Morrison, Harris R.

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  • Interviewee: Morrison, Harris R.
  • PDF Interview
  • Date: October 13, 2006
  • Place: Ocean City, New Jersey
  • Interviewers:
    • Sandra Stewart Holyoak
    • Lance Weaver
  • Transcript Production Team:
    • Domingo Duarte
    • Jessica Ding
    • Lance Weaver
    • Harris R. Morrison
    • Sandra Stewart Holyoak
  • Recommended Citation: Morrison, Harris R. Oral History Interview, October 13, 2006, by Sandra Stewart Holyoak and Lance Weaver, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
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Lance Weaver:  This begins an interview with Harris R. Morrison on October 13, 2006, in Ocean City, New Jersey, with Lance Weaver and Sandra Stewart Holyoak.  To start off, can you tell me a little about your parents?

Harris Morrison:  My parents, yes, my father and mother lived in Franklin, New Jersey.  My mother had been a teacher prior to her marriage and my father was a personnel man with the New Jersey Zinc Company and they both lived a very happy life, raised two sons, my brother and myself.

LW:  How did your parents meet?

HM:  They met on the train going to high school in the late teens, Franklin didn't have a high school and they went on the train to Newton, so they met on the train going to high school.

LW:  On your pre-interview survey, you said your mother was born in Michigan.

HM:  Yes. 

LW:  Michigan, and then she moved to Franklin?

HM:  Yes, that's right.

Sandra Stewart Holyoak:  As a young girl or

HM:  As a young girl, yes.

SH:  What did her parents do?

HM:  Her parents?  They were both doctors; oh, wait a minute, no, I'm sorry, I'm thinking of Eve [Mrs. Morrison].  Grandpop was the mine captain for the New Jersey Zinc Company in Franklin and he was a mine superintendent out in Michigan and was brought to New Jersey to take over the mine operation there.

SH:  Do you know how old your mom was when they came to New Jersey from Michigan?

HM:  No, I don't.

LW:  So, back to your father, did he grow up in a Scottish community?

HM:  No.  He grew up in Franklin and prior to that he lived in Bloomfield.

LW:  So, he was a Presbyterian.

HM:  Yes.

LW:  Both your mother and father were.

HM:  Yes.  In Franklin you were either Catholic or Presbyterian, there were only two churches.

SH:  It's quite rural there, was it rural when you were born?

HM:  Yes, the town really had about forty-five hundred residents and everyone worked for the New Jersey Zinc Company, or else they had a store in town.

SH:  Now, are you older or younger than your brother?

HM:  I'm almost two years older.

SH:  You were born in

HM:  1920.

LW:  Did your father ever tell you about any combat he saw during World War I?

HM:  No, he never got overseas.

LW:  So, he just trained here and never made it over.

HM:  That's right.  He was in Virginia.

LW:  Was your father active in the American Legion at all?

HM:  Yes, at one time he was commander of the local post.

LW:  How did the Depression affect your family growing up?

HM:  Actually, we were very fortunate.  The New Jersey Zinc Company put everyone, all of the miners generally, on a three-day week.  They didn't lay off everyone.  The mines were able to continue operation throughout the Depression.

LW:  Did your mother work after she got married?

HM:  She substituted teaching, yes.

LW:  So, your parents were both Republicans?

HM:  Yes.

LW:  What did they think of Roosevelt?

HM:  Well, in our family, he wasn't thought of very highly.  [laughs]

LW:  How educated were your mother and father?

HM:  Well, my mother had gone to Trenton State, in those days, it was a normal school and my father had gone to business school.

LW:  Were your parents active in any groups or organizations?

HM:  Yes.  My mother was in the Eastern Star and my father was in the Legion and that was about it.

SH:  Did your father's family any of them come from Michigan to New Jersey?

HM:  No, my father's family, my grandmother on my father's side, she ran the dormitory for the single mining engineers.  She came up from Bloomfield.

SH:  And your mother's family, did they also come to Franklin or did they...

HM:  Yes, my grandfather came to Franklin to become mine captain for the mines, so they all came from Michigan.

SH:  So, then you really did have your grandparents and everybody around you when you were growing up.

HM:  Yes, I had both family grandparents.

SH:  Did your mother and father have brothers and sisters that were also in the area?

HM:  My father was an only child and my mother had one sister in Franklin and her brothers were both in Pennsylvania.

SH:  Were they involved in mining in Pennsylvania?

HM:  Yes, they were at the refining end of the zinc company in Palmerton, Pennsylvania.

SH:  Did you travel to visit them at all as a little boy?

HM:  Oh, yes. 

LW:  Did your brother spend any time in the service?

HM:  In the service?  Yes, in the ASTP, he was in college when the war broke out.  He stayed in college because he was a veterinary student and the Army wanted veterinarians, so he just completed his education and never did go to a camp or anything.

SH:  Tell us a little bit about growing up in Franklin, as a young boy, what are some of your favorite memories of Franklin?

HM:  Well, I think it was probably one of the greatest places I could grow up.  It was a nice town, it was a clean town; the mines were very clean.  As a matter-of-fact, it was called the "model mining town of the East."  The town was small, the family was respected, my uncle was chief of police; it was just a perfect town.

SH:  What were some of the activities that you were involved in as a young boy growing up?

HM:  Well, we usually made our own activities, to be honest with you.  They didn't have many activities as such, like they have today.  It was very much our own doing.  There was some church activities.  We had an organization called the Boys Brotherhood and we did camping trips and things of that nature.

SH:  Did you hunt or fish?

HM:  Both. 

SH:  Was your father also a hunter?

HM:  He was also a hunter and fisherman.

SH:  Did you belong to the Boy Scouts?

HM:  There weren't any Boy Scouts in town.  It was only the Boys Brotherhood.

LW:  Did you have any jobs as a kid?

HM:  No, not when I was growing up. 

LW:  So, you went to school in Franklin.

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Was there a high school in Franklin by the time you got to high school?

HM:  Yes, there is a high school in Franklin.

SH:  Did you participate in sports?

HM:  I played football one year and I was manager of the basketball team.

SH:  Did your little brother tag along?

HM:  No, he pretty much operated on his own.

LW:  So, you also went to Blair Academy, too.

HM:  Yes, after.  Yes, I went there; I took my senior year over again at Blair.

SH:  Was there a reason for that?

HM:  Yes, I wanted to go to Cornell and they wouldn't accept Franklin High School's records, is what I was told.

SH:  Really?  Did you apply to Cornell then after you went to Blair that one year?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Were you accepted?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  What were you going to major in?

HM:  Oh, at that time, I was going to take this hotel management.

SH:  What got you interested in hotel management?

HM:  Nothing to be honest with you, except that what my father had heard, that it was a great field to get into.

SH:  Had you stayed in a lot of hotels?

HM:  No, no.  It was always something new and it was supposed to be great and he got all kinds of information on that and he sort of talked me into it.

SH:  What year did you graduate from Franklin?

HM:  In 1937. 

SH:  So, you would have finished at Blair in '38, and went to Cornell then in '39?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  So, how does Rutgers fit into the picture, then?

HM:  Well, I didn't like what I was taking at Cornell, okay, so I dropped out after my freshman year and worked for a while until I decided where I wanted to go, and that was it, and went to Rutgers.  At that time, then, also my brother was going to go to Michigan State to study veterinary medicine, and so, I went to Rutgers and my grandfather had left his mineral collection to Rutgers and he established a Rowe Scholarship, so I took that.

SH:  So, the Rowe Scholarship was actually your mother's father's [bequest]?

HM:  Yes, that's right, my grandfather.  He had the largest collection of zinc minerals in the United States I think.

SH:  Now, I've been to the Franklin Mineral Museum, is that collection any part of your family's?

HM:  No, the Rowe Collection is at Rutgers.

SH:  Really?

HM:  Oh, yes.

SH:  In Geology Hall? 

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Then, I may have seen that, too.

HM:  Well, actually, when it was first put out, I'm trying to think, Geology Hall was a separate building, right?  And then it moved to another building.  It was there, his picture was there.  It was supposed not to be broken up, but I think when they moved it, they broke it up.

SH:  Very interesting.  I feel like we're talking to a celebrity.

HM:  It was a very, very valuable collection of zinc minerals.  In fact, one of the minerals was named Rowite, after my grandfather, and that was discovered by Harvard.  They were interested in the collection also.  They wanted to get it, but Grandpa left it to Rutgers because it was primarily New Jersey minerals and my uncle, one of his sons, had gone to Rutgers. 

SH:  Oh, all right, because that's what I was going to ask why did your grandfather pick Rutgers?  You were the first Rowe scholarship student?

HM:  Yes.  I don't know whether any others have taken it now or not.

SH:  Did you have to major in anything to do with geology or minerals?

HM:  Theoretically, you should have majored in geology.

SH:  Did you?

HM:  No.

SH:  Did you have a major when you got there?  You went in as a sophomore, right.

HM:  Right, and then I was unclassified because of the transfer, and so forth, and I then wanted to take advertising, so I enrolled in the School of Journalism as ... a business advertising major.

SH:  What year was it that you came to Rutgers then?  1941?

HM:  Probably, yes.

SH:  Pearl Harbor happened at the end of your first semester at Rutgers.

HM:  Oh, yes, December '41, yes.

SH:  So, you had just been in Rutgers that semester then, were you a sophomore?

HM:  I think I was a sophomore.

LW:  Do you remember your reaction to that?

HM:  Yes, everybody and, actually, I remember we were studying in the fraternity house when somebody said, over the radio, that the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor.  We couldn't quite get over it.

SH:  Did you understand what that meant?

HM:  Yes, in fact, my parents called me and said not to run out and enlist, by the way, because I could do it through the college.

SH:  You have had to register for the draft prior to coming to Rutgers, right?  The draft was instituted in 1940. You came to Rutgers in the fall of 1940.  You graduated from high school in '38; May of '39 you would have left Blair and you would have gone to Cornell...

LW:  And if you were in the fraternity already, you said you were in the fraternity house, right, yes, you were probably already there at Rutgers for that year then, right.

HM:  ... Yes. 

SH:  So, which fraternity did you join?

HM:  Pi KA [Pi Kappa Alpha], it was right across from the gymnasium at that time, and, of course, it's gone now. 

SH:  Right next to the ROTC building?

HM:  Yes.  Actually, I was in the advanced ROTC.

SH:  Now, had you taken ROTC at Cornell?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Because it's also a land grant college like Rutgers.

HM:  Yes.

SH:  So, you did your second year of ROTC at Rutgers.

HM:  Rutgers, right.

SH:  Why did you decide to go into advanced ROTC?

HM:  Because I was selected.  At that time they only picked fifty to take it and I was one of them and it looked like a good opportunity to train and become an officer.

SH:  Were the other students jealous of you being in journalism due to the fact that there were women from NJC [New Jersey College for Women] taking journalism courses?

HM:  No.

SH:  I have heard that, in fact, I have heard of men who took journalism only because there were women. 

HM:  Oh, is that right? [laughter]

LW:  Do you remember any of the traditions that were around when you were at Rutgers?

HM:  Off-hand I can't think of any.

SH:  Did you have to take part in any initiation as a transfer student?  I thought maybe you might be exempt a little bit.

HM:  No. 

SH:  Why did you pick that fraternity?

HM:  I joined it at Cornell.

SH:  Was there a reason why?  Had other family members been part of it?

HM:  No, it was just that, I don't know, if someone had recommended me to it, and when I got there, why, they invited me over and, you know, took me around and everything and that's why I joined that.

SH:  As a journalism major, did you work for the Targum or the radio station?

HM:  No, I was trying to concentrate as much as I could on the business advertising end of it and I only took what was necessary.

SH:  What are some of the activities that you remember at Rutgers, fondly or not so fondly?

HM:  Well, I can't think of too many.  It was really actually during the war years and the activities were somewhat limited.

SH:  You talked about your parents calling and giving you advise to not enlist right away, to stay in the ROTC and progress that way.  Were there other people that you knew who didn't get such good advice and went ahead and enlisted?

HM:  Well, actually, I asked most of the fellows in the fraternity house that ended up in the service in one branch or another, and, in many respects, if I hadn't been going into the advanced ROTC and waited, then all the other branches of service came to Rutgers recruiting.  The Navy, the Air Corps and all of them came and gave talks and interested the, you know, junior and senior classes in going into their officer training programs, and I could have maybe ended up as a pilot, because I tried to transfer to the Air Corps out of the Infantry and I couldn't do it. 

SH:  Really?

HM:  They wouldn't let you out.

SH:  Oh, no, because that was one of the questions that I know Lance has on his list was to ask if you had looked at any of the other branches.

HM:  Yes, it was too bad because you might have gotten in as a midshipman for the Navy as a pilot training or the Marine Corps.

SH:  So, this commitment to the advanced ROTC basically kept you in the Infantry?

HM:  Right.  They kept you in the Infantry, right.

SH:  Where did you go for your summer training then?

HM:  Well, there was no summer training.  At the end of our junior year, we were sent to Fort McClellan, Alabama, as privates, and then the ROTC program, as it was originally run, was disbanded.  The seniors went directly to OCS; the juniors went to basic training, then to OCS. 

SH:  Were you part of the group that went as a group from Rutgers?

HM:  Yes, the Rutgers ROTC junior class all went down to Fort McClellan in Alabama and we spent the whole summer down there in training, and then we came back to Rutgers for several months, and then we were sent from there to various OCS classes. 

SH:  Are you part of the Black Fifty?

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  Can you tell your version of the story?

HM:  Well, no, all I know is that because we were all soot covered when we ended up down in Alabama with the old steam locomotive.

SH:  Did you hear the sergeant make his assessment of your group?

HM:  No.

SH:  I've heard various quotes, but they're not quite all the same.  Was it a shock to go from Rutgers and New Jersey into the South like that?

HM:  Yes, it was, because we ended up in an infantry camp in the Deep South and all the cadres, the sergeants who were in charge of us, were "good old boys."  It's an interesting time. 

SH:  Do you have any stories to relate about that time?

HM:  No, no.  It's quite an adjustment. 

SH:  When you came back to Rutgers did you feel a lot older on your return, then, as seniors having already gone to basic training?

HM:  Well, yes, we felt we were ready to do something else, but then they, the Black Fifty, we started to be broken up because all the engineers were sent to Signal Corps and a lot went to tank instead of infantry and some went then, and then the remainder were broken up and sent to the various OCS classes.

SH:  You were back at Rutgers for the entire junior year or part of your senior year?  When did they pull you out?

HM:  When we finished basic training, we were only back for about three or four months.

SH:  Was it hard to concentrate on your studies as a college student now that you've gone through this and you know what's ahead?

HM:  Yes, because what we were taking wasn't what we had studied as students.  The ASTP was all engineering.

SH:  So, you had to go into that the ASTP from journalism? ...

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  How did you do?

HM:  I survived. [laughter]

SH:  Was there a lot of cramming at night, extra studying?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Did you have to march everyday?  Did you maintain the physical training as an ASTP student?

HM:  ... The training was run like a military unit and you fell out in the units and everything.

SH:  Now, where were you housed?  Were you still able to stay at the fraternity house?

HM:  No, we were all in the dormitories right there on College Avenue now.

SH:  Was it Ford Hall?

HM:  I forget what the name of it was.

SH:  ... You thought you were going to be in the ASTP program for more than three months or four months, right? 

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Okay, can you tell me about your reaction when you found out it had been disbanded?

HM:  No, it hadn't been disbanded yet, but we were sent to OCS.

SH:  Okay, all right, so you knew that you were going to be there only for a while and then go to OCS.

HM:  Yes, right.

SH:  Can you tell us about that, where you went?

HM:  Well, ... I went to Fort Benning, Georgia, to the Infantry School.  The engineers went to Signal Corps OCS and some of my friends went to tanks.

SH:  Was there a big party on campus before you all broke up?

HM:  No, because nobody stayed there. [laughter]

SH:  Did you get a chance to go back to Franklin and say goodbye to your folks before you left?

HM:  I don't recall.

SH:  After Fort Benning, where are you sent?

HM:  To North Carolina, to the 89th Infantry Division.

SH:  Was that just being formed or was it already in existence?

HM:  It was already in existence.  It was a National Guard Division that was formed from Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, it was a Northwest division.

SH:  How did you feel being placed in a group like that?  I mean, you went in as a replacement officer.

HM:  Yes.  Yes, it was different. 

SH:  Candidly, did you think that the National Guard officers and men were trained as well as they should have been?

HM:  ... The division, when I joined it, had just been bled, in other words, the soldiers in it who had been in it for a long time, who were trained, were sent over as replacements and when I joined it, then the ASTP was broken up shortly thereafter and we were sort of inundated with a lot of ASTP. 

SH:  So, were they bitter that they've been taken out?

HM:  Yes, yes they were.  I don't know what they thought they were going to be but when they got down, they weren't expecting to be infantrymen, they thought they would be officers and in some very nice occupation, instead of that, they were privates in the infantry.

SH:  How difficult was that for you then to deal with men like that?  They're the same age as well.

HM:  It worked out pretty fast because, number one, they were all lined up and they were spoken to very gently by an old-time sergeant who oriented them, and, then, they were put out for two hours of calisthenics, and then they were gradually weaned that way until they were a unit. 

SH:  What were you assigned to do, what was your job then with the 89th?

HM:  Well, I started out as a platoon leader in a rifle company and, then, I was called up to regimental headquarters and told I that was going to be a liaison officer.

SH:  Tell us what a liaison officer does, you're still stateside, right? 

HM:  Well, they're in combat and only in combat.  Every infantry regiment has three liaison officers, one ... works for the division, one works the adjacent regiments, and one works with the three battalions of the regiment and that was my job. 

SH:  Now that was your job before you left the States, you were already working that.

HM:  Yes, before we left the States I did all kinds of crazy jobs as a liaison officer because it was only a combat position.  ... The assistant regimental commander was a maniac on orderliness and so he had me inspecting the regimental area everyday and going in and telling officers and company commanders that they had something wrong, or off here or there, and they got to know me pretty well, all over the regiment, before we went overseas.

SH:  You had a reputation.

HM:  Yes, at least they knew who I was. 

SH:  I would think that somehow, eventually, that would bode well because when you're in a combat situation, it's good that they know...

HM:  They knew me, right.

SH:  Right.  Do you have any other stories of that training period with the 89th stateside that you'd like to share?

HM:  No. ... It was only for a couple of months; that was the maximum.  Then, I set up training programs for the regiment and, besides inspecting the area like I did everyday, I did all kinds of odd jobs, anything that came along that needed an officer to do it, I got it.

SH:  So, one question ... is when you were at Rutgers, did you happen to notice that there was a College for Women not far away?

HM:  Oh, yes. 

SH:  Can you tell us about that?

HM:  Oh, yes, that's where I met my wife.

LW:  How did you guys meet then?

HM:  ... Well, Eve was a blind date.  Right?

Eve Morrison: That's right.

SH:  Was it for a party at the fraternity or a party at NJC?

HM:  No, someone introduced me to her.

SH:  Do you remember who it was?

HM:  No. 

EM: It was one of my roommates.

SH:  Oh, it was one of her roommates.  Was that when you first came to Rutgers?

HM:  No, it was after I was there because she wasn't there yet.

SH:  So, when you were in Georgia like that, were you corresponding?

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  Were there others that you were writing to or were you only writing to one?

HM:  To one.

SH:  Tough question with Mrs. Morrison in the room.

HM:  Yes, there was one.  One time they used to hand out the letters out of the window at the company office and everybody just went there for mail call and they just called your name and put the letter out and everybody passed it back to wherever you were standing. ...  I always remember once they called my name out and sent back the letter for me and I opened it and started reading it, walking away, and, "Son, you're not supposed to leave," ... the sergeant says. "Oh." and I went on KP for that. 

SH:  Oh, no.

LW:  Now, when you were still at Fort Benning, did you know that you were going to be going over to Europe or if you were going to the Pacific at all?

HM:  No, I guessed I was going to be reassigned to the 89th Division.

LW:  Did you have a preference of where you were going?

HM:  No. 

SH:  Were there any differences in the way you were trained?  What did you, as a young officer, think of the enemy as far as the European Theater, the Germans, obviously, as opposed to the Japanese?

HM:  Well, really didn't have any specific ideas of either one.

SH:  There were some who said that they felt that their training was focused more on the Germans as more of an honorable enemy, where the Japanese were thought of as less than human.  Do you think that would have been true with your training as well?

HM:  No. 

SH:  When you were told that you were ready to leave the country, did you know, how soon did you know you were going to Europe, maybe is the better question?

HM:  I don't recall.  I don't think we had that much time. ...

SH:  Do you remember, were you aware of how the war was progressing in both theaters when you were in Fort Benning, or were you just concentrating on getting the 89th ready?

HM:  Well, when we were leaving North Carolina with the 89th we were destined for England for training camp, and en route, the Germans broke through in the Battle of the Bulge and we stopped our troop ship just outside La Havre, France, and I always remember climbing down the rope ladder in a raging snowstorm to go into France because we weren't going to England.  The advanced party was in England but we were being diverted to France because of the breakthrough.

SH:  Really?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Can you tell us about the trip over?  Where did you leave from, where was your embarkation point?

HM:  Boston.

SH:  How long did it take you to get from North Carolina to Boston and on board ship?  To move that many men and material would it take a long time?

HM:  I really can't recall, to be honest with you.  We were at a camp outside of Boston for a week or so I guess, and we got onto the troop ships fairly soon.

SH:  Did you get an opportunity to go home to Franklin to talk to your folks before you left?

HM:  No, no. 

SH:  When you went over from Boston, were you in a convoy, or were you...

HM:  In a convoy.

SH:  What were you on, do you remember the name of the ship?

HM:  Yes, the [USAT] Edmund B. Alexander.  I will always remember because I saw it in Hoboken after the war when I was working.

SH:  Did you really?

HM:  Yes.  It was in dry dock over there.

SH:  Now, what had it been built for originally?  Was it a troop ship or had it been converted?

HM:  I don't know what it was to be honest with you.

SH:  How many were in your convoy?  I mean, do you have a rough idea or...

HM:  It was quite a few ships, that's all I remember, and we had a naval escort.

SH:  Do you remember how soon you knew that you were being diverted to La Havre?

HM:  No.  I think we knew about the time we started climbing down the side of the ship.

SH:  "This is not England."

HM:  No, that's right. [laughter]

SH:  Well, then if you would kindly just walk us through that scene, what did you see when you, I mean this has got to be December or January?

HM:  It was December.

SH:  In '44 then.

HM:  Yes, [it was] snowing and we were driven in trucks, big trucks, to a former German airfield.  It was a big, big piece of land where the chateau was, it was a former French noble's home, and it was a tent city.  So, we had a cot in the tent and the snow and it's cold.  It was cold.

SH:  Were you prepared for cold weather?

HM:  No, in fact, in those days the Army hadn't issued artics, ... they didn't have insulated boots like they have nowadays.  So, we had an awful lot of trench foot.  Your feet were always cold because you didn't have anything except regular leather boots and it was snow and mud.

SH:  What was your job at that point?

HM:  Well, I was the regimental ... one of the liaison officers, and I'm trying to think now what we did do.  We tried to get that camp organized and in operation and that was pretty much it.

LW:  What was the general feeling of the men at this point?

HM:  Well, I can't say that they were enthusiastic about this place.  In fact, it got so bad that they broke it up and billeted us with French families, and in French buildings, and I spent a couple of weeks with a couple of French families.

SH:  Why did they billet you with French families then, what was the rationale behind that?

HM:  I don't know. ...

SH:  They thought that would be a morale booster rather than to be so cold in the tents?

HM:  I guess so, yes.

SH:  How did the French families treat you?

HM:  Fine, fine, very nice, of course I was a single officer in a French home. 

SH:  Did they have plenty of food and supplies?

HM:  Well, I ate at the mess.

SH:  Did you?  Okay, so you spent Christmas right in that area, Christmas of '44 then?

HM:  It was somewhere there.  I don't recall now where.

SH:  Because I wondered if you spent Christmas with the family or with the troops?

HM:  No, no.

SH:  When did you then leave Normandy and head east or did you go north?

HM:  Well, we left from there to Luxemburg and I can't recall now when it was.

SH:  One of the dates that I picked up was like in February, the end of February.

HM:  Well, it could be.

SH:  What was it like when you got to Luxemburg?  What did you see en route?  How did Europe look to you at that point?

HM:  Well, it looked pretty much like you think of Europe today.  I mean, I didn't notice any real devastation on the route that we took and as we were going to cross the Moselle River and I always remember it was like Baltimore or Philadelphia going down the hill with row houses all the way alongside, and here we were in a column of tanks and trucks, and a woman was out sweeping her porch.  I thought that was Pennsylvania Dutch in operation.  [laughter]

SH:  Were you riding in a truck?

HM:  In a jeep.

SH:  Did you have a driver?

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  Do you remember his name?

HM:  I'm trying to think now.  It'll come back to me.

SH:  Okay, great, you can add that later.  I just wondered if you remembered any of the people that you were in contact with.  As you went into Luxemburg where were you then billeted?

HM:  Oh, I can't recall.

SH:  Okay.  Were you preparing to try to push the Bulge back, or were you there to rescue those that were pinned down in the Bulge, or do you remember what your objective was?

HM:  We were to push it back.

SH:  Had you heard about the massacre at Malmedy? ...

HM:  No. 

SH:  Did you see any of the other Allied troops, the French or the Canadians or the English?

HM:  No, none of them.

LW:  When you were greeted by other officers, when you're going in, that had been in combat already, did you feel resentment or less accepted because of being a replacement or like a reinforcement, or was your arrival welcomed?

HM:  No, we never had any problems. ... To be honest with you, you're pretty much within your own division; you didn't have too much contact with other divisions.

SH:  When you crossed the Moselle, were you crossing on pontoon bridges?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  So, the combat engineers had been there before you came.

HM:  Yes.

SH:  As a liaison are you running back and forth, up and down, making sure everybody is getting where they need to be to make this crossing?

HM:  I don't recall exactly what I was doing.  I'd be doing everything.  There's no set schedule or procedure for a liaison.

SH:  Were there certain officers that you held in high esteem that you reported to or...

HM:  Well...

----------------------------------------END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE------------------------------------

SH:  You were answering a question about the officers who you reported to, or what officers...

HM:  Yes.  I reported directly to S-3 or the Colonel, the regimental commander, because it involved plans and operations.  ... S-3 was my normal reporting and I could S-2 intelligence, or S-4 Supply, wouldn't normally be the person I report to.

SH:  Okay, all right.  In that position as liaison would you have known what was going to be happening maybe a little ahead of everyone else?

HM:  Oh, yes, because when the plans would come down from division of what the regiment was to do the next day.  Well, then the S-3 would figure out with the Colonel ... how the regiment was going to operate the next morning, let's say, the jump off time. ... Then they would give that information to me and I would get in the jeep, with no headlights, and go in the dark trying to find the three battalions to tell them what to do at jump off time tomorrow morning.  So, I would spend most of the night trying to locate everybody and ... tell them what to do.

SH:  Can you recall any incidences you'd like to tell us about specifically?

HM:  No, it was a daily and nightly occurrence, and ... during the day, I was more or less a trouble shooter for everything, anything, because I was the lowest ranking officer in the regimental headquarters area, so they'd say, "Hey, Morrison, go there, do that."

SH:  When did you sleep?

HM:  Well, to be honest with you, that was one of the problems I had, I didn't get much sleep.  I was always on the go because I would be out all night pretty much and then I'd be going all day.

SH:  Were you well supplied with food and ammunition?  Did your regiment or division do all right?

HM:  Oh, yes.  Yes.

SH:  Now, who was the S-3 that you reported to?

HM:  ... I knew his name as well as my own, but I've forgotten now.

SH:  Well, you can recall that later.  Now, Colonel Aloe was your commanding officer.

HM:  Commanding officer.  He was the regimental commander.

SH:  When was it most hectic for you?  I mean, you got the plan the night before what's going to happen the next day, but for you personally was it that trying to find everybody at night?  Was that the most ...

HM:  Well, that was the most difficult because you ... didn't know where you were, number one, you're in a strange country and they're all spread out all over and you couldn't put any lights on to see where you were going and I had to read a map with a raincoat over my head and a flashlight trying to figure out where to go.

SH:  Were you a good map reader?

HM:  Yes.  I had to be, or I'd have been in the wrong spot.

LW:  Did you get lost much?

HM:  No, no, I didn't.

SH:  When was the first time that you were actually under fire?  Or are you far enough back that you would only hear it? ...

HM:  Well, I can't recall now to be honest with you. 

LW:  Do you remember your division motto at all?

HM:  No.

LW:  Well, I looked it up; it was "Get it done."  Do you remember using that?

HM:  No, I don't remember. [laughter]

SH:  It's a good one though, right?

HM:  Yes.

LW:  So, were you ever injured during the war?

HM:  No, I was very lucky.

SH:  When you would make these river crossings like the Moselle, and then from the Moselle you pushed east to the Rhine...

HM:  Yes, right.

SH:  Can you compare those two crossings?  I mean, Moselle would be your first major river to cross.

HM:  Yes, except that it was already set up for the Moselle crossing.  On the Rhine crossing, I always remember being on the bluff overlooking the Rhine, and I was there with the regimental commander and an officer from the Air Corps, who was directing the strafing of the German positions and ... all the information was coming in from runners, and so forth, but I was right there with the commanding Colonel.

SH:  What time of day did you watch this, early morning?

HM:  This was in the morning, yes, the Rhine River, right.

SH:  Was the weather with you this time?

HM:  Yes, it was clear.  It was clear. 

SH:  I assumed it was because they were able to strafe with fighters. 

HM:  I lost my old rifle company commander, captain, and first sergeant, and an officer that took my platoon over was wounded.

SH:  At the Rhine, crossing the Rhine?

HM:  Yes, at the Rhine River.

SH:  How soon did you know of those casualties?

HM:  Oh, later on, much later on.

SH:  When you're watching something like this, what are you feeling?  ... Do you have to just shut down and just do what you do?

HM:  That's about it.

SH:  Those were the first casualties for you personally that you knew?

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  Was at the Rhine?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  How long did that operation take, to get across the Rhine River, do you remember?

HM:  No, I don't.

SH:  ... There was quite a bit of trouble making that crossing.

HM:  Yes.  I can't recall now how long.

SH:  Once you got across the Rhine, what were you told?  Where were you going next?

HM:  Well, I don't recall.  We got up out of the river and then, we sat for a while.  I remember being up there for quite a few days.

SH:  Were there replacements being brought in continually into the division?

HM:  Well, I can't recall because I didn't get involved in that.

SH:  Right, okay.  When you were in the position that you were in, and you are trying to find all these people and I assume that this is something that you did nearly every night because there would be something each day that you would have to have them prepared to do, was it always the same jeep driver that was with you?

HM:  No, I had two jeep drivers.  (Bibey?) was the first one, that's the one that I had most of the time, but I had another one also.

SH:  Now, were they from South Dakota or Minnesota?

HM:  No, they were from Texas.

SH:  So, much for the Midwest, right.  Were you able to get mail often or regularly?  Were there any care packages coming your way?

HM:  Well, I don't think there was any problem with it, I mean, I got mail and I got care package so apparently it was all right.

SH:  ... The officers' mess, was it very informal, was it, how did that work?

HM:  Well, I think all during combat there wasn't any officers' mess.  We ate K-rations and C-rations just like everybody else.

SH:  Did you eat by yourselves or did you eat with the enlisted men?

HM:  Both.

SH:  One of the issues that the seminar class is discussing is the interaction between officers and enlisted men or non- commissioned officers.  Can you tell us how strict the Army was, or not?

HM:  Well, I don't know.

SH:  You talked about one officer who was such a, he wanted you to go around and make sure everything was clean, in North Carolina, but when you got overseas, did that go by the wayside?  There was no 'spit and polish' I would assume.

HM:  No, none whatsoever.

SH:  Do you remember pulling up your thumb and sitting with some of your enlisted guys?

HM:  No.

SH:  For conversations or...

HM:  No.  I mean, I always talked to (Bibey?) and the other driver.  I mean, I didn't have an intimate relationship with any because I didn't have any directly under my command.  I mean, I was completely separate.

SH:  Did you have respect for the other officers that you were working with?

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  And reporting to?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Do any stand out in your mind?

HM:  No, not that I can think of.

SH:  You have a Combat Infantrymen's Badge, how long were you in the field before you were taken off the line?

HM:  Before what?

SH:  Before you had any kind of R&R or downtime?

HM:  All through the war, from the time we went overseas till the war ended, we weren't given any time off.

SH:  Okay, all right, there was no, "Let's rest and relax this weekend and then move forward."? 

HM:  No.

SH:  You continually pushed, though after the Rhine you said there was a time of staying put.

HM:  Well, we stayed for a couple of days, yes.  But they had portable showers brought in, the men got a shower and change of clothing but that's about what you say rest and relaxation was.

SH:  At any point, did you have like extra shoes or boots or extra socks or anything to help you, because that's a horrible winter that whole.  Europe probably had one of the worst on record at that point.

HM:  You know a very funny thing:  As I was told before I went overseas, and before I went into combat, was, "Don't put what you want in your footlocker, because the decks in England are full of footlockers.  If you want anything, put it in your (val pack?), any good clothes and good shoes and anything like that."  So, that's what I did, and, of course, they lost my (val pack?) in the Rhine River.

SH:  What did you do then?

HM:  I didn't have any good dress clothes, or anything, period.  I didn't need them.

SH:  When they would bring the showers up, would they also bring up hot food, meals for you?

HM:  We'd have hot food occasionally, yes.  They would try to do that.  It all depended on the situation.

SH:  What did the men think of people like General Patton and General Eisenhower and General Omar Bradley, did they ever talk about it?

HM:  I don't know, because I didn't have that much contact with them.

SH:  No, no, I meant your fellow officers.

HM:  Oh, I don't think we ever talked about them much, to be honest with you.

SH:  Really?  I mean, did the stories of Patton slapping the enlisted man, did that...

HM:  I don't think we ever heard about it, to be honest with you.

SH:  Okay, all right.  As you move east then out of the Rhine, obviously, you're in Germany now, what were you seeing?  Was there more devastation than what you had seen in France?  Was the Allied bombing being effective?

HM:  Well, most of the area that we went through, the towns weren't destroyed.

SH:  Okay, so they were not major industrial area or something like that.

HM:  No, no.

SH:  How were the German people that you were meeting?

HM:  Well, we couldn't talk to them, there was an order out as the war neared its end, maybe about a month before, not to talk to the German civilians.

SH:  Really?

HM:  Oh, yes, you weren't supposed to talk to the German civilians at all, and a very funny incident happened because of that.  When the war ended, we were deep in the Russian territory.  The Russians are going to come in and we had our first order to pull back and turn the area over to the Russians. ... Our regiment was going back and there was a very critical intersection that they had to go one way.  So, to make sure, they didn't put an enlisted man at the intersection, they put an officer and that was me.  So, I had to stand at this intersection and direct them and while I was standing there, two middle-aged women walked up to me and one of them said, in perfect American English, "Are you turning us over to the Russians?"  ... Of course I couldn't answer her because you weren't supposed to talk, but this was an American; and when I didn't answer her, she said, "Well, young man, someday you'll know that love has no boundaries."  I always remember that.

SH:  I bet you do. 

HM:  She had married some German.

SH:  She's letting you know.

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Wow, what a story.  When you were told that you had to back up, so to speak, and let the [Russians] take over the territory that you had secured, was there any reaction?  Did anybody think that wasn't a good idea or...

HM:  Well, no, because we were in Russian territory then.

SH:  It had already been decided.

HM:  Yes.  In fact, we had to pull back three times.

SH:  Did you?

HM:  Yes. 

SH:  Had you heard any of the stories about how the Russians were as soldiers and as occupiers?

HM:  Well, all the rumors you heard was that they were barbarians.

SH:  But you yourself never saw them as...

HM:  I didn't see any, no.

SH:  What about the labor camps and the concentration camps, did your group or the 89th ever come across...

HM:  Yes, we liberated some.

SH:  Ohrdruf?

HM:  ... Oh, no, I don't know what ones now we did.

SH:  Did you yourself see any of the inmates?

HM:  Yes.  They're pretty sad the ones that I saw.

SH:  Did you ever come upon camps where Americans had been held POWs?

HM:  No, but where British had been held.

SH:  Really?

HM:  Yes, in fact, we liberated a British POW camp.

SH:  Did you?  Now, were they mostly flyers that had been shot down?

HM:  No, these were, I don't know what they were.  I think, they were general British soldiers.

SH:  Okay, all right.  Were they in good shape, had they been treated well?

HM:  Yes, they appeared to be all right.  In fact, I was told to go and make arrangements for the transport of them and I went to the British commanding officer and, even though this was a German POW camp, the British colonel lived like a British colonel; he had his own batman there and everything.

SH:  Really?

HM:  Yes.  The Germans treated officers different than they did enlisted men.

SH:  Oh, wow, so how did you send them back, by truck?

HM:  By truck.

SH:  They all went at the same time?

HM:  Oh, I don't know, I just made the initial contact.

SH:  You were then assigned to occupation duty, your group, when the war ends in April or May.  Was there any talk that you would be sent back to the States and then on to the European Theater?

HM:  Well, you mean, the Japanese theater.

SH:  Oh, yes, I'm sorry, Pacific Theater.  I totally turned it around, I'm sorry.

HM:  Okay.  When the war was over we were then sent back to Camp Lucky Strike, the tent city we landed in back in December, and we were, theoretically, supposed to be put in as replacements for some of the divisions that were going to the Pacific and, of course, after we were there for a while, why the war in Japan ended.

SH:  So, you were still in Europe when the war ended.

HM:  We were still at Camp Lucky Strike.  So, oddly enough, ... they didn't need any liaison officers; I went back to my old battalion, back to my old rifle company.

SH:  Oh, did you?

HM:  Yes, and the first thing the battalion commander did was send me to Paris to the hospital to get the lieutenant that took my place that was wounded.  So, I brought him back from Paris to Camp Lucky Strike. [laughter]

SH:  Had he recovered well from his wounds?

HM:  Yes, right.  So, we stayed there for a while, and then, oddly enough, they sent me back to Germany and then to Austria, instead of back to the States. [laughter]

SH:  Tell us about the reaction when you know that the war is over in Europe?  Was there any jubilation?

HM:  I don't recall any big thing because it was sort of ending for quite awhile before it did end.  I mean, you know, the Germans had been surrendering then, so it wasn't something unusual.

SH:  Did you yourself see any of the German prisoners of war?

HM:  ... Oh, yes.  They had fields of them.  I could always remember it was like a huge football field full of Germans, and the guns were all stacked up, and I was bringing back a whole convoy of Germans and ... trucks ... and I passed our regimental outpost and one of the sergeants from regimental headquarters yelled out, "Hey, Lieutenant, the President is dead."  That was when Roosevelt died. 

SH:  What was the reaction?

HM:  Well, I hate to say this, but at the time I said, "Thank God," because all I remember was "Roosevelt that dirty beggar."  That's my grandfather every night saying when he listened to the radio.

SH:  Did you have confidence in Truman?

HM:  Yes, I didn't know that much about him.

SH:  ... Your regiment has turned around and you're moving back, you said three times, then you basically just continued back to France.

HM:  Back to France, yes.

SH:  When you are in Camp Lucky Strike, were you being held there while they got the ships there to take you out?  What was the holdup there, do you know?

HM:  Well, we processed others going; see, La Havre was right there, and so the last spot they went to was Lucky Strike before they got on the boats.  So, we processed them for return.

SH:  So, that was part of your job there?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  How did the point system work?  Did it work well?

HM:  Well, I don't know.  Of course, I didn't have many points because I wasn't married or didn't have children and, of course, they were the first to go, and, then, those that had been overseas longer went next.

SH:  What about when the war ended then in Japan?  Were there any celebrations in Camp Lucky Strike?

HM:  I can't recall.

SH:  When you went to Paris, did you get any kind of liberty or were you just a man with a job to do and in there and out?

HM:  Yes, I had a day or two in there.  I got to Champs-Elysees, saw Paris.

SH:  Did you?

HM:  Yes.  In fact, when I picked him up we went to a night club and parked out in front because there was no cars around, and when we came out, the jeep was gone and, "Oh, man."  So, we asked an MP where the headquarters was and so he told us where and we went and told them our jeep had been stolen.  But it was picked up by the MPs.  You were not supposed to park there.  Of course, we didn't know, we were just coming back from combat and we'd gone in there.  So, the officer, when he saw that we were infantrymen, that we're just back, felt sorry for us, so he took us out and got ... our jeep.

SH:  A little detour, right?  So, did you try the drink in France that everybody talks about, the calvados?

HM:  That doesn't strike me as familiar.

SH:  I'm probably not pronouncing it right.  But we've heard some good and bad stories on the over or under use of that drink.

LW:  Did you drink much when you were over there?

HM:  No.  In fact, we had a liquor ration for officers and then, during the war, they broke it up so it went to the enlisted men, too, and I never took a drink because I was afraid to be caught drinking on duty, I mean, it just didn't seem the thing to do.

SH:  Well, you were never off duty, were you?

HM:  No, that's right.  I didn't have a drink for six months, I guess.

SH:  Did you smoke at that time?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  We've heard stories of people giving their chocolate and, you know, trading their cigarettes for all sorts of stuff; did you do that?

HM:  No, the only thing I did ... I remember I got a haircut once from a German barber and I gave him cigarettes instead of money and he was very appreciative of that.

SH:  So, you weren't afraid of a German with a sharp instrument.

HM:  No. [laughter]

SH:  You had to have been terribly disappointed to find out that your orders now are sending you back to Germany after having been in Lucky Strike and processing all these people to come home.

HM:  Yes. ... We knew we couldn't go home, I mean, we didn't have the points.

SH:  How many came back with you? ...

HM:  No, I think we were all broken up.  In fact, nobody that I knew went with me.

SH:  Okay, so what did you go back as, what was your job now?

HM:  Well, I went back to the 83rd Infantry.  No, I went to some place in Germany for about two weeks, and, then, I was sent to Austria, and I ended up as an executive officer in the 83rd Division, company, Headquarters Company.

SH:  Headquarters company, what was your job, then?  What were you doing?

HM:  Not much of anything, to be honest.

SH:  You were getting some sleep?

HM:  Yes, yes, and yes, then the duty wasn't bad.  We've taken over the best hotel in Linz, Austria.  It was right on the Danube River and it had a nice dining room, and, in fact, we ended up having an orchestra play for our meals at night.

SH:  Really?

HM:  It was very, very good.

SH:  What were you sent there to do?  Were you there to make sure that the displaced people got, persons got back to their

HM:  Well, after I was there for about a month or two, they told me to go to division headquarters; I went to division headquarters and they said, "You're a real estate officer for Upper Austria."  I didn't know what to do as a real estate officer, so I devised a big thing about what outfit had been there what damage was done, and all of that, and then I inspected the war damage throughout Upper Austria, and that was my job.

SH:  So, you were then dealing directly with the German civilians or Austrian.

HM:  Yes.

SH:  How did they treat you?

HM:  Very well, very well.

SH:  Were their claims legitimate, or were they...

HM:  Yes, to be honest with you, there wasn't much damage done in Austria in the areas that I was in.  The fighting hadn't gotten down there to any degree, so there were hardly any claims to speak of.  We'd set up a rest center down in the lakes, it was like the Finger Lakes in New York State.  They were beautiful and we made an officers' rest home down there.

SH:  Did you really?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Did you take advantage of the officers' rest home?

HM:  Oh, yes. 

SH:  So, how was it set up?  What did you have there?  What were some of the amenities that you were able to...

HM:  Well, again, as I said, we had excellent dining room at the hotel

SH:  So, this is where you had the hotel?

HM:  In Linz, yes.  It was very nice.

SH:  How many other officers were there with you?

HM:  Well, I don't know.  The hotel was full because it was the headquarters for US Forces, Upper Austria.  So, there were other things there, like the engineers and all various branches of the service.

SH:  Who did you have working for you?  Were they the Austrian people?

HM:  Well, I had an Austrian secretary, right.

SH:  Did she speak English well?

HM:  Fairly well.

SH:  Did you get to do any sightseeing at that point?

HM:  ... Oh, yes.  I traveled all around the area we had.

SH:  We heard that some people took advantage of college courses that were offered while they were part of the occupation forces.  Were you aware of any of those?

HM:  No.

SH:  How many months did you have to wait before you were allowed to come back to the States?

HM:  I'm trying to think  I didn't come back until the next year, in '46.  So, I stayed over there till then; we came back in May, I guess, and we were married in August, yes.

SH:  So, you two had been able to keep up your correspondence? 

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Did you wait to propose until you got home?

HM:  I don't recall.

SH:  You received the Bronze Star.

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Do you remember what that was for?

HM:  No, for being a good soldier.

SH:  Was it for your work prior to the war ending or after?

HM:  Before the war ended, for being in combat.

SH:  Okay, all right, I have heard of people being awarded the Bronze Star for the work they did during the occupation as well so I thought I would ask.

HM:  No.

SH:  Your brother had managed to stay at Michigan during the war.

HM:  Right, he finished college.

SH:  Did you then know what you planned to do other than to get back to the States?  Were you thinking long term other than getting married?

HM:  No, just going to come back and finish college.

SH:  You wanted to finish.  Did any of your attitudes change at all about what you needed to do when you came home, or to change your major?  You stayed with your journalism major?

HM:  Well, no.  When I came back I tried to get as many economic courses as possible.  I never did take many journalism courses, as such.  That was pretty much it.

LW:  Did you stay in contact with any of your friends you made during the war?

HM:  I'm trying to think, yes, I did, but they all up and went in all different areas, different ways.

SH:  Had you seen any of your Rutgers buddies when you were in Europe?  Did you ever run into anybody that you knew from Rutgers?

HM:  No, I can't think that I did. 

SH:  What ship did you come back to the States on?

HM:  A troop ship that one wasn't as good as the one we went over on; we were in three bunks high.

SH:  Really?

HM:  Yes, but it was a way to get back.

SH:  Were the officers three bunks high?

HM:  Yes. 

LW:  Was it hard adjusting to coming back to college life after being in combat and war?

HM:  Oh, yes, it took a while.  Yes, but it was done.

LW:  Did you have much time in between coming back and starting school again or did you jump right into class?

HM:  I think I jumped right into classes because we were married in August and I started in September.

SH:  Was your wife still in school?

HM:  No, you just graduated, didn't you? [Speaking to Mrs. Morrison]

SH:  Well, when you came back ... where did you live, then?

HM:  Well, when I came back and we were married, ... the housing they had for married students were already filled by those who had gotten back earlier, so, fortunately, my brother had an apartment in New Brunswick because he was training under a veterinarian in Highland Park.  So, he gave me his apartment, and he went out to Oregon to work for the state as a veterinarian.  He worked there for a couple of years till he came back East.

SH:  ... You get back to the States you said, I think, in May or June?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Did you live in Franklin before you got married?

HM:  Yes.  That was my home.

SH:  Before you went overseas had you met your wife-to-be's family?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Where was she from?

HM:  Philadelphia.

SH:  Oh, so not so far away, and had she met your family?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  So, you were pretty serious before you went overseas?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  Did you save any of your letters back and forth?

HM:  No.

EM:  We didn't; we burned them all in a bonfire, in the backyard, in Franklin where he lived.

HM:  Yes, that's right.

SH:  Oh, no, as a historian, oh, no.  Well, tell us what it was like then.  I mean you're coming back to Rutgers, a seasoned veteran, a married man, and now you're back in school.  Did you see any of your fraternity brothers?

HM:  I'm trying to think, ... I don't know.  Of course, we were living in the apartment in New Brunswick, going to school; I don't recall too much contact with any of the others, no.

SH:  So, you basically began to focus on economics, you said, when you came back?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  How did the Rutgers administration treat a returning veteran?

HM:  Fine, I had no complaints.

SH:  When you were in the classroom, were most of the student veterans, or were there some eighteen-nineteen-year-olds that were fresh out of high school?

HM:  Well, I guess, it was a combination of both.

SH:  Did the veterans talk among themselves about where they had been and what they encountered, or were they just pretty much back to business?

HM:  I think they were pretty much back to business.  Of course, I was living in town and just coming to class, so I really wasn't on the campus in the sense that it was before the war.

SH:  Did you and your wife take advantage of any of the musical programs or anything that was offered during that time?

HM:  I can't recall.

SH:  ... Many people have talked about how different it was to come back and what the campus looked like.  Do you remember if there were a lot more people there on campus?

HM:  Well, it was changed to a degree because it was bigger, I think.

SH:  When you finished your degree then, it would have been the fall of 1947?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  What did you decide to do then?

HM:  Well, I went over to the placement office and they had two jobs, that was all.  One was to work for theAsbury Park Press in the advertising department selling advertising and the other was to go with the Zurich Insurance Company in New York on a two-year training program.  The Asbury Park Press paid thirty-five dollars ... a week and the Zurich training program paid two hundred dollars a month with six months raises to three hundred dollars.  So, actually, my father had been in insurance, more or less, and it sounded more like an interesting thing rather than selling advertising.  So, I went into New York and interviewed and got the trainee's job.  So, that's how I went into the insurance business.

SH:  Did you think of using your GI Bill to go on to graduate school?

HM:  No, because I was old enough then, and married, and wanted to get started.

SH:  So, was Mrs. Morrison working?

HM:  Yes.  Yes, she worked for Squibb.  Isn't that right?

EM:  That's right, yes.

SH:  You missed her graduation or did you get back in time for that?

EM:  He missed it.

HM:  I missed it, yes.  Well, I have two daughters and a son.  One daughter is living here in Ocean City, the other daughter is in Rochester, New York, and my son is in Florida.  The daughter in Rochester is going to take over our house in Florida and our son in Florida is coming up here to take over our house here.  So, we will have a son and a daughter here in Ocean City.

SH:  Now, from New York, where did your career take you?  You went to New York for the training program, were you stationed in, I don't know if that's the correct word...

HM:  Well, I took the two-year training program and I was a special agent in New Jersey for about a year, and, then, we moved to Philadelphia because we had an opportunity to get a house.  A house was offered to us.  So, I left Zurich and went to Philadelphia.  Then, I had joined Allstate in Philadelphia, worked in Philadelphia as an underwriter, special field underwriter, and the assistant underwriting manager.  Then, I was sent to Rochester to the underwriting manager for New York State and that covered everything from Buffalo to Albany.  Then, after about eighteen years, I guess, the Governor of Maryland was upset with the insurance companies coming in and pulling out of Maryland and they suffered losses, so he decided to set up his own insurance company.  So, that was the first insurance company run by a state and the man that they picked was, he had some job in New York, he was coordinating with all of the insurance companies in New York State and Allstate was one of them that was under his jurisdiction.  So, he set it up and I would, through him, went down as director of underwriting for the Maryland Insurance Company.  So, that's where I worked until we retired and moved here to Ocean City.

SH:  Oh, wow, okay, so you were in Maryland then until you moved here. 

HM:  Yes.

SH:  All right, but you also said that you had a home in Florida so you threw me off, I thought there was

HM:  Well, I retired early.  I was about fifty-four when I retired and we had a very enjoyable life.  We spent thirty years traveling and we had a ... home in Florida as well as here and we had a trailer that we or, I mean, a camper and we traveled all over the United States, Alaska, Newfoundland.  We used to go to Europe, about six times.

----------------------------------------END OF SIDE TWO, TAPE ONE-----------------------------------

LW:  Tape two, side one.  This continues an interview with Harris R. Morrison, on October 13, 2006, in Ocean City, New Jersey, with Lance Weaver and Sandra Stewart Holyoak.

SH:  You were talking to us a bit about your traveling since your retirement and I wanted to ask when you went back to Europe were you able to show your wife and family where you had been during the war?

HM:  No, but we saw where we crossed the Rhine River.

SH:  Did you?

HM:  Yes, but from the German side.  [laughter]

SH:  Were you on one of the trips down the Rhine?

HM:  Yes, we went on a Rhine trip.

SH:  Had it changed much or was it just as you remembered it?

HM:  Just as I remembered it.

SH:  Have you managed to keep up with Rutgers at all or has any of your family gone to Rutgers?

HM:  Well, oddly enough, in Florida we were in the Rutgers Club of Sarasota, in Manatee County, and they were very active and all winter long, I'd say three to four times during the winter, we'd have dinner parties and speakers and it was a very active club, much more active. 

LW:  How do you think the war impacted you as the man that you became?

HM:  Well, I think it gave you a lot of self confidence.

LW:  Do you feel it helped ... with your job and everything, too?

HM:  Yes, yes. 

LW:  Did you ever have a hard time coping with what you saw when you were in the war?

HM:  No.

SH:  Did you see others who did?

HM:  No, I didn't, to be honest with you.  I don't recall it. 

SH:  All right, well, if there is anything we have forgotten to ask you, or anything that you would like to add to the tape, please do. 

HM:  I can't think of anything.  I think it's been pretty thorough.

SH:  Well, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us today and we look forward to being back in touch with you.  All right, so thank you.

HM:  All right, thank you.


LW:  Oh, one last thing, we were told about your nickname being "Jigger".

HM:  Yes.

LW:  Where did that come from?

HM:  Oh, I had that from the time I was about fourteen or fifteen.

LW:  Oh, really?

HM:  ... Everybody had a nickname when I was growing up as a boy and, with a first name like Harris, you can't be Bill, Tom, Dick, or Jim, or something.  So, some had nicknames like Ducky and so forth, and I liked the nickname Jigger.  It was a soda shop or a soda, so I just used that.

LW:  So, you picked it for yourself, then?

HM:  Yes.

LW:  Oh, all right.

SH:  When you were at Rutgers before the war, was there a football team?

HM:  Yes.

SH:  They managed to keep it up during the war.

HM:  I don't know.

SH:  I was just curious, if you remember going to football games when you came back.  You said, it was very much back to business and you were living off campus in your brother's place.  Did you attend any of the sports events?

HM:  ... No, not that I can recall.

SH:  Okay.

HM:  Yes, I think mostly on the weekends we went north to Franklin. 

SH:  Okay.  That would be one question I was going to ask if your family still there?

HM:  They were there, yes.

SH:  Did you ever get a chance to show your children the mineral collection that your grandfather had left to Rutgers?

HM:  No, no.

SH:  Well, again, thank you so much for taking time.

HM:  You're quite welcome.  Thank you for all your time. [laughter]

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

Reviewed by Lance Weaver 12/11/06

Reviewed by Jessica Ding 10/31/07

Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 11/15/07

Reviewed by Harris Morrison 1/8/08