Reverend Ross Hidy | Interview 2 | December 15, 2004

Oral History Center, UC Berkeley

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0:00 - Family background and Marriage

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Partial Transcript: We’re back two weeks later with Reverend Ross Hidy and his wife, Evelyn, has joined us this
time. Evelyn, I wonder if you could just tell us a little bit about your background, where you
were born and raised and—

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Evelyn and Ross Hidy

Subjects: background marriage

4:03 - Moving to Richmond

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Partial Transcript: And so, what was life like for you when you arrived in Richmond?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Church; Harborgate,; Secretary

Subjects: involvement in pastoring duties living in Harborgate--social and religious life women's group working as a secretary

10:56 - Challenges during the War

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Partial Transcript: Okay, well, I also wanted to talk to you about just sort of the everyday aspects of life during the
War. We all know about rationing and the use of coupons. How did you make ends meet as a
young wife? Was it easy enough to get what you needed to make meals and that sort of thing?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: making ends meet; scarcity; war

Subjects: life during war rationing scarcity

15:25 - Entertainment in Richmond and Exploring the Bay Area

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Partial Transcript: What did the two of you do for entertainment while you were in Richmond? Did you go to the
movies or did you continue going out to dances?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Bay Area; Harborgate; Protestant backgrounds; Richmond; Sunday school

Subjects: dealing with people from different Protestant backgrounds exploring the bay area losing people to war Sunday routine activities in Harborgate

28:17 - Relocating to Walnut Creek and the War's Effect on Evelyn's Ideas

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Partial Transcript: Did you travel with Ross when he was the West Coast Director—?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Baptist; Billy Graham crusades; Carol; Council of Churches; John Muir Hospital; Lutheran; Paul; Presbyterian; Reverend Henderson; Secretary; Sunday School; Walnut Creek; West Coast Director

Subjects: baptism having her child, Carol husband as West Coast Director living in Walnut Creek secretarial work women are able to do anything working with people of different doctrinal beliefs working with Reverend Henderson

34:33 - Parish Welcoming Migrants

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Partial Transcript: We have been invited to get a picture of the church welcoming people to
the shipyards so Ed Hill took this picture and it was symbolic of the church welcoming people to
Richmond to help build ships.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Flurry family; Friendly Church of Harborgate; Lois Johnson; North Dakota; Richmond

Subjects: building victory ships in Richmond canvassing defense area visitor inviting people of other denominations to Harborgate Church stories in magazines and church papers

37:28 - Parish Workers' Responsibilities, Adjusting Bible Study and Sunday School to the Situation of War, and Working Ecumenically

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Partial Transcript: Now what were the responsibilities of the parish workers? Maybe you could describe a little bit.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "Bible hour"; Bible school and college; Broad Street; Bucks County, Pennsylvania; City Hall; Galloway, Wisconsin; Harborgate situation; Hathaways; hymn; Jean Poulson; Nazis; Sunday school; trumpet; War effort

Subjects: Nazis had invaded northern countries which were Lutheran Parish workers giving bible stories and teaching in Sunday School Parish workers' jobs are 7 days a week, 24 hours a day working with people from other denominations

46:44 - Managing a Large Sunday School and Talking About Notable People in the Church

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Partial Transcript: Right now is good. [bell chimes] SO you see, Reverend Hidy, I want you to look at the photo,
see what it is, talk about it, I focus on face, and at the very end we can go back to the photo.
Okay, so, we already did that one.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: attendance cards; Captain Harry Durkee; carols; chapel room; choir; Christmas; Copenhagen, Denmark; Cub Pack; Doug Noble; Dr. Harold Henderson; Easter; Easter Sunday; Girl Scouts; Glee Club; Jean Poulson; junior choir; Lillian Anderson; Meeker Avenue; mobile chapel; Pastor Isaac Mickens; Presbyterian pastor; Roger Villa; Russell Ferguson; St. Olaf; Sunday School; the Indianapolis; the Inviting Christ; vacation Bible school; Wayside Chapel

Subjects: Captioning several photographs taken during Easter and Christmas Ed Hill photographed Hidy's photos Former student, Roger Villa, went to St. Olaf with a full scholarship and graduated magna cum laude talking about a friend that died in the Indianapolis

59:38 - The Independent Newspaper's Responsiveness to covering stories in Harborgate and Changes in Ministry Following War's End

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Partial Transcript: How active was the Independent in coming out to give press to Harborgate and to your ministry?
Did you know the Independent? You said a few times you called them to get some press but did
they come by for publicity shots like that?

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "The Missionary of the Month"; Alameda Naval Air Station; Berkeley; Copenhagen; Cutting; Ed Hill; Ginny Hughesby; Group 597; Kermie Rafshaw; Pastor Henderson; PBY navy pilot; Peggy Harwell; Peggy Henderson; Russ Ferguson; the "Independent"; Thorwaldson; University of California

Subjects: change in Missionary of the Month program following the war's end news release overcrowding of Sunday School photographer story talking about photographs

74:13 - Ed Hill, The Photographer

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Partial Transcript: Maybe you could tell us a little bit more about Ed Hill. You go to know him quite, quite well.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Benicia, Martinez; Berchtesgaden; C&H Sugar plant; Chicago; Eagle's Nest; Europe; Hitler; New York; refugees; Speedgraphic

Subjects: laboratory photography shipyards studio

83:44 - Compares the Various West Coast Ministries

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Partial Transcript: I also wanted, I think, in wrapping this up, to have you talk a little bit about the West Coast
wartime ministries. What were the differences between different locations where the church was

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Alameda; Banning Homes; Bremerton; Columbia River; Cutting; Encinal Housing Project; Flloyd Terrace; Hanford,Washington; Harborgate; Linda Vista; Portland; Resettlement of Displaced Persons; Richland, Washington; Richmond Terrace; San Diego; San Pedro; Seattle; Vallejo; Van McLaughlin Heights; Vancouver; Vanport

Subjects: involved in a special program for evangelism talking about less ecumenical churches on the west coast the flood in Vanport

91:37 - Involvement in the Human Rights Commission

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Partial Transcript: It was interesting. It was there they started the Human Rights Commission while I was there.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: "The Chronicle"; Bank of America; Clark Byzie; Father Eugene Boyle; Fern Spence; Good Friday; Haight Ashbury; Human Relations Committee; Human Rights Commission; Hunter's Point; KCBS; Mayor Jack Shelley; Mayor Joseph Alioto; Rabbi Joseph Glazer; Spences; Washington; Williamsville, Missouri

Subjects: duty was to "fight fires" gay rights hosted on a radio station


CANDIDA SMITH: We're back two weeks later with Reverend Ross Hidy and his wife, Evelyn, has joined us this time. Evelyn, I wonder if you could just tell us a little bit about your background, where you were born and raised and--

E. HIDY: I grew up in Trenton, New Jersey, and lived there until we were married. And went to school at Temple [University] and met Ross while I was there.

CANDIDA SMITH: And what did your father do for a living?

E. HIDY: He was a wholesale grocer, but it was of things like pickles and mustard and things like that that during the Depression people could do without. So, then my mother, at that point, baked beans in the oven and things like that to help out.

CANDIDA SMITH: And how did you come to meet Ross?

E. HIDY: Well, he was at Temple and my sister had graduated in June. And then I 1:00went the following September. And there was a football game so she had come down for the game and we were standing outside the big hall, there, on Broad Street. And she said, "Now, there goes one of the nicest men at Temple." He was across the street. And he came across the street and came over and she introduced us. And four years later we were married. [laughter from Reverend Hidy]

CANDIDA SMITH: So did you start seeing each other at that time or--?

E. HIDY: I was commuting so we saw each other at school.

CANDIDA SMITH: At school, right. Were you raise dint he Lutheran Church as well?

E. HIDY: Yes, mm-hmm.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you know that Ross had been planning on going into seminary?

E. HIDY: Not when I met him. [laughter from everyone] And it caused a problem because his uncle thought that he shouldn't go to the dances after he entered the seminary.

CANDIDA SMITH: Oh, really?

E. HIDY: Yeah. But we worked that out.

CANDIDA SMITH: Is it that seminarians shouldn't dance?


R. HIDY: Oh, my uncle was a bit of a pietist and he thought that we shouldn't go to dances after I entered seminary. We changed his mind on that.

E. HIDY: Well, he was directing the Men's Glee Club so we worked it out that the Glee Club sang at every dance, so then we went to more than we would have otherwise. [laughs]

R. HIDY: Yeah, we sag at intermission and we heard Glen Miller and Glen Gray and Artie Shaw and Bunny Barrigan, all the great bands.

CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah. Did you like jazz, too?

E. HIDY: I could take it or leave it.

CANDIDA SMITH: [laughter] But you liked to dance.

E. HIDY: I liked to dance, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: How long were you married when you two got the call to move to California?

E. HIDY: Just two years.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you had already been married for two years. And you had already settled into the life of being a pastor's wife, then?


E. HIDY: Not really, because he was the assistant pastor, and that's quite a different thing when you have a very--how should I describe him?

R. HIDY: Successful? Oh, you mean big church?

E. HIDY: Yeah, a big church and a successful pastor, then the assistant pastor's wife doesn't really have that much to do. And I was working.

CANDIDA SMITH: What kind of work were you doing?

E.HIDY: I was working as a secretary at the Psychology department.

CANDIDA SMITH: Oh, at Temple.

E. HIDY: At Temple.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, do you recall your feelings when you learned that you were going to be going to Richmond, California?

E. HIDY: I remember them quite well because I hadn't even been as far west as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. [laughs] So it seemed like the end of the world. I remember Ross going to the library and looking up Richmond and coming back and telling me, "It's fourteen feet above sea level." That was the only thing we could find out about it.

R. HIDY: It was in an atlas. It didn't have much on Richmond.

CANDIDA SMITH: And so, what was life like for you when you arrived in Richmond?


E. HIDY: When we moved finally from the motel into an apartment, it was fine until we discovered that there were about 20,000 cockroaches living there with us. But they were the little ones, not like they have down South. But it was--it was just very interesting. And it was something that we just sort of worked out as we went along.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, you got a job as well when you were in Richmond as I recall?

E. HIDY: I worked as the secretary to the principal of the junior high school where the kids from Harborgate went. I went in to get a job as a teacher but found out that you had to have five years and I only had four years of college.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you ever go back and get a teaching credential?

E. HIDY: No.

R. HIDY: No.

CANDIDA SMITH: Maybe you could describe to us what the responsibilities of a 5:00pastor's wife are?

E. HIDY: Oh my goodness. [laughter] I've always felt that she should do what she would expect somebody else in a similar family situation should do. I think that varies with who they are. And I never had any problem with that.

CANDIDA SMITH: Okay. Well, then, how did you define your own level of involvement? Since it's very personal, obviously.

E. HIDY: Well, I was always a part of the women's group and when--before we had children, I would teach Sunday school and then as they got older, why, I went back to that. I don't know, just--I didn't ever sing in the choir, I didn't impose that on them. But it was just a case of doing what other women were doing.

R. HIDY: But you accompanied the evening service.

E. HIDY: Oh, at Harborgate, yes. I did play the pump organ that we had, only 6:00every once in a while, I would forget to pump. [chuckles from Mr. and Mrs. Hidy] But I learned to play hymns like "He's the Lily of the Valley" and ones that I'd never heard before.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you have responsibilities for cooking and entertaining and that sort of thing?

E. HIDY: We did quite a bit of it when we were in San Francisco and other churches but in Harborgate, it was just very informal. It was mostly the people that we worked with who would eat with us and come after church and so on.

CANDIDA SMITH: To what degree were you/have you been involved in the pastoring duties on some kind of assistant level?

E. HIDY: None.


E. HIDY: Except folding bulletins and things like that. [chuckles]

CANDIDA SMITH: Okay. So, maybe you could describe living conditions in 7:00Harborgate. You had two apartments there.

E. HIDY: Well, the one was an apartment and that was with thirteen families. And they would not let you move because you had roaches. So, we stayed there for a year and finally, they let us move over into Harborgate, itself. And those were little individual houses that were very close to the next one. But we shook every paper and we never found another roach. So, actually, it was fine over there. Those were furnished apartments, or furnished houses, really. We had two bedrooms and Ross used one as a study. And it worked out fine.

CANDIDA SMITH: And the places were comfortable? Were they warm enough?

E. HIDY: We had a kerosene stove and every once in a while one of the people would forget to go get kerosene. And then it would be cold. But, if you remembered to get your kerosene and you were careful with it, why, it was safe enough.

CANDIDA SMITH: You must have gotten to know a number of the other women in the 8:00projects. I would imagine that various things that happened from washing to whatever.

E. HIDY: Right, and we had a women's group that met and so it was a very--that was a pretty close group.

CANDIDA SMITH: What were some of the things that the women's group did? Was it primarily bible study or--?

E. HIDY: We would have a bible study when we met and then that would be the group that would have a supper or we had--didn't we have a Thanksgiving? [to Reverend Hidy?]

R. HIDY: Yeah, we had a Thanksgiving dinner, you made choir robes.

E. HIDY: Yeah, that's true.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you, as a group, do things like make socks for the soldiers overseas?

E. HIDY: No, because most of them were working.

CANDIDA SMITH: Oh, in the shipyards.

E. HIDY: In the shipyards, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did the women talk about their experiences on the job much?


E. HIDY: I really don't remember much about that. I think they were just glad to get away from it. So.

CANDIDA SMITH: And what about they're husbands. Did they're husband mind them working as far as you knew?

E. HIDY: Oh, I don't think so. I think that was part of the bargain when they came. I think most of them had to.

CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah, okay. Sounds like there was a very active social life in Harborgate. To what degree was that because you guys were at the center of this church activity and to what degree were people in Harborgate socializing with each other all the time.

E. HIDY: There wasn't that much socializing I don't think except for us with the group that we worked with. You had people who were your own age or sometimes a 10:00little bit older because we were pretty young at that point. And so we socialized a lot with them. But you were so busy doing things that you didn't stop to think about that.

CANDIDA SMITH: Well, maybe we could start looking at some of the photographs. You've got a really nice archive of pictures on the Harborgate ministry. These are some of the pictures that you'd like to share and--

R. HIDY: Well, this is a little boy! [referring to photograph] Do you want to comment about Tonto? [to Evelyn]

E. HIDY: I don't remember too much about him.

R. HIDY: Well, you used to tell bible stories to him and one day he said, "Jesus got a new bathrobe." Remember?

E. HIDY: No.

R. HIDY: Don't you? I remember that! [laughs than pauses while shuffling through papers and photos] I should have organized these--[interview interruption]

CANDIDA SMITH: Okay, well, I also wanted to talk to you about just sort of the everyday aspects of life during the War. We all know about rationing and the use 11:00of coupons. How did you make ends meet as a young wife? Was it easy enough to get what you needed to make meals and that sort of thing?

E. HIDY: Well, you adapted. So you cooked what you could get. But, we would run out of sugar and there was a family that had ten children. And so they would give us their sugar coupons and we would give them our shoe coupons because we could make our shoes last a lot longer than they did.

And I'll never forget going down to their house for dinner. They had a big table, and all these thirteen people around the table. It was very interesting.

But, we had trouble getting meat and then eventually we were able to get a side of beef but we didn't realize it was a utility beef and it was tough as it could be. But we had it in the freezer and so we continued to eat it and have pot 12:00roast every Sunday.

There is sort of a funny story about one of the men that Ross mentioned to you, Mac McClary and his wife came down and he was going to be a student at Cal, on his doctorate. And someone had recommended that they get in touch with Ross if they needed housing. So, they called and

they were going to come over and we were going to have them for lunch. And I said to myself, "Okay, if I like them, they'll get the last jar we have of peaches, and if I don't, they won't get any dessert." [laughing in the background from Ross] And so, later on, I told them why they had gotten the peaches. [laughs]

So, you sort of spread things out.

CANDIDA SMITH: How did you get the coupons, were they mailed to you or did you have to go somewhere to pick them up on a regular basis?

E. HIDY: You know, I don't remember. I have no idea. In fact, somewhere I still 13:00have a ration book. But you had books and then you had so many coupons that came with it, and they were just little things.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you get--did Ross because he was the pastor get special allocations?

E. HIDY: The only thing he got was gasoline. He did get a ration for gasoline because he was a pastor?

CANDIDA SMITH: Was it easy enough to get gasoline?

E. HIDY: Oh yeah, if you had the coupon, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: I mean, it sounds like food, there was enough food, but you didn't know what was going to be--

E. HIDY: No, that was when you learned about spam and--one of the girls who came out and worked with us, her father had developed that.


E. HIDY: Yes. So we knew about it early. [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: What about washing? How did you wash clothes?

E. HIDY: Well, that was a little tricky because we would--one of the women who lived several doors down told me that I could use her washing machine. And so, I 14:00would gather up all my clothes and take them over to her house and wash them and bring them back. And then after the McClary's moved in, Kay had a washing machine and so my sister-in-law, who also lived in the project, and I would both take our clothes over the Kay's and we'd wash 'em all at the same time and then sort 'em out and take them home and hang 'em up.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you have to get soap ration as well?

E. HIDY: You know, I can't remember. I don't know.

CANDIDA SMITH: Then I wonder did the church provide you with some kind of extra assistance? I would think probably--maybe I'm wrong on this--but I would think that the young pastor was probably making a lot less money than most of the shipyard workers.

E. HIDY: Well, that's true, except we didn't have to pay for housing.


E. HIDY: So, the church paid for the housing. And I don't remember ever actually running out of money.


CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah, well, you made do.

E. HIDY: Yeah. [chuckles]

CANDIDA SMITH: One of things people say is that there wasn't--people had more money than they were able to spend given the scarcity of some of the things.

E. HIDY: Yes. Well, and everybody was in the same boat, so, you didn't worry about it.

CANDIDA SMITH: What did the two of you do for entertainment while you were in Richmond? Did you go to the movies or did you continue going out to dances?

E. HIDY: No. [laughs] Um, let's see. Mostly, we were just very involved with the project. I really don't remember ever going to a movie. And I don't remember what else we did. [laughs]

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you explore the area, you know, coming to the bay area for the first time?

E. HIDY: Well, yes, we did. We went over to the beach and around when we--but 16:00Ross has never been very good at taking a day off, so we mostly worked. But we did go to Yosemite for the first time and took sleeping bags and a stove and everything else up with us on the train and in the bus.

Because somebody had told us we had to do that as soon as it was nice. So we had quite an experience with that.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you camped out.

E. HIDY: We camped out and it was just before Memorial Day so there was hardly anyone there. So, it was great.

CANDIDA SMITH: That's nice. Did you go back home periodically? How did you keep in touch with your family?

E. HIDY: My folks came out every once in a while. Ross' folks were in Portland and they came down. We went back occasionally but not very often. It was too 17:00expensive. So unless he went back for a meeting or something, why then, we didn't go.

CANDIDA SMITH: [To second interviewer, David Washburn] Do you have any questions?

WASHBURN: I was going to ask, where did the women in Harborgate go shopping for their goods? Can you describe the scene there? Was there a supermarket that everyone frequented?

E. HIDY: Not right in the project, but you just went down into Richmond and shopped. And if you really wanted clothes or anything, you had to over into Berkeley. Because it was just housing and then the school. All those things don't register anymore.[laughs] I just don't remember exactly what we did.

WASHBURN: Being in downtown Richmond, did you have a sense of interacting with folks who 18:00you knew from Harborgate, would you see there? When did you start to get a sense of "I belong here," in some ways? How long did it take for you to start adjusting to feeling like this town was all so--?

E. HIDY: I don't think we ever really felt a part of Richmond itself. We felt a part of Harborgate and that was like a little town in itself. And the people there were very warm, really. And I think it was the first or second Christmas, after we move over into Harborgate itself which is quite different than living across the railroad tracks on the other side, they came with a quilt. Did Ross mention that?

CANDIDA SMITH: He did mention that, but it would be nice if you just told your version of the story.

E. HIDY: It was very interesting because they came with this quilt that they had 19:00made, they called a Friendship Quilt. And it was made from--the pieces that they put together were from dresses that actually they had worn. And so, as you looked at it, you could see that person in that dress. It was very nice.

WASHBURN: Why was Richmond in some ways not welcoming, when you said you felt like Harborgate was your community? What was not so warm for you in Richmond?

E. HIDY: Well, the church, the Lutheran Church was very welcoming to us. But the city itself suddenly had this huge number of people that had descended on it, and we had everything we needed in Harborgate, really. And we were very, very busy down there.

One of the cute things I'll never forget was standing there ironing Ross' 20:00shirts, and this little boy who must have been about seven, I guess, standing there watching me. And finally he said, "Oh, you do that so well!" [in awestruck tones] And I felt so proud of myself that I could actually iron his shirt, I felt very good, I'd ironed it just right, and folded it up, and he was so impressed. So the kids used to come over a lot.

I remember one time when I decided that we would freeze asparagus, and I didn't know very much about it. But we had rented this locker downtown. And so--several of the little kids from next door came over to help. And I cut up all the asparagus and put all the hard ends right in with it. And it was the worst stuff you ever ate in your life! [laughs] But they thought it was great.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you grow food? Were there community gardens?

E. HIDY: No, mm-mm. It was all just housing.


CANDIDA SMITH: Was that because people didn't have time to grow food? To have victory gardens?

E. HIDY: They had victory gardens up in that town but there really wasn't any space in Harborgate for anything like that.

CANDIDA SMITH: What about recreational programs for the residents?

E. HIDY: The big building that was there was called the Rec Hall. And they did have recreation director and she had programs for the kids.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, primarily for the kids.

E. HIDY: Mm-hmm. Well, as I say, all the people were working. So they really didn't have much time.

CANDIDA SMITH: People were working six days a week? Seven days a week?

E. HIDY: I don't remember.

CANDIDA SMITH: It might vary, I suppose. Maybe you could just describe what a typical Sunday would be like for you?

E. HIDY: For us? Well, we would get up and go down--Ross would blow his trumpet 22:00and the kids would start to come, and we would have Sunday school. We had about a hundred kids in the primary department and I was in charge of that. And then, after Sunday school, we had church and we had a children's church because there wasn't room to have all the kids go into the room where we had church. So we had that, and then we would go home. And usually the people that were working with us--sometimes it was two and sometimes, during the summer, it would be four or five--would come and have dinner with us. Then, in the afternoon, I can't remember what we did. And then we usually had church again at night. And then, afterwards, people would come back to the house. But we learned how little you could get along with.

CANDIDA SMITH: And Sunday school, was there any way in which the Sunday school 23:00lessons are different because the war was going on?

E. HIDY: I don't think the Sunday school lessons were but when we had Bible school, I remember we couldn't find material that we felt was appropriate for in the housing area. Just because of the children that we had. It was meant for an established church. And so we wrote our own. So, I had had some training in teaching, so we wrote the whole thing out and we had our aims and we put everything together, you know, the handwork and the memory work and the stories, and the whole bit.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, this was because this was ecumenical and so you were dealing with people from many different Protestant backgrounds?

E. HIDY: Yeah, but they were just ordinary kids and we just didn't like what the other groups were putting out because it usually had an angle to it. [clock 24:00begins to chime]

CANDIDA SMITH: An angle, I'm not quite--

E. HIDY: I mean a Lutheran angle or a Methodist angle or something and we felt that what they needed was just real basic stuff.

WASHBURN: How much of the material that you guys wrote, did it relate to current events, were there at all any parables that you integrated into the curriculum that had to do at all with the war and what these kids knew was going on?

E. HIDY: No, we didn't--it was all Bible study. And then you'd relate as you taught it yourself but we didn't try to work that in.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you have to deal with issues of people losing close family members? Did that come up?

E. HIDY: It did come up because--it came up in a very real way with us when one 25:00of the fellows that had taught, come out from Treasure Island to teach Sunday school was lost. So that affected all of us.

CANDIDA SMITH: Was this a--how frequent of an occurrence was it that people in the projects lost somebody in the war?

E. HIDY: It wasn't actually that frequent with the people that were active in our group. I'm sure it was frequent as far as the total group was concerned.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, your church covered what do you think--ten percent of the population, twenty percent, fifty? Do you have any sense?

E. HIDY: I really don't. We had, of course, many more children involved than we had parents. So, I don't know how you'd figure that out.


CANDIDA SMITH: Did anybody ever complain about Ross blowing the horn?

E. HIDY: Just the first time he did it. The man across the street didn't like it because it woke him up. Then Harvey started to blow it with him and it all worked out.

CANDIDA SMITH: It all worked out. The guy who complained learned to live with it.

E. HIDY: I think so, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: What kind of tunes was Ross playing?

E. HIDY: He would play hymns. And then eventually, we got the {carol on?} which was put on top of the building. And then that played hymns. And so, then they played those, I think it was at noon and six, I'm not sure.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, Sunday school started what time?

E. HIDY: Probably ten, I don't remember.

CANDIDA SMITH: And did you have midweek services?

E. HIDY: No.

CANDIDA SMITH: No. So then Monday through Friday, you were at work.


E. HIDY: Well, during the day, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: And there were a number of seminarians that were working with you. Maybe you could--

E. HIDY: There wasn't any seminary then out here for the Lutheran Church, but they were people from the student house in Berkeley, the Lutheran student house, who came out and then eventually they went to seminary. And some of them, like Harry Durkee hadn't been intending to go to seminary at all, but ended up going. They were just kids that came out from there. And then several fellows that came over from Treasure Island who were in the Navy. And they would come over on Saturday night and stay overnight. One would sleep on the couch, and one would sleep on the floor on the pillows from the couch. And so it was very much a family.


CANDIDA SMITH: And you did this for five years?

E. HIDY: Just about. Mm-hmm.

CANDIDA SMITH: Just about, '43 to--

E. HIDY: We left in '49, yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you travel with Ross when he was the West Coast Director--?

E. HIDY: No, I didn't.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you just stayed in Harborgate.

E. HIDY: No, no, when he was West Coast Director, we lived in Walnut Creek actually in back of what is now the John Muir hospital.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, you got your own house, then

E. HIDY: We had a house out there for two years, complete with a pump that would go dry and a horse that we had. It was quite an experience. Since I don't ride or know anything about horses.

CANDIDA SMITH: But you had to feed the horse.

E. HIDY: Well, our son was supposed to feed the horse. In between those times we had adopted two Latvian war orphans.


E. HIDY: And then we also had Carol who was born while we were in Berkeley. And 29:00then Paul was born just six weeks before we moved to Walnut Creek. So that kept me busy.

CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah. Four children. So you stopped working for a while.

E. HIDY: I stopped working when we left Harborgate. [voice of Reverend Hidy in the background in another room]

CANDIDA SMITH: So, you were saying that you worked for Reverend Henderson?

E. HIDY: In the Council of Churches office for awhile.

CANDIDA SMITH: What kind of work were you doing?

E. HIDY: Just strictly secretarial. And I did bulletins and all that sort of 30:00thing, letters.

CANDIDA SMITH: This was after the war?

E. HIDY: No, this was during the war, yeah, after I worked at the school for several years and then I worked for him for about a year.

CANDIDA SMITH: Could you tell us a little bit about Reverend Henderson? What kind of a man he was?

E. HIDY: I think the thing that would stick out about him was he was very gracious and very kind. He wasn't dynamic in any way but he worked very hard. I think his kindness more than anything else would be what I would remember about him.

His wife had died shortly before we came out here. But he and his children came out and one of his daughters taught Sunday School in Harborgate. And then he was working in another community, I'm not sure which one.

CANDIDA SMITH: The Sunday school group, you were all--Reverend Henderson as I recall was Presbyterian. So, you were Lutheran, there might have been somebody 31:00who was Baptist--

E. HIDY: Oh, yes.

CANDIDA SMITH: You all had to figure out how you were going to work together on some level given that you did have some doctrinal differences.

E. HIDY: But these kids were--you weren't trying convert anybody. [laughs] So, you just stayed away from those things. And like Ross said, he could have {catechetical?} instruction for all of the kids, but when it came to baptism, why then, he took them down to the Baptist Church and the Lutheran Church. So, we tried not to infringe on somebody else's doctrines. But there was so much we had in common that it just wasn't a problem at all.

CANDIDA SMITH: Was this new to you? Working with people from other denominations?

E. HIDY: Yes, it was. Because I had been Lutheran all my life in a very small church.


CANDIDA SMITH: It sounds though, that it didn't take much getting use to.

E. HIDY: It really didn't. I mean, it was the--it just sort of came naturally, I think. We were interested in the people and they responded and so things kept growing and it was just a lot of fun.

CANDIDA SMITH: Later, after the war, Ross was involved with the Billy Graham crusades, were you part of that?

E. HIDY: No. I went to the crusades but I wasn't part of it. Except we did have Billy and several of his people came to our house after one of the crusades. And we did get to know some of the people who were working with him who came to our church.

CANDIDA SMITH: I asked Ross this question and he had some interesting things to 33:00say, but I figured--in terms of what you learned from the War years, were there things that you saw that maybe changed some of the ideas you had about any aspect of life? What women can do? How children should be raised? How churches should function? How you wanted to lead your own life? In a sense, what were some of the lesson you took away from the war?

E. HIDY: I think one of the things would be that women can do what anything they want to do. Because I was really surprised when I'd see women walking home who were in our church, walking home with their hoods on, you know, and realize that they were welders in the shipyard during the week. And also that it certainly 34:00didn't take money to be happy, people there with very little but how happy we could all be. Nothing very glamorous. [laughter]

CANDIDA SMITH: Shall we--? [interview interruption, interview resumes with Reverend Hidy]

WASHBURN: Okay, let's start over, sorry about that guys. That's happened to me before for longer than two minutes.

R. HIDY: [talking about photos] We have been invited to get a picture of the church welcoming people to the shipyards so Ed Hill took this picture and it was symbolic of the church welcoming people to Richmond to help build ships. These were the victory ships, the later ships.

CANDIDA SMITH: So this picture, you were saying, was sent all over the country for--?

R. HIDY: Well, they wanted the stories about what was happening and since 35:00Richmond suddenly became the largest of them all, it was often used in stories that were in magazines and church papers and all, so it was used a lot.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, I gather from things you said last time that you, in fact, did not go to the shipyards all that much, so in a way this was like a staged picture. It's symbolic.

R. HIDY: It's kind of a symbol shot, you know. Just was a created one to show the church welcoming them.

CANDIDA SMITH: How did you welcome people?

R. HIDY: Well, our parish workers would make a visit at the homes. Of course, they canvassed every home. But then they would know if there was a vacancy and someone else came, why, they would stop by and visit or our children would stop by and invite them to come. And we would send a letter to every family welcoming them and tell them we'd help them find their church if they were a member of a denomination, and if not we welcome them to come to the community building, to 36:00the Friendly Church of Harborgate.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, this photo looks like it was taken by Ed Hill as well?

R. HIDY: Ed Hill took this. This was the Flurry family with ten children. The parish visitor, Lois Wagner, is making a call--

E. HIDY: Lois Johnson.

R. HIDY: Lois Johnson, yeah. Lois Johnson's making a call and the interesting thing, Ev and I--

CANDIDA SMITH: Who's Lois Johnson? Is she the--

R. HIDY: She's the defense area visitor--

E. HIDY: No, which one is she on the picture. This one right here on the end.

R. HIDY: That's her. [points] She was one of those who were sent and came. No pastor ever went to a community without one parish visitor, or larger ones with two. And so we had--she was there when we got there.

CANDIDA SMITH: And where did she come from?

R. HIDY: North Dakota.

CANDIDA SMITH: That's right, you typed it, yes.

R. HIDY: And then I have a fascinating letter that--she left later because her fiancé sent her an engagement ring and so she went back. And before she did, 37:00she made her wedding dress. And she did an interesting thing. She cut the small pieces first. And when she went to find a big piece, there wasn't a big piece for the front. [laughs] So, what'd she do? I guess she had to--

E. HIDY: She pieced it together. [laughs]

R. HIDY: But she was appreciative of the friendship, everybody helped her get ready to go get married.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now what were the responsibilities of the parish workers? Maybe you could describe a little bit.

R. HIDY: Well, the parish workers, they had bible hours, they would have groups come and have bible stories. Or else they would come and help in the Church service, and she had a big Sunday school class, and they were a part of the whole educational program. A busy program on Sunday, but some programs during the week.

CANDIDA SMITH: And what kind of training did she get to do this?


R. HIDY: Oh, she had gone to Bible school and college and she was a very well-educated person, very, very gifted, very talented, so Lois was very effective in what she did.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, maybe--I don't know if the Lutheran Church is ordaining women but maybe sixty years later, she would have become a pastor herself?

R. HIDY: The fellow she married became a pastor. And he was in the state of Iowa. And he was working with mission churches, so they were active in the church all their life. She passed away of a heart attack about eight years ago.


WASHBURN: So, let's look at this picture real quick. If you could hold right there for a bit, okay. And describe one more time. This is where?

R. HIDY: [describing photo] This is a Bible hour, she's teaching a little group, giving a bible story. And I guess this is an afternoon. Sometimes she would call 39:00a group in and they would--later we had a special building, two buildings, and a very full program of all kinds of activities.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, I asked Evelyn this, but, I wanted to follow up a little bit in terms of how you might have adjusted bible study and Sunday school to take into account the situation in Harborgate and the War effort. Were there things that you felt needed to be stressed in particular? How did it shape the way you thought a Sunday School should be done or Bible study might be done?

R. HIDY: I don't believe that there was any change. I think we just went ahead and were trying to teach content of scripture and the life of Jesus, teachings of Jesus. And the fact that there was a war on didn't change the message, but it 40:00did make them appreciate fellowship and the opportunity to have a group that was their family. So that was it.

CANDIDA SMITH: What about your personal experience before this of working in an ecumenical style, shall we say? Had you had much experience working with people from other denominations?

R. HIDY: In the summer I'd always been part of an ecumenical group out in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. And our home church was a very cooperative church. They had a very interesting thing. Before the War started, my uncle gathered all the churches together and suggested they have a big parade, a Sunday School parade. So they did, and Sunday schools of many churches in Philadelphia had a big parade. They had 200,000 in it. They paraded down Broad Street and around City 41:00Hall and out to the art museum. It was just a kind of expression of joy at their cooperative work in a common endeavor in Sunday School.

So, I was always active in groups that were more than one denomination.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did your--your uncle was Ross {Stouffer?} as I recall. Did he give you any advice about how to handle the Harborgate situation?

R. HIDY: All that he had ever said was, "Wherever you go, you want to have to people." And he never said this kind of person or that kind of person. So when we had an invitation to come and go to a place that had a 100,000 people, we thought, "Well, it looks like it meets the standards," so we went. [chuckles]

But no, he didn't. I just watched him in operation and realized that he did it in a very gracious way.

CANDIDA SMITH: Let's move on--


WASHBURN: Can you scoot your chair over this way maybe six inches or so?

CANDIDA SMITH: Towards you?

WASHBURN: Yeah, towards me, I just want this right over your shoulders--yeah, perfect, there you go. And Reverend Hidy, when the Christian teachings of peace and love thy neighbor are such a part of the message, how did you discuss the fact that there was so much death and destruction going on during this time?

R. HIDY: You mean in Europe?


R. HIDY: Well, we didn't start it, we were trying to end it. And our group over there was trying to overcome the Nazi regime with all of its devilish ways with the Jews and all. And so, that was a kind of a united effort to try to do the thing that would allow peace in Germany and in Europe and France. Remember that 43:00the northern countries had been invaded by the Nazis and that was all Lutheran country. And so, we sympathized with the suffering that was going on and hoped

that the war might bring, you know, the old [sings] "There'll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover," you know, when the War is over. [laughs] That was the hope and the dream and the prayer.

WASHBURN: So peace was the end that was--

R. HIDY: --we were hoping for, that's right. These pictures, this is a part of a bible school, or could that have even been a--this is her Sunday school class on Sunday, yeah, Lois' Sunday school class. I don't know how long you want this on?

WASHBURN: Let me film that just for one second here. I just want to get a little taste of it and then we'll scan some other time. Okay, kids raising their hands. [referring to photo]

R. HIDY: This is the letter where she later wrote and thanked us for helping her 44:00get ready to go get married. Kind of funny, but it was very--she was a very lovely, gracious person. We had a lot of time together.

CANDIDA SMITH: So as a parish worker, was that like a forty hour a week job?

R. HIDY: No, it was like seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. [laughs] But it was a great joy.

CANDIDA SMITH: And was she in the housing projects as well?

R. HIDY: She lived with a family in the Lutheran Church, the Hathaways, and that's where she was. Her successor was from Wisconsin, from Galloway, Wisconsin, Jean Poulson. And Jean was a very vivacious little blonde with a red cloth coat, and she would walk around the community and kids would gather around Jean. She had a junior high Sunday school class and I had the junior high boys 45:00class and we had big competition who could have the most for ten weeks in a row and finally, her group had fifty-two and we had forty-eight. So, Jean's class won the contest. She was a very wonderful person.

The big thing, of course, that happened was that we had to use the trumpet to call people and I-- you didn't get a picture of this.[showing photo] On Sunday morning, there was no church bell.

And we wanted people to know something was happening in the community building so the first

Sunday, I played my trumpet in front of this building. I played hymns out over the houses and then I went to the back of the building and played for the buildings down below in the other part toward the Bay. And inside of ten 46:00minutes, our Sunday school grew by one hundred. The young boy playing with me is a neighbor boy across the street. He said, to me after the first Sunday, "Yeah, I've got a trumpet too, may I play with you?" So he did. And he still playing his trumpet and he became a Southern Baptist missionary.

WASHBURN: Why don't we go back to that. Why don't you just tell the story and then hold it up for me at the very end. You don't have to hold it up for the whole time. I just want to get a sense of what the picture is. So you don't have to hold it up the whole time.

E. HIDY: Just don't hold it up.

WASHBURN: Right now is good. [bell chimes] SO you see, Reverend Hidy, I want you to look at the photo, see what it is, talk about it, I focus on face, and at the very end we can go back to the photo.

Okay, so, we already did that one.

R. HIDY: Alright, very good. We had a real problem when you have 300 kids coming 47:00to Sunday school and then they're going to go into the Sunday school class, the teacher wants a roll, wants to know who's there. So the parish worker says, "Well, why don't we have a table when they come in with attendance cards." So they had a little slip of paper and everyone coming in would take one of these, write their name and their age and their address and their Sunday school class and then when they came to their class, they'd just give that slip to the teacher and the teacher would put them in the envelope and she would take the roll in about twenty seconds. And it was a great idea and it worked very, very well.

WASHBURN: Reverend Hidy, can we now look at that photo?

R. HIDY: Oh yeah. Some of these people in here I recognize. And one of them that's there leaning over and writing his name is Roger {Villa?} who is the boy who later on said, "I want to be a pastor." And that's a very long story, a 48:00delightful story, and he--

CANDIDA SMITH: He went to Carlton, right?

R. HIDY: No, he went to St. Olaf.

CANDIDA SMITH: St. Olaf, yes.

R. HIDY: And had a marvelous record. He surprised all of us by having literally an outstanding record, receiving a full scholarship and graduating magna cum laude. And then he went on to seminary. This little boy was quite a story. [goes on to next picture]

Six weeks after we got there, this is what the Sunday school was. 363 were there that Sunday, I remember. And Dr. Harold Henderson came so that he could be there and in the picture we had wanted him there, so he was there. His daughter, who 49:00played our organ for is in church service, she's in this picture, too. This is a very historic photo. And that was an exciting thing that the Sunday school had grown that quickly.

CANDIDA SMITH: Was this done by Ed Hill as well?

R. HIDY: Ed took all of these.

CANDIDA SMITH: All of these. So he started photographing, documenting your work right as soon as you got there.

R. HIDY: Well, at the invitation of our national director who called me and said, "Get a photographer and get pictures! We have to have stories, and with the stories, we want to have photographs to illustrate it."

This is a shot--[mumbling from interviewers as they talk to each other]--go ahead? This is a picture from the front of our little chapel room showing the children. The choir is over on the left and the little choir robes. And most of 50:00the kids who came and the adults brought a New Testament or a Bible and followed in the service and in the reading of the Scripture. So, that's typical of what happened. You could get about 220 people in this chapel, which we had to set up on Saturday night. First, we just had a table with a wooden cross and above it a picture of Jesus,

{Solomon's?} head of Christ. But later on, we were allowed to have a different, more formal church set up. And that was enjoyed a great deal. People liked it a lot. [moves on to next photograph]

This shows what it looked like the first Easter that we were there. You see, behind along the wall is that picture of Jesus, a candelabra there, we had 51:00special flowers. The place was packed

because it was Easter Sunday. And that's the informal worship service we had. Later, we were allowed and I was able to get a picture of {Torvaldson's?} Christ, the Inviting Christ, it's in the famous church in Copenhagen, Denmark. This one was a photograph mounted on plywood. And I was able to have it sent out and we got one of our members to make an altar and pulpit or a lectern, a reading stand, and communion rail. And Evvie and her friend made the cloth that hangs behind the picture. And that was then set up permanently. And the administration said, "You can leave it up and that's your chapel and you can have use of it all the time, anytime you want it." So, that's how things 52:00changed. [murmured instructions from Washburn to turn over image] You want the other side, huh?

E. HIDY: And I remember something funny about that because we decided to get green velveteen for that backing, and we were going to have hangings on the altar and the pulpit. And that was fine, except that we miscalculated and we have so much left over that I had a green velveteen dress out of it. So, I matched the hangings. [laughter]

R. HIDY: That was a good joke.

[moves on to next photograph] This is our junior choir. The women made the little white robes for them. And this is the time they sang in the shipyard right before Christmas. And they amplified it in all of the shipyards. So for 53:00one half hour, why, our choir sang carols and everybody in the shipyard heard it.

[pauses then moves on the next photograph] We did more than send a letter to every house every month, we sent a little paper and then every once in a while, we would have a parade. And there was a Presbyterian pastor, Doug Noble, who had a mobile chapel called the Wayside Chapel.

And he would bring that and that would go in front of our group and we would march around the community. And then we had kids handing out papers and invitations to come. And that was one way that we got the story out to everybody.

WASHBURN: Do you know the name of the street that you're on there?

R. HIDY: I'm not sure which one that is. That's probably the one to the side, 54:00Owens Street, I guess.

WASHBURN: And that's all the development right behind it in the background.

R. HIDY: Oh yeah, that could have been on Meeker Avenue, I'm not sure. We had Sunday school everywhere. We had Sunday school everywhere.

[referring to next photograph] This is the kitchen. And one of the fellows, a young fellow, was studying at Treasure Island at the Naval Electronic School. He was a boy who had been in Temple University when I was director of the Glee Club and he sang in the Glee Club. His father was my English professor, one of the best I ever had. And all of a sudden, he came out to go to electronic school. Russ came out. He came out just when the Sunday school teacher who had taught there had had to move. So, I gave him a book and he was a Sunday school teacher. 55:00He was very much liked by all the boys. But there's a tragic end to that story. Just before the war, he finished his training and he was assigned to a ship. He went out on the Indianapolis. That ship carried the A-bomb components to {Tinyan?}. About three weeks after that, a Japanese submarine got that ship and a great number of them were lost and we all got that news the day of VJ day. And when we gathered in the chapel to have a little Thanksgiving prayer, it was a very, very sad service. Because we knew that one of our close friends had lost his life in the loss of the Indianapolis. [pause]

WASHBURN: This is him there in his uniform?


R. HIDY: Yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: And his name was?

R. HIDY: Russell Ferguson.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did you know his family back in Pennsylvania? Back east?

R. HIDY: I found a letter that I had wrote to his parents and they had written to me and asked if I would tell them about it and I wrote them a two- or three-page letter telling all about it and got a wonderful letter back from them.

[next picture] This is a picture of Jean Poulson's class. I don't know if you had that. [pause]

[next picture] We had a vacation Bible school every summer and this is a picture of Lillian Anderson, another parish worker. At the end of the program, why they had the parents and all come and she's there, a group of people looking at the 57:00handwork that they had made in their class.

CANDIDA SMITH: Where did she come from? What was her background?

R. HIDY: Lillian was from the Midwest, I'm not positive now what state she's from, but she was a very gifted person. She's the one who visited and found Harry Durkee and his wife, Captain Harry Durkee, who came later on as a veteran.

CANDIDA SMITH: So the parish were assigned to you by the Synod or--?

R. HIDY: We had a central office in Chicago at 327 South LaSalle, and they would train periodically a group of your people and then send them to different projects all around the country.

CANDIDA SMITH: Mostly women, then. Young white--younger women?

R. HIDY: They were younger women. Once in a while, a little older, but they were very dedicated and they had taken special training and some of them had been parish workers in churches. But some of them were young and this was their first 58:00assignment. But they had a great time.

[next photograph] Did you get a picture like this? Shows the inside--when they would come for a vacation bible school, we'd have them all come in the big auditorium and we'd sing songs for a little while. Not hymns, silly songs. And they dearly loved to sing, "She'll be coming 'round the mountain when she comes. When she comes." [sings] And they would sing their heads off. They loved that so we did that. We let 'em have fun, you know. Got it?

[next photograph] One of the best parts of our program was our scout program. The black church, Pastor Mickens' church, had a troupe and we had a Boy Scout troupe and we Cub Pack and we had Dens and we had Girls Scouts and we had Brownies. Periodically, we had had an awards night, court of honor, and this picture was in the Richmond Independent newspaper. It shows Pastor Isaac Mickens 59:00with one of their scouts who was getting an honor and some of our boys getting an award and one of our Cub Scouts and one of our Brownies. But it was the biggest Cub Pack in the county.

CANDIDA SMITH: And you were the cub master?

R. HIDY: No, no. We had committees that did all of that. I just cheered 'em on, you know. But when we had an awards thing, why, I would help and help present them.

WASHBURN: How active was the Independent in coming out to give press to Harborgate and to your ministry? Did you know the Independent? You said a few times you called them to get some press but did they come by for publicity shots like that?

R. HIDY: I would send them a news release. You didn't hear the story when I took a news release down at the beginning?

CANDIDA SMITH: Yeah, you told that.


R. HIDY: But after that, all I had to do was send them a news release, tell them when it was, and they would send a photographer and do a big story. You have a good story on Evvie. [referring to something one of the interviewers is holding]

One Sunday, we tried to see how many people we could get to come on one Sunday. We had never gone over five hundred. And so, we did our best and we told the people that we will--the biggest family, we'll give a lovely Bible to. [phone rings] We had two families that came--

WASHBURN: A good place to stop, I have to change this tape. [interview interruption while media are exchanged]

WASHBURN: Okay, go ahead Reverend Hidy.

R. HIDY: Let's see--


R. HIDY: You want the twin picture? One Sunday, we tried to get big families to come and we had two families that had ten children and we had to give two 61:00Bibles. But the same day, we had the twins come forward and we were surprised how many sets of twins we had in our Sunday school. They were excited to have their picture taken. And it was fun.

CANDIDA SMITH: Why don't you go back tot he picture that Ed Hill took.

R. HIDY: The big group?

CANDIDA SMITH: The big group, the 597.

R. HIDY: Yeah, I think that was the biggest group, I think 597. Pretty much, I think we had a parade that day and then we had Sunday school. And it was an exciting time.

[next photograph] Our parish workers had a good idea. They analyzed that most Sunday schools give an award for a year's perfect attendance. We thought that 62:00was not very wise. So we gave a little picture of Jesus for four Sundays and then a big picture for eighteen Sundays in a row. And this is a group one Sunday that got their larger picture for perfect attendance for eighteen Sundays.

Our logic was very simple. If you can get them to come four Sundays, you've got a habit, and if you get 'em eighteen, {you're doing very well with that?}.

WASHBURN: Could you hold that up for one more minute, please.

R. HIDY: It was kind of crowded after Sunday school and everybody left and Ed Hill took a picture of that one day, when everybody was going home.

[interview interruption to request Mrs. Hidy to stop talking on the phone within 63:00earshot of the interview]

R. HIDY: She's the one that started a Sunday school at our house over in Cutting! So many children around there and she was used to being a Sunday school teacher, and this was before she got to know us, so she started a Sunday school and more came and more came and we laughed when we found out what she was doing. She had so many children, some of them had to sit in the bathtub. They had 'em sitting everywhere! On the floor, on the chairs, in the bedroom. And she would have them sing songs and she would teach Bible school. And then later, we started another program over in the Cutting area. But these are some of those who taught and helped out in our program. And there's a lot of stories behind them because they are a very interesting group of people.


CANDIDA SMITH: They didn't necessarily come from the Harborgate projects themselves?

R. HIDY: Many came from the University of California or from other churches. This fellow here is Kermie

{Rafshaw?}, he was the pilot of a PBY, a navy pilot. He would be gone for a week and then he'd be back and then he would have been down to Solomon Islands. He would take special supplies down there and then come back.

CANDIDA SMITH: How did he find out about you and why did he decide to teach Sunday school in your outfit rather than say, another place?

R. HIDY: Well, he probably met them at the student house in Berkeley and came out. He later married a girl that he met in the Navy and I helped at his service, he moved up to Oregon after that. There's a couple of other fellows in 65:00white Navy hats, they were medical students, and they came out in taught at the very beginning, then they had to go to medical school. So that's when we got some other teachers, Russ Ferguson and some of the others to come and teach. It's an interesting group of people, wonderful dedication. This is an adult group they had.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you had adult classes.

R. HIDY: Well, yeah, this was--the adults, some of them were Sunday school teachers and most of them really probably were--or in the women's group, the ladies' aid that later they called a guild and they did the famous cookbook, the Friendly cookbook.

[next photograph] This is a group of young people.[pause while videographer 66:00makes some adjustments] And there's a story behind a whole lot of these people. One boy here, his dad made the altar for us and the lectern, and [laughs] there some funny stories behind a lot of them.

CANDIDA SMITH: Can you show us that picture?

R. HIDY: I think this is another one of a group. Peggy Henderson came out with her father and played the organ for us in the morning and she had a Sunday school class. And I was reading in our little paper that her class won an award for having the largest contiguous attendance with their Bibles. And bringing other people. Peggy was a wonderful person, she's retired now, and lives in Florida.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you kept in touch with everybody.


R. HIDY: Well, we tried to and recently, we tried to get in touch, we tried to find where Pastor Henderson's papers were put, the records of the Sunday school and all the work that was done. We can't find where they were placed.

WASHBURN: Can you hold that up one more time? Can you talk about--given the fact that there was scarcity of shoes, shoe coupons and things like this--if you want to comment on it also--what was going on for the children? These girls look very well-dressed. This one to the left in the corner, they all have their hair in curls. How much was it kind of a sense of pride--given the fact that there was a little bit of shortage of clothing or shoes--that this is the time they could kind of dress up and feel good and look good to go to the Sunday school. Did you get this sense at all?

E. HIDY: Well, they used to dress in what they had, the best they had, I think, 68:00to come to Sunday school. But there was never any competition between them over who was going to have what. And the woman on the left there is Peggy.

R. HIDY: Yeah, she's the Sunday school teacher.

[next photograph] And this is an interesting picture. In the children's church or some of the classes, they would have the children tell the story using {flannel graph?}. And this is a picture that they happened to have of a little girl giving a Bible story using flannel graphs, the figures that they would put on this cloth, and they would stay in place. That's what she's doing here.

CANDIDA SMITH: Do you know what the story is?

R. HIDY: [to E. Hidy and another unidentified person] Can you tell what it is?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: I haven't studied it.

E. HIDY: Looks like the story of Abraham and--

R. HIDY: Oh, is it?

E. HIDY: Yeah, getting ready to sacrifice Isaac.

R. HIDY: Poor guy. She's telling the story of Abraham and Isaac when Isaac is to 69:00be sacrificed. And the Lord provided a ram in a thicket nearby.

[next photograph] We thought you might like this. This is a good picture of the

{Thorwaldson's?} Christ, which, by the way, is in a domed church in Copenhagen. The great story about that is you know, when it was finished, somebody said, "Oh, but you can't see the face of Jesus," because it shows him head down. And Thorwaldson answered him by saying, "You cannot really see Jesus until you kneel before him and look up." And I must tell you a little story. When I flew into Copenhagen the first time, I was determined to find that church. I looked at the 70:00map and I found which way to walk but I didn't check the measure, and it's about three miles. [laughs] But I did go out, and I did see it, and I did get to see the whole thing and kneel before it, and I took a picture. It's in my study. So, it's a--

[next item] This is an important thing. This is our little newspaper. Every month, we'd publish this. It was printed in Berkeley, and we'd have The Missionary of the Month. And this is the picture of Peggy Harwell, who brought more young people to the Sunday school that month before than anybody else. And so her picture is in with a little biography. And then, she was the one who was able to go out--we went to Alameda Naval Air Station and Kermie Rafshaw met us 71:00and he took Peggy and some of us who were there over and let us go up in a PBY, not fly, but get up in it. And then, went over to the PX and got a hamburger and milkshake after we had a swim in the pool. Well, when the kids in Harborgate learned that if you are The Missionary of the Month you get to go to Alameda naval Air Station and go into a PBY and go for a swim and go get a milkshake and a hamburger, boy, everybody wanted to be The Missionary of the Month. So, our little program kind of worked very effectively.

So those are those photos. There's some I didn't get but--

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, how did the program change, if at tall, after the war came to an end and the people living in Harborgate started to shift? [interview interruption?]

R. HIDY: Just often, they'd sleep on one and then--


WASHBURN: Do you want to start that again?

R. HIDY: Well, sure.

WASHBURN: Okay, go ahead.

R. HIDY: Out house became kind of spontaneously a hospitality center. And some of the navy kids would come out on Saturday afternoon and have dinner with us and then they'd stay over night. We had a daybed in the corner of the living room that was a kind of also sitting couch for the dining room table, because the dining room and the living room were one big room. And one would sleep on the mattress and the other with just the springs. And they would go to Sunday school and then they'd go to church and they'd stay in the afternoon, then they'd go to evening service and we'd have a duet or a trio or a quartet. Then all the parish workers and these kids would come back afterwards and there would 73:00be sandwiches and I don't know waffles, sometimes. But, fun and talk, talk, talk. And they would laugh as they would tell stories of what happened in their class or in their Sunday school. That became a real center of activity. And Evvie just had to never know how many were coming. But, somehow she managed and we had a great time. Later, when the McClary's were there, why, Kaye would help, she would make something. We always had a Sunday night party. That was part of the fellowship of the housing area.

I was talking to Ginny Hughesby last night and we were talking about staff meetings. I told Ginny, I said, "Somebody was asking me, 'Did you have staff meetings?'" And I laughed and I said, "Ginny, do you remember? I think we had a continual staff meeting." Because we were together so much and we would evaluate 74:00what was happening. If some change was needed, it was worked out. So no wonder we worked well. It was fun. [clock chimes]

CANDIDA SMITH: Maybe you could tell us a little bit more about Ed Hill. You go to know him quite, quite well. [conversation about the time while the antique clock chimes]

R. HIDY: Ed Hill was an interesting fellow, he was a superb photographer, he had grown up in the area, he had worked in the C&H Sugar plant in Benicia, Martinez. Then, he got into photography, he studied, took courses, read a lot. And he was 75:00a very, very capable professional photographer.

When I had to get a photographer, I just used the yellow pages and I saw his ad, I went down, got to know him, told him we wanted to have a picture. He said, "Fine," so we worked out a twelve schedule agenda and sequenced 'em. He came out and he took most of those pictures, a lot of them that you saw. And then later, when we had a nationally released film strip, I had no flash for color and so Ed took inside shots. They used about forty pictures in a national films trip release for all the Lutheran Churches in the United States. And then later, they would want special stories and special pictures and he would do aerial shots and take pictures for corporations and factories and all.


We became pretty good friends. He let me come and use his darkroom to print pictures I wanted to print. We became such very good friends that later when I had a letter inviting me or telling me I was to go to Europe to work with a movie crew, I was to bring my cameras. Because, the director, Dr. {Empy?} knew that I was a photographer. So, I went with this letter to Ed Hill and I told him I was going to go to Europe and I had to leave in July of 1948 and go to New York and then go in August to Europe. "Oh, you need a {Speedgraphic?}. I'll have to loan you one." So, he loaned me a Speedgraphic. I said, "Ed, I don't know how to use it." He said, "I'll show you." He would take me out and train me and had me take pictures. He would give me assignments to see if I was thinking, you know. He had twelve pictures in this cartridge and then he would give me 77:00pictures and he would tell me, "Go take three pictures." He didn't know if I remembered that I only had one left in the cartridge. I said, "Ed, I can't take three, I only have one." "Well, at least you're thinking," he said.

Then, one time, when I was trying to work on something. He got disgusted and he kind of said, "Russ! Darn it all! I can't teach you everything I've learned in twenty-five years. But, listen, I'm willing to pay my way to go to Europe. I'll buy my plane ticket if you can get permission for me to go with you. I'd love to go!" So I got in touch with Chicago, and he did go. So, Ed and I traveled in Europe for seven weeks. And he shot picture after picture of refugees and displaced people. And went to a number of places. I could talk for two hours 78:00about our exciting experiences. We became good friends. So Ed Hill was good.

I think you might find two stories about how Ed shot in the shipyards. If there was an accident, and some equipment broke or somebody was injured, he got an emergency call, he had to go out. And if it was night time, he had to take a picture. Well, if it was a picture of something, of a big piece of equipment, how do you get a picture of that at night? I said, "Ed, how do you do that?! How do you get a picture of a big piece of equipment with a break on it at night." "Oh, it's not hard," he said, "You put it on a tripod and you focus it, then you take two flash guns, and you just keep shooting and shooting and keep shooting." He said, "You paint that whole thing with light and you get your picture." I 79:00said, "I couldn't do it."

But the most interesting thing I thought, was he told me every time they had a launching--and remember they built seven hundred ships and that means Ed shot seven hundred launchings. And they had a big, fancy deal and they invite special people for a launching and a woman to be the launcher. Always, a woman had to break the bottle of champagne. Because it was bad luck if a woman didn't launch the ship. And so, he would take all those pictures. And then, after the launching, all of the honored guests would be taken to a big restaurant. They would have speeches and everything, and then, at the end of the banquet, there would be a big album of photographs given to them that Ed had taken. And I said, "How'd you get that done?" "Well," he says, "it was tricky." He would come right 80:00back to studio and develop all the negatives. "And then we would print them wet. They wouldn't be dried. You have to do it carefully. And we'd print all the things and then they would dry the prints and then they would give them that brown tint and makes them super special." They would have albums ready and they would put the album pictures in. And everything was printed up with the album, the title of the launching and all, and then, they would put the program in the front of it all. And at the end of the banquet that would present this fancy album to them. Well, I've often wondered how much Ed got paid for every album. But, I'm sure that's one reason Ed really didn't have any problem with money by the time the shipyard work was over. But he was a very kind fellow and a very 81:00gracious fellow and a good friend.

CANDIDA SMITH: Did he have a studio?

R. HIDY: He had a house in downtown Richmond. And in the back of the house, he had an area with a room where he took pictures. And then behind that was the laboratory with a place for developing and then for printing. He had a great big drum with canvass around it. You put the pictures on that and they go around the drum, and if you put the face of the picture on the aluminum, it's glossy, if you put it the other way, it's matte. I would be able to dry my pictures I took down there. So, Ed had--yep, he had all that.

An interesting thing happened. In Germany, we had to go to Berchtesgaden, had to go down to shoot some pictures down there. And while we were there, we went to 82:00see the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's house on the top of the mountain. And we visited the house below where he had lived at times and then we went in, went up the elevator and up to the top. You could look all around all the area. There weren't many people up there but we had time to take pictures and to go around. Then, there were some people up there and Ed got talking to them and he came to me and he said, "You won't believe it. See that woman over there? And that man? I was talking to them and we got talking where we're from. We're from California, she's from California, I said to her, 'Oh, where are you from?' She said, 'Oh, Richmond.' 'Richmond? Where do you live?' Ross! She lives two block form our house!" And they met in Berchesgaden." So, it's a small world. But, Ed was a wonderful guy and he was very kind to me. We became good friends and he joined the Lutheran church there, in town. So we had a long 83:00friendship and I talk to his son regularly, he lives in Utah.

CANDIDA SMITH: How long ago did he pass away?

R. HIDY: He passed away about twelve years ago. Yeah.

CANDIDA SMITH: How much older was he than you?

R. HIDY: When I was there, I was around thirty and Ed must have been forty-five and we were still able to communicate well. We had a lot of wonderful experiences. We had our own car, we drove around Europe and had some fine times.

CANDIDA SMITH: I also wanted, I think, in wrapping this up, to have you talk a little bit about the West Coast wartime ministries. What were the differences between different locations where the church was working?

R. HIDY: In the Northwest, there were many, many more Lutherans. And in the {Van 84:00McLaughlin Heights?} housing area up above Vancouver on the ridge, there were so many Lutherans, they had a Lutheran service. There were other services there, too, but they had a Lutheran liturgy and a Lutheran pastor and a Lutheran parish worker. Also, in Bremerton, at the one up in Bremerton opposite Seattle.

In the area between Portland and Vancouver, there was a large area of land near the race track. And they built a large group of about 20,000 units for 20,000 people. It was between Vancouver and Portland, so that called it Vanport. And there was a tragic flood. The Columbia River over flowed and did a lot of damage. It flooded that whole area around there. And the area around Vanport, 85:00the water rose and then suddenly, the water bubbled under that big berm and started to rise inside of Vanport. The people had a warning, "Get out." They only had about twenty minutes and not everybody got out. So, that was a tragic thing and I had to go up there for the follow-up of it.

We had a big program in Hanford, Washington and Richland. Then in the Bay Area, we had one at Flloyd Terrace in Vallejo. We had another one in Alameda at Encinal Housing Project. In Richmond, we had Richmond Terrace, Harborgate, and Cutting. Then, down in San Diego, Linda Vista and another one, and one at 86:00Banning Homes at San Pedro. So, we had to keep staff for all of those.

CANDIDA SMITH: All of these were led by young pastors such as yourself?

R. HIDY: Well, middle-aged pastors, some older pastors. They had to get who they could get. I just happened to be a younger pastor who asked for information and suddenly got a call. There weren't many of us young guys. But those that came had a wonderful experience.

The project ministries differed because of who was there. And up North, there were a lot more Lutherans than there were in the areas down south.

CANDIDA SMITH: So, less ecumenical in their approach.

R. HIDY: That's right. They would have an actual Lutheran Church and minister to the people who were there.

CANDIDA SMITH: Would you say that most of the or all of the wartime ministries 87:00were successful in getting Sunday schools up and going and attracting--?

R. HIDY: They all had Sunday schools and confirmation classes and Bible hours and all those things. They had as much as they could of a normal community program for the congregation. It was just the constituents that may vary in one area or another.

CANDIDA SMITH: After the war, you become pastor at a church in Berkeley if I recall. Is that correct?

R. HIDY: Yes, after the war, after I went--I spent a year with Resettlement of Displaced Persons. Then, I came to Berkeley because there was a church there, a little church that hadn't had a pastor for a year. And the Bishop, our president asked me, "Please go to Berkeley, they desperately need a pastor and we're 88:00supposed to start a seminary there, and I want you to relocate that church near the campus and find a place for the seminary." So we went and we bought a Methodist Church right by the campus. There were two Methodist churches and we bought one of them. And then we were able to find a site for the seminary. We found two estates at the top of the Berkeley Hills, gorgeous estates with eight acres. Now, two gorgeous buildings, five bedrooms, four master baths and everything. We got eight acres, two houses, for $144,000. And that's where our seminary is today. So that's where we were, there for five years.

CANDIDA SMITH: Sounds like an awful lot of being a Pastor involved--sounds like you're a businessman.

R. HIDY: [laughs] Yeah, you have to some things that are related. And then, we 89:00went into a special program for evangelism for two years. I had the fifteen Western states. I would organize mission weeks and churches from El Paso to Alaska and from Caspar, Wyoming, to Hawaii.

CANDIDA SMITH: Now, was this is a new venture for the Lutheran Church?

R.HIDY: Well, it was a special emphasis. And it was really quite an experience. I had a busy time. I get home about one week a month, some months. I was travelling a great deal. But it was an enriching experience.

CANDIDA SMITH: Were you preaching or--?

R.HIDY: I organized a mission, which meant that each church in a given area would have a week of services, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. And there would be Visitation and there would be special service and they would be reaching people who had been moving in the community 90:00and encouraging them to become active. So my job was to organize that. It required three visits to that community. One was about three months before and then one a few weeks before and then I was there for the week. And then I was there a couple of months later for a follow-up. So, I was jig-jogging all about the West all the time. And I might be going to one place making a first plan, going to another place and having a mission. It kept me busy. But it was a wonderful experience and I made many friends and learned a lot.

After that, we went to San Francisco, the oldest church in California.

CANDIDA SMITH: Which is still standing.

R.HIDY: St. Mark's Lutheran Church. We were there twelve years. That was in a 91:00Redevelopment Area and our church got involved in Redevelopment. And we put up a senior citizen tower, 124 apartments, and a round apartment building next to it. And we built 5.5 million dollars worth of construction on that block. They were busy years.

CANDIDA SMITH: Again, it sounds like you were as much businessman as--or entrepreneur maybe that's a better word. [laughter]

R.HIDY: It was interesting. It was there they started the Human Rights Commission while I was there.

CANDIDA SMITH: How did you get involved in the Human Rights Commission?

R.HIDY: It's very interesting. I was in a radio program with Father Eugene Boyle and Rabbi Joseph {Glazer?}. KCBS wanted a different kind of a program so they invited the three of us to come and try it out. We would sit down in the studio 92:00during the afternoon of a Thursday or sometime and they would record two programs. On Thursday night, they would broadcast it from 9:30 to ten o'clock. And it covered the whole West Coast. We would just talk about some topic. Well, it seemed to work pretty well. And we had quite an audience. We got a lot of mail. The station was happy. We enjoyed it. And, apparently one of the fellows who was on the program once in a while, Earl {Rab?}, was a consultant to the Mayor. And when the tension of all the racial problem came, the mayor wanted a Human Relations Committee. So, he got friends to 93:00suggest names and I surfaced as the Protestant. And the reason is you have to live in town five years before you can be on a committee like that. I hate to tell you but not many pastors last five years in the city, it's not easy. So we did, and we were there. And so we were on it.

CANDIDA SMITH: So you started when, do you recall?

R.HIDY: I was appointed in about 1962 or '63, I think. And I was there--

CANDIDA SMITH: So, was it Mayor [George] Christopher who appointed you or--?

R.HIDY: Mayor [Jack] Shelley and then Mayor [Joseph] Alioto reappointed me, and so I was on--.

CANDIDA SMITH: It was under Shelley then I think it was--[talking over each other]

R.HIDY: John Shelley, he had been a--

CANDIDA SMITH: '63 is when he--

R.HIDY: Yeah, is that it? So that's when it started.

CANDIDA SMITH: And it started--initially the focus was probably black-white 94:00relationships, maybe Jewish- Christian to some degree?

R.HIDY: No, it was to fight fires. He called us in, fifteen of us, we got a letter, "Come to the Mayor's office and be there on Wednesday at 9:00." Well, this strange thing happened, the week before, I had had to fly to Washington. And I was stuck in first class and my seatmate was Clark {Byzie?}, the president of the Bank of America. I'd never met him but I knew him by picture, you know. So I was ushered in just before we took off. I looked at him and I said, "Hello, Mr. Byzie," and I sat down. I didn't talk to him at all, I let him alone. When we had lunch, we got acquainted. Had a nice visit.

When we went into the Mayor's office, one of them that came in last was Clark Byzie! And as he came in, he looked around, he says, "Oh, Pastor, how are you?" 95:00Well, I was surprised he remembered me and everybody else thought, 'How does he know Byzie?" So, it was kind of funny, a little funny thing.

But we had a very interesting time. And the Mayor said to us, "You're here to fight fires. We've got to do something to keep this thing from blowing up." So that was our job.

CANDIDA SMITH: But while you were on the Human Rights Commission, it seemed like the thing for more and more complicated, because then Mexicans start--or Latinos--

R.HIDY: Well, they came in, too, yeah, but the first thing with attention were the blacks. And that was the strange thing when that young woman of our church did such a surprising thing and got on the paper and--she literally changed the attitude of the city. First thing, when her picture was on the Chronicle on page one on Good Friday, after her husband had been murdered in Hunter's Point. And 96:00she asked for memorial gifts for the children of Hunter's Point. And all San Francisco just said, "Wow!" It just touched them. It still has an impact, you know.

CANDIDA SMITH: Were there crises surrounding the hippy--the Haight Ashbury?

R.HIDY: Oh my, that came in while I was there. Oh, we had an indirect contact. I would get a letter from a pastor in Pennsylvania: "Our daughter has gone to San Francisco. This is her address. Will you look her up? I hope she isn't a flower child." So, I would go out and try and find an address and try to find them. Sometimes, I would never find them. Sometimes, I would get to talk to them. I 97:00had some unusual experiences, but not that many. That was a little insulated group. But it had a big influence, of course.

CANDIDA SMITH: Then there was the emergence of gay rights.

R.HIDY: That came while we were there, that's right.

CANDIDA SMITH: And gays not consisting of their--that they should not be discriminated upon either.

R.HIDY: We had gay people in our church, some of our leaders were gay. We knew it, they knew we knew it. We just welcomed them. They were gifted people. But the whole movement became more aggressive, of course, later and there's still tension. They're still trying to resolve it.

Canada is now taking a major step in a different direction, you know. I don't think it's going to be a quiet solution, it's going to continue to bubble up, not everybody can accept it, some people can.


CANDIDA SMITH: Well, maybe we should wrap up. Do you have any questions? [to Washburn] if you have sort of closing thoughts you would like to share about the wartime ministry and your years in Richmond. One of the things that Evelyn said that I found very striking was how happy people could be with so little money, or so little material things, I suppose.

R.HIDY: I would echo that and I think that--you see, we would sometimes, not often, we had dinner with them in their homes, and what we found--I don't know if she told you about the Spences. We went to visit the Spences and the Spences had done what other people in an emergency, had taken an orange crate and made a 99:00little desk out of it, a little table. And she would put cloth around it, you know. And it was a little place to put things on and put books on the shelf. With simple things, they made a life. I think they had done that back home. We found, for example, that some of them had come from the dustbowl. They had been used, some of them, in the country, making dresses out of flour sacks. That's why the flour mills would sack their flour in cloth that had little patterns for it. And these people were used to that.

And when we--did you tell about visiting the Spences? [to E. Hidy] We stopped on our way across country later, and visited the Spences in Williamsville, Missouri, and spent a couple of days with them, had a wonderful time. And got to 100:00see where they had come from. They had saved money for some time and then they went back home. And the three little girls grew up. And every Christmas, we got a letter from Fern Spence. And then one year, we didn't get a letter and Fern had passed on. Those were people of great simplicity but great joy and integrity and kindness.

We sometimes think it was our favorite parish because of the genuine-ness of the people. There was no show, no flamboyance, no make-believe, but a real genuine love. And we found a great time there. And we made friends that we have cherished for a long, long time. So, I would say that it was an adventure that 101:00we found a blessing. We loved it.

CANDIDA SMITH: Well, thank you Reverend Hidy.

R.HIDY: Thank you. [End interview]