The Millennium Sessions
A Conversation between Perrie and Marcia Mayo
January 1, 2000
Marcia's questions and comments are written in normal print.
Perrie's comments are written in bold print.
How about starting with your mama. What you remember about your mother.
OK. Both of her parents came over as immigrants from Germany. I don't know datewise when it was, but some time in the 1880's.
So she was second generation. German was spoken in the home?
As children, I'm sure. Her parents, the first time I went I was about five years old, and, they still spoke a good deal of German. They also spoke English, with considerable accent.
Do you remember where they lived?
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I've forgotten the address.
But what kind of home?
I think it was maybe a second or third home because I think it would have been difficult to raise - let's see there were at least 4 or 5 children, and I don't think that house would have handled it. The next time I went to visit, which was about 2 or 3 years later, they were in a different home and it had an upstairs apartment and then there was the downstairs, where my mother's parents lived. And her sister and her husband and their 2 children lived in the apartment.
Your mother's sister.
Who were the children in your mother's family?
There was a son, who was a concert violinist. Then another son, who became a finished pianist. He played with dance bands. The third son, I guess was sort of a ne'er do well. In his youth, he followed a dare to crawl under a train on the railroad track and lost a leg. I knew him. He would come around during the summer. I would visit in the summer. I can remember, they owned about three cottages on a lake outside of Milwaukee.
Her parents' family?
Her parents' family. He would come to visit.
So you visited them some times at the lake.
Well, we always went to the lake. The way you got there. You took like a commuter train that went all over areas like that throughout Milwaukee. They had cars but you didn't use them like we do today.
So they did have an automobile.
Do you remember what her daddy did for a living?
He worked in some kind of a factory. I remember that he would come home with black hands. I don't know exactly what he did.
But they weren't poor.
No, they really weren't. I think they were very economical and saved and all that. But the children - of course, those two boys were educated musically.
There was not too much education. Mother was the first girl, and, apparently, she was a handful.
So, it was the three boys, and your mama
And then a younger sister.
Do you remember their names?
One of the brothers was George. The sister was Ella..... So, when my mother was about fifteen years old, they shipped her off to live with her mother's baby sister, who was in her early twenties. She was married to an old man, who was an oil shipping magnate in California. And so she was raised the rest of the way by this young, very young, aunt and, oh she had a ball.
I remember why she was shipped off. It had something to do with a boy.
Oh yeah. He was going away and she was going to run off down the track after him or something like that. They just couldn't handle her any more, so they dumped her.
That was a long ways!
Do you know how she got to California?
And so, she never lived in Milwaukee after that.
That's right. I guess she must have stayed there 5 or 6 years. I don't know exactly. And somehow, she met my father, who was engaged to a minister's daughter.
And I don't know what happened, but they married, and came back to Prescott, Arizona.
How much older was your father than your mother?
About three years.
They met when he was in law school?
He had finished by then. He stayed there a year after he finished law school, and worked in the police court, I suppose prosecuting.....
That was in Los Angeles?
Yes. So then they went back to Arizona and for a short time they lived with my Arizona Grandmother, who was a widow by then.
Let's stop there and talk about your daddy's early life.
My father was Perry M. LIng and his father was Reese Martin LIng.
One other thing, your mama's name was Florence What Hartwig?
Flora Selma Theresa. They called her Flossie.
Do you know her mother's first name?
I think it was Emilie. I believe that was it. Her husband and she did not come over on the same ship. I don't know if they knew each other previously but they married after they came to this country. I think she was a teenager, maybe.
Both from Germany.
Both from the same area. Possibly, they knew each other family-wise.
Now, Mammo's name sounds Catholic. I assume they weren't Catholic. Were they Lutheran?
Yes, they were Lutheran.
OK. back to your daddy. Back to his early age.
There were three children. The first two just had a year between them. The third child (Harry) was maybe a couple of years after. He was blind. You may remember, the doctor who came when he was born was drunk, and, when the baby was born, you know you use silver nitrate to clear out the eyes. Whatever it was he put in - hydrochloric acid or something - and burned both eyes. He later lost one eye and had very little vision so he stayed with his mother for all of his life.
Now, who was the oldest?
Dave was the oldest, and my dad was a year or less.
Back to Reese Ling, your Grandfather. Was Reese Ling born in Prescott?
No, nor was my father's mother born in Prescott. She came out west from Kansas. My Grandmother went to Bethany School of Music. Nellie Osenburg came to Arizona by train.
Now, Nellie Osenburg was your daddy's mother.
Yeah. Her father had a place where they shoed horses and things like that, but also, they had harnesses and all that kind of stuff. This was in Prescott. Nellie was my Grandmother. She had a brother named Lee, who was much younger. Reese Ling's mother's name was, I can't think of her name. However, her husband died, and she married a man with another name.
Did you ever know your Great Grandmother?
No, they called her Grandma Bowen. Reese Ling was, at one time, very well known in Arizona, especially in Phoenix. He was an attorney.
What law school did he go to?
University of Michigan. And he and his bride, Nellie Osenburg, went to Michigan, they ran away, and promptly after getting there.....
They ran away from Prescott.
>From Prescott. He had been the first graduate of Tempe College, I guess it was maybe a two year course. Somewhere in the school, I've not seen it, there's a plaque with his name on it as the first graduate.
Is that Tempe College?
It's Arizona State University. And then he went to Michigan to get his law degree. That was in the 1880's. They had no funds.
They ran away and got married. How did he pay for law school?
He had learned shorthand somewhere and he took down all of the course lectures and then they had a reproducing machine......
He sold notes!!
He sold notes, way back then. That helped to support them. I think his mother, Grandma Bowen, who I did not know, she was with the family for a good many years, I think she was with them. He printed all this stuff and they made enough money, I guess my grandmother helped some.
Probably playing the piano. She played the piano, right?
Yes, she did but probably not for pay.
But she did play in later life, right?
Yes for the church but that was probably for free. Anyway, they finished law school. Two of their children were born there. Dave was born there....maybe she was just pregnant with my daddy when they came back...cause he was born in Prescott.
So they came back to Prescott for him to practice law?
I don't know whether he opened a law office. He became a judge right quick, because, when my dad and his brother, Dave, they got in trouble all the time. One time a burglar, something like a burglar, got into their sort of a tack room where they kept stuff, they had a couple of horses. Anyway, the boys, maybe 9 and 10 years old, they already had guns, for hunting, you know. Small, long but not real powerful. The burglar jumped the back fence and both boys shot him. Bird shot. Course it didn't kill him but it hurt.
Anyway, he was sent to court and tried by their father. And the judge, of course, gave him whatever punishment there was and read some in for his two sons. Those boys were well known. One Halloween, the two of them. The school was near where they lived. There was a big belfry on the top where you rang the bell. Those two boys got a cow somewhere and put a sling on it and hoisted it. I used to love hearing my grandmother telling those stories. She would get just as tickled. They were bad boys. They weren't mean but were just full of mischief. I would have hated to have raised them. Another time, their father got the first car in Prescott, a one cylinder red Rio. He brought it home and went in to tell the family. By the time the family all gathered to see the car, these two boys had taken everything out of the engine, it was only one cylinder. When their father came out there, his car was all apart. The boys said, it's ok, wait a minute and they put it all back together, and everybody drove it around the block. Their father only
had one leg.
Reese Ling lost a leg?
That was pretty common back then. I don't think he was run over by a train like my other relative. Anyhow, those boys were in trouble all the time. And they would leave home for three or four days with a bedroll and some food, like some grease to fry in, and a few things, and sling it over their shoulders and they would go out in the hills. They would kill rabbits and birds. Of course, Arizona was different then, even from when I came along. They were problem kids, I think. They both went to law school at the about the same time. Dave started a year ahead.
Where did they both go to undergraduate school?
All of their work was done at the University of Southern California. And, at that time, my grandmother, who was separated from her husband....
Now, he lived in Phoenix, didn't he?
Yes, and she kept house for them.
She went to California with them? Where was Harry at this time?
He went too. And she had some family there, cousins or something, so that she had people that she knew. I know so much more about their life than I did my mother's.
Alright, so when they are in law school, their mother and their brother, who is blind, went to California, lived with them kept house for them until they finished.
That's right. The first one who finished, Dave, got a job in the city court or something like that. Then, by the time my father finished later, Dave left California and went back to Arizona, to Clifton, in southern Arizona, and opened a law office and my father took over Dave's job in California. He stayed about a year, and that was when he met my mother.
Now, did your mother and your grandmother get along?
Like stray dogs. Sniff around a little bit. See, they lived with my grandmother for about a year until a little bit after I was born. Then they moved to Jerome.
Now, you said that your grandfather was a womanizer.
He was not a drunk. I don't know that he drank at all, but he sure had a lot of girlfriends.
When he was living in Phoenix?
Yes. You know, he ran for Senator from Arizona twice and came real close both times, and, I know there was a woman who collected all that information, all the ads. I don't know what happened to that material. I don't know if she was living with him. You didn't see much of that in those days.
Did your grandmother and your grandfather ever come back together after they were separated?
So after they separated, that was it. But he supported her?
I'm sure so. I don't know she would have lived. I had a good picture of the two of them on horseback.
Yes, that was before cars and if you didn't want to go on your feet, you rode in a wagon or on horseback. This was while they were still together.
What do you remember about your grandmother?
I remember a lot about my grandmother. I don't remember ever seeing my grandfather.
Didn't he die soon after you were born?
Actually, shortly before I was born.
I remember seeing your grandmother. She was still alive after I was born. I remember seeing her twice. I think....did she die at home?
She died in Phoenix in a nursing home and that is probably where you saw her.
Do you think I would have, cause when I saw that house in Prescott, there was something about that front room, with the bow window, I just seemed to remember that room. Did I ever go to that house?
Yeah, but any time that you would have gone, you wouldn't have gone in that room. By then, she had divided it up into 4 apartments and it was rented separately. She lived in that house until she became so senile that they had to move her. I think, if I am not mistaken, that I have pictures of you and Sandy on the front porch of that house in Prescott. You were really little, you might have been two years old, and Sandy is in his cowboy suit.
How about Harry?
He lived down in the same nursing home as my grandmother.
He went to the nursing home with her?
Yes, but in another section.
Now, he drank, didn't he?
Some, not so much. I mean he....I started to say that he never developed mentally but that is not so. He was probably smarter than either of the other two, but he never had much of a chance to do much.
He sold newspapers, right?
Yes, and some of the not-so-nice men would get him into a bar, and I don't know if they ever got him in with a woman....probably so.
I hope so. Do you remember your grandmother as being sad with her situation?
No. She didn't talk about it, which makes me think that her feelings were terribly hurt, you know. But I don't remember her ever talking about him.
Of course, at that point, she was a widow. He, at least, was nice enough to die so that she would be a widow.
He died of heart failure or something.
What happened to Dave?
Well, Dave went to Clifton, married a girl there, and had a baby about six months later.
That was your cousin.
Vivian, who died this last year. I think Dave had a law office but, very soon, he became some kind of a judge, a local judge of some sort, and he didn't really ever practice law again. He got into judicial politics and he sort of climbed up the judicial ladder. He finally became a federal district judge. That was an appointed position. And he kept that until his death.
Did he ever have other children?
Yeah, he had 5. Vivian was the first. She was a couple of months older than me. And then the next one was Marilyn, and then, John, he had red hair, and Bill, who lives in Oregon. I don't know where in Oregon. I thought I would tell Melissa and Billy. I don't know if he is still alive. After Bill was
Ann. John became an alcoholic and died young. Dave was a heavy, heavy,
heavy drinker, I don't know how he got by with it.
Were you all close to them when you were growing up?
Saw them at Christmas. That family sort of stuff.
Was your father close to Dave?
Yes and no. There was always competition between them. He went to my Dad's funeral and he was, um, I had gotten a Methodist minister. You know, my father never had attended church, and yet he was a believer. I don't know what it was that threw him, he didn't like organized religion. But I got a Methodist preacher in Phoenix to do the funeral service. He did a good job. He asked me for things. I got him to use...my dad thoroughly enjoyed poetry, like Kipling and things like that. So I gave him different poems that he used.
And Dave came to the funeral?
And he was incensed that I had gotten a preacher. I don't know what he would have done. And I don't know what they did when he died. They had been Methodist at one time. I don't know what happened to make them turn away.
Didn't your grandmother play the piano at the Methodist Church?
No, eventually my grandmother became a Christian Scientist. And Dave resented that strongly. I don't know that my father did. It was during the time that she was in the Christian Science Church that she played the organ.
There was something about a cat.
She had a cat named Mouser. He followed them a lot if they walked somewhere. Anyway, one day she went to church and she didn't look back and he followed her. And she went in and turned the organ on and the congregation came in. They were all ready, she started the first hymn and in walked the cat down the center aisle, tail up in the air, got up on the organ and sat down.
That church is still there, isn't it?
Yes, that was Mouser. He was a nice cat. He was a Maltese cat. Very dark gray.
So you knew Mouser as a child?
I was almost grown by then.
OK, back to your daddy and your mama who came back to Prescott after they were married.
And I was born there. I don't think my mother and my grandmother got along too well. So we moved to Jerome when I was about a year old.
What did your mother think about living in Arizona and in a place like Jerome?
I'm sure it was a shock. When she was in California, she was in the upper social class with this uncle.
And, in fact, didn't she christen a ship?
Yes, I used to have the ribbons from that. I don't know what happened to them. But anyway, she and the uncle had some problems. I think she borrowed money from him and charged things to stores. I think he was glad to get rid of her. As for Jerome, living in a little town like that was fun. You had about 90 percent Mexican and all of the middle European, Hungarians, people - mining people. And the so-called white population were the mining engineers, the educated people.
So, it was a nice little cloistered society.
It was. And all of the things that were done for the poor were done by them. They had an American Legion and an Elks Club, who were active. Most of the Mexicans were illegal immigrants, who came over mainly to have children who would be American citizens.
The story that you were born in a sanitarium. That was in Prescott? Why not a hospital?
This woman, who was a midwife, had a sanitarium. They called it a sanitarium.
But it was really just for having babies?
I think they had other people too. She was probably sort of a nurse. I don't think you had much in the way of trained nurses then.
So there wasn't a hospital in Prescott?
Yeah, I think so but it was minor. I think, really, at that time, Prescott was a fort. Military.
An Indian fort?
Yes, Fort Whipple. It was on the edge of Prescott. There was a hospital there.
Was it to keep the Indians at bay? Was it that kind of fort?
I think that was its origin. I don't think that I ever went into the fort but you drove by in on the way to Jerome.
Was it still active?
Not really when I came along. For a long time they used it as a sanitarium or something for injured World War One veterans. A place to recover. I think military men from all over the western United States maybe came there.
Back to where you were born. Some kind of little hospital-type place.
Yes, the Forrest Sanitarium, or something like that. There was a doctor there. Dr. Judge? I've forgotten the name of the man.
All went well? But your mother just decided not to have any more babies. What was the story about prohibition and she was sick when she was pregnant and she had to drink champagne?
Somebody suggested it and she would take anybody's suggestion.
She was just kind of a flapper, wasn't she?
Yes, she was. I don't know who it was, but somebody suggested that the morning sickness would go away if she would drink champagne. Well, of course, we had prohibition at the time and I don't know where they got the champagne. Somebody, this was right at WWI. Some friend of theirs who was in France shipped some champagne to them. A case of champagne. Anyway, she drank champagne.
Ok, so you moved to Jerome when you were about one. What do you remember about the early years?
Some of the things that I think that I remember I can't understand why because I was so young. One thing, I might have been two, I don't know. My folks had rented this house. It was called the Gibbs House. Of course, everything was on the side of the hill there and somehow I wandered away and somewhere down the road, lower, a Mexican child had got to playing with me and took me home. And so the mom..
And that just wasn't done, I'm sure.
No! And the mama took me in and, all that I can remember, I was sitting on a table and eating frijoles, I think, when my mother came to get me.
And, of course, there were no telephones to call.
No, I think they sent the child and the mother may have seen me previously. Of course, the house was not real close. You know we were separated. And also, I think that I have told you that, sitting on my steps when I was about 3 or 4, there was a family living underneath us down the side of the hill. I had gotten a toy piano and I was going to learn to play the piano even then, and the 2 little boys, the family downstairs, got 2 kits for Christmas, that had hammers and tools. And those 2 boys came up and I was sitting there with my piano and they beat up my piano. The funny thing was, at that time, my mother had a Negro woman who came in once a while. She was a wonderful pianist. She had been educated and how she got to Jerome, I don't know. Drucilla was her name. And she used to show me how to play on that little piano before the boys tore it up. Those 2 boys' parents. He was an educator and ended up as the superintendent of schools. He was principal of several schools.
How many schools were there in Jerome?
Well, you had the primary school that was down here, and the elementary school that was here and you had the Opportunity School...
For retarded children.
Did they really call it the Opportunity School?
At that time, I don't know of anybody who did that. That paid any attention to them. And then down on the upper grades elementary school and then the high school. We had an excellent school system. It was pretty much run by the people that I have been talking about, the educated people. So we got good teachers and by then, J.O. Mullen, the father of the two brat brothers, who, by the way, I used to date in later years, he really ran a tight system.
Other memories of when you were really young. Something about a baby carriage that you didn't put away so your mother threw it away.
I don't remember that but I wouldn't be surprised. I was disciplined.
Mostly by your mama?
Both of them. My mother would dislike one thing and my father would say to forget it and vice versa. I dearly loved my father. My mother was my mother, and that was all.
But you were your father's girl?
I was my father's boy.
Do you remember your parents fighting?
Not very much. I don't think they got along real well all the time. Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't. My father was sick most of his life. He had stomach ulcers and back then they had no way to treat them, and of course, now they do. He finally had surgery a couple of times. He ended up with cancer. So he died when he must have been 71.
What do you remember your mother doing during the day? I know she was a good cook.
She was an excellent housekeeper. She played bridge most every afternoon. She was active in an organization that took care of people who had no money or illnesses, usually the Mexicans. They did a lot of social service work. If a mother was sick in the hospital, they would see that the children got fed.
What was your house like growing up? Was it the house that you showed me when we were in Jerome?
No, probably not. We lived in a series of houses. You know that Jerome was a mining town, and it basically was operated by the Verde Mine. They had a store that was like a commissary. They didn't call it that, but it was similar to that. People that worked for the mine paid once a month for the groceries and stuff they had bought. A company store. The hospital was a company hospital.
Everybody else could use it?
If it wasn't crowded. And my father, being the lawyer in town, there was another lawyer but he wasn't particularly educated. He had read the law but. Also, my dad, at one time, was justice of the peace, police judge. So, when the mine wasn't too crowded, we could live in the apartment house, which was owned by the mine. The other houses in town were owned by the mine. There was very little private property. So, we moved frequently when someone else needed our place. We even lived in my father's office for about 6 months. And then about that time, they said, come on back, we've got an apartment for you. We lived in 2 different apartments, each of them 2 different times, in and out, in and out. That was really the most pleasant living for some reason. No bedrooms. Murphy beds. One apartment was bigger than the other.
They had a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen, and then a dressing room and bath. And, in the largest apartment, my bed had to be pulled out and opened up in the dining room. My parents' was pulled out in the living room. And then, the other apartment, overall, it was smaller but their room in the dressing room to put my little bed so it didn't have to be pulled out. But that was right in the center of town. It was a nice place to live.
Who do you remember as being your earliest friends?
Probably, Mary Lou Carlson and Betty Beale.
Now I know that I have met the Beale's.
Mary and Bill? Well, Bill's and Betty's mother and father, his father was a doctor. And they were stationed at a mine in Cananea Mexico, when I think it was the last revolution in Mexico, and they had to get out. The husband, the doctor, went one way and the wife and her three children went the other way, and they finally got together in New York City. Maybe a year later. Neither knew where the other was. Of course, the wife had been having a high old life because she had nursemaids and everything. I don't know how she lived in New York. Somewhere, I guess in New York, she got together with Clarence Beale. Addison was the name of Bill's family. By then, they had found out that he husband had been killed so she married Clarence Beale, who was a mining man, and they came back to Arizona.
So Bill was not really a Beale, he just took that name.
Yes, and when they got to Jerome, he was not with the United Verde, he was with the Verde Extension Mine - a separate corporation.
So how old were Betty and Bill at that point?
Betty, Bill's sister, when I first met her was about 4. Betty was the youngest, she was almost a year older than I was. Then there was Bill, who was older than she, and Nancy, who was maybe a year and a half older than Bill. Our parents were friends. And Mary Lou Carlson, her father was the doctor, the surgeon at the United Verde Hospital. Later, they built a much larger hospital, the place where we went and had a drink - it's been made into a hotel. Mary Lou was a little younger. She had 2 older brothers, the
one we called Doc and then the one we called Junior, who was the younger son. Mary Lou was my playmate, but then her parents divorced and her mother moved the kids to California, so I never saw her some during the summer when she came to visit her father. And then one day, when I was president of the Jenkins PTA and I was chairing a meeting at night and a woman came after the meeting and said that she was Mary Lou. Her husband was in the military and was stationed at Hunter. She was living on the base at Hunter and I saw her off and on for the next year or so. You know, other than my youngest cousin in Milwaukee and this Bill Ling that I think is in Oregon, I don't know of any kinfolk that I have left of my generation. Everybody else it gone, which is strange.
Betty went to nursing school in New Mexico, to a Catholic nursing school, and she married one of the priests, they moved to Florida. She ended up an alcoholic.
Mary Beale was not from Jerome?
No, she was from Prescott. Her father was a lawyer. Her parents died and Mary went to live with cousins in Clarkdale or Clemenceau. She finished high school.
Did you know her before she married Bill?
Not very well. But then she ended up in college at the University with me. She was a Gamma Phi. Then she and Bill married and Bill came back to Jerome. All in Jerome kind of ended when I was in the army. There wasn't enough ore that was rich to let a big company work on it.
When did you all start going to Oak Creek? When was all that?
The first trip that I can remember to Oak Creek, I was about 3 years old and you can imagine what the road was like. You can imagine what cars were like. It took a while to get there.
But the cabin was not built, right?
Oh no. We stayed at Lolamai Lodge. My first memory was....do you know what son's of guns are for the 4th of July?
They are little round sort of flat things wrapped in red paper and you throw them hard on the ground and they make noise. I remember that. I must have been about 4 years old.
What was Lolamai Lodge like?
Two story, little rooms opening on to a gallery on the top floor where you slept. I know I slept on that porch and they had a big dining room downstairs. I don't remember that much about it because I was so young. But one thing I do remember was that I wanted to fish. My daddy was fishing.
And I watched him and the next day, they had not gotten up and I got up and sneaked down there with somebody's fishing pole and I found some worms, put them on the hook, and I caught a fish, and I brought it back and I went up the steps and I called, "I got a fish, I got a fish." And that was the start of my fishing.
So, at that point they decided that they wanted to try to have a place there.
That was much later. We continued to go up there from time to time with different cars and stayed some other places. We camped several times.
With another couple or just the three of you?
They had friends that they traveled with. There and other places. They took me to the Grand Canyon when I was 3 months old, camping.
I can't imagine your mother camping.
I don't think she was happy with it. And I think it was because of her that they build the cabin. The first cabin was across from there. It was smaller, it was the nucleus of what it became in the end. It was a lot of fun, and we spent a lot of time there. They became friends with George Babbitt.
How did they know George Babbitt?
Just from Oak Creek. We had built the original cabin on forest service land. We had a 99 year lease but knew that some time they were going to close that out. We got to be such good friends with George. George really liked having us around because his wife, Ruth, was an alcoholic too and he felt safer leaving her there.
What did he do for a living?
He was postmaster.
Oh I thought he had a lot of money.
He came from a very wealthy family. The family had educated him to be a priest but it didn't take. He went to California to a Catholic school. Ruth had been divorced so the Catholic Church didn't accept his marriage to her. I do have pictures where they finally went back to Mexico and got married down there because she had to be divorced - I think she got her divorce decree in Mexico. Then they got married there. Then they decided that they needed to get married again in this country. I have pictures of my folks with them - you can see that they were all high by their eyes after the wedding. It was by a priest who agreed to marry them as if he didn't know. Then the 4 of them had a big celebration.
Did the town of Sedona exist at that time?
There was just a little post office with a little bitty store.
Was it called Sedona?
Yes. Anyway across the road is where we finally got George Babbitt to sell us that land, with the stipulation that, if we ever sold it, he would have the opportunity to buy it back.
So you sold it back to him?
Yes. And they lived there for a couple of years.
So how old were you when they built the first house?
Then they moved that house across the road? How old were you then?
Yes, it was the nucleus for the new house. I was about 14. We just surrounded it.
Describe the inside of the house after it was finished.
When we first started, we just had bare wide boards on the outside.
Did your daddy do most of the work on the house?
Not the real work. He had carpenters from the mine come down, but he and I together did the odd jobs. In order to have running water in the house, we took a big water heater tank and hoisted it up in the top to the top of 2 trees and used a ram, which is a little device that you put running water and it hits an opening and it pushes and does it again and again and again, pushing that water up the pipe to the tank until you have water in there.
And then it would come back into the house. And you all built that?
Before that, would you have to bring water in from the creek?
Carry it in buckets.
You remember that?
Did you have a toilet in the house?
Initially we went across the way, we had a forest service privy. Forest Service built it for us. We didn't have inside bath until we moved over to the other lot. At that point we just ran a line up to the spring and the water came down by gravity.
How was the house set up inside? I know there was the big room that had the fireplace.
It had a living room and what had been a sleeping porch but it was opened to where you had in the living room we had 2 sofas back to back and one faced the fireplace and the other one faced the creek. And then we had arm chairs around both of them.
So, how many bedrooms?
Three, my parents' room, mine, and a guest room.
No! Not until the Babbitts put it in. By the time they got there, the power company had run through Oak Creek. But never when we were there. We had gasoline lamps. With a lid on them, they looked just like an electric light and, in fact, the light was better, easier on your eyes.
How did you all cook?
Gasoline range, 4 burners and the oven. It's a wonder we didn't ever blow it up.
What do you remember eating there? How did you all eat differently there than you did at home?
Not differently. The same except that we had a lot of trout that we didn't have in town. We had ice delivery twice a week. There was a man somewhere down in the Verde Valley. There were quite a few cabins in the canyon and it was worth his time and effort for him to bring ice and certain things that you would order, milk and stuff like that.
That's where you were when Pearl Harbor was attacked.
No, I was in Jerome. I was teaching school. And so, right after Pearl Harbor they started talking about people signing up for this, that and the other and that was when, you see I was teaching physical education and the requirement to take the physical therapy program was that you had a degree in physical education or you were a degree nurse.
And that was you!
That was me. And the first time that I applied they told me that I couldn't see well enough, and with almost return mail, they sent me a wire and said that it didn't matter whether I could see or not. They told me to report to Washington, DC, a hospital there almost immediately. Then the next telegram said that they were starting a school in Texas and for me to go to Texas, so I did. But I didn't go until about the middle of the summer.
You were kind of excited. You weren't all that happy with going back home and teaching school.
Yeah, I had been teaching 4 years. I taught 7th and 8th grades.
And who were you dating?
I was dating my dentist. You wonder about dating the man who has been looking all through your mouth.
Ok, we've gotten lost here. We will come back to that later. Back to Oak Creek. Did you have Oak Creek friends that were separate from your friends in Jerome?
No, the Mullins, the superintendent of schools, the same boys that beat up my piano, their family had a cottage down lower than where we were. We used to get together some times. They came by the house one night and they had decided to go on a swimming party, and, of course, that creek was always freezing cold. Really, it was warmer at night than it was in the daytime. But anyhow, my dad took a gasoline lantern and we all went trouping down the road a way to a good hole that was deep. I'm trying to think. I had a guest from the University. We took her down too and she was just fascinated.
Those 2 boys, and they had some friends with them. In the summer, I wasn't dating any, not there.
Would you go down and stay for the summer?
Yes, off and on. My dad would come every weekend, and sometimes, some weeks, I don't remember that I stayed in town more than once or twice. My mother didn't like to stay alone. So nearly always went when just she was there.
Now, when you ended up at Northern Arizona...
I had to transfer my last year of college. I had completed all of my requirements for a major in physical education but I decided that the PE job was not going to be open and I, at that point, wanted to go back to Jerome, which was probably a stupid thing to do. But, anyway, I decided I better have a second major so, in order to get an elementary school major in a year's time I had to go to summer school both before and after that year. I had to, the University did not give elementary education. They only did high school so, that was the reason I did it.
Did you live in Flagstaff?
Yes, I lived in the dormitory during the week, and on the weekends, I either went to Jerome or Oak Creek. I rode with Louie McDonald, who had been my high school principal.
Did you all ever go to Oak Creek in the winter?
Occasionally. The weather was no worse there but the roads were bad. If there had been a snow, it was hard to get in and out.
Was it cooler in Oak Creek during the summer?
Yes, much, much cooler. It was delightful in the summer. You see, the canyon like that, the sun came up in the back and, when it went down, which was the side, do you remember that red rock we were looking at, that was the western side. When it went down, it was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and so that made it get real cool real fast.
What made you decide to go to the University of Arizona?
Because it was the place to go.
That's a long way, isn't it. That took a while to get there, didn't it?
Yeah, it took about 5 or 6 hours. I rode the bus, most of the time.
Did you have any good friends who were going there?
Bill Beale was there. And Mary Beale but she wasn't Beale then, she was Mary Sullivan. Clara Darcy, who was from my home town. She was the only other one from Jerome. And a couple of people from Prescott. And one or two from Clarkdale.
Were you homesick?
No, I don't think so. I think that I had reached the stage where, I probably should not have gone back to teach.
Why do you think you did that?
I may have felt that I had to. I knew that it was a nice place to live. I worked hard teaching. I did a lot of extra dumb things. I remember I made them - remember the sand boxes you do for little children. I made them bring me one of those when I was teaching seventh and eighth grade history. I taught the Civil War with the battles in the sand box. I did a lot of stuff like that. I think I was a good teacher. And I had seventh grade. You had the Red, White, and Blue. Red were the smart kids, White were the middle
kids, and then there were the Blue. We did have a number of smart Mexican kids in the Red group. The middle group were a lot of Middle Europeans. You know, all of the miners came from different countries.
Tell about your summer in Mexico City.
Summer school. The Spanish teacher in the high school.
You were already teaching then.
Yep. I was teaching. In fact, that was my 4th year. I needed to do something. Though I had gone somewhere every summer. The Spanish teacher was a good friend. In fact, she lived sort of diagonally across the street. She was from a Spanish, not Mexican family. Her parents were from Spain.
They were very Spanish. She was a lot of fun and a very nice person. So, she and 2 other teachers decided to go to Mexico. The other 2 were just going down for a couple of weeks and I was going to spend one summer quarter and she was going to stay on for the entire summer. So we went down there. We went down on the train. I had a car but you didn't go long distances at that point.
Where would you catch the train?
For that, I think we did in Phoenix. Rode the bus to Phoenix. Or else, my folks took us to Phoenix. I can't remember.
So, you took Spanish?
Yeah, I took a course in Aztec archeology and conversational Spanish. It was a lot of fun.
Where did you live?
Angie had been there before. This was her last year on her Master's Degree and so she had gotten to know this woman, who was French. It's amazing how many other internationals there are in Mexico, particularly Mexico City. She had a very nice building that....so much of Mexico City was floors around a big patio, and we had half of the second floor area, which included 2 bedrooms, a bath or baths, I have forgotten, and a little living room. It also had a kind of kitchenette in it.
So you ended up being there 6 weeks maybe?
Something like that. Through Angie, I got to meet Mexican people from the school and went to parties and things like that and dated a young lawyer. When we went down on the train, we met some people who were going home. They had been back in the states and they were going back where they worked in Mexico. Older people, and they introduced me to Bill Cartledge, and so I alternated between going out with the young Mexican lawyer and Bill.
Now, Cartledge was an American, doing what?
He worked for Bordon Dairies, one of the big dairy companies that made canned milk. It was done outside on the edge of Mexico City and it was canned there, and the processing had huge tanks that they use and they mix all this stuff and can it. Well, those tanks get maybe rusted or something like that inside and he used to have to go, he would take off his suit and all, and put on overalls and cover his head and go into those tanks to check what the problems were and then get somebody to show them how to fix it.
Where was he from?
Florida, maybe. Anyhow, I dated him. When we would go to places overnight, the people that I had met coming down went too. They were good friends of his. Of course, he had been married. I think the divorce was final. I'm not sure. I always wondered. His wife was a teacher in an American school down
So she was down there?
She was in Mexico. But they were not living together. But anyway, I alternated between him and the Mexican.
Do you remember the Mexican's name?
So, could he speak English pretty well?
Pretty good, yeah. The other one, Bill. We went up to Lake Chapala and then to Guadalajara. We stayed in a hotel. A strange kind of place. Anyway, he tried his best and, believe it or not, I didn't capitulate.
He just wasn't the right one.
No. Bill was a nice, nice person. He was really a little bit old for me. I think he was maybe 5 or 6 years older than me.
Tell about when you went into training for the army.
Well, Pearl Harbor happened. Like everybody, I was shocked to death. We heard it early Sunday morning on the radio. I think I was sewing. And, of course, I had no idea of anything that I was going to do. Sometime, in the early Spring, they began talking about training people for different things, and one of them was Physical Therapy. I read about it first in my professional magazine, and so I think I wired, you didn't telephone then. I sent a telegram asking for further information. They told me I could go to a school in Michigan, Ann Arbor. It wasn't the University. One of them was a school that was run by Sister Kenny, she was a physical therapist that came from England to Australia, and then she came to the United States. She was the originator of physical therapy in the United States. She had a training program. Anyway, I considered going there, and about that time I heard about the Army program, which was free. And we were paid, a pittance, while we were in training. And so, I applied to that, and was accepted, even though I couldn't see well. That's when I ended up in Texas. There were 5 of us, we were the first class.
What did you parents think about you doing that?
Oh, I think they were proud.
Were they worried about you going to war?
I don't think so. I didn't give them any choice. I just said I was going.
So you went to Texas. Was that San Antonio?
Yes, Fort Sam Houston
And how long were you there?
A little over a year.
Was the training hard?
It was interesting.
What was life like there? Did you have fun?
Were there a lot of soldiers?
Yeah. Of course, we weren't supposed to date anybody but officers. But we did.
Now, were you commissioned immediately?
No, we had to complete the program. We completed the program in late August and the next day, we signed up for the army and got our commissions.
Where did you live during your training?
On the base. They were wooden barracks. We left within a couple of weeks of our completion of the course. We sat around in San Francisco for a couple of weeks, getting clothing. They gave cold weather clothing and told us we were going to Alaska. When we finally left and got on our ship with our stuff, we were the first ship that ever went over without an accompanying gunboat. We went down past the tip of South America and then turned west and came up at the bottom of New Zealand and then up the Australian coast.
When did you know you were going to Australia?
When we got there.
You really didn't know where you were?
Didn't that drive you crazy?
No. I was a lark! Everyday something different, and somebody different.
So, how many women were on this ship and how many men?
Probably about 100 women and 1000 men.
You were probably sorry when you got there!
By then, I was dating the merchant marine man that was head of, let's see what his job was on the ship. Head of all the mechanics.
How did you date on the ship?
Just like any place else. There was one place where we got together every night. The fellow that I ended up dating could really play the piano and we sang with the piano.
Could you drink?
If you had it, you could.
They didn't sell it or anything.
No, there was nothing like that.
Did you stop in a port ever?
No, not until we hit Brisbane.
How did you take on fuel?
I guess we carried enough. I can't remember how many people it was supposed to carry.
I remember that you had 4 times as many people as you were supposed to. Did you all just have a tiny little space?
We had cabins, 3 tier bunks, 3 of them, 9 girls to a room. And you couldn't get down and get dressed except one at a time, so you sat on your bunk and you pulled on your under clothes and then you took your turn to come down. We did have a bathroom, a pretty good size one. But it had salt water in it, no fresh water.
Where did you store your stuff?
In the hold of the ship. We were allowed to keep a musette bag, that you hung over your shoulders, but your bedrolls and your foot lockers were in the hold.
Two meals a day. And I was one of the few women that ever went to eat. The rest of them were so seasick. I've never been seasick.
The food was ok.
Yep. It was good. It was hearty.
You all didn't have any work to do on that ship. Wasn't there anything they wanted you to do?
No, 23 days. It was getting kind of boring toward the end. We played cards.
The men, did they have stuff to do or were they just being transported?
They made up stuff for them to do. They assigned them things to check on this, check on that. But see, we didn't have anybody to lead us. We could do whatever we pleased. We had dietitians, physical therapists, and nurses.
Did you just have physical therapists rooming with you?
We had some dietitians and maybe a couple of nurses.
So, you got off in Brisbane?
I bet you were excited.
We wanted to see what was next. And we arrived Christmas Eve day. And they took us to a camp somewhere. We stayed there for a couple of weeks. On Christmas day, this girl and I went into Brisbane with 2 fellows from the ship and went to the horse races. We had a good meal, an Australian meal. This was the man who was the chief engineer or something, I don't know what his title was but he was a big wig on the ship. I wouldn't have anybody else. The other girl was a dietitian. While we were at that camp, we got our assignments. Three of us were sent to this hospital at a beach, I can't think of the name of it, which today is supposedly the best beach in the world. And there we were. We didn't have much work in the beginning because this hospital that I joined had people who had just come back from the islands and they had been all shot up, just had all kinds of things but they couldn't send them home because they hadn't been overseas long enough, so they let them set up a hospital on the beach. We only operated from 7 in the morning until noon. Then we all took off in the afternoon and went somewhere, mostly to the beach. A lot of the people got together and rented cottages, which was nice.
So you were not working hard. You didn't see many really hurt people.
No, except for our own people who got into a jam a wrecked a jeep or something. When I think about the glamour. To be young and all.
How old were you then?
25 or 26
How long were you there?
A little over a year. Came back, and the reason was the hospital that I had joined, they were all packed up and waiting for assignment. We were going to the Philippines. But, in so doing, they were doing a bunch of tests, x-rays and stuff, and they found a couple of spots on my lungs. They didn't know that I had had them since I was 16. What is was was that everybody in Arizona was exposed to tuberculosis because so many Eastern people came out there thinking they would be cured, which was not so. But you were exposed and if you were healthy, your body would form tubercles, they called it. But that was the reason that I was sent back to the states.
It's funny that they didn't notice it when you were heading out.
The reason for that was that they had a lot of people breaking down with tuberculosis in the Philippines. They were alerted to it.
So you came back on a ship similar to the one that you went out on.
No, a hospital ship with all the maimed.
That wasn't as much fun, was it.
No, but I found a fella.
But you had to work on that one, right?
So you still weren't working. You really didn't work for about 2 years.
That's right. Oh, got back and, oh, where was I going to go? Some place glamorous. And they sent me right back where I had come from - San Antonio. I wasn't about to go back and let Capt. Kuraner tell me what to do. I liked her really but...they were opening a new clinic.... they were sending a lot of men back who were too sick to go back to duty but they were well enough that they were ambulatory. They built buildings for them to live in, and if they needed further medical treatment, they got it. Got their clothing and all that kind of stuff. So, I had a physical therapy clinic, and what they thought was that, the Japanese war was not over, and we thought that when our injured came back from the war, that we were going to have so many horrible injuries. I had this huge clinic to organize - this was still at Fort Sam but down from the hospital - and I had I guess 40 treatment tables and..
You were in charge of this?
Yes, I was the one who organized it and ordered the stuff. Whirlpools and things like that - 25 of them. We were ready for a real onslaught that never came.
Because the war ended.
Back to Australia. Did you all mingle at all with the Australians?
We did where we lived. A few. Actually, our military had taken over everything. When you went to Sidney, you had to stay in a Red Cross establishment there. I don't think they ever knew if you checked in again but...you signed up. But, they had a lot of entertainment planned for you when you were there. It was fun. You would go on leave down there. Mary Madget and I went to Sidney one time. In fact we met there because she was in the islands, and we got there and some one, a Dutch flier, told her that he would get her down to Tasmania, that they had a plane going down and she was going. She didn't have orders or anything. She wanted me to go and I wouldn't do it. It ended up she didn't go either. I remember one night we met a bunch of Dutch fliers, I don't know how, one of them had apparently contacted somebody where we were, so we went out with them. We had a good time. We couldn't understand each other but it was fun. Different.
Didn't you say that there would be jeeps on the beach? Someone would come by in a jeep and take you to the beach.
No, we had GI trucks that would drive all around the different areas and pick you up and take you to the beach. And by then, like I said, most of the officers had cottages. The ones you knew best, you went to their cottage.
They just rented them for the duration of the time that they were there? Liaisons and things like that?
Who is the guy that you came closest to marrying before daddy?
My dentist. Not my Arizona dentist. My Australian dentist, except that he wasn't Australian and he was married. He was married one week before he shipped out, which was sad. We called him Rooky. I have often wondered what happened to him.
Now, where was he from?
New York City.
And you met him in Australia.
At the hospital.
You pretty much dated him the whole time?
Yes. Entirely when I was there.
Did it just break your heart when you left him?
Sort of. We both left when they broke up the hospital. Then sent him to New Guinea and put me in a general hospital that was going to the Philippines. About that time, the Bataan march occurred and we took care of the prisoners. They were the most pitiful looking creatures.
Now, this was still in Australia? The Bataan Death March people? So you did see very injured people?
Yeah, oh yeah. They came by submarine to Brisbane. You just can't imagine how awful they looked.
They were skeletons, weren't they?
Their feet were swelled up like this and, oh, you just figured, well they are going to drop any minute. We used to go to the wards to treat them or just to talk to them and try to encourage them. And in a week's time, they got uniforms, you see they didn't have anything to wear, no shoes. You would look out of the window and you would see them in full dress uniform and barefooted. They couldn't wear shoes for quite a while. But you couldn't believe how resilient they were. They looked like different people entirely.
They got a good bath, but they couldn't wear shoes.
I imagine a lot of them had trouble with their feet for the rest of their lives.
About that time is when we were breaking up. The hospital did end up going to the Philippines. Me, I am in a hospital ship going back to San Francisco.
And you were mad.
I was! I was furious, but there wasn't a thing I could do about it. And I got there and they kept me to bed for a while in San Francisco, at Letterman General. Waiting to ship us, there were others too, out. Went to Fitzsimmons General in Denver, put us in bed, told us not to get up. We had to use bedpans.
Because they thought that we already had active tuberculosis. And oh gosh, the way they tested. They made you swallow a tube and then they would flush out your stomach.
How long did that last?
Several days. We stayed in bed. I remember, a shopper from a big department store came and took orders and shopped for you. And I wanted some yarn and some knitting books. I had sent a whole foot locker full of Australian yarn home but I didn't have it at that point. I wanted something to do. It was driving me crazy being in bed. I shared the room with another gal, she was from Texas. We enjoyed each other but then they called a board review and made us put on uniforms and present ourselves and they said there is nothing wrong with you. Go back to work. But, before you do that, take off 6 weeks leave. But not all at once. Three weeks one time and three another. So, the first three weeks, I went to Prescott, where my folks were and stayed there and enjoyed it.
They were in Prescott or Jerome?
They were in Prescott then. They had left Jerome. After there, I had to report to El Paso and they couldn't decide where they were going to assign me. They talked about all kinds of different places and I said any place but Fort Sam Houston. Not that I didn't like it but I just wanted to see a new place. My orders came in, Fort Sam Houston. But, before I could go to Fort Sam Houston, I had to go to California to a redemption center and we had Hollywood personalities every night to entertain us. Jack Benny, people of that ilk.
Ok, so you ended up back in San Antonio. Tell about meeting daddy.
I opened a physical therapy clinic there. It was the biggest I had ever seen. It was bigger than the one at the hospital where I had trained. Got that organized and, where by clinic was, the building was real long and there were 2 sections, connected by a room. There was a door on the back and a door on the front. My desk with in this middle section, it was where people made appointments and that kind of stuff. Then I wasn't actually doing much physical therapy, just doing the operation of running the clinic. I don't remember how many girls I had working, 8 I think it was. Plus all the corps men. That's background, let me go back. Prior to that, I was looking for another man. The one that I had was still overseas. I had started looking and I saw Daddy. I don't remember where I saw him first. Anyway, he would ask me if I wanted to have a "dope", which was what Southerners called a coke. There was a PX right across from my front door. So I said yeah. He would come in the back door and say "here I am" and went right out the front door. I had to put somebody in my place before I could follow him out. This went on for several weeks, and then I decided to run my clinic on Sundays and
I told your dad that I was going to have to do that, so of course he showed up on Sunday. We finally ended up. I had a friend, who was a gal, who I had helped get married. She had a car and she knew that I had found somebody that I was interested in and so we worked out a deal - and he must have left word so that we would hear - we had gone to this camp that was nearby that had a swimming pool. We got our bathing suits on and went and, sure enough, there was your dad. Not in a bathing suit, just sitting around. And so, I talked with him some and then the gal, Stella, we had figured this all out. The girl said that she had to go back to the dorm to get something and he said that he would ride with us. She drove, I sat in the middle, and he sat on the side. When we got to the dormitory, she got out and left us for about 30 minutes. Then we went back and he sort of asked for a date. I think the next Sunday we went to town on the bus and then took another bus that went out in the country and went to a museum sort of thing, went all through it and stuff. Coming back, we got to the road and realized the bus system was through for the day. So, we started walking down the highway, figuring somebody would pick us up, and, sure enough, a truck did. We ended up in downtown San Antonio. I think we went and ate and then got a bus home. Then these trips became kind of regular. But, it was fun and you how much you enjoy things like that. This was in the summer. By November, this must have been 1945 because we got married in 1946.
So, what was it that attracted you to him? He came from a really different background.
I don't know. Maybe that was it.
What did you like about the way he looked?
I though he was pretty!
Did that make you a little bit nervous that he was from the South?
Nothing made me nervous those days.
What about the idea of moving back to Georgia? Did you all ever discuss staying out west?
Once, I said that we could stay in Arizona. He said no, that his life and his family were in Georgia.
So he felt responsible. His father had died.
And his mother died when he was really young.
But his dad died when he was in the military, right? So he felt responsible for those sisters, I guess.
I think so.
So, you decided to get married. When did you tell your parents?
I'm not sure. I think that I had told them ahead of time so it wasn't a big shock. Then we called them from the big hotel right after we got through with the supper party.
You mean after the wedding.
Yes, it wasn't a real wedding. The people that he lived with who lived on the edge of the post. Nice people.
So you called your parents after you got married? Did you get married in a church?
Yes, at a Methodist Church in San Antonio. I had earlier joined the Episcopal Church in college so that I could stand up with a couple whose baby was being Christened. I wasn't joining the church in my mind. I was just qualifying to stand up with them.
Did you have a party after the wedding at those people's house?
No, out in the boondocks there. There was a lot of that in Texas, nightclubs surrounding. It was a nice place. I don't remember much about it. I remember calling my folks.
That was February. How long before you both got out of the army?
About 2 weeks.
Had either of you considered staying in longer?
No, we had been in 4 years. Actually, Daddy had been in 5 years. No, we were glad to get out. We had no idea what the future held.
What did Daddy think that he was going to do?
He had no idea. He had run a service station, and owned it, but he didn't want to do that. After we got back to Waycross and settle in to the old house, he spent a lot of time painting. That was a big job. I've got a picture of myself in a wrap around uniform thing that you wore on duty in a stateside hospital. I used it as a maternity dress.
On your way south, you stopped by Oak Creek, right?
And Prescott. We stopped by there and went up to Oak Creek.
And they liked him?
I remember a picture of him building some kind of something. What was that?
He had gotten somewhere in Phoenix and how he got it there, I don't know. Two oil drums welded together, with part of the 2 ends open. It was used to burn trash in. It was what the army used.
So Daddy just thought of doing that to contribute?
Well, my dad had been talking about what to do with the garbage at Oak Creek.
I think we must have had somebody bring it out in a truck.
How long did you stay with your parents before you headed south.
A couple or three weeks.
After you got to Waycross, how long before you saw your parents again?
They came when Sandy was born. Sandy was born the same year we were married. Ten months later, which was nice. Then my folks came. My dad had something in Washington, DC. a case he was trying at the Supreme Court. My dad and George got along real well.