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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Olga Lewandowski Lathrop, 2003

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Object ID: WV0271.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Olga “Dusty” Lewandowski Lathrop’s service in the Women’s Army Corps from 1944 to 1946.

Summary:

Lathrop discusses her Polish heritage, her grandmother's death during the Nazi invasion of Poland, her desire to join the navy, and her reasons for enlisting in the Women’s Army Corps [WAC]. She also describes the train ride to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; and shares ancdotes about heating the barracks and getting her nickname, “Dusty.”

Conversation of her time stationed in Wisconsin includes: delivering a baby at Truax Field; hearing about the death Frankling D. Roosevelt; VE Day celebrations; social life; and working with Japanese and German prisoners of war. Other WWII topics include: Harry Truman’s policies towards the Air WAC; poorly sized uniforms; and her mother’s pride about her service.

Personal topics include: the story of her parents’ immigration from Poland and their occupations; meeting and marrying her husband, Donley Lathrop; and her children’s military service. The interview concludes with a discussion of Lathrop’s personal photos from her WWII service.

Creator: Olga Josephine Lewandowski Lathrop

Biographical Info: Olga “Dusty” Lewandowski Lathrop (b. 1924) of Newark, New Jersey, served in the Women’s Army Air Corps (Air WAC) from 1944 to 1946.

Collection: Olga L. Lathrop Papers

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

Full Text:

[A television crew, including Chris [last name unknown] is also present for the interview]

EE:

My name is Eric Elliott, and I am with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Women Veterans Historical Project. Today is the end of January, January 31, 2003, and we are in Madison, North Carolina, this morning at the home of Olga “Dusty” Lewandowski—Lewandowski Lathrop.

I've already taken you back fifty years, Mrs. Lathrop. But thank you for sitting down with us today. We're going to go through your whole life in one hour, so don't worry about it, because anything you say is going to be fine. We start off with folks just asking a very simple question. Where were you born? Where did you grown up?

OL:

I was born at Newark, New Jersey.

EE:

That would be Newark for anybody not in New Jersey, but yes.

OL:

And then I lived in a lot of places in the northern part of New Jersey, and then the last place was Morristown, New Jersey.

EE:

You were telling me before we got started this that your family was first-generation Americans. They come from Poland.

OL:

Yes, my mother and father. My father was from Warsaw, and my mother, I think it's called Krakow or something like that.

EE:

So they married and met over there and then came here as a couple?

OL:

No, no, no. They met here and then became a married couple. They came in, I think, about 1915 to Ellis Island, and then from there my father, I guess he was in World War I, too, and also first violinist in the Metropolitan Opera House, and also a professor of music. And my mother was a professional cook.

EE:

That's beautiful. So they came here, and I guess he got work as—you were telling me he was a professor when he came here. What type of work did he do?

OL:

I believe he was—him and [Krzysztof] Penderecki were very good friends in Warsaw. They went to the conservatory. And then I guess they had to leave in a hurry, and Penderecki went to England and my father went to New York.

EE:

But he was able to get work when he got stateside?

OL:

I believe so, with all his experience.

EE:

And your mom, what did she do when she got stateside?

OL:

She was a cook, and she worked on big estates. She was a professional cook.

EE:

You were telling me you were the only child.

OL:

I was the only child.

EE:

So you got special TLC [tender loving care] from the beginning?

OL:

Not really. My mother and father were separated when I was six months old, so I lived in private homes my mother paid for.

EE:

Your mom was the one who brought you up.

OL:

That's right.

EE:

Tell me something. What do you remember about your childhood and your school days? Did you like school?

OL:

School was all right, but you got a lot of harassment like when you're ethnic and things like that. But otherwise, I had a nun when I went to parochial school and she was my mentor or whatever you want to call her. She was wonderful to me. I loved music, and she encouraged me in that.

EE:

What kind of music? Did you play violin or piano?

OL:

Well, I started with the flute, but I didn't do too good on that. I liked it, though. I enjoy just listening to the orchestra than I did playing, and I like to sing.

EE:

That's great. That's great. Where did you graduate from school?

OL:

Morristown.

EE:

Morristown. And this would have been in—what year did you graduate? The northern schools had twelve-year high schools long before we did. We were a little slow.

OL:

I think '42.

EE:

Okay, '42. So during the last couple years of your high school, all this mess in Europe starts.

OL:

Yes, and I wasn't old enough.

EE:

What do you remember, being Polish, about '39?

OL:

This was very bad, because my grandmother was killed in the Polish Corridor. My mother was always hoping that she'd come and live with us in New Jersey. And she got the telegram, and I remember going downstairs to the restroom in school, in high school, and this one Norwegian girl was crying so bad, so I was crying with her. So it's patriotic why I joined.

EE:

So your family had a personal stake in what was going on long before Peal Harbor day.

OL:

And I just wish I was old enough to join. But, of course, they didn't have WAACs [Women's Auxiliary Army Corps] at that early stage. I think it started later on. And then I had some friends. I was working in New York, and they said, “Come on, we're going down to the recruiting place.”

I said no, I wanted to join the navy and didn't qualify as secretary, so they didn't take me. And I still wasn't old enough. I was nineteen and a half.

EE:

You had to be twenty to be in the—

OL:

Twenty with parent's consent and twenty-one to be in the military.

EE:

That's for both WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service—U.S. Navy] and WAACs?

OL:

I believe so.

EE:

If you graduated in '42, your first thought was to join the service right then?

OL:

Yes, but I wasn't old enough.

EE:

So what did you do in the meantime?

OL:

I worked. I did a little modeling for a hair salon. And then when I went with my friends, the recruiter wanted me to take a test, and I said, “No, I'm just here with my friends. I'm just waiting.” I was eating my lunch.

She said, “Well, just for the fun of it, take the test.” She knew I wanted to join the navy and I couldn't get in.

So I took the test for the fun of it. She said, “You're not obligated.” So I took it, and after the test she came over and she said, “How would you like to go into the air corps?”

I said, “I'll take it.”

EE:

I've talked to a lot of folks. Mamas are not always approving of their daughters wanting to join the service.

OL:

Oh, my mother was so proud. I went right to the post office, and she signed my permission.

EE:

You were probably doing it for her, too, I would guess.

OL:

And when I sent her this picture, she used to carry it in her big purse. You called it a pocketbook. And she'd be on the bus, and she'd show all the friends that came in, showed a picture of me.

EE:

So this was her daughter, her baby, doing great things. When you signed up, and you joined in '44—

OL:

In November of '44.

EE:

There was a lot that's happened. When the WAACs first started, they didn't have the greatest reputation. I think a lot of the guys were—

OL:

No, they didn't in Madison, Wisconsin, either. But we were always so proud. We didn't care.

EE:

Well, a lot of that, I think, was almost a smear campaign from some folks who just didn't like to have women in the service.

OL:

Well, they thought we were trash. That's what they thought. They thought that we were in just to have fun, and that isn't why we went in. And there were some that were. It's just like a bad apple in a barrel.

EE:

When you went in, did you sign on for the WAC [Women's Army Corps] or for the Air WAC?

OL:

For the Air WAC. And when I was at the separation center at Fort Sheridan, my status is—

EE:

Because that sort of evolved. It was the WAAC at the start in '42, and then you had WAC. And then as the army air corps, you had Air WACs assigned just to that.

OL:

In '45, then it changed to the air force.

EE:

Right. When you signed up, was there any particular request that you were able to make on the kinds of work you wanted to do or where you wanted to go or you were just basically placing yourself at their favor?

OL:

You had to qualify for certain things, and I wasn't much of anything except music. So they just assigned me to certain things, “Would you like to be in the medical field,” and I said, “Yes, I'd like that.”

EE:

So you signed on at the post office in Morristown.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

Had you ever been much outside of New Jersey in your life before?

OL:

Yes, Maine and Cape Cod, because my mother, when she worked with these people, in the summertime they allowed me to go along with my mother. And I remember going on a train and on a ferry to Maine when I was just a little tike, and then when she changed positions to another place, then I used to go to Cape Cod every summer on Memorial Day.

EE:

So you had some travel experience, so travel, in and of itself, wasn't scary for you. But you'd never been south.

OL:

No.

EE:

And you're headed to Fort Oglethorpe.

OL:

Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Georgia.

EE:

You were riding the “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.”

OL:

That's right. I still love that song, too.

EE:

So tell me about that train trip. What do you remember about—

OL:

That was really a memory on that train. We all went, the women went to Grand Central Station, and when we boarded the train, it was a troop train, and that was really something that you thought would make me cry, too, because all the guys that were on that train were going overseas. And we were still in civilian clothes, and when we went to the diner, you should have heard the catcalls and everything else, and they would whistle.

So then when we got done eating, we went back to our car. All of a sudden, a couple of them come running in with a deck of cards, and I played cards with them all night, and my buddy that was with me. Then that next morning, when we got out of the train, the girl that was assigned to us, she had a little fit because we didn't sleep all night.

And then when we got to our barracks, they had two potbelly stoves, one on each side of the barracks. And it was a cold, miserable, November morning, and they told us we had to do our own fire in the stoves, and they told us where everything was outside. Oh, they all squawked. They didn't want to do it. Well, I was a Girl Scout, so I said, “I can do it.” I was so tired, but I got everything. Another friend of mine went along with me. The rest wouldn't touch it. They were just squawking that it wasn't right, they should have had a heated place. And so I did my side.

Well, I fell asleep. All of a sudden, they pulled me out and they said, “You got this place on fire. Get out of here.” I tried to tell them I wanted to close the draft. I didn't close the draft. That's what the trouble was.

Well, the lieutenant came and the captain, and they wanted to know what was going on. They said, “That little thing there burned our barracks.”

They said, “Calm down.” So they went in.

EE:

There's nothing like a first impression.

OL:

Then went in and came out, and they said, “Who's the one that did this?”

“Her.”

All of a sudden, they came over and patted me and they said, “Tell you what, you don't have to do any of that. But you show them how to fix both potbellies, and then assign one to do that side and the other.”

Well, you know, the one that squawked and kept pointing her finger at me, I happened to have gone to grade school with her. I never knew it until she found out. She said, “Oh, I knew who you are.”

So I picked her and two more for details and stuff. I felt like getting on a soapbox. I was so proud.

EE:

You had some buddies who with you were doing this. Were they on that train trip with you or were you all by your—you were making new friends all along?

OL:

And they were Polish girls.

EE:

So you all went through basic together?

OL:

Except the one that was really my buddy. I came back after some test.

EE:

What was her name?

OL:

Her last name was Pabackuwitz[?], but I can't remember her first name, so help me, because I only knew her a few days.

Well, I had a note and a dime under my pillow. I don't know what the dime was for. But she said we were being transferred. The ones that could speak Polish and read it, which I couldn't do perfectly, they were transferred to Germany.

EE:

Because they needed them for their special skills.

OL:

And they needed interpreters.

EE:

What was the hardest thing about basic, in your memory?

OL:

The only thing was, when we were in the parade grounds and I couldn't do the left wing, and all of a sudden she made all the WACs sit down, called me over. She said, “Lewandowski, get over here.” She told me how to do it and everything. I had everybody sitting and watching me. That was embarrassing.

But all my friends, when I got back to the barracks—that whole night teaching me how to do the left wing.

EE:

PT, physical training, that was good for you.

OL:

I loved it, loved every bit of it.

EE:

That was good for you. You know, some folks, this is the first time they've lived with a lot of other people they're not related to. Did you have any trouble getting along with—how was the camaraderie like? Was it a good group?

OL:

Yes, it was pretty good, and we loved to sing, all of us. I remember one that I loved so much. She loved to sing Danny Boy. She was singing Danny Boy even when the lights were out. And Christmastime was wonderful, because all the parents would send packages.

EE:

Was there a special song for the Air WACs? Because it seems to me like a lot of the services had a special song.

OL:

There is, but I—

EE:

You know this song. I talked with Mildred Bailey. She ended up being the head of the WACs in the seventies. Did you ever sing Duty? “Duty is calling you and me.”

OL:

That doesn't sound familiar.

EE:

All right. Well, that was a WAC song. So you must have had something different you were singing.

Well, now, how long did basic last for you? Two months?

OL:

The basic training was, like I said, I think it was about a month and a half.

EE:

And I guess it would have ended up around Christmastime for you that year, '44.

OL:

That's right. I had this that I used to love, the hymn To Our Lady for the air force.

EE:

Okay. All right. [looking at program] This is the kind of thing.

OL:

And it has the mass schedules on the back at Truax Field [Wisconsin].

EE:

That's great. That's great. I might take this and make a copy, because this is the kind of thing that's special for that time.

OL:

I gave it to our church from 9/11 [September 11, 2001], and they put that in the bulletin.

EE:

Well, see, this is the thing, the sentiments we're coming back to, a lot of the things we need to draw on.

Tell me, did you get assigned, I guess, to medic responsibilities? Is that something you took a test for?

OL:

No, I learned it on the job. When they told you, and then they'd show you how to do it, you did it.

EE:

How much were you all—I'm just trying to think now. December of '44 is the Battle of the Bulge. Do you all remember getting any word about that?

OL:

We used to go to orientation. We'd march every Saturday or something and go in the theater.

EE:

And then they'd give you some information on what the war was doing?

OL:

Yes. We got all the film and everything on it before the civilians did.

EE:

But you don't have any particular memories about that Christmas in '44?

OL:

Not really. I've got my pass and the clothes that were assigned to me.

EE:

This is your listing from what you had to have at Oglethorpe?

OL:

Yes, and my pass to go.

EE:

Tell me something. You picked up something. One of the things that's a legacy to this day from Oglethorpe, you've got a name. You told me before we started how you got your name, your nickname. Tell me how you got your name.

OL:

I was at roll call, and they were giving us our mail. The sergeant was having trouble with both names, and she'd go, “Ole Lenski.” She said, “What am I going to call you?”

Well, she kept sounding like Dusty when she was doing it, and I said, “Dusty.” So that was my handle.

EE:

And you've been Dusty ever since.

OL:

And I love it, too. I love my name Olga, but nobody knows how to pronounce it. And the news media—sometimes, I get so mad I wish I had a rubber brick. They pronounce it in a foreign way. They don't pronounce it. And my mother was Polish. She always said “Ol'ga” the right way—Ol'ga.

EE:

I think Olga Korbut probably affected everybody. That's all they remember.

OL:

And this is the allotment or whatever I got.

EE:

Tell me, being somebody from New Jersey, do you have any southern stories you can tell us? Because, you know, most folks who come from the north to the south have a funny story from the first time they [unclear].

OL:

Well, the best one I like is, “You talk funny.” Even when I go to get my license, “You know, you talk funny.”

EE:

This was even at Oglethorpe? Did the people at Oglethorpe give you any grief about that?

OL:

No, except my lieutenant one time, she had a fit because she said I didn't sound like I was from New Jersey. I said, “Well, I'm the sophisticate type in New Jersey. I'm not from 'Joisey.'” I loved being called a “damn Yankee”, too, and I'm proud of it. It's the one that stayed.

EE:

You were only in Georgia for a short time. You then went up to Wisconsin. You had never been to that part of the country before.

OL:

No. And I remember when my name was on there where I was going on the bulletin board, I said, “Where is that?”

“Don't you know your geography?”

I said, “I don't know.”

She said, “That's where they have all the cows.”

I had never heard of it.

EE:

You talked about the social life coming down on the train. Most folks tell me that in basic you don't really have a lot of time for social life, other than right there on the barracks. Is that right?

OL:

No. We have our Saturday pass, and we would go to Chattanooga. But the other thing was you couldn't drink out of a glass. You had to have the Coke bottle and the straw. They wouldn't let you drink out of the glass unless you went to a fancy restaurant.

EE:

So there you learned some of the local customs.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

Alcohol was a little different than the way it was treated around here. You went back up to Madison just for a month, is that right?

OL:

Yes. Oh, no. I went to Madison to go to Camp McCoy [Wisconsin] after Truax.

EE:

You were actually in Truax Field?

OL:

Yes. I was there, see, when I went in. I think it was January, from Oglethorpe. And then after '45, the war was over [and] they needed medics real bad at the separation center at Camp McCoy. I was supposed to go—and I can't remember the place—the airstrip near the Pennsylvania and New Jersey line, and my buddy talked to the captain, because she was going to Camp McCoy.

EE:

So you have some friends going from Oglethorpe to Truax Field with you, or were you the only one from Oglethorpe going up there?

OL:

I think I was the only one.

EE:

Because the thing is, with all the women in the services, the men, you would go out and usually a company would be assigned somewhere. Most of the women—do you remember the phrase “free a man to fight”?

OL:

I think I've heard it.

EE:

How did you see your role? Were you freeing a man to fight? Was the work that you were doing at Truax and at Camp McCoy—

OL:

Yes, that was one of them. But the first one was because of my parents that were Polish, and I remember—and also all the other people that suffered, like the Norwegians and so forth.

EE:

Your friend?

OL:

My friend.

EE:

What kind of work were you doing at Truax?

OL:

At Truax, I was in the OB [obsetrics]. And then my doctor sort of liked me. I delivered a baby on the Fourth of July. The doctor was busy delivering his wife's baby, and he said, “Go and get the tape and the scissors, and go do it.”

The sergeant came running in, “My wife's having a baby.” And by the time the baby came, I told the wife, “Oh, you have a boy,” and she jumped up. I told her, “Lay down.”

And by that time, my relief came, a doctor who came in, and he said, “You did fine. Go get a drink of water.”

That night, or the next night, I was in the kitchen preparing things for the women in the ward, and all of a sudden a whole family came in, the wife's parents came in, and they had strawberry shortcake and everything for me, they were so proud.

EE:

That's great. What was stationed at this field?

OL:

This was a big hospital and also planes. It was a radio place and airplanes, and I think it was B-39. I can't remember all of them. It was a regular air base.

EE:

Were you living there at the base?

OL:

Oh, yes, right in the barracks.

EE:

Sometimes they actually gave you a housing allowance.

OL:

Well, I was just a private then, and then I got to be a private first class. And then, of course, when I went to Camp McCoy, I ended up being a T-5, corporal.

EE:

Did they make you a T-5 when you transferred to McCoy?

OL:

No, after there I was there a while.

EE:

A lot's going on for you. You're just getting started, but also a lot's changing with the war, because just after you get to Wisconsin, President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt passes away. What do you remember about that?

OL:

That was a bad one. I always loved him. This one friend of mine that slept in the bottom bunk, she did not like Roosevelt, and all of a sudden she woke me up. I was tired. I had worked that night at the OB, and all of a sudden she says, “Dusty, wake up.” She knew how I admired him so much, and she said he had died. We were getting ready that day, too. He was supposed to come to Truax Field, and then we got the word that he passed away.

EE:

Did you know anything about [Harry S.] Truman before he became president?

OL:

All I know is, he's the one that didn't care for Air WACs, and that's one of the reasons why we got transferred.

EE:

What do you mean by that?

OL:

He did not believe in them.

EE:

It was one of those roles that he didn't think women ought to be involved in?

OL:

It wasn't because he was a Democrat. He was because he did not like the Air WACs. He didn't think the women should have been in there.

EE:

Okay. Well, that is part of the discussion that having women in the service brought, what are the roles for them? It's funny, Truman, in '48, was the one that made women permanently a part of the service, but it's interesting to hear you say that. He normally gets credit as being pro-women, but you're saying at that time he wasn't all pro-women.

OL:

He sure wasn't, and I know I didn't want to take my air patch off when I got to Camp McCoy. Finally, we were told, “or else.”

EE:

The war in Europe ends while you're at Truax. Do you remember anything particularly about that day?

OL:

Yes. I was getting off duty. I was working in orthopedics, and I'd gotten to the army bus to go back to the barracks. Usually it's packed. I said, “Where is everybody?”

They said, “Don't you know? The war is over.” Nobody put it on the intercom or anything at the hospital.

So we were going down to the stop sign, and all of a sudden here's these two clothesline poles and soldiers and the WACs on each side holding them and crying and singing and yelling, and I went, “Oh, my god, there's my undies on the clothesline.”

EE:

Your what?

OL:

My undies. And I never did get them back. I did it early in the morning.

EE:

It was your patriotic contribution.

OL:

And then we had a cookout, when I said to the fellows, “Whatever happened to that clothesline?”

“I don't know.”

EE:

That's great. So that's how you discovered the war was ended because your underwear was parading by.

OL:

That's right. And then the bus driver said, “Don't you know the war's over?”

EE:

What was the social life up there in Wisconsin? You told me earlier that some of the folks in the community weren't exactly friendly toward women in the service.

OL:

No. We had an awful lot on base, though. We had theaters, and we had stars come.

EE:

Who do you remember?

OL:

Well, I remember one individual, and I loved him when I was a kid. It was Dennis Morgan, and he had the most beautiful Irish voice. But when I was wheeling down an amputee to the theater, he started getting ready to sing, and he didn't even finish it. The Red Cross came in, one of the women, and said, “You know, we're ready now.” He stopped his singing to go over and entertain them, and here all these fellows, the amputees, were in there, and that really got me upset. So I do remember that, and to this day I do not like Dennis Morgan.

EE:

Be careful of the impressions you make. You went to McCoy because of the nature of the work that was needed from women like you changed. The separation center, tell me what you did down there.

OL:

Well, we worked awful hard.

EE:

Yes, you weren't in OB/GYN when you went to McCoy. What were you doing?

OL:

They got me to the lab. They asked right away, the women that were sent there, they said, “We have a qualification upstairs for the lab.”

EE:

This would be a lab tech.

OL:

And I said—real quick so nobody else could grab it—I said, “That sounds good.” And so I worked in the lab.

And then all of a sudden, serology people needed help so bad, and the captain said, “We're not busy right now. Would you like to go down?”

I said, “I don't know anything about it.”

They said, “We'll teach you.”

And we had the drip method. We had the tourniquet, and then you had the glass tube and the needles. They had to train us to do our own after we learned. First we poked the tourniquet, the rubber tourniquet, and then they finally said, “Do your own.” It didn't bother me one bit.

EE:

Well, you're not squeamish then, because I would have a tough time doing that line of work.

OL:

I wasn't squeamish in OB, either.

EE:

I guess you get over things. And you're all of what, twenty-two at this time? How old were you?

OL:

No, I was twenty-one at Truax Field.

EE:

You're a child of twenty-one.

OL:

Twenty-one. I became twenty-one at Truax Field, after I was at Truax Field.

EE:

Is the service making you more of an independent person than you think you might have been otherwise?

OL:

Well, you see, I boarded most of my life. The only time I saw my mother is in the summertime and once a month she'd come visit me.

EE:

Who did you stay with when you were younger, then?

OL:

I guess you would call it a foster home, but it wasn't. It was usually Polish people that I boarded with.

EE:

Just friends.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

So you had been independent from the get-go.

OL:

That's right. In fact, my mother used to feel so embarrassed. She'd get on the bus, and she was so glad when I got older I could read the names of the street that she needed. I used to love helping her.

EE:

That's great. You were helping your mom from an early age, then.

OL:

And also, she was embarrassed to tell the people she couldn't read and write, and she used to get these cans, like tomatoes and stuff, and then when I got older, she said, “Would you write the grocery list down?” I loved doing that stuff.

EE:

And I guess you were dropping her notes about your time in the service along the way? Were you keeping you posted?

OL:

Oh, yes. She even had a star out there in her window, where she had a little cottage off of the estate.

EE:

So you got, what was it, a blue star with a red border around it.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

That's great.

OL:

And she had that out there, too.

EE:

It didn't matter if you were a man or a woman, that was your child, your baby that was supporting the war effort.

OL:

That's right.

EE:

That's great. You were doing this lab tech work, and you've got some pictures of actually doing the serology stuff.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

We'll look at those afterwards, because I can't get those on tape, but I want to take some of those with me. You were there right up to the time that you left in August of '46, doing that kind of work, processing these guys coming back home.

OL:

That's right. I remember one, when I was in the lab I was testing albumin, and I had red-listed some. And I'd be in the PX [Post Exchange], and one of them grabbed hold of me and said, “You know, you red-listed me.”

I said, “Well, that's the time to do it.”

EE:

What does red-list mean?

OL:

Well, that means you have to go back for another test.

EE:

More testing, in other words.

OL:

Or the hospital, whatever.

EE:

And what you were testing for is, these folks were coming home from overseas, to make sure they didn't have disease or were healthy.

OL:

That's right, syphilis and all that. And so the albumin, I think, was for liver, and the first thing they did was head for the machine, the Hershey bars and the Coke. So I told the captain, I said, “You know, they get pretty angry because I red-listed them.”

And he said, “I'll tell you what. Tell them not to go to the Coke machine and get the Hershey bars, because that's what will do it.”

EE:

That throws off their protein count.

OL:

That's right. And they said, “Go to the PX and get some beer. Drink some beer.”

EE:

You probably didn't have many deny that advice.

OL:

That's right. Well, I never cared for it. I loved to go to the PX. The only thing is, you couldn't buy silk stockings, because they would buy them for all the girls in town.

EE:

You've got a couple of neat pictures of yourself in your uniform. Tell me about that uniform, because it had some problems with it, didn't it? What did you think of that uniform? Those stockings I know didn't—

OL:

Well, I only wore those when we were working when it was so cold.

EE:

It was only the dress uniform.

OL:

No, we couldn't wear those normally. That was working things, just like the women now all they wear are those pants, fatigues, or whatever you call them.

EE:

That's right.

OL:

But the only thing was, in Chattanooga, when they gave us the first issues, oh, that coat was way down to my ankle. Well, here were all these Jewish tailors, when you go to Chattanooga, “I'll give you a good bargain.” We went right in there and had everything cut and fixed up.

Unidentified:

If I can interdict here while you're doing that, because we have the shot set up a certain way. Go ahead and answer this towards Eric, if you wouldn't mind. Tell him about—whoops, tape or battery.

EE:

We're just having a little background here.

[Adjustments being made to equipment]

Unidentified:

Go ahead and tell Eric what it was like to put that uniform on the first time and the pride I suspect you must have felt in that.

OL:

I was. You just kind of felt good. You just said, “I did it, and I'm so proud.”

EE:

We have sort of had a different experience with patriotism since September 11 and all this stuff that's in the news. How would you compare patriotic feelings then to now?

OL:

Well, they don't know. They don't have that history anymore. You don't hear enough of it. And I was pretty upset, even the last couple of Pearl Harbor, December seventh. I went to Clemmons [North Carolina] after my cantata here at the recreation on December seventh, and my director, Faye Webster, she was wonderful. I told her, I said, “We ought to have something to mention December the seventh.” So I wore my submarine women's vest, and she said at the end we'll put the flag out, and you get up and announce it and then have a moment of silence. But you don't hear about it anymore. They don't mention Pearl Harbor, and I just can't understand it.

EE:

In order for folks to value it, they have to know about it first.

OL:

That's right.

EE:

You were telling me before we got started, that in addition to bringing home memories and a uniform out of your service time, you brought home a spouse. Tell me about how you met this fellow that you married, Donley.

OL: Well, I was up in the barracks, and I was tired. I had taken a bath and curled my hair, listening to good music and reading a book. And this WAC from downstairs came up and she said, “You know, everybody left, and they won't take me anymore. Come on, let's go.” Nobody else was up there but me.

I said, “No, just leave me alone. I want to rest. I don't feel like going out.” And it was awful cold. We had a lot of snow that day and everything.

Finally, she pulled the curler out of my hair, and she said, “It's dry.”

I said, “Okay. Quit bugging me.”

I got dressed and got into this Silverdale nightclub. And the cook knew me, and he said, “The same?”

I said, “Yes.”

I got ready to go to my table. All of a sudden, this inebriated captain come running out from the bar, and he said, “Oh, there's my little bloodsucker.”

Evidently, I took his blood that day. I was trying to get my jacket off, and I kept telling him no, and he kept trying to pull it off of me. And I said, “I'm going to sit down. My food's coming.”

All of a sudden this guy comes strolling, smiling. I think he sensed what was going on. And I went, “Oh, hi,” and jumped up, and the music was going. And all of a sudden that captain flew back to the bar, and my spouse-to-be at that time, he said, “I'll sit down with you so you can eat and so he won't bother you.”

EE:

So the first time you see this fellow, he's coming to your rescue.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

That's pretty cool.

OL:

He had already eyed me with the fellows. They were celebrating the day he got out of the submarine service that night and came home, and he was out with the guys, and they said he said, “Oh, look what's coming in.”

They said, “Yeah, we've tried to talk to her. She has nothing to do with us.” Well, it wasn't that. I was with all the other WACs. I didn't do it on purpose.

EE:

You all sort of hung out together socially.

OL:

That's right. So they betted him. That's what it was. He had a bet, and he won.

EE:

He won the lotto. He got you in the long run.

OL:

That's right. And he took me home in a Tin Lizzie car [Ford Model T]. I mean, to the barracks.

EE:

Oh, that's great.

OL:

Then he asked me out after that.

EE:

So this would have been in the winter of '45?

OL:

Yes.

EE:

When did you all get married? Is that the reason you left the service?

OL:

We got married in '47. Yes, that was why. He told me I had to get out before we got married.

EE:

You left the service in August of '46. Was he from your home area?

OL:

No.

EE:

Where was he from?

OL:

Yes, he was from Sparta, Wisconsin.

EE:

Oh, he was a local boy.

OL:

Yes, he was a local boy. That's how come he was out celebrating with all his friends, his schoolmates.

EE:

Where is Sparta? Right outside of Madison?

OL:

It's near Tomah, and it's way, way up.

EE:

So you're talking close to Duluth.

OL:

Yes, that's right, Duluth. It's going towards Duluth, you're right. It's a long time. I couldn't remember. And then it's also near La Crosse.

EE:

You're making me cold just talking about it.

OL:

It's also in between La Crosse, too, on the Minnesota line.

EE:

Had he not asked you, would you have considered staying in the service?

OL:

Yes. I wanted to. I really loved everything I did. I loved being in the service. And it did hurt when I got a telegram after I got married that I could go anywhere I wanted, because I did want to go in the flight surgeons. I was getting prepared to do that before the war was over to help go to Germany and pick up the wounded, and I didn't get a chance on that. I'm glad the war was over.

EE:

You were not in the reserves. Your husband did stay in the reserves.

OL:

He was at the naval reserves in Greensboro and other places.

EE:

And you had eight children together, four of whom became members of the service, as well, right?

OL:

That's right, two sons and two daughters.

EE:

Three navy and one army, is that how it worked out?

OL:

Four navy. And a great-grandson. I mean, grandson, excuse me. I have a great-grandson from him, but grandson, he's in the army in Germany.

EE:

You were in the service, you married the service, you gave both to service folks. What do you think the people who have no connection to the service misunderstand about service people?

OL:

Well, the people I met, since they knew I was in there, they seemed to be real cooperative and real proud. In fact—I wish I looked up her name. I had gone to the Walnut Cove [North Carolina] two Novembers ago, and she had come and got me and she had me to get my pictures and stuff and have a talk at her church members.

EE:

So she was excited about it. What do you think they misunderstand about people who are in the service? Do they have any misconceptions about folks in the service, folks who don't know about it?

OL:

Well, since I've been living in North Carolina, I haven't heard anything about that, except—

EE:

We are a more service-friendly state, I think, than a lot of folks, because we have so many people here with connections to it. Were your kids ever in or near a combat situation? Was that ever a concern for you as a mother?

OL:

No. But the one daughter that was away, she was sent to Naples, Italy, and she went to—I can't remember how to say the names, but she went to Bethesda and got her training.

EE:

Did she make a career of her service time, then?

OL:

No. After she got out, she got married.

EE:

When you were in, women were kind of—well, they were very circumscribed in the kind of roles they could do. Today we've got folks who fly fighter jets in the Middle East. Do you think it's a good thing that women can do more kinds of work now in the service? How do you feel about that?

OL:

I am proud that the women are in there, but I cannot see—I understand they could be married, but when they have children and they're in the service, I guess I'm old-fashioned, I just cannot see that.

EE:

Without the children, the kinds of work, how do you feel about that?

OL:

That's fine. And if they want to do it and they can do it, that's fine with me.

EE:

If I ask you to tell me a song or a movie that, when you hear it or see it, takes you back to '44 and '45, what is it for you?

OL:

Rum and Coca-Cola.

EE:

The Andrews Sisters favorite.

Unidentified:

That's a song?

EE:

Oh, yes. It was a very popular song.

OL:

You are a little guy, aren't you?

EE:

I've got a tape of it in the car if you want to hear it. It's a nice soundtrack, actually. It's about enjoying life while you can.

OL:

Well, when I became twenty-one, with my WAC buddy that I loved so much, Ginny, we were shopping in Madison, Wisconsin. And I used to love to go dance over at the university, and I always danced with all the sailors in there.

EE:

Are you a jitterbugger?

OL:

I wasn't until I got into the service. They insisted that I come out on the floor, and then they told me I was a liar. I learned it then. I was too much classical and waltzes and the two-step.

But she said, “Come on in here.” This was the Indian Room, and I didn't drink.

I said, “No, I don't want to go in there.”

She said, “Come on.”

I went in there, and here was this big birthday banner taped and everything and all the WACs were singing Happy Birthday. And the first drink that I ever had was a rum and Coca-Cola.

EE:

It sounds great. Well, it's sort of like the effect for your generation would be like my generation that song Piña Colada. It's kind of a symbol of just where you, when you were at the time in life.

You had been, actually, as a family, not because of connection, but you and your husband for many years have been involved in keeping in touch with buddies from the service. Tell me about that.

OL:

The [U.S.] Sub[marine] Vets of Wrold War II, and we'd go all over, I think, four times of the year, and, of course, a memorial service for Pearl Harbor in Clemmons. And we'd go to Rocky Mount, Elizabeth City, all over. We have hosts that live in these different places, and then we decimate where we're going to go.

EE:

And that's a way to keep those memories and good times alive.

OL:

We're all family, and it's getting to be a dying breed, too.

EE:

Did the Air WACs ever themselves have a way of getting organized? One of the things we've had trouble with is that the women were not as organized in [unclear].

OL:

I am a charter member of the WIMSA in Washington.

EE:

WIMSA, the Women In Military Service Association [sic- for America].

OL:

That's right.

EE:

They built a memorial at Arlington.

OL:

That's right.

EE:

And I guess a fair number of this submariners is just for North Carolina, this group that you're in right now.

OL:

Yes. But every state has their own, and I have very good friends in Indianapolis. One of them was on my husband's boat. He's about the only one that's left. I have pictures of the captain over there when we got to reunions.

EE:

Did you ever get scared when you were in the service? Was there anything that ever—

OL:

One time. I was really scared when I was told to go to the lab when I got to Camp McCoy. All of a sudden there was two Japanese running down the steps, no guards, nothing. All of a sudden I looked like this. I must have turned white. They said, “Okay, missy,” and they kept going.

So I get up into the lab, and I didn't know what to do. And the captain said, “What's the matter with you?”

I said, “Two Japs just ran down the steps.” They were POWs [prisoners of war].

And he said, “That's okay.”

I said, “Well, that's the first time I've seen any—”

EE:

That's the first time you'd ever worked with POWs.

OL:

Yes. I didn't know they had them, and here they were running down, because they did sweeping jobs and things like that, and I guess they were cleaning the lab up when they ran down. And they were running down the steps, little things. And then when it became wintertime, then they were shipped to California. Then we got the German POWs.

EE:

This is the fellow you have a picture of I was looking at.

OL:

Yes. He worked in the lab. And then they sent him downstairs, and he was sweeping the floors when I was cleaning, sterilizing the needles and getting things ready and sharpening the needles, and he kept saying, “I can do that. I can do that.”

I told Major Nabee[?], my major. I said, “You know, why can't he do that so we can keep getting the blood samples.”

And he said, “Yeah.”

He took that broom and he just threw, he was so tickled, and he sharpened those needles real good.

EE:

This is called making your point.

OL:

Yes.

EE:

Who were your heroes?

OL:

John Wayne. I thought the world of him. I've got a lot of his tapes.

EE:

He embodied something for you, then?

OL:

And—I know a lot of people will disagree—General [Douglas] MacArthur. I think the world of him.

EE:

If a young woman came to you and said, “I'm thinking about joining the service,” what would your advice be to her?

OL:

I'm so proud because I have a granddaughter that's in the [J]ROTC [ Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps], and she has good qualifications. She's sixteen. She went to Fort Bragg with me yesterday, and she was happy because they didn't have any school. And her other sister and me, she loves going over there to Womack [General] Hospital—on account of my husband, he's my sponsor. When I had cataracts and things taken care of, I just go there for my follow-up.

EE:

You came home, and where did you move? Did you go back to Wisconsin through your husband when you got married?

OL:

I went to New Jersey, and he followed me there. He worked at the gas company, and I worked in a department store. Well, this is the history of this here [referring to a statue]. My daughter gave that to me two years ago for Christmas. He was in the park eating, and a little squirrel was there. He loves to hunt and things like that, and he also skied. He wrote to his mother. Well, she wrote me a letter and said, “Why don't you people come to Wisconsin and get married out there?” So that's what happened. He got so homesick. And it plays pretty music, too, and it's got the history on there. And my daughter, when she gave it to me, they taped it, but she never gave me the tape where she was crying giving it to me when I opened it up, and I cried—

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

EE:

How did you get from being married in Wisconsin to here, to Madison?

OL:

Telephone business.

EE:

Is that what your husband was doing?

OL:

Yes. His father was a telephone man. He loved his telephone work, and he was pretty good at it.

EE:

So he did that work in Wisconsin for a while?

OL:

Yes, worked in all different little communities, Norwegian towns. And we lived in La Crosse for a little bit, and then we moved back to Sparta.

EE:

So when did you actually come down to North Carolina? After the kids were grown?

OL:

Yes. No, I still had three of them in school. Then when he applied for his job in Hickory, North Carolina, the kids went to school at St. Stephens off of Hickory. And then we lived in Bethlehem, and from there he was transferred to Jefferson, and then from Jefferson he came to Madison, and then I told him I wasn't moving anymore.

EE:

I was going to say, that's kind of a nice tour of duty right there. So you have been in this house for how many years?

OL:

One daughter died in '79. See, '74 in Hickory, and then '78 here.

EE:

Seventy-eight here. And then you said your husband passed in '96.

OL:

Christmas Eve. He came back from Baptist [Hopital?, Winston-Salem] and was home five hours and all of a sudden he was deceased, he died. He wanted to be home for Christmas.

EE:

This house is filled with service memories. You've got so many beautiful pictures, so many beautiful stories. What has being in the service meant to you?

OL:

That I was so proud that I could be in the service, and it has taught me a lot, too. And I will encourage anybody that wants to go into the service.

EE:

It sounds like there still needs to be a flag with a little star on it flying in front of this house. [laughter] I think if more people had stars in front of their homes that knew how many folks just like you in the neighborhood had had connection with it, we'd take a lot more pride in it.

OL:

And my one daughter from West Virginia got me that flagpole a couple years ago for a Mother's Day present.

EE:

That's great. Is there anything I have not asked you about, about your time in the service, that you'd want to share?

OL:

No. But you meet a lot of people you love and you cry for about a lot of things that have happened to you. Like the time at Truax Field when it was going be D-Day, and they sent all these young fliers up to train before they head out to Germany or wherever, and some of them didn't make it. They had collisions up in the air. That was a bad one for me. I thought about leaving, I was so upset, because I knew a lot of them, too. And then I wrote to my cousin that was a captain, a bombardier in Africa and he read my letter. He was going home and wanted to talk to me. If I could come down, he wanted to talk to me about you have to erase all that, just forget about it. And the nurse wouldn't let me go, so I talked to him on the phone.

EE:

You see a lot of people up close and intense, and then you have to let go because of the way things went.

OL:

That's the only time I just wanted to go AWOL [Absent Without Official Leave]. I was really upset.

EE:

Well, thank you for sitting down with us this morning and sharing. We'll stop here. We may turn back on this recorder in a minute to go through the tapes, but I want to give our friends here from TV a chance to talk. Thank you.

OL:

Thank you.

[Tape recorder paused]

EE:

Although you weren't over there on the front lines. You always stayed stateside, right?

OL:

That's right.

EE:

You still saw some of the bad part of this, didn't you?

OL:

That's right. Well, we had that orientation where we had all the film that a lot of the news people never got, and you could see. And inside, though, you did have a hatred for the enemy. I'm sorry, I did. Like when I wanted to join, I wasn't old enough, and I said, “Boy, I wish I was a man so I could go out there and shoot every one of them.”

EE:

Just the way the most scared you were when saw Japanese.

Unidentified:

That was the other thing I was going to bring up. What was it like working with that German person who wanted his hands on the sharp instruments, although he was trying to help, and the Japanese you saw?

OL:

I had no feeling about that. The Japanese at first, but after that one, they told me everything was fine and what of it. I still had a lot of leery feelings about them I couldn't help, because they were so bad. Like that book you were looking at, To the Angels[?].

But the Germans now, especially this one up in the lab, this young one, they were picking on him so much, and he was German, and I think his name was Adolph [unclear]. He hated that when they would call him that. I don't like that. But he would have a primary book, a reading book. He wanted to learn. He wanted to stay in the States. At lunchtime, he would sit down on the floor and read the book. I'd sit down by him and help him with the words. You don't have any animosity, even what happened to my grandmother, especially when the older ones were picking on him. I didn't like it.

Unidentified:

What happened to your grandmother?

EE:

She was killed in the attack when the Germans invaded Poland.

OL:

In the Polish Corridor.

Unidentified:

She was in Danzig, or Gdansk?

OL:

I think it was the Polish—yes, Danzig. I can't say it right.

unidentified:

As long as we're up near this little thing, tell me again what this statue represents, because that's kind of your love life.

OL:

My husband-to-be followed me to New Jersey when I left Fort Sheridan [Illinois], and he worked in the gas company. And he was sitting out one day in the park eating his lunch and he saw the squirrels out there in the park and the birds. He was a hunter. He liked to fish and hunt. He got so homesick he wrote to his mother, and she wrote to me and said, “Why don't you come out and get married in Wisconsin?” So that's what we did.

EE:

And that statue—

OL:

And I cried when my daughter gave it to me for a Christmas present one year, and she cried, too. I lifted it up, and that was Don and me.

EE:

On that park bench.

OL:

Yes, he was on the park bench.

EE:

Because that's who he was thinking about on that park bench.

OL:

And the squirrel right there, that's what really gets me.

EE:

Anything else, Chris?

Chris:

[Unclear] a different shot.

EE:

Do you think your time in the service meant more to you because you were so close to being a direct immigrant? I've heard a lot of people say, people who have been in America for several generations loose the sense of America's specialness.

OL:

I don't think so, because like we were told we shouldn't keep saying we were Polish American and this and that. I said, “No, I'm proud of it.”

EE:

That's what I'm saying. I think since your parents were immigrants, you were closer to the immigrant experience than someone whose family had been here four or five generations, so I'm wondering if being closer to the immigrant experience, you appreciated America more in the service than some of the people whose family, you know.

OL:

I believe so.

EE:

Did your mother speak English with you?

OL:

Yes. When she got excited, though, she would mix it. Like the time my second was born, and the [waitress?] read the wrong weight. Chris was really small, but she wasn't in an incubator. She was four pounds, thirteen ounces. The [waitress?] read “thirteen pounds, four ounces,” and she [OL's mother] called the hospital, “My poor baby.”

The nurse evidently was married to a Polish guy, and she could speak some of it, and I could hear her laughing in the hallway. She said, “No, no, no.” She came in and she said, “Your mother, she is fit to be tied. 'My poor baby can't have a thirteen-pound baby.'”

EE:

This is what she's screaming in Polish?

OL:

Yes, English to the nurse and half Polish.

EE:

Did you have any other—when you say your grandmother was killed, was she your only living relative still back in Poland?

OL:

That I know of. My mother never talked too much, but she always said she wanted to bring her mother back. So I never knew my grandmother.

EE:

I just appreciate you sitting down with us this morning. I know there are lots of good memories.

OL:

It brings a lot of tears.

EE:

Yes, but they're good tears, because they're your tears and that's your life.

OL:

Like when my husband, before he died, he was on his walker to go to the bathroom and the kitchen, and he pointed to my son. There was something under the desk I never knew was under there. So Christmas morning I was making coffee, and my son said, “Come on in here.” He had told my son to wrap this package, and do you know what it was? Four tapes of Deanna Durbin. She was my singer idol when I was a kid. I play it all the time. I'm going to wear it out. But that's what it was. And he was crying and I was crying.

EE:

Music touches you in a way you can't describe sometimes, don't it?

OL:

Yes. He was a bookworm. He was reading all the time. And so Reader's Digest

EE:

Let me show you a good picture. This is this woman right here with her buddies.

OL:

This was my third furlough.

EE:

Here's your German POW.

Chris:

Oh, okay. Good.

OL:

That was that clinic that I worked in.

Chris:

And this was the, this is the—

EE:

The thing with Adolph.

OL:

No, that wasn't the one.

EE:

It's when they were teasing.

OL:

The younger one. No, this is an older one. He was nice, too.

Chris:

My father turned seventeen in 1944, graduated from high school and got drafted right away and shipped over to Italy, so he finished up the war as clean-up duty in Italy in '44 and '45.

OL:

This was my third furlough with my buddy. She got a furlough with me at the same time.

EE:

Do office work, too?

OL:

No, but that's the office work in the same place.

EE:

Where is that?

OL:

That was in Central Park, New York. She was from Jersey City, and I was from New Jersey.

EE:

I'm just going to take a couple of these as samples, if I can borrow them.

OL:

Okay.

EE:

We would take Eckerds [now Rite Aid] and take all of a week to get them back. Now, this is a Wisconsin shot.

OL:

Yes. That was a big snow fight. Oh, I forget to mention this.

EE:

That must have been after you went to the tailor, because that looks like it's fitting you pretty good.

OL:

No, that's the one that made me go to the club. That's the Patty. This is another story I forgot all about. This one here is the mother dog, and we were petting her. Well, she was pregnant—

Chris:

Can we get her to hold some of these out, and I'll get a foreground and a background with her telling a little bit of a story.

EE:

Hold these and tell us the story behind those.

Chris:

Hold it out in front of you.

OL:

This happened to be that we had a mother dog, and it had puppies. We had them under the crawl space of the barracks, feeding it. The WAC cooks would give us food for the mother dog and the puppies. Well, he happened to see us, the tanker was coming by, and he happened to see us with the puppies. So he wanted a picture, and he also took one of the puppies, took it back with him. I don't know whatever happened to the rest, but I know they got taken care of good, because we wouldn't let anything happen to the dog. I think some farmer took the dog.

Chris:

Hold them up in the air. Hold that one up similarly.

OL:

And this was the one that I worked with in the lab.

Chris:

Who is that?

OL:

Well, they were just the people.

EE:

Which one is you?

OL:

The one with the stockings that you didn't think fit.

EE:

That's you down there on the right?

OL:

Yes.

EE:

Where is that?

OL:

This was in Truax Field, and these were the people I worked with in the medical place.

EE:

An article like that takes you back to the time, “WACtivities,” sort of like “Dear Abby” for WACs, it looks like.

OL:

The reason why I'm not in that group there is because I was on my furlough. That's my fatigues.

Chris:

There's one you can do for us.

EE:

Yes. Do that one there, if you wouldn't mind. Are you in that one?

OL:

No, I was on furlough when that happened.

EE:

What is that, essentially? What's going on there?

OL:

And this is the serology department, where we took the blood.

EE:

You did a lot of that?

OL:

Yes. I was in the first seat over there that some young guy, I guess, was there taking my place while I was on furlough. I had a fit when that happened, too, because I didn't get in on any of it.

EE:

No pictures.

OL:

No pictures of that.

EE:

What does that one remind you of? What does that tell you?

OL:

This was our fatigues, and we also did KP [kitchen patrol] duty with these on.

EE:

Where was that taken?

OL:

At Truax Field.

EE:

Pretty olive drab, but olive becomes you.

Chris:

But that's spring, probably, when you first get there.

OL:

This one? This is just our fatigues.

EE:

You couldn't have been Dusty Lewandowski that said those fateful words, “I hate men,” not the way those handsome something or other allow her—

OL:

The paper ripped on there.

EE:

So, is there a story behind that? You don't hate men, do you?

OL:

Well, I just got disgusted with a lot of them, because when you'd go out, you know, the first thing, “Oh, you're a WAC. You can do anything.” That's their impression, a lot of them, and I just, with my Polish temper, I used to tell them off.

[Cnversation about church attendance not transcribed.]

OL:

There's our KP [kitchen patrol] duty girls. Not me now, but my friends.

EE:

Food any good?

OL:

No. [laughter] Some of it was all right.

EE:

You got real eggs. You didn't have to go powdered eggs, did you?

OL:

They did. When I was in the hospital at Truax Field, there was one sergeant cook, the head of the hospital cafeteria. Every time I walked in, he was married and everything, but he thought I was the cutest little thing, and he ended up—he was a jeweler in civilian life—fixed me a beautiful bracelet with Lewandowski on it, a silver one. And he used to fix eggs the way I liked it.

He just always had a crush on me. Ginny, my buddy, always said, “He always gives you the eggs you like it and everything else.”

I said, “That's because he likes me.”

EE:

But if you've never heard Rum and Coca-Cola, I've got that tape in the car, seriously.

Chris:

We need to get it on tape.

EE:

[Music playing] She's an Andrews Sisters fan.

Chris:

Is that it?

EE:

That's Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

[Omitted conversation about Eric Elliott's wife.]

EE:

You were pretty good for me on the words you were telling me today. I think I got the spelling of most all of them. But you had a buddy that was another Polish friend of yours, Pabackuwitz. What was her name? I'm not sure you—you didn't remember her first name.

OL:

No, I couldn't remember. But I don't know how to spell it, either.

EE:

All right.

OL:

It's Pabackuwitz. And we called her Bucky, and I was Dusty.

EE:

Bucky and Dusty sounds like a worker to me. Do you have a cassette recorder, a tape player?

OL:

I've got tape players.

EE:

I could bring in that tape, and then he could hear it. He might get the tape right here. You'd like to hear that tape.

Chris:

Yes, I would. I'd like to have that on audio.

[End of Interview]