Personal narrative of James C. Hulce
From: James Hulce (jh)
Medium: Audio tape
Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999
Place: Home of James Hulce, 809 E. 27th St. Marion, Indiana 46953
Collected by: Bobby Nauman (bn)
0:00 bn: I am Bobby Nauman. This is April 28th, 1999.This is being recorded at 809 East 27th Street. I am speaking with Jim Hulce. Please state your name.
jh: My name is uh James C. Hulce.
bn: Do I have your permission to interview you?
bn: Do I have permission to submit this interview to Marion High School?
bn: Do I have your permission to submit this interview to the Marion Public Library?
1:06 bn: Thank you. (pause) So let’s get started by telling me about your childhood in Marion.
jh: uh, okay. I was born to uh Clifford and uh Lillian Hulce. Uh, oh I had four brothers and a sister. Uh we, uh, I was born in 1925 in February and by the time I was four years old the depression had set in although that it didn’t affect my family because my father had a good job and my mother also. Uh, but uh, we lived in a neighborhood uh, fortunately to me it was a mixed neighborhood uh, we lived with, uh, we lived with black people, poor people, uh, old people, young people. It was a nice, uh, substantial neighborhood located at uh 1700 block and Meridian Street in Marion. Uh I uh went to uh Clayton School which was over on 14th , between 13th and 14th on uh Adams Street. Uh, started there in Kindergarten uh and went through uh the uh first six grades there. Had a lot of, uh, vivid memories uh. One of my first memories I have, I think uh, when I was about four years old, uh, I went out in front of the house at 17th and Meridian and looked South up towards Meridian Street hill which still exists, and uh I had the idea that Santa Clause lived up there. Uh, but at least at that age uh, I was going beyond my home, I was getting out into the neighborhood. Uh, the uh, there were a lot of boys and girls uh, in the neighborhood so that there were many different uh opportunities to uh, play different types of games and uh to uh be with different types of children. Uh, so I got a pretty good background about how people treated me and how I treated other people.
3:30 Uh, also a lot of adults involved because, again both my parents were away from home during the day and especially in the Summer time and Uh, I was left, I and my brothers were left in the care of a sixteen year old aunt, and we felt that we could go beyond our home and do as we pleased. So we did a lot of things. Uh, we would go over and swim in the river, uh, we would uh, go junkin’. Uh where you uh would take a sack and go up and down the alleys and find pieces of aluminum or bottles, or, uh, rags. You could sell almost anything at the uh local junkyard which had just moved into our neighborhood on I think in 1931. Run by uh Meyer and Julian Sylveski. Uh, uh, and uh the uh people, the person who operated the scales was Kenneth Colby who happened to be going with my aunt. So therefore I felt that I got a quite a cheap break. I uh, A lot of bankrupt companies would send things into the junkyard uh, for example pulp magazines, uh, Gene Ateney’s Battle Aces and uh, western, uh, stories and things like that. And just hundreds, thousands of them were sent in and piled up in the, in the building and uh, I would go in there. Because Kenneth Colby knew me I went in there and sit and read these books, and then uh sneak them home. Uh, maybe in a month’s time I would sneak 30 or 40 of them home, and, uh, uh, all of us read. And then I thought nothing about tying them with a piece of twine and taking them back over there and putting them on a scale and getting paid for it. Uh, I used to, uh, I was fascinated watching Ole Tim the ole gentleman uh break up car batteries. At that time when I was a little kid car batteries were made out of wood. The casing was made out of wood and very fine cases. Ducktale construction. Uh, and uh, they held lead plates and uh, and then the acid was poured between them. And uh, Tim would empty it and I’d watch him. And then he would take the uh lead plates out and then they would throw the boxes away. And I imagine today those boxes would be pretty valuable if we had some of them. But that and uh milk bottles uh, they brought in thousands of milk bottles because uh, the bigger cities were beginning to go to paper cartons, or cardboard cartons.
And so we no longer used glass, in the evenings we’d go over to the glass place, across the street, climb the fence, and we would steal milk bottles. And we could get four cents a piece for them down at 18th street. Burman’s grocery, Clark’s grocery, that’s where we’d sell them. Uh and for weeks we were in the money. Which reminds me one summer day we found a nickel slot machine, and boy there were probably ten or twelve of us and our pockets stuffed with nickels. And I remember I went home, because I lived across the street there across the junkyard, and I pushed my, oh, two pockets full of nickels under the shed. But some neighbor, we think it was Mrs. Craussore, saw us and called the police, and the police came out, and they confiscated the slot machine and then they uh asked all of us boys to get together and we did and they said they wanted all of our nickels, because they said they were going to have to have it as evidence. Later when my father came home and found out about it, he said he was very angry, because he said nobody’s gonna claim a slot machine, so the police just stole the money from us. But that was just the things like that out of my childhood there in the neighborhood, we could uh, do a lot of things like that.
7:20 Going to school, was an adventure, uh, we walked to school, fall, winter, rain, so on, no buses, we didn’t need them, we would walk together like in little gangs, from each neighborhood, walk to school, and there, you met a lot of people, made friends with them. The games we’d play on the playground, what we called 1,2,3 black man, which was where you tagged. There would be one line, and the other line would get down then they’d, try to run through you, and if you grabbed them and bang bang bang, 123, then they had to take your place. We also, uh marbles were especially when I was in the fifth and sixth grade, marbles were a national pastime in grade school, and we would play marbles, wed make square pots to put the marbles in, where a lot of people were making circles, and we had things like lag of the line, and reverend lakes makes bad mistakes, all this stuff, and we’d be late getting home for lunch, and late getting back from school, because we’d shoot marbles down in the street, down by the curb, because very few cars, you were lucky if a car would come by every ten minutes, so uh we could do that all the way home and back, it probably was frustrating, to teachers and parents both, but it was a part of us growing up, uh from grade school, I moved into Junior High School out at Mccolluh, and uh January of 36, January of 37, uh it was a big adventure, because it was much further away, and it took you a little longer to get there and get home, you had to find how you were gonna do it and so on, made a lot more friends, uh, became involved in such things what they called decathalon for boys, and pentathalon for girls, seventh and eight and ninth grade and they gave medals, a gold, silver, bronze, and uh, I was not too good athletically, so I usually wound up with a bronze, and that was it for me.
9:16 Uh when I reached the ninth grade, I loved football, and so uh I went out for the football team, and I happened to make the Marion High School football team, when I was in the ninth grade at McCulluh. Still and uh had a lot of fun doing those things, in the, let’s, see, just before the beginning of school in the fall, uh they uh had a football camp, which was up at uh, I think they called it camp crosely, up in northern Indiana, and Marion High School, all of us guys, about fifty some, of us would go up there, by bus and stay for a week and they fed us and wed practice our plays and on and on, and then, the coaches would there might be a school in Kokomo or Anderson, or some other place and we’d play each other in a scrimmage game, when finally the high school athletic league found out about they said there’d be no more football camps, that was out, so I only got to go for two years to football camp, uh that was an enjoyable time, uh going through High School, I think let’s see in 1942, uh when I was a junior, uh, I had the opportunity in the summer time to get a job at the Hotel Spencer, as a bellhop, uh, they furnished you a uniform, you had to wear a white shirt and a black tie, with your uniform, and I’d feel real proud when they’d tell me to take the mail down to the post office, its where its located now, I’d carry the mailbag, and I felt so proud of my uniform, there were a lot of sailors from bunker hill that’d come to Marion all the time, maybe soldiers home on leave, so I felt like I was doing my part.
10:54 So uh, things like that uh, I when I was a Senior in high school, I in January of 43, I had about thirty seven credits, and I forget how many you needed to graduate, but I had more than enough, so instead of going on to school in the spring, uh I caught a train out of Marion, and for six dollars round trip, I went up to Chicago, to take a test, to get into the navy/ air force and I passed the test, and they told me to go home and wait until they sent me the papers, so I came back and uh I didn’t want to go to school, I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing so uh I checked with the draft board, I asked, I know three of the girls on the draft board actually went to my church, and so I asked for a deferment for three months, and so they gave me a three month deferment. And I so I went down and got a job at Anaconda in Marion, uh I was called a roused about, I worked eleven to seven, seven days a week, uh, eleven in the evening, to seven in the morning, and if I’m not mistaken, I made around 54 dollars and they took about 80 or 83 cents out for social security, but all of the rest of it was mine, and uh my mother and dad they didn’t need the money, they let me spend it on whatever I wanted to buy, uh I know at that time portable radios were just coming into use, and I bought one for myself and I bought one for my father, uh I bought all kinds of clothes and things, and enjoyed myself, and in I remember in late February, there was uh a whole load, a busload of boys that weren’t from my class were going up to Ft. Wayne, to take a test to see if they could get into the Army- Airforce up in Bear Field, so I instead of going to bed one day I went with them, they talked me into going in with them and taking the test, I went in and I took the test and I passed it, so now I had the army and the Airforce, and the Navy and the Airforce, one of them was gonna have to call me, but it was getting close to the end of my three months, I went to the draft board again and the girl gave me another deferment, I got another three months deferment, and so in 43 I received my papers to go into the Army-Airforce, they uh told me that I was to go down to Indianapolis, and catch the train with the other guys and we would be taken to uh uh uh Miami beach for our basic training and so that was something that I will always recall, a friend of mine, uh Dale Hodge and a girl that was in our class and his girlfriend uh Mary Keitlinger, it was a red convertible so I got a ride in style down to Indianapolis when I went into the service and when uh from basic training we took uh, I came home on a delay in route I was going to the 80th college training college detachment in Cedar falls Iowa which was the Iowa State Teachers College and uh I got up their and must have been in September some time, and I was taking all types of college courses and doing drills and uh I don’t think I was uh, good officer material because I remember uh Colonel, Major Leonard he was in charge of about 200 of us, and he had 2 Lieutenants I don’t remember their names, but uh Major Leonard lines us up the first day and told us uh we were going to be quarantined for four weeks on the campus, no one could leave. And uh so the first evening as far as I know, I climbed out a window, and walked over to the across the street and there was a drugstore, and a couple other stores there and there were two upperclassmen, from the 80th college training detachment, standing nearby a girl in a red coat, and so uh I kept watching them and they just seen me standing so I walked up to this girl and I introduced myself, and told her who I was, and she told me her name was Gene Wildeboon, she said she was waiting on the bus to go when I said I’ll get on the bus with you and go home with you I went and got on the bus with her and rode to her house, talking to her and so on, got off the bus and walked to her home and she said she told me when you go back to the campus, she said uh major Leonard drives a ford station wagon, one of those old wooden for station wagons, and he drives up and down the streets at night, so she said when you go and see him coming just stand behind the tree, so I did that, I wasn’t quarantined, I took off if I wanted too, I went and did things like that, uh from there, uh we were shipped out, I remember November had to be because it was snowing I remember, we were shipped out and sent to Santa Anna California,
15:00 and uh recently at the death of a famous ball player, Joe Dimaggio, I suddenly remembered why about the almost personal contact I had with Joe Dimaggio, it was because when I was in Santa Anna we got up in the morning about daylight and we’d get up in the morning about day light and have to wash and get our athletic clothes on and we’d all line up out on the platform and this young guy would drive up in the red convertible and get out and walk on the steps and it was Joe Dimaggio, he would lead us for fifteen to twenty minutes in calisthenics, and then he’d get in his car and take off. And uh later in life I realized he was probably being protected by the federal government people, people were griping about why wasn’t he in uniform like everybody else, so they gave him the rank of sergeant and put him in uniform, so that uh he was doing something for the federal government and he was still able to play ball, that was, they’d rather have him to play ball, and use him for drives and things like that. From uh Santa Anna I had received 10 hours of flying time, and they called me before the board and they told me that uh I if they had the time they could make a flyer out of me, but they didn’t have the time and I had a lack of coordination I couldn’t think, I did one thing at a time, and so they uh washed me out and sent me to chaunete field in Illinois. And uh while I was in chaunte field Illinois, waiting to be sent somewhere else, uh they had uuh, they ahd a test to see if I could get into an electronics school, so to have something to do, I took the test, uh in electronics, and I passed the test, and they sent me to laurey field in Denver Colorado, And uh it was a, at the beginning I was working with 50 caliber machine guns, 20 millimeter cannons, learning all about those, and I also had an instruction manual, and teachers who were teaching me about electronics and computer science, these were black boxes and metal boxes and they had little bity tubes about an inch high which were vacuum tubes and the equipment for this was to operate the equipment, uh like uh a gun turret, I wouldn’t be in the gun turret, I would be away from the gun turret, so the gun turret had to be operated electrically, in azimuth, and in elevation, and uh it had automatic gun chargers that would charge the guns and so on. And uh taking this training, and they took us oh after about a month, they took us into the mountains, and in six by sixes groups of us, and we came up on these what they call mock ups, with an exact copy of a b-29 bomber fuselage, with no wings, but it had the it had the uh, turrets on it, it had the uh dome for the cfc man, and the side domes for the gunners uh these were big plastic bubbles because they found out later that the b-29 bomber was the first plane that was pressurized in the world. It would go up to 35, 000 feet, uh , with out us having to have oxygen masks or anything like that, so I became what they called the cfc man, the central station fire control operator on a b29 bomber, uh I was in charge of all the equipment, the computer boxes, for each gun, each turret, that would be the tail turret, the upper aft turret, the upper-forward turret, the lower forward turret, and the lower aft turret. That was my responsibility to take care of it to it was all make sure it all there were, let’s see there were four fifty caliber machine guns in the upper forward turret, and two fifty caliber machine guns in the lower forward turret, that’s six, there were two in the upper-apt turret, and that’s eight, there were two in the upper apt turret, and there were two in lower apt turret and two in the tail turret. And a twenty millimeter cannon, so there were twelve machine guns and a twenty mm cannon. I was responsible to make sure that that equipment worked all the time.
17:56 Uh so from there uh they sent me to a gunnery school down at Buckngham field, near Ft. Myers, Florida. And I ran into a strange thing. Uh parking back to tell you that I lived in a mixed neighborhood in the city of Marion. Uh I went to school with black kids, I had friends that were black, uh ate in their houses with blacks, when I was, the first time I left Buckingham field, to go into Ft. Myers and I got on a bus, and uh we were driving down the road and it’s the first time and the last time that I ever recall seeing a chain gang. But there they were, they were black prisoners, in their uh white and black stripe suits being guarded by three or four guards that had shot guns. And they had the ball and chains on their ankles, and I was fascinated, I’d never seen anything like that before, and then the bus stopped, then the little black lady got on the bus, I was sitting up near the front, and so my parents had instilled in me the idea of being kind to people and so on and have manners. I knew nothing but good manners. I got up and let her have my seat and went to the back, and the bus driver stopped the bus, and he, I, he said, he didn’t look at me, but I heard him say out loud, you can’t do that here. And I figured he was talking to me, and the little old lady knew what he meant, she got up and came to the back of the bus, and so from that time I realized that there were two different worlds, in the United States, there’s a world for the black people and the white people. When we took trips on trains to go to different towns, we found out that they had white drinking fountains and black drinking fountains. White restrooms and black restrooms. Uh places where only white people could eat. On and on and it was a sad sight to realize it in our country which we call a democracy that these things were taking place, we know later on that this was finally rectified greatly by starting in about 1964, but to move on, we uh, uh, I went from uh Buckingham field to Clovis, New Mexico, where there were uh I met the people that I was going to be with on my crew. Uh Earny Maize was the pilot, Jesse De Lareama , who was a Phillipino, was the co-pilot, uh Charlie Doubts was the navigator, uh Dave Brady was the engineer, uh Miller, I cant remember Miller’s first name, he was the radio operator, and uh Victor Beck, he was the bombardier, I was the cfc man, and uh the right gunner was Tony Bolitmus, left gunner who was the old man of us, who was thirty two years old, I was 19, uh he was the left gunner, and Cal Army was the tailgunner, so we were the crew, and we got together and we flew practice missions uh out of Clovis, probably for a month or two, uh and these were each, these missions lasted for about oh 6,-8 hours each, for the time, we could fly long distances, they had places in the United States that looked like the same terrain that you would fly over if you were going to bomb in Japan, uh rivers and so on, so they tried to familiarize the pilot and the navigator and so on with that type of terrain uh so we did our, we got our flying training in, and then we were sent to a staging area in Carnie Nebraska. uh and this was in December of 43, of 44 and uh we were to wait for our aircraft, and as Christmas approached, they’d come out with a 350 mile pass we could all leave uh Fort Carnie and we could go as far as 350 miles away, well Dave Brady, the flight engineer, and I, he lived in Taylorville, Ill, I lived in Marion, IN, we got the bright idea why don’t we just walk outside the base and thumb home.
19:20 It took me about four days to get back to the field at Ft. Carney and I walked into the Master Sergeant’s. office and I said I imagine you were looking for me and I and he said Don’t you realized if you hadn’t come back, if we hadn’t come back, on of these people would’ve had been taken off our place on the crew and go overseas. So they weren’t going to throw us in the stockade or anything. Nothing happened to us. We got our b29 and we took off, they had a snow storm, the next morning the snow was about 2 feet deep they cleared the runways, uh we got on the b29 and we flew from there down to west palm beach Florida. We landed at west palm beach Florida and there were uh 6 or 8 jeep loads of guards that came rushing out to surround the plane. And that’s the first time we came, we began to realize that the b29 was something that was top secret that they didn’t want anyone to find anything out about. And uh we went in to be debriefed, flying to Carney down there we wouldn’t be down there for three days because we had a cracked wind bolt. They didn’t want to take any chances, so they got it in Craat, Kansas, because it cracked, we needed to get another wind bolt. While we were there they gave officers a car and uh and a whack and uh gave the enlisted men a car and a whack, we could do whatever we wanted to do, we went deep sea fishing, crowding around, drinking and things like that I had quite an enjoyable time. We took off from uh uh West Palm Beach we flew down to Brinkland field in Puerto Rico, and from Brinkland field we flew to Georgetown, British Vienna, and from uh Georgetown we flew off in the morning, and we flew uh down over the uh Amazon River and uh the pilot and all of us to make sure everybody saw it we circled over the mouth of the Amazon River and we found out that the uh force of thousands of miles of water pushes mud about thirty miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. And we flew up around that and got to see it. We landed at uh, I think it was Bei Lin. And uh uh Brazil. And we had to fly over at night we couldn’t fly over in the day because uh they claimed that there were uh German submarines in the sea about these uh planes and uh they’d be radioing people so we uh flew over at night. We took off from uh Bei Lim flew over the uh Atlantic Ocean to uh Africa uh landed in the morning in uh Crawl on the British Gold Coast. And we were there for a day and then we took off from Crawl and we went to Cano, Nigeria and landed there, uh. And I uh, one thing I remember about over in Cano Nigeria uh the Cano is a walled city, and uh the British controlled the area, but they took us into uh this city, we were riding along uh, before we got this sight that I always remember. There was a man in a bed sheet, or I call it a bed sheet, riding a camel, riding with his wife, we assumed, and uh carrying a bail of hay on her head. And uh, that was a sight that I always remembered. From Crawl, we went to Chartroom Egypt. And we were there for a day or so, and uh I remember we were given the opportunity to ride I guess they called it a dowel, a single sailed vessel and we would go and they’d take us out and wed go on the Nile River, they allowed us to use our 45 and they said shoot at these crocodiles and you could see the backs of the crocodiles and wed shoot $% slugs at the crocodiles and they’d bounce off their hide because uh I guess it uh must have been over an inch or maybe two inches thick uh from, then from uh Cano, or from Chartroom uh we took off in the early morning and I think this was our longest uh ride, about16 hours we flew from we flew down over uh Saudi Arabia, we flew down over the Arabian Peninsula across the Indian Ocean and to our destination which was Chicoolia , India, which was 120 miles w of Calcutta up in the hills. Uh flying over uh Arabia hour after hour wed fly at about 6 or 8000 feet very clear air and we'd look down and wed see a little group of Palm trees and things and maybe a little village beside it. And then you wouldn’t see anything again for maybe an hour, about three or 400 miles away there would and it dawned on me, I was a young kid saying this, people are born, they live, and they die right there at that one spot and they never get out to see anything. And uh it was an amazing thing you know your eyes are opened. We did things like that.
36:02 When we got to Chicoolia, and uh, we were uh, we were involved in seven missions out of Chicoolia, we had to fly to places like Singapore, we bombed the uh, we bombed a huge dry dock there I think it was called lets see I think its called the St. George III dry dock. Uh there Japanese had captured it earlier, and were using it, and uh so we sank it. Uh there was an island called Buckham about five miles off the coast of Singapore. Uh it was a huge oil and gasoline depot, we bombed it. Uh so uh Rancoon uh uh Lord Louis Lon Batton was getting ready to invade uh Burma, the Indian Ocean side. Landing troops so they were using us in that way and then an amazing thing uh most of our outfit that was at Chicoolia had left earlier and they were sent to Talian Island, and we were there to help Lord Louis Lon Batton uh starting campaign uh it was amazing one morning we were asked to get dressed up and uh shave and then clean up, then stand down at the flag line, then came Lord Louis Lon Batton with Colonel Leonard, he was the head of our outfit, he came by and shook each of our hands, there were five or six crews of b-29 bombers 11 of us in a crew and uh he shook our hands it was amazing dapper little guy white suit with all these medals and things uh then we uh the base was closed and we got on a train and rode into Calcutta got onboard a 10,000 ton Navy transport uh and uh were uh going from, we went from Calcutta on the Hooglie river and went to Sailong, which is on the tip of India on the Ocean, then from Sailong we went to Perth in Freemantle we were there four days and we got to go up to, we could do what we wanted to do a lot of us got on the train and rode up to Freemantle, which was up on the escarpment, it was about six hundred feet above where the harbor of Freemantle, I mean of Perth was. We went into Freemantle and stayed there about two or three days monkeying around, from there we went on around and came to Tanian Island, and stayed on Tanian Isalnd, it was, lets see, June the fifteenth, we were all going to dress up and shave, and shine our shoes, and we all met at the theater, and uh General Haparnold, he was the head of the U.S. Airforce he handed out, he gave us our medals, medals we earned, then he told us there was to be a ninety day blitz on the Japanese homeland he said you’re going to uh bomb the center of each target and he said there’s going to be ten targets of opportunity picked out by short wave radio we are going to notify the Japanese authority these ten targets of opportunity to have an opportunity to get the people out of the road if they want to so uh, started that and we began missions, we’d fly one mission every two to three days, we were flying a mission we flew, before the war ended, I flew a total of about twenty five missions uh the, we took off, we became lead crew on Tinian Island Colonel Rimple, he was the head of the forty-fifth bomb squadron he was a nice guy, you could talk to him he was west point graduate I remember uh, nice guy to talk to, he went with us on our first mission as a lead crew, he checked us out, and as the lead crew we flew about thirty minutes ahead of the rest of our mission. Seven hundred fifty miles away from the coast there was a little island called Ibogiba, and that was the check point, then you’d fly over Ibogiba, then you were about 100 miles from the Japanese Islands, and you would circle, and we would circle, all, we had to fly the downwind leg and we had to fire phosphorus flares, so that the planes coming behind us would see where we were and form up behind us, so we would fly over the target together. Just about every time we did this we were attacked by Japanese fighters, but they uh, they were old timers, they didn’t risk their necks like the young guys that would kamikaze they would, if we would be flying in an overcast above or between us, they would dive down, and hope that we would fly into their bullets, they never hit us, and sometimes they would fly out about six hundred yards out, because that was the range of our fifty caliber guns, then they would put on the cold flap five or six miles then they would come around and try to shoot us down that was uh, it was an adventure, I thought of it as a kid, I was a kid, I thought of it as shooting ducks in a shooting gallery and uh on every mission uh, I took a shower and put on a clean flight uniform but I always carried a silver dollar in my pocket, I figured if I was shot down over Japan some guy would have a souvenir. Uh it, never bothered me, it was something we had to do, and we had to do it, and we did it. Uh the last two missions of the war I know, they were putting eight hundred bombers over Japan each day. Uh and uh that still wasn’t enough, so I think you know what happened on I think the sixth of August and uh a few days later. Uh Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They dropped the atomic bombs and that ended it otherwise I probably wouldn’t be here, they had already drawn up the plans and named them they were expecting half a million casualties in taking the Japanese Islands. And uh we would have been, we would have had to fly mission after mission, and how many can you fly until your in the one that costs you. Uh so uh that was my war experience, it was great, I’m glad I got to do it, and to me the wonderful thing about it is that WWII ended in Aug of 1945 and this coming August 1999 means for fifty four years we haven’t had a World War. And I think that’s something to feel good about. Limited action, but we haven’t had a world war, I’m just slowly beginning to understand that if we had one war there wouldn’t be anything left.
43:02 Uh lets see uh I came home and uh went to work at the Brewery in Marion and decided that’s not what I wanted to do. I uh went to ball state, took advantage of the GI bill and became a school teacher. I uh got a bachelor and a masters in Ball state and taught in Marion for thirty five years. And enjoyed every day of it loved to teach children, enjoyed in 85 and still enjoy life uh and hope I can continue doing that,
Bn: So, back in High School are there any particular memories that you can think of?
Jh: Oh yeah, lets see uh I uh I and a couple of friends of mine, we uh would work up little ideas, like uh, how could we beat the kids downtown, they had a place called farmers market, and uh you could buy stuff in the farmers market, you could buy a complete lunch for thirty five cents. Bread and butter and all that stuff is what it costs. Uh but you had to get down there otherwise you’d have to stand in line and uh I remember Pop Kindle was the Principle in 1940, uh 41, uh and uh I and Dean McDaniel and Dale Hinkle, we would take our uh we would take a, we would get a pass to go to the library from our teacher and we knew that Mrs. Johnson, every time you handed Mrs. Johnson a pass there were about a dozen or two dozen kids pushing against her desk so we would just stick our arm over there and she’d take the pass out of our hand and we’d step back and why the first thing you know we were uh we were outside and we would uh sneak outside to our locker and put our wraps on, go out the door, and run down the alley, and uh one time I remember Pop Kindle in the wintertime caught us and the poor old guy chased us down the alley through the snow with no coat or anything on, just trying to catch us, but we did silly things like that. Uh had a lot of fun dating girls. I enjoyed talking to people and uh going to the movies uh, in fact, I remember some of us guys in the spring would uh, instead of going down town to eat lunch, instead of going back to school, we’d slip into the lyric or the lunlite theater, and uh, you knew you had to hunker down, because you knew that Pop Kindle was going to look around and see who he, was in there, he never caught me, that was something I remember, I remember the uh, being in the Easter parade, which was a big thing uh for Marion high school, uh. The boys, we’d line up and march with flashlights on the Coliseum floor in different types of formations. Uh, a big extravaganza and it was also the Easter Parade, uh where the, one girl was chosen as being the Marion High School Queen, In our class it was Helen uh Helen May. In our class I remember, the class of 43, uh the uh, uh, I guess right now I guess so many things happened. Uh football games played, the dances you went to at night at the old uh, YMCA which was down on Fifth and Boots Street, and I know a lot of us guys would talk about it and you can’t believe at that little place can hold so many old memories, so many, it had a swimming pool in there and a gym floor, and how they had dances in there on Friday Evenings after ball games, but they did. Memories like that the Halloween Parades downtown. Uh that was where you’d meet people from High School, uh uh Halloween Pranks, going out with your friends, and uh trying to upset the out houses, that was uh, people still didn’t have inside toilets but we did things like that. Uh soaping the tracks around Halloween time for the street cars, so they couldn’t get around the corners, uh or going out by the cemetery, and when the guy would get out to turn the trolley around, uh you’d just pull the trolley, and take it to the back, and then he would switch ends and drive it back that way, and of course he could drive it from either end, and we’d pull the trolley and he’d come back and put it up again. So uh, those were good memories, other good memories we remember where uh the basketball games were played at the Coliseum and you’d go down there with your friends uh, gangs of you would walk down the streets before and after the games, there was no traffic, uh we didn’t have, they didn’t have the traffic that we have today. Uh and uh around uh New Year’s uh they had these, they’d have these midnight movies at the Indiana Theater and the Paramount Theater, uh you could go and see uh these movies and come home early in the morning, walking down the street, dozens of kids shouting and hollering at one another, uh had no worries about being attacked by anyone or anything, there were no fights, things like that, it was a wonderful time to be young and to enjoy yourself.
47:32 Bn: Are there any movies you remember being popular back then?
Jh: Yeah, the uh, the ones with Boris Caloff, Frankenstein Movies were popular, uh what, lets see, Westerns, those were the westerns that we remember, Randy Scott, and uh, Hoop Gibson, and Kent Maynard, and Tom Mix, in fact the first movie I ever saw in my life I was seven years old, it was down at the Luneite, when my brother Bob, and Dom Neestus took me, it was a silent movie, and uh I’ll remember that forever. Things like that really was something. There were four theaters in Marion, uh when I grew up, the lunalite, the lyric, the paramount, and the Indiana, uh and uh I think Billy Conner ran all four of them. He had an in with Hollywood, he had uh the first showing of pictures here in Marion, people would pay three and four dollars to see him, he had that kind of pull, uh.
Bn: Okay, well thank you very much for the interview.
jh: Well I’m glad I could do it, uh I it’ll give people of what it was like to grow up from the time uh, just before the depression, through the depression, uh through World War II and the aftermath, somewhat, was uh, but uh good time, uh, before uh all of the modernity that hit us after WWII uh, peoples uh, uh love of the automobile, and that did away with the buses, street cars, the interurbans, and uh, now we have to solve the problem of what do you do, to get people moving from one place to another, who don’t have transportation, that’s a problem that’s facing people.
bn: Well thank you very much.
48:48 jh: Okay.