Moss Rich was born in London of immigrant parents in 1910. His mother had been brought from Odessa in Southern Russia at the age of four, around the mid 1880’s. His father came a few years later under his own steam, from an eastern province of the Austro – Hungarian Empire.
He was lucky to be educated in one of London’s leading Grammar Schools decades before that sort of school became a political agony. He left in 1926 having Matriculated with Distinction in English. He went on to the senior school of commerce in The Regent Street Polytechnic know known as Westminster University. Shortly after leaving he lurched into employment. After a series of misfits he landed in the timber trade, to which he took a great liking, and stayed there for a number of years.
In October 1939 he married in London’s most prestigious Synagogue in Dukes Place, Aldgate. He lugged one of his employers as a witness. His wife recalls that he wore a flashy yellow silk tie. Those first few war time weeks were not for festivities and he went back to work in the afternoon. The couple found modest accommodation in Bloomsbury, the bookish area in central London.
Eventually the war caught up with Moss and there came the inevitable call to service. The new job lasted a little longer than it’s enjoyment. Moss had asked for a new pair of glasses, and was sent to the military hospital at Greenwich for examination. They advised lenses a fraction stronger than those he already had, and that was outside the Kings Regulations. He was discharged at a morning’s notice. He handed in his uniform, but was allowed to keep the two hairbrushes that came with it.
The London job was no longer available, but within weeks he found a new job with a 13-branch firm of timber merchants in Northampton. The couple moved there. Moss started as a clerk, but within a couple of years had created a post as the firm’s first advertising manager.
At the war’s end in 1945 they moved back to London and Moss continued at the firm’s London office. A vacancy occurred to edit a monthly journal for the timber trade. Moss was appointed. That job lasted as long as the publisher’s money – little more than two years. After several freelance ventures there came the pressure of a new business.
His wife Milly had founded her own business. Following a period of study at St. Martin’s school of Art she established a business importing and wholesaling decorative seashells and designing costume jewellery. Moss had the typewriter and that was ample capital for those days. The business prospered as a family enterprise, and in 1965 the Riches moved to Brighton where the Tropical Shells Co. Ltd. continues.
Round about 1975 Moss had run off a satirical verse about an aspect of Harold Wilson’s Government. He had sent it to the leading political columnist at the Times and to his astonishment it was printed a few days later. To his even greater astonishment a few days after that, he received a cheque for £3.00. This opened his eyes to another career, and he joined a number of poetry discussion groups, where he developed his art.
He has written this account of himself, himself.