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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Jean M. Fasse, 2007

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Object ID: WV0390.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Jean Moore Fasse’s early life, her service in Indian with the Red Cross during WWII, and her later work in the Special Services from 1946 to 1963.

Summary:

Fasse discusses growing up on a farm and her desire to attend school. She talks about her struggles to continue her education, find a place to live, and hold a steady job. She recalls winning a speaking contest in high school, but having the title taken from her because of class discrimination, and notes working in Durham, North Carolina, in a hospital, a tobacco factory, and as a domestic. Topics from Fasse's time at Fayetteville State Teachers College include: the admittance process; working on campus; commuting home for harvest. She gives details of her teaching career, including working in a one-room school in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and provides her reasons for leaving the profession. Topics from her move to New York City include: searching for employment in childcare and being turned away because of her race; struggling for money; and poor living conditions. She gives her reasons for returning to Fayetteville and teaching and describes teaching at the Robeson County Training School in detail.

Fasse discusses the process of joining in the Red Cross, being assigned to a unit that had been preparing to go overseas, traveling to California via train, and traveling on a troop ship to Calcutta, India, including the segregated nature of the voyage. Topics from her time in India include: traveling on the Lido Road; serving coffee and donuts to soldiers; guards that watched the Red Cross tents; run-ins with a cobras and elephants; living near the jungle; local children doing chores for the army; keeping a pet dog, monkey, and bird; the shack she lived in burning; monsoons; rickshaws; Burning Ghats; Indian weddings; and curry. Fasse discusses taking over the Cosmos Club in Calcutta and the activities she started there to entertain troops. She also recalls an incidence of segregation on her way home from India, and other racial discrimination she faced throughout her life, especially while in the Special Services.

Fasse shares her reasons for reenlisting in the Special Service, including her desire to go to Europe. Topics from her time in Germany include: training in Frankfurt; building a club in Mannheim; club inspections; and getting improvements for the club. She also mentions assignments in Höchberg and Munich, Germany, and Tours and Toul, France, including her job operating tours for families on leave. Fasse also extensively discusses her travels in Europe, including attending bullfights in Spain; traveling behind the Iron Curtain to Czechoslovakia, where citizens were interest in her life as an African American; and a trip to Russia.

Creator:

Biographical Info:

Collection: M. Jean Moore Fasse 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:

Beth Carmichael:

Good morning. Today is March 13, 2007. My name is Beth Carmichael, and I'm at the home of Jean Fasse in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to conduct an oral history interview for the Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ms. Fasse, thank you so much for talking with me this morning. If you could give me your full name, we'll use that as a test of our machine.

Jean Fasse:

My name is Mayme Jean Moore Fasse.

BC:

I'd like to start by talking a little bit about your background. Can you tell me a little bit about when and where you were born and your family?

JF:

Okay. I was born in—near Lillington, North Carolina, about eight miles from where my father lived on a farm. In fact we lived on a farm about eight miles Lillington, and I lived there till I was about, I guess, seventeen, and when I went away to school. The farm life was—my father had a very large farm, and, of course, we had to do much work on the farm. I had to do more work than anybody else because I never learned to cook. There were four boys and four girls, and, of course, we had to get up very early in the morning. I was always sleepy, and so the fellows would have to be out in the fields at five o'clock, and for me to get out cooking. I would put—when my mother would try to teach me one week or teach my other sisters how to cook, then when my time came I would put too much salt or too much grease or something that I know that they didn't like, and so that got me out of there, and that kept me in the fields. But I could do anything out there even when it came to picking cotton. I used to pick, not every day, four hundred pounds of cotton a day.

So I wanted to go to school, and my father was a—well, he was also a minister in the community there, and he wasn't interested. He was more or less interested in the boys attending school than he was the girls, because he says the girls would eventually get married, and, of course, the boys needed an education to take care of their families. But I wasn't interested in—didn't think anything about getting married. I wanted to go to school, because the one that really I wanted to go to school, my aunt went to—well, she worked over in the—it was a normal school there at Fayetteville, and she worked over there in winter and summer. So she studied over there till she was able to go to school there, and my niece—my little sister, my younger sister—she asked my father to take this younger sister, if she could take her over to the normal school, because they had an elementary school there, and that left me still wanting to go to school as I grew up and on the farm.

So I said that after I finished the sixth grade there in the one-room school that I wanted to go to high school, and eventually I would—could get a chance to go to the high school, not at home, about fifty miles say from Durham. And then it—the first year I went there in April I would have to come back to work on the farm. So I didn't—but the next year I didn't want to go there. So I just went from school to school. I left home and started living with people who wanted people to—little children—someone to look after their family to stay there, and I was able to finish high school. When I finished high school I didn't know how I would get to college. So I worked in—they have a tobacco factory. I started there for that year, and—

BC:

Do you recall which year this was?

JF:

Beg your pardon?

BC:

What year that you finished high school?

JF:

In 1931.

BC:

Okay.

JF:

And the one thing—I have this—this was nine dollars. This gold ring, and I worked extra work for a lady in the afternoon, and I got three dollars a week, and I got this ring, and I still—this is the only thing I can have—that I have, you know, from high school.

BC:

That's wonderful.

JF:

And I went to—Nobody is interested in this ring, and I don't know what to do with it. It's—you have more gold in here than you have in the rings you have, you know, that they buy now. They have over a hundred.

So when I finished high school, the only job I could get after high school was to work in the tobacco factory. So I was working there, and that wasn't a place for me, because the ladies were using all kinds of languages and spitting on the floor and things. So I was coming home. I met a girl that was in high school with me, and she said that you must like tobacco, and I said—I left where I was living and after I finished high school, then my time was up there. So I went to the YWCA [Young Women's Christian Association] in Durham [North Carolina], and only paid a dollar fifty for a week, and I made three dollars and something at the tobacco factory. So this girl from a very nice family in Durham, and she asked me, “You shouldn't be at a place like that. So you come home with me.”

So I went home with her, and she said, “My mother is very nice, and I have five sisters.” So I got there and explained to her mother. She wanted to know about my family, and I told her about my family, and she said she—she [was] called Ms. Mamie. “You stay here with me. I've got five girls. I never will know what will happen to them. So you just stay here.” And she had one daughter working at the hospital there in Durham. She said, “Angela will try to get you a job over there.” And I stayed there with her family and her husband, and they—and this girl got me a job that was putting flowers in the room at the hospital and so forth like that.

So I wanted to go to—for a year—and then started writing to Fayetteville. I would have taken nursing training, but you had to go three years there, and I could get two years' teaching training in 1931. Well, at that time you would take two years' teaching training. It was at the normal school there. So I just saved enough money and got on the bus and came down there and explained why I wanted to go to school. So they let me, you know, I stayed there two years, and then I started teaching. I think I might be getting away from my family on the farm. So I'm trying to say that I started teaching but was still going to summer school, and I taught in one of the schools.

BC:

Where were you teaching?

JF:

Well, first—well, one of the schools—I taught three different schools. This school was a one-room school at Goldsboro [North Carolina], out from Goldsboro, and, of course, I had to walk six miles to this school. And I had—it was a one-room school—little stove, little black stove that you had to put a—pick up sticks and stuff to make fire the next morning, but—which meant that I had to leave very early, because to get a fire going by the time the children would get there, I would leave about an hour or something before they would even start to coming.

But then there was a bus that went right by the same school—that came around the corner. This house where I lived was on the edge of this street, and the bus would come along there, and the bus went for—would take white kids to school, but we had no bus for the black kids. So I would be walking, and it was cold, and maybe the way I was walking. I was a long—these feet. I weren't—they weren't making shoes like then [unclear]. So this fellow would stop and ask me if—he found out first that I was a teacher going the same way to that school—if I would like to ride, because he went right by my Mount Delaney School, the little school I was going to. I thanked him very much, and I would get in the bus, got up to the little seat right at the front, and I would go right on—he would take me around to that school, and then I would get there and make up the fires. Never made the fire in the little—what we called potbelly stove—by the time the kids would get there. Then if I were coming back at the same time—his school was on the other side where he took the children, then he would just pick me up and nobody talked anything on the bus. He stopped, and I would get out and I would thank him. I said many times I wish I could find him after I got home to thank him again, because he really—he doesn't know what he really did for me walking back and forth there.

BC:

That's kind of nice.

JF:

But there was no light. I had no light at that school, at home to bring books home or something. Materials, everything had to be left at the school, and getting back to my—you see, I go from one thing to the other.

BC:

That's okay.

JF:

I think about it. To the school that I was going to, we had only one-room school where there was sometimes fifty and sixty children was in one community went to that school. Everybody went. Everybody was just sitting there with their coats on with no—with another potbelly stove, and my seat would be so cold, the other kids, too. The teacher would just take one of them and put them in her lap and try to warm the seat, and the books that we used were the old books that the—they gave us at that time. This was in '27. Those in the twenties or the thirties that we had to use the old books that they used at the white schools, and sometimes the sheets were even torn out, you know, of books we had. We'd open—We'd get these books at the end of the year, but we couldn't take any books home because even at home I had no light. There was only one out there in the room that my mother and father used, and you just went to bed. But I'm just trying to give you something of my life in the beginning.

BC:

Did the farm that your family had, did your family own the farm or—

JF:

Yes, my father owned the farm, and actually my father had a store, but he wasn't—he wasn't interested in sending me to school, I mean sending anyone to school, because he wanted to work on the farm. And I was a very good worker on the farm, and so he—the only recreation we had from the farm was everyday until Saturday, and half the day we had to get your hair done and wash your clothes and everything to get that done, but that's the life I had on the farm. But I was not interested in that life. I just don't know why. It just—it—I figured that I could do more, that I wanted a better life than there. And, therefore, he didn't turn against me, but he wasn't—he figured that I should stay home and work on the farm, and that's why I left and had to [go to] different schools and live with the different people to go to school, because he wasn't interested in sending me to school. But he could have. He wasn't a rich man, by no means, but he could have helped more than he did. So I did it—I said I did it on my own. I don't know.

Not many people to—that went through the same things I went through to go to school that would have stuck it out, because to think of every little thing the different—people even went to Durham. The first family that I—the insurance man was caused me to go there. He said to my father, he said, “Now, Father, there was people that would take a girl or anyone and stay with them and take care of their kids and help around the house and everything like that and go to school.” So then I was very much interested, and my father said, well, he needed me on the farm. And I said, “I'm leaving anyway if you don't go let me do that.” My mother talked to him and he agreed for me to go up there, but then this family—the lady wanted to keep me home—was a dentist. This family had two little boys, and I took care of the boys. I washed the dishes and do things like that around there, but then when the doctor and her husband went to work, then she wanted to keep me home to wash. Had a washing machine. I didn't know anything about the washing machine. I got some clothes stuck in the washing machine, because we didn't have one. We had but a pot my mother washed in at home and stuff like that.

And so I saw the insurance man. I said, “I don't want to stay there any more.” So I left there, and they didn't want me to leave because I was very good with the boys and everything, and I went to his house. But his wife was—I don't know what to say, but she wasn't pleasant. She wasn't pleasant at all, but I stayed there. I wasn't going to go from place to place.

And I used to take part in every activities that—and I always loved to speak or talk or something, and had an oratorical contest. The Elks was given this contest that a person would win would get a scholarship. At the end you would get a scholarship. So they offered you to go to one of the colleges, and I was very much interested in that, and I took—in the school at Hillside High [School] there in Durham, I joined this contest, and there were about ten or twelve in the contest. And, of course, that night they had everybody—my English teacher—had two English teachers there, and one that would help me on—my main English teacher, the one of the two, didn't seem to be so much interested because they have a certain class of people, all—it was a segregated school, but there was certain still class if you want me to explain that later, I will. And so that night they had the judges, the doctors and the judges and everything, and there's a man, only one man living that was there. He's still living. His name is Mr. Schooler[?]. He's over one hundred years old, and he's living in Durham. He doesn't know anything. You can't, you know—his mind is gone, but he's still living. When I first came back to the States in 1990 after being away overseas I tried to get in touch with him and so forth, but one time I came home I was able to talk to him, but now he's—you can't talk with him. And my English teacher was Ms. Pratt. And on this night of the contest I won the contest. The subject—each person was given a certain topic to talk about, and my topic was the Constitution and slavery.

BC:

Wow.

JF:

And I won the contest that night. And Mr. Schooler, I'll never forget him, he had a [unclear]—he had a little gold pin that—the one that would pin it on me. And so the next three days the baby—Ms. Pratt was her name, [my] English [and] homeroom teacher. She wasn't pleased about that, because I didn't—to tell the truth, my clothes were clean, but they were not of the city type girls or the rich girls.

We had certain classes in Durham. At that time we had some very—some rich people there, and some of their girls were—daughters were in this contest, and Ms. Pratt wanted to take them along on this trip. We had to go to South Carolina the next time. So she said to me [to] give her the pin so she could put my name in it, and I was very glad to give her the pin the next day. And through that week I didn't get my pin back, and I asked her then.

She said to me that, “You don't get the pin back because you are [a] year older.”

I said, “You knew what my age [was] and everything. Why did you allow me to join the contest?” It was supposed to be from sixteen to eighteen or something like that. “If you knew that I was not old enough, and my age is in the record right there.”

But I didn't get my pin back, but she took—this girl, the second round, but they lost in South Carolina, the school lost.

BC:

So you didn't get to go?

JF:

And I didn't get to go, but I feel to this day I would have won. I would have won that contest in Philadelphia, and I would have gotten the scholarship, but—

BC:

What a shame.

JF:

And so that was the thing that I came in contact with there with the—I call it the—as they have in India, different classes of people. But we had—even though within our race we had at one time different classes of people, because of your income and your color and things like that. And so that was—but even with that, you know, I made it, though.

Then after I came back with—finished there and go down to school in Fayetteville in wintertime, at Christmastime when they would have a little vacation. I stayed on the campuses two years. They let me stay on. There in the normal school. I'd go home and I'd go in the field to help my father pull down the corn in the winters at the school break. We had about two years, and little things—I could go and talk a lot. I go from one thing to another. That's a fault I have now of jumping.

BC:

Well, let's talk a little bit about your time at the normal school.

JF:

In Fayetteville?

BC:

In Fayetteville.

JF:

Okay. When I—I wanted to go to Fayetteville to school, so I saved up enough money after we—this girl was helping me write Ms. [Nannie L.] Smith. Dr. [E.E.] Smith there had retired, but he was still there. Dr. [J. Ward] Seabrook was the—

BC:

The president?

JF:

The president. So Ms. Smith, you know, admitted students and everything like that. That was Dr. Smith's wife, but she still worked on it. So we wrote her this letter, because she asked [unclear] for me to come for an interview. I went down there. I think it was about two or three buildings there. If you've ever been to that campus [Fayetteville State University] now, you can't hardly get around it, but when I got—I saved up enough money. I was working over at the hospital. Saved up enough money for a taxicab. I got a one or two old dresses. For $1.90 you could get good little dresses. And got me a little dress and got—saved up the ticket and got on the bus. When I got to the bus station—well, actually I didn't know where the college was. They didn't call it college then. I saw a taxi out there. I asked them, “How do you get there?” I didn't have no money to go there anyway. I only had twenty-five cents in my pocket, and they pointed. They told me what the road to take to go right up to Merchant Road. So I walked up there. I had a little pasteboard—they used to have pasteboard suitcases. I know you never saw one, but the suitcases were—it's just like a suitcase but they were made out of pasteboard. That was my suitcase. [doorbell rings] So I could lock that up. So I walked up to the school, and there was only one school building. See, I knew because it was the administration building was. I walked over there, and saw Ms. Smith, and she wanted to know “How do you want to go to school with no money?” Excuse me, please.

[recording paused]

JF:

Where did I go? I was at the school.

BC:

Right.

JF:

So I had—I came down to the school on—got up to the administration building. I saw Ms. Smith, and she wanted to know how do I want to—how do I think I can go to school with no money.

BC:

Right.

JF:

And I said, “Ms. Smith, I have no money, but I'll work on the campus. What do you have here?” So she got Ms. Olson, the lady who was in charge of the work detail, and I worked—stayed there for the two years, you know, back and forth with no money and just worked. They let me stay there these two years, and I got this—the two years' training, teachers' training. That's when we could teach then with two years' teacher training.

BC:

So you got a teacher certificate when you finished?

JF:

Yes, I have a teacher certificate. I meant to put that in there, too, but I got a teaching certificate.

BC:

When did you finish?

JF:

In 1933. No—yes, 1933, and then I started in 1933—in '33, '34, some [unclear], and after the two years, but then I kept going back to summer school. Having summer school, and they let me still work, because I was only make—started with forty-three dollars a month, and that wasn't enough to do anything after I paid—you lived with people, you know. It wasn't a time like this in the thirties when you had your own house or things like that. So you had to live with people in the community, and paid about from ten dollars to fifteen dollars some places. It went as high as twenty dollars for room and board, and I was making forty-three dollars that month. So there was nothing there to do anything else. It had to go for buses and place like that.

So then, that was the first, I said was at Goldsboro. And when I came—I said teaching is really not for me because I really had such a tough time that year. And I came back to the summer school, and they let me work and go to summer school because I didn't have enough money to pay for the summer school. So then another girl had worked in a similar situation. So I said, “Let's go to”—we were talking about—and she said—I said, “Teaching is not for me, because I have to go through the same thing that I went through when I was trying to go to school. Sitting on potbelly stoves and walking five miles and all the stuff to school.” I said, “Let's go to New York.”

BC:

Wow.

JF:

So we didn't say anything. We went to New York. When we got to New York she could cook, and naturally I couldn't cook anything. I was going to take care of some kids or somewhere. So we went to the employment agency they had up there. So we got there. The employment agency—well, naturally, she could get a job because up there wanted girls to cook, and—but I didn't get that. So the employment gentleman gave me the places I had to go to see if I could get this job to take care of these kids. So when I got there I rang the bell and they came to the door, and I gave her the paper that I got from the employment agency to come to interview for the children. She looked at me and said, “I don't want a dark girl. I want a light girl.” And that was just to look after her kids. That was in New York.

BC:

Right.

JF:

And I said, “My goodness.” I said to myself. I thanked her very much, and I left. I went back to the employment agency. So he said he wasn't going to send anybody else over there, but I don't know whether he did or not. I did get a job working at another place trying to wash dishes and look after a little boy at times when the lady wasn't—I got to tell you— [unclear] and it just don't—those things I try to bring—it didn't—it put a little of dent of something in me.

I said, “Here I am trying to go on the school and everything.” So I said to this girl—and the place I had, I was making ten dollars a week, but I was paying five dollars to live in a the Chinx[?] Bay and—that's in New York. And then, when I left the school—in New York we left there that summer, and the place was—Chinx is—you might have heard of them, but at night it's a place—really wasn't clean. It was one of those apartment places they had up there in New York. You couldn't get any decent places to stay. The most decent one I could get I had to pay five dollars a week, but I was only making ten dollars a week, and so I got—tried to get to that inn. I was coming back.

So at the—in the end of the year, when I got enough money to come home, I came right back to Fayetteville and stayed, and I could stay the same. It was normal school. I said, “Dr. Seabrook,” I said—told him what happened and everything. And so the—So he said, “If you are interested now in teaching, you are going to stick with it, and I'm going to try to help you.” Of course, he helped all the students for the people at the school to try to get jobs.

BC:

Okay.

JF:

So then I got a job at the Robeson County Training School. It's called now R. B. Dean High [sic-Elementary] School. It was a training school. So that's where I worked in until the American Red Cross—

BC:

So you were teaching at the training school?

JF:

Yes, at Robeson County Training School. That's what it was called at that time.

BC:

And this was in the late 1930s?

JF:

Yes, that was—after I left there—see, I finished—I went from 1933, see, I was going to summer school and teaching in different schools, and I went to New York.

BC:

Right.

JF:

Then when I came back it was 1933—was when I finished, but at that time when I went to New York—When I came back after I left Goldsboro, then when I came back, the next school I got in was at Maxton, [North Carolina]. I was there for six years until the Red Cross—I was still teaching there when the Red Cross came.

BC:

And where is Maxton?

JF:

It's about—Maxton is about hour—about an hour from Red Springs.

BC:

Red Springs, [North Carolina], okay.

JF:

Near Red Springs and Lumberton, all that area down there.

BC:

Were you teaching there when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor?

JF:

What?

BC:

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor?

JF:

Yes, in 1941, yes.

BC:

Do you remember when you found out about that?

JF:

I was—I remember—I don't know if I was on my way to school or at school or coming from the school when they attacked—when that happened. I'll never forget that. That was in 1941, was when that—when the Japanese attacked there, and then I kept up—see, they had a little airbase there in Maxton [Laurinburg-Maxton Airmy Air Base].

BC:

Okay.

JF:

And at evenings they had—the teaching—In Laurinburg, there was a teacher in Laurinburg who had a bus, and it would take teachers to go out there to even wait on tables, saying this will make extra money, because we weren't really making any money for trying to teach. And I done that for several evenings, even working at Maxton to keep—to pick up some teachers, and we would go out there, and we would wait on the military—at the officers' tables. And they would get—we didn't get anything but tips sometimes. We would make thee dollars and four dollars a night and just getting tips, and I worked there, but then coming back to summer school I hadn't got my BS [Bachelor of Science] degree, but I was working on it.

BC:

So that was what you were working on in summer school?

JF:

Yes, working in summer school. So at that—I was getting it that year, that summer. And when the Red Cross came down from Washington [D.C.] to Fayetteville—it was a college then. See, it had gone from [a] normal [school to a college], you know, from the time I—from '33 to '40—'44. And so he wanted to talk with several teachers about, you know, going to some of the places overseas with the Red Cross, the Red Cross representatives, to help with the cars and everything. We had to fill out forms and everything. So I was in the group and I filled out this form, but then they went on back. I was in—it must have been in—it must have been in August, because I was in Maxton about a month when all this happened.

BC:

Had you heard about women joining the Red Cross or the military before this?

JF:

Yes, I had heard of girls joining the military in the beginning, but they were—at that time they were called—they weren't—the girls that joined at that time were not—the military were not the type of girls that normally that made an army—that joined the military, and I didn't feel that I was in—that I wanted to join the military. But then I heard about Red Cross. But overseas, but not the organization or anything that was going on until this gentleman came down from Washington, and he talked to us and explained everything of the different countries and different things where they were sending girls where they were trying to recruit to go. And so then he gave us these forms to fill out, and I filled out my form and gave it to him, and then didn't think about it any more until I got back to go to Maxton in September, the first of September. So then I got a card, a letter, to come to Washington for an interview. So I went to Washington. Got permission from my principal, got off and went to Washington. I guess the weather was like this, and I got a little cold because I didn't have an overcoat.

BC:

Coming from North Carolina.

JF:

Say what?

BC:

Coming from North Carolina.

JF:

Yes. So my roommate that teaches next door, I got her coat, and she had a nice little coat. I went to Washington and interviewed. So when I got there they had an interview. It was stated that, “We'll let you know. You'll hear from us later,” and two weeks after I got back, then I got a letter that I had been accepted and was supposed to report right away.

So I talked with my principal about it, and we talked to the superintendent. He didn't have it in his heart to get it in his house, because we had to go to the back, you know, at that time. They didn't let you go into the front, and we had to go to the back [door]. He had no light in the back there, and so we went to the back, and he stood in the door, and I thanked him very much for having the opportunity to, you know—he was the superintendent of all schools—to teach under him and things like that.

So then I went by Lillington, and after I went to—I was in charge of the Glee Club. I have some pictures over there to show you—in charge of the Glee Club. They even had a concert in the chapel and everything. Then I left and took the bus and went to Lillington, and explained to my mother and father that I was, you know, going overseas. My mother said, “Well, if that's what you want to do.” My father didn't talk much. He didn't do anything.

BC:

What was his response?

JF:

He didn't say anything.

BC:

He didn't say anything.

JF:

But my mother always did the talking. And so I just got—I didn't have, you know, many clothes to take, and I just had to get my uniforms when I got to Washington. So I had a—just took what they told me I had to take, and I went to Washington.

When I first got there you were supposed to stay from three—from two to three or maybe sometime a month. They kept some groups there, but when I went there there was a group just finishing to go overseas. We didn't know at that time where they were going. They were finishing. They were leaving, and in one week, the same week that I got there. And so they decided—I don't know whether it was because I [had] taught school or what—they decided then to send me with that group, and I didn't know anybody in that group.

BC:

That group had been there and had been getting ready to go overseas—

JF:

Yes.

BC:

—and then they were going to send you along with them?

JF:

They were going to send me along with them, which they did. I just had a few days to get uniformed, and I didn't have a chance to get all my shots. You had to get—So they knew then that I was going to India, but we didn't know. They didn't tell us. It was three days out, because I was taking tropical shots.

BC:

What kind of uniforms did they give you?

JF:

Well, the shots, you mean?

BC:

The uniforms.

JF:

Oh, well, they had—most times they had summer uniforms. And they had a winter uniform, but I don't know why they gave us both kinds. When we got on the ship, then they knew. They told us then we were going to India. And so I met those girls, and we got—it took us five days to go from Washington up to California. At that time on the train went so—the train went so slow. I was taking—I had taken a lot of my shots and my arm was swelling then, and the tetanus one was the one that was so bad; the last one I took was a tetanus. That's when I got to Wilmington—we had to go to Wilmington [Los Angeles?] California. When I got there my arm had swollen up with the exercises we had to take which was climb buildings. We had slacks and had everything with, you know, to put on to go over. Climb up [the] building, then go over, come down that building. You know, it was war time, but I couldn't even take the exercise. I was just—because of my arm.

And the girls in California, at night they could go out on the town and just look around. They had never been anywhere to California and stuff like that. And so I just had to stay in my little, you know, the little place they had for us. Then when we got—they took us then to the ship. When we got there, after we got in, they gave you [atabrine?]—not [atabrine?], we took that when we got on for jaundice. They gave us seasick pills, and I was about the first one to took the seasick pill, because I had never been on a big one.

I was the first one that got sick, because I was supposed to do entertaining. See, I used to sing. I was singing at that time, and half the times I couldn't even—I couldn't even do that because we went to the Pacific.

BC:

Were you traveling with just Red Cross workers or were there other troops, other women—

JF:

Oh, there was about—on the ship there were about, I guess, three thousand or four thousand troops. It was a troop ship, and—

BC:

Did you have much interaction with the soldiers?

JF:

No, the only interaction we had with the soldiers was during the day they have a big rope. We didn't come in contact with the soldiers. They had a big—the ship was big. This was a big place outside. Everybody would go outside, and they had a big rope that came down on the side to divide the soldiers from the civilians. We were civilians. Then you would sit down on the floor. The rope came down far enough for you to play cards, but you could put your hand under the rope and you and the soldier could play cards. And that's the only interaction we had with the soldiers until the last evening we were on there, [when] they had a dance for some of the—Everybody couldn't get out on the deck that they had there, but we were considered civilian, so we lived in the—I don't know where the soldiers lived, way—the thing was three thousand or four thousand soldiers. You know that thing was big, but we were considered as officers, and we ate with the officers, and we sat in the officers' quarters from time to go to bed, and there were twenty girls in all. There were five black girls. Everybody lived in one building, in one room, with decks. We might have five decks here and, you know, then we just slept in one room.

BC:

Were you with other black women, or was it black and white Red Cross workers?

JF:

Well, on the ship every Red Cross workers all were together until we got to India, then that's when they split up the [group], sent the black girls one way and the white girls another way. You were in Calcutta, but they had—because it was still segregation time, and so they still didn't mix.

BC:

Right.

JF:

So that was a big story, too. So but we stayed down there and we'd sit down there and we'd play cards. The white girls played by themselves. Everybody sat in the club, in the place, but nobody had anything to do with us, and we would play cards together. But the biggest thing that happened on the ship, what they would do, the officers—this goes on any tour, on any big ship. They have an officer's dinner. That's one of the main things that has—it's the officer's—what's it called? I can't think of it now, but we were not invited to go to this officer's dinner, and—

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

BC:

Okay, we were talking about your ship and the officers' dinner that you were not invited to.

JF:

Yes. And so another thing that happened—and we had several big bathrooms that you could go in to the bathroom and you'd sit in there. They had chairs. They had tables around there. You'd just sit in there if you wanted to and talk. That was even on the ship. And so we had—the one thing that—another thing that happened to us that usually at that time we had took a little Sterno. Have you heard of Sterno [canned heat]?

BC:

Sterno?

JF:

Yes.

BC:

No.

JF:

It's something—you put the—you light it.

[unknown speaker]:

It's like a candlelight.

JF:

You took a little comb, kind of comb your hair and put through your hair, and so it give—it's not a big smell, but it has a little Sterno smell. So some of the girls—not all of them, because they went against these girls that did that, because our hair would get—when you would wash it, you know, can't say, go a month without washing your hair. We'd wash our hair, but it would have to be kind of straighten it out a little bit, because the texture of our hair, you know, would—it gets very thick, and that's the way it was. So we took little combs along for the top of the Sterno and kind of make it warm, and then you comb it through your hair. That gets your hair to stay out. There were about three or four girls that made a big fuss, these white girls, that we were smelling up the bathroom. So that was the only thing that we could do.

BC:

Right.

JF:

To try to look decent, you know. We were smelling up the bathroom there with some kind of oil or something, and there wasn't a thing but that Sterno. So we had to stop doing that. And so we didn't do that anymore. So when we got to—when we got to Bombay, everybody stayed on the ship. We just ate. You couldn't do nothing but stay on the ship and look at the officers outside the water. That was thirty-one days.

BC:

Thirty-one days on the ship?

JF:

On the ship. That was a long—and so when we got, you know, got to Bombay then we were invited—the five of us, then went into—well, more went into Calcutta, but on the—they went on a different train. We were on a little train because there was only just five us on this little train. We called it the “shoo-shoo train” that you had to ride on it. You get off to eat. You had to wait till the train stopped. Then you get out before you slept. Then you walk around and get in there and you eat the food. You stay there. Then let the train go, and it stops again. Then you get out and come back and therefore you're going to sit.

But it was very interesting because you [see] so many of the Indians on the way, you know. We called them half-clothed, but that's the way they dress with the men, the Gurkhas[?], you know, with the diapers on. You've seen pictures of them. You might have been there—and the saris and things like that. And it was very interesting trip.

But it took us three days on that trip, on that little shoo-shoo train to get to Calcutta. Then we were met by the representatives. Then the representatives took us to wherever we were going to stay, and then for a couple of days—and then they would tell you what you, you know, do this—what to do. So we ate at that place, and there was a big club in Calcutta, very big club, that all the girls were mostly trained in this club, and when I eventually took that club over when it was closed out—just before it closed out—closed that club out because I became the assistant club director there over everybody in the Indian—in the CBI [China-Burma-India Theatre]. So we stayed there.

BC:

What do you recall when you arrived in India, was it probably late 1942?

JF:

No, it was 1944, '44, and we stayed there until was end of 1946.

BC:

And you were in Calcutta the whole time?

JF:

No, no, I stayed the first time in Calcutta there six months, and then they—it was according to what your—what they thought your ability was. They would send you out to different places to open up clubs as the soldiers—you had to be on the convey line. These soldiers were transporting materials, whatever they did, into China, and you had to move according to the route they were taking.

At that particular time, they were building on the Ledo Road—was where the soldiers had worked and built that road through the jungles. And so going up the Ledo Road [through] the jungles it would take—I would get on Jeep, whoever they were sending, to another place. Get on a Jeep, and it would take us about four hours to get up there. If you see a sandstorm, then you had to sit in that Jeep or standing until that sandstorm would pass, because we took C-rations. I mean the food, that's what we ate most the time, C-rations, and that thing was dangerous.

I was afraid one time on the Jeep going through some of the mountains you see—I never saw a mountain lion, but they were up there, and if you were in a certain place, you know, they could jump down on you on the Jeep. And there were no toilets or nothing on the line. Now, if I had to get out and pee-pee, the driver didn't look back. He just sat there and he—everybody was very, you know, conscious of about it. I would get out and then you would get behind the Jeep and on the side. And I was always afraid to get out, thinking that a lion or somebody would get—but you had to—but you did that, and those are the things you went through. And sometime you had to watch out for—as we drove along it was so hot snakes would get in the wheels.

BC:

Oh.

JF:

The Jeep or the command car, what you were in, you know, they would get tangled up, and they would even—it didn't happen to me. It didn't get in the wheels when I was in there, but the soldiers would get up in the soldier and things like that, and then—and pythons. You had to be very careful because if you hit—just sit on one, then you would know it was a python until it squeezed you to death. And, of course, the cobra now—I don't know—I hadn't gotten to those where you want me to speak about. There's certain things—

BC:

No, this is good.

JF:

Beg your pardon.

BC:

This is great.

JF:

Okay, and as you went on up Ledo Road then you were in a hut then for—till you get—our duties up there then were [to] make sandwiches and we'd have coffee. Now, you had Indians with you to help you make that, you know, that stuff. And the soldiers then, when they would come up there, you would know what time they were coming. You had your itinerary and everything. Then you would—on the line you would be standing out there. It could be night or could be, you know, or be [any] time. You'd have that hot coffee and that—those sandwiches and things, and they would drink that or eat that. Then they'd keep going because they had to go over the hump to go into China.

BC:

So what would you do? Would you come back to a base camp or would you just keep going following them?

JF:

No, we would stay there. It would be different ones.

BC:

Different ones coming down the line.

JF:

Coming from up at the time. So you would stay there sometimes—sometime a month or two months before you go to another place. And Ledo was—that was Ledo was—Ledo Road was where most—all must come through there. And the girls that you had to work with you there would be at least two of us always together, and sometimes three, and one had to go to another place.

So this particular time it was a hundred and twenty-four degrees in the heat. It was just hot, and when—if it were on a weekend that the soldiers were remain there for a weekend, then our duties were to try to find something for them to see. There was nothing to see in the jungle but certain places called the Burning Ghat and things like—I'll explain that to you—and we'd take them. They had beautiful trees and little things that the little—not stores but little things that we would just take the soldiers out to see.

And so this particular morning that I was—it was on the Fourth of July in—it must have been in '45, '46 or such. I don't remember the year, but I decided I would go on a picnic with the—we took our—had little picnics, because we had—the army furnished us the things we needed: little food, little sandwiches, and little things like that. The soldiers made them and things like that. See, some soldiers were stationed there and things where we were going, and they saw that we had those things. And I would come and go on a picnic that afternoon. And so I was lying there in my tent—I was there—I was sleeping there in my tent, and usually we sleep under nets because—you suffer the nets because of the bugs and snakes, whatever, anything that came in that wouldn't get in your tent. But, see, your bunk is very, very low, and when you lay on your bunk—you've seen bunks before.

BC:

Right.

JF:

And know how far they come down.

BC:

Yes.

JF:

And so I didn't go under a tent that morning because we had four Gurkha guards wherever we were. Those guards or some other guards were there.

BC:

And they were always with you?

JF:

They didn't go with us. They were at the—wherever we were, they were there. I don't know how they maybe got there first. They would stand on the back of wherever we slept in, and they—we were stationed—at this particular place I had been there—I guess I had been there a month or two. And I had—but I didn't—I wasn't under the net, and the iya[?], the maid, she knows the—everything must be kept tight closed in the place so nothing would get in. And evidently I don't know how the snake got in there, but she—I mean she wasn't in there. I was just lying down there on the bed, and when it was time for me get up it was hot. I said usually when I got out the first thing I do—because I stay in the bed until the last minute—the first thing I just jump right on out, but this particular time I said, “Just let me—it is so hot, I really hate to get up.” I just looked down like that, and the length of my bunk was a long, black snake.

Now, I don't know what he was a cobra or not because they had told us about the different type of snakes, and the King Cobra was a very bad snake that if he bit you, you would live five minutes unless you could get somebody—they gave us knives of coral, and, of course, I wasn't going to cut myself. I don't know what I had a knife for. If you were bitten by a snake, you were supposed to cut that out right away, but I didn't know where my knife was because I wasn't going to cut myself anyway. I didn't plan to be bit. So what I—I was talking about the snake—and I jumped. In this particular place I had a little washroom, a little living room. It wasn't a living room but just a little—if anybody came to the door if I was in the—the thing was only big enough for a bunk and things like that and two doors to get out of. When I saw that snake—now, I had been asleep, and I guess the snake was asleep because as long as they are long or straight, not curled, they can't bite you.

BC:

Oh.

JF:

So he's got to curl. So I don't know what he is, but I jumped out of the two doors and didn't touch anything. Don't remember touching anything. I jumped out of my bunk, and the other little door that I had out there because our toilet and everything was outside, and I had no clothes on because it was so hot and the guards always stood on the back. Nobody stood on the front, and—except the Indians. The Indians worked around. And so I was jumping straight up and down, “Cobra, cobra,” and I don't know whether it is a cobra or not, because I didn't see him curl or what kind it was. So the guard then ran around and there was another girl. We had two or three little huts around there. No, there wasn't big enough. It was three girls. They had another girl, and her little hut right across from there, and she was there at that place at the time, and she heard me calling her, and she looked down and she saw me, and she picked up a blanket and ran out there and threw around me, and the guard didn't pay any attention at all. They have on their uniform, this guard uniform; they look like they're naked. And so I jumped out there, and by the time the army—I wasn't—they have army barracks, but I wasn't close to them, but close enough—but I wasn't close enough, but he heard me holler. I mean I was hollering.

BC:

I bet.

JF:

And [by the] time the guard—the guard that was around it they heard me, by the time he got there it was all over, because the Gurkha guards had a carving—military carving. They had to shoot him. The reason they—it's only a little window in this little tent where I was sleeping, and they had to look—they looked in—I was pointing to the window, and so they looked in there, and they saw his—he had his head—a cobra's head when he's angry he's up like this, and he's ready to strike. That's the reason I know he had been sleeping. So they saw him. They had to shoot him four times to get his head down. But now then the Indians didn't want to kill it, and I said, “I'm sorry, you've got to kill him. You got to get him out of here. You've just got to get him out of here.” I wasn't going back in there. They had to shake everything piece by piece before I went back in there. So the girl came out there, and let me tell you, I've never seen anything so long and black as that cobra, and I say—I guess he thought I was a cobra because I was laying up there naked. [laughs] And I was thin. I was long and black. I said, “I think he thought I was a cobra, too.” [laughs] So we got him out of there. So they killed him and took him out there. They say it's bad luck, but I don't go by luck all that. My luck, I'm still here, so I've had good luck. So I don't go by those things anyway. So it was supposed to have bad luck to kill that cobra. So they got him out, but then I had to—the next day, it was nothing the next day.

I went a little a further up the Ledo Road another place. Then I looked out one morning and there was five elephants just standing out there. One was looking over toward—now, all they had to do was just [makes an elephant noise] and knock the tent down, but they weren't bad elephants. They were work elephants, but elephants don't like me, and so I—he was just looking over there, but he didn't bother coming over or anything. Then I looked out and I saw a man that they were hauling logs, and he was behind them. He came up there and got them.

But at night you could hear all kinds of noises in the jungles, when you're up there in the jungle part of the Ledo Road, because you can hear all kinds of noises, but the guards don't shoot in the jungle. They shoot up, because if they hit a—if you hit an animal and you wound him, he's going to come out and try to find those over there. They will try to find you and they will kill you. So they don't shoot up at all to try to hit any animal. They shoot up to noise to keep them in, and—but so it was just the smaller ones that you saw, and types of frogs and things would come out that you would—you were afraid of. See, what are the other things that I came in contact with?

There's so many little things that you—especially that you would see on the—when you go up in the jungle, and especially in Ledo there's—they call it this little town, not a town but just a little village, where they—they make the tea there. Pick the leaves. They pick the leaves and make the tea and would dry it. I don't know how they dry it. When the soldiers would come up there, when we would take them to the tea satchels, how they made the tea, and when you make tea and put they put different kinds of tea leaves together. You never drink just one tea like you get tea here. Would you like a cup of tea to kind of straighten it out while—

BC:

I'm fine, thanks.

JF:

So then I worked—I would work there. You would go—then I would tent—our little boys we had—there were two fellows, Jaguar—I can't ever think of the little fellow's name now. Jaguar was one. He was fifteen. Now those boys went with us everywhere we went. They washed—the way they washed your clothes there was always a pool around, water around, not a swimming pool like we have there but a place for water where they go down to the—what they call it. It's a river. They have rivers around there. And they take your linen. They wash your linen, and we had a big old iron or something. They would wash and iron your linen and it's just fine. They would do your cleaning, and just like everything, and so if we go through the jungles, those little boys would just go. You didn't see anything. Those kids, they followed the military, and as we would go up they would go around. They stayed out there with the military. They stay around there, and they would do all the cleaning. They would go over there, and the military would make our lunch or something they would go and take that up and bring that there, and that was the duties that they would have there.

Then when we would be down in the—it was another place. It was in Burma. I had a lady, and we weren't supposed to have—that was before I went to Burma. That was still the edge of Ledo Road. That was another place was—I wasn't supposed to have monkeys. You were not supposed to have dogs. You weren't supposed to have birds or anything. Aut I love animals, and so I had a soldier came along who had a cute little old dog. He couldn't keep the dog. He asked if I would keep the dog. I kept that little dog, and the monkey came. He also had a monkey, a very small monkey, and I wanted him. I kept that monkey, and he was—he was not dangerous. Then a big bird—I had a big bird that I had. Then Sophie John—she was a woman at that place—and Sophie John did the cleaning and things. And then the little monkey, he just sat around all the time and you could play with him and all. I don't know what Sophie John did to him, but he bit her, and I knew I was in trouble then.

So we had at that time, at that place, they had an old command com[?] that they named Willy. Before I forget the day, Willy—when Willy comes—before I get to that. Outside you had to go to the toilet outside, and I guess I never went to the toilet the whole time I was there. I was afraid to go out—the snakes. We had seen in burlap sacks, between the ceiling and the stool, them toilets. So Willy went out there—well, the doors closed and everything, and all at once he jumped out hollering. His pants halfway down, and a big black snake was hanging down from the ceiling in the toilet; and that's another thing—something that happened. Willy had to take care of these animals, and the—So we got rid of that snake. And then, after this the same thing happened, the little monkey bit Sophie John, because we had to take her to the dentist—not to the dentist, but they have a place if anything happens to the Indians you take them to that little dispensary. So Willy took her right away. I went with her over to that little place, but it wasn't a big bite. It was just where they snip you or something, but we were afraid she had taken rabies or something.

BC:

Right.

JF:

So he—the doctor checked her all down and gave her something. He checked her again. He said, “No, she's okay. She's okay.” So we came on back. When I got back I said to the monkey—he was sitting up there looking crazy. I said to the monkey, I said, “You go away,” because I knew the army had me. I knew they had me in trouble, because it was an injury reported. So I said to the dog, I said, “Willy, take the dog. You know, I'm not supposed to have the dog.” I said to the bird, because I kept him in the living room all the time. He stayed in there like a big hawk, and I said, “You go away,” because we weren't supposed to have any kinds of pets and things, but that's something I just loved to have around. So the monkey left. I understand if a monkey is ever in the group with civilians and then he goes back to his tribe, they won't accept him. So I don't know. I'd had him for some time. I don't know whether—where he went, but he wouldn't come back, and my bird left. He didn't come back, and Willy took the little dog. He said, “I know somebody I can give the little dog to.” And I didn't have—nobody ever reported it because the army never came for me.

BC:

You never got in trouble?

JF:

Never got in trouble, because they would have got me, because we went by army rules and everything. We weren't supposed to have things like that.

So we stayed there for—doing the same thing, then in the clubs, especially when I came back down. As I say, I went to Burma from that particular place there, and my shack got burned up. The general—I never saw the general, but he gave—there was two of us, and we lived in an old wooden shack, and the bathroom they kept for—in the same shack in that place they had—in the back of the little room, the toilet they kept white stuff all around there or something to keep the snakes around there. I was always conscious of snakes because I was afraid of them, but in the shack all we had to do—could do was just jump over the out there. We were playing cards and jump over the banister and get out, and with everything left in there. [unclear] books or nothing.

So the general lived in a place not too far from the place, but we never saw this general, you know, where he lived at that time. The place was built up from the ground and nice—it was a wooden place, but it was a nice place with rooms and everything, and he—we had no place to go, and so the field director—the thing went quick. We knew where to call him everything, and the field director then through the general. The general gave us his house where he was. Now where he went, I don't know. Never saw him, but he gave us his place. Then that was a nice place, and we stayed there.

You had—there was nothing—then the monsoon came or something, nothing but water around. When the monsoon came you closed—you just waited for the sun to come out a few minutes so you could put your clothes out, because they mold right quick if—'cause it rained. You could be sitting here and the sun is out real hot. You could be sitting over there and the sun is out, too, but it was raining. That's the monsoon. I guess you read about the thing.

BC:

Do you know what caused the shack to burn, to start the fire?

JF:

Do what?

BC:

Do you know what started the fire?

JF:

I don't know what started the fire, unless it was a big rat. See, we had—that's another thing we had, big rats that would cut through nails. They were just big rats. They were—you could hear them around the places with the people that worked tried to keep them out, but you couldn't keep the rats. These rats you had to watch out for that. So they say that I had—a rat had cut something, caused a fire or something. We never know. Then this [unclear] caused a fire like that, but we just happen we weren't in bed, because we would have been—bamboo shacks—where we stayed we were in bamboo shacks. You know, it was always hot, and the Indians never had to—

BC:

How did you like being in India?

JF:

Beg your pardon?

BC:

How did you like being in India?

JF:

Oh, I liked it very much. When they first told us three days going out, there we were going to India, I didn't want to go to India because I hadn't read too much about India. The only thing I heard about [was] they had white elephants over there. And I wanted to go to Europe. They sent a group to Europe. They sent a group to the Pacific, different places.

BC:

Right.

JF:

But I'm very, very happy that I was in that group going to India, because you couldn't have been to any better place—when I was in—a better place for people. The people were wonderful, but it was just different. And I go to the mart. I got my rickshaw picture over there I was in. You had the little men that drove, that got in front [of the] little buggies. They'd pull you all over the town to the mart during the day. When I'm going to work I'd go to [unclear], but days you [were] off and on weekends and things, if you weren't working, you wanted to go to the market place or place like that, and you get in those little buggies, a rickshaw. That's the only way you could go. At first I didn't want to—I wouldn't ride in them. I said, “I can't ride behind these little men.” And they said, “Well, you won't go any place, because that's your little taxis.” And so they would take you to market place. And when you go up to the market, the men, the people, you see more men out than you see women. They are down—they—[phone rings] Excuse me.

[Recording paused]

BC:

You were at the market.

JF:

They got their arms drawn. They're sitting in baskets. Their body parts are so big they can't even hold with the [unclear]. Their legs—if you've seen elephants, the way you see they're made, the way their legs are made, they call it Elephantitis, and the legs are—they carry their legs. You'll see them just sitting there just begging, begging money, but whatever you give them, they want more, and I got to where I just couldn't go to the marketplace.

The eyes—some of them got eyes out. I heard things—and I haven't seen this, [but] they say when a child is born they'll do—not all children, but some of them, say they will take and dig the eyes out just to beg for them. Or they might cut something—the hands off or something like that so the people will go out and beg for them. You will see children sitting out on the streets around the market. They're not begging. They're sitting there with babies that their mothers have died. You see old people and young people sleeping under trees and at night on the street, if you go out there; they're sleeping on the streets. You have to walk over them.

Now, I don't know where Calcutta is still in the same situation. I certainly would like to go and visit, but I know I won't do it now by being blind. But it's one—it's just terrible to see the condition of the people, and I stopped—by the time I had stopped going to the market because I didn't—wasn't making that much to give them all the time, and I just couldn't go by with a quarter or something in my hand or something that I would give them. And you would see children on the street with—holding babies and the mothers have died, or they have nowhere to go or something like that, and the shacks that some of them lived in.

I've been in Anglo-Saxon, the Anglo-Saxon, German, Indians houses, but the Indian shacks where they live they have to live with shawl or something over the door that hangs over the door. If a cow comes along, he goes in there and he stays, and they are very—you don't do anything to a cow, even in the animal things like that, [in] the Hindu religion. And he just stays there and he gets up and he goes on around. If you get a taxi, it don't care how much in a hurry—they have taxis there in Calcutta, too—he just stays behind till that cow—the cow walks in the street—until the cow decides to move to go someplace else, and then he will go on. And the same thing that you find there now. Take their—they have—take the soldiers—tell you about some of the activities, too, they would have for the soldiers there. [They] would take them to the Burning Ghat.

BC:

And what is that?

JF:

That's a place where when a person dies they take the whole bed. This is the Hindus. They have other religions. They take the whole bed—the poor people take the whole bed and take it to the Burning Ghat, and they make a big pile to put side of the bed, and then they place that bed from this burning. It's not on fire yet. And then a member of the family, maybe two, will have oil in a bottle and then one would have a little torch like that, and they'll go around this fire and put oil on it. Then they'll set it afire, and that's the body with the bed. They seem to be having a good time. They don't see any sadness or anything like that, and I've been there. We take the soldiers down there to see that, and I've been there when I've seen the leg or something fall off where they have several people you burn at the same time, and the smell in there is just terrible, you know, with flesh burning. And I've seen it when the leg just falls off. And so instead of going to Burning Ghat, I would send somebody else.

BC:

Were there other places you could take soldiers?

JF:

Beg your pardon?

BC:

Were there other places you could take the soldiers?

JF:

Yes, I would take them there or take them to tea factories.

BC:

Tea factories.

JF:

When they bring up on over, somewhere where the tea is dried or something, they would have the tea factories where they make tea, and we were taking them there. And we'd take them to Dipagong[?] places. There's another Indian place, you know; they see different types of Indians, different types of shops, and they can shop, you know, send things home to the families and around, because most of the time they worked all the time. Just when they had those certain place. Then, too, at the Cosmos Club, that was a big club there in Calcutta, and the soldiers could go to the club until they are sent out on the route.

BC:

And what was the club called?

JF:

What?

BC:

What was the club called?

JF:

The Cosmos Club.

BC:

The Cosmos?

JF:

The Cosmos Club. That was the big club in India. That was the one that I took over.

BC:

So this was the Red Cross club?

JF:

Yes, Red Cross club, and that was in the letters in this now.

BC:

When did you become the director of the club?

JF:

When we started closing out—up in the—it took us about a month to close up in the different jungles.

BC:

In the jungles.

JF:

Because I had been just about all the places in the jungle, and then when Ms. Lewis was the club director, when she left, I came. All of were coming down in time, and I came down, and I didn't know they were doing this. They were doing—they would check on your work and everything, and I had gotten a recommendation from the field director in some of the places I had been, and when I—when my house got burned down I had to come down, because I was director up in that section, to come down and get uniforms for us, because our uniforms and everything got burned up. And so then naturally, when we come down, there was a certain place that we always stayed near the Cosmos Club, and I know Ms. Lewis and all was in there, but I didn't know that they were—they had to recommend someone—she was going home. She had some kind of sickness and had to see the doctor for [it]. And so she had to recommend somebody to take over the club, and I guess about six months, then, before we left up the jungles all the clubs, when everybody—everybody had to come down then. That was the last place, and then I was there. I took over that place there, and we had lots of money and stuff. I had a letter right there from my supervisor that tells, you know, about what I had to do at the Cosmos Club, and some of the things I have for you to see when you get on there, and for us to go on—then they could go there for dancing.

We didn't have—we had a few Anglo-Indians. Now, the Anglo-Indians is the mother is Indian, the father is British. And you know the British were in control when I was there. Just about before I left, the Indians were trying to get their independence, and that's when there was a lot of burnings and a lot of stuff. People had to stay in and stuff. They were turning over rickshaws and things. So the British had been there a long time. So you—a lot of the Indians' religions, they just didn't get together. They didn't associate some. But, you know, men will be men. Some women will be women. Well, they got together some ways, because they had Anglo-Indians there. So, you know, different races together. So then those—they didn't wear saris. Now, some of them in Calcutta—that's where they had a lot of these army engineers—and some of them went to the—when they would come to the service club—and some had to do the cleaning and things like that and all.

Then the girls that were stationed around Calcutta would be coming in and out, and Calcutta was our place to, you know, for training and everything like that. Then the soldiers were coming in there, and they would come over there and have little dances, and they would have nice little band over there and everything. That's what the soldiers did for their recreation. And for our—and you wanted to go to tour and many things. The biggest place there was the Ledo—was the—Darjeeling or Tibet.

We decided to just have a [unclear] the other day. We decided, a friend of mine, that we were going to go on a vacation. The British and for the Maharajas, the higher-up Indians. They are the top; Maharajas had money. Indians—during the war everything gets kind of—I don't think they have all the big Maharajas there no more. I'm talking from sixty years ago.

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

BC:

Ms. Fasse, we had been talking about your time in Calcutta with the Red Cross. When did you finish your work in India? Were you there through the end of the war?

JF:

Yes, when the war was over I was on the plane right from Calcutta to the little airstrip going back to Burma. When I got off the little airstrip—I really can't think of the name of the airstrip—but there was a bucket plane. You know what a bucket plane is?

BC:

Yes.

JF:

You know, they haul mules and cows, anything like that. Instead we were sitting on the plane this way, the seats are this way.

BC:

The other way.

JF:

And very small plane. That's what we traveled on, especially when I had to go on trips for the uniform. So when I got off the plane, they say the war is over. That was in '45. And what was the date?

BC:

Germany surrendered in May—

JF:

Yes.

BC:

—and Japan surrendered in August 1945.

JF:

Yes. So I stayed in—then we stayed on up in the jungles. Then we came on back. That took time us—a whole year to get back down—to close up the jungles and all up there, the different places where the soldiers went. Not the soldiers weren't closed up there, but we were. We were coming down, and, of course, I came on back down to Calcutta. We left there—let me see, was it June? June '46. It must have been August '46 when I got back to the States. In August—I stayed in the States, I believe, was two weeks when I went on into—to Germany. Stayed in Calcutta—can't count the months now, but that amount of time till we closed up down in—and all the girls came down from where they were stationed. I can look now and say just like that where they were stationed. And everybody came down to Calcutta, and then we stayed there until it was time for the ship, you know, for us to leave to come back to the States. I think that was in August, the first of August '46 when we came back there. Then I got back from the States, got to New York.

Then, naturally, wanted to come on to—Red Cross closed out overseas for all the different places in European Theatre, Pacific Theatre, and CBS Theater, any and everything. Each person was—they didn't close out exactly in Europe at that time. I had always wanted to go to Europe, and I would only had—I could have gone from Calcutta into Europe with the Red Cross, but they were only going to be there another month. But Special Services for the State Department was taking over the same activities that Red Cross had, and the girls had the opportunity to stay on till the end wherever they were until the Red Cross closed out. They signed up going with Special Services with State Department. So naturally I signed up to go to Europe for a semester with the State Department, and I stayed home about two weeks or something like that.

Then when I got to—when I got to New York, you know, naturally AFN [American Forces Network], we didn't have AFN over there, and I had no papers or nothing like that. So I wanted to see what was going on. I brought up every paper that I could find in New York newsstands that had any kind of news on it. And coming home on the train it took a night and natural[ly]—still at that time was still segregation. I had one little light—I accuse that of ruining my eyes—up in the ceiling. The whole night I did not sleep. I can't think of the little name of the newspapers now. There was Daily News. There was all those little papers. You know how New York was, they had all the news, and I read on the way till I got to—I might have dozed off a little bit. And I got to Raleigh [North Carolina], and when I got to Raleigh, boy, was I beat. I was just beat down. I had on my Red Cross uniform and it must have been about 6:30 or 7 o'clock in the morning at at the little Raleigh station. At that time on the back they had a—there was a place about that big in the wall where they had—you serve you a cup of coffee, where the blacks could get a cup of coffee if it were open. And the front, you could not go in the front. But at that time that place in the back was not open. So I—I got on my uniform now, I said, “Maybe they will give me a cup of coffee.” I just had to have it. So I went to my assistant, Lillington was supposed to meet there, meet the train.

So I went in there and said, “Good morning. Supposed I could get a cup of coffee? I'm just coming in from India, and I was sitting up all night on the train.”

“I'm sorry, we don't serve Coloreds here.” That's what we called them then. You didn't say Negroes. You said Colored. We don't serve Color here.

“I said, “Well—” I'm very sassy—“There's nothing on the train for me to get,” and I said, “I've been reading all night, and I'm just coming in from India, you know.””
BC:

Okay.

JF:

So I just walk out. I didn't say anything. I just walked out, and as soon as my sister came to the car from Lillington—and, see, I had to drive from Raleigh. That's where I had to get off to Lillington. Took the train down there and home, and I stayed there two weeks, and then signed up to go back—I had already signed up to go to Europe. I finished my Indian thing. Is there any questions now about India that I might think of that you would like to ask me about?

BC:

No, I don't think so. Is there anything else that you wanted to mention, any other stories or people?

JF:

Well, on another story that I called—I don't like to really—this—this discuss too much about the social things. Now, I did speak about me going to Indian weddings?

BC:

No.

JF:

I went to two Indian weddings, and one, you know, the Indians, like Americans, chew chewing gum; a lot of the Indians chew Betel nut. It's red.

BC:

Okay.

JF:

It makes your mouth red. So when you go to a wedding, everybody is kissing the bride, and kissing right in the mouth with the Betel nut down on the mouth, and I said to myself, “I don't know how—”you know, this is just a different custom, you know, they have. They are beautifully dressed and everything.

And I've been to, naturally, a Maharajas' home. The little stuff, the wrapping green leaf, and you just eat it, and, you know—the little thing that they serve you. Different little things like that. And you can't hardly get it down, but they're used to eating it. But I just swallowed, I just get on down. But it's green leaves and things.

And I visited a lot—there's an Anglo-Indian family. They make—what is it that they make? The food that I like with garlic. Don't let me forget anything like that. But this food, I'd go by there every Sunday. And some coming—and I was going to work, and I'd have that Indian—you make in the States, too.

BC:

Like a curry?

JF:

Curry, yes, chicken curry or rice curry, things like that. They make it in little bowls, and it's a specialty, something they make. I like [it] very, very hot.

Then the little—if I'm off or something—I ride over there the weekend, and the husband had a motorcycle. I'd never been on a motorcycle, and I tried to hold him in the back. I'd like to squeeze the man to death because they go so fast, and I said I would never get on another motorcycle. So that was never something that would come to mind about India and [unclear] people.

When we go on—I started to speak about Darjeeling and going up there. The women put stuff on their heads, big bricks or whatever. They work along the way because the only little shoo-shoo train overnight, and when you hear tell of a train falling over and burn or something in India. I can see the trains at that time were—the top is full of people. The sides are full of people. In front of the windows and everything people are standing, and we couldn't see so good until we got into India and started to get off. We had to ride overnight from Calcutta to Darjeeling, and we saw the—the men, as we went on up, up toward Darjeeling, the men walking behind and the women walking in front with baskets on their head, very heavy things.

And we went to Darjeeling, near—we'd come out in the morning [and] you could see Mt. Everest, and I wanted to—the exercises we would take there—they would have little horses you could go riding, had small horses. They had dunkers and they had everything. So we went down there. We wanted to see the towns India.

And I said, “I would like to have a donkey.”

And he said—because I was really around horses. I knew things on the farm, but I never—they were there for work. He said, “Okay.”

So I went down the next morning to get my little donkey, and he said, “I couldn't give you a donkey. You can take a horse.”

We have somebody to go right in front, and they have a little boy—this little boy to go right in front of the horse, and you are on top of it, and he walked all the way around where we wanted to see in Darjeeling. Then at nighttime we had—there was a big place where all—when the people—they did everything like we were riding things during the day, but at night there was a big dance. So naturally, I had my evening dress and everything. I've always been very, you know, proper and things like that, wanting to wear this and that, so nice evening dress. So that night—everybody lived in the same place. The British officers, the American officers, the Indians that came from different places. They went down vacation. The way it was built up there in down place was just a beautiful place, but when you dress—finished dressing you come downstairs you had to come down winding stairs, and because I could see myself coming down—but people had already started the party. So it was just a—a friend and myself, and we didn't know anybody. We just went up there for recreation and [to] see what was going on. So we came down and sat on a—the table that we had, it was vacant. In a little while, a British officer came over and asked me to dance, and, of course, I got up and danced with him. And then when he asked me to—came [and] asked me to dance again. He seemed to be very disturbed. He said, “You know, before you came down I was dancing with a very nice American lady over there,” because everybody was dressed in civilian clothes. You couldn't see who was British or American until you talked with them. And he said, “she said I'm not supposed to dance with you.” You are not supposed to dance with me. Because if he danced with me, she didn't want to dance with him anymore. And so—and he was not going to. [He said] he would like very much to dance with me so he didn't have to dance with her. So he parted to show me where she was sitting. She sat most of the night by herself. [BC laughs]

And I had a good time. So I just love people, you know? Nothing—all the places I've been, just people, people. I just love people. I come in contact—I will meet them if I just have the opportunity to say — if they talk or something like that. Then when I came back to America—no, that—I had that habit from Germany. So that was the end that I can think of now from India.

BC:

Okay. Well, let's talk a little bit about when you went to Europe.

JF:

Okay.

BC:

This was in the 1940s?

JF:

In 1940—The end of 1940s [1946?]. I came back in August. It was in August, the end of August 1946, because I came back around the first of August from India. So I stayed home about two weeks. Well, India was twenty-six of August that I went right into Germany and to Frankfurt. When I got on—these places mixed up that I was going from—no, I didn't fly. I went to—we left from New York on the ship, and, of course, we met—we went on the ship, and there were several girls on the ship when we were going. And so we went there. But from Red Cross—when I got to Frankfurt, we met the director. Oh, there was another group of girls that was named Abernathy from Raleigh. She was from Raleigh, and very nice person. In fact she must be dead now, because I tried to contact her months ago. Abernathy was her name, and she would sit in the booths.

We had to go from Frankfurt—after we got from New York—to Bremen [Germany]. Yes, we went to Bremen. Then we left Bremen and went to—getting mixed up. Went to Bremen, then went to Frankfurt, and that's where she met us, going to Frankfurt. That's where our headquarters were at that time. So she met us on the train was it from Bremen going to Frankfurt, our headquarters, and she talked to each girl. Well, I don't know how many girls were going to Europe at that time, but there were several. Several girls were still going at that time. Anyway, it was still segregated time. She spoke to each one of us.

And when we got to Frankfurt, then we were going to be there for a couple of days. You had orientation, and it was different, a little different from being in Special Services and being with Red Cross, although the same during recreation. But we had—you were assigned direct to a club. You didn't go from place to place like, you know, you did over there and things like that. You were assigned direct to a club as an assistant or a club director or something. But because I had had—they had your records or something like that. I was assigned a club director then, and then I was—first place I was from Frankfurt out to—we called it The White House. I believe I stayed for just about a month, because they hadn't decided if I was going to stay there. But, anyway, I went to Mannheim [Germany], and I stayed there five years and seven months in Mannheim in the same club, and I had to build a club there. It was very—I had pictures.

What I did—you are going to find on several of the pictures, when you look at them there, that I had a big—not thinking that I would even try to write a book or anything—I had a folder with so many pictures. They were so heavy. My post rider, they had put the pictures all in this book what I did, because I was a civilian. I had married, and I was civilian then. I had to send my things home to the civilian post. I had to pay, and it was very expensive. So I tore all these pictures out of this folder and album, picture album, because it was so heavy and just put them in a bag and brought them home and thinking that I was going to take—didn't think that my eyes would get bad—that I would take them out one day and write down under which each thing was. But then my eyes started getting bad and worse and worse until I can only take [unclear]. Had a terrible time trying to find these pictures and explain to me what they were so I could—a lot of the Indian pictures, a lot of things like the pictures I had. I had bags of pictures in there. It would take us ages. And a lot of the pictures that I wanted to see when I wrote this book, Chancellor [unclear]—I'm getting ahead of myself.

[portion of interview missing]

JF:

— when I first got to Frankfurt with Special Services. And then I stayed in that club in Mannheim until five years and seven months. And to build a club, my club—that little club was so old I had to walk upstairs. The soldiers—when it rained, it rained in the things and drop rain and stuff like that. So when the general would come around, naturally I had to go and be with the general and my colonel on the post, and we would go around for inspection. And when we had—General Gallagher, and I've been looking for him. I know he must be dead. He was old then. He would inspect—“What're you doing about this?” Because the work order section, everybody was rather round. And he would just write down what needed to be done for the club, and my colonel and his assistant, you know, they would write down, and then they would have the work order section and they were to come repair the club, what they're supposed to do.

And the general came another time. They hadn't done anything. He just said, “This is not—you haven't worked on this.” Well, the colonel always gave an answer or something. So General Gallagher was supposed to come to the—not direct—when he came in, the concern—he went to the service club, too. And so that morning, naturally, I was there. I guess it was before seven o'clock. I must see that everything is clean, everything, because he could put his white gloves on and touch anything. Everything must be clean. And I had a soldier that worked in the club and also had German people to work in the club, and so this time I was at seven o'clock. I said, “Yes, this is the time. They still haven't done anything to this club,” and I know I had been to some of the other clubs, the white girls I met, and they had nice service clubs.

And I said, “This club the soldiers are still going to the same thing, and they haven't done anything.”

And so General Gallagher didn't come in the club. So when they left, I went outside, and my colonel and two other colonels, they go around in the group to inspect it.

I said, “General Gallagher, they didn't come in the service clubs. Why didn't he come?”

[He said] “Aren't you glad?”

I said, “No, I am not glad.” I said, “Because this is the time I wanted to find out what is he going to do about what they haven't done anything about this club.”

“But we are getting to it. We have so—”

I said, “You have been saying that for a long time.” I said, “I'm going to see General Gallagher.”

Well, you know, if you know anything about the military, you don't go to see any general unless you go through orders.

BC:

Right.

JF:

Unless you go through—you've got to go through everything.

BC:

You have to go up the chain of command.

JF:

Go up the chain of command. Now, I was not thinking about no chain of command. He didn't—now, he laughed. He thought I wasn't going to do that, and he didn't tell me, “You can't go to see him,” or “Don't go to see him,” he just laughed. He thought I wasn't going, because I wanted to see General Gallagher. All right. I called my supervisor in Heidelberg [Germany], that was near Heidelberg, that was Mannheim, which is where her office was, and her name was Furr Lachum. We were very good friends, and she knew what I was trying to do with that club, and she was trying, you know, [to] help me.

So I says, “Furr, I'm going to see the General and say, 'Did you say anything to the Colonel?'” I told her what happened. I said, “I told the colonel I was going, and he just laughed.”

“He didn't tell you not to go?”

I said, “No, the way he acted he thought I wasn't going.”

So she called a Special Services officer. So I don't know what he told her, but he didn't tell her for me not to go. So Furr said, “You make an appointment, and if you can go see him, then let me know and let me know when it is, and I'll be sitting right at my phone, and if you need me, you call me.”

And so I called the office of General Gallagher and made the appointment. Getting back to this—General Gallagher, the reason he knew me [was] because we had a baseball club that, in our concern, that beat anybody in Europe, in all the concerns, everything like that. And everybody—when we had a baseball game, where the other concern came in Mannheim, the generals, everybody else came to that game. And I was not in charge of the game, but I took care of my boys, and I was right on the front line there telling them, encouraging them on. Then everybody knew me, and I had a little black dog. General Gallagher came to the game. He brought his little dog, and I looked around for little Teddy. Teddy had gone up there to General Gallagher's dog and peed on his leg. [BC laughs]

And everybody laughed about it and everything like that because General Gallagher had his dog, and I went up there and got my dog, Teddy. I don't know what Teddy did, my little dog did there, but they knew me because of my activities at the club and my actions at the club. So everybody thought I was—because my boys were winning all the time, they thought I was betting on the club, and I was not betting. “Oh, you got plenty of money,” and all, because everybody was betting on those teams. Okay, I go back to that.

So when I went in, he gave me the appointment through his office, and so I told Furr, my supervisor, the day I was going. So when I walked in that morning, he said—he was very big guy, no, mean-looking guy. He curses and things. And so when I walked in, I said, “Good morning.”

He said, “Good morning. Have a seat.” He said, “What can I do for you?”

And I said, “Well, sir, I was came because of the service club in Turley Barracks.” I said, “The last time you were there you did not come up, and I have all my work orders, my papers here, that nothing has been done for the club, and it's still leaking, and the soldiers don't have any decent place for them,” things like that.

He said, “Do you have your work orders here?”

I said, “Yes, sir.”

“Let me see them.”

So I gave him every work order that he had signed. I kept every paper and everything, and he looked at it, and he got on the phone. And whoever he got he cursed. “Why haven't you done anything for this club?” I don't know what they were saying. He said, “You have so long to get up to that club, and why did it happen like that?”

So because I had everything in order that he had recommended, and they hadn't done anything. He was angry. “Why, so-and-so, haven't you done this? Why hadn't you done that?” And so when he finished that, he said, “You'll get some reaction” or service or something like that.

I said, “Thank you sir.”

And I got up, and I walked out and I thanked him. And let me tell you, in Mannheim today one of the nicest clubs I had making on my—oh, yes, and even after I went to him then all [unclear] was turned out. My headquarters were called. “What is Jean Moore”—they called me Jean—“What is Jean Moore trying to do?” Then the word got out. The colonel was angry in my concern and everything. She went to the colonel. She went to the general and stuff like that. They didn't tell me not to go, and so they weren't calling me. They were calling around to different officers as to what I went to General Gallagher for and all stuff like that. But when they did get to me, I said—I don't know whether Abernathy was still there or whether she had gone on to another—no, it was Rita. I had another—because I was there five years—was another director over Special Services, and I said, “You know the condition of the club when you come down for inspections, and they haven't done a thing here.” But they couldn't do anything to me, because they knew if General Gallagher was having that trouble, they—see, they could have fired me right away, because you don't go—

BC:

Jump over the general.

JF:

But General Gallagher was for me because he had—I had all the work orders and everything that he had recommended, and whoever he talked to or whoever they got in touch [with] knew he was for me, and they weren't about to fire me, you know, because that was the general. So I wasn't thinking about that anyway. I was just angry because they hadn't done anything for these guys. So they had me in with the plan—making the plans. And the nicest club that they had, I guess, on the Heidelberg Post—that was when General Gallagher was the commanding general of the Heidelberg Post—and that club is right there has stairs that go in it. It has beautiful pictures. It had color when they got through. And I knew where he was. He left there even before the club was finished because it was about time for him to retire. I don't know whether he retired. He didn't retire. He went to some place in America that is called Heidelberg—not Heidelberg but some kind of burg. But I had the address at that time, and I sent him—when the club was finished and I got new furniture and everything. It was very nice. I sent the pictures into General Gallagher. I got a telegram from, you know, good work or something like that. I can't give you the direct words because it was fifty years back.

But so I worked with Mannheim, and I got kind—after I got the club and everything—they would keep you in a place every two years, and then if you wanted to move to another place, you know, they would change you to another place or send a girl to your place so you can go to another place. They had these concerns, wherever the concerns were. They had one in Munich. At that particular time I wanted to leave Mannheim, they had one opening up in Füssen. That was up in the mountains, and had—I had that club—it was so close to the mountains you could ski. You could see the ski coming right down. It was a beautiful place, and they were going to open that club. They asked me if I wanted to go there, and I said, “Oh, I would love to go there.” So they sent me there. But the army, they didn't keep soldiers there. It was too close to the mountains.

So we left—we didn't stay at Füssen. We lived in a castle. There were three girls in the Service Club, and we lived in an old castle that they had here [that] the kings and stuff used to live in, and that's where they housed us. We only stayed there about—I don't think we stayed there three months because they weren't going to move the soldiers. The soldiers never came in the Service Club because it was too close to the mountains.

So then we left there and went to Höchberg. That's the next—on my way—I always wanted to go to Munich, but my—they transferred my supervisor from Mannheim to Munich from the Heidelberg Post. Now, that's the way this transfers. I wasn't affected from this thing. My colonel was transferred, too. Somebody got him. So in Höchberg and Munich there was a lady who knew—she was from Florida, a big, fat lady, but they found out that she was dealing with the—during that time they found out that she was dealing with drugs with soldiers or something like that. So they fired her, and that place was left open in Munich. Well, I nearly begged to let me go to Munich. So they sent me to Munich, and I was—I stayed in Munich, then, for a heavy concern. I stayed there for about two years, and then that opened a club in France, All-Service Club, the State Department. They opened a club in France. Then they had to send people down there to open those clubs where the military—the military had been there, but they had no service clubs in certain places.

So then, they sent me to Orléans, [France]. It was out from Orléans, but it was a place, and the main place was Tours, where I ended up with Tours, where I met many French people. I lived with French people. I know so much about the French people. Not far from Paris, not far from Switzerland; and so I just—that took up my time, but it was all recreation. My time there was off. I would go weekends I spent in Paris.

I have another friend who was working with the American Embassy who lived in Paris, and I knew Rita. So if I stayed in Paris a weekend, I stayed with Rita, and Rita came down to Tour. We were going to Switzerland. See, she stayed with me. We did like that, and my first friend was going down into Switzerland—boyfriend—I had a friend from New York, a girl who was visiting me from America, and another friend I had in England, Donna Lee was an entertainer in England. We met in Spain, and we always—most every summer then after I met—

Donna Lee would go to Barcelona to see bull fights, because that's something I hate. I hated to go into that bull fight because it's so bad. So it was [unclear] to see it, but I said to myself, “Everybody else looks at them.” So I just wanted to look at them to see what they're doing. If you go—if a bull fight—after he finishes the bull and going around, he goes around then with his hat around the ring, and people throw things down, and they say if he touches anything that you have thrown down, if he picks up anything and throws it back, it's good luck for you. Well, now, I'm sitting about three rows up there. He came around and when he got there I had a green stole, it was a light stole, you know. It wasn't hot and it wasn't cold. I threw that—took that green stole, rolled it up and threw it down there. Now, what I'm saying is not lying. He picked up that green stole and threw it back. Now, he didn't see me. He's not looking at the people. He's just looking, throwing.

BC:

Right.

JF:

And picked up the green stole and threw it back, and so I always say I had good luck for that.

BC:

Well, it sounds like you got to do an awful lot of traveling—

JF:

Well, I did.

BC:

—while you were there.

JF:

I did a lot of traveling, and while I was—I went to first—first I went to Czechoslovakia, or did I go there first before I went to Russia? I went to Czechoslovakia. That's when I'm in Europe now.

BC:

At this point was it the early fifties, early 1950s?

JF:

Yes, and I went to Czechoslovakia in 19—I'm trying to see now. I was in France. I went to Czechoslovakia in 1956.

BC:

Okay, in the mid-fifties.

JF:

Yeah, it was in the mid-fifties I went to Czechoslovakia. So I had to go from—I was in France, not a[t] Tour. When I was at France I was at Toul, a place called Toul at that time. I was working in a club there. It was a—how do I explain this club? They have too many soldiers, but they were doctors around there, but I wanted to go to Czechoslovakia to see about this form. Well, you have to—in order to go behind the Iron Curtain, of course, you've got to get permission. So I wrote in and requested—I had the leave time—and requested this leave time to go to Czechoslovakia for a certain time. So it was granted, and then I had to go from France to go to Nuremburg, Germany, because right out from Nuremburg where you—it's right on the border of Czechoslovakia, and so I go all night. I go through all the little—take a little things, the peculiar things that happened before like that. I won't take the time for all that. So I drove all the way from France to Nuremburg, Germany, is where we were supposed to meet. Now, I didn't know who was going that time, but one of the little fellows that was going had a grandfather that lived in Prague [Czechoslovakia], that he had contacted—that the grandfather had slipped in to see him, and he was very afraid, and the other fellow was just a soldier friend of his, and the other girl that was going was a Special Service girl that I didn't know before we met in—

BC:

In Germany.

JF:

In Germany—Nuremburg. So we met up there. Was supposed to leave the next morning—day—about twelve o'clock that night. So I got up there, and I was really tired, because I didn't go to bed till late with people coming by, and I was—first I just drove my car in the garage up there where I was supposed to leave. We stayed in the hotel, and then at twelve o'clock I came down. I think I came down at eleven o'clock. Came down to meet the people who I would be leaving with, and that's what I did. So I came down and we got ready and we went and got on the—it was only two—there were four of us. I thought there was six. There must have been—well, four or six. I don't remember. I know there was four, and—well, anyway, we got on this small bus.

We were going through the country. We wanted to see the country of Czechoslovakia. We were going to—that was what fascinated me, because we were going to go along and see these different places. And so we got—we—right at the border not far from Nuremburg—you didn't have to go far before you got to the border, and the communist guide met us at the border, and he went with us through the whole place, through Czechoslovakia.

So the first place that we stopped was Pilsen. And you've heard of the Pilsen beer—where they made the Pilsen beer from the time the hops would—the beginning until they put the caps on it when it came around. So we had to go down real—you had to put on very heavy coats and everything to go down in the—where they made the beer, because it's very cold down there and wet and it's just cold and nasty. It's wet down there all the time, and the thing that got me—you see, those small women with the big barrels of beer before was put into—it's a round thing that this thing just keeps coming around, and they have to push the barrels to keep them in line, and they put on a rubber hose, come all the way up here, and I guess all the coats and things they have on—but they had big muscles, you know, because they were working so—and I was speaking to the guide, and seems like he just stayed around me.

And I said, “Do they—don't they get sick standing in water all the time?”

He said, “They have on these rubber—no, they don't get sick. They wouldn't tell them anyway.”

So then the people, when we were going through, the people would just stare at me and things like that. They would kind of stop halfway stop their work, and I said, “Do they stop every time tourists come through?”

He said, “No, they just want to see you. Do you mind if they look at you?”

I guess they had never seen daylights—they had never seen a black person, and I said, “No, I don't mind. Let them look.”

So then, they were smiling, you know, and naturally I smiled back, and just things like that. We saw the whole thing, how the beer was made, and then when that was finished we left from the—

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

BC:

Czechoslovakia.

JF:

Oh, yes, and then as we go through the country you see people, you see most of the women working in the fields, and I was just looking at everything. Even the dog, everything was poor. The fields—you were not unattended. The weather was warm and everything, and we were just driving along, and every place we would stop. If you stopped and look at everything, everybody was just around and just crowded around. And the place where the crown jewels—I can't even think of the names now. They're in my book around there. Places where the crown jewels—some places in Czechoslovakia they had never—when the war came it was never broken into.

Then, when we got to Prague, which is a very fascinating place with architects, and beautiful architects and things like that, and we had to go a long way down the street to get to the hotel. At the hotel, I guess one of the best hotels they had in Prague. It was a big tour. We had to pay for it. We were Americans on this tour. They had seats all down—you know, people come and sit. You had students to come and sit around there. So we came and went right up into our rooms. When we got to the room, when we got there, now there was another girl on there. You know, we knew each other because she—we met and everything and talking and getting on fine. She was white, which didn't mean anything to me, because I never did go by color, and so they gave her a different room and gave me a different room because, I guess, they thought we just—I don't know what they thought, but that's what they did, and so then I found out that my room was much better than their room.

But, see, they had to have—what they wanted to do was all through these Communist places about then, they want to talk with me about America. And, see, I don't think they were going to ask her too much about America, because they wanted to see if I thought—I'm going to say—and so I think that's why they gave me such fine—I know that in Karlsbad [Germany], they [unclear].

So we stayed—we went up and ate and had lunch. We hadn't eaten anything on the way, and the little food they had there was nothing to talk about, but we, you know, when you're hungry you eat anything. So we ate that. Then it was in the afternoon. We didn't do anything that day. The day was just about gone. We didn't come back down. So the next day, because we have a planned place for us to go on a tour but—

[doorbell rings, recording paused]

JF:

So the next day, when we came down then, there we had students sitting down around from different places, and Sudan, all those places students come from. So we sat down there and—that must have started in the afternoon. People would come by on the main street and the people would just come by and just stare. They would just stare and they would stare. They had never seen anybody—I had an uncle that used to travel a lot when I was a kid, and I didn't believe what he said when people had—he had been places where people called him No-Man-Bear and rubbed his skin. We thought Uncle Steve was just telling things, but I guess it was true. And so they would just stare at me, and at one time—they asked us one time—they would ask the people to just go on, and don't just stand there and block the street, you know? They had somebody who said, “Don't make a fool out of yourself.”

So I saw a black man standing over there, and I was wondering to myself what he's doing, and I guess he was wondering what I was doing there just standing. He looked directly at me and smiled. I went up to him and smiled, but he made his way on over there, and he had been there three years. He said he was there on asylum. He wouldn't answer the questions I had asked him, but the owner said he was there on asylum, and he was teaching in one of the schools there.

And so it was—as I say, then I had—I wanted to—I had a very sore toe, and they said they had the best doctors in Czechoslovakia. So I had told my guide that I wanted to see one of the doctors about my toe. So he come up here and gotten an apartment and I went over there, and the girl was—a lot of people were sitting in there, but they took me right in a room, and she looked at my toe, and she cut my toenail, and she was going so fast. I thought she was going to cut my toe off, so I said, “Tell her thank you very much. My toe is so sore. I can't have anybody to touch it.” And he explained that to her, you know. So she looked at it and I thanked her and I asked her what I owed her, and she said, “Nothing. You don't pay anything.” So we came on out.

So then that evening from the guide there was somebody there that would hook us up—they wanted us to go—invite us to go to one of the dance. We wanted to see the dance halls that night. So this girl wants to go, too. So we went to this dance and [it] was very, very nice in there. It was clean. The band had on white pants and blue shirt and was—I mean good music and everything. So we danced and had a nice time; and, then, the fellows that we met, they wanted—if we could send them—we could send them classical music. No, if we could send them jazz music or something, [a] record, they would send us classical music or something. They hadn't seen any magazines. They wanted old Times of any kind, but they wanted anything, but they were not allowed to use American readers. And so that night—I can't think of—Irene. This girl had a magazine, had some kind of magazine. They couldn't—

[unknown speaker]: Life.
JF:

Life magazine. They could only give it to them at night. It's like you go outside and you['re] just walking along, and she was walking along—just give him the magazine, because we told them the time we would be out there, the time he would be out there, and when we walked out there with magazines just walked along, hand him the magazine. You went on up the street, but you didn't see him any more, and he was wanting the magazine because nobody [had] any plans to send, you know, classical music and things like that that long.

BC:

Were there any other places that you visited—

JF:

We left Prague and went to Karlsbad, and that's the health spa there where all the kings and queens used to, you know, used to stay. And everybody, whether they go for their health, you just drink the water, and it was supposed to heal you, you know, so long like that. And if the person is poor, if the doctor recommends that he go there for a health treatment, then he—they pay—he goes there, but even when a lady is having babies, the places there, they get the best treatment. So we went there, and that's when they wanted the—we were on the dance floor out there. When this place—that night in the same place, and the guys had gotten this doctor to look at my toe, and he wanted to cut it—they wanted me to stay for—to have it—to be operated on. I said, “No, we're leaving the next day,” and I didn't have that.

So then we left Karlsbad and before we left there we went to Marienbad, which was right near Karlsbad, because Karlsbad is where they had all the waters and the things that we tasted and so forth. And that was on our trip; Marienbad was on our trip. We got there, and that's where they send—they were having a concert, and they had—in Europe you will find many concerts outside. People sit outside and listen to beautiful music and stuff like that and certain things. So they were having a concert. When we got out, the little band and started walking—you come at different times, and people started looking, turning around and looking at me, you know? Then they looked at the director saying he knew something was going on. He was the director and looking around and things like that. Those were the poor, the poor workers. They got fourteen—if they were good workers, like those workers at Pilsen and other places—now they had other brewers around, too. If they were good workers, they got fourteen days vacation and this is where they look too tired and poor to even enjoy the vacation, but they're paid fourteen days for them to have a vacation. That's the only vacation they got, for fourteen days, and that was at Marienbad.

BC:

How long did you serve there?

JF:

Well, all Chancey[?] and New York must have been from '30—from '46 to '63. I'd say to '63.

BC:

Did you get married?

JF:

Yes, I got married in '46, and I still stayed till '90.

BC:

So you stayed in Europe until?

JF:

1990, when I came back to the States.

BC:

And were you serving with Social Services the whole time?

JF:

No, see, after I got married, at that time when you got married you had to resign.

BC:

When did you get married?

JF:

In 1963.

BC:

Oh, '63, Okay.

JF:

1963. And so I didn't work anymore, and my husband and I just traveled. He liked to travel, too. I didn't know that he loved to travel a lot. So we did a lot of more traveling. In Russia—I didn't get a chance to Russia. Did you want to—have time to get to Russia?

BC:

Sure, sure. I probably only have about half an hour time.

JF:

Okay.

BC:

So whatever you would like to talk about.

JF:

Well, let me get to Russia right quick.

BC:

Can I ask you one question quick?

JF:

Yes.

BC:

When you went to Europe for the first time, Mannheim, is that where you said that you were discouraged from fraternizing with the German people? But you always found a way to drop some coal from your bucket so the German women—

JF:

Oh, yes. When I went there you couldn't—you had German people. We had what they called furnaces where we lived. We had—the military took care of us. We had—the buildings we stayed in—they paid. We didn't get too much money, but they paid for everything. And the poor women in the evening they would come along. We were not supposed to not even give them a stick of candy or anything—to any German, anything. And in the evening, the poor women would come along picking up coal or picking up anything that they could find, because they had nothing. They had nothing right after the war, and they had nothing. So what I would do, I said I would take coal from my bucket and things like that. This man would bring—after he would put the coal down there for the night and bring—go and get coal, and scattered it all around where I see the women coming, and let them pick it up, and everything I could get to throw down, let them pick it up, because that was helping them. And that always—they always thought about the things that they went through right after the war. And that, that's why a lot of these Germans girls, they married soldiers just to get to the States, just to—because they had no places to live, and some of them just lived on the streets, you know, like they did other places. So now in Germany you got everything you've got in the States. Stores and clothes and they're just as arrogant as they were in the beginning.

[unknown speaker]:

Moscow.

JF:

Oh, yes, Moscow. So I was looking at the tour section. I was the tour section in the club, and when the tour [unclear] would send tour things down, I would pick out and see what all to encourage the soldiers to go to travel—take their wives on when they have a vacation. So I came across this big sign that said the Kremlin, Moscow. Beautiful pictures. I just put it aside because I didn't have time to look at it at that time. I was doing my other work. So the next day, evening, that night or something, I started reading in the Kremlin—about the Kremlin. I said, “I want to know what these people are doing, what's happening there.” So I said, “My next tour now I want to see if I can go there.”

So I went to—you had to go to the inspector general [IG] and everything to get permission. I had to find out how much tour time I had, and the girl that travels with me, she was supposed to go with me, but she didn't check on the different leave time she had. I had checked on how much leave time I had before I made the reservation. So I went to my colonel through the IG first, and he had to go through is channel to find out if I could go. I had to see if I was into anything first. So then they told me to come in and talk with them. When I went in to talk to him ,and I said I wanted to go to Russia, he wanted to know “what do you want to go before the Iron Curtain?” So he said, “because it's the Cold War” was going on.

I said, “No, my leave time is in August.” [laughs]

What's this whole thing about the Cold War? So I guess he thought, “as dumb as she is, she don't know anything to tell nobody nothing.” [laughs] So he laughed. I came out and saw the sergeant major. I said the colonel laughed in there. He laughed when I told him that I was going in August. It's not cold over there then.

He said, “Well, a lot of people get it mixed up.”

He didn't know how to answer that. So that passed. I was able to—then they told me in two weeks I could be checked and everything. I could go. So they found out that my friend couldn't go.

And I said, “After I've gone through all this trouble, and I don't know if I'm going to leave to go to Russia, so I'm going by myself.”

But I had been to Stockholm [Sweden] many times, and I said, “at least I know some people up there. I'm going to Stockholm, and I can just see who all is going to meet us. I'll meet the tour up there.” Well, I got up to Stockholm, the place I was supposed to meet, [and] there were five men. There were two from Princeton, two from Yale, and one German man that was a teacher. He spoke Russian, and after then, after Russian I still believe that was a spy that went along with us, because he spoke Russian. But everybody [got] along fine. So when I saw them, they were very nice to us. I spoke to them.

I said, “You're my tour people?”

They said, “Yeah, we're going.”

And I shook everybody's hand. [Unclear] was telling me at the college over here [that] if we meet anybody, give them a good handshake and look them back in the eye and give them a good handshake. That will tell them about your character. And so we got along.

They just took me over, and we had to go from Stockholm then to Helsinki [Finland]. We got on Stockholm on the tugboat, what you call them, and went across. All night we had to sit up on this thing because [it was] bobbling here and there, and you couldn't sleep anyway. So the next morning, then we are in Helsinki. So we had to—that day, and then we had to take the train from Helsinki to Leningrad. It's called now to—

[unknown speaker]:

St. Petersburg.

JF:

St. Petersburg, [Russia]. It was Leningrad then, St. Petersburg. So we went to St. Petersburg after five days, and we had to go out to certain places. I met people from Belgrade [Serbia], and they'd come up and rub my skin, you know? Just let them rub it. I guess they thought they would rub it off. So then we stayed there five days and went around and saw the church, the—what you call the orthodox Jew—the church on one of the tours. It's a little church. When the men go to church they have a little stall. His name is on the stalls. He must be there Sunday, but the women can't sit down there with the men. They sit in the balcony and look over down there at the services. So well, we saw that, and I can't remember all the little things we saw on the different tours. We saw a lot of people and things.

So then, went into—we took a very slick plane. It only took about forty-five minutes from Leningrad to St. Petersburg into Moscow. So we got in. We got to Moscow. We got—we went to the hotel where we had reservations, and everybody was strange-looking, me with all these men. So [they thought], “what's she doing here with these men?” I didn't answer that then. So they gave me room. My room was on the first floor. So the men were upstairs. I don't know where they were, but I didn't see them anymore until they come down to eat and go on a tour or going eat latte or ice cream or something like that. We were going to look for books or things like that, but they were very nice fellows. They just—they wanted to know and took care of me and everything.

We would go on these tours and in the morning, we had a German lady go on these tours in the morning, and she—they would get so angry with these fellows. You know, they really stuck with her because they were lawyers. They could ask her all these questions. She got so angry one morning she said, “One day,” she said, “Russia will rule the world,” and that was way back. So we took the tours and everything. Then they would come to me. This woman—walk around and we were in the hotel or something like that. So one morning we were ready to go on a tour. She came down to me like the many places wanted to get information. She wanted to know, “Where did I get my clothes? Where did I learn to speak?” and all these things that. “Did I go to school in Europe?” and stuff like that. How did I—where did I travel. I just answered her. I travel like anybody else.

I said, “I'm American. I work in Europe, and I got my education in America,” and things like that. So all kinds of questions and things they would ask you.

“Well, where did you get your clothes.”

I say, “I buy them or work for them.” Things like that.

BC:

They were very curious.

JF:

So I looked at her for and I said, “Ma'am, by me being—”

“You are black and you are here with these white men.”

I said, “Look, I'm on a tour.” I said, “Ma'am. I'm black. I've been to school. I'm a graduate. I'm a teacher and everything, and I'm here to enjoy your country, and I have nothing else to say to you.”

And I looked at her, and she looked at me. I hadn't seen the woman since. [laughs] You get angry because they ask—they try to get around with me and like I've got something to say to them, and I have nothing to say to them.

So we would go on these tours. We left there. Then we would go—and then I was sitting down in the downstairs. I had—this was [a] teacher, and they had books in—Little Rabbit, but it was in German. Peter Rabbit, and stuff like that, and they had many bookstores. In Czechoslovakia you go every fourth store [and] they've got a book store, but everybody has a little library. And so I bought some of these little books and sitting down in the hall there where we were living in the hotel, and I'm sitting just looking through a book, and a family, a little girl, a man and a woman, there was a little girl with her. So she had been looking at me and things. I wanted to speak to her, but I just looked at her and smiled. She came over and looked down at the book, and one second there was a guard [that] came from somewhere in the hotel and looked at the book. Now, I'm not supposed to have any American book, any American literature, but this was German. So he looked at it, and he went on by. He didn't say anything. He just wanted to look at what I was reading, and it just happened to be a German little book with little “Peter Rabbit” on it and name—was German book. So I just showed it to the little girl. So that was that.

Then we went—there was something else that happened to me right quick. So many little things happened. I can't get them all together right now.

BC:

That's okay. It sounds like you had amazing travels for someone coming from North Carolina that didn't want to stay on the farm.

JF:

Right.

BC:

And was able to get out and see the world.

JF:

And just doing it, doing it. I never thought I would be able to do it. Till this day I just love people, and I love traveling. And even when I was small, even before I left from North Carolina, it seemed like I was a little different from others. Men used to come to the store. My father was a preacher. They would come to his store. They didn't want to call him minister or reverend. They called him uncle. I was about five years old. I'd look up and this old man's face one time.

I said, “My dad is not your uncle. He's black, and you're white.”

And my dad ran me out of the store because he said I talked too much and he didn't want me to say those things. You know, they didn't talk to white people back in the segregated time, you know. What they would say that was right. So, and even then I couldn't—I didn't understand it, but I didn't go along with it. They would come and dip snuff. Wouldn't come on the inside. Sit on the porch and dip snuff and spit right down in a hole, right down on the ground, and I took a hole and went there and dug a hole where he used to sit down and my father wanted to know, “What you digging that hole for?” So I'm digging that hole for that little white man to spit in. He was chewing tobacco. So little things like that. I was much different from the rest of them, and I just—I don't know. I just one of one. [laughs]

BC:

Well, looking back on your time with the Red Cross and India and the Special Services, is there anything that we haven't talked about that really stands out for you as a special time or something you are very proud of or—?

JF:

Do what?

BC:

During your time in India or in Europe, is there anything in particular that stands out for you that we didn't talk about?

JF:

That's what I'm trying to think about anything now.

BC:

Well, we've covered a lot of ground. So there might not be anything else.

JF:

I know there is something else. I'll be thinking about it. Well, the only thing, it was just—it just seems like it was meant for me to go to those types of places because I have met people. In fact, a dear friend of mine in Tours, France, one of those people—the lady—in fact, her husband was working at the concern is how I met, and they didn't live right down in the town. They had a chateau, and she died just about two or three months ago, but they still have this—I'm trying to think. But anything that's connected with people.

One thing that I think about that was in—where was this? Yes, this was in India, this man's wife—they had so many customs and things there. This man's wife was sick, and so he was working at the club. See, they had the club, they had the untouchables. Those that eat with their hands, you know. And they have Indians in the higher—the Maharajas, you know, the ones with the money, and then the lower class Indians. So this man was just working at the club, and I treated all of them alike. I had the lady in the club, my secretary in Calcutta, and people took care of this and that.

And he said, “One of these days, Ms. Moore, you're going home with me,” and I went home with him.

His wife was sick. He said his wife was sick, and she lay on a big, flat bed. And I guess everybody slept on that bed; I didn't see but one bed. And they went through these rituals. If she didn't get well, they would get the doctor, wash out the house and wash the house. And [if] she didn't get well, they call in a group of people. If she didn't get well, then they'd get a—they didn't call it a root doctor or someone like that. Then the next few days I asked how she was. She had got well. So then I didn't ask any more about her. She had gotten well.

Then another thing, going to France—well, I want you to look at those books and things over here before you leave.

BC:

Okay.

JF:

I guess I won't have time to go in my social life or nothing like that. Had a very interesting social life.

BC:

Did you just want to say a few things about it, then we will finish up with that?

JF:

Well, the first social life I had when I was about—not the first—I tried to have dates, you know, with soldiers. I couldn't work out with soldiers. You couldn't. So when I started meeting Europeans that, you know, people met when my going around there. I went to Switzerland. I had a friend. I started speaking about that. This friend of mine in London had a friend. In fact, Lee now is still in Philadelphia. She says she drama—she's into everything. She's into books and everything. Lee—and Donna was an entertainer. I was telling you about her. She lived in Spain, and we used to go to Spain. You didn't eat till ten o'clock at night, and you go all day long. You'd be hungry. If you didn't have little snacks, you didn't get anything. You'd eat at ten. Then you go out to these places. The mountains are beautiful. You can see the clouds and everything around, but the dance places are outside, and then that was at the time we went to Spain.

But I was talking about Switzerland. I went to Switzerland. I got there. I drove my car. Well, Donna had a friend who had never been to Europe, and she wanted to come down, and she knew Donna.

“You are such a good friend. She wants to come.”

“She can come to see me.”

So I had this house. So Lee came. We have been friends ever since. So she came, and I wanted to take her to Switzerland because I knew a girl and two American fellows who were going to study medicine in Geneva. So she went to see me many times. Say, I said we had some friends and we are going down there. So in my car, you must have a little green tag to get through France to get into Switzerland. So I don't know what happened, but I left my green card home. When I got to the border and didn't have a green card.

I said, “Golly, I can't go back to try to get a green card. I can't go all the way back home. They are looking for us down there.”

So the man on the gate, you know, he said, “Well, I'm sorry. You must have a green card.”

I said, “Is anybody here [unclear]”

He said, “Your captain was here.” He called them.

So he came and I told him, “Sir,” I said, “Listen, there's people here from America. I just can't go back now. I came all the way back.” And I had my charmed smile on, talking to him. So he let me in.

He wanted to know, “Well you are here without a green card. Where are you staying? What's your telephone number?”

I gave him my telephone number, where I was going, because I knew where I was going, to Elk[?].

So, well, he said, “I'll contact you before you leave.”

So I was wanting to get in. So we got in. That's when you can talk yourself over the border. So I got myself in and got ourselves into the border. So that night I got this telephone call from this gentleman. He said who he was, tall and nice looking fellow there, and intelligent and all. I started telling Ella about this gentleman.

He said, “Well, can I have a talk with you before you go back?”

And I said, “Okay,”—for me to talk with this—told her who he was.

She said, “Okay.”

So one evening I had him to come over, and we started to kind of dating, but he couldn't talk too well in English, and then he wanted to write. We tried to write awhile, and finally we tried to write awhile and something like that. Then we saw each other once again. So that was my first date on that side. Then when I got in France—I was in France. When I got back I wanted to take them into Paris. So one time when I was living with this French family I went into Paris and I had this Yvonne. Yvonne is an English name, and also in France it's a French name. It's just like Jean and Jean. Jean is spelled the same as Jean.

BC:

Right.

JF:

And so I met this guy, and he had a business in Paris, so we drove up to Paris. I had met him down in Tours—very fine, intelligent, very English and everything. So we dated around for awhile. So I went there, and [have] you heard of a bloodwurst? You know wurst is sausage, stuff that they make—

BC:

Right.

JF:

—out of the blood. And you know I could never eat it, any blood. So we went out to dinner and he was sitting across the table, and I was sitting over here, and first they bring the little orders. First I had the first bloodwurst. Well, I knew it well enough. I took the bloodwurst on my fork. Instead of giving it to him, I let it go in his glass of wine. That's what the little funny thing that happened on that.

Then, come back then I had—after dinner left France we come back. I didn't have any real big serious dates in Paris or France or anything like that. It was a very light thing.

Then in Germany, then, naturally I had mostly had sergeants—would have dates. Finally they were not so dependable. And so I was going with this one fellow that I thought I was going to get married to, an American soldier, and at that time they didn't bring the rings over. A lot of time they were married and you didn't know it. They didn't have their rings on because they didn't want to marry me. So we were talking about getting married. The soldiers—he was a supply sergeant—said when he left he had to go home on emergency, and the fellow—one fellow came to me.

He said, “Jean, you've been so nice to us in this club doing things. I'm going to tell you about what deal he's going to States on emergency. His little boy is sick.”

I said, “Little boy. He's not even married.”

He said, “Yes, he is married. He's got five kids.”

I said, “Don't you ever tell it, because you will get him when he comes back.”

So I was going to tell him. So he went—when he came back, he wanted to come on over. I said, “Yes, come on over.” So I said, “How did you find your little boy?” or something. I said, “You're married. You didn't tell me you were married and you've got children. You had five.”

“Well, I'm going to get a divorce.”

“You're not going to get it from me.” I said, “That's finished.”

So I was finished with him. Then I met another one that I had a car—and he didn't have a car, and I let him use my car while I was busy clubbing, and he was running around with girls in my car to have an accident.

BC:

Oh, no.

JF:

And that's how I knew he was running around, because I trust people, you know? I can [unclear] things like that [laughs].

BC:

Well, it sounds like you had a very active social life?

JF:

Yes.

BC:

Well—

JF:

That got down after going on and on. So there's no need for me—and so I want you to—yes?

BC:

No, I was just going to say I'm afraid we're running a little short on time.

JF:

Yes.

BC:

It's been a pleasure talking with you. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed hearing all your stories. You certainly have had a very fascinating life, both with your service with the Red Cross and afterwards with Social Services. I just wanted to thank you for speaking with me today. I really have enjoyed it.

JF:

Well, you're certainly welcomed. I enjoyed talking with you, too. Now, some of the things that you spoke about that you would like—I want you to see them.

BC:

Okay.

[End of interview]