Rutgers Oral History Archives

Juengst, Alice

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  • Interviewee: Juengst, Alice
  • PDF Interview
  • Date: November 18, 2014
  • Place: Dallas, Texas
  • Interviewers:
    • Shaun Illingworth
  • Transcript Production Team:
    • Jesse Braddell
    • Shaun Illingworth
  • Recommended Citation: Juengst, Alice Oral History Interview, November 18, 2014, by Shaun Illingworth, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
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Shaun Illingworth: This begins an interview with Mrs. Alice Paulina, or is it Pauline?

Alice Juengst: Pauline

SI: Sanders Juengst on November 18, 2014, in Dallas, Texas, with Shaun Illingworth. Also in attendance is ...

Michael Kinaszczuk: ... Mike Kinaszczuk.

SI: Thank you very much, Mrs. Juengst, for having me here and thank you, Mike, for facilitating this interview. To begin, can you tell me where and when you were born?

AJ: Yes, I can tell you that much, July 31, 1921, in Hollywood, Alabama.

SI: Okay, go ahead.

AJ: And the same doctor was one that the FBI interviewed, to be sure that I was who I was. [laughter]

SI: Were you born at home or in a hospital?

AJ: In my grandparents' house. This is way back, Shaun. [laughter]

SI: Okay. What were your parents' names?

AJ: Paul Sanders; well, his name was Ira Paul Redwine Sanders [(June 13, 1902-October 21, 1923)]. They had named him after the relatives, that way. My mother's name was Winnie Jasmine Stewart.

SI: Do you know anything about either side of the family, what your grandparents did or where they came from, how the family came to settle in Alabama?

AJ: Well, the Scotch-Irish, that influx, I think that maybe they would come in from the Eastern coasts and over, but I've been to Europe and we've been able to see where [they came from], family names and things, but I don't know really why they particularly got there. Some of them came to Texas here and my Grandmother Sanders was a Bean [Ariecia Jane Bean]. They sent [her] and she married her first cousin, and so, and his was--what was that, Brantley Sanders?--and I don't remember all of his name [Eli Brantley Sanders (June 26, 1858-September 7, 1929)].

MK: Right.

AJ: They had a small family of only four. On my mother's side, they had eight kids.

SI: Wow.

AJ: I think, perhaps, the Beans came here into Texas and I know that two trips were made when I was a baby. They brought me in a Ford touring car with them and I'm standing by a cactus plant here [in a photograph], [laughter] but I really don't know too much about them. They were from Scottsboro, Alabama, when I knew them. I think maybe that my grandfather had started out with a livery stable, where they'd keep horses, and then, rooms attached way back, or so I've been told. So, they were doing unusually well financially, because they had two big houses in Scottsboro and a lot of land with it. He would buy other land, because the cotton was king then, and they had gotten a hole through Chattanooga, that area, through [to] the coast. They had to go through some Appalachian Mountains, but, then, the sad part was that cotton suddenly wasn't as much in demand in Europe, and so forth. He lost quite a bit of money and he had a lot of investment in machinery and things like that, because I never did see him do any work at all.

SI: You grew up knowing these grandparents.

AJ: I grew up barely knowing [them], because, see, when I was five, my mother, we moved to Birmingham, and then, all these different places. Don't ask me the names of the places that we were in, because I wouldn't remember all of them. The last place I remember was the East Lake Division and, some years ago, we went back and that was not the outskirts. It was getting more the slum area. So, I don't remember the different places there.

SI: You told me before we started that your father passed away when you were only two.

AJ: Was killed in this automobile accident. His chest was crushed. He lived a couple of days, I think, afterwards.

SI: Can you tell me how he built a racer?

AJ: Oh, yes. He was head mechanic of the Ford division or plant in Scottsboro, Alabama, I don't know, just when Ford was barely starting out. My mother said we would never have had anything because he would give the shirt off his back if somebody would come with a story of somebody sick up on Sand Mountain. He would fill the car with gasoline and let them have it for the weekend to go and see their relatives. So, that's the type of person he was.

SI: Just for my reference, how far is Scottsboro from Birmingham?

AJ: Fifteen--oh, from Birmingham? I thought you were going to ask from Hollywood. It's about one hundred and twenty [miles].

SI: Yes.

AJ: The train track was built through here and I told you they had dug this Appalachian Mountain out and had that tunnel through, but Birmingham is more towards the center of Alabama. This is Hollywood and Scottsboro is the northern part of this train line.

SI: What are your earliest memories? Where were you living at the time, in Birmingham?

AJ: No, with my grandparents, exploring the farm.


SI: You were just telling us you spent a lot of your youth exploring the farm.

AJ: Yes, until my mother married again, and then, we moved down to Birmingham, and then, she got pregnant with my brother. There's five years difference between our ages. I got whooping cough and they had to fumigate the house and I had to go back to my grandparents to live until I got over the whooping cough. Oh, gee, so, my life was just like that. [laughter]

SI: Yes, very mobile. Can you tell me more about the farm?

AJ: I'll tell you something about the train track that went through.

SI: Sure.

AJ: I would observe that the hobos were on the top of the train. This is a deep Depression time, even then. They would wave and that sort of thing. I thought that people rode on top of a train. [laughter] That's right. When it came time to go to live in Birmingham and we were going by train, I put up the biggest fight you've ever seen, screaming and carrying on. My mother said, "Pauline, what is wrong with you?" and I said, "I'm too little. I can't hold on up there." The people on the train had had all the windows open--they were all looking to see what they were doing to this child. Everybody just started laughing. Then, Mother told me that we were going inside the train, not on top of it. The man that sold food and things like that asked Mother if he could take me in to explore the train, all the way back to the back, where the sleepers [were]. So, I got a tour of the train and everybody, of course, was talking to me. Mother said two old German men were using a knife and cutting the cheese, to eat. They were going to give me some and they wiped the knife with their handkerchief and she was wondering if they'd used it. [laughter] [Editor's Note: The Great Depression occurred from October 29, 1929, when the stock market crashed, until 1941, when the United States entered World War II.]

SI: Yes.

AJ: So, but I was a very independent child. Of course, I've changed now.

MK: Yes.

AJ: Mike. [laughter]

SI: Did you have any brothers and sisters before your brother was born?

AJ: Oh, no.

SI: Okay.

AJ: Well, no, my brother was born in Birmingham and my aunt was a nurse there at this private hospital. I thought that the stork brought babies. I couldn't understand why they had all these babies in this nursery. I would've taken any one of them. I was just crazy for it, the babies, having a brother or sister and that. Then, of course, by the time I had the whooping cough and had to leave, I didn't see him until after he was a few weeks old.

SI: That was one of the two aunts that you were talking about earlier.

AJ: Oh, the two aunts, no--see, there were eight children in my mother's family. This aunt that was a nurse was one of the older ones. The other two hadn't married yet.

SI: It sounds like your mother's siblings played a big role in your life early on.

AJ: That early on, but they spoiled me terribly. I could tell you other things, but I won't. [laughter]

SI: You saw the hobos on the trains. Would they ever come to your house looking for food?

AJ: No, but this skips back to Memphis, Tennessee, before my last year in high school. We were right there. They called these, the train, we were on the outskirts, Juengst was at Yale Yards. I think that we must have had some sign on our house, because the hobos would come hungry, wanting food, and Mother would hand it out through the kitchen window to them and tell them to put the things on the steps when they finished. She never turned anyone away. This was a two-story brick house that we were living in at the time. The church and minister that played a big part in my life was just across the street. It was being built. I have here something you might want to read. Mike said you wouldn't be interested. [laughter]

SI: Yes; go ahead.

AJ: That he had written after I had graduated. Well, I was getting ready to graduate and this was my junior year. His wife was--in other words, you'll see how independent and stubborn I was.

SI: Okay.

AJ: His name was Theo T. James and he and his wife had graduated from Ouachita Baptist College. They took me down for a tour. This was my junior year. We didn't have enough money for me to buy this book.

SI: This was ...

AJ: Ouachita Baptist.

SI: Your junior year in college?

AJ: Yes. This was my senior year, Who's Who in America.

SI: This is the 1942 yearbook for Ouachita College.

AJ: Ouachita Baptist.

SI: Ouachita Baptist, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The inscription is from June 1, 1942, right at the beginning of the war almost. Do you want me to read it into the record? [Editor's Note: The United States entered World War II after Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked on December 7, 1941.]

AJ: Well, you can; I just thought, for your benefit there, you can see, what you're asking, what sort of a child I was. [laughter]

SI: Okay, let me pause.


SI: Do you mind if I record this?

AJ: Okay.

SI: You were just telling me about the impact of this move.

AJ: And I would never make another friend and I really meant that then, but it seemed that everyone at this Whitehaven High School wanted me to be more outgoing. The two young teachers, men teachers, one of them came at lunchtime and sat in a desk in front of me and turned around. He said, "We've got a bet on who can give you the hardest test, so [that] you won't make another 'A.'" I thought, "Oh, my goodness," I knew that he'd lose whatever money he'd bet. [laughter] Then, the teacher, that was maybe forty or something, the lady teacher, well, I knew she was talking to me, but she was to the class generally, if we didn't try out for this senior play, it would take off on our English grade. So, I decide, well, I'd go. I went to try out and I got the second lead immediately. So, it was a setup. The principal had come to me and said that he was looking at my grades and comparing with this druggist's son's grades and he said, even though I had better grades, but I'd been to so many schools, they didn't know how hard the questions had been. I readily agreed that it should go to this druggist's son, because that would have caused a lot of trouble for this principal. So, I didn't get to be the valedictorian, but I didn't want to make a speech. I'd just gotten through the senior play.

MK: So, where was the Whitehaven High School?

AJ: We had to go by bus. It was in Memphis, Tennessee. It's part, or would've been, but we just went over the railroad yards by bus, caught a bus at [the yards], and then, it took us to the high school. That's where Elvis Presley [lived], at Graceland. They thought, "Oh, where was the place going? It'd be completely ruined by having Elvis Presley." [laughter] Yes, I guess Graceland's still there.

SI: Yes, behind the White House, it is the most visited home in America, quite a tourist attraction.

AJ: You've been?

SI: No, I have not.

AJ: Oh, saying.

MK: How did you get to Memphis?

AJ: Well, it's just that the rail yards were separating and we had to walk.

MK: No, but how did you get to Memphis?

AJ: But, how did I get to Memphis?

SI: I want to go back. First, what was your stepfather's name?

AJ: Joseph Vernon Knight.

SI: You told us, before we started recording, that you went by Knight while you were in school, and then, you eventually went back to Sanders.

AJ: Well, when I enrolled in the college, that's when I used my name. It was very confusing to the FBI, I'm sure. [laughter] No wonder they went back to the doctor for verification, but my stepfather was ill. He died of leukemia finally, but he was ill at the time that we had moved to Memphis. I didn't know too much about the illness or anything like that. Then, when I went to Ouachita, I went with a trunk, with the bedding in it and things like that, and a suitcase, a leather suitcase, and that's all, and on a train by myself. On that train, it was crowded. That was 1940, let's see ...

SI: 1939 or 1940?

AJ: Yes, oh, right after I'd graduated. Well, this man sat with me and he was a salesman, a travelling salesman. He talked with me and he wanted to hold my hand. I thought, "Oh, I can't stand this," but I didn't know any of the young people that were on the train. Finally, it came his stop and he had to get off, but I was scared. Here, I didn't know anybody at Ouachita and I don't even remember how that trunk and the luggage got moved to the dorm.

SI: I read in the inscription in your yearbook that the reverend who made the inscription baptized you.

AJ: [Yes].

SI: Had you switched faiths? What role did religion play in your life before that point?

AJ: My mother had always taught Sunday school class and I'd been in her classes. Then, if you notice, too, down at the bottom there, a Mrs. James, the minister's wife, was my Sunday school teacher and they knew what [I wanted]. I'm sure I talked to her, but, no, always ...


AJ: You were wondering about my background in religion.

SI: Yes.

AJ: My mother was the one that was the very religious one, but she was also dubbed "Satan" by some of her friends, because she was always teasing and carrying on, but they always wanted her. She was very creative about parties and things like that. So, she wasn't a "Satan" at all. She just teased a lot.

SI: You were raised Baptist.

AJ: Yes, and, now, I've gone to the Methodists, because George was a United Brethren and that's the Methodists they joined and all. I knew that he would not want to be completely immersed, had already been baptized once, sprinkled, I guess. [laughter]

SI: Were you active in the church growing up, involved in youth groups, anything like that?

AJ: In our moves around, I don't think I was that very active in the youth group things. You just get settled and move on.

SI: Your stepfather was an electrician; that led to you moving around quite a bit.

AJ: Yes, because of the Depression years.

SI: Before you moved to Tennessee, did you mostly stay in Alabama?

AJ: Yes. That gave the FBI a chance to stay in one place. [laughter]

SI: You said you do not quite remember all of them, but do any memories stand out from the different places you lived?

AJ: Well, at Florence, Alabama, when I was a teenager there, that was where we had little group parties and the boys' parents would entertain and the girls just [attended]. Then, on Saturdays, you'd go and play tennis, that sort of thing. There was a Lutheran minister that somehow got--I don't know how he met my mother or what--but he would come to our house. I think he came because Mother was a good cook and probably needed food. He was young and out of college and he was engaged, but I never did know his wife, later on. No, we've always been connected with church.

SI: When you were going through school, which subjects did you enjoy the most?

AJ: Well, English, of course, and I was double promoted in the one year. Then, we moved and they didn't have a place for me. I had to just lose out on the work I'd done there, but I didn't mind that too much, just moving away from friends.

SI: What kind of neighborhoods were you living in? Were you renting apartments or homes?

AJ: No, houses, but Mother would always want a place for a garden, because she liked to garden. She grew up on the farm, that way, and that brought in food, too, extra food to us. So, we always had plenty of food. We had an iceman that came and brought ice. That's way back.

SI: Wow.

AJ: And then, as the family grew, we would need more space, more rooms.

SI: Were there more children after your brother?

AJ: Oh, yes, two girls.

SI: When were they born?

AJ: Well, one was eight years younger.

SI: Let us stop.


SI: Ready?

AJ: Yes.

SI: We were just talking about some of the areas you lived in growing up.

AJ: And I told you that East Lake was the last one and I remember this lake, that we could go swimming free on Wednesdays. You had to measure. If you were short, you could go free and I was always thinking I'd outgrow that and they told me that I probably never would. I was way down on the [ruler], away from that marker.

SI: You have two younger sisters. When were they born?

AJ: Well, one was eight years younger than I, and then, I don't remember how the other one was born, while I was away at school or something. I don't remember that, her age, but she also has died. Both sisters have died.

SI: I am sorry.

AJ: My brother's still hanging in there. [laughter]

SI: That is good. She was probably born in the late 1930s or early 1940s even.

AJ: Was my?

SI: Your youngest sister?

AJ: You do the [math].

SI: Yes. Is that what you meant by being away at school, at college?

AJ: Well, the one, the first one, was eight years younger than I, so, you do the math. [laughter]

SI: Okay. [laughter]

AJ: You have my birthday.

SI: Tell me a little more about growing up in these different areas. What do you remember seeing? What were the differences that you noticed between the different areas?

AJ: I loved the place that we were in East Lake. You could look out the double windows and there was a play period area, that we had worn down the grass and there were a lot of dogwood trees out there. I was always climbing trees and doing things like that. I loved flowers, even at that age. One hillside was covered with wild violets and I'd almost be late for school by picking violets to take to my teacher. [laughter] So, that was one that I really enjoyed.

SI: What were the schools like? Were they large schools or one-room schools?

AJ: Oh, no, I didn't go to any one-room schools. They were large ones and good teachers, that sort of thing. Whenever we moved, I was always the new kid, of course. If they were having a play or something, I was stuck right at the very front of the row, because I was so short. [laughter]

MK: So, was East Lake an area of Birmingham?

AJ: Yes, it was the ...

MK: So, it wasn't a town?

AJ: No.

MK: It was actually an area.

AJ: It was just an area.

MK: Of Birmingham, okay.

AJ: And beautiful, with all these dogwood trees and things. I don't know, that was one of the prettiest places. Mother always had flowers and they had to be carried in at night and out in the morning. I wasn't too thrilled about that. [laughter]

SI: What other activities did you do as a young woman? Did you get involved in sports or Girl Scouts, anything like that?

AJ: I wasn't in sports. Of course, I told you that we went swimming, that way, but I was trying to think, what had I done? We were moving around so much and I was in Scouts. Then, when my daughters were in Girl Scouts, I always drove them out to the camps and things like that there, when we were living in Mariemont [a suburb of Cincinnati], but I was always active into things, because I had to be. I learned to speak from the stage. That was horrid. [laughter] I found me a picture of Raphael's Angels [Sistine Madonna]--that was on the wall in the back--and you could just look at that. The teacher would think you were looking out at the audience, but it was just over people's heads. You didn't have to look into their eyes, but that did help to bring people out of their shells.

SI: Did you enjoy taking part in the theater?

AJ: I did it for grades and that I could do it, but I wasn't that [enthusiastic]. I was completely borderline extrovert and introvert, when in college, they tested, and that has been the story of my life.

SI: Were your parents always encouraging you to plan for college?

AJ: It was my mother, always. You want to know how we had enough money? Well, it goes back to the Sanders and this was my father's inheritance. I think it amounted to about nineteen hundred dollars. Ouachita was just 450 a year, and then, I worked in the dining room. It was family service--you filled bowls, you didn't do individual serving. I did that my freshman year, and then, I got talked into going out in the summertime for summer fieldwork. It wasn't working in the field. It was training union, the Baptists. All the ministerial students were going into service, that way, and they were having to send girls. Well, I wasn't smart enough to know that Paul, in the Bible, said that women should not be teaching men. Well, I didn't know that one church was almost breaking up because they were sending a woman. There were two of us and I was the one they [picked] to teach training union work to the elders in this church, had no idea about this resentment, but the man that sort of ran the church had written a letter to my mother in Memphis. Mother said it was such a glowing report, she thought he was trying to marry me off to his son. So, that's where I [taught]. Well I had that little book here, a Bible to thank [me]. It was showing, in 1941 to September, that I had done this summer fieldwork and they gave the Bible, a little New Testament, to those of us that had completed it. My mother thought I would not last a summer, because, in these rural areas, they didn't have bathrooms inside. When you took a bath, you had a tin bucket and you put one leg in, one side, and you washed that side, and then, you put your leg in the other one. It was miserable, but I stayed.

SI: Did the other woman make it through? You said you went out there with another woman.

AJ: Yes, she was quite wealthy. She was another college girl, but she was not from our college. They were really scraping the barrel [laughter] when they pulled all of us out, but we enjoyed each other and everything.

SI: What did the instruction consist of? What were you doing on a daily basis?

AJ: Training union. It's Biblical studies. I had to do things like that in classes. So, that was successful. Then, when I was in my sophomore year, the head of the English department called me into his office and asked if I would not mind giving up waiting tables and coming to work for him. I said, "But, I can't type," and he said, "I don't need typing." He says, "I can get that done at the office." We thought he was old. He was probably all of forty and he had been the captain and he was newly married and that sort of thing. What he had in mind was for me to take [over] a class, an English class, that he had already talked to the people and I guess there wasn't enough money--it's a school--then for hiring another teacher for just this. He had a syllabus and I'd had the course with him and I'd made an "A." So, that's when I taught this college class. They were older than I. He would come and sit in, unannounced, in the back of the room, to see that things were going all right. He graded the papers, gave the tests and graded the papers. I didn't. Well, after that, I mean, all of these professors that hadn't even noticed me or anything like that were just eager to do things for me. Dean Witherington took me in his car and I'd met some people working, two men in a field. They had some school board and they hired me to come, after I'd graduated, of course, and teach in the senior high school. Well, of course, I thought that's what I would be doing. The history teacher was debate coach and, because I always came smiling into the classroom, he thought that I had to be the first speaker on the debate team. I had no inclination of doing this, but I knew better, that if I had refused, that my grade would drop in history. We were junior champions in the State of Arkansas and I always felt like a big hypocrite, because, to put on a smile just to win over the judges, I was supposed to soften them up. This one man came in and he was almost late. He was getting out of his coat and everything and he was one of the judges for this. I saw the turmoil he was in and I just waited. I was ready to speak and I smiled at him and he smiled back, and then, I thought, "Well, it's not so bad." I was always being pushed to do things. Even the music teacher--I was not musically inclined, I'll tell you.

SI: At the college?

AJ: At the college. We got a piano a little late in life. I was in high school before we had a piano. This professor, Livingston Mitchell, when I graduated, brought me the only gift I had from anybody and it was a tin world sphere. I guess he thought I was really going out into the world by then, because the president of the college, Dr. James R. Grant, had recommended that I go to Arlington Hall. He'd had this letter from President Roosevelt and they needed girls to come and work at Arlington Hall. I guess there were other recommendations and he recommended me. I had Dr. Richard C. Pettigrew talk to me and Dr. Pettigrew never pushed me one way or the other. I had to make up my own mind, but that sounded [good]. I graduated and went to Arlington Hall. [Editor's Note: Arlington Hall was a women's junior college until the grounds and buildings were taken over by the US Army in 1942. It was turned into the headquarters of the Signal Intelligence Service, which was responsible for breaking enemy codes during World War II.]

SI: When you were in high school, had you had any jobs?

AJ: I didn't in high school, but in college ...

SI: Do you want to take a break?

AJ: I'm all right. This was H. L. Green Silver's in Memphis, Tennessee, and I went there and they gave me a job. They had a little cafeteria-like thing to one side and I worked there. These, I guess they were Shriners and they'd been drinking, they came and sat at that little table. This young man that I was working with told me, if they ordered something for the room, not to take it. He'd take it up for me. Somebody was always helping me, looking out after me. I wasn't doing these things myself. Then, I got a job with Silver's and they decided that I was going to work in the manager's office, answer the phone, do some work like that, because I was being successful out on the floor selling things. I think it was eyeglasses and I would help people.

SI: Was Silver's a department store?

AJ: It was a five-and-ten. Silver's, they called it, or H. L. Green, and I much preferred being out with the people than up there in that office, but I did it. Then, the year that I [went] out teaching the summer fieldwork, I didn't go there, but I went back and they gave me a job again. This time, it was in the drug department and that was awfully hard. [laughter] Judy laughed, my daughter, that I had to start out trying to know the names of the different drugs, but the man that was the pharmacist in charge told my mother I was the best help that he had ever had. So, I guess I wasn't getting too mixed up, but that was the work that I did.

SI: In the late 1930s and early 1940s, were you aware of what was happening in the world?

AJ: Oh, definitely.

SI: Yes.

AJ: 1943 is when I graduated and I remember, in 1941, we had a radio in the room. The war had started.

SI: What was your reaction to hearing the news about Pearl Harbor?

AJ: Well, it really shocked and I didn't know just--there wasn't anything that I could do. That was 1941, wasn't it? I just continued with my work, and then, doing all these extra things.

SI: Could you see the war's impact on the college?

AJ: Yes, a big impact, because we had--this is a selfish idea--we were going to have a new building in order to graduate in, a big auditorium and everything. The government came in and said, "The Air Force boys, they needed lodgings," and they put cots and things in this building and we didn't get to graduate there. In the meantime, I don't know how I met this boy that I started dating as long as he was there. Then, he was shipped out to Dallas and he became a pilot, and then, he was shot down over Italy and killed, but that was 1944, or something like that. By that time, I was already married to another, to George, in Arlington Hall and I stayed with Arlington Hall for five years.

SI: Did they have rules about the college women fraternizing with the men?

AJ: No. I've got an article here that tells [more], if you want to read this. This is how I met my husband.

SI: Okay.

AJ: Then, let me check and make sure. [laughter] Yes, this was just something that was in there.

MK: But, during college, Mom, I mean, I think at college, this is before Dad, did you socialize with the airmen that were there?

AJ: Yes. Let's see, the ones that were living off campus--well, George had to live in the barracks.

MK: Not Dad--this would've been during college.

SI: Yes.

MK: At Ouachita, could you socialize with the airmen that were there?

AJ: I did, yes.

MK: So, you were allowed to socialize.

AJ: And they were allowed to come to [events]. You couldn't dance like we do, holding this--we could only have these Virginia reels and things like that. This was way back, when things were quite a bit different. Yes, I remember, they must have had some sort of socializing attempt, that we met up with them. When this boy was shot down over Italy and [they had] the funeral, his mother wrote to me from Oklahoma and wanted me to come to the funeral. I was married by that time and I had to write back and tell her. I felt awful about this. She wrote back and she said that she thought that he cared for me more than he'd let me know and that was the end of it.

SI: Wow.

MK: He was a classmate or was he in the service?

AJ: No, he was Air Force.

MK: He was one of the cadets.

AJ: I think they knew that they were just human fodder, so-to-speak.

MK: So, there was an airport. Was there an airfield near Arkadelphia?

AJ: No, no, this was basic training, I think, for the Air Force. They sent them down here, to Dallas somewhere, when he got his wings.

MK: Got it.

SI: Did the cadets take classes at the college as well?

AJ: They weren't in any of my classes. They probably had classes, maybe in the gymnasium or over there in this big auditorium.

SI: Was there a USO or Red Cross club in the area?

AJ: No.

SI: Did the college encourage students to do things for the war effort, like roll bandages?

AJ: No, but you saw where they had girls go out and do this fieldwork, that way. It was just the beginning.

SI: You mentioned earlier that it was unusual, or maybe it had never happened before, for a woman to have that kind of position.

AJ: To teach men?

SI: Yes.

AJ: [laughter] I guess not, at least not in this church.

SI: Was it because of the war, because there were no men available?

AJ: That's it. I'll tell you, too, something else that happened. The day before I was to graduate from Ouachita, this Dr. Otis W. Yates was head of the Bible and ministerial students. He called me into his office and he had a list of all the boys, ministerial students, that I'd ever dated. He went down the list and said, "What's wrong with this one? What's wrong with [him]?" I thought, "If I'd said that I liked one of them, would he have forced him to marry me?" oh, gee. [laughter]

SI: The administration took a real personal interest in the students' lives.

AJ: Well, after, they did in mine, because of that class I taught. It was so unusual. I corresponded with Dr. (Pettigrew?) and his wife until he died. He was ninety or ninety-one, something like that. They invited us to come to [see them]. He left Ouachita and they invited us to come and bring the girls, because his wife, they never had any children and I think his wife liked the letters I wrote about making dresses for Barbie dolls and things like that.

SI: Before Pearl Harbor, was it discussed on campus whether the United States should get involved in the war in Europe?

AJ: No, they didn't. If you want to know about Arlington Hall--have you had other people tell you about Arlington Hall?

SI: Before you went there, before the war became a major factor in your life, what were you hoping to do once you graduated from college?

AJ: Well, I had the teaching job, had already been given to me. I thought I'd probably be teaching school.

SI: Okay.

AJ: But, things didn't turn out that way, because of Roosevelt and Dr. Grant. [laughter] He had, I guess, contacted--Roosevelt had contacted--all the college heads and wanted a certain number of girls. I guess they needed them because the men were being sent overseas.

SI: You were recommended for this position at Arlington Hall. Were you interviewed at the college or sent elsewhere?

AJ: No, I wasn't interviewed. I just accepted and I guess the President, Grant, had turned my name in. They started sending me these packages of work to do, but that was just to give the FBI time to check on me all those years. [laughter]

SI: Was it in the Summer of 1943 that you volunteered for Arlington Hall?

AJ: Well, before I graduated, right toward the end, it was when this letter came and I accepted.

SI: What was in the packets?

AJ: I don't recall exactly and they didn't grade it. I sent it back in. I think it was just a ruse.

SI: Okay, like make-work.

AJ: Yes, I guess. Well, they wanted somebody that was intelligent. [laughter] They didn't know what they were getting, but they were wanting people that were highly thought of and [of] good character and that sort of thing, but they were getting plenty of that from the professors.

SI: How long did they send you this material while the FBI did their background check?

AJ: I don't remember. I thought it was taking an awful long time, but they were sending it to my home. I was in Scottsboro at that time and I don't remember. It was before my birthday. It might have been within a month's time.

SI: Okay.

AJ: And then, you were asking about how we fraternized with the other [people].

SI: Or socializing.

AJ: Well, I went to Washington, DC, and it just so happened that a friend I had at Ouachita knew this girl and she had a roommate that had left. She was working at the Pentagon and she needed someone to fill [in], help pay the rent, in other words. Mrs. Caitlin, who was [the landlady], I guess her husband was dead and they had this house, 2008 G Street Northwest, right across the street from George Washington University. It housed twelve women and one man. She had a master sergeant that was up on the third floor for protection during this time.

SI: Wow.

AJ: And then, there were some old maids that were working in other divisions, and then, the younger ones coming in, that way. I was two blocks from the bus stop and there were liquor stores there. When we went to work, we had to go sometimes on the night shift and the swing shift, day shift, we had to take turns, and I was scared coming home at midnight that way. So, I made it my business to at least know some man, soldier, on the bus that would walk me home that two blocks. [laughter] So, when one'd be shipped out, then, you had to find another escort, but I told them what I wanted.

MK: At Ouachita, before you went to Arlington Hall, did you hear of other girls from Ouachita that were already at Arlington Hall?

AJ: No.

SI: Did they give you any indication, at that point, of what you would be doing at Arlington Hall, any remote idea?

AJ: No, they didn't tell me that I'd be in the Japanese [code area], trying to decode the Japanese.

SI: They did not even tell you that you were going to be working in communications.

AJ: Just work. No, I just knew that I'd be working for the government.

SI: Okay.

AJ: At Arlington Hall.

SI: About a month later, you got the okay. Did somebody tell you to report somewhere? Was that when you moved out to this home? Which came first?

AJ: The approval.

SI: Okay.

AJ: After they had gone, I guess, to my doctor and that was the end and they hadn't found any flaws. Then, they asked me to come there. I didn't really know what I was getting into.

SI: Once you were asked to come, then, you found this room.

AJ: Well, I found this one girl at Ouachita who was a best friend of the one, Virginia Simonson, who was working at the Pentagon. That was the way we tied up and I just stayed there until I got married.

SI: Were you working as a civilian for the Army? You were not in the service.

AJ: I'm a civilian. I could've been in the WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, a branch of the United States Navy during World War II]. They were trying to recruit us, too, but I could not stand the idea of wearing Navy blue every [day], getting up every morning and having a Navy blue uniform. [laughter] That's why I stayed with Arlington Hall.

SI: Where were they trying to recruit you, at the college or later on?

AJ: Well, I think later on, after we'd started to work, because we had already been assigned places. We were told that we could not say where we worked or what we did, that we would be shot or killed or kidnapped. Supposedly, they had guards all around this [facility], it was gated, but George told me, after he came back from [overseas], when he was no longer in uniform, he said they did not have ammunition in their rifles. There just wasn't enough.

SI: Wow.

AJ: So, we weren't [as] well protected as we thought.

SI: They really impressed you right away that this was serious business.

AJ: Yes. You couldn't say what you did or where you worked.

SI: Tell us about the first couple days, getting acclimated to this new position.

AJ: It just seemed that everybody--there were helping hands that always were taking care of me through all of this. There was a married couple that was working, the Peaks, and they had three sons that were in college. They more or less just adopted me there at work. Then, there was another lady and they would tell me, if one of these men hit upon me, not to go with this one. It was like having parents again, watching out for you. I don't know why, but they just seemed to gravitate toward me.

SI: They also worked at Arlington Hall.

AJ: [Yes], doing the same thing. When I got a message, it was 6666 and maru was the code for ships. [Editor's Note: A maru is a Japanese merchant ship.] I thought something was wrong. It was just full of that 6666, which I knew was the ship, a maru. I took it, this message, to my supervisor, who was back there. I had told him, I said, "Am I doing something wrong?" Well, when they saw what they had, it was grabbed up, taken away from me. All the bigwigs from all these different areas of Arlington Hall surrounded the desk and they put this on an overlay of some sort, to see what was [there]. I was never told what it was, but, two days later, the ships were bombed. Then, Japan surrendered, but the Germans didn't. [Editor's Note: The Germans surrendered on May 8, 1945. The Japanese continued the war until August 14, 1945, when the Emperor announced the country would surrender. The official surrender was signed on September 2, 1945.]

SI: Let us go back to the beginning, when you got to Arlington Hall. When you first got there, can you describe what kind of training they gave you?

AJ: Again, all I know is that we were searching for [that code]. They gave some sort of training, but they didn't go into too much detail. They didn't want us to know too much. I never saw that.

MK: What was the training, though, Mom? How did they do it? Was it in a classroom that they trained you or was it one-on-one, like sitting at a desk, you and me together?

AJ: No, it was probably a classroom and we were at desks that reached from here to here. There were tables, in other words, and then, [people] on either side. I saw Dwight David Eisenhower, when he was a general, coming through. He and another general were giggling like little boys, you know that way, but I don't recall any serious training. I did take a class in French at the Pentagon, but I never did use it or was transferred out. After this, Japanese had been bombed and they had surrendered, well, there was cleanup work that we had to do with a lot of the messages. I don't know how much. I never saw the overlays and maybe they sent them to the Pentagon, I don't know. You just knew what you were supposed to do, and then, they never told me what was in that.

SI: Can you describe your section, how many people worked with you, how you worked together?

AJ: It was a great long, much longer than this--it would probably reach out to the highway there--it was wooden buildings that had been setup, and then, they were joined by hallways in the back to another one. We never knew what the others were doing until after the Japanese surrendered. Then, there was a German division, see, the German war. I was sent to be interviewed in this area, but, evidently, he didn't want me or didn't like my name or what. [laughter] He turned out to be a German mole. It was in the newspapers about this and I guess he probably didn't want [me]. He probably thought I knew more German than I did.

MK: So, was it a long table in this building?

AJ: There were, and this is long, this way, and then, there's tables like from here to here. Maybe there would be three or six of us.

MK: You'd sit across from each other?

AJ: Across.

MK: So, three and three at a table?

AJ: Well, more or less that.

SI: How many people were in this whole building?

AJ: See, there were three shifts of people and I don't know how many were in the other shifts.

MK: Just when you were there? When you were there, during the day or whenever you were on your shift, how many people were in that room?

AJ: I really don't know. I can't say exactly. It wasn't real crowded.

MK: Okay.

AJ: You could get up and walk around and work and that sort of thing. There was always a master sergeant that would be in charge.

SI: Were they all doing the same thing? Do you know?

AJ: We were all in the Japanese code, within this one big thing, area.

SI: What would you get at your station? Would you get a sheet of paper with a lot of numerical codes on it? You said you were looking for things like that.

AJ: There were whole stacks that would come in and we would reach in, get one and start working on it, but the only thing, words that I would be looking for, were the 6666.

SI: Okay.

AJ: That was the maru, the ships.

SI: They taught you that 6666 means maru. Were there any other ones that you were looking for or were you just looking for that one?

AJ: That was the one. I was looking for that at the beginning. I just remember that, these bigwigs surrounding my desk and they snatched away the paper and that was the last I knew.

MK: So, the people that were sitting at the table with you, were all of them looking for 6666 or was it only you, and then, maybe the lady next to you would be looking for something else?

AJ: No, we were all ...

MK: Or was she also looking?

AJ: We were all looking for the marus.

MK: Then, maybe another table was looking for a different code. So, you were instructed to look for only this one specific code?

AJ: We were. They wanted to get the ships. They were terrorizing [our forces] and they wanted to get rid of them. They had something to hold the papers, like that, and we would take one and start working on it. After it was used, it was put in another spot, but, see, this was just one phase of the work. If they sent something to the Pentagon, they had machines there, but we didn't know.

SI: Everything that you were looking at was encoded.

AJ: That's just one thing that I was doing. After, when I was starting to [date] George, well, this master sergeant knew George, too, and he told me that if I wanted to, that I could come in and work part of the dayshift and part of the swing shift, and then, go home, so [that] I could date George. [laughter] I mean, they had ...

SI: They looked after each other.

AJ: They did, they do. In the meantime, my future, my former, "parents" were looking after me.

SI: Yes.

AJ: There was a young lawyer from Harvard, but he wasn't much taller than I and I didn't like short men. I liked tall ones and I would just cringe when this one would come through our wing and wanting to talk to me.

SI: Tell me the story of meeting your husband.

AJ: Right there is--you want me to read it to you?

SI: Tell me in your own words what you remember about it.

AJ: Well, the first time I met him, I thought--see, we had to submit to the guards at the gate before we could leave and we all had to wear a badge. Mine had a red rim around it and that signified which building I was working in. Well, George walked from this little cage-like place by the gates, walked down to check my badge. Yes, I knew others were passing, but I didn't know why he was checking mine and I said, "Did someone lose your badge?" the red. With that, these other servicemen in this little box area burst out laughing and I knew I had been duped. I was so angry with George, I could've killed him, but he had just told them that, "Here comes the girl that I'm going to marry."

SI: Yes. [laughter]

AJ: We'd never met. They just thought that was the funniest thing ever. Well, I was just furious with him and he ignored me quite a bit afterward and he wasn't very nice. One time, with my roommate I had, we walked to the PX [post exchange] to get Cokes. They were closed, both PXs, and there was a WAC [Women's Army Corps] hanging on George's arm, I mean, or walking with him, that way. He was trying to tell us that the PX would be open and he'd bring some Cokes to us if we needed them. He told this WAC to get lost. He said, "I'm having a hard enough time as it is." [laughter] I think that girl probably had sewn--he was a corporal and she had probably sewn his uniform, with the badge thing, because she just looked sort of shocked. [laughter] My roommate said, "I hope," afterward, as we left, she says, "I hope you never date him. He's a conceited ass." [laughter] It must've been a month or so before I actually [got to know him]. Well, I was shopping at a department store in downtown Washington, DC. Things would come in and, if you didn't rush over and buy, then, you didn't get anything. The sun was in my eyes and I was looking down and this voice spoke to me and asked if he could help carry my packages. It was George.

SI: Yes.

AJ: He was not conceited; I mean, he was very nice this time. Then, we shopped around and I wanted to get stationary at another store. I got two boxes and George said, "You must write to a lot of fellows." [laughter] I knew that he was getting more and more interested, and then, he took me to eat at a place, just one of these cafeterias that you walk through, because I thought he didn't have any money at all, a corporal. Then, he invited me to go and see this movie, Brother Rat. Did you ever see it?

SI: I have heard of it, yes. [Editor's Note: Brother Rat is a 1938 film about cadets at the Virginia Military Institute.]

AJ: Of course, we always walked back to Mrs. Caitlin's, that way, and we're walking and he carried packages for me. That was the way it started out.

SI: Wow. He was working in the base security detail at the time.

AJ: [Yes]. Evidently, he was good friends with master sergeants there on post, this George Robinson. I had been working at the Pentagon, just to get some food, a muffin or something. We didn't have food. You just couldn't find it, buy it even. So, I'd get coffee and a roll and they didn't pay me anything. It was in the officers' dining room and seat them, that was all I ever did. Then, I'd go to my other job at Arlington Hall. One time, there was a redheaded divorcee, she had bright red hair, about as red as your shirt, and a black dress, form fitting, and she was the one in the generals' dining room. Well, I don't know if she had to go to the doctor or what, but Ellen Brown, who was in charge of all of this, put me in the generals', to seat them. I was such a shock to them, they examined me from foot up. I was like a worm--I don't know, [did not] belong or something. [laughter] They weren't nasty, but they watched me, every move I made. After I got out of there, I told her, I said, "Don't ever put me in there again. I can't stand it." She didn't, but she helped me when George was going to be shipped out in two weeks. We didn't have time for anything much and she took the part of my mother and helped me. We had a church wedding that was just a few of us, and then, went to the Peabody Hotel in the Occidental Room and had lobsters that night.

SI: Wow.

AJ: But, I mean, these are things that [happened]--helping hands is what I thought. Somebody was always wanting to help me.

SI: When did you get married?

AJ: September the 1st, 1944. He was gone a little over two years, and then, he came back to George Washington University and finished his degree.

SI: You mentioned it was difficult to even get food. Were there a lot of shortages?

AJ: Oh, you couldn't get food, you couldn't get clothes. After we were married, George [had] aunts in Cincinnati, they worked downtown. Every time they saw some shipment had come in, towels or sheets or things like that, they kept buying. They'd rush out and buy them, so that when we came back to live in Cincinnati, they had a great big table full of, stacked that high, things they had bought for us, because you couldn't buy anything. You couldn't even buy shoes, couldn't even have shoes for the wedding, except my stepfather had a coupon and he didn't use it. He sent it to me, so [that] I could buy shoes. It was pitiful.

SI: How did your family react to the news that you were getting married?

AJ: Mother was very nice, but she couldn't resist writing me a letter and said I'd acted like a butterfly and flitted from one--you know how they fly from one flower to the other--and she said that she hoped I hadn't landed on a thorn. Then, she had, "Ha-ha," because there was a dirty word that she wrote. No, she was [nice], but George had not told his mother.

SI: Wow.

AJ: It was a great shock to her. When I came for a visit with him, she was putting him up on the second floor and me on the first floor and he said, "Mom, we're married." That was the announcement. [laughter] It was such a shock, because I think perhaps that she had broken up anything serious, girls he'd been dating, because she wanted him to be her companion in her old age. She was a widowed woman. So, it was not a very happy meeting.

SI: You had come from a college that was very religiously oriented. It also sounds like that was a big part of your life growing up. Was it a shock to come to Washington? You mentioned the liquor stores earlier, that that was a little shocking to you.

AJ: The fact that with these Marines, the Marine barracks was down in Foggy Bottom and they had killed two girls.

SI: Oh.

AJ: I remember walking in the rain, the storm, one night to get home and a tree limb, a maple tree limb, about from there to here, it was blown off and the leaves, the wet leaves, hit me around the ankles. I mean, it was scary, but it was more scary about these Marines. I've had one talk to me--this was after I was married and I told him I was married. He didn't believe me. He took my hand to feel my hand, to see my wedding ring, and I could tell you more, but that's enough.

SI: Was that preached to women who were working in Washington during the war, that you have to watch out or make sure you have an escort, or was it just swept under the rug?

AJ: No, you just knew.

SI: You just knew.

AJ: You just learned. Once, two of the Marines--I'd been to an afternoon wedding. A girlfriend got married and I was a witness and that sort of thing. When I walked up the steps, to enter in my key, then, one of them pushed in after me. I was scared and the door locked when it was closed, and so, the other one didn't get [in]. This was a big, heavy, fat one and there was a little runty one that he was with. [laughter] I got chased around the grand piano in the living room. I was not about to go to my room. Finally, he got tired, because his friend was ringing the doorbell constantly. It was daytime, afternoon, and I don't know if anyone was there or not, but, no, that was one of the scariest. I was afraid even to answer the phone. That's where the master sergeant, a Marine, came in handy. Mrs. Caitlin had him, probably, report these two and they were probably disciplined. I never saw them again.

SI: Did he come down and help you, or was he not there?

AJ: He wasn't there or he would be up on the third floor. I don't know what his schedule was, but she'd gotten him as a protection for the women.

SI: Right.

MK: So, how'd you get away from the Marine that was chasing you around the piano?

AJ: Well, I guess his friend was ringing the doorbell constantly and I think he got scared that somebody would come and catch him and he left. I was real thankful.

SI: Wow.

MK: So, Mrs. Caitlin wasn't there at the house at the time?

SI: You were all by yourself.

AJ: I could've been, I don't know. Mrs. Caitlin didn't--I called to her. Her husband had been in the furniture business and she had mirrored walls in the dining room and velvet-like drapes and things like that, and then, this great big piano--thank heavens for that piano.

SI: Wow, you really had to fend for yourself. Living there at Mrs. Caitlin's, how did you get to Arlington Hall? Was there a bus?

AJ: There was a bus. The bus driver said--he knew us--when I came back from a trip down South, he said he could hardly understand me, my Southern accent was so strong.

SI: Yes.

AJ: But, they sort of knew which girls would be picked up and that would be let off at Arlington Hall.

SI: It was not a special bus that only went to Arlington Hall.

AJ: [No].

SI: Okay.

AJ: Yes, just more or less on your own. This girl, there was another girl that was recommended later by this Dr. Grant from Ouachita, she was riding the bus with me. Evidently, she's the one that had gotten married to this lieutenant, but she told me, after they were married, that he was getting ready to ask me for a date. She thought she liked him, and so, she pretended that her watch had stopped and went over to him to ask him what time it was. That was how they started it out.

SI: Yes.

AJ: I had no idea. He wasn't my pick of the lot.

MK: So, all the women at Mrs. Caitlin's house, did they work at Arlington Hall with you?

AJ: No, two elderly, I mean, older, women had worked for the State Department or something, and then, they were next door. There were thirteen of us using one bathroom, but, in an emergency, you could go down in the basement. She had another bathroom down there. She slept on a cot in the hallway, so that she could rent out space to all of us.

SI: Were there women moving in and out all the time or was it pretty much the same group?

AJ: No, it was pretty much the same, coming in. Her name was C-A-I-T-L-I-N, Caitlin.

SI: Okay.

MK: You stayed there the whole time, from '43, when you got there, until '48? How long did you stay there?

AJ: No, here, again, helping hands and things like that. When I got married, that way, Ellen Brown, the one that had been working in the Pentagon, took over and she found a house. They're slummy looking places, just thrown up to take care of people. She lived in one of those apartments and she got an apartment for us, for the two weeks that he was still in the States before he shipped out. Just about that time, there were three other girls at Arlington Hall that were getting an apartment and they needed a fourth one, was just a one bedroom, two big beds. [laughter] They asked me if I would come and I agreed. I stayed with them until George came back, but there was always, I didn't plan anything, but just helping hands, need, at a time like that.

MK: Okay, oh, I didn't realize that. So, you were only at Mrs. Caitlin's house for a short period of time. Then, you went to the--that's what I call the 1942, the war [homes]--they were the little bungalow homes that they put up. Is that what you described?

AJ: No, they weren't little bungalows. They were just--well, George's uncle saw where we were living later--temporary housing is what it was.

MK: Right.

AJ: It was people living above you and that sort of thing. It flooded there. He said it looked like "hooligan's hollow" or something, where we lived.

MK: Where was that in Washington, if you were on G Street?

AJ: Well, it was near the Pentagon. I don't know, it blew up after we left and were in Cincinnati. It blew up, the water. I don't know if it was a place you could go and wash clothes and things, I don't know, the boiler for the hot water or something, it blew out that apartment where we would've been.

SI: It is a good thing you moved. [laughter] You worked at the Pentagon, part-time in the cafeteria.

AJ: Just for the food, to seat the officers, not the generals, never the generals again.

SI: Was that after your shift at Arlington?

AJ: No, it was before.

SI: Before, okay.

AJ: I'd go and that was my breakfast, a coffee and a roll.

SI: How long would you work at Arlington in a given day? Would it be a regular eight-hour shift?

AJ: They were eight-hour shifts and this was beforehand. I don't know, someone from Arlington must've guided us, told us about this, that we could work and get something to eat.

MK: Do you remember how much money you made? What was your salary?

AJ: I didn't make any salary; that coffee and roll.

MK: No, at Arlington?

SI: Yes, in Arlington Hall.

MK: At Arlington Hall, how much did you make?

AJ: Nothing much, but I never had much.

MK: Yes, you don't remember how much you made?

AJ: No, I don't remember.

MK: Really?

AJ: But, I wasn't used to very much and you couldn't buy it. Yes, even if you had a lot of money, you couldn't buy things. The stores didn't have them.

SI: Were the people working at the tables all civilians or a mixture of civilians and military?

AJ: Mixture. There were an awful lot of Jewish boys that were in this one wing and over in [the other]. There was another one. We never knew what the next wing over was working on, but one of this [was] Neiman Marcus, it was a Marcus, a lieutenant that was there, but he shipped out soon after I came and I don't know what he was working on.

SI: You were meeting people from all over the country, maybe for the first time. Does anything stand out about meeting these different people?

AJ: The girls were wonderful. We would eat lunch, and then, we would go and sit outside in the sunshine for the rest of [the break] and just laugh at each other's accents. I had never heard a creek called a "crick" before. [laughter] It was just a fun time. We'd get along really well.

SI: Were most of these other folks also from college backgrounds like yourself?

AJ: Except the married people, that way, that had sons in college. When the youngest son was made fun of [by] his two older brothers, I think they were at Harvard or something, or Yale or something, he went to Clemson and they called [it], he was at "an old cow school," [laughter] making fun of him.

MK: Were men and women working at the table together or was it only women?

AJ: Yes. No, mostly women working, but [some] men, like this married couple, and then, there were some men that were in uniform, that they went higher up.

MK: So, it was the women at the tables, and then, the men were maybe the officers, because you mentioned Jewish men before and that's why I was curious.

AJ: The Jewish men were coming in more and occupying the seats, but they could sit. We were working at certain tables.

SI: Okay.

AJ: I don't know what they were working at.

SI: It was a mixture of men and women, military and non-military, at a table.

AJ: They were trying to fatten up this one little Jewish boy. He was too thin. He wanted to be a lieutenant and they were having him eat bananas and everything, trying to make him weigh enough. [laughter] We would know little things, fun things, like that, but I felt sorry for him, because I don't think he ever put on enough weight to be an officer.

SI: Who was your boss? Who did you report to?

AJ: I had two. There were two master sergeants in my time and they knew George. That one master sergeant did let me go on a split shift if I would take the roll. He said that he didn't know everybody that'd be coming in, and so, I sat near the door and took the roll for him, and then, went back to work.

MK: Do you remember their names?

AJ: No, I don't remember all their names. Listen, so much was happening to me and I just don't [recall] and we were so hush-hush about things. I was going out. A lieutenant had invited me out to Denver, it would've been, and this one man that was married saw that he was taking me out to eat. He stopped him and said, told me, right in front of him, "Don't go out with him. He's a married man."

MK: Sorry, Mom, but the table, I mean, was it quiet in the room? Were you talking to the lady next to you?

AJ: No, you were busy. We were all busy.

MK: So, it was just very quiet. Nobody was saying anything in the room. You couldn't talk?

AJ: Oh, you could whisper something that way, if needed, but, when Eisenhower came through, he certainly wasn't quiet. He was laughing and, I don't know, I think there was an Air Force general with him or something, but they were just like little boys and everybody, of course, was looking.

MK: Did he stop or he just walked in, just walked right through?

AJ: No, he didn't stop. They were going [through], yes. I don't know where they were going.

SI: You mentioned the one day where you found a message and there were a lot of 6666 codes in there. Were there other times where you would find 6666 codes?

AJ: Not a lot of them.

SI: Not a lot of them, but it occasionally happened.

AJ: This was full of them.

SI: Okay.

AJ: I think I read in the newspaper--I didn't have a newspaper or anything like that--but, evidently, that message was the one that had the movement of all these ships. Someone, I don't know who told me about that, but, evidently, the Swiss people or some [others] had intercepted this one message and it landed up there at Arlington Hall on my desk, but they never told me. I never knew. My name was never mentioned. That'd be a sure sign to be killed, if they could get even with you. So, there were scary parts as well.

SI: You mentioned earlier that they brought up that you could be shot or killed, but they were telling you ...

AJ: Kidnapped.

SI: Kidnapped; they were telling you what the enemy would do to you, not what the penalties would be if you said anything.

AJ: That we would be in danger.

SI: Yes.

AJ: But, I think they might've shot us, too, [laughter] if we had talked. You were in there for good--you couldn't get out. There were some girls--they were getting airline stewardesses and advertising for them. We thought that would be nice, to go and see a little bit more of the world. [laughter] Well, we asked this master sergeant and he said, "No way," that they had spent too much money on clearing us, that we couldn't go. We couldn't leave.

SI: Wow.

AJ: That suited me just fine.

SI: After the Japanese surrender, did your job shift? Were you put in a different section?

AJ: It was more like, no, we were still [working on this]. They had not completely broken the code and we were still working on that and still working on these other messages that kept coming in. It was more like a cleanup of everything. I don't know where that message left me. They snatched it away and that was it.

SI: You got there in 1943 and you were there for five years.

AJ: [Yes].

SI: You were there until about 1948.

AJ: '48.

SI: You were in the Japanese section the whole time.

AJ: [Yes]. So, the time just went so fast.

SI: After the war, did the unit shrink at all? Did they still keep the same number of workers?

AJ: Well, it was shrinking some--people getting married, leaving or being shipped out. See, these units would be shipped out. George was in England for a [while] and we could only write. We could not say what we were doing or where we were or anything of that sort. They had these special [censors], but I was careful what I wrote and he was careful what he wrote. I got a picture of him from when he was in Paris. Then, he never had to walk. He always [had a ride], but he had migraine headaches from riding in the back of these trucks.

SI: Trucks, yes.

AJ: Or whatever. I think he just didn't ever say too much, even when he came back, but he was shaking and stuttering. I mean, he was shell-shocked somewhat. He had been in Germany and I guess after Hitler had taken that poison, he had been up there. [Editor's Note: Adolf Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, in his bunker under the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany.]

SI: Was he in an intelligence unit?

AJ: He was in Army Intelligence, too.

SI: Okay.

AJ: The Russians, if you remember, they were just out to kill these people, the Germans that they could. They were chasing them. George helped one man and wife, I guess, I don't know if they had children or what, and they had everything they had in a wheelbarrow like thing. They insisted to give him a silver service, but he told them he couldn't take that. He couldn't transport it, that sort of thing. So, they gave him a butter knife, which I still have, and a baby brush and comb with a silver back, that sort of thing. They were just insistent that he take something, because he barely got them across the river before the Russians were on the other side. They would've been killed. He was not fluent in German, but, [when] he had grown up, his grandparents spoke German all the time. He knew [some words], could talk with them.

SI: He was probably up by the Elbe River.

AJ: He was where?

SI: The Elbe River, the river that divided Germany with the Western Allies and the Russians. [Editor's Note: The US Army met the Soviet Red Army at the Elbe River in Germany on April 25, 1945.]

AJ: I don't know. We never--he couldn't say at all. We couldn't [discuss that]. That would be cut out of the letters.

SI: Okay.

AJ: He had been reprimanded, too, that everything was read, but I wrote him every night, so [that] he always had plenty to read.

SI: You said he seemed to be changed a bit after he came back from the war.

AJ: Very much so. He was very nervous and traumatized by what he had seen. I took a Spanish course with him. I was afraid that he might need help. He made better grades than I did and that was the last Spanish course I took. [laughter]

SI: How did you finally decide to leave Arlington Hall?

AJ: Well, he graduated from George Washington University and he had worked on the jet engines before he had [left]. Well, he had worked in a bank, too, and his relatives owned, partner, a bank in Cincinnati. While he was overseas, a vice president of the company took care of his finances. I didn't know if George had any money or not. I just thought, "I have a degree and I had the job and we'd be all right," that way. I don't know, things just seemed to work out around. What was the question before?

SI: How you decided to leave Arlington Hall.

AJ: Well, he got a job with a jet engine division in Lockland. That's part of Cincinnati and he stayed with that, but I think it more or less killed him. He was in charge of all of these engines and the test cells, where they would throw walnut shells and things in to see how much resistance the machines had before they'd blow up. He was constantly called, day or night, at home, when they'd blow, when one of those engines would blow up. I made an "A" in the course that I was taking for my master's degree simply by knowing a vice president at GE and lived a couple of blocks up from us in Mariemont. The man that was in charge of the engines had to cover them over, with paper and things, so that no one could come in and get ideas from them, but I know that I got an "A" in this course just because of that. [laughter]

MK: Sorry, can I just [ask], because I'm going back to Arlington Hall, okay--this is after the war, so, this is in '45. The war's over. Germany, already, '44 ...  

SI: 1945.

MK: '45, and Japan, so, it all ends in '45, and, yet, for the next three years, you still continued at Arlington Hall to try and decipher messages, right? Is that right? So, did a master sergeant or somebody come to you and tell you, "We're now looking at a different code," because that code wouldn't have meant anything?

AJ: No, they never [did].

MK: The war is over, right? So, what?

AJ: They had never been able to complete the code, the Japanese code, and they were still working on the German, because the Germans were still fighting after Japan had surrendered.

MK: No, Germany was before.

SI: Yes.

MK: Germany was before that, [we] beat Japan. Germany surrendered before Japan, in May, I think it was, possibly. I think it was May, maybe.

SI: May 8th.

MK: Yes, May, and then, in August, right, it was August of '45, the following, that August, that's when Japan did.

AJ: Well, all I know is that the girls that stayed on, the ones that worked [there still], they closed down the Arlington Hall and they went under the CIA. I was gone by then.

MK: Well, that would've been '48-ish, right? You were still there, right, until '48? You stayed at Arlington until '48?

SI: Yes, the CIA started in 1947. [Editor's Note: In 1947, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act, which created the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).]

AJ: Yes, I was in Arlington until '48 and, when I resigned, I remember the master sergeant said how lucky I was, because I had completed five years and I had a pension. As it evolved, I got a master's degree in Cincinnati and George said we didn't really need the money. I was having dreams every night that I had not graduated from college, on the campus at Ouachita, not all. It bothered me about six nights and he said, if I wanted to go ahead and get a master's at the University of Cincinnati and teach, that I could. Here, I graduated in 1965 and he told me that the sweepers at GE made more money than I did as a teacher. I said, "Well, I'll be glad to go and sweep the floors." "No."

SI: Was it a master's in education?

AJ: Yes. I had twelve hours beyond at Xavier, because I was signed up for a class, or one that I wanted. I was trying to find out about dyslexia and a lot of kids had it and I knew they were intelligent. I would tape things and just try everything I could think of. Our principal did not think that dyslexia [was real]. He thought they were just dumb, until, finally, it came out in the papers that dyslexia was a handicap.

MK: Do you remember where you were--sorry; I keep going back to the end of the war--I'm just curious, do you remember where you were when it was announced, V-J Day?

AJ: I was downtown Washington, DC, and when the soldiers were kissing the ...

MK: Yes.

AJ: Well, I didn't. This young lieutenant came up to me and asked permission to kiss me and I said, "I can't, I'm married." He went; he left me alone, went over to somebody else.

MK: People were in the street?

AJ: We were in the street. You've seen that picture of that man kissing a nurse or something like that.

MK: In Times Square.

SI: Yes, in Times Square.

AJ: Oh, gee.

SI: Were there any changes after the war, that you recall, at Arlington Hall?

AJ: It was more like a cleanup of the thing that we were trying to [crack]. I don't know that they ever broke that code completely.

SI: Were there any changes in method or anything like that?

AJ: No, and I was so involved then in George's education and to be sure that he was all right there.

SI: He came back and finished up at George Washington.

AJ: [Yes].

SI: At that point, you had not considered going back. It was not until the 1960s when you went back to get your master's.

AJ: I got my master's over a four-year period. I would substitute teach. I had a family and I didn't want to do anything--I consulted the doctors, if it would hurt Judy. That's Mike's wife. She was [in] fourth grade and he said, "No, she'd be all right." That's when I [went to work] and they were just clamoring. I had more offers than [I needed]--they really needed language arts teachers in fourth grade. I don't know if everybody had a baby that same year or not.

SI: The Baby Boom was changing everything for the next twenty years.

AJ: Yes.

SI: Before you left Arlington Hall, had you already started your family?

AJ: No. In fact, it was 1950 when we had our first child. Then, we got the house about three months later.

SI: Okay.

AJ: How can you listen to all these stories? It'd be so boring.

SI: No, it is fascinating. Are there any vivid memories that stand out from your time in Washington during the war?

AJ: That generals' dining room was the most horrible, horrible thing that I experienced. [laughter]

MK: How did you end up at the Pentagon, though?

AJ: I don't know. Maybe somebody, some of the girls, must've told me that you could get the roll and coffee, and then, Ellen Brown, who was in charge, took a liking to me for some reason. I did not [seek it out]. That's why I say that all through college, everywhere, it was helping hands. There was always someone to help me over everything and to think that I'd be teaching a class at Ouachita and to think that I'd even go out and do summer fieldwork, in the rural section of Arkansas, but these things just happened.

SI: Were you able to go back home? You mentioned you went back to visit your family at least once during the war.

AJ: It cost--well, you mean after I was married?

SI: Yes, during your time in Washington.

AJ: Oh.

SI: Would you go back and forth?

AJ: Yes, I was able to go back, when the bus driver said he couldn't understand me. [laughter]

SI: Was it difficult to travel during the war?

AJ: Yes, it was, but the train would be it and the soldiers, there would be so many passengers and the soldiers would put their luggage on the floor and they sat on the luggage. It was really pretty bad, too crowded. When I was at Ouachita, I didn't go home except at Christmastime, because it cost all of ten dollars for a roundtrip ticket from Memphis to Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I remember that. Somebody, I don't know, through the church or something, sent me ten dollars, so [that] I could come home at Thanksgiving as well as Christmas. I never knew who it was, but that was the rate, five dollars there and five dollars back.

SI: Wow.

MK: That's a lot of money at that time.

AJ: Was it? Oh, I never knew who sent it.

SI: You moved to Cincinnati and your husband got a job with GE, it sounds like right away.

AJ: Yes, immediately he did.

SI: Where were you living at the time?

AJ: In rooms. George's aunt lived across from his mother. They were sisters and she had mostly men, but I think my mother-in-law talked her into allowing us to rent two rooms there. She didn't really want to; it was easier just to have men there. Then, Mother Juengst had fixed up an apartment on the second floor for her other son, that was married. They had children. So, she didn't have room in her house for us. It just evolved from there, that after we were expecting and everything, we had an apartment in another section of Cincinnati, a Jewish section, as I recall. Then, this man that had stayed at Mother Juengst's home--she had taken in boarders from the university and she took only men, because girls were too messy, hose and things hanging up in the basement to dry. [laughter] He stopped us and told us that we were looking on the wrong side of town. He was an architect and told us that Cincinnati was going over toward Mariemont and that he knew of a house that was being [built], it wasn't finished yet, but he thought that we might like and we got it. George had saved his money from being a little paperboy and on, that way. Then, he had worked, before, on the jet engines, before he had come into the service. So, I didn't know he had money, but he had enough that we were able to buy the house and borrow a little bit from the bank at four-and-a-half percent.

SI: Was that through the GI Bill? [Editor's Note: The Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the GI Bill of Rights, was created to provide returning veterans with home loans, funds for high education and other benefits.]

AJ: No, this wasn't the GI Bill. This was just because of family connections in the bank. It was the Fifth Third Bank.

SI: Did he work on the jets before or after he went into the service?

AJ: They were just beginning.

SI: Okay.

AJ: I think that the jet engine, at that time, was just about this long.

SI: Like three-and-a-half feet.

AJ: [Yes]. When he left, they took pictures of us in front of this huge thing that wouldn't fit into this room.

SI: Yes, when he retired?

AJ: That's when he retired.

SI: Okay.

AJ: He was working for nothing. They told him, one of the men in finance did, that he should go ahead and just retire, because with my salary and his, [we could]. So, we both retired.

MK: But, wasn't it Wright Aeronautical? I thought it was Wright Aeronautical that he worked at.

AJ: Well ...

MK: I mean, and then, GE purchased Wright?

AJ: Yes.

MK: Yes.

AJ: But, it was still the same buildings at Lockland.

MK: Yes.

AJ: That they were working on.

MK: Right, so, Wright Aeronautics and he did that before he got into the war. Then, when he came back, he came back and worked there. [Editor's Note: Orville and Wilbur Wright formed the Wright Company in 1909, which then became Wright Aeronautical in 1919. Wright Aeronautical then became a division of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation that produced engines in Lockland, Ohio. In 1948, General Electric bought the plant and continued engine manufacturing.]

AJ: So, he had priority over anybody else.

MK: Well, that was good.

SI: He finished his last couple of years at George Washington, and then, he started somewhere in Cincinnati.

AJ: Yes, it was Cincinnati.

SI: The University of Cincinnati?

AJ: Yes. He was probably working and going to school at night and all these men that were living in the house, Mother Juengst cooked for them. This architect said she could fix wieners 1,001 ways. [laughter] She was an excellent cook and really enjoyed that.

SI: Tell us a little bit about Mariemont. What was the community like when you moved in?

AJ: It was wonderful, everything. It was the right place to go and be and we stayed there for fifty-two years, so, you know we enjoyed it. All I remember is that the garages went underneath the house. Then, by the time we got the other--he was looking for a bigger house, but a different garage--once he got the double car garage out back and everything, he wouldn't leave for any purpose, fixed up the basement, an office for himself and put a bathroom in down there. He was left-handed, but he made a bookcase from floor to ceiling and made a nice television room.

SI: It sounds like you were pretty involved with the community at Mariemont.

AJ: Yes, I was. I wrote gardening articles. It was in that other book, just was a monthly thing and I belonged to a garden club. I had worked in the Sunday school when the kids were little, that way. I wrote a skit for the [club] that was well advertised and everything. As the professors at the university said, "Oh, you're so creative." In other words, I considered that as an insult. They never told me I was smart, just creative. [laughter] So, that's what I would do. I could write and get people eager to work for me and I could a speech to Kiwanis Club. This was George's area and they had never had women in until the year before. They had one woman that was the head of senior citizens and I was invited. After that speech, they asked me to join and I said, "No." The Garden Club had been after George. I had written a skit for that and people that worked and helped [came] and it was a dinner and the mayor and town crier, everybody, coming, because fifty years of Garden Club. I just thought we needed it. We helped each other with these endeavors, but I was Garden Club and he was Kiwanis. He was their best salesman of the nut salesmen, because all the women in the Garden Club loved him. They'd buy the nuts from him. [laughter]

SI: After you earned your master's in the mid-1960s ...

AJ: 1965.

SI: Yes. Did you work for a while?

AJ: I had been working part-time, teaching around, and they were desperate for teachers. The university was angry with me. There were about five offers in Cincinnati, but George said strictly that I could not work in the slum areas. I was offered a job out in another village out. Then, I finally ended up in Madeira and it was about just going over Indian Hill and there was about a ten-minute drive or something like that. I stayed with them for, what? nineteen years.

SI: What level was that? Was it high school or grammar school?

AJ: No, it was the fourth grade.

SI: Okay.

AJ: Language arts, I started out. Everybody'd had babies, they didn't have teachers and they didn't have spaces. Then, I went to the fifth grade then with them. I was really worried, because they had another teacher, but too many of these kids had been with me. I was worried for them. One little boy said to me, "Mrs. Juengst, we already know you." He was a judge's son and he wanted to know my birthdate and my husband's. He did these [tests], I don't know, I hadn't gotten into this, to see the compatibility of people. He came back the next day so worried. He said, "Mrs. Juegnst, I don't think that was the best match for you." I said, "It's a little late now." I got along just fine with the kids, wasn't too smart or too dumb--and I was creative.

SI: You worked there until the early to mid-1980s.

AJ: '84. We have the two cups over there with our names on them. George, he wouldn't retire until I did. They just so happened, the school offered early retirement and I accepted in a hurry. Some, I don't know if it's a Senator or Representative, went to get the extra money from Arlington Hall, or the time, and it was transferred into the state teachers' [pension] fund, that way. So, I ended up with the money on my own that I get, still get, from the pension. We weren't really wealthy or anything, but we always had enough money, but George had told me I didn't have to teach, that we had enough money that I didn't need to.

SI: It sounds like you found it very rewarding.

AJ: I did, and I was very independent, even there. When I retired, the superintendent had been my principal, part of the time, and I had not agreed with some of the things that [he did]. I had both of his daughters in my classes, and so, we knew each other fairly well. He asked if he could do away with some of the things I'd written, in the papers. I said, "I don't care what you do with them, just burn them." He said there was only one thing that he had found fault with me for. I thought, "Don, for heaven's sake, why didn't you tell me sooner?" He laughed and he said, "Too many parents wanted their kids in your room."

SI: Yes, that is nice.

AJ: So, we left friendly.

SI: Good. [laughter] You and your husband had your first child in 1950.

AJ: [Yes].

SI: How many children did you have altogether?

AJ: Then, Judy wouldn't come until five years later, Mike's [wife], he married the younger of the two girls, and that was it.

SI: Okay.

AJ: I think GE was probably taking all of George's strength and teaching mine. [laughter]

SI: Is there anything else from your life after the war that we skipped over?

AJ: I think you know more about me than anybody else. [laughter] Did you learn anything, Mike?

MK: Yes, yes, I think some new things, a few new things, good.

SI: Good. Is there anything else that you want to ask?

AJ: That's it.

MK: I'm kind of wondering, want to break for lunch, Mom? How about that?

SI: We are going to take a break.


SI: We are back from lunch; thank you very much for that.

AJ: Oh, you're welcome.

SI: Wonderful treat. You spent so much time in Washington--were you there when President Roosevelt died and was brought back? [Editor's Note: President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, from a cerebral hemorrhage at his vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia.]

AJ: Oh, it was terrible. I was working at Arlington Hall and we were just [heartbroken]. We heard about it on the night shift. It was downcast. Previously, I had seen Roosevelt in a touring car. We had to stop. The Secret Service had stopped all of us to cross the street. I said, "Oh, who's coming?" and he said, "You will see this man." Here came Roosevelt in that open car that he had and his cigar, he always had big cigar things, that way. This man had said that he voted for him the last time, for Roosevelt, but he wouldn't do it again. I thought, "I don't think you're going to be very good for taking care of him," but I didn't know how bad off Roosevelt was until I've been reading in books and things, since I've been here.

SI: When they brought his body back, did you go to the train or the viewing?

AJ: No, but, when he was still alive, my roommate and I walked up to [the] Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, that way. The Secret Service had stopped everybody behind us. We were the last ones and I didn't know where everybody had gone. I turned around--we were still walking up the hill--and there was Mrs. Roosevelt behind us. She wouldn't allow the Secret Service to move us. She just followed behind us.

SI: Oh.

AJ: She was very down to earth. I liked her. Then, reading more about her life, I felt so sorry for her.

MK: So, you mentioned a couple weeks ago, when they had the Roosevelt series on the television--remember, you had watched that?--you made a comment to Judy and I, when we were on the phone with you, that you thought that there was something that was incorrect that you remembered? No? I don't remember. [Editor's Note: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History is a fourteen-hour documentary by Ken Burns, first aired on PBS in 2014.]

AJ: I don't remember.

MK: Okay. I mean, you laughed and said, oh, they had said something in the program that you didn't remember as being correct at the time, but you never gave us--okay, yes.

AJ: I don't recall what it was. I'll think about it. I forgot, but I'd compare what they broadcast with what I experienced. Then, George was the one that was going to school and George liked to walk, too. We didn't have a car. He met Truman on his walk. He walked. George spoke to him and the Secret Service was with him and they immediately started sheltering. Truman just told them, "Get back." That was a thing.

MK: What was the impression of Roosevelt during the war, because, I mean, he did, I think, those fireside chats, right? Isn't he the person that's famous for that? So, do you remember listening to those?

AJ: No, what I remember listening [to] on radio, when we'd be doing the dishes in this one-bedroom apartment we had, George would dry them and I was washing them, we'd listen to Just Plain Bill. Did you ever hear of that program? [Editor's Note: Just Plain Bill was a comedic radio show that aired on CBS Radio from 1932 to 1955.]

MK: No, no, I didn't.

AJ: He was halfway between a columnist, commentator, and also funny. We watched--I didn't tell you this--but, in Washington, DC, when George was [back], after he'd come back, we would go to see people. The grasses would be on the hillside down to the Potomac and they would have a moat or something. This man that wrote about the fog, the Chicago fog, "like little cats' feet"--I cannot remember this man at all, but he was really good at reading his poetry ...

SI: Robert Frost [American poet (1874-1963)]?

AJ: I don't know.

SI: Carl Sandburg? [Editor's Note: American poet Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) published the poem "Fog" in his Chicago Poems collection in 1916.]

AJ: Say that again.

SI: Carl Sandburg?

AJ: I think it was Sandburg.

SI: Okay.

AJ: Then, we'd go to the theater and saw Abie's Little Irish Rose. Have you ever? [laughter]

SI: No, I have not.

AJ: He was studying and everything, but we would take breaks, go to [events]. One night, we went to something and it came a downpour of rain. I was in high heels and you couldn't get shoes very well and, what had happened, the place in front of our apartment had clogged up. The water had receded up to the street and I just took my shoes off and held them and walked barefoot through the water and went up. They hadn't gone into our apartment yet. They took care of it. I mean, life was not as easy as it is here.

MK: So, did you all talk about Roosevelt at all during the war? I mean, when you were in Washington, did the girls talk about him in the apartment at all or, at Arlington Hall, did you guys at lunchtime?

AJ: I didn't know any of his background, except that he'd been elected this fourth time [in 1945] and that he died. We didn't talk politics.

MK: I was wondering, after, how about Truman? Did anybody ever talk about Truman at all, after that?

AJ: Just George had told me about the walking and Truman wouldn't let [them stop him], he was out on his walk, like that.

MK: So, same thing, no politics; I mean, nobody talked politics at all?

AJ: Well, I remember when Margaret Truman's piano leg went through the ceiling. Do you remember that? [Editor's Note: First Daughter Margaret Truman's piano leg had gone through the ceiling in the White House in the Summer of 1948. This brought about legislation to renovate the White House from 1948 to 1952.]

SI: Vaguely, yes.

AJ: White House. There must've been something in the paper or something happening about that time. I knew that Truman's wife hated Washington. Her mother looked down on Truman, called him "the little haberdasher," and, yet, he was using more sense, I think, than Roosevelt was there at the end.

SI: Going back to Arlington Hall, did the work ever get boring or frustrating, just doing the same thing over and over again?

AJ: No, I didn't find it [that way]. I mean, it was like an Easter egg hunt. You're hunting for something and, if you don't find it, there's something else you can look at. No, I didn't find it boring and I found the people delightful. I had somebody looking after me all the time, that married couple.

MK: So, the sheets that you were reviewing, did you put your initials [on them] or how did you know what to choose?

AJ: I don't [recall].

MK: What had been reviewed? How did you know that that sheet was reviewed?

AJ: I don't know. I think this man must've been in charge of taking care of the things as we finished them.

MK: So, you don't remember signing, like, your initials at the bottom with the date and time, or something?

AJ: No, they wouldn't have wanted that.

SI: Did you have a certain amount that you had to get through on a given shift?

AJ: No, you just came in and you worked. You had supervision there. There was a lot of us, but people were intent on their jobs and they weren't goofing off.

MK: It's not like you had to do a hundred sheets in eight hours.

AJ: Oh, no.

MK: Or fifty sheets, or two sheets, it could be. If you got more done that day because you didn't see the code, then, you just worked the whole time.

AJ: We just worked and there were people that supervised the whole wing, that way, so, no, no problem at all.

SI: How long would it take you to get through a sheet?

AJ: According to the size of it.

MK: Oh, so, they weren't all the same size, or are you saying that the page was the same size, but what's on the page could be [different], one message might be ...

AJ: Well, I don't recall them being different sizes or anything like that. They were just up there and you took one. When you finished, then, you turned it over to this man and he had another pile that he had.

MK: Yes, but what I'm hearing you say is that, sometimes, the sheet might not be completely filled with letters or codes. Some sheets might be half full, some sheets might be ...

AJ: I think the one that I found was just about like that.

SI: Three-quarters of the way full.

MK: Yes, right, yes.

AJ: It was a smaller one and it was so shocking to me to have everybody around there and grab it out. When I just asked, "Am I doing something wrong?" nobody answered. They grabbed it and took it away.

MK: Did they come back and acknowledge you at all?

AJ: No. They want you to keep working, find out some more.

SI: When you resigned in 1948, did they give you a debriefing?

AJ: Everything calmed down by then. Then, this Congressman, I don't know if it's a Senator or Rep, that was a friend of the superintendent of schools, is the one that went to Washington and got the transfer of the money into the school, so that I would have it and have income later.

MK: But, can I ask, I think I'm trying to understand, at the time you resigned in 1948, like, at your exit interview, nobody said, "Okay, Mrs. Juengst ...

AJ: No.

MK: ... From this day forward, you cannot divulge this information?" Did anybody sit down and talk to you like that?

AJ: No. The only thing they ever talked to [me about] was that you could not go and be a stewardess on an airplane. They'd spent too much money on me.

SI: Did anybody ever get fired or just disappear?

AJ: I don't know if anyone [did]; everything was so secretive that you just didn't know what was happening to other people. I knew this married couple and their sons in college--I always think of Clemson as "the old cow college."

SI: Would you socialize with them outside of work?

AJ: No. I didn't have room for any socialization at Mrs. Caitlin's. I think I only used, that George came in one time, the living room [once]. Then, that one blundered in.

MK: So, before you met Dad, though, did you go out with the girls to the movies at all?

AJ: No.

MK: I mean, I heard you talk to Shaun about going shopping, but did you go for entertainment, to the movies or museums?

AJ: No, I didn't. I didn't have the money.

MK: So, did you go to the museums on your day off?

AJ: I was too busy working at the Pentagon for some food, as well as the other [job] and on swing shifts. No, we didn't. I did try to go to church every chance I could go. I cannot remember this reverend's name, but he was such a--he would pack the church. They must've been Presbyterian. They had pews and latticework fences around them. You had to stand outside the church in a line and wait and, if those pews weren't all taken, then, they would allow you to come in. Who was that?

SI: I do not know. I can try to look it up and put it in the transcript.

AJ: He was not an American. Well, anyway, he was the one that we'd queue up in line to get to hear.

SI: What was so interesting about him?

AJ: His delivery and his speech and everything, but he was just a good minister.

MK: Did you go to any of the museums and memorials while you were in Washington?

AJ: I'd go to memorials.

MK: Well, like, Jefferson's and Lincoln's.

AJ: I dated by some of them. [laughter]

MK: Dad or somebody else?

AJ: Yes. Listen, just from that other material that you sent, that's all, that they didn't have enough WAVES for a dance that they were giving the soldiers. I thought, "My heavens," that I thought there were plenty of girls around for the men to date, seeing all these girls at Arlington Hall. They were all hitting on me and I wasn't trying to date a lot of people on the street, and certainly not invite them into Mrs. Caitlin's house, gee.

MK: So, describe when you're walking down the street. Were there a lot of people?

AJ: No. At George Washington University, there were ...

MK: No, before, like in Mrs. Caitlin's, on a day that you would go to work in the morning, say, what does the street look like? I mean, what does it sound like?

AJ: Well, there weren't a lot of people, but I was just trying to get two blocks up to get on the bus and get to the Pentagon. You walked an awful lot in Washington, DC, constantly. There weren't cars. People didn't have cars and they couldn't buy gas. You couldn't buy clothes.

MK: So, was it young people on the street, like your age, in your twenties, or is it older people?

AJ: People were working.

MK: Males, females, or a mixture of both?

AJ: I was too close, Mrs. Caitlin's house and the university is too close to Foggy Bottom, where they had these Marines that would come in, and then, they were desperate, I guess, to socialize. When I explained to one big man--he was just a big Marine, but very gentlemanlike--that I was afraid to walk alone, he walked me the two blocks home and it was nice. He didn't touch me or anything, but all these things that were happening to me; when we'd gone up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Lee's Mansion, things like that, I was with my roommate. There was a boy, a soldier, I don't remember rank or anything, he had graduated from college already and he had a book and he wanted me to keep that book until he came back from overseas. I thought it was so strange, that way, but he insisted and I think he sent me flowers. At Christmastime, they would do that. I had flowers from three. You see, when they would get ready to leave, they would order them for Christmas, but it wasn't that I was, as you can see, a beauty or anything like that. [laughter] I wasn't talking about Arlington Hall, but I guess everybody was under a lot of pressure to get things done.

SI: Thank you very much. I appreciate your candor, your time and hospitality.

AJ: You can cut parts of it.

SI: Yes, sure.

AJ: Good.

SI: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

MK: Thanks.

-----------------------------------------END OF INTERVIEW-----------------------------------------------

Reviewed by Jesse Braddell 12/24/2014

Reviewed by Shaun Illingworth 6/24/2015

Reviewed by Alice Juengst 8/28/2015

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