Kristie Thomas: This begins an interview with Douglas Hearle on February 19, 2010, in Pelham, New York, with Kristie Thomas ...
Sandra Stewart Holyoak: ... and Sandra Stewart Holyoak. Thank you, Mr. Hearle, for having us here today. To begin, could you tell me where and when you were born?
Douglas Hearle: Yes, I can. I was born in the Bronx, in New York City, at Fitch Sanitarium on April 7, 1933.
SH: Thank you. Let us talk a little bit about your family history. One of the best places to start is with your father. Please state his name for the record.
DH: Okay, my father's name was the same as mine, Douglas Jeffrey Hearle. I'm a junior. I come from a long line of policemen, strangely. Both my father and his brother, my uncle and both of my grandfathers and one of my sons--actually, two of my sons--were policemen in one form or another. My two grandfathers were both in the New York City Police Department, my dad was, my uncle was as well. My son is the chief of detectives in New Rochelle now and my other son was a federal policeman for several years. So, a bunch of cops in the family--oh, my brother also, I forgot about Ronnie. Ronnie, my brother, was a policeman in New York also, until he retired, ten, twenty years ago, I guess it is now.
SI: Did your father talk about his family and any of the stories that your grandfather experienced as a policeman?
DH: You know, it was part of the family lore. I mean, we talked about police things all the time and there were always cops in my house, as I recall. My dad was a mounted cop in a city. That's an unusual job as it is. I mean, he was on a horse all the time. In New York City, the mounted division is an elite group, because of it's a crowd control factor. He worked down ... in the Theater District. He worked in the parks in the summertime. I remember his horses' names as well as relatives, you know, Ken Mare and Cameo and Cutie. There, all of them had that, "Kh, kh," sound, and both grandfathers had been mounted also.
DH: Yes. So, we heard cop stories all the time. ...
SH: Please, continue. You were talking about your grandfathers also being in the mounted force.
DH: Yes, they were, and horses were, you know, a big part of the family conversations as well. Dad was part of a unit that was also a parade unit and one that competed in horse shows. What they did was, they would use New York cops as escorts for the participants at Madison Square Garden when the horse show came to town, and I don't even know whether they do that anymore, but, in those days, they did, and then, they competed. [Editor's Note: The National Horse Show was held at Madison Square Garden annually from 1926 until 1988.] Their team competed with the North-West Mounted Police around the New York State area in competitions, and I remember going as a kid to Madison Square Garden. Dad got me in "on the arm" somewhere, and I was sitting up front and I was a kid. Hey, I remember, I had to go in on the train, and then, he met me and got me over to the Garden. On the train--I mean the subway--from the north end of the Bronx used to take half an hour just to get out of City Island down to the main part of the city, and I remember, in that particular show, his unit competed with the Mounties. ... The Mounties' finale was, they carried lances. ... Each rider carried a lance with a flag on it and, at the end of ... their show, they started in a circle and they charged at each other from the four corners of the circle, from north, east, south and west, into the center and crisscrossed each other with the lances down, and it was very exciting for the audience to see these guys charging at each other. ... The New York cops were sitting on their horses outside that circle, watching, and, when it was over, they did exactly the same exercise, but they did it in the dark. They turned all of the lights out and they just had a light on the end of each lance and you saw them do the same thing and it was the perfect squelch, you know. I mean, "If you can do it, fine." It was like Ginger Rogers with Fred Astaire--you know, she could do everything he could do, but she did it in high heels and backwards. You know, it was that extra step. So, yes, I remember that, and I also remember Dad, in that very show, at the very end, the horses came out and they were all in a line and he was with the Irish team. There was Irish teams and English teams and what-have-you, and the Canadians, and he was escorting the Irish team and he was carrying the Irish flag. ... His horse, which was a horse named Cameo, started to act up, and I could see my father was wrestling with him and the horse was getting skitterish and he was backing. ... Dad was doing everything he could to try to keep him under control and he got through it and, typical of him, as he went ... through the exit and out of sight of the [room], [laughter] what he thought was out of sight of the room, he hauled off and he hit the horse a shot right behind his ear. He was so angry, he hit him with his fist and, the next time I saw my father, he had a broken hand. [laughter] He'd broke his hand on that punch and he ended up with a cast coming out, and I said, "Dad, the horse won." He said, "Yes, he did."
KT: [laughter] It is a big animal.
DH: Yes, a big, ... hard-necked animal. He caught him on the back of his skull, I guess, and ... he broke his thumb. He didn't break his whole hand. That's good enough for you. I remember, the horses were part of our life, although we were hardly a horsey family, but I started riding when I was a kid, because he would take me over to the stables in the summertime. One of the thrills of being a seven or eight-year-old was when my dad would catch what they called hostlering duty [from the term hostler or stableman]. They had a guy that took care of the horses on a regular basis, but, when he was off, at night, the cops had to [do it]. Somebody had to be in the stable in the event of a fire or something, and so, they would then have to do the hostlering duty, which is taking care of the horses, grooming them, putting them in at night, getting them up in the morning or getting them out in the morning. They didn't have to get up, but I would go over with him and he had a cot for me in one of the stalls, ... no horse in that stall, but I could sleep in this cot with hay stacked in there, and the smell, I loved the smell of horse manure, and I guess I just [was taken by it]. It has an appeal from youth and I used to look forward to being able to go with him, once in awhile, over to the park and help him curry [brush with a currycomb] the horses and brush them and what-have-you. It was fun.
SH: Where were the horses stabled?
DH: They were stabled in a police stable in Pelham Bay Park in the north end of the Bronx, which is not more than three, four miles from where we are right now. We're right on, a couple of miles from, the New York border.
SH: Are the horses that they use in New York today still stabled there?
DH: They probably are. Yes, it was a brick building, as I recall, built to be a stable and probably built by the city for that purpose, down near the water, near Pelham Bay Park beaches. There's a beach. You know where Orchard Beach is in the Bronx, have you heard of that? Well, it's right across the water from that part of the Bronx.
SH: Are they trailer-ed into the city?
DH: They walk them.
SH: They do.
DH: Yes. ... These horses up here are for park purposes, so, they don't go into Manhattan. The ones that are in Manhattan are stabled in the city, but ... this was Troop D, as I recall, and it worked the parks in the summer and the city in the winter. ... They'd close the stable down in the cold weather and the horses would be stabled down in the city someplace. There was one on Varick Street and there was several in the Bronx, different locations, that were shared. ... When I was a kid, growing up, these stables were shared, in some cases with milk horses [from] milk companies that delivered by horses. I mean, I grew up at a time when horses were pretty common in the city as a kid and, I remember, one of the kids on my street knocked over a horse once, because the horse had fallen asleep making a routine delivery of a grocery wagon and the horse had dozed off, I guess. ... Little Marie (Cochran?), who was about, you know, two feet high, was standing there, sucking on her lollipop and looking at the horse, and I guess for no reason, she hauled off and kicked him on the shin and the horse turned over. He fell and the wagon turned over, and it took him by surprise and he just got caught. Nobody got hurt, but Marie was charged, I guess, with destroying a lot of fruit and vegetables.
SH: There is a wonderful photograph here of your father, which you said was taken by a newspaper photographer in the 1930s.
DH: Yes, it shows him and there are two people sitting [in a stable]. ... It's taken in a stable and, according to my memory of this, he had been on patrol and he came upon these two poor souls, a man and a woman. They looked like they're elderly, and it looks like cold weather, because they're both wearing kind of raggy overcoats. ... He took them to the stable to warm them up, and then, he went around and he collected some food for them. I don't know whether they were homeless, or my impression is that they were indeed homeless, and, in those days, I don't think there were shelters or anything. The story, as I remember it, is that he let them [stay] or he arranged for them to stay at the stable for a few days, whatever the situation was, until they could [make other arrangements]. So, this is abject poverty, from the picture, and I guess the word got out and a local reporter/photographer from the newspaper took that picture and it's been in our family ever since. It looks like it was taken in [the] very early 1930s, because my father seems to be a pretty young man in the picture and I was born in '33. So, my guess is that it was right around that time.
SH: In the photograph, he was actually handing a basket of ...
SH: ... Food to them.
DH: Yes, and he's got something in a feedbag behind him, that I don't know whether those may be clothes or something that he may have ...
SH: Blankets, maybe. You can actually see the horses. They are right in front of the horses, on a bench.
DH: Yes, there, the stalls are right behind them. They seem to be on a bench. The horse in the [rear], far distant horse, is shying from the flash of the camera, I think. You see his head is pulled up, but he's got his bridle on, so, that may be Dad's horse. You know, it's hard to tell, I don't know, but it's a favorite old picture of him.
SH: Yes, it is a wonderful black-and-white photograph. Did your family talk about some of the incidents that they were involved in as policemen, perhaps during Prohibition?
DH: ... I don't recall ever hearing him talk about an arrest. I read about a few that were made, but, no, he never talked about the work. My brother was able to find out, you know, a few things, and my brother worked in a different kind of environment. My brother was a street cop in the sense of he was undercover. ... One day, he would be a rabbi, another day, he would be a telephone lineman and, another day, he'd be a cab driver. He's what they called anti-crime, which was street crime, and it was spur of the moment stuff. He and his partner, a fellow named Tommy, I forget his last name now, used to tell, you know, cop stories all the time, and my brother actually ended up going out, retiring early, because he was hurt in a situation in which he was making an arrest. ... It was a physical thing and he ended up going down a flight of stairs with this guy. Both of them were in a [chase], following a gunfight. ... He doesn't talk about the details of it, but his partner did. [laughter] ... Anyway, Ronnie broke his back in that, and so, he retired and opened an art store up in Cape Cod. His wife is an artist, and they talked about police work a lot more than my father or my grandfathers did.
KT: Was your father a mounted officer for his whole career?
DH: Yes, I believe he was. In fact, in those days, I think he went into the job expecting to be mounted, because part of the training, right after he became a policeman, was to break horses. So, he got to do all of the stuff that cowboys did, you know, the first rider on a horse type of thing. He was a very good horseman, really good.
SH: Was there any firearm training that you got to be involved in?
DH: No, no, I never even saw his gun.
DH: Yes, it was always a mystery where he kept it and it was never anything we were allowed to even look for. "Don't let me ever see you looking for a gun," I remember, you know, very [clearly his telling] all three of us, my sister, my brother and I. ... I don't think I ever saw his pistol in all the time ... we were there.
SH: Let us talk about your mother and her family background. What was her name?
DH: Well, her name was Regina Booth and her dad, of course, was a policeman, also. ... My dad and mother both grew up on City Island in the Bronx, so, they're officially "clam diggers," which is, you have to be born on the island in order to have that appellation. [laughter] ... Then, I am a "clam digger," and my sister and my brother, in the sense that we were all born on the island, too. We say "born on the island." Our parents lived on the island when we were born. ... My mother actually was born in her mother's bed, but on the island, but that's another ... generation back. ... Our family, my mom and dad, obviously, since their parents were both, their fathers were both, policemen, they knew each other as kids, and so, it was one of those, you know, they went to school together kind of things. Then, since these families both lived on City Island and the island is a small place--it's a mile-and-a-half long and half a mile wide--our family, our extended family, were all [close]. You know, from both sides ... of my family, I have cousins, I had cousins, who were married to each other, but they were not related to each other, but they were both related to me. ... For example, my cousin Robert was my mother's sister's son and he married my cousin Doris who was my father's brother's daughter. So, they ... had no relationship at all, but they were both first cousins to me. That's what happens when you have kind of a large family in a small place. People say, "Well, your eyes get real close after [awhile]," but that ... didn't occur, but, yes. So, I had ... cousins growing up on the same street that I was growing up on all over the place. I mean, not only on my street, but three streets over, there was two more cousins and, on the other side of the island, there were three more and they were related to these and what-have-you. So, we went to school together. ...
SH: Were they single-family homes?
DH: These were all private homes, yes, but they were small homes. They were bungalows almost, you know, with a few exceptions. ... On my street alone, we lived at 63 Center Street, my cousins George and Robert lived at 46 Center Street and my cousins Ruth and Georgine lived at 45 Center Street, my cousins (Marianne?) and (Kathleen?) lived at 28 Center Street and my grandfather lived at 46, my Grandfather Booth, and my Grandfather Hearle lived at 20. So, there's just all on one street.
SH: You did not get into a lot of trouble.
DH: You couldn't--you weren't allowed. ... There were eyes all over the place.
KT: There was nowhere to go.
DH: No. ... If your own parents weren't around, there were certainly aunts and uncles and grandfathers, and I remember, once, going down, as a kid, on a daring event. ... There was a storm blowing and I went down to the beach ... two blocks over from our beach. There was a beach at every block and two blocks over was a place called (Patty Cane's?) Dock and it was a kind of a bulwark of a thing, built with the equivalent of logs, I guess you'd call it, and the storm was pounding in and we were having a great time, the kids. We were running to the water, and then, as the wave broke, we'd run back again. It was like March or April. It was not summertime, and I guess I was supposed to have been in my yard and disappeared, you know. ... My father had come home from work and my mother is frantically looking for me all over the street and, anyway, he eventually found us. I say "us" because I was with some other kids, but I don't know who they were. ... I guess I was very young, because my grandfather was still alive and he died in 1938 or '9. I was born in '33 and it was before he died, because, as my father was smacking me home, getting me home--I guess he had been scared and he's paddling me as we went up the street. I'd run and he'd come up and catch me again and I'd run, and I was going by my grandfather's house, ... my father's father. ... We called Grandpa Hearle and he came out and he said, "Dud," my father was called Dud, D-U-D, "Dud, leave him alone. He's only a kid," and I remember my father turning to his father and saying, "Mind your own business," and I thought, "Wow, to Grandpa." [laughter] So, yes, you're right, there were eyes all over the place, watching stuff. ...
SH: Did you go to school on City Island?
DH: Oh, God, yes, never got off the island ... until I was an adult, yes, pretty much. I went to PS 17 for one semester, one year, kindergarten, whatever that would be, with Miss (Dill?). She was very prissy and she had a terrible hen of hair. I remember, her hair was kind of like Little Orphan Annie's, orange, that orange color, and she was eight feet tall and she wore glasses on the very end of her nose. I was scared to death of Miss (Dill?). ... She became later; I'll come back to Miss (Dill?).
SH: No, go on about Miss (Dill?).
DH: Later on, she left education and she became the telephone lady on City Island. In those days, you paid your telephone bill by going to a store, a front, a store front, and Miss (Dill?) took that job. ... So, she sat there with her nose glasses and ... took telephone bills, but, anyway, ... I digress. [laughter] I did the one session with her, and then, Miss (Berg?) became the first grade teacher and, at that point, I guess, my grandmother, who was a professional Catholic, decided that it was time for me to become a Catholic, and so, I got transferred to St. Mary's Star of the Sea and turned over to the Dominican nuns for discipline. [laughter] ... I spent the rest of my grammar school there at St. Mary's, which was really not a school at all. It was a hall. It was the parish hall behind the church and it's where basketball games were played, bingo was held and it was attached to a convent, physically. There was a house, and then, there was this hall and the nuns lived in the house and the hall would be subdivided into four sections. ... It was the first and second grade, the third and fourth, the fifth and sixth, the seventh and eighth, and there were four nuns and the sick nun taught music. Whoever was the sick nun, she got to teach music and art, I guess, and all of the stuff that was enriching, but the rest of them [taught the classes]. So, the four nuns and the sick nun, ... and, always, one of them was sick, and then, there was a housecleaning nun. So, there were six ladies that lived together in that convent and, if you were good in school, you got to help clean the convent on weekends, which ... never occurred to us was hardly a reward, but that's what we did. You go to wash windows and things, if you were an "A" student. If you were not an "A" student, you were not, you were ignored. ... As I said, the nun that was teaching the class taught both classes, sixth and seventh, seventh and eighth, fifth and sixth, and so forth, and the classes were humongous. ... I'm on the board now, as I mentioned, the board of education, and we worry about a class size getting over twenty. In fact, there were sixty of us in there, and then, two classes and one nun who didn't have any education credits and, somehow, we got through. [laughter] It was amazing.
SH: Was there much discipline?
DH: Oh, a lot of that. My brother had his shirt torn right off his back, yes. Well, he pulled away. ... Oh, yes, there was a lot of [discipline]. They'd whack you with everything, anything she could get her hands on. A little, bony lady, you know, so, you could understand it, she needed a weapon--no, but they were, eh, it was nothing. I remember, every Christmas, God, we'd give her a handkerchief. How many things can you give a nun, I guess? or in those days, anyway. Sister (Camilla?), Sister (Sorella?), Sister (Ann Regis?); oh, I got in trouble once. We were out in the play yard and I was maybe in the seventh grade then. Sister Veronica's the one [that] I'm going to mention, and we were playing ringolevio. I don't know whether you know that game. It's kind of a catch game. You run after people and you catch him and bring them to a base. ... It's like tag, but it's much rougher, and I grabbed (Vivian Forest?). ... Vivian was a little, chubby little girl, and I'm talking maybe sixth grade here, and I grabbed the fence. I was trying to pin her into the fence, to hold her. You had to hold her for ten seconds or something, say, "Ringolevio," anyway, and I remember she's wearing a yellow sweater. I never forget this. I grabbed the fence and I swung and Vivian moved and I ended up hitting her in the belly with a hard swing and doubled her over, and Sister Veronica saw it. Oh, boy, did I get a beating. I mean, you'd think I did it on purpose, or you'd think I had been hitting her with a two-by-four. It was an accident, for God's sake, but I never got over it with Sister Veronica. She always considered me kind of a beast after that, and I'm not sure Vivian ever got over it, [laughter] but I haven't seen her in God Almighty. ...
KT: I was going to ask if you have seen her recently.
DH: No, I haven't seen [her], not since grammar school, no.
SH: Maybe now is the time.
DH: I'm afraid. [laughter] ...
SH: That is a great story. Did you see the parish priest often?
DH: Only when there was a play. Well, you have to go to Mass. Of course, you went to [Mass]. Yes, you did that, but, when there was a play, he would come in and sit in a throne in this hall and it was like he was the Pope, you know. I mean, [he] came in and he'd sit there in the middle, and then, we'd do the show or whatever it was that we were doing, and his name was Father (Kilrow?), and then, there was ... Monsignor (Nielson?), or something like that, (Nelson?), (Nielson?), but, no, he was kind of a super important figure that never got down on our level at all.
SH: Was the neighborhood predominantly Irish?
DH: Pretty much. ... It was two things--it was Irish or Protestant. There was no, almost no, Jews on City Island at all, except for (Howie Rittennaur?), who was a very good friend of mine. Howie was Jewish, and there was (Morton Kravis?), who was also Jewish. Howard and Morton were Jews. There was no temple on the island. There was no place for Jews to worship until (Sam Biermann?), who owned the drugstore on City Island, eventually put a committee together and raised some funds and built Temple B'nai B'rith [Temple Beth-El], which we all went to stare at, because we had never seen a temple. ... It was all made out of cinderblocks, and I think it's still there, but I think it's been, you know, enhanced significantly since City Island became gentrified, about thirty years ago, I guess.
SH: Were the Protestants immigrants from England and Ireland?
DH: You know, that's an interesting question. The Protestants, all of us, not just the Protestants, we were all kind of immigrant-based families and we were, I guess, drawn to the island because of the shipbuilding. The men, most of the men, worked either in the shipyards or in civil service. So, they were firemen, policemen, corrections officers, because right across the water from City Island is Hart's Island, which is a prison, a workhouse, and some of the correction officers lived on the island, and it was also the potter's field for New York, and there's a great story. I'll tell you about that sometime.
SH: Please, go ahead.
DH: Well, it's just, years later, I became a newspaper reporter in New York and I did a feature story on ... Hart's Island, and so, I went out there to [visit], because I had always seen it as a kid, you know, this island out there. ... I knew there was a prison on it and I knew its history went back to the Civil War. ... It had been a prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers and it had also ... had some lore associated with it about the American Revolution, and Execution [Rocks] Light, which was a little further north, which is where they supposedly hung a British spy. There's all that stuff in the history. [Editor's Note: Folklore attributes Execution Rocks Light's name to British executions of American spies by chaining them to the rocks at low tide during the American Revolution. The name is also said to be derived from the dangerous low-tide conditions in that part of the Long Island Sound.] So, I did this feature on Hart's Island and on the potter's field, particularly, because I was always intrigued by the fact that it was there, and the only other potter's field that the City of New York had was where the City's Public Library is now, on 42nd Street.
DH: Yes, the Bryant Park is where the original potter's field was. So, in doing it, I did some interviews and looked into the whole thing and I found out that, there, the dead were being brought out there on a ferry boat called the River Styx, and not a ferry, it was a tugboat, but it ferried the dead out there to the island.
SH: The name, River Styx.
DH: Yes, it was a great name, and they also took body parts from some operations--amputees, stillborns, all kinds of things like that, from operations--and buried them out there as well, the Department of Hospitals. ... There was a single prisoner who they called "Fingers," and I wrote this in the article, and Fingers was, pathetically, a former medical doctor who was an alcoholic of the worst possible level and had been arrested many times for this and couldn't get by it. ... Yet, he was an educated man, ... but he had this terrible addiction. ... They called him Fingers because he could take a can of Sterno--Sterno is an alcohol-based burning compound--and he could squeeze the jelly out of that to get the alcohol, through a sock, and that's what he would drink, you know, whenever he could and stuff. He became the head of ... what they called the "ghoul squad," which was this group that buried the dead. They got a dollar a week for this work, and they found out that Fingers was getting into these body parts because they were brought out in alcohol, and he would get aboard the boat and pour out a drink out of this--oh, God, that poor bugger--but it never affected his health. I mean, he kept going.
SH: I cannot believe it.
KT: I cannot imagine that.
DH: You know, no, it's an amazing story, but, anyway, that's it. I was always touched by--they have a monument out there and, to this day, I'm touched by it. All it says is--you know, these are all people that are numbers. They're just [anonymous]. They're buried in open graves and they try to keep as much record as they can. Funny thing about potter's field, there's no known Jews, no known Chinese in potter's field, because they take care of their own. If a person is known to be Jewish or known to be Asian, there's an organization that takes and buries them in private ground, but the rest are numbers, and there's a marvelous monument, which is like one big tombstone, and it just says, "He calls His own unto Himself by name," and I always thought, "Gee, that is meaningful. That is really nice." It doesn't say what religion or anything, but it has that, "By name." That's the one, the dignity, that they were denied, and I think that's [nice]. How the hell did we get on that subject?
SH: That is a wonderful story, thank you. To back up, as you were growing up on City Island, it was a very close group of folks. Even though you were in parochial school, did you interact with the kids at the public school?
DH: Oh, yes, if my grandmother didn't know about it. [laughter] There was a funny [incident]. I mean, I told you she was a professional Catholic and, when I joined the Boy Scouts, she was very insistent that I join the Catholic Boy Scouts, and my father and mother were just as insistent that I join the regular Boy Scouts. There was a Catholic Boy Scouts troop in those days. I don't think they have them anymore, but, yes, we did, we interacted, the kids. [Editor's Note: (?).] Kids are kids and there was none of that, but there were some things that were verboten from Grandma. [laughter]
SH: Is this your maternal grandmother?
DH: My maternal grandmother. My father's mother had died long before my father and mother were married. She died very young, in her fifties, ... but Grandma Booth, who was a great old lady, but she was a bigot, big time, and especially religious, and we were not allowed to do certain things. One of them was, we were not allowed to go into the ... Mason building. There was a building on the corner of Schofield Street and City Island Avenue, which the Masons [owned]. It was their building and, as a kid, I always wondered what was in there that we weren't allowed to go in there, and we had friends. There was a friend named (Dinky Darling?), if you can buy that, [laughter] and Dinky was a member of the DeMolay Society of the Masons, and he could go in there any time he wanted to. [laughter] We couldn't, any of us that were related to Grandma, but, as I said, we managed to avoid going into the Catholic Boy Scouts.
SH: When you went into high school, did you go to parochial school?
DH: I did, yes, only because it was a good school and I had been a pretty good student, and I went to Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, which was a huge, factory-size Catholic school that we could afford, that would really [be good]. If you were going to go to [Catholic high school], and the Catholic schools were good high schools in the City, at least in those days they were, and I think they still are, the ones that have survived, you had a choice. You could go to Fordham Prep or you could go to Cardinal Hayes or you could go to Mount St. Michael [Academy] or you could go to All Hallows. Those were the Catholic high schools that had good reputations. ... None of my family had ever been to college, so, the hope was that I could get into a college. So, I went to Cardinal Hayes and it was affordable. I remember, the tuition was seven dollars a month if you were like my dad, a civil servant. If you could afford more, you paid more, but ... mine was seven dollars a month, and we had a brother, Brother Vincent, who was the financial guy at the school, was a nasty bugger. ... If you got in any kind of trouble, the first question was, "How much do you pay, boy?" and that meant, you know, "You're giving us a lot of trouble for seven dollars a month, you know." [laughter] So, you avoided interfacing with Brother Vincent.
SH: You have talked about a brother and sister. Where do you fit into the family?
DH: I'm the eldest. I'm now seventy-seven. Elaine would be seventy-two; she is. I mean, she is still very much seventy-two, and Ronnie is the youngest and he is ... sixty-nine.
SH: Before talking about high school, how did one get from City Island to the Bronx?
DH: It took forever. ... You're questions are really on target, I'll tell you. You took a bus from City Island to Pelham Bay Park, then, you took a train, a subway, from Pelham Bay to 125th Street and you transferred to another train and you took that up to 161st Street, in the Bronx again. ... You went to Manhattan, then, you went back to the Bronx, in another direction, and then, you walked from there another eight blocks.
SH: How long did that take?
DH: It took an hour-and-a-half to go to school every day, and I'll give you a funny, I think it's funny, anecdote. [laughter] We had a priest who was the "dean of discipline." His name was (Stanislaw Jablonski?) and he was the scariest man on the face of the Earth. He was seven to ten feet tall.
DH: About. ... He had been the quarterback for Fordham University behind what was called "The Seven Blocks of Granite," which was an internationally-known team. [Editor's Note: Although used at several points during Fordham Football's heyday in the 1930s, "The Seven Blocks of Granite" usually refers to the famed offensive line of the 1936 team, which included future NFL coaching legend Vince Lombardi.] (Jablonski?), we called him "Dracula," "Stan the Man." ... He left that job, eventually became the fire department chaplain in New York. He was a terrific man, as I got to be an older person, got to know what he was really, but, in those days, he was the scariest man on the face of the Earth. He was dealing with all boys, there were no girls in this school, and he was dealing with Bronx boys. So, he had to be tough and, you know, [in] high school, you're testing your oats and doing all [that]. Well, (Jabo?) would not allow it. He had rules that were all related to [behavior]. Various forms of breaching his rules ended up in what he called "jug," which was detention, a form of detention. He also taught Latin, and I'll tell you that story in a minute, but ... we had to be at school usually at twenty to nine, and he would stand out on the sidewalk, on the Grand Concourse, and this sea of kids would be coming and he'd be like this, looking at his watch and going like this. ... As it got to twenty to nine, he would put his hand down, and whoever was on that side of his arm was going to go to "jug," and it would be a hundred kids, sometimes. You know, I mean, there were different [amounts]; he was that precise. Okay, now, ... this was a Catholic school and on the top floor were a series of chapels, and the reason for that was, the priests lived in the school also, and the brothers, and the priests had to say Mass every morning. So, there would be Mass going on for an hour-and-a-half in all of these little chapels. Priests would wait their turn, and then, they'd say their Mass, and so forth. In those days, if a priest was saying Mass, there had to be an altar boy. So, they were assigned, the kids were assigned, to do certain Masses. On a particular day, I was assigned to be at school to serve Mass and, if you were going to serve Mass, you had to be there at seven AM, which meant I had to leave City Island at five-thirty to get there in time, and I did. ... I got the bus and I was going over to Pelham Bay with the bus, and the bridge was open. ... You crossed over two bridges to get off the island. There was one to get on the mainland; there was another one to get from that part over to the real mainland. That bridge was up because a boat had been going through. ... When we got to it, the bridge was up, and I'm looking at my watch, "Oh, my God, I'm going to miss the train." ... Like, it's quarter to six in the morning or something, but the bridge didn't come down and the traffic's starting to back up, and there was [normally] no traffic at that hour of the morning, but, pretty soon, we had a bunch of people waiting. So, somebody went and looked inside and the bridge tender had died with the bridge up. He's slumped over the controls. So, what do you do with a dead bridge tender and the bridge up and what-have-you? We got delayed and delayed and the police came, and then, the ambulance came and [said], "No, he's dead, got to get the medical examiner." ... By the time we got past that point, I went to the cop, no, the bus driver, who was driving my bus, and said, "Could you give me a note to explain why I'm not [there for] Father (Joblanski?)?" Guy said, "What are you [talking about]?" So, he wrote, you know, "Bridge, dead," a thing for this kid, and then, I got down to school. It was, like, ten after ten by the time I got there and I had to go directly into (Joblanski's?) office, because I was so late. ... I said, "Father, I was supposed to be here by seven and [serve] Mass, ... and then, the bridge guy died and the bridge was up," and he's sitting there, looking at me, and, finally, he goes, "Well, who am I going to jug, the bus company? You go to jug," absolutely no leniency whatsoever, and for like a week, because the guy died on the bridge. Another time, with (Joblansnki?), I'll tell you what a soft man he was, I was taking Latin and ... he taught Latin. ... If he took his watch off, you knew where you were in big trouble, because he was going to whack you and he would never hit you with his watch on. So, you avoided getting in trouble with (Joblanski?), because, [as] I said, he was big, scary, and, on this one day, I dozed off in class and he had been teaching. I guess he was teaching the imperative mood in Latin, and so, he was using examples and he said, "You, get up," and I thought he was talking to me. I woke up out of this and I didn't know what he was teaching. He was just using it as an example. So, he's going, "You, get up" and I get up and he looks over and he says, "Oh, you're a clown," and he comes and he starts taking his watch off. "Sorry." What am I going to say, "I was asleep?" ... So, I got a whack, knocked out of [my wits], you know, anyway, side story.
SH: I will not ask any more about the discipline.
DH: No, no. ... It never got much past that anyway. It was that kind of stuff. We became friends later. I remember, I covered him as a chaplain when I was a newspaperman.
SH: In the school, were there extracurricular activities?
DH: Very much, yes, all of the sports that you could, high school sports, on a pretty active level.
SH: With other parochial schools?
DH: Yes, and with some of the public schools as well, depending. You know, it was just a high school level, and Hayes was one of the major [high schools], because it had so many students. There were three thousand students. It was a big school.
SH: Were you involved in any extracurricular activities?
DH: Yes, I played football and ... I did some local theatrical stuff. I always liked that sort of thing and, later on, when I was in college, I had my own radio show and stuff like that, you know. I did some of that, and I did basic sports, the kind of stuff that kids play.
SH: Did you also have an afterschool job?
DH: No, no, I did not have a job, except in the summertime.
SH: What did you do?
DH: Well, I started selling fruit juice over on Orchard Beach, and then, as soon as I was older, old enough, and by that, I mean I was fourteen, I started running a launch at one of the yacht clubs on City Island. As kids, we could swim before we could walk and we could sail and we did all the stuff that you do with water. ... I worked for that yacht club in the summertime for several years, and then, I got papers when I was in my [senior year]. It was just before I started college. I got papers, ... master's [license] papers, for anything under sixty-five feet, to take commercially, and so, then, I was hired as a captain for a yacht, ... a (Stassel?) schooner, actually, and I would take that on charter from City Island up to Winter Harbor, Maine, and back for people who would charter it for a month at a time. ...
SH: How old were you?
DH: I was nineteen when I was doing that, which was pretty young. In fact, only recently, my wife came upon a letter from [the Coast Guard]--used to be licensed by the Coast Guard for that--and I had this letter that I had gotten a hundred percent on this test and I was the youngest person to do it or whatever, but, you know, living on the island, that was not a trick. That was just a question of access to [water], and I went to class one winter and picked up all of the stuff you needed for the test on navigation and celestial navigation and piloting and things that ... you could do anyway, but you had to put on paper.
SH: You said your family hoped that you would be able to go on to college. When did you start knowing that you were going to be able to do that?
DH: In high school. ... My parents both said, you know, "You will go to college," and the question was, "Could I go to a college that we could afford?" because I was no student. I mean, I was okay, and ... we didn't have the guidance that you have today. I only applied to one college. I didn't know you applied to more than one, and I wrote a letter to, I made an application to, Iona College, up here in New Rochelle, and, thank God, they accepted me, because I had no backup. You know, I never [applied elsewhere], never occurred to me, that I thought you'd picked a school and you wrote to it and [took your chances].
SH: Before we talk about your college experience, did you still have family back in Ireland, that you knew of?
DH: None, none whatsoever. Oh, that's a whole different story, that my [wife], she's the one with the family in Ireland, yes.
SH: I was curious if, when Hitler began his expansion, the family was concerned about anyone.
DH: None whatsoever, no. We had nobody in Europe, that we were aware of.
SH: You would have been still in grade school.
SH: What do you remember about the attack on Pearl Harbor?
DH: I vividly remember that, only because I remember the lady on Schofield Street, the next street over, calling my mother, coming over to [see] my mother, and sitting in the kitchen and the two of them crying, and I remember, ... what was that, '41? So, I was eight or something, and only remember saying, "This is big stuff. Whatever it is, it's got everybody upset," and it was on a Monday. It was the next day that this happened, because it wasn't on a Sunday. I would have remembered a Sunday being differently.
SH: The attack was actually Sunday. We found out about it here on Sunday afternoon.
DH: Yes, but they got around to it on Monday, the two ladies. [laughter]
SH: I think that was when the President got on the radio.
DH: Probably did, his "dastardly act" business, yes. [Editor's Note: On the Monday following the Sunday, December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war, an address now commonly referred to as "The Day of Infamy" speech.]
SH: How politically active was your family?
DH: Zero, zero
SH: Not Democrat or Republican?
DH: I don't think so, but I wouldn't know. My guess is, they were probably Democrats, because dad was civil service, so, in those days, that [leaned towards the Democrats]. No, never, politics was never an issue. My Grandfather Booth, when I was a young teenager, sub-teen or whatever they called it, tweens, in that ballpark, ... in his gentle way, he referred to FDR as "that goddamn cripple." So, I have no idea what that meant, but, whatever it was, he was not his favorite person, "that goddamn cripple."
SH: Do you remember, as a young boy, knowing that the older boys were going off to war, or even some of the women?
DH: No, no, I did, yes, ... but I didn't worry much about it. I remember writing letters to my cousin (Chicky?). ... Her name was (Kathleen?) and she was in the SPARs, which was the female Coast Guard, and do they still have them? [Editor's Note: The SPAR, which stood for "Semper Paratus Always Ready," was established as the Women's Reserve for the US Coast Guard in World War II. The Women's Reserve was abolished in 1973 when women were first admitted into the regular Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserves.]
DH: Do they? wow, and I know she was based in Hawaii and I remember writing her a letter, and that was it. My cousin Robert went into the Army just about the end of World War II, I mean, in very close proximity to the end, probably that month, and he was five years older than I. So, he would have been--I was twelve--he was seventeen, he'd just [turned] eighteen, something like that. He went in. Yes, he was a year older, he was six years older, because George was one [year older?], and so, he would have been eighteen, and he went to OCS [Officer Candidate School] and he ended up staying in the service. He died in the service. He was a colonel and he was a helicopter pilot and he had gotten--what do you call that? Agent Orange got into his system in Vietnam and he got cancer and died. He was only fifty-five, I think, when he died. He was just promoted to brigadier general. Anyway, ... he had gone in at the very tail-end of the war, but the war, we knew the guy next-door had been in the Merchant Marines. ... So, we were aware of that. (Freddie Cochran?) had been a sailor, but, you know, the war was not a frightening thing. If anything, it was during the drills that [we were intrigued], air raid drills and things, I remember, as a kid, seeing the searchlights in the sky. ... They were drills, they weren't real air raids, obviously, and we thought it was fun, you know. It was fun to watch and run around. ...
SH: Were there any Victory gardens or collections?
DH: Yes, yes, my father had a garden in our yard. What had been a yard became a farm and [we] had to take care of that. ... There was quite a bit of stuff we ate from that, you know. Some of it, I wouldn't eat ... today, but parsnips and things like that. [laughter] I remember, we had to get the lettuce before it went to head, whatever that meant, or it went to flower. It went to flower and it started to get tall instead of round. ...
KT: Did you talk about the war in school at all?
DH: ... I remember talking about [it]. We had a project, when Roosevelt died, of doing his funeral. Everybody was challenged to make a thing individually. I remember, you know, cutting out pictures and pasting them on and making a thing with the caissons, horses, and I remember working on that, ... and each of us did one. You know, I guess that gave the nuns a break. We spent our time clipping and [using] glue pots, ... but, no, the war was not something that we focused on. I remember, we worried about rationing and we were given certain stamps that your mother saved up, and then, you could get ...
SH: The ration books.
DH: Yes. You could get meat twice a week if you went to the Columbia Market, and I remember my father, several times, talking about black marketers, saying this is wrong that they're making a lot of money on the war, butcher shops particularly. I don't know why he had a thing about butcher shops, but he did not appreciate what was going on. I guess it was a big deal, and I remember, once, him coming home with a turkey and it was like a big deal, and that was during the war. I mean, this turkey was--it was like Bob Cratchit's, for God's sake. ... We had this wonderful event happening.
SH: What about the end of the war in Europe in May, and then ...
DH: Japan ... in August or something, yes, V-J. [Editor's Note: V-E Day was declared on May 8, 1945. V-J Day was declared on August 14, 1945, in the United States and August 15, 1945, in the Pacific.]
SH: Were there celebrations that you remember?
SH: Did your father talk about what New York was like on those days?
DH: I don't know about New York, no, but I know on City Island, ... I remember putting on roller skates and skating up and down City Island Avenue and there was a huge [celebration], you know. It just erupted into a big, big party and I remember just doing roller-skating all over the place with my friends, and I don't know why we chose to. I guess you could cover more ground [laughter] than you could get to [otherwise], because, you know, the mile-and-a-half was easier to cover, and we just skated all around the place and there was just lots of celebration. The detail of it, ... for some reason, I'm focused on the post office being a kind of a central place people went to. ...
SH: We are interested to see how different areas of the country celebrated or acknowledged the end of the war.
DH: Well, I don't think there was anything formal about it at all. ... It was just a kind of spontaneous gathering of people in the street. ... I really can't tell you whether that was V-E Day or V-J Day.
SH: Okay, fair enough.
DH: It was one of them. [laughter]
SH: As you were preparing to graduate from high school, just a few weeks later, Korea erupts.
SH: How did that affect you, because you would have been eligible for the draft at that point?
DH: Right. It affected me to the extent that I was drafted, or I was notified by the Civil Service [Selective Service System]. I remember, the lady's name was (Aida Gendelman?). Now, why would I remember that?
KT: You seem to have an excellent memory for pulling names up.
DH: Yes, but I can't remember my nephew's name when it's [necessary], but you're right. Every once in awhile, ... as you get older, these things in the great distance suddenly pop in, but you don't know why, and (Aida Gendelman?) had sent me a letter, anyway, saying that I was registered. ... I had been accepted at Iona and I had to make out some forms or something. Anyway, I kept getting a deferment. One of my friends from high school, a guy named Arthur (deFleur?), he later became an FBI agent, but, at this time, he had chosen not to go to college, and so, he got drafted and went to Korea and did his service there. Then, he came back later and went to college, and then, he went into the FBI, but, no, ... those of us that were in college [were deferred]. In those days, there were two kinds of students in Iona, and I'm sure this translated all over the country. You had the kids, like myself, who were just getting out of high school and were being deferred and you had the returning vets coming out of World War II, coming back to college. So, we were two age groups and it made for a very good campus. I didn't live on campus--I went every day--but none of us did. We were all day students, but we had a good relationship. They were older and a little more stable. We were whacky and, you know, high school kids, just, you know, trying to figure out who we were, and so, we had good relationships with [them]. I never had a person on the campus that I didn't have a good relationship with, except one professor, but, other than that, [no], ... and I had had him in high school and that's why.
DH: Yes, yes.
SH: What was your major?
DH: I majored in English and I minored in psychology.
SH: Why that direction?
DH: I thought I was going to be a teacher. I was thinking of teaching until I did some, and then, I said, "Oh, my God, I'm not geared for this," although that's what I do now. I still teach, but, ... as a teacher, I didn't have the discipline to be a good teacher. So, I decided instead to be a journalist, which offered me a more fluid life.
SH: Were you involved in any of the activities that the college, Iona, offered?
DH: Yes, yes, I did a lot. I was one of those active campus characters. I was, you know, president of this and what-have-you. I was in the theater and I was in sports and I was looking for girls every place I could find them. ... This was an all-male school, but the College of New Rochelle was all-female and it was in the same town, and so, I was able to find new friends and do stuff like that, including my wife.
SH: Cardinal Hayes was all-boys.
DH: Yes, and so was Iona.
SH: Many men have talked about making sure that the college they applied to ...
DH: Would be coed? I hadn't a clue. Again, I didn't even know that it was all-boys. I mean, it was a school that I had heard of and was nearby. [laughter] I used to hitchhike to school. I mean, you know, it was [the case that] we didn't have a car and you go over on the Shore Road and do this, [stick your thumb out]. ... Mary had a car and ... she was one of the people that stopped and picked me up.
SH: Is that how you met?
DH: First time I met her, she was driving a group of girls up to the College of New Rochelle and I knew one of the girls in the car and they offered me a ride. ... I didn't know who she was, she'd just drove the car. The second time I met her was at a party and she walked in with one of ... my best friends from college and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and I fell in love with her [Mr. Hearle claps his hands] like that. I had never been out with her, I had never talked to her, but I decided that's the lady I was going after, and I won. [laughter] ... It'll be fifty-three years this [year]. Well, it'll be fifty-five--I mean, this was a couple of years before we got married, yes. ...
SH: Are you still friends with the guy?
DH: No, no. I have no use for him at all. [laughter]
KT: Were you involved in a fraternity at all in school?
DH: Yes. In those days, fraternities were not allowed on Catholic campuses, but what they had was the Knights of Tara, which was a fraternity. [laughter]
SH: Spelled T-A-R-A.
DH: Yes, yes. A Tara Knight, ... it's an Irish thing. Iona was founded by St. Columba, the original Iona, and it's off the Hebrides and it's really more Scottish than Irish, but it's Gallic, and the Halls of Tara were the halls of the Gallic Knights and that's where it came from. [Editor's Note: St. Columba, a sixth century Irish monk, founded a church and center for education on the Isle of Iona in the Hebrides, a group of islands off the coast of Scotland.]
SH: Did you learn any Gallic?
DH: No, none whatsoever, "Erin go Bragh," [an expression of allegiance to Ireland]. [laughter]
SH: You played football at Cardinal Hayes. Did you continue with the sport in college?
DH: ... No, I didn't. They didn't have a football team at Iona, so, I didn't play football there, but ... I was on the track team. I did shot-put, hammer. I didn't run. I was the world's slowest runner, [laughter] but the field events, discus, javelin, and then, I started to [do crew]. I rowed for the New York Athletic Club, ... which drew their crew from Iona.
DH: Yes, in those days. So, see, Iona's in New Rochelle and the New York Athletic Club boathouse is right here in Pelham. It's over here on the water, which is only a mile or two from the school, and so, they drew their athletes from the college, and so, I rowed for a couple of seasons for the New York AC.
SH: Did you have any experience with journalism in college?
DH: Yes, well, I was ... [on] the campus newspaper and the yearbook staff, anything that had to do with publication work and that sort of thing. ... Actually, after I graduated, I got a job as a copyboy at the New York Journal American, which was the Hearst paper in New York at the time. You've got to remember, New York in 1954, when I first went into the newspaper business, there were twenty-six daily newspapers in New York City, twenty-six, and, today, there's three, but, you know, television was basically an infant. People that I worked with on the newspapers went into television to [do] journalism, Gabe Pressman, people like that, but they were working in the papers at the time, too. So, I got a job as a copyboy ... and made thirty-eight dollars a week and worked there for a year or so at that level, and then, I got promoted to clerk, editorial clerk, which is fundamentally what, today, would be called a subeditor today. You get to edit telegraph copy that was coming in from outer sources, and then, eventually, I got made a reporter, and then, ... I covered crime for quite awhile. ... As you go up the ladder, I got to be a rewrite man, and then, I became the night city editor, and then, the paper was struck in 1963. I would have been an ink-stained wretch today if [it had not closed]. I mean, I loved it, I loved journalism, but the paper was struck by a union of printers and it never recovered and it died, but, by that time, I had become the president of the New York Press Club, and so, I had a little more visibility than the average reporter. ... The World's Fair was coming to New York in '64, and so, I got hired to go out there and become the PR person for the Fair, and then, that led to being recruited by a PR firm and my career took that tack from that point on.
SH: We need to back up then.
SH: Did you tell us, at one point, that you did something in radio?
DH: That was in college.
SH: That was in college, okay.
DH: Yes, yes. I had a radio show. I used to sing and play the guitar.
SH: Did you really?
DH: Yes, and I had a little radio show on Saturday mornings in a station up here in New Rochelle and it was paid for by the hotel. ... In other words, they advertised on this [program] and I worked at that hotel on Friday nights and Saturday nights in the bar, doing my thing, and so, that's how I paid my tuition. ...
SH: It was just you and your guitar.
DH: Just me and my guitar, yes.
SH: What did you play?
DH: Mainly country-western stuff.
KT: Did you write it?
DH: No, it was all stuff that somebody else wrote, yes.
SH: Korea started at the same time that you were graduating from high school. You went into the Navy Reserve in 1952. Why did you decide to do that?
DH: Because the concept of the draft was looming and, if you were in a Reserve unit, it gave you a better shot at staying in college. So, I joined a Reserve unit in the Bronx, at Fort Schuyler, ... but the commitment had to be for, I think, ten years.
DH: And it was a combination of, you know, Inactive Reserves and Active Reserves, and then, there was active duty on top of that. So, you had to go to boot camp while you were in the Reserves, and then, you had to go to meetings once a week, to learn whatever the rate was that you were working on at the time. I did not want to go to OCS because it required more time on active duty, and I didn't have to make that decision until I was actually ... out of college, and then, when I got called, I had a choice. I could go to OCS or I could stay an enlisted man. At that point, I had a rank--I had a rate, they called it. I was a YNT3, was a third class, is like a buck sergeant, ... but, if I stayed, if I took OCS, I'd have to add another year and the job I had at the paper would not be protected, and I had ... worked as a copyboy and as a clerk and what-have-you. I didn't want to lose that. So, I chose to stay. ... Well, I'll come to that when you get to it, I guess.
SH: Go ahead.
DH: Well, ... my draft [notice] finally came. I was ... out of college. I was working and I was a reporter, ... but I was a brand-new reporter and, suddenly, you're drafted. Now, I had two choices. I could either go into the Army, ... you know, as an enlisted man, or I could activate myself as a Navy person, which is what I chose to do. ... My orders told me to go to the Brooklyn Receiving Station, which is over near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and I'd go there for indoctrination, fundamentally--to get your uniforms, get your medicals, do all of that stuff--takes a couple of weeks to get all that done. ... Then, your orders would come to that place and you would go onto wherever you were being sent. I was getting married that year. I was hoping to get married, although this all came and threw a monkey wrench into everything. So, I reported to the Brooklyn Receiving Station, but, before I went, the paper knew where I was going and, in those days, there was a man on the paper called the military editor, because the war had just ended, this Korea was still a big deal, the Cold War had just begun to gel.
SH: What year were you called up?
DH: We're now talking about 1957. So, (George Carroll?) was the military editor at the paper, I remember, and he said, "I'll put in a word for you with the naval district. Maybe they'll be interested in you, because you have a journalist background." My rank was YN, which is a yeoman, which is fundamentally a record keeper. In the Navy, you have two jobs. You have the thing that you do every day, and then, you have battle stations, which is another job, and, [at] battle stations, I was what they called a talker. I was on the bridge and I was giving orders that the Captain would be giving to me, or whoever the officer of the deck was, and I would give them to whatever the gunneries were that was involved. Okay, back to (George Carroll?)--so, he says, "When you get over there, I'll reach you through their system, whatever it is, and we'll see if we can get you some interest." Well, ... I was there like an hour and I get a message from a commander who wants to talk to me, and so, I go and report and this guy says, "I hear you're a reporter with the Journal American," and I said, "Yes, sir," and he says, "Hey, how would you like to work in the Third Naval District?" I said, "Oh, I'd like that a lot." The Third Naval District was, like, you know, forty blocks away, right in Lower Manhattan, and he said, "Well, I'll put in a word." The next thing, I'm getting messages. I had a full captain, I had several lieutenant commanders and it's [set]--the fix is in. No question, I'm on my way to the Third Naval District. The wedding is on. Everything's going to be fine. So, I spent my two weeks getting my uniforms and all of that stuff and, finally, my orders came--for a destroyer leaving Newport, Rhode Island, and heading for the Arctic. [laughter] I called. I said to George, "Where's the hook?" He said, "Sorry, I don't know." He said, "The whole thing just blew up," and so, I never found out why, other than I think they put too much pressure on and somebody said, "Screw you," and they sent me [away]. So, the next thing, I'm on a train to Newport and I met the girl there, the [USS] Abbot, fastest ship in the Navy at the time. She was an old World War II conversion and I spent the next year or so on her, and then, I got transferred to the Admiral's staff and went to work there.
SH: The DD-629?
SH: You were part of DesRon Ten.
DH: That's right. Did I say that?
SH: You did.
SH: I could not have pulled that one out.
DH: Oh, my God, yes, DesRon Ten, part of the destroyer force, Atlantic Fleet. ...
SH: When and where did you do your boot camp?
DH: I did boot camp--you did it in several ways. The first, the boot camp itself, was done in Bainbridge, Maryland, in the summertime, while I was still in college, go down to Bainbridge and you did all of the stuff that you do. In fact, that picture over there was taken in boot camp. That was my, whatever it was, company, I guess, and they were just Reservists, fundamentally. You did everything you do in boot camp, but you did it in a shorter period of time. Instead of going for whatever boot camp is, we did it in the summertime, in six weeks or whatever, and it was done, and then, you went on a cruise every summer, as long as you were in the Active Reserves. ... So, [since] I was, I cruised on a couple of ships. I cruised on the Iowa, which was a battleship, BB-61, the sister ship of the New Jersey and the sister ship of the; I forget now. There was another ship that was well-known.
SH: The Missouri?
DH: No, not the Missouri; wait a minute, might have been the Missouri. There were four of them that came out at the same time. It may have been the Missouri, depends on the number, 61, 62, 63 and I think 60, and, if the Missouri was 60, that may have been it. [Editor's Note: The four-Iowa class battleships were the USS Iowa (BB-61), the USS New Jersey (BB-62), the USS Missouri (BB-63) and the USS Wisconsin (BB-64).] Anyway, I remember being on that ship. We were preparing the ship, ... during our cruise, anyway, for an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was doing a show from the ship and they took all of us Reservists and put us to work with holystones and working on the deck and doing all of the stuff that [needed to be done].
SH: Explain to Kristie what a holystone is.
DH: ... It's fundamentally a scrubbing device. It's a rock, but it's porous and you soak it in saltwater, and then, you rub it on teak, and the decks of a battleship are teak.
KT: Did that clean the decks well?
DH: Oh, it makes it very clean, yes, oh, yes. It brings it right down. It's like sandpapering it constantly with water.
SH: It was pumice.
DH: It's a pumice, yes, and you do it on your hands and knees, and it is--I mean, you'd think you were back in 1840.
KT: I am sure it is fun.
DH: Oh, a lot of fun, and then, I was on a destroyer escort, a DE, down in the Dominican Republic and Haiti and places, ... the Caribbean, because Reservists, they didn't take us too far, but they still wanted us to function in an onboard capacity. So, you learned to [be a sailor]. By the time I actually went on active duty, I was pretty familiar with what a ship was like and what ship life was like. So, you didn't have to start from scratch.
SH: What year did you report to the Abbott?
DH: In 1957, in March of '57, went up on the train to Newport, went aboard the ship with a group of other guys that were also ... being activated. We all kind of met at the gangplank. It was the beginning of a kind of new crew. It was; we were not a new crew. There was a crew on her already and we were replacing several of the parts, working parts of the ship, but went aboard in March of '57, thought I was settling in and got transferred off the following month. They decided that since I could read and write and I was a college graduate and I was refusing OCS, which they again tried to get me to do, I was sent to the School of Naval Justice to become a court reporter, to learn how to take court-martials as a stenographer, if you will.
SH: Where was the school?
DH: Right there in Newport. The School of Naval Justice is still there, as far as I know, and ... it's used for this purpose. It's used to train officers to become advocates, to either be a prosecutor or a defense lawyer. ... It's used to use people like me to learn to become court reporters, to keep the records of these things, because there are levels of trials in the Navy, that start at the captain's mast, which is simply a hearing by the commanding officer, and then, it goes to various levels of court-martial, up to the general court-martial, which is a full five-man court, [for] which you have a special court and you have a summary court, which are different levels of that. ... Since I was not a trained stenographer, per se, they taught us something called stenomask, which was a device that you put over your face, that it had a microphone in it and you would sit and repeat everything that was going on about a millisecond behind its happening, so that if you were talking, I was saying exactly the same thing. I would sit and stare at your face, read your lips and hear you talk and I would be saying exactly the same thing, but I would be keeping records of where I am in the court procedure while I'm talking. So, it's a device, that it's a very functional way to track. The only weak spot in it is, it's human and you can make a mistake, but, if you're a good court reporter, it's a great way to keep the record clear.
SH: What was it recorded on?
DH: On a disc, a cone, what do you call that thing? a cylinder, a machine that had a cylinder that turned. I guess now they do it on a DVD or something, but, then, it was a cylinder and there was a [clock]. You knew where you were against the clock during this, because you were taught to, when things happened, you would touch this button and it would indicate what you were saying, where it was in the transcript, that ... the judge stood up or the prisoner struck the guard, or whatever it is, that something that is not just language would be indicated. This is precisely where it happened in the transcript, that sort of thing. So, [I] went to school for--oh, I went there, I was transferred in April. ... A little aside, a personal aside, I was having terrible pains in my back at about this time and I went to the corpsman before I was transferred off the ship. ... I was on a destroyer, but, ... if you needed any services, you'd go to the destroyer tender, which was a big, bigger, ship that had all kinds of services on it, including bakeries and all kinds of stuff, machine shops, particularly. ... They were there to take care of destroyers, and I went to the hospital corpsman there and he checked me out and he said I had a pilonidal cyst in my lower back, and he said it really ought to be removed surgically. The pain was incredibly difficult at the time, I remember, and I said, "I can't do that. I'm being transferred and I'm getting married." I'm still thinking I was getting married, and I said, "How do you treat this?" and he said, "Well," he said, "the only other way is sitz baths," and he said, "You need to have a special thing to put your ass in and you have to soak, and do this every day," and so forth. ... You have these salts that you put in there, sitz salts or something, to draw, and I got him to give me the salts, but I didn't have a device or anything, but I had liberty. I was going on liberty before transferring. So, I went to a motel in Rhode Island, near Providence, and I drew hot water in the tub, put these salts in and I sat in there and I bled and I bled and I bled. ... I should not have done it, I guess, but I got through it, and I bled the core out of that thing, ... but I lost a lot of blood. You know, I talked to Mary about it afterwards and she was [worried], you know, because I'd probably lost a couple of quarts of blood. You know, it was a significant amount, but ... the pain passed and I remember the water was [bloody]. I mean, I remember changing the water a few times and it was just pure blood, but I got through it and I got out of it and it never [recurred]. I still have a sore spot there, but it's a weak spot more than anything else now. That's many, many years ago. So, I went on to school and did that sort of thing, and then, the Abbot came back, but she didn't come back until I got married. While I was in school, when I graduated from that, Abbot was now down in South America on her shakedown, getting ready to go to the Arctic, and so, Mary and I got married in July.
SH: Was that the set date that you had?
DH: No. We had originally planned on May, but I was in school then and I couldn't.
KT: Not too bad.
DH: No, not bad. [laughter] So, we put together the wedding in July.
SH: Did you get married at City Island?
DH: No, Mary's church was in the Bronx. She's a Bronx girl, too. She [went to] St. Raymond's Church, over in the Westchester Square area of the Bronx, and we honeymooned, because I had a leave after school. So, we went to Maine, to a place up on Moosehead Lake, ... for a week, and then, we went to Nantucket for a week, and then, the ship came back and I went to sea.
SH: Why was the Abbot headed to the Arctic?
DH: ... That's an interesting story. It wasn't my call. [laughter] We went to the Arctic because, in those days, the Cold War was becoming a major issue. We had the Beirut Crisis, the first Beirut Crisis. [Editor's Note: During the 1958 Lebanese Crisis, precipitated by international tensions in the Middle East and the threat of a civil war between Muslim and Maronite Christian factions within the country, the United States deployed about fourteen thousand ground forces and a fleet of seventy ships to Beirut from July to October of that year.] It was, I think, in that very time period. It was like in September or something like that, and part of our fleet, the Atlantic Fleet, was sent to the Mediterranean, including us. We went over there briefly and patrolled the Med off the coast of Beirut and, in fact, this just occurred to me--one of our shipmates, a fellow named (Moto?), I think (Moto?) or very similar to that name, he was a snipe [a sailor who works below deck]. He was an engine guy. We were watching a movie on the fantail, off the coast of Beirut, and he suddenly grabs his arm and says, "What the hell was that?" ... Somebody said to him, "What?" and he said, "I just got stung," he says, "[by] something flying around." Well, it turns out he'd been shot, but he didn't know it. ... Somebody had taken a shot from the shore at the flickering light of the movie on the fantail and ... the bullet was spent by the time it hit him, ... but it caught him in the shoulder. ... We found it on the deck the next morning, because he said, "Wow, God, really, look, I'm bleeding," and so, he went down to the [infirmary], and the guy gave him a Band-Aid or something, but they eventually found out that he had actually been shot. So, he got the Purple Heart. [laughter] He was one of [the few wounded there]. The other two were two Marines that shot each other, I think, on the beach, and (Moto?), because he's shot on the fantail, watching a movie, but we went there briefly, and then, they gave us orders to go up to Chatham, England, where we were meeting a task force. We went up there and we hooked up with a carrier, which, turns out, it was the [USS] Intrepid [(CV-11)], which is now down here in New York as a museum, and that task force was our division and the carriers. There were four "cans" and the carrier, and, from Chatham, we went up the Irish Sea and past Scotland and into the Arctic, and then, I found out what cold was, because it was autumn. It was probably the beginning of [October], the end of September, something like that. ... Our job was to patrol above the Arctic Circle for submarine activity. It was a hunter-killer group. It was called a hunter-killer group. It was antisubmarine warfare, and our job, in those days, was an interesting one, in that it was--I had mentioned this to one of my sons and he said, "It's like the Indians used to count coup with a stick." Rather than actually kill the opponent, they would touch him with a stick and ... you were humiliated as a result of that. What we did was, we would pick up, if we could, Russian submarines, and the "nukes" [nuclear submarines] was not a factor in those days. They hadn't yet been developed, and so, these were all diesel-engine submarines that ran with batteries under the water and they needed to surface every once in awhile, in order to recharge their batteries. ... Our job was to try to be there when they surfaced and put destroyers around them and take their picture with an American destroyer next to it, and then, that would be publicized all over the world, and we would chase these buggers. We never knew where we were going to end up. On one occasion, we chased them, ... where this guy got it, I don't know, but we picked him up just north, ... in the Norwegian Sea, and we got him to surface down off the coast of South Carolina, chased that bugger all that distance. ... I mean, he must have just been charged before we got to him, and they can't go that fast. We were very fast. So, we'd just stay with him, stay with him, keep him, and, eventually ...
SH: Was the Intrepid coming as well?
DH: No, no. The Intrepid would be sending out aircraft and two of the cans would stay with her at all times, and the others would pick up whatever pips they could and go after it. ... The two of them, one would get behind when it eventually turned [up] and, you know, wave, and, if you did it, if you got the picture, you got a case of whiskey. That was our reward--no medals, case of whiskey for the crew--and so, we did that, but, you know, even in those days, I mean, that was peace, peaceful, but more people were killed than you'd imagine. I remember, one night, the carrier lost--I think it was four airplanes that never came back. They ran into each other up there. Signals, radio signals, were distorted, there was no magnetic fields that made any sense, and they'd go out on these missions and run into each other and die. ... I remember, we were refueling once and a guy from our ship fell overboard, and you've got to get out of the water real quick. Now, we had divers that [stood by] whenever we refuel, because you'd be running right (set?). We'd refuel off the carrier, and a destroyer's a small ship and a carrier's big, and then, a well of water would get between them and it would be like a mountain. ... Then, you couldn't see the destroyer from the carrier, but you could see the carrier from the destroyer, and you'd send a line over, and then, the line would be a cable, basically, and it would attach to the two ships, and then, on it would come a hose. ... There were goosenecks that held the hose to the cable and it would bring the line in, and then, that would bring the fuel down to us, and these goosenecks had latches on them that snapped over the cable, and one of our guys got his finger caught in that and it shot up to the [fuel tank?]. I mean, his fingers went up, cut right off at his knuckles, and, on another occasion, a guy fell overboard. ... We had divers and the two divers went in, but they're wearing wetsuits and they can't even stay in very long, and they tried to get him. They had a copter come over from the carrier and dropped a hook down. ... Our lifejackets had big rings on their backs and they put the hook in the ring and gave him the signal and he lifted it, and the guy hadn't had his crotch straps on. So, his arms just went up in the air and the jacket went off him and he sunk and the two divers went down for him, but they couldn't get him and he was lost. That kind of accident is happening pretty routinely, all the time, ... during this non-violent period, but it's just [that] they were accidents associated with the fact that they were there.
SH: It is a dangerous environment.
DH: It is. That's what it comes down to. I remember, we were doing--and shall I just describe things? I remember once, down ... between the Irish shore, coast, and the English coast, it's the Irish Sea that comes down in there and we were doing ... NATO operations with the French and the Brits. ... Our job was to try to track a new submarine that the French had developed, and we were using our technology, but they had new technology that was keeping them more silent, or whatever the hell it was. ... There were referees on both ships, on all the ships, and the job was to try to use the equivalent of our K-guns; we had depth charges on a destroyer. The destroyer carries a cannon, it carries antiaircraft guns, "ack-acks," forty-millimeter "bing-bing, bing-bing" type things, it carries four or five torpedoes, and then, it carries these ... various forms of depth charges. In the front, they're called hedgehogs. They go out, twenty-five of them go out, ... in front of the ship. In the back, they're called ash cans. They roll off the stern, and then, there were K-guns that went off the sides, that shot them out, and then, dropped down. Their job was to explode under the water and rupture ... the sub, but, instead of using that kind of ordnance, we were using percussion hand grenades, so that the referees could hear them. If they got close enough to the sub, he'd hear the explosion and say you were sunk. Anyway, so, we're flying around up there and doing whatever we were doing, and dropping these percussion grenades off the fantail when we were told to fire. ... At one point, they dropped one of them off, and you'd hear it go, "Bloop," down, somewhere down there. The next thing, we see the front end of a submarine come up and we hear the claxon, "Whoop, whoop." We had dropped the damn percussion grenade right into the conning tower of this submarine, French sub, by total accident, obviously, but it broke all their pipes. [laughter] ... We had to tow him back to England. He was sinking. ...
SH: Is that called "a hole-in-one?"
DG: Oh, boy, it was like that. It ... couldn't have been [bad]; I mean, it was a total accident, but, my God, it damned near sunk a French sub, and with all of its fancy, new stuff. ... In that same exercise, there was a Brit ... towing a target for our antiaircraft, and we were not good. We were just lucky half the time, but, on this case, we were really bad. ... He's towing this thing, and I was on the bridge. I was listening to the conversations and giving orders to the gunners. ... These forty-millimeters were shooting at this target that he was towing. It was a sleeve and, as he flew by, they start firing, [Mr. Hearle imitates their firing], and I hear this very calm voice, with a British accent, say, "I say," he says, "you know, I'm towing this thing, not pushing it." They were shooting at him. ... "Boom, boom," he's seeing flak going by him. "Okay, you just met the Abbot," with all our skills, a bunch of kids from the Bronx. [laughter] ...
SH: Was the crew primarily made up of kids from the Northeast?
DH: ... Yes, primarily, but there was some Midwestern kids, and there was one poor guy, (McClain?), his name was, oh, good lord. He was a farmer, a kid from the Midwest. They would set the special sea detail and he'd get sick. I mean, we ... hadn't even done anything. We're still at the dock. As soon as he heard that thing, he'd start to throw up, ... and it was so pathetic. We would be at sea for, you know, twenty, thirty days at a time, and he'd be throwing up the whole time. He'd be curled up in a fetal position on deck, if it was warm, or in his parka, if it was cold, and he had nothing left to give. ... Oh, he was so pathetic, and the crew finally signed a petition asking that he be transferred to someplace on land, because he just ... could not deal with water. So, they finally did. They gave him, whatever you would call that.
SH: A shore duty?
DH: Oh, a shore duty, but, I mean, ... the reason for it was, you know, pathos or something. You know what he ended up [doing], his duty? He ended up being a lifeguard at a Wren [WRNS, Women's Royal Naval Service] barracks, and he died and went to heaven. After all of that time; not Wren, a WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, the wartime women's division of the US Navy, barracks]. ... Wrens were the Brits. ... At a WAVE barracks, he had nothing but women and a swimming pool, and he was in Florida or someplace for the rest of his career.
SH: You guys tried to rescind that, right?
DH: ... I think he earned it, though, the poor guy, I mean, for all the suffering that he put in.
SH: What were some of the interesting ports of call that you had? The North Sea is a little bleak.
DH: ... Yes, it is, but, you know, the place that we would go most frequently was Belfast, because it's a port and it's near the Arctic. [laughter] You can come down through the Arctic Ocean and the North Sea, and then, you're there, and so, we'd go there a lot, into the shipyards there, and then, you know, once you've had liberty in Belfast, that's enough. So, then, you'd look for other chances. ... You'd look for shore patrol or something, to get off the ship, but there's no place to [go]. There's no fun. ...
SH: You actually wound up with shore patrol duty.
DH: Yes, a lot. They'd give shore patrol to petty officers as much as they could, and so, I went on a lot of shore patrol.
SH: That must have been tough duty, though.
DH: It was only when you--do you remember reading about "Teddy Boys?" Did you ever hear of Teddy Boys? Teddy Boys were, in that period of time, were toughs, English toughs, and they dressed kind of like the Beatles dressed, later on, with the Eaton look, but they were nasty buggers, really nasty, and they were gangs and they did not like military. ... So, they'd start fights and they'd mug people and stuff, like, a couple of sailors [would] get drunk and they'd get their heads skulled, you know, by Teddy Boys, and so, [our] shore patrol job, for the great part of the time, was to keep sailors away from Teddy Boys. ... So, we worked with the bobbies [police] in England and with the Garda in Ireland to kind of keep them separate from each other, and so, the duty was [not bad]. [Editor's Note: Mr. Hearle seems to refer to the Garda Síochána, the Republic of Ireland's national police force; however, the Royal Ulster Constabulary would have played this role in Northern Ireland.] It was in the worst part of town, that sort of thing, but you always had somebody with you, and you carried [a weapon]. You were armed, and so, that was important.
SH: When you would have these mixed NATO forces, did you have ports of call where you would interact with the other forces?
DH: ... Yes, but mainly the Brits, because we were mainly [there]. We never called in France at all. We called in Scotland, we called in the Med, but never in France.
SH: Where in Scotland?
DH: The Firth of Forth. It's near nothing, ... but it's deep water and certainly deep enough for a "can," and there were bigger ships in there, too. We'd go into the Firth of Forth on our way down or on our way up. We called once over in; I'm trying to remember the name of it. It was a fjord over in Sweden. ... We went to Denmark, and in the Med, you know, we would hit all of the places along the Beirut ... shore. ... We'd called in Greece, we'd called in Spain, but those were just kind of overnights or a couple of days, and then, you'd be out of there again--nothing in North Africa.
SH: The enemy was Russia.
DH: Russia, clearly Russia, and it was always battle stations. We never battled. We played at battle, but it was always [that], you went to general quarters, battle stations, and the whole nine yards, with the helmets and the thing. ... In the Arctic, it was tough to do, because you've never felt cold like that. ... If you registered it, it would be thirty, thirty-five degrees below zero, and we had, when we went on watch, ... these electric suits. You'd put on the suit and it had wires, and, when you went to your station, you plugged into the system and the suit would be electrically [heated], had a helmet that was enclosed, so that you couldn't just wear regular clothing. You wouldn't be out long before you'd ... feel it. So, these suits were good, but they were bulky and cumbersome. Getting through a hatch, for God's sakes, would take you ten minutes if you had to climb up through one. If you went through a door hatch, it was different, but you had to climb. On a "can," you know, there's three levels, and, sometimes, it was difficult, especially if you're built like me.
SH: What about the ice?
DH: Yes, ... that's why you needed to walk on catwalks and you had to snap your cable onto a wire, too. If the sea was rough, you know, if you were rolling at all, you wouldn't be able to [hang on] with the ice. You had to hold everything, ... but there were many times up there that there was no ice at all. ... It was calm, very calm, and the decks weren't wet, so, they wouldn't freeze. You'd see the icebergs.
SH: Did you?
DH: Oh, yes, you saw icebergs, lots of them. We never knew ... how close we [were to the North Pole]. They'd tell us ... that we were, you know, right on the Arctic, on the North Pole, but you'd never know. We were given certificates, later--I still have one upstairs--crossing the Arctic Circle certificates, you know, ... when we actually crossed it, that sort of thing. ... It was exotic in the sense that you knew you were at the top of the world and that, when you're twenty-two, twenty-three years old, that's pretty interesting.
SH: Was there any time that you really thought that this was not just a drill?
DH: Yes, you get nervous at times. I don't know whether they did that purposely or just accidentally, but, when they passed the word that we were going to stay at battle stations, for example, we were going to stay there for fourteen hours or fifteen hours, or something, or until further notice, that becomes a little iffy. You wonder why, you know. It's not just one of these exercises, or, if there were discomforting factors that were added to it, like, we were up there once in a storm and the storm lasted for, like, almost two weeks and our evaporators broke. ... Without the evaporators, you can't make fresh water. So, we were not drinking, [not] showering. You know, we were drinking orange juice, because the evaporators that were still working were all being used for steam for the engines. So, there wasn't any cooking. We couldn't eat any hot food. We were drinking orange juice. We were eating baloney, and it went on day after day after day, and battle stations, we never left them. So, you were sleeping only four hours at a time, and then, you'd have to be back on watch, and all of that starts to get you very edgy and you're wondering why. You know, "Is there something going on that we're not aware of?" ... and then, it passes and [you] go on.
SH: After the atom bomb in World War II, was the nuclear threat something that you were aware of?
DH: We were not aware, or it never came up as an issue, other than that the world might end type of thing, but not the Abbot. You know, I mean, we just did our thing. There was nothing in the sense of; ... nuclear was still a kind of unknown to us. They hadn't even mentioned nuclear submarines or nuclear power in those days. Everything was still pretty mechanical.
SH: It was more the bomb.
DH: The bomb was, yes, the thing that they did on that island and that they did.
SH: Yes, they were still testing it.
DH: Yes. I remember, one of the things that we first heard about while I was in the Navy was the satellite, the Russian Sputnik. [Editor's Note: Sputnik I, the world's first artificial satellite, was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.] That happened. I remember talking about that in our quarters, and saying, "What the hell's that all about? You know, I mean, in the sky forever, you're up there?" and somebody said, "It's the size of a softball. What the hell can you do with that?" ... You'd think, "Well, it's going to get bigger."
SH: That was the first you heard about the Space Race.
DH: Yes, that was the very earliest references to it, was the Sputnik thing. Later on, obviously, when I got back and was a reporter again, ... things got more important, and I remember covering John Glenn's parade afterwards, and I remember, I interviewed Fidel Castro, and, you know, those things came later. [Editor's Note: Astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, was honored with a tickertape parade down Manhattan's "Canyon of Heroes" on March 1, 1962.] Oh, yes, I did Presidents, and I did several of the Presidents and a lot of well-known people, in my journalistic career.
SH: Were you keeping notes or a diary while you were in the Navy?
DH: No, no, writing letters to my girlfriend, that's all.
SH: Your wife now.
DH: Yes. Well, she was my wife then, too, still my girlfriend. [laughter]
KT: We will get that on the record.
DH: Oh, yes, now that you mentioned it, okay, I wasn't thinking that way.
SH: You were on active duty for two years.
DH: Two years, yes.
SH: Were there other places that you were sent, besides the Med?
DH: Yes; no, not on the destroyer. ... When I finally got back from the Arctic, in the Winter of 1958, the ship went into the yards again for rehab.
SH: Where did it go?
DH: It went into Boston, and Mary and I went up there, moved up there, because I didn't have to live on the ship while it was in the yards, but I had to be [nearby]. I had to work on it. So, we got an apartment in the Back Bay Section of Boston, in somebody's cellar. ... I was some provider. The Boston Strangler was working the area at the time. [Editor's Note: Thirteen women were murdered by the Boston Strangler between June 1962 and January 1964. Angelo DeSalvo was convicted of the murders in 1967.]
SH: At that time; oh, my word.
DH: And we were living in this apartment, but ... it had been the kitchen of the brownstone that it was in and it had been sliced up into a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a bathroom, four parts. ... I remember the guy that [rented it out?], and it was a ... 125 dollars a month rent, pretty expensive for a sailor, but Mary was working. ...
SH: What did Mary do?
DH: She was an analyst for an insurance company. So, she ... got a job immediately when we went up there, ... but the problem was, she had to walk from our street, ... Marlborough Street, from Marlborough Street to town. Boston's a walk-around town, but, in those days, you had the Strangler, and then, ... she had to walk through the Common and the Public Gardens and she had to be to work by eight o'clock in the morning. So, she's walking through there, in the dark, and never gave it a thought, twenty-one years old. Sailors were not allowed to go in the park, because it was too dangerous, and she's walking through on her way to work, back and forth, in the dark and what-have-you, but we were forbidden to go in the park. [laughter]
SH: You could not even walk her to work.
DH: ... Well, I couldn't anyway, because ... I only saw her on weekends, but, anyway, this apartment was one of these things with--I remember, the guy showing it to us said, in the living room, he said, there was a pilot light. There was a blue light that came out of a pipe and it was burning. "Never let that go out," he said. "Okay;" have no idea why. ... Apparently, instead of capping the gas line, they just set it afire and it just [burned]. It was [in] the living room. If you looked out the window, you could see feet. People on the sidewalk would be passing, we were down there. Outside our front door were garbage pails, in the hall. That's where the people, the real people, put their garbage in, outside our door, and ... the bathroom, the biggest shower I've ever seen. It had a shower that you could play doubles handball in. [laughter] It was huge, and the kitchen was tiny and the kitchen had a window and it looked into the bathroom. So, if you were sitting in the kitchen or washing dishes, you could look into the bathroom at this huge shower. We had to buy four curtains or something to just go across it. ... Anyway, we lived there for while the ship was in the yards, and then, when the ship came out of the yards, in the Spring of '58, I get transferred to the Admiral's staff. So, I never went with her when she went back to sea, and she went down to Guantanamo [Bay Naval Base, Cuba], on her shakedown cruise and part of our crew was kidnapped by Castro, who was then doing his thing in the Sierra Maestras, or Madres or whatever. ... He said the guys that got kidnapped, they were drunk and they were in town and they got picked up ... on their way back to the base. [Editor's Note: Cuban Communist revolutionary Fidel Castro and other members of the 26th of July Movement found a safe haven in the Sierra Maestra mountain range early in their campaign.] They were treated like kings, ... the guys that we talked to later. He did nothing but give them a party, and there were women and booze and what-have-you, and they were there for three days, to show how important he was, to embarrass the [Fulgencio] Batista Government, and then, they were returned back and they became kind of folk heroes. [laughter]
SH: You were sitting in the Admiral's office.
DH: Yes. No, I'm sitting up in; I was tied in to the Yosemite, which was a tender, but the Admiral's tender. You know, it was his staff [that] was on there, so, it was the flagship for the fleet at that time, or the force, destroyer force, and I took court-martials and did all of that stuff for [my duty]. ...
SH: What was the name of the tender?
DH: Yosemite. I think it was AD-41, or something. I think it was 41, and, after that, you know, I lived like a king. [Editor's Note: The USS Yosemite was the AD-19.] You know, we had a bakery school on there, and so, we had good food. ...
SH: This is right in Boston.
DH: It was in Providence, yes; not Providence, in Newport, but ... near Providence, and then, I got discharged in March of '59.
SH: Were they building the boats in New London, [Connecticut]?
DH: Building the boats?
SH: Building the submarines.
DH: I never was on a sub.
SH: Was that part of the Admiral's command?
DH: No, I imagine [not]. No, our admiral was in charge of the destroyer force.
SH: Just surface craft.
DH: Yes. So, it would've been a higher authority that would have had the subs, too. That's right, though, they were housed in New London, obviously, but [under a] different command unit, yes. Submarines were the enemy, as far as I was concerned, ... and you had to be crazy to go aboard them anyway, because ... they were under the water, for Christ's sake.
SH: Did you ever entertain the thought of staying in the military?
DH: Never, not even for a minute.
SH: Did they try to talk you into it?
DH: Oh, sure, yes. I remember a guy saying to me, when it was time, he said, "You know, you've got a very high IQ," and I said, "Yes," and he said, "You know, you could be an officer," and I said, "Look," I said, "there's something that you don't understand. What you do," he was a career guy, obviously, and I said, "what you do is the abnormal--what I do is the normal. You've got it ass backwards." [laughter] No, no, I never even gave that a moment's thought.
SH: What were your plans when you were getting toward the end of your tour?
DH: Just to get out and get back to journalism.
SH: Back to New York.
DH: Yes. I had a good job with a very good paper and I had a new wife and, oh, no, the world was my "erster." I was looking forward to that, yes.
SH: This is in 1959.
DH: That would have been '59, yes, ... in March of '59.
SH: Where did you move back to?
DH: Well, it's funny. ... We'd never had a home, because right after we were married, we had this "let's play house" apartment over in the Bronx, which was a furnished apartment, and then, we had this one up in Boston, but we didn't have a house or a home. ... So, when we came home and I had a real job and Mary had her job again, and so forth, we were looking for a place that we could afford, and we ended up in Yonkers, in Westchester County, over here, a couple of blocks away, really, not far, in a garden apartment. ... Then, that's where we started out, and our first born was while we were there.
SH: You were still in the Reserves at this point.
DH: Yes. I had to stay in the Reserves, but they were Inactive Reserves. I didn't have to go to meetings anymore. ... I just stayed in them for, you know, on paper, and then, I was discharged in 1960, I think. ... They shortened my [commitment]. I think I had been required to be there until '60-something. When did I go in? I went in, into the Reserves, in '54 or '52.
DH: Well, then, I was supposed to get out in '62, but they let me out in '60. They separated me.
SH: Do you want to talk briefly about your career?
DH: You think anybody cares? [laughter] ... Yes, I'll give you the short version. I became a journalist again and, as I said, I went through the various ranks and, ultimately, became the night city editor, and then, the paper folded, but, while I was a journalist, I got to meet a lot of interesting folks and I got to interview, as I said, Presidents and the Queen of England and the Duke of ...
SH: In New York, or did you travel?
DH: In New York. No, I was strictly a New York-based guy. I interviewed Castro, I interviewed [Nikita] Khrushchev. I covered their meetings at the [United Nations], when he hit with the shoe on the thing and saying, "We will bury you," and then, Castro was camped, or wanted to be camped, tried to be camped, in Central Park, and then, they ended up meeting each other at the Hotel Theresa up in Harlem, and all of that stuff was unfolding and that was still Cold War stuff, you know. ... [Editor's Note: On September 20, 1960, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev met with Fidel Castro in the Hotel Theresa. While at the United Nations on October 12, 1960, Khrushchev banged his shoe on his desk to make a point during a debate.]
SH: Talk about the Cold War.
DH: Yes, that was the height of the "who's on what side?" After the paper folded, ... I went into public relations, with a company called Hill and Knowlton, which was the largest of the PR consulting companies in the world, and I did everything in that company. I started as an account executive and I ended up the vice chairman. I ended up running their international divisions and I traveled all over the world in that capacity.
SH: Were you always home here?
DH: I was based in New York, always, but I had offices in Asia and Europe and I traveled a great deal, an awful lot of time. ...
SH: Doing international travel at this time, were you ever approached by the CIA or the FBI?
DH: I was a CIA agent, ... but I don't want to go into that too much, but I'm allowed to talk about it now. I was an agent for eight years, toward the end of my career, in Asia.
SH: What years would that have been?
DH: It would have been--I went there in '79 and I was separated from responsibilities in '88, something like that, '87 or '88. My job, I was in charge of--I don't want to go into a lot of detail, but ...
SH: Then, I would like to back up ...
DH: But, I was not a James Bond-type character, believe me. [laughter]
SH: You traveled all over Asia. What about Vietnam, the war and its aftermath?
DH: No, no. My function had to do with Indonesia. Indonesia was, if you think about it, in those years, ... run by a man named Suharto, who was a dictator, fundamentally, but a friend of the United States. [Editor's Note: Suharto ruled Indonesia from 1968 to 1998.] If you look at where Indonesia is, in terms of the globe, it's at the top of the Indian Ocean, which connects all of Africa, all the way around. It's a strategically very important part of the world. Now, think about what Indonesia is--first of all, how big it is. If you were to put it on, overlay it on, the United States, it would run from Seattle to ... Bermuda. It's a very long parcel of land, eighteen thousand islands, hundreds and hundreds of accent, dialects, ... of Bahasa, which is its [spoken] language, plus, the Malaysian language, which is [the national language], but the most important thing is, in [the] 1980s, it is the largest Muslim country, except for the Middle East. ... Now, of course, if you break up the Middle East into what it is, it's still the largest Muslim country in the world. We were very concerned about that happening, looking out. The Prime Minister of Australia had disappeared several years before, before I got involved in this. [Editor's Note: Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming off the Australian resort town of Portsea on December 17, 1967, and was declared presumed dead two days later.] So, there's concerns about who's behind that. ... All of this stuff was at a time that we were very concerned about that part of the world, and I had a position that allowed me intimate relationships at the cabinet level of Jakarta, [capital of Indonesia]. So, it made sense, and so, I was ... approached for the job initially by a restaurateur here in Manhattan, where I used to have my dinner every once in awhile, and, ... turns out, he was a recruiter for the organization. ... He put me in touch and we finally ended up putting something together. ... So, for those years, I carried messages, I did stuff like that, and I got a letter, after I left, several years after I left, that said, "It's okay to talk." Mary didn't even know, at the time.
SH: You were still working for Hill and Knowlton.
DH: At the time, yes.
SH: They were working with the Jakarta government.
DH: They didn't know about it.
SH: No, but what was Hill and Knowlton doing in Jakarta?
DH: Oh, they were a client of mine. ... The government was my client. My job, for Hill and Knowlton and the government, ... was fundamentally investment promotion. ... I worked for the Ministry of the Banks, the national bank, the Ministry of Finance, and we also had people that reported to me who were onsite that were there to help Antara deal with foreign press and things like that. ... One of the other guys that worked for me, it turns out, I found out later, was an agent for the Canadian Government. It was like Lisbon in World War II. It was an open city and there were characters like us floating all around there, "spooks," as we called them, you know, from different countries.
SH: That is amazing. When you got out of the Navy, released from the Reserve, in 1960, was there any hint of Vietnam on the horizon?
DH: No. Korea had ended.
SH: In 1953.
DH: Yes. You know what was going on then was Dien Bien Phu [a battle in the First Indochina War in the Spring of 1954 between the French and the Viet Minh], that part of [it], yes, the French stuff, but, no, the Americans were not talking about it at the time, as I recall.
SH: You were a reporter in New York and, like you said, you were interviewing people like Castro. It was still really focused on ...
DH: Yes, Khrushchev, yes, [Charles] De Gaulle. I talked to De Gaulle, interviewed him, yes, but it was focused on the end of what had been going on. ... World War II was still live in our minds, Korea was live in our minds, stuff like that, [not] Dien Bien Phu and Vietnam; ... that was in Vietnam, wasn't it? and [the] Vietcong hadn't really surfaced yet. It was some other group, that they were going by that name. I remember, there was a woman, a nurse, that had became a heroine, [Geneviève de Galard]. She was "The Angel of Dien Bien Phu" or something. ... I'd know it if I heard it again, and she had done some heroic things, ... but, no, that was still [a French concern]. Vietnam, as our problem, hadn't yet surfaced.
SH: What year did you go with Hill and Knowlton?
DH: I went with Hill and Knowlton in '63, '64; no, no, that was the Fair. '66, I went to Hill and Knowlton, after the Fair. '64-'65 was the Fair.
SH: By the time your newspaper closed, because of the strike, Vietnam was really starting to heat up. Was that something that was being reported in the paper when it closed down?
DH: ... Well, it may have been, but it wasn't high on my awareness thing, other than perhaps whatever was in the papers, and you'd say, "Wow, gee whiz," or something.
SH: It was more focused on the French and their being kicked out.
DH: Yes. ... At that time in my life, ... my life was focused on finding a job and being sure everything was going to be okay here, wasn't thinking militarily at all.
SH: What was the World's Fair in New York like for you, as someone in promotion?
DH: Well, it was, you know, just a good job, fun job. I was working, fundamentally, nearby. ... I was working for Borden's, "Elsie the Cow," [their corporate mascot], getting publicity for her, and, in fact, I ended up going on the Borden's staff, you know, left the Fair, went to Borden's. ... The Fair was--it was just that, it was a fair. ... You knew it wasn't going to be there forever. You ... made good contacts, met people there that I ended up connecting with in my journalistic career earlier and found another connection with them, and that sort of thing, but, ... once I got into the corporate world, all of that went away.
SH: Were you ever tempted to go back to reporting?
DH: I couldn't. I got used to getting well paid [laughter] and reporters, you know, my salary jumps as a reporter were thirty-eight dollars a week to sixty-five dollars a week to seventy-five dollars a week, and, ... when I hit my peak, was a hundred and a quarter, you know, a week. ... When I left the Fair and Borden's and went to Hill and Knowlton, I made the huge jump of--I was making, like, almost nine thousand dollars a year and I went there for thirteen, and that was a huge leap, yes, and so, I never looked at journalism again.
SH: Would you like to talk briefly about your family?
DH: My family? Sure, I've got three great sons. First of all, I've got a great wife. We've been together a long time, through a lot of stuff, and three sons, and, now, I've got four grandchildren, and one on the way, and they're all in the area, nearby. So, we're very lucky. We see them all, and, when it snows, one of them shows up and shovels. That's a good thing. [laughter]
SH: That is a good thing.
DH: No, it's great. We spend a lot of time together at, you know, gatherings, from time to time, holidays and things like that, and we've been very blessed that way. ...
SH: Just a few more stories, if you have them, please.
DH: Well, it's not a story so much as a situation. My father-in-law, my wife's father, had been an Irish immigrant. He came over. He was an orphan and he had been orphaned when he was eight and he was the eldest of his siblings, and there were, like, five of them. ... His story about Ireland, ... he did not have a good experience in Ireland as a kid, obviously, and, when he got to America, as a young man, he embraced it and became thoroughly Americanized, and never wanted to talk much about Ireland. Later, after he died, Mary, my wife, and I were coming back from [Europe]. I used to run the international stuff over at Hill and Knowlton and I was coming back from Geneva, [Switzerland]. ... We had a break, and so, Mary flew over and met me in Ireland and I was coming back ... from Europe. So, we met in Ireland. Neither of us had ever been there, ... except I'd been there in the Navy, in the north part, but I'd never been down in the Irish Free State, as they call it. So, we met in Ireland and we knew that he had a relative still alive, we thought, in a town called Kiltealy, a little village down in the southwest part of the country, near Shannon and near; ... well, I'll come back to that. It'll come to my mind, the city--Limerick City. Anyway, we went down to [the village], and we drove. We rented a car and we drove through and we got to this little village of Kiltealy, which ... was made up of a church, a huge church, a cemetery, a hardware store, two bars and a school. [We] went to the cemetery and we're looking for the name (Oliver?), which was his mother's name, or (Hogan?), which is his name, his last name, his father's name, and couldn't find anything. ... We're looking and people would come through, every once in awhile, and say, "Oh, you're Yanks." "Oh, yes, we're Yanks," and, you know, "What are you doing here?" "Oh, we're looking for a relative." "Oh, would it be ... (O'Mara?)? Is it (O'Mara?)?" "No, it's (Hogan?) or (Oliver?), no, no, no." Anyway, so, after looking around the cemetery, one fellow said to Mary, "You may want to try this school. They keep records at the school." So, she said to me, "What do you think?" and I said, "Yes, while we're here, you might as well check." So, I waited in the car, she went in. She meets the headmaster of the school. She tells him what we're about and he says, "Are you looking for (O'Mara?)?" She said, "No, (Hogan?) or (Oliver?)." He said, "Oh, you look just like an (O'Mara?)." So, he says, "Well, anyway, let's go up," and he ... starts taking the records out and he's digging through boxes, and he says, "Sure you're not (O'Mara?)?" "No." He said, "Well, you look so much like them." Well, they finally found (Dennis Hogan's?) report card [from] when he was at the school in the ninth grade or the eighth grade, or some version of just short of high school. ... No, he was eight or nine; that would have been less than that, right? Oh, no, then, he went to school [elsewhere]. That's right. ... After his folks died, they split up his family and he was sent to one of his uncles as a serving boy. He couldn't go as a relative because ... he was a serving boy now. He wasn't ... his brother's son now, he was an orphan kid. So, he had to [work]. He was treated badly, differently, but he stayed alive for a few more years, and then, he finally left school and he ended up coming here. Back to the school--so, in the course of it, "You have to be related to the (O'Maras?)," and so forth. So, Mary's [saying], "No, I'm not." He says, "Well, you look just like the (O'Maras?)." ... He says, "You know, Maggie (O'Mara?) cleans the school at night," and he said, "I'm going to ask her." Okay, so, he calls, makes a phone call, and Mary's sitting with him in his office and she can hear her at the other end of the phone. They're yelling at each other, "Maggie, is that you? This is Sean," or whatever. He says, "Maggie, did you ever have any relatives named (Hogan?)?" and she says, "It's my maiden name," and he says, "Oh, well," he says, "oh, so, you married (O'Mara?), that's right. Oh," he says, "well, did you have any relatives that would have a daughter in America?" She says, "Well, my brother, (Dennis?)," and he says, "Well," he says, "I think I have [her here]." She says, "Well, (Dennis?) has gone to God." He says, "Yes, but," he says, "I think I have his daughter here." She said, "Oh, glory be to God, no," and so, he says to Mary, ... "She's your aunt and she lives in that cottage across the street," and it's got the thatched roof. It looks like something [Irish actor] Barry Fitzgerald [would be] coming out of. So, ... Mary gets cold feet, "Oh, God, I don't want to," you know. I said, "Hey, you're never going to be here again. Go ahead." So, we go over, knocked on the door, and this lady opens the door, a little, old lady. She looks just like Mary's father, just like him, just a lady version of him. ... So, Mary says, "Maggie?" and she says, "Oh, Mary," she says, ... "you look just the same as I last saw you, but," she says, "the big guy, I don't know who he is, but I [remember you]." It turns out that she knew about us, she knew about Mary, but, somehow, it had never been passed on by her father to us. So, Mary, turns out, has this whole family over there. Maggie's got, she's had her children, [who] were the ones that Mary looked like, and they do. Her cousin looks just like her, I mean, even today, and their grandchildren. Well, we found a new family, and a big family, all over the country, whom we have now visited on many times, and they've been here, and we've gone to weddings and it's just been a great revelation for us, and I have fallen in love with the country as a result of this. So, we're going back in May again. We're going back for a visit with seven of our friends from here that we travel with from time to time. Last time we got together, we rented a barge and we cruised up and down the Thames [River, England]. So, this time, what we've done is rented a driver and a small bus, a bus that'll hold fourteen people, but only seven of us [are going], and so, we're having it fitted out with tables and what-have-you. ... The driver will be our guide. So, I don't have to do any heavy lifting here, ... and so, they've booked us into B&Bs and what-have-you around the country and we're going over for about two or three weeks, in May. It'll be great, and we're all old folks, so, you know, we can.
SH: Was your wife then able to identify all her other uncles and aunts?
DH: Constantly, yes, we're putting new stuff together, and she's got a regular conversation with her cousin in Dublin. Every couple of days or a week, certainly, they talk, and she's got another cousin up in Donegal and another one down in Limerick, and so, they're in conversation constantly. ... Their grandchildren--no, that would be their children--are also in connection, talking to Mary, but, also, about their children, who are the same age as some of our grandchildren, and so, it's a nice relationship, and they're very pro-American and we're very pro-Irish, in the sense that we know, ... when we first found them, Ireland was still kind of just beginning to become a "Celtic Tiger" [a term used for Ireland's economic growth from 1995 to 2007] and, now, it's gone through another phase. ... They're just fun people and nice folks to be in contact with on a regular [basis], and they're on e-mail to each other now, also. It's great.
SH: That is a wonderful story. Is there anything else?
DH: No, no, and I've over done it as it is. [laughter]
SH: We thank you very much.
DH: You don't have to thank me; thank you for coming all this distance. Tell me, now, you're a teacher or you're still in school?
KT: Not yet.
SH: I will end the recording.
DH: Got you.
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