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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Aimee Nott Moore and Vera Rackley Jenkins, 1999

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Object ID: WV0076.5.001

Description:

Primarily documents the experiences of Aimee Moore and Vera Jenkins at the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro); their service as army dietitians during World War II; and their careers after the war.

Summary:

Jenkins and Moore discuss their childhoods and parents' careers before recalling their time at Woman’s College (WC). Topics include memorable professors and administrators, including Margaret Edwards, Lucille McMacken, W.C. Jackson, and Frank Porter Graham; requirements of the dietetics program, including lots of science courses; staying in Shaw Residence Hall under Katherine Taylor; Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to campus; going to chapel and concerts, and WC table service on Sundays.

Jenkins and Moore discuss their respective internships at Duke and Michigan. Discussion of Jenkins' wartime experiences includes her civil service position at Fort Bragg, listening to reports of the bombing of Pearl Harbor while stationed there, social life and dietitian duties at Fort Bragg after commissioning in 1943; and her heroes during the war. Moore discusses her orders overseas; her experiences in Morocco and Tunisia; being in Italy following the storming of Monte Cassino and during the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius; being a dietitian in Cannes and Aix-en-Provence, France, for the 78th Station Hospital and prisoners of war; and her social life and travels in Europe.

Post-war topics include Jenkins' work promoting food service equipment and discrimination from her male co-workers. Moore also discusses her career in dietetics following the war. Other subjects include innovations in dietetics in the 1960s, Moore and Jenkins' participation in dietitian professional organizations, and related travels and activities.

Creator:

Biographical Info:

Collection: Vera Rackley Jenkins Oral History

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:

My name is Eric Elliott and I'm with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro [UNCG], and today is May 14, 1999. Time is marching on, and it's getting on into evening but I'm here this afternoon, this evening, with Aimee Nott Moore, Dr. Moore, who's a graduate of Class of '39, and Mrs. Vera Rackley Jenkins, also of the Class of '39. Thank you both for agreeing to do this interview for the Women Veterans Historical Project. We've got about thirty—odd questions, but the first one may be a tough one. Where were you born and where did [you] grow up?

AM:

I was born in South Carolina in a little town that my mother was living in. My father was overseas in France, and so she was working in—I don't even remember the name of—Conway, South Carolina.

EE:

Conway, South Carolina. And I will say, for the benefit of the transcriber, for whom this may be a new experience, that that's the voice of Miss Moore, or Dr. Moore

.
AM:

Aimee.

EE:

Aimee Moore. Aimee. Okay, Aimee. And so you grew up in Conway. Do you have any brothers and sisters?

AM:

I have two brothers, younger than I, and one of them lives in Maryland, and the other one lives in South Carolina. And they're both professional people. My one brother is a chemist, a retired chemist, and the other brother is an MD [physician].

EE:

Did your parents go to college?

AM:

Yes, both of them.

EE:

What were their professsions?

AM:

Well, my father was a minister but he went to Clemson College, in agriculture. And my mother was a teacher, and she went to a teachers' college in Charleston. I don't remember the name of it.

EE:

It wasn't College of Charleston then?

AM:

No, it wasn't. It was a small college. You know, it was a teachers' college.

EE:

Well, that's good. So education was instilled in your household from the beginning then, it sounds like.

AM:

Yes. It wasn't a question of whether you were going to college, it was which college you were going to.

EE:

So you liked school from the beginning?

AM:

Oh, from the beginning, yes.

EE:

And your favorite subjects were

?
AM:

I didn't have any real favorites.

EE:

You just liked school?

AM:

I liked school.

EE:

Well, Mrs. Jenkins, tell me about yourself. Where were you born and where did you grow up?

VJ:

I was born in Johnston County, in North Carolina.

EE:

Johnston County, that—

VJ:

Smithfield.

EE:

Smithfield, Selma, [North Carolina].

VJ:

Right, in that area, yes. Princeton, actually.

EE:

So you're particular about your barbecue?

VJ:

Very much so. Good barbecue.

EE:

Did you have any brothers and sisters?

VJ:

One brother. He was two years older than me, and he went to Davidson. You see, we were Depression children. He being the older, I was a little leery of whether I got to go to school or not, because this was really tough going, tough times.

EE:

When did you graduate from high school?

VJ:

Where?

EE:

Yes. When?

VJ:

In Ashe County, [North Carolina].

EE:

In Ashe County. Up in Jefferson?

VJ:

Lansing. But I lived in Jefferson at one time, and my father was with the highway department, and he went up there with the first prison group, penal group, that they moved out, and we lived in a little place called Roaring Gap, North Carolina. It was a resort area. And all the prisoners lived on the side of the mountain, in a tent, all winter long, as cold as it was.

EE:

That sounds like the whole series of questions about how did that shape your childhood.

VJ:

I had a wonderful time.

EE:

Did you?

VJ:

You know, we didn't travel then like people travel now. To go from one little town to another town was just almost a whole day's excursion. You just didn't run all over creation unless you were, I guess, a Vanderbilt. But with us, to go from the sand hills of North Carolina into—my mother and father were both from Cumberland County, and that area.

EE:

So the coast down east.

VJ:

Yes, Cumberland at that time—my mother actually was born in what is now called Hoke County, but it, at that time, was a part of Cumberland. And then my father, of course, it was the same thing.

EE:

Did they send that group up there to help work on the parkway?

VJ:

No, he went up there to build the first paved road from Elkin, Roaring Gap, from there all the way up into Ashe County, Wilkesboro, Wilkes County, and be joined up with Surry County on the other side. So we moved several times as we went along, but to have that experience of moving and meeting different people, and they were very different from what I had grown up with. They spoke differently and everything else. So it was really quite an experience, which I found to be quite useful over the years.

EE:

Did you stay in the same general area growing up?

AM:

No. I lived in South Carolina. When my father was overseas, we stayed with my grandfather and his wife until my father came back.

EE:

Your father was overseas?

AM:

He was in the army.

EE:

In the First World War?

AM:

World War I. And he was from Sumter County, and my mother was from Calhoun County, in South Carolina, and that's where my grandfather lived. And my grandfather lived on land that was owned by my father's family. My father used to go there hunting, and that's how he met my mother. And it was a real nice community, called Fort Mott. It's not even a town. There was a little bitty town when I was a child, but there's no town there now. But his family was from across the river and he lived in, it's called Stateville, and it's not even a town, either. But they both came from families that had grown up in that area, and their families were well established, both families.

EE:

So it was like you had a couple anchor points then. You had your home and then you had your grandparents' home.

AM:

Right.

EE:

Was your dad in the infantry?

AM:

Well, he was in the infantry, and he was not—he graduated from agriculture, but he decided to be a minister after that, and then he went back to the seminary when I was about six years old. He went to Virginia Episcopal Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. And so we lived with my mother's people while he was in school.

EE:

So he was gone away quite a lot when you were growing up, sounds like it.

AM:

Yes. He was gone three years, but he came home for major holidays. And one summer, we went up to the mountains and he had a small parish in Boone, North Carolina.

EE:

That's near where she was.

AM:

Yes. And so we went up there for one summer. I remember climbing up—see, I was the oldest child, so he took me with him, frequently, more frequently than he took my younger brothers. And we would hike up these mountains and he would teach me all kinds of things, like we would be in a fog and he said, “This is a cloud.”

EE:

Right. Got to give you a little background to experience in. That's great.

AM:

And we had a real interesting time staying with all these people who belonged to his church, and they just took me in as if I was just one of the people, too, and so I got to meet a lot of different kinds of people, and see a lot of different homes.

EE:

Both of you had that kind of—you didn't stay put and you got that experience of seeing other folks. You weren't afraid. So when you went off to school, it wasn't—that part of meeting new people wasn't a new thing for either one of you.

AM:

No, that wasn't unusual. When you live with an Episcopal minister, you live with somebody who knows a lot of people and everybody's a friend.

EE:

And everybody knows you, whether or not you know them.

AM:

And everybody knows you.

EE:

Preacher's kid, that's right. Well now, I didn't ask you about your school. Did you like your school? Somebody who liked going to school and enjoyed—

AM:

Sure.

VJ:

Oh Lord, yes. It was a privilege. My brother, having gone to Davidson two years before me, I was so afraid I might not get to go, that I didn't—boy, you didn't hear me complain about nothing. All I wanted to do was to pass and move on.

EE:

Well now, Davidson was an all—male school back then?

VJ:

Oh, yes. But I went to Appalachian [State Teachers' College] my first year, my freshmen year, because it was close to home, you see. And then I transferred to WC [Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, now UNCG], as we now know it, or knew it at that time, the beginning of my next year.

EE:

So you came into WC in '36 or '37?

VJ:

'37. I graduated from high school in '36. I was only three years in college. Then I went into graduate school.

EE:

I think '36 was still eleven-year high school? Eleven-year high school for you, too?

AM:

Right. Furthermore, we only had nine months of school. We had eleven years. Or eight months, maybe. We had a very short year.

VJ:

We had nine.

AM:

I think we had eight. But my mother and her friends decided that was too much free time for us, so they organized classes for us to learn how to do a lot of different kinds of things. And so one day we had classes in how to cook and another day we had classes in dancing and another day we had classes in sewing, can you imagine that? We had four—four of my friends and I, and our mothers planned all these things and they would take us and teach us how to do things. So we didn't have all that much free time, for at least one month.

EE:

Sounded like you were immersed in learning in your household, from both sides.

AM:

My family just believed that education was extremely important and we should have not so much free time just to do nothing.

EE:

Well, let me ask you. You both ended up at WC. Now you said you started at Appalachian. Were you wanting to go to WC all along, or how did you end up making the transfer?

VJ:

Well, I think a lot of times, people that you meet along the way have an awful lot of influence in what you do. I was very interested in going into home economics. I thought I would be a teacher, because that's about all that you had to do at that time. But then you see, when I went up to Appalachian, I had a very interesting teacher, and Appalachian did not have a degree in home economics. And so she felt that I might could do well in home economics, and she inspired me to think about something else. She never dreamed that—she never—I don't think we ever were told about anything other than being a teacher, at Appalachian.

AM:

I knew what I was going to be before I ever went to college.

VJ:

Well, I knew I was going to be in home economics, but I didn't—

AM:

Yes, I knew I was going to be a dietitian.

VJ:

Well, I did not, at all. I had never heard of it before, to tell you the truth.

EE:

What was the teacher's name at Appalachian, do you remember?

VJ:

Don't ask me for people's names, but I'll find out and let you know.

EE:

Okay. Was it a man or a woman?

VJ:

Oh, a woman. Oh, gosh, no, a man would never have dared be involved in—that was too much of, you know, a ladies' thing.

EE:

So very much women taught—

VJ:

In home economics.

EE:

In home economics, okay.

VJ:

But when I got to—and so therefore, I—and this lady also recommended, it was NCCW [North Carolina College for Women, now UNCG] then, and the year that I came to—

EE:

It switched over.

VJ:

During that year, when I was at Appalachian, it had switched over, became Woman's College.

EE:

I think the school went through about three or four different names the first thirty years, didn't it?

VJ:

Right. And so that was why I came to Woman's College, and then, of course, it just so happened that my advisor was Miss Edwards, Miss Margaret Edwards, who was dean of the school. I mean, the director then, because—

AM:

There wasn't a dean.

VJ:

Right. At that time, there were just directors, I guess. And so she was an extremely understanding, caring individual.

AM:

She was an interesting woman in her own right.

VJ:

Oh, she was.

AM:

She was in World War I, as a dietitian, overseas.

VJ:

And she had so many—every single one of these students, she—

AM:

Margaret Edwards.

VJ:

She would just see through you like a book, and so she just told me that I was not cut out to be a teacher, that I could do something different, and I didn't know what that was going to be, and then she secured a very—a great woman from out in the Chicago area to come in to be an interim teacher at Greensboro, head of that department. We called it Institutional Management at that time. And her name was Miss McMacken. I won't ever forget that.

AM:

Oh no, she was very influential.

VJ:

Oh, she was wonderful. And anyway, she said, “That's where you need to be.” She said that it's the coming field. It's going to open whole new avenues. You don't want to waste your time—not that she felt that it was wasteful of time, but she felt that there was just so much you could do, being a teacher, but if you wanted then to branch out and be a teacher, you could teach that. But it was her idea, completely.

EE:

To be a dietitian, you have professional standards that go beyond. In fact, it's a very rigorous program that you all went through. A lot of science.

VJ:

Yes. Oh, a lot of science.

AM:

Had to have chemistry through biochemistry, you had to have physics, you had to have physiology, all these sciences.

VJ:

We took senior chemistry with the chemistry majors—senior chemistry majors, and we were scared to death. Aimee was a whiz. She got me through.

EE:

Somebody, I can't remember the woman I talked to, said that generally, you know, they worked hard at it. There were a few disparaging comments made by one or two chemistry professors about all the dietitians in the class. Did you get that sense?

VJ:

Yes, right. Oh, they didn't like us.

AM:

I didn't feel that at all, because I was in the chemistry club.

EE:

You were very much into science coming into WC?

AM:

Yes, right.

EE:

It was NCCW coming to WC.

AM:

Right. Whatever it was called.

EE:

Did you know anybody? How did you get to WC? I know how Mrs. Jenkins got to WC.

AM:

Well, I had a next—door neighbor from Boston, and she knew about dietetics and I didn't know about dietetics, but she persuaded me that that was a very good career for women. And so she steered me in that direction, and they taught it at Woman's College, so she just thought that would be—so before I went there, I knew that's what I wanted to do. And I don't know that I would have known if I hadn't had this neighbor who was very knowledgeable, but she was a very educated—well, educated woman, and had wide experience, and so she just steered me in that direction.

EE:

So both of you came to WC to study this one thing. WC wouldn't have been on the radar screen maybe if it didn't have that program for you then?

AM:

That's right. For me.

VJ:

And we didn't have a whole lot of choice.

AM:

You didn't, that's true.

VJ:

Because the other schools did not teach it, you see. And Woman's College specialized in that particular—and home economics was a—

AM:

Strong program.

VJ:

Very strong. Not just in North Carolina, but worldwide.

EE:

So the dietetics was a concentration within the Home Economics Department? Is that how it worked?

VJ:

Oh, yes.

EE:

And I think institutional management was another variant of that.

AM:

It was just a variant of it. I mean, we just called it that at WC, but in many places, it was called dietetics. But that was probably later.

VJ:

Yes, I think it was. That was the name of the subjects that we took, because in dietetics—

AM:

We had to take all kinds of things.

VJ:

See, it's more than just being a hospital dietitian.

AM:

We took economics, sociology, psychology, all of those.

EE:

Did you do accounting, too?

VJ:

Oh, Lord, yes. You have to know how to buy, purchasing, that kind of thing, you see.

EE:

That's right, that's right. I have several people who said that training came in very handy later in their military experience.

AM:

Miss Edwards was also a dietitian, in World War I.

VJ:

She truly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, she picked the ones that she wanted to go in that class.

EE:

How many people were in that program in your class?

VJ:

Sixteen of us graduated.

EE:

And so you all three went there?

AM:

And we're most of here.

EE:

That's great. Let me ask you, outside of the professional training you got here, what do you remember about—you mentioned some of the professors within your field. Were there other professors or events at the university that stand out from your time? You getting together this weekend and recall some of them.

AM:

Yes. We were very—I was influenced by Harriet Elliott, a lot of people like that. I took at least eighteen hours every semester, so that I could get extra things.

EE:

They say it was very politically aware and tried to—and of course, one of the things it's—when I go back and ask people questions I have to ask myself, yes, but they're just in college, and college kids normally don't really watch what's going on in the world, but the world was changing quite a lot while you all were in college. How aware were you of the world?

AM:

I was quite aware of the five-year plan in Russia, for example. I mean, you know, we were aware of a lot of things, not in the United States, even beyond the United States.

EE:

And the country, at large, I think, a lot of people were sort of, you know, the isolationists just said that anything going on in Europe is Europe's problem, we've got plenty to do with the Depression here in our country.

AM:

I didn't feel that way.

VJ:

Well, what was her name, Dr. [Lyda Gordon] Shivers, in—

AM:

Who?

VJ:

Dr. Shivers was a political science teacher—

AM:

I've forgotten.

VJ:

—that was so prominent at that time, and then Miss [Louise Brevard] Alexander.

AM:

We had a lot of really good teachers.

VJ:

I had a physics teacher named Dr. [John A.] Tiedelman, and I mean to tell you, there were two people in that class, a girl named Elizabeth Scott and me. She's not here, I haven't seen her. And I'm telling you the truth. I never had such a class. I never learned so much in my life, but just imagine being in a class with a professor now, and he was the head of that physics department, and just two students in there. You just jolly well better come to class prepared, because it was a question and answer. He'd give her the first question, and me the next one, and it went over one full period of time.

EE:

And you didn't have a shorter class because there were fewer people, did you?

VJ:

No.

EE:

I've had classes like that.

VJ:

And then we went to lab. But boy, I tell you right now, I could fix anything. I could fix an iron, I could do—

AM:

I remember, but I didn't remember, I didn't get that kind of attention, but I do remember the physics class, and the fact that you learned about very practical things. Electricity and—

VJ:

You see, they were trying to touch base with us on the fact that the home was involved.

EE:

It wasn't theoretical physics, it was practical. Sometimes I wish they'd have more classes on practical, because higher G particle physics isn't going to affect most people's lives.

AM:

Well, anyhow, we had a very practical, but a very rigorous program.

EE:

Did you have time for a social life when you were here?

AM:

Oh, yes, of course. We played as hard as we worked.

EE:

Well, that's good.

VJ:

Everybody does.

EE:

Everybody does. What dorms were you all in when you were here?

VJ:

I was at New Guilford under Katherine Taylor, and she was an inspiration, all her life. She became dean.

AM:

My father brought me, and introduced himself to all my teachers and all my residence hall people. He made himself well aware of what was going on, and he told my residence hall advisor that he had implicit confidence in my judgment. I don't know why he had such good sense, but anyhow, he told her that instead of calling home to get his permission, that if I wanted to do something, he would give me a blanket permission to do it. Well, she didn't allow that that could be done, but nonetheless, he came up many times and he got to know a lot of people, and he would sit down and talk to them and make himself aware of what was going on. And he felt very, very comfortable doing that. I talked to Emily Preyer today about him, because he got to know her. She was the class president of our group.

VJ:

Everlasting president of this class.

AM:

But he got to know her and he got to know a lot of people, just because he was interested.

EE:

Do you remember—Emily was telling me, when I talked with her, she remembers when Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt came. Tell me about Mrs. Roosevelt. What did you all think of Mrs. Roosevelt?

AM:

Well, I was impressed.

VJ:

We were all impressed with Mrs. Roosevelt.

EE:

Was that part of your senior year she was coming by?

AM:

I don't remember. It must have been.

VJ:

I think it was. It was just before—you know, that was just before we got into the war, and so, yes, that would have been about that time. But she came here and, of course, I saw her at Fort Bragg.

AM:

I knew her at Cornell [University] also, because she was on the board at Cornell.

VJ:

There's no way you could help but admire her.

AM:

She was a very outstanding woman.

VJ:

She was a very unattractive—appearing person.

AM:

But she had charisma you couldn't believe.

VJ:

Yes, but if you talked to her, just to listen, it all vanished, because she was just absolutely so bright. And she was really the power behind that throne. And of course, a lot of people resented it, because women were not supposed to be out in the working world.

EE:

She was the one who was going around traveling the country.

AM:

Well, she was his eyes and ears.

VJ:

Yes, she was.

AM:

I mean, that's how you felt about it. At least that's how I felt about it. Graham, what was his name? Frank Porter Graham. He was also somebody that influenced us.

VJ:

He was the president of the greater university [the University of North Carolina Consolidated System].

AM:

He was president of Chapel Hill, but nonetheless, you knew who he was.

VJ:

It was a different—we were one of the ones that was accepted under the umbrella of the state at that time. The others were—

EE:

It was WCUNC. Woman's College of the University [of North Carolina]. I know Dr. Graham was famous for sitting down with the students and just having them over to dinner and having very informal things and stuff.

AM:

So it was a very open campus in lots and lots of ways. I mean, I felt like I was at a university.

EE:

It was a broadening experience for you in many good ways.

VJ:

Well, you know, we got taught so many things that I have not seen in other institutions or places that I've been privileged to go to, and that's not a whole lot, but from the time we would go in in the morning—breakfast was generally very casual. It was cafeteria line because everybody was, you know, time was of the essence. But I tell you, when dinnertime came, everything was absolutely [snaps fingers]. You just—

AM:

You used good manners.

VJ:

Man, you had a table assigned.

EE:

So you all had table service, didn't you, on Sundays?

VJ:

Oh, absolutely.

AM:

We did.

EE:

Well, I missed that.

VJ:

We had everything and we had a senior hostess at our table. A senior. I mean, a senior, a real senior, who would—

AM:

Hostess.

VJ:

And the food was brought in and she served it and you ate it. It went around the table. You know, the food was properly served, and then the plates were removed, and nobody—

AM:

And you had to dress a little. Not really dress up, but—

EE:

But you couldn't come in your worst stuff. You had to look civilized.

VJ:

No way, no way. You combed your hair and that kind of thing, and you came as if you were going out to dinner.

AM:

And before every concert. They would have—the music professor would tell you what you were going to hear and play some of the themes and introduce you to what you were going to learn, and when you went to the concerts, you had to dress up for dinner. And you came to dinner dressed up, and then you went to the concert, and all these were free tickets.

EE:

And everybody went?

VJ:

Everybody came.

EE:

Did you all have chapel then?

VJ:

Oh, yes.

AM:

Yes, we did.

EE:

At a state university?

AM:

Yes.

VJ:

Absolutely, and we prayed.

EE:

Oh, I prayed throughout my college education, believe me.

AM:

We had to be there.

VJ:

Oh, yes.

EE:

That's good.

AM:

But nobody—I don't remember anybody resenting it. I really, truly don't.

VJ:

Nobody resented it. I enjoyed going to chapel. I enjoyed it. It was always fun.

AM:

Did you have it everyday or just once a week? I can't remember. That's too long ago.

EE:

Well, I think there's a sense of community with folks at—

VJ:

It was more than once a week, Aimee, I'm sure.

EE:

Was it?

VJ:

Yes, it was more than once a week. I don't know how often.

AM:

But I don't know whether it was every day.

VJ:

But it was really—it added a great deal to our life together, and we were better informed for having gone, because Dr. [Walter Clinton] Jackson would be sitting up there on the stage and Miss Elliott would be there, and these were prominent people that were meaningful in your life, and different people from different department heads were there. You got the communication. It was really, it was very well—

EE:

These were not people like in the Ivory Tower office. You saw these administrators all the time.

VJ:

That's right, all the time.

EE:

How many women altogether were in your class?

AM:

Twelve hundred.

VJ:

It was a large class.

EE:

Was it?

VJ:

Yes.

AM:

I don't know.

VJ:

I don't know whether it would be that many or not.

AM:

I really don't know. That probably is too many.

VJ:

That's too many because they haven't got but a little over a thousand now.

AM:

Probably six hundred.

EE:

We've been talking about some questions where you have maybe some shared experience. Because I don't know when it is that each of you went in the service, let me ask each of you individually to tell me, in short order, what you did after graduating, up to the time you joined the service. And then once you both were in the service, I'll ask you some questions where we both can talk about your responses. So Dr. Moore, how did you get—what did you do after '39? I think you went to grad school, did you not?

AM:

No. I went to University of Michigan for an internship, and I spent one year in Ann Arbor, [Michigan]. And when I got out of the internship, I worked for one year in Mississippi, and then—I was a dietitian down there—and then I went to Virginia, and I was a dietitian in a small hospital in Virginia. And then the war came, and I volunteered, right after Pearl Harbor. But they wouldn't take me because I wore glasses, and they wouldn't take anybody with a disability.

VJ:

Was that during civil service? That was before the war.

AM:

Yes, that was before. So I was disappointed, and I even thought of joining the Canadian army, because they were taking people, whether they wore glasses or not. But I didn't do anything about it, and shortly thereafter, they changed their policy in the United States Army, so I was accepted.

EE:

This would have been '42? When did you go in, '42?

AM:

Yes, '42. Or '43. My first day was February 1, 1943, I think. And I was the seventh dietitian to be commissioned, because that was the day they commissioned dietitians in the army.

EE:

So you went in that first class?

AM:

So I went in that first day, with my commission.

VJ:

It wasn't a class. They just took us in. We just started to work. We didn't have any rules or regulations, nothing.

AM:

No, they didn't ask you any questions. But you see, we had a very rigorous program, and they knew what I trained—

EE:

You'd already had professional training. In fact, you went in as a—

AM:

We'd had all the professional, yes.

EE:

So you didn't have a basic or anything, you went just right to work.

AM:

Just went right to work. And I went in to the army hospital in Blackstone, Virginia, or Black whatever it was.

VJ:

Blacksburg, wasn't it?

AM:

Well, it was right outside of Petersburg. And I was the first—I was the only dietitian who was commissioned, so I was made the head dietitian, even though there were five or six other dietitians already there. But they didn't have a commission and I did.

EE:

Were they all civil service?

AM:

They were all civil service. So I was promoted over them. I think it was a political thing, if you want to know the truth.

EE:

What was your rank? Did you have a rank when you went?

AM:

I was a second lieutenant.

EE:

So you got in as a second lieutenant.

VJ:

You had to go in as a second lieutenant.

EE:

And they only took college graduates for this job, I guess, or certified?

AM:

Only college graduates were dietitians. Dietitians had a very rigorous program that everybody knew about, and I had had an internship at the University of Michigan, so everybody knew about that.

EE:

At Ann Arbor, you were at the university, and then at Mississippi, what kind of institution were you at in Mississippi?

AM:

It was a sanitorium.

EE:

And the hospital in Virginia, was that near Richmond? Where was that?

AM:

It was near—you know, I forget—

VJ:

Wasn't it connected with Medical College of Virginia?

AM:

I'll think of it in a minute. No. It was—I sometimes just blank out. I'll think of it.

EE:

I can't remember what happened last week. I'm asking you all about sixty years ago. You're doing great.

VJ:

Where is VPI [Virginia Polytechnic Institute]?

EE:

It's in Blacksburg.

AM:

It wasn't there.

VJ:

It wasn't Blacksburg?

AM:

No.

VJ:

Are you sure?

AM:

I'm sure.

VJ:

Okay. All right.

EE:

All right, well that gets me basically till you get in. Now let me see how Mrs. Jenkins got in.

AM:

I'll think of it.

EE:

While you think of that one. How did you get from Woman's College in '39 to—and when was your first day in the service?

VJ:

Well, I went to Duke after I graduated from WC, we had—

EE:

From Duke, right.

AM:

She did her internship at Duke.

EE:

Now let me ask you this. Did you have to do an internship as part of your professional accreditation?

AM:

Yes.

EE:

So it's basically a five-year program?

AM:

Yes, it is.

EE:

Four years college, one year on-the-job kind of training. And now, you were at Ann Arbor at the university hospital, or where were you?

AM:

Yes.

EE:

And so you were at Duke Hospital?

VJ:

Duke Medical School.

EE:

And I assume that this is something that WC helped you all get these internships?

VJ:

Oh, yes. You didn't get in anywhere without that.

EE:

I had a woman who went to Walter Reed [Army Medical Center, Washington DC]. So now, you were at Duke for a year.

VJ:

I went the year following graduation. From September to September, I was at Duke.

EE:

Was that the year they had the Rose Bowl? Duke was in the Rose Bowl.

VJ:

Absolutely, and [had All-American tailback] Ace Parker.

AM:

I almost went to Duke, but I went to Michigan instead.

EE:

And after Duke, where did you go?

VJ:

You didn't go that first year, did you? That's what I thought. You skipped a year. Where did you work that first year?

AM:

I went to Michigan.

VJ:

Oh, I see. I meant—okay.

AM:

I went to Michigan because that was considered one of the best schools in the country.

EE:

Still is.

AM:

That was recommended to me by Lucille McMacken.

VJ:

Well, she was from the Midwest and she was a great person.

AM:

She was from Cleveland—Western Reserve [University].

VJ:

Many of these schools would only take—for instance, at Duke, we had six interns, six dietitians, and only one from North Carolina.

AM:

Michigan was the same way.

VJ:

And they all did this.

EE:

Sort of like how the medical students, they kind of make sure they've got a diverse student body. You train with medical staff, I guess.

AM:

That's right. You took classes. I took classes with medical students.

VJ:

I was with them always, except for nutrition, and we taught them nutrition. That was what we did. I don't know whether you did or not, but we did.

AM:

I did.

VJ:

After my year there, I did like Aimee did. Again, the head of our department at Duke and also the head of the department here at Woman's College, worked very closely together and knew what the availabilities were in the state and we were fast closing in on the war, and they were very much more aware of it than we were, but they wanted us to have some experience in the field. And it being kind of at the tail end of the Depression, they wanted us to get into [a hospital job] — it was mainly a hospital situation for dietitians at that time. In some of the larger places like maybe Cornell or even here at Woman's College, the person that was in our—we had a registered—we called them “registered” [dietitian]. They weren't registered, but they were authentic dietitians. They had a member of the American Dietetic Association, who was head of all the dining rooms on the campus and then over at Duke, we had a man there who was head of the schools, of all the dining facilities there. And they were very professional people. But the majority of people in dietetics were in hospitals at that time.

AM:

When I went to Mississippi, I was one of six dietitians in the whole state of Mississippi. They didn't have very many dietitians who were as well trained as I.

EE:

Well, I guess it's a matter of—how old is the American Dietetic Association? Is it much older than—

AM:

1918, or '17.

EE:

Still, you're in the first generation of dietitians.

AM:

Yes, we were.

VJ:

Absolutely.

EE:

And I guess it takes a while to train the public on the need for a professional standard for this.

VJ:

And there was—at Walter Reed, Walter Reed had trained their own dietitians, but this was pre—war, you see. They had dietitians who were working with the armed forces, and they trained at Walter Reed, but they were still not a member of the army. They were still under civil service.

EE:

What was the compelling reason—you said you volunteered to join before they even apparently had organized to have dietitians, or did you volunteer when you found out they were organizing to have dietitians?

AM:

No. I knew they needed dietitians because every hospital had to have a dietitian, so I thought.

VJ:

And they were better jobs.

EE:

That's true.

VJ:

More money.

AM:

I don't remember thinking about money at that point.

VJ:

Well, boy, I did.

EE:

You were at Duke for your year, which would have taken you to '40. What did you do after—

AM:

We didn't get paid when we were doing our internship.

VJ:

Oh, no. Well, that was really a scholarship that we received, but we paid nothing to go.

EE:

You got room and board, I guess.

AM:

Yes, got room, board, and laundry, right.

EE:

And the privilege to stay up all hours of the night.

VJ:

And we worked from September till September without a vacation. I did. I don't know about you.

EE:

And then what did you do after that year at Duke?

VJ:

I went into two different small hospitals. One was located in Marion, North Carolina, and the other was in Kinston, North Carolina. And I relieved a dietitian at both places. There was one who had been injured and the other one had got married, and she took a leave of absence. And I stayed at Marion for a while for her and then when I came to Kinston, I relieved a dietitian there by the name of Evelyn Gibson. She later became a very prominent member of the North Carolina Dietetic Association, and I later met her when I was chief dietitian of Station Hospital at Fort Bragg, when I looked up one day and they were sending me in a new dietitian, and I looked up and there was Evelyn Gibson. And here I was, all of twenty years old and here she was, about thirty-five, and I was her boss and that was a tough situation.

EE:

So you all were pretty young coming out of school to have this kind of responsibility over an institutional, big part of the—

VJ:

I had great respect. I never, ever ran into a situation where age was a problem. We had a lot of respect and the doctors were mainly, I think, responsible for it, because I know at Kinston and also at Marion, in the dining room—when we'd go in the dining room, there was a table that was called the doctors' table. It's different now, but that's the way it was then, and in larger hospitals there would be the doctors' dining room. And then the dietitians would be in that same dining room.

AM:

Well, dietitians were very highly respected at Michigan all the years that I have known it. You know, it was just a—

EE:

But I think that it's important that that acceptance from the medical community maybe kind of gives you all the [unclear] to a lot of places, because you'd taken it to a level.

VJ:

It did. And they respected the fact that they—and I know how it was at Duke. I know that—I ran into one of the doctors that had been in the same class with me when I was at Duke and then the second semester was when we taught the nutrition classes and we did the lectures in the nutrition classes. Of course, we had already, you know, gone through the act, all of us together, downstairs with Mrs. Martin, and then when we came into the class, we were fully qualified to teach.

EE:

Were you at Kinston when you decided to join the service?

VJ:

I was at Kinston, and the superintendent of the hospital, Mrs. Pettiway, took me for my interview.

EE:

Was it his idea, or whose idea was it?

VJ:

It was a she.

EE:

Was it her idea for you to join?

VJ:

I had gotten a letter in the mail from the civil service at Fort Bragg.

EE:

This was '41? When was it?

VJ:

Forty-one.

AM:

She was in before I was.

VJ:

And I came to Fort Bragg. Mrs. Pettiway took me to Fort Bragg, and she knew—I didn't have a car. Goodness gracious, I hadn't even thought about buying a car, but she had a relative in Fayetteville, and she visited the relative. She took me out to Fort Bragg for my interviews, and to look around and see what was going on. And at that point was the first time I really thought we were going to war.

EE:

So this was before Pearl Harbor?

VJ:

Oh, yes.

EE:

But you could tell people were already making—I heard that Roosevelt had a program of training civilian pilots in advance of coming up to military service.

VJ:

That was the first time I realized it, because I just hadn't—I just thought it was another job, but a good job. You know, I just thought we were just expanding, that we were growing. It never dawned on me that—but man, I knew then. It didn't take me—it would take an idiot not to know what was going on out there.

EE:

This was summer, fall of '41? When was this?

VJ:

It was in the summertime. It was in the summertime.

EE:

Were you part of the army then before Fort Bragg? I mean, before Pearl Harbor?

VJ:

Oh, yes.

EE:

Where were you Pearl Harbor Day? Do you remember where you were when you heard it?

VJ:

I was sitting in the dining room, in the mess hall—excuse me, Station Hospital 3, and it was on a Sunday and one of my other dietitian friends had a boyfriend in one of the infantry groups, a 9th Infantry Division, and Sunday dinner was a big thing in our mess hall, because we had good food, and they came from far and wide. So she had invited him to come for lunch that day, and we were sitting there at the same table together, and she had brought a little radio in because someone had been whispering around that something was going on. There was going to be [a] big announcement made. And so we were all sitting there at the table. She had plugged in this radio and we were listening to the news. You realize we didn't have TV then. The radio was a big deal, a big thing for us. And so she had plugged it in and that's when we found out that Pearl Harbor had been bombed, and that man got up from that table and from that time until now, I've never seen him since, because immediately, he knew what the orders were. They had to return to their units immediately, and he left. We never saw that man again.

EE:

Did anybody know where Pearl Harbor was?

AM:

Not really.

VJ:

Well, we knew it was Hawaii. That's all we knew. That was the important thing.

EE:

But everybody knew then we were in it.

VJ:

We were in it, right. And you could see it. I mean, it was just fantastic.

EE:

Were you scared that day?

VJ:

No, I wasn't scared. I was excited, because this was, you know, it was a whole new world and I could see the anxiety in the people who would come into the mess hall—

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

AM:

It wasn't like infantry.

EE:

These people were not going to be shot at, they didn't think, anyway.

AM:

No.

EE:

God knows, some of them were, eventually. Where were you when you heard about Pearl Harbor?

AM:

I was in Richmond, Virginia, working in a hospital in Richmond. And it was just—I heard it on the radio, too.

EE:

You were by yourself when you heard it?

AM:

No, I was with friends. Everybody knew immediately that it had implications of being in the war. We just assumed that we'd be in the war the next morning.

EE:

Probably most folks, I would assume, thought there was going to be a war in Europe before there was anything in Asia, didn't they?

VJ:

Oh, yes.

AM:

Well, no, I really knew that it would be both Europe and Asia. I mean, it never even dawned on me that it would be just Asia.

VJ:

It's kind of like it is right now, with a war over here and a skirmish over here, with a war over here and one over here, and we all say, "Don't spread yourself so thin." We were spread pretty darn thin right then, you know.

AM:

But we just knew that it meant total war. I knew that it meant war in Europe as well [as] war in Asia. In fact, I hadn't even thought of Asia before.

EE:

When you joined the service, how did your folks feel about—well, of course, you've still got your same professional responsibilities. Did they have any qualms about you all being part of the service?

AM:

My family never influenced me much on the decisions that I made.

EE:

You were independent pretty much from the get—go.

AM:

Yes, I told them what I was going to do. That's just the way I was brought up.

VJ:

Mother and Daddy felt that it was sort of—you see, we were a very patriotic group of people. I mean, not just us, but everybody was patriotic. You felt it was your duty and first of all, it was—

AM:

And it was a just war.

EE:

True. If there can be one, I think that was one.

AM:

I don't think there was any doubt in anybody's mind.

VJ:

They were proud to have them go, they really were.

EE:

Did your brothers or did other—did your brother go to the war?

VJ:

Yes, he was in the navy.

AM:

I had two brothers. One of them had such poor eyes that they wouldn't accept him in a thousand years, but the other one was an air force pilot.

EE:

You all didn't have the problem, I don't think, that some of the other folks I've interviewed, about freeing a man to fight, because basically, you were going to do what—

AM:

We were trained already.

EE:

You were trained to do that.

VJ:

And we were very fortunate, because there was no program to tell us what to do when we got to our post. We made up our own.

EE:

You taught the army what you needed to do.

AM:

That's exactly right.

VJ:

That's exactly right. We went in. It was just like going into a brand—new hospital. We went in and of course, in some of the mess halls, they would have some of the equipment already there, but they were building new ones everyday and we could go to the commissary and pick up anything we wanted for those kitchens, and order anything we wanted from the mess halls, and make up the menu. When I say “order it,” it was whatever was there. I had a carload of limes, and I'd never seen a lime in my life.

EE:

This is one of the things I've heard from so many people who were in the services, you know, everybody else had to go through rationing and everything. You in the service, you get what you need.

VJ:

Well, it was—not always. But we got straight, we got what was available and what came into the post, but it was funny. You know, we got vegetables. I was in the South, and so I got all these men from Brooklyn that came down to Fort Bragg to be trained. And when they came down here, you know, they wanted salami and cold cuts and stuff like that.

AM:

And we'd never seen them.

VJ:

And we had never seen them or dealt with them, and furthermore, they had never heard of some of the stuff like black-eyed peas.

EE:

And liver mush or grits.

VJ:

They had a hard time, but we really didn't, we did not have the same schedule that a GI would have had at all. We did our own thing and we had very, very—

AM:

We didn't have any [army] training. We just went in and worked.

EE:

Because again, you all have two different stories. Let me get a very quick overview of where all you went or were stationed during your military experience till the time you get out, and then I'll go back and ask you some general questions about that. You were at Fort Bragg in 1941 when you joined?

VJ:

Right.

EE:

How long were you there, and where did you go from there?

VJ:

I was there until it was time to be commissioned, and my date of rank went back to the day that my—having been on civil service.

EE:

So you got grandfathered back to it.

VJ:

Right. And I was at Station Hospital 3. We had three hospitals—one, two, and three—and because I got to Station Hospital 3 when it was being built and I was the first one [dietitian] there, I became the chief, and I was no more prepared than a man in the moon, but anyway—

AM:

Yes, you were.

VJ:

Well, I was mighty young and mighty immature, as I look back on it. But anyway, I was, and because I was there first—a month after I became second lieutenant, I became a first lieutenant.

EE:

This was '43? Forty-two, I guess, when you were commissioned?

VJ:

When I was commissioned, yes. I became, a month later. You couldn't be a first lieutenant, even though you were in the position that called for that, I was head of that hospital. But we had a chief dietitian, she was from Walter Reed, and she came by routinely, maybe once a month.

AM:

Nobody ever came to see me.

VJ:

Well, you weren't in this country. They carted you off so fast you didn't know—and the same thing happened with me, you see, because when they sent a cadre overseas, they sent them over there, it was required—a dietitian. That's how we had a rule, the law got changed, to send us in the first place, are forced to join the army. They had to have a dietitian.

EE:

That's when everybody became commissioned, because they needed a reason to draft you to go over.

VJ:

But they only had one dietitian that went with a unit, right, Aimee?

AM:

Well, I don't know, because I was just sent—

VJ:

You were the only one, right? Okay. And all the ones that I was called on to send overseas, but I would get an order like, “Send four second lieutenant dietitians to the port of departure.” And then they'd place them wherever they wanted them to go. They cut the orders on them and then they'd get the orders and here they would go. There was never one for a first lieutenant, because see, they had no need for them. And so I sat out the war in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

EE:

But you were the one—you were training the women, to go overseas?

VJ:

To go overseas, that's right.

EE:

Did you select the four? You got to say, these four?

VJ:

I made the selection completely, and turned them over to what we called our surgeon general on the post, and he, in turn, was the one that cut them, but I was the one that said who should go. And generally speaking, it was the one with the oldest time. Because we really didn't have them very long. Sometimes they wouldn't be there long. They were four weeks.

EE:

Were these women coming directly from their intern year, or directly from college?

VJ:

They were all over there. Like that 35-year-old woman that walked in there that day. And I mean, really fine people that were—

EE:

Could have been out in the field for, or have been in the workforce for some time.

VJ:

Oh, yes. But everybody wanted to do their duty, you see, and everybody felt that this was their last opportunity.

EE:

This was the time to do something.

VJ:

And this was the only thing they could do to support the war effort, and this was what they wanted to do, and they were needed. For instance, the Duke unit came down, and it was made up of the Duke personnel. And when they came to Fort Bragg, they sent along one dietitian and all the other people, and all the rest of the army men, and even their people who were sanitarians. All that, they brought in their whole unit, but they took them out of the Duke Medical Center, you see, and sent them down to Fort Bragg to train.

EE:

And they stayed together when they were reassigned?

VJ:

And then they left together. Their whole group left together.

EE:

When did your commission end then? Was it '45? Is that when you left officially the army or how long were you—

VJ:

I got out just as fast as I could. I guess I was out before you got home, Aimee. Because they didn't need me anymore, you see.

EE:

Were you out before VJ Day?

VJ:

Oh, yes.

EE:

Because I know they started decommissioning after the war in Europe was over.

VJ:

I think I was still there then. I wasn't ever particular—I didn't have time to think about wanting to go anywhere else. There were never any orders, nothing came across the desk that gave me a choice.

EE:

What rank were you when you left?

VJ:

First lieutenant.

EE:

Did you stay—did all the dietitians barrack together or were you all—

VJ:

No, there weren't enough of us to barrack together.

AM:

We were with nurses, and Red Cross and whomever. Any women—there weren't—

VJ:

We were never with the WACs [Womens Army Corps].

AM:

No, we didn't have any WACs.

EE:

Never with—that was sort of the enlisted, you didn't go with the enlisted—

AM:

We didn't have any enlisted people.

VJ:

Oh, we weren't allowed to anyway.

EE:

But you were with the other nurses and the Red Cross?

VJ:

Yes. We didn't have any Red Cross.

EE:

All right. Now, that's right, because you were on a base and maybe a different situation. Well, that gets you to be in, and I'll come back and get you in a second.

AM:

I wasn't in the army until February of '43, and I went in to a well-established general hospital in Blacksburg or whatever the name [Blackstone]—right outside of Petersburg. And the day I went in, I outranked everybody because I had my commission and nobody else had a commission, so I was made head dietitian and I had a conference with the general surgeon of the hospital, the commanding officer, and he told me that whoever the dietitian was ahead of me had made a mess of things and they were something like $185,000 in the hole, overspent, and I had to clear that up. That was my job.

EE:

First thing.

AM:

First thing. First priority. So I walked in off the street, with nobody telling me anything except, “You've got a big debt you've got to take care of, and you've got to get it straight right PDQ [pretty damn quick].”

EE:

And you're all of what, twenty-five, twenty-four?

AM:

And I was twenty-two.

EE:

Twenty-two, I guess.

AM:

I was head of a 2,200-bed hospital and I was twenty-two years old.

EE:

Gracious. And you were doing that job for how long?

AM:

Well, I only was there for six months, and then they sent me overseas.

EE:

So you did make a dent in that debt?

AM:

I cleared it and I had money on the plus side before I left. I had no real problem. It was a simple matter of just watching what was going on and being careful.

EE:

How many people were on your staff there?

AM:

I don't really honestly know how many personnel we had. There were six dietitians and I was the only one who was commissioned that day, so I was outranking all the others, but some of them had been there for—like, Vera had been—

EE:

Previously civil.

AM:

Previously civil service. But the thing is, they didn't resent me because they didn't want the one who had the senior ranking. They didn't like her and they didn't respect her, so the fact that they could get a pig in a poke—they at least had a better chance than what they knew about. I mean, that's the way I figured it out anyhow.

EE:

Did you live there in kind of a nurses' dormitory?

AM:

No, I lived in a nurses' dorm.

VJ:

Ours was just a temporary barracks.

AM:

It was just a barracks.

EE:

This hospital, I guess, at this stage of the war, was just a general hospital. It wasn't specialized, as I know some of them were later on.

AM:

No.

EE:

Six months into this, you get an assignment to go overseas?

AM:

Yes.

EE:

Did you request this, or this just come out of the blue?

AM:

And they didn't know where I was going, they just sent me, just put me on a list of people to go overseas, and I didn't know where I was going. In fact, I didn't know where I was going till I got there. I was given this responsibility and I was allowed to do what I had to do, and I had the authority to do it, and I was better trained than any of the other people, so I just got it done. I really got in there and cleared up things and put some order into it.

VJ:

And we were allowed to do that then because even the doctors, most of them were like the doctor next door, or someone out of a medical school.

EE:

They weren't used to dealing with big institutions and all this stuff.

VJ:

And they were just like, “You know what you're doing, you run this and I'll go run—”

EE:

I've got my own problems.

AM:

Yes, you just do your problems.

VJ:

So in a way, we couldn't have been there at a better time, because we did have that opportunity to use what we'd learned, and that's what we did.

EE:

August of '43, you get at a point of embarkation. You get out of Norfolk, [Virginia] or something, and where—

AM:

I went to near Falls Church, Virginia, in that general—I don't know what the name of—it was all very hush-hush.

EE:

You didn't know your assignment.

AM:

You didn't know your assignments, you just knew you had to report at a particular place by five o'clock that afternoon. My mother and my father drove me in their car to this place, but they weren't allowed on base, so they had to say good-bye at the gate. I didn't have a uniform by that time, because I had gotten in there and they didn't have uniforms for dietitians.

EE:

Just dress white, I guess, just a standard white uniform.

AM:

I didn't have a dress white. I had a striped daily kind of uniform, but I had ordered pinks or whatever they call them and olive green. I had ordered two uniforms—one dress and one grey, but I didn't get it till the day I left. I didn't have anything, practically. I never had had one day instruction from anybody and nobody from Walter Reed or anywhere else came—

EE:

So being in the army gave you absolutely no special—there was no special supervision about what the army was doing different from whatever you were doing before?

AM:

That's right. I was just in there, and I had much more authority than I ever would have had in any civilian hospital.

EE:

And you realized—because the dietitians are probably unique in that role, because everybody else, the army had a bureaucracy that they imposed on the way they did their work.

AM:

Right. We just didn't have any.

VJ:

I didn't wear a uniform, I don't think, the whole time I was at Fort Bragg, except for white. You know, you wore a hospital uniform. We had a certain kind of cap we wore and if you were—

EE:

Did you have a little insignia or something with a special—

VJ:

Yes, we had the insignia.

AM:

I had a “HD” on a—

EE:

That's for “head dietitian?”

AM:

No, for “hospital dietitian.”

EE:

Well, now you're at Falls Church, Virginia. Get me out of Falls Church. Where are you going?

AM:

Then I got on the boat, on the ship. And I was issued a sleeping bag and something to pack—a ditty—not a ditty—like, well—

EE:

A duffle bag?

AM:

A duffle bag. That's what it was—

EE:

The big one? Burlap.

AM:

Yes, right. And I was told to take enough stuff to last me for at least six months, like sanitary napkins and Kleenex and toothpaste and, you know, anything that I might—

EE:

Hot, cold weather, whatever.

AM:

Everything. And I had to stick it all into this bag and put a label on it and get on the ship, which I did, and I didn't know where I was going. And in our assignment, they had thirteen dietitians and fifteen PTs.

VJ:

Physical therapists.

AM:

Yes, physical therapists. And we were put into—we were the only women on this troop ship. At least I think we were.

VJ:

What happened to the nurses?

AM:

They weren't on that ship. No nurses. We weren't a unit, we just were sent over there as replacements.

EE:

Were there men on the ship?

AM:

Huh?

EE:

Were there men on the ship, too?

AM:

Oh, seven thousand men and about twenty-five women.

EE:

But when you get on the ship, you don't know where the ship's going?

AM:

We don't know where the ship's going.

EE:

Now, this is sort of a battleship formation, where you've got an escort and you're doing a zigzag?

AM:

No, we didn't have an escort. We were on what had been a cruise ship, from England, and it had English officers on it, and we were in what they called—it had what they called a “honeymoon suite,” you know, but there was space they stuck—they had it full of bunks, and you couldn't even sit up in your bunk because they were so close together.

EE:

That tight. When did you find out where you were going?

AM:

After we were on the ship about, oh, halfway there. We were unescorted.

VJ:

But you knew where you were going, to the Pacific.

AM:

No, I didn't.

VJ:

But couldn't you tell—

AM:

Well, we left from Virginia, so I just assumed we were going to—I thought we were going to England, but it got colder. I mean, it got warmer. And so we knew we weren't going to England. So it got warmer and warmer and warmer, and we figured we must be going somewhere like Africa, and that's where we ended up. We ended up in Casablanca, [Morocco], but we didn't know we were going to be in Casablanca till the day we got to Casablanca. We didn't know where we were going to be.

VJ:

It wasn't like a trip you go over today, where you're getting all this material that tells you all about it. You don't know till you get there.

EE:

Sounded like the woman I interviewed from Class of '37, Elizabeth Williams, who was in the Red Cross, who ended up being in Casablanca. Same thing. Didn't know till you got there. Okay, here's where we're headed.

AM:

We didn't know where we were going, but we did know that there were no portholes that were open on that ship, because you didn't want any light to get out. And we did know that—I was seasick for the first three days.

EE:

You ever been on a boat before?

AM:

Never. Not on a ship anyhow. I've been on little boats.

EE:

Yes, a little lake boat, but that's—

AM:

But I had never been on a ship, and I was sick as a dog. And I didn't eat anything except crackers and things like that for the first two or three days.

EE:

Maybe a Coca Cola or something.

AM:

No, didn't have any of that. And finally, I got my balance and I didn't have any more problems like that. But you see, with no fresh air inside, and you couldn't go out at night on the ship. I mean, they wouldn't allow us on deck at night, because somebody was bound to do something they weren't supposed to do. So we didn't have that choice.

EE:

How long was this trip? About three weeks?

AM:

Twelve days, I think. And we zigzagged across these—because they didn't have—

EE:

Without an escort, you zigzag to avoid the submarines.

AM:

Yes, right. And didn't know where we were going until we got to Casablanca, and didn't know even—I didn't know very much about Casablanca when I got to Casablanca.

EE:

Hadn't had that movie at that time.

AM:

I hadn't seen the movie.

EE:

Hadn't seen the movie. And how long were you there, or that was just a station?

AM:

I was in Casablanca for—well, that's a funny story, because here we are, twelve, thirteen dietitians and whatever number PTs, and the orders came for thirteen PTs and eighteen dietitians. They just got us all mixed up. So we had to wait until they straightened us out. We waited in Casablanca, and every day we had to go to this office to find out, had our orders come through. But you see, they didn't know who was a dietitian and who was a PT, so we had to wait—we waited a whole month before we got our orders straightened out. But we finally got them straightened out, and I was sent to Tunis, or Tunisia. Actually, I was sent to Bizerte, [Tunisia]. But I got on the plane and I had my orders for this hospital, but the people in the hospital didn't know I was coming.

VJ:

That sounds about right.

EE:

Yep, they got it all organized, just didn't tell anybody about it first.

AM:

Right. And so I got to this airport in Tunisia, right outside of Tunis, and there wasn't a single American soldier there that I could see. I had an English sergeant, who kind of took me under his wing. And so it was his job to find me a place to stay that night. Well, he called the billeting officer and he got an assignment and we went to that place and we're talking about five o'clock at night and when we got there, somebody was already in the hotel room. So he had to go back to the billeting office and he got another assignment, and we went to that second place. And when we got there, somebody was already in that room. And by that time, it was getting to be kind of antsy. I mean, I was. And so was this poor guy. Didn't know me from Adam, you know. Anyhow, so we were—the second place that we went was an apartment house, and we were standing around in the lobby, trying to decide what to do, because he had no place for me to stay. I mean, I couldn't be billeted where he was staying. And this little girl, about fourteen years old, came in and she said, “Are you looking—” She said, in very halting English, she spoke French, “Do you need a place to stay?” and both of us said yes. And by that time, we didn't believe the billeting officer knew what he was going to do with us. So she says, “Well, my mother would like to have you stay with us if you want to.” Just like that. I mean, here I am, I don't know nothing from nothing, and this guy didn't know either.

EE:

And you're on your own.

AM:

But we figured, at least they expressed an interest and the billeting officer wasn't expressing any. And so I said I would take a chance and so he said, “I have to go back and check in, and then I'm coming back to see if everything's all right.” And this guy, he left me with this family, French family, and they didn't know anything about me and I knew absolutely nothing about them, but they were delighted that I was an American woman, so they invited all of their friends and relations—

EE:

To come see the American.

AM:

—to come see this American.

EE:

You're on show.

AM:

And they put on a real nice dinner and they had about ten people there. There was the girl and her little brother, and her mother and daddy, and then aunts and uncles and cousins by the dozens. I mean, it seemed like that to me. And we sat around this table and they served couscous and I had never seen couscous in my life. I didn't have any clue about what it was.

EE:

Grits that need cooking longer, I think.

AM:

Yes. Anyhow, they served everybody, and I was served first and I was waiting for the hostess to start eating, but in their custom, the guest has to start first. That kind of broke the ice because I said, “I don't know what I'm supposed to do,” and so they told me. And all of this is in mixed French and English and neither—

EE:

Did you know a little French?

AM:

Very little. I mean, poco poco. But it was all right. I felt safe. I didn't feel threatened or anything. You could have, you know, not knowing nothing, anything about any. But this guy came back and we became real good friends with that family, he and I. And then I wasn't stationed right in Tunis. I was stationed in Bizerte, and so whenever I would come back to Tunis, I would get in touch with him ahead of time, and he and I would both go to see this family.

EE:

How long were you at Bizerte?

AM:

About six months.

EE:

And that would have been through early '44?

AM:

Yes.

EE:

And then where did you go after that?

AM:

I went to Italy and we were sent to Italy to be there when they stormed Monte Cassino, so that we would be in position to take the casualties from Monte Cassino. And the thing was, our equipment and supplies got sent one place and we got sent another place, and it took us several days to get it back together again. And when we did get it back together again, it was on the eve of the battle and so—

EE:

That's pretty quick order.

AM:

We had to really work hard to get everything straightened out.

EE:

Where were you stationed? Was it M[—unclear] or where was this?

AM:

It was near—it was called Mattaloni, Italy, and it was an old fort. And it had stables and barracks and things like that. And they gave us the stables as our headquarters for the mess. We didn't even have fresh water. We didn't have running water. We had to brush our teeth with grapefruit juice.

EE:

At Bizerte, you had a regular hospital?

AM:

Yes. No, it was called a station hospital.

EE:

Station Hospital. And you were handling, what, casualties from—

AM:

Any casualties.

EE:

Any, but were they mainly from—was the North African campaign winding down then?

AM:

Yes, it had wound down, and we were in Italy, and we had a lot of—we had troops from Africa and we had Americans and we had Italian POWs [prisoners of war]. I mean, we had a conglomerate of people working with us, for us. And the patients that we got were from everywhere.

EE:

Were you the lead dietitian?

AM:

I was the only dietitian.

EE:

At both these stations? Both at Bizerte and at Mattaloni?

AM:

No, when we were in the States, there were seven dietitians in our unit. When I was overseas, I was—well, when I was in North Africa, I went to a hospital that had another dietitian, but I hadn't been there very long when I realized that she and I just didn't operate on the same sync. I mean, we just were out of sync. And so I asked for a transfer and they didn't want me to transfer, they transferred her out, and so when we were in North Africa, I was the only dietitian, but she was the one that was transferred out.

EE:

How long were you at Mattaloni?

AM:

Six months.

EE:

Six months, which would have been—

AM:

More or less.

EE:

—through late summer of '44, something like that?

AM:

Yes. And then I was sent to France, and I was there for a year, in southern France.

EE:

I think they had—I was talking to somebody—

AM:

Mark Clark.

EE:

You were with that group. Were you at Nice? Where were you in southern France?

AM:

I was near Cannes.

EE:

Was this another station hospital?

AM:

Yes. It was the same one, 78th Station Hospital. And I was the only dietitian, and when we got to France, they didn't have any supplies, systems set up, or very little, and they didn't have a bakery and stuff like that, that we were supposed to get bread from. So the cooks and I decided we would be the bakers and we made—we had a good time. We made all kinds of bread and it was crusty loaves of bread that we did by hand.

EE:

Yes, the boulangerie kind of thing.

AM:

And we made ourselves very popular.

EE:

I bet. How many people were at this—your numbers of people, I guess, that are there, changed, depending on the battle circumstances.

AM:

Oh yes, right. Well, we started—when we were—now, I'm going to jump around a little bit —when we were in Italy, for Monte Cassino—we were in Mattaloni, I told you. We had no patients one day and the next day we had 750 badly injured patients. I mean, every bed filled with people who were badly injured.

EE:

How quickly would those people be moved away to a back hospital or something out farther away?

AM:

They didn't—well, when they got—

EE:

Sent back home?

AM:

I don't know how long they were there, but they were there about several weeks, probably.

EE:

You were in France from about August of '44, for a year, till about August of '45?

AM:

Right. And they were getting ready to ship me to the Philippines and I said, “Well, I already have more points than I need to go home,” and so then they finally decided to send me—well, they sent me to a general hospital station in Aix-en-Provence, and there, we got a lot of patients from, they were newly freed from prison camps.

EE:

So different kind of problems with nourishment or with—

AM:

Different problems completely. But I was sent home in September.

EE:

So you weren't looking on making the military a career then?

AM:

Oh heavens, no.

EE:

Thank you, the war is finished now.

AM:

I never had any—

VJ:

Been there and done that.

AM:

I never thought I wanted to stay in the army. I didn't want—well, in the first place, nobody had ever paid any attention to me and it took an act of Congress to get me promoted to a first lieutenant. I could have been in there ten years and still been a second lieutenant, but they decided, by an act of Congress, that anybody that had been in so many—a year or more—

EE:

If you hadn't already got bumped up, we're going to bump you.

AM:

Yes, right. It was just done by automatic, you know. I never felt like anybody gave a damn who I was or where I was or what I was doing, or even knew who I was. I felt like I was operating completely independently.

EE:

You were an independent operator, which is great, and it's also, the flip side is, nobody really gives a flip what happens. As long as the job gets done—if you don't complain, they don't—

VJ:

And you see, nobody knew enough to tell us what not to do and what to do.

AM:

We had real good morale in our hospital and everybody—in fact, they bragged about how good the food was, because we had the same food that everybody else had, but we just handled it differently. For example, we didn't ever have any fresh eggs, and we had all these dried eggs and dried milk and all that stuff. Well, nobody likes scrambled eggs made with that stuff.

EE:

Is that the kind that turn green a little bit?

AM:

Yes, right. We would make French toast. We would take this dried eggs and dried milk and make French toast and we brought our stoves right to the line and we would cook it right there in front of their eyes and let them have it right there.

EE:

So they get that fresh—

AM:

Fresh flavor and fresh appearance. It was a very attractive—

VJ:

And if you ate them real fast, you could abide by it.

AM:

And so we did this. We didn't have any mustard, so we just—I mean, prepared mustard. So we decided we would make mustard. We took mustard powder and we took eggs and milk—I mean not milk, water—and made a paste and cooked it and served it. It tasted more or less like mustard, you know, with vinegar in it and stuff, but it didn't look exactly like it. But we were making the effort.

EE:

But it sounds like, during the war, you were part of [a] team that—you were appreciated, you were treated professionally. In the long term, once the crisis of the war is over, as far as staying in for a career, you weren't going to be promoted within the military. The military wasn't going to give you any special attention.

AM:

Oh, Lord.

VJ:

Well, and we knew that all of those hospitals were going to be dissolved and that people were going to be going home, and as she said, you're the melting pot. And plus the fact that you were really just hired—

AM:

It was very rewarding in lots of ways because I had the support of all the men who were in my department.

EE:

Yes, but you were not—being a woman did not—you weren't—

AM:

They liked me as a person.

EE:

They liked you as a person. You weren't treated differently just because you were a woman. You were appreciated.

AM:

Yes. And you know, in the army, you have to have your letters—you had to have your mail censored. All the guys in my unit wanted me to censor their mail. Why, I don't know. Because they had to be censored by an officer. So they would bring all their mail to me to censor.

EE:

This is all the V-Mail that would go home.

AM:

Yes, right. And it was kind of funny. I learned an awful lot, I'll tell you.

EE:

You felt like a confessor over here.

AM:

Right, right. They spilled it all out.

EE:

Sounds like a good thing.

AM:

But anyhow, we had a very good rapport in our unit, and they were very proud to be our unit, and we had the reputation of being the best hospital on the Mediterranean coast, and they appreciated that. And the guys who were driving ambulances, moving patients from one place to another and all that, they would always plan to get—to be at our hospital at meal time.

EE:

Right. They knew where the good grub was. Typical day for you? Are you working seven days a week in wartime? What's your work schedule?

VJ:

Oh, we would have a day off.

EE:

So you'd have six days—

AM:

Well, occasionally you took a day off.

VJ:

I planned my hospital schedule, so I planned a day. See, mine was a training hospital, training in every respect, because our patients were men that were being trained to go overseas.

EE:

But you always were first shift, when you did the class and stuff?

VJ:

Not always. You got to take your turn, sure.

AM:

Gosh, we didn't have recipes, we didn't have—I mean, we didn't know what we were going to get. Every day they sent a truck to what we called the ration dump, and it really was. They just dumped it out in a field, and they would bring back whatever, and sometimes the labels would have come off the cans and you didn't know whether you had peaches or ketchup.

EE:

And you made due with what you had.

AM:

And you made due with what you had.

EE:

What was the hardest thing each of you had to do during your time in the service, either physically or emotionally?

VJ:

Oh, you should have let us know about that question before you asked.

AM:

I didn't feel like I was in danger anywhere except we did get a bomb close by when I was in Italy. We were there at an earlier time during the war, and there was a lot of activity in Naples, and there were a lot of planes, German planes, and you could tell the difference between a German plane and an American plane by the way the engine sounded. It just had a different sound to it. And I remember, we had a red cross, you know, very plainly painted on the hospital, but there was a time when it was bombed so close that the glass in the windows in my bedroom were broken, from the repercussions. So that's close enough.

EE:

You don't want it any closer. How close to Naples were you?

AM:

About forty to fifty miles.

EE:

Were you there when the volcano blew up?

AM:

Yes. In fact, I had met some air force pilots and there weren't very many women over there, Americans, and so women were highly regarded as being—I mean, they would try to make us come to their parties.

EE:

I was going to say, you were the dance partners. I've heard this before. Get four women, it's a party.

AM:

And so I met these guys and they said, “We're going to have a party. Can you get some girls together and come over?” And I said, “Where are you stationed?” and they said they were in Bari. Do you know Italy? Bari's on one side and Naples is on the other side.

EE:

One part of the boot and one part of [unclear].

AM:

Yes, right. So they sent an air force plane over to pick us up, and my friends and I couldn't ask for leave, so what we did was, we dropped our, like backpacks, we put a string on them and dropped them down from the balcony onto the street, and then just wandered out with no luggage at all.

EE:

Enterprising young women, that's okay.

AM:

These guys met us and they took us in this air force bomber, B-29 or whatever it was, and took us over to Bari.

EE:

Doesn't this shake the rest of your—when somebody says, “I'll pick you up,” doesn't that have a different connotation the rest of your life after you've been picked up in a B-29?

AM:

So we flew over Vesuvius when it was in the process of erupting, and they took that plane and they put the wing clip down like that and went around like this, and we got as close to Vesuvius as anybody could get without walking in it. Oh, it was exciting.

EE:

Well, I talked to a woman who, unfortunately, could not remember a lot of details, who was the dietitian at the Naples hospital.

AM:

Oh, I knew some of those gals.

EE:

And she was telling me that one of her buddies on her staff was on a plane that was flying over Vesuvius when it first erupted and the plane—the ash got in the engine and it crashed into the mountain.

AM:

Well, we didn't crash but we were—

EE:

You were cutting it close.

AM:

Yes, cutting it pretty close.

EE:

Well, that was your hotdog pilot trying to show off his skills.

AM:

Right. And they let us drive, you know, guide this damn plane. I mean, here it is—

VJ:

Now, you can share the feeling with that guy that made his mistake up there. He was hotdogging it, too.

AM:

We got to this party and they ran out of cold beer so they just said, “Well, we'll take care of that.” They loaded a plane with beer and took it up 15,000 feet and cooled it up, and then came back down.

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

AM:

Torpedo juice. We would take grape juice or grapefruit juice and they would take the alcohol out of torpedoes, and put it in this punch.

EE:

Any way you could get it, okay. Oh, my goodness.

AM:

They were very inventive, let me tell you.

EE:

Well, the thing is, is that, when you're under that much stress where you don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, you really enjoy—you had to take life when you could get it.

AM:

Right. And they were nice guys. You know, really and truly.

EE:

They were all missing home, too, like everybody else.

AM:

Yes, they were. They were having a—as I said, we went to this party and there were, I don't know how many women there were there, but at most, ten, and probably, you know, quite a few more, a lot more men, and we just, we stayed in their barracks and they, I don't know where they stayed. It didn't really truly matter, but there wasn't any sex involved in all of that part of it. But you made friends and you did all kinds of fun things and you just made your own fun. And those guys, we became real well acquainted. They came back, took us back home, and we came in without letting anybody know that we'd been gone.

VJ:

Kept your mouth shut.

AM:

And those guys, we made arrangements for them to stay in the barracks with the men that we knew. You know, the doctors. And so they came back and forth. We kept this up until they got sent somewhere else, and we got sent somewhere else. It didn't last very long, but we had a real good time. We did a lot of things like that. I went out to the airport one time—

VJ:

That's called continuing education.

EE:

Postgraduate degree.

AM:

I wanted to go to Paris and I was talking to these guys and they said, “Well, we're not going to Paris right away but if you want, we'll take you—we're going on a bombing run over to Romania.” And I looked at him and I said it didn't seem very logical for me to go on a bombing run over to Romania before I went to Paris. I mean, there might be an accident on the way.

EE:

Try to impress me, boys, but don't do it that way.

AM:

Another time I wanted to go somewhere and they said, “Well, we can take you to Cairo but we can't guarantee we can bring you back.” And there wasn't much traffic in and out of Cairo, so I decided I didn't want to get stuck in Cairo. You just go out and you talk to the pilots and say, “Where are you going? Can you take me?” and sometimes you wanted to go where they were going and sometimes you didn't want to go where they were going.

EE:

[discussion of Ruby Morgan not transcribed] Is there an embarrassing moment, either from you personally or something that you witnessed? Surely at Bragg, there had to be a few embarrassing moments with those guys coming in from all over.

VJ:

Gosh, I can't think of any.

AM:

We lived a right normal life in lots of ways. One of the things that I remember is, I knew a lot of nurses and we had, living in this dorm, and the chief nurse or the head—

VJ:

Yes, she was chief.

AM:

—had to come and inspect our quarters every now and then. Well, I wasn't much on keeping mine so straight.

EE:

You didn't have that one where you could bounce a quarter on it or anything?

AM:

No. I didn't keep GI standards.

VJ:

I had forgotten that they inspected once a week, didn't they? I had forgotten. And here we were, grown women, having somebody come in and open—

AM:

And so they came in and I had forgotten—I didn't think of it. Now that's the honest truth. I didn't truly do it to embarrass her or to make fun of her, or to ignore the rules and regulations. I just didn't think of it. And my room was a mess. In fact, I think some of the nurses had come in and put toilet paper all over everything.

EE:

Showed how much they loved you.

AM:

And it looked horrible and the head nurse came in and inspected it and my place looked like a pigpen, and she was mad at me, like I had done it on purpose, just to make her mad, you know. That's exactly what she acted like. And she gave me a hard time, but I wasn't under her so she couldn't really do very much to punish me.

VJ:

I think that what they did—see, like at Bragg—as you were talking, I was thinking, you know, every hospital was a little different. They made up their own way, and sometimes you'd get a, they had what they called “administrative officers” and they would have been trained in the rules and regulations, the rule book, the army rule book.

AM:

We didn't pretend to know or care about the army rules.

EE:

As soon as you pretend to care, then you figure they might throw a few more at you, I guess.

VJ:

Yes. But we just sort of went along our merry way and everybody got along well together. There's always been a little bit of feeling between the nursing association and the Woman's Army Specialty Corps. Just a little bit. I mean, we were different.

AM:

We weren't GI.

VJ:

That's right. We were not, and we didn't take orders very well.

EE:

And they were, and didn't like the fact that you guys could get almost the same perks without—

VJ:

We were little Southern Johnny-come-latelies, you know, and they kind of felt like, and I don't know, that we were invading their privacy.

AM:

And living in their immediate space.

VJ:

We were getting the very best of everything.

EE:

[brief discussion of letter from nurse redacted] It doesn't sound like, except for that time that the bombing was a little too close, generally you weren't in physical danger yourself?

AM:

No. Well, when we were in Italy, there was a lot going on.

EE:

There was concern there.

AM:

I was out one night with an English officer. He said he believed that if you're going to get hit by a bomb, it had to have your name on it and if it didn't have your name on it, you didn't have to worry about it. And I said, “Well, maybe it's got your name on it, but it doesn't have my name on it, and I don't want to just be out—” [laughs] “If you're willing to take that chance, okay, but I don't want to. I'm going to go to a bomb shelter.” And I mean, everything that goes up has to come down, and they was going up like mad. I mean, it was really, a lot of activity that night. And I just allowed as how I didn't want to be out. Maybe his name was on that bomb, and not mine, but I didn't want to be with him.

EE:

Good gracious. Did you go over to the service clubs a lot when you were at Bragg?

VJ:

I never went inside of one. We stayed on the base. See, we didn't have cars and ways to go places. Not many even of the officers had cars, because they were there for training and being shipped out, and there wasn't anywhere to go in [unclear].

EE:

Well, I was going to say, what did you do in the off hours?

VJ:

We had the most wonderful time.

AM:

We had lots of parties.

VJ:

Oh, we had parties. Saturday night was a bigwig. We went to the officers' club. We were not allowed to go to non-com[missioned officers] places, not allowed to go out with any non-coms.

AM:

I have to tell you about one experience. There was a civilian, a Red Cross man, a patient in our hospital, who was a very well-known resistance worker, and he had been caught and jailed by the Germans, and he was important. And so they had traded him for some German general, and swapped prisoners that way, you know, let him free. Well, he came back—he grew up in New York but his family was from France as well as the United States, and his father, or his grandfather, who was Steinway piano. I mean, he was a real important guy. And so he was a patient in our hospital and I didn't make a whole lot more effort to please him than everybody else, but I made the effort to get to know him. And well, he lived before the war, in Cannes, and knew everybody and he was an architect and he had built houses all over everywhere. And so he decided that he would get us invited to see these houses, and so we got invited to lunch here and dinner there and cocktail parties there.

VJ:

Where was this?

AM:

This was in southern France, Cannes. And I tell you, here I was, by that time I was twenty—four or something like that.

VJ:

You were young, honey.

AM:

But I was still young. And getting invited to all these—I mean, elegant, high society, and going to cocktail parties.

EE:

Where did you get a cocktail dress?

AM:

I didn't. I wore my uniform. That's one good thing about a uniform. Anybody can wear a uniform.

EE:

And it always looks appropriate to wear that uniform.

AM:

Yes, right. Well anyhow, so I went—I tell you, he took me and my roommate, who was a Red Cross gal, we must have gone out to at least twenty-five of these different places.

VJ:

Now, you had to watch those Red Cross girls.

AM:

It was a lot. We went over several weeks and months, you know.

EE:

I hear typecasting coming in.

AM:

And we met everybody. We met so many interesting people you can't imagine, and can you just put yourself in my place? Here I was, as unsophisticated as anybody could—

EE:

This is a long way from South Carolina.

AM:

It sure was.

EE:

But a good place.

VJ:

She spent most of her life in North Carolina.

AM:

And then one time he says, “Let's go to Monte Carlo,” and I said, “Well, gosh, Barry, we can't go to Monte Carlo. It's off limits. I mean, we can't possibly—we'll get caught.” “Oh, no, we won't get caught. You don't wear a uniform. You wear a dress.”

VJ:

That's breaking the regulations.

AM:

You're breaking zillions of regulations. He says, “I have a friend I want you to meet.” And he says, “And I'll get us invited into the palace. I know the princess and I know a lot of—and we can do this, that, and the other.” So he made this arrangement and I decided I would go along with it.

VJ:

Aimee, you never told me that.

AM:

I took off my uniform and made due with whatever I could figure out, how to—you know, you don't have a store down the road that you can buy anything in. But anyhow, I made a dress out of something or other.

VJ:

You sewed? You sewed? [laughter] She did not like to sew.

AM:

I didn't sew it myself. And we went, and we got there and we had lunch, and being the dietitian, I fixed fried chicken and all good stuff like potato salad and all that stuff, you know. And we went to visit this friend, and she was the daughter of Rimsky Korsakov, and he was the grandson of the Steinway piano family.

EE:

So they had a conversation.

AM:

I mean, it was an interesting—

VJ:

You were in high cotton.

EE:

And you got back safely?

AM:

And they played the piano. Yes. We stayed all day. We had such a good time. We had such a good time, we didn't get to the palace at all because we were just really, truly enjoying ourselves. But can you imagine meeting Rimsky Korsakov's daughter?

EE:

A special day.

AM:

And Barry was as nice a guy as I've ever known. He was quite a bit older than I was, but he liked to show off all these places, and he wanted somebody to appreciate them.

EE:

He found the right person, I can tell. If I were to ask you, you hear a piece of music and you think of that time, what piece of music is it for you?

VJ:

I don't know. Golly. I guess Chattanooga Choo-Choo came pretty close.

AM:

That comes close.

VJ:

It sure does.

AM: I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane.
VJ:

Absolutely.

AM:

Was that earlier?

EE:

That was afterwards. That's appropriate. That's what you were doing, was leaving a lot. It's getting late and I think—

AM:

And you know, when we were in Cannes, we had as our—we rented or requisitioned, I guess, would be more like it, this villa that was right on the Riviera. I mean, right on the Mediterranean. It had a huge Olympic-size swimming pool and then you could walk on down and go swimming in the Mediterranean if you wanted to. And it was a villa that—what's that icon?

VJ:

What icon?

AM:

That had married Rita somebody.

EE:

Rita Hayworth.

AM:

Hayworth. Well, he [Orson Welles?] bought it after the war, but we played in it—

EE:

Before he got it.

AM:

—before he got it.

VJ:

That was just a private venture, but the army took care of their people. If there was place anywhere around that was—

AM:

Anyhow, we had parties there all the time, and that's as fancy as you can get. And Winston Churchill had painted lots of pictures that were on the wall in this villa, and it was really a very elegant place.

EE:

I've pared down four simple questions. Do you have any heroes or heroines from that time?

VJ:

From what, the time, during the wartime?

EE:

Yes.

VJ:

Yes, I have a couple of medical officers that I thought a great deal of. One was a surgeon. He was aide to the surgeon general at Fort Bragg. And an Italian from New York. He lived at Forest Hill, New York. He brought his family down because when he was appointed to the aide there, that meant he got to stay a little longer, and once that—they didn't leave him there very long. Six months was about as long as you stayed in Fort Bragg. It looked strange if you stayed any longer than that. It wasn't honorable. You needed to move on, you know, and the men didn't want anyone to think that they weren't ready to go do their duty. But he brought his family down and I got to know them very well. I knew them all during the war and then after the war, and right up until the time that he died. And he was an excellent surgeon, and I think that probably—and he did a great—I was closely associated with him because he was the one I took all my papers to for approvals and things like that, although we made the—it was a rubber stamp thing.

Everything had to be documented. But he was always a very considerate person, and a great deal older than me and I guess he may have even been a little bit of a father—you know, the feeling, something like that. But I admired him a great deal. When he went overseas finally, he was in one of those MASH situations and the stories that he told me in later years were just unbelievable. But I admired him very, very much and his son later came through the 82nd at Fort Bragg, but he was a very fine person. And then as far—we didn't have many people among our peers, see, and we didn't know these people very long. I didn't know them very long because six weeks was about what they were there, and they'd come in and you tried your very best to show them everything. And we heard back from just about all of them, would write back maybe one letter and as best you could figure out what their problems were and suggest things, you know. It was very helpful in trying to prepare the others, you know, for what, as Aimee said, she didn't have anybody like that, but then you see, we weren't as developed then as we are now. But Fort Bragg was a training place. They all came in there.

EE:

What about yourself? Do you have any heroes?

AM:

Not really. I mean, I liked and respected most of the staff, both the nursing staff and the surgical staff. I didn't have any people who were outstandingly good in my field that I can look up to. I never met anybody. I had to be self-motivated.

EE:

Both of you sound like situations where—it's hard to kind of evaluate yourself against a standard which isn't there, because you're setting the standards.

AM:

There were no standards there.

EE:

You're setting the standard.

VJ:

It was difficult as far as—you have to know people a little bit longer, unless it's something like somebody saves your life or something, which, in my situation, didn't exist. There's one other person that I have—but to tell you the truth, so many people that I've known, they're gone. They're dead and gone, but a lot of people—after we all get back—

AM:

There were people I didn't like. I could tell you a few of those. We had a CO in the hospital who could down at least one fifth of whiskey a day and he was always in a stupor, and he really caused a lot of grief.

EE:

That's something you can let them handle because everybody else has got other more pressing problems?

AM:

Well, we just ignored him, if you want to know the honest truth. But he would come in and call an inspection and he just, if he didn't like something, he'd just sweep a whole tray of glasses on the floor and you don't have glasses in the army, to begin with, to speak of, and if you had a few of them, you didn't want them broken. But he was just, he was a kook. There weren't many of him, people like him, fortunately, but he was enough. He had a slogan. “If it moves, salute it. If it doesn't move, pick it up. If you can't pick it up, paint it.”

VJ:

Paint it?

AM:

Yes, and so we had all the trees and rocks and everything in our compound painted white. If it moves, salute it. If it doesn't move, pick it up. If you can't pick it up, paint it.

EE:

Well, that sounds like standard operating procedure. Let me ask you a simple question. Do you feel you contributed to the war effort?

AM:

Yes, I do.

VJ:

I think I did.

AM:

I feel very comfortable.

VJ:

I earned all my money, and then some.

AM:

I had a good time, but I also contributed a lot, I think. We had—ended up, we had 750 patients with hepatitis, because they made our hospital a hepatitis hospital. And so anybody that had hepatitis was sent to us. I had never even heard of hepatitis.

EE:

And you hoped the vaccine worked really, really well.

AM:

Well, you didn't have vaccines.

VJ:

I don't even think they had any then.

EE:

Didn't?

AM:

No vaccines. You just had to treat people for symptoms.

VJ:

No. And they didn't have this A, B and stuff, either. It was just hepatitis. You didn't know whether it was—

AM:

No. And you didn't know how it was transmitted exactly, and you didn't know this and you didn't know that. You just took care, you just made them comfortable, and tried to plan food that didn't have much fat in it. It didn't have much fat to begin with anyhow. You just did the best you could, and nobody knew nothing.

EE:

There are lots about other things that we've spent a long time on tonight and you've been very gracious with your time. What impact did the military have on your life? Short term, long term?

AM:

It made me more interested in travel, I'm sure, and I have traveled an awful lot since then, but I got started—

EE:

They got the wanderlust going.

AM:

Yes.

VJ:

We had a wonderful trip together, about fourteen of us, to China, right after they opened up China, after the revolution, I think.

AM:

There were about twenty-something of us.

EE:

So you all know each other through the professional association as well as this, so this is a group of dietitians that went over?

AM:

Right. We went on a scientific exchange program. That was the name of it. It was called that, anyhow. And we did share information.

VJ:

Everywhere we went we stayed at colleges or hospitals or somewhere like that. Very, very interesting. And we took—Aimee chose the people that went and they all had diverse interests and professions and knowledge, and together, we made up a pretty good team, I thought. Drank our way through green tea.

AM:

And we got to meet some people who—Chinese dietitians. They don't train dietitians in China, but they had studied in the United States, and so I think we helped them. And I corresponded with some of them for quite a long time afterwards.

VJ:

And they were thinking they were going to try to start up—see, during the Revolution, they did away with all of that type of thing, and so they didn't have any schools to train their own, so they were just, as Aimee said, having to get started all over again. But I thought that, I really think that we did some good there, Aimee, and we had one woman that did a lot of interpreting for us.

AM:

She was a dietitian, a Chinese woman who was a dietitian, and she could help us a lot.

EE:

Did you both—for military impact for you, was it also travel, or what was the main impact for you?

VJ:

Well, for one thing, it gave me a mighty good husband.

EE:

That's how you met the man.

VJ:

Absolutely.

EE:

Well, good for you. Good for you.

AM:

And he was lucky, too.

VJ:

I think that—well, I really and truly got a wealth of information and I still think that lots of jobs are not jobs that you just learn out of a book, that they were experience.

AM:

Well, certainly, it impacts your ingenuity.

VJ:

I wasn't kidding when I said a carload. I mean, a carload of limes arrived one day, and they called up, you know, from over at the commissary, and said, “What do you do with these things?” Well, we were supposed to know everything. When nobody else knew, they would call us and they didn't want to let on like they didn't know, you know. Well, I said, “Well, have you ever made a lemon pie?” “Yes.” I said, “Well, there's a lime pie. You make it just with the same recipe, but you use about half as much, I think. I've never made one.” They said, “Well, will you make one, and will you let us know?” And I made a pie.

AM:

Well, that reminds me of something. When we were in North Africa, everybody was—we didn't have much fruit and fresh vegetables and things like that—had none. And everybody was getting gingivitis, you know, and the dentist was blaming me because I didn't get people to eat enough Vitamin C and I said, "Well, what am I going to do?" Well, they gave you this ascorbic acid powder that you were supposed to make something, but you didn't have any ice and you didn't have any sugar, to speak of, and you had this ascorbic acid that didn't taste good to begin with. And so then they decided to buy a truckload of lemons, so we had literally a six-by-six truck full of lemons. It was dumped in my lap.

EE:

Pick good work.

AM:

And no ice, no sugar.

EE:

So what did you do? Was there lemonade?

AM:

I just put them in a pile in the middle of the table and said, “Help yourself, guys.” But you can't do anything with that. I mean, that was not handling the problem.

VJ:

Well, probably, out of it all, everything became pretty diversified for me, and through all these different people, coming from all these various places, brought in all ideas about various things, and you can't help but—you don't realize you're learning on the job, but you really do. And so it prepared me probably for my really big professional job in life. I became a manufacturers' representative in food service equipment. You don't have any idea what I just said.

AM:

That's an unusual job for a woman, by the way.

EE:

In other words, you're marketing to these institutions the equipment that they would use in preparing their meals.

VJ:

Depending on what they needed and what sizes they needed and what equipment would do the job. Many times, demonstrations and workshops on—

EE:

Which sounds like a very unusual job for a woman, if I can say that.

AM:

Yes, it is.

VJ:

I was the first one in the whole United States.

EE:

Good for you. Congratulations.

AM:

And one of the most successful.

VJ:

I got there the first.

EE:

What was the company you worked with?

VJ:

I've got my own company. I went to work just mainly to introduce the first convection ovens in the United States. They were being built by one of the older—

AM:

Blodgett.

VJ:

Blodgett. Old companies. And it was to revolutionize the—[food service industry]

AM:

We did some of the research that led up to that.

VJ:

I know you did. I know you did.

EE:

And where were you doing your research?

AM:

At Cornell.

EE:

You were at Cornell when you got back from—see, obviously we need to—this is the wrong twosome to do an hour and a half interview.

VJ:

We haven't gotten anywhere.

EE:

We're still stuck in the forties and you guys have got fifty years of living to come on with. So what I probably will do is just ask you some follow-ups maybe in a brief form in a letter or something, [unclear] some information. You went on and did that, and that was your major. You retired from that and your own company. And you've been finished with that work since from how long?

VJ:

Well, I decided that I would retire at a certain time, so I had hired two young men when they were a lot younger to come and work with me. I had four states, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee as my territory, and I represented at one time about twenty-two major manufacturers. This is heavy equipment, and they all were—most of them kind of had something to do with each other. In other words, it would be like a range or an oven or a steam-jacketed kettle. These things you may or may not know about, but anyway. And so I worked out a program of really teaching the architects. My husband was an architect, so as a result I had—when he died was when I did this. And I would go to all these—I knew all the architects, so I would go into their offices. I'd look in the job bulletins and find out who got the jobs, and then I would go and see if—and they couldn't keep me from—I mean, out of plain courtesy they would allow me to come in. And so I was able to go in and I'd let them know that I was coming and why I was coming.

EE:

And had you all considered these things—

VJ:

And it was a difficult situation. You see, architects don't like you to know that they don't know everything.

EE:

I don't know of many professions who aren't that way.

VJ:

So I would just say I know that you don't—I understand that this is something that's entirely new, and you need to know, and you need me to be there with the best kitchen that anyone can design, and here we go. So really, I designed the kitchens for them. They wrote it up under their name, but they did. And of course, by virtue of that, they would specify the equipment that I recommended, because they didn't know anything else to do. So it was really a wonderful thing, and I tell the story often that I was working for one of these South Carolina people, in this first job that I was doing, and he had never sold one of these—he was scared to death of those convection ovens because the only thing he could remember was the fact that his grandmother always said that when you bake a pound cake you don't jar the kitchen because the cake might fall. Well, here this convection oven came in with that whir of that fan going around, blowing the fool out of everything, and he just had visions of—

EE:

Of everything falling. Oh, it's going to ruin everything.

VJ:

—of some cook running him out of the kitchen with a butcher knife or something. But anyway, within about three months after that oven hit the market— by that, I mean, we started marketing it—we had sold a carload of those ovens, in one section of North Carolina, where we had been concentrating, where we had cooperation from the superintendents of schools. We went right to the top with all of it, and in the areas where there were school food service directors, they were beginning to get state money for that, but this was all in the very early stages, so we happened to be there, and got there with the most of it.

EE:

When was this, fifties, sixties? When was this?

VJ:

The beginning of 1963. In between that, I taught student nurses in the hospitals, before I went to do—in the local hospitals at home, and I was a chief dietitian at the Cape Fear Valley Hospital in Fayetteville when it was built. From the time it was built until 1963.

EE:

Congratulations, that sounds impressive. That's great.

VJ:

But the main thing that I would say is that there was really—all of that was background to the work that I did, the people that I came into—

AM:

Well, you knew how the product was going to be used, and most of the guys who sell it don't have any clue.

EE:

It's amazing. People know when someone knows what they're talking about. And if you can't fake that—

AM:

Yes, that's right. It's immediately apparent.

VJ:

But you know, when you asked me a question and I didn't answer, I think probably the—I can't exactly say—I think I was disappointed more than I was upset or embarrassed. Well, I was embarrassed, too. I did not realize how much the men disliked me. I mean, the men representing—

EE:

The people that you were working with.

VJ:

Yes. I didn't really work with them. They all had companies like I did. They resented the fact that I had been given that opportunity by the manufacturers. I was invading their field, because it was a man's world, you see. But I was so busy because when my boss, the man that I went to work with, was a manufacturers' representative, and he had me come in because it was not considered proper for a dietitian to sell anything. We didn't go out and say, you know, “You buy this brand name.” We were not supposed to be like that.

AM:

Oh, I was.

EE:

Professional ethics in many fields, they say, “Oh, sales is something else. You don't do sales.” But everybody's got to have it.

VJ:

So we did a soft sell, by arranging workshops and things like that.

EE:

It was an informational—

VJ:

Right. And then when they'd ask how much something was, I'd say, “Well, you'll have to ask your salesperson,” or “You'll have to call up Mr. So and So tomorrow morning. He'll give you the price of it. I don't sell these things. You have to buy it from him.” But that's the way it went. But the thing that really got me was, oh, I had been working for a good long while then, to the point that I was pretty tired and my boss died. I was in Rio de Janeiro, [Brazil], and got a phone call, and he had died. He was a young man. And they wanted to know how fast I could come home, and I said, “You can't get out of here even if you died.” There's no way to get out of Rio.

EE:

It doesn't happen that often, right.

VJ:

And so I just had to wait, and of course, they went ahead with their plans. But after I got into New York, they said, “Don't go home, and don't answer any telephone calls or anything,” and I didn't understand what—I didn't know the problem at all. I had never known it was a—they never—none of the manufactures mentioned how much the men resented my being in the field. But you see, they were beginning to start to keep—you understand, most of us didn't even have secretaries, except the brown wastepaper basket. You know, you took the orders at the end of the week when you came in and looked them over and that was fine. One of my sales managers came down to work in the territory and I will always believe now that he did not want to tell me what was going on, but he wanted me to know so I would be prepared, I think. And I saw a letter that had been written, and one of the better representatives for this one major company that Aimee knows so well—it's called the Groen Company—had written a letter to Joe Corcharan about “that woman.”

EE:

And all you needed to know was that phrase, and you knew what the rest of it was.

VJ:

And so we were working in an airport lounge room, and he was working over at one table and I was working over at the other table, and in between flights. And he got up and started—they came over to ask him something and he stood up and went to see—they called his name and he started over to the desk and then when he got over to where I was, he dropped this pad of papers on the table and it was—I thought he was dropping something for me to look at and I think he did. But it was as if he was just passing by and he was going to leave that and go on to the telephone. And this letter was stating that I didn't work like the rest of them and that I didn't—in other words, he kind of thought that I came in and took all the work and that made them look inferior. They were doing the work the way they had been trained to do and the way blah, blah, blah. And then I saw the other letter that was underneath it, was the letter that Mr. Corcharan had written back to him, and he started it off by saying, “That woman has a name, and it is Mrs. Jenkins, and don't you dare forget it.” That was the first thing, and there was not another word. The second sentence did not occur in that paragraph.

And I was just so stunned, because then I realized that this was getting to be a little bit of a problem, but we had gotten the jump on them, and through the man that I had worked with, had such an insight. He knew that the women that were going to use this convection oven—that it was going to have to be a marketed thing, and they were going to have to see someone else do it, and see and relate it. And he said that he knew he could not do it, so we arranged this—he asked me to work up a program of how we could market it, and I worked up the program on how we could get the workshops going and how we would—we would have whole counties of people come. We'd ask the main director from as many schools as the—and the superintendents of schools were just sold on them, because they could see it would save so much time and energy. And these poor women that had been struggling with all these big old pots and pans all this time, you know, how great it would be for them. But that probably was the thing that—you know, everything that goes up—but I was riding along. I wasn't paying any attention to any of it.

EE:

Probably the first time—you said, like in your, certainly in your military career, you were treated professionally.

VJ:

Yes.

EE:

It wouldn't ever come up about being “that woman,” or whatever that—you didn't—

VJ:

I thought that everybody would be glad that—and you know—

EE:

So that phrase that they often say that says, “You can't argue with success,” you would disagree with that, because somebody was arguing with your success.

AM:

You know, I think the best thing that ever happened in the war was the GI Bill, to send people to college after the war.

EE:

Is that what happened with you?

AM:

Yes. I would not have had the money, nor would I have even thought of going on to graduate school, if I hadn't had the GI Bill.

EE:

Where did you go for grad school? You got a master's and a doctorate. Master's from Columbia [University]? Is that where you went, or Cornell?

AM:

I went to Columbia University and then I went—

VJ:

Didn't you go to Cornell?

AM:

No. I taught at Cornell.

VJ:

Oh, you taught at Cornell, that's right.

AM:

And I went to Michigan State [University], but without—

EE:

You didn't get any grief about having done an internship at Michigan?

AM:

No, I never had any real problem with that.

EE:

And so you did that in quick succession right after the war, then? You went back immediately and did your grad work?

AM:

Yes. Well, as soon as the war was over, I went to Columbia and got a master's degree and then I taught at Cornell, and then it was natural that I would go on and get a PhD If you're going to teach at a university, you have to have it.

EE:

Right, right. You were teaching dietitians, then, at Cornell?

AM:

Yes.

EE:

And then you got your doctorate from Michigan State in the early fifties?

AM:

Fifty-six. Somewhere—'59—somewhere in there.

EE:

And you've taught at a number of places since then? Well, you first started out at—

AM:

Cornell.

EE:

You went back to Cornell with your doctorate?

AM:

Yes. And then Mizzou [University of Missouri at Columbia].

EE:

And you still—

AM:

I'm retired.

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

EE:

This transcriber's the one who's going to be worn out. I'm having a good time. And then at Mizzou, you—

AM:

I went to Mizzou to be head of the department of dietetics in the medical center and to establish an education program for training dietitians, at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

EE:

Had they had anything like that before you got there?

AM:

No.

EE:

This was a new thing. This was early sixties?

AM:

'61.

EE:

So Missouri didn't have a training program in this field, even though this field had been around for—

AM:

Well, not at the graduate—

EE:

Not at the graduate level?

AM:

Not at the graduate level, and the undergraduate level was not really complete.

VJ:

Weak.

AM:

Yes. I really was brought in to establish both.

EE:

How much is—do you have the same publish or perish problem as other academic fields do?

AM:

Yes, and I published.

VJ:

You don't last long unless you publish. Isn't that right, Aimee?

AM:

Yes. I have at least sixty publications in refereed journals.

EE:

What's the main journal in your field?

AM:

Journal of the American Dietetic Association. And the other thing is that when I went to Mizzou, it was early sixties and computers were just coming in and we were very fortunate. We got a regional medical grant for several million dollars and they decided to concentrate on developing programs on the computer for transferring knowledge from a medical center to practitioners throughout the region. And so they gave me carte blanche permission to develop programs in dietetics, and that's how I really got started doing research—

VJ:

Well, we did the first computer program in the whole United States, as far as dietetics is concerned.

EE:

And this is something that's going to have commercial applications to institutions all around.

VJ:

Oh, yes.

AM:

And I trained zillions of—well, not zillions, but a lot of dietitians, graduates.

EE:

How involved are you in the professional association?

AM:

Very.

EE:

Officer level?

AM:

Yes, some. But mostly on committees, and I was an expert, if you want to call it that, in computers, and I spoke at many, many, many business meetings.

EE:

This is something you had to pick up and basically learn by doing it. Again, the improvisation skills from, going back to lemons and all that. Sounded like both of you have just constantly had this innovation skill that just—

VJ:

It's what makes the world go round.

EE:

But the world only goes around like that for certain folks and it's nice to have two of them on a Friday night, so I appreciate—

VJ:

I think you should ask Aimee about her honor. She had a very distinctive honor.

AM:

What?

VJ:

The Copher Award. Tell him about it.

EE:

Well, tell me about it.

AM:

Well, it's the most—

VJ:

Prestigious.

AM:

It's the most prestigious award of the American Dietetic Association. Copher.

EE:

And when did you receive this award?

AM:

I don't remember. '76.

EE:

And this is for your work in this software application?

AM:

No, this was as a result of it, more or less.

VJ:

Aimee, I think it was about the same time that you were retiring, wasn't it?

AM:

It was before. I don't remember. Isn't that strange?

VJ:

We'll just say before she retired, or about the time of her retirement, something like that. It was about that time.

EE:

You know, one of the things that I think is sad, to me, having spent a few years around universities, is that most academics don't have a sense of practical applications.

AM:

Yes, and that's where I excelled, if you want to know the truth. I knew how to take all this new equipment and use it and I could tell them what was wrong with it, and people from Groen and Blodgett and other places would come in and want us to test their equipment, and give them—

VJ:

Is Harold Kane still living?

AM:

Yes.

VJ:

Good.

AM:

But the computer is where I really made my name.

EE:

And a lot of your publications are dealing with that as well?

AM:

Yes. And I was a Distinguished Alum from this university, too.

VJ:

She received that. She's the only institutional management major I've ever known to get that award.

EE:

You got that award?

AM:

I don't know when that was.

EE:

You know, the thing is is that when you're a busy person, a lot of things happen, and you just don't keep track of it. Sounded like you've both been pretty busy on that score.

VJ:

I can't remember, Aimee. Now, Helen had just come here to work then. She was not head of the department. She had just come in. Now, how long has she been here?

AM:

It was about eight or ten years ago.

VJ:

It must have been.

EE:

Because it sounds like even though you told me before we did this interview that you'd only been back twice since graduating, in fact, you've kept up pretty good contact with the professionals in this program.

AM:

Well, I did, yes.

EE:

It sounds like that you all have known each other in a professional sense for a long time

.
VJ:

Well, we would meet at ADA, and like as I said, we enjoyed the trip to China together. We went somewhere else. Now where was it, where did we go? We went to—I don't remember.

AM:

To the Scandinavian countries.

VJ:

I believe it was. And then I get her back down here whenever I can.

AM:

Well, I come, because see, my family lives in this general area. Not Greensboro.

VJ:

And she comes and tours around a little bit. She's cutting this one short on me, though. It's my own fault. I'm sorry, I have to go out.

AM:

We've got to go.

VJ:

I'm headed for Greece and Turkey next week.

EE:

Well, there are worse things to do in this life. I lived in Europe for a year and kept threatening my wife that we'd go down to Greece because we had some friends down there. I never got there. So take lots of pictures and I'll be with you in spirit.

AM:

I went to Greece two years ago, three years ago.

VJ:

I don't remember, Aimee.

AM:

And I went from Athens clear down to Cape Town on a ship.

EE:

That little pin. You've been to Berlin to see the original?

AM:

No.

EE:

I lived in Berlin for a year, and that was one of the highlights of that.

VJ:

Were you in service?

EE:

No, although my wife worked at a base. This was part of my—I got a DAD German academic exchange fellowship, to do graduate work there for that.

VJ:

Oh, how wonderful.

EE:

And it was just before the wall came down, so it was an interesting time to be in Berlin.

AM:

Yes, that's interesting. Well, you know how you get into things. I really have enjoyed my—I've done a lot of lecturing and workshops and stuff like that, all over, and most of my travel was paid for by somebody else like [unclear].

EE:

Well, but you know, if you keep doing that, it means that it's enjoyable to do, and to see folks. It's late and I really appreciate you all talking—

AM:

I enjoyed talking to you.

VJ:

Yes, and I was up all last night. I have hardly been to bed. I'm like a walking zombie.

EE:

Well, you've been very cogent to be a walking zombie. I really appreciate it.

VJ:

But if you have any questions, give us a ring.

EE:

I'll get this back to you. Let me make you a copy, and likewise, I'll give you the list of both these folks here. I just want to see this.

[End of Interview]