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Interview with Bill & Lillian Shaw
The interview with Lillian and Bill Shaw took place on January 14, 1978, at his daughter Joyce Ann Crane's house at 1034 Standish Drive in Turnersville, New Jersey. It was conducted by Bill Crane. The voices you hear on the tape are Lillian and Bill Shaw, and Joyce Ann and Bill Crane.
In preparation for a 2003 tour of World War II battle sites, to trace Bill Shaw's army experience, Bill Crane transcribed the interview, in order to study it, and identify in more detail Bill Shaw's service record. The transcription was begun on March 16, 2003, and was not concluded until May 26, 2003. There were three hours of tape to transcribe, much of it made complicated by discussions and comments by multiple individuals. Thus, it was necessary to play a small portion, attempt to interpret what was said, and then replay it many times over to finally close out a small segment.
All tolled, it required 83 hours, 23 minutes, and the final product is dedicated to the memory of our family's citizen soldier, Bill Shaw. I know you will have much admiration for his efforts defending freedom for his country.
(Events begin in the Philadelphia, PA area)
used to hang at the corner at the boy's club, the Lighthouse, boy's Lighthouse.
It was on our street. How I started to go out with her, I was walking up Front
Street with this girl, and she was walking down, looking in the windows. I said
hello to her and then I stopped her. I told this girl to walk on, I'll catch up
with her. He said what are you doing? Who was the girl? Oh, yeah, he remembers
the girl's name. I don't remember her name. What was it, I said that I would see
her that Saturday night. He said oh, aren't you living together with Bob, and
I said no, and he said where were you at? And I said I am at my Sister's, Who
was that? Clara. She lived around here to? No, she lived at 24th, 25th and Sedgley.
So he said oh, well could I come and see you Saturday night? And I never thought
no more about it. Well if you were staying with your sister, what were you doing
around the neighborhood still? Looking in the windows. Looking in the windows,
shopping. You had been over to Jule's I guess, to be in the neighborhood. Maybe.
This would be about 1931, or 32. I had been out of work for a year then, from the Hosiery. He just hit the number that day? My father had dreamt of this number on a Friday, so he had told us, he was working City Hall then, so to play a number in them days, 2 cents you could play. Well he had played it and it came out in the box, so for the 2 cents I got 9 dollars.
|So with the 9 dollars I splurged. Took her out on a Saturday. We went to the Fox [movie on market Street at 16th], and then we came back, I brought her back to our neighborhood to a speakeasy, it must have been '31. The speakeasy was over on Water Street, down the cellar wasn't it? No, it was in the kitchen as you go in. That's when you had, it was home brew. Oh, we splurged and spent the whole 9 dollars. Yeah we did. You had a good time. You even saved enough for us to go on the trolley car, remember?||
trolley at water & front
So you went out 2 years and you decided to get married. Yeah, and everyone warned me against it. And that was January what? 3rd. 19, 1934. Katherine was born March of 1935. Yeah, we had an apartment, 21st and Tioga, and you got up there because your sister being up that area? Is that it? Well, being out, we was just riding around, and we happened to see this apartment. Riding around, did you have a car? I had a car then. I had a Grand Page. Grand Page? Who makes it? Or is that it? I don't know who makes it. It was a good car. But I remember I had trouble with it. The head casket kept blowing all the time.
then you were pregnant with Katherine. Again, we went up to Germantown, now how
we got way up there? Well, how it was, she wasn't supposed to be able to have
children. And I took her to this one doctor, and he that said she was pregnant,
and I said I don't believe him. I think I took her to five doctors, and then I
finally believed the last one. Well why did they think? I could never have children
because the womb was like turned back. And, I said I don't believe it. I'm not
pregnant. And they said, well Clara kept saying well why are you throwing up?
I said, maybe I got a virus or something. So I went back to the doctor that told
me she couldn't have children, and he said well we don't guarantee that. He says
what it is, when you have intercourse, it hits that womb, it keeps moving it around
a little bit at a time, till it gets right. Oh. And that's why it was four years
between you and Katherine. Yet, we never did nothing. No, no, no you mean you
never used any precaution? No, nothing.
Well, when you had Katherine, where were you? At 21st and Tioga. And when did the baby come? Yeah, it was on a Friday - in the middle of the night, Friday night at about half past ten wasn't it? Because I had got, through work, I was on the early shift. Thursday night we had went to visit Dot and John, they were on Shiller Street, 9th and Shiller. I don't even know where that is. It's above Tioga. And that's when it had started. But I didn't know. And I took her back to the apartment, she got a bath, and I took her to the hospital. Now that was on a Thursday. What hospital was it? And they said that she wasn't ready yet? Germantown. They were just about ready to send me home. No, so I had to sit there, and I waited till after 3, and a nurse came out, and said that you might as well go home, because I don't think anything's going to happen tonight.
So I went home, went to bed, got up went to work. I got up at 5. Back at the hosiery mill. And I was through at 2:30. And then I went right to the hospital. And I sat there. She was in the hospital the whole time. And Bud and Dot came in, that was Friday night, around 8 o'clock. Her brother Bud. Around I guess about 9:30 a nurse had came in to the waiting room where we were, and she said they were taking her down, that they thought it would be near time. So around oh a little after 10, I heard them oh they are running up and down the hall, now what the hell's going on - get him, I don't care where he is, get him, get him!
thought I was going. So - that's the truth - then the nurse came in, and this
guy came in with this button hole flower, flower in his button hole, full dress
suit, and the nurse came in said she hasn't passed her placenta yet. And Dot said
my God it's another one. So I didn't know what it meant, and Dot didn't know what
it meant. Now, what the heck is that? She says I don't know. Well then afterwards
we found out it was the after birth. Oh you know? They couldn't do it, so they
sent for this head doctor, all he did was put one finger there, pushed hard. He
comes, he had been on a party - pushed hard - he had a big carnation on, and spats,
and he came in, he wasn't in the room two minutes - he just put his finger there
- where? Hard. Right about, yeah, real hard. That's poison and stuff. Oh yeah,
and they said that I'm the only one. You can't even leave a little piece. Oh no.
No sir! That'll kill you. She didn't pass all of it, I mean that's dangerous,
but even a little piece. That's where - they thought I was going then I told you
- you get poisoned from that. Because it wouldn't come. And they said don't you
feel anything, and I said if you tell me what I'm supposed to feel? What am I
supposed to feel? And they said do you have to go to the bathroom? I said no.
And that's when they tell you it came out?
Well she had said it was a girl. Did you know what you were going to call her? Well she was picking out Kathleen. Why did you like that name, just? German name. Yeah, see my grandmother's name was Catherine and his, his aunt was Catherine - my grandmother - was a Catherine too. And you wanted some form - of that, yeah. If you had a boy was it going to be William? Oh yeah. Then afterwards - when you came - we changed it to Katherine. The nurse came in . . .You know like when I had to fill out the application. That was two or three days afterwards. He liked Catherine. He was talking with his grandmother you know. They said no, make it Katherine. They wanted to know what we wanted to name it. They give you that much time. Well we had talked it over and changed it from Kathleen to Katherine, and spelled it with a K a t h e r i n e. That was his grandmother, that was my grandmother, but that was all K a, and but they said I didn't spell it right. Katie says that to this day. Well she spells with K a t h r y n. Right, and I didn't. And I spelled it like my grandmother and his grandmother. Does she have a middle name? Lillian. After yours. Then when she came - and then fours years between the two - I said I don't want to see her.
you ever working? I wanted a boy so . . . Huh? Were you ever working, or were
you always at home? She never worked. Well, I did take a girl's place one time
- oh yeah, for a week. Yeah, for a week. After Katherine was born? No, before
Katherine was born. This girl was out sick, and they asked her to go work for
her. I was pregnant, and the kids were sick, Clara Shaw, and they asked her to
go work for her - cause I was a stay minder. That's the only time she worked.
Then four years later Joyce Ann. Yeah, and I wanted a boy so bad. And where did that happen? It happened in Kensington Hospital. We were living on Palethorpe Street then. 2nd and Lehigh. When did you move to Palethorpe Street? Well we went home after Katherine was born. We went home with my mother, and we lived there oh I guess, 6-7 months. And then we decided there was a house on Palethorpe Street for rent. $14 a month. So his mother said well yeah take it, and she gave us an icebox and kitchen set. She really was very good to us. But she said it would be better. We had nothing in the parlor and nothing in the dining room. My mother give us the bedroom set, it was only a bed and dresser - a chest of drawers. Did you have any of that when you finally moved? It was given to me. Yeah, but when you finally moved did you have any of that stuff around still? You know when you moved in 60 . . .Oh we gave most all of that away. Yeah the, the old shiferobe, - I bet that was better than anything you can buy today - the one with that marble top, you couldn't lift the top. It had the old washstand and the pitcher. You know what that would be worth today? Yeah. Yeah.
That was the one you rented, it was 2639? That was right next to the mill - and my brother, Carl lived where we lived. And Uncle Bud - Crewsy lived where I lived, now, 2638. Uncle Carl and Aunt Tess. But we had owned that house. Did they live on Palethorpe Street one time? Yeah. They lived 2638. See we originally owned that house, un huh, before we moved to 2nd Street, that is, not her, I mean when I was small. Yeah, they - we owned that and then we sold it, bought the milk house up the corner. No now Lil, the milk house was first. Oh. And then we moved to 2nd Street. But ash, we sold that to bootleggers. The people that bought it, they were making booze there. They would come in and sell it by the pint and the quart.
So you had her at 2639 when you were living there. And when did she come? On a Saturday night - I was playing cards down at Bud's house. Bud lived at - 2626 - Burk's old house. Everyone lived there. Well see that was because we were there - we were there so they came too, you know. While he was there he would, go up on weekends, building his house up in Nashaminy . At that time, already, 1939? Oh, we used to go up there. They used to have a tent. He built another one you know, up the mountains. Poconos. Uncle Bud's very handy, he's a mason. Masonry - that was way out there in 1939, 38 - what does he do? Masonry work right? Yeah. Bricklayer.
He could only buy so much
you know each week - as much as he could afford? Cinder blocks and that. Oh, we
used to go up on the weekends, and help him dig in the cellar, yeah, he dug, he
built, he did a beautiful job with that. And, he had was it the 5 kids he had,
Bill. Geez, I don't know whether he had them all or not. Well no, he - he would
take them up in a tent. Yeah, but after that, he had rented the house on the old
pike. Remember what, we had the pictures of - oh yeah, where that stone was outside,
remember they had Ferrule on it. The Old New York Pike. You know across the way
was the taproom like - on the Boulevard, you don't go up that way anymore, you
go around it. Well, he was on that road there. And it was up, like sort of up
on the hill - it was next to the taproom. The Post Office was there, what the
heck did they call it? Nashaminy Falls Post Office. And he lived across the street.
Well, he had rented that house there, it was a big farm house. And then, he moved
into his house. Why did he want to go so far? Farm. Well, yeah, you see he was
building his house, he was close to it there. He was always crazy about farming.
Animals, yeah. He had -how did he make his living? - Cows. Well he was Bud's a
bricklayer, by trade. Our Fritz - but then he was working in the iron foundry
So Joyce Ann came on a Saturday night, you were playing cards or something, down the street? Oh that was at Bud's house, when we had gotten a phone call. So, Aunt Ann, Uncle Horace - phone call, well where was she? In the hospital. Oh, you took her to the hospital again. Oh she had been in there, the night before, I had taken you down on a Friday night. Which, hospital? Kensington. Afterwards it became a doctor's hospital. Yeah. Near the church around there? Yeah. St. Boniface's. And we had gotten a phone call, and that was around, 8, 8:30 at night. And then we went down, I think Aunt Ann and Horace. She was just having it. And then we stayed and saw her - she was beautiful - and then they sent us home. We went back to Bud's and ah we really drank one.
We knew, that the name was going to be Joyce Ann. Well, Katherine was staying over my mother's - on 2nd Street? Yeah - my mother was watching Katherine - well Ann, Aunt Ann almost said do you want to call her that? And I said I sure do. What was that? Aunt Ann said you'll never call her that, and I said oh yeah, yeah. Where did you get the Joyce from? Well, I don't know. She had picked it - Joyce Ann. I wanted, Carol or something, and he said no God damned movie names. I said all right. Like Carol Lombard or something? How about Joyce? I don't know. He didn't want that. Joyce was closer to Joe, to Joseph. And I said how about Joyce, I like that. That was my father's name. Oh I didn't know there was a connection there. I didn't know it either. He let me go with Joyce.
then ah, Aunt Ann, she was - the God Mother - not really your Aunt, eh? Yes she
is, really my Aunt. Yes. It's her Aunt. Is it Craighead, what's her name? Yeah,
well Craighead, it was Englehardt then. Oh, Englehardt. That side. Oh I see. Don't
you see eh mom, my mother's brother is Bill Englehardt. Yeah I know now, yeah
I see. And Ann married him. Aunt Ann - this is the one whose husband was the railroad
man? Yeah, Craighead. That was, she remarried. But I still say Uncle Horace.
did you get into 2638? Well we - our Carl moved, and then, we moved in when Carl
was moving. Right. He went up to, up by his mother, 7th and, 40 hundred 7th Street.
Her mothers - her mothers. And then we went over and rented that. Because that
was a nicer house than ours. That had the bath, you know. Well, she had just put
a bathroom in for us, didn't she? We had it like in the shed, at first, and we
didn't like that. We liked it upstairs, in the tub and all like that, so. It had
the shed - like a pantry - see over in the, in the other house, crap, the rats
would come up and eat the soap - rats? - the soap, up the walls. Rats? In the
bathroom. One time - on 2nd Street, or? - when Katherine was little - Katherine
was little - this was on Palethorpe Street at 39 - in a room by herself, and I
had just given her a bath - Joyce Ann? - Katherine. Ok. I had just given her a
bath, and I said, I put the soap in the dish, and the next day, he said , what'd
you do, leave her chew on the soap? And I said no, oh, what. Never. You, you,
oh. I think that was with Joyce. It was with Joyce, wasn't it? Yeah, because Katherine
- Joyce would always - no, Katherine was - Joyce Ann didn't chew on the soap -
she would chew on everything (she was bigger) - she's, she's a big eater! So I
thought - that was between meals - No, no it was her, it was you. So I said, oh,
I'll fix that, I'll turn it over.
then I had went down the cellar. I had built a closet there, a storage closet.
Yeah. Well in there there was a hole, went all the way through - to Blackmawr's
- to next door, and that's where they were coming from, and they told me they
didn't have any. Right. So I had ah - what, what kind of hole? - well, ah - big,
big hole - well see they wasn't cement walls - no - that was clay. Do you think
the rats went through it? Oh sure! They can go through that. Yeah. They chewed
their way through it. Yeah, they just clawed their way through. They chewed the,
they chewed through bricks. Yeah, I know they did. I had set the trap down there,
on the shelf. Un huh. So I was working in right down - this is another trap you
mean? Oh yeah, I had traps set all the time. All over, all over. So I was working
- you couldn't plug up the hole? I filled that hole up. Then they came in and
made another hole - they made another hole! Oh geez, geez!.
So I had the trap set and I went down to fix the heater and I opened the door to look, and I saw the rat in the trap. And I, well, geez, I don't have time to take it out and empty it now. I'll get it when I came home for lunch, because I'd come home for lunch. What, did another one eat it? Ah, you know they chewed the, the leg off of it - the leg off - and it was laying there - and it was out of the trap, when I came home. Oh, he did it, his own leg off - yeah, chewed his own leg. He said to me, don't you go down there, and I was - so he was alive when you saw it the first time. Yeah. And, then after it chewed it's own leg off. It must have died. It must have died. Because it was laying there. Neat. So that was one of the reasons we wanted to get out of there. There was too many - there wasn't, it wasn't just those two. Oh yeah. We would get them, oh. They weren't big ones though? Yeah, quite big! Good size. Right. What's that, six inches, eight inches? Well, I don't know. You'd get different sizes. Yeah. The one upstairs - you see what it was - they be - that whole street was undermined.
our Crewzy lived, he used to watch them play around that there that fireplug,
the pole. What? Telegraph pole. Rats? Yeah. Big ones. Under, what do you mean,
undermined? The whole street was undermined - the street was undermined with rats
- by rats. Well, rats and everything else. There was big hollow spots there. Yeah,
how could you tell that, you know that? Well, they were digging up, and that's
how they had saw it. Oh, you ought a saw the rats when they dug up. Oh yeah? I
think it was over by the, the water main there, at the fire plug. Huh huh. And
they had to dig up there, they had a broken pipe. Oh geez, you could see them
rats. They ran all over. What did they do about it? They didn't do nothing about
it. Oh they'd keep filling it in - filling it in - and it would sink down, and
they would fill it in again. Well, how come I never saw any when I was a - well,
after you got bigger, they started, everybody was doing something they were getting
rid of them - doing something to get rid of them, putting poison all around. How
ah, you finally had Joyce Ann. When did you move over to 2638? She, she was about
- she was born in April, and - February - February, and we moved in April. Was
it April? And, did you buy there or did you rent there? Well, we rented it for
about a year. Who owned it then, nobody in the family, right? Snyders. Snyders.
A Jewish man. He killed a kid up at the corner, and, and from then on he just
went to pot - he killed a kid? With his car, kid run right in front of him. No,
he was playing. You know these here man holes? He was playing. You could like
look through there, he was little, and he was there, and he came around the corner,
and didn't see the kid, and ran over his stomach, and he, he tried to take - at
the top of the street, at Lehigh? - yeah. It must have been going the other way
then - well you could go both ways then, you didn't have no one ways then - both
ways, no, no one way. And they were faith healers, you know. This kid people's
were. They wouldn't leave the -they wouldn't leave the doctors work on him? -
wouldn't even leave - wouldn't even take - wouldn't let the cops take him - the
cops! They wouldn't, he died. But it really, but really - died in his house? Yeah.
Well, Annette, Garfolder, you, she said you should hear the screams of that kid,
laying on that couch. And yet they would not leave no doctor take - no! - no,
he even took two cops there. And it wasn't - and that really - that they were
old people they were a young couple there. Yeah they were young. Wow, that's amazing.
Why eh, ah - then we ah - then you rented the house from them. Yeah. We bought it then. I think we paid - $1200 - no, no 16, because I could have bought it for 12. That's right. We could have bought before - when I first went in I could have bought it for 12. The first night we took it over, we didn't want it. I think we paid 16 or 18, something like that. So when you sold it? We got 26. Was the bathroom, was the bathroom in the back already like that was? Or did you have the work done? No, that was back there. Up there on the second floor in the back? Yeah. That was a big room. It didn't look like it was the original bathroom. Well, eh, that was originally a, a bedroom. Un huh. They had no bath - see they had no tubs up there before, no toilets. See when he lived there they had no tubs. See your toilet was out in the, where the shed was. Un huh. You used to have to go out in the yard. And where was the tub? They didn't have one! How did you get washed? A basin. A basin. You got washed downstairs. By the, they had eh, the coal stove, and it had a - a coal stove in the kitchen. Wow! That's true. That's when you used to have to go down the cellar and bring up a spittle of coal - coal - and put it in - and just got bathed there. And that's how you keep your fire going. That's where you had the heat.
didn't have no heat upstairs. You didn't have any heat upstairs? No. Would no
duct work go through there? It didn't go upstairs. No. Not until afterwards, then
it was converted. Yeah. Converted. Yeah. And we had radiators. We had hot water
heat then. Oh did you? Oh sure, my - coal fired? - coal, or oil? Coal. Then I
had it converted - I had it converted to gas - gas. Oh you did have it converted.
We did - when I lived there - we did that. That was good. That was an improvement.
Oh yeah, cause that soot and the ashes every week. Yeah, yeah. Picking the black
coals out. Oh you did that? Oh. He didn't do it so much. He did so. Not too much.
I think we did that at my house. I remember him doing that all the time. He was
busy making things - oh yeah- he was making closets down there, after closet after
closets, making your furniture, Katherine's furniture, no he.
then ah, I guess the next thing is the war breaking out. We went, we went from
- September, 1940, and this thing here, on, she had a fit - when Germany invaded
Poland. She had a fit when he went. Well, you, you hadn't even had any threat
of being drafted, eh, just for regular service in the 30's? They didn't have the
draft then? Not in the 30's. No. Thirty-nine I got my classification card, which
I still carry. Oh yeah? Eh, registration - registration. You know - you were 30
years old before you, you had to get you - well I didn't go in until I was 34.
Well, I mean, like I had to sign up when it was my 18th birthday, but that - well,
let's see what year this is. They didn't do that then, oh did they do that? They
must have done it if he just got hit with it in 39 - I eh - he was 30 years old.
Oh he must of have, maybe he had, I don't know - the draft registration - yeah.
I was just looking at it. I was hunting for something the other day, looking for
my Masonic card I guess. So you'll have the date on there of when you signed up.
Yeah. Cause I remember mine, mine was like March 3rd, 1960. You should photocopy
that. Why? Well, I think you should photocopy that. I guess it's a mess, I don't
know what it looks like. Just had that out too. I'll have to go over this some
time. So you signed up and went to be classified, and you had the two children
then. One. He went in. No no. Oh no, this, this one is when I came out in '45.
Oh. I was ah, 1C then, discharged. Show Joyce that, can't you take it out? And
what year was that - 1945?
There are two cards there. Maybe one is when you signed up. No, this is my Social Security, and I am glad I kept that because - you know the trouble he had - in 19, 1967 I had put in and I had a refund of $80 coming and I didn't get it. I waited a year. Uh huh. Gee yours is in much better shape than mine. And then they sent me a notice I had to go down. There was another Bill Shaw - same number - down South Caro - it wasn't South Carolina, it was one of them places. He had the same number and the same number and the same name. But his wife's name was different. I'll have to look for that, now I think - November 19, 1945, 4th and York Street. Yeah. He really had an awful hard time with that. 4th and York, what was there? I hope someone took good care of it. Couple, couple hundred dollars wasn't it Bill, they thought you were to pay? No, they kept sending me these forms to fill out for my farm, what I made and all and what I'm growing. Yeah, I think had - they said it could never happen, two people having the same - name - Social Security Number. But they did. And they did huh? Yeah. Oh that was quite a - I think you told us that before - didn't they have bad credit or something? Yeah, and then gave me interest on what I hadn't gotten. But didn't the guy have bad credit and you, they were getting him mixed up with you? Yeah. No, no that was on the credit card, from New York.
guy went and made out a credit card, with my name on it, and he spent, I don't
know what it was, last I heard it was around $900. $900 and - when was this, a
long time ago? Oh, that was, wasn't too long ago. Un uh. Right after we had our
roof put on, down the shore. Oh, they had the detectives and all on it - yes sir!
They had where I worked, where I was born - everything. They had everything. Everything.
That's why I went down to the bank - everything - cause I had just gave them all
of that when I got the loan to put the roof on. And he thought the bank gave it
to some of these people. Where do you think that guy got it? Well, that's it.
No one knows. Nobody knows. And he was from ah, where the heck was he from - was
that the one from Texas? - down West, West, Southwest Philly or something. They
asked us if we were ever down there, and we said no, no. But, then it was from
New York, that's where I had a send all the letters.
So, so the war in Europe broke out in September, 1940. Ah, he went in May, he went in May, wasn't it? And that was much later. No, I went, I went in ah April 13th of '44 - and Joyce got Scarlet Fever in May. Well, where, where were you when, when Pearl Harbor was attacked? Do you remember that? December 7th, 1941? Where was I? On Palethorpe Street - on Palethorpe Street. Do you remember that day, when you heard the news and all? Oh, ah - that was a Sunday - it was a Sunday morning, right? - a Sunday morning, right. I don't know where we were. It - you should have been in church - it doesn't stick in your mind, when you first heard about it? Let's see. Now my father was - did somebody call you or whatever? My father was dead then, but he kept predicting that though, that it was, that we're going to be - war - in war with Germany. But not Japan, Germany? He didn't ah - un huh - he didn't say anything about Japan. Because him and Lanpotter used to argue a lot - who is Lanpotter? He lived in the first house - he was a teacher, a school teacher - down the street, up the street? - very brilliant, on 2nd Street. 2nd Street, first house - first house from the alley. But then, didn't he move over to Mutter, have that printing thing? No, you're thinking of Limper - Limper. Limper, yeah. This is Lanpotter. Yeah. But ah - you don't remember when that happened? His was the teacher.
So what it, what was it like in the early war years? Well - for us? - it was - for us it was hell - the early war years, '42, '43? Daddy were you still working? Joyce, Joyce and Katherine was stinking kids - yeah, I was - having ice cream and all that stuff. No, no mother, this is before daddy went. Before he went. Before he went. I was working at the Art Loom - Art Loom, yeah. Where? Art Loom, the rug place. Rug. Where was that? Ah - Alleghany - Mascher and Alleghany. Oh, yeah. We used to play halfball against that place. Ed, at eh, - Rawlinson? - Heavener and Rawlinson and I. How about that. Yeah. And then, ah, I worked there I guess 4 or 5 years -
let's see, where were we? Oh, the early war years, right. Well, then from the,
the Art Loom they were getting slow then, and I worked overtime for a couple of
fellows in the rug department, upstairs that was from where I worked, and we had
taken a break, and we went in to the toilet and we all lit up a cigarette - your
father's nuts, nuts make. So, while we are standing in there smoking, the boss
walked in. They all dumped them but him. So, I what the hay, I had it in my hand,
so I just held on to it. So out of six of us, I was the only one. So, he wasn't
my boss. I worked down in, in the printing.
the colored fellow's doing all the colored work - he and the other guys. I was
lifting up these here 98 pound - Frankford Arsenal? Yeah. Yeah. Ammunition boxes.
So it was all right just flipping them up and moving them, but you had to stack
them, four high. So they were showing me, you put your leg and you kick it. And
it started to bother me, so I said oh - the hell with that. So they, they said
well we don't have any machine operating job to give you. I said that's alright,
then I am going to quit - he said oh no you're not, you can't quit - so they said
you can't quit, and I said why can't I? He said that's because we'll put you in
the army. Yeah. Well, I am not even going to start today. So I walked out. She
was sitting out in the car. So I walked out, and I never did hear from 'em. That
was the - but they, they were - he was the colonel then. Yeah. You know, the Frankford
Arsenal. You can't quit them. Un huh. I had to go to him, you know? Yeah, here's
a good picture, maybe you know who it is. So I quit there and went, I went to
what, what made you finally decide to go into the service? You had a choice. Well,
they sent me, they sent me a notice, come down for the physical - physical. Ah
I got the notice in January. Of '44? Of '44, and I was to appear down at the armory.
Where was that? Ah, where the heck was that? 40th, 40th and Lancaster? Yeah, I
think it was, because I know we all met at 4th and York, and ah - went with all
the boys - went down by trolley. You know, McCuen, and Jones - there was about
8 of us went down - Lowen, yeah - all from the area you mean, from the neighborhood?
Yeah - yeah, from that street like. Yeah, and that was - Uncle Walt Gaun? - no
Walt Gaun. No he went in, he didn't ah live there then. You were all the same
age too? Yeah we were all around the same age - in the 30's. I was a little older
- little older than them - a year or two older. And up to that point they hadn't
drafted the guys? No, they hadn't, we had our fit, that is our - classifications?
- you were exempt? - no they had gave us our card - un huh - and then they came
around to finally caught up to us in the draft - hum - and we were drafted and
we all got the notices around the same time - the same time.
So we went down for our physical, and ah, I had went through the line and we had made - all navy - we had it made up that we'd all go into the navy - all go in the navy, all. They all said - you hadn't been drafted yet. They were just classifying you? Classifying him. Well, I always thought we was going down for our physical - physical - and that's when you, you got whatever you picked out. Oh you could pick it out at that time? Yeah, if you passed your physical. Un huh. So I had all, went all though, and I took it up to this line. You stand in line. They had an army guy and a navy man, both officers. So I gave him my paper, and he was just going to put the navy on there when he, oh he says ah, that line over there that you just came out of, the fellow didn't fill in your occupation. So he says take it back there, have him fill it in, then bring it back to me. So I took it over, and the fellow had to fill it in, and I had to get in line again. So when I got in line when it was my turn, it was the army captain - oh - sitting there. So he looks it over. I said I want to see this, this navy man here. He says that's all right, I can take your paper. So he looks at it, and the first thing you know he's stamping it with an A. I said wait, I'm to go into the navy! He said yeah, you're in the army. He says it's too late now, you're in the army! Ha, ha ha. Oh. I don't believe that. So I had gotten off on the wrong foot right there. Holy smokes! I was the only one got in the army, all the rest was in the navy. All your other friends were in the navy? Yep.
on the, let's see it was - well, didn't they say you were underweight or something,
and they didn't. No, no, one pound more. No, I weighed 107 - seven. 107? Yeah.
107 pounds. Yeah, and 106 was the quota! Oh, I thought it was the other way around.
If you weighed 105 you wouldn't have been able to go in? No, they would have took
you anyhow. Yeah, that's the point - well - they, they felt you to see if you
was warm. If you were warm - ha, ha - if you breathed! If you walked in there!
But they, you know that old joke, you know about spreading your cheeks? Yeah.
Well, I saw that happen with a fellow. Un huh. He was in front of me. See eh,
when you're going through for your physical, oh they have doctors, different -
yeah - doctors all around. You're in a line, you're going around. True. Oh. Did
you go to 401 then, or wasn't it even built then? Yeah it was. Yeah? What's that?
Where was your physical? That was, where was that? Down around 40th and, it was
some armory down that way. It was quite a distance from, from us. Un huh. Because
they had gave us carfare, and we all got on the trolley together. And when we
came out, they took us over someplace, and we had our eats. Huh. They gave us
something to eat. Un huh. But, eh, this fellow, he was in front of me, and the
doctor says eh, bend down and spread your cheeks. Well he did bend down, and he
blew his cheeks up. His facial cheeks! Yeah yeah.
then, eh, after we had taken that, he says all right we'll notify you when you'll
go. Well then, eh, I had gotten a card, oh I guess I waited about a month, and
I got a card, get this paper, that I was to go away on the 13th of April. This
one here, oh. So, geez you know I'm working at the Apex then and everybody's,
oh well, they won't take you. They won't, I said they won't take him too. So I
had - all these other guys you went down with, did they have families? Yeah. They're
all married? They didn't, they didn't have children. None of them. Un un. Yeah,
Jim Loan had eh - un huh, Margie - Margie. Yes he did. Did - because Kath, she
was as old as Katherine, oh yeah, yeah, right. So eh, what the heck was it? McCuen
up there and Ethel. I was to go away on the 13th - maybe more.
I had quit my job like 4 days before, to get things in order. So on the 12th I
had gotten a, a notice from the draft board, to come over that night - that would
have been the night before I go away - April 12th, 1944. Yeah. And appear before
the draft board - he could have got out of it - so I wanted - with two kids but
- went up to the draft board and went in. I guess there was about 15 men, women
sitting around this here table, they were all the draft board. Yeah, right. Executives.
So the one guy says, well how do you feel about going away? I says well, I says
I got my notice, I quit my job and that's all there is to it - he got presents
- so he says alright, that's it, he'll go - go. But he could have gotten, he could
have gotten - all I have to say is - I didn't want to go - I didn't want to go,
but he didn't. Oh no. Huh. So, the next morning I left for the - why did they
call you down for that? Because he had two children. Because I was ah - over age
and the two children - over 34. Did ya, did ya, did somebody pursue that or did
they just review the application? You see what it was then was if you were over
33. Un huh. There was no, nothing to fill in, you didn't do any writing. It was
all verbal. Un huh.
they took you until - so the next day I went down, got on the train - um, where?
At eh - where, in town or at 30th ah - 30th - North Broad? 30th . You didn't go
with him huh? No. He wouldn't let us. No, you couldn't. We stood at the door.
Now you know. Yeah, you know what I remember - you couldn't? - and I don't know
whether this was in my imagination. They didn't go. Did you have a uniform on
when you left? No - that's what I remember - that was when I come home on furlough.
Oh, on the furlough. Now wait a minute! Maybe that's it. Maybe I don't remember
then when you left. That's when I came from Camp Croft. You were five years old
then. You came from Camp Croft he had the uniform on. You were five years old
and two months. Ok, then I don't remember when he left. I only remember when he
came home from leave and went back. You don't think she knows when he left? It
was only a couple of months later, but it stuck in your mind, eh? I remember standing
on the arm of the chair, the arm of the chair in the living room - that's right
- while he was going out the door, and I remember him in his uniform, and I remember
crying. Oh, she, you said she didn't remember first?
Why did she get Scarlet Fever? They said that, that, that was from - now I remember being in the hospital with that. That's right. And when I had that - he only went from April to May. When did you have that? In May. When I was four. 1943. What? April to what, Lil? May she got Scarlet Fever. Oh, I thought you meant that I come home. 1944? I - after he was in the army. Yeah. Yeah. You remember that? She got it. I was only in there about 3 weeks - in there. And the worst - I remember getting a card from daddy. And dropping it on the floor - a get well card - and I dropped it from the crib and I couldn't get it. And you know , you know - she picked it up - Mrs. Wright called me - picked it up and threw it in the basket - wait, she's talking Lil - in the trash can, and I said but that was from my father! You know, and she said it's dirty and you can't have it! And I remember I really - she hit me too - cause I really put up a fuss.
were you in the hospital? You know what - Municipal - this, this, this - where
was that? Front and Luzerne. Front and Luzerne. It was a, a hospital for contagious
disease - for contagious diseases, yeah. Front and Luzerne. Yeah, the old Municipal.
And when mother came up, I told her about it, and mother - no, I didn't. Mrs.
Wright called me on the phone, and said get up here. And I said, now what's the
matter? And she said, ah, she'll stop that or we'll have to get the hair shaved
now. And I said, well what's the matter? And she said she will not stop crying.
All she kept saying is something about a card that fell on the floor. Would you
go in and see what you could get out of her? And you know you couldn't go in.
I had to stand at the door, like. And I said well what's the matter? And she said
ah, you get me out of here, I want to come home. And I said you honey, you can't
come home yet, until you're better. But, you'll be better pretty soon. And what's
the matter? And she said and daddy sent me a card, and she said and that thing
there threw it ooh, she. Un huh. And you remember and you were only five years
old, huh? Pretty good. So, so you know I quick wrote to him and I said please
send her another card. And she held on to this one.
did you live, when, while he was in the army? 2nd - 2nd - and Palethorpe, Palethorpe
Street. Oh, you stayed in the house. Yeah. How did you make it then? Well, I had
gotten - she got $50, and $20 - $25 for each child - so a $100 a month - so that
was a $100 a month she got. Was that good then? Whew! And I got - now wait, that's
paying insurance and I - was that good then, or was it tough? No, it wasn't good.
Not to me good. It was $1,200 a year. But things were much cheaper than what they
are. Yes, things was more cheaper. And I got eh $30 - pay? $30 a month. Pay. But
then I had to pay the insurance, I had laundry. Which insurance are you talking
about? In the army. Not mine. Life insurance? Yeah. I forget how much that was.
I don't know, but not mine. Well, there was so much I had to pay out of it, there
wasn't anything there that I had to send home. Un huh.
Really with, with it, we'd say well, well I'll tell you now my mother gave me a $1, when she was in the Municipal. We had no money. She said look you get a cab and bring her home, and I said ok. So, this Mrs. Wright was in my Sunday School class, and she was up at the Municipal, and she says - what church was that? Alpha Baptist. She said eh, don't take her home in a, she said how are you going to take her home? And I said my mother gave me a dollar, to take her home in a cab. She said, un un, don't do that. But she said I'll tell you what you're going to have, to have to do. We didn't cut her hair because she is so temperamental, and so daddy loved her hair, see, but you do me a favor and you take her down Oppenheim & Collins. It's a little expensive, but do it right and get her hair cut just as short as you can. Who said that? And I thought - Mrs. Wright. Where was Oppenheim & Collins? That was well known ah - Chestnut Street - really? Yeah, they were the well known hair - originator of the feather cut - hairdressers. Feather cut? Yeah.
So she, she got, she got the, attendant to take us to the trolley car, with their bus. And we got on the trolley car, and she said oh, and, and you want her to have air, but keep the children away. So I sit her on the step and keep the kids away, and when I took her down Oppenheim I didn't think I'd ever get her home. She carried on! She still does. They, they said, look at her there, look how pretty! Oh! Why didn't you like it, hon? Too short! Her daddy. Her oh. Her daddy what? My daddy liked long hair. Wha, oh. Cut the curls. Oh. See, she had the curls. Oh. You just had one too? No, no, no, they kept that for airplanes. For what? They wouldn't give me. Airplanes. That is, they were using it in these instruments, that had to be the - right - original ah, Strawberry Blond - virgin, virgin's hair - virgin's hair. And that's why, is that why you took her down to cut it? No, because of the fever, from the - her, she had - see otherwise you lose your hair. Though you were going to shave her hair. And it doesn't let the fever come down dad, I think. No. Don't. That's why they wanted to cut it, so the fever come down. Back in those days they did that. In those days. She said we'll wait one more day.
After that we'll, and
I said oh, don't do it, don't do it! She said we'll wait one more day. And that
one day it did, must have come down a little bit, because they left her go. But,
eh, that is all like dead, Bill, you know, from the fever, would kill it. So she
said I advise you to get it cut. And I thought, oh. Well - she - how much did
they cut, and how short? It was this thick, this short, under, over the whole
head. What, she - too bad we don't have a picture of that! It was all curl, oh
she - I think you do. You know what one, with my favorite shoes. Nah. Yes it was!
Yes it was! Not with that much all over your head. Well then that, that, maybe
I am exaggerating. You sure are. I mean that's, that's an inch. You know what
it was, those shoes. I was five years old then. Yes. Must have been it. How short?
Very short. She carried on terrible! Well it could have grew a little bit by then.
You had that hat on though in that picture, didn't you? No. Was that picture taken
while you, he was in the service? With her dancing shoes on? No, they weren't
dancing shoes. Do you remember those shoes, dad? The black and white. The black
and white ones, yeah. My favorite shoes. Look, they hurt her feet. And he threw
them out. She took them out of the dirt and brought them in again. And he said,
I don't want her wearing them! But they don't fit you! But they're my favorite
ah, you didn't work then while he was away - no. Stayed home with the two kids.
No, I had about five kids. Five? She minded children. Oh, from the neighborhood?
Huh. And we saved enough, we saved $300 Bill. Where did you go for your training?
Well, I went ah, New Cumberland. Where was that? That's where I was inducted.
Where was that? Pennsylvania? Pennsylvania, western part of Pennsylvania, out
past Harrisburg. Un huh. And then ah, I stayed there I think for, oh two days,
and that's when the notices come in where you are going to be shipped to. Un huh.
So, they came around, and they said well, we're, pack up, we're pulling out. Oh
geez, that night we get on ah, the train and I remember passing 2nd and ah, where
the train goes under at - Pennsylvania there, what is that 2nd and ah, below Erie,
and I could see all those buildings, and I thought oh boy, I am near home now.
But then we went, and then that, we went all - nobody knew where we were going.
We wound up in South Carolina. Hun, Fort Jackson? No, that was Camp Croft. Camp
Croft. Never heard of it. And I remember when we got off, oh it was raining. Yeah.
And you got to stand there with all of your gear, your duffle bag, and we stood
there, and then they took us over in, in a big hall, and they laid the law down
to us. That's where you were oriented. Un huh, right. Then we went to the barracks.
then we had ah, seventeen weeks basic training. Seventeen weeks? That was basic
training. Boy, that was long. Ah, Bill, he is talking about his - that's advanced
too I'm sure. So when he was there. Both. Both basic and your advanced infantry
training. Yeah. He was ready to go on maneuvers, that's what they call it, so
I said, ooh, we got $300. From what? Geez, I'd love to take the two kids down
- well, I had, while I was working, you buy bonds - right- take so much out of
your pay. Oh, oh I don't know how many bonds. I had quite a few bonds. Well we
got rid of them, yeah. I had six hundred dollars in bonds. Well I had $300 I know.
While you, while you were in the service? In basic training. No long before I
went in. See when I was working - war bonds - they would take so much out of your
pay, and you'd buy the bonds. And that's how she come down to visit. South Carolina.
sister's, both of them said. During basic, or during your advanced? While I was
taking basic. They said, don't take the two kids, go yourself. I said, no way,
no way. I wouldn't let them with anyone. What town was it near? Ah, Spartanburg.
That's where she came down too? Yeah. I had my coat, and their coats over the
arm, I held on to their hands and away we went. Summertime? Hot as hell! Hot!
Well you, you went in, in April? There was no place to sit, so we sat in the men's
toilet. Was it, June, July? About August. We sat in the men's toilet. Some lady
come in - this was on the train - this is a lie because you stayed six weeks.
Six weeks? Wasn't it six weeks, or four? Six - six weeks. She come down to stay
one week - in Spartanburg? I got my sister to get my check. Where did you get
all the money? Send it - wait a minute - well that was the bonds that I had -
oh the bond money - I told her to cash them in. No, you know, you know, I got
a, the check every month. Un huh. So Dot would send it down to me. And, eh, ah
we sat in the men's toilet, and Katherine sitting on the seat, and I was sitting
- on the train on the way down - and she was, yeah, and she was on my lap. Why?
There was no seats. Oh, that's - no seats - you couldn't get a seat in a train
during the wartime. You had to leave those boys have it, see? Yeah. So, some lady
come in, and she said lady can I have that seat? Katherine was sitting there.
Yeah you can if you hold her on your lap. Ha, oh, boy was it hot.
But ah - then when we got down there, we couldn't find him. We, you don't remember that? See she was supposed to come down. I think it was on a Saturday, and I waited around for this call, all, well after we got through training, and I even went over to the headquarters, no, no call. Well I guess she's not - I seem to remember that - I guess she's not coming down, so I went out - remember - I went into town. Remember? We went into that USO. And here she comes down, she gets down later, and calls up. That man is watching me and following me every place I go. You know, with two kids, it's an awful thing Bill. No, I could see the guy's eyes on me, and no matter where I went - on the train? - he came - no - this was in Spartanburg - no, this was in the USO. Then ah, eh, and, then, then he touched me on the shoulder, I said, yes? And he said ah, is your name Shaw? And I said yes it is. And he said, I just left your husband. I said oh, God. Yeah, cause - and it was the dirtiest place, remember the roaches, eh? And we all slept - the bathtub - together - bathtub was filled with dirty clothes. Do you remember going? I remember sleeping on a, on a cot - floor! Floor - then she put you on the floor - on a mattress - when she thought - on a mattress when she thought daddy was coming. You remember it, Joyce Ann? Oh, vague, vaguely I guess, but the guys loved her! Oh!
much, how much to stay there, do you remember? Six weeks. How much? How much money?
$7 a, a week. $7 a week? Or $7 a day. No, a week. A week, a week. $7 a week! So,
I came back - and ah, we knew this fellow across the street, see. We have all
those pictures. You have some pictures, though it looked like it was countryish
though. Yeah. It was sort of country. It was sort of. Yeah. And to Mom and pop.
They are, they are firm - I was the only Yankee she could even like. Who's that,
Ann? Ya see, see they - then when I came back. It was a butcher - I was in town
- we got all good food - I got back about 2 o'clock in the morning, and this here
fellow - that was following me around - he was waiting up for me, ho, ho. He says,
hay Shaw, come here. He said, eh, I just met your wife. I said oh, you're full
of shit. I thought he was kidding me. So he says, come on down the men's room.
I want to talk to you. So I - he can't talk when the lights are out - you couldn't
put no lights on in there - no. Oh. See. Lights was out.
we went down and he told me, and he described, and I, holy geez, then he told
me where it was. Yeah, see I told him where I was staying. So I get up - you hadn't
seen her yet? No! I hadn't saw her. And I didn't even - how did he know your name?
I, I don't know. Ah - from pictures or something - from pictures. I don't know,
but. See I had - boy, that's an awful thing, Bill. See I had shown him pictures,
and he knew - he followed me all around - that she was supposed to have came down,
and, and eh I didn't get a call, and we went, had went out together, then when
we hit town, we split up. Was he a friend of yours? Yeah, and eh, he was a coal
miner, big guy - he was big. Because I used to carry his rifle - he was big. Why?
From where? He couldn't make it. When we went on a hike. From Pennsylvania? Yeah.
Eh, oh way out in Pennsylvania, out in the coal mines. So eh, I jumped in, I went
down and, got out the gate, and I got a cab, took me into town to this here place.
How did you get out the gate though? Well, the, I was - they let you out? - this
was on a Saturday night, and I told them what it was, that she was in town. Un
they left me go out. And old bastard in this bar - as soon as I get to this place
in the cab, I paid the guy off. I started to go up the steps and there's this
bull dog - bull dog - we brought him home. Yes, eh - he wouldn't let me up to
the door. Ha, ha. Oh - ha, ha - so I kept edging my way up. So I got up to the
door - was he big - no, he wasn't that big - no, he - it was - but he was vicious
looking. Yeah, oh geez, with them teeth - yeah, yeah - they look at you like -
yeah. So ah - and the big bulging - and I knocked on the door. And why you knocked
on the window. You couldn't get to the door, he wouldn't let you. The people on
the first floor - went back and got us - they came out - no they an, they tend
to the door, and opened the door. Well, they didn't know you. They said well yeah,
there was a new lady came in tonight - with two children right - so then I think
she went back and knocked on the door, and then that's when I went in. This is
about a quarter after three in the morning. Is that right? And you hadn't seen
them since you left? No, that was the first time I had saw them. How about that.
you writing? Oh yeah, we wrote every day. Everyday? That was good. These kids
wouldn't sleep until he ah, and they were, oh God. Yeah I did. Especially this
one. When I got home I got some of the letters that the kids would write - really
- then when they would send their - do you still got them? Oh, on the pictures
- on the back of the pictures - pictures - they always wrote. Always! You know,
put their - always, eh yes - I think I - daddy, I don't remember that. I'd like
to see that. They're on the ones I got home. Yeah? I don't know whether it is
on any of these? Hun. See, Katherine could write a little bit better than you.
She was what - she was nine then, huh? Eight or nine, something like that. Yeah,
she was nine. And every picture they took, they had a band aid on Katherine. Had
a what? Band aid. She always hurt, was falling. Oh yeah? Oh gosh. Lillian Epstein
let her, and to her, she was so skinny.
So what'd you train, on the M-1? - the boys, oh - yeah, M-1, BAR. And at the end of 17 weeks, ah, where were you assigned? After I came home for 10 days - oh you got, at the end of all the training? - yeah - that was the only time you got a, a furlough? Yeah. Right. And then I went to ah - right - so when, when was that, 17, four weeks, April, May, June, July, around September? Went right over. Yeah. Around September you got 10 days. Because I sailed on Oct, in October - in October he went over - went over - yep. He came home by train again and ah, stayed for 10 days - what the heck was the name of that place that I -oh, Aberdeen. Maryland? Yeah. Cause I used to get, I'd come home every weekend - remember them? I got three weekends. When was this? When I got through basic training. See, I was waiting there for assignment to eh, go overseas. We knew it, we knew he was. Yeah, it was, was, was that the main one at Aberdeen, or? Un unh, it don't sound right Bill. No. Are you saying, you had the 17 weeks, and then you were assigned to Aberdeen? Yeah - one of those places - that, that's where we stayed for departcation. Un huh. See, and, and you waited for your orders there - orders from there. Un huh.
So you came home for
the 10 days then, and - ah, I got them pictures home, with the, the writing in
it. I thought I had them with me. That must have been tough for you, because after
10 days you knew he was going to go then? I did. You may not see him again. Oh
yeah, yeah. Well, we didn't think we would ever see him again, oh. And that's
- that's - when you remember from the scene in the living room? - and that's when
she, she bought my ring, when I came home, before I went overseas. Who did? The
diamond? No, my - your wedding - my wedding ring. Oh. He, the ah different guys
that he was in with, they hollered, and I said all right, so - I didn't want it!
No. Well. I said, will you wear it? And you said yes.
So, when you were away, you were getting the war news ah, when you were getting ready to go over? Oh yeah, we had gotten it - yet, but - then, but we didn't get it after we were up on the line. Sure, but, when you were going over, when you, when you were getting ready to go over, did you have any preference where to go? Because you - you didn't have a preference - no, I know, but were you hoping? Ha, ha. Were you hoping, were you hoping where you were going to go? Yeah. Well, ah, we knew we were going to European - oh you knew that? Yeah? Yeah, we had all the, the Burma China training. We took the Burma China training. Oh yeah? In the hot weather - un huh - we wound up going to Germany in the cold weather. Oh, well then you thought you could have ended up in Asia too then. Yeah, I could have, yeah. Un huh. Yeah, that would have been better maybe for him - no - because he hates the cold - no - jungle though - he hates the cold. Un uh. I don't know. They were all bad, let's face it! He had two - un huh - two suits of underwear, he had one bath, in six weeks? What? Oh - more than that.