Q: You were born in Missouri, but you graduated from High School in California. How did you get to California?
A: I was very young and we lived on a farm in Missouri. One year the winter was so bad the windows were covered up with snow drifts. My father was reading an article and it was describing what it was like to live in California. My mom said he looked at the window covered with snow and then looked back at the article again and again. That spring we sold the farm and packed the truck and away we went. The truck broke down in Texas. My father sold the truck and rented a house for 6 months figuring he could save enough money to buy a new truck by then. 3 years later we had enough money for a truck. We packed up and drove to San Bernardino. That's where I went to school and met my sweetheart.
Q: How did you and your husband meet?
A: Oh my. I was helping at the USO. I poured punch and I made 3 dozen cookies to serve our boys in uniform.
I don’t think I was the prettiest girl there, but Hank must have. One of the other girls there said there was a boy staring at me. I turned around and made eye contact with him. The way he looked at me with those dreamy eyes. It was like butterflies exploded inside of me. We talked all that night. We talked the whole next day. Two weeks later we were married.
My mother thought we were nuts. But I’ll tell you this, 52 years later before he passed away, I still got butterflies when he would look at me that way.
Q: What was the best part of High School for you?
A: Well I wasn’t in the super popular crowd, but I did have my three best friends. We did everything together. We would pass notes in class, especially in Mr. Bernard’s history class. It was so boring. Don’t tell my son James about that because I scolded him once for doing the same thing.
Q: What sort of thing did you do as a child?
A: My mother wanted to be a ballerina. She went to nursing school instead. So when I was old enough she put me in dance lessons. Every year it would get harder and harder, but I got better and better. I never danced professionally, but I taught dance lessons at a school to pay for college. Many days I wanted to quit and go be silly with my friends, but my mother said I would thank her one day. When I became a teacher, I remembered that, and I was thankful she had sacrificed time and money to give me a way to pay for my schooling.
Q: What was the scariest time of your life?
A: Well, I’ll tell ya. I was sitting in a fox hole in Korea. I had never been so cold in my life. We didn’t know which was gonna kill us first. The winter or the enemy. I remember praying that if God would get me out of here and back home safe I would never complain about being cold again. And ya know what? I never have.
Q: How did you meet your wife?
A: My first wife was my big brother's girlfriend. He went off and got himself killed storming the beach. She was so sad, we were friends, but after that we became much more. Sadly enough she died in a car accident four months after we got married.
My second wife was widowed by the war. A friend introduced us and we liked each other well enough. We were both upset over our losses and that became a bond between us. We got married, but neither of us loved each other as we did with our first. Years later and a few kids I remember looking at her and releasing that I didn’t know when I started truly loving her, but I did.