Photo courtesy of Evelyn Goldstein.
Guys she knew as East Dallas Louie and Johnny Tomato used to pick her up from school. Rocky put her into business at age 12 with gum-ball and candy machines. She had several in East Dallas, like at laundromats and Garland Road Thrift Store, and those drivers would take her around to collect her profits and refill them.
The Goldsteins received national attention for a couple of presidential incidents.
Honest Abe helped the FBI with tracing the rifle Lee Harvey Oswald used to assassinate President Kennedy in 1963. The pawnbroker reportedly had ridden in JFK’s motorcade, and he is mentioned in the Warren Commission Report.
In 1981, Rocky Goldstein sold a .22-caliber handgun to Highland Park’s own John Hinckley Jr., who used it in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.
Every media outlet in the country wanted to interview him about that. The notoriety he received over it was so intense that they moved Rocky’s from Deep Ellum to East Grand about a year later, Evelyn says.
She remembers vividly the time, when she was 7 years old, that the shop on East Grand was held up.
“I was put into a back room,” she says. “That kind of stuff was very common then.”
David Goldstein, who was a staunch Republican his whole life, moved the shop to Garland Road at Peavy around 1990. He turned it into a police supply store, selling uniforms, holsters and vests to cops, while his dad also ran a small pawnshop inside the store.
“Have you ever heard of a pawn shop inside of a police store?” Evelyn says. “You had the police rubbing elbows with the criminals.”
The Garland Road store was safer than the two previous locations, she says. Evelyn started working there when she was about 15, mostly helping with inventory. In high school, her friends always wanted to hang out there, even when they could’ve been at the mall or Wet and Wild.
The magnetism was in her dad’s stories of old Dallas, and he also gave them candy.
David Goldstein, who grew up in East Dallas and graduated from Hillcrest High School, practiced painting and music and loved to romance beautiful women. He was married four times, and his final marriage, to Laura Levy, lasted 17 years.
He was known as a Jewish matchmaker and even introduced his exes to friends he thought they would like.
In 1986, he started a club with his three best friends, Bernie Schuster, Larry Strauss and Howie Miles, called the Weiss Guys.
“Every Thursday night, they would go out — women weren’t invited — and they’d have a dinner,” Evelyn says.
The Weiss Guys grew to include about 200 men, and 40 or 50 would often show up to the dinners.
“My little brother was working in a restaurant, and he didn’t want to wait on them,” she says. “Separate checks, Diet Cokes, coffees with cream …”
And cheap. Evelyn’s dad had to take them aside on a couple of occasions for leaving his own kids lousy tips.
About once a year, they’d have a big party at the Stoneleigh and invite the wives, she says. After her dad died in May, they held the last Weiss Guys dinner.
“They invited me and my brother and had us sit at the head of the table,” she says. “Almost all of them came. It was very touching.”
Evelyn still has two cousins who worked at Rocky’s back in the day. But so many of David Goldstein’s close friends and family members have died, she says. It’s a shame nobody wrote that book.