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Personal History for Chip Hauss

Your Family and Ancestry

List the names and birthdates of your mother, father, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, paternal grandfather and other great grandfathers and grandmothers. What did you call them?

Amy Hauss, 30 October 1921
Howard Hauss, 11 May 1920 (d. 1987)

Morris Hauss (c. 1895)
Rebeccca Hauss (c. 1895)
Isadore Taub (c. 1890)
Anna Taub (c. 1885)

Great grandparents are long gone, the men were all called Zeta. As a three year old I thought they all had the same first name.

Do you have brothers and sisters? What are their names? When were they born? Do you remember the first time you saw them?

Leslie Poolos, born three years to the day after me. I assume I saw her within a day or three. But I was three and who remembers? We are very different and very good friends.

Where was your mother born? Where was your father born? What circumstances brought your parents to the place where you were born? Were there people already there whom they knew, or did they come into the community alone? Was the community welcoming to them?

My mother was born in Newark NJ. My father in Elizabeth NJ. My dad's parents moved to New London CT in 1922 or so where my grandfather set up a false tooth lab. It is not clear how the Hauss family got there although my mom's side originally settled nearby on a chicken farm run by a Polish (?) nobleman, Baron Hirsch (who, of course, might have been Jewish).


My parents met early in World War II at some mutual cousin's wedding (three of my four grandparental families are intermarried--more confusion). After the war, they decided to move back to New London (I think my mother had no impact on the decision; my father wanted to stay in the military and travel).

My guess is that they were welcomed well. My father was the second person to be barmitzvahed in my synagogue. His parents were wonderful people.

Tell about your aunts and uncles. Did they play an important part in your growing up? Do you remember any special aunts and uncles?

I come from a large extended family.

However, my mother and father each had a single sibling.

My father's brother was, frankly, a pain in the ass. He and we did not get along. I last saw him at my father's funeral. His kids seemed neat.

My mother's sister married a prof who became my first academic mentor. They live outside of Boston; Seymour Katz is emeritus in English/American studies at UMass Boston. He and Phyllis and their children are among my closest friends.

Did you play with your cousins? Who are some of the cousins you know best?

I have four cousins. My father's brother's kids lived near us but were never close. One now runs the family business; the other is a research nurse.

My mother's sister's family and I have always been close. Their sons (9 and 12 years younger than me) were even my campers when I was a counselor. They also spent a few summers living near us so my uncle could continue his research at Harvard.

Isadore (named after my grandfather) and I still play on IT and peace related issues. He is founder and CEO of one of those companies whose web site you can understand for a sentence and no more. His brother, Seth, became a nurse at age 40 and then got called up to Iraq and came home to two hip replacements.

I guess we all still play together in middle aged kinds of ways.

Was there someone your family was particularly proud of?


For some, it's me, the great academic.

For me, it's my cousin Isadore who has made a zillion dollars and kept his integrity.

If you could do anything differently about your family, what would it be?

We don't talk well or express emotions well above my generation.

Many of us have had pretty screwed up personal lives.

My parents, for instance, should never have gotten married to each other.

But, then, of course, I wouldn't be here.

Did the family get together much casually, or did you have to travel and dress up to spend time together?

Most of the family was more than two hours away, so we didn't get together too much.

We didn't dress up for the events, though my mother thought I should take a tuxedo to Oberlin.

Her sister's family was around a lot summers and, later, after Seymour took the job at UMB.

Otherwise, it was mostly rites of passage, including my bar mitzvah, a few weddings, and a few funerals.

Was yours a religious family? Did you attend services together? Were these dress-up affairs?

Given the size of the Jewish community in New London, we had little choice but be members of the local conservative shul. My mother couldn't stand it, and my father was certainly not observant. But poor little Chip had to go to Hebrew School three or four days a week until Bar Mitzvah class when it was seven days.

The synagogue was certainly formal. I don't remember what we kids wore, but the parents (on the rare occasion they went) certainly wore suits.

Did your family say grace? Did you sit down at the table together for every meal?

We never said grace. IN our tradition, what Christians think of grace occurs after the meal. We did not keep kosher or any other religious tradition on the cuisine front.

We almost always had dinner together. As my parents' marriage disintegrated after I went to college, my sister did most of the cooking.