From: Barbara Love (bl)
Medium: Audio Tape
Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999
Place: Marion Public Library, 600 South Washington St
Collected by: Ben Ogle (bo)
bo: I am Ben Ogle This is the 28th of April 1999. This is being recorded at 600 south Washington Street. I am speaking with Barbara Love. Please state your name, Mrs. Love.
bl: Barbara A. Love
bo: Do I have your permission to interview you?
bo: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to Marion High School?
bo: do I have your permission to submit this interview to the Marion Public Library?
- 1 Oral History of Barbara Love
- 1.1 Pearl Harbor Remembered
- 1.2 Movies
- 1.3 War Work
- 1.4 A Better Future
- 1.5 Victory
- 1.6 The A- Bomb
- 1.7 Ration Stamps
- 1.8 After the War
- 1.9 Marion High School, Ball State, and Marriage
- 1.10 Pen Pals
- 1.11 Modern Life in the 40's and 50's
- 1.12 Street cars and the Park
- 1.13 Missing in Action
- 1.14 A Teenage Girl
- 1.15 You Knew Your Neighbors
- 1.16 College Days and Music
Oral History of Barbara Love
bo: How old were you in 1940?
bl: In 1940, I was 15.
bo: ok, what was life like for a teenager in that time period?
bl: Oho, a very happy time, and, uh, was still in Junior High and had a lot of friends we did a lot of running around together and going to movies and doing homework, just the special things kids always do.
bo: What was family life like?
bl: very nice and relaxed and my sister was finishing high school, graduating in 1941. She was ready to. I was 5 years younger and wished I was her age, of course, and ready to graduate myself, but knew I had to wait and had a long time to wait. She was excited and was going to ball state in the fall of 1941.
bo: What was family life like what was the rest of your family doing?
bl: well, my father was a funeral director at Diggs funeral service in Marion. We had moved to Marion in 1929. I was only 8 months old. And we lived through the depression years and didn’t make very much money, my father didn’t, but he did have a secure position and we joined church and my father was in the lodge, Masonic Lodge. Mother was also. They were Sunday school teachers. Did a lot of club work. My father was a member of the Lions Club, that sort of thing, in fact, he was president the last of the ‘30s. And then in the turn of the 40s, 1941, we were had gotten a car by that time and could take little trips. And uh he was making more money to bring home and we were just acquiring beginning to acquire a lot of of uha things to make us comfortable.
Pearl Harbor Remembered
bo: so tell me about when you heard about Pearl Harbor.
bl: My sister was coming home for the weekend in December and we were taking her back. She had to go back for finals. And were. I know it was dark. We were on the highway between Marion and Muncie when they came over with the special announcement on the radio. And my father took it very hard. I remember that. And he was a veteran of World War One, which was supposed to have ended all wars and he just couldn’t get over the fact that we had actually been bombed. And right away he said we have to fight, we have to go. It was very it was just a very sad time and being twelve by then I knew that by his voice that it was a serious thing.
bo: So, did you guys talk a lot about it after that?
bl: We did. And uh, being a funeral director, of course, some of the boys who were killed were sent home. We helped to bury them. It always struck my father very hard that these young men had to give their lives. And also at the time, well even now, they always send an escort with the body, and uhum, he remains with the family to help them and then, of course, we’d become involved with him and ha, sometimes to relax we would have food for him or some refreshments of some sort to make him feel at home and get through this difficult time.
bo: Did you like know a lot about what it was like for the guys on the front?
bl: Just only what I saw in the movies and the news reels, which up to that point, I had always thought was boring and I’d go and get candy and ice cream or go to the restroom, you know, and run around with the girls, but, after that, I think I started to stay and to see what was going on and then, of course, we were just glued to the radio constantly, for announcements from the president and from the high officials as to what was going on. Always read the newspapers, the headlines, at least, maybe not thoroughly, but the headlines at least. But my father always discussed it very thoroughly and I think because he was so anxious about it and so upset that I wanted to know what was going on.
bo: Um, did you spend a lot of time at the movies, then?
bl: That was our treat after. When we grew up, my sister and I always had chores to do on the weekends and mine was to clean the bathroom. And after I got that done we were given a little bit of money and would go to the show for ten cents. Well, after 12 ‘d have t o pay a quarter, maybe it was. And um we’d go down have a sandwich and a bottle of pop, and then go to the movies. It was always a treat. And mostly that way we’d watch for the big movies. At that time there were some nice things being done. Gone with the Wend had been done in the late ‘30s and that was in Technicolor. And, uh, so, then, through the war years, ‘course there was a lot of um interest in making us patriotic and seeing all of the movie stars and the men, like John Wayne, flying a fighter plane and all and fighting. The planes were just beginning to really be used during the war, also. And our correction with Britain and everything um, where my dad had went to France in World War One, uh, seemed like we heard more about uh the British. England.
bo: So how did other people react to the news?
bl: Oho, I .We were all concerned. I. You couldn’t help but be. And you wandered just when it was going to end. You always hope that a war will be short, but it lasted five years, and that was a long time.
bo: That’s a lot of newsreels in the mean time.
bl: ‘lot of newsreels, lot of newspapers. And then when the fellas. Folks would talk with their friends and we’d have visitors over. We’d go over to other houses, which we did a lot, to visit friends. ‘Course the men would always talk war and the women would always talk about things they couldn’t get and things they. Just wondering how much longer everything was going to be.
bo: Um, were more people working during the war, that you noticed? Were people getting more jobs?
bl: Uh yes. ‘Course the women the women went in to the factories and made um made products and the fellas were drafted and had to leave. So, um, I was aware of that. Being maybe 12, 13, I probably didn’t pay as much attention to that, but those of us. Those, the women who were home and did work got the jobs. Made good money, compared to what they had been making.
bo: So then more people were buying that stuff they’d always wanted to get, like the car and the.
bl: Yes, and appliances and washing machines, and a new sweeper, and things like that. But, we couldn’t really get them during the war years. And sometimes you had to be on a list to get those. Uh, but, we were savers in those days. You put the money away and there was always going to be a time when you could shop more and things would be better.
A Better Future
bo: So had, kind of like, hope of the future the whole time?
bl: Oho yes, there was never any doubt in my mind of what. . . We’d win. It was just a matter of when. And the propaganda, if you’d want to call it that, that kept. It kept us up. We were never allowed to think, “Oho gee we’re going to loose this and we’re not going to. We’re not going to come out all right.” It was always “we’re going to win. We are right. We were wronged. And we’re going to do this. And get it over.”
bo: So there was no uncertainty about the results like there was. Well, having come after the War to End War and then down to this war, there was no doubt that this was going to be it?
bl: Right. That’s right.
bo: What kind of appliances did you have going into 1940. . . What kind of appliances did you get after 1940? Like, what sort of things were the in the house?
BL: Well, we had an electric refrigerator. Um what was the name of it? General Electric refrigerator. And it had what they called a unit on top of it called a honeycomb. And uh it was a dandy refrigerator and was certainly adequate. But, now during the war, like I said, we couldn’t buy absolutely new appliances, and I remember that unit did burn out and we didn’t know what we were going to do ‘cause we couldn’t get another one, but um, one of the stores ordered in another one for us, but it was all encased and it wasn’t fashioned like the other one was. It looked different, very modern. And we just thought we had the most modern refrigerator in the town.
bo: So, how did you react when it all ended?
bl: When it all ended was absolutely wonderful. And I ecstatic thrilled. (Inaudible) see some of the young men back again that we had known. Some of the girls, I had a first cousin who was in the WAVES. And, uh, when she was in Ohio for a while, we went over and got her, brought her back to Marion. We had a visit. Oho I thought she had the neatest uniform and looked so great in it. And she told us about the hard work that she did. She worked in an office, but her training, physical training and all was, was uh was quite a lot to it.
bo: So did you and your friends do a lot of celebrating?
bl: I was happened to be in Tucson when the war was over and uh here again with my sister had finished college in 1945 and was going to do her masters at the University of Tucson. And the only way she could get down there was she was also going to be a housemother in one of the dorms. The only way we could get there was on bus. Now, riding across country on buss was really something if you’ve never done it. And it took us, I think it was five days and four nights. This is constant riding. And I thought we would had gone to the end of the world and I never considered myself homesick, but I remember we got a room at the YWCA and my sister went out for a little while to find a snack or something and I sat on the side of the bed and cried. I just thought we would never see home again, it was so far away. People were extremely friendly and um we got down.
The A- Bomb
When we got to into Texas, I remember getting off the bus and seeing the newspapers there in a stand and it said something about we’d dropped the A-bomb and I had no idea what the A-bomb was. And she knew a little bit about it. It was very special and um so that was interesting, but I kind of shrugged it off. I thought, “Oho well, another bomb, you know. What’s another bomb?” Then by the time we were in Tucson for a while, the end did come. The town, the city absolutely exploded. And we piled in the car with some friends from Marion that we knew and rode all around and acted just as foolishly and as silly as anybody could ever be. It was absolutely wonderful. I understand it was a lot that way back here, too.
bo: Did the revelry continue when you got back home?
bl: Oho yes, yes. Um and things snapped back fairly fast if I remember it. Um ‘course you couldn’t buy a car during the war and you couldn’t buy new tires. You had to have retreads done on the tires. And, so looking forward to that, and then there was quite a um a boom in house building and construction. And the young couples, the fellows, a lot of them, had been married during the war and the young couples came back needing housing. And the national home addition was put up and several other additions through town to accommodate these young families. One thing about when we were in Tucson we were not used to here. And they had a good bus service and we’d be on the corner, waiting for a bus and people would stop and say, “Please get in, where are you going? I’m going downtown. We’ll be glad to take you.” Well we were always taught not to do that. And we refused two or three rides and when we got back and talked to a woman from Marion, and she said, “Oho, my dears, that would have been perfectly alright. You would have been safe. You share rides out here because gasoline is rationed, and there’s not a lot of gasoline.” So after that, we were hopping rides right into cars, everywhere we wanted to go, which was kind of unusual.
bo: So what else was rationed?
bl: Well, your uh food, mainly, that I recall. And um you had stamps, stamps for sugar. My mother was quite a canner. We also had a victory garden, out at tenth street, which was out in the country at that time. The bypass and tenth street was just out in a field. And the town said that if you’d like a victory garden to go out and just take your plot, and I think we had a diagram. And my dad loved gardening, so we had a huge garden, and my mother then canned everything. And um, then to, but to get sugar, the ladies, if one was not going to use all of her sugar, then she would share with another, the friends. And also, we never hurt at any time, but it certainly was restrictive. One nice thing (inaudible) there was a small store where Ken’s BarberShop is now called Craig Cole’s. And I’d go down and get things. Always take my stamp book and would get things for mother. And um, you didn’t have bananas very often, or fruit. And he always saw to it the youngsters had fruit, especially bananas, which I was very fond of, so I always thanked was glad that Mr. Cole, ‘r Mr. Craig was considerate that way. Everybody was trying to help everybody else get through this thing and be as happy as you could and be as healthy as you could be. And we got around at forty miles an hour. You did not dare drive any faster than 40 miles an hour, and it was proven over and over again that a lot fewer people were killed at that speed than later. And, um, it didn’t have that ware and tear on your car, either. And, um ‘course being in the funeral business, we were given gasoline for the business, and had some left over, sometimes, that the men could use. So that way, we could still travel around the county and some neighboring towns. But not very often.
After the War
bo: That all changed after the war?
bl: Yes, when rationing was dropped, why, people sort of went wild and wanted to buy new cars, and had the gasoline now, and uh it was really a treat.
bo: So, did you and like your family and friends start getting a lot of new things?
Bl: Well, yes, more clothing. Shoes had been rationed, hose were certainly rationed, but they used them and their materials. I know my mother always wanted gabardine, was quite a seamstress, and she’d like to make pretty skirts for us, and cloths for school, and um, always commented, “Well, can’t get the pretty material, the nice material that you used to get.” And, ‘cause that was used for the uniforms and was sent to the boys to the factories to make clothing, the supplies that they needed overseas.
Bo: Were there any like new technologies or appliances that were developed like during the war, or.
Bl: Well, in the ‘40s it was all progressing toward television, and we kept hearing I believe it was the Farnsworth that where Thompson is now. Um but I just could never believe that you could see a picture in a box and and I didn’t pay that much attention. As long as I had the radio to listen to. And soap operas. I liked to be sick when I was at home from school I’d listen to several of my favorite soap operas and um then my dad always wanted the six o’clock news. And WLW out of Cincinnati and everything had to be quiet around the dinner table. And um, then we always listened to Amos ‘n Andy and (inaudible) and Abner and Fred Weary was being recorded. Wonderful orchestra ‘n band ‘n chorus that sang and um we had a lot of nice musical programs and ‘course a lot of patriotic songs and a lot of nice ones were written at that time.
Marion High School, Ball State, and Marriage
bo: If there is one thing that you remember best about that entire decade, from 1940 to 1950, that was not related to the war, what do you think that would be?
bl: Well, my graduating from high school, going to Ball State, also, and getting my degree by 1950. I think that was always a highlight. In 1951 I got married.
bo: What was it like graduating from high school, then?
bl: We were the first class to graduate with robes. And I know you had pretty robes with the pretty colors and they were lightweight. We had heavy (inaudible) robes in gray. An ugly, dark gray. But we were very proud of ‘em, and um, that was a thrill to have that hat on and that robe (inaudible) a very hot day. In those days we had what we called a church service, a (inaudible), on a Sunday before graduation on Thursday. And that was always very nice. The chorus would sing the minister would talk. Um, it it was it was just a very especially right after the war people were very most thankful and that was was given and you felt that at the programs. And then at the graduation was very nice. And when they played that graduation march, I was excited, and ready to go on with my life.
bo: What did they wear before those? Was it just like normal clothing?
bl: Uh, when my sister graduated, the boys had nice suits, and the girls had floor-length formals on, and carried a dozen red roses, or a dozen roses. I guess they could be different colors. And I envied her, again, you know. Had this beautiful blue-green dress and um had her picture made in it and would be sitting with the flowers on her lap. And all I got was my dark gray robe.
bo: What was it like going to college?
bl: Well, that was quite interesting. In 1946, that was the first year that the boys had really had time to get back, reorganize, and get ready for college, so they entered the same year I did, and it was so crowded at Ball State that they put four girls and four fellas in a room, and stacked twin beds. Now if you’ve ever done. If you can imagine stacking a twin bed, your nose is practically on the ceiling. And sometimes ‘at girls would tumble out at night and fall pretty hard (inaudible) floor. Then, there was a room in between the room and the next room and eight of us used the small room for a study, so you can imagine whether or not we got much studying done. But we had fun. We didn’t know any better, but I’m still shocked to this day when the girl says, “Oho, I have a room to myself at college.” I said, “You do?” They missed out on a lot. We had fun.
bo: Were you as close with people in the community after the war as you were during the war.
bl: Probably not. We all kind of scattered and went our own ways. The young people I knew so many my sisters age, five years older, very much involved in the war would come back and marry ‘n two or three little children. They had their lives and their children were entirely different than they had been, of course. The struggle for survival was over.
One thing I did do during the war years I wanted to talk to er tell you, Ben, was I was a Girl Scout and I’m sure that the girl scout leader had gotten names from England for pen pals, and asked if anyone wanted to write to anyone over there, and I did. Her name was June Smith and she was just maybe a year younger than I was. Very interesting letters. ‘Course they were always censored, but I just couldn’t wait until her next letter. When the bombing in London became so bad, she and her younger brother and younger sister were sent inland, or over to Whales, I believe, and uh lived apart from their parents and that was quite frightening, when they didn’t know from day to day if they were alright. When they were over to these other little villages, I would send packages. Some garments for her, or hankies, or, or um. And I had Seventeen Magazine I think it was 17 magazine, a girl’s magazine, any way, years ago, and I would send those to her. Just more or less fill (inaudible) the box. And she wrote back that they, those magazines, had been distributed all over the village, and she said, “Barbara, we looked at the food dishes ‘till we couldn’t believe, we just couldn’t remember such beautiful food,” ‘cause what they had was just the rations. And we always vowed someway that we would meet each other. We haven’t done that yet, and I still hope to try to seek her out, see if she’s still living. I could possibly meet her.
Modern Life in the 40's and 50's
bo: What kind of cars did people drive?
bl: Lets see. We had in ’41 we had a Chrysler, very comfortable. We had gone back the summer before Pearl Harbor. We had gone out west. My father had lived in Colorado, in his teen years, and he always wanted to go back, so we got my cousin in um Missouri, and went on out to Colorado. And it was a wonderful trip. ‘Course that was the end of the trips when the war broke out. They were very good cars, very comfortable and very sturdy, and lots of chrome. They were pretty. Now days we have no chrome, and I don’t think they’re nearly as nice as they used to be. But they were luxurious. And then ‘course we had had just a tiny little Plymouth, second hand Plymouth, before that barely ran. So, that .we were just coming into a nice time in the early 1940s. And we certainly didn’t hurt during the war, so to speak.
bo: Is there anything else besides cars that you think really isn’t as good now as it was then?
bl: Well, I, after, and even there was some construction for people, but not as much until after the war, the late ‘40s and all, that all these houses and all started going up. I think construction now, the quality of the homes, the quality of the building—everything is made so fast and prefab and all—its not nearly as nice as they used to be. And the craftsmanship isn’t either.
bo: What do you think of kind of the modernization, like you mentioned your refrigerator had the modernized look? What did you think of all that?
bl: Well, of course, any time you get a more sleek look and more design, sleek design, and it looks prettier to the eye, you think you really have something special. And we did. And when we got a new refrigerator, then, ‘cause the other one had been several years old, that was a thrill. And anything that we bought was exciting, because we had a long stretch where we didn’t buy anything.
bo: Now, did everybody you know buy more stuff after the war?
bl: I’m sure they did. Then remodeled their houses or went out and got another house, or bought a new house in the new addition. And the the uh city limits expanded and Marion grew quite a bit. We still had a lot of factories at that time. Now some of them that had produced war items, ‘course, went back or did change back to the regular (inaudible) manufacturing, or maybe new lines of things.
Street cars and the Park
bo: during the war, did you ride the streetcars more? What was that like?
bl: The streetcars were oho they were wonderful, absolute treat for me. Because I lived so close to town. It was just five blocks from the square to where the funeral home was. And, um, I then went to school at the top of the hill, and got to go home every noontime. And we walked everywhere. And I always envied the children who rode from South Marion and got off at the high school. (inaudible) Before the high school there at the Y. And wished I could ride the streetcars. But, uh, my neighbor friends, on a Saturday afternoon, or well about noon, would get on the streetcar there at the square and go to the park. Lovely big swimming pool, and we would have saved our money to buy a hotdog and a bottle of pop, and uh, we’d sunbathe all after noon, and then go in, you could go in and out of the pool, and come back, and I remember all of the windows open, and that. It just gently swayed back and forth and kind of rhythmic, and it just it was a treat to ride a streetcar, for me.
bo: Um, could you tell me more about going to the park?
bl: The park was lovely. We had a lot of swings. We had buddy swings. We had slides, very tall slides. Big enough for the adults to zoom down and they often did at reunions and parties. People used the park a great deal. And it was beautiful.
bo: So, did you have some sort of activity going on every weekend? Did you always meet people?
bl: Um, you mean, to go to the park, or go to the movie. Also a great activity for me was the young people’s group at the First Christian’s Church. And I had started to go down with the neighbors. And they had a wonderful “Christian Endeavor,” I believe they called it. The group who met every weekend. And during the war years, we had my piano teacher, who was very accomplished, (inaudible) McCoy, and um, her sister in law, who had come back to stay while her brother was in service. And both of them very musical, in fact, Robby McCoy had been on stage and was a dancer, and they designed a show, on in First Christian Church, in the gymnasium side of it had a um stage, and we put on a nice show. We had two lights and the public was so crazy about it that they asked if we’d do it again. The mothers made the costumes, and with the materials they had. And the dads came down and helped with the sets and sang a lot and (inaudible) ((Burilieu?)) could get more music out of a human being than anyone I ever knew. Now, sad to say, her brother, Robbie’s husband, was missing in action for a long time, and he was quite a trumpet player, and had played with one of the Dorseys, either Jimmy or Tommy Dorsey, I’m not sure. And when they were doing a show over their, they were captured, and he was a prisoner of war for a while, and we didn’t know whether he was living or not, but he did get back ok.
Missing in Action
bo: Did people you know come up missing in action?
bl: Uh, yes they did. The biggest shock to me, and one that really upset me, uh. My sister had been in a band for several years, and uh in late in 1939, I think it was, Wendell Herely, was Wendell Raverly was a uh, drug major. Very tall, thin kid with blond hair, and when he’d point his baton to the sky he just it just went on for many feet he was and strut, I remember how he’d lean back and strut. And I remember all this because I always had to tag my sister or my folks always wanted to see what she was doing and when the band performed down town we would see Wendell uh be at the head. There was a Drukmell boy, too. And Wendell was the first one killed in action. And he was on the Arizona that was struck in Pearl Harbor. And I think that was when I realized why my father was so upset.
bo: So were there several people who just didn’t come back?
bl: Yes there were several. And we do have a lot of information of those who were missing and also were killed in action, here in the library.
A Teenage Girl
bo: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?
bl: I might tell you what we did as teenagers. We were just maybe as spunky and ornery as any body could be, in those days. I got my license and the day I turned sixteen, my dad met me, got me out of school, and we went down to the bureau, and I registered for my license, and I’m not certain about the (inaudible), but I think that for three months, then I had to have training. And he would take me to the cemetery or Matter Park. That was a wonderful use of Matter park, to practice driving, stopping, starting, parking, and all that sort of thing. And um, now my birthday was in February, so March, April, and May, you see, right just before school was out, and just before V-E day, which was the end of the war in Europe. I got my license. I also left school that afternoon and went down and drove for the administrator, or what ever he was called, and got my license, and was so excited, and my dad said, “well drop me back at the office, there by the Y.” And he said, “now you can go get your friends, but be back by a certain time.” And always was back when he said. He always said, “I want to hear that garage door go down at 9:30 or ten o’clock. I want you upstairs” we lived above the funeral home, incidentally, “And I want you upstairs by ten o’clock.” And I never did break that, whatever he said, because, it was very special that he allowed me to drive that car. So I remember going north on Race Street, there, at the old um that the Race Street T’d into Nelson Street, and I met my girlfriends, and we all piled in the car and we drove around the park, and we drove. We drove everywhere. And uh, I was the only one who had access to a car all during those years. And so we went everywhere and then later on I taught two or three of them how to drive. So that was always a special time.
bo: That must have made you pretty popular.
bl: Well, maybe, but I had to use my head, too, or else I would have lost that privilege. My dad and I My dad was special.
bo: So, were teenagers really responsible, then?
bl: I think a lot more subdued, and they got little jobs that they could do to help, or at least with their own expenses. And um, I know they helped around the house more and uh, we helped their dad, too. And then, having the school, and having friends at school, and having your friends in church, and having these nice youth programs, and went to church every Sunday. Um, always willing to work, it was just good training for for later on. Good background.
bo: So did you guys all stay out of trouble, as compared to now? Every week in the newspaper, you read about some party with police coming in or something like that.
bl: We did not do that, um, I didn’t anyway. Why I can tell you one thing. Out at the dam, there was a parking place that overlooked the dam. That was the only scenic spot we had at that time. And when I had the girls at night, we would go out there and the couples would be in cars, and we’d drive out there and shine the lights into their cars, you know, and kind of upset them. And I always wondered why they didn’t chase us. They did, sometimes, other cars. But they didn’t us. And we just laughed and carried on. We thought that was the neatest thing. Yea, we were kids; we were ornery some times. And we on our hang out, well, was on the top of the Third Street hill, called HillTop. And that was an eatery, wonderful sandwiches, we had booths, we could go and hang out and play the nickelodeon. And, I know that they had, you know what a Frosty is now, well it was comparable to that, in big machines over by the window, and chocolate. And they were you might get a little cup now, you got a huge cup then, for maybe, I don’t know, I’m guessing maybe fifty cents. May. Oho I. It wouldn’t have been fifty cents. A quarter, ‘cause we didn’t we didn’t spend anything that costs fifty cents. And (inaudible) would be sitting up there and the fellas ‘d come in and uh glance over your way and and if he knew one of you ‘d come over and sit with you a while and that was a thrill. So, we were just very typical, typical kids. That like to think that we were responsible, too, for what we did.
You Knew Your Neighbors
bo: It must have been a lot of fun back then.
bl: It was and you knew a lot of people. You knew your neighbors, in those days, and you knew what was going on downtown, and uh that was the entertainment after school. If I didn’t have the car, ‘r before I could drive, one or two of us would always walk down, walk around the square, just to look. Look at the windows. The windows were beautiful. Every storefront was filled. And then if you had a nickel of dime, you could get a coke at the corner or hook’s drug store and go back home. And uh, then some times my dad would take the girls home. So, I remember being busy. And I was always I was (inaudible) to be busy, anyway. I liked artwork. I did some sketching and living above a funeral home, you cannot make a lot of noise, and um when we were busy, I had to be quiet, so I had to read a lot. I did read a lot of books. When I was I played the cornet. I was also in the band and took piano lessons, and I would tell my dad I had, absolutely had to practice. “Well we cant. Have a family coming in.” Said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll hit the bell.” There was a bell in the office for him when we were upstairs. He said, “I’ll hit the bell when you can play. And when I hit it twice, you stop.” ‘Cause people were coming in. And that was how I got through my training for music. I had to wait before the coast was clear.
bo: Were there a lot of community activities?
bl: Well usually patriotic. In those days, we had a school of music, which was right down here KFC is, now, in that big old home. We had a conservatory, but that was no longer in operation, and um, Mr. Tourcheck, Ed. Tourcheck had that. He was a wonderful musician, himself. Taught piano. I was never good enough. I was afraid of him. I was never. I just didn’t want him as a teacher because he was so good and so accomplished. I never could get that far. But we also had a man named Arthur Curry who had the choruses and the music. I did take voice lessons from him. And he wonderful choruses. And would put on big shows and programs in the churches. And we’d be in the choir and we’d sing a medley of all these patriotic things that would just make the people jump to their feet. And uh, the service clubs. My dad was in the Lions, the president of the Lions. At the time was very active and we’d have dinners and someone would always have singing group, or we’d have students who had good voices would be invited to sing a solo. And this was our entertainment. We just thought it was wonderful. And then those who went on into music had this had this chance to perform and uh that was very. ‘bout forgot about my music, but that was a good time, too.
College Days and Music
bo: So did you continue with your music after you went to college?
bl: Yes, I had that um my major was business ed. and then I at that time you could have three er two majors. They called it a comprehensive was business ed. and then I had a restrictive which was music and a minor which was library science, and that’s all the library science I could get at that time. I took music because I loved it, not because I was extremely good at it, but I especially enjoyed choir work, and uh was in the archipelago choir. I did um study with a well-known teacher and um. We could not travel, though, or didn’t get to go on tours with the choir until my Senior year. It took that long. It took four years before the college could make arrangements and have money to help us go on tours. I I did get to tour Indiana and perform in the high schools, which was exciting for me. Also, at this time, I think I told you all these fellas had returned. They had aged probably ten, fifteen years, emotionally. And when they were asked to join a fraternity, or be a freshman with a little beanie caps, and all that foolishness, they refused. And that was a surprise to me, ‘cause I thought that was part of the fun of college, but they didn’t want any part of it and a lot of them didn’t join. Um, they were too old, emotionally. Maybe not in years, but. They realized, see, they were on the GI bill, too, which was uh helped them a great deal, financially, and a lot of the fellas who were never able to afford college were able to attend, as that was a special time and I just couldn’t help but admire them. Uh, when we’d go when I’d go to but books, I had to pay quite a bit for my books, but the fellas got theirs free. Uh, but that was ok because of what they had done. And we were all right. We had a lot of fun. We had homecoming parades and we had a lot of get-togethers. And the dances were very the formal dances were very nice and uh a lot of decorations and real orchestras, no DJs, no records, they were people playing instruments. And uh, your dreamy, romantic music as well as your jazz and uh rock-and-roll which was. I just had my grandson sings in a group and he said, “Oop grandma, we do a medley, rock and roll. Do you know what that is?” And I said, “yes, I do. I was there.” So we got to see, we saw (inaudible) Row and um a lot of the big like, I can’t remember which Dorsey. One of them was killed. One of the famous players er orchestra leaders was killed. Tom Tommy Dorsey, I believe. And uh his Tex Beniky and all of them. In the summer time we’d go to the lakes and and there was this that dance place up there and that’s where I I saw Tex Beniky. So we did return to normal, if you want to call it normal (inaudible) young person with everything exciting going on around her and I was usually in the middle of it.
bo: Thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it.
bl: You’re welcome. It was fun.