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 Lucille Ingram Pauquette, 1999

Search the Collection


AND   OR   EXACT PHRASE

Object ID: WV0037.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Carolina Lucille Ingram Pauquette’s service with the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve from 1945 to 1946 and her life after World War II.

Summary:

Pauquette discusses her decision to join the Marines and the influence of having four other siblings in the military. She primarily discusses her duties at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Base as a postal worker and her social activities with future husband Charles Pauquette, a staff sergeant also stationed at Cherry Point.

Charles Pauquette participates in the interview, discussing his assignment to the South Pacific in World War II, his re-activation for service in the Korean War, and his post-military career. Lucille Pauquette also describes Marine uniforms, compares the Marine experience to women in other branches, and provides her opinions on women in combat and U.S. participation in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Creator: Carolina Lucille Ingram Pauquette

Biographical Info: Carolina Lucille Ingram Pauquette (1922-2007)of Greensboro, North Carolina, was a postal clerk in the Marines Corps Women’s Reserve from 1945 to 1946.

Collection: Lucille Ingram Pauquette 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:

HT:

My name is Hermann Trojanowski and today is February 15, 1999. I'm at the home of Mrs. Lucille Ingram Pauquette in Greensboro, North Carolina, to conduct an oral history interview for the Women's Historical Collection at UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro]. If you could tell me your maiden name and where you were born, we'll consider this our test for your voice.

LP:

I was born in Greensboro, at home. My name is Carolina, for the state, Lucille Ingram Pauquette.

HT:

Okay, thank you.

[recorder paused]

HT:

Mrs. Pauquette, thank you so much for talking with me this morning. I really appreciate it, and I know this will be of lasting value to scholars in the future. Could you tell me where you went to high school, please?

LP:

I went to GHS, Greensboro High School.

HT:

That's Greensboro High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. Thank you. And could you tell me a little bit about your family life before you joined the military?

LP:

I worked at local establishments in Greensboro. Mind you, this was when the war was going on, and we were geared that way. It seemed our whole family was interested in the things about the war. And having had four members of our family already enlisted in service, that was where I was anxious to go. I wanted to go. I wanted to be myself. I didn't want to be an Air Force, as [sister] Reva was in the [U.S] Air Force; [sister] June was in the [U.S] Army; [sister] Laura was Coast Guard; and my brother Bill was Air Force. I wanted to be different, I wanted to be me, so I went to the Marines. And that was in the year 1945. I enlisted and was inducted in March of 1945.

I went down to Camp Lejeune [North Carolina] for my basic training. I did not leave the state. Most of the other folks in our family, they were all out of the state. But having been one of the last groups to join the military—by that I mean while the war was going on—I stayed down at Camp Lejeune and was later transferred to Cherry Point [North Carolina] in June of '45, and was discharged actually in—I'm sorry, I went in in March of '45 and I was discharged in June of '46.

HT:

Do you recall anything specific about your first day of basic training?

LP:

Oh dear, [chuckling] that goes way back. Well, I remember it was hectic, like it was for everyone else. And to, as they say, fall in, we didn't know our left from our right, hardly. But I was in with a group of other women who were just as enthused about the Marines as I was. I was very interested in that branch of the service. Yes, I can remember out there, out in our—What did we call it now? I can't remember. Parade? No, not parade. We were just drilling, that's what it was. It didn't take us long, though, to find out what we needed, [chuckling] what they needed to know to tell us what to do and all. And cleanliness was one thing they really did get us for. Scrub your floor around bunk with Clorox [bleach]. I mean, it had to look very sharp. Stand at attention. You look at [TV character] Gomer Pyle's pictures and you'll see us.

But we were down there at Lejeune where they were training some Dutch marines. The government had brought some over here for our boys to train, and that was interesting too. There were a lot of interesting things. I was right here in our state, but I didn't know anything about it until I got down there, how many loblolly pines there are and what a hot place that was. And they say they put Marine camps in areas that nobody else would dare go to. That was hot down there, even though it's just maybe a hundred or so miles from here.

HT:

Was this the first time you'd ever been away from home?

LP:

Well, I had vacationed with girlfriends, but yes, to stay any length of time.

HT:

Did your parents have to sign for you to enter the service?

LP:

Yes, they did. If I remember correctly, I was twenty-one. And you see the kids now, they're getting a driver's license and everything at what, sixteen? But anyway, Mama was kind of very concerned because she had these other four kids out in service, and she thought, “Oh me!” But she signed, she and Daddy both, and I thought that was a—As I look back on it now I think, my goodness, a young person at twenty—one thinks they know it all.

HT:

That's right. So you were the youngest in the family?

LP:

I was the youngest to go. I have a sister younger than me two years, and she didn't have—She was more inclined to think along the lines of music, and she wanted to pursue that. My sister Jewel, who is a twin to June, who was in service, she couldn't go when June did. She wanted to go, but she had had surgery and she wasn't well enough to go when June did. So she just stayed home, she never did go. But Mama was proud to display her five stars in the window. She didn't have to have a Gold Star, praise the Lord.

HT:

What did that mean?

LP:

Gold Star means they were killed in action. Well, she was getting a letter about every day from one of us, you know. She said she could always count on getting Wednesday's mail from me because she knew I would write her on Sunday. If I'm not mistaken, we got free mail then. I'm pretty sure we did. And they were paying only three cents to write to us. Now it's thirty-three, isn't it? Yeah.

HT:

Yes.

LP:

So we got in on a good deal there. As I say, I did not go out of the state. When I was sent to Cherry Point I was out of boot camp, and boot camp lasted six weeks. I was assigned to the post office, postal work, and there we did a lot of forwarding mail, which I think they've cut out now completely. Some of those letters had been all the way overseas and back and all around hunting the boys, you know? I don't know, I really don't know if there were many Marines in more serious work than I. I don't think we had any out in the field. To my knowledge we didn't, but then I was a young boot, and so forth and so on. It was good. We had to keep our standards high. You met a lot of kids that you really—and I still hear from many of them. We worked like five days a week, forwarding mail and anything in the mail room, handing out letters and so forth. And there was just a jolly bunch of us there, about thirty. We mingled with the men, the mail carriers. And I can't think [of] anything exciting in that, though. We did have our own PX [post exchange], we had our own recreation field where we could go and enjoy football, I believe it was, or basketball, baseball. Let me think. You'll have to ask me a question.

HT:

That's fine. If we can backtrack for just a minute, you said you chose the Marines because your sisters and brother were in other services. Was that the main reason that you chose the Marines, or did you happen to see a poster that struck your—

LP:

I probably saw a poster, they were all over town, but I just wanted to be me. When there's a large family like that, you're expected to follow in the steps of whoever's ahead of you, and I didn't exactly want to be a shadow for anyone.

HT:

Often in those days the posters would say—the recruiting posters would say something like “free a man for combat” and that sort of thing. Did you feel by entering the service you might be able to free a man for active duty?

LP:

I don't think I was thinking too much along that line.

HT:

I think you said that you spent your entire time either at Camp Lejeune where you did your basic training, or Cherry Point, North Carolina, where you did your—That was your duty station.

LP:

Regular duty.

HT:

And you stayed at Cherry Point until you got out sometime in 1946?

LP:

Right.

HT:

Can you describe a typical day of your work at the post office at Cherry Point?

LP:

It was just about like any civilian's job. In fact, we had civilians working in the post office. We would go in like at 7:00 and get off at 3:00. Then during the day we—Let me think, the main thing was just this forwarding of mail and handing out mail, selling stamps, and anything you see a postal worker doing now.

HT:

And didn't you say that you worked with both men and women in the post office?

LP:

Right.

HT:

So there were enlisted men and enlisted women, as well as civilians.

LP:

Right.

HT:

How did the civilians get along with the military? Do you recall?

LP:

Fine.

HT:

No problem?

LP:

No problems there at all. I don't remember right off, but I would say they probably were older people who maybe couldn't go in service, or their home was down there at Cherry Point or something of that nature.

HT:

How were you treated by the male Marines? The women in general, were they treated like equals? Or was there any kind of resentment at all that you recall?

LP:

There was no resentment that I can remember. No, I don't think so.

HT:

And did you enjoy your work?

LP:

Oh yes. I guess one reason I enjoyed it, one main reason, I met Chuck [Pauquette] there. He was working in the post office. He was a delivery man, a postal clerk. He had been a postal clerk over in the South Pacific when he was there. He had just come back from combat and was kind of all shook up, you know, and really had a time of it. But we were together—well, like in civilian life—just whenever we could be.

HT:

And so you started seeing your husband—to—be while you were both stationed at Cherry Point.

LP:

Yes.

HT:

And what did you guys do for fun?

LP:

Well, the biggest fun we could do, they had a movie theater and they had a civilian cafeteria, as they called it. And he used to tease me. He said, “You're just going with me so you can eat in the civilian cafeteria.” It was for NCOs [noncommissioned officers], and he said, “You don't really care about me,” and all this stuff. [chuckling] But we did go to the civilian cafeteria and movies. That was right outside the base.

HT:

Was the food better at the civilian cafeteria than the mess hall?

LP:

Oh yes. Yeah, oh yeah. And luckily I never did have KP [kitchen police], even though I was a private.

HT:

I was just going to ask you. Now you said you basically did what I would call eight—to—five type of work, just five days a week.

LP:

Yes.

HT:

So you had quite a bit of free time.

LP:

Right.

HT:

Did you ever have to do parades and drills while you were at Cherry Point?

LP:

Yes, we did drills, but I can't remember any real big parades. I can't remember having been—Down at Cherry Point there's nothing, nobody and nothing to have a parade for. You notice you're out in the middle of nowhere, so we just didn't have a lot of parades, I don't think.

HT:

Well, speaking of Cherry Point, I know it was a Marine base, but what kind of activity was going on there? Was it a training center or—?

LP:

It was for some, but Cherry Point was just kind of a jumping—off place, I would say. These guys like Chuck came back from overseas and it was like a rehab for them.

HT:

Can you tell me a little about the kind of war experience that your husband had? You say he was in the South Pacific, and he was in combat, I think you said?

LP:

Yes, in Guadalcanal. He was in—oh, I can't remember all these places. I told him to stay with me here but he left. [chuckling] He did hand-to-hand combat in the South Pacific, and he does not, as of this day even, say a whole lot about his fighting. And he said, “It was either them or me,” so that's the way the boys were feeling then, you know. If they didn't get the Jap, the Jap got them. But he said it was awfully thick and dense. They could hardly see their hand in front of their face and would just be in a jitter all the time.

HT:

And how long was he in the South Pacific, do you know?

LP:

Not right off. Not right off. I can't remember. I don't know.

HT:

Before we turned on the tape recorder, I learned that your husband was from New York. Did you live in New York after you got married, or did you move back here to Greensboro?

LP:

Yes, we lived here a while. Then he wanted to go back up home, up to New York State, so we went up there. He was going to school, trying to find himself, where he would fit in best. He had worked in Sikorsky Aircraft Company in Connecticut before he went in service, and that was right after he finished high school, so he didn't have much of an outreach before going in service. When he was in service, let's see, I really don't know, I've got these figures written down but I have forgotten where. And in the middle of moving, I'm trying to think where we are. Let's see, your question was what again?

HT:

Let me think a minute, after you guys got married, did you move back to New York?

LP:

Yeah, we did. We went up there and lived. Well, he went back up there and went to mechanics school, and found out that was about where he fit in. Then the Korean War came along, and he was already in active duty, so he had to go to sign up for the Korean War. And he got out to California, and they were being called—the boys were being called on over to Korea. But it just cut off right before he had to leave. So he did not go to Korea, even though he was in that group.

HT:

But he was not in active military duty from '46 to '51, was he?

LP:

No.

HT:

Well, I want to backtrack one more time back to your days in the Marine Corps. Do you recall any embarrassing moments or funny moments while you were in that stand out in your mind?

LP:

Oh yeah. I still remember seeing Mary somebody [Scoggins] out on the parade ground. That poor girl, she was a pretty good—sized girl, and you don't wear dark glasses at parades, I mean if you're in the parade. But she was called down because she had on dark glasses. She had had some kind of eye trouble, but not too severe to get in the Marines. But nevertheless she was wearing her dark glasses. The next thing we know, we looked down and there was her stocking, her hose down around her foot. [chuckling] That poor girl, I cannot remember her name, but it was Mary something. But there she was out drilling with that whole stocking around her foot. And the stockings we had to wear then were pretty heavy things. They weren't these sheer nylons, you know. They weren't pantyhose. But it was comical, and still you don't grin. You don't say a thing, you know, just feel for her after she got back in the barracks.

HT:

How did she recover from that?

LP:

Well, we all tried to console her, but you know—That was one comedy. I just can see her yet. She was wearing her dark glasses though, too.

HT:

Well, what was the hardest thing you ever had to do while you were in the Marine Corps, physically?

LP:

Oh, I guess pushups. I mean, they'd be hard for anybody, but for us, for me, that was the hardest thing. We did have drills like that all the time.

HT:

This was just in basic training, I guess, right?

LP:

Yes.

HT:

So after you left basic you didn't have to do that sort of thing?

LP:

No, we didn't.

HT:

What was the hardest thing you ever had to do emotionally while you were in the Marine Corps?

LP:

What was the hardest thing I did emotionally when I was in the Marine Corps? I guess when I met Chuck. [laughter]

[speaking to Chuck Pauquette] Come here. Come here a minute. Come here. This is being recorded, now hush. [chuckling] I want to know how long were you overseas in combat.

CP:

I think approximately fifteen months, I believe.

LP:

Something like that anyway.

CP:

Something like that.

HT:

That was a long time. And it was all in the South Pacific?

CP:

Yeah.

LP:

What places?

CP:

Well, Guadalcanal and Nissan Island.

HT:

How do you spell that?

CP:

What?

HT:

That island that you just mentioned.

CP:

Guadalcanal?

HT:

No.

CP:

Nissan? N-i-s-s-a-n. In fact, it was also called Green Island.

LP:

That wasn't all.

CP:

Wasn't all what?

LP:

The places you were.

CP:

Oh, when first we went over, I was in New Caledonia. But we were only there about three or four days then went to 'Canal [Guadalcanal].

LP:

Then you went to fight.

CP:

Then I come home, met you, and have been fighting ever since. [chuckling]

LP:

Now that's going on that tape!

HT:

That's all right.

CP:

Well, that's all right. [chuckling]

HT:

You were in the Marine Corps, I understand.

CP:

Yes.

HT:

Which division? I'm not that familiar with the Marine Corps.

CP:

We had the Marine Air Corps and the Line Company.

LP:

Line Company. It's the ground, wasn't it?

CP:

Yes.

LP:

They called it Line.

HT:

L-i-n-e?

LP:

L-i-n-e Company. It's the ground—You know, like the army.

CP:

Infantry.

LP:

Infantry, yeah. What else? Let's see, he's been popping questions here and—

CP:

Did he get good answers?

LP:

Well, I guess.

HT:

We're doing our best, which is great. Well, Mrs. Pauquette, were you ever afraid while you were in the Marine Corps?

LP:

Not really, as far as I know.

HT:

And not ever in physical danger or anything like that?

LP:

No, no, we weren't.

HT:

We had touched on this a little bit earlier about your social life and what you did for fun, and that you went to the cafeteria. Did you go to dances on base or anything like that?

CP:

No, the only place we went other than the cafeteria was the—

LP:

The movie.

CP:

Movie. Yeah, she went with me to the movies and we sat in the staff—NCO seats.

LP:

See, that's why I went, so I could sit in the staff—NCO place.

HT:

Was that a special place?

LP:

That's what he says, you know. Oh, the peons, the rest of us would sit on the floor, I guess. But you get NCO, why, you get to sit in a chair. [chuckling]

HT:

Mr. Pauquette, your rank was a sergeant, I guess?

CP:

Staff sergeant.

HT:

Staff sergeant. And there was no problem because you both were enlisted? Fraternization was all right?

CP:

Yeah.

HT:

But you could not fraternize with officers, I understand.

CP:

No. Well, she did with me, a noncommissioned officer.

LP:

I was a corporal, by the way, and he was a staff sergeant.

HT:

So you guys didn't have any dances on base? I'm surprised.

LP:

We might have had dances, but Chuck and I don't dance. I don't think we danced then.

CP:

No, we didn't dance then. I ran all the time.

LP:

Just those two places, like the cafeteria and that movie place. That's the only activities they had, wasn't it?

CP:

One time we went into New Bern [North Carolina], wasn't it?

LP:

Yeah. Oh yeah.

CP:

We went and ate.

LP:

Oh, that was our first time at eating raw oysters.

CP:

Fish. We had fish.

LP:

Well, that's on the coast, you know, and they had an abundance of that kind of food. But you'd go into town, and town was nothing, really, just a—

CP:

Just a little bit of a town is all it was then.

LP:

A wide place in the street.

CP:

But now it's grown quite a bit.

HT:

Well, what were some of your favorite movies from those days, since that was one of your activities?

LP:

I don't know.

HT:

Do you remember what some of your favorite movies might have been?

CP:

Well, one of them we saw was Iwo Jima. I've got the tape on that now. That was a documentary, it wasn't that John Wayne movie. There were no actors in this.

LP:

So that was a thrill, you know, to get to see movies on the battle going on over there.

HT:

So it was almost like a newsreel, I guess.

CP:

Yeah, something like that. Then the only other thing, we went out and watched the Marines play football.

LP:

I told him we went to football, and that was about it.

HT:

Did you participate in any of those games?

CP:

No.

LP:

No, he was just back from overseas and he was still a little bit disturbed. He buddied with some of the boys that he had been with in service, you know. They had a lot of things in common, fighting and all of that, the ship trip over and back.

CP:

Yeah, I got aboard ship and got seasick before I got out of sight of land. I was seasick all the way over, all twenty—one days I think it was.

HT:

Was that the first time you'd ever been aboard a ship?

CP:

Yeah, a big transport ship. Oh, when I was younger I went down to visit some relatives who live on Long Island [New York], and my uncle was a reporter for the—I think Daily News. He took care of the sporting end of it, as far as fishing. So we went out in it and got seasick. You're putting that down?

HT:

Sure. Everything is going down.

LP:

This is going to be all—how it's going to look when it comes back.

HT:

Well, we'll see.

CP:

We'll just sit here and say nothing and let it go on recording. [chuckling]

HT:

Well, Mrs. Pauquette, did you ever think about making the Marine Corps a career?

LP:

No. In fact, when I went in I was in there only thirteen months. And being the youngest group, as I mentioned previously, that would go in for World War II, they started giving points about the time I was down at Cherry Point. Now some of these old-timers, men, had like—

[interview interrupted]

The men were having—they were being mustered out. They got out by points. And I think thirty-six or forty-eight. It was either three or four years. Do you remember, Chuck? Anyway, they started getting out with a point a month. And so you asked if I planned to make a career of it, no, I think everybody was in our category. Now there were officers that stayed in, but the enlisted were all mustered out. I had thirteen points, and when it came time for us to go, well, we had to go. You had—do you remember?

CP:

I got out about a year before you did, I think.

LP:

Yeah. And I don't know how many points he had right now, but nevertheless he—That's the way we got out. We had to go, unless we were officers. So I had about the least amount of points anybody could have to get out.

HT:

And when did you two get married, sometime in '46?

LP:

July in '46.

HT:

So you had just gotten out.

LP:

I got out in June and we were married in July. Chuck got out in—No, you didn't get out a year ahead of me, you got out in about March. Because you went on up home and worked on the road, remember?

CP:

Oh yeah, between Lake George [New York] and—

LP:

Glens Falls [New York].

HT:

That was Lake George?

CP:

Yes.

LP:

Yeah, he worked on—

CP:

Driving what they call a batch truck.

HT:

What is that?

LP:

It hauls a batch of concrete or whatever.

CP:

Well, it wasn't concrete. It was like dirt and stones mixed together, the base of the road. Between Lake Luzerne [New York] and Lake George.

LP:

We stayed in New York a while, and then came the Korean War, as I mentioned. That's when we left New York and came down. I came here and he went to the West Coast. Isn't that right?

CP:

Yeah. That was with the First Combat Engineer Reserve Unit in Albany.

HT:

So you were in the reserves between the end of the Second World War and Korea?

CP:

Yeah, we were all called back in.

HT:

Was that a common practice, to call inactive people back to duty?

CP:

If need be. It depended on the situation. But [General Douglas] MacArthur, he didn't like the Marine Corps.

HT:

Oh? I did not know that. But he called them, asked for the First Marine Division for Korea.

LP:

No, he wasn't very fond of Marines, we learned.

HT:

Do you have any idea why?

CP:

Just professional jealousy, I guess, because we were better than the army. [chuckling]

HT:

Well, I was in the air force so I don't [chuckling]—Do you recall what the climate or the feeling or the mood of the country was during the Second World War?

LP:

We were all for one and one for all, the best I can—

CP:

That's what it amounts to. But the Korean War and the Vietnam War, I don't think we should have been in them. In my opinion, it was a political war. If you've got restrictions on what you can do and how far you can go, it's a no—win war. And that's the way it was. And I think that's when a lot of the drugs and dope came into this country. They got it from over there from the Orientals. That's what they were, Koreans and Vietnamese. So now it's spread all over the country. You know what it is now.

LP:

Oh, there was something else I wanted to tell you. I can't remember. My mind's gone blank. I can't remember.

HT:

Maybe it'll come back in a minute.

LP:

[chuckling] Yeah.

HT:

Do you think you made a contribution to the war effort?

LP:

Well, it made a contribution to me. [laughter]

CP:

And look at me, no hair.

LP:

[chuckling] He says he's an old goat. Well, I'd like to think I did.

CP:

Well, at that time we were fighting for the survival of this country, not during the Korean War, not during the Vietnam War, or any of these other wars. I think they've got our troops spread out just about—not in every country in the world, but enough where I don't think it should be that way. I don't like the idea of bringing in foreign nationals into this country and training them the way we are trained. And that's going on. You probably know that.

HT:

I've heard a little bit about that, yes.

LP:

Well, like we had the Dutch marines down in Lejeune.

CP:

Oh? I wasn't aware of that.

LP:

Yes, there were at the time, because they were training them down there at the time we were there.

HT:

Mrs. Pauquette, other than your husband, did you meet any other interesting people while you were in the service? And they could be famous or not so famous. Anybody.

LP:

Well, it was not mundane. Well, that's comparing a twenty-year-old with a seventy-year-old, [chuckling] and I can't remember what happened in all this time. We were active, we were always into something. I'll tell you, it kept us going to keep our clothes and our area clean and so forth. It was even more so than at home. You didn't dare step out of line. No, I don't remember meeting anyone of any interest really, importance.

HT:

You were talking about having to keep your area clean and that sort of thing, was the Marine Corps as tough on the women as it was on the men about keeping the areas, the barracks in order and the uniform ship-shape and that sort of thing?

LP:

I would say so, yes. You were representing the Marine Corps and they wanted you to be ship-shape.

HT:

What did you think of the uniform?

LP:

It was all right. It was good.

HT:

Because I've heard other ladies who were in the navy say they had a very nice, tailored outfit.

LP: We did, too. Ours was tailored.
HT:

And I think some of the women who were in the army, their uniforms didn't fit as well.

LP:

That's right.

HT:

They had a more difficult time with their uniform fitting.

LP:

See, there's that picture. I think they were well—tailored and so forth.

HT:

And they were green in color?

LP:

Just like the men's, yeah.

CP:

Forest green, as I recall.

HT:

Forest green?

LP:

Yeah, and then the summer ones were seersucker, green and white stripe with white accessories, hat, shoes, and bag.

CP:

In fact, going to the West Coast when we were called back in the Korean War, we stopped—I think it was Springfield, Missouri, and got off the train. There was the company of us, First Combat Engineers. We marched in a group down to the YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association] to take a shower. And on the way back we just strolled back, we didn't go in company formation. People would stop and ask if we were the Canadian service because of our forest greens. They hadn't seen them before.

LP:

They were a sharp group, the Canadians, weren't they?

HT:

The current Marine uniform, is that still forest green or has that changed?

CP:

Yeah, that would be more their winter uniform.

LP:

Yes. Summer, though, was white, dress white for summer, and then for everyday it was green and white seersucker.

HT:

Did you keep any of those uniforms?

LP:

Well, for forty-some years I did. Then I gave them away two or three years ago, didn't I?

CP:

Both of them.

LP:

Gave them to the—it's a museum down at Biscoe.

CP:

They have a museum and they bring schoolchildren and show them the uniforms of the past.

LP:

You know, right now though people are more interested in that sort of thing than they have been the whole fifty years.

HT:

Right.

LP:

And we just thought this would be good. We didn't know UNCG was going to come along with something. But this man was interested in setting up a—He had a museum down there and he—It was at Biscoe [North Carolina], I think. Anyway, and he wanted to show these kids nowadays what we had then. But they started getting in the way, these uniforms, and what am I going to do with them? My kids don't want my uniforms, so we just let them go.

HT:

Well, what did you think of Franklin D. Roosevelt? He was president at that time.

LP:

Franklin D. Roosevelt came through Greensboro before I went in service. Of course, he was laid out there. I remember going down to the train station to see Roosevelt's car go by.

HT:

This was after he had died?

LP:

He had died—it must have been in 1944 or 5. I don't remember, but I went in service in March, so it had to be between January and March of '45, if that was the date. But I remember going down, and Greensboro turned out in droves. You were probably there in a little basket or something. Somebody was probably carrying you. [chuckling]

HT:

No, that was before my time.

LP:

Oh, that's right, that's right, that's right. Two years or three?

HT:

Two.

LP:

Whatever. Anyway, that was interesting, I thought, and everybody was enthused and patriotic. I don't know if they were Republicans, Democrats, or who, but everybody liked Roosevelt.

HT:

Right. What about Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt?

LP:

I don't know as much about her. I really don't.

CP:

I think she was quite popular. She was involved in a lot of things, I think, especially the foreign element.

HT:

Right. And who were your heroes and heroines in those days? Do you recall?

LP:

I don't know. I really don't know.

CP:

You mean like movies with Bing Crosby, Bob Crosby and all?

HT:

Sure.

LP:

Well, we liked Bing Crosby. We liked all of those. In fact, we like to watch those old movies now. Bing, and I didn't care much for [Frank] Sinatra.

CP:

No, he was a little later. [Actor] Tyrone Power, he was in the Marine Corps in World War II.

LP:

All those guys who were in the Marines we were interested in. [chuckling] And anybody else I can't remember. Chuck, who was in the Marine Corps? Well, anyway, Chuck is Marine all through and through. He wears everything he can now, like this, his hat and all. And he says, “Well, it didn't do me too much harm there wearing that hat. That man gave us a free sandwich because he was in the Marines.” Somebody met us or we met someone in—

CP:

McDonald's.

LP:

Yeah, McDonald's, and Chuck had on his hat, I guess. So they got to talking, and before we knew it we had a free meal.

HT:

Is this an authentic hat from World War II?

CP:

He was a major.

LP:

That's an authentic, from World War II, emblem. Nowadays they're different. I don't know just how, but that's the one he had.

HT:

Can you describe your adjustment to civilian life after you got out in 1946?

LP:

Civilian life?

HT:

Yes. What was it like?

LP:

I was adjusting me to married life. See, I was out in June and we were married in July. That whole month was a hectic month getting ready for a wedding. [chuckling] Then, after we were married, we did go up to New York. And it was an adjustment. Like my brother says, “I didn't have any trouble,” he said, “taking orders in service because Daddy had always told me what to do anyway.” [chuckling] So that's kind of the way—it kind of flows into that way. Somebody is always telling you what to do in service. I don't think it was any harder for us to adjust. I really hadn't gotten my feet wet, so to speak, because I worked at a job eight-to-five or seven-to-three or whatever, and that was civilian. That was the same as a civilian. So I don't think it was too great an adjustment. The main thing that I remember getting adjusted to was that cold New York. Cold state! Oh! Snow up to your elbows. [chuckling] Then is when I wanted to come home. I didn't want to stay up there. Snow! That was about the coldest weather they'd had.

HT:

Was this in upstate New York?

LP:

Yeah, we went—

CP:

At that time we lived out of Albany, New York. That's where the Marine reserve unit, First Combat Engineers were.

HT:

And how was it for a Southern girl to live in New York?

LP:

Cold. Oh, I remember I wore a spring coat up there, and boy did I ever freeze. And I went up there with toe-less shoes. You know, I guess I was going to show them, I don't know, but I almost froze to death. But it didn't take long to get a heavy coat and solid shoes.

HT:

Well, do you think being in the military had an impact on your life?

LP:

I sure do. I'd like very much for my daughters to have been in the military, through boot camp. I think it made—You reflect back on things that—Well, you know yourself, how you maybe do some task. I don't know, right off I can't think, but we picked that up in the military. No, I'd like for my girls to have been in.

HT:

Did you encourage them?

LP:

Not really, no. Our girls are in their thirties now, and no, we didn't really have much of a chance to encourage them, I guess, did we, Chuck? They were up and out and gone before we knew it. Finished school and they were—We sent them to tech school, but still they didn't want any part of the military.

HT:

I guess it was a different time.

LP:

It was different, yeah.

HT:

Well, do you recall where you both were on VE [Victory in Europe] Day and VJ [Victory in Japan] Day?

LP:

Not really. VE was in—Oh, I can't remember what date it was.

HT:

Wasn't that May of 1945?

LP:

I was thinking that we were down at Cherry Point. You weren't.

CP:

I don't think so. I guess we were—.

LP:

And VJ was August 14th, wasn't it?

HT:

I think so.

LP:

That was his birthday, so—He was already out. Well, we were both out of service then, but—No, we weren't. In '45 we weren't out of service.

HT:

Well, has your life been different because you were in the military?

LP:

What do you think, Chuck?

CP:

Not really, I don't think.

HT:

Well, of course you met each other, and that might not have been the case if you had not been in the military.

CP:

Yeah, that's true. I probably would have lived the rest of my life up north. But it's a lot better down here, not too far from the ocean and not too far from the mountains.

HT:

So you enjoy living here in the South?

CP:

Yeah.

HT:

And you've lived here most of your life then now, except for your—

CP:

I can say that now, yeah.

LP:

Fifty years of it, practically.

CP:

You know what I found out a few years after we got married? I was supporting another man's daughter. [chuckling]

LP:

You didn't start that right—

[End Side A, Begin Side B]

HT:

Do you consider yourself to be an independent person?

LP:

I think so.

HT:

Did the military make you that way, or were you independent before?

LP:

I think it helps. I think it helped. You can liken it to college. A young person can—he'll use his college education whether he realizes it or not, if he's got a college degree. And that's the way with the military. You'll use those things you learn there, and really it's just a natural part of your life.

HT:

Did you consider yourself to be a pioneer or a trailblazer or a trendsetter when you joined the Marines?

CP:

I wouldn't think so.

LP:

No, I don't feel like—No.

HT:

What about now, looking back fifty—some years? Because that was a bit unusual for women to join the military at all, and the Marine Corps, I guess, was fairly small, so—

LP:

And the Marine Corps was, at that time even as it is now, we want a few—What is it, Chuck?

CP:

The few, the proud, the Marines.

LP:

Yeah. We don't want but a few, but we want the best. And that was foremost in everybody's mind, I think, in the Marine Corps. They'd pound that in your head. And you know it.

HT:

Well, do you consider yourself and other women who joined the military at that time to be forerunners of what we today call the women's movement?

LP:

No.

HT:

Do you recall how women were perceived by the general public who joined the military? I know the WACs [Women's Army Corps] had some problems in 1943 with a slander campaign. Do you remember anything about that in the Marine Corps?

LP:

No, I don't remember, but we are not the women's lib[eration] business. We're not part of that. We were not then and I definitely am not now. I was just young and happy and wanted to get out there and get this war over with, I guess. [chuckling]

HT:

Well, how do you feel about women in combat positions?

LP:

I don't think they have a place there.

HT:

So you don't approve?

LP:

No. If they want to get out and fight they can do it, but I don't think they should be with men, especially in combat. Because women are—God made us to be the more frail of the two, and He didn't intend for women, I don't think, to be in a place like that, and especially with a man. They can never measure up to men in strength or what have you, but I just feel like—no.

HT:

Is there anything else you'd like to add about your service in the Marine Corps that we haven't touched on earlier?

LP:

I think you've touched on about all of it.

HT:

Okay. Is there anything else you'd like to add about your time since you left the service, about your time in New York and coming back down here to North Carolina in the early fifties?

LP:

Not really. Not really. When we came back here we both immediately went over to Western Electric and applied for work, and we were both hired by Western Electric. Chuck retired from there after thirty-eight years, and I left when our daughters were born. I left before.

HT:

What type of work did you do at Western Electric?

LP:

Assembly work and inspection.

HT:

Was this out here on the interstate?

CP:

Merritt Drive.

HT:

Oh, Merritt Drive.

CP:

I believe Western Electric is no more. It's AT&T now.

HT:

I think that's right.

LP:

Lucent.

CP:

And when I retired from AT&T, then it became Lucent. So Lucent takes care of it now.

HT:

Mr. Pauquette, what type of work did you do for AT&T?

CP:

Well, I started out in Western Electric as an inspector, a piece part inspector. Then I got into tool design by taking an ICS [International Correspondence School] course in tool design.

LP:

Then you were up at Troy, New York, remember?

CP:

Well, that was before.

LP:

Yeah.

CP:

That was before the Korean War. But let's see, then from tool design I made the first art master for the Bell System, a commentator board. Then we got into the printed circuit. So I ended up with three or four people making printed circuit art masters for the Bell System. Then from there I got into printed circuit engineering and product engineering. That's what I retired from, as a product engineer. I didn't have a degree, I wouldn't tell anybody I did, but I was an associate, engineering associate. I worked with those people and did just about anything an engineer would have to do. But a lot of it was working with one of them so I could learn. That's how I retired.

HT:

Okay, well, I don't have any more questions. I thank you both for talking with me today. It's been very interesting. I really appreciate it very much.

LP:

Well, you're welcome.

[End of Interview]