Kurt Piehler: This begins an interview with Mr. Joseph H. Quade on November 5, 1997, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, with Kurt Piehler and …
Leonard Holmin: Leonard Holmin.
KP: I would like to begin by asking you a few questions about your parents and your childhood. You were born in Bayonne, New Jersey.
JQ: I was born in Bayonne, but, we left there when I was about three months old, and we moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey.
KP: Do you know why your parents moved to Bayonne?
JQ: No, … that question never occurred to me, and it's too late to ask now, so, I'm afraid I can't tell you.
KP: Your father worked for the railroad.
JQ: My father worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. He worked in the New York office and was in charge of … tours and travel for the Union Pacific, which was, primarily, a western-based railroad.
KP: Was he a travel agent for people who wanted to take tours or did he deal with freight shipments?
JQ: No, it was for tours for people, primarily. It was in the people department, rather than the freight department.
KP: Do you know why he went to work for Union Pacific?
JQ: Well, he was born in 1894, and he worked for Singer Sewing Machine, Singer Manufacturing Company, in Elizabeth before he went into the service, and he was in the service, … I believe it was the 69th Division, … for about two years, did not get overseas, and, when he came back from the service in 1918, he apparently decided not to go back to Singer's, but, hooked up with Union Pacific.
KP: Do you know how your parents met?
JQ: They met through a mutual friend, I guess. At that time, I don't know if they called them blind dates or not, but, they met through a mutual friend who lived in Bayonne, and, subsequently, I think they got married in 1919, because they would have celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in 1969. My father passed away just five months before their fiftieth anniversary.
KP: Your father was in the service during World War I. Did he ever join the American Legion?
JQ: Yes, he joined the American Legion in Elizabeth, I think it was called the Betsytown Post, and had me enrolled, and my two brothers, … in the Sons of [the] American Legion, in which we were not too active, but, at least we did know something of the military before the war came.
KP: In the 1930s, you were a member of the Sons of the American Legion.
LH: What was that like?
JQ: As I say, … we were enrolled in it, we got our membership card, paid the dollar or so dues a year, but, I really was not active in it.
KP: The Legion must have been pretty important to your father, since he enrolled all three of his sons in the Sons of the American Legion.
JQ: Yeah. He attended their meetings and had a lot of friends from the Legion, from the military, I must say, not as many as I have, because I've been much more active in the last fifty or more years since I got out, but, he was a member for a good number of years and was active, marginally, in the Legion.
KP: Did he ever hold office within the Legion?
JQ: … No, I don't believe so.
KP: Did your father ever talk about his experiences in the Army?
JQ: Unfortunately, it was one of those deals [where] we never really discussed it. He was stationed down in Baltimore. … I think it was an ordnance outfit. … As so often happens, it never came up in conversation. So, I don't know much more than he served for two years and was in the States, primarily down in Baltimore.
LH: What was your father like?
JQ: Well, he was quiet, had a good sense of humor. He provided well for us during the Depression. Back in those days, in the '30s and early '40s, it was the practice for people to work five-and-a-half days a week, it was normal, and I remember him, you know, leaving every morning for work and coming home around six o'clock at night. He worked in New York and we lived in Elizabeth. … I was happy to see when that changed, that he no longer had to go into New York for half a day on Saturdays, but, he was a good provider. He was stern, but, … I never got into any trouble, so, he didn't have to discipline me. …
KP: Can you tell us a little bit about your brothers?
JQ: Well, I had a twin brother, and then, I had a younger brother. My younger brother is six years younger than I am. My twin brother served in the Marines during the war, he was wounded twice, and then, in 1947, he was killed in an automobile accident. So, that was the end of my association there. My younger brother was six years younger, and has had a very excellent career, and is now a professor at Centenary College in Hackettstown.
LH: Do they have a horse program there?
JQ: Yeah, they have the equine program. Well, they have one here in Rutgers, too. I see somebody left quite a bit of money, I believe, recently, to Rutgers for an equine-type program.
LH: Your brother was your identical twin.
LH: What was it like to grow up with an identical twin?
JQ: Well, we were close, but, not as close, I suspect, as many identical twins. We had the same friends, of course, and the same interests, generally the same interests. He was more of an athlete than I was. He wrestled in high school and he wrestled here at Rutgers. … We both went to Rutgers from 1941 through the early part of 1943, then, he volunteered and went into the Marines, and I volunteered, a couple of months later, and went into the paratroops. An interesting story, an interesting anecdote of the identical twins, in high school, we used to have, oh, variety shows, I guess you'd call them. So, at one of the shows, what they did was say that they had the fastest runner in the world. [laughter] So, I'd go out onstage, and the MC would interview me, and then, he'd say, "Ready, get set, go," and I'd depart the stage, supposedly run around the back of the stage, and come back in, but, the way they had it rigged up, as soon as I left the stage, he'd come in. [laughter] … People knew we were twins, but, I think it added a little variety to the program. … Well, we were together, shared a bedroom. … Once in a blue moon, when we were younger, we wore identical clothes or pretty identical clothes, but, after we were in junior high school, we didn't anymore, but, when he went in the service in early '43, I only saw him very briefly after that. He came home in … July of '45, was discharged. I came home and was discharged in August of '45. He went … back to Florida … for one year, down at the University of Miami, and he had summer jobs, bell hopping at various places. That's where he was killed, out in Pennsylvania, where he was bell hopping at a resort out there.
KP: In the Catskills?
JQ: No, no, it was out in the Poconos, I believe it was.
KP: Right. The Catskills are in New York and the Poconos are in Pennsylvania.
JQ: So, we were close, but, not that terribly close.
KP: Your mother was originally from Czechoslovakia.
KP: Do you know why she emigrated to the United States?
JQ: Well, her mother and father and brother all immigrated, … I think it was around 1908, and … they came here and lived in Elizabeth. My mother was, I guess, … around eleven years old or so at the time. … She finished school here in the States, my uncle similarly. They came from a small town in Moravia called Vsetin, … and I've been back there a number of times, visiting up until, maybe, fifteen years ago, when the last of her relatives passed away, but, it was interesting to go to this little town in Czechoslovakia, and it was a very rural town, no indoor plumbing. They had an outhouse. This was 1949, the first time I got to visit them out there, but, she came [here], and I guess, at that time, there were many immigrants coming in from Czechoslovakia, Germany, etc., etc.
LH: Did she maintain any of her cultural traditions and/or holidays?
JQ: Oh, yeah. … In Elizabeth, there were two Czech clubs, one for men and one for women. She belonged to the, it was called Zednoty Czesky Dom, which means, "Club for Czechoslovakian Ladies," and she was an officer in the club. She went to a number of conventions. I know, … in 1936, she went out to Chicago, to the convention out there, and she was a very excellent cook. She cooked a lot of Czechoslovakian meals, … cakes, and stollen, and various other food dishes that were very, very good. So, my wife is a Slovak, and so, she has picked up some of the cooking traits also.
KP: Your mother was a housewife.
JQ: Back in those days, there was usually one worker in the family. …
KP: She was active in the Czechoslovakian Club. Was she involved in any other clubs?
JQ: Yeah, the Red Cross. She was very active, … starting, I guess, in 1941, when the Red Cross was involved with the fellows in the military. She was a volunteer worker for the Red Cross and spent many hours on various Red Cross projects. …
KP: Were your parents active in the church?
JQ: Well, my mother was brought up Catholic, overseas, and she came over here, … my father was Protestant, so, my mother was Protestant, and we went to Sunday school every Sunday, down at the Third Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth. … My mother's brother had two daughters and all three boys and the two girls, we all went to the Presbyterian Church. My mother and father would usually go on holidays, … Easter and Christmas, but, they were not regular churchgoers, but, we were brought up as Presbyterians.
KP: How did the Great Depression affect your family? Your father was employed throughout the Depression.
JQ: From 1933 to 1939, I was between the ages of ten and sixteen, and I guess I was very fortunate, because I really didn't know there was a Depression at the depth that it was. My father provided very well for us. … It wasn't a family that had meat once a week. We had meat whenever we wanted it. We were not wealthy, but, we were well provided for. My grandmother lived with us, also, because my grandfather was in a sanitarium. He had tuberculosis, so, he died in the early '30s, but, my grandmother lived with us, and there were six in the family. We owned a two-family house in Elizabeth. We lived upstairs and rented out [the] downstairs. … I don't recall any hardships suffered during the Depression.
KP: Did your parents own a car?
JQ: Oh, yeah. They always had a car and, for many years, we spent the summer down the shore.
KP: Which town did you vacation in?
JQ: It was inland from the ocean. … It was on the Metedeconk River and it was the town of Adamston, … little bungalows, again, … with outdoor facilities, no indoor plumbing. It had a pump in the front for water, but, we went there, my cousins went there, a number of others. We became very friendly with the little community there. So, we were lucky. We'd get to the shore, … I guess, from 1936 through 1941.
KP: Since your father worked for the railroad, did he get any travel privileges? Did he ever take you on vacation via train?
JQ: We had one. He had travel privileges. If he was out West, he could use the railroad anytime he wanted to, but, the only time he went out West was … on those occasions when he might have escorted a large group on a tour out there. I remember, one time, he had the Junior League of New Jersey and he went out with them and was a tour escort. We had use of it one time and that was in 1936. I think I was thirteen then, and my younger brother was seven or eight years old, my twin brother, of course, was … thirteen, and we went out to Yellowstone and the parks out west. We took the train from New York, … I think it was the Central or Pennsy Railroad, out as far as Chicago, where we picked up a Union Pacific train, and went out to Denver, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone. I remember going up Pike's Peak in what now looks like a vintage car. It was a great, big car that had twelve seats in it and it was strictly for going up to the top of Pike's Peak. I remember, also, visiting the Great Salt Lake, where we went in swimming, and, at that time, the lake was so heavily salted that it was difficult to go under the water. You had to float. You just laid on top, and the salt kept you up. … We took a shower, of course, but, for the next two or three days, salt would come out of my ears, … and it was really encrusted, … and then, Old Faithful geyser, we saw that, too. That was the trip that I do remember from my adolescent years.
KP: It sounds like quite a vacation.
JQ: … You asked whether this was orchestrated by the railroad. Well, we had to pay for our way out there, but, once we got out there, there were a lot of courtesies extended by the Union Pacific Railroad to us. That was about the only time that I got involved at all with the Union Pacific and my father's business. I guess there was another time, and that was around 1938 or '39, when the railroads were experimenting with aluminum cars, … and a train called the Challenger was one of the first … all aluminum trains, and it came into New York, and it was in either Grand Central or Penn Station on exhibit. … Since my father worked for the railroad, we had the opportunity to go through it and that was a VIP tour of the new type of car.
LH: Was that a publicity event?
JQ: Oh, yeah. … That was a big publicity deal at that time. The train was in New York, I think, for four weeks or so, and you had to get special passes, there were so many people wanting to see "the train of the future." … I probably still have [them], they gave out little souvenirs, aluminum coins with the imprint of the train on it. I dare say I have some at home, somewhere among all my memorabilia.
KP: How would you describe your neighborhood in Elizabeth?
JQ: It was a middle-class neighborhood. Elizabeth had … three tiers of social economics. One was Elizabeth Port, which was heavily Polish, German, and Italian, and that was primarily a blue-collar area. Then, you had the area that we were in, uptown, and that was middle-class. Most of the homes were two-story homes, with people living upstairs and people living downstairs, and then, the other section of town was Elmora, which was a higher class, single-family homes, in more of a totally white-collar atmosphere. We lived in a two-family house. There were about twelve in a row, right on one of the main streets in Elizabeth, Rahway Avenue. I had to walk about a mile to school. The high school was downtown. I'd like to make a remark about the high school, but, let me finish this part first.
JQ: It was a … nice neighborhood. We had nice neighbors, neighbors that we kept [in] touch with, I still keep in touch with now, after, you know, seventy or so years. … Elizabeth was, primarily, a white community. There were some black families, but, not a great deal. … Many of my friends, at that time, were Jewish, because there was a heavy Jewish concentration just a few blocks from where we were. I was Protestant, but, you know, it made no difference. We had a lot of friends and I still see these fellows. … We have our … various anniversaries from high school, which I'm co-chairman of, and [I] see all these guys, but, it was an upper-middle-class community, no problems. One little antidote, Linden, which is a community next door, had very lax law enforcement rules. So, they had a couple of big gambling houses there and I remember sitting on our porch upstairs and seeing these limousines go by our house, coming from New York and heading for Linden, to the gambling houses over there. [laughter]
KP: When was that?
JQ: It was about '38, 1938.
KP: It sounds like the gambling houses were well-known.
JQ: Yeah, yeah. … Well, they also had dog races out there, … you know, the dog track out in Linden, but, I used to see these limos go by, and, eventually, I found out it was, you know, filled with the gamblers from New York going … to gamble out in Linden. [laughter]
KP: Would you like to tell us about your high school now?
JQ: … The elementary school was about three blocks away. It was … bordering a park that was called Carteret Park and it was very easy to get to. It was just three blocks away. We'd come home for lunch. In those days, we used to come home for lunch. We'd have an hour or so. It was … an enjoyable elementary school. [We] had a tough principal by the name of Florence Mason. She was tough, but, she was fair, and many of the teachers were just starting out. They were in their middle twenties and I kept in touch with them, until they passed away a few years ago. My mother was active, my father was active, in the PTA, at the elementary school level, and, also, we had a junior high, seventh, eighth, and ninth grade … that I went to, which was about, maybe, eight or ten blocks away, again, walking back and forth. Now, the big rub comes with the high school. Elizabeth, for some reason, in 1929, I don't know whether a girl got pregnant or whatever happened, but, they decided they're going to have separate high schools. So, they had a high school for boys and a high school for girls. The high school for boys was called Jefferson and the high school for girls was called Batten. So, as soon as we finished ninth grade, which was co-educational, we were sent off to the "monastery" or whatever you'd call it, [laughter] where there were nothing but boys, and I think that did slow down the development of … a lot of the males, because we just didn't have that normal contact. The high school was a good high school. The girls high school was a good high school, but, it was separate, and it wasn't until just about ten years ago that they brought them together, and, now, in Elizabeth, they have co-educational schools.
KP: You refer to your high school as a "monastery." Would you have preferred to have gone to a co-ed high school?
JQ: Looking back, yeah, … I'd say yes. Then, you know, we were fourteen, fifteen, sixteen. I don't think the females made that much of a difference, until we got, maybe, to be seniors in high school, but, there was … very little co-educational activities. We went to football games, and, sometimes, the girls would come, but, mostly, it was strictly a male-bonding type of thing in high school, many good friends and good, rough football teams. … Now, in the high school, we have five junior high schools in Elizabeth, so, the junior high that I went to was probably the most affluent one. The others were more blue-collar, but, we all mixed very well in high school, and I look back at it, and I had a good time. Matter-of-fact, … I graduated in '41, in 1961, another fellow and I got together and we decided we'd have our first reunion. So, here it is, twenty years after we graduated, a war had interfered and everything, and … I think we had close to 500 graduates from my high school when I graduated. This fellow, Jack Krasner, and I, who lived in Elizabeth for the rest of his life, he owns a store in Elizabeth, he and I put together the reunion, and we got close to 200 of the 500 to come out, and, since then, every five years, we have another get-together, and we just had our fifty-fifth last year.
KP: You are an active group.
JQ: Yeah, we had the fifty-fifth, but, we're down now; about one-third of the class is dead. The fellows are dead, about one-third of them are dead. We had twenty that were killed during the war, … but, we get together, and we have … a little remembrance every five years. The next one won't be until the year 2001. … If we're lucky, if we're still here, we'll have another reunion.
LH: Do you remember anyone who was particularly influential for you in this period?
JQ: I think … several of the teachers that I had in elementary school took an interest in me and my brother and my mother and father knew them fairly well. One of them was the head volunteer for the Red Cross. That's how my mother got involved. … I remember, probably, better the teachers in elementary school than the ones in junior high. There were a couple in the high school that I remember, the wrestling coach. … I wrestled a little bit. I was not very good at it, and then, I became the manager of the wrestling team, and the wrestling coach and I got along well. …
LH: In high school?
JQ: Still in high school, yeah, and, oh, we had a … public speaking teacher who I remember because he was a heavy-set artistic type, and he always made us memorize poems, and you'd have to get up in front of the class and say your poem, but, I still remember some of the lines from some of the poems that I had by Edna St. Vincent Millay and some of those. So, it's the memory of that teacher and having to stand in front of the class and recite the poems. … To answer your specific question, I think it was those teachers at the lower levels, at the elementary level, who I remember the most.
LH: Did they have the most influence?
JQ: I think so, yeah.
KP: Before coming to Rutgers, did you ever have any part-time jobs?
JQ: Oh, yeah, yeah. I probably had three different types of jobs. One was mowing lawns. Another one was delivering magazines, the … old magazine called the Delineator and Liberty Magazine. I delivered them, you know, and you got two cents for each delivery, and, at Christmastime, my brother and I used to go out, we bought Christmas trees and set up a stand and sold Christmas trees. …
LH: You bought the Christmas trees.
JQ: Well, … down at the railway station in town, some entrepreneur brought in … car loads of trees and you could go down and buy bunches from him. They'd be tied six to a bundle. We'd buy bundles and sell them. So, we were sort of the third step away, [laughter] but, in 1940, an ice cream store came to town called Tomkins. … They sold double-dipped ice cream cones for a nickel, so, that lets you know how far back that was. … Both my brother and I worked there for a number of months before we went on to college. I guess that was, basically, the normal type of jobs. I had nothing spectacular.
KP: What did you do for entertainment?
JQ: Well, we [played] sports, touch football, softball, a game called "stoopball," where you hit the ball against the stoop and it goes out, somewhat akin to stickball. We used to go to see the Newark Bears play. The Newark Bears was a farm team for the Yankees, and that's where people like Phil Rizzuto, I think, got his start, King Kong Keller, and a whole bunch of others. We used to go out to Ruppert Stadium in Newark. That's when one of the fellows got a car. You know, we were seventeen or eighteen, we got a car, we would go out there. Just … hanging around the neighborhood, shooting baskets and things of that nature; we didn't do much in the way of art, or culture, or anything like that, … just amateur sports.
KP: Did you ever go to the movies?
JQ: Oh, yeah, yeah. … Movies were great then, because we had four theaters in town, the Elmora Theater, the Ritz, the Regent, and the Liberty, and, at that time, I think it was either ten or fifteen cents to go to the movies, and you'd see two features, you'd see Movietone News, which I think is on TV now, some of the replays of that, and you'd see a serial and, probably, a comedy. It used to be about a three hour show for fifteen cents.
LH: Fifteen cents?
JQ: That was pretty good. I think they also, once in a while, would raffle off a bicycle, have a special event, you know, to get you to come out that day, a bicycle. Then, they had ladies nights, when they gave out, you know, plates and dishes and stuff like that, but, yeah, we went to the movies quite frequently, probably every two weeks or so. [We] walked to the moves and enjoyed them, the old serials, … the westerns starring Tom Mix and the like. We didn't have television, we had radio, and I remember listening. You know, at 5:15, we'd have to rush home to listen to Jack Armstrong, and The Shadow, andAmos and Andy, and The Jergens, Ivory Soap, or something, Theater, and there was a whole series of programs that we didn't miss. We'd … make sure we were home at 5:15 to listen to these, and my mother would call us to eat, and we'd have to tell her the show wasn't over and she'd have to wait. [laughter] We had radio. … TV came after I got out of the service.
KP: You mentioned Tom Mix; do any other movie stars or movies stand out in your mind?
JQ: No, at the moment, I can't think of any. It was cowboy shows and I don't know if Jimmy Stewart was in the movies then. … I think he came after. No, he was a star before the war, too. Marilyn Monroe came later on. No, I don't recall any specific stars, other than the cowboys.
KP: Before entering the service, had you seen any war movies?
JQ: … I think I saw All Quiet on the Western Front. … I think that was the only war movie. I don't know if there were many around at that time, but, All Quiet on the Western Front, I think I did see that. I think that was with Gary Cooper. I didn't know much about the war. My father had been in the service, but, we never talked about it, which is unfortunate, but, that's the way things go. … The only other … aspect of the war I remember, and that's the Civil War, … back in the middle '30s, there were still veterans of the Civil War around, and I remember, when we had Veteran's Day, back then, it was … called Armistice Day, not Veterans Day, they'd have a parade, and we'd always go down to the parade and wave little flags. … My mother would take us down there and my grandmother, my father was probably working, and I can still remember the few remaining Civil War veterans from Elizabeth riding in an open convertible. As a matter-of-fact, I can remember one of their names, it was McCandless, … and he was 101 years old, and … I think he was the last one from Elizabeth. He died, I think, in the middle '30s or late '30s, and the parades, Elizabeth always had a parade on Veterans Day and a parade on Memorial Day, and they were highlights. … Everybody would go out to see them.
KP: Did your father march in the parades also?
JQ: No, no. He was probably working. He didn't get the day off, no, no.
JQ: That, I believe, is the only remembrance I have. In 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia, then, I had a closer tie, because I knew my mother came from Czechoslovakia, had many relatives over there. … I think my grandmother went back, I think, in 1914 or '15 for a visit, and my mother had never went back since she arrived here in the early 1900s, but, I did know that we had relatives over there. I remember my mother … and grandmother getting letters, written in Czech, during that period, and then, when the Germans invaded, then, I had a closer tie, a nebulous one, but, a closer tie, because Czechoslovakia now became, you know, in the headlines, which, heretofore, was just a word.
LH: Did you discuss these events with your mother at the time?
JQ: Yeah, we did. She wondered how her relatives were, and she did get some letters from them, but, we didn't … discuss it.
KP: You visited your relatives after the war. What did they have to say about the war?
JQ: Well, the ones I visited in Czechoslovakia were out in the farmlands, so, they were not that badly affected by the Germans. By the time I got there in 1949, the Russians hadn't taken over yet, I think the next year, in 1950, I think, they took over, but, when I went back to see them again in '52 and '55, they intimated to me that they were better off under the Germans, because they knew who their enemies were. With the Communist there, they didn't know whether their neighbors were going to turn them in if they said anything against the Russian occupiers, and, I remember, a couple of them lived in Prague, and they had been inconvenienced considerably during the war, but, they, too, also, indicated that they preferred life under the Germans, because they knew the Germans were their enemies. Under the Communists, they didn't know whether their neighbor was a Communist and was an informer. So, they were very concerned and upset. … We went out to eat. Well, they wanted … to take me to the better restaurants. Well, I liked to mingle with the people, and they were concerned about going to some of the neighborhood bars or eating places, because it was very dangerous, at that time, with the Russians there, to say anything that might upset them, and I had relatives in Berlin, also. My father's father came from Berlin and I had relatives in Berlin. In 1945, when the war was over, I was in the airborne and they didn't give us a choice. … They sent me home with the 13th Airborne, heading to the Pacific. Some of the fellows went to Berlin with the 82nd Airborne, others went to Austria, and I would have liked to have gone to Berlin with the 82nd to see the relatives. Well, I finally did get to see them in '49. … They were older, two spinster ladies and their brother. They were all unmarried and living in an apartment that had not been … badly bombed and I don't know what their affiliation was during the war. I don't think the women were, you know, active Nazis. I don't know about … the gentleman, but, they, also, since the Russians were in there, were very much concerned. … I spent three or four days with them, and I went out, and got in the subway, and went through East Berlin, and they were very much concerned that I'm [not] going to get back safely. So, things were very difficult for both sets of relatives over there under the Communist control.
KP: Were you a Boy Scout?
JQ: I think I went to a few meetings as a Cub Scout or something, but, it never developed. None of my friends belonged, so, I didn't belong either. … I didn't belong to the YMCA. I was sort of an adjunct member of the YMHA, because … many of my friends were Jewish, and they had activities there, and I used to go down with them, once in a while. … No, I didn't belong to any youth group.
KP: You mentioned that you wrestled in high school.
JQ: I went out for the wrestling team. I was about 105 pounds or ninety-five pounds, and I didn't have very much strength, and, after losing very quickly in a couple of bouts, the coach asked me if I wanted to be the manager. [laughter] My brother did better. He was not a champion, but, he did better in wrestling than I did. So, my chore of duty was as a manager, which I enjoyed, because we did go to various high schools, and I did a good administrative job at it, and the coach told me he enjoyed the fact that I was able to take care of a lot of the chores and stuff. An athlete, I'm not, or an athlete I wasn't, either.
KP: There was a substantial German community in Elizabeth. Did you know anyone who was a member of the Bund?
JQ: No, but, I did belong to the Turn-Verien, which was the German gym school. Like, for the Czechoslovaks, they had what was called a Sokol, … the Germans had a Turn-Verien. … I'm not sure what it literally means in translation, but, they had a big building down towards Elizabeth Port where … you did gymnastics. You did gymnastics, you did parallel bars and all of that, and I remember the leader of it, the teacher, the one who taught it, was a short man with a German accent who was very authoritarian, and, you know, we had to do this and that. I … went to there for about two years, but, … no one espoused any of the … Nazi philosophy.
KP: It sounds as if you had a lot of contact with different ethnic groups. You occasionally went to the YMHA and the German gymnasium. Did you visit anywhere else?
JQ: Well, the Czechoslovakians … had a clubhouse in Elizabeth or Newark and they'd have programs and dinners and stuff like that. So, I knew a lot of my mother's Czechoslovakian friends. One black fellow was on the wrestling team and he and I got along very well. … It was, I guess, primarily, a Jewish affiliation, because, when we graduated, we had 500 graduate, ... I was number twenty, and, I think, … the top twenty were probably half Jewish, and the others were Italian or Anglo-Saxon.
LH: Did you learn to speak Czech?
JQ: Yeah, well, my mother and grandmother, my grandmother lived with us almost from 1932 on, until she died in 1950, and they spoke Czech. My mother … spoke Czech, and I learned how to speak Czech, I learned how to understand it, I learned a little bit how to read it. In reading it, I had to read the words aloud and see how they hit my ear phonetically, and then, I would know what I was saying. So, I did reasonably well. Even when I went to Czechoslovakia, and I've been there a number of times, I wasn't able to hold long conversations, but, I was able to make myself known. Then, of course, during the war, I picked up some German, some French.
LH: What were your parents' political affiliations?
JQ: Oh, Republican, they were Republican.
KP: Even during the Depression?
JQ: … Yeah, they were die-hard Republicans. They weren't that active. My mother was, I think, a committee woman for awhile, [in] which she was active only during election time, but, … as far as I can remember, they were Republicans. That's why I voted for Thomas Dewey, twice, in 1944. I was overseas and they sent me two ballots. So, I filled them both out and sent them both back. [laughter] It didn't help, but, they were Republicans.
KP: What were their opinions of Franklin Roosevelt?
JQ: Again, we didn't discuss it too much, but, I think that they, as well as myself now, appreciated what Roosevelt did. He kept the country together during a very stressful time, brought in a lot of new programs. We were not affected by the WPA personally. We were not affected by some of the other programs. Social Security, of course, everybody was affected by that. Income tax, everybody was affected by that. … I don't think my mother and father ever had any bad words to say about the Democrats. … The woman that had brought my mother and father together, her husband was a big-wheel Democrat, but, there was no animosity. …
KP: You mentioned that they voted regularly.
JQ: They voted regularly. … I think my mother may have also been a challenger.
----------------------------------------END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE------------------------------------
KP: You really identified with the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
JQ: Yeah. Well, I guess it was through stamp collections [that] I knew about the world. You know, I knew that there were … a lot of little countries in Africa, and there were the Portuguese, and the Spaniards, and, you know, French Indochina, and the Belgian Congo, things like that. I guess most of my experience with foreign countries was, primarily, through the stamp collection.
KP: When did you begin collecting stamps?
JQ: Oh, probably … when I was about ten years old, I guess.
KP: How long was that your hobby?
JQ: Probably until when I went to high school, and then, I sort of put the book aside. [laughter] … You know, it was not a premier hobby, but, thinking back to the questions you asked, "What did I know about the world?" not a great deal. I don't recall, in high school, … studying too much about world history. … It was with the advent of World War II, with the invasion of Czechoslovakia, that I became more cognizant of what was going on.
KP: It sounds as if your parents really wanted you and your brothers to go to college.
JQ: Well, at that time, in high school, you had, as they have now, … those who were going into commercial [studies], had the heavy commercial classes. You had general classes [for] those who were not going to go to college, and then, you had the college prep, and we were always in the college prep classes. I guess, even though it was Depression time, I guess it was a foregone conclusion that we were going to go to college. My father never did, my mother never did, none of the grandparents did, but, the association that I had with the other kids in school [influenced me], and it just seemed like that was the next step. It wasn't a question of were you going to go or weren't you going to go. That was, "Right after high school, you go to college." We didn't have a lot of money, so, we looked around for colleges, and the University of Alabama, … I think their tuition was like 150 dollars a semester, so, my father felt that we could afford that, and we had papers in to go the University of Alabama, and, lo and behold, both my brother and I got a scholarship to Rutgers. It was called a State Scholarship. … I don't know what the cost of Rutgers was at that time, let's say 250 dollars or something, and we both got State Scholarships, which we had applied for some time earlier, just, you know, you fill out a piece of paper and forget about it, but, we were so informed that we [got it]. So, instead of going to Alabama, we went to Rutgers. The dormitories were all filled, so, we lived in a rooming house on Easton Avenue. It was 78 Easton Avenue or something like that. A lady by the name of Mrs. Shipley was the proprietor of the house. We lived there for … one semester, and then, we both pledged a fraternity, and we moved into the fraternity. … Pi Kappa Alpha was the fraternity. It was on campus since 1913, and, in 1959, we got thrown off campus, because our charter had an all-white clause in it, and the national, being from the South, wouldn't remove the white clause, so, we got bounced off campus. That was in '59, long after I'd been gone. In 1941-3, we lived in the fraternity. It was on the corner of Mine Street and College Avenue, right next to the gym, a nice, big, white house. It's all been torn down. They had … the art museum there for awhile.
LH: What was pledging like in those days?
JQ: Oh, you had to wear a little, maybe the freshman do, … black cap.
KP: Not anymore.
JQ: I think that was a … college rule back then. You had the little black [cap], like a yarmulke with a peak on it or something and a little red tab on the top. … Freshmen had to do that and, freshmen, you also had to go to chapel. I'm not sure how often, but, we had to go to, Kirkpatrick, is it? … the chapel. The fraternity, the pledging, there wasn't a great deal of horseplay. You know, they had paddles and they'd rap you with a paddle once in awhile. … I can't recall anything that was difficult. There wasn't a great deal of drinking. Maybe this should be off record, no, leave it on, [laughter] but, when I was … beginning my sophomore year, the second year in college, I was nineteen, drinking age was twenty-one, and another fellow and myself in the fraternity, … we used to hang out down at the Corner Tavern, on the corner of Easton and Somerset is that? Is it still called the Corner Tavern?
JQ: We used to hang out there, and, one day, we were there and drinking a beer, we didn't drink a lot of beer, … and the ABC came in, the Alcohol Beverage Commission, and they grabbed this other fellow and myself, they grabbed the beer and took that as … evidence, and got our names, and that was it. Well, a week or two later, we were in the fraternity house, and who comes up the front steps but a state trooper, [laughter] and he had a summons for us. … We had to go to court, and they closed down the tavern for, I think, two weeks, based on serving minors. The owner of the tavern was a fellow by the name of George Kaline, … and he was not happy about it, but, we weren't regulars there. … Subsequent to that, you know, we got chatting with him, and things were okay, but, … I don't think my parents ever knew about it. It was in the newspaper.
KP: What happened with the summons? Did you get fined?
JQ: No, we didn't get fined at all. They just closed the tavern down for two weeks, I think.
KP: What about the summons?
JQ: Well, it was a summons to appear in court as a witness. …
KP: Did you have to testify?
JQ: Yeah, yeah, it was very, very fast. He had … no grounds to protest, so, it was over very quickly.
KP: Did you get into trouble with Dean Metzger?
JQ: No, I don't think … that Dean Metzger was aware of it. The only time we got in trouble with Metzger, I think, was after one of the football games or something. No girls were allowed in the house, of course, and … it was some evening, I think, we went back to the house, and had a couple of girls with us, and went in kitchen, was making a pot of coffee, and Dean Metzger, I think, lived reasonably close, across the way somewhere, and whether [it was] he or whether it was Howie Crosby, do you know Crosby?
KP: I know of him.
JQ: … Came over, and he saw the girls, and we had to, then, see Dean Metzger in his office, and he gave us Presbyterian or Dutch Reform hell, or whatever it was, [laughter] but, no, … those days were pretty tough. I mean, you couldn't have any liquor or beer in the house, but, everybody had it anyhow. … There were, I think, fourteen fraternities on campus at the time. … They ran, pretty much, the show, with the exception of those who belonged to the so-called Commuter Club, which was also an active group, even though they didn't live on campus.
KP: Did you know that you wanted to major in business administration when you came to Rutgers? Did you consider any other majors?
JQ: No. I wasn't interested in the sciences, I wasn't interested in engineering, history and that didn't particularly appeal to me, and business administration seemed to be the most liberal, non-definitive program, so, that's why I went into it. I thought I wanted to be an accountant and I took quite a few accounting courses. … I was thinking about CPA. … Well, I just didn't have any interest in taking the tests, but, I guess I took business because it was the most general one of all the curriculums.
LH: What was your brother's major?
JQ: Business, also.
KP: Were you on the wrestling team at Rutgers?
JQ: Again, as manager, yeah. My brother wrestled a little bit. I might have wrestled one bout here or something, but, the coach, at that time, in '41 and '42, was named Wilfred Cann, and he had been the Olympic coach back in the 1920s. He also happened to be from Elizabeth, New Jersey, and, when I was in elementary school, he was one of the gym teachers. So, I knew him here. I think, before him, a gentlemen by the name of Fred Shepard, he was an assemblyman from Middlesex County, was the wrestling coach, and he was drafted, went into the service as a colonel in military government, I believe. Then, Mr. Cann came and was the coach here. So, I knew him quite well and I enjoyed the trips. … At that time, Rutgers wasn't trying to go Big East. We played, … like in football, teams of similar [ability], Lafayette, Lehigh, Ursinus, Swarthmore, and we used to go, even though there was a shortage of gas. We managed to go out to wrestling bouts out of town, which I enjoyed. I was in charge of carrying the meal money and important things like that, you know, but, I enjoyed that. When I came back from the service, a fellow from Montclair State, Dick Voliva was the coach, and so, I was a manager there, and we did a lot of traveling, also, at that time. So, I enjoyed it. It gave me an affiliation with the team and, also, an opportunity to use my latent administrative ability. [laughter]
LH: What was your most memorable trip?
JQ: I guess it was out to the Middle Atlantic's meet, out in Swarthmore or Ursinus. … You know, that was high-class country out there … and it was interesting to see these big homes and to see the kids that were going to these, at that time, upper-class schools. I enjoyed that.
KP: You came to Rutgers just before Pearl Harbor, in September of 1941. How did Pearl Harbor change the campus?
JQ: The war was on in Europe, but, we were not involved, and, again, I say, since September of '39 through September of '41, my involvement with the war was primarily through the relations in Czechoslovakia. Also, in high school, they set up obstacle training courses. … They were trying to get us in shape. We used to have to run around tracks and climb over things and underneath things, … but, when I started at Rutgers, the campus was relatively free of any outward signs that there was a war going on. A number of people had been drafted and had gone into the service, but, we didn't know them, and I remember Pearl Harbor. I'm pretty sure it was a Sunday afternoon, and we were sitting in the fraternity house, and, … again, I believe it was late in the afternoon, we heard the fact that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Well, it didn't mean much to us at that time, … but, then, in subsequent days, we realized that we were at war, and … I didn't rush down and volunteer. Some of the fellows did, and some of them who were in the service, and were supposed to be in for only twelve months, and were due to come out, they were kept in. I think, if I recall, the first draft number in 1940 … was 157, and all of those guys were about ready to get out of the service, and they were in for the duration. I can't recall that there was any great involvement during my freshman year, which would have been September through May. They did cut … the second semester short … by a couple of weeks, I believe. I went home and I worked, that summer, in a factory. I was the payroll coordinator, 'cause I happened to know … the manager of the factory. …
KP: Which factory was that?
JQ: It was Thomas & Betts. It was a manufacturer of electric equipment. … That was down in Elizabeth Port, and the woman who was the business manager was our tenant downstairs, and they were, at that time, already experiencing shortages of help. So, she asked me if I wanted to go down there. So, I worked for four months that summer in charge of payroll, not in charge of, but, one of the coordinators of the payroll, and then, when I came back again in the next fall, September of '42, … the campus was starting to get a little indication that there was a war on. … I had been in ROTC also for two years, that was more prevalent, and some of the traveling was curtailed, some of the food started to become a little more scarce, but, not … that it was difficult for us, and then, at Christmastime, I worked in the post office at home and delivered mail, and they were short on [people], and we were out two or three times a day, delivering mail during the Christmas holiday, but, we came back from Christmas vacation and fellows starting getting their draft notices. They were eighteen and nineteen. I think … it might have been in that period where they dropped the age of drafting to the age of eighteen. Prior to that, it might have been twenty. Maybe that's why we weren't affected, but, then, in January, February, March of 1943, the campus started to become depleted, and … a lot of activities were curtailed. My brother volunteered, went into the Marines in March, and I finished the semester, and I went into the service in … June of '43. …
KP: Did you have Professor Pane before you entered the service?
JQ: Yes, yes. … I'm not sure now. I did have him, but, I'm not sure whether it was before or after. I do remember him. He was a much younger man then, fifty years younger than he is today, and I do recall [him]. I also had a statistics teacher. … Statistics was a very defined subject, and I recall getting ninety-nines and one hundreds in that course, and that was one of my educational feats. Pane, I remember [him]. I remember, we had a Spanish Club. … I don't recall all the things we did, but, I know we used to watch films, and I think we went out, once or twice, to a Spanish restaurant with him, where he ordered Spanish food for us.
KP: Had you considered majoring in Spanish?
JQ: No, no.
KP: It sounds like you enjoyed learning the language.
JQ: Yeah, I think there was a requirement. I'm not sure, but, it may well have been a requirement, at that time, that you had to do a language. …
LH: What about him impressed you the most?
JQ: Well, he was easy to talk to. He was interested in the students. If you needed extra help, he was always there and he made the classes fun. He used to relate things in Spanish to the normal day-by-day activities. I think I felt comfortable in his class. I didn't feel, you know, that we were being threatened with having to get good grades. He was an easygoing, easy to like, young teacher at that time.
KP: Before the war, did any students, that you know of, hold any strong political views?
JQ: Before the war?
JQ: No, no. At this point, my memory doesn't indicate that there was. Well, when the war came, then, of course, … there was a lot of talk about, "How soon are … we going to go in? Should we volunteer? Should we wait and be drafted?" … and the country was very much united at that time. There was no dissension. Everybody agreed that, naturally, we had to declare war on the … Japanese after Pearl Harbor, and then, when they had the alliance with the Germans, Roosevelt was right in declaring war there, too. … The first year, through my freshman year, there didn't seem to be a great deal of involvement, but, once we were in, the sophomore class, then, it was all a question of, "Well, … what we're doing now is just very transitory, doesn't mean much, because we're going to be going into the service pretty soon," and, you know, we did our work, but, not a great deal of emphasis or desire to learn. We were just waiting for the draft notice or for the volunteers. … By May of '43, the Class of 1945, … eighty, ninety percent were in the service or about to go in the service. There was a handful that did not go in the service. … The sophomore year was just a period of doing what we had to do and waiting to go in the service.
KP: Did anyone complain about any of the changes caused by the war, the shortening of the semesters, etc.?
JQ: Well, I wasn't involved with that. The shortening was fine. … We could go out and do whatever we wanted to do now, go get a job for the summer. The summer terms, I don't believe, were mandatory, so, during my … first two years, I wasn't affected by that at all. … I can't recall any strong feelings, one way or another, regarding what the University had done or was planning to do, because we really didn't care. We were going to be in the service in a few months and we looked towards that date.
KP: Before Pearl Harbor, there was a significant isolationist movement in this country, led by the America First Committee. Were there any America First supporters on campus before the United States entered the war?
JQ: I was not politically minded or … I didn't think too much about things like that. I guess the only memories I have is that there was, from a political thing, … Father Coughlin, I believe, who was on the radio and he kept talking about equality. … I'm not sure, but, I remember his name. He was an activist, and then, I remember, in 1940, Wendell Willkie was running for president against Roosevelt, and Willkie came to Elizabeth and had his rally in front of the high school and the obstacle course that we had, and I remember seeing Wendell Willkie and, in my mind at least, supporting him, because he was a Republican and Roosevelt was a Democrat, but, … I don't recall any isolationism. The name Borah sticks out in my mind, because, I think, … wasn't Senator Borah one of the few that voted … not to go to war or something? He was from Idaho, wasn't he?
KP: I am not sure.
JQ: I don't have any memories of political or world shaking devices.
KP: Did you work while you were in college?
JQ: Yeah, … during my first two years, I worked at the, there was a college pharmacy, I believe it was called, on Easton Avenue, and I was a soda jerk there, and then, in my sophomore year, I worked at Camp Kilmer, loading freight cars. Camp Kilmer was being built and, for some reason, … in the afternoons, we used to go, like, from four to eight, four hour shifts of work down at Camp Kilmer.
KP: How did you get your job at Camp Kilmer?
JQ: I think it was posted at the University. They were trying to help get people in the spots where there was a need for workers. I worked there for about, maybe, three or four months.
KP: What were you unloading?
JQ: I don't remember. I don't remember … if we were loading or unloading, but, I know there were freight cars involved. … Crews of us would go down. Those were the only two jobs. … The Commons wasn't here, but, I did work in the dining area [as] a busboy for awhile, too.
KP: In Winants?
JQ: I guess it was in Winants, and then, [in] the fraternity, … I also waited tables in the fraternity, for whatever salary we got, or we got free meals, I think, at that time, yeah.
KP: Did you date anyone from the Coop?
JQ: We used to go over. Having a stunted high school experience, we were, you know, three years behind, so, everybody beat us out. We'd go to a dance over there, and, looking over the girls, by the time, we picked the ones we wanted to go talk to, the dance was over, and that was it. … I was not very much aggressive in that nature. We'd go … to the Coop and there'd be mixers. I guess I dated a couple of girls over there, one girl in particular, I know. … She was a freshman. Now, this was after the war. … She was a freshman and her aunt, I think, was the president … of Douglass back then. The girl's name was Bacon, I think. Bunting was the name of the woman that was her aunt. We used to go to, well, there was a tavern across town, … right near Douglass. We'd go in there and have a beer, … a pizza type of place, but, not a lot of heavy dating. I don't think I went to any of the dances or any of the proms.
KP: Did you ever go to any of the balls?
JQ: No, I don't believe so. After the war, I might have gone to a couple of them, but, [there was] … not very much in the female area.
KP: Both Rutgers College and your high school were all-male institutions. Would you have preferred to have gone to a co-ed college?
JQ: At the time, it really didn't make much difference to me. Then, I went to Cornell and got my Masters up at Cornell and that was a really good party school. This was after the war, of course, and I recollect what I had missed as an undergraduate.
KP: You obviously had some fun at Cornell.
JQ: Yes. … Many of us were veterans. We were twenty-three, twenty-four years old when I was up there, and it was a much more liberal atmosphere up there, more parties, more co-eds, more activities in the fraternity house, you know, but, I think the lack of females in the high school somewhat slowed us down. It slowed me down; I can't speak for the rest of them.
LH: You mentioned that your fraternity was kicked off campus in 1959. When you were at Rutgers, were there any conflicts over race or religion that you can recall?
JQ: No. When Pi Kappa Alpha was founded in William and Mary, or one of the Southern schools, … in whatever year, 1865 or something like that, came on campus here, I believe, in 1913, … it was one of the top fraternities, Lambda Chi, Kappa Sig, and Deke, and DU, etc. We were well-established. My brother and I both pledged and both became members of it. … There were three Jewish fraternities, Sigma Alpha Mu, Phi Ep, and one other. … The others were Anglo-Saxon or Protestant type fraternities. I don't think … we had no Catholic fraternities or anything. There was the Commuter Club, and then, there was a couple of non-Greek fraternities. I don't recall their names.
KP: The Raritan Club?
JQ: Raritan Club, I think that's right, yeah. No, there was, … as far as I could see, no bias. If you were Jewish, you joined the Jewish fraternity. … Otherwise, you would join one of the others. There was no … black fraternity. There weren't that many black students on campus at that time, in spite of the fact that Robeson had been a … big leader and had gone to Rutgers. So, I don't recall any bias, either before the war or after the war. We had a national clause that read that, "To belong, you had to be a," they used the word, "white," and that upset the University, and rightly so. I was president at that time. I was president, for about twenty years, of the alumni chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha, and we couldn't get the national to change. We tried, petitioned [them] to change, and they wouldn't change, and the University gave us another year, and I think it was 1959, they said, "Well, we've given you another year, has that clause been taken out of your charter?" and we had to say, "No." So, we were expelled … from the campus. We had a house and … we sold the house. It was over on, I think, Union or Mine Street. We sold the house and went into limbo. We didn't blame the University. We blamed the national fraternity and, subsequently, we had some bad words with them. We had, maybe, $40,000 from the sale of the house, and they tried to take it away from us, and we had some very bad relations with the fraternity. The college, Dean Crosby and others, … around the '60s, and I guess with the Vietnam War and everything, fraternities weren't that popular, and the University wasn't too anxious to have us come back. They didn't push us to come back on campus. At that time, I think they were also concerned about the fact that they were building across [the river], on the other campus. What were they going to do with fraternities? Were they going to move them all over there? … So, there was a great deal. … So, we went through a whole period of limbo, and then, about five years ago, a counselor from our national came to Rutgers. We chatted with him. … He came to Rutgers, and he enrolled in Rutgers and formed a colony of locals, and then, they pledged to become part of … [the] National Pi Kappa Alpha, and [they are] doing quite well at this time. We've … been to a couple of their affairs and they seem to be doing quite well.
KP: Your fraternity may be reestablished at Rutgers.
JQ: It is reestablished here.
KP: I should have asked first.
JQ: … I've been to a couple of their affairs, and they have some bright, young people, different from when we went to college, but, everything's different from fifty years ago.
KP: There was bad blood between the Rutgers chapter and the national fraternity. What did the national fraternity say about the dispute?
JQ: They went so far as to take the leaders, myself and five or six [others], off the mailing list, so, we got no national magazines, which we were supposed to be receiving, and, when we brought it to their attention, they indicated that was a mistake on the part of the people who were the officers of the national, back in that period there, and they were happy to see us get back on campus. The fraternity is no longer in the hands of the Southern extremists. It's now a much broader one. They've got chapters at Princeton, Seton Hall, up in Canada now. So, it's not that heavily a Southern-oriented fraternity. So, I think the University was happy. I suspect they were happy that we were back on campus and, from what I gathered, they're doing well in providing, you know, another fraternal outshoot. I was president for twenty years of the alumni group and turned it over, about ten years ago, to someone else.
KP: You were still an active group after you lost your charter.
JQ: Yeah. We had … what they call a Founders' Day meeting once a year, in March. We'd come down and either went to the Roger Smith, I think, when that was a hotel, and then, we used to have our once a year meetings at the Alumni Club, and I think the last three or four have been at that big hotel across town, what is it, the Hyatt?
JQ: Yeah, at the Hyatt. … After we got thrown off, … we had this 40,000 dollars, and it escalated to fifty, sixty, $70,000, I think, and … there was no thought about coming back on campus, so, about ten years ago, we turned over, to the University, that sum of money, with the provision that the interest … earned would pay for the once a year … dinner meeting that we had, and, [with] the interest, which would probably be several thousand dollars a year, we would pick a project. The University sent us a list, … they wanted a bicycle path here, they wanted an additional VCR here, … and we would pick out a project equal to the amount of interest, so that the principal remains intact, and we've been, each year, giving the University some. … Unfortunately, we can't … get the money back and give it to the local chapter, 'cause the money was given to the University.
KP: You never thought that you would get it back.
JQ: That's right.
KP: It sounds as if you wanted to get as much of your college education under your belt as possible before you had to enter the service.
JQ: Yeah. I don't know whether … that was overtly in my mind or not. I just felt that people were going in the service and I guess I wasn't that gung ho. My brother was. He went in in March.
KP: Which year?
JQ: March of '43. I waited to finish the semester. He got credit for the semester. I waited to finish the semester, and then, I went in.
KP: How did the war affect your parents? Your mother, who had been a housewife, worked during the war. Where did she work?
JQ: … About two blocks from our house, there was a big warehouse and she was a warehouse clerk, you know, processing orders and stuff like that. My father … spent a lot of time on troop trains, riding across the country. He was offered a commission. He could have gotten either a captain or major's commission, if he went in the Transportation Corps, but, at that time, he was probably forty-five years old and wasn't interested, but, … during the war, passenger service was pretty much nonexistent. Troop trains took the priority and he spent quite a bit of time in '43, '44, and '45 riding troop trains to make sure that things went well. As a matter-of-fact, he was on a troop train out west, and he met … the boy who lived next to us on the troop train, heading to go to the Pacific, … and my younger brother was still in high school, and they had the shortages and the like, but, again, I don't think, you know, the family suffered any. The shortages were there. They had a car and got a little bit of gas. They didn't do a lot of traveling. My mother worked, not only there, then, she did more volunteer work for the Red Cross.
KP: Do you recall any black market activity in the Elizabeth area during the war?
JQ: No, I don't remember … anything about that.
KP: You joined the Army at nineteen. Did you enlist or were you drafted?
JQ: I was drafted. … I got my notice in the mail in May and was drafted in June 1943.
KP: Where did you report to?
JQ: Well, … those who were in this draft contingent met down … at City Hall, and then, they put us on a train, sent us to Fort Dix, and, at Fort Dix, we were there [for] two or three days, and, from there, we went to Camp Fannin, Texas, which was a basic infantry replacement training center. Many of them that were there were there because they had taken some tests at college which indicated that their IQ was high enough and, … from there, they were going to be sent back to [the] colleges. Now, I don't recall ever taking such a test, and I don't know whether I was in that group or not, but, … many of the fellows that were taking basic training with me had one or two years of college. A number of them were from Rutgers and a number of them [were] from my high school. So, as it turned out, we took basic training, August and September, no, excuse me, June, ... it was thirteen weeks of basic training, July, August, September, and, … you know, there were kids from all over the United States. It was a real learning experience, Oklahomans, and Southerners, and there was no blacks, because blacks were still excluded from the general Army at that time, and then, all of a sudden, basic training was over, and I had no idea that this was a prelude to the ASTP program. Next thing I know, I was on a train, and I was sent up to MIT with a whole bunch of them from there, and, later on, I read about it, and I read some of … the literature from Rutgers here, the history of Rutgers during the war. I think I sent you a good bit of that material. I looked through it and it was interesting to see that this was predestined. Those who were down in that basic training had IQs that would have either enabled them to be in OCS or … ASTP. … I went up to ASTP, and I was there for six months, up in Cambridge, and that was good service.
KP: You were in the engineering course.
JQ: Yeah, yeah. I wasn't into language. … There was engineering. We took geography, we took physics, we took English, we took some history. I think we took mechanical drawing. … The program ended, abruptly came to a halt, when they needed troops in March of '44, in anticipation of the D-Day invasion, and the expected deaths, and the necessity to start filling up the troops; particularly those divisions that fought in Africa and Italy were pretty well depleted.
KP: What was it like to go to MIT as part of the ASTP?
JQ: Well, you'd write home and tell your mother to take the service flag out of the window, because you're, you know, no longer on active duty. There's a song of that nature, "Take down the service flag, Mother. Your son's now in ASTP." … We had dormitories, we had a room about this size, we had … two bunk beds, and then, had desks, you know. I happened to be in the senior dorms, and the rooms, you know, might have been a little better, but, the room was about this size, and we'd march to breakfast, to the so-called Commons, Walker Memorial, and then, we'd march to class, and we'd have classes in the morning, classes in the afternoon. We'd have some free time for sports between, say, four o'clock and dinnertime. Then, after dinner, we'd march back, or we'd go back to our rooms, and the lights were out at nine o'clock or ten o'clock. So, it was pretty much of a regimen. During the weekends, we were off. You could go home, if you got a pass, or we'd go into Boston or into Cambridge, and I remember going into one of the VFWs up there. Now, this was 1943 and World War I had been over twenty-five years. We'd go in the VFW and all these old guys were there. They were like, maybe, forty-three years old, but, they were all veterans of the World War I, and we looked [at them], "Boy, these are a bunch of old guys." [laughter] Now, you know, we're fifty years out of the service and I don't feel that I'm as old as they were. … They had a bulletin board with invitations to girls' schools, to go to dances or to go to parties, and, if you went to church, you usually got invited home to someone's home. I went with a couple of girls from Lexington, ... I guess they were high school girls, or in Wellsley and places like that.
KP: It sounds like you had a good time.
JQ: Oh, yeah. I met a Chinese girl. … There was one Chinese boy in my outfit, and he and I went to a party in Chinatown, so, I met a Chinese girl and went with her for a couple of weeks, and, when I came back in '45, I went and visited [her]. She was down in New Orleans and I went to visit [her]. She was married and her husband had died, I believe. She had a two-year-old. … She moved up to Jersey, and I went with her for a couple of years, and we still see her. My wife and I, when we go out to California, we visit her and she comes East, here. So, that's a, you know, relationship that started in '43, what's that now? fifty-four years I've known her.
---------------------------------------END OF SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE------------------------------------
JQ: [Do you want to] pick up on that Chinese fellow?
KP: Yes, please. This continues an interview with Mr. Joseph H. Quade on November 5, 1997, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, with Kurt Piehler and …
LH: Leonard Holmin.
JQ: … Well, he took basic training in Texas with me, and then, he went to MIT with me, and then, he went into the airborne, also, with me. He went back to California, became a pharmacist, has developed a number of rather intricate things for pharmacies, and he's made a number of our military reunions. He's a friend I've had for fifty plus years. So, there have been … quite a few from MIT. One is a veterinary down in Athens, Georgia, then, he became a … people doctor, and I'm in touch with him frequently. So, these are relationships that were formed during the war, most of them not on the battlefield, but in places like MIT or basic training, that have lasted for a long time.
KP: Having attended classes at Rutgers and MIT, how would you compare the professors at both universities?
JQ: Well, we had a couple of top professors. I think there was one in geology who was nationally known. His name was Morris. Norbert Weiner was there at the time. …
JQ: Yeah. I didn't have him as a … teacher, but, I used to see this little, short, fat guy scribbling on the wall, you know, whether it was his dynamics or whatever, [I do not know].
JQ: Yeah, cybernetics, yeah. So, I … saw Norbert Weiner, and we had a couple of [teachers], like, for English, we had a young fellow who was just filling in, so, we didn't get into the deep physics and things like that. Their staff was comparable to Rutgers.
KP: When were you informed that the ASTP was being closed down? I have been told that there was very little warning.
JQ: Oh, yeah. It was abrupt. There's a good book on the ASTP, if you ever wanted to read it, by Lou Keefer, it's about the only book that I know [of] that's been written about ASTP, and I think it was well written, because this would have been another phase of the war that would have just passed out the window. … We used to stand formations, and, I think, in one of the evening formations, … the Colonel said, "Well, you know, I'm going to say good-bye to you now, because, come Monday, you'll all be gone." He says, "You go up and pack your stuff and, Monday morning, we'll be moving out," and we packed our stuff. I think, … at that time, we were still using those duffel bags, you know, the two A and B bags, and you put all your clothes and everything in it, and we stood in formation, around six o'clock, I believe it was, on Monday morning, and the trucks came by. We loaded on the trucks, and, the next thing you know, we were on the train heading south, and we were assigned to the 17th Airborne. Well, they went to different places and many of us went to the 17th Airborne Division. We knew nothing about the airborne. …
KP: You did not apply for the airborne service.
JQ: Oh, no. That's right. … Well, we all went into the glider troops. … The paratroopers were volunteer, the gliders were not, although the gliders were sometimes much rougher than the paratroopers in the death rate. We went into the glider troops. … We were assigned to infantry companies. I was assigned to E Company, the 194th Glider Infantry. … They had just come off maneuvers. They had been in the Tennessee maneuvers for a number of months, from out of Camp Mackall, and they were now going into another phase of training, and we were all privates, of course, and I was in that outfit for about three weeks, and then, … I think [I saw] on the bulletin board, or somebody mentioned, that they were looking for volunteers for the paratroops. So, I volunteered. … They were looking for volunteers for the paratroops for a special assignment and that was to learn how to pack and rig parachutes, parachute maintenance. So, a number of us raised our hand, we went in and were interviewed, and the ones that were selected were usually the ones that had a couple of years college, or had some indication of responsibility. Then, I was transferred. I did very little work in the gliders. I did take a couple of rides in the gliders, and then, I got assigned to the parachute maintenance company, and we were trained, then, as infantry. … Although we had a special MOS number as "parachute rigger," we were also 745, I think, "infantry."
LH: Had you ever flown in a plane before?
JQ: I don't think so. I often think about that. I don't believe I'd ever flown. I think the first time I went up was in a glider and, … you know, I had no problem with it. It was big, open fields, they come in. [When] you're in combat, of course, it was extremely difficult, because they'd crash, and [get] machine-gunned on the way down, and everything, but, the glider experience I had was not bad, but, we then went … to an abbreviated jump school. We had to make five jumps, four daytime jumps and one nighttime jump, to qualify as a parachutist. We didn't … go through those tall towers. … We didn't go through the regular routine. They wanted to rush us through, to get us qualified. So, you know, I think we had it a little easier than those who went through [earlier]. We did qualify. We made four jumps, one, two, and two in one day. Then, we made a nighttime jump, which was scary. You're up in pitch black up there and they say, "Okay." You line up twelve guys and, in six seconds, you're out of the plane. It's bad enough in the daytime, when you see the ground, but, it was like just jumping into a great, big coal mine or something. They had a red light down [at] one end of the field and a green light down [at] the other and you were supposed to assemble either at the green or red light. Coming down, … that was scary. We qualified and, as soon as we were qualified, then, we were made instructors at the jump school when all of the glidermen were given an opportunity to qualify as parachutists. They didn't go through the Fort Benning Jump School, but, we had our own jump school, and, here, two days before, I had qualified, and, now, I'm an instructor, [laughter] and we had, I guess, about 8,000 come through from the glider troops. They were officers and enlisted men, etc., and we were showing them how to rig up their harnesses, and how to pack their parachutes, and stuff like that, sort of the semi-blind leading the blind. … Then, I stayed with the parachute maintenance company. We went up to Camp Myles Standish from Taunton, went over to Europe on, … the ship was called the Wakefield. It used to be the USS America, I believe. We went over to England and were there for, August, September, October, November, about four months, and then, the Bulge started, and the infantry went in. They flew over Christmas Day to the Battle of the Bulge. We were lucky. We didn't go in there until a couple of weeks later, and, when the Bulge was over, they pulled the troops back and got ready for the jump into Germany, and we were very busy at that time, doing parachute packing, … maintaining the parachutes, etc., and we had the opportunity to jump with them. So, we jumped with them. … We didn't stay in-line very long, because they brought us back, just in case they needed to do another jump, but, the ground troops moved right ahead.
KP: Did you take part in the Battle of the Bulge?
JQ: We did, but, very limited. We were up there for about two or three weeks and most of that was for re-supply. So, … while we were infantry trained, I was lucky. …
KP: Your division got a real baptism by fire.
JQ: Right, yeah. … I think Patton or Churchill said that this was, when the 17th got thrown in, … "A hell of a way to get into combat," being thrown right in there, where the Germans were advancing.
LH: What were you told about the landing zone before you jumped?
JQ: Well, the landing site was just … over the Rhine, just on this side of the town of Wesel. … I think the town had about, maybe, fifteen, twenty thousand population and we were told that there probably would be antiaircraft coming in and that the gliders had a large [landing] area. … They weren't sure whether the spikes [would be in place]. The Germans used to put … telephone poles in the ground, so, when the gliders [would] come in, they would crash. They didn't know. They couldn't tell whether that was in effect or not, and Axis Sally, who was … not a spy, but, she was an American from Baltimore who had gone over and sided with the Germans, I didn't hear it, but, the literature that I read said that she broadcast … to the American 17h Airborne, she specified them, "You don't need to bring your parachutes in, because you can walk down on the flak." [laughter] I didn't hear it, but, I've seen that in several magazines and several periodicals. …
KP: What was the most frightening aspect of combat for you?
JQ: [laughter] I think … packing our kit bags the day before. You know, you didn't have much, you couldn't carry much with you, and I think it took me a couple of hours to pack two suits of underwear and a toothbrush. … I guess the most difficult thing was sitting in the plane, waiting to see what would develop.
KP: It sounds like you were very nervous.
JQ: Yeah. Everybody was nervous. We hit the ground and, during that one day, March 24th, over 300 fellows were killed from our division. The only day that was rougher than that was January 7, in the Battle of the Bulge, when … we were in there and the Germans moved forward.
LH: Had you been given any special training in terms of reassembling after the jump?
JQ: Oh, there was a lot of training. You know, you had to meet with your squad leader and everybody had a mission, that they were supposed to take this bridge, … or get to this church, or get to this piece of ground. D-Day was a fiasco when it came to that. The 82nd [and] 101st, they were scattered so far apart that they formed impromptu squads and platoons and took missions, but, they were scattered over miles and miles. In this operation, they were much more limited. There were two divisions. It was the American 17th and the British 6th, so, two full divisions. The British were north, but, some of the Americans landed in the British sector, and then, they fought for several days with the Brits. … Everybody had a mission. You know, being a private was like being an elephant in the circus. You grabbed the tail of the elephant in front of you and you run around in the ring, but, things were well-organized. Again, I say, we were not that much involved, so, I can't speak from the combat infantryman's viewpoint.
KP: Going back to basic training, what do you remember about your training in Texas? Had you ever been to Texas before?
JQ: No, no. I remember the train from Fort Dix down to Texas, … it took two days, I believe. … It had berths, two fellows sleep in the upper berth and two in the lower berth, you know, and it was hot. … The food on the train was served in the … baggage car. You'd go through with your mess kit and they'd throw the stuff in there. It wasn't bad, and we got to Texas, this was now the beginning of July, and it was very, very hot and dusty, and, I recall, we had a Japanese sergeant. In the cadre down there, there was a Japanese sergeant and this was kind of odd. Here, we're fighting the Japs and there was a … little, short, Japanese sergeant. He was American.
KP: He was Japanese.
JQ: Japanese, yeah, and I always remembered his name, and he was tough. You know, basic training was no picnic. …
KP: What was his name?
JQ: His name was Kamitsuka, … and he was tough, but, he kept us moving in basic training, a lot of marching, a lot of rifle practice, throwing grenades, crawling under barbwire, while the machine-gun fire was over your head, digging foxholes. … They said, "Well, you'd better dig deeper, because the tanks are coming," and, sure enough, the tanks would come, go right over your foxhole. … The treads would keep it from collapsing; map reading, going into a building that they had tear gas and … other gas that was not debilitating. … You'd go in there, and then, the gas would come up, and you'd have to put your gas mask on quickly, [to] train you how to use your gas mask, in case the Germans had used gas. We did a twenty-five-mile march, and that was hot weather, it was tough. It was tough basic training. The officers were good and the non-commissioned officers were good. Weekends, we had off. I think, noontime, we got off and we'd go into towns, like, Camp Fannin was in Tyler, Texas, and we'd go into Tyler, or we'd go to Gladewater, or go to another town. Usually, you'd hit the bars, and the bars were loaded with GIs, and we'd have a few drinks, and you'd come back on a bus or on a truck. … You know, you met some people. … I didn't meet too many civilians down there. Kamitsuka, now, I always remembered his name, so, I went to the phone disk about a year ago, that has ninety-one million names on it, and, sure enough, I found two Kamitsukas in there. … One was from Colorado, and one was from California, and his first name was Joe. … So, I called him up and, sure enough, it was him.
KP: He is still alive.
JQ: He's still alive. As a matter-of-fact, … two weeks before, he had been East, with his wife, on a tour of … New York, New Jersey, etc., but, I talked to him on the phone. Obviously, he didn't remember me and I just, you know, related our relationship fifty years prior to that.
KP: Were there any other Japanese-American soldiers in that camp?
JQ: I don't believe so. …
KP: At the time, Japanese-Americans were being interned. Do you know what his story was?
JQ: No, I don't know … why he was there. Now, this was 1943, and the Japs had been interned in 1941, '42, and a number of them, … like the famous 442nd, … Dan Inouye, the senator, had been cleared and released, and he may have been, you know, one of those, I don't know.
KP: How did the other men in your barracks feel about these Japanese-American soldiers?
JQ: I don't remember. … I don't think anything came up.
KP: In basic training, you did not have a lot of say over your own life.
JQ: No, no. … We didn't have a Civil Liberties Union behind us, where we could have protested and they'd have come in and gotten us out. … There's no feeling. … He was fair. He was tough, but, he was fair, easy to talk to, and that never came up.
KP: After basic training, you must have appreciated the ASTP.
JQ: Oh, yeah.
KP: When the ASTP was disbanded, many men were disappointed, because they felt that the Army had promised them an education and reneged on that promise.
JQ: Well, the Army hadn't promised me anything, because I was not in that. … I may have taken a test here at Rutgers, I may have been selected for something special, but, I didn't know it.
KP: You did not feel like a promise to you had been broken.
JQ: No, no.
KP: It almost sounds like you were starting to see the good duty go.
JQ: Yeah, but, you know, … the war [was] on, and I don't think I wanted to spend the rest of the war in college, didn't want to, you know, miss out on the opportunity to get overseas and the like, but, … I knew very little about ASTP. What I've learned about it, primarily, is through various publications and through this book that this fellow wrote.
KP: You joined a glider unit. What were your initial activities in that unit?
JQ: We got assimilated right in the squads, … platoons and squads. …
KP: You were broken up and reassigned.
JQ: Oh, yeah. … I think, … probably, … each company got twelve college fellows. … At one point, there was some thought, I guess, to form a super division with nothing but ASTPs in them, and that was shot down, because, I guess, everybody would want to be a leader, but, they shot it down, and what they did [was], … I think there were 150,000 in ASTP, my figure might be wrong, and they were sent out to hundreds of different colleges, little, tiny [schools, like] Claremont State College, and then, when they were brought back into the service, … probably, most of them went to divisions. Most of them went in as infantrymen and most of them were privates in the 106th Division, the 84th Division. … Each division, I believe, got its quota, and then, each company got its quota, maybe it's six in this company, six in this company, and there was some thought that there might be a feeling of resentment by the active troops that these ASTPs were coming in, but, from what I've read and observed, they equated themselves quite well.
KP: Did any members of the unit resent this influx of ASTP men?
JQ: No, no. There was some joking around, … but, I think, you know, we fit right in, and did our job, and did KP, and did whatever else we were supposed to do, and, as it turned out, … many of them did very well in combat.
KP: What motivated you to transfer to the paratroopers?
JQ: Well, to be in the paratroopers, one, I didn't know what [that meant]. You know, they were looking for volunteers, so, we volunteered, and, after we volunteered, there was no turning back. … Then, they further interviewed us and said, "How would you feel about going into this service company?" You know, I said, "Fine." … I guess I wasn't too anxious to get in a squad with a bunch of riflemen and this was another opportunity which … we were selected for.
KP: It was a pretty important job.
JQ: Yeah, it was a lot of responsibility, but, let me say that, … when you were going into training for paratroops, your very first jump, you had to pack your own parachute. So, we'd stand behind the guy and show him how to pack; he had to pack his own parachute. So, there were very few failures. … Packing parachutes was important, tedious, but, it wasn't a real exact science. … There were very few failures.
KP: Did you ever witness a parachute failure?
JQ: … Yeah. One cook jumped, and, instead of throwing … the line forward, it was over his arm, and, when he went out, the chute wrapped around him, and he was killed on impact. … We put several thousand through the jump school, and I'm not sure if it was eight thousand, it might have been less, and there was only one fatality, some broken legs and that, but, parachuting was … relatively safe. The damage would be when you hit the ground.
KP: You mentioned that your night jump was particularly frightening. Were there men, in training or in combat, who refused to jump?
JQ: I never saw any. I'm sure there were some.
KP: However, you were never in a plane when someone said, "I am not jumping."
JQ: No, no, no. I never saw it. I've heard of it, but, in combat, I never [saw it]. Well, we only made one combat jump, so, there was no experience there, but, in training, I never witnessed anybody refuse. There'd be twelve guys in a row, and you'd be sitting up, and this is when we jumped out of the C-47s, which was only a one-door affair. [In] the C-46s, you'd jump out of both doors, but, twelve guys sitting in bucket seats, and, as they stand up and hook up, and then, you'd sound off for equipment check, and then, you're closing the door, twelve guys right up against one another, with their parachute reserves in here and the parachute. We were probably, oh, maybe … less than the length of this room, and, when the green light went, we were out in six seconds, so, if you were in the middle, there was little chance of stopping. I guess, if you're number one, you could have stopped then, but, I never saw anything like that. I'm sure it happened. …
KP: You did not go through any preliminary jump training on the jump towers. You just packed your parachute and got on a plane.
JQ: Well, we went … on little platforms, and they showed us how to jump off and roll … when you hit the ground, and to roll over on your leg and that, … but, we didn't do the towers, which, I understand, was probably more frightening than the actual jump, at times, jumping from, you know, a tower. … We didn't do a lot of pushups, because, you know, they used to say, "Give me fifty." If they didn't like it, "Give me fifty more." Well, I could do three, so, there was no sense in giving me fifty more. [laughter] …
KP: From reading Stephen Ambrose's book, Band of Brothers, those paratroopers went through a very long and rigorous period of training where the Army tried to weed people out.
JQ: … I think that training goes through even to today. …
KP: However, in your case, your training was hurried along.
JQ: Yeah, yeah. We had an abbreviated, non-demanding course.
KP: Can you tell us about your first jump?
JQ: The first jump, you know, we were sitting in the plane, there were twelve of us, and I can't recall, now, any of their names or anything, but, you know, I was wondering what I was doing up here, and then, before you knew it, they said, "Stand up, hook up, we're closing the door," and … I think I was number four or five, and, … from where I was standing, I could see outside the plane and all, and we just jumped and counted, "1,000, 2,000, 3,000," and, if your chute wasn't open by then, you should think about your reserve. We were jumping from, I think, around 1,200 feet. Then, the chute opened up, and, boy, it was great. You're up there, you know, and you weren't moving, you know, you were just floating, supposedly floating, and you'd shout over to the guy next to you, and I don't recall if I did any shouting, but, the chute opened, and then, all of a sudden, you were still floating, but, the ground is coming. You weren't going down, but, the ground was coming up, as I recall. You know, you're like this, and the ground is coming up, and you'd get in the position, so that your legs are the way they're supposed to be, and, the next thing you know, you hit the ground, and there was nothing to it, the first jump. Nowadays, they all land standing up, with those new Halo chutes and all, and then, the second jump, I think it was the next day, and, this time, it wasn't quite as [good]. I think my hip bones came up around my ears. It was a much tougher jump. I really … can't remember the third and fourth, but, I know the fifth jump was in the dark, and that was kind of scary. I don't know why; I wasn't an adventuresome type, I wasn't an athlete type, and, you know, it was amazing to me that I joined the paratroops.
LH: Was it the case that, once you completed your first jump, the others were easier?
JQ: No, I think … the first jump was the easiest one. You didn't know what to expect. Then, the ones after that were, you know, "So-and-So broke his ankle," and this and that. … It didn't become progressively worse, but, the first one was the easiest one.
KP: When did your unit ship out for England?
JQ: In August. We went up to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Mass. We were there for a couple of days, and then, we shipped out [in] the early part of August. We got over to England in the third week in August. …
KP: What do you remember about the voyage?
JQ: … I think the sea was relatively calm. I don't even know if we went over in … escort or we went by ourselves. I can't remember. At that time, some of the faster ships were going over unescorted. I don't know if we were in convoy or not. … I'm not even sure how many days it took. I think it took more than four days. … You'd spend your time on line, waiting to get something to eat, and they had these long, long tables, … no chairs or anything. You'd eat and move on. We had bunk beds, … six high. They were rope type, canvas type things. You had to have your duffel bag up with you and the rifle up there with you. I really can't remember. I've often thought about, "Well, how was it?" and I know there were a lot of card games going on, and you'd go up on deck and sit there and just talk, and it wasn't unpleasant. It was not unpleasant.
KP: Did you get seasick?
JQ: I didn't get seasick, no. I've been to Europe a number of times, on the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, subsequent to the war, and I won't liken the trip over [as] similar to that, but, it was easy going. We had calisthenics, once in awhile, but, everybody was pretty much left to their own devices.
KP: Where did you land in England?
KP: Where did you go from Liverpool?
JQ: We got on a train, we went down to southern England, went down to near Winchester, Southampton, Winchester. The infantry paratroops went into Barton Stacey. The glider troops went up to Ogburn, St. George, up near Marlborough. Our company, service company, went into an airbase, Chilbolton Airbase, near Winchester. They had big sheds there, where we did our parachute packing and did our maintenance work. We'd go into town every night. At five o'clock, we were through, and we'd grab a bite to eat, … and they had trucks go into town at five-thirty, and they'd come back at nine-thirty, and we'd go into town, into the pubs or to the Salvation Army dance or whatever. … We were busy six days a week, but, at night, we were free, and, on Sundays, we were free.
KP: How did the English people receive you?
JQ: Quite well. … In the bars, they were friendly. You know, you'd shoot darts with them, or something like that, and the girls were friendly. You'd meet some girl and probably go home and meet her family, and, usually, you know, you stole something from the dining room, take [them] some cigarettes, some butter, or something like that. … Here, again, we didn't have to go out in the field and do a lot of night marches and stuff. We were busy all day, from eight o'clock in the morning 'til five at night, six days a week. … So, it was a pleasant experience. The weather was not too bad, typical weather, but, it wasn't too bad, and we'd bring truck loads of girls in and have parties at our dining hall. They were very restricted. They brought them in, they counted them, and then, counted them all back, [laughter] and the fellows, … a lot of them, did a lot of drinking. We had one part of the dining hall that we decorated with parachutes and opened up a bar, had a bar there and a lot of beer. … Again, I was lucky that I had a pleasant several months in [England].
KP: Did you get to do any sightseeing while on pass?
JQ: Yeah. You used to go to London, get the train from Andover and go through Woking, up to London, and go up there. … We had Saturday off, get a special pass for Saturday, spend one night in London, do sightseeing, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and Piccadilly, and just, you know, general sightseeing, St. Paul's and places like that. Locally, we were only twenty miles from Stonehenge, but, we didn't know anything about it and never got there. It wasn't until after the war that I realized that right up the Salisbury Plain was Stonehenge. … London was about all, … because you had no transportation. You had to go by truck. … The trucks weren't taking you [anywhere], except to the railway station and go to London. I don't know if anybody went anywhere else, but, I went to London, probably, half a dozen, ten, eight, nine times. I enjoyed that.
KP: Did you ever see a USO show?
JQ: Not in England, but, over in France, the USO shows came in. I remember, Mickey Rooney came in. Bob Hope was in, Marlene Dietrich, I think Jerry Colona, I'm not sure. …
KP: You saw your share of USO shows.
JQ: Probably three shows … that we saw and that was in France, between the Battle of the Bulge and the jump into Germany. …
KP: What was an average day on duty like in England?
JQ: Well, we'd get up, I think, around six-thirty or so, and then, have … a chance to take a shower, wash up, anyhow, and then, you'd stand in formation, then, you'd march over to the mess hall and have breakfast, and then, you'd have a few minutes after breakfast. At eight o'clock, you'd get on the truck and go down to the hanger, where we did our packing parachutes, preparing parachutes, and other activities such as that. … I think we'd get on the trucks and go back to the mess hall for lunch. After lunch, you [have] a few minutes off, and we'd play volleyball or do whatever you might want to do, then, head back to the sheds again and do some more work down there, 'til five o'clock or so. Then, we'd get on the trucks, go back and have dinner, and, most every night, we … had the opportunity to get in the trucks and go to Winchester or Andover. … The truck would take you down to Winchester, and then, three hours later, it would be there again, and, if you missed the truck, you had a tough deal. It was about a ten-mile hike. I've done that a couple times. It was so foggy, … I wouldn't know which way to turn. You'd see a sign post and you couldn't read the sign post, it was so foggy. You would trace it with your hand, trying to see, "Which way is Chilbolton? Oh, that way."
LH: Did you have any contact with other American or English units in England?
JQ: There was, well, the 69th Division. I don't know if Crandon Clark, is he one of the guys?
KP: I did interview Crandon Clark.
JQ: … The 69th Division was in the same area and they'd come into Winchester at night.
KP: Did you run into Crandon during the war?
JQ: No. I didn't know him. I knew him only by name. I only ran into him here. The first time I spoke to him was at our fiftieth anniversary.
JQ: … The 69th Division was in the same area and there was fights between the paratroopers and the infantry. …
KP: I have heard about fights breaking out between paratroopers and other soldiers.
JQ: Well, yeah, somebody, you know, they'd make some remark. I was chicken. I never got into a fight, but, there was always some altercations going on. I specifically remember the 69th Division and I think the 84th Division was nearby. As far as the British, no, although we did have quite a bit of contact with the girls in the Land Army. These were girls who were in the service. Well, they were in the interim service. They were working on the farms or working in the factories, and they were in uniform, and I think they were called the Land Army. They weren't military and they would be at the dances. … There were some military girls, also, at the dances, too.
KP: How often did you run into Rutgers people during the war?
JQ: Well, down in Camp Fannin, I say, … there was a number of them down there. I think a few of them went to MIT, also, with me, though I can't recall that. Overseas, I ran into, I think, three people that I knew. They were all high school, they weren't Rutgers, though. One fellow was 4-F and he was working for the OWI, Office of War Information. I ran into him in London. Another young fellow I went to high school with, I was on the truck, and we were going up to Liege, Belgium, and [there was] a big hill, and the truck stopped, and I looked over there, and the troops were sitting on the side of the road, and there was a fellow I went to high school with. I saw him there and I think that was all. I don't recall, offhand, running into Rutgers people overseas.
KP: Did you have much contact with your brother in the Marines?
JQ: No, none at all.
KP: Did he ever write to you?
JQ: No. He wrote to my mother and father and they shared the letter with me, but, we never had any [contact]. …
KP: How often did you write to your parents?
JQ: Oh, every couple of weeks. Some people wrote every night, but, I don't know what you'd write every night; every week, ten days or so, like that. You know, we had V-mail then. … You didn't have too much room.
LH: It was like a postcard.
JQ: … You'd write on a piece of paper, size eight-and-a-half by eleven piece of paper, and they'd photo it down, … and it would then be about that size. The print was also, naturally, reduced, but, … overseas, I think that was all we could use.
KP: How shocking was the Battle of the Bulge? Before the German breakthrough, there had been a number of rumors circulating among the troops about the war ending by Christmas.
JQ: Yeah, I think that everybody felt that we were doing very well, pushing the Germans back. We pushed them out of France. We pushed them towards back to Germany, and Luxembourg, and then, I think it was a shock to everybody. We were safely ensconced over in England and, the next thing you know, I think it was Christmas Day that the glider troops stopped right in the middle of their dinner, and had to pack on, and get on the trucks, and head to the airfields, where they were held in marshalling areas for a few days, and then, they were flown over to the airfields in France, and, I think, a few days there, and then, they were brought up forward and given a mission.
KP: What were your duties during this time? How did your daily life change?
JQ: Well, we continued a good bit doing what we were doing, until a week or so, … a little bit more than a week, and then, we were told to pack everything up, and it took us almost a week to pack everything up and fly it over to France, where we then set up a new station, getting ready for the jump. The 17th was in combat, I think, about twenty-three days during that period.
KP: You were based in France while the bulk of the 17th Airborne was thrown into the Bulge.
JQ: In a town called Chalons-sur-Marne. That was up on the Marne River, not too far from Reims, and then, the troops came back, and … we were in an old granary, and they came back, and there was a big tent city, and they were put in a tent city with a lot of mud and … rather discomforting quarters, and they were there for about six weeks before the jump into Germany.
KP: Did you ever discuss the Bulge with anyone who fought there?
JQ: Oh, yeah. …
-----------------------------------------END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE TWO----------------------------------
JQ: … Frozen feet. … They had an overcoat, and the overcoat, when it got wet, it weighed a ton, so, they discarded that. They were ill-prepared, because they were … in England one day and, a couple days later, they were ready to go into the Bulge. So, it was a … tough experience. I guess it's been written up. … One film, I can't remember what it was, but, it was a film about four or five ASTP fellows, oh,It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, or something like that. It was a film [that] depicted it very well. They were in England one day, and they were over there the next day, and they were just thrown into a very chaotic situation, not having been in combat before, not knowing where the Germans were, plus, the fact of the imposters with American uniforms on. That was, I think, probably the toughest assignment, as Churchill or someone else said, for a group to be thrown into. 106th Division was thrown in, also, and they were practically wiped out and captured in the situation.
KP: Can you tell us about your combat jump?
JQ: Well, … it was daylight. It was a daylight jump. … There were airbases all over France and Belgium from which they went and formed a sky armada. … The first part of the flight was uneventful, and then, as we approached the Rhine River, the firing began, flak began and all. … We landed relatively unscathed and, instead of moving forward with the troops, we stayed behind.
KP: You did not advance with the line.
JQ: No. We had a mission to see what we can salvage, … help with what equipment was there, but, being a service company, rather than an infantry company, we did not move out, and so, we were not in any great danger.
KP: Being assigned to a service company, did you ever feel the tension between the combat troops and the rear echelon?
JQ: No, I think the rear echelon was further back. …
KP: You jumped into combat, so, you were not in the rear echelon.
JQ: Yeah. … The rear echelon, you know, we think about the guys who were in Paris, in headquarters. That was the rear echelon. …
KP: Those were the people you resented.
JQ: Yeah, it would have been nice, particularly to be in Paris, yeah.
KP: How did infantrymen feel about MPs?
JQ: I never had a problem. I think they were doing their job and the ones that … I knew, or the ones that I observed, … were just doing their job. If a guy got drunk and got, you know, nasty, then, he deserved whatever they did to him. … My experience with the MPs [was, they] were doing what they were supposed to do and they did it well.
LH: Did you encounter any civilians when you landed?
JQ: No, the town was bombed so badly, … I have books at home about it, the town was virtually, totally, destroyed. … I don't really know what the Germans did as the Allies advanced on town after town after town. From talking to people, they say the towns were pretty well abandoned. As the troops were moving forward, the civilians went out to the hills or went somewhere, but, … very few of them stayed in the towns.
LH: Were you instructed on what to do if you did encounter any?
JQ: No, I wasn't, … but, I was in an unusual organization, and we were not given the same training that the infantry was.
KP: How successful was your unit in salvaging equipment?
JQ: Very little … [was] salvaged, and that was, … which always amazed me, those parachutes, etc., that were salvaged were brought back, and then, they were burned. They said, you know, "If it was used in combat, it wasn't usable again." I don't know why, but, very little, and that was the last jump of the war. Very little was salvaged. You know, [it would] do your heart bad to see piles of silk, piles of camouflage, piles of white, being burned, instead of, you know, giving it to the civilians. … I've got a pair of pajamas made out of parachute silk and stuff like that, but, an awful lot of waste.
KP: Shortages of silk, silk stockings, etc., led to many complaints on the homefront.
JQ: … For whatever reason, in that particular operation, there was very little salvaged.
KP: After your mission was accomplished, where was your unit sent?
JQ: We went back to Chalons-sur-Marne. …
KP: How long did you stay there?
JQ: We stayed there for a … couple of weeks, and then, we moved. Some moved up and did guard duty, … primarily guard duty, in some of the towns that had been captured, … like Oberhausen and some of the towns up on the Rhine. We went up there and did guard duty up there. The troops were moving through Muenster, and up through Essen, and we went up there for a couple of weeks and did guard duty, … not military government, but, we were there to give a presence to the town.
KP: What was it like to serve in the occupation forces?
JQ: Well, they were … mostly old men or young boys, young children, women, older women, younger women. You know, … I didn't see any hostility. They wanted cigarettes. You know, somebody would flip a cigarette butt down, and they'd be groveling for it, because they didn't have any, and the girls were friendly. You weren't supposed to fraternize, but, of course, you did. We had our own bar. They took … over a bar, and they kept a German bartender, but, … you'd walk in and check your rifle. We had folding carbines, we didn't have the big rifles, … and we'd party there, and, if you wanted to take a chance, you know, you'd go home with a girl. I don't think the fraternization ban was … that strict. … They did catch somebody and it was a sixty-five dollar fine.
KP: That was a lot of money then.
JQ: … That was a month's pay. We got paid a hundred dollars a month, being in the paratroopers, the basic fifty, plus, another fifty on top of it.
KP: Even so, that was …
JQ: That's a lot of money, yeah, but, … the officers were breaking the ban, too. [laughter] …
KP: Were you placed on guard duty before or after V-E Day?
JQ: Before. …
KP: Where were you on V-E Day?
JQ: That was in May. No, I can't remember. There was a couple of false rumors that the war was over, and we did no celebration, so, I don't recall.
KP: There was no big celebration where you were.
JQ: … I can't remember. I've often thought [about it]. I can't remember whether I was in Germany or whether I was … back in France, I don't remember. V-J Day, we were on the ship coming home, and … we were supposed to go home, have thirty days, and then, go to the Pacific, but, we were onboard ship, and, again, I don't recall any great celebration on V-J Day. I don't know why, but, I don't remember anything.
KP: You expected to be sent to the Pacific.
JQ: I came home with the 13th Airborne Division. … How we were selected for the 13th, I don't know, 'cause there were some high-pointers in there, I was moderate in points, but, we were supposed to come home, get a thirty-day leave, get refitted, and then, head to the Pacific. The war was over before we got home, before we docked, but, we were still scheduled. … We got off thirty days, we went down to Fort Bragg, and, I guess, a decision had been made, at that point, we were not going to go, so, they sent us home for another forty-five days. Then, we went back, and then, I was discharged on Christmas Day.
KP: You had a thirty day leave, reported back, and they decided that you were still going to go to the Pacific.
JQ: No, I guess they decided, at that point, we weren't going to go, because they gave us another forty-five days.
KP: Did you still have to report in?
JQ: Yeah, yeah. We were there for, maybe, a week, and then, they sent us home again, and I often wonder what I did during those days, but, I can't remember. … I wasn't working, but, I was home for thirty days.
KP: Were you getting paid?
JQ: Oh, yeah. There's some blank spots I don't know, you know. I should remember what I did for the thirty days when I came home and the forty-five, but, outside of meeting with relatives and friends and stuff like that, I don't recall.
KP: Did you ever discuss with your brother his experiences in the Marines?
JQ: No, I barely saw him, because he came home … in June or July, then, he went south, to Florida, so, I don't think I saw him more than two or three times. Then, he went out to Florida, then, he went to Sagamore, worked up there, and he … finished a year at the University of Miami. I finished up at Rutgers in one year, because I had some ASTP credit, and, no, … I never had the opportunity to talk to him.
KP: When did you return to Rutgers?
JQ: '46, the Fall of '46. I got out on Christmas Day and I don't think I was ready to go back. … I went to work, back to the same outfit that I'd worked at several summers before.
LH: During the war, had you thought about what you would do when you returned home?
JQ: Not really, no.
LH: You were not thinking ahead.
JQ: I just ... didn't think about it. Then, I came back here in September, went for the two terms, and then, I was short, I think, three credits. I had to go to six weeks of summer school. … Then, I had a lot of the GI Bill left, so, I applied to Wharton and Cornell and one other, NYU, I think. I was accepted at NYU, turned down by Wharton, and accepted at Cornell, and I had two cousins that went to Cornell, two girls that were up there. I went up and visited them once and it looked like a good school, a good party school. So, I went up there … and spent two years up there.
KP: Returning to Rutgers after serving in the Army, I get the impression that some of your shyness had disappeared.
KP: By the time you went to graduate school, you were having a pretty good time.
JQ: Yeah, you said it well, yeah.
LH: What was post-war Rutgers like?
JQ: Well, … you know, eighty percent of them that were there, … I won't say eighty percent, but, a good portion were veterans, and there was a lot of partying. … I don't know where I lived. Did I live in a dorm? I think I was in a dorm then, and, you know, you're seeing your old friends come back, and [we were] trying to get the fraternity reestablished, which we did get it reestablished, and we used to meet at the back room of some tavern somewhere.
LH: Was it nice to come back to your old college friends?
JQ: Yeah, yeah. A number of them had been killed.
KP: Do you remember anyone in particular who died during the war?
JQ: Well, I remember, from high school, there was a fellow who had been the … salutatorian or up in the top of [the] class, a very quiet, introverted fellow, who was in a number of my classes, and he got killed on … D-Day, went in with the Ninth Division, I believe. I didn't have any really close friends that were killed. … You know, I looked on the list, and I see a lot of names, people I knew, people I had associated with, but, I don't recall any close friends.
KP: Did you ever consider staying in the military?
JQ: No, I hadn't.
KP: Were you eager to get out?
JQ: No, I hadn't. … I had not, at that time; subsequently, though, I'm sorry that I didn't stay in and experience some of the post-war opportunities. I know Mike Kushinka, do you know Mike? He was a football player back in that era. He stayed over and worked over in Europe with displaced persons. He was the head of a displaced persons camp. He's a graduate of here, football, 1950, I think, and others stayed in, and I didn't get to Berlin. The 82nd got to Berlin. I would have liked to have experienced some of that post-war [opportunity]. I wouldn't have minded going to the Pacific, not necessarily with the war on, but, I would have enjoyed that, and some of them that stayed in told me about some of their experiences, post-war experiences, and I've had sort of second thoughts. Had the opportunity been presented to me, I might have … done that. I wasn't anxious to get back to my [life]. … I was only twenty-two, twenty-three, so, I wasn't anxious to get back, to get my life in order. I was rather lackadaisical about it. I came back to Rutgers because that was the thing to do, and then, rather than go to work, I thought, "I'll do two years at Cornell."
KP: What kind of career did you hope for? You mentioned accounting, initially.
JQ: Well, it wasn't accounting.
KP: Sorry, business administration. Did you want to be an accountant?
JQ: Just general business. … I wasn't interested in insurance. I wasn't interested in this or that. I guess … my mind was rather immature and I didn't have any career paths. It was interesting how I went to Prudential. … This was in 1949; recruiters came to Cornell. I had three offers, one was with a construction company in Pittsburgh, Dravo Corporation, another one was Occidental Oil in Venezuela, and then, Prudential. Well, here it was, May of '49, … I wanted to take the summer off. I didn't want to go right to work. Well, the petroleum company, in Venezuela, wanted me right away. The one in Pittsburgh said, "Well, in a couple of weeks," and Prudential said, "Well, come in September, if you want." [laughter] So, you see … the mental capacity I had? I went to Prudential, and so, I stayed there for thirty-eight years, but, the decision, … you know, it wasn't insurance that intrigued me, it wasn't oil exploration, it was general business, and I had a sort of a laisse faire attitude about things.
KP: What was your first job at Prudential?
JQ: They had a home-office training program. You'd go in for the first year, you'd spend ten weeks in personnel, ten weeks in a line division, doing, maybe, claim work, ten weeks in a research outfit, and they had a regular track that you'd go through. … I think that year they hired thirty college graduates, and we had a regular track that we would go through, and we had a, I wouldn't say a mentor, but, … we were pretty well watched by the personnel hierarchy, and then, after that, depending upon where you did your best, they would assign you to an area. I guess I must have done well in research, because … my first assignment was two or three years in the quality improvement area, … clerical quality improvement work. Then, I moved through a variety of other jobs in line divisions and, eventually, became a manager in the so-called Ordinary Policy Department and I did a lot of research work. I did some speech writing, wound up in the branch office in Roseland, the computer center, where I was the manager, the administrative manager, not the technical manager, but, the administrator manager, for the computer center.
KP: When did you retire from Prudential?
JQ: December … of '85. We had moved, in computers, from the large 702, … a computer which was probably twice the size of this room, with electrostatic tubes. When the computer went down, you had to find out, not me, but, the technicians, … which tube went and replace it, … and that was in [the] 1970s, I think, and then, when I left in '85, … what was in the two-room sized computer was in something about the size of your dictating machine, but, I never got involved in the technical aspect. I handled the personnel and the administrative aspect of it, but, again, my stay at Prudential was probably based on, I'm not sure I pronounce this word properly, hedonistic, … you know, what was good for me, right? because I didn't get married until 1961. … How old was I then? thirty-eight, I guess, at the time, but, Prudential was very good. Then, it was a paternalistic … type of company, and, once you worked for Prudential, you stayed there, and you got all sorts of benefits. … If you had two weeks vacation, they allowed you to hold it over until the next year. So, every other year, I wouldn't take a vacation, we got plenty of days off, I'd hold it until next year and go to Europe. So, I went to Europe in 1952, 1955, 1957, '59.
KP: You have done quite a bit of traveling.
JQ: … Yeah. There were a lot of benefits, you know, and the job was secure. … They paid well, but, not outstanding, and I felt comfortable there. I enjoyed my work, I enjoyed the people I worked with, and I enjoyed the opportunity, every … [other] year, if I wanted to go to Europe. …
LH: You were still single the first time you went back to Europe.
JQ: Oh, yeah. … I know I went back to Europe in '49, '52, '55, '57, '60, and I got married in '61, and I took my wife in '62, and then, we've been back, probably, a dozen times since.
KP: You were very active in veterans' organizations. You first joined the Sons of the American Legion before the war. Did you ever join the VFW?
JQ: I joined the VFW in 1945, '46. I've been a member now for over fifty years. I joined the American Legion at the Prudential. … Prudential had hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were in the service, had their own American Legion Post, so, I joined that American Legion Post. … We got out of the service, the 17th got out of action and [was] dissolved in 1945. So, in 1953, I got a note in the mail from one of the fellows who was in the 17th, and he says, "We ought to form an association," and they had their first meeting in Pittsburgh, and I went out to Pittsburgh, and there were about thirty of us there who had served together, and that started the nucleus of the 17th Airborne Division Association, and, I guess, at this point, I had certain leadership abilities, and so, I've been active with the association. I've made all forty-four of the reunions and I've been president, board of directors, an editor, for about thirty years, of a one hundred-page magazine, and, you know, a lot of friends, nice reunions, and then, in '68, they said, "Gee, we ought to go back and see some of the places that we served at … twenty years ago," and nobody wanted to do … anything, so, I got a hold of a travel agent, and put together a program, and took about a hundred people over to Europe, to England, France, Belgium, Germany, where we had trained and fought, and, since then, about every other year, I run a trip. We've been to China, Russia, a couple of times, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and England, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Germany about ten times.
KP: I have seen some of the newsletters that you sent to Rutgers in Special Collections, Alexander Library. Your group has traveled quite a bit.
JQ: Yeah, … last year, we were in Ireland. No, this … April, we went to Ireland and Scotland, and, usually, we go over and we meet with … our counterparts of World War II, and we met with the British paratroopers, we met with the Russians, the Japanese, the Chinese.
KP: One of your first trips was to Germany. In fact, you met both current members of the German military and some veterans.
JQ: … I usually go over ahead of time to plan the trip, … but, in 1968, this was the very first trip, so, I went over with a travel agent, … who, subsequently, became a good friend of mine. We went to England. … I met with the British, which was easy enough, to hook up with the veterans there. We went to Belgium, to the town that we bombed, and then, freed up, and met with some of the Belgium people there. Then, we went into Wesel, the town in Germany that we had parachuted into, and went to the town hall, and we were just out of nowhere. No American veterans had been there; they had no reason to. We hooked up with the deputy mayor, a German, not a paratrooper, but, a veteran, and he was very helpful, and, when I took the group over, a couple of months later, he had arranged for German parachutists who had been on the ground in that area, fighting against us, they met us in town hall. … We walked in and here's all these guys in their business suits, you know. Now, this is 1968, so, … they were … around forty-five years old. We looked at all these fellows in their business suits and it turns out that these were our … enemies. One of them made a speech. He said, "Twenty-five years ago, we were shooting with rifles and, now, we're shooting with cameras." We had a reception and a dinner that night in the hotel, and we invited a few of them to come. About sixty of them showed up. … We were able to accommodate them, and then, the next day, we all got on buses with them and went to the drop zone where we had parachuted in.
KP: What was it like to meet the enemy, face-to-face, after all those years?
JQ: Well, … twenty-five years had passed, and I think [there were] only one or two who might have been … wounded, and one fellow lost his leg, … but, I think that we recognized that those fellows … were not part of the SS. They were drafted, just like we were, and it was a very human experience. I don't recall any problems at all.
KP: Did anyone say, "Why are we meeting the enemy?"
JQ: No, … nobody said that. The only bad experience was one time in, I think, … Russia. Some fellow was with us on the trip, he wasn't … the 17th Airborne, and it turned out he was in a Cuban prison camp because of the Russians, and he was a ringer, though. … He got up and started to harangue the Russians, when we were having a meeting in one of their big halls, and we had to usher him out, but, I don't recall any … bad feelings, no.
KP: You took a group to the Soviet Union in 1982.
JQ: Yeah, twice now we've been there, '82 and, I guess, '89. …
KP: What were those trips to the Soviet Union like?
JQ: The Russians treated us [well]. We were the second American … veterans group to go to Russia on an organized basis. I think the Fourth Armored had done that the year before, and I went over, again, with the travel agent, in advance, and met with them, met with some high-ranking veterans. Of course, they were Communist then. You know, it was a Communist nation, but, they were very happy to meet us, very happy to arrange the trip. I had a blood vessel burst in my eye, my eye was all red, and the Colonel insisted I go to the dispensary, and they put me in a car and took me down to the hospital. The hospital was not the cleanest place in the world. There were people all sitting around, waiting to get … whatever they were there for, and they took me right in and gave me whatever medicine I needed. You know, they were very solicitous, a lot of vodka drinking, … and I'm not a drinker, but, you know, I had one, two, three. By this time, my mind was not too clear, but, when I took the group over, we were treated very well. We had some very fine receptions [with] high-level officers from World War II, current officers. We did arrange, … two or three in a group, to go into different homes. These were people who the Russians set up so that we could go in their homes. I visited the home of an Air Force colonel. His apartment looked like something on Third Avenue in New York, back in the tenement days, you know. They were very poor living quarters. They treated us very well, brought out all [their food], you know. They must have saved their food for a month, and we did have one guide who I think was part of the KGB, and he brought politics in once in awhile, but, very harmless. … There was no tensions or anything.
KP: It sounds as if you and most members of your group really enjoyed meeting your foreign counterparts.
JQ: Oh, yeah. … As I say, they treated us very well. … There was some propaganda, you know, in the hotels. … I think Reagan was president then. They wanted to know whether his plan was to come over and bomb them or take over, but, it was very light, and I think it was a genuine mutual feeling of allies meeting, without the tensions of the Cold War. We had no problems.
KP: One of the things that struck me while reading your newsletter was that a paratrooper in your group …
JQ: Oh, yeah, Joe Beyrle.
KP: Yes, Joe Beyrle, was captured by the Germans, escaped to the Soviet lines, and fought with the Soviets.
JQ: He was from the 101st Airborne. He wasn't one of ours.
KP: Is he still alive?
JQ: Yeah. He's still alive. I talked to him last week.
KP: Where does he live?
JQ: He lives out in Muskegon, Michigan, and he's quite active in the 101st Airborne. He's also quite active in what they called a spook outfit. These are people who, some of them, part of this group, those who fought with the Russians, … a liaison with the Russians, just as he did, when he was captured.
KP: There is a group …
JQ: Yeah, … not a CIA group, but, there's a group of mysterious people. … Now, he goes back to Russia on occasion, and … he has a letter from Zhukov, and he is treated royally over there.
KP: Our project is very Rutgers-centric, but, we occasionally make exceptions. We would definitely be interested in interviewing him about his experiences.
JQ: … Well, I can't say I'm sure, but, I feel certain that he would be willing to share his experience. … When he escaped from the German hospital … near Warsaw, before he got hooked up with the Russians, he escaped and was taken in by some nuns, into a nunnery or whatever it was there, and he remembers the place. So, not on that trip, but, on another trip, he went with me and I made arrangements. … He knew the habit that the nuns had [worn]. There's some special chains or medals. … When I went over on a preliminary trip, I hooked up with a couple of people who knew their way around, and I asked them if they could check to see if this place was still there, and, sure enough, they found the place that he'd been hiding out in, the basement, where they had a lot of potatoes stored. So, when I went back, we took him back exactly to the place where he had been in hiding with the nuns. I often would have liked to have gotten, you know, a story on TV or in Hollywood on that, because there was a real story there.
KP: How did you feel about the Korean and Vietnam Wars at the time and have your feelings changed over the years?
JQ: Well, I was in Prudential [when] the Korean War started, and several fellows who were in the same home office training program were in the Reserves, and they were called up to serve in Korea, … the Marines, and they were in combat. At that time, I thought, "Well, maybe we are serving a purpose," but, I can't believe that, fifty years after the war, I don't understand why we still have troops in Germany. … I've been to Korea. I went to Korea at the invitation of the Korean government in 1979, I think, and I couldn't believe we still have the 29th Division there. … I don't see why we should still have troops over in Korea. I don't know why we still have troops over in Germany, only a very few now, but, we had troops in Berlin for fifty years. I was there last year, … in Berlin, and … the year before, they had celebrated the fiftieth year of, not occupation, they call it, say, "protection." We had troops there. The Vietnam War, in some ways, I felt that it was justified, and then, on the other hand, I say, "Why are we the only country that has to go around the world saving the world," Bosnia, Haiti. I guess we're there for humanitarian purposes, but, I don't know how far humanitarian purposes should go, when we can spend about five million dollars for a Scud missile or something like that and we can't get five million dollars for cancer research and stuff like that. … My mind is fluid and ambiguous on something like that. Yeah, I think that those kids that went … to Canada, rather than go to Korea, [Vietnam], I was disappointed when Reagan, or whoever, [Jimmy Carter], pardoned them. I don't think they should have been pardoned. I think they should have lost their right to vote. … They were felons. They should have been treated like that. Vietnam, I think anybody that went there was a hero and should have been treated accordingly. I think the Wall down in Washington is one of the most impressive monuments that I've [ever] seen. … In Volgograd, there's a great, big monument to the Russian soldier that I think is very impressive, but, I think the thing down in Washington is great. I'm patriotic and I think that, you know, if you're called up to go, you should go. These people who were in the service and refused to go, I think they should have been court-martialed and dealt with severely.
LH: Have you made contact with veterans of those wars?
JQ: … There's no really organized group of Korean veterans; Vietnam. I've talked to Korean veterans. Vietnam, I think, ten years ago, they were very angry and upset, and I think they've come to peace with themselves, … particularly since Jan Scruggs had that memorial built down there in Washington.
KP: You are very active with the Airborne Association. How active are you with the VFW or the American Legion?
JQ: Our American Legion Post was … composed of members of Prudential and we're sort of just a paper post now. The VFW, I'm very active. We just acquired a building. I'm building chairman and chaplain. … I do a lot of stuff in the schools.
KP: Are there any Vietnam veterans in your VFW post?
JQ: No. Our commander is a Desert Storm veteran, though.
KP: What percentage of the Post are World War II veterans, Korean War veterans, etc.?
JQ: Seventy percent World War II, ten, fifteen percent Korean, and one or two others, and the reason that's important, I try to … explain to some people why World War II camaraderie exists, why we have the reunions and interest. World War II, you went in the service, you took your basic training together, they went overseas together, they fought together, and they came home together, and … that was your extended family for two, three years. … You were with them the whole time, for the most part. Korea, you got called up, and you went to Korea, you served for thirteen months, and you came home. … You took your basic training someplace else. In Korea and Vietnam, they went over on Pan Am's passenger planes. They got out at the airport and they were assigned to a unit. They put thirteen months in, and then, they came home, oftentimes, … again, on military [transports] or on Pan Am, so, they didn't have that same togetherness that we had in World War II. They were together for thirteen months, but, under conditions that were a lot different, particularly because it was jungle warfare, … not jungle warfare, but, it wasn't like we had in Europe and even in some of the Pacific. So, they didn't have that. So, when these guys came home from Korea, they weren't part of a unit, and, in Vietnam, the same thing. So, that's why we don't get a lot of them joining up. It was a different war.
LH: How do you think World War II veterans shaped post-war American society, since your entire generation had a common bond?
JQ: Well, I think … they used their leadership that they learned in the service, and, at one point, more than half of Congress were veterans, and … I don't know if they shaped anything in a large scale, but, I think, as veterans, … they had certain training, they had certain experiences. … [If] you see legislation in Congress, the Cold War was influenced a lot by them. I can't answer specifically, but, I think that the world was better off for the training and the tribulations they went through.
KP: Are you disappointed that none of your children went into the military?
JQ: No, I'm not disappointed. I think that my son has his interests and they were not compatible with military service. I didn't go into the military because I wanted to, I went because there was a reason to go. … My son is now thirty-two, but, I think, if he was younger and a war came, he would do his part. My daughter is a social individual. She's a special ed teacher and she's interested in helping people.
LH: Where did you meet your wife?
JQ: At Prudential.
LH: Can you tell us about how you met?
JQ: She comes from a family of sixteen children, and, when they became eighteen, I guess, they decided they'd go elsewhere. [laughter] So, several of them moved to Kearny, had an apartment there, and, when she became eighteen, she also moved to Kearny and went to work at Prudential, and that's where I met her. … People say, "Why did you get married so late?" I say, "Well, I had to wait until my wife was old enough." She was only twenty-three and I was thirty-eight.
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JQ: … We went together for two years, and then, I convinced her to get married. I was thirty-eight and she was twenty-three. We've been married now, what? … thirty-six years. My son's thirty-two. He went to Boston University, got his bachelor's there, and he went up there in finance, but, he got his degree in art history. So, he worked up there for an art museum for awhile. Then, he got his Master's there in business, and then, he was the director of communications for an organization in Boston, decided that he wanted to come down to New York, and he's down in New York now. He had a job getting several companies on the Internet. At the present time, he's designing a plan where he will "out-Gates" Bill Gates. In the meantime, he has a thousand dollar a month apartment over there, … without any income, I'm helping him with [it], but, he's a hard worker and very much of an individualist.
KP: Eventually, when this interview is posted on the Internet, he will be able to read it via the Internet. He will probably enjoy that.
JQ: He's into all of that. He's got 60,000 dollars worth of computer equipment in his little apartment and he's doing all sorts of magical things.
LH: You probably never anticipated that computers would be so prominent in our lives.
JQ: Oh, no. I'll have to admit, I'm still using an IBM Selective typewriter. I do not have the desire to become computerized.
KP: Your daughter graduated from college fairly recently.
JQ: She graduated four years ago from the College of Charleston. While there, she did some work with Kelly or one of the manpower outfits. She did computer graphics work, enjoyed it so much that … when she graduated, she stayed down there for six months, and then, she moved up to Boston, and, immediately, got a job in computer graphics, did very well, got a number of bonuses, and enjoyed it. … She enjoys doing that type of stuff, but, then, she decided, since she was trained to be a special ed teacher, this fall, she started in Attleboro, Mass., as a special ed teacher, and enjoys it very much. She'll be very good at that, because she has that social interest. She would have liked to have gone in the Peace Corps, but, for some reason, she didn't.
KP: Did your wife continue to work for Prudential?
JQ: She worked for a few years, until our son was born, and then, she's been a "household engineer" ever since. [laughter] … On occasion, she does do some substituting at the schools.
KP: You retired from Prudential in the 1980s. When did you become a substitute teacher?
JQ: I retired in December of '85. I had been on the school board in a different town for six years, in Cedar Grove, so, I knew a lot about school business. … When my kids were in school, I was active. I knew the Superintendent of Schools and, when I retired, he said, "We need some men substitutes. What about it?" So, that's when I started.
KP: You were called upon.
JQ: Yeah. … I don't know whether I would have done it had I not been asked for, but, he asked me, and I've been subbing now for twelve years.
KP: You seem to enjoy it.
KP: It is an easy way to make a few dollars.
JQ: Yeah. The pay is not all that great, the pay isn't great at all, but, I enjoy being around the young people, and, if I can help one or two of them, it's gratifying that way. Last week, Monday, I was the head of the foreign language department, Tuesday, I was in the business department, Wednesday, I was in the business department, Thursday, I taught history, and, Friday, I was in science. … They can't get substitutes in the curriculum they want, so, we go in, and sometimes you teach, sometimes you baby-sit, but, I enjoy it.
LH: You mentioned in your pre-interview survey that you once ran for a seat on a township committee.
JQ: Yeah, I'm a Republican, and about eight, ten years ago, I didn't like the fellow who was the township manager, I thought he was less than desirable, and another veteran and I decided that we would run as Independents, in a town that was heavily Republican, and we both had been president of the Republican Club at one time or another. We were running with one mission, … at least, to get the town manager out. …
KP: Was your bid successful?
JQ: No, no. [laughter] I don't know why, because all the kids in school said their mothers and fathers and uncles and aunts voted for me. That would have been a clear mandate, but, for some reason, there were six candidates, and I can't believe it, but, I finished seventh. [laughter] That's a joke, but, we didn't do as well as we had hoped to do.
KP: You were on the Board of Education in Cedar Grove. How did that come about?
JQ: Well …
KP: You do not draw a salary for serving on the Board of Education. [laughter]
JQ: No. Well, my kids were in school there, and I saw some things I didn't like, and I thought, maybe, I could make a change. … It was a challenge, and I ran twice, and I got elected twice, for three-year terms. … You know, I had nothing to do between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM in the morning and that filled that spot. [laughter]
KP: You have always been very active in both veterans' organizations and local politics.
JQ: Well, I'm a late starter. I was not a leader in high school, I wasn't a leader in college, I wasn't a leader in the service, but, since then, I think that the stored up energy that accrued … until I was thirty or something is now being released.
KP: Do you belong to any other clubs or organizations?
JQ: Kiwanis. I'm a member of the Kiwanis and have been program chairman of the Kiwanis. Oh, I was on several boards of directors for workshops for retarded … young people and older people.
LH: Was that before your daughter was trained in special education?
JQ: Oh, yeah, ... Chamber of Commerce and the normal [things]. My daughter was in the Brownies and the Girl Scouts, and she and six or seven girlfriends wanted to move up to whatever the next step was, Cadets or something, and they couldn't get a mother to be the leader, so, I took Girl Scout training, leadership, and, for at least one year, I was the head of the Girl Scouts. Then, they got to be fourteen and they no longer had an interest in Girl Scouts. So, I had a one-year tenure as a Girl Scout leader. [laughter] Back to the military, one thing that I'm proud of, and will go down in posterity, is the fact that … 1990 was the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the paratroops, so, myself and leaders from three other units got together and said, "We ought to have a big celebration." So, we convinced all of the airborne outfits, the 82nd, the 101st, the 13th, the 11th, the 17th, plus, a number of other, smaller units, to have their reunions in Washington, DC, and we had about 23,000 paratroopers, ex-paratroopers, in Washington. We had the big reunion. We took over RFK Stadium and had a big show there, marched down Constitution Avenue, and it was a three-year project, [which] we spent a lot of time on, and one of the fellows, Colonel Bill Weber, who was wounded in Korea, lost an arm and a leg, but, managed to stay in the service, even though he was that disabled, and retired as a colonel, he was the chairman and I was the executive secretary. Subsequent to that, he got selected by General, I can't think of the general's name, to be on the Committee for the Korean Monument, and his responsibility was to interview architects, sculptors, etc., for the Korean Monument. One of the fellows in our 17th Airborne Division is a famous sculptor up in Vermont, Frank Gaylord. … When he heard that they were looking for sculptors, he asked me if I would give him a plug with Colonel Weber. I did, … and he, eventually, was chosen to do this monument, the seventeen soldiers that are in the diorama down there. … Since he felt that I may have had something to do with … his selection, he asked me to send him pictures of myself when I was in the service and he used my visage [laughter] as the face sculpture for the seventeenth soldier in that big diorama there … and I've got a letter attesting to that. Did you see that monument down there?
JQ: … That, as I say, … my legacy to life is that I'm down in the Washington Mall in the Korean War Memorial with the seventeen soldiers in squad formation, and then, this is the letter … saying that I'm number seventeen. I went down there, and I looked at all seventeen, and … the sculptor's rendition is different than my visage in there.
LH: You sent him photographs.
JQ: … Sent photographs and he has attested to it. … Being an egoist, I would have publicized it, but, I don't think it was right. I think he made a mistake. He should not have used people like myself. … Since this is the Korea Monument, he should have used fellows who served in the Korean War. I think it was … improper. … I think he used himself, he used his brother-in-law, he used a lot of Korean [War] veterans, but, he selected me because he thought I gave him … a foot-in-the-door, and I may have, in a small way, but, I doubt it very much, but, I'm proud [of it].
LH: You felt it would have been better if he had found somebody who had served in Korea.
JQ: Oh, yeah. He should … have used Korean veterans for that. … I'm pleased, of course, and … I'll put it in my scrapbook for life or something, but, that was something else, and I've … done a lot of other things. … On December 12, 1944, we were in training, ready to go into combat, just before the Bulge, and one of the gliders crashed, and thirty-three guys were killed, December 12, '44. They trained for three years and never got into combat. … I wasn't part of that group, but, I just felt that they should be remembered, and we did nothing, until 1994. I thought we should do something. I'm going to brag and say, single-handedly, I had a big bronze plaque cast. I shipped it over there. I got the Royal British Legion, which is [like] our American Legion, to help me, and, on December 12, 1994, which was fifty years to the day, myself and one of the fellows who had been in that company, plus, three ladies whose brothers had been in the company, no, two brothers and one whose father had been in that glider crash, we went over and dedicated a monument. …
LH: That must have meant a lot to them.
JQ: Yeah, you know, it was fifty years later, thirty-three guys get killed in one accident. … So, that's the type of activities. I don't sleep very much at night. I go to bed at one and I get up at seven. …
JQ: I've got a lot of energy, [though] I'm slowing down. …
LH: During one visit to Europe, you jumped again.
JQ: No, … I didn't jump. No, no, there have been fellows from my outfit who went over on the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, and they jumped, two or three, and they were in their middle seventies. No, I didn't.
KP: Have you been active in any Rutgers organizations?
JQ: No. … When I started to pick my activities, Rutgers was not one of the ones I picked. Then, I got involved in so many other activities. I correspond with … Morton Burke, who was [in] the Class of '45, … but, I did not get involved. … I enjoyed coming back for my fiftieth anniversary and it was an emotional thing to meet guys that I hadn't seen in fifty years. Some of them I barely recognized, as they probably didn't recognize me.
KP: Was that your first reunion?
JQ: No, I've been back before, I think twice, … and the fraternity, that was a bad shot, so, that may have influenced me not to join, … but, I guess military and community have meant more to me than Rutgers. … I'll go on record in saying they shouldn't be paying that much money to the ladies basketball coach. I think that the priorities are wrong, … going Big East. … You don't know Frank Burns, but, Frank Burns was the football coach and was doing well, and they dumped him and brought … somebody else in. … Their athletic program, I think, is going in the wrong direction. … That's not the reason, I didn't get involved. I didn't get involved because I had many other things [on my plate].
LH: One of your trips took you to China.
LH: Can you tell us about that tour?
JQ: Yeah. We had visited with the English, the Belgian, the French, the German, the Czechoslovakian, the Polish, the Russian, the New Zealand, the Australian paratroopers, and what was left? So, China became pretty much an open [country]. This was right before Tiananmen Square, the year before. … Things were nice and loose over there. So, I did my usual publicity about a trip, both in my magazine and in other ways, and got about sixty people that wanted to go, and we went over and did … a couple of days in Hawaii, we went to Hong Kong for a few days, and then, we went to Beijing and Shanghai, met with … some Chinese paratroopers from World War II, met with the current Chinese Army. We went out to one of their training camps, saw how they were being trained, visited their dispensary and their mess halls, looked like the 1930s WPA over here. [We] visited with the … 15th Chinese Division that had fought against us in Korea. … You know, it was a gracious meeting. They had several banquets, exchanged gifts, and it was just another one of those fraternal type of things. I think [the] airborne, just like after World War I, remember, the Air Corps, the Germans and us, we were very friendly, not friendly, but, there was a communion spirit, and the same with airborne. If you're airborne, whether you're Russian or German or whatever, you did the same thing, volunteered to jump out of an airplane. … We went to their factories, we saw how … backward they are in some of their manufacturing, and this and that. That was just a continuation of these various trips that we made. You're questioned out and I'm talked out. [laughter]
KP: Did you ever attend chapel services? Did you have much contact with the chaplain?
JQ: In the service, there was not a great deal of emphasis, not for the Protestants at least. For the Catholics, you know, they had their ritual Mass. The Jewish ones were limited, so, they, I don't think, had a chaplain. A rabbi covered a great deal. I knew some of the chaplains. I'm not a church-goer. ... I don't have to go to church to do good deeds. … If Winston Churchill went down instead of up, I'll wind up with him. [laughter] … Chapel here, at Rutgers, I went to chapel in my freshman and sophomore year, because … you had to go. I knew a couple of chaplains, and, as a matter-of-fact, I took one with us when we went over to Czechoslovakia, … and he had his picture taken for his passport with his clergy collar on, and, when they looked at his passport, this was when Czechoslovakia was still [Communist], they wouldn't let him in. So, he had to stay out in Germany for four days while we did our tour of Czechoslovakia.
KP: Is there anything that we forget to ask?
JQ: If you didn't, I probably interjected. [laughter] I have a letter from the Ambassador to Luxembourg to the President of Prudential commending me as a good representative from the USA.
LH: What led to your other commendations?
JQ: In Montville, I'm known as a "Gypsy Moth General." [laughter] About ten years ago, when gypsy moths were very prevalent and they were threatening … the foliage around, you may remember that, and, in our hometown, they had been there the year before, and they were coming back this year, and the Rutgers Extension, Agricultural Services, said, "You've got to do something. If you don't do something, they're going to be … denuded." So, the town manager asked me if I would head up a campaign, and I'm being egotistical again, I … single-handedly set it up, and we have 4,000 homes in Montville. We decided, if we could get twenty dollars from each home, we could pay for an aerial spraying. So, I organized a team in each … geographic unit, and we went out and collected the twenty bucks from everybody, and some people didn't want it, because … they were afraid it was going to kill the bees or whatever. … We had to put balloons up over their homes, so that they wouldn't spray, and we had a very successful spraying of all the trees and saved our trees. So, they call me the "Gypsy Moth General." A year later, I got the award from the Chamber of Commerce for that action. …
KP: You have been involved in everything. …
JQ: As you can see, I'm not bashful. How was Crandon Clark? Was he a speaker?
JQ: Yeah, he's a leader in that 69th Division. I guess he was a leader here in school, too. I didn't know him that well.
KP: Yes, Crandon has always been very dedicated to Rutgers, the Class of 1944, and the 69th Infantry Division.
JQ: Yeah, and the DU House or whatever fraternity he belonged to.
JQ: How about Floyd Bragg? Have you interviewed Floyd yet?
JQ: Floyd's an associate of mine from Prudential. He was my boss for a number of years, an extremely active guy. Now, here's a guy that married Rutgers, didn't he? He moved down here from Bernardsville, so he could be closer to Rutgers. He's on the Board of Governors and the whole shebang.
KP: He is also on our Oral History Project board. He is a very nice man.
JQ: … Yeah. He's Class of …
JQ: '36, so, Floyd has to be around eighty-two, I guess, quite active. …
KP: Thank you very much. We appreciate your cooperation.
JQ: Thank you for giving me an opportunity to [speak]. Well, what can I say? … Thank you, I enjoyed it and I hope that it comes out okay.
KP: This concludes an interview with Mr. Joseph Quade on November 5, 1997, at Rutgers University with Kurt Piehler and …
LH: Leonard Holmin.
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Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 2/11/02
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 2/13/02
Reviewed by Joseph Quade 3/02