Joseph Segal: Starting a Real Estate Firm in Vancouver after WWII
Date:Sunday, April 13, 1997
ID:Digital audio recording #: 19.97-01
Interviewer: Irene Dodek & Cyril E. Leonoff
CL: Would you have started with any capital?
JS: No, when I came out of the army, I didn’t have any money. You had $800 in the bank when we got married. But I didn’t have any money when I started.
Rosalie Segal: Oh, you spent money on a car to take me out.
JS: Oh I had $1,500 that’s correct. I had $1,500 when I came out of the army and that was fortuity pay. But you would accumulate. You didn’t need any money in Europe. If you wanted a steak, you’d bring a pair of boots. Or something so, what are you going to spend money on in the army in Europe? And in the occupational army after the war? So I saved up $1,500, I came to Vancouver, I had a date with you. That was the first date with my wife, with my girlfriend, and you couldn’t buy cars. But I found a 1940 Plymouth or some damn thing and who was the car salesman? Harry Kauffman. He was in the car business, and I said, “I have to have a car! I’m going to buy a car.” I had a date with her. I paid the guy $1,500, everything I had to buy a car, because I had a date with her. And I was going to impress her. You remember that, hey? So, that was the $1,500 and then we weren’t married at the time and I got into the real estate business and I started making good money. Those days if you made five, six, seven thousand a month was a ton of money. And, I had two partners, and I would sell two or three businesses in the course of a month, and I would come back, and we were partners so we paid the rent, we divided the profits. And I was producing probably two-thirds of the bottom line. And they were producing a third between them. Then we would get into a friendly crap game in the back of the office and I would lose. Not only did I create the earnings but they would take their two-thirds, I’d give them my third playing dice.