Jean Allen | Interview 1 | October 23, 2015

Oral History Center, UC Berkeley

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0:00 - Introduction; growing up in extreme poverty in Oregon during the Great Depression with a resilient mother

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Keywords: 1925; arthritis; Brownsville; Christmas; Lebanon; Lebanon, Oregon; mother; Oregon; poverty; prohibition; The Great Depression; turkey; welfare

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

5:21 - Disliking school and feeling "rich" from work during her high school years

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Keywords: Baptist community; business; draft; GED; high school; inferiority; job; Lacomb; poor; Prohibition; service station; shipyards; tavern; usherette; work

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

12:16 - Describing her community in Lacomb; how the Baptist church was social center of the town

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Keywords: Baptist Church; basketball; BYPU; community; entertainment; Lacomb

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

13:49 - Memories from the beginning of the war; the tavern's radio, her young husband's deployment, her job in the shipyard

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Keywords: 3-C Camp; community dances; draft; husband; packing; radio; Roosevelt; shipyards; war; welding; welding school; World War II; WPA

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

18:19 - "They didn't fool around with you;" describing welding school and how she acquired her job at the shipyards in Washington

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Keywords: Camp Roberts; Camp Roberts, CA; drafted; Kaiser; restaurant; shipyards; Vancouver; Washington; welding; welding school

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

21:29 - Feeling resentment from the "colored people" who came to work in the Vancouver shipyards

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Keywords: African American; black; Camas; colored people; homesick; homesickness; prejudice; sawmill; segregation; Sweet Home; Vancouver; Vancouver, Washington; Washington

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

24:48 - Memories from the shipyard; welding, workplace safety, and coworkers

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Keywords: arc welder; billfold; coveralls; crane; gun turrets; Kaiser; Kaiser shipyards; safety; shipyards; welder; welding; workplace hazards

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

30:49 - Entertainment, letter-writing, and union membership

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Keywords: entertainment; leisure; letters; membership; movies; unions; writing

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

32:39 - Briefly returning to Lacomb and getting a job in a sawmill for four months

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Keywords: gas; Lacomb; low-pay; lumber; lumber sawmill; sawmill

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

36:31 - "All heck broke loose;" her husband's discharge from the service, living in an RV park, and the end of the war

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Keywords: California; Camp Roberts; European theater; government housing; Japanese theater; restaurant; RV park; trailer park; V-J Day

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

41:43 - "There was no work;" struggling to get settled after the war back in Lacomb

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Keywords: gravel truck; Lacomb; lumber; rental home; rock-hauling; shack; surplus

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

44:15 - "We were young, we were happy it was over;" changes after the war and taking lessons from working during the war years

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Keywords: changes; Hammond's Lumber; letter-writing; money; V-mail; Vancouver

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front

48:27 - Conclusion; conceptualizing the very "different world" in which her grandchildren and how the war stayed with her

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Keywords: future generation; generation; generations; regrets

Subjects: Community and Identity Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front


FARRELL: This is Shanna Farrell with Jean Allen on Friday, October 23, 2015. We are doing an interview for the Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront project, and we are in Lebanon, Oregon. Jean, can you start by telling me where and when you were born and a little bit about your early life?

ALLEN: I was born here in Lebanon in 1925, February 7. My mother and father lived out of Brownsville, which is a small town. In fact it's the second oldest town in Oregon, I guess. We were four miles back off of the county road up in the mountains, and we either walked or went by horseback. We lived there until I 1:00was four, and my mother took me and left my dad.

It was during the Depression, 1929, and my mother was nineteen, and her mother was crippled with arthritis. Her father had been killed when she was five. So it was just the two of them, and me, and she's nineteen and has both of us. So my mother--now they would say she was on welfare, my grandmother, but then, you're on the county. And she got $15 a month and they would put her with different families to take care of her. My mother took a job here in the valley with a 2:00motherless family for room and board, no pay, just a roof over our head and something to eat.

During that time, she got acquainted with a family who had a vacant farmhouse and we could live there and have my grandmother live with us. My mother would work for them by the day, a dollar a day, and she got eggs and milk and butter, and we survived. This farmhouse, all the windows were out upstairs, and my mother--there was a big apple orchard there, and my mother worked so hard picking apples and putting them upstairs, said, "Well, at least we'll eat apples." Well, of course they all froze. That was just one of our little incidents.


We had woodstoves, and my mother and grandmother both had the flu and they were in bed sick, and Mom didn't want me to try to build a fire because we used kerosene to get it going and she was afraid. So it was really cold, and Christmas, and we had a tree and some little homemade trim on it, but we didn't have any presents, because there wasn't going to be any, there was no money. And my dad showed up, and he brought a turkey, and a doll, and some oranges, and hard candy. He was going to cook the turkey in this woodstove, and we didn't have a roaster, so he used the dishpan. As I have said before, I cannot remember 4:00if we ever ate the turkey, if it ever got done, but it was a wonderful Christmas. That is a little story I've written, I guess it's going to be online, about that Christmas, because it was a memorable one.

From there, we moved to Lebanon, and my mother met a man from Lacomb, which is a little hamlet thirteen miles from town, and he had a little business, a gas station and--this was during Prohibition, and so they only were able to sell three-two beer at the time. He had a building that they fixed for my grandmother 5:00and I to move out there and be with my mother. We moved out just as school started, and in November my grandmother passed away. I don't know where to go from there.

I grew up there. My mother worked there for nineteen years.

FARRELL: What was she doing for work?

ALLEN: She was running the little business. After Prohibition was over, it was a tavern and a little country--pop, candy, gas pumps. I started high school and went to my junior year, and I hated school, and I got a job as an usherette in a theater, and I was making about $13 a week, which I thought I was rich, and I 6:00quit in my junior year.

Then, well, I got married to Dale Harrison. I was eight years old when I moved to Lacomb, and he was eleven. And he tells that I stood on the running board of his father's car and asked him if I could be his girlfriend. At any rate, we grew up together, went to school together, in high school, but he's now ninety-three and I'm ninety. We were married July 26, 1942, right during the war, and by Christmas he'd been drafted.

When he got through, I was working at the shipyards. I guess I should go back.


FARRELL: Can you tell me a little bit more about what you didn't like about school?

ALLEN: I always had an inferiority complex, I think, because of how I grew up and we were so poor, and Lacomb is a little community and they frowned upon my mother and I because--service station and a tavern, and that was our home, we lived there--my mother passed away at forty-nine with a heart attack, and that was the only home where we stayed, where we had, and they never married. That 8:00was in 1958 she passed away. What did you ask me to begin with?

FARRELL: What you didn't really like about school. So you had mentioned that you felt like there was--people weren't as kind to you because your mother was running the service station and she wasn't married, and this was after Prohibition.

ALLEN: Especially after the tavern was in. That was a den of iniquity.

FARRELL: Do you think that it had something to do with Prohibition, because Prohibition had ended and she was working in a tavern, and alcohol was sort of seen as a negative thing? Do you think that had anything to do with it as well?

ALLEN: Quite possibly. It was a Baptist community, old-time strict Baptist. However, I attended Sunday school just like the rest of the kids, but I just never quite felt a part of things. But I made close friends.


FARRELL: So you had mentioned that in your junior year, you had gotten a job. Can you tell me a little bit more about what that job was?

ALLEN: Well, it was just really nothing. It was an usherette in a theater, but it amounted to about $13 a week. I worked weekend afternoons and every night. I just, I wanted something. I wanted some money. I wanted to be able to buy clothes, which at that time was the most important thing, I guess, to me, is to be somebody. I really never missed not finishing high school until 1970. I may 10:00be getting ahead, you can tell me.

FARRELL: Oh, it's okay.

ALLEN: In 1970, we had been married twenty-eight years, and he [Dale] met a secretary at work, she was twenty years younger, and he divorced me and married her. Then I was lucky enough to get, through the employment office, a chance to go to Linn-Benton. They paid us, I think it was $13 a week and our gas, and they furnished our books, and secretarial science is what they would teach. Before that, I went and got my GED, and at that time you could just go take it. Now you 11:00have to attend classes. In the past, everything but math, and I had to retake it and squeak by. So I passed everything except the math, I never actually passed that.

FARRELL: So you eventually did finish high school, essentially. Backing up to your--so you were about fifteen when you had gotten your first job in the theater?

ALLEN: Well, my first job, I was in about the eighth grade. There was a lady in our community, and at that time logging was a big thing, and she had a boarding house for loggers. And after school, I would go down and set the table and help put the food on, and then help do the dishes. It amounted to about $3.50 a week, 12:00but she did--she was a seamstress, and so she would make clothes for me. And that was my first job.

FARRELL: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit more about Lacomb, because you were living there when the war started?

ALLEN: Yes, I moved there when I was eight. It's about thirteen miles from Lebanon.

FARRELL: Can you tell me a little bit about what you remember of the community that lived there around that time?

ALLEN: Well, it was a great community. We had--our school was always--we had around a hundred students, and it was three rooms, for second, third, fourth, and fifth, and sixth, and then seventh and eighth. High school bus come to 13:00Lacomb to pick us up.

FARRELL: I mean, you were young, so I don't--

ALLEN: Well, I remember lots of things. Like I say, the Baptist church was the only church there, and so we all attended that because that was part of our life, our entertainment there. BYPU on Sunday night for the young people. The church had a basketball team, and we had parties. That was a big part of our social life.

FARRELL: Do you remember, around the time that the war started, did you have a feeling that it was coming? Or was the news sort of shocking to you?


ALLEN: No. The tavern had a radio, and at that time, not everybody had radio. People would congregate there to listen to the news, and there were a lot of people there when war was--when Roosevelt declared war. So we all knew. And of course the Depression was on, and WPA was a big thing, and a lot of the men there worked with WPA. At one time, there was a large 3-C camp, if you know what that is, out five miles from our town, I'll say. A lot of the young men were from New York and that area. We got quite a kick out of their take of our 15:00country, and they had never seen a walnut, they'd never seen berries grow. Two of the girls married two of the boys. And that was an interesting part. I was too young to be interested, but we thought it was funny that the other girls did.

They'd have community dances there in the community hall, and they'd roller-skate in the community hall. That was about our entertainment out there.

FARRELL: So when the war started, were you working at that point? Were you still working at the theater?

ALLEN: You know, I don't remember. I was seventeen when I got married, in July, 16:00and by Christmas, Dale had been shipped out. And he went to Africa and then into Italy, and almost two years we didn't see one another. I had worked in a restaurant here for 35 cents an hour, and I had a friend who married and lived in Camas, Washington, which is close to Vancouver, the shipyards, and she and her husband worked there, and she wrote and told me to come up and get a job there. So I applied, and I was young, so they sent me to welding school, arc 17:00welding. As soon as I passed my--you had to pass two plates to go out on a job.

FARRELL: For your test? You had to weld two plates?

ALLEN: Yeah, plates, flat, vertical, and then to get your certificate you had to do overhead, and I got my certificate. I worked in what they called the plate shop, and because I was about the youngest female, I worked with ship-fitters. They would assemble parts, and I did what they called tacking. Say there's a sheet of iron here and one here, and they would have me run a weld about so far 18:00to align things, and sometimes I had to crawl inside things and weld. That's what I did, mostly. I didn't do much production welding, because I worked for three ship-fitters.

FARRELL: Can you tell me a little bit more about welding school? How long it was and what kind of things they were teaching you?

ALLEN: I was only there about four weeks.

FARRELL: Four weeks, okay.

ALLEN: You either liked it or you didn't. I mean, they didn't fool around with you. You either had to show interest or they'd put you somewhere else.

FARRELL: And did you enjoy it?

ALLEN: Yeah, I liked it. I met a lot of nice people, most were older than I was. I made a good friend, her name was Adelaide Poblitz and she was from Ripon, Wisconsin. They went back there after the war, and we used to write, but we just 19:00kind of drifted away.

When Dale came home from overseas, he was stationed--he took his basic training at Camp Roberts, California, and I went down.

When he got through basic training, we had a car, and he said to come down, because then he could get leave overnight. And I roomed in an old hotel, and it was $11 a week, which was a lot of money, and you went down a hall and down the steps and out to the--we did have restrooms and showers, but they were out 20:00there. I got a part-time job in a restaurant. Then when he knew that he was shipping out, I came back home, and that's when my friend called and I went to the shipyards.

FARRELL: I see, okay. So you had gone--it was about maybe six months after Dale was drafted that you moved up to Washington?

ALLEN: I don't think he was in training that long. There was six weeks that they can't leave the base or anything. Well, he left in December and he shipped out in May.

FARRELL: Okay. And do you remember how soon into the war he got drafted? Was it immediate?


ALLEN: Well, I don't remember when it was declared. I should remember that history. But we were married in July, and like I say, by Christmas he'd been drafted.

FARRELL: Okay. And also, did you go to welding school up in Vancouver?

ALLEN: At Kaiser. They sent me to school.

FARRELL: Okay. At that point, I mean, you had been living down here, and you went up there, and your husband's overseas. What was that like, moving to a new town for a job?

ALLEN: Well, it's pretty scary.

FARRELL: When you moved up to Vancouver, Washington, where were you living?

ALLEN: I stayed with Nadine, my friend, until I could get an apartment. And I 22:00got an apartment there in Camas, and I rode the bus back and forth to work, into Vancouver.

FARRELL: How long did that bus ride take?

ALLEN: Probably twenty, twenty-five minutes.

FARRELL: And do you remember, do you have any memories of Vancouver at that point, what the town was like?

ALLEN: Are we recording?

FARRELL: We're recording, yeah.

ALLEN: I don't know whether you want to record this or not.

FARRELL: We can always take it out later if you don't want it on there.

ALLEN: Well, I'm not prejudiced, but it sounds--perhaps at the time I was. You see, we didn't see many colored people out here, and Kaiser brought trainloads of colored people from the east out here, and they built little apartments and put them in, and the first time in their life they were on their own. They 23:00really resented us. And if you were in line to leave, you had to be checked in and checked out, and they were behind you, they'd put their lunch pail on your back and push. If you were trying to catch the bus, you might just as well stand back, because they're not going to let you get on the bus ahead of them. It was hard for us, because we hadn't dealt with that out here.

FARRELL: Was Vancouver pretty segregated? Did you live in the same parts of town, or were the apartments or the buildings that they were living in, where they kind of on a different side of town?

ALLEN: Well, I lived in Camas and rode the bus. About six months after I went to 24:00work up there, I got so homesick. I'd never been away. And I moved back down to Lebanon. A job that I found was pulling lumber on a green chain in a sawmill at Sweet Home, and I rode back and forth to work with a man that worked there, but it was awful hard work. I worked with the grader and I pulled orders off the green chain, besides working with the grader. I can't remember, but I think I made like a $1.50 an hour.

FARRELL: I want to get to that in a second, but I want to back up a little bit to your time in the Kaiser shipyards.

ALLEN: I'll go back to the shipyards.

FARRELL: So you were working in a plate shop and you were an arc welder. Can you 25:00tell me a little bit more about--because I know you were in a flight shop--so a little bit more about the shop that you were working in?

ALLEN: Well, they called--they were bays, big, long, and we were a plate shop, and these bays, each one did something different. There was enormous cranes that would--I don't remember trucks, but what brought the iron and steel to the entrance, and then this overhead crane would pick these pieces up and bring them to whatever ship-fitter was going to work on that project. And the ship-fitter had a huge iron table with holes in it that they could drive pegs in for holding. They would let these enormous pieces of steel down on that, and then 26:00the ship-fitter would have--raise them where he wanted them, until I got them tacked in place. Sometimes I stood around, and sometimes I had more to do than I could--

I can tell you a funny little incident, if you want anything. We thought it was funny. It was a fellow named Clint, and he used acetylene welding, and his job was not to weld, but if they wanted to move this piece of iron that I had welded, and it didn't suit him, they would have him bring his torch and cut that weld out. He had a table where he had his different tips and things, and he's 27:00laying back against it, and of course we all--well, I had to wear leathers, but he had overalls on, and we were dressed warm, and all of a sudden we hear this boom, and his coveralls just split and blew off of him. Didn't hurt him, but he was standing over his hose and it had a leak in it, and this acetylene gas is filling up his coveralls, and it was hilarious at the time. But Clint didn't think so. Everything stopped for about twenty minutes. The look on his face, you know, and his coveralls. And it's a wonder he didn't get hurt, but he didn't. Of course he had so many--you wore so many clothes.


FARRELL: Were there any--how about workplace safety at the shipyards? Was everything safe? Did you witness any accidents ever?

ALLEN: No, I think that's the biggest accident that I saw. We had restroom breaks, only fifteen minutes, and it seemed like a mile to the restroom. No, I liked my job and I liked the people. We all got along, and other than what I was telling you about the colored people. But I didn't work with any. There were a lot of older women who were sweepers and kind of clean-up. Everybody seemed to be friendly, because most everyone was away from home.


FARRELL: You just mentioned that there were some older women that were working there. Were there any younger women that were welding as well, or were you one of the few that were doing that?

ALLEN: I think everybody in the plate shop was older, and they did the production welding, where you just sat and weld, and I was happy I didn't have to do that. I did a little bit, if they were slow and didn't have something. We made a lot of gun turrets, and those had to be all welded with stainless steel rods, and it took so much heat for these big rods, stainless steel, and it was hard work. It was hot, and lots of smoke. You had to--I wore a leather jacket and the leathers were like bib overalls, because that slag, which is the--you 30:00clean your weld and this hot slag would--and I've got little spots where they stick and they burn.

I also learned: don't carry your billfold in your pocket. Little piece of that hot set my billfold on fire. I thought I was going to do a strip right there. Most of the women ate together at lunchtime, and the men usually congregated. But we only had a half-hour.

FARRELL: What did you--at that point, when you were still in Vancouver--what did you do for leisure or entertainment?

ALLEN: Well, like I said, I lived in Camas, and when I lived with Nadine and 31:00Verne, I was just visiting at night, and then I got an apartment and there just wasn't--we just didn't do much, because gas was rationed. I had a car, but like I say, I rode the bus back and forth to work. And I guess a movie was about the biggest thing, because there wasn't a lot going on.

FARRELL: Were you, at this point, keeping in touch with Dale through letters and--

ALLEN: We wrote constantly.

FARRELL: One thing I forgot to ask you about the shipyards--were you a union member?

ALLEN: I don't remember. I think probably we were, because there was withholding, and they didn't demand it. I guess they could, but they certainly 32:00encouraged us to take out bond money for a bond, and depending on how much you could put into it, how often you got a bond. I think the bond was like $29, and at maturity it would be worth $50.

FARRELL: So you don't remember--you didn't go to any union meetings or anything.

ALLEN: Oh, no. No.

FARRELL: So you moved back down here six months after. Can you tell me about what it was like to come back after having had that experience?

ALLEN: Well, it was good to be able to see my mom. I would go out to Lacomb 33:00usually two or three times a week, and because they had the service station, I got gas to go back and forth. Also, well--but it was such hard work and I wasn't making much, and getting back and forth to work began to be a problem with the gas, and I didn't have anyone to ride with or to trade off. Well, first I wrote with him, and then he rode with me, and when we'd get low on gas, we'd try to reciprocate, and it was a hassle. So I think it was only about four months and I went back to the shipyards.

FARRELL: Was it hard for you to get a job in the sawmill?


ALLEN: No, because it was--I was the youngest woman on the chain. Do you know what a sawmill is like?

FARRELL: I do, but if you wouldn't mind explaining that. I think a lot of people--we might be unique in having grown up in--

ALLEN: I can do it with my hands, which I'm sure is not going to record. The lumber comes out of the mill from the saw, and probably comes out maybe forty or fifty feet, and then there's a chain that drops down about fifteen feet onto another chain. That goes down the line, it's probably 200 feet, and there'd be two-by-fours, two-by-twelves, different sizes of lumber, and each person pulled certain kinds of lumber.


The ladies were all like fifty and over, and mostly they pulled small two-by-fours and smaller lumber. My job was to--when they come out of the mill and they drop down, before they get to the grader, he's standing over on the other side of me, and I have to set all this up on end so that he glances down and can see whether it's a lot of knots in it; if there is, he sent it to re-saw. My job was to set all this on end and pull the order piles. And mostly I pulled two-by-twelves, which are big, heavy. After a few mashed fingers, I learned how to do it.

Just everything put together, and Nadine kept calling me, and I went back. Then 36:00I got an apartment in Vancouver, government-owned, one room with a bath, and I rode the bus back and forth.

FARRELL: So you had left the shipyards, came down to work in the sawmill for four months, and then went back to Vancouver?


FARRELL: Oh, I see. Because the work in the lumber--the sawmill was hard and you weren't getting paid very much?

ALLEN: Right.

FARRELL: I see, okay. How long for the second time were you up in the shipyards?

ALLEN: Well, I stayed there until Dale got home. He got home in May. He got out in 1944. He called, I was--he left a message with my friend to get hold of me 37:00and tell me that he was stationed back at Camp Roberts again, he'd be there as a sergeant training, and for me to--and he had a government trailer house for us to live in, for me to pack up and come right down. And as soon as I got the word, I quit and packed up what little I had, and I went down and stayed until he got discharged. So I can't tell you the exact dates, I don't--

FARRELL: Can you tell me a little bit about where you were living and what--I think we had talked about it before--but a little bit about where you were living when you had moved down there?

ALLEN: Well, this was a whole, I'll say, RV park, which really it was a government trailer park, and we had an eighteen-foot trailer to live in, and we thought it was a palace. You had--every so often there was an umbrella 38:00clothesline, you know what they are. You know, a pole goes up and, like an umbrella. There was a laundromat there, or it was furnished for us, and I was working part time nights at a restaurant, and so I had done my washing and I told Dale before I went to work, be sure and bring those clothes in before you go to bed, because people would steal things.

Well, we were acquainted with the Roses, who lived in the trailer next to us, we got to be friends. She told me the next day, "I wish you'd had seen Dale. I told 39:00him to take the clothes in." He takes the garden hose, he turns on the sprinkler part, and he sprinkles the clothes. He takes them down, throws them in the basket, he lays them across the ironing board and irons them. Well, of course, they had big wet spots. But he did the ironing, and of course I had to do it over, but I didn't tell him. She got such a kick out of that. He took them down, but he sprinkled them.

And the four of us had a weekend and we went looking for a place to camp overnight, and we drove and drove and drove. That part of California sucked, I tell you. We finally found a trickle where we could spend the night, but it wasn't like Oregon.

FARRELL: Did you miss Oregon when you were living down there?

ALLEN: Oh yeah.


FARRELL: How soon after the war ended was Dale discharged?

ALLEN: Well, the war--was it June? Do you remember when V-J Day was?

FARRELL: It was June, yeah.

ALLEN: Because we were in bed asleep, and all heck broke loose. The sirens are going and people are out hollering. The war had ended in Japan, that theater. And in September, he got out. I remember he called and said, "I'm going to get discharged and get everything together." And he had to go about five miles to go up to what they called the East Garrison for discharge. And it was about nine 41:00o'clock at night when he finally got out of there, and we headed for Lacomb, we drove straight through, taking turns driving. Couldn't wait to get home.

It was 1944, I'm sure. It was September. And he came home from overseas in May. He was coming home on rotation, and then they were about three days out of Le Havre, France, harbor, and they got word that the war had--the European theater had ended and he wouldn't have to go back.

FARRELL: And so right after he was discharged, you both moved back up here?

ALLEN: We went and moved back to Lacomb.

FARRELL: And what were you doing for--were you working after the war, after you moved back up here?

ALLEN: There was no work. Through the government, he was able to buy a gravel 42:00truck, I think they were $800, and they were new surplus. Everybody was buying surplus war things. And his brother-in-law told him if he would buy him one, he would pay for two, so that started him in the rock-hauling business. But he just picked up a little work here and there. It took a long time to find any work, you know. But we stayed with my mom and Brian for a while, and a rental house out there was not heard of, you know. There was a little shack with a lean-to built on the side, and Auldie Ayers, the property owner, said, "If you kids think you can live in it, you clean it up and I'll pay for the supplies."


First thing we did was fumigate it. It had an outhouse, and it had a cold-water faucet. So, with what little skill Dale had in remodeling, we put in a sink and we lived there. And then he began to be able to pick up work, and finally he gave up his trucking and went to work for Hammond Lumber driving a log truck. I don't remember how long we stayed there, but we got a chance to buy a real cute little house, and his dad loaned us some money, and we paid him so much a month, and that's where we were living when my first son was born. Alan was born in 44:00July 7, 1946. I don't know if you want any farther than that.

FARRELL: How did you see this area change after the war ended?

ALLEN: Well, you know, I was young, I was so happy that we were home. I don't think at the time I realized what the situation really was. We were young, we were happy it was over, and we just kind of took it in our stride. I would say within a year things had pretty well got back to normal and picked up. I know 45:00Hammond's Lumber was going great guns. We stayed out at Lacomb.

FARRELL: You had mentioned that you kept in touch with some of the people that you had met up in Vancouver?

ALLEN: Adelaide, I did. I don't know whatever happened to her. You know how you just, a little longer and a little longer between letters. Dale, this is his story, this French family, they were in Senkveld, Holland, and the family invited he and some of the boys to dinner, and they had a daughter, her name was Jeanne, J-e-a-n-n-e. He gave her my address, and we started writing. And we 46:00wrote until Dale flew the coop, and I wrote and told Jeanne, and I never heard from her again.

FARRELL: Was letter writing something that you enjoyed doing at that point?

ALLEN: Pretty much. I had a whole stack of V-mail. Have you ever seen it? I threw away a lot, and I gave some to my daughter, and the only one that I kept was the Christmas card he sent to my mom. But most people have never heard of V-mail and have never seen it.

FARRELL: What do you feel like, from that period of time, the war years, in any 47:00aspect, but some of the skills or the lessons that you learned that you took with you later in life?

ALLEN: I don't know. I guess to say that if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Not like a lot I see of young people. No work ethic. Of course life is absolutely turned around from when my kids were little, and my oldest now is sixty-nine. Don would've been sixty-six, and Jan is sixty-three. I see my great-grandkids, for instance, Todd is twelve, he wants to play football. Costs 48:00$175. What about all these poor little kids who are from a family that would love to play, and they can't. It's so unfair. Things have gone crazy that way. Everything is money. Any sport that the kids want to play, they have to buy in to it. It's not right.

FARRELL: Well, speaking in relation to that, what are some of the things that you hope this generation or the future generation takes from your experiences during that period of time and can learn from?

ALLEN: Frankly, I don't think anything, because kids all know, you know, my experience. I don't think they could repeat one thing to you. They're not 49:00interested. I could spend an hour with them, and they wouldn't say two words to me because they're playing this game. They're good kids, they don't get in trouble or anything, but I mean, it's just a different world.

FARRELL: Or I guess some of the values that you had then that you would hope get passed on or carried on.

ALLEN: Well, just take a job and be there, and do your best. I think there will never be another generation that'll experience anything like we did, and I think it stuck with us, you know. I'm not sorry. I'm sorry about the war, but I'm not 50:00sorry for my experiences. I look back on it and think I was crazy, took off and drove to California and I'd never been any farther than from Lacomb to Vancouver. My mother just had a fit: You do that by yourself, something will happen, what if you have a wreck. But I guess you didn't even think about those things. I guess they don't now, either. No, I can't think of anything that I regret.

FARRELL: That's good, to not have regrets. Is there anything else that you want to add?

ALLEN: I really--I guess without a little inspiration from you, I can't think of anything.

FARRELL: Well, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much, I appreciate it.


[End of Interview]