Shaun Illingworth: This begins an interview with Adriano Marinelli on November 30, 2005, in Roebling, New Jersey, with Shaun Illingworth and ...
John Miller: ... John Miller.
SI: Mr. Marinelli, thank you very much for having us here in your home today.
AM: Oh, thank you for coming.
SI: To begin, could you state for the record when you were born and where you were born?
AM: Okay. I was born on July 5, 1928, ... at home, in the City of Burlington. That's Burlington, New Jersey, yes.
JM: Your parents were from Italy.
JM: Do you remember when they immigrated to the United States?
AM: Yes. My dad initially came to this country just before World War I. ... I'm not sure; I think it was 1912 or 1913. When the war broke out, he went back to Italy and was in the Italian Army. I'm not clear in terms of why. ... He returned just after World War I was over, would have been about 1918, and then, my mother, with three children, came in February 1921. It was a period of time after my dad had been in this country for the second time and the children included eight-year-old, a six-year-old and a newborn, my oldest brother and my two oldest sisters.
JM: Did you have any other family living here in the United States?
AM: Yes. We had an aunt. In fact, that's where they settled initially. They settled, in Burlington, with her. Prior to that, when my dad was over here by himself, he spent some time in West Virginia, in the mining industry, and then, he spent some time in Sault Ste. Marie. I'm not clear in terms of what work he was doing there. So, he had moved about, to a couple of places, before my mother and the children that were born came.
JM: Were there any particular traditions that your family brought over from Italy?
AM: Any what?
JM: Particular traditions that they practiced here in the United States, from Italy?
AM: Yes, I would say [so]. We eventually settled in a part of Burlington that was predominantly Italian. I say predominantly, but both of my neighbors were not. One was English, one was Irish, but, as you go down the street, you would find that most of the families were Italian, so that your diet was very much an Italian diet. Pasta was a key part of it, and fruits and vegetables were very significant. I'm not clear whether these were traditions in Italy, or whether it was for economic reasons. We did a lot of bottling and canning and preparing for the long winter period, so that my parents could feed, ... in this case, a family of eleven. There were nine children. Six more children were born, all at home, in this same place in Burlington. So, yes, you had some of the traditions around the meals. We continued to speak Italian. My dad did learn enough English, not good English, because of the nature of his work, but my mom, no, because she was home, raising the kids, her English was always very, very limited. ... So, we grew up speaking the language and it was only as we left home that the children began to lose it, ... but some of the traditions continued. Holiday meals were always kind of special and there were some things associated with that. Otherwise, I never got the feeling that we were trying to maintain the Italian culture. We were becoming part of the melting pot, so-to-speak, and gradually adapting to the American way of life as we grew up. So, there wasn't much of a practice of Italian traditions that I have learned about in my older years, through just the media, ... when they speak about what Italians do. In fact, there were an awful lot of things that you realize that you didn't know about Italian traditions, even though you grew up in an Italian family.
SI: Did your father ever discuss his service in World War I?
AM: Yes, a little, ... and I could kick myself for never asking questions. That's one of the things that you say, "Oh, why didn't I ask my parents about this and that as I grew up?" My dad lived until he was ninety-seven, a very healthy ninety-seven. He was very verbal at that time and his mental status was better than mine is now, today, because ... he read and he still stayed informed, read primarily Italian newspapers, ... even though he could speak English. Yes, he was a musician in the Italian Army and he tells a very funny story. He was newly married at that point in time. He had Socialistic leanings in his politics, and he would write home complaining about things that were occurring in the military. Now, I don't know precisely what he wrote about that ... was so negative. Apparently, the letters that he wrote were intercepted by military leaders. He eventually was kicked out of the band and given a rifle and proceeded to have to fight in the war, and, fortunately, he said the war ended very shortly after that. That was about as much as he shared about it. ... After he came to this country, I helped him in getting a pension from the Italian Army. It was a very small pension, but, for his service, they recognized him for that.
JM: You said you had three older siblings.
AM: Well, they're the three that came over with my mother. Six more were born in this country.
JM: They all attended elementary school here.
AM: They all attended elementary school in Burlington. I don't know if my oldest brother finished high school. He went into some technical school and he became very adept in a number of technical areas; plumbing or electricity or carpentry, he did them all. I his later years, he built his own house. Even though he worked for the railroad for some forty-plus years, he became very skilled in a number of areas. The next two girls did not finish high school. ... I'm not sure how far they went. They took jobs pretty much to support the family. My dad's employment, much as I can remember in the '30s, it was difficult. There were times when he was not able to get work, and I can remember, as a kid, him coming home very bothered by the fact that he was not selected to work. ... There was a pipe foundry nearby from which he eventually got permanent employment but, at the time, it was touch-and-go. He used to be very upset at the way they selected people. They would say, "Okay, you today, you today," ... kind of half reminds me of what you see, today with the people from Mexico that are coming to this country and trying to get jobs for the day. It was a little like that. Some day, you would be picked and, some day, you would not be picked, and, of course, he had, at that point in time, ... nine children to support. Did I get to your question? I know I diverted a little.
JM: When did you start learning the language? Did you start learning English from your older brothers or as soon as you started going to school?
AM: Oh, I can't remember not speaking English. I'm sure my oldest sisters influences the younger children, including me. While my mother oversaw the raising of the children, she delegated chores to my older sister who had a major effect on our learning English. I never gave thought to the fact that I used two languages. Our Italian was probably not good. ... I'm not sure that we ever gave a thought to speaking grammatically correct. ... We probably became very lazy in our expressions, and never having read the language, we became sloppy in terms of our pronunciations. I've since taken a few basic courses in Italian, "I can recall how I said certain words and they were so far from what they should have been said. I think our parents were very tolerant in terms of what we said and understood us and accepted it that way, and I think they were happy to see us learning the new culture, learning English and being a part of this country.
SI: You mentioned earlier that your neighborhood had a lot of Italian families, but it also had kind of a melting pot quality.
SI: Could you elaborate on that? Were your friends a mixture of ethnicities?
AM: Yes. The kids that you grew up with were the kids that lived in the neighborhood. ... They were primarily a mixture of Polish, Irish and Italian. They seemed to be the dominant three groups, the Fayes represented the Irish, and then, the Chiemingos, the Polish, and then, the Marinellis, and then, you name it in the others. So, in other words, they seemed to be the predominant groups. I don't recall any people from Germany, or Spain or any of the Hispanic populations, but they were the kids that [lived there]. ... The associations changed when I entered junior and senior high school. Suddenly, you were with an entirely new group of people. I found myself less associated with the kids that I grew up playing with and I was more involved with those who were part of my school classes. School seemed to be the influence, and I was introduced to new group of people who were not necessarily Italian and Polish. They were a mixture of a larger section of the community.
JM: Was it easier for your sisters or your mother to find work, as opposed to your father?
AM: Yes. I think all of them went into working as a seamstress, which was very much available. ... I'm sure that it was low paying. I'm sure of that. Let's see, my two oldest sisters worked their whole lives as seamstresses. They retired from that work. The other one worked for the telephone company and eventually retired from the telephone company. I had the impression that there was always the availability of work for them. They may have had their difficult times, but as kids, you don't think of them as difficult times. To supplement their family income I can remember my mother taking the young children to an industrial dump site to collect iron and steel which would be sold to a recycler. That way she could watch the children and supplement family income. [I] never gave any thought of the difficulty it was for my mother, at that point in time. She later worked as a seamstress for short periods of time when the kids ... were in school. If we got sick, I can always remember, Mom would be home. ... At that point in time, when you got sick, you had to stay in bed. You had no choice in the matter, whether you felt like you could do things [or not]; you were sick and you had to wait until the doctor arrived to [see you]. The doctor would show up. He'd do his checkups, and then, you would have to remain in bed and rest and do whatever he prescribed.
JM: As you finished elementary school, World War II was beginning. Could you tell us a little bit about what you remember from that time, the beginning of the war?
AM: Very little. I can remember December 7th. I can remember ... walking down the street with friends and someone saying something about, "The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor." I don't recollect how I felt. I mean I'm sure I was very angry or felt that way, but I don't recollect much more than that. I recall very little about the beginning of the war or any specific incident with the beginning of the war in Germany. [I] began to hear about what Hitler was doing, in invading Poland and the rest of the countries in Europe, but nothing much more.
JM: Do you recall how your parents felt about the situation?
AM: No. They are questions that I never posed to my parents. ... I would have thought that they would have been very disturbed by it. I never did raise the question with them.
SI: After December 7th, life in America changed quite a bit. When did you start noticing war-related changes in your area?
AM: I recall rationing and the steps that you had to take to protect you against the possibility of air raids. They darkened the windows. ... I remembered rationing, especially when you had to purchase shoes or certain food items. I don't remember anything about gasoline. My oldest brother was the only one that had a car. My folks never had a vehicle, so that I don't recall anything in terms of the absence of gasoline or the restrictions on gasoline. I do recall that one of my friends was a farmer and he was able to drive around in what I would consider a gas guzzling [vehicle], because the farmers were given some freedoms with getting gas.
SI: With the food rationing, do you remember having to wait in line at the store with your mother, or your mother sending you to a store to wait in line?
AM: No, no. ... I never had the inconvenience. I never sensed an inconvenience. I was about twelve years of age. Shoe rationing was the only inconvenience that I have some recollection. I do remember the importance of having stamps. Certain stamps were to purchase shoes, and what were some of the other areas that they had rationing in? ...
SI: Mostly food, sugar, butter, eggs, gasoline. Housing; you would not probably have had a problem with that.
AM: ... Yes, and food seemingly had little impact, because, ... during the summer months, things like tomatoes would be jarred, and so that anything that was involved in cooking soups or pasta or any of the meals, there was always sufficient for the year, and then, fruits, whatever was in season, ... we would put in jars. So, you had your fruit, peaches and pears and whatever, and then, apples would always be down in the cellar, and we had a wine cellar. My dad ... did his own wine making, so that the wine and sausage was always available; I guess, if anything, I mean, you talk about tradition, that would have been what I would say was closest to tradition. We always had wine available with your meals, wine that you made yourself. Lard was a very big cooking product and we made our own lard. Today, that's a no-no but, back then, that was something that was an intimate part of our diet, [laughter] and then, my parents would buy large quantities of cheeses that you would use in your food preparation, so that that was never a problem. ... I never sensed a difficulty, ... in terms of the food. My parents may have, but as a kid, you're not at all aware of the stress, mental stress, that they may have been going through, ... but there was always something on the table. Of course, you never felt that you got enough, in terms of what you got at the table, but that, you thought, was part of life.
SI: A lot of people talk about planting a victory garden and canning things, but it sounds like you were already doing all of that, that it was just part of your life.
AM: Yes. Unfortunately, my dad only had a very small yard. He did have a small garden. He raised lettuce and radishes and things like that, that would be in season. Getting food was different back then. You didn't have the big supermarkets. My mother usually did her buying once a week, at a little delicatessen that was nearby. ... Occasionally I would be asked to purchase meat from a store across the street from our home. Mom would send us to buy, a pound of chuck meat or a pound of baloney. That's one of the things I vividly remember. The cost was fifteen cents and she would always say, "Be sure you get a bone." That was always the instruction. ...
SI: Do you remember how your neighborhood changed, in terms of people leaving to go into the service or even leaving to get employment somewhere else in the war industries?
AM: I can remember only the older guys going off to the war. I do remember some of them, but the neighborhood did not change much. In fact, even to my going to Rutgers, the neighborhood was very much the same. Of course, there wasn't the kind of housing developments that occurred in the '60s, '70s, and so forth, but, yes, you would hear about those who were in involved in the war, who were ... in harm's way. ... I can remember one who lost a limb and a few others who lost their lives. My lack of recall keeps me from giving a more complete picture. My comments are on the few that I can remember at this moment. Of the two people, one who was killed-in-action lived nearby our home, and the other who was very friendly to me lost his arm in the European Theater. It was devastating from the standpoint of how it affected his life. He never seemed to get his life back together, in terms of moving into some responsible job or having a family. The war and what impact it had on him, I never understood. He never got his act together and just became a very dependent, very unsuccessful person.
JM: You attended high school in Burlington as well.
JM: Do you remember anything significant about your high school experience? Did you participate in any extracurricular activities, play any sports at that time?
AM: Yes, I was a good benchwarmer in basketball. [laughter] Being small, I played a little and enjoyed it. Even just being part of the team was something that I enjoyed very much. The guys who were the better players were good friends, and even though you may have sat on the bench, you always felt very much a part of the team. Football, I was just too small to play, and, yet, I loved the game. I loved the game. As a kid, I always enjoyed getting whacked around, but I think I had enough sense to know that I wouldn't have been successful. I never was good at baseball. Back then, the high schools only had football, baseball, basketball, track. That was it. If you weren't successful in any one of those three sports, you would never ... be competitive in any sports. I liked dancing, so that dancing was a big part of the high school. We always danced during lunch. ... I can't remember precisely the other club activities. I was involved with some other club activities, but nothing that stuck out. Attending Rutgers led me to another sport. I ran into an older friend of mine when I was a freshman and he encouraged me to, "Come out for lacrosse?" and so, ... as a result of his invitation and his bending my ear, I ended up playing very successfully four years of lacrosse at Rutgers. I busted my fanny learning a game that I knew nothing about, but, with persistence and hard work, I was able to make the varsity in my sophomore year and be starter in ... both my junior and senior years. ... That was a fun experience. It's a shame that they didn't have soccer and other sports, in my high school years, where size and speed are not essential for success.
JM: Going back to your days in high school, did you ever have to work after school?
AM: ... No, just summer months. No, I never recall having to go to work during the high school years. During the basketball season, I always got home well into the evening, after six o'clock, and I can remember walking home. ... We were about an hour's walk home from school, so that you ... got home just in time for dinner and homework and go to bed. During the summer months, ... the only thing that was available to me was working on the farms, which were great. That was a great work experience. I think it made some major contributions to my recognizing the importance of work. ...
JM: Do you recall wanting to pursue a particular career line when you were in high school? Did you know what you wanted to do when you grew up?
AM: No. My two older brothers both went into electrical engineering. They always were excellent students. One was president of his class and he won all kinds of significant awards, and the other one was an outstanding student too. I can always remember feeling pressured by teachers, always reminding me what excellent students they were. I realized that I didn't have their intellectual prowess. I felt that I could be successful in something, but not in math or science. So, I wasn't sure, at that time. I thought that my enjoyment of athletics might lead me into the area of physical education, ... but there was always pressure to pursue the career of my brothers. I didn't give serious thought to my career until the final year or two of my military career. I realized that I wasn't going to reenlist, because I enlisted to take advantage of the GI Bill and have the benefits for a college education. I said, "Gee, what am I going to do?" and I ended up saying, "Well, I'm going to go to college, like my brothers did." ... At that point in time, I could even remember writing home and asking for their advice, and I guess that's when I began to think, "Well, maybe education, as a teacher, might be my choice."
JM: As you graduated high school, did you look into the military because you were not precisely sure what you wanted to do?
AM: No. Again, I was sharing this thought with my wife, I said, "I really didn't know." ... I knew that, at the time the GI Bill was going to run out. It was like the end of September 1946. I may have been influenced by the other two guys that I enlisted with, I'm not clear. Certainly, there was no pressure from our parents. I think they would have been satisfied for me to go to work and pursue whatever I chose. I know that they would have liked for me to go on to college, much like my older brothers, but I knew they wouldn't be able to pay for it and that was clear in my mind. I'm saying, "I can't imagine where they would have the money." So, I ended up staying, with these two friends of mine, ... and seeing that the job opportunities were not going to be particularly great, because the returning soldiers from World War II were obviously getting back into the market and the opportunities for me were rather limited, and I thought, "It would be timely for me to enlist in the service," and so, I did, in the latter part of September. The three of us enlisted, in the Army Air Force, for a three-year hitch.
JM: Was there any reason why you chose the Air Force?
AM: I think, probably, the glamour and the expectation that you would somehow be associated with flying airplanes. I'm not sure. [laughter] That's probably the motivation, ... and it could have been the influence of the other two men that I enlisted with. We quickly found out that they weren't looking for pilots or people in the technical area. My guess is, probably, at that time, the military was downsizing itself, so that there wasn't a need for men in the areas where we thought they might consider us.
SI: Were you facing the draft at that point, too? Was it still on?
AM: No, no, the draft was not on. The only thing that came close to the draft was after I served, my three years. The Korean War broke out. ... When I was discharged, I thought of the possibility of pursuing a military career. So, I enlisted in the Reserves thinking that, "If I don't like college, I can go back into the service." ...
JM: Do you recall where you were sent for training?
AM: Basic training was at, Lackland Air Force Base, just outside of San Antonio, Texas. It was three months of basic training, ... September, October and November. Yes, it was right around the middle of December, that basic training was over. We were told to report to; ... Camp Kilmer at the time, and then, from Kilmer, we went to New York, and then, were shipped overseas. The trip was, by way of the Panama Canal. It was a good month's trip. It was some time in early January to some time in early February, that [we] traveled ... down the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal, and then, up to Hawaii. We spent a day in Hawaii, and then, directly to Yokohama, Japan.
JM: Were you excited about the prospect of traveling around the world?
AM: Some parts of it were exciting, yes, some parts. ... It started out bad, because the trip out of New York was through very rough waters and ... half of the men on the ship got sick, but that ended shortly. The trip through the Panama Canal was interesting. You couldn't do much. You had to stay onboard ship all the time, but, then, it was a very comfortable, almost vacation-like. From the Panama [Canal] to Hawaii, ... the Pacific Ocean was like a lake. We had about two weeks, of just beautiful weather all the way. ... We spent only a day in Hawaii. We were not able to do much of anything and then we left for Japan. It was as bad as the trip from New York. ... We hit a storm and all on board the ship got sick. It was a terrible experience. It took a good week, from Hawaii to get to Yokohama. We arrived at night. It was a contrast to arrival in Hawaii with winter clothing. It was warm in Hawaii, and so, it wasn't particularly comfortable. However, it was snowing when we arrived at Yokohama, which was a bit of surprise. I later found out that the climates where we spent our time, on the Island of Honshu, are pretty similar to the climates that we experience here.
SI: I want to go back to your basic training at Lackland Air Force Base. Before that, had you really traveled much or been outside of your hometown much?
AM: No. I think the only travel had been to the shore. My oldest brother, who had a car, would take the whole family to Seaside. I also travelled to Washington D.C. as part of a high school class trip. Travel was very limited, but I didn't think that that was unusual. It was probably true of most the kids ... with whom I grew up. There wasn't much traveling that was being done at that point in time.
SI: Was it kind of an eye-opening experience to go from Burlington, New Jersey, into basic training?
AM: Yes. ... I think everything was eye-opening to me, because, ... I grew up in a family, I ate certain foods, I did things in certain ways, and then, suddenly, I'm thrust in a new environment. For example, the military diet was significantly different than the diet I had at home. We never ate large breakfasts at home, but ... [my] first exposure to oatmeal, cream of wheat, things like that, was a surprise and a bit unsettling. I tasted liver for the first time and didn't like it. I said, "Oh, thank God, Mom didn't have this on the [table]."
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AM: Another eye opener was the weekend off when we went into San Antonio and see to experience the big entertainment at the time. I remember seeing a jazz performer Red Norvo, on the xylophones. Oh, that was exciting. We were naïve eighteen-year-olders; awed with all the new and exciting things happening in our lives.
SI: Were you meeting a lot of guys from all over the country? What were they like? Did you meet anybody and say to yourself, "I have never met anybody like this before?"
AM: Yes, I gravitated to people who I perceived to be similar to me in the way I talked. I found some men very offensive by their language. We would get slapped across the face if we used foul language at home, and to then hear it, day in, day out from some was troubling. ... I shied away from those individuals although they may have been good people who were going through a bad experience with the use of the English language, ... I just never associated with them, unless I had to. I gravitated to guys who liked the sports that you played. Sports was always a big thing in developing associations.
SI: How intense was the training? Was it physically demanding?
AM: I didn't think so. I didn't think so. We did a lot of marching. ... We always used to have expectations that we would be carrying these big backpacks, walking, twenty, thirty miles, or something like that. I remember doing one or two long walks, but never got the impression that even going through the obstacle courses were necessarily ... difficult, I mean, that's probably partly because we were in great shape. ... When I hear about guys who were put through intense training, especially in the Marines and what they've been exposed to, I always had the feeling that there was a relaxing of the requirements. ... We had to be sure, every Saturday morning, that our place was spic-and-span. We had weekly inspections with a guy going around with the white gloves. We had to police the area for cigarette butts. It was annoying to me. I don't smoke; I used to say, "Why do I have to pick up other people's [cigarettes]," but, I never found that it was demanding and hard. ... I've done other things in life that I always felt were more demanding than that.
SI: Was the training just general training or were you trained specifically for what you would be doing later on?
AM: Yes, it was just a very basic training. We had little exposure to arms. Some emphasis on prophylactic care, regular marching drills and some texting for future roles. It was a short period of training. I do remember the strong emphasis about protecting yourself when you go out on leave, about using [prophylactics] if you're going to be involved with any kind of sex. They would always do training in personal hygiene. The training emphasized how to protect yourself from venereal diseases and what could happen if you didn't take the proper precaution.
JM: You said you enlisted with two other friends of yours.
JM: Were you able to stay in contact with them through your training?
AM: We stayed in contact with each other through basic training, but we got separated when we went overseas. We saw each other several times in Tokyo, and also some other high school friends who were stationed in Japan.
JM: Do you still stay in contact with any of those people?
AM: No. One has passed away and the other one made a career in the Air Force. He eventually was sent to Officer's Training School and probably has retired. I have not had contact with him. I used to see the one who passed away regularly. He lived in Middletown, NJ. So, we maintained contact with each other up to fifteen to twenty years ago. He lost his son in an accident at Great Adventure. ...
SI: Was it the fire?
AM: No, it wasn't the fire. ... He fell from one of the rides.
SI: The roller coasters.
AM: Yes, one of the roller coasters. He was working on it. He was working there and he fell and it just devastated my friend. [Editor's Note: In August of 1981, Scott Tyler died while testing the Rolling Thunder roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure.] He never, just never, recovered from it. It even caused a separation ... with his wife, who still is alive. I'm still in contact with her.
SI: At any point in your training, or later, since this was the early Cold War period, did you get any kind of indoctrination, like, "This is our enemy. You are in the service now to fight Communism. We are guarding against Communism," anything like that?
AM: ... If it was given, I was totally oblivious to it. No, ... at no point did they ever give you a sense that the Japanese are bad people and that you've got to protect yourself. No, there was nothing of that sort, ... nothing dealing with the Cold War. That was not ever a part of any of the training or instructions that we received.
JM: When you arrived in Japan, you did not have any preconceived notions about the people or anything of that nature, did you?
AM: No, ... I don't think so. ... I think the newness of the situation may have caused some trepidation, but just the fact that you're in a whole new environment. When we landed, it was snowing. I can remember that, and we were housed in tents. ... Even up to that point, we'd never lived in tents in basic training. We had barracks and it was fairly comfortable. ... San Antonio's climate was very mild, and then, we hit this cold climate, and with tents and having to walk around in the snow, ... that was about as bad as it was, and it wasn't stressful. ...
SI: Coming just recently out of World War II, where, for four years, the Japanese were the enemy, they had sneak attacked the United States ...
SI: Did you think, going in there, of them as the enemy?
AM: Yes. I may have had a naïve thought that we were the conquerors and, therefore, they would be submissive to whatever, ... and, yet, I can always remember how uncomfortable I was when the older Japanese people had the habit of bowing. When they retreated from your presence, they would face you and bow away. I was very uncomfortable over that. ... I'm thinking, "Gee, ... it's like I'm conveying a sense that I have some power over them," and that left me uncomfortable. That was not necessarily true of the younger people. [The] younger people, we related in a very normal way. They were people who worked in the kitchen or people who did work in the barracks, cleaning up. They were mostly service jobs, and some in clerical jobs. They were friendly and we had a good relationship. I wish I had spent some time getting to know them better. ... For some reason or other, I just didn't. For example, there was a young lady who worked as a typist and I learned that ... she graduated from college, she was very fluent in English, Italian and Japanese. She helped some military people prepping for some tests. She was a very bright girl and I wish I had spent time trying to learn more about her family. I would have loved to know how [she came to be so well educated]. ... She was a very pleasant person, and, in a job that had to be demeaning to her. At the time, I didn't give much thought of it. You get these feelings only when you reflect back on your experience. I wish I had found out more about people like that. ... I kept ties with a couple of them. We communicated for about a year and lost contact. I thought I would one day visit Japan as a civilian.
JM: Did you feel that many of them knew the English language, the Japanese people?
AM: Yes. ... with the few that I can recollect, there wasn't any difficulty communicating with them. Communications may have been on a very elemental level, but for whatever need you had to communicate, there was never a problem with it. However, that one woman who I mentioned earlier had excellent command of English as well as other languages. One day, she asked me if I knew what my name meant. I didn't know and she explained that Marinelli comes from the Italian mare, which means "by the sea," nelli, which means "small." You're a "small sailor."
SI: Did you interact with the Japanese only through work or through social activities as well?
AM: Just through work. We were encouraged not to fraternize with the Japanese. It wasn't anything formal, but you just had the feeling that they didn't want you to be relating close to them. There were areas, ... in Japan, that were considered out of bounds. I never explored what they were, but you were told. ... I was never curious enough to find out why. They urged you to go to the [approved areas]. There was a theater that would [put on] excellent entertainment, so that when we went into Tokyo, we would go to there to see a show. ... You were urged to go there or to the shopping areas that were considered appropriate, not to go into restricted areas. I'm not sure where the other areas were [that] you should have stayed out of. There was a sense that, they wanted you to be protective of yourself.
SI: When you arrived in Yokohama, you said you were assigned to these tents and it was snowing. Could you pick it up from there? Where were you assigned? Were you assigned already when you came to Japan or did you still have to be assigned to a unit?
AM: We spent just a short period of time there and were taken by train to Tachikawa, which wasn't that far away. Tachikawa is a little more than a half-hour away from Tokyo, and about an hour from Yokohama. We were taken to Japan Air Material Area (JAMA), which was adjacent to Tachikawa Air Force Base. I spent my two and a half years at JAMA. Tachikawa Air Force Base was next to JAMA. I could see the planes coming in and out. That's as close as I would get to flying. I stayed there for two and a half years.
SI: What was your first assignment at JAMA?
AM: What I eventually ended up [doing was], to oversee a distribution center for military publications. I was head of a unit and I supervised two people, and distributed these publications to different units on the base, and that was it. Essentially, it didn't require much in the way of training. It was largely a clerical-type job.
JM: In your opinion, did Japan seem like a war-torn country when you arrived there?
AM: No, the only time I saw what might be destruction is traveling through a part of Tokyo, and that was the only thing. On most of the weekends, in the summertime, when we traveled, we would go to a golf course about a half-hour away. There was a walk, after the train ride. It was really beautiful countryside. ... The only part of my travel that showed destruction was in a part of Tokyo.
JM: While you were there, were any of the troops helping any of the Japanese people in any way, as far as the occupation was concerned?
AM: I didn't see it. I'm sure it was being done, but I didn't see it. I just had a sense that we were just there to be sure that the Japanese continued their peaceful efforts. I recall seeing on several occasions in Tokyo, the Japanese conducting demonstrations, not against the Americans, but celebrating some of their holidays. You had a sense that there were some activists in the group trying to ... stir up the people, and I think they were largely associated with Communism. I don't recall seeing the people, in any way, trying to restrict them. It appeared to be handled by the Japanese. The Japanese police would be the ones that would be sure that law and order was being protected. No, ... I didn't see any efforts to help reconstruction by the American forces. I just had the sense that we were there to allow the Japanese to do whatever was needed to recover from the war. I never gave it thought to our involvement in their redevelopment. ... I never thought of Japan as necessarily ... having experienced much in the way of destruction, because most of the war occurred in the islands. ... Yes, there was the atom bomb that hit Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and Tokyo was bombed, ... but the parts that we visited were in good shape. Government buildings, the Diet, were in great shape. The Ginza, ... where we loved to do the shopping was always in great shape.
JM: Were there any other countries represented in the occupying force or was it all American troops there?
AM: I had assumed it was all American troops. No, I never had any contact with anyone other than U.S. forces.
SI: You mentioned earlier that, in your work, you were in charge of two people. Were they also in the military or were they Japanese?
AM: One was Japanese and one was military, yes.
SI: Did you have any officers above you?
AM: Yes, there was a lieutenant, who I reported to. I never felt under any pressure for performance. It was like, an eight-hour job. ...
SI: Could you take us through a typical day, what you would do?
AM: Hard to recall. You'd typically wake up in the morning and line up outside for roll call. You would then go to the mess hall. You couldn't just walk in and get your breakfast. There was always a [wait], depending upon when you arrived there, after you had roll call in the morning. ... We had to line up outside the barracks. ... You always hoped that you would get through that quick enough to be the first ones in line at the chow hall so that you didn't have to spend too much time waiting in line. I don't even remember how the heck I even traveled to where my work station was, and I would review publications, and then, there would be assignments to where they had to be directed. Much more than that, I don't recall. I know I'd had to do occasional preparation of reports, but the nature of them, I don't even recall.
SI: When you say review the reports, were you editing them or just reading them to stay abreast of what was new?
AM: Reading them and staying abreast of regulations, and then, directing them to the proper parties, and maintaining a major file of them, so that all of the Army regulations were in one place. There were Air Force circulars, which were kind of tentative publications, and there were regulations that had a more permanent nature. I had to maintain a file of those, for anyone who had to reference them.
JM: Did you ever get the feeling that any of these publications were in any way propaganda, or being censored as far the information that was being disseminated through them?
AM: No. They were largely the rules under which all aspects of the military ran. No, I didn't think that they dealt with anything that might have a political flavor to it or anything that might have social implications. Besides the regulations there were reports of accident investigations to determine what caused the accident. ... I used to love to read those reports, because ... there was always a question of whether it was mechanical or pilot error.
SI: It was a mixture of personnel, operational and technical regulations.
AM: Mostly personnel and operational instructions.
JM: Nearing the end of your time in Japan, how did you feel when you learned that you were going to be leaving?
AM: ... I knew that we would be leaving somewhere around the month of June, because I was approaching the end of my enlistment. ... I can remember a group of us who had leave time took a week off, and we went to Nagano, where the Summer Olympics were held about eight years ago. What a beautiful place. [Editor's Note: The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan.] This was in summertime. I always remember a swimming pool at the hotel where we were staying. Because the water came from their hot springs, it had to be refrigerated for people to be able to swim in it. You could see, along the sides of the pool refrigeration units. In the wintertime, if you were skiing, you could ski up to the edge of the pool and jump right into the pool. [laughter] We learned somewhat suddenly that we could leave earlier than we were originally scheduled. That came as a bit of a surprise. We had expected that we would have stayed almost up to the end of summer, somewhere close to September, but they ended up offering us the opportunity to be discharged from the service earlier. ... I took that option. I was able to get out in May of '49, instead of September '49, and that really gave me an opportunity, to start writing to schools about getting admission into the term in September. So, yes, I think there was an anxiousness to get home, to see my family, to see my friends. There were regrets in parting with people that you had developed relationships with, both those [who] would stay in Japan as well as the people you worked with. ... There was an expectation that you would maintain close ties. I can always remember saying, "Hey, we've got to get together." ... I remember, reflecting on groups of people with whom I had closer relationship – my high school years, my military service, my Rutgers years, I used to try to draw comparisons. I never felt that any one of the three, necessarily, developed a closer tie than the other.
JM: Did you keep in touch with your family while you were in Japan?
AM: Yes. I wrote regularly, to my parents and to a few friends. ... I'd share with them what's happening and the places I visited. One such place not too far from where I was stationed was an orphanage. I visited it several times to bring gifts and food. The orphanage was for children of military men and Japanese women. The children were viewed as outcasts. The orphanage provided a refuge for them.
SI: The children of American servicemen.
AM: ... Yes, a religious organization ... maintained the orphanage and there was another one that I can remember bringing a lot of fruitcakes every Christmas. I received them from family and friends but I didn't particularly like them. I was always happy to give them to [the orphanage]. ... They thought I was a hero, to share some of ... the goodies with them.
SI: Following up on that, did you ever go inside a Japanese home or anything like that, any of that type of interaction?
AM: Just, and this is just once, a group of us went to, and ... I had nothing to do with its arrangements. It was a great experience, it was a geisha house. ... We were being shown some of the Japanese traditions, the food, the dances, the entertainment, and it was interesting. ... I never quite liked the food. The music was always a little twangy for me, ... but it was fascinating to see the dress, and I didn't like the idea of sitting on the floor. I never have gotten accustomed to [that], or using chopsticks. ... I found it a very informational experience, in terms of seeing some of the Japanese traditions, but that was about the home visit. I remember the geisha girl breaking an egg, and dropping it into something, a drink, and then, drinking it. ... I sat there and thought, "How could she drink a raw egg?" [laughter] but, I have since found out that my dad used to make a regular habit of piercing an egg, and then drinking it's contents.
JM: Draining it.
AM: Yes, by sipping, bringing the innards of the egg out, "I never knew that." [laughter] I guess he did it when I wasn't around.
JM: You said you started writing letters to different schools about admittance. Do you recall some of the schools that you wrote to towards the end of your tour of duty?
AM: They were, Rutgers, Princeton, I was trying to think of schools nearby. ... I think, yes, it was just three schools, and I'm trying to think of what the third school was.
SI: Was it a New York school, or Philadelphia?
AM: ... It would have probably been the Philadelphia area.
AM: No. I keep thinking of Drexel, I'm not even sure.
JM: By the time you were on your way home, did you know which university you were going to attend?
AM: No, at that point in time, I didn't know. ... No, it would have been almost over the [summer], because I remember having to take some tests. The military provided some tests that were designed to help you [in] making ... career choices. The Veterans Administration provided that service. They were helpful in terms of applying for whatever financial assistance you were going to get from the Veterans Administration to meet your tuition and any other kind of expenses. ... Probably, it would have been late spring, I would think probably May and June, that I heard from the schools, in terms of acceptance.
JM: After that period, did you attend school in the fall?
AM: Yes, yes.
JM: You had that brief summer period.
AM: That's right.
JM: What did you do during the summer?
AM: Don't recollect a bit. ... My guess is prepping for ...
AM: Right, preparing to go to school, yes.
JM: Was your family excited that you were going to Rutgers?
AM: Oh, yes, yes, very, very happy; well, happy that I was pursuing my education. I don't think my parents necessarily knew much about Rutgers. ... Rutgers was pretty small then, ... back in the '40s.
JM: You were planning on living at Rutgers.
AM: Yes, oh, yes, I was planning to. Yes, I couldn't imagine commuting ... back and forth from Burlington. Yes, that would have been ...
AM: Yes. I remember, ... because [of] the lateness of my acceptance and the steps that had to be made, ... the school was very helpful and they directed me to places ... where I could probably find residence, and they linked me up to a house on Mine Street, ... which is now ...
JM: It is still there?
AM: I think it's still there, but ... I think it eventually became part of the University. ... There were a couple of residents still there. Most of Mine Street was ... fraternities at that point in time, and, it was great for me, because I was living on the third floor with a senior from Rutgers. I can still remember, Paul Hochstein, great guy. He was really great, because he knew I was a neophyte in so many ways and he would bring me along to a number of the cultural activities that were going on. Robert Frost was a speaker at one of them. I wouldn't have known who Robert Frost was, and he would get me to concerts that they had at Rutgers. There was a concert series, and so, he dragged me along to those performances and he was just a great friend. He was a bright guy, and so, I was very fortunate, for that freshman year, to have had that location. It was in proximity to pretty much all the classes, too.
JM: Do you remember who the president of the University was at that time?
AM: [Robert C.] Clothier; Clothier, was Clothier president then?
AM: Yes, he was president, but I'm trying to think whether it was in transition while ...
SI: Did it change over to Lewis?
AM: Yes, I'm trying to think now. You've got me.
SI: Lewis Webster Jones; was that his name?
SI: I know the President in between Clothier and Mason Gross had three names. I think it was Lewis Webster Jones, but his last name might be Lewis or Webster. [Editor's Note: Dr. Lewis Webster Jones served as President of Rutgers University from 1951 to 1958.]
AM: Yes, I wouldn't know about that, wow. [laughter]
JM: We can look that up.
JM: Did you develop any relationships, close relationships, with any of the faculty or administrators?
AM: Not the faculty, no. ... The only person I can remember having met ...
-------------------------------------END OF TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO--------------------------------------
SI: This continues an interview with Adriano Marinelli on November 30, 2005, in Roebling, New Jersey, with Shaun Illingworth and ...
JM: John Miller.
SI: Please, continue. You were telling us about this faculty member.
AM: Yes, right across the street from me was the father of your present President.
JM: McCormick? [Editor's Note: Dr. Richard L. McCormick has served as Rutgers University President since 2002. His father, Richard P. McCormick, was a long-time Rutgers Professor of History, the University Historian, and served as the Dean of Rutgers College.]
AM: Yes, McCormick, yes. He was head of the History Department while I was at Rutgers and, at the time, I was unaware of who he was and I can always remember meeting him, some years later. ... When he asked me where I was from, I told him Burlington and, oh, he got very excited about, "Oh, what a historic city." ... Of course, I'm thinking, "It is?" ... Of course, you don't realize how little you know about your backyard, and then, of course, he began to rattle [off] the people in history that either lived or had some kind of presence in Burlington, and so forth, and that was Professor McCormick, but, no, other than that, oh, no.
JM: While you were involved with the University, were you involved in any extracurricular activities there? You said you were a part of the lacrosse team.
AM: Yes, lacrosse was about the only thing, I would say. Of course, I was a member of the fraternity, the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, which I don't think exists there today.
AM: Joining the fraternity was one of my smart decisions. The fraternity was down the street from where I was living initially. In my freshman year, and so, I had joined in my sophomore year and that was a great experience in terms of the relationships I developed with members. They were the ones that I developed a closeness with, and more so than even the people who were in my classes. ... In the few reunions I attended, I was interested in seeing those with whom I developed a close relationship.
JM: Fraternity brothers?
JM: What was Greek life like at that time? It was not that expansive, was it? There were not many chapters around.
AM: Let's see, there were, like, one, two, three, four, five; I remember about five or six of them on Mine Street, and four or five on College Avenue. There seemed to be a strong presence of fraternities.
JM: Was there any stigma towards fraternities at that time?
AM: No, I thought that they were ...
JM: A positive influence?
AM: Positive influences. ... The difference between what I had experienced, and what I observed of my son, ... when I used to visit him, was dramatic, ... it was beyond my belief, the difference.
JM: Do you know which fraternity he joined?
AM: Not [on] Mine Street.
JM: Union Street.
AM: Yes, and it was located two or three buildings from College Ave.
SI: Delta Upsilon?
JM: Delta Phi?
AM: About three or four buildings in from College Avenue on Union.
JM: On the left or right-hand side?
AM: ... As you're going away from College Avenue, it's on the left. I think, at one time, [the] Newman Centerwas on the other side of the street. ... We had a pretty strict regimen in our fraternity following dinner, at seven-thirty, studying started. ... If you're going to do studying at seven-[thirty], the place had to be absolutely quiet. From seven-thirty to eleven-thirty and that would be the time for hitting the books. I remember there was a bar, just a half a block away from the fraternity house where the guys, after their studying, would visit for a beer and then return to the fraternity and go to sleep. We slept on the third floor in a barracks-like room. It was like being in the military. We each had cots. There was no heat or air conditioning. The study room accommodated four people, each assigned a desk and bureau for studying as well as where their clothes and personal items. Your bed was up on the third floor. ... Right after dinner, the guys would generally like to sing. There would be a period of maybe a half-hour or so, they would sing, some would wrestle and some would play chess and some would discuss matters, but, when seven-thirty came along we would adjourn to our study room. ... There was always a pride in the fraternity to be tops on the list in terms of its academic performance, as well as athletics. We were very active. We competed in swimming, track and other sports. We were always trying to beat the other fraternities and there was an award given to the fraternity that performed best, academically and athletically. Well, when I visited my son at school for the first time, I couldn't believe what I saw. The place looked terrible. In my fraternity experience, we had a housemother. I can always remember her. She was very formal and the members respected that. [laughter] She looked like a Southern matron. She always joined us at dinnertime. We also had a lady who was a cook. She would come in and do the cooking. ... The housemother lived in the building. And we had a cleaning lady who kept the place impeccably neat, and, who, remind us of our responsibilities to help her maintain the place. When I saw what was at my son['s fraternity], I said, "How do you study? Everyone has their boom box, exploding with noise." He says, "Dad, I don't study here. I go to the library to study." He says, "You can't study here," and then, of course, they didn't have anyone who did the cleaning up, they hadn't anyone who prepared the meals. I said, "Oh, my God." It was ...
JM: It is a different experience.
AM: It was different and, ... I'm not "poo-pooing" that. I'm thinking, "God, I'm glad I lived when I did, because I don't know that I could have survived today." ...
JM: Did the fraternity engage in any formals with the sororities? Were there joint activities? [Editor's Note: The first sorority at Rutgers University was not established until several decades after Mr. Marinelli graduated.]
AM: Yes, there was always parties that were generally associated with the events of the school, homecoming, those kinds of things. They were not formal affairs and not associated with any organization. The members would have their lady friends from Douglass, or those that came from home. Yes, there would be periodic social gatherings in the basement of the house. There was a place where you could serve beer, ... and, of course, we always had to get approval. We had to write to the Dean's office and say, "We're going to have such-and-such an affair on such-and-such a day." They always were in control. I never saw the members ever get out of hand, and I'm surprised, because, when you consume liquor, people don't behave normally. ... I don't recall any kind of an incident in the fraternity for three years that I was a member.
JM: Do you see any parallels between joining the military and pledging your fraternity, as far as any rituals?
AM: Yes, yes.
JM: I would not say so much with hazing, but just the brotherhood that is formed at that time with the people that you trained with and the people that you pledged with.
AM: Yes, I think ... they both developed a sense of community, a sense of having friends that were ready to help you if you needed assistance, and of someone you can share your concerns with. Yes, I think that happened in both, but ... the fact that you're with each other so close, that's the reason I mentioned earlier, ... the high school and the military and the college. I used to try to wonder whether any one was any closer. ... They seemed only closer while you were part of that group, but, when you sat back, in later years, when you're able to look back at all three, you found them all very important in your life and that they all developed a sense of community and a sense that ... you could be sharing things with each other and helping each other.
SI: Within the fraternity, what was the mix between guys coming out of the service and guys who were just coming out of high school?
AM: ... Probably, I think there was a greater percentage of guys coming out of high school. ... I'd say probably two-thirds out of high school to one-third out of the service. ... Yes, the group of older guys was smaller than the group of new [students] from high school, yes.
JM: As a freshman at the University, I guess there would be some veterans of World War II still present, maybe in their fourth and fifth years.
JM: Was there any resentment towards you because you did not serve in combat?
AM: No. I never experienced that. I have never experienced that feeling. It's been the opposite. ... In recent years, county governments have been having affairs where they are providing some kind of a medal for your years of service, in not only World War II, but the subsequent wars. ... I've never wanted to participate in them, because I say, "I never consider myself as having participated in World War II." ... I would feel very uncomfortable to receive that medal, and that's not to demean anyone who has. As I say, it's just a personal kind of a thing, yes, but no one has said anything. No, I never had a sense of any adverse feelings towards the military or to anyone.
SI: While you were at Rutgers, either in the classroom or the fraternity house or elsewhere, even the lacrosse team, do you think that the veterans exerted more of an influence or that their presence was more felt within those groups, that their experiences affected the group?
AM: ... No, I wouldn't think so. I can remember feeling very motivated, maybe somewhat inspired, by whoever were the leaders in the fraternity at that time, and they didn't necessarily have to be military people. They were students who came out of high school, ... directly, just that there was some good leadership at the time, and I don't think that their experience in the military necessarily provided them with any better leadership skills than those who had come straight from high school. I'm talking about people who were, at that time, seniors, juniors and seniors, ... who I assume had been so elevated to leadership roles because of their past performances. ... I can accept whoever made those decisions at the time in terms of placing them at lead roles in the fraternity, or wherever else. I'm trying to think about the sports; no, I didn't see any differences.
JM: Do you feel that, because of your military service and the discipline that was involved there, you were drawn to a fraternity as regimented, as you said, as Beta Theta Pi?
AM: No, I think, probably, I was drawn to it because of the people who were ...
AM: Involved in the fraternity; they were people who I enjoyed a friendship with and kind of wanted to be a part of, and they wanted me to be a part of theirs, and it was a sense of their wanting me as well [as] I wanted to be a part of their fraternity.
JM: How large was the chapter? Do you know, roughly, how many men were ...
AM: In the fraternity?
JM: In the fraternity?
AM: Let me think now, ten, twenty, thirty, thirty-plus, somewhere around there. Not all of them were living in the house. There were some that were commuter students, day students, yes, about thirty people, yes.
SI: Do you remember if there was any kind of on-campus split between the "Scarlet Barbarians," the non-fraternity people, and the fraternity men?
AM: Yes, I recall, yes, there was some feeling, ... some negative feelings, about fraternities. There were some, and I'm not clear [why], I was never curious enough to find out why, ... whether they were envious, ... whether they were disappointed they were not asked, or there was a perception that the fraternities indulged in, harassment and some of those things. They did some, a few, strange things. One in which I was involved with three other pledges, was an assignment to collect specific things from a distant location. We were dropped off on the outskirts of New Brunswick and given the assignment of going to New York City and to the fraternity house at Columbia University and return with the sculling oar that was on the wall in the fraternity house. ... We had to start from [New Jersey]; I can't even recollect how we ever got to New York. We did get to New York and, yes, we got to the place that had the sculling oar. ... I can always remember coming back, trying to put a sculling oar onto the subway, [laughter] in New York City, ... and then, eventually, onto the Pennsylvania Railroad car. It was a challenge in terms of, "Hey, you've got to figure out, where this place was, how you're going to get there, and then, deliver the goods back. ... They wanted some tangible evidence that you had done what you had been directed to do. I guess ... there is some military significance, in being assigned a mission ...
JM: To carry out.
AM: And then, "Carry it out, and give us some tangible evidence that you carried it out," and then, returning with the sculling oar. [laughter]
JM: What did you study while you were at the University?
AM: ... I started out in physical education. ... I wanted to become a coach, but I maintained a math minor. ... I can remember being influenced by a professor. He taught a course in kinesiology. ... He thought I should consider graduate school and he suggested I go to Springfield College. I explored it and that led me into counseling. ... Gradually, I found counseling as ... something that would interest me, and so, I ended up going into their counseling with the handicapped. They had a special program in Springfield. I spent two years subsequently, in their graduate program. What was the original question you mentioned, that led me to that? I'm not sure I answered it.
JM: I was wondering what you studied.
AM: Oh, yes. I never ended up pursuing physical education. I did student teaching. That worked out very well, ... but, then, I thought, "Well, I want to pursue graduate training." ... Springfield had a program, in "adaptive physical education;" and that's dealing with the physically and mentally handicapped, and it was in that program that I began to take some courses in counseling which moved me away from physical education, into the vocational counseling area.
SI: Can you give us an overview of your career and where you worked?
AM: Yes. Well, yes, I spent a couple of years, during the summers, while in graduate school working in summer camps for handicapped children and adults. The first summer I was a camp counselor and the second summer I ran a camp just outside of New London which was for kids with cerebral palsy. ... Following graduation I applied for a rehabilitation counselor's position here in New Jersey and started work in Paterson. They have an office up inPaterson, covering Passaic County, and I spent three months there and was looking to get closer to home. So, they had a vacancy in their Camden office, and so, for five or six years, I worked as a rehabilitation counselor. ... We worked with individuals who were anywhere from sixteen to sixty-five who had some kind of a physical or mental handicap. We evaluated them in terms of their physical needs, their vocational needs, social needs, and so forth, and then, developed a plan of action responding to their needs. "Did they need medical treatment? Did they need training, college, vocational training?" and then, eventually, getting them into a job. I did that for six years and an opportunity for a supervisory position came in New Brunswick, which, I assumed. I directed offices in New Brunswick and Elizabeth and managed a staff of ten counselors that covered Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties. ... I remained in the same level for another four or five years. ... Then, there was an opportunity to move into the administrative office of the same organization. I gradually changed jobs there as the opportunities came along and, eventually, I ended up as assistant director for all of the support services of the organization. I retired after thirty-five years. It was a great experience. The program continues to function in the state, and not only the state, it continues to function throughout the country, and providing great opportunities for people who either were born with physical or mental impairments or if they occurred through accidents or through whatever kind of illnesses that come into people's lives. Yes, that basically summarizes it. It's interesting; I've been retired now fifteen years, almost fifteen years ... and have developed a whole new, different life. I used to think that I would be back in some kind of a supportive role whether it's volunteering [or just] to help out in some way ... but family life just changed things dramatically. We're just so much involved with our grandchildren that I slowly drifted away from the friends I had in employment.
SI: What did you find most interesting or rewarding, actually working with people or these administrative roles?
AM: I was principally motivated by a higher paying job. ... While I hated to leave what I had been doing, I found that even the administrative functions were interesting. The ability to influence people was still as critical as [when] you're try to influence clients or you trying to provide services, so that the challenges were equally significant. ... You had to motivate staff that you felt could be doing more than they're doing, and then, of course, you had to be dealing with the very difficult task of people who are just not up to the expectations you have and how do you deal with this ... in a positive sense, so that there were challenges for both. I can't say, necessarily, [which was better]. I know, often times, people say that when you lose the patient or client contact ... for a paperwork operation, you're stepping away from something you like to something you're doing for monetary purposes, and that never seemed to be a feeling with me. I felt that there were equal challenges in both.
SI: I have two questions going back to your experience in the Air Force. During the time you were in the service, it went from being the Army Air Forces to being the Air Force, a separate branch. Was there any kind of change in your actual operations or life?
AM: I think that there was a positive feeling, ... that becoming a separate entity was a good thing, and that's about the only thing I can recall about it. It didn't modify your day-to-day experiences. It's just the thought that [we were now separate], because I think our initial motivation was in terms of becoming associated with some of the things that you think so positively of about flying, because I always remember, even as a kid in high school, I took a course in aeronautics. ... Part of the course involved our going to a nearby airport and flying, and what a positive feeling that was, and then, the thought that, "Gee, maybe I could become a pilot," or something like that. So, I think the separateness, gave you a sense of, "Well, you're no longer considered as an Army infantryman. You're now part of the Air Force," and there was a sense that this was better. I don't know that it was, but, I mean, ... that's a feeling that I'm sure we had at the time.
SI: Also during your time in the service, President Truman issued his desegregation order. [Editor's Note: In July 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, officially ending the practice of segregation in the US Armed Forces, although de facto segregation would persist for several more years.] Did you see any kind of actual desegregation in your experience? Were African-Americans, say, brought in?
AM: That's [interesting], and I've always been surprised that I've never even had any awareness of the problems of segregation in the military. ... In my experience in the military, I never had any associations with an African-American, and, yet, I grew up in a community that had a significant black population and an awful lot of the guys, kids I knew in high school, were black. I never gave it any thought, at the time, in the military. I suspect my thinking was, "I guess they chose not to go in the military," and that's understandable, ... but, no, at no point did we ever have [African-American colleagues], and, as I reflect back, you having raised the question, if we had, I suspect there would have been a little bit of a problem, because I can remember a few people who had bigoted ideas. Yes, I can remember, the conversations that occurred, and that might have presented some difficulties at that time, ... but that was never an experience that I had.
SI: Do you have any more questions?
JM: No more questions.
AM: Well, you guys are thorough.
SI: We try to give some coverage to every part of your life, but I do not want to go over our time.
SI: Is there anything that you feel that we have skipped over that you would like to talk more about, or anything we did not touch upon?
AM: No. I'm trying to think. ...
SI: How did you meet your wife?
AM: ... We met in the late '50s in a church-affiliated social organization called [the] Catholic Young Adult Club. It was a great organization that offered opportunity to pursue social, cultural and charitable activities and more importantly, meeting my wife.
SI: During the Korean War, were you concerned at all that you would be recalled?
AM: Well, it's interesting. I was a ... sophomore at Rutgers when things broke out. I did get a notice to report for duty. ... It occurred somewhere around October, November. ... The term had begun. So, I reported to [Fort] Dix, and I told them of my current circumstances, and I was told to complete the semester and, "We'll call you." They never called me. I tell you, I used to say, "I hope the mail never shows up." ... School was fun, school was going along, and I got past first-year jitters and I'm a sophomore now, feeling comfortable with it. ... I said, "Oh, I don't want to go in the military now," and I can only assume that they were looking for people with certain MOS', [military occupational specialties], as I think they called them, certain skills, knowledge, experiences, and I just didn't fit them. They didn't have to call me, and so, [I] never heard word one. ... Interestingly, at that point in time, I was in the Reserve. I had signed up for a three or four-year hitch in the Inactive Reserves. When it came time for reenlistment, I decided, "No, I'm happy with my career choices and I just don't plan to want to go in the military." So, I dropped out. I was very unpatriotic at that point in time. [laughter] No, I think [the] military was just as happy. There wasn't any effort to try to increase the [Reserves], because I never heard from them during the time I was in the inactive status, to try to encourage me to become active or to be participating in some kind of an activity of some sort, so that it was ... almost as if I was not even in the service.
SI: Again, is there anything you would like to add to the record?
AM: No, I guess what you might want to leave with me is a name and address I could contact if ... something should come up that might be significant. I doubt it, but just in case.
SI: Sure. You can also add whatever you would like to the transcript, if it is just a couple of lines or a paragraph to be added to the transcript.
AM: ... Yes, okay. ...
SI: Okay, if there is nothing else, thank you very much. We really enjoyed this. Thank you for participating.
AM: Appreciate your offer to me to participate, and I hope that it in some way contributes to the effort ... that you're making.
SI: It certainly has. This concludes our interview with Adriano Marinelli on November 30, 2005, in Roebling,New Jersey, with Shaun Illingworth and ...
JM: John Miller.
SI: Thank you again.
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Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 10/13/09
Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 10/15/09
Reviewed by Adriano Marinelli 2/10/10 & 7/7/10