Contributor: Conyngham Created: 7 months ago Updated: 7 months ago
Edited from the transcript of a video recording made of Edward Henry Heidbrink and his wife, Dorothy Christina Graves on 18 Aug 1986 in Fort Morgan Colorado by their son Richard Jon Heidbrink, with son Gary Lee Heidbrink present. Transcription was made by their son Gary Lee Heidbrink.
"My parents where from Iowa. My mother was born near Nodaway, Iowa, in Taylor county. My mother was a twin. My grandfather, her father, worked with mines. I don't know if he was actually a miner, or whether he oversaw the mineries, or what. I know that he was in charge of the payroll and things like that. So he did more than just actual mining."
"They lived in a very nice large two story frame house, rural area. My mother contracted tuberculosis when she was a girl. She had an eighth grade education when they came to Colorado, and they came to Colorado for her health, because of the tuberculosis. They settled in a homestead out south of Brush. My father’s people where out there too"
"Now they were from Ocheyedan Iowa, and I think they were farmers probably. I don’t know too much about my father’s family. But that’s where my parents met. Out there in the rural community, south of Brush."
"So, like I said my mother was a twin. And she's told me stories of her girlhood. Out there in the rural community they made their own entertainment. The big thing on Saturday night was barn dances, and the whole family would go. They'd take the children and all and bed the children down and stack some bales of hay or something in the corner while the party went on all night long. My mother and her sisters used to have a good time because they looked so much alike, and they dressed alike, that they would confuse the young men. They wouldn't know which girl was which."
"My parents where married in Spence Colorado, a little town south of where they lived. And I was born on May the 30th 1921, [in] a little sod house about thirty miles south of Brush."
"My earliest personal recollections of my childhood was when my dad and, I had, I had an older brother. Harold was five years older than I and then there was another child two, three years younger, younger than Harold, but he died in infancy. And so the first things that I can remember as a child was a big collie dog that we had that I played with, and my father hiding me when my brother and I would play hide-and-go-seek. Because my brother was older, my dad would help hide me and one time he hid me in the bottom of the cupboard, and it was dark in there. I got scared. I didn’t like that. Another time he hid me up on top of mother's washing machine. Above the washing machine was some racks where they hung their coats and work clothes. He stood me on top of the washing machine and hid me behind those clothes for my brother to find. Another thing that I remember was I had some chewing gum, and when I chewed it 'til all the sweetness was gone and then I went out behind the house and threw away my gum and came in and wanted some more gum because the other had 'wore'd out'."
"That’s about all I can remember, really remember of my real young childhood. This all happened before I was four years old, because my dad died when I was four years old."
"My brother was real brilliant. He started to school when he was four years old and completed two years in the first year of school and complete two more years the next year."
"When my father died we moved to Englewood Colorado. I don't know why my mother chose Englewood, Englewood is a suburb of Denver, and why she chose that other than the fact that she had her two brothers who where younger than she, because she and her twin sister where the oldest children in a family of eight children, and her brothers worked in the Denver area, so I don't know whether that had some influence on why she chose that place to live."
"I know her brothers stayed with us for awhile. And she raised chickens there. And she had an opportunity to go to work for the telephone company as a telephone operator."
"Now she was 16 when they came to Colorado and out there in that rural area they needed teachers badly and she had an eighth grade education and they tried to get her to teach school. And she wouldn�����������t do it because she wanted to go on and further her own education. She didn’t feel like she was qualified to teach school. She wanted to further her own education."
"Anyway, after they were married and my dad died, they were in Englewood and she had an opportunity to go to work for the telephone company as a telephone operator. But she was pregnant with my younger brother when dad died. So she had two children and one on the way and that would mean that she would have to put us in a daycare center to be cared for while she worked."
"So before she would do that she wanted to know how they treated the children, and she went to work in one of these nurseries, and she decided right then and there that she would not leave her children in a day nursery. She would manage somehow to work to take care of her children. So that's what she did, and she moved to Fort Morgan."
"We lived with my grandparents for awhile on, I think 228 Lincoln was the address. It was [a] big white corner house right there across the street from what used to be Lincoln school, or Central school. They call it Baker school now. Isn't that the big, isn't that what they call the old junior high?"
"Yeah. They lived right across the street from that school house, and we lived with them for not very long. I can remember we lived across the street from judge Stoneweber. Of course they were pretty well to do. His little daughter was about my age. She had a doll buggy, and oh I always wanted a baby doll and a doll buggy. And so it was a real treat to be able to play with her and play with her doll buggy, because I didn't have one."
"And then was, I think, my first experience with the church, because one day I can remember that we went to a church meeting in a house over on railroad avenue. It’s not there anymore. It was a two story building, and we went to [a] meeting in one of the upper rooms at that building, and my mother told us not to tell grandma where we had gone that day."
"I'm sure this was an LDS meeting because my parents had joined the church just before, well some time shortly before my father died. They were baptized in the tank there on the farm, the watering tank for the stock. My mother and my father and my older brother were baptized there. Cause Harold would have been eight years old, so it would have had to have been just very shortly before he died."
"The missionaries that had come out there had been sent out by my aunt Irene. She lived in Colorado Springs and she was the first member of our family to accept the gospel. She and her husband had sent the missionaries out to my mother. Aunt Irene told me just before she died that it was actually my father that was the one that was interested in the church at first. So I don't know, my mother had never said that to me, and of course my dad died when I was so young that I really don't remember him at all except the little incidents I told you about. But anyway they were baptized out there. So I think that that was an LDS meeting."
"Now, while we were living with my grandmother, we went to whatever church she went to. First I think she had gone to the Methodist church. Now I don't ever remember going to the Methodist church, then. But I think she went to the Methodist church first, got her feelings hurt, quit that, went to the Baptist church. And that I remember. That's when we went to the Baptist church with her."
"I was actually baptized in the Baptist church. When I was around eight years old, something like that, I was Baptized. Reverend Decker was the minister at that time. We went to that church for several years and then my grandmother got her feelings hurt and she quit that and went to the Seventh-Day Adventist church So we followed along and went to [the] Seventh-Day Adventist church with her. I didn't care for that too much."
"That was about the time I was in the third grade. Now I had started school in that old Central School. I went there the first two grades. When I was in the second grade we moved from grandmother's house, and clear over in the opposite end of town. On 921 Meeker street."
"My family is a real strange family, they can't get along with each other. So mother wanted to get as far away from her family as possible. She had one sister that lived in the southwest corner of town, and one that lived in the northeast corner of town. Grandma and grandpa where in the southeast corner of town, so she moved to the north, northwest corner of town."
"While she was with grandma they started taking in washings. At first they worked for the Morgan Laundry. Grandma and my mother both worked for the Morgan Laundry. Then they decided to start their own laundry, in their home. A little home laundry. They had an electric washing machine and so forth, and they washed together. Then mother moved over on Meeker street and started her own laundry business, and she did a lot of housework for people too."
"Deep cleaning, you know. Washing walls, and not people that just had someone come in every day, you know. But, for the heavier cleaning, she did that. Washing windows and washing walls and things like that. Did her laundry. My brother had a paper route, so he earned his money by delivering papers. And then we had to help deliver laundries and pickup the laundries for mother."
"Now we didn't have a car. My grandmother had a car. Mother tried. I can remember her going out and taking some driver's lessons. It wasn't like the kind of driver's lessons you had. This is the salesman that takes you out and teaches you how to start it up. Start, stop, and the rudiments of driving. It made her too nervous, so she just didn't think she could do that, so she never bought a car."
"So my brother did most of the picking up and delivering of laundry on his bicycle. He was pretty good at it. I mean he could take quit a stack of clothes on his bicycle and get ‘em to the people without getting them messed up. If it was my turn to deliver, or I had to pickup laundry or something, I had to do it with a little wagon. We had a nice good size little express wagon, [which] my younger brother and I, and my mother, pulled with laundry on it, and we delivered that."
"That was embarrassing to me because I was of that age where, in school you know. It was a real cliquish town. And people in our circumstances where really looked down on and that bothered me a lot. Plus the fact that when I was real little I had a lot of rheumatism pain, so my mother made me wear long underwear, and long stockings and high top shoes, and ah, and that was just, no-one else did."
"All winter long other girls went to school with bobby socks, and here I had to wear high top shoes and long underwear and long socks and that was so embarrassing. And I know, I guess it was probably in the spring, as I went to school, there was a vacant lot across the street from our house. And the weeds grew pretty tall in there so [when] I went to school, I rolled down my socks, and pull up the underwear at my skirt so no-one could tell I was wearing long underwear. Cause there’s no way you could keep people from knowing you had on long underwear, I mean it would show, in your socks you know. So that was real embarrassing for me."
"I finally was able to talk my mother out of that. That went on clear up until I was in junior high. 'Cause in junior high. We went to the high school then. I mean all from seventh through twelfth grade was over [at] what you went to as junior high. That was just absolutely crushing to me because we had phys-ed, and we had to dress for phys-ed. I would have to go into my booth and take off my long underwear, and the girls would peek over the top and laugh and make fun of me. It was so embarrassing."
"Finally I was able to talk my mother out of making me wear long underwear. This was by the seventh or eighth grade at least. She said, well okay, I could quit but I had better never cry with rheumatism pain. So I would have died before I would have told her I had pain."
"I wore bobby socks to school in the coldest weather. I mean 30 degrees below zero in this area, and we walked. We lived seven blocks from the school house. And we walked there in the morning. And walked home at noon, and walked back. Walked home for lunch and walked back, we didn’t have school lunches in those days. And I never complained of the cold."
"So anyway, I developed a real inferiority complex in my school years, never felt like I was as good as other girls, always had to wear hand-me-downs, and made over clothes and, well I won't say always. I had some new things. Mother sewed, and she made me some pretty dresses too."
"Sunday was really a special time for me because I like to dress up. I liked to put on my pretty dresses. They were just cotton ones, but one in particular I remember. I loved full skirts. This one dress, my mother had bought material, and it was lavender print, cotton, just cotton material. She had bought this for herself and I just fell in love with that material. I thought it was so pretty. So she made me a dress out of that. She made it just the way I wanted it. It was with tiered ruffles. That bottom ruffle was over five yards around. And they all had headings on it. If you know what a headings is. It’s a little ruffle at the top of the big ruffle. Now those where days when you had to iron that material. And she said well she would make the dress for me, but I had to iron it. And I always ironed that dress, and those headings were ironed as well as the ruffle. That was just one of my favorite dresses, I just loved that. So she was good to me in that way."
"I am amazed [at] people who said they didn't get an opportunity, I mean people my age or even younger than I, who really wanted to take music lesson and they just couldn't afford it. I know their parents. I know they had a lot more than we did. My mother saw to it that we had music lessons. My brothers had the opportunity, they didn't want to. Mother went to the music teacher to see if she could do her laundry and do cleaning for her in order that she could take music lessons and for ours So I had a few piano lessons. Now I never considered myself musically talented, and I hated to practice, and this one teacher I had spent more time yakking on the telephone during my music lesson, than she spent teaching me. So that might have had something to do with the fact that [I] didn't learn to play too much. But I learned a little bit. Never learned to read Bass clef. I counted my way down and memorized I guess, to get by. But, she did try to see that we children [had the opportunity]."
"She insisted that we go to school. [There] was just no thought of ever playing hooky, or not going to school. We did go to school. And I started baby sitting when I was real young. Now like dad said, we were raised during the depression. I was born in 1921, and raised during the depression. So we didn't have a lot of money. Especially with no father in the home. Mother had to make a way for everybody. But, she did insist that we go to school. We had to help out."
"I started baby sitting when I was twelve years old, and maybe even younger than that, I may have baby sat some children in the neighborhood. But, probably one of the first really steady jobs of baby sitting was with Reverend Backstone, he was the minister of the Baptist church. He'll always hold a real special place in my heart because he was really kind to me. He understood what I was going through as a poor girl, and he was always nice to me. They took me on vacation with them and I would baby sit their children during the day, and then in the evening I could go out with friends. And Puletts did this too."
"I started working for Puletts when I was about 14. I, was a mother’s helper. I helped her clean house, and did some ironing for her, and took care of the children, and just kind of practically lived there in the summertime, I was there all day long in the summertime. Then when they went up to Estes Park, just like Reverend Backstone did on vacation, Puletts’ would go up there to play golf. They'd take me along with them to baby sit the children."
"Mrs. Pullet would give me like ten or fifteen dollars, to be with the children during the day while they were playing golf. I could take the children to town, and I'd have money for ice cream or going to the show or bowling or what ever, or go swimming. They had an indoor pool there at the park. She never asked me how I spent the money. She'd always be sure that I had money, for me and the children to do things during the day. Then in the evening they would be at home and so I could go out in the evening with my friends that I would meet, and other neat people I would meet at Estes Park."
"I could remember one Sunday in Estes Park when I was baby sitting with Backstone's, just to show you how he was so good to me. It was the afternoon and the children were young and they were taking a nap and Reverend Backstone, he wasn't in the very best of health. Anyway I was lying on the hammock on the front porch of the cabin where we were staying. I wasn't really asleep, just resting, and he came out. I guess my eyes were closed, and I woke up or opened my eyes. And he said something about sleeping beauty, and I said 'flatterer' and he said 'I'm not a flatterer. When I tell you a sleeping beauty, I mean a sleeping beauty.’ You know a whole thing like that just would, its the thing that would give a girl in my circumstances a little boost. It made me feel good."
"It made me feel good that the Puletts trusted me, that they just gave me money to spend on their children, never asking how I spent it, what I did with it, or anything. They just trusted me in that way. I worked for them, I think probably, yeah all through high school actually. Because when I graduated, George Epherson, the lawyer, had contacted the school."
"His secretary was leaving and he wanted a secretary and I was recommended by Mr. Applebee who was my shorthand, and typing, and bookkeeping teacher in high school. I was so timid, and so scared. I went to work for George while this girl was on vacation, is what I did. This two weeks vacation. I was not a good speller, and that was the thing that just ruined me. The fact that I couldn't spell, or felt like I couldn't spell. It just made me so nervous, and I was working for a lawyer, and that scared the pudding out of me, because I thought ‘boy if I don't get these documents right; if I don't type these right, they'll throw me in jail or something'. It really just made a nervous wreck out of me."
"Well, his secretary, while she was on vacation, wrote to him and told him that she wasn’t coming back. She had gone to work for an uncle or something. I think it was her uncle that she had gone to work for. And so he asked me if I wanted the job. And I told him 'no!'. I really didn't want that job. And I know when I went to work for George Epherson, Nancy Puletts said 'Oh don’t work for him, yuuuuck'. And Puletts had a couple of nephews that stayed with them quit often, especially in the summertime. Tye [the one they called Andrus] and Rex. Rex and Tye Thomalson."
"They were nephews of Puletts’ that lived over on the western slope, and they used to stay with the puletts in the summertime. And I can remember when Nancy said this, Rex said 'Oh now, Nancy, he's all right'. Or something like that. But I think that girl Nancy, little children, really recognize this. George Epherson was a wolf, there's no doubt about that. That's the reason his secretary had left. 'Cause his chasing her. I didn't know that at the time, but I found out later. So, anyway, I didn't go to work for George Epherson."
"When I graduated from high school though, Vye McDill was working in the women's department of J.C. Penny's. Now, Vye had been the principle over at the central school, and the only way that she could have known me is from buying at Penny's, you know. But, Vye and Ellis. Ellis was the post master, or rural mail carrier. Vye and Ellis played a lot of golf. He was a mail carrier and she worked at Penny's and they also lived at the Parker-Cutler Funeral Home and they were morticians. They were licensed morticians and they worked at the funeral home also. So, they wanted somebody to stay there just to answer the phone so that they could go out and play golf, and still be able to be contacted if they were needed to go on call for the mortuary. So they hired me, and I lived with them."
"The old Parker-Cutler Funeral Home was a three story building. The third story was just an attic. But they made a room for me. Barren Cutler, one of the partners there, bought wall paper, whatever I wanted, and he helped me really fix up this attic room that I had, that I lived in when I lived with the McDills. Fixed it up into a nice little room for me. So I was a receptionist there for a couple of years, Even after Vye and Ellis quit the job. Then I had the apartment, the whole apartment, not just the little upstairs room, but I had the apartment for myself. And I moved in and I worked there for a number of years, for about another year after Vye and Ellis quit."
"Another important thing in my high school, junior high and high school years, is I had a speech teacher in junior high that probably did as much for me as the Puletts or Backstones did to help me to get over my inferiority complex."
"We had class plays in the high school, inter-class plays. It would be the freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, each one put on a play and it would be a contest sort of thing. So, my freshmen year I thought I would try out for the freshmen class play. I went in one night of the try outs, and I sat there and listened to different people reading parts, trying out for parts in the play. Finally I got cold feet and left. The next day, the drama and speech teacher, she taught drama and speech both. She stopped me in the hall and she said 'Weren’t you in for tryouts last night?'. I said 'Yes', and she said 'why didn't you try out?'. I said 'oh, I got scared I guess', and she said 'well I want you to come in and try out for a part'. So I did, and I got the part. The part was this beautiful movie actress."
"Now, I didn't have the leading lady role in the play. But the girl that had the leading role. No wait, that was another year. This year there were twins, twin girls in the play. And she wanted me for one of the twins. And the girl that was the other twins was just, I thought one of the prettiest girls in the school, and certainly one of the most popular girls in school. And that just, you know, I just couldn’t believe that I would be chosen to be a twin to this girl. But, if you'll look at our pictures, we looked quite a bit alike. What we did, they sent us to a beauty parlor and had our hair, we were about the same size. Of course we dress[ed] in identical dresses and dressed alike. And [they] sent us to a beauty parlor and had our hair done up the same way and everything for the play."
"So that gave me a boost. It was a fun thing. I really enjoyed that, going to play practice and stuff. Then the next year, I think it was, it was either the sophomore year or the junior year that we played identical parts again. I was the movie actress and she had the better part. She was my double actually, but she had the leading role. It wasn't that I had the leading role, but it was just that we played actress and double. And so that kind of gave me a boost."
"Then Mr. Applebee; he taught short hand, typing, bookkeeping; and I took all of these. Not because I wanted to, but because my mother wanted me too. He had been a neighbor of ours when we were living with my grandmother. He had a girl that was about my age. When we moved, they moved to a different part of town too. But, she and I played together. We would visit each other, so he knew me and he was real nice to me. He tried to give me a boost, and tried to make me feel that I was better than I thought I was. It was he that got me the job with George Epherson."
"He was trying to get me to do what he knew I had the capability of doing. Whereas my mother, she would always find me jobs of house cleaning or baby sitting or something like that. He was trying to get me into things more intellectual, that he felt that I had the ability to do. Which I was afraid to try, because I was really scared."
"I wanted to be a nurse. My mother did not want me to be a nurse. All through school I took mathematics and Latin and biology and all the things that I needed so that I could go into nurses�� training. Before I even graduated I started working for Doctor Richards Again, I started as a telephone answerer for him when he first moved to Fort Morgan. They were just newly married and they didn’t have any children, and so I started answering the phone. Then later on they adopted a girl; named her after me, by the way; and I baby sat her. Doctor Richards wrote letter of recommendations, [and] Judge Stoneriver wrote letter of recommendations for me, to enter Presbyterian Hospital for nurses’ training. I was accepted, and my mother fought it. She did not want me to go to nurses’ training."
"I had a little bit of money saved, not enough to go, and she borrowed my money. What I had. And she made no effort to show me where I could go to get a loan for school. I just had no help. Whereas, a neighbor girl of ours in the same circumstances got help so she could go to nurses’ training. She was younger than I was. And this was a few years after me. But anyway, mother was dead set against me being a nurse."
"Well after I graduated, I joined the little theater because I really enjoyed that. That was a fun thing for me to do. But during the war we didn’t have any leading men, so. You know, young men were, they’d been called into the army and so forth. So the little theater folded up. Also they needed help out at the sugar factory. So for the first time women started working at the sugar factory."
"I got a job in the lab out there, which was a real neat job for me. I really loved it. It was, well, it was like high school chemistry only, sort of that thing. Reading a polariscope, which I guess [a] lot of people can’t do accurately. They can’t read them accurately. I was real accurate on that. That is what got me the job, was I was so accurate on reading the polariscope. They just teach you what you have to do. It wasn’t that you had to be any great chemist or anything, but you had to be accurate in your measurements, and so forth."
"What I did was test the purity of the sugars as it was going through the mill. The sample boys would bring in the samples from the different stages as the beets where going through. And the sugar, you test the sugar content. In fact I started the week before, or two weeks before the mill opens up, you start out in the beet lab, where you test the beets when they first come in. And this, the sugar content, determines what the farmers get paid for their beets. So you have to be accurate on it. And if the sugar was high then the chemist would, I mean the real chemist, would come and check, and they'd, well boy maybe something's wrong. If he got the same reading as I did. Which he did. Why, it was all right. But, anyway, I started out in the beet lab, and then when the mill opened I got into the big lab. And I worked out there a couple of campaigns."
"And then, I went to work for the telephone company. In the mean time I moved away from home. My little brother and I just didn’t get along, and he was, he was kind of rough, and I got scared of him actually. He was kind of wild, my youngest [brother]."
"And so, I left home. Well, of course I'd been away for a year. I'd worked at the funeral home, and I just went back home very briefly. I just wanted to be on my own. Another thing which made me want to be on my own was, when I was, oh I don’t know, I suppose I was around twelve or fourteen years old, I asked my mother which she liked best, girls or boys? And she said 'If I had my way I would never of had a girl.' And I said 'why not?', I thought I had been a pretty decent daughter, you know. And she said 'well boys can get out on, make their own way sooner.' That was the answer she gave me, and so right then I thought - as soon as I get through school I'll leave home, I'll show you that you don't have to support me any longer than you do the boys. So I did, I went out on my own. And I lived over Mrs. Sheaffer. She had that big two story house that Glenn Miller lived in there on Meeker."
"Anyway, I got a room there. I lived there while I was working at the sugar factory. That’s where I lived. And then after campaign, see the sugar factory's just through the beet harvest. So, after the campaign I put in my application at the telephone company, and I got an office job in the telephone company."
"Some of us girls just decided, oh we just thought we'd join the marines. We were going to join the marines. There was no marine recruiter here. It was a navy recruiter that recruited for both the marines and the navy. So he talked us into joining the navy. But, there were only two of us that followed through on it. All the rest of 'em backed out. 'Cause there was Ilene Gipple, and Carrie Baumburg, and Roma Glansie, and I. Those that I particularly remember, that we were going to do this. Well, when it came right down to it, Roma Glansie and I were the only ones that joined."
"So I joined the navy. And I was under weight, 'cause I only weighed a hundred and five pounds. You're supposed to weigh at least the same as the men, what was a hundred and twenty. So, I ate bananas until they were coming out of my ears. And drank malts before I went in for my physical. I mean I was stuffed trying to get my weight up enough. I don't think I quite made it, but they took me anyway. I just made it as far as height was concerned. And so I got into the service."
"Roma and I went to boot camp together And then, course, they give you tests, like dad said, to see what your aptitudes are. I wanted to go into nurses’ training. Wanted into the hospital corp. I really wanted to do that. I don't know what Wilma went into. She went a different way. I mean, we went through boot camp together at Hunter College there in New York City. That was the WAVE's training center. And then we were split."
“When they interviewed me, I don't know what they had down for my aptitude. I have no idea what it was. But, I said I really wanted to go into a hospital corp. I remember he said 'well why didn't ya?' And I said 'well I've always wanted to be a nurse.' And he said 'why didn’t you go into nurses' training?’ 'Because my mother didn't what me to be a nurse. That's the reason I did this.' In fact I had talked to the recruiter, 'what are my chances of getting into the hospital corp?'. So, anyway I talked to him, and expressed my reason, and told him why, what I had taken in high school so that I could go into nurses' training, and I got into the hospital corp. And was sent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina for my training. Wilma, I can remember, went to Corpus Cristi, Texas. I think she was probably a link trainer operator, or something like that."
"Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is a marine training base. The marines have no hospitals. They're [a] naval hospital on Camp Lejeune. There were a hundred and fifty thousand marines there, and I don’t know how many sailors. Not too many. Mostly the sailors that were there, the navy that were there was the hospital corp. And there were marine women there who did not have a good reputation. And we were the first WAVES to go, The WAVES had a good reputation at that time, they were not, you know, they had not been in the service as long as the marines."
"Oh that was just a wonderful place for a girl that had an inferiority complex, because there were fellows calling all the time. She was never without a date. I can remember I had a date one night and this fellow, I finally got down to the quarter-deck and he said 'oh, I was beginning to wonder if I had a date with you'. The telephone kept ringing and he was waiting for me and it was, they'd, you know in the navy you just yell out 'Graves wanted on the quarter-deck', ‘Graves wanted on the telephone', and so forth. And so he waited, he thought 'what’s going on'? Well it was just, well anyway it was good for my morale."
"But, boy, that was murder, that we were there in July and August. Summer gear had not been issued to the WAVES yet. We were there in blue serge suits and cotton lyle clothes. And we had to be in full dress uniform all the times. And that meant the full suit, blue serge, in July and August, in North Carolina, where it’s hot and humid. Oh, that was murder."
"When our orders came, at the end of our training, my orders didn't come. Everybody else’s came. They were all leaving. My best friend there was sent out, and there I was. I was left there for another month. I have no idea why. But I was left there for another month. And I worked in the O.R. and pediatrics. Took care of the little kids. For families, families you know, they had tonsillectomies and stuff. And also I worked in O.B. So, that was kind of neat. You know it was really up my alley, for what I wanted."
"And then when my orders came, I was sent to Miami. Now, oh I guess one reason why I was kept there is because I didn’t apply for leave right after boot camp, or, after training. Because I lived so far away, I just asked if I could save my leave so I could have more time when I came home. And they let me do that. So when my orders came I was sent to Miami. Opa-locka Air Base. That's just north of Miami, Florida. So I was sent down there, and our summer gear was issued down there."
"Hospital got the really good deal on that, because we were allowed to wear Bobby socks. Bobby socks where popular in those days. And hospital corp where allowed to wear Bobby socks. But, we were the only ones that were allowed to wear Bobby socks out of our barracks. They could wear them in the barracks, but not out, not on the base. But hospital corp was allowed to. And, this was, oh this was a fun time"
"I really enjoyed that, because I really got to work on the wards. I worked on different wards. I worked mostly on the medical ward, so I got in on all of the contagious diseases and all of that sort of stuff. Really nitty-gritty stuff. Then on my duty Sundays I worked on SOQ, which is a pain in the neck. Sick officers, most of them are sick in the head."
"But anyway, down there they had the decompression chambers where they teach the pilot and air crewmen how to use their oxygen equipment and heavy flight gear, and high altitude flying. And the commanding officer in the decompression chamber was Doctor Townsend, who had climbed Mt. Everest, and written a book called Five Miles High."
"Well, he had been on an expedition on Mt. Everest anyway. The decompression chamber was all manned by men, and they decided that they would allow the WAVES to try out for the decompression chamber. So I went over to see what it was all about, and I thought 'hey this looks pretty interesting'. So, I asked to try out for that. Well, in the first place I weighed a hundred and five pounds. I was only five foot four, which was the minimum, and I was underweight for it, because you have to be able to give artificial respiration to men in heavy flight gear."
(Voice: "Can I mention back then that was the chest push. It wasn’t mouth to mouth.")
"No, So, well anyway I went over. What happened is I was on SOQ and I couldn’t get off the ward at the time I was suppose to be over at the pressure chamber to take a hop in the chamber. I got over there as quickly as I could, and the chamber had already gone up. Doctor Loosee was the head observer on the chamber. And oh boy, I sounded so excited, and I wanted to do it so badly, and he brought the chamber down, and let me go in, and go on the flight. We called it a flights, they’re not flights, they’re just decompress, is all. Anyway, I got in. And, I got chosen to work in the decompression chamber. I asked him 'why?', and he said 'just because of your enthusiasm'. Because, I was too small."
"And wouldn't you know, in all the time I worked there, the only flight that ever had to have anybody have artificial respiration, was one that I was the inside observer on. This air crewman conked out on me, and I had to give him artificial respiration. Of course when you give them artificial respiration they're bringing that chamber down as fast as they dare bring it down. And bringing a lock up at the same time, so they meet and take you down. They took that crewman down and kept him in the hospital for two or three days for observation, and he said the only thing that bothered him was that his chest hurt. And they said 'if you could have seen that little lady giving you artificial respiration, you would know why your chest hurt'."
"Then at that time was when the diluter demand regulators first came out. That was an exciting thing for me too, because Doctor Housen and Miami base had been chosen to be the experimental place for these respirators, or oxygen regulators. Doctor Housen had invented a process whereby you could test the oxygen flow in the regulator, and test regulators to see if they were performing properly or whether they needed to be repaired, or not. So it was an experimental thing."
"We had to take these regulators apart to know how they worked and everything. Doctor Housen taught us all that. Then when we were going up for our tests on this, he said 'what is this for?', and it was a thing on the regulator that we had not even discussed in class. And I told him what it was for. And he said 'how did you know that'? So I explained to him, and he said 'you know', he said 'I didn’t even know what it was for until I asked you the question'. And I, well pretty neat you know. I figured that out. He thought that was pretty neat too."
"Anyway I was an instructor in the decompression chamber and also we worked in all parts. We worked in, well there a few of us, about two or three of us that were allowed to be head observers. That, and worked the controls, or inside observers, and taught in the classroom and so forth. So we did that, we still had to work on wards on Sundays though."
"Then I went on leave. This was my first leave. When I came back, there was a James Kennedy, that kept trying to find me. What had come about was that my name kept coming up on the roster for roll call and I was on leave, on leave, on leave, on leave, and this was much longer than most people were ever on leave, but it was because I had not taken boot leave and I had about three weeks that I was gone. So then was when I met James Kennedy and made the first mistake of my life."
"Well, anyway, we were married, and I got out of the service. I went to work, on the air base. All of the regulators, these new oxygen regulators, had to be sent to Jacksonville for repairs because they were the only ones that had the equipment. I went and said 'I know how to repair these regulators, I can take 'em apart, I can put 'em together, I can test 'em, I know all about 'em'. They called Doctor Housen to find out if all this that I told them was true, and he said 'Yes, it was true', and they started getting parts for 'em, I went to work in the instrument shop on base then. Checking the regulators, repairing them, if they needed to be repaired, and so forth. And then I got out."
"Well then the war was over, and [I] came home, and I had Sharon, and when she was a year old I left New Jersey and came back to Colorado. My mother was living in Englewood then. And, I stayed with her for a while."
"Then the church called me to be the head of the Beehives in the MIA. It was the MIA at that time. I was called by, he’s a general authority now, and he was a stake president in Denver, what's his name? I know it as well as mine. Anyway, I was called to be that. Which meant that I would have to travel down to New Mexico and Nebraska, and of course, it was a mission call. It wasn't just a local, a stake calling, it was a mission calling.
"It was Western States Mission. That is what it was, and it was a mission call, ‘cause I would have to travel around. Of course I had Shari, and my mother just got madder than a hawk. She was just furious, and she said 'I've been working in the church all these years and they never called me to do anything like that, and you can't do that because you have Sharon, and I just became so upset that I just left. I just called my brother and said 'hey, can I come to Fort Morgan?', and I left. I just left. I didn't give them an explanation or anything. Which was wrong. I should have gone to my bishop and told them what my circumstances were. He knew anyway because he had recommended me for the position. But, I'm sure that had I gone to them, they probably would have figured out how I could do it. They would have had one of the sisters take care of Sharon, something, when I had to travel, or whatever."
"But anyway, during that period of time I also went to Barnes' Business School. I never cared for secretarial work, but I did like bookkeeping. So I was going to school, night school. 'Cause then Sharon would be in bed. Mother was working at Shwatter Brothers. She took care of Sharon at night while I went to school, because, you know Sharon was in bed by seven o'clock then, in those days, or eight at least. I went to school for awhile, but I just quit and came to Fort Morgan. I got a job out at the Arrowhead Restaurant as waitress and worked some at the Colonial. I just took waitress jobs, whatever I could do until I could find a job. [I] Applied at the REA and got the job, and saw this tall guy in there."
"I went home while I was staying with Harold and Carol. I went home and I said 'I saw somebody that I'm going to have a date with, but I don't know how, or when, or anything'. But when I saw Ed, something told me that he was special, that I just. I don't know that I knew I was going to marry him right then, or not, but I knew I was going to go out with him. I worked there for about, how long before you final, before I finally asked you for a date, and you turned me down?"
"I belonged to a sorority and we were having a dinner dance. Shirley Cliff worked there in the office, and Curtis. And she said 'oh go ahead and ask Ed. I think he'll go with you, I think he'd like to go with you, but he's so tall he's afraid to ask you.', or something like that. And I, oh I, I just couldn't, I thought 'I can't ask somebody to go to a sorority dance with me that's never dated me before, you know, asked me first'. And they just kept urging me and urging me, so finally I did, and was I ever sorry. He said 'yeah, he'd go'. And then he called me the next day, I think it was, and said 'Hey, I forgot I have a commitment for this day', and I don't even remember what it was. Do you remember what it was you had?"
"I thought 'boy howdy, at my face he couldn't turn me down, but over the phone he can give me this wild excuse. Forget it'. I didn't even want to speak to him after that. I was so embarrassed and I thought 'why in the world did I let them talk me into asking him'? So, anyway, later he asked me if I wanted to go up to Estes Park and watch the ski[ing], they were having some kind of a ski contest or something up there. So, I went with him, and that started the ball rolling. One night when he came to take me to the drive-in movie. This was when he was living in Denver and coming back to Fort Morgan to see me. We had worked together in the office, so he knew how dumb, or how smart I was, I don't know which. He took me to the drive-in movie and presented me with this diamond ring in the movie."
"So, well of course by this time I had gotten a divorce from Jim and that was all over. I had gone back to New Jersey and gotten the stuff that I had left there. [And] Come back, so that what all over."
"So we were married on December the 29th, 1951, and moved into that little dinky house for about a month, and then over on Park street where he told you about, and I said was so hot."
"Is there anything else you would like to know? I could tell you some of the interesting things in childhood too."
"Well I was about, I guess around eight years old, and I had started taking swimming lessons. My brother was a really good swimmer, My older brother. He was really good. Won a lot of medals. And I was taking swimming lessons. And this particular day, mother had, we practically lived in the swimming pool in the summertime. I mean that was the only recreation we had, we were so poor, you know. And this particular day my mother had told my brother not to go over to the river. 'Cause the bigger boys always use to go over to the river and play Tarzan and swing on the limbs and swim in the river. She told him not to go to the river, stay at the pool and watch me, baby sit me so to speak."
"We got down to the pool and my brother said 'now, I'm going over to the river for a little while. Don't go near the bridge’. Now at that time the inlet came from the water plant through a great big ditch, and there was a foot bridge that went over there so when you come down the swimming pool hill you could get across this inlet. So he said 'don��t go near the bridge. You stay right here'. So, he goes to the river against mother's counsel and I go to bridge against his, and it was over my head, and I couldn't swim."
"I could remember coming up two or three times and trying to reach the bridge. I would holler 'help', and about that time I would go under with a mouth, get a mouthful and I was unconscious and somebody just accidentally bumped into me. Somebody was swimming over there and just accidentally bumped into me, and pulled me out. The next thing I knew I was laying on the beach and someone, I heard someone 'is she dead? Is she dead'? And the lifeguard said 'no, can't you see her eyes are open?'."
"So he took me home, and my mother, you know I told you where she did washings. In the summertime when you hang sheets out on the line, you come in from the bright sun and, on those white clothes and everything's black, its dark. You can't really see for awhile 'til your eyes adjust. And they brought me into the house, and the lifeguard carried me in. And my mother said 'is she dead'? And I said 'no mother, I'm not dead. Can't you see my eyes are open'. So I guess my time wasn't up then."
"I didn't mention the birth of all of you kids in the process. Other than the twins when they came, the rest of you were pretty normal births. Twins were an exciting thing in the Heidbrink family, I don't think they had any twins in their family, but there's a set of twins in every generation of our family. My mother was a twin, and her sister had twins. And then I had them the next generation. And so far, this generation hasn't had any."