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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Buren Rose, 2008

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Object ID: WV0433.5.001

Description: Primarily documents Buren Rose’s service in the civil service from 1942 to 1943 and her career in radio.

Summary: Rose discusses her childhood and education in Missouri. She goes on to talk about her employment history before joining the civil service, including working for the civil service as a driver for Colonel Morris Taber. Topics from this period include meeting her second husband, the base band, dances, housing, young people’s awareness of the war, Colonel Taber, volunteering at the hospital on base, a boyfriend who washed out in pilot training, and other women on the base. She also discusses her post service career in radio, including being a female in a male dominated field. Her husband, Jack Rose, is present for the interview and discusses his opinion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the current economic recession, and participating in the creation of a cartoon about flexible gunnery. Together they share their opinions of the presidents from Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson.

Creator: Buren Rose

Biographical Info: Buren Rose (1919- ) of Jefferson City, Missouri, served in the civil service from 1942 to 1943 and later worked in radio broadcasting.

Collection: Buren Rose Oral History

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

Full Text:

Therese Strohmer:

This is Therese Strohmer, and it is October 17, 2008. We are in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we are conducting an oral history interview for the Women’s Veterans Historical Project at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. And I have with me Buren Rose and John Thomas, who goes by Jack Rose.

Jack Rose:

Hi.

TS:

So I’m going to have—Buren, go ahead and say your name the way you’d like to have it on your collection.

Buren Rose:   

Buren Rose.

TS:

Perfect. [Recording paused] —right now and we’ll see. Okay, Buren, just say anything. Why don’t you tell me—

BR:

All right, Buren, just say anything. Just like you told me.

TS:

That’s good. Jack, how about you? How about you say something over there?

JR:

I need to say something?

TS:

Perfect. That works.

JR:

Okay.

TS:

Well, Buren, why don’t we start off by having you tell me where you grew up?

BR:

Jefferson City, Missouri. I was born in 1919 on February 14.

TS:

Oh, Valentine’s Day.

BR:

Yeah.

TS:

That’s really nice.

BR:

I was born after my parents had buried a little girl who died at the age of six. And they waited about three years and had me. And I had a brother who ended up being ten years older than I, so I had three parents. [TS laughs]

And we—during the Depression my folks had just built a beautiful new bungalow. That was the vogue those days, a bungalow built for two. And they—my father was a builder. Nobody was building anything during the Depression, so they were able to trade that house for a farm out from Jefferson City, Missouri, on the highway towards St. Louis. And I was a lonely little country girl with no telephone, no neighbors, no car, just dogs and cats and chickens and stuff to play with, which it didn’t take long to get tired of. We lived in a—it was a pretty nice farm. We had a windmill with grapes growing on it, and I ate an awful lot of grapes around climbing up that windmill. [chuckling] And I had two kittens and two cats, both of them white. I went to a one room schoolhouse.

TS:

Did you have to walk to it at all?

BR:

It was—it happened to be right next door to the farmhouse.

TS:

Oh, okay.

BR:

Of course the other kids, they all had brothers and sisters, but I was a lone little thing. And my parents were older and they were saddened by the little girl that I was supposed to replace, the one they lost. And I didn’t replace her at all. I was me.

TS:

That’s right.

BR:

So I got very lonesome in my younger years. And as the Depression eased a little, my parents were able to take me to town to go to the high school in town. And I graduated from the Simonsen Junior High School in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1936. And I couldn’t wait to get out of Jefferson City. We couldn’t afford college for me and I didn’t—I wasn’t smart enough to go to college anyhow. I made terrible grades.

TS:

Did you like school at all?

BR:

Not at all.

TS:

Not at all? [laughs]

BR:

Not at all. And so I got out of Jefferson City by getting married. I didn’t really run off because my parents—I think they knew if I made up my mind, that’s what I was going to do, so they might as well go along with it. So—but he lived in Independence, Missouri, and that’s where I went, to Independence.

TS:

Who was this “he” person?

BR:

His name was Richard Day.

TS:

Richard Day. Okay.

BR:

And so we eventually moved into Kansas City [Missouri] and I became a switchboard operator in the nice hotels they had there. And we did that until the war [World War II] came on. And my brother was in Texas—my older brother.

TS:

What’s your older brother’s name?

BR:

It was Elmer. There’s another one of those family names.

TS:

There you go.

BR:

Where’d they come from? Elmer Vincent Boyce. B-o-y-c-e, which of course was my maiden name, Boyce.

TS:

Thank you.

BR:

And they lived in San Antonio, he and his wife. She was from Willis, Texas. And they had four children, and they wanted me down there to babysit their children. And I was getting tired of being married and living in—anyhow we—both of us moved to Texas, and that babysitting didn’t last very long. [laughter] I got a job with—of course war was going strong by then.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

And so I got a job through the—what was—can you cut that off?

TS:

Oh, sure.

[Recording paused]

BR:

Okay.

TS:

Okay.

JR:

Through—

TS:

Okay.

JR:

Repeat it.

TS:

Yeah, you got a job through—

BR:

Through the civil service.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

And I was sent to the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center [now Lackland Air Force Base]. Well, I had no idea what that was or where it was, a thing about what they did, but it turned out to be the most interesting and exciting part of my life.

TS:

Now how was it that you got that job?

BR:

All you had to do was to be a live body in those days [TS laughs] and you could get a job in San Antonio, because they needed everything. The war was starting up. It was started up and they needed teachers, they needed secretaries, they needed anything you had to offer, and I wasn’t trained for anything.

TS:

Well,, babysitting. [laughs]

BR:

I was pretty good at that. No, not very good either. I didn’t like that a bit. But anyhow, we—I went to the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center where they sent me. And they said, “You report at the car pool.” And they—then they assigned me to a staff car and, “Now you’ll be working for Colonel [Morris] “Morrie” Taber.” Of course that meant nothing to me either. Well, it turns out that he was—

JR:

He was a West Pointer.

BR:

A West Pointer, commanding officer of the pre-flight school. That’s making—the education of the pilots, to making—I mean the cadets to make pilots out of them.

TS:

Right. Okay.

BR:

And it was the pre-flight, before flying. And you did have to study up on it.

TS:

So a lot of academic-type work?

BR:

Well, now Jack was in the—

JR:

Engineering and learning how to be a pilot and a navigator. And the folks who didn’t make pilot became navigators, but they had to do training.

TS:

Okay. I see. So I take it that you were one of the cadets?

JR:

No.

TS:

No?

JR:

I was a training officer, training them.

TS:

That’s right. Okay.

BR:

Jack had just graduated from North Carolina State [University] as a chemical engineer. Talk about a square peg in a round hole. [laughter]

TS:

So you’re a driver then for Colonel Morrie Taber.

BR:

That’s right.

TS:

What did that entail? What kind of things did you have to do for that?

BR:

Drive. [laughter] Where ever he wanted to go, and he wasn’t very—he didn’t go very much, so I had a lot of time to spend around his office just doing nothing. So of course I had a chance to talk to all the boys.

TS:

Were you still married at this time?

BR:

Well, that dissolved.

TS:

Okay. So by the time you started, you were no longer—

BR:

No longer married.

TS:

So you’re a free bird.

BR:

Yes.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

It was fun. [laughter] But if I got tired of sitting around I’d ask Colonel Taber I could—if it was all right if I went so-and-so or here or there.“Oh, sure.” And I know one day I was going over—let’s see—well I have to—

TS:

That’s okay.

BR:

—divert my conversation a little bit. On one side was classification, and then there was a road going up, and then on the other side was the cadet center. So they classified them over here, and then when they did that they put them all over on the other side.

TS:

So it was kind of a separated.

BR:

Yes. And the supply was over on the classification side.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

So—and as you probably know, any kind of air base, they had gravel roads and so on because they were just trying to put a war together real fast.

TS:

Right.

BR:

So I was going over there, and you had a trip ticket that you had to fill out from where you travelled and how many miles and so on like that. So—I don’t know why I was over there on classification, but I was, and I was looking down at my trip ticket to see where—how many miles I’d—kind of filling it out, and I came to a stop street and instead of stopping—there was a sign in the middle of the street and it said “stop!” Well, I was busy doing this—and it was sitting on top of the gravel road—and I—

TS:

So you’re driving while you’re doing this?

BR:

I was driving—

TS:

You’re driving and reading.

BR:

—while I was.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

And I happened to look up and here I was pushing that stop sign along on top of the gravel, and here was this lieutenant over here just bent double laughing at me. “Oh my gosh!” And I sort of looked at him and waved and he just, oh you know like, “Women drivers!” And I said, “You want a ride?”

TS:

There you go.

BR:

“Don’t mind if I do,” in this southern accent. So I got him in the car, and I took him on up. He was going to supply, so I took him on up to supply and that was that.

TS:

We’re talking about Jack, right?

BR:

We’re talking about Jack.

TS:

This is Jack. Okay.

BR:

So that was the end of that, as far as I was concerned, just about. And so maybe I’m getting off on this now. But we—my roommate and I stayed late one night after the others were working, and I got off work—and there’s a cafeteria there, where everybody during the day has lunch that’s not a soldier. It was usually just full of people, but this time there were only about two or three tables that were being used. And my roommate and I went down the cafeteria line with our trays in our hands, you know, and here was a table with two lieutenants sitting there and all the rest of them were empty. And we said, “Would you mind if we sat with you?”

And they said, “No,” jumped up and helped us sit down. And that’s how I met my husband. It was the same guy that saw me pushing that stop sign. And it’s—it went on from there.

TS:

I see. So you didn’t mind at that point, Jack?

JR:

No, but she had something else to offer.

TS:

Is that right?

JR:

I was already dating somebody else. And she had a nice Ford convertible, and she used to lend me—lend that convertible to me to go date this other person. [BR chuckles]

TS:

You did?

BR:

Oh, I’m smart. [laughter] Yes, he really did. He really—I told him this morning how lucky he was.

TS:

That is funny. That is pretty funny. How long did that go on with you taking—

JR:

Well, we met about September, and we got married in June the fifth.

TS:

What year was this that we’re talking about?

JR:

Forty—September ’42 and June ’43.

TS:

Okay.

JR:

And we’ve been married going on sixty-six years come next June.

TS:

That is fantastic.

BR:

This past June. That’s—

JR:

We both wondered if—

BR:

—2007.

JR:

We both wondered if we were doing the correct thing

TS:

At the time?

BR:

And we were married on June the fifth, 1943.

TS:

Forty-three, he said. How was it with both of you then in Texas, in San Antonio? What kind of events did you go to, like socially?

BR:

Oh, that’s interesting. They had for—they entertained the cadets. I know mostly about what they did with the air cadets. They had a dance with an orchestra every—once or twice a week, because the cadets could not all get off at one time. If they all went into San Antonio at one time, there wouldn’t be standing room.

TS:

How many cadets were there?

BR:

All right, Jack, will you try to—

JR:

There were eight units like I commanded.

TS:

Okay.

JR:

And there were six-hundred cadets in each unit, and they changed every six weeks. By the end of six weeks, I could name every cadet by name, where he was from, and then I had a new batch to learn.

TS:

That’s pretty fantastic.

BR:

It really is.

TS:

I have trouble remember two names at a time. [laughs]

JR:

Pardon? Oh!

TS:

So you went to dances with the full orchestra?

BR:

Well,, there was an orchestra on the post.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

It played for all the parades. And the band—there was a band, and most of the people who were in the band were in the orchestra too, so they were powerful busy. Just something of interest about that band out there: I was driving around in the staff car by the parade ground and I heard this music, you know. It was not regular band music, and I thought, “That’s funny.” And I sort of rolled down the window and here they had the band out there on the parade ground in march time, playing “Right in the Fuehrer’s Face.” [“Der Fuehrer’s Face”] I don’t know whether you’ve ever heard that song.

TS:

I haven’t.

BR:

Oh, it’s—

TS:

How does it—do you know how it goes?

BR:

[hums] And then they go: “Pft! Right in the fuehrer’s face!” [laughter] I don’t know the words.

TS:

Kind of satirical type—

BR:

And everybody was just stopped and looked and their eyes were wide, and I really believe in this Glenn Miller movie that it showed where he did something like that. I believe he played “St. Louis Blues.” But that really happened, and they said, “Never again is going to anything like that take place.” But it was such a relief to see something so amusing. [TS laughs] And they did it well.

TS:

That’s pretty good.

BR:

A lot went on at the cadet center. The churches—they had two or three churches, and one was right on the parade ground, or adjacent to the parade ground, and that’s where Jack and I were married, in one of those chapels.

TS:

In San Antonio?

BR:

In one of the chapels, yes.

TS:

Now what about—because I went to San Antonio then, it would’ve been 1980.

JR:

Nineteen-eighty?

TS:

Nineteen-eighty. So tell me what San Antonio looked like in 1942.

BR:

I don’t think it’s changed a whole lot. Along the [San Antonio] River it has, and there have been nice new hotels, but of course the Alamo hasn’t changed. And where the dances were given was the Gunter Hotel [now the Sheraton Gunter Hotel]. Was that—in 1980, was there a Gunter Hotel?

TS:

There could have been. I did not do a whole lot of socializing, so I don’t know. [chuckles]

JR:

It was small.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

Well, it was not—it was pretty big then. But anyhow, their ballroom was full. And they made a big deal out of these dances. They sent girls around town engraved invitations. Any name they could get of a girl, it went on an invitation to go to those dances, because they wanted those cadets to be happy. And they were very partial to the cadets.

TS:

So was it like a society type dance?

BR:

No, no.

TS:

Anybody?

BR:

Anybody. If there was a girl walking on the street, somebody would say, “Hey, there’s a dance upstairs. Why don’t you go?”

“Okay!” It was very—once you got there, but they wanted girls up there and the prettier the better.

TS:

There you go.

BR:

And they had at the cadet center a lady in—I guess her offices were in what we called the cafeteria, but that was also a gym and sports were in there and plays and different things like that. And this lady—her name was Genevieve McDavitt—she and I were real chummy. She took care of the dances and all the plans that they made for the dances in the Gunter Hotel. And of course they always had lieutenants [laughs] as chaperones at those dances so I don’t know—

JR:

Genevieve was a professional dancer.

BR:

That was her profession. And she later, after the war was over and she no longer was working at the cadet center, was a teacher at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

TS:

Okay.

JR:

At what college?

BR:

Stephens College. It’s a ladies school.

JR:

Oh, yes.

TS:

Now what—Buren, when you first got to San Antonio, can you tell me about like the housing that you lived in? What was that like?

BR:

Oh my, everything was full. Full. My roommate and I eventually—well we—

TS:

What kind of place was it that you had? Was it like a barracks or a—

BR:

No, not a barracks. We lived in a home. When we started out, my roommate and I were in a home. And I don’t know why we moved away from that place. But anyhow, I think this lady offered us a breakfast. If we’d go to her house and have a room in her house, she would fix our breakfast. So that sounded pretty good. But that didn’t last long because she got tired of getting up and getting our breakfast. By the time she asked us to leave, there was—we couldn’t find any place at all, nowhere. And we finally ended up moving into a hotel. And it was a hotel downtown called the Robert E. Lee. I think part of the build—last time Jack and I were in San Antonio, part of the building was remaining and they had put—added to it and made offices in that old hotel. But it was in walking distance to downtown. And it was expensive. And with that Ford convertible too, I was hard up for money.

TS:

Well, I was just going to ask you about that? What kind—do you remember about how much you got paid or how much it cost, how things cost?

BR:

I don’t remember what I got paid.

JR:

I don’t remember what your salary was, but a lieutenant’s salary was $241 a month.

TS:

How did that feel to you? Did you think that was good or not good—what—$241?

JR:

Well, we were scratching by. I was used to scratching by. [I] had to go to school with very little money.

TS:

So your pay—was your car paid for?

BR:

No! [laughter] That’s what Jack and I were talking about this morning.

JR:

I had to take over the payments.

BR:

I told him, “Lucky guy that took over the payments.” [laughter]

JR:

How lucky could she get? Keep the car and get a new husband and get the car paid for.

TS:

Well, that’s a pretty good deal. No wonder she ran into that stop sign. [laughter]

JR:

Correct.

TS:

That’s good.

BR:

And the other hotel in downtown San Antonio was the St. Anthony.

TS:

Oh, okay.

BR:

It was—do you—

TS:

I think I’ve heard of the St. Anthony.

BR:

It was across—let’s see, across the street from the St. Anthony was an Episcopal church that we attended. Do you know what the name of the Episcopal church was?

JR:

I don’t remember, but—

BR:

Well, I remember this much: We had that convertible parked out by the church on one Sunday morning with the top up, and it came a hail storm and there were holes all over the top of the car. Oh! And ice sitting in the seat when we got out of the services.

TS:

They have some pretty big hail storms in Texas. I remember.

BR:

Yes, there is. Absolutely. But the River Walk was always full of soldiers, and the sidewalks. They’re rather wide in San Antonio, but the sidewalks were crowded. You had to watch where you were going and pick your spots in order to get through the traffic because there were about ten different army installations in San Antonio. Fort Sam Houston and Randolph—

JR:

Randolph Field [now Randolph Air Force Base].

BR:

Randolph Field it was—and, oh, the Kelly Field [Annex], [unclear] [clears throat] that was out of San Antonio, Normal[?]. But we had—run into somebody you know from—he did—from North Carolina a lot of times.

TS:

Is that right?

BR:

It’s amazing how you could do that. But out at the cadet center was where the action was.

TS:

What was happening out there?

BR:

Well, there were just so many people there and all of them going for one thing. At one time Life magazine’s cover was what they called “an acre of cadets” standing close together. Have you ever heard of that? You smile like you’ve heard of it.

TS:

I think I have.

BR:

That was taken—that picture was taken—

JR:

It was called what?

BR:

An acre of cadets.

TS:

So it was real—it was a real hustle and bustle kind of—

BR:

Oh yeah, it was.

TS:

What did you—did you like what you were doing? Did you feel— [phone rings]

BR:

Oh, I loved it.

TS:

We can pause this for a second.

[Recording paused]

TS:

Okay, go ahead.

BR:

There was activity out there of the officers and their wives too. During the time I was there they built a beautiful new officers’ club, and we spent quite a bit of time there too. And the BOQ [bachelor officers’] quarters were nearby and they had a swimming pool and there was a golf course between Kelly Field and the cadet center. The cadet center was up on a hill, few of which are in Texas, and it looked down over Kelly Field, and the golf course was there as was the firing range. So it was well equipped, and the cadets had access to it any time they were free.

JR:

Access to what?

BR:

Well, not the officers’ club, but I think the golf course and the firing range.

JR:

Oh, I don’t know about golf. I wouldn’t play at that time.

TS:

No? Well, what about besides dances, what else did you guys do for social activities?

BR:

Well, there’s Brackenridge Park in San Antonio.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

And it was full of soldiers. Soldiers would go anywhere they could find to go that would—in fact an incident happened to me at that Brackenridge Park that I know there’s a God. A girlfriend and I were—she was quite an equestrian, and I rode a plug—plow horse when I was on the farm so, “Yeah, I can ride.” So she and I went out. They had horses for hire, so we went out and each got a horse. And we were driving—riding along and she was ahead of me and her horse stopped to drink some water. It was a—what is that about, oh its thirty inches by thirty inches horse trough for water.

TS:

Oh, okay.

BR:

And they’re made out of stone. Her horse stopped and drank, and I was going toward it and my horse leaned over to drink, and at that very moment a car full of soldiers came along. One of them jumped out and said, “Yea! Look at the gals!” and he leapfrogged on the back of my horse while the horse was drinking. Well, the horse jumped up over the watering trough and threw both of us in the air.

TS:

Oh my goodness.

BR:

And I sat down with my behind in the water, and he sat down with his behind in the water unhurt. And he looked at me and said, “My name’s so-and-so. What’s yours?” [laughter] I could’ve killed him! But I mean that was—the Lord was there. I don’t know how that ever happened. Neither one of us was scratched or hurt in any way. Young and agile.

TS:

Did you ever get back up on the horse?

BR:

My friend got the horse. She ran after the horse and brought it back. I was crazy enough to get back on it. [laughter]

TS:

How about that? That’s pretty good. Now for the war going on—so in ’42, ’43 that’s pretty serious stuff happening in World War II. What did you guys think about, you know, the—you know we think about today the War on Terror and the war on Iraq [Operation Iraqi Freedom] and the war in Afghanistan [Operation Enduring Freedom], but World War II was kind of a different environment. How would you characterize it?

BR:

Well, of course, I don’t think—they didn’t have radios in barracks, did they, Jack?

JR:

I don’t remember.

BR:

We had—for communication we had a loudspeaker that went out over—I think everybody on the base could hear, and I remember they played “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and soldiers, a lot of them who couldn’t go home, sat there and cried. People were wrapped up in themselves and wanted to do something, you know, “Let’s get going.” We didn’t really follow the papers. I don’t think we got a paper, did we?

JR:

Probably not.

BR:

Actually, your youth has a different outlook—or those days. Now the youth are more informed, but we didn’t care. We just knew [Adolf] Hitler was bad and we didn’t like Germans and—but we were obsessed with our own pleasures.

TS:

So what was happening in San Antonio—

BR:

That’s right. Right around us.

TS:

Okay. That’s interesting.

BR:

We were not as visual or earth-consuming as you are now, you young folks.

TS:

Well, and you have—today you have the internet, like you said, and 24/7 news cycles. So like you said, you either had the newspaper or the radio and that was it.

BR:

Yeah.

TS:

Or whatever gossip came out.

BR:

But orchestras were big. Dancing is about the only thing that I know of except walking along the park and the mariachi bands, and the atmosphere of San Antonio was—they seemed to really love San Antonio.

TS:

Now what did you think of FDR [President Franklin D. Roosevelt] at that time?

BR:

Well, I— [chuckles] I thought he was pretty good stuff. We weren’t as vicious about politics those days as we are now. And so they gave him the third term, “Okay. He’s going a good job. Why not?”

JR:

Well, we needed him. If you’ve read the book, A Man Called Intrepid [by William Stevenson], he’s mentioned in that. That’s the story of the British intelligence, and it tells how FDR cooperated in supporting England against Germany. And if he hadn’t done all the things he had done, like the lend-lease lending stuff to fight a war, [BR coughs] we probably wouldn’t be Americans today.

TS:

So you have a pretty high opinion of FDR too?

JR:

Well,, I did. Yeah. Well,, he had a tough time—tough time because the Depression was severe.

TS:

That’s true. What about the Depression, like if we look at today, I mean we’re having some financial troubles. Does it worry you at all? Does it remind you anything about—?

JR:

They built in so many things to prevent it from getting severe, you hope that they take hold and it will not be as bad. I don’t know.

TS:

Does it worry you at all?

JR:

No. I’m retired and all my income is tied up with stuff that doesn’t get affected much.

TS:

Right. How about you?

JR:

Besides that, they’re raising Social Security as of January 1.

TS:

Oh, for cost of living?

JR:

Yeah.

TS:

There you go.

BR:

We weren’t as tense about politics then as—

JR:

It’s going to be about—it’s going to be about $63 a month increase.

BR:

We haven’t talked about Colonel Taber.

TS:

Yeah. Let’s talk about Colonel Taber.

BR:

He was a West Point graduate, an officer, and at the time I worked for him, he was a lieutenant colonel.

JR:

He was in a what?

BR:

A lieutenant colonel.

JR:

Oh, yeah.

BR:

And he was tall, and he looked so beautiful in a uniform. And I think he was about thirty-four years old. He was a very young lieutenant colonel at the time. He’d had me come in the office with him once in a while, and he’d sit back like this. He’d say, “Well,, what are we going to do today? Where would you like to go?” He was very relaxed, and I think he had more time on his hands than he needed. He just had plenty of time. So we’d go out to Randolph Field. And I know one time he was anxious to get out there at a certain time.

He says, “I’ve got a whole lot of work to do today and I’ve got to be out at Randolph Field by one o’clock.”

And I thought, “Oh my gosh. When is he going to eat?” So I bought some food for him and coffee and stuff, and he got in the back seat and I was going through San Antonio around corners and here he was in the back seat trying to drink all this coffee and sandwich and so on. I happened to glance over there and it was spilling all over him. [laughter] But nevertheless he walked in there and took care of his business, whatever it was. I sat out in front.

But he was—he took—we went down to the firing range one time. “I want to see what this is like.” And by George he asked me to drive on top of it. And I just—I was really not very happy about that, but that’s what I did. And yeah, “Nice view from up here.”

TS:

[laughs] On top of the firing range.

BR:

Yes! It’s a wonder I didn’t get stuck. But anyhow, he eventually—oh, he always wanted to fly. Oh, he wanted to fly. He wanted to go to North Africa. He finally got his wish. He went to China. And he flew the same routes, I think, as the Flying Tigers. The Flying Tigers at that time were no more.

JR:

He was a volunteer with the Flying Tigers, wasn’t he?

BR:

I don’t know that he was. I think the volunteers were no longer in existence by the time he got over there. But his picture were in some magazines that I saw and somebody sent me some magazines, and he sent me some pictures of which are in that box. [TS laughs] He was shot down over Kunming, China. So he left a wife, and I think he had two or three children. Colonel Morrie Taber—Morris Taber.

TS:

Who were you driving for after Colonel Taber?

BR:

Well,, I got married. [TS laughs] And you couldn’t work on the base if your husband was an officer, so I had to resign. And it wasn’t long until Jack was transferred to Harlingen, Texas in the flexible gunnery. He had a good time down there with the Disney people from Disneyland.

TS:

What’d you do with that, Jack?

JR:

Well, I was an advisor on a film that was being made. It’s still being shown today. It was called GI Joe, and it had to do with teaching. It was an animation film to teach the soldiers how to fire a flexible gunnery—.50 caliber and .30 caliber machine guns—and hit the plane instead of following them. That’s about what I was doing.

TS:

So if it’s an animated film, how did you help them in the film?

JR:

Well, we had Hollywood people in there filming and doing caricatures. It was a caricature film. It was a cartoon.

TS:

Oh, okay. So you were kind of advising them of the right way—

JR:

Right, right.

TS:

Okay. So “This is how it works,” and then they would draw kind of along those lines.

JR:

Right.

TS:

Oh, pretty neat. Did you get a credit in the film?

JR:

I don’t think I did. [laughter] In fact, some of our group went to Hollywood, and I was scheduled to go to work with them but that never happened. I think the war ended or something. I’ve forgotten. It’s been a long while ago.

BR:

Jack told me these men from Hollywood were funny characters. They don’t work like other people. And I can understand why, they’re creators. He said he was with them in the hotel room—that’s where they worked, in the hotel room, with a great big lot of beer. And they’d sit around drinking beer and cracking jokes with their pencil and pads in their hands, and one of them would go, “Oh, I’ve got an idea!” And he’d put down his beer and mark out something or draw something and say, “What do you think of that?” And somebody—they were having fun and—

JR:

Oh, it was a great time.

BR:

Drinking time, too.

TS:

[laughs] That’s a pretty good story. That’s a pretty good story. So what do you think about your time that you did spend as a military driver? Did you feel like you were part—you know, contributing to the war effort?

BR:

Yes. Yes, I did. I did little things for other people around there, and I talked to a lot of these soldiers who were from Arkansas and never been away from there. And it wasn’t just cadets on there too. There were a lot of enlisted men. They seemed to be so lonely, and especially at Christmas. It was quiet at Christmas, and as many as could did go home. It was a real sad time, it seemed like, at Christmas. I’d help with the cars and—

TS:

How would you help with the cars?

BR:

Oh, I’d whiskbroom out the insides, you know, and tell them if it didn’t look right. These were—we were trying to figure out whether they were Chevrolets or Fords.

TS:

Yeah, I was going to ask you what kind of car you were driving around.

BR:

They were painted olive drab, no chrome at all. Well, you wouldn’t want a chrome, anyhow.

TS:

That’s right.

BR:

But they were—they were pretty nice for their day. They were very knocked down, no specials or extras on them at all. No radio, but—

TS:

Well, good enough to go up on top of a firing range, I guess. [laughter]

BR:

It didn’t pretty well didn’t it, Therese.

TS:

I think so. So you felt really good about what you did.

BR:

Yes. And there was a hospital there, and I helped up there some too, just talking to people and trying to make them feel better.

TS:

Like a volunteer type—

BR:

Yes.

JR:

She’s a great talker. She’s been talking ever since. [laughter]

TS:

There’s nothing wrong with that. Well, I was going to ask you too, when you decided to go to Texas, what did your folks think about that? And we having really talked about your mother too much either.

BR:

MY—at that time I was married that I went to Texas.

TS:

That’s right.

BR:

And my brother was living there too. So it—they were older and tired and the Depression was—had hit them hard. They knew they couldn’t offer me anything. I feel like maybe they were glad to get me off their hands. [laughter] What else was it you—?

TS:

Your mother. You talked about your dad a little.

BR:

Oh, my mother. Well,, as I told you before, she’s German.

TS:

That’s right.

BR:

And she is an authoress. She wrote children’s plays and she had them published.

TS:

What’s your mother’s name?

BR:

Minnie—well she went under the name of Minnie Fewell[?]. Her name was Minnie Hahn Fewell. She remarried, and I think she was married for about a month and the Fewell just didn’t last. But she kept that name, and I didn’t like that very well because I wanted her to be called what I always knew her as Minnie Boyce.

But it was children’s plays. And in order to get them published, the publisher told her that she had to have at least one of them in a play. So she, in the little town we lived in, Jefferson City—which is the capital of Missouri, by the way—she got together a lot of children and produced that play herself in the local high school. And it was well attended. And it’s done so well that not long after that the town had a parade of some kind and they asked her to get together a lot of children and make a farm scene. So she got an old wagon and things like that, dressed up these children, and had them going down the High Street. She did enough of that that she got a name for herself as an author and producer. She belonged to the Writer’s Guild, National Writer’s Guild. So she was very active in that. She liked to travel. She—I don’t know if she ever was out of the United States, but she was up around Lake Superior and different places that a lot of people don’t really go to.

TS:

That’s right by Michigan—

BR:

Yes, it is.

TS:

—so I know where Lake Superior is.

BR:

And, well, you may know—

TS:

That’s a long ways too.

BR:

Yes, it is. But she had a brother living in Wisconsin, Black River Falls, and so that put her in that part of the country. And she wrote some plays for that, and in the box are some of her books.

TS:

Oh, very neat.

BR:

So I don’t know what’s happened to that precious box.

TS:

Buren’s talking about a box that—I’m just telling the transcriber here—a box that you say you have all your artifacts and things in that you’re just—we’re looking for. I think it will turn up.

BR:

We just don’t even have a picture of Jack in his uniform.

JR:

It’s in there somewhere.

TS:

It’s somewhere. Well, we know what happened, so—

BR:

And San Antonio was a nice town to be in. The climate is nice and lots of things to see. And I have a niece—well all my brother’s children live in Texas, all the way to Austin, down to San Antonio.

TS:

It’s not—Texas is a real nice place. I enjoyed the people in Texas quite a lot. I was going to ask you too what—was there anything really—when you were working on the cadet center, at the cadet center, was there anything especially hard that you had to do physically or emotionally?

BR:

Well, emotionally I got mixed up sometimes. But I really—there was nothing hard about it. In fact I think the war would’ve gone on if I hadn’t been there. [laughter] They had a paper on the cadet center like you would in school and told each month they had a one of the pretty girls, one of the stenographers—there were women working there too, in all the offices. And my roommate was working there. So they’re the ones that would go to this cafeteria at lunch.

TS:

Were they civilian or were they in the military?

BR:

I imagine they would be—now what was I?

TS:

You were—

JR:

Civil service?

BR:

Civil service. I think they were all civil service.

TS:

Did you have any women in the military on that base that you remember, Jack?

JR:

I don’t think so.

TS:

No?

BR:

The WACs [Women’s Army Corps] hadn’t really gotten around by then.

TS:

Maybe not in that area.

BR:

Yes, possibly.

TS:

Yeah, that could be. Well, that’s interesting. So you—how did you get along with the colonel, Colonel Taber?

BR:

We got along fine. The other people in the office—his adjutant general, Colonel [Verden?], was a redheaded Irishman from Oklahoma. What was Colonel Verden’s first name? Do you remember?

JR:

Not right now.

BR:

He had grown children. He was an older man. And then there were two or three girls in the office, and they typed and typed and typed and everything had to be written in triplicate. I mean carbon paper after carbon paper.

TS:

Yeah, lots of it.

BR:

And I know the girls—I’d help them sometimes too. I don’t type very well, but just to keep me busy.

TS:

Well, I was going to ask you both, because—now, Jack, you had said earlier you remembered everybody’s name. And so then they went off overseas, and I’m sure you lost a lot of them in the war.

JR:

Yeah, but I lost track of them.

TS:

Yeah.

JR:

And once in a while one would come back and see me after he got assigned somewhere else.

TS:

Now, how did you feel about these guys getting, you know—

JR:

Well,, I just thought they were great. They were working hard to try to become pilots, and we needed pilots. We were training ninety-thousand pilots a year. That’s a lot of people.

TS:

That is a lot.

JR:

Ninety-thousand a year.

TS:

Fantastic.

BR:

I have a story to tell you—I mean something to add. Of course I had boyfriends other than him [TS laughs] because we didn’t just go together and decide to get married all of a sudden. I had others too.

TS:

You had to check them out first.

BR:

Yes. And one I recall, his name was Charlie Marcot—or Marc—M-a-r-c-o-t, I think is the way you spelled it. And he washed out as a pilot. Oh, that was a big blow to anybody that was washed out. But he became a navigator. And then he graduated and he was sent off somewhere, well he started writing me. He was a prolific writer, and he would write where he was in the United States. I was too busy having fun, I didn’t answer many of his letters. But I still to this day have his love letters that he sent to me at that time. They are around here somewhere.

TS:

[laughter] They’re not in the box.

BR:

They’re not in the box. And but you know all of a sudden his letters stopped. And I went, “I guess he’s got another girlfriend. Well, good.” It was only about two or three years ago that it came to me that in one of those last letters, “Well, I’m going somewhere,” and I don’t even remember where he said now. And then I realized he might have been killed instead of had got another girl. What am I thinking?

TS:

This just occurred to you a couple years ago?

BR:

Yes! Yes, after all these years. And he was from Paducah, Kentucky. And he said he wouldn’t drink anything but Kentucky whisky. [laughter]

TS:

Can’t blame him for that.

BR:

But that’s—things come to you when you get older that just passed by you when you were younger.

TS:

Well, it’s interesting how you talk about being, you know, kind of in your own little world as a young person. That’s really quite interesting because you know when we look at history a lot of times they’re not thinking about how a person is just living their life, right. So that’s interesting how you kind of recognize that, you know. That’s sort of true.

BR:

You brought it out in me too. I hadn’t thought about it exactly before.

TS:

Well,, that’s true. Now, did you have any—[phone rings] Well,, this is a good place to pause.

[Recording paused]

TS:

Here I’m going to go back—Okay. We’re just talking a little about playing bridge and cards. Go ahead, Jack.

JR:

Well,,  in playing bridge you really should take lessons, and I took lessons for a couple of years before I got good enough she’d play with me. She’s better than I am.

TS:

[laughs] You wouldn’t take him as a partner for a while there?

BR:

Well,,  it’s better if he enjoyed it too. [laughter] That’s putting me on the spot.

TS:

That’s pretty funny. Well,,  I understand that.

Well,,  here let me ask you this about the way—with the dropping— you said—now you were telling me while we were at lunch about the B-29s and that’s the plane that dropped the atomic bombs.

JR:

Right.

TS:

Now, how did you guys feel about that with the way the war ended and everything, because there’s been some controversy about that?

JR:

We’re glad [President Harry] Truman had the guts to do it because it saved a lot of lives. And history bears that out, I believe.

TS:

Yeah, because some people say that maybe the island was surrounded and it was pretty much on its last throes.

JR:

They do?

TS:

Yeah.

JR:

Because they still said it would cost 500,000 lives to take it and make sure it was an unconditional surrender. It’d take that much to take it and get that accomplished.

TS:

Right, right.

BR:

I’d like to say right here that President Truman was a fellow Missourian.

TS:

Yeah, that’s right. [laughs] So what was your opinion of President Truman?

BR:

Well,,  at the time we weren’t too crazy about him.

TS:

Is that right?

BR:

You mean my personal opinion?

TS:

Yeah.

 

BR:

Well,,  frankly I didn’t like him a bit because the word got out that he was a member of the [Thomas] Pendergast organization, which was in Kansas City.

TS:

Pendergast? What’s that? I don’t know what that is.

BR:

Well,,  it’s—

JR:

That’s a big thing around, like around Chicago, where there’s a lot of graft going on.

TS:

I see.

JR:

And he came up in politics that way. But he seems to have been an honest guy.

BR:

Yeah. He seemed to be outside of that, but maybe just used them to get his name recognized.

TS:

Couldn’t have maybe succeeded without being in that circle, you think?

BR:

Yes, I think so. I think that’s what happened. But now as people look back on him, he’s considered a very good president.

TS:

Yeah, I was reading the other day that actually Truman had the lowest approval rating, even lower than President [George W.] Bush today.

BR:

Oh, really? I didn’t know that.

TS:

Yeah, that’s what—I read that just recently, so I was kind of surprised at that too. So but now in retrospect—.

BR:

Yeah.

JR:

Yeah.

TS:

Well,,  what about—so after the war—unless was there something we missed here?

BR:

Well,, I can pick up on a few things.

TS:

Oh yeah, go ahead.

BR:

I wanted to say that this beautiful officers’ club that was built during the war and so many people enjoyed and we had many parties out there and many dances—and we were seated at a long table off the dance floor, beside the dance floor, and on the other side was a long porch. Our whole group were having a big gay old time in our long dresses and things that they wore in those days.

And one of the waiters the next day said “Lieutenant Rose, weren’t you sitting at this table last night?”

And he said, “Yes.”

He said, “That’s the table where we found that big rattlesnake.”

JR:

Underneath the table.

BR:

After everybody left, they found the big rattle—

JR:

Sliding glass doors in Texas.

BR:

But that beautiful club burned down.

TS:

Aw.

BR:

And it no longer exists.

TS:

That’s a shame.

BR:

It was up on the hill and overlooked Kelly Field and it was so romantic, and it’s gone.

JR:

Another thing happened there. I talked to one of the waiters and showed him my membership card for that club.

BR:

This is years later.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

Yeah. We went back thirty five years later, I think.

TS:

And the club was still there?

BR:

Oh no.

JR:

He turned to a fellow waiter and said, “This is an old timer.” What else did he say?

BR:

I don’t know he says, “They’re over here. It’s all right for them to use the club, isn’t it?” [laughter]

TS:

Because—

BR:

The club was just a—after that burned down, it was just—they used a barracks or something for the club. It was terrible.

TS:

Yeah, not the same.

BR:

No, no. They didn’t rebuild. I’m sorry I interrupted you.

TS:

No, no. You didn’t interrupt me at all. So what else you got written down there you wanted to discuss?

BR:

Well,, you were talking about the ladies, the women. There were very few women on that post. Genevieve McDavitt there in the entertainment center was—

JR:

You wrote her name down.

BR:

I think you wrote her name down earlier. M-c-D-a-v-i-t-t. She was—she was from San Antonio was her home. And then I think there were some girls in the post office maybe—a girl or a lady—and maybe one in the PX [post exchange] and possibly some nurses in the hospital. And then of course the other drivers were girls. There were about five of us.

TS:

Oh, is that all? Okay.

BR:

Yes.

TS:

So did you feel that you had a lot of suitors? [laughs]

BR:

Well,,—

TS:

Don’t pay attention to this part, Jack.

BR:

There were—most of them were real gentlemen. Some of them would act silly, but most of them were pretty serious. I mean if they wanted to make a pass at you, they were few and far between. They really were. Oh, they’d whistle and do things like that, but not on the base.

TS:

No? They were pretty serious on the base?

BR:

Yeah.

TS:

Wanted to get through their training?

BR:

Well,, they got called down[?]. But I was impressed by—do they call it “Taps”?

TS:

“Taps”, sure.

BR:

Of course, it was too early in the morning. I didn’t get that, but I always tried to stay for that if it was reasonable at all. Another thing about Colonel Taber: oh, he was strictly army. Oh my, he was army. He had carried a swagger stick. Do you know—

TS:

I think I know what you’re talking about, yeah.

BR:

And—

TS:

You can describe it though. Go ahead and describe it.

BR:

It’s like a horse’s—that you’d whip a horse with, only it’s only about that long.

TS:

A little shorter.

BR:

And it was—I guess in the infantry they used them, and it carried over into all of the army. But its swagger—as it says, swagger stick. But he was such a gentleman.  He wore—he carried a swagger stick, so conscious of his being and his beauty. [laughter] Somehow or another I gave him a ride to town one night, or it was after everybody was leaving. And of course I was tight with money. And I got up on the road in between the classification and the car, “glug, glug, glug,” and it stopped. And he said, “What could be wrong?”

And I said, “Well,, I don’t know. Let’s look around.” Well,, I said, “You might try the gas tank.”

So he stood out there in all his handsomeness, and we opened that gas tank and he put his swagger stick down he said, “Yeah. You’re out of gas.” [laughter]

TS:

Pretty empty. Came in handy then.

JR:

That’s leather.

TS:

It’s a leather stick? I don’t know if I’d be sticking that in gasoline.

BR:

I was surprised too, but he sure made a show of it.

TS:

That’s pretty funny. That’s pretty funny. Well,, what—now, you were in the civilian defense services, right? Is that what we said it was called?

BR:

Civil Service.

TS:

Civil service, that’s right. And you started in 1941, is that correct? I think you had that written down at the beginning there. Forty-one to ’43?

BR:

Forty-two to ’43.

TS:

Oh, ’42 to ’43.

BR:

Really we’re not—

TS:

Okay, so about a year.

BR:

Yeah.

TS:

Do you remember what month it was that you started? Because you met Jack in September—

BR:

Probably August.

TS:

August, so not too long.

BR:

My name was different now. I mean it was Day, Buren Day.

TS:

Buren Day.

BR:

So if you start looking up anything and happen to find it, the last name was Day. I believe in short names.

TS:

I guess you do. But you added the letter [laughter] for Rose. Okay, Buren Day.

BR:

Yes, I did.

TS:

So that—all right. Then you married Jack in ’43 and became Buren Rose. Okay.

Now—so, Jack, did you stay with the military after the war?

JR:

Not any longer than I had to. I got out in—I think it was February of ’46, wasn’t it?

TS:

Forty-six, okay.

BR:

I thought it was—I was pregnant.

TS:

Oh, okay. That’s a good way to keep track of time, isn’t it, when you—?

BR:

Well,, I know I was sick, and it was in January when we went to Leaksville [now Eden, North Carolina], wasn’t it?

JR:

What?

BR:

It was cold weather. When we went to Leaksville.

JR:

Yeah. We moved to—I was interested in coming to work for a North Carolina firm. I’d left college and gone away. I thought it would be ideal. So I took a job with Fieldcrest Mills [later Cannon Mills Company]. That was owned by Marshall Field & Company of Chicago. And my boss was Hodges.

BR:

Luther.

JR:

Luther Hodges. He was the governor of North—he ended up being the governor of North Carolina. And he started—I think he started the idea of the Research Triangle [Park].

TS:

Of the what? Oh, the Research Triangle! Oh, okay.

JR:

I think so.

TS:

So you worked for him for—how long did you do that?

BR:

Three years?

JR:

Just a—

BR:

Four—three or four.

JR:

Yeah, just a few years.

BR:

And that’s when I started working at the radio station.

TS:

Yeah, why don’t you tell us about that?

BR:

What did you say?

TS:

Tell us about working at the radio station.

BR:

Well,, there was this new radio station in town, and I had a baby that was keeping me home, and you know how I feel about babysitting.

TS:

[laughs] That’s right.

BR:

So I thought, “Well,, gee, they don’t have any women’s programs. I’m home all the time but it’s nothing for women.” And I thought, “Well, I’ve heard of giving recipes over the air or something like that so—”

TS:

Oh, on the radio you mean.

BR:

Yes.

TS:

Okay, gotcha.

BR:

And so why can’t I do that? So Jack came home one night and I said, “What do you think about me applying for a job at the radio station?”

And he said, “Well, I don’t know. If you want to. We’ll see.”

And I said, “Well, you think I could do it? I’ve never done anything like that before.”

And he said, “Well, you’re as good as anybody. I think you’d be as good as anybody.”

So I went up the next day or two and he said, “Well, I’ll get back with you.” And that went on for two or three weeks, and I was really hot for it then. And finally he said, “Well, I’ll put you on for a half an hour three days a week”

TS:

Oh, okay.

BR:

That’s what I said: “Oh, okay.” And I mean he—we had already discussed that I would do ladies programs and local news and empty the trash can and [laughter] all these different things at the radio. So I worked there for him—how long did I work?—two or three years.

JR:

I don’t remember.

TS:

But approximately what year was that?

BR:

Well,, let’s see, Carolyn was born in ’46, so this was about ’48.

TS:

Okay.

BR:

And then we moved to LaGrange, Georgia, on a—Jack changed companies and a career move moved him to LaGrange, Georgia. And I went down there and got a job with the radio station. [laughs] From then we moved to—

TS:

Well, before you tell me where you went, what kind of programs at the first place that—were you doing in the—?

BR:

It was ladies programs and interviews—

TS:

What—like who would you interview?

BR:

Well,—what was the name of the town? Anniston, Alabama. When I worked down there it was Basil Rathbone. Anybody important that came to town, you know, I’d get an interview.

JR:

Sherlock Holmes was Basil Rathbone.

BR:

She knows. She seems to know.

TS:

No, I don’t. [laughter]

BR:

Oh!

JR:

Well, that was a famous program.

TS:

It’s okay. Okay, that’s interesting. Okay.

JR:

Sherlock Holmes and Watson.

TS:

I know Watson. Okay. Now I’m getting—okay.

BR:

Yeah. He was very well-known as Sherlock Holmes.

TS:

Ah. Thank you.

BR:

Well, different people—I can’t think of anybody quite that famous that I interviewed in Leaksville. Anniston—Jack laughs at me for some of the things I said on the radio. One was advertising brand new used cars. I wrote commercials, too.

TS:

Oh, okay.

BR:

What else was it? There was one I don’t think—

JR:

They made fun of her because she emphasized “brand new used cars.”

BR:

Another one—maybe you want to print this, maybe you don’t—I was interviewing a man who was raising quail, baby quail, in his yard. And I’m going through and asking him different questions about them and I said, “How long is it before they’re able to shift for themselves?” And he said, “What was that lady? What did you say?” [laughter]

TS:

What was the answer? [laughter]

BR:

I explained it to him, and he told me—I don’t remember now what it was.

TS:

That’s pretty funny. Well, how did you like doing that? Was that—did you enjoy that?

BR:

Well, it was hard for me.

TS:

Yeah?

BR:

Now I did interview my mother, when she came to town, about her books and how she wrote them and how she got her material and—

TS:

What was hard about it for you?

BR:

Typing.

TS:

Ah.

BR:

The typing it required. That was so hard for me. But we’d interview people. We’d just— one lady, they had a new house in town and it was heated by solar energy, and it was—had the roof at an angle, and then it had— what kind of furnace did they have in the floors?—radiant heat. It was a—

JR:

It wasn’t a furnace it was—circulated the warm water through the floor, pipes in the floor. It heated the floor.

TS:

Just like an engineer.

BR:

Has to be exactly right. So we just knocked on the door one morning and walked in. We had—and we were using—by the way, in those days we used wire. Not tape, wire. And it was hard to deal with. You had to know exactly what you were doing because if you cut that power off while it was rewinding, you had a snarl of wire that you could never get undone.

TS:

Probably only messed that up once before you—[laughter]

BR:

Well, she happened to be a very good person to interview. She had children running around and they’re barefoot in the middle of winter. It was an interesting interview of her house. And when we left she said, “Well, is that all?”

I said, “Well, we thank you so much. We’re glad to be here and stunning house.”

And she said, “Well, don’t I get a gold plated toothbrush or anything?” [laughter]

TS:

Have to start handing those out.

BR:

Hard to give an answer to that.

TS:

No kidding. How long did you do interviewing or radio work?

BR:

Well, each time he got a transfer I’d go. And it was in a small town: Anniston, Alabama; La Grange, Georgia. Where else? Was there anywhere else? Seemed like there was somewhere else. Anyhow, that’s what I would do. I’d just go to the local radio station and get a job.

TS:

Pretty neat.

BR:

It was before women were really into that—

TS:

Having a job outside the house?

BR:

They resented me. They resented—

TS:

Who resented you?

BR:

The engineers, the other announcers.

TS:

At the radio station?

BR:

Oh yes. The men.

TS:

Really?

BR:

I was always the only woman.

TS:

What kind of feelings would you get? Would they say things?

BR:

Well, I know one time my boss got real mad at me because they were doing—they did a commercial including in the name Rose. And it was right before I was to come on. And it was not done the way you think it should have been done.

TS:

Maybe they had a tone in it?

BR:

Yes, it could’ve been.

TS:

Something like that.

BR:

They—I mean they—you knew they resented me, and I knew it.

TS:

But you still kept going back?

BR:

Oh, sure. Well, I wasn’t there all the time. I worked part time.

TS:

Yeah.

BR:

And I had to get out and get material. And the thing about it too is that I had to announce every beauty pageant that came along and style show and church speech, so it was kind of time consuming.

TS:

More a part—more a—I guess less part-time than you got paid, you know. You spent more time at it than just on the air, but behind the scenes. Well,, Jack, what’d you think about Buren working?

JR:

I thought it was great.

TS:

Yeah?

JR:

She was good at it. I admire her for it. I’m glad you did it.

BR:

Isn’t he nice?

TS:

He’s sweet, yeah. That’s good. Because, you know, like she says, not every man was—supported you in that. So that’s really terrific.

Well, can I move you forward a little bit in time?

BR:

Well, you’ve got a lot of time. You’ve got sixty-five years.

TS:

Well, I was wondering how you felt about—because we’ve been talking—I thought I would stay on this theme of presidents a little bit. We’ve talked about FDR and we talked about Truman. How about [Dwight D.] Eisenhower?

BR:

Oh, I loved Eisenhower.

TS:

Loved Eisenhower.

BR:

I didn’t think he made a very good president. [TS laughs] I equated myself with the lady that was his aide over in England. I don’t remember her name now. [Kay Summersby]

TS:

The driver?

BR:

Yes.

TS:

Jack, how about you?

JR:

I liked Ike. What else? What else?

TS:

What else?

JR:

Yeah.

TS:

I don’t know.

JR:

I didn’t know whether you wanted something else and I don’t have it.

TS:

[laughs] Well, I was just wondering because—so after—so Truman then we had—how about Kennedy?

JR:

Who?

TS:

John Kennedy.

JR:

I thought he was a pretty good president. He didn’t live long enough to prove all that.

TS:

Yeah.

JR:

What do you think about him?

TS:

Well, my mother’s name is Kathleen Kennedy.

JR:

Pardon?

TS:

My mother’s a Kathleen Kennedy, so I was raised with a really high feelings.

JR:

High regard.

TS:

High regard, yeah, for—and she always talks about where she was the day that she heard that he was assassinated. Do you guys remember where you were or what you were doing or anything?

BR:

Not really.

JR:

What does what mean?

TS:

When Kennedy was assassinated, do you remember that day at all?

JR:

Oh yes. I was listening to it on the car radio and could not believe it.

BR:

I don’t remember where I was.

TS:

Don’t remember exactly? I just remember my mom talking about she was ironing and she had [counting] four young children—ages one through four, and her baby, really, because Mary had just been born the previous month—so she was ironing and she heard it on the radio. She remembers. But all right.

BR:

It seemed like so unnecessary.

TS:

Well, then so when Johnson took over, how—what’d—that was a different personality from Kennedy. How did you think about Lyndon Johnson?

BR:

You go ahead. I’ll think about it.

JR:

He did some good things for the racial situation. But he didn’t come out with a good reputation as a good honest man, as I recall him.

TS:

Did you think—you said you think he did some good things for the racial situations? Well, you guys were living in North Carolina at that time then, right?

JR:

What’d you say?

TS:

You were living in North Carolina at that time, so I guess there was some racial issues going on then, but not so much in North Carolina. Well, Greensboro they had the sit-in, right?

JR:

Oh yes.

BR:

I don’t think Johnson had anything to do with that.

TS:

No.

JR:

That was before Johnson, wasn’t it?

TS:

Yeah. I think that was before Johnson. You’re right. So what about—so then we get— did you have an opinion on Johnson?

BR:

Well, I don’t—I really shouldn’t say this, but I think he did too much for the poor, and I think we’re suffering for it now, because it seems to me that they have gotten the idea that if they’re poor they’ve got—the government’s got to take care of them. And I remember during the Depression, I think I told you that my parents didn’t think the government was going to come through for them. They didn’t even think about it. They just made out on their own, and we really went through some hardships. And I don’t mind telling you I went to bed hungry a time or two. But we didn’t—it didn’t enter our minds. And I think they’re depending too much on the government to look after them, and I think Johnson had a lot to do with that.

TS:

Now, so then—then the other—the next war—we kind of skipped the Korean War, but the Vietnam War was the next controversial war. Did you guys support the Vietnam War?

JR:

I wasn’t involved in that at all.

BR:

We were so busy making a living and raising children.

TS:

Yeah. Didn’t have an opinion on it?

BR:

That we—No. It was way off and we were in our little cocoon.

TS:

Yeah. [laughs] Well, that’s something too that at that time there was what they call a counterculture revolution, you know, the hippies and things like that.

JR:

Oh yeah.

TS:

How about that? Did you have any contact with that at all or any opinion?

BR:

No, no.

JR:

I never was able to grow long hair. [laughter]

TS:

Did you want to?

JR:

No.

TS:

Well, that’s good. Well, we covered quite a lot.

BR:

Yeah. I think you’re a very good interviewer, Therese.

TS:

Well, it’s a pleasure just talking with you. Now is there anything else that we didn’t cover that you might want to add? Especially if there’s something that you’d like to add for people that didn’t live through World War II that you might want them to understand—or even the Depression.

BR:

Well, I think you’re very wise getting this together, because people that—there are very few people living now that were living through that. We just happen to be lucky that, like you say, you only live so long taking better care of yourself. But evidently I took good enough care that I’ll be ninety in February. And it seems to me that it’ll all be gone if you don’t get it now. So I think you’re very wise to get all the information you can about not only what women were doing—now I failed to tell you one thing I am kind of proud of.

TS:

Oh, let’s hear it.

BR:

I went down—I was—Colonel Taber took me to Kelly Field. I mean he had some business in Kelly Field, and of course when he was in the office talking or whatever he was doing, I was in view of the car but I fiddle-faddled around. There was always something to do because there was plenty of soldiers that wanted to show a pretty girl anything she’d look at. So these men were in this building where there was a Link Trainer. And do you know what that is?

JR:

What is it?

BR:

A Link Trainer.

JR:

Oh yeah.

TS:

What’s a Link Trainer?

JR:

Shall I tell her?

BR:

Yes.

JR:

A Link Trainer is where they put pilots in for training and show something on the screen that allows them to react without having a plane. They’re in a box closed up that rocks and moves and so like a plane, and it helps them to evaluate how they’re going to do, I guess.

TS:

Kind of like a simulation?

BR:

Yes, exactly.

JR:

Right.

TS:

Oh, interesting. I never heard that phrase before, Link Trainer.

JR:

L-i-n-k.

BR:

And so they let me get in that Link Trainer and I figured that was real honor to do something like that.

TS:

How’d you do?

BR:

Oh, I didn’t do very well. [laughter]

JR:

She hit a stop sign.

TS:

You’re not going to let her live that down, are you?

JR:

She isn’t.

TS:

Well, that’s great. Well, is there anything either one of  you want to add then about something that maybe you want to tell young people today about what it was like?

BR:

Well, just about—let me—

TS:

Yeah.

BR:

Something else came to mind.

TS:

Okay, good.

BR:

Somehow or another Colonel Taber arranged that I could eat in the mess hall for a while, and believe you me that’s good food. Those cadets were really fed.

TS:

What kind of food would you get?

BR:

Anything and everything they had. It was wonderful food, and I thought that was unusual for a civilian to be—

TS:

To be able to eat in the—yeah, cafeteria. That’s good.

BR:

Well, no, this was not—this was a mess hall.

TS:

The mess hall, right. The mess hall.

BR:

It was sort of cafeteria style but it’s great food.

TS:

Yeah. I always liked military food myself.

JR:

This wasn’t the officers mess was it?

BR:

No. No. This was a mess hall.

TS:

So the—where the enlisted mostly went. How about you, Jack, is there anything that you’d like to add?

JR:

I think you’ve done a marvelous job of putting this all together and asking good questions. I don’t think of a thing.

TS:

Anything else?

BR:

Amen.

TS:

Amen, okay. Well, I would like to thank both of you very much, Buren and Jack, it’s been just a pleasure. So I’ll go ahead and turn it off then.

[end of interview]