Donald Grogan [01:28:22] Here's the one when he [T. W. Grogan] made me president. 1966.
Laura Brogan [01:28:33] Your dad was a good guy, huh?
Betty G. Grogan [01:28:37] He was a peach. He was just a peach.
Donald Grogan [01:28:40] Yes, he was a charmer. He used to make speeches. I'd go to the speeches. I would try to emulate them. It was just personality. And he... I got along with him better than anybody in the family, but with him around, I didn't need anybody else in the family They were all fighting and actually ended up all suing everybody, everybody suing everybody. [laughs] That's when she came into it. Yeah.
Laura Brogan [01:29:32] Well, she must be pretty good because she didn't run.
Donald Grogan [01:29:34] No, she didn't. She's not a runner. Oh, no. She's a fighter. She's a fighter. And I give her a lot of credit. That's one of the luckiest days of my life. I don't know how the hell I ever talked you into it.
Betty G. Grogan [01:29:55] I don't either. [laughs].
Donald Grogan [01:29:57] You could've done a lot better.
Laura Brogan [01:29:59] Aw!
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:00] This is fun.
Donald Grogan [01:30:03] Would you marry a widower with four kids, young kids? Huh?
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:09] They're thinking, they're thinking!
Laura Brogan [01:30:11] I don't know, I can't imagine my life any other way.
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:14] Without the children?
Laura Brogan [01:30:15] Yeah, without my husband. We've been married 18, 19 years? 19 years? 18, I don't know. You lost count after a while.
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:23] I don't know how you do it. Going to school and two kids.
Laura Brogan [01:30:27] You just do it.
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:28] And working.
Laura Brogan [01:30:29] You just do it.
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:30] Where do you work?
Laura Brogan [01:30:31] I work part-time for Marc's. I only work two days a week now. I've cut my schedule back. Really thin.
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:35] Is that drugstore Marc's? Oh!
Laura Brogan [01:30:40] I work in the cash office, so I pretty much just go in the back, put the money away.
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:45] Oh, well you've a got a big job.
Laura Brogan [01:30:46] Mm hmm. It's okay.
Donald Grogan [01:30:49] But you get a skim out of that?
Betty G. Grogan [01:30:51] No!
Laura Brogan [01:30:52] You could get in trouble for that! Didn't we already talk about that? I have two kids. I don't want to get in trouble!
Donald Grogan [01:30:59] [inaudible] Get a flower fund, I say.
Laura Brogan [01:31:03] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:03] Are you going? Obviously you go to school together.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:06] Yeah.
Laura Brogan [01:31:06] Mm hmm. She's graduating that after the semester.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:09] Oh, well, great.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:12] One more month.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:12] And what's your major?
Meghan Wagner [01:31:13] History.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:13] History?
Meghan Wagner [01:31:15] Mm hmm.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:16] Oh, that's why you're here.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:17] Mm hmm.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:18] Oh, he sent you.
Laura Brogan [01:31:19] So we... as soon as she's done, she's taking the plane to California.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:24] Today?
Laura Brogan [01:31:24] No, as soon as she's done graduating.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:27] I'm sorry I lost my train of thought.
Laura Brogan [01:31:29] To her job in California.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:33] Yeah, I'll find something.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:34] Oh, and you're from Cleveland originally?
Meghan Wagner [01:31:37] Mm hmm.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:37] And what suburb?
Meghan Wagner [01:31:39] Avon Lake, so far west side.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:44] Oh yeah! I have a cousin who lives in Avon Lake, right on the edge, right on the water on Lake Road.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:49] That's near where I live, actually.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:49] Payne is the last name.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:54] I don't know but that's near where I live.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:55] Is it?
Meghan Wagner [01:31:55] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:31:55] Oh, so it is way over there.
Meghan Wagner [01:31:58] Yeah, I live like right on the Bay Village borderline near Lake Road. Not on Lake, but near it.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:06] Oh my gosh, it's pretty out there. It's quiet.
Meghan Wagner [01:32:10] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:10] It's pretty.
Donald Grogan [01:32:11] It's quiet.
Meghan Wagner [01:32:11] It is quiet. Very flat too.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:17] Oh yeah. Yeah.
Meghan Wagner [01:32:18] We don't have the hills that you guys do here. Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:21] So you're friends from Cleveland State?
Laura Brogan [01:32:23] We're in the same class.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:25] Oh okay. Well, when do you graduate?
Laura Brogan [01:32:28] Oh I have... After this semester, I have another year. I still have a while.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:35] Well you'll do well.
Laura Brogan [01:32:39] I hope.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:39] You will.
Laura Brogan [01:32:39] I hope.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:41] I hope this was helpful for you.
Laura Brogan [01:32:42] Oh, very much. Very much.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:44] Are you sure?
Laura Brogan [01:32:44] Yeah. Oh positively.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:46] Donald likes to get off on tangents.
Laura Brogan [01:32:50] Oh no, that's fine.
Donald Grogan [01:32:51] It's easy to do.
Laura Brogan [01:32:53] The questions are just a guideline. You know.
Betty G. Grogan [01:32:54] He likes to... A word or sentence will remind him of something...
Laura Brogan [01:33:01] Yeah.
Betty G. Grogan [01:33:02] And then he'll get off on that.
Laura Brogan [01:33:03] I think it was a good interview.
Betty G. Grogan [01:33:04] Do you think so?
Laura Brogan [01:33:05] Yeah. Mm hmm.
Betty G. Grogan [01:33:05] Good.
Donald Grogan [01:33:05] Okay. Good.
Laura Brogan [01:33:12] [inaudible] Last time the guy pulls the best story as we we're on our way out the door, and we had to set everything up again. So, just in case that happens.
Donald Grogan [01:33:23] Thanks for coming over, ladies.
Meghan Wagner [01:33:25] Thanks for having us.
Laura Brogan [01:33:26] Yeah, thanks for having us.
Betty G. Grogan [01:33:27] And if you have any more questions, you know, call. Call. Or stop again.
Donald Grogan [01:33:37] Don't forget to give me this.
Meghan Wagner [01:33:43] Oh yeah.
Laura Brogan [01:33:43] I promise I'll make my copies and then I'll call you.
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"Donald Grogan interview, 12 April 2006" (2006). Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection. Interview 304023.