1. LIBRARY CATALOG
  2. DATABASES
  3. JOURNAL A-Z List
  4. SUBJECT GUIDES
  5. LIBRARY SERVICES

The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Carolyn Newby Finger, 1999

Search the Collection


AND   OR   EXACT PHRASE

Object ID: WV0057.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Carolyn Newby Finger’s time at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro); her experiences at midshipmen’s school, Supply School, and in Asheville with the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II.

Summary:

Finger details her favorite subjects in high school; her reasons for going to the Woman’s College (WC); her life on campus, including friends, dormitory life, social life, dances, academics, professors, and teacher training; visiting friends in Connecticut after graduation; and reactions to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Concerning her time in the WAVES, Finger discusses her reasons for joining; the uniform; living in Wiggins Tavern during basic training; basic training courses; WAVES songs; the concept of freeing a man to fight; reactions she encountered after joining; social life during Supply School at Radcliffe College; VE Day and VJ Day in Asheville; wearing lisle hose instead of nylons; having to carry a weapon when picking up payroll money; the constantly changing navy regulations; and Ginny Kane, her roommate in Asheville.

Other wartime topics include the death of a cousin from friendly fire in Germany; recognizing WC girls in Asheville; her admiration of President Harry Truman; her favorite music; and worrying about her husband while he served in Europe. Finger also discusses her husband’s military service during WWII, their courtship and family, and her opinion concerning women in combat positions.

Creator: Carolyn Newby Finger

Biographical Info: Carolyn Newby Finger (1922-2003) of Newton, North Carolina, a long-time school teacher, served in the U.S. Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from 1944 to 1946.

Collection: Carolyn Newby Finger Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

EE:

I am Eric Elliott, and today is March 22, 1999, and I am here in beautiful Kings Mountain, North Carolina, the gem of Cleveland County, and I am at the home of Carolyn Finger today. And Mrs. Finger, thank you so much for joining us for this interview. This interview is part of the Women Veterans Oral History Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro [UNCG]. So, I'll just start with you, like I start with everybody I've ever interviewed, with two simple questions: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

CF:

Well, actually, I was born in Savannah, Georgia, and I grew up in Newton, North Carolina. We left Georgia when I was very young, several months old, and I spent my entire life in Newton.

EE:

Great. Did you have any brothers and sisters?

CF:

One sister, older. An older sister.

EE:

What about your folks? Tell me a little bit about them. What did they do?

CF:

Oh, my father was a bookkeeper and my mother was a housewife, but you would never have known it. She was into quite a number of things. She was one of these involved people that I resolved never to be. [chuckling]

EE:

She did so much outside activity she wore you out. [chuckling]

CF:

Right, right. We had a very, very happy family life, very simple, considering things nowadays. We were talking the other day about children in our neighborhood enjoying playing together at night, lying on quilts in the yard and looking at the sky and the stars and, you know, just dreaming a little bit.

EE:

Just kind of simple things.

CF:

Children nowadays have so little time for that.

EE:

Well, if it doesn't have a battery in it, it's hard to get them interested in it.

CF:

Right, exactly. Exactly, and that's a shame. I see it in my own grandchildren. They're just bored stiff when I suggest anything like that. [chuckling]

EE:

Well, I empathize with you. So you moved to Newton. Did your folks go to college?

CF:

My mother went to a junior college, my father went to a business school. They were not college graduates.

EE:

He went to business school. They were both Georgia natives?

CF:

No, actually my mother was a Virginia native. She grew up in Bath County, Virginia. And my father was from the eastern part of the state, near Hertford, North Carolina.

EE:

So two people who have no connection to Savannah are in Savannah, have a baby, and come back to a place they have no connection with called Newton.

CF:

That's not really the way it was. [laughter]

EE:

All right, well, tell me about it. Fill in the blanks.

CF:

Well, actually my father was working—He owned a half-interest in a vinegar plant in Georgia, in Savannah, Georgia. So we were living there at the time, we were not just passing through—or they were not just passing through—and I was born at St. Joseph's Hospital. And then when I was about three months old the vinegar business went sour. [chuckling]

EE:

I'll bet you have used that line in the family for a long time.

CF:

And my mother and father moved to Newton, and from then on he worked—He worked at various places in bookkeeping. He actually had a full-time job at a hardware store, but he did a lot of extra work for companies opening businesses and all.

EE:

The hardware store was in Newton then?

CF:

It was in Newton, that's right.

EE:

Okay. So you graduated from high school out of Newton?

CF:

I graduated from high school in Newton, right, in 1937.

EE:

Tell me about high school. What were your favorite subjects there? Did you like school?

CF:

I loved school. Yes, I loved school. I was interested in everything. I guess I got up the first cheerleading group. And of course I was one of the cheerleaders; I wouldn't have gotten it up if I hadn't thought I was going to be. I was in the Beta Club, and the French Club, and the Scribblers Club. This was the newspaper. [chuckling]

EE:

Okay. I got Beta and French. Scribblers I was—

CF:

Scribblers threw you, huh?

EE:

Scribblers didn't go with Beta Club. [chuckling]

CF:

No, no, it didn't. I suppose English was probably my favorite subject. I liked English. I liked geometry, I liked French. I just sort of liked all my subjects, and admired my teachers very much. That was back in the good old days, you know, when people liked teachers.

EE:

Yeah. Now, in '37 did they have a twelfth grade yet, or was it still eleven years?

CF:

No, eleven. So I went to college at seventeen.

EE:

That's something I was rediscovering in doing these. We have half the folks who had a twelve-year high school and half had eleven. Now what made you think to go from Newton to Greensboro? How did you think about Woman's College [of the University of North Carolina, WC]?

CF:

I had a good friend who was two years my senior who was a big influence. She went to Woman's College. I had really planned to go to school in Virginia, or we had talked about that. And then she was so sold on WC that she sort of talked my mother and father, and me also, into going to Woman's College. And I also found that one of my friends who had left Newton and was living in Granite Falls, [North Carolina], on the other side of Hickory, was going, and we decided to be roommates. And we were roommates there for four years.

EE:

Wonderful. So you could take a little bit of hometown with you.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

Just for insurance sake.

CF:

That's right, just a little security. [chuckling] She was my blanket.

EE:

Was that your first long experience away from home?

CF:

No, I had spent many summers in Richmond. A lot of Mother's people lived in Richmond. Two of her sisters lived there, and I spent almost all my summers in Richmond, and loved it there too. It was really an eye-opener for me. You know, a small town, and getting into a big city and making friends and doing things, a little more cosmopolitan. And I have wonderful memories of my visits in Richmond.

EE:

Was Monument Avenue still the big thing there?

CF:

Right, it was, it was.

EE:

It's a pretty place.

CF:

Yes.

EE:

You had an older sister. Now did she go to school as well?

CF:

An older sister. She went to a business school in Richmond. She went to the Pan-American Business School in Richmond. She did not go to college.

EE:

Was she looking to come back and work with your dad?

CF:

No, she worked in Charlotte afterwards, and met her future husband there, and lived in Charlotte most of her life. They lived in Raleigh for a while. He was with a credit company and was transferred a couple of times, but they eventually settled in Charlotte. She had three children, and I guess really she worked spasmodically. You know, she worked part-time.

EE:

In between babies, that kind of thing?

CF:

Part-time, when she wanted to, but most of the time she was at home.

EE:

Did you work any while you were in high school?

CF:

Did I?

EE:

Yes.

CF:

No, not really.

EE:

Well, the question they always ask you when you go to college is what was your major?

CF:

Secretarial administration.

EE:

So was Dad thinking as he was paying the tuition, “Why isn't she going to business school?” [laughter]

CF:

Well, it was a sacrifice. My going to school was a sacrifice, but I was determined I was going. And fortunately the loan department at Woman's College was very generous. I was able to get some loans, and I did work some there. I worked in the Physics Department as a secretary.

EE:

You said you spent four years on campus with—What was your friend's name from Granite Falls?

CF:

Becky Woosley.

EE:

Which dorm did you stay in when you were on campus?

CF:

Well, let's see, I started out in Gray, and my second year I was in Bailey. And the third year the love of my life was Woman's, old Woman's Dormitory. You're bound to have heard something about that.

EE:

[chuckling] I've heard about old Woman's and Spencer.

CF:

Oh, we loved Woman's. And then my senior year my roommate was elected house president, and she wanted to be in Woman's and another girl wanted to be in Woman's too, wanted to be house president there. So they drew straws and my roommate lost, and we ended up in—What was the dorm that all the physical education—Shaw. And we really loved it. We loved it after we got there. We had a wonderful room and we had a counselor there who was just really—we just really loved her, Scottie Hoye. And my roommate went on, went back to school, went to Tulane and got her master's degree in physical education. She had majored in business just like I had, and taught one year in Lexington, [North Carolina], and then she changed her major and got her graduate degree in physical education. And she and Scottie taught physical education at Mary Washington [College] in Fredericksburg, [Virginia].

EE:

Great. So she kept in contact with that school connection and it served her well.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

You mentioned Scottie and counselors. Tell me a little bit about social life at WC.

CF:

Well, we had dances, and—

EE:

Except on Monday. Did you dance on Monday? Somebody was telling me they couldn't dance on Monday.

CF:

I don't know. I don't think we danced on—I don't remember really what days we danced. After supper at night—we had a small hall, you know—the girls would go down and dance, you know, with each other.

EE:

For fun.

CF:

Yeah. But then we had some formal dances, and they were held in the gym. There wasn't any other building at that time, so the dances were in the gym.

EE:

And how were those arranged? Just WC women and other university men, or you just picked your own date?

CF:

Well, actually, you got your own date. You got your own date, right. One year I was in charge of getting the band for—I've forgotten what the occasion was, but it was sort of a special occasion, and I remember getting all these brochures, you know, from different bands and all, figuring out which one we could get, what we could get for the least money.

EE:

Right, get the most for the least. [chuckling]

CF:

Yeah, most for the least. And we really, really enjoyed that one. That was fun.

EE:

How much would you have charged for a ticket to get into the dance, do you remember?

CF:

[chuckling] I have no idea.

EE:

I just wondered, just wondered. Now a band, that would have been somebody who could have played what, big band stuff?

CF:

All the swing. Yeah, big band. That was it.

EE:

So you're talking about what, a minimum ten-piece group, or how many were in the groups?

CF:

Probably. Probably we had some that were—Some of the major dances, we had from eight to ten members of the band. I have no idea the price, and I should have because I remember that one that I arranged, but I do not remember how much it was. And I don't remember how much we paid to go.

EE:

Okay, and that was just done by—Was that sponsored by one of the societies there?

CF:

Societies? Sometimes. Sometimes it was. Sometimes it was sponsored by a particular department, but most of the time it was done through the societies.

EE:

Everybody theoretically goes to college for the academics. Tell me a little bit about academic life and your professors. You were a good student at Newton?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

Did you do all right at WC?

CF:

I passed. [laughter] It was quite a change.

EE:

I understand.

CF:

High school had been just sort of a breeze. I really had just done really well in high school, and getting to college and making Cs sort of did something to my self-esteem.

EE:

It's a humbling experience.

CF:

Very! Very! Yes, it did. And it really irks me today when I see the kids going here to U and coming back with As on their report cards.

EE:

And don't know anything. They're just complacent.

CF:

Well, it's just all—they can't add two and two. And it was tough, I mean when I was there, the curriculum, very [tough]. Everybody was happy to get a C. You know, I remember the first A I made. Oh! I framed that one. [laughter] I think it was in political science with Louise Alexander. She was wonderful! She and Harriet Elliott were great friends, and they were political cronies. They used to get together when there were elections and they would follow the election, and they knew just exactly how many votes it took to do so and so and so and so. And the year that I was there, I was there in 1940, I was a junior that year, and of course it was an election year. It was [Franklin D.] Roosevelt and—

EE:

Was [Wendell] Willkie running that year, or was that '44?

CF:

I think it was. I believe it was Willkie. I believe that's right. I should have boned up on this but I don't remember. But anyway, all the girls all over campus had big posters on their doors, you know, who they wanted to win. And Miss Alexander would come to class during the campaign and all, and she would perch up on the desk and she would tell us what real stuff was going on. [laughter] And we just felt like we were just really part of it. I loved it. I just really loved that class. But like Elizabeth Dole, I'm not a politician. [chuckling]

EE:

Now Elizabeth can say that even though she's been in Washington for how many years? [chuckling]

CF:

That's exactly right. I thought, “Well, you've already started off on the wrong foot.”

EE:

That's right. So that was a subject that you really liked. One of the things that I think has changed is how professors relate to students. How was that at WC?

CF:

Very personal. Very personal. Most of the professors that I had—You know, we thought at the time we were a big school. I expect we had two thousand, maybe a little over, and we were, as well as I remember, I think this is accurate, we were the second-largest women's college in the country after Hunter [College, New York]. Hunter was first and we were second. And my mother and daddy were a little bit afraid about my going to a place so large. [chuckling] And now with twenty-two thousand or whatever, it's just—

EE:

But it was large, and yet still you could talk to a professor if you needed to.

CF:

Oh yes. Yes, they always had time. They always had time. My senior year, I actually took enough education courses so that I could teach as well as work in an office. I thought maybe that would give me two possibilities for a job. And for the first time, that year they sent us into—I guess maybe there were about eight of us who were sent into surrounding areas to stay for maybe a month.

EE:

Like teacher training?

CF:

Right, right, but that was new, it had not been done before. We had done some practice teaching at the schools in Greensboro—

EE:

What age group was this for, do you remember?

CF:

High school. And my experience with that was that the day that the head of the department and the teacher that I was doing my practice teaching under there in Greensboro came to visit me, I was—Let's see, I was in Reidsville [North Carolina] and they decided to come over, you know, to check and see how I was doing. And just in the middle of the class— I thought I was doing very well—in the middle of the class this bell started ringing and my students all started getting up, you know. And I thought, “Where are they going?” I said, “That's right, that's right, you all just line right up now. Just line right up.” And I didn't know where they were going. They all just lined right up. It wasn't a fire drill, but it was something that they had to attend, and they knew beforehand but I didn't. And they were lining up and getting ready to go, and I just went on and told them just to line up and just go right on. I said, “You know the way now. You just go right on.” [laughter] I wasn't leading them.

EE:

I could see a military career in your future. [laughter] “Sure, we'll just stay in line and follow this line.” That sounds like military procedure.

CF:

My teacher said, “You handled that very well.” I thought, “The Lord handled it. I had very little to do with it.” [laughter]

EE:

Let's see, you graduated from WC in '41.

CF:

Yes.

EE:

And that would have been May. What did you do after you graduated?

CF:

Well, I took a long holiday. I went up to Connecticut to visit. I had two really good friends up there, and Becky my roommate and I went up to Connecticut. And one of the girls had a sister in— I don't remember the name of the town in Connecticut. She had gone to WC also, but she was going to be married, so we went up for the wedding. We had clam chowder. I had never had clam chowder before, and that was interesting. [chuckling]

EE:

Kind of chewy when it's fresh, isn't it?

CF:

Well, I wasn't sure. [chuckling] And then we came down to Fairfield, Connecticut. And my friend there, her father worked for the Dictaphone Corporation. In fact, he was a fairly big shot with Dictaphone—this has some significance later—and I guess we stayed up there maybe for six weeks after. It was a long visit. They had visited our homes, you know, when we were in school.

EE:

Were there a lot of out-of-state students at WC?

CF:

Oh yes, yes, a lot.

EE:

What was this woman's last name?

CF:

One was Florence Barnes. She was in the navy. She went in the navy later. She is married to a Maher, M-a-h-e-r. And Marge Norton, who married a Bishop. She's living in West Haven, Connecticut, now. But these were two girls that we really were very close to, and they had visited in our homes, so we just wanted to pay them back. The first time that I had ever been in a Howard Johnson's [restaurant]. And I was amazed. That was a big experience. Trying to decide what flavor. [laughter]

EE:

How many flavors did they have back then?

CF:

Oh, I think maybe it was seventy-something, or a hundred maybe, I don't know. But it took us about half the morning to decide what flavor we wanted.

EE:

Were they painted orange back then, too?

CF:

I don't know. I don't remember.

EE:

The history of Howard Johnson's, I guess because that really was just a roadside stand operation up in that neck of the woods before it became a chain nationwide.

CF:

That's right, it was confined to the Northeast. We didn't have it in the South at that time. And they didn't have the motels at all. It was just ice cream.

EE:

So you went up there for a long holiday. That got you through what, about half the summer?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

Did you have a job already lined up when you—

CF:

Well, actually I had had an interview with the superintendent of a school in Roxboro, [North Carolina], and had signed a contract. And while I was in Connecticut, Mr. Barnes, who was the superintendent of the school here in Kings Mountain, called my mother. I told you about my mother, didn't I? [chuckling]

EE:

The one who was super-involved?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

She's already looking out for her youngster?

CF:

Yeah. See, Roxboro is a whole lot further from Newton than Kings Mountain is.

EE:

Of course, and she wants to make sure you're within her grasp. [chuckling]

CF:

Yeah, that's right, that's right. And another advantage was that Kings Mountain had ten months of school and the other school had only nine. So that was going to give me another month of ninety dollars, so that was important. So Mother called Connecticut and she said, “I have talked with Mr. Barnes.” I said, “Who is Mr. Barnes?” [chuckling] And she said, “He is interested in your teaching in Kings Mountain.” And I said, “Well, I can't do that. I've already signed a contract to teach in Roxboro.” And she said, “Oh, he said he could take care of that.” [laughter]

EE:

He hasn't met you, but he's already— I can tell you've got an agent, that's what you've got. [laughter] What kind of percent did she get off your contract?

CF:

I don't know. I have no idea what she told him. It must have been rave, rave, rave. I don't know what she told him. But anyway he knew the superintendent in Newton, so there was a little link there, and he had talked with him. Anyway, I found myself being hired without even meeting the superintendent. And then I had to write a letter resigning in Roxboro. And he was not too happy. He said, “You signed this in good faith.” And I felt real bad. I said, “My mother needs me to be near her.” [laughter] So I came to Kings Mountain in the fall of '41, and met the superintendent who had hired me for the first time.

EE:

Fall of '41, and we're not in a war in the fall of '41.

CF:

Not quite.

EE:

Are you thinking that there's going to be one? Are people worried about war?

CF:

Right, right. Some of them—

EE:

Of course, I know some people kind of just wanted us to stay on the sidelines all the way through.

CF:

That's right, that's right. Of course there was war there, but we were not involved at that point. And it was during my first year that—in '42—

EE:

Well, Pearl Harbor is in December.

CF:

Pearl Harbor, and at that time I was dating Carl, and we had gone over to Charlotte to see a movie with Risé Stevens. This was on a Sunday night, and we had heard that afternoon about Pearl Harbor, and we were both so restless that we just couldn't sit in the theater. We just got up and walked—I guess it was down Tryon Street, walked down Tryon.

EE:

But everybody knew what that meant, that seriously?

CF:

Yes, I think so, I think so. I think everybody knew at that point. I think everybody knew.

EE:

Once American servicemen had been killed, that was it.

CF:

Yes, that's right. They were selling newspapers with headlines like this all over. People were stopping their cars to buy newspapers. We really, really didn't take in the full significance of it because—well, we were young. Of course, Carl knew that he probably would eventually go. I had no idea that I would be going, but he knew that he would go. And we've often thought about that. It was just sort of a quiet—It was just a solemn thing, and you didn't know exactly how you felt because you really didn't know just what was coming. You just knew that it was bad and you knew that you had to get ready for it.

EE:

Well, I guess as things would develop, nobody really knew at that time if the war would actually come to American soil.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

And then as it played out, it played out overseas, but we had submarines all along the coast.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

And the people in California evacuated the coast for fear that they would be invaded.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

So you really did have uncertainty.

CF:

Yes, it was a very uncertain time. And the next day, this was on a Sunday night, the next day was a Monday, and in school over the intercom we heard the official announcement that America had declared war. This was Roosevelt.

EE:

You heard Roosevelt's speech over the intercom?

CF:

Yes, yes. And one of the older teachers was just weeping, you know, profusely. I guess I just didn't really have enough sense to—I didn't feel it as deeply as she did because she knew what it meant a lot more.

EE:

Well, she might have remembered the First World War.

CF:

Yes, she did. She was that old. It was something that I'll never forget. It was very, very moving. And we had no idea that it would have the impact and affect as many lives as it did.

EE:

You were twenty-one?

CF:

Yes, twenty-one.

EE:

And the world was just opening up for you.

CF:

That's right, that's right.

EE:

You aren't used to thinking in those life-and-death terms at twenty-one.

CF:

That's right. That's right, I really didn't.

EE:

How did you meet Carl? Did you know him before coming to Kings Mountain?

CF:

No. No, I didn't know him.

EE:

Did he work with the schools?

CF:

No, he didn't work with the schools. He was working for his uncle. His uncle had a mill here and he was working for him. He said it wasn't a blind date because he said he had already seen me. [chuckling] But it was a blind date for me, I had not seen him.

EE:

Yeah, those are easier to take if one person at least has checked it out. He knows they could get through the evening anyway.

CF:

[laughter] Right. That's the way men are! They always know a little bit more than you think they do.

EE:

Well, I guess that's a better start.

CF:

Then we went to the second date that we had, we went to—

EE:

So this was actually on your first date is the Pearl Harbor announcement?

CF:

No. No, this was later. We had had a date before that because—Well, I guess I must have had a date with him sometime in the fall, because a friend of—Well, she wasn't a friend of mine. She was a girl who came back to school to take typing. She had finished at Meredith College [in Raleigh] and she wanted to take typing, so she came back to school. And she was going with a boy who was a friend of Carl's, and he got tickets for the Duke-[University of North] Carolina game, and we went to the football game. So, see, even then Carolina was a big thing in my life.

EE:

There's a lot of WC women who I think had a thing for Carolina—men anyway, if not the school.

CF:

That's right. [laughter]

EE:

All right, so you went to Duke-Carolina that fall.

CF:

Yes, and it was after that, of course, that Pearl Harbor—That was already—

EE:

Did you finish out that first year of teaching?

CF:

I finished the second year.

[End Tape 1, Side A — Begin Tape 1, Side B]

EE:

So you taught from '41 to '43, and you say he was in—Where did he go to basic training?

CF:

Let's see, I guess he went in—I don't know the exact date, but I guess it was a year before he went overseas. He was in the States for at least a year. I don't know the exact date. He went overseas in March of '44.

EE:

So you had already left the teaching when he went overseas?

CF:

I was working in the bank. I had taught for two years and I was working at—well, what's now First Union. It was the First National Bank.

EE:

First National of Kings Mountain?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

So you started that job in '43?

CF:

Yes. I was there for a year.

EE:

Did you get your mom to negotiate that contract?

CF:

[chuckling] I did that one on my own.

EE:

By that time, '43, had you decided you were pretty serious long-term?

CF:

I guess so. I was, I don't know about him. [laughter]

EE:

All right, so '43 you're at the bank and he goes into basic training. And he leaves to go overseas when?

CF:

In March of 1944.

EE:

So that means that probably from '43 to '44 he was—Where was he in the States?

CF:

Several places. He took his basic training in Florida, and then he went to—He went to Meridian, Mississippi, somewhere along the way because I went down to see him. This was during Christmas, and I stood up—I stood up or sat on my suitcase in the aisle on the train all the way to Meridian, Mississippi. And when I got there the train was so late that he had had to go back to camp, but he had told me what hotel he had a reservation. I got there and my ankles were hanging over my shoes. I mean really! It was strange looking down and thinking, “Whose feet are those?” [laughter]

EE:

This was before support hose.

CF:

And while we were there, we got word that his grandmother had died. So he got a leave and he was able to come back home. And because he had on a uniform, we were able to get a seat on the train. [chuckling] So I was kind of glad that he was able to come back with me.

EE:

I was going to say, is this one of the reasons that you decided to join the military, to get a seat on a train? [laughter]

CF:

You know, that may have been somewhere in the back of my mind. It did help. It really did help.

EE:

The war has been going on for two years, I guess, almost, by the time you decide—When is it that you decide to join the service, and what made you join?

CF:

Well, actually I think it probably was due to Carl's being gone. You know, the town was—it was just kind of really, really dull. I enjoyed my work at the bank, I learned a lot of things and I had great people to work for, but I just wanted something else. I really wanted to see a little bit of the world. I wanted to see a little bit of the country, and I was very patriotic. I wanted to serve. And I like their uniforms. [chuckling]

EE:

So for you there was no choice between WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service—U.S. Navy] or WACs [Women's Army Corps]? It was that look you wanted?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

So it wasn't anything about the sea or about sailors, it was that look.

CF:

That's right, that's right. I'll admit it. [chuckling]

EE:

That's okay. Honesty helps. And frankly, everybody I have ever talked to said that they always thought that the uniforms were sharp. So you weren't alone in that. Did you talk with him about the thought of you going and joining the service? Now I guess at this time the WAVES were not sent overseas.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

So there wasn't the danger of you being exposed to anything physically.

CF:

No. But—

EE:

I'm sure Mama, who wanted you close to Newton, wasn't too thrilled.

CF:

No, she was really all for it. She thought, yeah. She thought that was a great idea. My father tried desperately to find a Masonic ring, a woman's Masonic ring, that he wanted me to have when he found out I was serious about going in. And poor thing, I think he thought that that Masonic ring would take care of me wherever I was. You know, he really did.

EE:

He figured somebody would be watching.

CF:

He believed that some Mason would come along and get me out of any trouble I might be in. The thing was that he never found one, so he just had to trust my good fortune. [chuckling]

EE:

Let's see now, was he a member or was he just trying—

CF:

He was a Mason. He was very strong in his beliefs with the Masonics.

EE:

Tell me when it was that you joined. Was it '43?

CF:

It was in '44. I joined in the spring of '44.

EE:

So you joined after Carl left to go overseas.

CF:

Yes.

EE:

And when you joined, did you have an understanding about where you would be assigned, the kind of work you would do? Did you join and go in as an officer training or enlisted?

CF:

No, I went in officer training, right. I went to Northampton, [Massachusetts]. I went to Smith College in Northampton, and midshipmen—

EE:

And I think you had to be a college girl to go to officer training, didn't you?

CF:

Well, I roomed with a girl who had come up from the ranks, and it was wonderful. I mean, she knew. She knew a lot of things. She knew everything about the WAVES. I think she really got me through. [laughter]

EE:

She told you what was important and what wasn't.

CF:

That's right, that's right. I mean I was very fortunate, but there were very few who were there who were not college graduates.

EE:

Did you have to have another long train ride, I guess, to get up to Smith?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

Did you go up there with anybody that you knew?

CF:

No, I didn't go with anybody I knew, but I knew some of them by the time I got there. I mean we talked on the train, you know. If I saw anybody that looked about my age and had that certain look, you know, I thought, “They're going to Northampton.”

EE:

Well, they did not give you standard uniforms to go up there with, did they?

CF:

No.

EE:

Did everybody just kind of bring their own stuff?

CF:

No, we just wore our regular clothes. In fact, we wore our regular clothes until we could be fitted. They had somebody from Boston, Filene's Department Store in Boston made our uniforms, and they were, of course, made to order. We had to be measured, you know, tip to toe and everything. They furnished everything. And until they were completed, we wore our own clothes. We were a motley crew. [laughter]

EE:

You know, you think of the military as wanting to have precision and order right from the start, and you were out there the first morning of drill dressed up like The Little Rascals. [laughter]

CF:

Right, a real rainbow! A real rainbow it was. [chuckling]

EE:

Well, were your instructors men, or women?

CF:

Both. We had some men. Most of our instructors, as far as our classes were concerned—Now we had several drill instructors who were men. Most of the classes that we took we had women instructors. I was thinking about some of the classes that we had. Some of it was ship and plane identification, you know, and communication, and naval history and that sort of thing. I'm sure there were some other classes, but I just happen to recall those. I remember one of the teachers particularly in the identification. She would flash different planes on and we would have to be able to identify them quickly.

EE:

Friend or foe was the important designation.

CF:

Right! And you know, the funny thing was that I never saw another naval plane after that. I was stationed temporarily in Philadelphia, so I did see some planes. But I mean after I got on permanent duty I didn't see any other naval planes. But of course it was interesting. I was glad I knew it.

EE:

Did you stay on campus, or where did you live?

CF:

Yes, we stayed in what had been called Wiggins Tavern. And that was interesting. They cleaned it out before we got there. [laughter]

EE:

You didn't tell that to your mom and dad, “I'm staying in a tavern now, Mom”? [chuckling]

CF:

Well, it was known all over New England for its food. Oh, the cuisine there was supposed to be famous. And they retained the chefs that they had had, so our food was absolutely unbelievable. That's where I learned to drink my coffee black. Our tables were long, and we had so many minutes, you know, for meals. And by the time you asked for the sugar and cream, it was time to get up and go somewhere. So all of us started drinking our coffee black. [chuckling] I know why everybody in the navy drinks their coffee black now.

EE:

Very good. I like that. You were in the Wiggins Tavern. How many to a room?

CF:

Two. This was when I was rooming with the girl who was an enlisted.

EE:

What was her name?

CF:

Brenda Nelson.

EE:

Was she from the South?

CF:

No, she was from—I'm trying to think, somewhere in the Midwest. You know, this has been a long time. I don't hear from her. You know, for the time we were very close, and then we weren't close. It seems to me that it was maybe Nebraska, somewhere in the Midwest.

EE:

But she helped give you the inside scoop on what was important.

CF:

Yes, she did. She knew how to make up those beds, and she knew how to—

EE:

Well, that was probably key. Did you have to bounce a nickel off of it or something?

CF:

[chuckling] That's right, that's right. And we had one captain's inspection while we were there—you know, from the very top. He was the head of the whole thing.

EE:

Was it a white-glove test?

CF:

Yes, and we cleaned that room from top to bottom, and we stood at attention for about an hour. And when he came on our floor they blew a whistle, you know, and we were absolutely rigid. And when he came in the room, we acted like we didn't see him. We just looked straight ahead. And here he was with his white gloves, you know, going over everything on the top, and all in the bathroom and everywhere. We just stood there, and he just sort of grunted a few times and walked out. I said, “Was that approval?” Brenda said, “I think so.” I think he would have told you if it weren't. [chuckling]

EE:

So you've had a different approach to housekeeping ever since that experience. [chuckling]

CF:

Exactly. Exactly.

EE:

Well, you had had lots of experience away from home, so that was not a first time for you.

CF:

No.

EE:

Well, you had actually been to Connecticut, so you had actually been to that part of the country as well, too, had you not? Did you go into the city? Some folks talk about they went into New York City while they were up there. Did you have any free time to do anything when you were there?

CF:

I don't remember. Not when I was at Northampton. We had some fun things. We went to learn the songs that we sang when we were marching. And most of the songs that we marched to had been written by WAVES.

EE:

All right, let me ask you a question. You bring up songs. I keep seeing the lyrics to this one, this rather female chauvinist song about “I don't need a man except to tie my tie.”

CF:

I Need a Guy to Tie My Tie. [chuckling] Right! “I don't need a man for—” What is it now? “I don't need a man—but I need a guy to tie my tie.” “I don't need a man, and I don't need a date—” Oh, I remember that. I mean I do but I can't remember the words. I Need a Guy to Tie My Tie. Yeah, that was a good one.

EE:

Yeah, it looked like somebody enjoyed writing the lyrics to that.

CF:

Yeah, it was cute. All of our songs were good. They were really good. And the WAVES song was good. A lot of times we would sing it in harmony with Anchors Aweigh and—

EE:

So it was to the same tune as Anchors Aweigh?

CF:

Well, not exactly the same tune, but it was—

EE:

It blended with it?

CF:

Right. We thought it was lovely. Oh, we really enjoyed that. We felt just so good when we sang that. It was really good. There were a number of our marching songs that were just really, really good.

EE:

A lot of the people—of course, you had some different reasons for joining—a fair number of folks said that campaign that said “Free a Man to Fight” influenced them. Did that make an impact on you? Did you see yourself as doing that?

CF:

Yes. I mean not consciously, but I think I felt that my presence would help in that respect, my being able to take somebody's job. But they really didn't want their jobs taken. They liked being where they were. They liked being on shore.

EE:

Yes. Well, some people have various degrees of guilt or ambivalence about it. I did have one woman I talked with last week who met the man she replaced, who taught her her job, then went off to fight for two years. And for fifty years thereafter they've exchanged postcards, Christmas cards.

CF:

How wonderful. How wonderful!

EE:

Isn't that great? That slogan was out there, and she actually did it.

CF:

Yes, that was a big thing for her.

EE:

And I think it was very important for her that he came back okay.

CF:

Yes, well, I'm glad. I know in some of the material that I read, I think one of the newspaper clippings, one of the girls said that one of the men that she relieved had been killed. And she kept saying, “It's my fault. How am I involved in this?” I can understand that. I relieved a woman, so I didn't have to worry about that. She went to Pearl Harbor, so I didn't figure she was going to be doing a whole lot of fighting. So I didn't worry so much about that.

EE:

Well, you said your parents were okay with it, what about your family back home and friends? Even though you're in '44, still a woman in uniform isn't on every corner. What did they feel about it? Were they generally supportive?

CF:

They were very supportive. They were very proud. Yes, they were.

EE:

How long was your stay at Smith? Six weeks, eight weeks?

CF:

I was trying to remember that. [showing photograph] This was the midshipmen's school. This was the July class, but if I got there in June then July would have been two months, approximately. It may have just been six weeks.

EE:

What's your maiden name?

CF:

Newby, N-e-w-b-y.

EE:

This doesn't look like it's anywhere—Is it in alphabetical order? No, of course not. Where are you on this?

CF:

I'm right there. Right there.

EE:

Oh, okay. Good!

CF:

Yeah. [chuckling]

EE:

Sharp-looking. Now you're wearing white as opposed to blue.

CF:

Well, you know, they said in the article that there were no bad-looking women in service.

EE:

Well, that's true. So the white was the summer uniform?

CF:

No, the white was the dress uniform. The summer uniform was seersucker. We had the blues and the whites and the seersucker.

EE:

Seersucker came a little later, I believe, because I think I talked to a woman who got one of the first seersuckers. She recruited down in Charlotte for the WAVES.

CF:

Is this Rama Blackwood?

EE:

Yes, it is. Do you know her?

CF:

Yes, she graduated with me. She swore me in.

EE:

Did she now? So you were one of her recruits. Wonderful!

CF:

She was a real pretty girl. Yes, I remember her very well.

EE:

She's something. Well, that's great. So July of '44. Well, that would have been about right because it took about two months. So you might have gone in in May? Was there any delay for you at the time you signed up? Where did you go, to a recruiter station to sign up?

CF:

No, I applied, and then I had to go to Raleigh and take a test. And it was tough. [chuckling] I thought, “Well, this is the end of this. This is as far as it's going.” But then I found out that I had gotten over that hurdle. Then I had to go back to Raleigh for a physical, and I passed that. So then I was told to go to Charlotte to actually be sworn in. Now, from the time I was sworn until the time I was to report to midshipmen's school, I do not remember. It was not long.

I remember leaving the bank, and the vice president at the bank, who was such a nice fellow, said, “Well, I wish you luck.” And I said, “You wish me luck? But this is not something you would like for your daughter to be doing.” She and I were the same age. In fact, she was the girl whose boyfriend at the time got the tickets for the Duke-Carolina game. She was the one who took typing from me when I was in high school. So I said, “You wish me luck, but this is not something you would want your daughter to do.” He said, “Well, frankly, no.” [chuckling]

EE:

That makes sense. I think Rama was saying that the WAVES recruiting office was intentionally going to men's clubs to speak.

[Interview interrupted, tape paused]

CF:

He was a little concerned about my going out into the world.

EE:

Your dad, you mean?

CF:

Yes. But he was very, very supportive. I think Mother said, “You'd better be. This is a good thing.” [laughter]

EE:

Well, good for Mom. Did she call up any generals on your behalf?

CF:

I don't think so. I think she knew when to stop. [chuckling] But when I went to my family doctor—I think maybe I had to have maybe a certificate about my shots and everything, my immunizations—he was—he did not think that was a good idea at all. He said, “Well, just don't come back here pregnant.” [laughter] I said, “I'm not planning to.”

EE:

That's all he could foresee coming down the road.

CF:

That's right, that's right. And it was a shame that we had that reputation. I don't know that the WAVES actually had that reputation, but some of the—You know, there was a lot of talk about camp followers and that sort of thing. I mean, really and truly, it could not have been a more disciplined atmosphere that we were in. I think it was probably a whole lot more rigid than college even, you know. They knew where we were every minute of the time that we were in midshipmen's school, and also when I was in Supply School, so there was no problem there.

EE:

You mentioned Supply School. Tell me about what happened after you finished basic training. Did you go right to Supply School?

CF:

No, I had about a month of temporary duty in Philadelphia.

EE:

In the navy yard?

CF:

It was the Naval Air Station. And there were three of us who were sent there on temporary duty before we went to Radcliffe [College, in Boston]. We got an allowance for our room uptown. They didn't have a women's officers' quarters.

EE:

They were rotating, every two months a class coming in.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

How long were you at Radcliffe then?

CF:

I was there after we left Philadelphia. We went to Radcliffe in October, and I finished in the December class and was assigned—

EE:

Kind of nice digs for you to be taking classes in. Smith College, then you go off to Radcliffe right there by the Charles [River].

CF:

The elite. Nothing but the elite. [chuckling]

EE:

Isn't that great?

CF:

I want to tell you one funny thing that happened, though, in Philadelphia. I don't know whether you're familiar with the raincoats and the havelocks that we wore. You know, it covered the brim of our hat, and came down and hooked and went all the way to our shoulders.

EE:

Kind of the foreign legion look, yes.

CF:

Right, right. So one night the three of us were going out to dinner, a rainy, rainy night, and we had on all of our paraphernalia. And we met some fellows on the street, and we walked past them and we heard them say, “Are those some new kind of nuns?” [laughter]

EE:

They obviously hadn't talked to any army nurses. [laughter]

CF:

That's right, that's right.

EE:

Yes, some new kind of nuns.

CF:

We got a kick out of that, “some new kind of nuns.” But then at Radcliffe we had more of the marching. And we liked that. The only trouble was the cobblestone streets. We ended up, you know, with sprained ankles quite often. And that was one of the funny things that happened at Smith, at Northampton. We had a rainy day game. When we put on black rubbers—they were not galoshes, they were just the low-cut rubbers that went over these oxfords that we were wearing. And all of the tall girls were assigned, of course, to the back of the platoon. We went by size, and their fun on rainy days was to step on somebody's rubber and pull it off, so that she would have to drop out and then they could advance, you know. And if all the tall girls got to the head of the line on rainy days and all the rest of us were at the back, they had had a successful day. [laughter]

EE:

Kind of like battleship, search and destroy. Get one and move up, get one and move up.

CF:

That's right, that's right. It got to be hilarious. We would try to step real high, you know, so they couldn't get to the back of our shoe.

EE:

That just doesn't seem like too vigorous a drill instructor monitoring this now.

CF:

I'm sure it was fun for them. Of course they never smiled. They didn't ever smile. They kept telling us how good another platoon was, how much better they were than we were, you know? So we were just knocking ourselves out marching away trying to catch up with this phantom platoon that was always better than we were. [chuckling]

EE:

So they didn't have a lot of confidence in these people, it sounds like. You were assigned the job to go to this Supply School? Was this something that you said, “This is the kind of thing I'd like to do”?

CF:

I was assigned. I asked for it, but I didn't know that I was going to get it.

EE:

What was your assignment out of Radcliffe then? You were there for two months at Supply School, and then where did you go?

CF:

I was there for two months, and then—Now let me fill in a little bit about Radcliffe. Now we did have some free time there. We did take a trip to Martha's Vineyard and we enjoyed going into Boston and trying out all of the eating places, especially the Fisherman's Wharf.

EE:

You'd learned to like clams by then. [chuckling]

CF:

That's right. That's right, we did. And let me think, there was something else that we did. I had written down some of the things that we did. Oh, we went to a baseball game at Fenway [Park] while we were there. We were there in October, and I guess maybe—

EE:

Was Ted Williams playing?

CF:

Yes, he was. Yes, he was back in—Yeah, he would have been playing then. I didn't know as much about baseball then as I do now, but I knew it was somewhere I needed to go. I needed to be able to say that I had been to Fenway Park. And we scooted over there. It must have been the World Series if it were in October, you know. It's usually in September, but we did see a baseball game. I remember that. So now when they talk about Fenway Park, I feel good. I say, “I went there.” We liked Boston. I mean, it was a beautiful place and we enjoyed it. Our instructors were a lot of fun.

EE:

You were there at a good time of the year.

CF:

Yes, we were there at a great time of the year.

EE:

You might have a different memory if you were there in December or January. It might have been a little colder.

CF:

Right. That's right. This was good. We were there. It had begun to get cold, but I don't recall that we had any snows before I left. I left in the early part of December. And my assignment in this case was something that we had no idea where we would be sent. We expressed a preference, as far as maybe locale, state, whatever, but I think I said I wanted to go to California or something, and I ended up in Asheville. [chuckling] I think they knew what was best for me better than I did.

EE:

I think they were trying to stay on the good side of all those dads they had been talking to. The hidden conversation was, “We won't send them more than three hours' drive from your house.”

CF:

That's right.

EE:

I haven't met many people who were assigned far away. In fact, the woman who was assigned farthest away, and she was born in Boston and she was assigned to Utah. And I said, “Really?” She said, “Yes, my family had just moved to Arizona.” And I thought, “Okay, that's another dad conversation.” [laughter]

CF:

That's right, that's right. I'll bet they put in a word about that. I was really pleased, though. It was such a happy place, because the boys who were there—It was a convalescent hospital, and the sailors who were there had been wounded in combat and were being sent back to recuperate. And they loved it. They loved it, and they were happy. The whole staff there was just really, really happy. The commanding officer was a retired naval captain. Of course he wasn't retired, he was back on duty, but he was regular navy. He was a doctor and was a wonderful man. The only time I ever saw him really upset was when Lena Horne came to have a concert there, and she was a little risqué.

EE:

Yeah, I recall.

CF:

You know, Lena could do that. And he got up and stomped out of the auditorium right in the middle of her performance. And I thought, “Oh my! This is going to be bad. The newspaper's here, they'll probably print this.” [chuckling]

[End Tape 1, Side B—Begin Tape 2, Side A]

EE:

Memory can go at different times for different reasons, and it's just sad to see folks who I know have great stories and just cannot get to them.

CF:

Dig them up, yes. I mean, you all should have started sooner.

EE:

We know that, but better late than never. And that's where we're at, and we're finding some good stuff. What was your [rank when] you came out? You were an ensign or lieutenant jg [junior grade]?

CF:

No, I was an ensign. I came out an ensign when I went to Asheville. See, I was in two years, and I guess it was a year and a half before I was promoted to jg.

EE:

Is that one of those “All-NAV” [navy-wide bulletin] kind of things where everybody who's been in for a year and a half [gets a promotion]?

CF:

Right, right. It wasn't because I did anything spectacular.

EE:

I was going to say, they know a way to make you feel special, don't they? Okay.

CF:

Yeah, that's right, “This batch will go now.” [chuckling]

EE:

The person that you worked for, what was his position?

CF:

You mean the commanding officer[CO]?

EE:

Yes. Was he CO of the entire hospital?

CF:

He was CO of the entire hospital, right. He was the medical officer in charge.

EE:

So you worked in his office?

CF:

No, I did not work in his office. I worked in the disbursing office, which was—I had a staff of five civil service workers and one yeoman.

EE:

So men and women?

CF:

All were women except the yeoman, and he had been wounded and had been a patient there and then had been transferred to permanent duty there.

EE:

Disbursing office, that acts like PX [post exchange] plus—?

CF:

[No.]

EE:

What does it do, disbursing?

CF:

Disbursing was the payment of the—

EE:

Oh, so this was payroll.

CF:

Payroll, Yes. And the supply part that I had was ordering food for the hospital.

EE:

So you worked with folks like the dietitians and everybody else.

CF:

Right, right. We did that on a bidding basis. We put out bids for so much food. The girl that was in there knew a lot more about it than I did. She was very good. In fact, all the girls who worked in there were. They had been there, they knew their jobs, and they were very good.

EE:

How long were you in Asheville?

CF:

I was in Asheville for almost a year and a half.

EE:

So that was the majority of your service then, right?

CF:

Right, right there.

EE:

Is that where you finished your service was in Asheville?

CF:

Yes, the hospital was decommissioned.

EE:

And when would that have been?

CF:

That would have been in March of '46. The officer who was in charge of the ship's service and I were ordered to Charleston, [South Carolina], to find out what we needed to do to actually close the records and decommission the hospital. So we had to take a trip down there. We took a navy car and got down and had several sessions with—This was Charleston. We were in that district, the Charleston Naval District. And we started back and thought we had all the information we needed, [that] we could take care of it. And on the way back, I don't know exactly where we were, but Mr. Mast was driving and we saw an airplane slowly coming down. And it kept coming, and I thought, “Well, I don't see any landing field around here.” And we kept coming, and he kept coming, and I said, “Mr. Mast, I think he's going to land on the highway.” And he said, “Oh, no, he'll pull up. He'll pull up.” We kept going, and he didn't pull up. And we kept going, and finally I said, “Mr. Mast, you stop the car. I'm going to get out.” And by that time he decided he wasn't going to pull up either. [chuckling] So he stopped and I dashed out of one side up a hill, and lost both of my shoes going up the hill, and he was right behind me. There was just a high bank there and—

EE:

Did you get the car off the road?

CF:

I think he got the car off the road. I'm not sure whether he did or not. I don't really believe he did because the pilot got really angry with us. He said, “I could have cleared you and still landed on the highway.” Well, he had to veer the plane to the right and hit a telephone pole. And I said, “Well, you didn't think we were going to keep on coming, not knowing whether you were going over us or not!” [chuckling]

EE:

And what was the reason he gave for landing on the highway?

CF:

I don't know whether he was out of gas, he was having engine trouble—I mean I don't remember what happened, but I will never forget that plane just coming, you know, just keeping on coming.

EE:

It's kind of hard to drive down the road the rest of your life the same way! [chuckling]

CF:

Yeah. I kept thinking, “You know, he really is coming down! He's going to land on this highway.” And I was all for giving it to him. I remember how upset he was because we didn't keep on coming. I thought he was a little stupid. [chuckling]

EE:

That might have been your dangerous moment in military service, though, was driving down the highway and being ambushed from above.

CF:

I expect it was. That's right, that's right. That was it.

EE:

Did you think ever about making a career out of military service, or were you pretty much there—

CF:

No.

EE:

You had signed up just, what, to the end of the war, or what was the term?

CF:

Yes, just till the end of the war.

EE:

In your work, do you think you were treated fairly with other men?

CF:

Oh yes, no friction. When I first went to the hospital in Asheville, there were only two WAVES there.

EE:

Out of a staff of—

CF:

Well, no WAVES. There were nurses and there were recuperees.

[Interview interrupted, tape paused]

EE:

There were two WAVES on staff at Asheville.

CF:

There were only two: the girl who had been the one who had been in charge of the disbursing and supply, whom I was replacing; and the head of the physical therapy department was a WAVE. And she and I roomed together. She was from Boston and she and I roomed together after Kitty left. They did not have accommodations at the hospital for the WAVES, so we found places nearby. We roomed in private homes.

EE:

Did you get a chance to see your folks while you were there, I guess?

CF:

Oh yes, back and forth. The train went right from Asheville—Well, actually, it originated somewhere west of Asheville, but it went right through Newton, and so I would get on the train in the afternoon, four or five o'clock, and be there in a couple of hours. It was not any distance. One of the times that I was going, I decided to go back in the club car to smoke a cigarette, I think, and this man was sitting there with a cigar in his mouth, and I thought, “He looks familiar.” And he introduced himself. He was Governor [Robert G.] Cherry, the governor of North Carolina. [chuckling]

EE:

Oh, my! Wasn't he from Gastonia, [North Carolina]?

CF:

Yes, he was. He was from Gastonia. We had quite an extended conversation. He wanted to know where I had gone to school and when I went in and just exactly what my work—what I was doing. We talked, I guess, until I got off in Newton. I thought that was quite a nice experience. I enjoyed it.

EE:

That was very nice. He got your vote, I guess, then. [chuckling]

CF:

I don't remember whether he ran again or not. I don't remember that.

EE:

Oh, just one term. What was the hardest thing that you had to do while you were in service, either physically or emotionally?

CF:

This really is not connected with the service, but it's connected with the war. I lost a first cousin overseas while I was in Asheville. He was just a year younger than I was, and this happened when he was in Germany and he was accidentally shot. It was—

EE:

Friendly fire.

CF:

Yeah. I think somebody was playing with a gun or something, I don't know how exactly, you know, what the details were, but it was something that could have been prevented, which of course—

EE:

Made it worse.

CF:

Yes, it made it worse.

EE:

I guess you were probably a little concerned about Carl during all this, were you not?

CF:

Well, he was at home. See, he had gotten home. I was in about—

EE:

You actually were in about a year longer then.

CF:

I was in about nine months longer than he. He got home in—let me see, I had that written down because I was doing some figuring on that. I'm not sure just exactly when that was. He got home in September of '45, and then I didn't get out until—

EE:

March of '46?

CF:

March of '46. So it was that long. And of course we were going back and forth. He was coming up and I was coming down, so—

EE:

So he wasn't in the mood to immediately get you out of the service and marry you then?

CF:

No, no. [chuckling]

EE:

You were still doing a sales job. [chuckling]

CF:

Yeah, that's right. I was having to convince him. [laughter]

EE:

Well, I'm glad it worked out successfully. It seems to have been a long-lasting thing.

CF:

Yes, it has. It has been.

EE:

If you're going to sign on the dotted line, you might as well get it right.

CF:

It has been very, very satisfactory. We have two children, a son who celebrated his fiftieth birthday. He is not married. He has been married and divorced, no children. He works in Winston-Salem, [North Carolina], for the National Labor Relations Board. He was my Carolina graduate. And then I have a daughter who teaches school at Crest [High School in] Shelby, and has two sons, thirteen and ten.

EE:

Wonderful.

CF:

It's wonderful having them this close. It's really, really nice. And there are some more things I want to tell you.

EE:

Well, I'm going to give you a chance. I want to ask you a few more questions about your military time. I just wanted to get you to the—Well, let me ask you a few and then see if those stories you have come out during the course of them. What was your most embarrassing moment during the time of your military service? You may not have put that down.

CF:

Yes, I do remember. A lot of the officers, instead of drawing pay, wanted their money put in bonds, savings bonds and war bonds, I think they called them. And Captain Angwin, the commanding officer, always had a share, a part of his salary, put into bonds. So the girl in my office, for some reason or other, decided to make the bond out to Mr. W. A. Angwin instead of Captain. I was not aware of this, but you know it was still my fault, I should have been. Well, the bonds were delivered to him, to Captain Angwin, and he came storming down into the office. And you know I said I'd never seen him upset except that one time when Lena Horne was there? He was upset. He said, “I have been in the navy for over thirty, forty years, I don't know what, and I have been a captain for so many years. Why in the world would you think that I wanted a war bond with “Mister” on it?!” I said, “I have no idea why we did this. I am just as sorry as I can be. We will cancel these and we will have others issued.” And he said, “Just forget it!” [chuckling] Oh, that was bad. That was bad. And you know it was my fault, really. I mean, I should have looked over it. But it never occurred to me that she would do anything except what she had always done. I can't imagine what—I think maybe it was near the time that the hospital was going to be decommissioned, and possibly she thought that he would want to be Mister when he got out.

EE:

Mr. Angwin.

CF:

Right. He didn't. That struck a nerve.

EE:

That was still Captain Angwin.

CF:

That's right, he was going to be Captain Angwin the rest of his life.

EE:

How often did you get paid, once a month?

CF:

Yes. A hundred and fifty dollars. Big money. Big money.

EE:

Did they take care of room and board or just—

CF:

Yes, I got a hundred and fifty dollars in addition to my room and board. That was extra. That was not part of the hundred and fifty dollars.

EE:

Were you ever afraid during your military time?

CF:

No.

EE:

You told me quite a lot about social life at WC, and a little bit about social life up at Radcliffe and at Smith, what about Asheville? What was that like?

CF:

Oh, it was fun. Actually, there wasn't too much social life. The girl that I roomed with was engaged to a naval officer. And Carl didn't know it, but we were engaged too. [laughter]

EE:

Did you have to buy yourself a ring?

CF:

We really didn't do too much dating. Now you're going to like this. One thing that—when you said something about the number of women from WC who had served. Several afternoons we were uptown getting ready to go eat or something and I would see somebody from WC and stop and chat. Or it even got to the place where somebody would holler across the street, “WC!” And I would holler back, “WC!” And finally, after this happened maybe four or five times, Ginny, the girl from Boston, said, “Did every girl in North Carolina go to WC?” And I said, “Well, if they didn't they should have.” [laughter] But it was amazing the number of girls that I saw there. Now all of them were not in the military. I mean, they were just people that I remembered from—

EE:

Now you know nowadays everybody, even the girls, will wear college t-shirts or sweatshirts, you know, but that's not—They just knew you by sight.

CF:

Exactly, exactly. Well, you see, we were that small. And I thought two thousand was a lot. But in four years' time, you know some of the people in the years ahead of you and some behind you, so that's about six years in there that you meet people. And you do remember them, for one reason or another.

EE:

That's a whole different line—We've only got one more tape now, we can't go into this. [chuckling] Tell me something, do you have any heroes or heroines from that time that stand out in your memory? Almost everybody has an opinion about the Roosevelts, Franklin and Eleanor, but other folks.

CF:

Well, I really think that if I had a hero it was probably [Harry S.] Truman. I was so afraid—You asked me if I had ever been afraid. I was afraid when he became president. I was so afraid about what might happen. And he surprised me so. I mean, he did such a commendable job, and I learned to really appreciate him. I think maybe I looked up to him, more even than some of the other presidents. And of course I admired [Dwight D.] Eisenhower. I felt like he was a wonderful man. I always had heroes. I always had heroes or heroines. I had them at WC, older girls, you know, that I looked up to. A girl that took the time to teach us to play field hockey was a wonderful person. And so many of the girls that I met there. And the same was true of the girls in the service. I met some really—And incidentally, when I was in midshipmen's school halfway through, Katherine Taylor from WC came and was in the class following mine. We didn't graduate together, but she graduated in the next class. And I was so glad to see somebody that I knew. It was great. Of course, she was dean of students and I was—She was on the staff, I was just a student there, but I remembered her.

EE:

Did you have any favorite songs, favorite movies? I know you must have had a few favorite dances. [chuckling] I think you shook a leg once or twice back in those times.

CF:

Well, we were sort of jitterbugging, and that was the main dance at that time. Yeah, I guess that was it, and of course the swing.

EE:

Who did you like better, Benny Goodman or Artie Shaw? Or Glenn Miller? You were Glenn Miller age.

CF:

Yes, yeah. A lot of good songs back then. They just don't have them anymore.

EE:

No. Was it '44 or '45 when his plane went down?

CF:

I believe it was after I was—No, it was while I was still in service. I guess it was '45. I'm not sure about that. I'm not really sure about that, but I believe it was '45.

EE:

I know it was late in the war.

CF:

And that was so sad. That was really so sad. Yeah, In the Mood was a great one. There were a lot, a lot of good songs, String of Pearls. A lot of good swing songs. They don't play them like that anymore.

EE:

Well, you know, they have something out they call now the new swing, which is a little more jazzed-up, but they do like a jitterbug.

CF:

[chuckling] I'm glad we are passing something on. I'm glad we are.

EE:

Yes, you may get another interview from somebody wanting to teach you how to dance. [chuckling] A question we ask everybody. Do you feel you contributed to the war effort?

CF:

Yes. I did. I did feel like I contributed. It was not entirely for my country that I did this. I did it for myself, too. I mean maybe selfishly, but it was such an enriching experience in my life, and it's something that I'll never forget. It was right on a par with college. You know, it expanded—

EE:

In the learning experiences.

CF:

Right, right, it was a learning experience, as though I were getting my master's or something.

EE:

It's a life degree, isn't it.

CF:

Right, it was. It really was. I can't forget the wonderful girls that I met. They were just unbelievable. Everybody was serious about this thing. It wasn't fun, it wasn't just all fun. We had fun, but—

EE:

Well, you know, I think a lot of people talk about it was a patriotic time. But when you talk about [feeling] really just too anxious after Pearl Harbor, it was not a given that we were going to win.

CF:

That's right, that's right. There was always that uncertainty, you know, until fairly late in the war. I remember gnawing my fingernails the Christmas of '44 when the Battle of the Bulge was going on, because that's just exactly where Carl was.

EE:

And had they sustained and broken through, we could have lost a lot of what we'd just been gaining.

CF:

Right, right. That was a miserable Christmas. That was really, really a bad Christmas.

EE:

Did you know at the time he was there?

CF:

Yes. I knew, you know, not ever definitely, but approximately I knew where.

EE:

Because I know a lot of the folks have talked about getting the V-Mail that was blacked-out because the COs wouldn't let them say anything about geography where they were.

CF:

Well, we had sort of a little code that—We had sort of numbered places beforehand and knew a little bit that way. No, it worked. I knew his general vicinity and I knew—From the tone of his letters, I knew that he was near.

EE:

Serious?

CF:

Yes, that he was there.

EE:

Where were you when you heard about VE [Victory in Europe] Day?

CF:

I was in Asheville. That was one of the things I was going to tell you. Oh, we celebrated! We celebrated! Everybody was uptown. Everybody was—you know, horns were blowing, people were dancing in the streets, everybody was hugging everybody. It was wonderful. It was really, really wonderful.

EE:

I guess to be working in a place where those guys had been there, that really made it extra-special, too.

CF:

Right, it did. It did.

EE:

It was not in vain, not in vain.

CF:

That's right. They were really so happy. They tried to stay in the hospital as long as they possibly could. They would manufacture all these little ailments, you know, hoping that the doctors would not send them back to active duty. Sometimes it just really got pitiful. A lot of them just didn't want to go back, and you could understand why. I mean, it was perfectly normal.

EE:

Sure. And then were you there in Asheville on VJ [Victory in Japan] Day as well?

CF:

Yes. Yes, I was. I guess we did the same thing over again. [laughter]

EE:

Understandable.

CF:

Yeah, we got out in the street, and the band played and—You know, it was just like that in every town all over the United States. This was the thing that you thought: “You know, the whole country is celebrating. I mean, this is just a wonderful happy, happy moment in the life of our country.”

EE:

I think the end happening so quick, and VJ Day, I think, surprised a lot of people. Because nobody knew that we had the bomb, and so everybody was expecting a big invasion of Japan and another year or two of trying to do that.

CF:

Right. When Carl got on the ship coming home, he had every idea that he would be going to Japan. He didn't know, you know. And it was while he was on the ship that he heard that the bomb had been dropped. And then it was just a matter of days, wasn't it, before they surrendered.

EE:

That's right, less than a week, I think.

CF:

Immediately. Almost immediately.

EE:

What impact do you think the military has had on your life?

CF:

I think it has been a big part of [it]. In large part, it's the discipline that was instilled, and it was the respect that I learned. Of course I always had respect for superiors. I always respected my teachers and I respected other people, but this was something that you learned that you did with grace because you felt that it represented the navy and you did everything you could to make that—

EE:

Appreciation maybe for something bigger than yourself.

CF:

Exactly.

EE:

Which at that age is a tough thing to learn.

CF:

Exactly. That's right! But it has stuck with me.

EE:

That's a nice phrase, “respect with grace.” Because it's one thing to have respect, but to do it gracefully is another thing.

CF:

Well, you felt like doing it gracefully. It was something you wanted to do. You were proud, not especially of yourself, but you were proud to be a part of something that was so great.

EE:

It probably didn't hurt your self-esteem either, it sounded like.

CF:

[chuckling] Not a bit, not a bit. And my theory about self-esteem is that it's not a gift, you earn it. If it's real self-esteem, you can't be given that. I get irritated with teachers in school now talking about building up somebody's self-esteem. You can build it up, but they have to do something to earn it.

EE:

It has to have a foundation to it.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

You can't just change the adjectives if the performance doesn't change.

CF:

Exactly. Exactly. There has to be a motivating factor or the whole thing is empty. And this is where I think a lot of our education has become. Awards for what? Being there. For nothing. They don't have to do anything to get an award. This is what they're supposed to do. You don't get an award for doing what you're supposed to do. You're not supposed to. [chuckling]

EE:

You would think so. I think I know the answer to this, judging from the answers to the previous questions, would you do it again?

CF:

Oh, definitely. Definitely! Without a flicker of an eye.

EE:

Did the military make you more of an independent person, or were you kind of independent-minded to begin with?

CF:

I was pretty independent before, but this more or less—I think I matured a lot, and not just age-wise. I think I learned things that were important, and I think it probably affected the way I lived my life afterward.

EE:

Tell me about that. Some of the choices that you made afterwards—

CF:

I think that my standards were probably higher, and I think—Of course I went back to school, teaching school. After we were married and had two children, then I went back to teaching. I taught for twenty-eight years, and my two military years counted toward my retirement, so I had thirty.

EE:

Thirty at retirement?

CF:

I had the thirty years, right, when I retired. And I think that a lot of my philosophy of life was shaped through those two years in the service.

EE:

Do you think it made you a better teacher?

CF:

Yes, I think it did. I think it did. Well, I learned so many things that I didn't know before, or maybe things that I just was not aware of. And I think I made my students see the importance of doing a good job for the sake of the job. I taught commercial subjects in high school, and a lot of the girls that I taught were able to get jobs without going any further. That was during the time when students came out and they were capable. They were highly motivated.

EE:

In other words, a high school diploma meant you had certain standards.

CF:

Exactly.

EE:

You had accomplished certain things.

CF:

Yes.

EE:

Well, it sounds like you went back to education not because you were going back to it because it was a traditional women's role but because that's really what you loved to do was to teach.

CF:

I did. I did, I loved to teach school.

EE:

And you went back instead of going to the bank, went back to school.

CF:

Yes, that's right. I liked teaching, I really did. I had twenty years that I got more than I put in. I got more back than I put in.

EE:

That's sort of the way I've experienced.

CF:

It's wonderful, wonderful.

EE:

It's easy to do when you always get more doing it than you do.

CF:

That's right.

EE:

Well, let me ask you this question. Certainly the experience of women in the military has been one of the things that has changed our society's view about the role of women in society, the women's liberation movement. Do you think that you and your fellow [women's] experiences in the military, do you think that sort of was a forerunner to the women's lib movement?

CF:

I don't think it could help but be. Yes, I think it definitely was. But I am not a feminist.

EE:

You're not a feminist yourself?

CF:

No, I'm not. I believe in the same pay for the same job, and to that degree I believe. But as far as certain positions and all, I think women are losing a lot in their effort to become men.

EE:

Well, I think just three months ago the U.S. government for the first time authorized women to fly in active combat missions in Iraq. What do you think of that?

CF:

I don't like that. I don't like it. Now I know that younger women would disagree with me about this, but then younger people disagree with me about a lot of things. [chuckling]

EE:

We're looking for your opinion today, not the younger ones'.

CF:

So I do not think that that is a woman's place, to fly combat. I don't. I really, really do not.

EE:

And when you say “a woman's place,” you mean a woman's place in terms of being good for both the women and for society?

CF:

Right, right. Yes, I do. I believe that in the long run I think women still need to be women. We have a tremendous field, we have a tremendous challenge without actually challenging men. I mean, there are lots and lots of things that women can do, and the contribution that we make in our own unique way is just as important. The only thing that I think is unjust is—

EE:

The pay issue?

CF:

The pay, right.

EE:

If they're doing the same job—

CF:

If you're doing the same job and doing a good job, I think you should get the same consideration that a man does.

EE:

Did any of your children join the military?

CF:

No. They came along—Actually, Vietnam was ahead of Tommy, and there hasn't been any occasion since then. I don't think he would really—I don't think he would enjoy it. I don't think he would like it at all.

EE:

Would it have bothered you had your daughter joined the military, knowing what you knew about the military experience?

CF:

No, it would not have bothered me. And if she had wanted to she would have. She would have. Carl might have had to get her a Masonic ring. [laughter]

EE:

So if you'd have gotten one you could have passed it down from generation to generation, sort of like a little charm.

CF:

That's right. That's exactly right. [chuckling]

EE:

Well, you've got some other pictures and stories and stuff. That's all the formal questions that I had, if you've got anything else you want to share with me.

CF:

I'm trying to think of some of the little funny things, because those are the things that I always think about. I remember the girls breaking off the overshoes, I remember that. And the—wanting to know if we were some kind of new nuns. [chuckling] The food at all these places was so good. navy food was good, it was really good. We all enjoyed that. We had to march to keep from looking like balloons. Oh, an interesting thing, we wore lisle hose.

EE:

That's the cotton?

CF:

Right, right. You know, it was so comfortable when you were marching. And when we first went in, nylons were not available. So when we got to Radcliffe, by that time nylon hose were—we were able to get those. And we voted to continue wearing the lisle hose because we liked them. We had just gotten used to looking kind of—our legs looking kind of—

EE:

A little wrinkly there.

CF:

Yeah, kind of drab. Kind of drab.

EE:

I've seen pictures of them. The ankles kind of look a little suspect, don't they?

CF:

Right! That's exactly right. [laughter]

EE:

I can imagine if your ankles were swollen and wearing those hose it would make an interesting sight.

CF:

They were falling right out of my shoes. They were. Oh, I haven't told you about going to get the money for the payroll. At Radcliffe, we had to practice with weapons because we had to be armed when we got the money, and we had to have—

EE:

This would have been the same in Asheville? You were armed, too, when you went to get it?

CF:

Yes, yes. That was the purpose.

EE:

You didn't have an escort. Oh, my goodness.

CF:

Yeah, I had to carry a gun, and I had to know how to use it.

EE:

So they put you through training?

CF:

Then I always had to have a guard who was also armed with me. So when we would start to get the payroll, that was at the time that this particular song was popular, I would hear Pistol Packin' Mama. [laughter] I ignored it. I acted like I didn't hear it, you know. I wouldn't know exactly what I was going to say, anyway.

EE:

Was it a .38? Do you remember?

CF:

Yes, a .38 Special, Smith and Wesson. And you know that's the only thing that I brought out of the navy. I tried to give it back. [chuckling] I really tried to give it back, and everybody that I went to with this gun said, “Keep it. Keep it, you've earned it.” I wrote Charleston and told them I had this gun, what did they want me to do with it? And I never got a reply. So I brought it home.

Now, after I had been in Asheville for—I guess maybe six months, about fifteen enlisted WAVES were sent in. They were corpsmen, corpswomen—corpsmen they were called. They helped the nurses, and then a lot of them came into the physical therapy department. I did not have any in my office, but we did have some enlisted WAVES there, and they stayed in the hospital. They were all really, really nice girls and we got along fine having them there.

EE:

Did you socialize with the enlisted WAVES, or were the officers separate?

CF:

Not really, not really. No, we didn't. We ate in different places and we didn't really socialize, but we got along—

EE:

That's right. You weren't really stationed in a place that had an officers' club per se, were you?

CF:

No. No, we did not. They had several places in Asheville that we could go to celebrate different occasions and have fun, they had music and all, but we didn't really do it with the enlisted personnel. We weren't supposed to.

EE:

I had a story of a woman who was an enlisted WAVE in Norfolk, [Virginia], who got her date in trouble when he tried to sneak her into the officers' club. She learned that night, no, she wasn't supposed to be there. [chuckling]

CF:

That's a hard way to learn, kind of embarrassing.

EE:

Yes, it is, it's kind of embarrassing.

CF:

I told you about all the WC girls. Oh, we took a trip to Gatlinburg, [Tennessee]. I think we took several trips to Gatlinburg. Ginny and I went.

EE:

Who is Ginny?

CF:

Ginny was my roommate, the one from Boston who was head of the physical therapy. And incidentally, she married her fiancé. She flew back to California before he was shipped out and they were married, and then she left before I did because she was pregnant. My doctor should have talked to her. [chuckling] When Julian came back they settled in Beckley, West Virginia, and then later on he was offered a job teaching drama at Myers Park High School. And she is still in Charlotte. He has died. She is still in Charlotte, and was head of the physical therapy at the old Charlotte Memorial Hospital.

EE:

Before it became Carolinas Medical.

CF:

Yes, and she still goes back and works part-time, at her age. She still does.

EE:

That is great.

CF:

She's an amazing, amazing person. Five daughters. Okay, I've told you about the trip home, and I've told you about the airplane landing. I believe that's about the end of my story.

EE:

Well, wonderful. Tell me a little bit about these photos here. Let me just say that we'll end the formal transcript here. But I learned several times that if I turn it off right now then some of the good stories I'll miss when people are showing me their photos. [chuckling]

CF:

This was the midshipmen's school. And I do not know the exact number of graduates. I do not know. One time during the time that we were in midshipmen's school—I was never a drill instructor. I mean, somehow or another that just was not exactly my line. So one rainy day—all my experiences seem to happen in the rain—we were marching in the civic center there, a large building, and all of a sudden the officer who was doing the drills called my name and said, “I want you to lead this platoon.” And I thought, “This is it. I haven't the faintest idea how to do this.” I loved marching, but I just didn't think I could do it. Well, I started, I got them started, and you know this big deep voice came out of me. And I thought, “Who is this saying all this good stuff?” And I was doing so well, you know. I was turning them around, they were going by the right flank and the—

[End Tape 2, Side A—Begin Tape 2, Side B]

CF:

—director of nursing in Asheville at the hospital.

EE:

Okay, what's her name?

CF:

You know, I don't remember. I do not remember.

EE:

This looks like the Grove Park Inn.

CF:

Well, it's not. It's on the other side of town. It's in Biltmore, really, and it was the old Kenilworth Inn, which—

EE:

Okay. I was going say, it looks like a motel.

CF:

Yes, it was a beautiful place. It had lovely grounds. There was a pond there. This was taken at Radcliffe when I was in school there.

EE:

This is your supply officer's little insignia here, isn't it, on your sleeve?

CF:

Yes, above the rank.

EE:

What is it, battling seahorses I recall, wasn't it? Two seahorses?

CF:

Well, right. I should have some of those Supply Corps pins.

EE:

Have you given the school any of these pictures?

CF:

Yes. I don't know about the pictures. I've given them some of my insignia.

EE:

I'd love to have a photo of something like this. We try to get at least one photo of everybody that we interview so that we have that on file for things, but that's good. And there's those—I can tell, those stockings that were baggy. [laughter]

CF:

They were so baggy. We were so stupid, though. But you know—

EE:

Now you look like you're in nylons here.

CF:

I did, I did. When we got to Asheville I wore nylons all the time. But we were doing so much marching then, and the nylons were slick, you know, and we could march better with the cotton hose on. So that was unanimous. We voted—

EE:

Where is this?

CF:

This was in Philadelphia when we were on temporary duty. One of the girls that we had been in midshipmen's school with was in Philadelphia on leave, and her family invited all of us out for a meal, and we went. I'm to the left.

EE:

That's a pretty home.

CF:

Yes. But the three of us were very, very good friends. Now, the girl on the extreme right was a WC graduate, Katherine Nowell, N-o-w-e-l-l. The last time that I heard anything from her, her home was in Johnson City but she was living in Charlotte. She worked in Charlotte a long time.

EE:

That's great. This is when you just got—

CF:

That was the one that we had taken, I think, for—

EE:

Just being an ensign, coming out. This is this picture, isn't it?

CF:

Yes, it is. And this was one that was taken in front of the hospital. It's not real clear. It's not as clear as it might have been.

EE:

This would have been in '45?

CF:

Yeah. This was the officer that I relieved. This was an officer who was in Asheville on temporary duty, this was Ginny, the physical therapist, and I am there.

EE:

What is this, snowballs that you've got here?

CF:

Yes. This was one of the days that it snowed in Asheville. [chuckling]

EE:

That's a great picture.

CF:

We were really having a good time.

EE:

I'm going to pull these two. That one's a little washed out and it might be hard to get that one.

CF:

Yeah, it is, it is, it's not real clear.

EE:

But these two right here, that one of you outside of Radcliffe. Because I don't have one of that location, too, is the other thing I'm thinking about.

CF:

All right. This was a newspaper, the article that came out about the First National Shows Excellent War Service Record. I saved that. [chuckling]

EE:

You're up there on the honor roll!

CF:

Oh yes.

EE:

Person number one.

CF:

Oh yes. [chuckling]

EE:

Well, that is great. Mr. Summers, was he the one whose daughter got you the tickets?

CF:

No, it was Mr. Neill, who was the vice president. Is he listed there as vice president? He should have been. He was the one that did all the work. That's the way it is.

EE:

Well, that's great. This was a special war issue?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

Everybody in here is congratulating the First National Bank.

CF:

I don't know what that was. I don't remember what the occasion was.

EE:

Here's Mr. Ware, who was a bank director. Now how do you like this for a headline: More Lard Promised Housewives in 1946? [laughter] You wouldn't find that headline every day, would you?

CF:

As if they wanted it. [laughter] And that was during rationing.

EE:

Well, that's just because it was rationed.

CF:

That's right. And you know, more lard. I hope it was more coffee and more everything. [chuckling]

EE:

Probably. Well, I don't see Mr. Neill in here. That's something. [chuckling]

CF:

Mr. Neill, he should have been there, but I don't know where he was. This was the Supply Corps graduation.

EE:

Class of December 6, '44. Oh my. Let's see, can I pick you out? Probably not. Everybody starts to look—

CF:

I don't think so. I don't think you could. I played for the championship in tennis there. We had a tennis match and I was playing for the championship. But unlike Duke, I did not win. [chuckling] A girl from California won. Let's see, there I am.

EE:

Oh, front and center.

CF:

One of my friends when she saw it said, “Your face looks like a moon.” [chuckling] It was all that good food I ate.

EE:

This was a friend?

CF:

Yeah, she was supposed to be. [chuckling]

EE:

That's great. Now, this would have been your CO?

CF:

Actually, she was in charge of our dormitory, these two. She was sort of the errand girl. She helped this one. I don't remember her name either. And these were our three instructors, the three men were the ones who instructed us in the Supply Corps. They were the ones who conducted the classes and told us what we were supposed to be doing and how we were supposed to be doing it. And this is the annual that the Harvard School of Business put out, and we were there at the same time, so we're in the back. Now I say the Harvard School of Business, this was the Supply Corps school at Harvard. The men went there.

EE:

And the women got Radcliffe?

CF:

And the women went to Radcliffe, right. But we had the same actual commanding officer.

EE:

Captain McIntosh was in charge?

CF:

Yes. And we had practically no contact with them. I didn't. I don't know whether any of the other girls did or not. [chuckling]

EE:

This is great. Elinor Gene Boshco, Navy Supply Corps School sweetheart.

CF:

These were the ones who were the—I think they were either wives or sweethearts of the men. They were selected as the sweetheart.

EE:

The “D-Bees.” That's everybody's kids.

CF:

Yes.

EE:

Scenes from campus life, it looks like. Oh, my. Ready for sea. [laughter] Looks like standard issue.

CF:

[chuckling] Yeah, that's right. Navy regs. We were constantly changing. Every time you turned around, they were making some new navy regulations. We had a huge loose-leaf notebook, and we would have to change the—One thing would replace another. You know, we spent most of our time bringing the navy regs up to date.

EE:

This SC dash [SC-], which I think it was—Anyway, the woman who I interviewed in Martinsville was also in Supply Corps. I asked her about it, “Was that a standard abbreviation?” She couldn't remember, but it looks like it was. That's what you were called.

CF:

I don't remember that either.

EE:

Smooth roll. Rough roll.

CF:

Now, in the Supply Corps we had a rough roll and a smooth roll that was submitted every so often, you know, as sort of an inventory. So they called that section up there—

EE:

This is where you were drilling out here?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

And a little table tennis.

CF:

Ping-Pong.

EE:

[Reading] “Who will dress vocation, education, sorority?” What is that?

CF:

I don't know. They listed sororities because we didn't have any at WC, so we couldn't do that.

EE:

Oh, all right. That's what this was.

CF:

Now they do have them now, right?

EE:

Well, here you are, Carolyn K. Newby, Newton, North Carolina. They put you as Newton even though you were in Kings Mountain? Oh, this is where you're from?

CF:

Well, actually it was my hometown. I left from Newton. I got transportation from Newton to—See, I had left Kings Mountain to be at home for a while, so that was listed as my hometown.

EE:

[Reading] “Teaching and bank teller, Woman's College of UNC.” Wonderful. And were you the only Carolina girl there?

CF:

No, there were two of us. Yeah, two of us.

EE:

Oh, Katherine Nowell, right here.

CF:

And there's a Jackson, Eleanor Jackson. She may have married. She was in my class at WC, too.

EE:

Right, Davidson [North Carolina].

CF:

Yes, but she put just UNC.

EE:

Eleanor—Maybe she became a Northcott? Went back to Davidson?

CF:

She could have.

EE:

I'm trying to track down an Eleanor Northcott from Davidson.

CF:

You know, that could be. In fact, I think that's who she did marry. I think she did marry a Northcott.

EE:

Was she in your class of '41 at school, too?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

So you knew her before?

CF:

Yes.

EE:

That's great.

CF:

Yes. So there were actually three of us.

EE:

So what do your kids think when you talk about your Harvard yearbook?

CF:

[Laughter] They don't think much of it.

EE:

Oh, youth is wasted on the young.

CF:

It doesn't matter to me.

EE:

What is this here?

CF:

I happened to come across that. That's my brick.

EE:

Oh, from when you—Oh, okay. Oh yeah, that's right, I've seen this up there.

CF:

I had sort of forgotten about having it, and I was glad I came across it when I was looking through this stuff.

EE:

Did you get the information about the women's memorial they were building up, or I guess they built up, up at Arlington [Women in Military Service for American memorial]?

CF:

Yes. Yes, I have, and I intend to—

EE:

What is this right here, this pile?

CF:

These were simply navy orders and nothing really. I noticed I had some school stuff in there, too. I thought it was just navy records, but it was where I was to—It was my oath of office at midshipmen's school and—

EE:

And this doesn't say for how long you're going to be in. It just says, “I'm in.”

CF:

We were in for the duration. This is what they used to say, “for the duration.” Have you come across any girls who did stay in?

EE:

I had one who was in through '47, and that was as long as she was in. I had a couple who thought about it. Rama thought about it.

CF:

Yes, she should have, you know.

EE:

Yes, she says that. But what she ended up doing was she married a serviceman and she traveled for forty years all around the world with him.

CF:

Well, that was the same thing. [chuckling]

EE:

Same thing. She just probably got to throw better parties, so—

CF:

I expect you're right. I expect you're right.

EE:

But she thoroughly enjoyed it.

CF:

She was a pretty, pretty girl. She was a good recruiter.

EE:

Apparently she did a little modeling, too.

CF:

Hmm?

EE:

After the service she became a buyer for either Ivey's or Belk's [department stores].

CF:

Is that right?

EE:

I think it was Ivey's, and was up in New York and was even doing a little modeling, or trying to do modeling. She said it was so good when she got up there [that] she wasn't tall enough. And all her life, she's five-ten, she's told she's too tall. And to be told she wasn't tall enough to be a model, she said, “Yes!” [laughter] “I'm so glad somebody has called me shrimp.”

CF:

I guess that would be. After hearing how [tall] you are all your life, it would be nice to be told somebody was short. I would like that. I think a lot of that stuff is school stuff, high school stuff. I don't think that is anything to do with my—

EE:

Well, that's great. And they gave you your discharge—Let's see, effective date of discharge—Oh, so you were actually in the [U.S. Naval] Reserve for a little while afterwards.

CF:

Yeah, I had some time that went in that.

EE:

Well, now, the person I was talking to this morning said she stayed in the reserve until the Korean War, and a friend of hers said, “You might want to get out because they might call you back.” And she said, “You know, you're right. I'm not really looking to go back. I didn't mind getting a little extra pay, but I don't want to do any more work for it.”

CF:

Well, I think I stayed in simply to use up the time that I had accumulated. I had no intention of—

[Tape paused]

CF:

Carl and I were married in June of '46.

EE:

Well, thank you. It's wonderful to have all that and to share it.

CF:

It is. I put it back and I sort of just forget about it, and I've had fun digging the things up and thinking about it myself. I've really, really enjoyed it.

EE:

Would you mind if I borrowed those two pictures right there and take them and get them back to you?

CF:

No, I don't mind. Is there anything that you'd like to identify?

EE:

Well, what I might do is give back to you—maybe say a few today and write a little note of what those two are, and then I'll just keep them in the folder with your stuff and just let them see. Because I'm going back to Greensboro tomorrow and I'll give them to the archivist folks and have them make a copy of the photos and get them right back to you. In fact, you'll get those back—Probably I'll send back a copy of the tape at the same time, because it won't take long to make a duplicate of the tape. And this is your CO? What was her name, the one you relieved here?

CF:

Kitty Reuman, R-e-u-m-a-n. I'm not sure whether it had another N or not. We really weren't together that long. She was there, I guess, three or four weeks.

EE:

And this was—?

CF:

Flo Bergman. She was from New York. She was on temporary duty there and was sent on as soon as I arrived. She was there just a very short time.

EE:

And this is Ginny?

CF:

This is Ginny Kane, K-a-n-e, from Boston, who wanted to know if everybody in North Carolina went to WC, all the girls.

EE:

And that would have been in '45, maybe '46, winter of '46 maybe? I don't know, was she already gone by then?

CF:

No, no, no, I wasn't in the winter of '46. It was '45. It was '45.

EE:

Okay. And then this would have been—

CF:

No, it wasn't, it was '44. That was '44. I finished Supply School in December and I was there, and that's when they were all there, so it was in '44.

EE:

December of '44.

CF:

Right, right, it was in '44. In '45 Kitty had been gone. See, I was there by myself for more than a year.

EE:

And this one would have been at Supply School—

CF:

At Radcliffe.

EE:

Which would have been, what, October of '44 or something like that?

CF:

Yes. That was at Radcliffe. Now is this little project that you have going to end sometime?

EE:

We're going to have something from it as soon as this fall. We're going to do another luncheon again, on the 13th of November, and what we're going to try to do is—We'll have a set for the archives purposes—

[End of interview]