Reverend Ross Hidy | Interview 1 | December 1, 2004

Oral History Center, UC Berkeley

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0:21 - Family background

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Partial Transcript: The first question we ask is usually
fairly simple, when and where were you born?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Buckingham Valley; Lutheran Minister; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia; Springfield, Ohio; Woody Herman

Subjects: family farm father jazz ministry music train dispatcher uncle

4:02 - Attended Temple University then went to Philadelphia Seminary in Germantown

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Partial Transcript: So, then you went to {inaudible} to college I guess.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Germantown; Glee Club; Philadelphia Seminary; Seminary; Temple University

Subjects: director hymn sing music parish seminary wife

8:01 - describes how he came to be a “war housing” minister and moved the Richmond

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Partial Transcript: But then when I finished seminary and was ordained, I stayed as his assistant
for a year, until I had a call to come into the war housing area.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Chicago; Dr. H Conrad Hoyer; National Council of Churches; Pearl Harbor; Plymouth Club Coup; Richmond, California; Tucumcari, New Mexico; World War II

Subjects: industrial chaplain uncle war housing

14:55 - Lutheran Church awareness of persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany & German American Lutherans on entering the war

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Partial Transcript: Well, I would say that in the situation in the European War, the tragedy of the rise of Nazi
Germany, all of us were aware that this had done some vicious things.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Bonhoffer; European War; German; Germany; Jewish people; Lutheran pastors; Nazi Germany; Niemoller

Subjects: chaplain German background military service pastor regime uncle war

19:03 - First homes in Richmond, California and community

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Partial Transcript: So, there you are, December, ’43, I think it is—

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Bluebell Auto Court; Harborgate; Lois Johnson; Presbyterian; Richmond housing project; Richmond, California; Royal Portable; San Pablo; University of California

Subjects: apartment cockroaches community building government housing maritime buildings Sunday school

26:52 - Missionary of the Month Program attracts children to Sunday school and was highly successful; prints monthly newspaper, Harborgate Herald, about religious services

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Partial Transcript: Oh my, no. No, it was funny. I was curious what our children’s background was.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Alameda Naval Air Station; Dr. Hoyer; Harborgate Herald; Harold Henderson; Isaac Mickens; Missionary of the Month; Otis Lee; PBY; Richmond Terrace

Subjects: high school students interfaith group kids newspaper seminary Sunday school wartime housing ministry

37:34 - Community Network within the Church and Dealing with Issues as a Minister

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Partial Transcript: Did you work with adults as well?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "Bible Memorization"; Aid; Christian endeavor; Christmas; Defense Area Community Program; Dr. Henderson; East Shore Highway; Fairfield; Judge Very; Oklahoma; Sister Evelyn; The Friendly Church of Harborgate; The Navigators; U.S. Navy

Subjects: bible verses charity choir community help fire friendship quilt funeral junior group network social welfare worker Sunday school teach youth program

53:22 - Children's Ministry & Past Students Becoming Ministers

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Partial Transcript: You had about 350 kids—[inaudible and talking over]?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "When the Chimes Rang"; Alameda; Berlin; Catholic; Earl Anderson; Ed Hill; Eugene, Oregon; Harvey Kneisel; John Selig; Lois; Lutheran; Lutheran Brotherhood; Minneapolis; Muir Woods; Oklahoma Baptist University; Rock Island, Illinois; Roger; Southwest Baptist Seminary; St. Olaf; Sunday School; Virginia Hughesby; World Congress on evangelism

Subjects: European refugees evangelism fellowship group ministers navy scholarship seminary seminary professor Sunday school growth

68:57 - Negative Attitude Towards People in Richmond's War Housing

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Partial Transcript: I should mention that Richmond was not always kind to the people in the housing area.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Cal; Dr. Henderson; Dr. Lucia; Faculty Club; Heidelberg; Mrs. Edgar; Richmond; University of California

Subjects: Eve housing authority junior high luncheon professor secretary wife

75:29 - Purchase of Former Permanente Hospital clinics for use as a Parish House and Media Attention

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Partial Transcript: What was your relationship with the Kaiser shipyards or the {Ford plant? floor plan?}? did you
go over there as part of the ministry?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "Richmond Independent"; Harborgate Housing Project; Isaac Mickens; Pennsylvania; Permanente Hospital clinics; Philadelphia

Subjects: committee meetings housing authority news release newspaper parish house rent

81:15 - Involvement in Non-Religious Organizations

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Partial Transcript: What about your relationships with community organizations, civil rights groups, trade unions—
other community groups but non-religious?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Church World Service; Clay Bedford; DP camp; Ed Hill; El Cerrito School Board; Europe; Henry Kaiser; Hoyer; National Lutheran Council; Salzburg; Speed Graphic

Subjects: film movie photography refugees

85:43 - Church hierarchy; housing project church denominations, Baptists and Catholics

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Partial Transcript: Within the Church, you were working for Hoyer in Chicago, was there a regional person that you
worked for?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: 13th and Barrett; Apostles' Creed; C.P. Rasmussin; Catholic churches; Chicago; Columbia River; Creed; Dr. Henderson; Episcopal churches; Europe; Jewish; Mission Committee; Pastor Howgsie; Peace Lutheran Church; Portland; Richmond Defense Area Council; St. Mark’s Catholic Church; Vancouver; Vanport; West Coast coordinator; “The Thirty Second Miracle”

Subjects: baptism conference denominational church earth burm flood housing projects meetings regional coordinator war ministry pastors

95:15 - Interracial Church Services and Negative Attitudes Towards Housing Project Inhabitants

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Partial Transcript: You had—Pastor Mickens worked with the black community in the war housing projects. Were
there interracial activities where your people and Pastor Mickens’ people came together?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Earl Anderson; Ed Hill; Glee Club; Good Friday; Holy Communion; Indianapolis; Navy; Pastor Mickens; Russ Ferguson; Treasure Island; VJ day

Subjects: black Baptist black community faith organizations Good Friday jukebox music Texan Baptists war housing projects youth dances

105:21 - Ministry Change After Shipyard Closings, War Veterans, and Job Assignments After the War

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Partial Transcript: As the war comes to a close and people are starting to figure out what’s going to happen next
with their lives, I guess the shipyards closed down very quickly, was there a change in your
ministry after the war? Did you have a different set of problems to deal with?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Cal; Ev; Fern Spence; France; GI; Graduate Theological Union; Guava Canal; Harry Durkee; Kaye; Letterman Hospital; Mac; North Carolina; Pullman; Reserves; Vosges mountains; Washington; Williamsville, Missouri

Subjects: army assistant scoutmaster housing area pastor seminary Sunday school trustee vacant units

113:14 - Role of the Church in Addressing Racial Divisions and Funeral of a Bus Driver

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Partial Transcript: In the inner city, what have you learned about the role of the church in terms of addressing racial
division in this country. Because you were right there in the heart of it, it seems

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "Channel Five"; "Readers Digest"; "The Chronicle"; Dixie; Hadley Roth; Human Rights Commission; Hunter's Point; Martin Luther King Jr; Mayor Alioto; Mrs. Medgars Evers; President Johnson; San Francisco

Subjects: chairman funeral memorial mortician newspaper phone call television

124:23 - Bus Drivers' Strike, Meeting a Rabbi in Frankfurt

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, we’re back on, so you were saying, when you married

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Cow Palace; Dachau; Dixie; Frankfurt; Hiroshima; Holocaust; Kristallnacht; Martin; Nuremberg; Rabbi

Subjects: funeral strike synagogue wedding

132:19 - Growth in Church Attendance in U.S. post WWII and Harborgate Projects

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Partial Transcript: After the war, there’s a major growth in church attendance in the United States. I think you had
at least in terms of your association with the Billy Graham Ministry, you had some role in this
evangelical effort.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "eight crusades"; Alaska; Anchorage; Billy Graham; Billy Graham Ministry; Clayton Road; Earl Anderson; Good Shepherd Lutheran Church; Harry Durkee; Hunter's Point; John Balbach; Meeker; Mercer Island; Portland; Reinhold Neigler; Roger; Safeway Depot; San Francisco; Seattle; Wheaton

Subjects: church attendance city council demolition evangelical effort letters minister post-war


CANDIDA SMITH: We'll just go into our own world.

HIDY: Alright.

CANDIDA SMITH: Well, I'd like to thank you for participating in the project. The first question we ask is usually fairly simple, when and where were you born?

HIDY: I was born in Springfield, Ohio, in May, 1917. Small town of about 60,000, great town to grow up in.

CANDIDA SMITH: And that's where you grew up?

HIDY: That's right, I was there until I was a junior in high school. And then during the Depression, our family moved to Pennsylvania, and moved to a little farm in Buckingham Valley twenty-five miles north of Philadelphia.

CANDIDA SMITH: What did your father do?

HIDY: My dad was a railroader, a train dispatcher. And during the Depression, the railroads had less traffic, less freight, and so they thinned out their 1:00staff and my dad was furloughed. He wasn't fired, but until there was need for more dispatchers, he had no work. And there was no work in Ohio, so we moved to Philadelphia.

CANDIDA SMITH: Had he been a farmer before?

HIDY: He grew up on a farm. But this was a little five-acre farm, that's where my grandfather lived, and so my mother and dad and my younger brother and older brother lived there and then my older brother left and got a job. But I moved into the Philadelphia and lived with my aunt and uncle.

He was a very successful Lutheran minister. And I lived with them for ten years.

CANDIDA SMITH: What was his name?

HIDY: His name was Ross {Stouffer? Stover?}. He had the largest church in the whole area, a radio broadcast Sunday morning and Thursday night, a lot of music and it was excellent preparation for what happened later in the housing area. [chuckles]


CANDIDA SMITH: So, in a way, he was your mentor as a pastor?

HIDY: Yes, he was truthfully my mentor. I was named after him, in fact. And he had no sons, so when I lived with them, it was a very ideal situation. They had somebody to take care of the lawn and put out the trash and shovel snow. [chuckles]

CANDIDA SMITH: Were you already feeling that you wanted to enter into the ministry?

HIDY: For a while, I wanted to go into music. I was a jazz band fan and in Ohio, I'd played in symphony orchestras and chamber orchestras and in a dance band. And that was a time of all the great bands, and I thought that would be what I might enjoy doing.

CANDIDA SMITH: What instrument did you play?

HIDY: Well, I played clarinet, saxophone, oboe, picked up trumpet, but my main interest was reeds. Oboe and trumpet, not as much, but saxophone I played.


CANDIDA SMITH: So you liked swing?

HIDY: Oh, that was it, yeah, and I handled all the vocals and the radio and all.

CANDIDA SMITH: Who were your favorite musicians?

HIDY: Oh, my gosh. {Isham?} Jones and {Saxy?} Manfield from Springfield was their {live?} tenor man. And Woody Herman, who was with Isham and who later had his great band, all of them, I knew them all. I knew [Count] Basie and I knew Oscar Peterson, and--you know, I've got a collection of jazz records that won't stop.

CANDIDA SMITH: So your love for jazz continues.

HIDY: Oh, yeah. Count Basie gave a benefit concert for our church in San Francisco.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, then you went to {inaudible} to college I guess.


HIDY: Yes, I went to Temple University. And from there, I went to Seminary in Philadelphia. The most unusual thing in Temple, I was in the Glee Club. And there was an unfortunate situation, and two weeks before a national broadcast, our Glee Club director was dismissed from college, and the dean called me in and said would you take over for the broadcast. So I took over the club and we had a national broadcast, and then he said, "Well, why don't you them the rest of the year." So, I directed the Men's Glee Club at Temple University for five years, while I was in Seminary, too, and that paid my expenses. So, I had a whole lot of fun with music. That was a bird that hit the window. [referring to a bird that hit the window] Oh, it flew away.

CANDIDA SMITH: And you met your wife there.


HIDY: I met my wife at Temple University. She's a very gifted person who was an outstanding student, and she has been a great teammate. Today, she is out with {Lolbach?} Literacy. And she has been an active leader in the church.

CANDIDA SMITH: And her name is?

HIDY: Evelyn.

CANDIDA SMITH: Was she a Lutheran as well?

HIDY: Yes, she grew up, happened to be a Lutheran, which was a happy situation, and we've had a great life.

CANDIDA SMITH: So what brought you to decide, "No, I'm not going to be a musician, I'm not going to be a salesman, I'm not going to be this that or the other thing, I want to be a man of the cloth."

HIDY: A simple experience. We were riding from Ohio back to Philadelphia on the train. The train was filled, but there was man whose wife had suddenly died, a 6:00Jewish gentleman. And we found that he was seated there with my uncle across the way, and my wife and were there, and he was in deep grief. And my uncle listened to him and talked to him and reminded him of the Old Testament promises. I watched this man kind of gain comfort. And I watched my uncle, who was a very loving, kind person, quietly minister to this fellow. And afterwards, I couldn't help but think, "You know, that's a great way to spend your life. One night dance stands, traveling around the country, that's no life." But this would be 7:00something. So I reevaluated things and then I decided to go to seminary. And I've never regretted it.

CANDIDA SMITH: Which seminary did you go to?

HIDY: Philadelphia Seminary in Germantown. Excellent seminary, I had a good experience there. I could live with my uncle, continue at the church but attend seminary, and I had the best of both worlds.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you actually were assisting your uncle in parish duties?

HIDY: All during the time I was with him, I was there, we sang every Sunday and Sunday night, and then we sang on the radio on Thursday. At times, I would direct the Thursday night hymn-sing. We had a half hour hymn-sing! And it was a great deal of music, but I was a kind of a young student assistant. But then when I finished seminary and was ordained, I stayed as his assistant for a year, 8:00until I had a call to come into the war housing area.

CANDIDA SMITH: I want to get into that, and so how did your name come to the attention of the Lutheran ministry as a person who would be good for a war time--?

HIDY: A very interesting way. We had a guest preacher one August, and it was the Secretary of our national church. And we were having dinner that afternoon before he spoke--he spoke at the morning and evening services--and then he mentioned, "You know Ross, there's a new a need in the Church. These emergency communities have grown up around war housing, around war plants. And the Lutheran chaplaincy quota has completely filled. They don't need chaplains. But 9:00we need industrial chaplains to minister to people who live in these mushrooming communities. And I think you ought to write and learn about that." So, I wrote to the director, Dr. Hoyer in Chicago and said, "Tell me about this situation. What is it? And what about these war housing ministries?" Two weeks later, I got a letter from Dr. Hoyer, a call--not just information--but an invitation to come and go to Richmond, California. Well, I hadn't been ready for a call, I wanted information. But here I was now, with the situation and my uncle at that time, had a touch of walking pneumonia and he had to take a month off, six weeks, and he said, "Oh, Ross, don't leave right now. Stay at least for a month or two." So I wrote back Chicago, said I couldn't come but I could come a little later. So 10:00they said alright. And so I stayed and then I came West about Thanksgiving in 1943.

CANDIDA SMITH: So the war was already on--

HIDY: The war was on. It was terribly hard to get a car. We had to have a car. I was able to get a car, we got a Plymouth Club Coup. Finally, got it about five days before we had to leave. And so we drove across country, stopped in Chicago, saw the director, learned some rather shocking things. He told us, "We don't know how to do this. This is a new kind of ministry. You go there, you'll worship in a community building. Try something, if it works, fine. If it doesn't, try something else. The only time I'll bawl you out is if you sit there, and do nothing." [chuckles]

CANDIDA SMITH: His name was again?


HIDY: His name was H. Conrad Hoyer. He coordinated all these programs around the country.

So, we drove across country, got caught in a blizzard in Tucumcari, New Mexico, just last car to make it from Amarillo. Cars going in the ditches and trucks going in the ditches. We made it to Tucumcari and had to wait two days for the roads to close and open up. And we drove and got there, Richmond, a few days later.

CANDIDA SMITH: You had been assisting your uncle in the parish for the first two years of American involvement in the war.

HIDY: Yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: Had the war changed how your uncles' responsibilities? Was there a specific challenge to the church with Pearl Harbor?


HIDY: Well, Pearl Harbor changed America. But our congregation continued its ministry there. But we were involved through the church and what it was doing throughout the world. And so I would say, it didn't change that parish ministry. But it changed the lives of a lot of people, of course, including mine.

CANDIDA SMITH: Because of the ministry?

HIDY: Yeah, because we got involved in that. And I should mention one thing. When we got to Richmond, we went to the pastor I was supposed to see. And I went up to the door, and told his wife, who came to the door, that we had just gotten there from Philadelphia, we're the Hidys and we were coming to work in the housing area. She looked down at me and she says, "Well, go tell your father and mother to come on in." She thought I was a student, you know, because I looked real young. Her husband came then shortly, had been away, and he took us up on 13:00the hill above Richmond. He showed us the Bay Area. And down below, we could see the shipyards, and it was dark, and the welders working in the four yards, they're flashes were like little diamonds that sparked. It was very unbelievable to see these shipyards from the hill, four of them in a row. And then the darkness of the bay and then in the distance, we could see San Francisco. And all of a sudden, we could see why the shipyards had been built right there, by deep water, railroads nearby, and they could just sail right out into the ocean. 14:00So that was our introduction to the shipyards. That was an exciting view that night.

CANDIDA SMITH: I had two questions I wanted to ask you particularly about the Lutheran Church and way. One had to do with--one of the things that's written about in the histories of World War II is that the National Council of Churches made a very conscious decision not to go down the path of being super patriotic, to not do what had been done in World War I. Was that something that affected the way in which you would operate at the parish level? To be more focused on the individual need rather than support for the government?

HIDY: Well, I would say that in the situation in the European War, the tragedy of the rise of Nazi Germany, all of us were aware that this had done some 15:00vicious things. We were becoming aware of what they were doing with the Jewish people. We knew that there were Lutheran pastors in Germany who protested. [Martin] Niemoller was in prison. Later, so was [Dietrich] Bonhoffer. A great number of them were in prison. Some of them supported the Nazi regime, which had started very innocently at first. Then, it moved into a tragic chapter. But I would say that the Lutherans, in that situation, we sent chaplains with the service people, we had worked to try to ameliorate suffering, but we were certainly not always ready to sprinkle holy water on war. It's the least successful solution to problems.


CANDIDA SMITH: Had you personally entered thought about entering into the military service?

HIDY: Well, I was involved in an important ministry and there was no need for chaplains. There was no shortage. They weren't saying, "Please, Lutheran pastors come." We had more Lutheran pastors, so this opportunity to go to the housing area was a very obvious thing. My uncle had always taught me, you know, "All you need is people. Then go minister to them. And when they told us there were a hundred thousand people living in temporary housing in Richmond, well, you couldn't say, "Well, there are no people there." And there were new people and living in crowded conditions. Obviously, there was a need for the church to be with them.

The Lutheran motto for this program was his Church must go where his people go. 17:00And many of the people who came from the West were from the Midwest. Some were from southern-- Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas--but a lot came from up in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you had a lot of Lutherans then?

HIDY: In our housing projects, very few Lutherans, an awful lot of Pentecostals, Assembly of God, Southern Baptist. But we loved them and they were wonderful people. We just ministered to them whoever they were.

CANDIDA SMITH: The Second question I had about the Lutheran Church and the War was what was the position of German American Lutherans at the beginning of the War, really before Pearl Harbor, which clarified it a bit. Many German Americans were quite divided and particularly opposed to the


U.S. getting involved in the War. Did that affect your ministry at all or your uncle's ministry?

HIDY: Oh my, no. My first ancestor came before the American Revolution. And we had so transitioned into being Americans, we happened to have had German background, or others--my family was German, English, Scotch, and Welsh, so we had very minimal amount of what you call sympathy for Germany. Everything quite to the contrary. But, in some situations, there were little bits of that, but that happens with everybody, it depends on when they came and what was the condition in Europe at that moment. And there weren't a lot of people trying to fly the German flag right then in America. They were part of this country and this was their homeland.


CANDIDA SMITH: So, there you are, December, '43, I think it is--

HIDY: Right.

CANDIDA SMITH: And you're in Richmond, California. And could you describe where you first lived and where you set up shop, as it were?

HIDY: Oh, sure. Well, when we came, we first stayed in Bluebell Auto Court on San Pablo until we got an apartment. We had been given a letter in Chicago officially making us serving the people in the housing project, so we qualified for housing. And we went to the Richmond housing project and showed the letter and they gave us the key to an apartment on 33rd. And so we drove over to see where we would be living. And these families were what they call maritime buildings. There were certain types of government housing, and they followed a standard plan. And these plans were thirteen-family, two-story apartment 20:00buildings. And we had the middle apartment upstairs. And it was a simple {Stet?} furnished with standard furniture. You opened the door and here is the living room/dining room, simple furniture, and then there's a hallway to the bedroom. Along that hallway is a sink and a stove and an icebox, and a doorway into a small bathroom with a tub. Then, a bedroom in the back. And that was our home.

We lived there for a whole year. Later, we were allowed to go across the highway into the Harborgate project. But, we sometimes say that that family building that we lived in had thirteen families and 30,000 cockroaches. Because it was 21:00infested with cockroaches. So, when you finished a meal, you had to clean up, put the food in the icebox, get everything there, because the cockroaches would be coming out at night to look for something to eat. And I got a lot of spackle and filled all cracks and everything. But you never really got rid of them. It was a headache. We were glad to move.

CANDIDA SMITH: And then you move into Harborgate.

HIDY: We moved over to Harborgate. Those were one-story buildings, looked like boxcars, 840 of them in Harborgate. And there was a community building, a grade-school, a small double unit that was a health clinic, and over to one side, a big supermarket on {Carlson?} Boulevard. And in the community building, there was a post office. There was the administrative office for the project, 22:00and there were rooms that could be used during the week for recreational programs and on Sunday, the church groups could use those rooms. So that was it.

CANDIDA SMITH: Where did you set up your office?

HIDY: Well, in the housing, when we were in our first unit, our office was a table and a box, and my portable typewriter. I had a little Royal Portable I used in college and seminary. We didn't have much else. But it was merely meeting people and--. There had been a Sunday school starting before and we continued that program and tried to do our best to help it grow.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, how did you go about introducing yourself to the community or to the people that were already there doing religious work? How did you fit in?

HIDY: Well, the interesting thing is that they knew that I was coming and they had about a hundred people coming to church and 150 people in Sunday school. So, 23:00when I came on the first Sunday, we came over and people were kind of friendly. They said, "Welcome Brother Hidy! Welcome Sister Hidy!" That's the way people from Texas called their minister, "brother" and "sister."

I decided that we had no church bell so I took my trumpet and I went out in the front of the community building and I played as loudly as I could three hymns. I pointed my trumpet above the houses and it echoed in the whole area. And I played "I Love to Tell the Story" and "What A Friend We Have in Jesus." A funny thing happened--oh, I went to the back of the community building and I played over the lower part of the Harborgate project. Inside of ten minutes, the doors 24:00came open and a hundred more kids were in Sunday school. And then I had a request to get pictures. Six weeks later, when we had a photographer come, the Sunday school had 363 people. So, I guess my trumpet was the most effective part of my announcement. [chuckles]

CANDIDA SMITH: So your primary activity initially was to organize or to take over the Sunday school?

HIDY: Well, we had a parish worker, Lois Johnson. She had been there for some months. And she kind of helped orient me, and our Sunday school grew, and our problem was to keep up with the growth. And where do you get Sunday school teachers? So that was the next project.

I did a very simple thing. I went to the University of California. We had Lutheran student group there, they had a house. I went to them and told them we 25:00had a great program over in the housing area. So a number of them came and became teachers. And that was a source of some of our extra teachers for that. Now, of course, Dr. Henderson was the coordinator for this. And he had a daughter, Peggy. She came out and played the little organ for our church service, taught a Sunday school class. There was some other Presbyterian students that they knew and they came out, too. So, we filled in the needs by recruiting teachers from other groups.

CANDIDA SMITH: Were the troop services you organized and the Sunday schools organized along a Lutheran model or did you try to be ecumenical?

HIDY: Oh, we sure were ecumenical. When we got there, they had a {Coxbury?} hymnal, that's a Methodist hymnal. It was a nice collection of hymns. Well, we 26:00didn't change them. I knew all those hymns by memory. And so we sang the hymns they knew. We didn't have a full liturgical service, we just had a simple worship service. We didn't have anything in the room, we put a card table up at the end, we put a cross on it, and a couple candles, and then we had a simple rostrum or lectern. And that's all we had for it to make it a church. Of course, we modified it later, and added other things. But we just ministered in a very simple way and they loved it.

CANDIDA SMITH: So most of the people who would come to the church service and most of the Sunday school children were not Lutherans.

HIDY: Oh my, no. No, it was funny. I was curious what our children's background was. So one day, I asked some of the boys and girls in Sunday school, "Where did 27:00you go to church back home?" And one of the little kids said, "I went to the {Baptistarian?} Church." And another one said, "Oh, I went to Cafeteria Church." And the one that really was the pay-off was a little kid with a Texas drawl who said, "Oh, back home, I went to the Episco-packin' Sunday school." [chuckle from interviewer] And we found that the kids really didn't have too much knowledge, they went to their church and it was their church. We didn't put a whole a Lutheran banner out. The fact is, we made a very simple ecumenical service, and it worked.

CANDIDA SMITH: Were you part of an interfaith group in terms of the wartime housing ministry?

HIDY: Harold Henderson, who was the former missionary to Korea, contacted the 28:00different denominations and invited them to send staff. The Baptists sent a wonderful black pastor from Florida, Isaac {Mickens?}. And we had some interfaith services, but they had their own program in the afternoon, and we had the church community building in the morning.

We also had a program in Richmond Terrace. When I arrived, there was a seminarian, Otis Lee, and his wife, Kay. And they were living over in Richmond Terrace and taking care of the Sunday school and a worship program there. I talked to Otis the other day. I called Otis, he lives in Washington, and I said, "How did you happen to come, Otis? I never knew." And he said, "Well, Dr. Hoyer came to our seminary and said he needed some seminarians. So I was going to do a 29:00year training program, they call it internship." So, he went to Richmond. When I was in Harborgate, Otis and Kay were out at the other end at a housing project built on the side of a hill, overlooking one of the shipyards. So, that's how Otis came.

And there were some other seminarians that came from seminaries in Berkeley. But there were only really two full-time pastors: Isaac Mickens and myself.

CANDIDA SMITH: And you had how many people to minister to?

HIDY: Well, there were 850 homes in Harborgate and there were 3,000 apartments across the highway. One of the things we did, we knew that there should be some communication, so we printed a little newspaper. We called it the Harborgate Herald. And we printed that every week and we distributed to every house in the 30:00area. That told them what was happening and invited them to come. By the way, it wasn't weekly, it was monthly. [chuckles]

CANDIDA SMITH: Monthly, the services?

HIDY: No, our paper.

CANDIDA SMITH: Oh, your paper.

HIDY: Yeah. We did do one thing that proved to be unbelievable successful. We encouraged our boys and girls to bring other boys and girls. And we kept record of if they brought a new person. They would introduce and the name would be recorded. Then we decided to have what we called The Missionary of the Month. And the one that brought the most the month before, we put their

picture in that little paper with a little biography and congratulated them for being The Missionary of the Month.


Well, we had some servicemen who were coming to help in the Sunday school and to attend. And one of them was a pilot of a PBY--that's a huge airplane that flies long distances to Hawaii and out to the South Pacific, two motors. Well, {Kermie?} was a pilot on one of those. So, Kermie often stopped at our house and we knew him well. So he said, "Well, if you want to, bring out The Missionary of the Month over to Alameda Naval Air Station. I'll take him inside one of the PBYs and then we'll take 'em in. They can go swimming in the pool and we'll take 'em in for a hamburger and a milkshake."

Well, when the first Missionary of the Month got back, and said, "I was over to the Alameda Naval Air Station and I got to go in a PBY and go swimming! They took me in and I got a milkshake and hamburger," the kids were so eager to be The Missionary of the Month, that it wasn't safe to be a boy or girl at Harborgate, because the kids would after you to get you in. So that helped our Sunday school grow like crazy!

I heard stories of when a family moved into a house and drove in, the kids were watching. And when the family got out to go into the house, new residents, the kids would get out of the car, and there would be kids grabbing them and saying, "You're going to Sunday school with me!" "No, you're not! You're going with me!" So, it was unbelievable. [laughs] We had a great time.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you must have gotten to know the kids pretty well.

HIDY: Yes, we did. I should tell you a story that proves how well I knew them. Two or three years after I'd been there, I got the word that some of the kids 32:00were cutting school, high school students were truant. Now, at first, there were so few schools, that they had not two, but four shifts of kids. And then later two shifts. But I found that some of our kids were deciding, "Let's play hooky, let's not go to class." Well, that worried me because I knew--all of us know--that if you lose attendance, you miss class, and you get behind, and you're going to fail.

So, I talked to my wife, said, "I'm going up to high school and talk to the staff up there." I went up, saw the principal, I went to see the dean of students, you know, and I told him, I said, "I'm from Harborgate and we have a lot of young people and some of them are students here. I hear that some of them are now not coming to class. Would you help me? I want to know who's cutting." 33:00And so, he opened up the attendance records. So I went over the attendance records for the past month. And I knew all my kids, so I found the name of a kid and I put the name down. And then I found another one--and then I went through, I out an x or a mark by each name. So I had the name of all our kids and I knew exactly how many times they played hooky. And I felt, "Well, now, how can I use this?"

So, that afternoon, I decided to make a few calls. So I stopped at one of the houses where I knew they had a high school kid. And I went in and was talking to the mother and the other little kid there. And the high school kid came in, a girl, and we talked. And then before I left, I just said to

mother, "I'm a little worried. I understand that some of our high school kids are not going to school. They're cutting classes." And she looked at me and she says, "Well. If you hear that our kids are cutting, you let me know. I'll take of that." And this high school kid looked at me, you know, "What are you going to do?" And so, I didn't say a word.

So, I finished and had prayer and I left and the kid walked out with me! And she said, "Pastor?" I said, "Yes, I know you've been cutting. The fact is, in the last two weeks, you've cut seven days." She looked at me, she said, "You going to tell Mother?" I says, "Well, should I?" She says, "I'm not going to cut school anymore." I said, "You sure?" She said, "Yeah." I said, "Well, get the word around, will ya?" "I sure will."

I was surprised. They stopped cutting because they knew that their parents would know and that I had the facts on them. That was a tempest in a teapot. But that was a simple little thing. It wasn't very amazing, it wasn't too brilliant. It was a simple, caring action. And it worked.

CANDIDA SMITH: Do you think it may have been because you were so young that it worked to your advantage, that they trusted you in some ways?

HIDY: I don't know. They knew I loved them. I played ping pong with them and I played basketball. Like, one of the kids who later became and unbelievably effective pastor. He did some amazing things in Texas helping old churches come alive. I found out what he did and then I learned what his technique was and I 34:00commended him. I said, "Harvey, I'm proud of you. How did you get those ideas to do that?" He looked at me and he said, "You've got to be kidding. All I did was what you did. You lived with us, you visited us, you played with us. You got us a job in the summer, you got us a job in the laundry at Yosemite National Park. And I just did what you did." And I looked at him and I couldn't believe it. But, we didn't know what we were going when we went there, we just reached out and tried, and what we did worked.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you work with adults as well?

HIDY: Oh, yeah. But, you see, we had women's group, a ladies aid. And they were amazing. They did some helpful things in the life of the church. Some of them 35:00taught Sunday school. And they helped in other ways. We formed a choir. They made robes for the choir. And the most unusual thing they did, one day, a couple of the women came to the door--we were living over near the community building--and she came and she said, 'Pastor, you know one of the families had a fire, they had a burnout. And we went around and got some money to give to them and I'd like to give it to you and maybe you would like to take it over to them." It was about $107.00. And I didn't ask the women to do that. This is what they did back in Oklahoma! Somebody had a fire, they helped. They raised some money. So, I said, " No, I want you to take it over to 'em."

So, these two women and I walked down, we went to this house. It wasn't 36:00completely burned out. The woman had been cleaning some stuff and she had been using gasoline. And the fumes went down to a heater and a flash fire, and it started a little fire but they got it out quickly. It didn't burn out the house at all, they were still living there. So the women talked to her and they said, "Well, we're sorry--." By the way, this was a Spanish-speaking family, but she could speak enough--and they said, "We're sorry you had a fire, and we just want to say we want to give a little gift to help you." And she was so astonished that these people had come and make a gift to them. That was typical of what that group did. They wanted to help one another, whatever the emergency. We didn't tell them what to do, they just did it. And it was typical of their life.

They were a wonderful group of people.

One Christmas Eve--we had been there about two years, not Christmas Eve, a couple days before Christmas--we heard Christmas Carols. And we realized someone was singing outside of our door. And so, we went to the door, and here, the women of the Aid were all there, about twenty of them, singing carols! And they had a package! And so they came in and they said, "We have a gift for you, Sister Evelyn." [laughs] And they gave her a package and she opened it up, and it's what is called a "friendship quilt." Each of them had taken a square of cloth and written their name and then they sewed that in. And they put all of those together in a quilt and they gave it to my wife.

Now, years later, we were living in this house. And a woman came from Fairfield, driven by her grandson, came down to visit us, she just wanted to say hello. And Evelyn realized that she had that quilt on the guestroom bed. She took this woman in and says, "I want to show you something." And here was the quilt. She was so pleased. But that's the kind of demonstration of what that group did. They were really kind and loving people.

CANDIDA SMITH: This is the sort of community help networks that people were doing all the time?

HIDY: Oh, yeah. One other thing happened. Dr. Henderson, the head of the Defense Area Community Program, they wanted to have a dinner for about 125 people, the churches of the city and the staff, and they had no place for it. And I went to the women of the ladies' aid and I said, "The Housing Area group needs a dinner. We don't have any dishes or pots and pans in the kitchen, but if we could get those, could you prepare a dinner for them?" And they said, "Sure! No problem, we'll be glad to." So I went down to the Lutheran Church and I got pots and pans and dishes and silverware, and brought it out to Harborgate. And our women came and made a lovely chicken dinner. They made cream chicken and a full dinner with pies for dessert, and they put on this. And that was the kind of people they were. "We're here to help. What do you need?" [chuckles]


CANDIDA SMITH: As a pastor, what kind of issues were you having to deal with in the wartime housing? What were typical concerns that arise, that would come to you directly, as a minister?

HIDY: Well, I would say some of the problems that would come, didn't come because we had a positive community fellowship. Those in our group didn't suffer from acute loneliness. They had a whole new set of friends. They had a network. The kids were in a Sunday school class. The Sunday school class would sometimes have activities. We had a youth program. We had a junior group. We were part of 38:00what we called Christian endeavor. That was an ecumenical youth group. All the churches of the area were in it. And they would have their meetings. I would say that the positive impact of the ministry of what we called The Friendly Church of Harborgate was so helpful, that it prevented some of the real sense of lonely and isolation that some would have had without it.

That doesn't mean that you didn't have some counseling, sure you did. We had a tragic thing happen one day. One family had built a couple of bid poles and a crossbar and put a swing on it. And a little boy was out in the swing. We didn't know what had happened 'til it was all over. It was at a house some distance 39:00away. This little boy was on this swing and so he began to go around and around and around. And he didn't realize that the rope was cutting his breathing.

Then, he kind of lost consciousness and he wasn't there. Nobody knew it. The poor boy suffocated and died. It was a real shock in the community. And of course, you minister to the family. We had the funeral in the community building. That was one thing you ministered to.

That was only one of two funerals. A young woman was working in the shipyard and they had what they called the shipyard railroad. It ran along the bay and came 40:00across and came down to the shipyard. I don't know what happened, but she had a fall. She fell and was injured and her shoulder and arm were badly damaged. She was hospitalized and died. That was a funeral I had to have. I learned one thing there that I had never met before: the mother had a custom in their community where they were back in Oklahoma area that is someone died, they wrote a song about them, about their life and all, and then they published it. And here was a tribute to this young woman. And it was the first time I ever saw that. But that happened.

There was a young husband in the community who had a motorcycle. And one day, he was riding along the East Shore Highway and he got caught in an accident and he 41:00was killed. I'll never forget that service. It was a very sad service, unexpected death, you know.

So those are three funerals that I conducted. There weren't many marriages because all the guys were in the service! There were very few young men working. That's why they brought in so many women in the shipyards. But I didn't have any weddings in the housing area. We did have some baptisms later. But that was what was happening. You ministered to people.

Oh, I should tell you about one thing that happened. One Christmas, some of the kids--I don't know what got into them--they wanted to have presents to give and didn't have any money. So, some of them began to, down in the shopping area, 42:00reach into cars and pick up packages that were all wrapped. Some other kids thought that was a good idea. I didn't know about this. And then I learned that quite a number of them had been doing it. And finally, over twenty of them were picked up and were taken to juvenile hall in Martinez! There were some of our kids, I couldn't hardly believe it, you know! I went over to the hall and visited them. They felt pretty sheepish and shamed of themselves. I visited them, and a couple of weeks later, they were going

to have a hearing with a judge there. So I went over just to be there. I met Judge {Vrey?} who was handling this as a juvenile judge. And when I told him I 43:00was from Harborgate and these were some of our kids, he looked at me and said, "Sit right here, Pastor." He had me sit next to him. They brought in one kid at a time. And a social welfare worker gave the case study, told what their situation was and then they finished the report. The kid was there and the social caseworker. And then, the Judge dismissed both of them! So, then Judge Very turned to me and he says, "Pastor, what'll I do?" Oh, all of a sudden I realized I was being brought into the team. And for a minute I thought, 'Well, I know these kids, most of them.' So I just simply told him, I said, "I've known this kid for years. This is the first time I think that they've ever gotten into any thing like this. Is this kid a bad kid? I don't think so. I don't think so." So the Judge put him on probation! Let him go, let him go back home!


But one kid came through, and he was the kid who had been kind of hostile, not active in any programs. To me, I had any real knowledge except that he had been a kind of a loner. So when he asked me about him, I said, "Judge, I'm not sure about this young man. I do know that he's kind of been a critical kid. I don't really know. But I can't say the thing about him." And the Judge made him go to a foster placement out in the Valley. And this strange thing happened. He was 45:00put in a family out there that was a very dedicated, caring family and very active in a church out there. And this boy lived out there with him for about a year. And he became a dedicated believer. He came back completely changed. And I thought to myself, 'Well, maybe God kind of guided us in this, I didn't know.' You're always just trying to do the best you can. So you ask the question, "What did you do to kind of meet their needs?" Well, those are specific little stories, and out kids were not always angels [laughs] but most of them came through pretty well.

I want to tell you one thing we did. We heard that the navy guys had a program called "Bible Memorization." It was the Navigators. The Navigators were a group 46:00within the U.S. Navy that would meet for bible study wherever they were, on a ship or--and among the things they did, they had these navy boys memorize bible verses. And they had a little cardboard envelope, and they had ten bible verses on it. And each bible verse had the place in the bible it was, and the bible verse and then repeated where it was. John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth my word and believeth in him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24. And they called this "fore and aft." You put the location, they {memorized?} and the location. They gave them ten verses. Well, we gave each kid 47:00one of these packets. And in Sunday school class, they'd have them go through one of these, then all of them. And these kids began to memorize the Bible. They went through those packets. Some of them memorized a hundred bible verses. Then, they would memorize whole chapters, they would memorize psalms, and these kids just became saturated with the scriptures. And I couldn't believe it, how successful that was.

CANDIDA SMITH: You had about 350 kids--[inaudible and talking over]?

HIDY: Well, it grew at--for a while it averaged over 400. We wanted to see how big it could go so we, among other things, we would have a parade around the project. And we would invite the kids that weren't coming to come, you know? And they would take invitations to them. And the

Sunday school kept growing. And Sunday school kept growing and then, we had one day, we wanted to see how big it was so we said, "We will give a bible to the biggest family who comes." We had two families that came with ten children, so we gave two bibles. But, that's the Sunday we had 593 in Sunday school. That's the biggest.

CANDIDA SMITH: How many kids total do you think?

HIDY: Over the years, because there was a turnover, quite a number, I guess 800 or 1000 maybe. But, it touched an awful lot of lives.

CANDIDA SMITH: You had mentioned while we were setting up, you had something like ten of your Sunday school students then later went on to become ministers?

HIDY: Oh, those are unbelievable stories. Well, one of the boys that came out to teach came from the navy. He was in the electronic school. His name was Earl Anderson. His father was a seminary professor. His father always said, "Well, Earl, you'll end up in the ministry." And Earl didn't want any part of it. He said, "Dad, I'm not going to be a minister. I just am not interested." Well, that was his attitude. And then he came to electronic school on Treasure Island. And then one day, he went to Cal, to the football game with a friend who wanted to go to the game. So after the game, they went to the student house and they talked to the students and then this student says, "Hey, we're having a lot of fun. We're going out to the housing area and teaching Sunday school! Come on out with us!" "Aw, we don't want to come." "Come on, we'll have a great time!" So 48:00Earl came out with these students. Well, the time that he came, we just lost a Sunday school teacher so I said, "Earl, we've got a job that needs a guy like you. Here's a Sunday school class and we'd like you take it." So, he did. He taught that fall. Then he began to come out on Saturday. He stayed with us and slept overnight with us and then, after church, he taught Sunday school, went to church, he came back for the afternoon, and we went to Sunday evening, and then he would sing! With a trio or something. Then, on the second weekend of January, he got leave and he was going back to Rock Island, Illinois on holiday. And so we heard about this, we said, "Well, come home for dinner, and we'll run you down to Alameda to the airplane." So, he came home for dinner. We were eating dinner that noon, and in the middle of it, Earl said, "Well, my dad's going to laugh." I didn't know what he meant and neither did Ev. So we said, "Earl, what 49:00are you talking about?"

He said, "Well, my dad always told me I was going to be a minister and I said, 'No way!' but I'm going to tell him when I go back, when I get out, I'm going to seminary." [laughs] Well, I was kind of shocked. And he did. He went to seminary, became a pastor, had a fabulous ministry. We visited him two months ago in Eugene, Oregon, and he's one of them!

A little kid that lived across from the community building, after I played the 50:00trumpet one day, he came to me and he says, "Brother Hidy, I got a trumpet, too. Can I play with you?" I said, "Sure." I got a picture there of him standing with me at the front of the community building playing a trumpet. He went back to Oklahoma Baptist University and he went to Southwest Baptist Seminary. And in 1964, I was in Berlin at a World Congress on evangelism, I was in the press room and there was a guy next to me and I got to talk to him, John Selig, and he said, "Oh, I'm on the development office, Southwest Baptist Seminary." I said, "You are? Did you ever meet a kid there named Harvey Kneisel?" "Oh sure! Harvey's one of our fine young men! He's a missionary now." And I just simply said, "Oh, I remember leading him to the Lord back in the housing area in 51:00Richmond." He said, "What?!" [laughs] I said, "Yeah, he got active in our program and was very active," and he said, "Isn't that a small world." Well, Harvey has had an amazing life. He's visited us here, I have a picture of him in the backyard. And we keep in touch. He's one of them.

Of course, the unbelievable story is a kid named Roger. Roger lived around the corner from us in Harborgate. He was visited by Lois who got him to come to Sunday school. And then they were going to put a play on called "When the Chimes Rang." Lois got him to be in that play. He had a part. And he became so active 52:00in the program and in the Sunday school that you really saw a transformation. We learned the heartache that this boy lived with. His mother had wanted to marry a fellow back in North Dakota but her father wouldn't let him. Wouldn't let her marry him because he wasn't a Lutheran, he was a Catholic. Well, she was broken hearted and she was also pregnant. So she had to marry a Lutheran. But he wasn't a very nice guy. And that family moved out. They had three other children when they came out. Roger was the older one. Roger told me that his step-dad would come home Saturday night drunk, he'd go out and drink beer and he'd come home, and he's get mad thinking about this boy that wasn't his boy and he's go drag him out of bed and beat him up. And poor Roger would go to bed Saturday not 53:00knowing if he was going to get beat up or not. He didn't only beat him up. Sometimes he threw him out of the house. And Roger would come around the corner and knock on our door. He would sleep on our daybed in the living room.

The big thing that happened to Roger is that when he started, he was a C minus student. He began to grow and he ended up in the honor roll. When he finished high school, he was in the state honor society. On one spring Sunday night, he came to me after church, and I remember he wanted to talk to me. We went out in 54:00the car, and he said, "Pastor, I want to be a minister." I was absolutely stunned and I was also frightened because I thought, 'Gee, his family sure won't help him. I don't know if it's possible for this kid to go to college." And so I wanted to stall. I said, "Roger, that's wonderful. I want you to think about it for two weeks." [laughs] "And in two weeks talk to me again." In two weeks, Roger says, "I'm even more decided. I want to be a minister." So, to shorten the story, I was very unhappy about it because I didn't think he'd do it. And then they sent me back east. I had to go back and I stopped at the home of a parish worker, Virginia {Hughesby's?} home--

[interview interruption while recording media are exchanged]


CANDIDA SMITH: --You asked him to think about for two weeks.

HIDY: Oh, yeah. And then later, we were traveling back east and we had visited his family-- [interview interruption]

Third Voice, David Washburn, videographer:

Yeah, you're on.

HIDY: Okay. My wife and I had to go back east and on the way back, we decided stop in Minneapolis and visit Virginia Hughesby's parents. She wanted us to do 55:00that. And so we did, spent a pleasant evening with them. Then I had some pictures that I had Ed Hill take and it showed different things. The family wanted to know what their daughter was doing and what it looked like, so I showed them that. We were going through all the pictures and one of them was a picture of a Sunday school class that Roger had recruited twenty-some young adults and high school kids.

And just passing, I said, "It's a sad story because he would like to be a pastor but I know that's not possible because his family cannot help him and I think 56:00it's unfortunate." So, we went on. The next morning, when we came down, I came down the stairs and Ginny's father said, "pastor, would you come here?" He called me into his study--he had a lovely home up on a lake in Minneapolis--and he said, "I couldn't sleep last night." I said, "Oh, I'm sorry." "Oh, no, you don't understand. I couldn't sleep because of that young man that wants to go to college and be a pastor." And then he said, "You know, we always wanted a son, we only had one daughter. I think we would like to help him get a college education. Our daughter went to St. Olaf and we will send him to St. Olaf. We'll make arrangements and have him come back early, and we'll buy a wardrobe for winter weather and take care of him going to St. Olaf." Well, I couldn't believe it. And it happened!

In December of that same year, we had in the meantime been called back east to work on a project with European refugees and displaced persons and we were on our way back west. So, we had stopped there and were traveling through Iowa, making speeches, three a day, and I realized we were very close to St.Olaf. So, one night, we went up and visited Roger. And we found to our surprise that he could hardly walk. He had been injured playing basketball. He was scrimmaging under the basket and some guy had kneed him in the back and tore a muscle in his back. He could hardly walk, so he couldn't take Phys Ed, he couldn't do anything. All he could do was get to class and study. As a result, he was doing alright but then in January, his host who was taking care of his costs wrote to 57:00him and said, "Roger, I'm sorry to tell you, we've had financial reverses in my business. Next year I can't help you at college." And Roger was pretty disappointed.

But he kept plugging away in school and in March, the dean called him into the office. He said, "Roger, I have some interesting news for you. The faculty has been impressed with your

unbelievably fine record at school and you have been given a full scholarship for the rest of your years at St. Olaf, all your expenses will be cared for." Well, that took care of that. And so Roger finished St. Olaf. Not only finished, he graduated magna cum laude. And then he went to seminary. And seminary, he got 58:00a scholarship from Lutheran Brotherhood. And so he went all the way through college and seminary.

It was a humbling experience for me, because here was a young man who wanted to go to college and instead of doing what I always told people should do, trust God and believe he will provide, I was looking at the problem, but not the promise! And it worked out. And Roger had a wonderful ministry, married a wonderful young woman. They've been here to visit us, sat at that table, and he told some stories while he was here. So he's one of the young men that went into the ministry from Harborgate. Probably, one of the most unusual stories of all of them. But then, there's about six other stories that are rather interesting, too.

CANDIDA SMITH: Do think this is because you were there? Not necessarily you personally but, because there was a ministry there--?


HIDY: Yes, and I would say that I had a part but I surely wasn't the whole reason. I think there were a number of reasons. The parish workers were just our secret weapon. They made calls, they met people, they brought them in. They helped strengthen the Sunday school, they helped the classes be there. Anyone who came, became a part of a class and a fellowship group. We had young peoples' activities. We took them over to Muir Woods to a camp and they spent two nights there and went over to Muir Woods. In other words, we have them other experiences besides in the Sunday school and in the community.

I should mention that Richmond was not always kind to the people in the housing area. The kids in the high school had been taught by their parents, "Some of 60:00those folks in the housing area, we don't want you to associate with them." And one girl came and talked to one of our parish workers, she had a friend that she was beginning in high school. And then one day, he just said to her, "I'm sorry, I wanted to take you to the dance next week but I don't want to." And she found out that his parents had said, "She lives in the housing area, we don't want you to go with her." And this was a heartache for her. Now, that didn't always happen but it happened some times.

Well, now, let me tell you, years later, I was having luncheon with the department heads at the University of California. We had a friend visit our church in Berkeley who was the head of the Sociology department at the 61:00University of {Heidelberg?}. He was coming through on a visit. And when Dr. Lucia, who was for many years a professor at Berkeley in Bio-statistics, she said to me when I said to her that this man from Heidelberg is coming, "We must have a luncheon for him! I'll arrange it." She said, "We'll get the department heads to come. I've taught every one of them." So, we were sitting around a table in the Faculty Club at Cal. Then she said, "Let's go around and get acquainted." And so they went around. When it came to me, she said, "Pastor, tell them what you've been doing." So I said, "Well, we came West in 1943 and we spent years in the housing area out in Richmond." As I said this, the faculty mouths dropped open. And they said, "You lived in the housing area in Richmond?" And I said, "Sure. There were wonderful

people. We had a great time." Now this shows that there has been a feeling that the housing area is a group of not the finest people, which is terribly unfair and decidedly untrue. So that was one of the things that we found. But it was a great experience.

CANDIDA SMITH: What was your wife's involvement in this? What is the responsibility or expectation for a Pastor's wife?

HIDY: She first got a job at the junior high. We had had to buy a car, had to pay it off, my income wasn't much, so she took a job to help pay off the car. Then, later, she worked as a secretary for Dr. Henderson. But Eve has her degree in teaching in commercial subjects. She could have gotten a job in the shipyard office easily. But she didn't. She stayed in the housing project and did what she did so beautifully. She taught Sunday school, she led the primary department 62:00of a hundred little kids, and she was just one of those amazing people who did things so well and so graciously that wherever she's been, she's been beloved.

CANDIDA SMITH: What was your relationship with the housing authority? Did you work closely with them, say social workers and--?

HIDY: Well, I didn't have an awful lot of reason to. I did have this one situation where I shared with you. Maybe I should tell that story.

CANDIDA SMITH: Maybe, yeah.

HIDY: We had a family move in next to us. Usually the housing area Harborgate homes, two were put back to back. Of course, that's functionally very good, you have all the water lines together for your two houses. And there was a family moved in, a father and an older daughter and younger twin boys. They lived in the house next to us, we knew them but didn't really see them much. They didn't come to church, although they did come once on a Sunday night. And then we realized that the daughter was pregnant. And I decided I would go visit her. It was one those difficult things, you want to find out what the situation is. So I 63:00said to her after we had chatted for a while, I said, "Help me understand, who is the father of your baby? Is it someone in the shipyard?" And she looked at me and says, "Oh, no! I wouldn't do that." And that kind of let me know what the situation was. I wasn't sure exactly what I should do because this wasn't an ideal situation, but--.

So I went to the social worker, a Mrs. Edgar at the housing area office, and talked to her about this, and I said, "I have a situation, our neighbor--" and explained it to her. She wasn't very

pleased about it and didn't say a great deal more to me. But, a few days later, that family moved out. They had their car and a little trailer and they took their things and drove away. Didn't talk to me before they left. So, I was kind of uncertain about what had happened, but I was rather sure I knew what had 64:00happened, that Mrs. Edgar had made a decision and they had been asked to leave.

So that was really the only time I talked to the social worker. Most of the problems within the housing area were problems that we could handle just out of interest and kindness and cooperation with the members of the community, of what we called The Friendly Church of Harborgate. [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: What was your relationship with the Kaiser shipyards or the {Ford plant? floor plan?}? did you go over there as part of the ministry?


HIDY: It's really sad. As I look back, it's unfortunate that I did not do that. I should have gone right to the shipyard administration and talked to them. Because I think they would have been pleased and might even have shown some interest in it. But, we had financing from the Lutherans, we didn't lack financing. We had all the assistance from the housing area we needed. By the way, we decided towards the end of it that it would be nice to have some chimes. I knew a firm back east that had {Shulmaric?} chimes and they had a simple thing where you could play phonograph records through speakers, and we decided to get those. And so we bought some and the family members of the church made gifts and 66:00covered the expense. The housing authority put a little box on top of the community building with these speakers in it. Four speakers, different directions. At twelve noon, we would go down and play a record, a chime of a hymn, and also at six o'clock. It became a burdensome little chore, but we did it. We did contact the housing area for that.

Across the street from us was a two three-bedroom unit, back to back. And for a while, that was the clinic, one of the Permanente Hospital clinics. Later on, they found they didn't need it and they were going to terminate it. And we made arrangements to rent-to-buy it. We rented it. It cost us thirty, forty a month for each one, but it gave us a parish house. And we had study groups met there and youth groups meet there, committee meetings met there. Our youth meetings 67:00would have special little programs. And then I realized that we were having a real, fine program. So I wrote the housing area, and I said, "You know, I think it's fair for me to write and tell you what we're doing with these buildings and also we are doing all this with a limited budget. And I wonder if it would be possible that we could have the use of those two units without the expense." And I got a nice letter back, said, "Why, we surely agree. If you will give one dollar a month, you will have the use of both of them. That will keep it real on the record." And so we had fine relationships whenever we needed it with them. But that was a part of what happened.

I didn't tell you one story and I should. When we got to Richmond and started 68:00off, I remembered that at seminary they had told, "Whenever you go to a new parish, write a news release and take it the local newspaper. Tell 'em who you are and where you're going to be and what you're doing." So I wrote a little news release and I took it to the Richmond Independent. When I got to

the Richmond Independent, I found that the office, two great big rooms, were packed with people and they were busy as could be. Well, I found the editor and I introduced myself and gave him the news release. He looked at it and I said, "Well, we've just gotten here from Pennsylvania and we're now going to be at the Harborgate Housing Project and take care of that ministry there." He looked at me and said, "So what?"

Well, my seminary professor did not tell me that he would say that! I was kind 69:00of stunned and shocked and angry. So all I did was look at him, and I said, "Well, there'll be news coming from there and I'll see you get it." And I turned around and walked out. Well, I can show you news stories with our scouts and the county fair we had that had a whole wonderful attendance, big story in the paper. And Isaac Mickens and our programs. So, we weren't always welcome, but we had to earn our way. What the church did became important and so they covered the news.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you get to know a reporter there? Was there a reporter you could call up and say--?

HIDY: No. We would--. Well, I should tell you that my uncle in Philadelphia had probably the best news program you ever saw. I watched him and I knew what you should do. If you want a good news story in a newspaper, you do something worth reporting, and you give 'em a good picture, and you send it to them early. So, because of that, wherever we were, we got excellent news, good coverage.

CANDIDA SMITH: What about your relationships with community organizations, civil rights groups, trade unions-- other community groups but non-religious?

HIDY: I had a surprise. We had been there about five years and I had a group come to see me from El Cerrito because some of our kids I guess, went there to 70:00school. But they came and they said, "We would like you to run for the school board." I said, "No, I hadn't thought of that." They said, "We would like someone like you to be on the school board because we think you are concerned about the things that we are." So I said, "I don't have time to run or anything." She said, "It's no problem, we'll take care of that." So, the election was held and I'm a member of the El Cerrito School Board! And about June, I went to the first meeting, no about May. And one of the first meetings, we were reviewing the plans for a new junior high school. And that was a meeting I went to.

Then, I had a phone call from New York, saying that it was Dr. {Empy?}, the director of the National Lutheran Council. He said, "Ross, I want to call you 71:00back to New York in July, I want you to be here in July. I want to send you to Europe. We're making a movie about refugees, about displaced persons. We have to have that movie on schedule. Church World Service has had a movie crew in Salzburg for a year and they don't have a movie. I'm sending you over and we're going to shoot a sequence in a DP camp and then we're going to do a wrap around it, and

that will be released next January. So I have to have that done on time and you're my expediter, I'm sending you over." So I had to tell the people and Dr. Henderson that I had to leave in July. And I had to tell the El Cerrito School Board that I was leaving. And so I had to leave. And that was the only community 72:00position like that I had and I couldn't sustain it. But I had a fabulous time.

The other thing that happened, Dr. Empy said, "Bring your cameras. Because there's a lot to take pictures of." So, I went to Ed Hill, who was Henry Kaiser's top photographer. And I said, "Ed, I've got to go to Europe. They want me to bring cameras. I'm going to work with refugees." "Oh, you'll need a Speed Graphic, I'll loan you one." "I don't know how to use a Speed Graphic." "I'll show you." So, he started a two-week course, and he would take me out and have me take pictures. And in the middle of one of his training sessions, he looked at me and he got mad! He said, "Damn it all, Ross! I can't teach you what I learned in twenty-five years. But I tell you what I'll do. If you'll let me get with you and get permission, I'll buy my plane ticket to Europe and back." So, Ed Hill went with me to Europe. And we traveled together for seven weeks. And we became close friends. That's how my photography grew into another dimension.


And those are the answers to "Did I have a relationship with a reporter at the newspaper?" No. We didn't need it. We had access to Henry Kaiser's photographer. [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you ever meet Mr. Kaiser?

HIDY: I never did. I feel badly. I didn't meet Clay Bedford either. And I should have! I should have gone down! I really should have. Because, I guess I was 74:00focused on the housing area. Well, I was given some other assignments in the Church in the region but no, that was a thing I missed.

CANDIDA SMITH: Within the Church, you were working for Hoyer in Chicago, was there a regional person that you worked for?

HIDY: Well, there was a regional coordinator in Seattle by the name of C.P. Rasmussin. And they moved him to Chicago. So then, Chicago called me and said, "Ross, we need somebody to coordinate the ten ministries on the West Coast and C.P. is leaving so I want you to do that." So, I would also now keep in touch 75:00with--if there were staff changes, I would work with that. If there were staff changes needed, I would recommend them. I became the West Coast coordinator and for two and a half years, every six months, I would fly to Chicago and meet for two days with the Mission Committee of all the Lutherans. And I would report on the West Coast temporary housing ministries. And that was a very, very important opportunity to learn. And I would report on--make recommendations about what should be done. And that broadened my interest.

It was a tremendous exciting thing when I got a phone call from Vancouver. Pastor {Howgsie?} called me, he was so excited, he said, "Ross! You gotta come up! Vanport!" Which had 40,000 people, near the race-track, between Vancouver and Portland on the flat area. They had built a great big earth {burm?} around this area and built these houses. There was a big flood in the Columbia River and the water came up and flooded all that area. And then the pressure of the water got under the burm. And the water began to come up inside of Vanport. And 76:00people had twenty minutes to get out. Not all got out. And so that ministry was just wiped out. And I had to go up there and we did follow up with the members who got scattered and helped them relate to other churches.

But, I would help set up a conference for all the people who worked in the West Coast, and arrange for meetings. Yeah, that was another thing I had to do. And that really led to my call to go to Europe.

CANDIDA SMITH: During while you were pastor at Harbogate, were there regular meetings of the other war ministry pastors?

HIDY: Yeah, we met with Dr. Henderson periodically, full-time people did. And he 77:00kept touch with the weekend people. So, we kept in touch, and then of course, I knew what was going, because my wife was his secretary. [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: You had a lot of people in the housing projects who weren't used to living with each other, who came with all sorts of ideas about what other people were like. Some of this was race, but it wasn't only race. Some of it was religion, some of it was region. How did people get along given that they were coming from all over the place and had all sorts of ideas?

HIDY: Well, the first thing that happened was, if they were strong in their denominational preference, they went to that church. They would go to Berkeley, they would go to Richmond, wherever their denominational church was, they would go there. And so that meant we didn't have that kind of theological disagreement. The one thing I did was I had them each Sunday, repeat the Apostles' Creed, which in liturgical churches is used all the time. Catholic churches, Episcopal churches, many churches use the Apostles' Creed. Not the Baptists. The Baptists have a statement, "No man-made creeds. We believe the bible." So when we wanted to use this, I knew I had to do some interpretation. So, I preached a sermon which I called "The Thirty Second Miracle." And I told them that one of the nice things about being a bible scholar is to know the highlights of the Bible teaching, and the basic truths. And I said, "In the 78:00early years, they began to use a statement. First it was Jesus is Lord. And then they expanded it and they developed what was called, The Teaching of the Apostles or the Apostles Teaching or Creed." And I said, "The one thing I want you to know is that every phrase of that creed is based on the bible." And then I went through the Creed and I went to the Bible passage that teaches that. And I went right to the

whole Creed. I said, "Now, if any of your are unhappy to use the Creed, tell me which part isn't from the bible and we'll talk about not using that." They didn't have anything that wasn't from the bible. But what I would say here is that that was about the only thing we did where there could have been discussion 79:00or argument.

The second thing was, after a few years, I realized, these kids, some of them should be baptized. So I told the people that we were going to arrange for baptism and if any of the children, their parents wanted them baptized in Baptist Church, we've arranged with the Baptist Church down at 13th and Barrett and they will have the Baptism there. And the Baptism will be done by the

Lutheran Pastor for the others who are willing to be baptized. And they're not going to be baptized as Lutherans but as Christians in the Lutheran Family. And so I taught them the essentials for baptism. And then when they were taught about the Baptists, we drove downtown and the Baptists went in the Baptist Church and the Lutherans went in the Lutheran Church. And I told the kids, I said, "Now, look, we'll have one ground rule. There are two ways to look at baptism and you're not going to argue about it. Both ways are okay. Each way is as good as the other. And so you're going to agree not to argue. Okay?" "Okay, we won't argue." So we didn't. And that's the way we handled that.

CANDIDA SMITH: What about working with Catholic families and Jewish families that were in the war housing?

HIDY: There were very few Jewish people in the housing area. If they were, I mean I didn't know a single Jewish family in the Harborgate project. Catholic 80:00families went to St. Mark's Catholic Church. The Catholics had no staff in the housing area. If people came to them from the housing area, they ministered to them. But they were not a part of the Richmond Defense Area Council.

CANDIDA SMITH: Oh, they weren't?


CANDIDA SMITH: So that was a Protestant--?

HIDY: Yeah, they were all Protestants. But there was no antagonism. And if we found anybody who was Catholic, we made sure they knew where it was. It was St. Mark's Catholic Church.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you did refer people to a variety of churches--?


HIDY: Well, it was interesting. The letter, I have a copy of the letter. We sent a letter to every home in which we said, "First, we're here to minister to people who wish to come. If you do not know where your church is, please let us know and we will tell you where the nearest church of your denomination is. If it's convenient for you to come, we welcome you to be a part of this group which ministers to people of many backgrounds, The Friendly Church of Harborgate." There was no misunderstanding. We weren't proselytizing. The fact is, in Chicago, they told me, "You're not going to organize church. You're going to minister to people."

CANDIDA SMITH: So you were not supposed to encourage people to enter the Lutheran community?

HIDY: Oh, no. No. Now, when the whole thing ended, there was a residual group that moved over to Cutting, and one of the young men, Captain Harry {Durkie?}, who by that time was going to seminary, he became a kind of pastor for them and then they did organize Peace Lutheran Church. But that was by their decision.

CANDIDA SMITH: You had--Pastor Mickens worked with the black community in the 82:00war housing projects. Were there interracial activities where your people and Pastor Mickens' people came together?

HIDY: Well, the most unusual time we did was on a Good Friday. One of my last Good Fridays, I realized that we were not having Holy Communion. If they wanted that, they would go to their church. But I realized that this was not good, that we should have Holy Communion. By that time, we had a beautiful church picture and an altar and an altar rail. So I went to Pastor Mickens and I said, "You know, on Good Friday, it would be nice to have a Holy Communion service together. Would you invite your people and would you help conduct it?" "I would 83:00be pleased to," he said. So we had Holy Communion and they came together and they came up and knelt together and received the bread and the grape juice, we didn't use wine out there. And it was a beautiful service. As we did this, I realized, here were Texan Baptists kneeling next to a black Baptist, you know? It was the first time they'd ever communed together. It's about time! [laughs]

So we did have a great fellowship.

CANDIDA SMITH: One of the things that you must have had to deal with was peoples' sense of worry about loved ones who were fighting for the war effort. 84:00How often was that a--how many people were affected by the war--?

HIDY: There were hardly any families that didn't have someone. And we had prayers within our services as all churches did for that, prayer for protection for them. Our next door neighbor, Millie, was engaged to a fellow who was in the service, you know. Some of the kids who came and taught were in the Navy or were pilots. And this one that taught Sunday school, Earl Anderson, there was another one whose picture is there [points], he was in electronic school and he shipped out towards the end of the war. And I tell you, one of the most traumatic time sin our church was when we had VJ day. The afternoon of VJ day on the news bulletin, the news that the Indianapolis had been sunk by a submarine. One of our teachers, Russ Ferguson, was on the Indianapolis. He had been assigned to it and shipped out as a radio operator. He lost his life along with many others on 85:00that ship.

It so happens that Russ had been in college where I went. And he had sung in the Glee Club that I directed. His father was my English professor. We were close friends. And I got a letter from them and I have the letter from them and my letter to them about Russ.

So, the answer to, "Did you have any opportunity to minister to them for their people in the service?" I sure did. And some of it, for example, our VJ service, a prayer of thanksgiving was a very mournful service because we were thinking of Russ who was lost, and had been a very active member while he was at school at Treasure Island. Oh yeah, we had a lot of contact with them.

CANDIDA SMITH: So a lot of people in the housing projects lost people over the course of the war?

HIDY: Some did, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: One of the things that people say about Richmond is that it was a 86:00very unstable place, that people were violent during that period, there was unhappiness between the old-timers and the newcomers. What was your perception? You mentioned that people had a negative attitude towards the housing projects.

HIDY: Well, I told you about the girl whose friend said, "I'm not going to take you to the dance. You're from the housing project." Our approach to that was to develop of self, a sense of worth, enjoy by being in the housing project, that they earned the respect of people.

For example, one of the boys, when we had a parade one day, he was a kid who had 87:00finished high school--no he had dropped out of school and gotten a job in the shipyard. And he was coming home from the shipyard, graveyard shift, and one of the kids in the parade saw him and said, "Carlos, don't watch us, join us." So Carlos stepped off the sidewalk curb and walked to Sunday school with him. And then he began to come to Sunday school. He quit his job, went

back to high school, he joined the track team, and Harvey told me that he was a star of the track team in the 220 and 440. And so, my point here is that Harborgate kids joined the ranks at the high school and earned their respect! And that was our goal. Our goal wasn't to stop fires, but to build bridges. And instead of letting them cut class, we made sure they went to school. And they didn't just get there, but they got in the honor roll. We had pretty high 88:00aspirations and we made sure they knew it! We expected great things from them. And it happened.

Now, our young people, every Sunday night--or not every Sunday night, maybe once a month-- would go with the other young groups for an evening of singing at one of the churches. And that was a Christian endeavor hymn sing. I usually led that. We gave a banner to the biggest group from any church. And a number of times, our Harborgate got the banner. We had more young people there than anybody else. So, that's my answer. We tried to treat this positively. And it worked usually.

CANDIDA SMITH: And it sounds like the churches and faith organizations were very successful helping people put some stability in their lives.

HIDY: I think it really did happen and it was a very, very reassuring thing. 89:00Well, for example, Ed Hill. When he came the first Sunday to take pictures, I had given him a list of ten pictures we wanted, and I came out front and I made an announcement, you know, and I said, "We're all going inside and take a picture in the auditorium." Later on, Ed said, "Pastor, I'm surprised. These kids do just what you tell 'em." And I said, "Well, the trumpet helps. I get their attention by blowing.

And then when they're quiet, I tell them what we do next. And they do it. We don't have any problems." He said, "Well, the housing area, some kids are noted for not being very nice." I said, "Not Harborgate." [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you ever have youth dances, things like that?

HIDY: Well, they did have dances in the recreation department. And our kids would go to that sometimes. They had a jukebox in one of the rooms. And one night, we were having a Sunday night service, and some kid came in the room next to us and put a nickel in the jukebox. While we were having a service! I was so mad, I said, "Excuse me." And I walked out the door and went in that door and went to the jukebox and pulled the plug off the wire. And I looked at this guy and I said, "We don't play music during church service. You know better than that." So, he walked out. So I went back, we finished the service.

But, we didn't have much of that. We worked pretty closely together.

CANDIDA SMITH: As the war comes to a close and people are starting to figure out what's going to happen next with their lives, I guess the shipyards closed down very quickly, was there a change in your ministry after the war? Did you have a different set of problems to deal with?

HIDY: There was a first group of workers who stayed for a year or two and saved their money and went back home. A typical example of that would be Fern Spence, who had three little girls. Three little steps, and they all had pigtails. She and her family were a delight. She was our Sunday school secretary. They moved back to Williamsville, Missouri, after a couple of years. And later on, we visited them, spent a coupe of days with them. Had a wonderful--she wrote to us 90:00every year. And then finally one Christmas, we didn't get a letter and then we learned that she had died.

Now, there were different waves of workers. Some more skilled workers came at one time. The victory ships were a bigger, complicated ship. So, we worked with different groups. But, then came the veterans when the war was over and the GI's wanted to go to Cal. There wasn't any room in Berkeley. So, the University dealt with the housing area and got permission for them to move in vacant units. So, we had veterans come.

Two of them, I'll tell you quickly. We had a phone call, {Kaye McClary?} called and talked to Ev and they were coming from {Pullman}, Washington. Mac was out of the service, he was a captain in the army, he had been in the Reserves, he had fought in Guava Canal and a couple of others and then was brought back to be a teacher. Then they were coming down and the student pastor at Pullman had told them they should contact me. So, I got a call Evvie said, "Well, come on over for lunch." So, she told me, she said, "I don't have much for dessert. I only have one jar of canned peaches. If I like 'em, we'll have it. We'll have waffles." Well, she had peaches. They were delightful! They moved in two doors 91:00from us! And then Mac became active and became assistant scoutmaster. Kaye taught in the school and she and Ev had a junior choir. They became our closest friends and we kept in touch with them. Kaye died some time ago and Mac is in the hospital now in North Carolina.

But, the other one was Harry Durkee. Lillian Anderson made a visit over across the apartments and found a Captain Harry Durkee and his wife, Norma, from North Dakota. He was a patient at Letterman Hospital. He had been wounded in the Vosges mountains in France. A metal piece of a shell hit him in the skull and he had a thousand injections of penicillin. So, he came to church and they became active. I got him to teach Sunday school. He was a magician. He taught a junior boys' class. He would have these kids hanging on his words. If some kid got a little uninterested, a coin would appear I his hand. And the kids would just, 92:00"What's happening?"[laughs] He, then, became a pastor. So, great things happened

CANDIDA SMITH: A Lutheran pastor?

HIDY: Oh, yeah. Yeah, he lives down in Burbank now. I talk to his wife. Harry now has a touch of Parkinson's. He had a great, great ministry.

CANDIDA SMITH: As you look back on those years, are there lessons that you feel were important to you, that out of that experience that shaped the way you approached the ministry subsequently, as you were assigned to other jobs in San Francisco and Berkeley, I think?


HIDY: I was pastor in Berkeley, right by the campus, for five years. Yeah, and helped to start the seminary and later on worked with the Graduate Theological Union. I was a trustee.

I would say it deepened my sense that you should just meet people and love them and let them love you. And try to help them, meet their needs. In seminary, I had been taught to listen. I had a fabulous teacher, professor, and when I was back at seminary five years ago t get special award from the seminary, I talked to them that night and told them how much that one course meant.

Where for two hours and one whole semester, we listened to case studies. The professor would read a case study and then he would pause and then he would read it again. Then he would say to the class, he had the whole student body, "What 94:00would you do?" And so somebody would offer an option, and then another one. And then he would tell them finally what happened, you know. But we learned you had to listen. [pronounced "lerssen"] to find out the thing that's hidden between what they're saying. And I would say I learned also in that housing area to keep on listening.

But I learned in Roger, "Don't tell God what he won't do." Roger wanted to be a pastor. Well, as his pastor, I should have said, "Yeah, and God will help you!" But I didn't do that. But God did help, despite me.

I would say yeah, the housing area, my wife and I agree it was our most fun parish. We had some interesting parishes. Twelve years at St. Mark's, the oldest church in the state and built five million dollars worth of redevelopment there on that block.

CANDIDA SMITH: That must been quite an enterprise.

HIDY: Yeah, well, that's all the story in one of these books. I didn't bring that one out. The story of St. Mark's Square. Yeah, that was a fabulous experience.

CANDIDA SMITH: You were in the middle of--you were on the border between downtown and the Western addition between--

HIDY: We were in the Western Addition.

CANDIDA SMITH: In the inner city, what have you learned about the role of the church in terms of addressing racial division in this country. Because you were right there in the heart of it, it seems.

HIDY: I'd like to read you the letter that Mayor Alioto wrote. He said, "I had phone call from President Johnson, who said to me, 'Mayor Alioto, all the big cities in America are burning, why aren't you?'" And he said, "Well there was a little lady at St. Mark's Church that changed the city." And that's true. Her husband was a bus driver. And on Tuesday night, the night of Martin Luther King [Jr.]'s funeral, some kids got on the bus and robbed him and as they left, they shot him, and he died.

CANDIDA SMITH: And he was one of your parishioners?

HIDY: I baptized, I married him to Dixie, his wife, baptized their children.

When we went to plan the funeral--I had to leave the Human Rights Commission to go to the mortician-- and we were making arrangements for the funeral and we went to leave and I said, "Oh, I forgot one thing. The newspaper will want to know what do you want for memorial gifts. How do you want them used?" And Dixie looked at me and paused and then she said, "Instead of flowers, I would like memorial gifts in memory of my husband to be used for the children of Hunter's Point. He loved those kids a great deal."

And when I went back to my church that day, I thought on the way back, 'This story's got to get out.' So I called Hadley Roth, the mayor's secretary, and I 95:00said, "Hadley, a strange thing happened this morning. The bus driver's funeral is going to be held and the widow asked for memorial gifts for a fund to use for the children of Hunter's Point." I said, "I can write the news release, but I can't get it to the newspapers or the television station." "You write and it and get it down, I'll get it." So, I went down and I took one of them, and I said, "Look, Hadley, there's a TV station across the street from me, I'll take it there on the way back." So, I went over to the news station, Channel Five, and I told the girl, the secretary, I said, "I want to see the news editor." She said, "Well, give it to me, you can't go upstairs." I said, "Now, wait a minute, I have to talk to him personally. This is imperative." So, I went up and I gave 96:00this news release to the news editor.

He read it, what she wanted, you know, he looked at me and he said, "Will she read that on camera?" I said, "I'll find out." So I called Dixie and she was home. I said, "Dixie, Channel Five wants to know would you read that on camera for them for their news?" She paused, she said, "Do you think it would help?" I said, "Dixie, I think it might help a lot." "Okay. Where will I

come?" I said, "Well come to the church basement, our church there." So, then I told them that we would meet at four o'clock. So, they came with a camera man and with a still camera man. And Dixie sat down and I had a backdrop for her. She read this on the camera, very low voice, low-key, just simple. It was on the news, six o'clock. We watched it. It was very powerful. We watched eleven o'clock news and on the bottom it had, "Send gifts to St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell." So the next morning, Good Friday, the newspaper came and the front page of The Chronicle had a three-column, center picture of Dixie, with a story! [laughs]

I went to church, to get ready for twelve o'clock service and the phone rang. It was a news editor, Channel Five, "Pastor, can you come over?" So I went over. He 97:00said, "Come here." He took me in his office, he said, "You know, we handle a lot of stories, we've got to kind of just handle them and not get involved. This strange thing happened after that news broadcast, every member of my team came in and put a gift on my desk! And as soon as the news was over, the lights came on, the telephone wouldn't stop ringing. 'Where do we send out gift?' So at eleven o'clock, we put it on the news. Saturday mail brought $1000." So, did we have any action? That became the most important thing in racial relations in San Francisco. Mayor Alioto said she's got to be the most remarkable woman in the whole city.

The bus drivers were going to go strike on the day of her service. We could have had it on Saturday, but that was a bad time, so we said Monday. On Monday, the church was filled. All the supervisors from San Francisco were there. There were a hundred bus drivers there. It was videotaped and shown in Los Angeles. So, that's the answer.

But you see, people do that. It's not preaching, it's preaching to people who live the faith. And that's what Dixie did.

A year later, Mrs. Medgar Evers came to San Francisco. On that Sunday, they gave the first twelve awards to students in Hunter's Point. At the end of our church service. The Human Rights Commission chairman was there. Sister Mary Bernadette was there, she's the youth leader, and she announced the names and gave the hundred and fifty dollar scholarship to each kid. And the mayor came at three o'clock. And Medgar Evers' wife and Dixie were honored, yes, and the mayor gave the key to the city to Mrs. Evers and to Dixie {Whitten?}. It was a powerful 98:00day. [laughs]

So, I would say it's what people do that heals the racial divide. In the Human Rights Commission, one of the black members made a statement, she said, "Dixie {Whitted?} didn't blame all the blacks in Harborgate {Hunter's Point?} because four teenagers robbed her husband and killed him." Now, there's a secret, see. Dixie got a thousand letters after her story was in the Readers' Digest, letters from Europe, people who were touched by what she did. That's the answer. It always surprises you.

And Dixie, I keep in touch with her. I married her daughter, and we will keep in touch.

CANDIDA SMITH: That kind of faith, did it surprise you at he time?

HIDY: Well, I was astonished! I was astonished because some people on the Human Rights Commission said, "Well, you got to her." I said, "What do you mean?" " You got to her." I didn't tell her to do that, I just said what do you want to do for memorial gifts. And she said it. I wouldn't dare say anything like that to a widow who just lost her husband. And so, they said to me, "She just is like that." And as the Mayor told her, it was from her innocence--oh, it's in the Readers' Digest article when he analyzed it. He went and visited Dixie and then his conversation with her, he realized, she wasn't doing this to improve race relations, she was being a Christian, just doing what came naturally for her. And that's the only secret for it, you know. That's the only secret for Iraq. They hate us because we haven't been Christian! It's the sad things we could do 99:00in Africa and all the other places that we haven't done that makes America a hated community today! We've got to wake up some time.

CANDIDA SMITH: But people are afraid.

HIDY: Yeah, but that's no answer. Dixie wasn't afraid. She said, "Love'em."

WASHBURN: We have about one minute.

CANDIDA SMITH: Do you mind if we go a little bit further?

HIDY: Go ahead.

[interview interruption while recording media is exchanged]

CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah, we're back on, so you were saying, when you married--

HIDY: Yeah, Dixie was an amazing person and I go back now to remember Dixie had met the fellow she was going to marry, and they were living together in a little apartment out by the Cow Palace. And I got to thinking they didn't have a car. It was raining, they had to get to church, so I called, I said, "Dixie, can I pick you up and bring you to church?" "Oh, that would be nice." So, I went out and got Dixie and Martin. We came to church. Two people met to be witnesses and it was an interracial couple. I took pictures of them, because I always bring my camera to private funerals--I mean, weddings because they should have a picture and if they don't have a camera, well, I do. So, I took pictures. And so, when this writer was writing the story, he asked Dixie--


he was looking through the pictures, there was her wedding! And here was a couple with her and one of them was black and one was white. And he asked her about this. He said, "Do you belong to any interracial group?" She said no. "Well, I see that here, she is your friend." "Well, I met her at the bank, and we were good friends, so I asked her to come be a witness at our wedding." And he said to her, "As I listened to her, I realized, it's her innocence that causes her to do this. It's not a technique. She's not doing anything unusual, she's just being Dixie." So I realized, that's the reason she did what she did. And he's right! And that's what made it so amazing. That's why on the way back to church that day, I said, "This has got to be known." And so we got the story out.

CANDIDA SMITH: It's hard for me to imagine a part in this for someone in your 101:00position to deal with that kind of situation, to be supportive, but also it looks like you receive back. {??}

HIDY: Oh yeah, there was one thing I didn't tell you about this. When I got to the mortician that day, the mortician met me and as we walked back to meet with Dixie--and her brother was with her--there were two men on one side and three bus drivers on the other side of the waiting room. And as we walked back, the mortician said to me, "By the way, those two fellows there waiting are from the utilities commission. They're worried. The bus drivers are going to go on strike the day of the funeral. And the bus drivers are there to find out when was the funeral." Now, I'm going back to arrange the funeral with a widow. And I got to do some quick thinking. This is Thursday. It can't be Friday, it could be 102:00Saturday. No buses on Saturday before Easter?

Everybody busy going shopping, going to church, getting ready for Easter? That'd be terrible! We can't have it on Saturday, we gotta go to Monday! So, we decided that we would have it on Monday.

Well, the utilities people heaved a sigh, they're glad, you know, it won't be on Saturday. And the bus drivers say okay, so we did. So, as a pastor, you have to think of all these dimensions, every time you're doing anything. Because there is more implications than people quickly see.

CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah, I was also thinking of the evil that happens in peoples' lives and the difficulty for them to deal with {unknown?}.

HIDY: That's right.

CANDIDA SMITH: On a larger level, with war, we have the Holocaust, and Hiroshima, and the challenge that goes to people thinking about the way in which life is being diminished in a totally {brutal?}way, you, as a man of the cloth, how that challenged you to think through what are you going to tell people.

HIDY: I visited a Rabbi in--let's see, where was that, I guess it was in 103:00Frankfurt--and talked to him and listened to him. As we went into the synagogue, it was a big hallway, and it was a whole bunch of flowers in vases. And I was seeing him the day after Kristallnacht when they damaged the synagogues and all.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you were a young man?

HIDY: No, this is in a trip in Europe in 1964.

CANDIDA SMITH: Oh, it's the anniversary.

HIDY: Yeah, it's the anniversary, later. And so I talked to him, and listened to him, the story, and "Where's your synagogue now? Hoe many do you have?" And he tells me now what it is with not as many Jews around, but it is beginning to pick it up again. And here are the sense of grievance and regret and the flowers that the people sent to the synagogue. He took me over to the ark and he opened it up and he showed me the scrolls and talked to me about it. I took his oral history, fabulous experience.

Yeah, the Holocaust was horrible. I've been to Dachau. I have pictures of it. Man's inhumanity to man, you know. Great tragedy. I was on the radio for three years with a priest, a Rabbi, and I was a Protestant. And the Rabbi's wife's parents lost their lives. Whenever we did anything on this subject, it was not just an academic questions, but his family lived with it, you know. So did we. Bonhoffer was executed, you know. And Lilya was supposed to be executed. But he was in that community right near Nuremberg and it all fall apart. And so he never was taken out to be executed. Oh, we're in another big subject, aren't we? [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: After the war, there's a major growth in church attendance in the United States. I think you had at least in terms of your association with the Billy Graham Ministry, you had some role in this evangelical effort. I wonder how you explain the growth of church attendance. So you think there was a change in--?

HIDY: Well, there was a rise, right then. And I think the churches were meeting people at a time of celebration and then, there came the new mood, which has gone now into a period where it is not as easy to draw people. But I don't know the answer to that. I think there are waves of interest in spiritual things. 104:00Yes, I've worked with Billy Graham, I worked with him in eight crusades--in Anchorage, Alaska, in Seattle, in Portland, and the one in Cow Palace when I was in San

Francisco. It so happened that one of my best friends in high school was in Wheaton and was the Baptist minister of the church, there. And then he went to Baltimore and Billy became the pastor of that church. So, when I met Billy in San Francisco, I said, "Billy, we have a friend in common, John {Balbach?}." "You know John?" I said, "Oh, yeah! My best friend in high school." So, it all goes back to personal contacts. This is what the world is held together by, personal relationships.


CANDIDA SMITH: You have a very optimistic attitude which is very impressive.

HIDY: I can't help but be. I've seen what God can do if people give him a chance, you know?

CANDIDA SMITH: I think of one of your co-religionists who's a very influential figure in the middle of the century, Reinhold Neigler {Zeigler?}, but a darker vision of life. In your own thinking, how you balance your optimism with also the reality there are the children of darkness as well as the children of light, to use Niegler's phrase.


HIDY: That's right, that's right. And in Hunter's Point, there were the children of darkness that killed Martin. But then, his wife was a child of light and she brought light into darkness. When she came back to San Francisco that day to get the key from the city, on Friday, she came out to Hunter's Point and the Channel Five news was there. We took a picture of her at Hunter's Point, looking over Hunter's Point. Then, one of the women who got a scholarship to go to San Francisco State was there and talked to Dixie as they thought about what this meant. It was a beautiful moment.

CANDIDA SMITH: Well, I think maybe we should close it.

HIDY: Wrap it up.

CANDIDA SMITH: Is there something you would like to say? Something that I should have asked that I didn't?

HIDY: Well, the only thing I would say is that the privilege of telling some of these stories has made me go back into my boxes of photographs and letters. I have letters from Roger. I have letters from Earl Anderson. I have letters from Harry Durkee. I have letters from people that were a part of Harborgate. I have talked to some of them on the telephone. And it has reawakened the story of

what happened in that little housing project there by the bay, in Richmond. It's been kind of fun to think about them again and to see these pictures and to remember that God is really faithful and his promises are true. And if we trust and obey, as the hymn says, [sings] "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." Now, we had sing songs like that at Harborgate. And it caught! And it was infectious. And it changed lives. There's a jillian stories, now I'm going to have to write another book because this story has to be in print, too. And I think I will.



HIDY: Thank you for giving me the privilege.


WASHBURN: One more thing, what was the address of the building that used to be the Kaiser clinic that you said you guys took over?

HIDY: It was on Meeker, on Meeker Avenue. And it was painted white. It was the only white building in Harborgate. It was two buildings together.


CANDIDA SMITH: It was right across the street form where you lived?

HIDY: From where we lived, yes.

CANDIDA SMITH: Do you remember your address?

HIDY: 3106 Meeker. Technically, it was on the court, so it could have been a court address. But that's where it was.

WASHBURN: What did you learn of the demolition of the Harborgate? What do you remember of learning of the demolition of Harborgate?


HIDY: Well, I knew it was going down. Before they gave permission to build, the city council demanded that all temporary buildings be removed within five years at the end of the war. Because the real estate and construction group in Richmond didn't want to lose that business. Then they built a big Safeway Depot where Harborgate was. That was there for a while, then it burned down. And then, they didn't rebuild it. But they put other things there. I flew over it one time, coming in, and here, I could look down and I could see where all the courts and street were. They hadn't put that in yet. And somewhere in my garage, I have that slide. I looked for it yesterday, I couldn't find it. But that's an interesting nostalgic picture. Empty streets where the people lived.


CANDIDA SMITH: Of course, it's the people that can't really--[inaudible]

HIDY: And that cookbook is a kind of little interesting thing, I'll find that. I couldn't find the quilt, I'll have to find that. It's in a box out there, and I tried to get it yesterday but I couldn't reach it. I thought that might be worth a--well, they'd like to display it maybe at the museum.

CANDIDA SMITH: Well, you were dealing with a congregation--congregation is probably not the right word-- dealing with a group of people who would be tested in many ways, asked to sacrifice when--I wonder how that compared with subsequent congregations you had where people were more affluent, when time were better? People are always being asked to sacrifice in ways they don't know but in the War, everybody--

HIDY: Well, I want to be honest. The people in Harborgate did not give too much to the ministry. They made offerings and they made gifts which we sent to some benevolent causes. But I've had different types of churches, no two churches alike. The most affluent parish I had was in Mercer Island, very rich community. And it was also the most difficult parish I ever had. As I said, it was all chiefs and no Indians. But, you meet 'em where they are, you know. But after seven years, I came back to California, came to the church here on Clayton Road, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, and stayed there until I retired.

CANDIDA SMITH: And have stayed in the area since.

HIDY: Yeah, we had bought this home. And my wife is a key worker in the {Lolbach?} program here. They have over one hundred volunteer tutors out every week teaching English as a second language. It's the largest literacy program in the Bay Area. And she's a tutor/trainer. And so we

have stayed here because she likes this work and they enjoy it and why move? I

have a computer here, printer [laughs], books, yeah.