Moon,June McCormack

  • Sponsor Image
  • Interviewee: Moon, June McCormack
  • PDF Interview
  • Date: October 20, 2003
  • Place: Allentown, New Jersey
  • Interviewers:
    • Sandra Stewart Holyoak
    • Eliza Davino
  • Transcript Production Team:
    • Domingo Duarte
    • Jessica Thomson
    • June McCormack Moon
    • Sandra Stewart Holyoak
  • Recommended Citation: Moon, June McCormack Oral History Interview, October 20, 2003, by Sandra Stewart Holyoak and Eliza Davino, Page #, Rutgers Oral History Archives. Online: Insert URL (Last Accessed: Insert Date).
  • Permission:

    Permission to quote from this transcript must be obtained from the Rutgers Oral History Archives. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Eliza Davino:  This begins an interview with June McCormack Moon on October 20, 2003, with Eliza Davino and …

Sandra Stewart Holyoak:  Sandra Stewart Holyoak.  Thank you so much, Mrs. Moon, for taking time this morning to sit and talk to us about your experiences as a young woman during the war years and now after.  To begin the questioning could you tell us where and when you were born?

June Moon:  I was born on June 24, 1929, just before the Great Crash and Depression.

SH:  Being born in June did that have anything to do with your name?

JM:  I think it did.  My mother wasn't very creative.

SH:  Where were you born?

JM:  Lakewood, New Jersey, and then we moved to Hampton where I was brought up.

SH:  How many brothers and sisters did you have?

JM:  I had one full brother and one half brother that I met about eight years ago.

SH:  You'll have to tell us more about that story if you want.  Can you tell us, please, were you younger or older than your brothers?

JM:  My brother was two years younger.  The other brother, which I call Other Brother, was five years older than me.

SH:  Why were your parents living in Lakewood?  How did they meet?

JM:  My mother lived in Lakewood and she was still involved with her former husband when I was born and my father, my real father, and mother got together and took me to Hampton where I was brought up, separated from her former life.

SH:  What did you do in Hampton, what was your father's work?

JM:  He was a State Policeman and he was involved with the Hauptmann trial and the Hindenburg disaster and he was hardly ever home, he had one day off a week, and then he had to live in the barracks.

SH:  Which barracks was he stationed in?

JM:  Several different ones.  One time in New Egypt, the last one in Howell Township.

SH:  Did your mom work?

JM:  No, heavens, no, crazy idea in those days, and, of course, she wouldn't have had a car and she didn't know how to drive, anyway, so, she was trapped in Hampton with my brother and me.

SH:  What are your first and earliest memories of living in Hampton?

JM:  Using the outhouse at night in the cold, things like that, and berry picking.  [We] had a very calm life there, and going to school, walking to school and home for lunch and back to school.

SH:  How was your school set up?

JM:  It was a one-building school with an elementary school on the first floor and the high school on the second floor and there were several grades in one room.  For instance, there was kindergarten, first, and second in one room, so I went from kindergarten to second because I was interested in what the second graders were studying. So, that's how I graduated at sixteen.

SH:  How many kids were in your class in high school?

JM:  I graduated from eighth grade with twelve and from high school, with six towns contributing students, twenty-two.  Since then, the high school had been merged into a regional school, I guess, Northern Hunterdon.  So, when we have reunions, we go from '55 back to however many people are still alive and we all "reunion" together.

SH:  Did you have cousins and grandparents, and did you interact with them?

JM:  Grandparents, no.  I didn't interact with them.  I had one grandfather in Trenton but we only saw him about three times while he was alive.  He came over from Ireland in the Potato Famine, a McCormack and other relatives?  We had some cousins in Jersey City and Bayonne who came to visit every once in a while and some of them stayed for a week in the country.

SH:   Did you do any traveling, whether to New York City or Philadelphia?

JM:  You didn't travel in those days.  My uncle took us in his car when he had gas stamps to the movies in the next town, Washington or Clinton.  They both had a movie theater, so he would take us on a Saturday.  We would watch the weekly serials.

SH:  Which year did you enter high school?

JM:  That would be '42.  I graduated in '46.  Eighth grade [was] '41, that's when the war started.

SH:  How was the economy in rural New Jersey during the Depression?   What do you remember, what stories?

JM:  Well, nobody had very much except we did pretty well because my father had a job with the State Police and people would give him deer meat.  Anyway I remember my mother used to soak it in milk before she would cook it and since I'm vegetarian except for fish, the whole concept is [foreign] to me.

SH:  Did your mom do a lot of canning?

JM:  No.  Mom was very aloof.  She was not a kissy, huggy type mother.  She was there if you needed her.

SH:  What took up your time?  I mean, did you write, play act?

JM:  We were playing, well, paper dolls were a big thing when I was in the fourth and fifth grade.  My cousin and I used to gather them up and play with them instead of Barbie, which wasn't around at that time.  There was no television, so we listened to the radio a lot.  Every half-hour there was a war bulletin, and then after, serials with war themes.

SH:  How aware were you as a young woman, a very young woman, in rural New Jersey of what was going on in Europe, of Hitler's rise to power?

JM:  We knew that there was a Hitler but we were not informed about very much that was going on in the war because, I guess, the War Department didn't want us to be disturbed and upset.

ED:  What was your viewpoint on Hitler?  Did they tell you about Hitler?

JM:  He was a bad man.  … Even when they had the information come out about the Buchenwald and all that, we never heard about it.  So, if it was bad, they kept it to themselves.

ED:  Where were you when you heard about Pearl Harbor?

JM:  I was in the sunroom of my house and I was lying on the floor listening to music when they interrupted the program and said that the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor and I went out to the kitchen where my mother and my aunt and uncle were standing and said, "Where's Pearl Harbor?"  No idea, but I said, "The Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor."  That was when they all came into the [room] to listen to the reports.

ED:  What was their reaction?

JM:  They were all upset, of course, and so was I.  I'm not sure if I remember if they told me where Pearl Harbor was, maybe they didn't know either, but we soon found out it was in Hawaii.

SH:  In school the next day, was there much talk in the classrooms?

JM:  No, it was a very underplayed kind of community.

SH:  You would have been a high school freshman at that point.

JM:  I was in eighth grade.

SH:  '41-'42?

JM:  Yes,'41. 

SH:  What do you remember happening and how did you participate?

JM:  I was a Girl Scout at that time and we would roll bandages almost every meeting for the boys, we knew where they would be going.

SH:  Was it a group Scout meeting in the school?

JM:  In the school, and the teachers were in the Scouts for the first time.  We also had to learn the silhouettes of the planes from Germany and Japan which might fly over and we would be able to identify them. 

SH:  Did you have any sort of, was there like an air warden assigned to be in charge of the school?

JM:  Not the school but the town, and we had blackout practices.

SH:  Now this is in the town of Hampton?  Did his [your father's] duties change at all, that you are aware of, with the State Police?

JM:  No, he's still was away a lot and we had just put two new rooms, on the back of the house and two new bedrooms upstairs just before the war started, and then when it started we had to block off all the new section because of the price of oil and the difficulty of getting oil to heat the house.   So, we just heated one little section.

SH:  How far was the nearest grocery store from you?  Did you have to walk?

JM:  I had to walk.  That was about a mile and a half.  We did a lot of walking and we walked around.  That was, you said what did we do?  We took hikes, we took bicycle trips.

SH:  Were you involved with 4-H?

JM:  Just Girl Scouts.

SH:  Did the Girl Scouts go camping like Boy Scouts did?

JM:  We gathered up money for years and years and finally got to a camp, where we learned to identify airplanes and tie knots and swim and things like that.

SH:  Where did you go to camp?

JM:  Blairstown, N.J.  That may have been one of the reasons I was a Girl Scout leader for twenty-five years.

SH:  Do you remember how far you had to go?

JM:  That was quite a ride.  It was in Blairstown, quite a ways.

SH:  Were you involved with your church at all?

JM:  Yes, I was Catholic at that time and so I had the Communions and Confirmations.  My aunt was a Walsh and she insisted that I go to church, so I spent a lot of my time on my knees at that age.

SH:  Did you then, in fact, did you do much traveling?

JM:  No, we didn't travel.

SH:  Were there any bus trips?

JM:  We didn't have buses.  I think we might have one that went to Washington occasionally, but we were never on it.

SH:  Did you write letters?   Did you have pen pals?

JM:  I wrote to a sailor in high school and during the war.

SH:  Was it a sailor that you knew?

JM:  No, it was just, people would get names, and then they would write.  He wanted to meet me but my father was against that.  Then when the war ended and it was V-E Day, everybody went to New York City.

SH:  Did you go?

JM:  No.  My friend said, "You can come with us."  … My father said, "You are not going," and that was it.  He was so easygoing, I thought, sure [he would let me go] and I did react with tears.

SH:  It did not work, right?

JM:  He knew too much about life.

SH:  What about your younger brother, was he involved in Scouts as well?

JM:  He was in the Boy Scouts and he was an Altar boy.  There really wasn't much to do.

SH:  When did you take up painting and drawing and things like that?

JM:  Oh, … after all my children were born.  It was a Girl Scout project.  We were going to a painter and they were going to see how it all worked.  Everybody was going to do a little canvas and the teacher said, "Be careful you might get hooked."  Sure enough, I was.

SH:  For the tape I should say that Dr. & Mrs. Moon's house is full of paintings as both of them have taken this up as a hobby.  It's great to be sitting here with all those on the wall and around the room.  As the war is progressing, what are you hearing, what is being discussed in the classroom?

JM:  Actually they didn't discuss the war in the classroom at all.  At first everybody was somber and eighth grade was, people didn't even feel like doing class work.  I mean, I remember that as being a nothing year of learning and then things started to pick up, Rosie the Riveter, etc., and we were making progress.  We started pushing back the Germans.

SH:  Were there any industries in the Hampton area that were turned around?

JM:  They made stockings there.

SH:  Had it been changed because of the war production?

JM:  It was only in Washington, so it wasn't in Hampton.  Before that, there was a barrel factory in Hampton.  That was the only industry they ever had there and it was the end of the line for the trains, so it was called Junction before it was called Hampton.

SH:  What about the young men, like your high school friends, did anybody, were you aware of anybody's older brother or even kids in school, who were stopping school and enlisting?

JM:  No.  I just remember one boy that I knew that was killed.  His name was McElroy.  He had been in the class ahead of us and had gone off.

ED:  Did you support America joining the war?

JM:  Oh, sure.

ED:  Did your family, everyone?

JM:  Certainly, everybody was in it together and they sold War Bond stamps in the school, so, every week you took your five cents and then bought stamps and when you got the stamp book full you got a bond, a War Bond. So, everybody was helping with that.

SH:  You had shown us this in your scrapbook, copies of the different coupons and the stamps for sugar and all this.  How did your mother collect these kinds of things if she did not drive?  Did your father bring them home?  Did they come in the mail?  How were they distributed?

JM:  No, they were distributed from the school and that's when I found out my mother was ten years older than I thought she was.  I had to go up and get the stamp books and they had her age listed.

SH:  What kind of a discussion did that bring?

JM:  It didn't.  I didn't say anything.  When we were young, really young, we would ask a few questions and she would fib, so we didn't ask questions after a while.  In fact, that probably dampened down my inquisitive nature for a long time.

SH:  As a young woman then, what did you do as a high school student between, in the summer, between the spring semester ending and the fall beginning?

JM:  Well, we had the Muscanetcong River at the bottom of the hill and we did a lot of swimming, canoeing and that was our fun.  We'd walk back up to our house, getting an ice cream cone on the way.

SH:  Who were your best friends in high school?

JM:  Dorothy Miller was the daughter of the car salesman in the next town down and she was an NJC student with me, and Myrna Geiger was also in the class and the three of us were admitted to NJC.

SH:  We should back up then, how had you heard about NJC and decided to go to school there?

JM:  I took the college prep course in high school.  There I was on the track.

SH:  Did your family assume you would go to college?

JM:  Well, they hoped I would, because neither of them had.  So, I applied to NJC and Texas Tech.

SH:  Why Texas Tech?

JM:  I don't know.  I guess, I had received some kind of application.  I thought I'd like to go to Texas, you know, having never been too many places.  So, I was accepted at both but my father, who was a State Trooper, I think may have gotten some money off [tuition] and we weren't rich, so I went to NJC, not Texas.

SH:  How uncommon was it for women to go to college?

JM:  Very.

SH:  And three women went from just your school.

JM:  One little twenty-two person class.

SH:  Now was that the first time that so many had gone to NJC from your school or the first time ever, did you know?

JM:  Maybe.

SH:  Now what about your teachers, did they encourage you?

JM:  Yes, our teacher, that was our counselor for the class, her name was Miss Caskey, and she was definitely trying to bring the Hamptonites into the big world.  We had a junior prom and she was in charge of that and she said, "You are all going.  Find a long dress somewhere." The boys had to ask us.  There were only six boys.  I did have a date but it was sort of a coerced one, and we had a great time but it was fun.  She showed us cards that she had had in college, I think she went to NJC.  They were dance cards, with twelve dances listed, and the boys would write their names on them and she made us all participate in that kind of thing.

SH:  Was the dance held in the school?

JM:  Yes, you didn't go far.

SH:  Did you have a band come in and play, do you remember?

JM:  Yes, it was small.

SH:  Now who was invited besides the juniors?

JM:  Well, the whole school participated in almost everything, except for the plays.  I was telling Eliza about the minstrel show we gave in those days with black faces, and jokes about black people.  You're not allowed to do that today. 

SH:  What other activities were involved in the school?

JM:  Well, we took a trip to Radio City Music Hall.  I believe we were juniors when we did that and we also took a bus trip to Washington, DC, which none of the classes had done before as seniors.

SH:  Now was this all because of this young woman?

JM:  I'm sure. 

SH:  What was her name?

JM:  Caskey, I forget her first name.  I would call her Miss until she married.  When she did and we thought, "She's too old to be getting married," and actually her hair was blond, not gray.  She was quite a disciplinarian.

SH:  What were some of the different customs or manners that were required of young women in that day and age that Eliza wouldn't know in this day and age?  I mean, you talked about the dance card.  I'm sure Eliza has never been to a dance with a dance card.

JM:  No, I don't think so.  Well, when we were Scouts we always wore white gloves to flag ceremonies.  I remember one time we went and two of us only could find one glove, so we wore the one glove and sort of hid our hand on the other side.

SH:  What about make-up and hairstyles?

JM:  No make-up.  My father told me one time a story about a girl that had been killed and he said, "The only way I could tell it was a girl was the little lipstick that was showing quite clearly," and so he was against it.  He felt very much against anybody learning to drive before they were twenty-one.

SH:  Oh, really?

JM:  Yes.  He said, "Even a monkey can be taught to drive, it's no big deal."  So, I didn't learn to drive until I had my first baby, like twenty-two.

SH:  "Like," that's a phrase that you would have picked up in the 21st century.

JM:  I don't like it.  I'm trying to keep it out of my conversations. 

SH:  How strict were the teachers in your school?

JM:  When I first went to school, in about the second grade, I had a teacher that had taught my father, Miss Phipp, and she used a ruler quite liberally, on hands and shoulders and heads, wherever she could hit, and she was the strictest.  We were sitting in class one day and nobody came to teach us, and she had been found dead on her porch in a rocking chair.

SH:  Oh, my word.

JM:  She was one of the older teachers, so that was a little startling.

SH:  Were there sports for women in high school?

JM:  No way.  We did have recess, but we were allowed to wander the grounds, made little house places in the trees alongside the road.  They did have baseball and soccer for the guys.  They couldn't have football because they didn't have enough boys for the job.

SH:  In high school then, there were no physical activities for women?

JM:  We were cheerleaders.

SH:  You did have cheerleaders.

JM:  Definitely.  Every girl, not every girl, but almost every girl was a cheerleader.

SH:  Did you have uniform that you wore?

JM:  I have a picture of it in the book.  [It was a] sweater with [a] large red "H," and [a] black skirt.  Its colors [were] black and red.

SH:  I must tell you, she also had a wonderful scrapbook.  Tell me about the other schools you interacted with, as far as, was there a debate team?

JM:  No.  You cannot believe how dull and uncomplicated the lives were in those days.

SH:  Most of the people in your school, their families were farmers in that area, would you think for the most part?

JM:  [There were] railroad people because it was the end of the line, it was a turn-around, switch there.  Also, many farms.

SH:  Was it in your senior year that you decided to try for NJC?

JM:  Yes, we had to take SATs.  I think they were called that in those days.  So, we took the test.  There was no such thing as getting ready for it.

SH:  Were you already graduated from high school or did you find out before graduation that you were accepted?

JM:  Just before.

SH:  It must have been exciting.  What did you do?

JM:  Well, jumped up and down because, as I said, we didn't travel much and New Brunswick was a far piece from Hampton.

SH:  Had you gone to visit the campus at all?

JM:  No. 

SH:  Had you ever been to New Brunswick?

JM:  No.

SH:  Tell me then what you and your friends did to plan to get ready to go to NJC.  What was the next summer like?

JM:  That summer I worked at the Shore to make a little money.

SH:  Your father allowed you to work at the Shore?

JM:  He knew the man who owned the arcade in Point Pleasant.  So, I was the penny arcade change maker.

SH:  Was that your first job?

JM:  I did it for two summers.

SH:  So, you did it in your junior year as well?  Did you know at the end of your junior year you were going to make this application to NJC?

JM:  I don't think so.  It was kind of a developing thing in [my] senior year and then my father and mother wanted to move when I was a junior and I didn't want them to move.  I wanted to stay where I was and graduate with my friends, so, they stayed another year in Hampton than they would have otherwise. 

SH:  So, your brother had to then move when he was a junior.

JM:  He graduated from Asbury Park High.

SH:  So, your family actually moved to the Shore then?

JM:  They moved to Loch Arbor Apartments which went up in flames several years later, in the high wind and my mother's hair was singed. They were so close to it and my father was knocking on doors, waking people up.

SH:  So, they were actually there at that time.  You talked about the one young man from your past who had been killed in the war.

JM:  That was the class ahead of me.

[Editor's Note:  At this point, here seems to be another voice in the tape, possibly a ham radio conversation.]

SH:  When you came to NJC, that would have been in the fall of '46.  We talked about how you found out the war began.  How did you find out the war ended?

JM:  On the radio and the people were talking about it and talking about how they were going to New York to celebrate.

SH:  The war, of course, ended in Europe first, now you knew about that as well, but the war in the Pacific continued, this sailor that you were writing to, where was he stationed?

JM:  He couldn't say.

SH:  So, you didn't know?

JM:  APO [Army Post Office.] 

SH:  Which APO, New York?

JM:  Yes, that meant it's going to the servicemen.

SH:  What was his name, do you remember?

JM:  No.  I only wrote to him for about a year.  Then when he said he wanted to [meet] me, my father said, "No!"

SH:  End of story.  You're very dutiful, you've even forgotten his name.

JM:  I know, I remember the box number, 507.

SH:  Tell me then about coming to NJC for the first time.  Did you come to campus early?

JM:  Yes, we came a week early and I met my roommate, Catherine Bernard. 

SH:  So, each one of you from Hampton got a separate roommate?

JM:  There were two people in a room and then the lowly freshmen were on the first level.  Sophomores, juniors and seniors were able to be upstairs.

SH:  Now which dorm were you in?

JM:  Gibbons O.  It was quite a stroll from place to place from there.

SH:  Sorry, I believe I spoke over you as you were telling me the name of your roommate.

JM:  Catherine Bernard.  She was from Trenton and, unfortunately, a year after she graduated she died of cancer of the breast.  She had a baby and, I think they had to take the baby before she died.  So, that was very sad and she was a nice girl.

SH:  She married someone from Rutgers?

JM:  No.  She married someone that none of us wanted her to marry, but she did it anyway.

SH:  Now did she remain your roommate through the four years?

JM:  I wasn't there four years.  I was only there for one year.

SH:  Okay, this is what we need to find out, right?

JM:  Okay, I met Calvin [Moon].

SH:  In your freshman year.

JM:  My freshman year and early in my freshman year, because my Junior Sister, Jean Laroux, said, one of the things she had to do was get me a date.  She was engaged to the president of Beta Theta Phi, at that time, and all of the men in Beta Theta Phi were engaged, or going steady, except one, Calvin Moon.  So, she said, "Okay, got you a date," and so we all went to Schwabasaibe, a German dance hall, for our first date.  Then a week later he invited me to a football game and that was that.  I fell in love and was typing his papers instead of mine, and things like that.  Things deteriorated when I took German, which I hated, because I was supposed to be a chemistry major and they said you must take German.  Why, I have no idea.  Yes, you were supposed to be able to read the original language that the chemistry field had in the library.  These days that wouldn't have worked at all, then I immediately, at half term, changed to dramatic art, much more fun, and I was even in a play.  A couple of years later, somebody said, "Aristo, Aristo!" and I said "What?"  She said, "The play you were in, remember, you were the twelve-year-old idiot person, pointing at everybody, saying 'Aristo!'"  I said, "Oh, yes, that was fun." 

SH:  What was the curriculum for a freshman at NJC the first semester?

JM:  Well, it was chemistry, basic English, history, and history of art.  I believe and I don't remember too many other subjects.  I was too busy falling in love.

SH:  Your Junior Sister, what was the name of her fiancée?

JM:  Frank Irving and we'd meet with them, every once in a while we'd get together.  They live in St. Paul, Minnesota, so we either go over there and go to their cabin in Wisconsin, or they come here stay with us.  We still keep in touch. 

SH:  You have photographs here but you'll need to tell us for the tape what were some of the freshman activities and what you were required to do.

JM:  Well, that's one of the reasons why I wasn't studying too hard.  I was in the dance class, I think they called it orchasis.  Well, anyway, yes, modern dance class, that was fun, and I remember when we first got to gym, I was in the class where they made everybody go down to nude and have a picture taken, frontal and side, which we're all about to sue somebody about because they had no reason to do that.

ED:  Whose idea was that?

JM:  I have no idea.  Everybody, all the freshmen women had to do it.

ED:  Was it a male photographer?

JM:  I think so.  We stood in front of a sheet, "Stand and put your head up, turn to the side."

SH:  The entire freshman class?

JM:  Female.  I don't know whether the boys at Rutgers had to do that or not.

SH: For this photography session, who mandated it, who came to the freshman women and said, "This is what you are to do?"

JM:  I have no idea.  We just lined up one day and had our pictures taken.

SH:  Were you coming from class or from the lunch hall?

JM:  I don't remember that.

SH:  Do you remember whether it was in the morning or evening?

JM:  No.  It was a long time ago.

SH:  Let's talk about some of the other activities then, obviously, you were totally shocked at this.  What other activities did freshmen at NJC find themselves doing?

JM:  Well, we went to class.  We went to the dining hall and back again.  We weren't allowed to walk on the Sacred Path.  Is that still there?

SH:  I believe it is.  I don't know if they're not allowed …

JM:  Freshmen are not allowed.

SH:  Were there certain dress codes?

JM:  Couldn't wear red, at all, for any reason.

SH:  For any reason you couldn't wear any red, like trim, or anything?

JM:  Well, I had a trim on my skirt, which I had to remove.

SH:  Did women wear pants in those days?

JM:  No.  You had to wear gloves, too, to the Dean's Tea.

SH:  Oh, tell us about the Dean's Tea.

JM:  At the Dean's Tea, you had to wear a hat, which I had to locate.  We didn't wear hats very often in Hampton, except to church.  She had games and then she poured tea, you had a beautiful cup.

SH:  Who was the Dean?  Was it Dean Corwin at that time?

JM:  Yes, Corwin.  We played games of memory and thought, which I was almost the last one to get the answer, and I was embarrassed.

SH:  Did you have mandatory chapel?

JM:  Yes. 

SH:  What did that entail?

JM:  There were services and a choir or the glee club.  My roommate was a music major and she … studied opera, and she said, "You have to go and tryout for the glee club," and I said, "Oh, okay."  So, I went and they were doing something that I had never heard of, which was do re mi, singing the notes as do re mi.  I had no clue. Then when I did sing, I sang loud but I was trying to do alto and I had never studied music at all.  So, I was a complete washout.  I told her, "I didn't make the glee club."  She couldn't understand it, "It's amazing."  You know how there were 50,000 people in the glee club. 

Then, a couple of fellows came that I knew from Asbury Park came up to visit.  They knew I was there and I went out with them and then came back and a couple of days later somebody said, "Why didn't you invite your roommate?"  She was all upset that you didn't say "Come with me and the other guy."  I said, "It was because I knew what kind of guys they were.  They weren't her type."  So, that was about it.

SH:  How did your friends that came from Hampton acclimate to NJC?

JM:  Dorothy Miller became a mathematician and she lives near Washington, DC now, we go visit and she comes up to the reunions about every five years.  We try to get together for that. 

SH:  Did you have mostly female teachers at NJC?

JM:  No.  The chemistry teacher was a man.  I think the rest were women.

SH:  Was your German teacher a woman as well?

JM:  No, that's right. He was probably a Nazi.  Probably not, but remnants of hate were still embedded from the recent war.

SH:  Do you remember his name?

JM:  I don't remember.  Tried to forget that class.

SH:  Were there other Nazi sympathizers that you knew?

JM:  I don't think my Uncle Frank was a sympathizer but he was a Bund member, his name was Richter.  It was a sort of a social club at that time and then, I guess, later, he probably quit.

SH:  Was this your father's brother?

JM:  He was my father's sister's husband.

SH:  I was just curious.

JM:   A Richter and a McCormack, what a combination.

SH:  When you met Dr. Moon, how far along in school was he?

JM:  He was a junior and I remember that they had a freshman dance, a mixer for all the freshmen from Rutgers and he was a junior but he sneaked in so he could dance with me.

SH:  He looked young.

JM:  He looked like a freshman.

SH:  How were the holidays celebrated your freshman year at Rutgers or NJC?

JM:  Well, we had a celebration at chapel, Christmas music that was beautiful, and candles, and everything.  I imagine they're still doing that.  Other than that, a lot of people went home.

SH:  What about the Yule log?

JM:  Yes, they had that.  They dragged it in.

SH:  As a freshman, you talked a little bit, before we started the tape, about your initiation or your hazing.

JM:  There was a week of hazing.  We had to carry a balloon at all times to show that we were freshmen, wear clown dunce hat with our name on it, and carry our books, I believe, in a bucket, and that was that.  We had to bow down to the sophomores, who made us do it at every opportunity.  It was fun.  It was a way for them to learn our names because we had our names on tags.

SH:  The sister who was assigned to your well being, so to speak, was a junior then.

JM:  Yes, Junior Sister.

SH:  Did you have to bow down to anyone other than sophomores?

JM:  No, I think it was just the sophomores that were making us do that.  The other ones were just laughing on the sidelines.

SH:  Did anyone take offense to this sort of activity?

JM:  No, we expected it.  They had it in high school, too, the freshman year.  We had to wear our hair up.

SH:  At the end of this week of hazing, was there a dance, or a party, or anything that ended it?

JM:  Nothing special, it was just over, we put things away.

SH:  What was it like to go to a football game at Rutgers?

JM:  That was fun.  We had a special student area for everyone to be in.  So, Calvin had his friends there.

SH:  How often did you go back to Hampton?

JM:  Never.

SH:  This would be Asbury Park because now they've moved, right?

JM:  I didn't go back there very often either.  Went back when first year was over.  … I would have had to take French in summer school to continue on at NJC, but I wasn't able to do that because, I guess, they couldn't afford for me to go to summer school, and Cal was going to be there.

ED:  When did he propose?

JM:  On the telephone the next year.  But I did have his fraternity pin.

ED:  So, you were already gone when he proposed?

JM:  My mother told me I had to do more schooling of some kind, and that Dr. Crooks, our family doctor had an application for nurse's training, so that's where I ended up, in Newark, in Lutheran Memorial Hospital as a student nurse.

SH:  Did you start that that summer?

JM:  No, I worked that summer at the Shore and then went into nurse's training.  I got the highest mark they had ever had up to that time on my application.  I guess, it was because I'd had a year of college and the other girls [had not], so I got a scholarship and I was there for a year and he proposed over the telephone, which was very romantic.  We decided to get married and the nurse's training was at an end because you could not be married and still remain in nurse's training.

SH:  Oh, really?

JM:  Really. 

SH:  Would you have been allowed to continue at NJC as a married woman?

JM:  I'm not sure.  As far as I know there weren't any except for maybe day students, some of them might have been married.

SH:  You have to tell us how you got the pin, when and where?

JM:  That was at the beach.  One of the days that he finally got there.

SH:  This is in Asbury Park when you were working?

JM:  Point Pleasant.

ED:  After you went home, when you stopped going to college, how often did you see him?

JM:  Every time he could hike there, from Bordentown to the Shore.

ED:  How far is that from here?

Calvin Moon: Twenty-five or twenty-eight miles.  I walked the whole way more than once.

JM:  He really wanted to see me.  That's love.

CM:  It was about three and a half hours.  I hitchhiked, but I hardly ever got a ride, back roads.

SH:  The voice you hear in the background is Dr. Calvin Moon.  Tell us about the rest of the courtship.

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

SH:  How did the courtship evolved over that summer and before you left?

JM:  It kept evolving, and this was before I went into nurse's training.  Then I went off to Newark and we were the first class after the war, so, there were no orderlies.  That meant that we, the preemies, did everything including shaving the men for prepping for surgery.  It was kind of interesting.

SH:  Were there veterans in your hospital as patients?

JM:  No.  They went to the Veterans Hospital.  This was the Lutheran Church and eventually they closed it, and it became the Clara Mass Hospital in Orange.  But, they had no record of my being there when I tried to get my class records because I did go back to college, eventually, after the four children were born.  But we're getting ahead of the story.  There was a graduating class in nurse's training.  The older girls had put in their three years and they were just graduating and I remember one of them told me if I had a boyfriend, I either would not have him, or I would get married before I graduated, one or the other, because that's what happened.  I was one of the ones that got married. 

SH:  How did Dr. Moon manage to get up to Newark?

JM:  He borrowed his friend's train pass, which his friend lent him.  We would go out to dinner, which I bought, because I was the only one that had a dollar. 

SH:  Were you paid for some of the work that you did at the hospital?

JM:  No.  We were on scholarship.

SH:  Where were you housed?

JM:  We lived in the nurse's dorm.

SH:  How strictly run was that?

JM:  Very.

SH:  More so than NJC?

JM:  In fact, they had the doors barred and I said, "I think I'll report them to the fire department," because if there had been a fire, then we would have had to go out through the windows, which I think [on] the bottom level, were barred.  So, they were very strict.

SH:  So, they were even stricter than NJC.

JM:  Oh yes, much more.

SH:  We didn't talk about curfew at NJC.

JM:  There was one.  Many the time I was running across the field to make it. 

SH:  Do you remember what the curfew was at NJC?

JM:  I think it was ten.

SH:  Did it change on the weekends at all or when there were dances?

JM:  I'm not sure they had it on the weekends.  I can't remember, but dances they probably allowed later hours. They were in charge.

SH:  With the nursing program, were there any other activities other than class and on the job training?

JM:  No.  We took a bus to Upsala College for the study part of the anatomy and physiology, chemistry.  That was the third time I learned how to blow glass in the chemistry class, I remember that, high school, NJC, and nurse's training.  I was getting good at it.  I was making little animals and [being] frowned upon.  One time when we were going on the bus to class, we went by a place, which said, "Séances and we'll read your palms and show you what's going to be in your future."  We said, "Oh, we should go there!"  So, we were all too scared to go by ourselves to a place in the middle of Newark, but Calvin came to our rescue.  He said he would take us, so the whole class got together and we went over on the bus and got off at that stop and went in.  The woman who was in there took a personal item from each one of us that she could hold it in her hand, [so] she would be able to get vibrations for the future.  [When it] came time for me to have my fortune told, she said, "I hear wedding bells."  …[It] probably wasn't too hard to figure out, since she knew he and I were with each other.  But she told Cal that he would soon meet his friend Clifford and Calvin said, "I don't have any friend Clifford, I don't even know any Clifford."  About two weeks later on the train going to school he met an old buddy from way back, Clifford.  His jaw dropped, but that was fun.  That was about the only fun we had the whole year.  They were about to send me off to the Institute for the Mentally Insane, so I think I got out just at the right time.

SH:  You talked about going to Upsala for the classes but was there another nurse who was in charge of you?

JM:  Yes, head nurse.  We did things at the hospital, nutrition, and I remember when we were doing nutrition we were counting calories very carefully.  I said, "Why are we doing this?" and they said, "Because the people that are sick must have the [correct calories]."  I said, "They don't eat it."  So, I got yelled at, again.  What is the point of calorie counting if they're not going to eat?  I was poked in the back a couple of times because I was going too slowly and pushed along.

SH:  It was very strict it sounds like.

JM:  I had one Italian lady that I was giving bed baths to, I said, "I know some Italian."  She had some friends with her and she said, "What?"  I said, "Pasta e fagioli." She started [to laugh].  She said, "No maka me laugh."  … She was laughing.

SH:  Now did you have to wear uniforms?

JM:  Yes.  … If we got anything on them we had to immediately go and change.  I spilled grape juice on the apron at one point.  It was a long gray dress, a white apron and a cap, after we got capped.  You didn't get capped for the first six months.  Then there was a ceremony, candles.  … Each hospital had a separate kind of cap, so that people would know you were from Lutheran Memorial if you wore the one with black stripe.

SH:  So, now did you wear that outside of the hospital?

JM:  No.  Just in the hospital.

SH:  Do you ever regret not finishing your nurse's training?

JM:  Not really, because I got married.  I might have been able to go to a hospital in Trenton to continue, because that's where we lived, to continue it but then I was pregnant.

SH:  Do you want to tell us a little bit about the wedding and those plans?

JM:  The wedding: my father took us to the Justice of the Peace that he knew.  My girlfriend, from nurse's training, came down, too, as maid of honor, if you want to call it that, and Calvin's best friend came out from Bordentown and we had a little ceremony there.  It took about five minutes.  Then we got on the train to New York for a weekend honeymoon. 

SH:  Had you already resigned from the nursing school at that point?

JM:  We didn't resign, we were just let go.  They just didn't want you anymore and the doctor who had recommended me said, "I'm glad this happened, because nursing is no profession for a woman," and then he said, "but if your husband-to-be is going to be a veterinarian, he's going to have eight years of college and you must go back to college to get a degree."  I said, "Because he wouldn't stay around with a dummy for very long."  That was good advice and after I had my children, the woman who was connected with Trenton College, they called it, now they call it The College Of New Jersey, then it was Trenton State, and she was telling me that I should go to night school.  … They really needed teachers of math and science and I said, "Okay."  So, I started going back.  Twelve years later with the four kids, I got my degree at Trenton State, in education.

SH:  How old was your youngest when you started?

JM:  1955.  Three years old.  The two youngest were born '56 and '58.  When I graduated they were all there at the graduation.  They were all in school at that time.

SH:  Did you start working right away then?

JM:  Yes, I was a substituting around.  It's not a joyful experience, but I wanted to teach biology because that was my expertise and I did get a job in teaching biology.

SH:  How long did you teach biology?

JM:  Two years, because then my husband decided to have a hospital of his own and separate from his cousin, and he needed help.  I became every type of assistant in the hospital there, and we worked together for seven or eight years.  Then my daughter became a veterinarian and I decided I couldn't work with two members of the family, as veterinarians.  I had just received a letter from New York Life saying, "How would you like to make forty or fifty thousand dollars a year?"  "That sounded good."  I went up for an interview at New York Life and became an agent and a representative for the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] and I worked there for nine years. I'm thinking of writing a book called, "Do it All."

SH:  Did you move to Trenton after you were married?

JM:  Yes, his cousin was a veterinarian and that's where he was working and they made a little apartment for us above the kennels.  That's where we lived for three years.  Then Calvin had to spend the senior year at the college and so I went back to mom and dad with baby for one year.    It was kind of tough back then.  He [Dr. Moon] just had military money as a submarine veteran, which was not much.

SH:  What about your brother, did he go on to school?

JM:  Yes, he went to school in Florida and my father said, "It was the only school that would take him."  He went into journalism and then he became a lawyer at Tulane in Louisiana.  He lived down there for years.

SH:  Did he follow you to Rutgers?

JM:  No.

SH:  At the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, did you have to live right in Philadelphia?

JM:  He did senior year, and I lived at the Shore with my parents.

SH:  Was he able to come see you, was that easier than you going to Philadelphia?

JM:  Yes, I didn't go to Philadelphia.  Right now, I don't even like to drive to Philadelphia.

SH:  Did you learn to drive when you had your first child?

JM:  Calvin's cousin's wife taught me.  She said, "You'd have to be able to drive, otherwise you're trapped."  I said, "Yes, I remember being trapped."  So, she taught me in her car and Cal finally was able to afford a little car and I used to take the kids to nursery school.

SH:  The other question I was going to ask about your brother and didn't finish was, was he drafted for Korea or any of that?

JM:  He was in the Korean War.  He was on the Helena, a cruiser, as a fire controlman.

ED:  About your half-brother, how did you find out that you had a half-brother?

JM:  We were in Turkey visiting because we like to travel worldwide and when we came back home my daughter said, "Some woman called here and said that her father is your brother."  … I said, "Really?"  She had her number and we were all talking and my son said, "Aren't you gonna call her?"  I said, "I guess so."  … He said, "Well I'll call her."…  I said, "If his name doesn't start with a G and if his mother's name wasn't Harris, it's not true."

ED:  Was this your mother's child or your father's?

JM:  … My mother's child.  [He] looked like her.  There was no question, but it turned out to be true.  We see him every month, get together and, of course, he regrets that he didn't know his mother.  He said, "I called her Mother."  But that's why she was so depressed all the time, I guess.

SH:  Your first child was a girl?

JM:   Yes, Cathy.  She's now a superintendent of schools in New Hampshire.  The second one was a boy, Joe, named after my father and brother.  Two Josephs, and then my sister-in-law said, "You had to name him Joseph?" every time he got in trouble.  … Mary was the third child and she's a Veterinarian.  My youngest is Jennifer and she's working for the State of New Jersey.  She and my son both went to Cook College Graduate Radiation School, so, everybody has a good job, nice house, family, and we have seven grandchildren.

SH:  You were telling us how you got involved with art, you were a Girl Scout leader, now how involved and how long were you a Girl Scout leader?

JM:  I was a leader of every single age group right through from Brownies, then they had Juniors, Cadets, Seniors and then I even taught leaders and was on the board, so twenty-five years worth of that.  I was also twenty-five years in the Red Cross.  [We] nominated as one of the "women of the year" in YMCA, still a member there, taught swimming and life saving, CPR, et cetera, et cetera.

ED:  Had you been involved with the Red Cross as a young woman during the war?

JM:  Yes, that was the Red Cross with the Girl Scouts doing the bandaging and first aid.

SH:  Because we only talked about the Girls Scouts, what did you do for the Red Cross other than rolling bandages, I mean how did that progress?

JM:  They taught first aid and that was about all we did, was roll bandages, but we did a lot of them.

SH:  Did you do any other volunteer work with the Red Cross then?

JM:  Not then.  Well, there wasn't anything to do.  There were no swimming pools, and no places to congregate even, except the school.

SH:  So, when did you become involved with teaching?  Was it because your children were taking swimming lessons that you became involved with that?

JM:  Even ballet, water ballet, we went "whole hog," my girlfriend and I right up through the range.  Then, of course, I was PTA president of the elementary school, then another one when we moved here, the principal called me and said, "I understand you were president of the PTA?"  I said, "Yes."  She said, "We are in need of a president."  So, what could you say to the principal?  So, I said, "Okay."  In the high school, there was an editorial in the paper saying, "We cannot believe that no one will take the job as president of the PTA at the Northern Burlington Regional School."  So, I called them and I said, "I'd do it," because if they lapsed, all their scholarship money would have gone to the PTA and not the children from the school.  I don't think anybody realized that. Except me.

SH:  What school had you been involved with your children before North Burlington?

JM:  The Hamilton Square Elementary School.  I was founding president of their new school, Morgan School, and they also attended Sayen at one point and then they came here to the junior high and high school.

SH:  You started painting, during the Girl Scouts?

JM:  During the Girl Scout years.  Now, it's my business.  It's my husband's hobby, but my business.  You may have a card.  In fact, if you have a photograph that you would like to have done in oils, I'll be happy to do it.

SH:   The other things I also know that you're involved with are …

JM:  Soroptimist International.  It's an international women's organization, 100,000 strong around the world.  … It's well known in other countries but not as well known here.  I'm the membership chairman so I can sign you up immediately.

SH:  Now tell me, too, about your traveling.  How do you travel? 

JM:  At first we traveled with the veterinary group … Veterinary Symposia, and our first trip was to London-Paris, that was back in 1960 something and from then on each year we would go somewhere.  We've been all over and except for India, which, I mentioned before.  Every place we go I take some pictures and try to paint two or three of them from each country that I've been to.  That was in Greenland, a painting of an iceberg on the wall.

SH:  How do you think your life was impacted by the war?  Was it just part of the flow or was it a major impact?

JM:  Oh, there was no major impact [in Hampton].  As I said, they just had enough guys for a soccer team. 

SH:  I thank you for sharing this delightful time with us and giving us this little glimpse into what it was like to be a young woman during the war and your life since.  Thank you so much.

JM:  It was a pleasure.

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

Reviewed by Jessica Thomson 9/27/04

Reviewed by Sandra Stewart Holyoak 10/02/04

Reviewed by June McCormack Moon 2/13/05