Sandra Stewart Holyoak: This begins an interview with Betty Hummel on May 9, 2007, in Dunellen, New Jersey.
Betty Hummel: My mother never told us we couldn't go to Delaware (NJ), nor does she even tell us to be careful, as I recall, because Jean and I just went up there. I told you, my sister Jean was here just last week or something. We went up to grandma's house and we walked down to the beach, I mean we had the whole memory lane trip. She never told us we couldn't go or wouldn't let us go. We had free rein, it's amazing, truly is amazing. She was either a tremendous fatalist or very confident, because I know she loved us. [laughter] I got to tell you one thing. I said, "Jean, there's one memory I have of Delaware that I'll never forget." Now remember, my grandmother didn't have running water, they had the well and they had the outhouse, and they didn't have electricity, had kerosene lamps. Well, when we washed our hair, okay, grandma had that big, old coal wood stove, the heavy iron thing in the kitchen, going all the time. She had to heat the water to do the clothes, she had the washing board, you know what I mean? I'll never forget, we washed our hair in that nice warm water and everything, and then, when we rinsed our hair we went to the well and we pulled that old wooden bucket up over our head. That water was so cold it froze your hair. [laughter] I will never forget that. When Jean and I were up there just this last week, really ironic that this all takes place in such a short span of time, that I said to Jean, I said, "Jean do you remember that sensation when we rinsed our hair with water right out of that well?" Well, they had a dirt cellar under the house but, like the milk, grandma would put the milk in an aluminum container and she'd lower it down into the well on the end of a chain to keep it cold and you'd have to go out, you'd have to pull up this chain with the milk at the end. But to rinse your hair with water that came right out of that well, you were numb. You couldn't feel a thing.
SH: Now this was your Grandmother Sarah Conover Forman.
BH: This is Sarah Conover Forman and you're quite right, because she was one of three sisters and they all were involved with the county, they were farmers in Monmouth County, and you're right they were Conover like I said that was Dutch for Van Kouwenhoven, because I have a family lineage. Oh, yes, it goes back to 1600 or something or other where he landed there in New York Harbor, New Amsterdam, right, okay, because I have a genealogy some place.
SH: Make sure that you preserve it.
BH: It really goes back, but it's amazing to me. I've really been blessed, because we can't select our relatives, but, boy, I had good ones. [laughter] Yes, during Christmas time though, and then, when grandma and grandpa really couldn't manage in Belvidere any longer, I mean in Delaware, that's when they went to live in Belvidere with her daughter, my Aunt Edith, my father's sister, and her husband died relatively young. As a young man he dropped dead. It was a real shocker. So, anyhow my Grandma and Grandpa Forman went to live with my Aunt Edith.
SH: What was her last name?
BH: Newkirk. Her married name was Newkirk and went to live with her in Belvidere. Gee I had that address.
SH: Well, that is okay. We can get that later.
BH: I had the address for Belvidere because we looked at the house.
SH: On your most recent trip there?
BH: Yes, when we were up there, we drove around Belvidere and we looked at Aunt Edith's house. It's still there and they had knocked it down and remodeled it. It looked pretty much the same as I remember it used to be.
SH: Do you remember roughly what year your father was born?
BH: I should know that. I'll have to check that. [Editor's Note: His birth date was October 4, 1889.]
SH: Okay, well, that is something that definitely we can throw in when we do the editing on the transcript. What was your father's profession?
BH: That's a neat story too. My father was a salesman for the Columbia Refining Company. They had an office in New York City and I remember so well when maybe for Christmas my mother would take us into New York City. We have black patent leather shoes and we always had a hat and we had little pocketbooks, the three of us. We always went to dad's office in New York City, and then, we did the stores and everything in New York City, but I'll never forget those black patent leather shoes.
SH: Mary Janes?
BH: [laughter] Yes that's absolutely right. Anyhow, he was a salesman for this Columbia Refining Company in New York City. Then, when my mother had an older brother, Uncle Harold, and Uncle Harold did the selling part when they had to and was in the New York office for Van Blaricom & Company. Then, my Uncle Harold died. So, then my father gave up his job in the oil company and came to work with Van Blaricom & Company as a sales thing. But then the business was so mail order oriented.
SH: Now this is in Paterson?
BH: No, this is all in Dunellen.
BH: Yes, okay. The family was so mail order oriented that they didn't really need sales people. They didn't need a sales office in New York. They closed down the office, then my dad came out here to work. God love him, he actually came in charge of the shipping room down in the factory at Van Blaricom. You see how all this family thing all ties in? He became in charge of the shipping room and of course where my mother--I won't say she was stern and unlovable, but she had, had so much on her shoulders, so much responsibility, that my father was a nice balance. My father was a great balance. As a matter of fact, I can remember my father seeing to it that we got our baths on Saturday night rather than my mother, because my mother was so tied up. I can remember oh so vividly sitting around all the dinner tables and we didn't talk about what you did at school today or anything else like that. It was always curtains. Oh, my lord, we talked curtains. Nels, did this shipment get out today? Nels, that was my father. Nels, do you remember if they located that? [laughter] My mother never really never got involved, let me say that, never got involved with us in school. So, after we were all through she ran for the board of education and she was on the board of education. [laughter]
SH: Just for the record can you state your mother's full name for us?
BH: Mildred Louise Van Blaricom Forman. Her married name was Forman.
SH: Where was she born?
BH: She was born in Jersey City. She and my dad met in school.
SH: Did they?
BH: Yes, they met in school. It's really interesting. So, that's kind of the way it all tied in there.
SH: Now when did the factory, the work, move from Jersey City?
BH: I talked to my brother about that. I talked to Jack about that, because I knew you might ask me that. I said, "Jack, do you know why they selected Dunellen? Do you know why Van Blaricom came to Dunellen? Jack really didn't know. He got involved in the factory right after high school. He didn't go to college or any of that stuff. He came right into it. Now whether he felt an obligation and I have a feeling that he did, because he is very, very smart. He is intuitively smart. He is one of these guys that is intuitively smart, but yet, he's also a hands on, he can make things, do things, but he also knows why this goes this way and why you do this and don't do that. It will be interesting. I often speculate on where Jack could have gone if he had a college education, because in high school he was so smart that sometimes he even was telling George Barstow, who was a science teacher--I think the story is so they tell me, I wasn't there, that at one point George said, "Well Jack why don't you just take over the class." [laughter] Whether or not it's true I don't know, but he is very intuitively smart and he's also very clever with his hands and stuff, but he went into the business and whether he wanted to or not, there he was.
SH: Did your father serve in World War I?
BH: No. See, I was born in 1918, my sister was born 1916, and he missed it. No, he wasn't. Nick was the first one.
SH: Nick is your husband.
BH: Nick is my husband. He's the first one in my family--now wait a minute, unless we go back to the Revolutionary War, if you want to go back that far. I'm a DAR [Daughter of the American Revolution], so, I have to have somebody who was in the Revolution. [laughter] He's another good guy too. Oh, yes, why he's so interesting is
SH: The person in the Revolutionary War?
SH: Okay, his name is?
BH: Darn it all. [Editor's Note: The name is Peter Van Dorn (1755-1834), who had a son Jacob.]
SH: We can find it in the genealogy later.
BH: Anyhow, the interesting thing is, my first great-grandchild was named Jacob. He's older than Nicole, but anyway, when Jake was born, they named him Jacob. He's Jake, Jacob Nicholas, okay, Jacob Nicholas Hummel. So, then when I went back to my genealogy, my revolutionary ancestor had a son named Jacob. How is that for coincidence? Sure, they never knew it. Tricia and David didn't know it when they named him Jacob, but it was so coincidental that my revolutionary ancestor's son is Jacob. So, it was really great.
SH: Now do you have any of the papers or any of the material that goes with your relative research in the Revolution? Have you been able to preserve any of that?
BH: No. Except that he had many enlistments. He's buried out in Monmouth, okay, Old Tennent Church in Monmouth, he's buried out there. He had many enlistments, because you know what they used to do. They were essentially like farmers and when the crops came they would leave; they would do the crops, and then, go back in the service. So, he had I think several enlistments. But he was basically a farm guy. So, that's why. It was really a civilian army. Yes, he's over there in Old Tennent some place, over there in Monmouth in the big old cemetery.
SH: Do you remember when your mother and father married, what year? Again we can find this.
BH: Yes, I have to look that all up. [Editor's Note: The date was October 28, 1914].
SH: That is quite alright. The story of your mother and father, if you would just retell the story about how your mother had to take over the curtain factory business.
BH: Yes, well, I got this problem with my eyes.
SH: That is okay.
BH: You know what happens? It's really interesting. When we age, everything droops, even your eyelids droop, you see. So, ordinarily when you're young the moisture in your eyes, which is the natural lubricant of your eyes, just recycles, because your lids are up, but with aging process when everything droops even your eyelids droop. So, they have told me, the doctor, the eye doctor told me just the other day, that if I wanted that to stop, I would have to go and have surgery and have this pulled up. So, you know, so it recycles back. Well, I said I'll have to think about that. I said I don't quite know if I want plastic surgery to dam up the well. But in the meantime I have to put up with this little dripping I have. Now you asked me a question, what was it?
SH: I wanted you to retell the story of your mother having to take over the family business.
BH: That was very interesting. Okay. The curtain factory started in Jersey City and my mother was going to Dickinson High School, this was before the curtain factory. She graduated from Dickinson High School. She was all set to go to Bryn Mawr College. She went into the factory the summer before she was going to go to college. My grandfather, her father, was in partnership with another man in the factory. Her father was a "Hail fellow well met," but he didn't have much business sense, a very trusting, easy going guy. Well, when my mother went in to work in the factory in that summer after high school, she realized that her father's partner was not a very honest man. Well, and he wasn't a very good businessman and that the business was really in bad shape. So, she stayed there, worked in the office right out of high school, never went to college. She never left that factory until maybe about two months before she died. This is an amazing story and the other loves in her life, she loved the shore, of course she loved her family, but we kind of grew up on our own. It was my dad who was--I mean she never talked to teachers, well, she did sign our report card or dad signed our report card, but we never failed. We never gave her any problems and I think that--well I know that I always have a lot of respect for her. I had a grandmother who lived up the street in the town and if you got a grandmother up there and you got your parents right in the town, you got a family business in the town, you kind of walked the straight and narrow. [laughter] So, anyhow out of high school that summer she realized that the business was on the way out and it was due to this partner that they had. So, she stayed there, never went to college, never until the day she died, no, about two months before she died, two or three months before she died, she never left that factory. She would love to come down on a Friday night during the summer at the shore, because she always rented a place down the shore for us kids. We always had housekeepers. We had full time housekeepers all the time. She rented a place down in the shore for us kids. She'd come down every Friday night right after work, put on those old, remember those old black serge bathing, you're too young, but anyhow those old black serge suits that itch so horribly.
SH: You mean when they are wet?
BH: Yes, oh, they itch horribly. We have a lot of pictures of it. But anyhow, she'd get into her bathing suit and she'd go down in the ocean, and she was a real fanny dunker. You know what fanny dunkers were?
SH: You have to tell me.
BH: Alright. They used to have down at the shore in the bathing areas, a lot of times they would have ropes. They would have the poles, and then, they have the ropes in between, and then, the lifeguards wouldn't let you go out farther than this there. Well, the older people would hang on to the ropes and they would fanny dunk. So, we called them fanny dunkers. [laughter]
SH: Who was in charge of you children when you were there?
BH: That was the funny thing. We always had a housekeeper.
SH: And the housekeeper went from Dunellen with you to the shore?
BH: Oh, yes, she went to the shore. She made the beds, she got our breakfast, lunch and stuff like that. She never came down to watch us on the beach and that's the amazing thing. My dad had a brother who drowned in the Delaware River, but my mother either had tremendous faith in the good Lord watching over us, because we were on our own an awful lot. We were on our own an awful lot.
SH: Now was it always the same house that you rented?
BH: No, except she bought 2 Haddonfield Avenue, which now my brother Jack and I own. She gave it to Jack and me, because well my one sister, they're nowhere near. Anyhow, no, she bought 2 Haddonfield Avenue in 1959. I don't know, maybe about fifty years ago, but other than that she always rented houses.
SH: Was it in the same town?
BH: Oh, yes, Lavallette, it was always Lavallette. She never rented any place other than Lavallette, liked Lavallette. It's a good town, still is. It's a nice place.
SH: Did your father get to come down with her?
BH: He liked to fish. My father liked to serve fish. Oh, that's right. Jack was born on Flag Day, June 14th. Anyhow, Jack was born on flag day on June 14th. So, dad came home. He raised the flag. Of course, the neighbors came to see because he had a son. After three daughters he finally had a son. Dad said, "No it's flag day." [laughter] But I'll never forget, because in those days you stayed in the hospital at least ten days or fifteen days when you had a child. So, dad took the three of us girls down to Lavallette. He loved to fish. We stayed in the Lavallette Hotel. Dad had a couple of rooms at the Lavallette Hotel. He'd go out fishing in the early morning and fishing was really pretty good then. You could sort of depend on a bluefish or a flounder or something, you know what I mean? Then, John, who was the cook down at the Lavallette Hotel at that time, he would fix us this fish breakfast from the fish that dad had caught in the morning. So, my father was really quite a tremendous man. Gentle, kind, and loved to play golf. That's why I started playing golf, because I could play with my dad, loved to play golf. More or less if we had any problems, not that we had any problems that much, but my dad was the one, not my mom.
SH: She was the CEO of the company, right?
BH: I don't know if they were ever called CEOs, but yes she was. She could run any of the machines, use any of the cutters, and do all of it. I suppose if she had to she could sweep up too. [laughter]
SH: Was she very close to the people that worked in the factory?
BH: They had a lot of respect for my mother and I know that at times my mother would lend them money, because I remember the one fellow who was, I can't think of his name. I should, but I can't, but he got himself in debt and mother loaned him the money, and then, she very carefully kept track of his payments and everything, and then, of course when the union came in and they were going to unionize, that was a tough time too, because the girls were pulled one way or the other. You know, I think my mother was liked. She was respected; because they knew without her they wouldn't have jobs. But I think it was real affection there. That was the other thing. When I graduated from college, liberal arts education, I knew I was going to get married, but what do I do? Here I am. I wasn't even certified to teach at that point. So, I went to work in the factory. Well, my mother sent me out in the plant itself to trace these orders and stuff like that, you know what I mean? So, I remember the women, some of the women were wondering why was I there? Why was I working there? You know what the general opinion that got back to me? I was there, because I was going to write a book about it. [laughter]
SH: A budding author.
BH: I was there, because I was going to write a book, but I never did.
SH: I bet you could.
BH: I think I could have, but anyhow I graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1940. I graduated in June. I got married in December '40 okay, because I had known Nick since the fifth grade here and I knew he is the guy I was going to marry, no ifs, ands or buts about that. [laughter] Fortunately, he felt the same way. But anyhow, where was I? Oh, about the factory. I graduated in '40, I got married in '40 on December 28 of '40, and Nick was in education. He started out with Phys Ed, the whole thing in New Brunswick. Oh, I know what it was. Then, I served on the Dunellen Board of Education and I met Mr. Blunt who was the County Superintendent of Schools. This is a whole other part of my life which is really very funny too. I met Mr. Blunt who was a county superintendent of schools and got talking to him and I said, "You know, I think I would like to go into teaching. My times would more coincide with Nicks. He got Christmas off, he got summers off, and here I was down at the factory.
SH: How did your mother feel about that?
BH: My mother, she never told us what to do with all due respect. She never tried to influence. She made the job at the factory possible for me, but she kept hands off me, but she never, my mother and father, never put any kind of pressure on any of us kids at all. But anyhow, so Mr. Blunt said to me, this is funny, county superintendent of school. The only thing I could've really qualified in with all my History and English would have been a history teacher, but they were a dime a dozen in those days. But boy did they need a Phys Ed teacher over at South River High School, because then women Phys Ed teachers were in such demand that they had a man teaching the girls Phys Ed in South River, Chet Zdrodowski was his name, teaching girls, and of course South River is a very strong catholic town. This is public school, but anyway the orientation is there. Well, they needed somebody so desperately, Chet was teaching the girls Phys Ed. Well, Mr. Blunt was dying for a girls' Phys Ed teacher over at the South River High School. That was so funny you wouldn't believe this. So, the August before school was supposed to start, Mr. Blunt got in touch with Tony Agnon, he was a superintendent of schools over at South River. A couple of weeks before school was supposed to start, I got a call, I was down at the shore, I was all nice and tan, I've been down swimming, I was in real good shape. Got a call from Tony Agnon, superintendent of schools in South River, he would like to talk to me about the job they had in the girls' Phys Ed. I'll never forget driving up from the shore. I didn't have a clue as to where South River was. Well, I knew it was on one side of Route 18 even then. So, I turned into the sign for South River and fortunately there was a cop right there. So, I asked him. I told him who I was, what I wanted, where was South River High School. He was delighted, because apparently this not being able to find a Phys Ed teacher was around about town. He said, "Just follow me." Well, it was so funny. I went to the high school. Mr. Williams, his name was Mr. Williams, and this was the old high school in South River, and the old high school in South River was kind of like the old high school in Dunellen, you know what I mean? Mr. Williams was sitting there. He had a roll top desk, he had nicotine fingers, he was a chain smoker, I'll never forget this, nicotine fingers, I walked in there and, remember, I'm all nice and tan, I'm real healthy looking and everything. So, when I told him who I was and what I was there for, he jumped out of his chair like that. He started shaking my hands. This is two weeks before school remember. Shaking my hand, "Oh, I'm so glad to see you. You're going to do just fine." I said, "Well, how do you know. You don't know anything about me?" He said. "You're here, you're healthy, you'll do just fine." [laughter] You would not believe that was the interview. I was alive, two weeks before school. He really needed a girls Phys Ed teacher. It was so funny. Well, you know what, it didn't take me long to figure out why South River couldn't get a girls' Phys Ed teacher. I didn't have one class that was less than fifty girls. My biggest class was seventy-two girls. I will never forget that. Seventy-two girls and the names, did you ever go to South River, did you ever hear those names, the Polish or Russians. Well, I know what it was. No, that was up at Hunterdon Central. The day before we got kids, we got our class lists. Now one class, my seventh period class, I had seventy-two girls in it.
SH: Seventh period, oh, no.
BH: Seventy-two girls in it. I was in that class when Kennedy got shot. Oh, man those senior girls were devastated. They were devastated. "Mrs. Hummel can I go call up my mother?" This is before cell phones. "Can I go call up my mother?" They were in tears, everything just stopped, because they announced it over the PA system that Kennedy had been shot dead and, "I got to go call my mother." "Mrs. Hummel, can I please go to the telephone to call my mother?" Well, class just stopped. I got them all sitting down out there on the floor and I let them go individually. You got two minutes to talk to your mother then Mary's got to go or Susie's got to go.
SH: What year did you start teaching at South River? Do you remember?
BH: September 1956. The most interesting or the funniest part really in all of this teaching business, remember I'm Phys Ed, I had never taken one course in Phys Ed. There was such a thing as state certification. So, I had to get certified okay. So, the most logical place to try to go would be to Douglass. So, I went over to Douglass to take classes in Phys Ed to get myself certified, because they had a good Phys Ed program. They would only take me if I came in as an undergraduate. I said I got my degree, I got my college degree. All I want to do is get certified in Phys Ed, take your Phys Ed course. "Can't do that." I was so devastated, went home. Of course, fortunately Nick, he had graduated from Rutgers. He had graduated as a Phys Ed major. He knew the people at Rutgers in the Phys Ed Department. So, if I can think of his name, I'll think of it, I'll think of this guy's name too. So, Nick took me over to, he used to be the Lacrosse coach, yes, coach at Rutgers, can't think of his name. Nick introduced me to him and he was in charge of all of the Phys Ed majors at Rutgers graduating and of course they were all guys, they were all men, okay. So, he said, "Sure, she can join my class." So, okay. The first class, one of the required courses was like the ancient organization of physical education. I'll never forget this class if I live to be a hundred. It was taught on a Saturday morning upstairs in the gym on College Avenue okay. The gym on College Avenue, they have classes upstairs. The first time I walked in there, there was no woman in sight. There was no woman in sight. Where could I be that I would be the least conspicuous? So, I sat over there in the first row but on the last seat, over there on the first row. Professor, what was his name, he would come in up there, he'd stand up there, and this is one of those classrooms where it goes up like this, you know what I mean? He'd come in and said, "Gentlemen and lady." [laughter]
SH: At least he acknowledged you.
BH: He acknowledged me. "Gentlemen and lady." Oh, and then the funniest thing was after that, then I fortunately got into square dancing, folk dancing, but then, when they wanted to sign me up for modern dance. If I live to be a hundred, I'll never forget that modern dance class. Her name was Turner. She wrote the book, literally wrote the book, published. Her book was what we used in modern dance. Well, I don't know if you ever tried modern dance, but it's all interpretive. It's all interpretive. It's not choreography or it's not one left foot right foot this thing. What do you feel? How do you feel, expressing your feelings. I'll never forget this. This is the funniest thing. I'll never forget one of our assignments was to take clothesline rope, a piece of rope. I think it was a yard long, three feet, turn it every which way, don't let any tension, I mean keep it always taut, no tension, but move your leg, your arm, your head, all these different things with this piece of rope, right. It was stupid. It was homework, but anyhow so one night when I thought everybody was asleep, I went down to the cellar and had this stupid piece of rope and I was doing all these different things. And once I hear this giggle, I hear this giggling going on, and it was Ronny, my youngest son, he was sitting at the top of the stair steps. He says, "Mommy you look just like a beatnik." [laughter]
SH: I am going to guess that the modern dance class was being taught for Douglass women?
BH: No, there were no men in. It was just women, but I mean it was so far out of my--I mean I was more orderly, more organized, but you remember. Oh, I know. I can tell you why I went into teaching, because I said if I go into teaching I want to do it before I'm forty, and I did. I was going to be--I went in that September, and then, next February I was 40 and I was born in 1918. So, there you can figure that out. In 1918 and I must have been thirty-nine then if I was forty in that February, because I said if I'm going to go into teaching, I'm going to do it before I'm forty. That's it. See it comes back to me as I talk. So, I'm going to do it before I'm forty. That was the worst. After that we got into square dancing. Oh, the other thing was her name was Turner. She was so interested that I should teach the girls modern dance in South River. I didn't say you got to be kidding. I thought, these seventy girls I had in this one class, my seventh period class with these seventy girls, I'm going to teach them modern dance? You got to be kidding lady. [laughter] You know what? She even offered to come over to South River. [laughter]
SH: You did not take her up on it?
BH: I certainly did not take her up on it. If you had known this woman, she was very tall. I mean she was easily 6'1", very angular, you're very conscious of her bone structure. But to think of her coming over and all these classes and teaching my seniors. But anyhow I said, "Well, thank you very much Professor Turner, but I don't think so." That was the worst part. "Gentleman and lady." I'll never forget that.
SH: How long did you have to take courses to get certified?
BH: Oh, that was the other thing. I just got completely certified in Phys Ed, and then, the job in guidance opened up and at that point then it was easier to get a Phys Ed teacher then to get a guidance teacher. So, then I went into guidance, and then, I had to start certification all over again. [laughter]
SH: Where did you go for that certification?
BH: Rutgers. Oh, no, I did take one in Kean, whatever they call it. I did go down there for one of them. That's right I did go down there. I just got all the certification for Phys Ed, and then, the guidance job opened up, and then, South River wanted me in guidance. Oh, the yearbook. I was in charge of the yearbook. That was another thing. I inherited that with guidance, because the other guidance counselors had done the yearbook too, so, I inherited that. So, all in all I'll tell you.
SH: How long did you teach at South River?
BH: Now let me think. What happened was when I was taking one of these courses in guidance, in the course was this gal from Hunterdon Central High School, okay, and she was telling me all about Huntington Central High School, and she was going to be going into social work. She was getting out of guidance and she was going to go into social work. Now, I've always been a strong believer in vocational education, because I've been in high school long enough to know that there are a lot of kids that can't hack the academic program for seven hours. I mean they just can't and this is no criticism to them at all. They don't have the interest or the aptitude, and so, I've always been a great believer in vocational education, and South River didn't have it. You had to go to New Brunswick, Votech, or Perth Amboy Votech, or someplace. South River had no vocational program. They did have a work study program and stuff like that, but talking to this gal in this class from Hunterdon Central, they had a whole vocational program, building and regular courses up at Hunterdon Central. So, she got talking to me about Hunterdon Central and it really sounded, vocational education was what turned me to Hunterdon Central, it really did, because I had no problem with South River. I had already gotten my staff organized for the next year's yearbook, we've done all this sort of stuff. Everything was all set up for the yearbook. I had no intention really of ever leaving South River until this gal, her name was Gladys, she was from Bound Brook by the way, she was telling me all about Hunterdon Central and this terrific Votech program that they had. So, when she was going to leave she recommended me to these people up at Hunterdon Central. So, I went up there on an interview and they hired me and I mean I had no regrets. Hunterdon Central was quite an experience and I'll tell you it's quite a school system. If you can't find what you want in Huntington Central, you're not going to find it anyplace. They have a theater program. They had a little theater in a separate building. They had the Votech program. If they didn't have, I can't figure why. I could think about it, it's not important. I think they had five different programs and the ones they didn't have North Hunterdon had. So, you could take your academics in the morning down at Hunterdon Central as the vocational program was up at North Hunterdon, they had a bus that would take you right up to North Hunterdon. I don't know. As I say, I don't know what it's like nowadays, but that was really, really good. So, I have no regrets. I had a good time at Hunterdon Central. It was a good school system.
SH: How long were you there?
BH: Oh, gee, I knew you were going to ask me that. I don't know. I think I got a bibliography or something.
SH: What about a timeline? You were here this long.
BH: Yes, I'm going to do that. I'll do that and I'll give that to you.
SH: Side 2 tape 1, please continue. The question that I was going to ask was how long were you at Hunterdon Central? Did you retire from teaching out there?
BH: Yes, I retired from teaching. I retired, oh gee, this is another arithmetic problem, in June 1979. Nick retired after twenty-five years of teaching, but then, you'd have to know when he started. Oh, that's right. See, then my mother came to live with us. Seventeen years before she died, she came to live with us. So, then when Nick retired, he would get supper and everything for mom and me when he got home. He did all the shopping and all that sort of stuff. Mother called Nick her Japanese houseboy. I don't know why Japanese. Maybe they have a reputation as good houseboys, I don't know. [laughter] But anyhow my point is that it was five years after he retired that I began to get the guilt's about him doing the work and mom being here and stuff like that. So, then I retired. Oh, I went out with the class of '79. That's what it was. I retired in '79, because at Hunterdon Central you followed the class all the way through. You started with them as freshmen and you went through. So, when the class of '79 left, I left. That's right, because they told me well Betty. I said, "Well, look. They're leaving, I'm leaving." "Well, you didn't have to stay for the whole four years with the next class." I said, "Well, I don't want to do that. If I start with a class I want to finish with it." That's good. This is good.
SH: And you were doing guidance out there?
BH: Oh, yes. I only did Guidance at Hunterdon Central. South River I did Phys Ed and Guidance. At Hunterdon Central, I only did Guidance and I was just as thankful too.
Michael Byrnes: How long did you teach Phys Ed at South River?
BH: Didn't we establish when I went to South River? We didn't establish that.
SH: Somewhere around 1958.
BH: I'll have to get that. I'll figure it out. Oh, I can tell you how long I taught, you know why, I made a mistake. I taught for twenty-three years, combination of South River and Hunterdon Central. I didn't know and as I quit like I told you, because mom was here and Nick had retired and stuff, but I made a mistake, because if I taught for two more years I would have gotten my free health insurance. [laughter] But in New Jersey to get your health benefits you have to have been in the system for twenty-five years and I missed it by two. Of course, I didn't think about it at the time. I wasn't thinking about that. But now I am and they took about three hundred dollars out of my pension. [laughter] But I do have social security and I do have my benefits, my health benefits as a public school teacher.
SH: What was the commute like to North Hunterdon from Dunellen?
BH: From Hunterdon Central it was long.
SH: That's out on 31 in Warren County.
BH: Yes, Route 31, right, and I go down 22 all the way and 202 into Flemington, and then, just up a little bit on 31, Hunterdon Central is right there. So, it really wasn't that bad unless the weather was really stinko. But it was no worse than going over to South River. I wouldn't want to be going every morning to South River now, oh. Route 18 wasn't quite that bad then. Although, it wasn't any ride in the country.
SH: Now that we have retired you in 1979 with the class of '79, could we go back and talk about how the Depression affected your parents and what you remember as a young girl?
BH: Well, I really--it never really did. I mean my mother used to have us on allowance, but it was a very loose arrangement, very, very loose arrangement. All I can remember is, too bad I didn't talk to my sister Jean about this, all I can remember is that we used to get something like five dollars a week and mother cut us back, something like two dollars a week or something like that, I don't remember, but my mother was never a down person if you understand what I mean. If there wasn't anything positive to say about something, she just wouldn't say it. She never complained. She was not, oh, gee lord no. She never complained about anything. She took everything in her stride. The only thing I just remember is that we were conscious of it. Our allowance was cut a little bit, but other than that, I don't remember.
SH: So you do not know how it affected the factory?
BH: That's the other thing too that I have no recollection of when the girl from high school interviewed me and she was kind of disappointed that I never felt that I was discriminated against.
SH: That brings up the question I wanted to ask. Did your older sister go to college as well?
BH: No. I was the first one. I was the first one.
SH: Because you had said your mother had planned to go to college.
BH: Yes, she had planned, but then, this business thing put a stop to that. I was the only one in my immediate family and also of my aunts or uncles or cousins or whatever you want to go on to college.
SH: Why do you think you were the one that went ahead and did that? Was there a mentor in high school?
BH: The only reason I went to Middlebury, because like I said, my mother kind of expected us to go to college. When I said us, well, my sister Muddie, my mother didn't expect that of Muddie. She was not that serious about studying, although she never failed anything, but she was more a social butterfly. I think my mother expected us. She didn't expect us to go in the factory. I don't think she wanted us to go in the factory.
SH: I was thinking she had given up her college.
BH: See, she gave up everything and this is an interesting thing too as I was talking to Jean about this when Jean was just down here recently. We got talking like we're talking with Jean's daughter which would be my niece, yes, with Patty talking about my mother, and Jean and I agree that my mother, when my sister Muddie would go to my mother, something special, she wanted a dress, she wanted to go someplace. First of all, my mother would say no, you don't need the dress or I don't know the boy, I don't think blah, blah, and Jean and I would just give Muddie about five minutes and mother would change her mind. So, Jean and I, we were talking about this, and we decided, Jean and I, that my mother lived through Muddie that young womanhood that she never realized, because she never was allowed because she went right into the business. She had all these responsibilities on her shoulders. So, my sister Muddie could flit around. She went out to the Dartmouth Winter Carnival when she was like a sophomore in high school with a guy from Bound Brook. But see, she was a lot older for her age than what Jean and I were, but first of all mother said absolutely no. But then Jean and I, we knew she would come around and she did. She always did. She always did, but I think that my mother enjoyed vicariously or whatever the word is. So that's fine. I mean, I have no problem with that, because my mother really, she was really quite a remarkable woman, a very self-sacrificing woman and very hard working. She was smart you know what I mean.
SH: Which grandmother lived here in Dunellen?
BH: Her mother. Grandma Van Blaricom. Grandma Van Blaricom and she never got involved in the business, although she was very much aware when they were having problems and everything, but she never actively was involved in it at all. They lived up at 303 South Washington Avenue on that corner along Walnut and Washington there and lived there, and as I said, my grandmother, her husband was a "Hail fellow well met." That's how I see it.
SH: As a young girl growing up here in Dunellen what were some of the activities that you were involved in?
BH: Well, of course in those days and I took Jean over to show her, of course, Columbia Park. In our days Columbia Park was just woods. We called it the woods. Where are we going? We're going to the woods. The brook ran through and I remember they used to have the tadpoles with the long legs and we used to get a big stick and we used to kill them, and then, we used to cut off their legs and we used to have a fire going, and we used to put the legs on the end of a stick, delicious. They're very white meat, frog's legs, and we used to throw the potatoes in the fire. We used to call them Mickey's, those black charred potatoes that were roasted directly into the fire, frog's legs and Mickey's. [laughter] I took Jean over when she was just here. Jean, you won't believe what the woods is like now. Of course there's no woods. It's all Columbia Park.
SH: Would it be you and Jean? Who else would be involved in this?
BH: Oh, that's right. The Farrow boys, Eddie Farrow and Jack Farrow across the street, my good friend Lois Nichol who lived at 219 South Washington just down the street, and they were, oh, God bless them. Mrs. Nichol and Mr. Nichol were very church going people and if I went down to pick up Lois before school to meet her, because we went to Whittier School together. Then, we went over to the high school together and we always have to say prayers before we went to school. Mrs. Nichol would bless us and ask the Lord to watch over us during that day. Oh, yes, I have a lot of fond memories. Presbyterian Church is where I got all my religion and stuff. Christian Endeavor, we went on straw rides, we went ice skating in the ice skating ring down here at Plainfield or some place as a group, as a Christian Endeavor. Then the other important place growing up was the Y in Plainfield. I can't believe what that Y looks like now, the YWCA [Young Women's Christian Association]. That's where I learned how to swim. That's right. That's where I learned how to swim, because she was the only part time gym teacher down in Bound Brook, but she was also connected with the Y in Plainfield, a swimmer. In Bound Brook, they had quite a well-developed Phys Ed program when I was going to school and the school colors were brown and white. So, when you were in the gym class you wear either a brown or you wear a white, okay, and whatever the sport was for that time, whether it was volleyball, whether it was basketball, whether it was softball, no matter what the activity was, it was always the browns against the whites, okay. In class even, squads, okay. Then, you were selected as an all brown or an all white to play against different classes, understand. You're on the freshman team or something like that. So you're either all browns or all whites, and so, it was really very well developed. So, Young, her name was Young. She was down at the Y and I had ...
SH: This the Y for women?
BH: The YWCA in Plainfield. I drove by there the other day. Oh, lord I don't know what it is now. But anyhow, Miss Young, who was a part-time teacher in Bound Brook and she worked down at the Y. So, we got into having our brown and white program competition even into swimming. So, I really developed, had a lot of confidence, I have a lot of confidence, well, not right now in the ocean, because my legs don't hold out so well, but I mean I never had any problems. I could surf ride and all the rest of the stuff and because I learned early on how to swim, and that was one of the things that we really did, spent a lot of time down at the Y there. There was a girls' organization called the--no that was my sorority. No, that was the church. I don't know, but there was a group down there at the Y that we did a lot of stuff with too. So, I had a lot of associations with that Y down there in Plainfield. We'd ride that old trolley car even before they had the things that went up to the top to take us down there.
MB: Down to Plainfield?
SH: Dunellen didn't have their own high school?
BH: No, no, I went to Bound Brook.
SH: How did you get there?
BH: That was a riot. We really, the first year, you know that old Toonerville trolley you see in the cartoons with the thing on the top, we actually did that one the first year I went there. It went down, down here, and then, it shot down right there. It goes down around Middlesex, the road down there off the Acme or the ShopRite or whatever.
MB: Bound Brook Road?
BH: Yes, yes, down there, and then, it would drop you off. You had to walk up to drop you off downtown and you walked up to the high school. It was an old Toonerville trolley. But then, the last year, they graduated to more kind of a bus thing, but it still had that thingamabob on the top, whatever the power was up there. That was quite an experience we had. We used to have to go over to the board of education and get our green tickets. Once I remember taking the bus. It was five cents to ride on the bus down to Plainfield on the trolley. It said it was right up there, no pennies accepted, you know what I mean to pay. I missed that or something and I was standing there putting the pennies in and the conductor was yelling at me so much so I stood there and I wet my pants.
SH: How old were you?
BH: I was a young kid. I couldn't have been more than eight or nine or something like that. I didn't see the sign that said no pennies and here I am, five pennies at once, and he started yelling me and I'm so scared I wet my pants. [laughter] The things you remember I'll tell you it's ridiculous.
SH: Were there other organizations that you were involved in? You talked about your church and the Y.
BH: I was in Girl Scouts for a little while, but I was never too much of a Girl Scout. Although, I was community leader for Girl Scouts back when they needed somebody, but I never had all those badges and stuff, but I was on the Dunellen Recreation Commission for fifty years and that's some kind of a record. Clem and I were figuring that out. [laughter] I was on the recreation commission for fifty years, but that's a whole another story, because it was done a lot, well not a lot different, but it was done differently than what it is now. But yes I've known Clem for like fifty years and he was a recreation director for about fifty years and I was on the commission for that long too.
SH: Did you start before Clem did? Like were you with Felix?
BH: Clem and I were trying to figure that out. I really don't know exactly what year I started in, but I think there was somebody there and I don't know if they always had a director per se, mostly it was just volunteers for an activity or something else like that, but because it was his birthday the other day, they had the big affair for Clem.
MB: Yes, I heard about it afterwards.
BH: Dunellen Hotel.
SH: That's Clem Santy.
BH: Clem Santy. He was eighty years old.
MB: Yes, we said in Dunellen, there's only one Clem, Clem Santy.
BH: He was eighty years old. He was eighty years old and before him, I can't think of what his name was.
SH: I think it was Felix Gavornik.
BH: Well, Felix yes, but even there was somebody before Felix, I can't remember. Yes, Felix Gavornik was before Clem and Clem was kind of his protégée or something, whatever you want to call it, yes.
SH: In school were you a good student?
BH: I was in the National Honor Society. That means something. I was a good B solid student. Yes, I was a good B student. But I learned--of course I learned it in college.
SH: Why Middlebury?
BH: I learned in college that you had to sit there and you take notes. Then you hand the notes right back to the professor, and then, an exam. You memorize your notes and don't get too creative. [laughter] Don't get too creative. Just hand them right back. Take those copious notes, and then, you study your notes before that exam. We used to have those blue books to take those exams. You still have blue books right? Middlebury, in our final exams we were in the gym. They had the seats and you cram like crazy. You got to get all your notes out and you read. Then, I remember sitting there in the exam and writing during the exam. I remember coming out of the exam and just feeling so light. Everything was whoa, my head was empty. [laughter] I had forgotten everything. [laughter] Just hang on to it until you get to that exam. Yes, why Middlebury? Well, at the time I had known Nick since the fifth grade even though he moved over to New Brunswick, because there weren't enough Hungarians in Dunellen. His mother was Hungarian. She was born, brought up in Hungary and she came over here as a young woman. Her sister had come ahead of her, and so, she had come over here as a young woman and she married Nick's dad. I don't think it was a big romance, you understand what I'm saying, because she had two children within eighteen months. She really got homesick for mom over in Hungary. So, when Nick was three years old I think it was and Elizabeth was like eighteen months younger, Nick's dad, and he had a Delicatessen business in New Brunswick, right on George Street, that Delicatessen business. Well, he put both of those kids and the mother on the boat and sent them back to Hungary. So, his mother was so lonesome for her mother, homesick for Hungary, and so, Nick stayed over in Hungary and they stayed in Hungary for about three or four years, three years, because when he came back he was about six years old, six or seven, but that's when children learn a language. So, he learned Hungarian before he ever learned English. So, when he started in the New Brunswick School System he didn't know any English, but fortunately in the Lincoln School over there in New Brunswick there was a teacher there who was also Hungarian. So, he sort of apprenticed with her. Nick was apprentice to her and they got through until he could grasp the language. I always thought I'm going to learn how to speak Hungarian, because when Nick was away at the service, I said I had a good time to learn it, but that's a very hard language to learn, and languages were never a strong point with me. I struggled with languages, good Lord. If you can't pass Spanish with flowing colors you know you're in bad trouble, but anyhow, he learned Hungarian before he ever learned English.
SH: Why Middlebury then?
BH: Okay, well number one, that's how I got talking about Nick, because we really, I mean my grandchildren call us soul mates. Maybe we were, I don't know, but I really had my eye on him since the fifth grade. I really did.
SH: So he came back from New Brunswick?
BH: They moved to New Brunswick. Then, he also had other friends, the West boys and Joe Shellhorn. He was the mayor's son, Joe Shellhorn, and so, those boys used to go over and pick up Nick and they used to come over to Dunellen to play and everything. So, he came to Dunellen and I think a few times he took the bus. I'm not sure, but even though we went to two different high schools, he went to New Brunswick and graduated; I went to Roosevelt Junior High in Dunellen and graduated from Bound Brook High School. He went to Rutgers, I went to Middlebury, but like I said, I mean the spark was there early on, so, we hung on to each other. So, why Middlebury? Well, that's how I got talking about Nick. My mother thought it would be a good idea if I got exposure to several other young men. [laughter] So, it had to be a coed college, no question about that. Had to be a coed college and I had gone to camp up in Malletts Bay, which is off of Lake Champlain, as a girl in the seventh or eighth grade or something like that, knew a little bit about Vermont, not too much. Oh, and then, Miss Gay, who was the language teacher in Dunellen, here again I wasn't a language fanatic. But, anyhow, Miss Gay, she was the adviser for one of our clubs over here in Dunellen. I got to know Miss Gay very well. My mother and father never got involved in selecting a college for me. The only thing mother wanted was a coed school. That's the only stipulation she had. I knew I didn't want to go to any big university because that didn't appeal to me. So, Miss Gay, she was the one and she wasn't even a Middlebury graduate, but she went to their language school, because Middlebury College is known more for their language school in the summer time. It's called Bread Loaf and they are known more for their language school, well not now, but back there in the 1930s, 1936 and 1937, for their language school than they are for their regular year round college. So, I got to Middlebury primarily through Miss Gay, because I didn't have a thought. My mother's only requirement was that it was coed and I didn't want a big school. Middlebury was far enough away that you're not going to come home on weekends, but you did get home for Thanksgiving and you did get home for Christmas. So, it wasn't on the other side of the moon. Yes, Middlebury was a good experience. I liked Middlebury. It was good for me. It was the right school for me.
SH: Your major was History.
BH: Yes, my major, I took a lot of History, but you come out not as a History major, Liberal Arts. We came out as a Liberal Arts major, but it was good. I waited on table. Well, you couldn't wait on table your freshman year, but I was a substitute, and then, I waited on table for three years. Senior year I was head waitress. The head waitress meant that if the girls didn't get--because the waitresses always ate before the girls and we moved trays. This was no cafeteria business. Oh, no cafeteria, no. Each waitress had a table and a half, eight girls to a table, and then, you had half, split the other table with the other waitress. So, you're responsible for twelve girls and you always ate before the girls ate.
SH: Why did you decide to be the waitress?
BH: Well, because number one, somehow or other I wanted to pay my mother back or do something. I wanted to do something. Well, I thought if you're a waitress nothing is going on at the college while you're waiting on table. Everybody is eating. Now if you worked in the library other things are going on and things are happening and you're not as free. So, why not be a waitress? So, that's what I did. I never saw any money, never saw any money. My mother just didn't have to pay any room or board for me. So, I didn't see it. The only money I ever saw was at Middlebury. You've never been to Middlebury?
BH: Well, in the town of Middlebury, darling little town, they have the Middlebury Inn, and the Middlebury Inn is where anything that's going on within the whole area of Vermont, all of Addison County, people always held it at the Middlebury Inn. Then, they always needed extra waitresses, so, they called us the waitresses from the hill, because Middlebury College was located on a hill. The town was down here, so, they always called on the waitresses from the hill when they needed extra waitresses. Then, I saw some money. [laughter] That was the only time. Then, also the different summer lodges and hotels and everything, we had all kinds of offers to work in the summertime at any of the big hotels up there, waiting on table, but then, I got involved for two years with working with the American Friends Service Committee of Quakers, and that took care of my summers.
SH: What did you do with the American Friends?
BH: I got to know the American Friends. Now you got to remember that we're talking about 1939 and 1940 and Hitler's on the move, okay, you know what the international situation is?
SH: I was hoping that is what it was. Go ahead.
BH: Yes, that's what it was. Hitler was on the move, so--oh, there was a Professor Heinrich at Middlebury who taught World Civilization. Fine man, traveled all over Europe, very knowledgeable. His classes he brought in a lot of his own personal experiences along with book knowledge and stuff. I like Professor Heinrich very much, and then, they had this representative from the American Friends Service Committee; Student Peace Corps is what they called it, came for Professor Heinrich and was interested if there was anybody in the college that maybe would be interested in their summer program. They didn't pay you. You had to pay. It cost a hundred bucks. You had to pay. So, Heinrich thought of me. Some of the others too, a couple of others. So, I met with this guy and I was really idealistic at the time. You're going to make the world better. Do your bit. So, the first year they sent you to school for two weeks, went to Lafayette College for two weeks. They didn't indoctrinate you. You got everything thrown at you. You had a pacifist talk to you, you had a militarist talk to you, and you got to remember the climate of the time. So, by the time you got done you didn't know what you were thinking, right. You were never indoctrinated. Never was I ever indoctrinated, and so, then we were assigned in groups of--we started out with five of us girls. We went to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. One of the girls couldn't stomach it, so she went back to Iowa. Her name was Pat. She went back to Iowa, but we wrote newspaper articles, we talked at meetings, we talked on the radio, we talked, and we were always--if there was a social activity going on--like I remember the one time, the Ladies' Aid Society, at this one church, we were working through this one church, they had a big picnic and it was on a lake, there was a big lake there. I spent the whole day rowing these ladies around this lake and my hands were so blistered I can hardly open them up. [laughter] I'll never forget that. Things I remember. That's what I did the first year. We went around through that area of Pennsylvania. The second year I was out at a place called Scattergood. Now Scattergood was in West Branch, Iowa, and West Branch was Herbert Hoover's hometown, strong Quakers, and Scattergood had been a girls' boarding school, and it was then turned over to refugees, most of them were Germans who were getting picked up by Hitler. They would come out. It was a boarding school. Scattergood itself was a great big building. I forget how many people it accommodated, but the Quakers brought some of these people over there and what our job was, and they were going to try to locate them in jobs around the Iowa area. They didn't want to do it on either of the coasts, because they thought there'd be too much feeling and sentiment and all this sort of stuff. So, they brought them out to Scattergood, Iowa, and our job was to--I think there were four of us. We started out with five and one left. Four of us teaching English, the language. So, we would help them with the language. We would help them with the history of the country. We would help them about the different customs of the country. We would go with them on little trips into Ames, Iowa, which was nearby there. I think that was the city that was nearest to where we were. It was Ames, Iowa, and we would just indoctrinate them, and in the meantime there were two Quaker people who were out there trying to locate them in jobs. These were professional people. These weren't what you commonly think of as refugees. As a matter of fact, it's interesting, because I saved and have a lot of my letters that I wrote to Nick from Scattergood. We had musicians that were there, would play for us. There were lawyers. These were professional people that the Friends were trying to locate out there in mid-America. So, as a matter of fact, the Friends, because like I say I don't get paid for any of this. I had to pay for the privilege. Then, the Friends, when it was all over, Harold Chance, who was the guy in charge of it, the youth part of it, he interviewed me and he offered me a full time job and I would be paid, but I'd have to be free to go here, there, and I was all set to get married. I wasn't interested in getting sidestepped. So, that ended the experience with the Friends, but I had a lot of respect for the Friends. I often think I ought to get down to Plainfield and check them out but I never have. But because of all of the different groups that I knew, they really practiced what they preached, and I have a lot of respect for the Friends. In Scattergood I was there, in Beaver Falls.
SH: Now did they come to Middlebury recruiting?
BH: Yes. That first year they'd gone to Professor Heinrich, because he was the history teacher and he was also--they had gone to him, but then, the second year I was already in. I volunteered to do it.
SH: Was it the full summer?
BH: Well, let me see. It was a full summer. It was until about the middle of August because I had two weeks down the shore, something like that. Then, I went back to college.
SH: Did you talk about this with your family?
BH: Yes, well, my mother was very--she let us do pretty much what we wanted to do as long as it was legal and within bounds, that sort of stuff. But she never tried to dissuade me and my dad; he never would try to dissuade me. He was a good guy. Not that my mother wasn't a good lady, but I mean he was into golf at that time. He was into golf. He just discovered golf. He joined Raritan Valley Golf Club. No, my family was very hands off with Jean, with Muddie.
SH: Now did Jean go to college as well?
BH: Yes, she went to Connecticut College for Women up in New London and she married very recently after college too. She never had any real--she worked in the YWCA, I think it was in Trenton for a while, but then, she married Bill and they went to Burlington, because he was, oh, I know. They had the warehouse. He was a food distributor for all of the Northeast Territory, the Northeast Kingdom they called it up there in Vermont. The northeast all the way up to the Canadian border and they were food distributors. They had a big warehouse and Bill used to go out there and this is all mom and pop's stuff, all these old stores scattered all the way that part of Vermont, and Bill knew them all, and he would take their orders, and then, he'd fill up the orders and he'd take them up to these little mom and pop stores up there in Vermont.
SH: Well, you talked about going to camp up near Lake Placid. Did you go to other camps as well?
BH: No, no, it's only one year. My sister Jean, Jean and I went. Muddie never went to camp. Jean went but Jean got terribly homesick. I mean we were, I don't know. Jean probably was seven. I was 9, something like that.
SH: Did you go to camp around New Jersey?
BH: No, no, up there in Malletts Bay, up on Lake Champlain.
SH: But in other years?
BH: That was my introduction to Vermont, really, to live. Yes, up on Lake Champlain, naturally based, don't disappear. It's still up there.
SH: No, I just wondered if in younger years growing up, did you go?
BH: No. Other than that we're down the shore. My mother had a housekeeper, but we were pretty much on our own, because none of the housekeepers swam. They didn't come down and watch us on the beach or anything,
SH: And then you went to your grandparents?
BH: Yes, we went up to Delaware to grandparents. Who's that? Oh, hi Trish. This is my granddaughter-in-law.
SH: When you graduated do you remember who your graduation speaker was? Did your parents come to your graduation?
BH: From college?
BH: Yes, they did come. Oh, yes, sure. Me getting through college, that was something. I don't know if I have that program or not. If I do, I don't have it here. I don't remember who the speaker was. But at Middlebury we had daily chapel. You had to. We had assigned seats, attendance was taken, it was compulsory, between 10 and 10:20 every morning you went to chapel and President Moody, he usually got up there. I'll never forget this. He would read a piece of scripture and I remember as a freshman I had this and I had gone to the Presbyterian Church, Christian Endeavor. I was really tuned in. But President Moody, when he stood up there, he never looked directly at you, at the audience. He's up there in the pulpit in the morning. He never looked directly at you. He always looked off this way, this is the right. Somebody told me later on when I remarked about it to somebody in the faculty or somebody who had known Professor Moody a long time, they told me that he had been in World War I, and he had been slightly, I don't know if you want to call it shell shock, but they had said that his inability to really look straight on when he was talking, but the more of that was a result of something that happened in World War I, whether that was true or not. But anyhow, back to President Moody. When he stood up he was very erect. He was built sort of what my idea of a banker looks like. You know that round thing with that watch hanging there. I mean I really go back. I really go back, but that's what he looked like.
SH: He had a watch fob.
BH: Yes, that's right, the whole thing.
SH: I'm sure he had a vest.
BH: He had a vest and he stands up there in the pulpit and he would say, he'd read something from the Bible. He says now this is what it says, but this is what it means, and as a freshman I used to say he's pretty nervy. It means what it says, you know what I mean? But he would always say now this is what it said, but this is what it means. I never felt very close to the president, although as a waitress from the hill, when the Moody's had any special function going on at which there were eats, I was always called. I was always one of the waitresses that was always called. This is another time I saw money. I was called to go to the president's house and help. It was interesting. This is really interesting. Their full-time maid, the woman that worked for them was their cook, the whole housekeeper, her name was Betty Forman, the same as my name. She was French Canadian only she was from up in Canada, French Canadian, but her name was also Betty Forman. The most amazing thing imaginable, and then, what was really great was any leftovers, any of the cookies and the cakes and everything and I could take them back to the girls in the dorm. Boy was I popular. [laughter]
SH: Now which dorm did you stay in at Middlebury?
BH: When I was a freshman I stayed at Hillcrest and I just read in our latest Vermont magazine whatever it is, that Hillcrest is now becoming the environmental center for Middlebury. They're doing big things on environment, this gas, substitute for--I don't know all this stuff. Yes, it's a big thing. I just was reading about it in my Middlebury thing. It was Hillcrest and it used to be an old farmhouse. It was a converted farmhouse and freshman year I was on the third floor. There were two bedrooms on the third floor with a bath, two bedrooms and a bath, which is really very nice, and we had the fire escape outside of our window. My roommate freshman year, her name was Pete Hodge. Her name was Helen, but everybody called her Pete. She only lasted one year at Middlebury. She was crazy about a guy back in Danbury, Connecticut, where she came from and that was the last we saw of Pete, but she was smart. She was smart. If any of the girls had any problems with any math, they were always right up in our room to see Pete, because she had the smarts, but she only lasted for one year because of the guy back there in Danbury. Then, my second year I lived in what they called Pearson's, which was a big dorm, but you know what was interesting, that the dorm was built so long ago that they never put any closets in these dorms. I think it was a classroom or something at one time. It had no closets in it. So, we had built these what do you call armoires outside in the hall or something. I lived in Pearson's for one year, and then, I lived at Forest, which was the newest modern women's dorm for junior and senior year. Now Middlebury was the right school for me. It was a good experience, small classes, not a lot of hanky-panky or all that stuff going on. Do you know what I mean? Oh, yes I know what it was. Senior year I was on the student government and I was elected for the law enforcer. I have it someplace. Anyhow, I was the law enforcer and I lived at that time, I was living with a girl by the name of Barbara Kerrick, and if there was ever a rules breaker in that school it was Barbara Kerrick, I'll tell you. Oh, it was the chief justice. That's what I was. I said, "You know, this is going to be very difficult for me, because of these punishments that you have to hand out to the girls. In those days you're allowed so many nights out. You couldn't just go or, in upper years when you could go out, you'd have to be back at ten o'clock. On a Saturday night you could get--if they had a sorority or fraternity dance you could stay later, but then, you would get on what they called probation, and once you got on probation they really lowered the boom, you couldn't go.
SH: Now were the men also having curfews?
BH: No, I don't think the men had curfews at Middlebury, because in the beginning, not when I was there, but before I came, I don't know when it changed. As a matter of fact, we were considered the Women's College at Middlebury. You were not considered Middlebury College.
SH: Side one tape two. Go ahead.
BH: Early on Middlebury was strictly a men's college. It was strictly men, and then, I can't remember what year they started taking women, but they were the Women's College at Middlebury, and that's what your diploma read. You were the Women's College at Middlebury. So, that distinction and of course heaven forbid we never had that kind of dorm arrangement they have nowadays. No, the men's dorm was over on the one side of campus and the women were on this side. Now what is it like now? I don't know. But when I was there, the women were over here and the men were way over there. We did have classes with men and everything like that. The school paper and all those kinds of extra-curricular stuff, it was all coed, but we never ate in the same dining room, never ate in the same dining room with the men. Now, like I say I don't know what they do now, but we had our own dining room, the men had their own dining room, and we had to be in by ten o'clock. You had to sign in, sign out. You couldn't just indiscriminately--what's the Latin for apprentice? The college is a substitute for the parent. That's how the college looks upon us. That was the rationale between making us sign in and sign out in those early years I think; I don't know as a senior we had to sign out all the time, I know that, and if you wanted to go off campus, because nobody was allowed cars, but even if somebody, parents or something came up, and you signed you were going to be off campus, you had to get permission, and you had to sign that you were off campus and where you were, because again that Latin expression that Middlebury was our parents, substitute parents, whatever you want to call it. They felt that kind of way. So, you were really watched over very carefully. I did go to my fiftieth reunion. I graduated in '40, so, that would have been 1990, and asking the kids if they do have chapel, but it's more now it doesn't have the religious connotation that it did then, because President Moody would go up there, like I say, and he'd read a piece of scripture and I'll never forget that. This is what it says, but this is what it means. [laughter]
SH: When you would have your social activities, would there be outsiders? Were you allowed to have Nick come up for any of your social activities, or did he ever?
BH: He did come up. That's right. He did come up because you know what is interesting. You know how sometimes if somebody goes from a high school goes to a college, they like it. They'll get back word to their buddies hey blah, blah, blah. Well, there were a group of guys early on in 1937, I think, Milt Lens from New Brunswick was a graduate of New Brunswick High School and he went to Middlebury. Now if there's anybody before Milt Lens I don't know, but then, subsequently they always had a couple of people from New Brunswick High School, and they always were DKEs. They were always a member of the DKE Fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, whatever it was. The DKEs, they had a DKE house. No sororities had any houses. Four of the Greeks men had houses, four of the seven. I know there were seven sororities. I think there were seven fraternities and four of the Psi Eps, the DUs, the DKEs, they had, and when Nick came up, he came up rarely. He would stay at the DKE House, because there were guys from New Brunswick that he knew that were at the DKE house and they always said, "Hey, anytime you want to come up."
SH: Was he a DKE at Rutgers?
BH: No, no, he was Phi Kappa Epsilon. They have a house right on College Avenue. It's right on the corner there. Nick pointed it out to me one time.
SH: Did you ever come down to any of the social activities at his fraternity?
BH: No, I never came down to New Brunswick. During Christmas vacation if there was a basketball game, because Nick played varsity for New Brunswick and Rutgers too. He played varsity for Rutgers and during the Christmas vacation sometimes there was a basketball game there, and then, I went, but I never deliberately came from Middlebury down. As a matter of fact, my mother would have been very unhappy I know.
SH: You are supposed to be finding somebody else up there right?
BH: Also, financially, because you watch your pennies. I was always conscious of the fact that mother was paying a nice chunk of money for my education in Middlebury. So, it could wait. It waited. So, anyhow it was good.
SH: Now when you graduated were you already engaged. When did you become officially engaged and when did you tell your parents?
BH: Oh, I didn't have to tell them. They knew. [laughter]
SH: Did he ask for permission?
BH: I think we did that together. I think we told my mom and dad that we wanted to get married soon. There was no point. We knew we were for each other and what's the point? But we wouldn't get married, Nick, not until he had a job, a good job, because when he first got out of Rutgers, there wasn't a job open in education, because he was in education, Phys Ed. He worked over there at that big plant down there on, I don't know, I forgot the name of it now.
SH: Was it National Starch?
BH: Not there, this way. No, it wasn't National Starch. It was that other one that's all closed up off of River Road there. But anyhow he got a good job in education. Rutgers, here again, Rutgers came in for him, and then, the job opened up in New Brunswick High School and that's when he got in. Oh, yes, that's right. See that Athletic Hall of Fame over in the high school, it is a very exclusive, hard to get in group. It's not that you were just varsity and lettered in a sport. You had to be All State, All County, or something special. Now Nick was never that, but he got the honorary thing, because when he was on the board of education in New Brunswick, no, not board of education, when he was the assistant superintendent of schools in New Brunswick. They always know that anything the Phys Ed department wanted, all they had to do was go to Nick. So, that's why they always felt that he was very, very special to the program at New Brunswick, because he would get them anything that they wanted. All they had to do was go to Nick and he was the assistant superintendent of schools, and he made sure. That's why the athletic club in New Brunswick High School is called the New Brunswick High School Athletic Club. To be in, not to be an honorary, but just to be in it, you had to have been All State. You couldn't have just been a varsity letter, because he was a varsity letterman. I don't know if I have it over here or not. He lettered in basketball and he lettered in tennis at Rutgers University. He also did that at high school too.
SH: Can we talk a little bit about Nick and his growing up that you remember?
BH: Well, like I said, his mother came over from Hungary. His Aunt Mary had come first. I never can call her mother. To me my mother was such a dynamic person I never could call her mother. I was so glad when I had my first child and you called her Grandma Hummel.
SH: I'm the same way.
BH: We're on the same wavelength. Before I had Johnny I really didn't know what to call her, but I knew I couldn't call her mother. I just knew that, because my mother was such a dynamic person, I mean you just don't throw the term around loosely. So, I never called her mother. I never thought of her as a mother. She was always Grandma Hummel. So, glad that Johnny was born, many reasons, but that was one of them. Now you asked me a question.
SH: So he went to school in New Brunswick.
BH: He went to school in New Brunswick. They were so good to him. I have a tape of his retirement dinner someplace. I don't know where it is, but they had that, they had a dinner for Nick. When he retired they had a big dinner for Nick and I had to speak, so, I really got going. I really did. Well, you can see how I get going and I had to really--I said, "If there was ever anybody that was New Brunswick, it was Nick." He was born in New Brunswick, went all through the New Brunswick schools, graduated from Rutgers University, never held a job in any other school system than New Brunswick, never applied for any other school system other than New Brunswick. If ever there was a guy that was New Brunswick, it was Nick and that's true. Like I said, when his mom took him and Elizabeth back there to Hungary when she was so homesick for her mother, Grandma Hummel was homesick for her mother, and Nick came back to the United States and didn't know a word of English, because he's learned Hungarian over there for the months that she kept him over there, and I told them all this in that speech. There was a teacher in New Brunswick who knew Hungarian and she took Nick under her wing, and made that adjustment. Had a language barrier and got rid of that and he sailed right on through. Then, he played all the sports in New Brunswick and Rutgers and the whole thing, and so, it was all good.
SH: Was he the first one in his family to go to college?
BH: Oh, sure. He was the first one in his family. Oh, yes. Well, he had a cousin Julius. Oh, man he was a character too. [laughter] He had a cousin Julius, that was interesting too if I can get this straight. Grandma Hummel, you can take the Hungarian out of Hungary, but you can't take Hungary out of a Hungarian, or whatever that expression is.
SH: That is right we got you.
BH: You got the drift. Grandma Hummel, boy, she was Hungarian. All over New Brunswick they had that little group over there and they speak the language, and they're really. Well, Grandma Hummel had a brother John and John was still over there in Hungary, and John had a son. His name was Julius, and then, when the Russians came into Hungary and were picking up some of these Hungarian kids to be in the Russian Army, Grandma Hummel got Julius, the son, her nephew, her brother's child, out of Hungary and brought him over to the United States. His name was Julius.
SH: What was his last name?
BH: Julius Furrier, F-U-R-R-I-E-R. He was Julius Szues, but then he was--no, he was Julius Furrier. My point is this. Grandma Hummel brought him out of Hungary. He was over in this country for a little while. Then, he joined the American Army. He joined the American Army. They loved him, because he could speak German too. He was an interpreter. He did a lot of this stuff. Not only that, but he got his whole education through the G.I. Bill of Rights. He went on to Rutgers, and then, he went on to Rutgers Law School, and he became a lawyer, Julius Furrier. He was a lawyer. Is he in here? No, that's just about Nick. Julius Furrier, he had a great business. He knew Budapest like the back of his hand. He had all these friends in Budapest, because he speaks the language. So, if any of those Hungarians over there had any business connections or anything over here Julius could take care of them. The same way is if any English people over here had any connections with business over there, Julius could take care of them and he did. I have a picture of him.
SH: Now was he older or younger than Nick?
BH: He was about the same age as Nick. Hey, this is a neat picture. Do you know that this is my sister Muddie. This is me and this is Jean, but she lives out in California. Let me see. This is one of Jean's birthdays. This was taken up in Vermont someplace. Yes, Jack and I had gone up to Jean's for her birthday okay, but there's only the three of us. So, we sent David Ulmes a picture of my sister Muddie out in San Francisco and he put her in there. So, there was the four of us. Can you believe that?
SH: You are going to drive a historian crazy.
BH: That's right or even on a witness stand. She was there. There is the picture. That's not, she was out in California, but David Ulmes put her there. So, there could be the four of us kids when Jean was eighty years old. I think it was at her eightieth.
SH: Did he graduate from Rutgers the same time as your husband Nick?
BH: No, no, he was after Nick.
SH: You said that you met because he had friends in Dunellen.
BH: Yes, his folks moved here for that little bit of time. That's the picture of him out in Colorado. That's a picture of him in, that must be high school. This is a picture down the shore. This is on the steps outside. He went to the University of Colorado his first year, and then, it got too expensive. So, he came back here to go to Rutgers and live at home, so there's no board.
MB: This is who now?
BH: Nick, that's my husband. Oh, that's Nick and his mother though. Liz wrote that, mom and Nick. That's Nick and me down at the shore, 1990. That's out in Colorado.
SH: Do you know why he went to Colorado?
BH: Yes, I'll tell you why he went to Colorado. He had a cousin, his name was Julius. They got more Julius' in the family. Anyhow, he had a cousin, his name was Julius.
SH: A different cousin.
BH: A different cousin. This is not the Hungarian. Well, he was a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, but a psychiatrist and he was connected with the hospital out in Boulder, okay, a big, big hospital out there in Boulder, and he was connected with that hospital. So, he came out, he came east to visit his folks, Aunt Elizabeth, and he had told them that Nick could live at their house and he could get like a resident's tuition out of Colorado to go to school out there, and it will be so much cheaper. So, Grandma and Grandpa Hummel, seeing the dollar sign which was big. That was why Nick went out to the University of Colorado for his first year, but then, he didn't like it out there at Colorado too much, you know what I mean? So, he said well, he could live at home and go to Rutgers.
SH: You went off to Middlebury, so I guess it is okay he went to Colorado?
BH: Yes, so that was alright with mother. But anyhow, oh here he is, Julius Furrier. There is a picture. There is an expression in Hungarian, "Kezit csokolom." He was really a "kezit csokolom" man. That means I kiss your hand. Well, Julius Furrier was really a "kezit csokolom" man. They had a memorial service for him in both English and Hungarian and there were the people who participated and stuff, but that's a picture of Julius. That was Nick's cousin. Grandma Hummel really loved her wine, she really did, and Nick and I, we'd bring her, but later on the doctor said cut back a little bit, and so, we tried. Oh, that was at his service when he died. So, you know what? We rationed Grandma Hummel on the wine but this son of a gun anytime she wanted anything Julius would get it for her. But hey, she saved Julius. Grandma Hummel saved Julius from the Russian Army. A little wine is small payment for all of that. Yes, that's Julius Furrier.
SH: Were they Protestants?
BH: Yes, Julius was a protestant here. We had that memorial service for him. They had it in English, they had it in Hungarian. Here's the whole story on it if you're interested in Julius.
SH: He also went to Rutgers you mentioned.
BH: Yes, he went to Rutgers, Rutgers Law School. He married Ava. Oh, that's interesting too. She had a degree in science, but she got hers from over on the other side from Hungary or someplace, but she went to work for J&J in their labs and stuff, and she worked up there.
SH: Now when did you move here into this house?
BH: 1950. Nick and I, we had it built. Yes, nobody else has ever lived in here but us and in my will I'm giving it to David and Trish, because that way it stays in the Hummel family, and I want it that way, because we built it. It actually had two additions to it. It was a basic house when it was built. It stopped there and went just down there. All of that was added when my mother came to live with us. So, it's two big bedrooms. I'll show you before you go if you're interested. Those two big bedrooms were added when mother came to live with us.
SH: You had mentioned at a meeting before how much it cost for the house and what you could have bought if you had more money.
BH: I think about that especially now. Let me see. We bought this property from Fisher. That had the place over there for Fisher? This is all part of the whole Fisher thing. For two thousand dollars we could have had the whole lot and all the way back down there all the way to the top of the ridge over there to Stella's house, but for a thousand dollars just this lot to build on. So, we took the thousand dollars, because money was so tight at that time, but now, for another thousand dollars we could have had everything that was all the way behind us and I think all the way down to the brook, as a matter of fact, behind Stella all the way down to the brook.
SH: Is that about from Madison to Lincoln? Is that how big the plot could have been?
BH: Collins was here before us, because that was Dr. Stefan's old house.
SH: Okay. So, the house next door to you was already developed?
BH: Yes, that one was here. Now, the only addition we could have had was all the property behind us and all the way down behind Stella's for a thousand dollars. But boy, I'll tell you a thousand dollars at that time was like a mint of money. And Ava and Julius got married, were married, and they had twins, Naomi and Mark.
SH: When did you and Nick get married then?
BH: We got married in 1940. I graduated from college in June. We got married in December of 1940, because there was never any question. As soon as he got a job, he wouldn't marry me unless he had a full-time job. So, he got a job in New Brunswick.
SH: Where did you get married?
BH: Oh that's right. We got married at home, 238 South Washington Avenue, Dunellen, because just before that my sister Muddie I was telling you about, my sister had gotten married and she had, I mean she had bridesmaids coming out of your gazoo. I mean she had bridesmaids. I mean, I think she had six or seven bridesmaids and all the guys that go with them, whatever they were called. So, it cost mother an awful lot of money. So, Nick and I, it was the same year, I think. Yes, because Muddie was married in the summertime. We were married in December and Muddie had, I mean, she had the before dinner, the bridal group, the whole big dinner and everything, because like I said, mother had a special thing with Muddie, and Jean agrees with me. But anyhow, Nick and I just wanted to get married. We didn't want any of all the pomp and ceremony. Mom paid for my education. Mom had just gotten done with Muddie's wedding. So, we just got married at home very quietly, 238 South Washington Avenue. But it was good.
SH: Who married you?
BH: Oh Mr. Getz, Reverend Getz married us, no question about that. He came and he married us.
SH: Did you have a reception afterwards?
BH: Only at the house. We never had anything big, no. It was all strictly at the house and I mean nothing fancy. I was just so glad that I wasn't seeing him ride off home alone back to New Brunswick. [laughter]
SH: Did you go on a honeymoon?
BH: Yes, we went all up through Vermont. Love Vermont, went all up through Vermont, we did it all up through there, and then, the first couple of years that we were married, of course you know in those days, I think it's true today too.
SH: It is a tough time to go touring Vermont in December.
BH: Well, that's alright. We had love to keep us warm. We had love to keep us warm I guess, but anyhow I guess it's true today, but in those days people came over and bought property. They always were going to make the house pay for itself. So, it was usually a two family house and the house is still there today, 232 Somerset Street in New Brunswick, and there was an upstairs apartment. It was small, three rooms, bathroom, kitchen, but that's where Nick and I were, so we rented it for like twenty dollars a month. Nick and I, we're up there until we moved here in 1950. So, it was either New Brunswick or here. It really worked out very good.
SH: So, you started having your family when you were in Somerset?
BH: Yes, Johnny was born when we were over there. Johnny was born in Muhlenberg. So, before I was ready to have him we moved in with my mom and dad for a little bit, because I wanted that doctor. Who was it, Dr. Hughes? Anyhow, I wanted to go to Muhlenberg. So, we had him there and we stayed there, and also, when Nick was in the service, that was before we built this house, when Nick was in the service, I lived with my mom and dad. Also, when he was on the LCI [Landing Craft Infantry]-702, and when he was out at Notre Dame in boot camp and he was in the service, his address for the service is 238 South Washington Avenue. That was his official address.
SH: Can you talk to us about that first year in 1941 and Nick's working at a new job. Are you working in the factory then?
BH: Yes ma'am I was. Yes, I was. I was working at the factory, because there was never a time when I wasn't working, and I really never thought about the school until I realized that--besides the boys, I had two boys, and I had to get going before I was forty. I'm really glad I remember that. If I was born in 1918 that gives you an idea of when I started.
SH: How far apart are your boys?
BH: Johnny was born in '42; Ronny was born in '46, four years, '42 and '46. It's easier for me to remember dates like that than it is for me to remember how old they are, because each year they get older, but their birthday stays the same. [laughter]
SH: So, Johnny is the oldest?
BH: Yes, Johnny is the oldest and he was born in '42. Ronny is the younger and he was born in '46.
SH: Where were you when you first remember hearing about Pearl Harbor?
BH: Oh, I was in my seventh period gym class. No, that was with when Kennedy was shot. Oh, I was living at 238 South Washington Avenue.
SH: You were married then. You have been married almost a year.
BH: Yes, Pearl Harbor is '41 and somehow or other, I get Kennedy and Pearl Harbor mixed up, That's where I'm getting things mixed up. Pearl Harbor, 1941, '41 we were over in New Brunswick, because Nick registered with the New Brunswick draft board and I don't remember, wow.
SH: It was a Sunday.
BH: We were over New Brunswick when I heard about Pearl Harbor. That was really a shock. That really put a stop to all the philosophy and the discussion and everything else, because when we were attacked that settled any argument about appeasement or anything else that was going on with Churchill at that time, and you just wondered about all those stories you hear, whether or not he really knew, whether they knew beforehand, but Churchill wanted to get us in there. I don't know.
SH: How long before Nick decided to go into the military?
BH: Well, he didn't have any choice.
SH: Was he drafted?
BH: He was drafted. Oh, that was it. No, he didn't enlist. He was drafted and the fact that he was Phys Ed, had a college degree, we were both hopeful that he'd stay in the States and maybe go to a base camp or something and do the physical exercise with guys, the recruits and everything else. We had hoped that he would be assigned, but at that time, they, the government, was anticipating the invasion of Japan, so that they were building up the amphibious. So, when he went down, he went down to Newark to be inducted and I guess the Army, the Navy guys were there, the Air Force guys were there, and when Nick asked for the Army, they said, "You're in the navy bud," and stamped him the Navy, because they were building up for the anticipated invasion of Japan, and they were building up the amphibious. So, he became what they called one of the 90 day wonders, one of the 90-day-wonders, sent him out there to Notre Dame, then, from Notre Dame he went up here to the Naval base up here out of Connecticut where the LCI-702 was still on the flying board. Rosie the Riveter, remember that song about Rosie the Riveter, she was riveting the 702 together, and when they went out to sea, oh, that was something else again. Oh, did I tell you why that picture is important? When the LCI was commissioned up there in Boston, the Boston boat yard--I'm trying to think, Boston. It's up there in the book someplace. It was commissioned up there in Boston. Nick was aboard when she was commissioned. There wasn't one guy aboard to run that thing. There's twenty-two men that made up the complement and four officers made up the complement, the Navy complement of the LCI. Not one of them had ever been to sea before except one guy who's been merchant marine and here they took this LCI and Nick said that although they had sonar aboard, they didn't have any guy trained to do it, to do the sonar thing, but they had the book. So, when they almost ran up on the shore off the Jersey coast someplace, Nick says you better believe we got that book out, but you know what, going through the New York Harbor, going outside of New York coming down from Boston, outside New York, they were sideswiped by one of those Liberty ships. Remember the Liberty ships that used to bring the stuff and where we used to send over to England and stuff, a lot of that equipment and stuff. The 702 was sideswiped and it went down into dry dock down at the Chesapeake for a while. Then, it set out and after it got through out there getting put together or getting the dents knocked out of it, it went down the Atlantic Coast through the Panama Canal and the first stop they made was a little Island called Bora Bora, and after they got through at Bora Bora, they're right out to the Southwest Pacific. So, that was the saga of 702 and now, well, this article here I got, something about the 702. It was in the war of Vietnam, the 702 was. I think it was under a different name or a different connotation but the basic boat. Then it became a banana boat and after that they lost track of it. [laughter] But anyhow, it's really amazing how our country put together.
SH: Did you go for the commissioning of the boat?
BH: No, I never went for anything. That was all aboard ship.
SH: I just wondered if you got up to Boston to visit him?
BH: No, I never got up to Boston. I had the appendicitis. I had Johnny.
SH: Now was your son born before he left?
BH: Oh, yes, because Johnny was born in '42. When did he leave? Nick in the Navy? Oh, there's a good picture of the 702. And there's all the places it's been and the citations and everything. Boot camp '43, August of '43, is when he was inducted. He went into boot camp and he graduated. He went out to Notre Dame and reported to Boston in '44. John was born in '42. So, John was two years old when he went up to Boston. That's really good though. That really helps to put it all in perspective. Other friends, particularly my generation that have had war experiences, boy I wish I had that, something to keep track of my days.
SH: Did you ever visit him?
BH: No, I never went any place.
SH: For his commissioning or anything like that?
BH: Oh, he was commissioned aboard ship. When he graduated from Notre Dame, he would graduate as an ensign, but I was not there. No, I did not go out to Notre Dame.
SH: Well you would only have a year old child at that point. So, I can see why it would have been a little tough to travel. Did he get leave often?
BH: It's all in here somewhere. This is the envelope they kept his official records in. He had ten days leave I think. It's all in here some place before he was shipped out. So, it's really quite complete.
SH: It's great to have this great chronology here.
BH: That's right, because you get mixed up.
SH: He graduated from Notre Dame in May of '44 and got seven dollars per day per Diem. In June of '44 he reported to Boston to the Navy yard there and he had leave from the 1st of June to the 15th of June in '44.
BH: Yes, yes, okay. He came home here. I didn't go up there. That's when Mrs. Westcott loaned us her house down at the shore, rent free. Mrs. Westcott was best friends of my mother and dad and lived up there on Walnut Street. Oh, the O'Neil's, Brian O'Neil is the grandson of the Westcott's, because his mom, Barbara Westcott O'Neil, is his grandmother, Brian's grandmother, yes.
SH: So the LCI-702 was commissioned June 6, 1944, and he was a communications officer.
BH: Yes, and he was on board ship when she was commissioned.
SH: And in July 6, '44, they left on their shakedown cruise. It was truly a shakedown cruise.
BH: Yes, they got sideswiped. I got to add that. They got sideswiped by a merchant marine thing or a Liberty ship or something--Liberty ship outside of New York Harbor.
SH: He became a Lt. JG in January 12, '45 and in August of '45 he returned to the States on the USS Louis Bamberger.
BH: Yes, he didn't fly in. They came in on the Louis Bamberger.
SH: In '45 he was part of the retraining command at Camp Perry, Virginia.
BH: Yes, that's right they sent him down there.
SH: And he was released from active duty February 3, 1946, and CAME HOME, in capital letters. [laughter] He remained in the Reserves in inactive status and resigned in 1953.
BH: You had to remain inactive for so many years.
SH: I will look through this later, but when he came back then, did he use the G.I. Bill to go back for any further education?
BH: Yes, to get his certification in administration, because of course he had all the certifications in Physical Education, but then, it's really interesting. Nick never sought out any job and as I told you he had always been in the New Brunswick School System. He graduated from the New Brunswick High School and Rutgers, and they were fond of him, not only as a man, but also in his ability to work with people. He was a very good people person. So, after getting out of Phys Ed, he got in one of the hardest jobs in the whole New Brunswick System. He became vice principal of the Junior High School and he was vice principal of the Junior High School when they had the raids in New Brunswick, and they had to lock the principal in one of the closets, because some of the kids were ganging up on the principal.
SH: Was this in the '60s?
BH: Yes. Let me see this here. Here it comes in handy. This is all military. Was that the '60s?
SH: The riots?
BH: Yes, in New Brunswick. Boy, they had to lock up the principal. That was 1966. He headed the schools temporarily. That was when Mr. Roland was sick, but it was before that because he was the vice principal in the junior high school. Yes, he was there when they had all those riots, right.
SH: What did you do with your boys while you both were teaching?
BH: Well, my sister-in-law, Grace, lived around the corner. So, after they were old enough, I'd have to do all the arithmetic on this to give you an exact date. After school I always used to go over to--oh, when I worked down in the factory for those couple of years, I didn't go into teaching until they were nine or ten or something else like that. Then, they used to come from school. They used to come down the factory there for a couple of years, and they used to wait for me down to the factory, and then, they used to go over and visit with Grace over here, my sister-in-law. She was a big help, and then, when they got older they used to come over here. They used to come home on their own. I guess they were indoctrinated with the same, or I had the same genes of my mother. I guess they were on their own pretty much. But I'll never forget the time, it was so funny. We were going to a New Brunswick end of the year faculty--they were having a picnic, an end of the year faculty picnic over in New Brunswick. Oh, I was teaching in South River at that point. That was my years in South River, and so, I guess that was the year when we had two cars. It was a while there when we only had one car and I had to drive. Well, that was another story, but anyhow, so I told the kids, the two boys that I would come back from South River High School, I'd come back from school, I was going to pick them up, get home from school early, I was going to pick them, and I'd take you back to New Brunswick to this picnic, this faculty picnic. I'll tell you I came home, I picked up the boys, and I was going down George Street okay in New Brunswick, main drag, George Street, and all at once I was by a light, and this cop blew his whistle at me and motioned me over by the light and there were two girls standing on the sidewalk there that I recognized from South River. They were in my gym class. I recognized those girls over there and they're standing on the sidewalk, because it was graduation week and the girls, they got home early, you know what I mean? So, that's why we were off from school, but anyhow, so this cop came over and he was--and the two boys were sitting in the back seat, the back seat of the car. He was obnoxious, he really was my accuser, my judge, my executioner. He really landed into me something hard, really bad. I didn't say a word to him. I didn't say a word to him. I just took the ticket he gave me, you know what I mean? It was really something. I took the ticket and then as we drove on the boys were really mad at me. "How can you let anybody talk to you like that? Boy mom, that was terrible what he said, why didn't you tell him, say something to him." Then, I gave them a little lesson in civics. I said, "Boys, let me tell you. You have to honor what he represents. He is the law, okay. He is the law. I will have my say when I go to court." I'll have my say when I go to court. But, I said, "He is the law. He thought I did something wrong. He gave me a ticket. I'll have a chance." So, I took the two boys to court with me when I went to court. Then after, when it was my turn and I notice all these people going ahead of me had lawyers, I didn't have any lawyer, it was just me, you know what I mean? I didn't have any lawyer, just me. So, then when it came my turn and the ticket read that I had ignored his signal. That's what the ticket read. I had ignored his signal. I said to the judge, "I didn't ignore his signal. I didn't understand his signal. I didn't understand that he was telling me to stop. I didn't understand it."
SH: Side two tape two. Go ahead.
BH: So, this big cop says, "Judge you know I have the best signal on the force," and so, then the judge asked me to demonstrate what I would consider a good signal, and so, I said that he never turned his body at all. He never turned his body to direct traffic. He just did like this or something else like that. He never turned his body. I completely misunderstood his signal, and so, the judge says, "Well, we'll be in touch or something like that. He didn't make any decision right then and there, but these two girls that had been from South River. Well, I had to go to graduation practice the next day and they were there. "Mrs. Hummel, what happened to you on George Street?" I don't know really what happened to me on George Street. Well, if you need any help, we'll help you, whatever." "That's alright. You don't have to bother," but it was really funny. So, then later on they called me up and told me that all the charges had been dropped against me, but the boys were so indignant, and I told them I said, "Now see, it worked out good and I didn't have to get angry or lose my temper, but it worked out." I'll never forget that, a little lesson in civics. [laughter]
SH: I think now you should start asking your questions about Dunellen and the history that you want to hear or if you want to reserve the right to come back and do this?
MB: Perhaps reserve the right, because it's around lunch time and I don't want to...
BH: Okay, it's alright with me, anytime.
MB: We will book you for another date later.
BH: Okay, now I'll do some of this chronology here.
SH: Alright, well, I am going to turn the tape off and thank you very much for talking with us.
BH: Well, you know me. I love to talk.
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Reviewed by Mohammad Athar 1/6/16
Reviewed by Gail J. Hummel 4/10/2018