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Interview with Gary and Maxine Silverstein

Silverstein, Gary and Maxine
Silverstein, Maxine
Green, Gail
Date of Interview: 
Jews and Charlotte, NC; Jews and the South; Jewish youth organizations' Jewish leadership; entrepreneurs; bar mitzvah; Jewish traditions; Jewish religious education; youth recreation; travel industry; tourism; travel and Israel; anti-Semitism; downtown retail; Jewish business owners; discrimination; Jewish identity; kosher food; Jewish camaraderie; Mann Travels and Cruises; religion
Long-time Charlotteans Gary and Maxine Silverstein discuss their life as members of the city's Jewish community and as travel industry professionals. Mr. Silverstein, whose family has a long history in the Charlotte area, recalls his childhood experiences in Hebrew school and his and his son's bar mitzvahs. The Silversteins talk about the important role Jewish youth groups like B'nai Brith Youth Organization played in their lives, and they discuss the network of relationships Jewish youth developed statewide. They discuss their experiences as the owners and operators of Mann Travels and Cruises, the receptivity of Charlotteans to a Jewish-owned business, and the pervasiveness of Jewish-owned tour companies. Within the scope of their business, they recount an instance of anti-Semitism they experienced. Both cite the many changes within the Charlotte Jewish community, like tremendous growth and more community accommodation. Through examples of their family and travel experiences, they discuss the crystallization of their Jewish identity.
Charlotte, NC, 1950-2000
Interview Setting: 
Jewish Community Center, Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Jewish Historical Society Collection
Collection Description: 
Charlotte Jewish Historical Society collection
Interview Audio: 
GG (Gail Green): It's March 12th, 2000. This is Gail Green interviewing Gary and Maxine Silverstein as part of A Day for History, an oral history project of the Jewish Historical Society. Welcome.
GS (Gary Silverstein): Thank you, Gail.
MS (Maxine Silverstein): Thank you.
GG: Both of you are I think rarities, Charlotte natives. Am I right?
MS: Well I moved here when I was eleven. Gary was actually born in Charlotte, so we're fairly close to a native couple--.
GG: Grew up in Charlotte.
MS: Growing up in Charlotte.
GG: What are your memories of, say your growing up here?
GS: Well again I started earlier than Maxine did since I'm a year older anyway. The, I started Sunday school at the Temple on Seventh Street was my first recollection. And I remember, and I could be wrong but I seem to remember that they would show serial movies every Sunday morning and that would get to you to come to Sunday school because you wanted to find out what had happened, what was going to happen next week. And then the screen would go up and you'd run behind the screen. I think the, the classroom is right behind the screen up the hallway. And we would go--. Of course I think it was my first year and after that is when we moved over on Dilworth Road, but my grandparents lived right up the street on Graham Street. So we would go there after Sunday school.
SE (Sam Enemen): Why don't you identify your grandparents for people who might not know who they are.
GS: Yeah, my grandparents were Benjamin Silverstein who was the second president of Temple Israel and one of the founders of Temple Israel. He had a clothing store here in Charlotte called The Vogue. They came in the late 1890s to Charlotte. I think they came from Richmond and ended up in Charlotte and had a clothing store. In fact the original services for Temple Israel were held above my grandfather's store.
MS: I actually moved here when I was eleven from New York. My father was transferred, we thought, for a year. And I have an identical twin sister. It was my mother, my father, my sister and I. We went from a small one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn to a house on Sterling Road, a beautiful house that my father's company rented for us for one year, a furnished, a furnished house with a library and a beautiful back yard. So it was a very exciting time in my life. My first week here I got a bicycle and a cocker spaniel, and I thought that was the most wonderful thing because previous to that, I had been allowed to play on an apartment building on the roof, in the roof garden. I really couldn't go outside by myself in Brooklyn at that time. We immediately joined a synagogue when I moved here. We joined Temple Beth El and I actually, until I married Gary, was a member of Temple Beth El. And I, I, I loved joining a synagogue right away. We did belong to a synagogue in New Yo--, in Brooklyn. It was called Union Temple, but it was really not really a synagogue. It was a very Reformed synagogue, with a swimming pool on the fourth floor. And we, we went there sporadically. But when we joined Temple Beth El here, we became active members. And my sister and I went to Sunday school every week. We were not bat mitzvahed because at the time when we moved here, we had not really been to Hebrew school. And we thought about that really seriously, but at eleven it seemed almost too late to start taking Hebrew lessons. So I, I was not bar mitzvahed. [RECORDING INTERRPUTED, THEN RESUMED]
SE: OK. We're--. Go ahead, Gail. Thank you.
GG: Gary, were you bar mitzvahed at Temple Israel?
GS: Yes, everybody during my time, all the boys especially were bar mitzvahed. My, my, in class we were all really good friends. I had Robby Stern and Mike Pressman, Jerry Goodman, Roger Grosswald. It was the whole group that were all members at Temple Israel. In fact back in those days Temple Israel was so much larger than Temple Beth El, so all of my friends were at Temple Israel. In fact Maxine and I, the only reason we met was from BBYO. We really didn't know each other even growing up in the same city and just a year apart, is the fact that we were--. She was dating someone who was staying in my house for BBYO, BBYO convention, and that's how we met. So it was a, that's what brought us together. I remember my bar mitzvah. I think the party for my bar mitzvah was the Barringer Hotel. That was the big deal back then was to be able to go to the fancy Barringer, which I think today is a home for people with low income, low-income housing for the elderly, today downtown. But that's where we had the party for my, after my bar mitzvah. I can remember, all I can remember was my Aunt Minnie Sutker was a, had her classes that she had taken at Queens College was in elocution. And she made me go to, she came for weeks before and had me up on the bimah and would listen to me go over my, my whole spiel for the bar mitzvah and would tell me to slow down or, you know, pronounce this way or that way and everything about it. It was a, I can vividly remember my days in Hebrew school. They were, they were a lot of fun. It was who could get thrown out the first, who could aggravate the teacher the most and who could, who could break into the Coke machine. I, at one time we had a key to the Coke machine and that the excitement of the day is to open the Coke machine and get free drinks out of the Coca-Cola machine. It was--.
GG: Temple Israel.
GS: Temple Israel on--,
GG: Dilworth Road.
GS: Dilworth Road. In fact I remember the day that I got into a--. We were chasing a young fellow--and I can't remember his name--around the building, and there was a cloakroom downstairs--, a little coatroom in the social hall and I climbed up, tried to get in the social hall, fell, and busted my tooth wide apart and had to go to Jack Freedland and have a root canal. And back then root canals were unheard of. I think Jack was one of the first people to ever even do anything like that. In fact he was teaching it worldwide at the time on doing root canals. But it was just the fun and games of Temple Israel. We used to hide up in the--, upstairs above the bimah. There was a spiral staircase. It was, it was, it was a lot of fun.
MS: Gary's uncle, Louis Silverstein, was the very first bar mitzvah in Charlotte. So probably when you were bar mitzvahed, it might have been the, a, the first, a second generation--.
GS: Yeah, because my dad was bar mitzvahed in Charlotte.
MS: Gary's dad, Isadore Silverstein.
GS: Of course, my dad was a few years younger. My dad was born here in 1903, and he was bar mitzvahed at Temple Israel, and of course then myself, and then our son.
MS: It was--. When our son was bar mitzvahed, it was the very first third generation of a family to be bar mitzvahed in Charlotte. And I know the invitation I selected said, "As my father--." "As my grandfather and father before me," and it was so appropriate for our family.
GG: You all mentioned meeting through BBYO. During your teen years did you find--? Of course, the community then was much smaller and fewer Jewish teenagers. Did you find yourself seeking Jewish friends [Pause] primarily?
GS: Yeah, I think especially. I think both of us, it was that way. I, you know, growing up in town and going to--. I remember my days at Dilworth Elementary when I would have to go out of the room when they were teaching the New Testament and, you know, things like that. That you really tended to be your, your close friends and, and, were all the Jewish kids in town became your friends. And BBYO was so important that way. And our friendships that we've made throughout the state. I mean we have such good friends that we still see today from the Greensboros and the High Points and the Wiston-Salems and Asheville. And, and, the, the shame with those communities are they don't have the BBYO groups like they, like they used to because so many of the kids didn't come back to their towns. They didn't, they didn't want to move back to the Wisnton-Salems or High Points. They wanted to go to a bigger city. It might be Charlotte, or it might be Atlanta in that situation.
MS: I remember when I was eleven, one of the first questions I was asked is "What church do you belong to?" when I first moved here. And in, in New York growing up no one ever asked. It was just whatever you are is whatever you are. But I think when I, when I first moved here, Jewish identity became so important, and I, I think that's such a positive thing. I think that that's something we're all proud of to be affiliated, and I, I think our children felt that, too. Maybe growing up here because there were fewer Jewish people, we all sought each other out, and the friendships that we built were so important. But I, I know BBYO for both of us was, was such a great, it was, it was so active back then. And it was such a nice way not just to meet people from Temple Israel that I as a Temple Beth El member didn't know, but people from all over the state. And as Gary said, we've still maintained some of these friendships. Last year we had a BBYO reunion in Charlotte at the JCC, and it was wonderful. About a hundred people came in from all over. And seeing people we hadn't seen for such a long time. And, what we're finding now with our children they're, they've maintained friendships with the children of our friends. So that's been great also.
GG: Let's flip forward to the present. You all are the owners of a very large, very successful travel agency in this city. How did you get into this business?
GS: It was a, it was really quite unusual. My, my dad's business that I ended up taking over was a store called the National Hat Shop. The National Hat Shop was almost a institution downtown; he started in 1932. And we were the outlet for all the tickets for all the events before Ticketron, or Ticketmaster, or the Internet ever had been, been a twinkle in anyone's eye, tickets were sold, actually paper tickets. We were one of the outlets for that. We sold tickets to even the Washington Redskins in Washington, D.C. at the time. It was really unusual and, and all the events. I mean, and I, today I guess they're not called rock and roll shows, but that's what they were called back then, when, when Buddy Holly would come to Charlotte or Elvis Presley or stuff like that. And we were the only ticket outlet other than the Coliseum. So I ended up after I graduated from college in accounting, and worked for an accounting firm for a year or so, ended up at Eastern Airlines after Maxine and I had been married. And I ended up at Eastern Airlines in the computer division. They happened to have a computer division in Charlotte, a UNIVAC center, that did flight planning, and I was in charge of budgets. And then when Maxine became pregnant, we were, been married for several years, and when she was pregnant with our first son I decided I might want to get a real job. So I went and took over my dad's clothing store, and, which was fun; I enjoyed the store. It was real nice. But the problem was downtown retail were starting to become a, a thing of the past. What's happened to all the cities other than maybe the New Yorks and Chicagos is that downtown retailers just, it's hard for them to exist today. So before that was really happening. And at the end of it we had decided to get back into the travel business. And it was going to be a situation that Maxine was going to come in and work part time, since we had two children.
MS: Ten, ten to two.
GS: Ten to two was going to be her schedule. And we had a good, good friend who's still a close friend Paul Edelstein who was going to be in there full time. So we formed the travel agency. It was Edsil Limited. E-D-S-I-L for Edelstein and Silverstein, and we ended up by a quirk buying Mann Travels, and instead of starting one from scratch which we were going to do.
MS: Well, Harry Swimmer had suggested it--.
GS: Yeah, Harry Swimmer was a good friend of Paul's and was a friend of Dave Mann who really I didn't know Dave Mann. Dave had belonged to Temple Beth El, and I really didn't know him. His kids were younger than, than Maxine and I. And we really didn't know Dave, but Harry Swimmer had suggested we talk to Dave. And we went over to just talk to him for some ridiculous reason. I thought it was crazy. Why would you want to talk to someone who was going to be a competitor of yours about should you get in the business. Of course he's going to say no. I mean why would he want to say, "Oh that's what I need more competitors." And he closed the door and says, "Do you want to buy my agency?" And--.
MS: Twenty-four hours later--.
GS: Twenty-four hours later we owned his agency. And needles to say Maxine never worked ten to two. She worked full time from the very beginning. About two years into the business or a little bit less Paul said he couldn't stand it anymore. He couldn't stand being on the bimah and having people ask him what airfares were to different cities. It was not, it was aggravating. So he decided to get out, and it was either sell the whole company or sell out to us, and we bought his share. And I came over and decided it was much more fun to open an envelope and get a check in the mail, rather than the clothing the store where I opened an envelope and it was a bill all the time. So I ended staying and, and we ended up closing the trav--, clothing store because they decided to put a park where our building was. In the infinite wisdom of the city, the buildings downtown that were really beautiful historic buildings were torn down to put a park right on the Square, and that's where our store was. So we were--. It was probably the best thing. And they say things happen for a reason. It was probably the best thing, and we ended up closing the store in 1983. In the mean time I had already taken full time interest in the, in the travel agency.
MS: One of the things that happened with the agency is we all bought different things to the table when we first started it. I actually had worked for Eastern Airlines for seven years. My father passed away my sophomore year at college. I was at WC, which is now UNC Greensboro. And I finished my sophomore year, but after that I felt like I needed to work and Eastern Airlines was hiring at the time. They have a, they had a huge reservation center in Charlotte. And they were adding seventy-five reservation agents. And when I went to interview the fellow said to me, "How do you feel about flying?" And I said, "Is there any other way to travel?" And I was hired right on the spot. But I worked for Eastern for seven years, a year in reservations and then six years doing tour planning. So I had the vacation experience. Gary was an accountant by education, so he had accounting experience. And Paul Edelstein, our first partner, was a programmer, so he had the computer experience. So we really did bring together three people who had different levels of expertise. At the time a lot of the people that were in the travel agency business started travel agencies because they like to travel. Gary and I got into it because we like to eat, and we needed to earn a living. [Laughter] So that really--, I think kind of dedication back then we've always really felt. We, we've run it like a serious business, not like a hobby. And that seems to be after almost twenty-one years, May 1st it will be twenty-one years, we find that a lot of people have not taken our business really seriously. And it's just changed so over the years. But we're still in it.
GS: I mean that really was the biggest difference in, in our business and other peoples was--. I remember when we put an ad in the Gastonia phone book, I had a gentleman call me and said, "If you want the damn Jewish business you can have it, but why do you have an ad in the phonebook, because I've never had an ad. I've been here twenty-five years, I've never had to put an ad in the phone book." So people were so lackadaisical that ran the agencies back then. It wasn't a business. Or they felt that if customers want to use them they'll come; they didn't have to go out and promote anything.
MS: And then years ago there, there--. There still is an organization, it's called (SKOL), and it's a travel organization. I think at one time it was men only. Now women are allowed in it. But, how many years ago was it Gary?
GS: Probably eleven years ago.
MS: About eleven years, and Gary's name was brought up for membership and he was blackballed by two people for anti-Semitic reasons. And we know that because it was told to us. Now they would give anything to have Gary be--. The organization still exists in Charlotte, and they would have anything to have Gary as a member and he would not even consider joining because of that. The, the two I think someone in Shelby and someone in smaller towns, they did not want a Jewish member.
GG: I was going to ask you if you had experienced any anti-Semitism, but I was thinking more from the standpoint of people, your clients?
GS: From the outside, clients.
GG: From the outside not from the inside.
GS: Well, it's funny you say that because so many people within the, in the travel business itself are Jewish. You know, the chairman of the board of Royal Caribbean is Jewish; the chairman of the board of Princess Cruises is Jewish; Carnival Cruises is owned by the Arison family who are Israelis, Jewish family; the president of Premier Cruises is Jewish; so the president of Classic, Custom Classic Hawaii Vacations is Jewish. So there's a lot.
MS: GOGO Tours, Fred Kassner.
GS: GOGO Tours, Fred Kassner is Jewish. Travel Impressions, the second--. The largest tour operator in the United States, GOGO, was Fred Kassner. The second largest was Travel Impressions another Jewish family. So there are so many Jews in the wholesale side, and still a lot of Jewish people are in the travel business not in this area, but if you get into the New York areas and the West Coast areas. But we really, we probably had some problems, but we're not awar--, you know, that we're not aware of. No one has said, "I'm not using you because your Jewish" that we know of. It's probably disappointed us sometimes that people who are Jewish haven't used us, maybe because we were Jewish, which was disappointing because there's a German agency in town Hapag-Lloyd, and we can't get the German business. I mean they, they are so nationalistic they always use the German agency. And I guess it's surprising to me because my doctor was always Jewish, my lawyer was Jewish, my accountant is Jewish and stuff like that.
MS: Pediatrician.
GS: And our pediatrician was Jewish. So we're always growing up here we're cognizant of trying to support fellow Jews. And I think as our community has grown that's probably not the case even though we still feel that way from growing up in a smaller city like this. Maybe the people that come in from other areas, hey it's no big deal what does it matter anymore so--.
MS: I think that's always been a disappointment to us. I guess we thought because we worked so hard and we do run such a fair, ethical business and we have given, whenever the Jewish community has needed airline tickets and things like that, we have always. I can't remember a time where we've said no. And I guess we felt like maybe we would become the Jewish travel agency of Charlotte, and that's really not the case. But you know what--?
GS: But that's business.
MS: Life goes on. I know.
GS: Yeah. So it's no big deal but--.
MS: And our business has grown in spite of it. [Laughter]
GS: But I think it shows the change in the Jewish community.
MS: Yeah.
GS: I think the original Jewish community years ago that wouldn't
MS: Agree.
GS: have been the case as it is today. And, and is that bad? I don't know. I think it was something to be said for the closeness we all had years ago growing up. Although I think that having the J instead of Suttle swimming pool to go to, like I had to go when I was first growing up when there was no place that Jews to go swimming is, has helped a lot of bringing a lot of the Jewish families together. It's a, the disappointment maybe could be that someone with young kids maybe is not a member. I mean I just can't imagine that. I can't fathom that being the case, but I'm sure it is.
GG: I know the Jewish community has definitely benefited from your expertise, not just in your always very generous donations of travel accommodation, but also the way you have shared your experiences in traveling and bringing to life Jewish history and Jewish destinations and--.
GS: I mean the travel is really fun. We, we were just in Norway and it was really interesting. We were on a ship and there were, there were a lot of Jewish families on the ship. And we were in a, a town called Trondheim. And Trondheim has supposedly the most northern synagogue in the world as far as latitude, longitude or whatever it would be in, in, in where it's located. And it's a small synagogue, and unfortunately it's, it's having problems today surviving because so many of the Jews in Norway were, were killed or left during the Second World War. And a lot of the families have come back and the, and the mixed marriages and stuff. They just don't have a strong synagogue like they used to. But what I was alluding to was we get off the ship and we want to go see the synagogue. Number one for the, for the articles Maxine writes, but we just like to see these things when we travel. And it was amazing to see the number of people, the Jewish families that got off the ship and went over there.
MS: People we didn't even realize were Jewish that we ran into.
GS: That had to go see the synagogue. I mean I, just amazing. I'm, I'm sure the Christians getting off certainly didn't want to go see a church. They could care less about it, but it's just amazing how the, how the Jews made an effort to go see the synagogue.
MS: And I find now as we've gotten older our, our, our Jewishness is so much more important to us. We're getting ready now to go to Costa Rica in two weeks, and we're only going to be there for two nights, and then we're boarding a cruise ship to go on a cruise through the Panama Canal. But we've made arrangements one of the nights is Shabbat to go to synagogue in San Jose. And we're really looking forward to that.
GS: It's funny you, you're--. As, as--. Whether you are religious or not you become more religious. I mean when we're on the ship and they have the Shabbat services we're always there for the Friday night services. We're here in town, we just take it for granted, which is a shame. I mean, I mean I wish we were different sometimes but we, you know, it's either do this or do that and stuff like that.
MS: And you get pulled in so many different directions. But I think with growing up in Charlotte, I think it's made both of us feel very proud of our Jewish identity.
GS: And I think our kids are the same way.
MS: Yeah.
GS: Yeah, both of our kids.
MS: Both of our kids looked for schools. I mean when we were going through the college, the process of looking for schools it was very important to both of our children that they go to schools that had a, a good strong Jewish enrollment. And I think part of that is growing up in a community like this, where you seek out other people and you, you just do feel proud of your Jewish identity.
GG: I know you've traveled to Israel. Do you travel there as tourist or as--?
MS: As tourists or--?
GS: Well, we did.
MS: We've been there twice.
GS: Well both of us went one time as travel agents really on, on travel agent trips to, to show--.
MS: As guests.
GS: As guests of the Israeli government, and we have since gone back with our children to do it as tourists.
MS: As a family.
GS: Took actually a tour, one of the tours we sell, a package that we sold, we went on that tour to see the country.
MS: It was great. We were very lucky. In my first time I roomed with someone non-Jewish, and that was so interesting and really so lucky for me. It was a trip sponsored by the Israel tourist office and rooming with someone non-Jewish, and learning about the country from a Christian point of view, too, was, was just mind boggling all the different things. And then we were lucky enough probably about five years later to go as a family and actually do a tour and not have to act like travel agents. Just act like regular people with our two children. We'd love to go back. We were actually invited back last year, but because of business we weren't able to go.
GS: It's amazing to go. I mean, and probably the most amazing thing is to me is that there are people that don't go
MS: Yeah.
GS: or have never made the effort to go because it has got so much to, to, to see. I mean it just is an exciting place. I mean--.
MS: Even if you are not a religious person the, the archeology, the wonderful, the art. We've brought back fabulous art from our, for home from Israel. Just the, the difference. There's something in that country for everybody. And I think, I've always--. I mean we've gone some of the times we've gone have been times that there might have been an unrest going on there but we've always felt very safe. And you do feel safe when you're there. I mean the security on El Al Israel Airlines is the best in the world. Other airlines have copied, have tried to copy what they've done to make their fliers, travelers feel so safe.
GG: Well many would say the world is getting smaller, but for the Silversteins it seems to be rapidly--. The horizons are endless.
GS: It's small. You know it's amazing that you travel and you run into people in different places. We were on a cruise one time off the, from L.A. down to Acapulco and we met our, the rabbi on board had been the rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom.
MS: The first rabbi here.
GS: The first rabbi here at Beth Shalom, had been in Charlo--. And we didn't really know him very well, didn't really honestly remember him. But you just run into people everywhere. It's, it's scary how small the world really is when you travel. We would--.
GG: What about our Jewish community. The changes that have taken place in your
MS: Oh, it's amazing.
GG: young lives. [Laughter]
MS: I know when I go to the JCC and I don't know so many people, and people ask me when I moved here and when I tell them fourty-five years ago I mean they just can't imagine it. I mean we love what's happening with our Jewish community because at one time you knew everybody. And I think it's so exciting now to have all these new people. So many young people are here. So many young married couples. Couples our age who have come here. I mean for every, every reason. We love what's happening with the community.
GS: Well it's been, it's--. I think we're the envy of the state probably. I'm not sure what's going on in Raleigh, but when I talk to people in the Ashevilles and the Winston-Salems. And when we were growing up High Point had a vibrant community. They had their own BBYO organization there; Winston had their own; Greensboro had their own; Asheville had their own, and today they just don't have what Charlotte has to offer anymore. And unfortunately the kids--.
GG: Why do you think that that just happened here.
GS: Well I think that J had a lot to do with it.
MS: Yeah, I agree.
GS: I think the Jewish Community Center that we were able to, the people that had the foresight to put, to do that it's, it's just fantastic what was done. And I think that is the main thing. The kids will come in and they used to tell our kids in, in Winston what they did was hung out at the mall. Well here they can hang out at the J and see each other.
MS: Yeah, like when our children who were now, our daughter's going to be twenty-seven next month and our son is twenty-nine. When they come here they want to go to the J. Our son wants to go play basketball. They want to see what's happening at the JCC. Now that, I just think that's great. And meet their friends still at the ages that they are. And I think that that's what's kept kind of the excitement going.
GG: Is there anything else you would like to share?
GS: No, I can't think of anything. I mean it's, it's been interesting growing up in a city like this, like Charlotte. And, and the, I think the city is, is still so many people don't understand, you know, who are Jews, what are Jews and stuff like that. But we've fortunately as our, as our city has grown and, and so many people have moved down from the North, I think the Jewish population has, has benefited from that, and I think the city has benefited. Whether the people were Jews or non-Jews, I think they're, they're more understanding. I'm not saying that the Southerners were, were bigots back then; they just were uninformed maybe. They didn't understand what a deli was, or they didn't understand what--. I mean we were just at the Harris Teeter grocery store last night and the, the kosher section for Passover is--.
MS: Is unbelievable.
GS: Is just amazing.
MS: I mean it's just--.
GS: And, and growing up in Charlotte there was nothing. If you didn't go to Wallace's downtown to buy it--.
MS: Yeah.
GS: in fact Reverend Wallace because he was the moil that did my bris, and my son's bris but a, and had the kosher market downtown. If, if you didn't find it there you didn't find it. And, and so it's really been a big change for people. They, you know, some people take things for granted and they always try to say, you know, if you were born, you know if you're graduating college this year you didn't know about you know, this and this and that. Well, it's amazing what the people today just take for granted that we didn't have, that we didn't miss. I mean we didn't realize it, but today it's just so great to see, to see the city this way.
MS: We love traveling, we love going and seeing the world, but we love coming back here. It's a wonderful place to live and we feel very lucky to be Charlotteans.
GG: Charlotte is very lucky to have your--.
GS: Thank you
MS: Thank you
GG: Residence and participation.
MS: Thank you.
GG: In our community.
MS: Thank you.
GG: Thank you, Gail.