Remembering Erving Goffman

Gertrude Frankelson:
Erving Came in, Kissed Me and Said,
“Oh, Goldie, You Still Have a Beautiful Nose!”

This conversation with Gertrude Frankelson was recorded over the phone on January 4, 2009.  After Dmitri Shalin transcribed the conversation, Gertrude Frankelson and Marly Zaslov edited the transcript and approved posting the present version in the Goffman Archives.  Breaks in the conversation flow are indicated by ellipses.  Supplementary information and additional materials inserted during the editing process appear in square brackets.  Undecipherable words and unclear passages are identified in the text as “[?]”.

[Posted 04-11-10]

Frankelson:  Hello.

Shalin:  Hello, this is Dmitri Shalin calling from the University of Nevada.

Frankelson:  Yes, you are about two minutes late, that’s all. 

Shalin:  Yes, indeed.  This is my fault.  I apologize.

Frankelson:  That’s OK.  Now, I don’t know why they asked you to call me.  They gave you plenty of information, I am sure, but my sister called me last night and she told me . . .  did you talk to my sister as well?

Shalin:  Not yet.  I am going to talk to her after our conversation later today.   

Frankelson:  She called me last night and told me why don’t you [talk to him].  Then my granddaughter called me here in Winnipeg and I told her I expect a phone call from you, and she said, “Oh, he got in touch with me too!” 

Shalin:  [Laughing]

  And my daughter told me last night from Vancouver and said she talked to you as well.  

Shalin:  That is true. 

Frankelson:  Anyway, I don’t know what you want from me.  But I’ll tell you what – after I spoke to my sister and my daughter earlier today, I wrote down a few little things I remember. 

Shalin:  Gertrude, let me ask you first if this would be OK for me to record our conversation and then send you the transcript.  You can check the text, make corrections, and so on.  Would that be OK? 

Frankelson:  Anything you do would be OK with me.  It is wonderful that you take time to talk to me and members of my family.   

Shalin:  I am grateful for your time too. 

  I go back great many years so far as Erving is concerned.  On one of my aunts, Mrs. Goffman’s, trips to Winnipeg, she said to my mother, “Let’s take Goldie [Gertrude Frankelson] home to Dauphin and have her spend a summer with us.”  I went with my aunt to Dauphin.  I was 13 years old great great many years ago.  There I also spent time with Erving’s sister Frances – have you spoken to her also? 

Shalin:  Yes, I spoke to Frances [Goffman] Bay, and I also spoke to Esther Besbris, Erving’s cousin. 

Frankelson:  Boy oh boy!  Anyway, I stayed with my aunt for the summer, and all of a sudden Erving comes to . . . there was a house next door where my aunt lived [that had] a great big yard full of junk, tall grass, and what have you.  He came into the house with the chicken in his hand, the chicken’s neck broken [somehow he wanted to kosher the chicken for his mother the way shoched does it].  He turns to my aunt and says, “Mom, how about having this for the supper tonight?”  We just about flipped.  I don’t know what she said, she certainly didn’t use it.  Let’s see, I was 13, Erving was 8 years younger, so he was 5 years old, and he was still getting to be what he is today. 

Anyways, during the year I lived with my aunt, my fiancé [from the first marriage] and I were in the bedroom.  We were doing what we shouldn’t have – we were lying there and kissing and cuddling and that’s all.  There is a window from our bedroom facing the back veranda, and all of a sudden we see Erving’s head stuck into the window, “Hi-i-i!  I am watching you, I am watching you!”  It was kind of funny.  I told Erving that I didn’t mind it at all.  That wasn’t that important. 

Then, years later on, we lived in Winnipeg.  Erving was a professor in the States then, and he was the alumni keynote speaker at the University of Manitoba graduation exercises.  One of my nieces was graduating at the time.  Her parents who lived in Calgary came to Winnipeg, and my mother and I went to the graduation exercises because we wanted to see Erving.  I phoned my aunt, Mrs. Goffman, “Aunt, Erving is coming to Winnipeg and I’d like to have the family at my place.  Let him meet them all, let them all meet Erving Goffman, that wonderful person.”  She said, “No, don’t you dare!”  That says it all.  So I cancelled all my plans.  Anyway, after everything happened at the University, everybody went into a great big room where parents and the relatives of the graduates [gathered] waiting for Dr. Erving Goffman to come into the room and discuss things with him and just spend time with him.  We were going to have tea and coffee and things like that.  Anyway, he came to the room, he happened to see my mother and he kissed her and said, “Hi, auntie.”  He kissed the graduation girl.  He walked to me, hugged me and said, “Hi, sweetheart.  I still love your nose.”  He had that thing about my nose.  Apparently I must have a very nice nose and he always commented on it.  He hugged me and kissed me, “I still love your nose,” and off he ran.  Everybody wondered, “Why is he going?”  Isn’t he going to stay and talk to the people?”  He wasn’t interested.  He caught the plane that same day and off he went back home. 

Shalin:  You said he left the room and caught the . . . 

Frankelson:  No, after the exercises everybody wanted to sit and talk to him, we ran to him but he wasn’t interested.  He said hello to all of us, he kissed us and off he went.  People whose children were graduating were asking, “Where is Dr. Goffman?”  He left and nobody knew why. 

Anyway, that’s another thing.  I remarried and my husband and I were on a trip to Montreal, and [from there] we left for New York to visit some friends.  We saw that New York was not too far from Boston, so we decided to go visit Fran – you know Frances Bay?

Shalin:  Yes, of course, Erving’s sister. 

  Because Frances and I were very close.  So Charlie and I got on the train and went from New York to Boston and spend two days with Fran and Chuck [Charles Bay, Frances’ husband].  All of a sudden, when we were talking, somebody knocked on the door.  Fran opened the door, she sees her brother, she was shocked because he [Erving] and his brother-in-law [Chuck] never got along.  They didn’t like each other at all, Chuck Bay.  But he [Erving] came over because he knew I was in town.  He came in, said hello to my husband, kissed me and said, “Oh, Goldie, you still have a beautiful nose!”  He had this thing about my nose.  I don’t know why. 

Shalin:  Interesting!

Frankelson:  OK, this is Boston.  He [Erving] married twice.  I didn’t meet either one of his wives, but as you know he had a son from his first wife, who is a doctor.  Then he married another woman when his wife passed away, and he had a daughter.  He had a lot of money, and I understand that he bought a beautiful home in Philadelphia.  But where he bought his clothes? – from the thrift shops.  He never wanted to buy clothes from the store.  He said, “I don’t need good clothes; the thrift shop clothes are good enough for me.” 

Let’s see now, my husband and I came to Los Angeles to visit my aunt, Mrs. Goffman.  We were going from LA to Vegas to spend some time there.  My aunt warned me ahead of time, she said, “When you get to Vegas, you’ll probably be seeing Erving there.”  I said, “Good, I’ll be very happy to see him there.”  She says, “No, no, no, no!  He is a dealer there in Vegas, and he wants to write a book about being a Vegas dealer.”  And she says, “Don’t ever let him see you.  If he sees you, walk past him and make it as though you don’t even know him because he doesn’t want anybody to know who he is.”  His work is on Vegas [casinos ?]. . . .  Unfortunately, I never had a chance to read any of his books. . . .  There was one in the city of Winnipeg a number of years ago and my sister-in-law who knew Erving very well was reading it.  She read part of it and she gave it back to us and said, “I am sorry I don’t understand half of what he says.”  I put the book away and I never had a chance to read it. 

Anyways, whatever I told you, Sir, I don’t know whether it [matters ?] or not, but as far as I am concerned, he was a brilliant man.  I used to visit him in Winnipeg when my aunty Annie moved to Winnipeg.  Erving used to walk around with the beard on his face.

Shalin:  Erving had a beard?

Frankelson:  Not a real beard.  He wouldn’t shave for days and days and days, and he was a good looking kid, my golly!  Beautiful dark hair, lovely dark eyes, just like his mother.  He didn’t care how he dressed or what he looked like, he was so interested in his books and studying.  That’s about all I can tell you.   

Shalin:  This is wonderful, Gertrude.  Much of what you tell me is new, or it adds an interesting perspective to what others told me.  Can I ask you a few questions about what you just told me? 

  Sure.  OK, what is it?

Shalin:  Could you tell me which language Max Goffman and Anne spoke at home?  Was it English, was it Yiddish?   

Frankelson:  Say that again.

Shalin:  Which language they spoke . . .

Frankelson:  Oh, oh, oh – they spoke English. 

Shalin:  Only English. 

  Well, once in a while my aunt would speak to some of her friends in Jewish.  I don’t know if I told you, I lived in their home for a whole year.  You see, I came to visit my aunt when I was about 18 or 19 or 20, and while I was there, a Woolworth store was opening up in Dauphin.  Now, before coming to Dauphin to visit my aunt I worked, off and on, at Woolworth store, and my aunt knew that.  My uncle Max, who was a wonderful man of the world, spoke to the owner of the building there and told him that his niece worked at Woolworth in Winnipeg and could she have a job there.  The owner of the building said, “Absolutely!”  So I was the first one to work at that Woolworth store in Dauphin.  Anyways, I was there for a whole year.  By that time I met my future husband in Dauphin, I worked for Woolworth for a year, then I decided . . . .  Oh, yes, I don’t know if they told you that about my aunt or not, but before I started living there and work for Woolworth, my dad who lived in Winnipeg at the time told me, “Look, you can’t live with Auntie Annie’s place and not pay her any money for rent, board and room.  You are going to be living there, have food and what have you, you’ve got to pay her some money.  In those days, and that was in 1935, I was making $10 a week at Woolworth, so my dad told me, “Give her $2 a week every week for board and room.”  I shared a bed with Frances.  My aunt had a big cupboard in the kitchen and a purse in that cupboard.  I told her, “Auntie Annie, I want to pay you, my dad told me to pay you $2 every week for board and room.”  She said, “You know, dear, put it in the purse I have there.”  So I put in $2 every week in that purse.  After a year of working at Woolworth, sometime before, I was ready to go to Winnipeg to get married.  So the night before I left, she said, “Come here,” sat me in the dining room and she took out a great big box and there, for the two dollars I had been putting in every week, she bought me a beautiful red satin housecoat.  And she brought me a couple of pairs of bras panties and nightgowns and a lot of other things as a trousseau.  

Shalin:  How nice of her!

Frankelson:  Yes.  My aunt always [was ?] fantastic. 

Shalin:  Can you tell me a bit more about Anne – what kind of person she was, how was she with her kids, with people who came to her house? 

Frankelson:  My aunt was the most wonderful woman in the world.  You see, my mother couldn’t read or write English; my aunt lived in Dauphin, we lived in Winnipeg.  In those days we didn’t use the telephone as often as we do now.  However, I used to write letters for my mother every week, and I used to read my aunt’s letters to my mother, and my mother used to sit down with me and dictate to me what I should write to Auntie Anne.  That’s how they got along every week.  Because I was the one who did all the writing, my aunt and I became very very close and very friendly.  When I lived in Dauphin, he [Max Goffman] had to go to Montreal to buy dresses.  He had two stores in Dauphin, and he had a lot of nieces, but every time he came back from Montreal, he always bought me a beautiful dress.  We were very very close, uncle Max and Auntie Anne.  That’s why I was so close to Fran and Erving, because I was close to their parents.  It’s too bad I don’t see Frances very often, but I try to keep in touch as much as I possibly can. 

Shalin:  You said your mother didn’t speak much English.

  Oh, yes, she spoke English to us but she couldn’t write.  You see, my dad had a hardware store on Selkirk Avenue in Winnipeg, so naturally [he ?] had to be in the store and she just didn’t learn how to write English, that’s all. 

Shalin:  I see.  But she could speak English well. 

Frankelson:  My mother or my aunt?

Shalin:  Ah-h, both. 

Frankelson:  My aunt spoke much better than my mother.  Erving’s mother spoke much better.  She was a little bit younger, but she was out more often than my mother was, they had more company, she did more traveling with my uncle.  She was awesome, fantastic woman.   

Shalin:  What is the name of your husband, Gertrude?

  My late husband or this one?

Shalin:  Both.

Frankelson:  Well, my late husband was Percy Buckwold, he lived in Dauphin and he died in 1952.  He was 46 when he passed away, and I was 38.  I had two children; my daughter was about 15 and my son 6 when their dad passed away.  I stayed in Dauphin for two more years until my daughter graduated and I moved to Winnipeg.  I had my parents there and my brother.  I lived there and worked for an insurance company for 7-8 years, and in 1960 I married my present husband.  He is four years younger than I am.  We have a wonderful marriage; on Sunday it was 48 years since we’ve been married. 

Shalin:  Congratulations!  It is wonderful to be married for so long.  And your last name is from your second marriage? 

Frankelson:  Oh, I have my second husband’s name, Frankelson.
Shalin:   It is F-r-a- . . .? 


Shalin:  Gertrude Frankelson. 

  That’s right

Shalin:  Tell me a little more about Max Goffman, Erving’s father.  What kind of person he was.

Frankelson:  He was a wonderful person.  He used to come to my place at Dauphin, play poker with my late husband and the men who were there at the time, and sing a Jewish song [?], drink hot tea and cold tea.  He used to come over on Thursdays to my place for dinner.  Unfortunately, I didn’t keep kosher, and one day a friend of his, who had a store in Dauphin, I had both of them for dinner, and not realizing [he ate kosher], I had a pork roast.  Uncle Max ate it and didn’t say a word, but this fellow told me he was very much Jewish that way.  He heard about the pork roast and said, “I don’t think you should have served it.  Now I suppose he will have to eat it.”  He ate it anyway. 

Shalin:  Did Max know it was pork?

Frankelson:  Say it again?

Shalin:  Did Max know what he was eating? 

  Yes, Max knew.

Shalin:  He just didn’t say anything. 

Frankelson:  No, he didn’t say a word. . . .  Every Thursday the stores were closed at Dauphin.  My uncle came every single Thursday to our place for dinner. 

Shalin:  Do you know if Max and Anne kept kosher?

Frankelson:  My aunt – I don’t think so, because there was no kosher butcher in Dauphin at the time.  I know she never served ham or bacon or anything like that, [but] I used to come home for lunch and she used to tell me to pick up some meat at Eaton’s.  No, they didn’t keep kosher at all. 

Shalin:  Was there a synagogue at Dauphin?

  As a matter of fact [laughing], let me see.  I was married in Winnipeg, and after I came back to Dauphin, my late husband decided that Jewish people . . . we had 17 Jewish families at the time we lived in Dauphin when I first got there, and he thought we should have some kind of [Jewish] service.  Anyway, he found a place, not a room but a building of some kind.  And he contacted a rabbi in Winnipeg and asked him if he could come to Dauphin for a few days on Rosh Hashanah Jewish holidays.  So the rabbi came, and we had one family in Dauphin who kept strictly kosher.  So we arranged for this Jewish family to have a rabbi to eat a meal, because none of us kept kosher.  Anyways, we had the services for a couple of days for Rosh Hashanah and a year later people said, ‘No, we don’t want to bother anymore.”  And that was it.  Did I answer your question? 

Shalin:  Yes, yes.  Was there a schul or something in town?  How religious do you think Max and Anne were?  Which kind of Jewish holidays did they observe?

Frankelson:  Well, on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah they went to synagogue, I am sure.  But as I said, when we were at Dauphin they had me pick up some meat at Eaton’s, so she couldn’t have been eating kosher meat then.  There was no kosher butcher at Dauphin at all. 

Shalin:  How many Jewish families were there at Winnipeg?

Frankelson:  Oh, in Winnipeg I have no idea.  [About 20,000 Jewish families lived in Winnipeg at that time].  When I married and moved to Dauphin there were 17 Jewish families, all of them had children, and children grew up and left and went to Winnipeg to go to work.  So that’s what happened.  One nephew of mine [is there] and no other Jewish families there whatsoever.  All of them have died.  

Shalin:  They are everywhere now, except for Dauphin. 

  I don’t know what question you are asking me.

Shalin:  No, no, I am just agreeing with you. 

Frankelson:  Oh, I see. 

Shalin:  The Jews of Dauphin are now in America, in Canada and elsewhere but not in Dauphin.

Frankelson:  Oh, that’s true enough.  As I said, when the children from those 17 families grew up, they all went to Winnipeg because there is no university in Dauphin, and the old people had passed away just like my late husband passed away and my in-laws passed away.  One nephew of mine, and he is not married to a Jewish woman anyway, and that’s about all.  There are no Jewish people in Dauphin. 

Shalin:  Is there a Jewish cemetery in Dauphin?

  No.  Prior to when my late husband passed away, a cousin of his came to Dauphin and said he got a double plot in one of the Jewish cemeteries here.  He was asked why he got a double plot, he is only 38 years old.  Maybe he would get married again.  And the late husband of mine said, “It doesn’t matter, better get a double plot.”  Unfortunately, when he passed away, my brother-in-law who still lived in Dauphin, asked me to go and sign the papers.  He wanted to be buried with his brother because his wife was not Jewish. 

Shalin:  Are you saying, Gertrude, that around 1960 there were no Jews in Dauphin?

Frankelson:  Yes, right, no Jewish families in Dauphin at all.  I went there once with my husband to see the family, but everything has changed.  I passed by my old house, and it was in shambles, it was a mess.  As a matter of fact, I never want to go back again.  Great many years ago, my son and his wife went there, and there was an old bridge that they named the “Buckwold Bridge” in the name of Marly’s father and grandfather, the Buckwold family.  My son Jack wanted his young son to see the name Buckwold, so he and his wife took the youngster to Dauphin.  He saw it, but he said that he can’t go back again because there is nobody there he knows.  He doesn’t want to go back anymore. 

Shalin:  Gertrude, I understand that Erving Goffman had a bar mitzvah.

Frankelson:  I guess I don’t remember.  I lived in Dauphin at the time, but I don’t remember him having a bar mitzvah. 

Frances told me he had a bar mitzvah, and so did Esther Besbris.  He gave a moving tribute to his mother there. 

  Oh-h, I didn’t make it.  Let’s see now, he is eight years younger; I must have been at Dauphin at the time.  

Shalin:  Erving was born in 1922.

Frankelson:  Well, I was born in 1914.  That makes him, what, eight years younger? 

Shalin:  Something like that. 

Frankelson:  No, I don’t remember coming for his bar mitzvah at all.  Anyways, I don’t know what else I can tell you that is interesting.  I don’t see what I told you as interesting whatsoever. 

Shalin:  It may not be of great interst to you but it is of great interest to me. 

  I’m glad to hear that. 

Shalin:  I am grateful for your memoires.  Can I ask you a few more questions?

Frankelson:  Sure.

Shalin:  Somebody told me Erving knew Yiddish expressions and used them in Chicago.

Frankelson:  That’s right. 

Shalin:  He must have picked up some of that back in Dauphin. 

  I don’t know if anybody told you that or not, but he married this woman Schuyler, and apparently her parents were very very wealthy.  They were able to make a lot of investments, but something happened.  She used to be very modest and her hair was done very quietly, but a few years after the child was born she came back from wherever she was at and she was dressed altogether differently – a lot of makeup, and so on.  Her personality changed considerably.  Apparently, she must have realized that because the first thing he knew she went up to the Golden Gate Bridge and she jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Shalin:  Wasn’t it the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge?  Did you ever meet Erving’s first wife?

Frankelson:  Pardon me?

Shalin:  Did you meet Sky?

Frankelson:  No, I didn’t meet Schuyler, and I didn’t meet his second wife either. . . .  I just heard about that.  You know, when you hear things like that you don’t get to [?] on the meaning of what they say.  But he had a son and his son is a doctor in [Washington ?], I think.  Tommie, I believe.  And then he got a daughter, I don’t know where she lives. 

Shalin:  She is a sociologist. 

  Oh, is that right?  I didn’t realize that. 

Shalin:  What else did you hear about Schuyler?  You say her behavior changed . . .

Frankelson:  Yes, she changed her personality somehow.  I’ve not seen her, I never met her, but when the family tells about those things . . . I was told that she changed drastically, and maybe she realized that that was not the way to do things, she wanted to take her life unfortunately.  That’s all I can say.  Erving was a very special person, so far as I am concerned.  Well, he was special. . . .   Frances and Erving were so close to me, Sir, because my aunt was so close to me, and my uncle Max.  They were wonderful aunt and uncle, and they did so much for me.  They introduced me to my late husband, and with my wonderful husband I had, I still have, two wonderful children and I was very very pleased that I have them. 

Shalin:  Erving had a home in Philadelphia . . .

Frankelson:  Yes, I was told he bought a home some place in Philadelphia.

Shalin:  Was it his wife’s home?

  Well, I was told that his former wife came from a very wealthy family and they invested money into certain things, and she made an awful lot of money because her parents knew what to do with the money.  I guess she told him how to do these things, and he went along, because when he passed away, I understand that he left my aunt quite a bit of money. . . .

Shalin:  I imagine he also left money to his children. 

Frankelson:  Oh, I am sure about that. 

Shalin:  Schuyler was not Jewish.

Frankelson:  Neither one of his wives is Jewish so far as I am concerned.  Erving was a wonderful person but he wasn’t that much involved in Judaism at all.

Shalin:  Did Max and Anne see it as a problem? 

Frankelson:  See, that I don’t know.  As I said, I was living in Dauphin, and I had my own life at that time.  I didn’t even go to the wedding of Erving.  Of course he didn’t get married in Winnipeg anyway.  No, I don’t think there was any issue.  Listen [laughing], my son, God bless him, he is 62 years old, he married twice both times to non-Jewish women.  But as long as he is happy and healthy, that’s all that really matters.  

Shalin:  Does he have children?

Frankelson:  Who, my son?

Shalin:  Yes. 

  He has 21 years old son, a brilliant boy who gets A’s at the university and he wants to be a professor either in math or in history.  He is at University of Manitoba and he gets all A’s.  He is a wonderful kid, Charlie, and I love him dearly, and that’s very important.  

Shalin:  Is your grandson interested in Judaism?

Frankelson:  No, no, no, no.  My son isn’t, unfortunately.  He is married to a second wife and she isn’t Jewish either.  He married his first wife, a very nice person, and I asked her to convert.  She said, “OK,” so I got a hold of a rabbi in Winnipeg, and he didn’t bother himself, he sent his daughter.  His daughter came over and started teaching my ex-daughter-in-law certain things [that seem ?] ridiculous.  Before she was almost finished, she told my ex-daughter-in-law, “You know, I want to go to Israel on a holiday, I want you to pay me some money before I go.”  And you don’t usually have to pay to convert.  Anyways, before that happened, she almost [?] my ex-daughter-in-law.  She said, “Before you can be a Jewish girl, you have to go into a pool and dunk yourself.”  My daughter-in-law asked, “Can I wear a bathing suit?”  And she said, “No, you have to go in the nude, and the rabbi has to be there to watch you.”  So my daughter-in-law freaked out.  She didn’t finish turning into a Jewish person.  My son married the second time [after] he divorced his first wife, and he said, “Remember, mother, I don’t want you to tell her to convert.  I don’t want to go through the same thing again with the other one.”  But I love my daughter-in-law, she is wonderful.  She and my son are calling us every single day from work, and they are two wonderful people. 

Shalin:  That’s terrific, Gertrude.  You are the lucky one.  

Frankelson:  I am very fortunate my son is the way he is.  We are both fortunate, my husband and I, that my son lives near Winnipeg.  He has a wonderful job here – he works for the Manitoba government legislature, and as I say, he calls me every day from work, and so does my daughter-in-law.  So we are fortunate.   

Shalin:  Lots of blessings to count.  Now, Gertrude, did you encounter anti-Semitism in Canada, in Winnipeg? 

  There is always anti-Semitism no matter where you live, there are always people coming along and saying, “Jews killed this one, Jews killed that one.”  We are used to that, and we don’t participate [with such people], and we hope that nothing worse happens.  That’s all. 

Shalin:  Nothing in particular that you personally encountered in Dauphin or Winnipeg. 

Frankelson:  No, we didn’t have any problem whatsoever.  My late husband’s family was very very well known in Dauphin and very well liked.  No, no, nothing at all.  I came to Dauphin and they made a party, made me a shower when I got married.  I belonged to the Lionelles Club, there were Jewish, Ukrainian people, Chinese people.  Nothing like that at all. 

Shalin:  I don’t want to tire you.  We’ll stop soon, but if you don’t mind me asking, Erving was training to be become a Las Vegas dealer . . . 

Frankelson:  Yes.

Shalin:  . . . Did he actually take a job as a dealer?

  Yes he did. 

Shalin:  Really, he worked as a dealer?

Frankelson:  He didn’t tell them his name or anything, and as I said, he told my aunt that if anybody of the family was going to Vegas not even look at him or acknowledge him, because he didn’t want anybody to know who he is.  He wanted to write a book on [casinos], but he wanted to be a dealer first. 

Shalin:  That was in Las Vegas, not in Reno.

Frankelson:  You know, it is all hearsay.  I wasn’t there but I was told.  Whatever I was told, that’s exactly what it is. 

Shalin:  These are good tales, whatever the reality behind them.  He might not have worked for long. 

  Oh, I don’t know.  I have no idea. 

Shalin:  They might have discovered that he was writing a book.

Frankelson:  That’s possible. 

Shalin:  I was told, also, that Schuyler was very good at playing cards. 

Frankelson:  I have no idea about that at all.  I hadn’t seen Erving before he passed away.  I haven’t seen him in years, because he never came up to Winnipeg, and we never used to go where he was working.  But I used to hear a lot about him from Fran, from my aunt, and that’s about it.   

Shalin:  You mentioned Erving’ visit to the University of Manitoba.

  That’s right.

Shalin:  I think this happed in 1976. 

Frankelson:  I don’t remember when it was. 

Shalin:  I have a newspaper article that was published in Winnipeg in 1976 in the Winnipeg Free Press.

Frankelson:  Is that right? 

Shalin:  I put it on the web site.  I will try to get you a copy of this article.  You probably don’t remember what he said in his address. 

  No, but could you send me a copy of it? 

Shalin:  Sure.  Maybe your daughter will help me to pass it on to you. 

Frankelson:  I would appreciate it very very much.  I want to read it and to show it to everybody and to my present husband who didn’t know Erving at all.  I’d love that. 

Shalin:  I posted on the internet several newspaper articles about Goffman.

Frankelson:  I’d love that.  We don’t have a computer at all.  My son has a computer, but I don’t want to bother him anyway.  If you can send it to me, I’d appreciate that.  You have my address? 

Shalin:  Let me write it down.

  It is < . . . >.  So whatever you have, send it to me.  As I said, I don’t want to bother my son, he’s got enough on his own to worry about. . . . 

Shalin:  One last thing, if you don’t mind.  You said Erving didn’t spent much time with the family when he came to give a talk at the University of Manitoba, that he left very quickly.   

Frankelson:  He didn’t spend any time whatsoever.  The only time I saw him was at the university when he gave that speech.  I was going to have the whole family at my place but when I told my aunt, she said, “Forget it.  Erving does not want that.”  As I said, he came to the room where everybody was waiting for him, he hugged me and kissed me, and he went to the airport immediately. 

Shalin:  Why didn’t he want to spend time with the family?  What did people say about that? 

Frankelson:  Well, I don’t know.  I don’t know.  Certain people he didn’t care for.  He wasn’t interested in seeing a bunch of people he didn’t know.  I can’t explain it at all, I am sorry.  We were very disappointed that he didn’t spend time here with us.  My mother wanted to see him but he just was in a hurry.  That was it. 

Shalin:  Some of Erving’s colleagues remember that he could be sarcastic, that he could make people feel uncomfortable.   

  Well, he never made me feel uncomfortable.  I think a world of him and of Fran.  I am going to call Fran on her birthday [which is] next week.  I’ll phone her and tell her I spoke to you, and I am sure she’ll be thrilled to hear about it.   

Shalin:  I will tell her I spoke to you.  And thank you very much, Gertrude. 

Frankelson:  I am sorry I didn’t not give you any information that is interesting. 

Shalin:  Oh, you did!  Why do you say so?  You told me so many interesting things. 

Frankelson:  Well, you send me whatever you can, will you, please?

Shalin:  I will. 

  Thank you very much, and nice speaking to you, anyway. 

Shalin:  It was wonderful talking to you.  Thank you so much.  You have a wonderful daughter. 

Frankelson:  You spoke to Marly [Zaslov]?

Shalin:  Yes.

Frankelson:  Tell me about it [laughing]!

Shalin:  We communicate through the internet. 

  She does that very often.  Marly is a wonderful person in the whole world. 

Shalin:  I will be talking to her tonight. 

Frankelson:  Tell her that you spoke to me, OK? 

Shalin:  OK.

Frankelson:  She should call me and tell herself. 

Shalin:  Thank you very much. 

  By for now. 

Shalin:  Take care.

Frankelson:  Bye for now. 

[End of the Conversation]  


* The Erving Goffman Archives (EGA) is the web-based, open-source project that serves as a clearing house for those interested in the dramaturgical tradition in sociology and biographical methods of research.  The EGA is located in the Intercyberlibrary of the UNLV Center of Democratic Culture,  Postings on the website are divided into several overlapping sections: “Documents and Papers,” “Goffman's Publications,” “Goffman in the News,” “Biographical Materials,” “Critical Assessments,” and “Comments and Dialogues.”  For inquiries regarding the EGA projects, please contact Dr. Dmitri Shalin,  When you cite the materials collected for the EGA, please use the following reference:  Bios Sociologicus: The Erving Goffman Archives, ed. by Dmitri N. Shalin (UNLV: CDC Publications, 2009).