Saturday, June 27, 2015

An Interview With Charles Dulin

On 6/18/15 I interviewed Charles Dulin, a WWII vet born in 1923.  I always like to say that 1923 was an unlucky year to be born.  If you were born in 1923, you would have been 18 in 1941; the year when Japan attacked the US and when Germany attacked the USSR.  While WWII technically started earlier, it was 1941 when things got really big.  Charles was in both the luckiest and unluckiest position that a soldier born in 1923 could be in.

Unlike other vets, he never left the US.  He was an "Attached Unassigned" which meant that he had no particular assignment.  He served for 3 years and remained a private for all 3 of those years.  He spent his time doing the jobs that nobody else really wanted to do.  He usually worked with planes, refueling and fixing them up.  Sometimes he would fly them/fly in them, but that didn't happen quite as often.

His story was rather interesting to listen to mainly because of how odd it was.  He was originally in training to be a meteorologist, but he was kicked out of meteorology school.  After that, the army never really assigned him to do anything so he remained a private for the rest of his time in the service.  He still performed his service though and he used the GI bill to get a Master's Degree in chemistry, so it wasn't all for nothing though.  Even if his story wasn't quite as exciting, it was still neat to document.

--Elijah

Friday, June 26, 2015

Interviewing Eddie Gillespie

Trials of the First Solo Interview


The road to getting in contact with Mr. Gillespie was a challenge in itself.  It took three individual phone calls to his residence at Autumn lake to get past the caretakers and the front desk.  Finally on the third try I was able to convince them that StoryQuest was a legitimate academic program, and they granted me access to Mr. Gillespie.  Yesterday I took a trip there and made my way to his room, only to find that his was lying in bed asleep.  I went to the nurse who woke him up, much to Mr. Gillespie's chagrin.  Mr. Gillespie unfortunately has a rare disease that away motor function from the waist down, which he is very bitter about.  I had a difficult time breaking the ice, as he did not shake my hand until eight seconds after I reached out.  I rarely get nervous, but interviewing Mr. Gillespie racked my nerves immediately from the second I entered the room.

Mr. Gillespie did not have that much to say.  Whether it was lack of memory or reluctance to dig deep into his past is debatable. I also perceived that Mr. Gillespie was uncomfortable speaking into the microphone, as he would keep back about a foot from it despite my efforts to bring it close.  This made understanding Mr. Gillespie while transcribing more difficult than necessary.

The content of the interview was spotty at best.  I did have two stand out stories other than the usual quips about rationing and patriotism.  The first was about speed limit reduction.  I assumed that the only regulation on cars was on gas intake, but apparently the speed limit was reduced to 35 mph in all areas according to Mr. Gillespie's knowledge.  If somebody was driving by at excess speed it was normal for a law abiding citizen to give some gesture of displeasure like shaking a fist or something to a similar degree.

The second story, and my personal favorite from the interview is his beach story.  Mr. Gillespie and his family went to the beach one summer in the middle of the war.  During any other time the beach would have been beautiful, resplendent with alabaster sand and crawling with wildlife.  This was unfortunately not the case for beach goers during those years.  The pure white sand had been replaced with sticky, pungent, black tar.  Mr. Gillespie explained how disgusting it was, and the sheer quantity of oil that had been washed up from tankers decimated by German U-boats.  This brought to light the ecological effects of the German assault aside from American casualties.

Mr. Gillespie also explained how he found a life raft that washed up on the tar beach.  He could tell that it was unused because all of the supply gear was still inside.  He and his cousin were about to take it with them, but the national guard showed up seemingly out of nowhere and pressured the two boys to leave without taking the life raft with them.  I'm curious what the guard wanted with the raft.  I can't imagine anything critical would have been on there.  The only reason I can think of is that they were trying to piece together what happened in a tanker explosion, and the raft might have had a clue on it.

My interview was suddenly interrupted by a family member that came to visit Mr. Gillespie.  Out of respect I ended the interview to give Mr. Gillespie time with his family.  At that point I had exhausted most of my questions.  The interview was disappointingly only 25 minutes long, but I felt that I had gotten out everything that Mr. Gillespie had to offer.  I'm a little upset that my first solo interview was relatively lackluster compared to others, but I am proud that I managed to handle all of the extra complications and conducted a professional interview all on my own.

--Nick

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ginny Hague: Class of 1941

Ginny Hague Class of 1941 Yearbook Photo
It's not everyday that you get to interview 1 of 4 people left from Washington College's Class of 1941. I was lucky enough to have that honor with interviewing Ginny Nock Hague.

Washington College has always been a close knit community of students, staff, and faculty. Yet for Ginny's class and those before hers, the community was even more tightly knit. On graduation day, President Mead, asked Ginny if he was going to invited to her wedding, which happened to be two short weeks after graduation. President Mead did receive an invite, but sadly, did not show up. She told me a little bit about her days in Reid Hall, where all of the women on campus stayed (no co-ed dorms like today!). Ginny mentioned how the ratio of men to women during her time at school was 2:1. All of her classes were in the same building (William Smith Hall), the dining hall was one room, and the gym had a metal balcony track and stood where our library now stands.





Ginny Hague Today 
Ginny Hague, a sister of Alpha Chi Omega, joined the sorority the first year it went National as well. She and her sisters would host dances, and the war that was going on in Europe was just a far away thing that simply didn't affect those at college during this time.
As Ginny was married two weeks after graduation, she moved to Pittsburgh with her husband Charlie Hague (Class of 1938), who was an electrical engineer. He was not drafted because he was an engineer. While they were living in a city, the company Charlie worked for bought a piece of rural land and allowed all of their workers and families to have a garden. Some gardens did really well, and others not so well. But the Hagues were lucky. Charlie had grown up on a farm (the same farm Ginny now lives on) and was able to maintain a flourishing Victory Garden.
Ginny Hague is a lovely woman, who was just a lot of fun to talk to. Her college years were truly some of the best years of her life. She also allowed me to play with her five kittens that she had sitting on her porch. Needless to say... It was a wonderful interview!


-Sarah Graff

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jack Stenger: WAC After the War

On 6/17/15, Joe and I interviewed Jack Stenger.  I did not handle the audio equipment this time and I think I did a better job as the head questioner than the last time I took on the position.

This interview felt a lot simpler than many of the previous interviews that I've done.  Jack wasn't the kind of person to move from topic to topic without being prompted and the interview was a little shorter than other ones clocking in at roughly 27:00.

One interesting thing that he talked about that hasn't been discussed in other interviews I've been in is the effect of the returning GIs and the postwar environment.  He was a Washington College student and he recalled a lot of older GIs attending college thanks to the GI bill.  He joked about how the older men dominated the dating scene; it was a neat thing to hear about.

He was 16 years old when WWII ended so he didn't serve in the war.  He did serve in the Korean war though where he flew what he called the "BSD" or Big Steel Desk.  He was in the intelligence service.

This interview was different from the other ones.  He didn't have much to say about the Second World War, but he had a lot more experience with the effects it had on the world after it.  It was a pretty interesting thing to hear about and I will admit, I did not see that coming.

--Elijah McGuire-Berk

14-year-old Volunteer Firefighter, Rogers Smith

How would you react if you woke up one day and all of the young men in your town were just gone? What would you do?

Sarah and Rogers.
For Rogers Smith, a 14 year old during WW2, it meant volunteering for the local Fire Department. Smith tells us that whenever he and his other firefighter friends heard the bell at the Fire Station go off while they were in school, they would have to get up during class and run down the street to hop on the Firetruck driven by a local pastor.

The school he went to in Churchill was also affected as one day the Principal of the school didn't show up as he joined the war effort as well! A retired principal from around town came in to hold the place of the principal who was serving overseas. Male teachers who enlisted or were drafted were replaced by retired female teachers, who provided a wonderful education for the students in school.
During this time most of the young men were not here in small towns or big cities, the young and the old would have to take their places. Communities were very tightly knit, and during these war times, everybody would do their best to help each other out.

Rogers is also a Washington College Alumni, class of 1951. He petitioned the school to live on campus when he was 17. He had to do this because he really wanted to live on campus, even though housing on campus was very limited as many GIs were coming back to school. Washington College has always been a small school, so to have such an influx in students coming from all sorts of backgrounds, everyone was really doing whatever they could. From building barrack like housing where Toll now stands, making dorms in the basement of the gym, the college was getting everything ready to keep the bustling college running. Rogers was able to get on campus housing, and lived in West Hall. He enjoyed going to school and loved to talk about Washington College.


-Sarah Graff (duo interview with Nick Coviello)

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Washington College Girl on the Homefront

On June 17, Abby Gordon and I interviewed Peggy Smith, a graduate of the WAC class of 1946 and mother-in-law of the College's own Pat Smith in the Registrar's office. Smith was living in Baltimore when the war started but moved to Chestertown in 1942 to attend the College, spending the rest of the war's duration as a Washington College student.

One of the most interesting stories that Smith gave us was not only humorous, but provided us with a glimpse into how the shortage of male students affected the College and its population. Smith was a member of the sorority Alpha Chi Omega and so they attended the Panhellenic Ball. One year, she and her sorority sisters had a problem: there were no young men around to escort them to the dance. How would they solve this problem? Well, they decided to call over to Dover Air Force Base and wrangle up some men. To their surprise and delight, on the night of the dance, all of the men who came were officers, some of them lieutenants and even a captain. They went to Cain gymnasium with their dapper dates and everyone was stunned, (and very impressed).

We learned about events like these and were able to delve further into a couple of personalities that we have come to know and love over these past few weeks. We learned about Sarah's hero Ms. Doris Bell and we learned about the quirky Dr. Ford, or "Fordy," as Smith called him.

This interview may have provided a lot of interesting stories, but it also posed many questions about the thoughts and feelings of Chestertown residents. Additionally, it makes me even more curious about what Washington College did to support the war effort.

--Emma 

Rodgers Smith: A look at Church Hill and WAC in the 40's

Unlike other interviewees, Mr. Smith's story focused mainly on his home town of Church Hill, about seven miles south of Chestertown.  Church Hill and surrounding towns were very isolated at the time.  There was no Bay Bridge, and it was a difficult trip to get to Annapolis, and incredibly arduous to get to Baltimore.  Because of this the community was tight knit, and became even closer during the war.  Mr. Smith like many agreed that things were simpler back then.  There were a couple of grocer stores in town and a movie theater and a drug store.  Other than that there were not any business's in town.  This is not to say that Church Hill was a dead town in any way.  There were plenty of tourists coming through either to see the town, or stopping by on the way to another destination.

The war changed the town considerably.  Mr.  Smith's strongest memory of the war was his realization one morning that all the men in town were gone.  He claimed it felt like it was overnight.  His teachers and principals were replaced by women or older teachers who were retired.  Young boy's including himself replaced spots in the fire department, and were deployed sometimes during school to put out a fire.  Sacrifices had to be made, and if it meant missing school to save a burning home 7 miles away it had to be done.  

Mr. Smith was too young for the war to be drafted, so he went to Washington College after high school.  He insisted that he live on campus, despite the fact that he only lived 7 miles away.  His wish was granted and he ended up living in West during his college career.  The dorms were organized differently during the 40's, with bathrooms and showers only on the 1st floor.  Mr. Smith recalled hearing his friends on the top floor complaining about the inconvenience.  Today we complain about having to share showers.  At least now we don't have to run up and down 4 flights of stairs just to take a poop.

The GI bill meant that most men on campus were at least in there mid 20's.  Mr. Smith was often outclassed on the dating front compared to the mature seasoned veterans.  He did claim that the advice and leadership of the veterans was crucial in his journey to maturity, as it was for many of the other young men at the school.  Although he did grow up fast at college, he still loved it, and remains in the loop on current college events and athletics

The most impressive thing about Mr. Smith was his patriotism.  He stated his pride for his country when the boy's came back to Church Hill at the end of the war.  He misses the cohesive American community fostered during WWII.  During his interview he became sentimental while talking about the boy's who did not make it back home.  The more I conduct these interview's the more I can see how clearly that generation valued the American way.  Mr. Rodgers Smith was no exception.

--Nick

Rolph Townsend: Storyteller/ Pickle Master

Rolph Townsend was quite the character, and gave us one of the most lively interviews yet.  Rolph has a knack for telling a good story, regardless if it is related to World War II or not.  Much of what Rolph told us was about his childhood in Chestertown during the war.  Rolph was busy having a great time despite the war overseas.  He was 11 when the war started, and remembers not being all that effected by the fighting in Europe.  Rolph spent his time after school playing games with his friends outside.  Nobody played organized sports at the time, and his group of friends made up there own games, like "Marco Polo".  We all know the version played in the pool, but Rolph's version is a bit more violent.  The game is a mix between football, capture the flag, tag, and fist fighting, where two teams fight to carry a trophy to the other side by any means necessary.  Rolph spent the rest of his time either studying, or working a paper route, as most teens and preteens had some sort of job outside of the house.

Rolph took advantage of Chestertown's riverside location and grew to be an experienced sailor and swimmer.  When he was young he spent much of his time swimming in the river, which was full of sewer run off.  He told us how when he got out of the water he would have a brown mustache of dirt and grime, and would wipe that off first before cleaning the rest of himself.  He swears that swimming in the river is why he is still so healthy today.  

Rolph's sailing expeditions were not limited to just up and down the Chester River.  He and his friends often would venture out to the bay, and observe ships coming in and out.  One day he and his friends ran into a Red Cross boat full of injured soldiers and sailors.  They waved and shouted at the sailors who returned the favor.  Rolph and his friends headed out afterward, but ran into a strange heavy box floating in the water.  They grabbed it and managed to crack it open and found that it was a box full of donated plasma.  Immediately the boys decided to turn back and try and get the box to the Red Cross vessel, but they were unfortunately too late.  The next best thing they decided was to bring it to the branch in Chestertown.  The branch happily accepted the box, and the boys were celebrated in the paper for their act of patriotism.

During the later era of the war, Rolph worked in a pickle factory of horror.  Rolph retold stories of how women would lose fingers daily while cutting pickles into small bits when they came down the conveyer.  Whenever a woman would lose a finger there was a worker on the other end who would pull it out and clean the blood up.  Naturally the woman was replaced with a new one the next day.  Rolph's job was not much better.  The first job Rolph had was scooping out herring from a tanker car that came into the plant.  The herring were hot, steaming, and in some cases rotting when they came out of the giant steel truck.  Rolph would do this with a big net, and scoop them out so that they could be canned and pickled.  His second job was even more disgusting.  Rolph also worked in a relish tank, which was infested with fruit flies.  He would use a large canoe oar, and stir the relish and smash flies into the relish for fun.  He had a game were he would stir the relish and flip his paddle over to try and see how many flies he could crush at once.  The relish was canned and packaged for sale in Chestertown, flies and all.

Rolph's final pickle story was about the preserving process for cucumbers.  They would take the cucumbers when they had a surplus and put them nearby where the swim center on campus is now.  they were in wooden barrels with slatted wooden tops covered in salt.  The rain would wash the salt into the barrels, shrinking the cucumbers and making them white and slimy.  Rolph was involved in the rehydration process which took place a long time after the shrinking.  The plant would add tumeric, alum, and hot water to re-hydrate the cucumbers, which would be dark green afterwards.  Rolph has had trust issues with pickles ever since, and just started eating them again.

--Nick

Friday, June 19, 2015

From Kent County to North Africa

On 6/16/15, Joe and I interviewed Patsy Skirven. Skirven is her maiden name, but she prefers it over "Reihl" because she like to keep connected with other people in the Kent County area named Skirven.


The story of hers that really struck me the most was the one where she visited her Uncle's grave in North Africa.  Throughout that part of the interview, she was tearing up and almost started to cry. What happened was, her Uncle was one of the first to be drafted and fought in North Africa.  In early parts of the war, American soldiers were relatively ill-prepared and he died.  Due to all the commotion at the time, he was buried in North Africa.  They just couldn't ship his body back.  It was tricky and took nearly a year, but she and her husband were able to visit his gravesite because a cruise stopped in Tunisia.


The thing about this gravesite was that it wasn't visited often.  She recalled the Normandy cemetery being the most famous of the WWII cemeteries.  The North African American Cemetery was harder to visit.  As the guide pointed out, she and her husband were its 4th visitor.  I don't know if it was 4th that year or 4th total, but it's still a number that is a lot lower than the visitors to Normandy's.  It was interesting and sad to hear about a near empty yet well maintained cemetery that not even I knew about until the interview.

This interview was probably the most emotional interview of the ones that I conducted.  Even though it was long, I still enjoyed listening to it again to index and transcribe it.  Even if I forget the rest of the interviews I do, I don't think that I'll forget this one.

--Elijah McGuire-Berk

Patsy Skirven Reihl Tells of Emotional Journey to Uncle's Grave

North Africa American Cemetery. Image courtesy of ambc.gov

 An often undiscussed aspect of World War II is the large number of American soldiers buried overseas because their bodies could not be returned to the United States. We interviewed Patsy Skirven Reihl who was directly affected by this harsh reality along with so many other families from that time period.  Her uncle, Preston Ashley, lived on a farm near Rock Hall in Kent County.  As the youngest brother in the family he was not exempt from service and after completing basic training in England was sent to join American forces during the invasion of North Africa. 
           
According to Patsy, Preston sent the family postcards that indicated he was in action around Libya.  Several months after his last postcard, however, Patsy’s grandmother received a call from the U.S. Army informing her that Preston had been killed in action in Tunisia.  The army told Patsy’s grandmother that they would try to return the Preston’s body to her but she never heard back.  Like thousands of other fallen American soldiers, Preston had been buried overseas in an American military cemetery, this one in Tunisia. 
           
Civil unrest in Tunisia made it particularly difficult for anyone from Patsy’s family to visit the grave.  However, later in life, Patsy decided she would make the trip to Tunisia to pay her respects to her fallen uncle on behalf of the entire family.  After a year of logistical troubles, Patsy and her wife departed on a cruise from Europe that would dock in Tunisia for just one day.  At the dock they were met by the head of the cemetery who drove them through the war torn areas to reach the grave.  Patsy described the trip through Tunisia and finally arriving at the cemetery: “As you rode out there it was a terrible place, just trash and junk. Then you open the gate and it was paradise. There were flowers and fountains. It was beautiful.”
           
Elijah, Patsy, and Joe.
Patsy’s long and emotionally trying journey to find her uncle’s grave was a powerful story and we were grateful she felt comfortable enough to share such a personal experience with us. The affect the war had on families sometimes goes overlooked when studying World War II which is why we were honored to help bring one of those stories to light. 

--Joseph Swit

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thomas Davis Sheds New Light On the Home Front, Black Market

As a child growing up in Chestertown in the 1940s Thomas Davis experienced the impacts that World War II had on the town firsthand.  He vividly remembers being at a radio station in Centreville with his father when the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor broke.  Soon after his father would move the family to Chestertown and took a job at the newly opened Kent Defense Plant which manufactured hand grenade parts for the war effort. 
           
While his father was doing his best to contribute to the war effort, young Thomas Davis was a paper boy and was constantly reminded of the ongoing conflict in the headlines of the papers he delivered.  Through this and the news reels shown at the movie theatre Davis was stayed informed about what was happening overseas.  He even kept a map of Europe and the Pacific in his bedroom where he would track the advancing troop movements of the Allies against the Axis powers.  I was surprised by just how closely he followed the war and how informed he was, especially at such a young age. 
           
Davis also helped shed new light on the black market in Chestertown.  We had heard that there was illegal goods being sold to circumvent the federally mandated rationing but we didn’t have specifics.  Davis told us that and his friends were exploring around the Custom House when they found a pile of illegal tires being sold behind a neighboring house.  While Davis didn’t go into further details it was still fascinating to finally get a firsthand account of what the black market, which we’d been hearing so much about, looked like.

Overall, the interview with Thomas Davis provided us with many compelling stories of life on the home front.  We came away with a much more vivid picture of what life was like in Chestertown during the tumultuous years of World War II.  

--Joseph Swit

Learning Process: Interview with the Gills.

On 6-11-15, Abby and I interviewed Charles Gill and his wife, Frances Long Gill.  Charles is in his 90s and is a WWII vet.  Frances is also in her 90s and was a Washington College student during the war.

Unlike the other interviews I did this week, Abby was the one who held the microphone and I was the one who asked the questions. I'll admit, I'm better at holding the mic and Abby does a better job at probing with questions.  It was a bit of an awkward interview in my opinion as we had two different people with two different stories both being interviewed at once.  There was a lot of moving around in terms of getting both stories in.  Sometimes they'd say things that linked, other times they'd say things that didn't, one time we were each talking to a different person, making the scenario just a bit awkward.

I learned that I'm not the best at probing questions.  I had a tendency to stutter a lot and lose track of which question I was on as well as which one I was going to do next.  Similarly, Abby had her own issues with the recording, dropping the device at one point.

This post is focused more on the general reversal of roles in the interview rather than what I learned in the interview because, to be honest, a lot of what I learned came from no longer being the person who handles technical things.  I learned that it's more difficult than it looks to probe people for questions and that it's not easy being in the spotlight.  Granted I already had an idea of a lot of that but I never really experienced it until now.

--Elijah

Charles and Frances Gill: The two perspectives

In the interview with Charles and Francis Gill the couple talked about where they were during the war and remembering the stories back in the day. Charles who was 19 years old was drafted into the war and traveled to Liege, Belgium. He talked about what he did there and what he saw. The photos he showed me were amazing. He remembered who the people were in the pictures and what they were doing, which I found remarkable. One story that he mentioned when he was in Belgium, he got the opportunity to ride the jeep for the medic team. He also witnessed the aftermath of the bombings of the city and showed me pictures of the rubble of buildings. He mentioned, when he was not driving the jeep around he had the opportunity to ride in a bomber plane with a few of his army mates. Not witnessing any fighting, but seeing the families and the destruction from the bombings must have been very upsetting to witness.




Charles Gill & Frances Long Gill
Francis, who stayed in Chestertown during the period of the war told us about the rationing, what the businesses were like, the bond drives and what Chestertown was like after the war. She said there was rationing on tires and that there were recipes in the newspaper that helped you cook meals with the food that you had and not have much of what was rationed. She also talked about the different family businesses that were in Chestertown, like the Candy store that is now replaced by the lemon leaf, but during WWII she remembered going in there and getting five pieces of candy for the amount of money she had. She also remembers using the rationing cards at the drug store in town. She said the community was much closer and everybody knew everyone. Another topic e covered was asking about if there were any war bond rallies and there were. She said there were parades around town to support the war effort and lastly she talked about what it was like after the war. She remembers that the churches played a big role in bringing the community together and she remembers hearing people talk about when their sons and husbands will come home from the war.

I was very fortunate and thankful that I was able to listen to both of their stories and different perspectives on the war. Having both a veteran's perspective and a person who was living on the home front was a great opportunity to have a conversation about what it was like for them as young adults.   

--Abby Gordon

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jean Silcox Baldwin

On June 11, Nick and I performed our last duo interview together with Jean Silcox Baldwin. Baldwin grew up in Chestertown and was a young teenager during the war.

She provided her unique insight on common WWII themes. For example, in regards to rationing, Baldwin talked about how proud housewives would be of themselves when they were able to come up with a recipe for baked goods that didn't need sugar. She also spoke on how important it was to write to men overseas at the time in order to keep their spirits up. More interestingly, she mentioned that girlfriends wouldn't get mad if other girls wrote to their guys, because they knew that they needed as much supported as they could get.

Baldwin shared some stories that we haven't been able to discuss in depth. She talked about how beloved Franklin Roosevelt was, and how Americans throughout the country wholeheartedly believed that he was the man that would get them out of the war. According to Baldwin, many Americans even had photos of Roosevelt hanging in their homes.

Baldwin also discussed the system of mailing called v-mail, where letters were shrunken down to fit on smaller, lighter paper. This way more letters could be sent at one time. This information was particularly interesting for me because I have a v-mail letter that my grandmother received from her brother in January 1945.

Baldwin gave us a lot details that we had known before, it was really a pleasure to interview her.


-Emma Buchman

Jean Baldwin: A Different Chestertown

Ms. Baldwin was a young girl during the war.  Like many others she was effected by rationing, news from the radio, and the boys that were missing from home.  Ms. Baldwin remembers the tragedy of Pearl Harbor, and the fear she felt for friends she had in Honolulu.  Patriotism was at an all time high during the war.  After the events of Pearl Harbor many turned to FDR for leadership and for comfort.  Ms. Baldwin recalls how listening to his fireside chats gave her a sense of assurance, and that everything would be okay as long as he was in control.  She like many across the country had a picture of FDR hanging up in the house, a makeshift shrine for the American spirit.  

The patriotism did not just end with reverence for FDR.  Ms. Baldwin and all the girls at the school wrote "V-mail" letters to soldiers, regardless of personal relationships.  She recalls the men being overjoyed to get letters.  She grew close to a boy from town from the program, and would eventually end up marrying him.  This man was Allen Baldwin, a Washington College graduate.  Although most discussion in the letters was just small talk, sometimes critical military information was disclosed.  As I learned before from my research session, the Government bureau of censorship scanned all communications, especially V-mail.  This meant that certain "hot" information was whited out, so that nothing important could be intercepted by Axis powers.

Ms. Baldwin like everyone else during the time remembers rationing.  During the time many wives compared recipes to try and find ways to cook without sugar or butter.  Ms. Baldwin recalls one birthday where she almost didn't have a birthday cake.  She was lucky and had a clever mother who was able to bake a cake without some key ingredients.  Although MS. Baldwin's mother played by rationing rules, many did not.  Ms. Baldwin remembers those who were part of the black market, or food hoarders being ostracized, and condemned as unpatriotic.

Ms. Baldwin had some great insight about recreational hubs during the war.  Apparently Betterton beach was a huge tourist attraction complete with bars, gambling facilities, and a great boardwalk.  Today it's just a strip of beach with a restaurant.  It's curious to me why some areas like Chestertown expanded after the war while other areas declined.  My personal favorite story Ms. Baldwin disclosed was about a secret tunnel system underneath Chestertown.  the whereabouts of such a tunnel have been researched and searched for by the Archaeology department, but no there is not clear evidence of a tunnel system.  Despite this, Ms. Baldwin insists on it's existence, claiming that her husband explored it once.  Unfortunately her husband had recently passed, so it's impossible to get his first hand account.

Ms. Baldwin's interview was particularly difficult to conduct.  Her daughter who attended the interview was crucial to keep Ms. Baldwin on topic, and to translate between myself and Ms. Baldwin.  The difficulty in the interview process solidified the fact that we need to get all of this information about WWII down immediately.  In 10 years almost anyone who was alive during the war will be gone.

--Nick

Interview with the Slagles

On Thursday, June 12th, 2015 Abby and I interviewed Walter and Charlotte Slagle as well as Rene Coxon.  The five of us, as well as their two children (7 in total) all sat in a room in a nursing home as Abby covered most of the questions and I tired my best to capture all the sound that was bouncing around the room.

My personal favorite stories that they told were of the reactions to winning the war.  Rene recalled that she had graduated high school only a few days before the war was over.  She said that during her senior year, everyone had to write an essay about when they thought the war was going to end.  If I were in her shoes, I'd probably be shocked to hear that it ended only a few days after I graduated.

 One of the funnier stories that resulted was when her brother celebrated by firing a shotgun into the air and hitting a transformer.  It made for one hell of a flashy celebration, that's for sure.   They said that lots of people celebrated with guns; it reminded me of when the Capels said that people celebrated with fireworks.  It must have been a loud celebration.

One thing that I didn't really account for when I listened to the interview is how 7 people in a room will result in some interruptions as well as people talking over each other.  I wouldn't be surprised if I mislabeled who said what, because it wasn't always easy to recall what people sounded like after only speaking with them for about an hour.  Hopefully my transcription won't have too many mistakes.

--Elijah

Slagle Family Stories during WWII

Thursday morning I interviewed the Slagle family who told me about what it was like on the home front in Chestertown during World War II. They all had different stories about what they did as kids during the war. A few of the stories they talked about were the local businesses, where they got there news, women in the work force, and talking about the war ending. The community during that time was close as ever because so many people they knew were in the war. Local businesses during that time were family owned businesses and were much busier than it is now.  All the kids played games after school downtown.  Where they got there news was mostly from the radio. They talked about certain radio speakers that always came on during that time and they gathered around and listened. Jobs during that time were mainly women. They were working in various areas, but many were working at the munitions plant in town where they made detonators for the grenades. Some worked also at the grocery stores in town. Women played an important role during that time and it changed the role of women from being a homemaker to the bread maker while the men were off fighting the war. Lastly, they talked about the end of the war, Rene who was only a child back then remembers her brother getting his shotgun and shooting a radio or something electric in two to celebrate the war ending. The stories they told came from the heart and you can picture yourself in their shoes, which I found amazing.

--Abby Gordon 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

German POW Relations

Tom Mulligan was by the the youngest person interviewed thus far in the Story Quest program.  50 year old Mr. Mulligan was not alive during the war, but his father and grandfather had strong ties to the POW's in Chestertown.  Mr. Mulligans grandfather owned a farm during the war, and employed German POW's from the camp in Church Hill.  Unlike other POW's the ones employed by Mr. Mulligans grandfather were fed extra food, which was illegal to do.  Despite this, Mr. Mulligan believed in treating the POWs humanely and also knew that a well fed worker would do a better job than a starving one.  According to Mr. Mulligan there was a great difference in POWs who were fed, and POWs who were not.  POW's who were not fed began to lose hope, and feared returning to Germany.  The POWs knew that there was not much to return to at home, and began to suffer from horrible depression.  Those who were fed remained optimistic, and were grateful for those who showed them respect and decency.

Years later when Mr. Mulligan was in his twenties he looked at some letters from his Aunt.  Tom's mother had just died, and Mr. Mulligan was planning a trip to Europe with money his mother left him.  The letter's that his aunt gave him were between his father and POW's that returned back to Germany after the war.  He managed to hear back from one of them who offered to host Tom and his father and show them around Germany in return for taking good care of him during WWII.

Tom thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  Before he went he expected the Germans to be a totalitarian and unpleasant, but he was pleased to be completely wrong.  He said that the German's are particularly ashamed of Hitler's decisions, and are aware that it can never happen again.  They talk about the Holocaust and the horrors of the war freely.  The perception that German's have wiped the books clear of the Holocaust is unfounded and not based in fact.  The German's are apologetic about the event, and have since been proactive in preventing anything similar from happening again.

After his time in Germany Tom spent time doing Military service, similar to his father and grandfather before him.  During his time he heard a lot of other soldiers rallying themselves by labeling enemies "commies" or "Reds".  Tom thought it was completely counterproductive for peace to dehumanize the enemy.  He feels that a lot of the battles we fight are sparked by general human indecency and lack of respect for one another.  The reason that Tom's family managed to have a prosperous relationship with the POWs because of mutual respect and Tom's grandfather's ability to empathize.  Tom acknowledges that this is something we are lacking as a culture today, as we struggle to compete with other nations in power and technology.  Tom emphasized the fact that we need to continue to look back to learn from our mistakes, as it is just important to practice history as it is to continue moving forward technologically.  Otherwise we are doomed to repeat our past and continue making needless mistakes.

--Nick

Proof that Memory Lives On: Tom Mulligan's Story

On Wednesday, June 10, my partner Nick and I interviewed Tom Mulligan. While Mulligan was not even a thought in his parents' minds during the time of the war, he has a multitude of stories from his father, grandfather, and aunt that he was willing to share with us.

During WWII, Mr. Mulligan's grandfather had a farm on the outskirts of Chestertown. He had four Germans POWs working on his farm, but they were most definitely not treated as such. Mulligan told us that German POWs were only allowed the bread and water they were given in their camp; the farmers were not permitted to give them any additional food. Well, that didn't stop Mulligan's grandparents, who prepared meals for the prisoners throughout the day and treated them with respect. Mulligan made it a point to say that the POWs (like those working for his grandparents) who were treated with some dignity had a shred of hope, while their less fortunate counterparts were left with no hope and an acute awareness of what awaited them back home.

In 1992, at the request of his recently deceased mother,  Mulligan took her ticket that she was going to use to go to Ireland and Germany with Mulligan's father. Before they went Mulligan's aunt, Virginia Capel, gave him a series of letters that his grandfather had written to the POWs after they returned to Germany. Mulligan wrote to each one of them and received a response from one. His name was Erwin Bennat, and he told Mulligan that two days was not nearly enough time to spend in Germany. A week, at least; ideally a month. So Mulligan and his father shortened their trip to Ireland and spent a week with Bennat, his wife Kate, and their son Carlston. It was an experience that Mulligan would never forget, one that gave him a lot of insight about Bennat and his feelings not only about the war, but about the kindness that he was shown by Mulligan's grandfather.
from left: Tom Mulligan, William Mulligan, Erwin Bennat.

This interview is the epitome of what StoryQuest is trying to do. We are trying to save memories and give them a longer life than their owners. Mulligan helps his grandfather's legacy of kindness and sensitivity live on, and we will do our best to do so as well.

-Emma Buchman

Dickie Hudson Highlights Farmers' Experience During the War

Our interview with Dickie Hudson gave us the unique perspective of what a typical farming family in Kent County went through during the war.  While residents living directly in Chestertown were more directly affected by rationing, the Hudson family were much more secluded on their farm and didn’t see their way of life impacted too much by the new wartime restrictions.  The family was self-sufficient on the farm and therefore were not dependent on goods from town. In fact, Hudson recalls that the family only ever went into Chestertown on Saturday nights where young Dickie would use his weekly salary of 25 cents to go to the movies and buy a bag of candy.  

As farmers, Hudson says the family was exempt from some of the strict gas rationing policies and were able to get 3 or 4 more gallons per week than most Chestertown residents.  While some farmers were also exempt from the draft so that they could stay to tend the land, Dickie’s brother, Monroe, enlisted in the Marine Corps.  Luckily though, Monroe never saw combat and instead was stationed stateside where he became a flight instructor.  

Through Dickie Hudson we learned a lot about the differences between townspeople in Chestertown and local farmers during the war.  It seems that the farmers were more isolated and were not exposed to air raid drills and blackouts.  These differing experiences will be something to inquire about in future interviews.

-Joseph Swit

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mr. Mervin Cohey

Mr. Cohey shared his pictures, including one of him in uniform.
Not all soldiers in World War II saw direct combat, others were sent overseas to monitor borders, and follow the relief aid by the end of the war. Mervin Cohey, a Chestertonian farmer, grew up on the Chester River, and volunteered for service with four of his buddies. They decided to skip school that day and hitchhike down to Baltimore. The four boys went through basic training, where they peeled many potatoes, and were sent to different forts to resume training after Christmas.


Mr. Cohey went overseas, not to combat enemy troops, but to protect the borders as well as two of Hitler’s headquarters from enemy snipers. However, for Mr. Cohey, the worst part of the war, were the starving children that he and others in his platoon interacted with on a daily basis. More often than not, Mr. Cohey would either share or give his K-Rations to the children of Berlin. In two touching stories, Mr. Cohey befriends some of the people of the town and surround areas. One farming family invited Mr. Cohey to their home above the cowshed, and had a lovely dinner even with little means. This dinner for Mr. Cohey was very risky and actually not allowed to happen in the first place. But that didn’t stop this family from caring about Mr. Cohey as one of their own. Another story involved the family that washed Mr. Cohey’s clothes while he was in stationed in the city.

Joe & Mr. Cohey
Their young daughter asked Mr. Cohey over for dinner in the bad part of town for an American soldier. So Mr. Cohey said no, but a few weeks later the young girl said that her father would pick him up and keep him safe so that he could come to dinner. Mr. Cohey thought about it and agreed, and the father came to pick him up and they went to the train station together, and when it came time to get off the train, the father told Mr. Cohey that he was going to get off first, and Cohey would follow and hold his hand as they walked the 4 blocks from the station to the family’s home. They were followed, but Mr. Cohey never let go of that man’s hand. They enjoyed a lovely dinner, and repeated the process on the way back. It goes to show that you are really never too old to hold someone’s hand to keep you safe.

-Sarah Graff (duo interview with Joseph Swit)

Interview with the Capels

Allen and Virginia Capel.
Yesterday, Abby and I interviewed Allen Capel and Virginia Mulligan Capel.  These two were children during WWII and they had their own sets of stories to tell.  They each were born and raised on farms, so they had similar stories to tell about their experiences.  One of the interesting experiences that the both were able to talk about wasn't war related, but rather their memories with the radio/movie theater.

Allen talked about how there was a movie theater in town that showed one film continuously for about 2 weeks.  The admission was 10 cents.  Compared to today, that would seem pretty limited (but extremely cheap!) so for more variety, people would turn to the radio.

They described their radios as huge mainly because of all the tubes and lights and such that would fit inside it. They talked about some of the things they listened to, with a particular emphasis put on The Lone Ranger which seemed to be a personal favorite of both of them.  It reminded my of my paternal Grandfather who also loved to listen to radio shows, with his favorites being Superman and Captain Midnight.

They talked about how people would watch the radio as if it were a TV and that they'd use their imaginations to see what was happening.  It was definitely the most fun part of the interview.  I could tell that both Allen and Virginia were happy to talk about some of the more fun aspects of their childhood, especially in the midst of an interview about wars and whatnot.  All in-all, it was quite fun.

--Elijah

Girls on the Home-Front


June 9th 2015, 137 North Queen Street


Mackie Dutton and Jane 'Geri' Bristol, who are cousins were in their early teens during WWII.  The two of them recall a simpler time, where Chestertown was far more condensed, and infinitely more interconnected.  Ms. Dutton and Mrs. Bristol both have impeccable memories, and were able to recall names of people in there classes during middle school.  Even more impressive than that is there continued ties to those people today.  Ms. Dutton explained that almost every social function was tied to the church, and that their generation continues to convene at the same Episcopal church even today.  It is also curious to note that the College was much more integrated into Chestertown.  Today any student will tell you that Chestertown and Washington College are two very separate entities.  Back then Professors lived in town and everybody knew them.  "Townies" would often frequent college sports games and performances.  This still happens today, but the town no longer gathers together for a Sunday Football game in the stadium.  Part of this is because of the expansion of the town.  Before most of the town was on high Street.  Stam's was the biggest drug store in town, and the Garfield used to be the movie theater.  People went out of their homes to do things more, Ms. Dutton recalls.  During the winter she would go out ice skating with other Chestertonians, and watch U.S. bombers deploy for Europe, and would go to the theater to get news about the war.


Not everything was quaint and droll in Chestertown during the war.  In particular Mrs. Bristol's family was impacted by the death of Mrs. Bristol's older brother.  Her brother was a fighter pilot and was shot down on the European front right after his leave during Normandy.  The family was never the same afterwards.  Mrs. Bristol lost her beloved role model.  She would listen to his war stories and hang on to every word.  Perhaps the most devastated was her father, who she claims lost some of himself after his son's death.  Year's later she asked a friend who new him what kind of man her brother really was.  He replied "He was an all American boy.  A good athlete, and a good student.  You wanted to be like him."  Although this knowledge of her brother brought her a sense of pride, it also made the loss that much greater for her and her family.  Mrs. Bristol's tale is not an isolated incident.  According to both Ms. Dutton and Mrs. Bristol every family was impacted during the war.  Everyone either lost a son or relative, or knew someone who did.  The holes left in the community were devastatingly apparent.

Unlike the adults at the time Ms. Dutton and Mrs. Bristol don't recall being impacted by the War on a daily basis.  Rationing was not as extreme as others recall, with the exception of Ms. Dutton's experience with Squibb's toothpaste, which she detested.  They did not have to give up many luxuries exactly, but many things they had were replaced by a cheaper variant.  Another example is the replacement of sugar with Saccharine.  Some of the adults during the time went into "hardcore ration mode".  Ms. Dutton recalls neighbors buying barrels of flour and sugar in preparation.  Other's detested this neighbor for it, accusing her of hoarding resources.  There were other's like her that would siphon gas, or find ways to get more ration tickets.

The newspaper was one of the most prominent ways that Ms. Dutton's family got news of the war.  Her father would get three papers a day, all of which contained news about the war.  From this many, including Ms. Dutton were fed information about the brutality of the Japanese imperial nation.  The Japanese were feared far more than the German's, whose atrocities during the Holocaust were not fully reported on.  If any news was released about it, Ms. Dutton and others did not believe it.  Due to the news reports, most American citizens according to Ms. Dutton were perfectly fine with American Japanese citizens being relocated into internment camps.  According to Ms. Dutton "it was war"  We had to protect ourselves".  It was only until much later that both women learned just how callous the Germans were.  Despite this lack of disdain for the Germans, most people were more concerned about the European front.  Ms. Dutton and Mrs. Bristol never gave a definitive reason, but I suspect that the Western front was more familiar, and therefore much more accessible for the American audience to understand.
  
By the end of the war Ms. Dutton was in boarding school.  When she got news of V-E Day and V-J Day she was happy, but she was not overwhelmed with relief like some of the people who were around during WWI.  It reminded me of when I was 8 years old on September 11th.  I personally had no connection to the terrorist attack, and did not really care or understand at the time.  the only thing that changed was that I wore a helmet to "protect" myself from incoming planes.  Even during the mid 2000's I remained uninterested in operation Iraqi freedom, because it had no direct impact on my daily life.  Although the implications of both wars are monumental, young people in both seem to be relatively ambivalent.  Much of this was probably due to parents and the government hiding statistics and particularly gruesome knowledge, but most of it was probably because children cannot fully grasp the truth of war.

--Nick

Our First Duo: Teenagers in the War

For our first two-person interview, my partner and I went to the home of Mackey Dutton, where we would be interviewing both her and her cousin Jerry Bristol. I was very excited to interview them because Mrs. Dutton provided so many names to us for interviews and research.

Both of them defied all of my expectations. Both Mrs. Dutton and Mrs. Bristol told fascinating stories about what it was like to be a teenager during the war, whether it was about how simple and joyful life could be or the sense of unity that was felt across all of Chestertown. When one family grieved, everyone grieved with them.
Mackey Dutton shares some wartime ration books.

What's more, I was able to ask questions that I was dying to know the answers to, but would never think of during the actual interview. Some examples and their answers were:

How did you all feel about the Japanese compared to the Germans? (There was more anti-Japanese sentiment because of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the reports of the cruelty that Japanese soldiers inflicted on civilians and POWs.)
Was Italy even relevant to people at this time? (Not really, though it should have been, considering how many people were lost fighting in Italy.)
What about our friends across the pond, what did you think of them? (France was cool, but there was a more specific connection to the British, since they knew of the bombing that England was put through and because Mrs. Dutton's ancestors were all British.)

We also asked them about the to which they were aware of the Holocaust during this time. They responded that they had heard of some of the things that Hitler was doing, but either didn't believe it to be true or never received the full story. It was not until after the war that they knew the entirety of Hitler's atrocities. This subject is so widely discussed and debated, concerning not only how much the European people knew but the American people as well. It was wonderful to have a new story to interpret and research.

I loved interviewing both Dutton and Bristol. Their insight was so valuable and both women were a pleasure to speak with. Plus, I found some more Big Bang Theory and Modern Family fans to gossip with.

-Emma Buchman

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Twice in a Lifetime: Interviewing Mary Wood

Considering Ms. Mary Wood's age she was extremely sharp and witty while telling her WII stories.  Ms. Wood, ninety-seven years old was in her twenties during the war, and gave a vivid portrayal of what it was like to be a young adult on the home front.  Ms. Wood came from a family strongly tied to the first world war.  Her father was rose through the ranks as battery commander and remained in the reserves until the mid-thirties.  Her mother was involved in the Red Cross, and still served even after Ms. Woods birth.

Ms. Wood's WWII story begins September 1st, 1939, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack.  She had been out until 5 A.M. and saw here dad sitting on the porch.  She naturally expected to get chewed out by her father, but instead found him weeping because the Nazi's had invaded Poland.  After this Ms. Wood joined the war effort as a member of the Red Cross on the home-front.  She did war work all across the east coast, and spent plenty of time flirting with local marines and going on dates in D.C..

Eventually Ms. Wood married her husband, who was 4-F (unfit to be a soldier) and contributed to the war effort in other ways than combat.  Her husband, A Harvard Law grad, was re positioned from being a lawyer to a school teacher, taking the place of those who were overseas.  During the day when Ms. Wood's husband was away she tended to her boiler chickens.  Boiler chickens are middle sized chickens somewhere between a fryer and a roaster chicken.  She gave a great anecdote about how her husband neglected to make a chicken coop, and how she had to keep the chickens inside the house in a designated chicken room.  The chickens grew larger and larger every day, and it became near impossible to contain them.  One day she had a potential home buyer come through the house, and she had to forcibly guide him away from the  chicken room.  Ms. Wood got rid of the chickens soon after out of frustration.

The remainder of Ms. Wood's wartime memories were of major battles and rationing.  Ms. Wood vividly remembers where she was when she heard about Pearl Harbor, D-Day, V.E. Day, and V.J. day.  In her time you couldn't just log onto Facebook and see a stream of news as you scroll down the page.  She and her family would spend hours next to the radio, just like we do with our laptops.  She remembers the devastation of Pearl Harbor, the suspense of D-Day, and the triumphs of victory on the European front and the Pacific theater.

Like many others Ms. Wood remembers rationing.  A few things she remembers being rationed were cigarettes, oil, rubber, and food.  She was well aware of the black market in town, and even had close contact with it through her boiler chicken venture.  She chose to not enter into the illegal sales because of the moral dilemma and her husbands stalwart patriotism.

I personally cannot believe how well the interview went.  The information that Ms. Wood provided was rich in detail, but the biggest take away was her attitude toward war and human conflict.  After expereincing WWII and hearing her parents experience in WII, she is troubled by the violence overseas as well as the turmoil on the home-front.  She is troubled by the fact that nobody seems to really care about the violence unless someone they know is connected.  She said that in her time almost everyone came together to help end the war and reach peace.  She feels that today war is polarizing people, and adding to the problem.  It is unfortunate that Ms. Wood's efforts for peace have been forgotten by our nations majority.  It's become more apparent how important it is to record the voices of the past to benefit our future.


--Nick

An Interview with Milford Murray

Chestertown has a rich and diverse history. The town was a major port in the colonies, and even has evidence of the slave trade.  However, as Chestertown grows and years go on, the equality and the friendliness of the town are kind of falling apart.

Milford Murray, an African American man who was a young child during World War II, grew up in Chestertown. As a young child he remembers how rationing affected his grandmother's cooking. His grandmother would often make apple or peach cobblers, cakes, and other sugary treats, that she would still make during the war but didn't taste quite as sweet. Mr. Murray was happy to talk, and would often compare Chestertown today to what it was like living here as a teenager and young child. Chestertown before and after World War II, was actually a little more close and friendly than it is now. There was a sense of camaraderie, everyone would check on each other, and offer help, assistance, or even offer condolences, if that was needed.

Murray mentions a story of how his grandmother was friends with another grandmother who was a full-blooded Italian. The grandmothers would often sit on the porch and have conservations even though Milford's mother didn't speak a word of Italian, and the other grandmother didn't speak a word of English. They would also send food back and forth, making the younger kids drop it off. The grandmothers simply understood each other, as they had probably went through many of the same experiences. They simply didn't have to talk to each other, they could just be together.
Murray, even after being away for 34 years, he came back to live in Chestertown in 2004. He is now mostly retired, but he often works for the college as a driver.



-Sarah Graff

Friday, June 12, 2015

Stories of Mary Wood Before and During the WWII Era

When I arrived at the house of Mary Wood, we talked about a range of stories from her working in the Red Cross with her mother to prom hopping in New York and raising chickens in her household. Her adventurous spirit captivated me in various ways. During her 20’s, instead of doing another year of high school she traveled to New York and took several classes at Barnard instead. Also, when she was there she went prom-hopping at various schools all around the East coast. A few years later, she decided to move to Washington D.C. and work for the Red Cross for a couple years before the war. When she was talking about her experience, I appreciated her dedication to making difference even before many women did not even think about doing work outside of the household. She worked in and around Washington D.C. visiting soldiers, giving them encouragement and occasionally flirting with them. She brought hope and light to the soldiers to remind them that you are allowed to have happiness and hope.

 After a couple years working for the Red Cross she met her husband and moved to Virginia where they raised chickens in their household. She had a funny story when she was alone in her house one day and she found out a family was interested in her house to buy. She had the chickens in one of her rooms and she turned the radio up, so the family would not hear the chickens when they were touring the house. Besides her working on taking care of the chickens and her husband in school studying law both her husband and once a week volunteered their time to spot planes in a tower in their hometown at 3 a.m.  These particular events of her life told me so much about how fascinating this woman is. Having the opportunity to listen and ask questions about her life before, after and throughout the time of World War II showed me a perspective on what on what a young adult did in that time.  After listening to her stories, I would have liked to know if during all the proms that she went to, What types of dancing did they do at proms during that time? And what did young adults want to do after they graduated?

--Abby Gordon

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Elijah on the interview with Milford Murray

On June 4th, 2015, I was part of a group of people who interviewed local Chestertown Resident Milford Murray.  What impressed me most about him was his ability to recall stories from various points in his life and relate them to the more modern time period in which he lives.  As a guy who lived in New Jersey for most of his life, I don’t know a lot about Chestertown.  Milford’s interview helped me learn a good deal more about this town’s recent and older history. 


He had a bit of a pessimistic attitude for the future of the town, claiming that there are plans to try to turn it into a retirement community, citing the lack of blue-collar work as well as the decline in the local African-American population.  He was a good talker; able to eloquently explain just about anything that was brought up as well as a few things that weren’t brought up.  One thing I'm supposed to reflect on is whether or not I have any additional questions that I didn't get to ask, but to be honest, I don't have any at this point, he covered everything.  

I guess I can say I have one issue and that is that he's willing to give tours of the Civil War Museum on First Friday, but I have a training session that day from 6-8.  I may be able to make it but I'll probably be late or just too tired to head in to town.  Sorry about that Milford, it's just an awkward timing thing going on.

All in all, it was an interesting experience and I hope to interview more people.

--Elijah McGuire-Berk