California Council for the Humanities

California Stories Initiative

Years of Valor, Years of Hope

Tulare County and the Years 1941-1946

Tulare County Library

The Friends of the Tulare County Library

And the Tulare County Historical Society

Interviews in 2003-2004

Interviewee: Ruth Leak

 

Date: 3/29/04

 

Tape # 92

 

Interviewer: Colleen Paggi

 

Place: Tulare County, CA

 

Place of Interview: The home of Ruth Leak in Visalia

 

 

PLACES WHERE INTERVIEWEE LIVED DURING 1941-1946

Churches

Family life

Tulare County in general

Life as a service man’s wife

OUTSTANDING POINTS IN THE INTERVIEW:

Tulare

Canada

Oklahoma


CP: This is Colleen Paggi and I am at the home of Ruth Leak in Visalia, California. This interview is being done in conjunction with the oral history project of Tulare County entitled "Years of Valor, Years of Hope in World War II during the years 1941 to 1946. Good morning, Ruth.

RL: Good morning.

CP: I am just going to start with some general background. Could you give me your full name and date of birth?

RL: Ruth Ann Leak. January 18, 1922.

CP: What is your maiden name?

RL: Buster.

CP: Buster?

RL: Buster.

CP: What a fun last name.

RL: That’s Indian. Cherokee Indian.

CP: It is?

RL: It doesn’t sound like an Indian name, but it is.

CP: Is your middle name Ann, A-N-N?

RL: Ann.

CP: Where were you born?

RL: Oolagah, Oklahoma.

CP: Could you spell that for me?

RL: O-O-L-A-G-A-H.

CP: Were your parents’ American Indians?

RL: My dad was partially. My mother was partially, but we only found it out a few years ago.

CP: Really.

RL: We’re descendents of Pocahontas.

CP: You are. That’s exciting.

RL: That’s through my mother, but my father was Cherokee.

CP: Really. Did he have a card? Was he a card carrying Cherokee?

RL: Yes. And he got property from the Indians. Now this was way back before I was even born.

CP: Did you get a card too?

RL: I have a card too, yes, but I use his roll number. He has a roll number. He did have a roll number. He’s gone now.

CP: That’s very cool. What were your parents’ names?

RL: Tom. Thomas, really. Thomas V. Buster. And you want my mother’s maiden name? Mabel Lee Reser.

CP: And were they both born in Oklahoma?

RL: Yes. My dad, I know, was born in Claremore, Oklahoma, but I don’t remember. My mother passed away when I was six. I don’t remember hearing them say where she was born.

CP: Do you have brothers and sisters?

RL: They’re gone.

CP: All of them?

RL: My own. My dad remarried and he married Flossie Koontz and I had a brother, John William (JW) Buster, and two sisters,full sisters, Virginia June (Rotramel) and Dixie Marie (Bales). And then I have one half-brother, Thomas Sterling Buster, and had four half-sisters, Patsy Uldine (McGregor), Gaitha Lorene (Kalina), Betty Sue (Cole) and Nona Morean (Carper), but two of them are gone,half sisters, Nona and Gaitha.

CP: That was a big family.

RL: They were so far apart that we are not close, because he didn’t get married for a long time after my mother passed away.

CP: Well, he had a lot of kids to take care of. Where did you grow up?

RL: Collinsville, Oklahoma. That’s a Tulsa suburb. It’s just a little north of Tulsa.

CP: So how old were you when you came to Tulare County?

RL: Well, I came with my family when I was sixteen. (1938)

CP: Oh. Your stepmother and your dad.

RL: Yes, and then when I was seventeen (1939) we went back to Oklahoma. My husband to be mailed my engagement ring to me in Oklahoma from California, and my dad put it on my finger.  The day I was eighteen (1940) he came to Oklahoma and we were married in Claremore, Oklahoma.

CP: Who is he?

RL: Raymond Eugene Leak.

CP: Did you meet him in Tulare County?

RL: Yes.

CP: Oh. What year did you get married?

RL: 1940.

CP: Did you go to high school in Visalia?

RL: No.

CP: In Oklahoma?

RL: Yes, Collinsville.

CP: So you got married . . .

RL: At 18, on the 18th of January, 1940.

CP: And you got married in Oklahoma. Then did you come out here?

RL: Yes, when we got married, we came right on out.

CP: Where did you live when you came here?

RL: Tulare. That’s where I met him too, it was in Tulare.

CP: Did you go to the theater in Tulare during the war? Did you go to the movies much?

RL: No. I wasn’t here a lot. I went everywhere he did.

CP: Oh, where did he go?

RL: He went to Camp Barkeley, Texas. That’s just outside Abilene. In 1943, that was in 1943 when he went to the service, and I went to Abilene too.

CP: When you lived in Tulare you were married, and was your husband in the service while you lived in Tulare.

RL: Yes.

CP: He got drafted?

RL: Yes. He worked at Golden State Creamery.

CP: Is that the creamery in Tulare?

RL: Well, it’s not there now.

CP: Oh, where the cow is.

RL: No, it was just southeast. On Cross Street. Cross and K.

CP: Oh, I know, the big brick building.

RL: That’s where he worked.

CP: I was born in Tulare so I know everything there.

Raymond: It’s where the shopping center is.

CP: Right, where Save Mart is. So you weren’t in school when World War II began.

RL: No, I already had a baby.

CP: Oh, you already had a baby when it began.

RL: In 1942, December of 1942 we had a baby, Ray Gene.

CP: Well the war started in December 1941.

RL: He didn’t go in until 1943, April of ’43, so my baby was just a few months old when he went in.

CP: Oh boy, I bet that was tough. Having a new baby . . .

RL:` It was hard to find bottles, and especially the nipples. I nursed my babies at the first. I bought bottles and nipples before the war started, when I was expecting. Right after the baby was born in December, I learned there were going to be shortages and so I had to stock up on baby bottles, clothes, diapers, etc.

It was hard to find disposable diapers, but I did find one package on the second trip I made to Canada . They looked like the dark paper towels you sometimes find in restaurants. I hated them, but I had to use them.

RL: But you know it was so nice when I went by train to Abilene. My father-in-law, his father, had called a minister. His father was a minister, and he called minister in Abilene and asked him if he would pick me up and take me to my apartment that he had rented. So we traveled, my baby and I, and went down into L.A. It was so hard to get on the train, and a service man said come on, they went first you know, the men in the service, they got to go on first. They said come over and walk with me because their family could go in with them. So that’s the way I got on the train a lot of times. They were so nice about it. And they would help me get on, because I had a big suitcase with my baby things.

CP: When you lived in Tulare, where were you living when the war broke out?

RL: North H Street in Tulare. 447 No. H Street.

CP: My great grandmother used to live on H Street, years ago. Nanny Strickland was her name.

RL: Strickland. That name’s familiar.

CP: Where were you when you heard about Pearl Harbor being bombed?

RL: Right there at 447 North H. Street.

CP: What was your reaction when you found out?

RL: I was very scared.

CP: Really.

RL: Yes, I was very scared.

CP: Were you home alone with the baby when you found out?

RL: I think so. He was at work when I heard it.

CP: How did you hear it?

RL: On the radio.

CP: Oh, you did. What did you do? Did you call your husband?

RL: No, I didn’t call him. There was no way I could get hold of him.

CP: So you had one child during the war. Did you have more than one?

RL: No. Now it was during the war but he wasn’t in the service yet. Then in ’46 we had our second. But the exciting thing is when he went to Basic Training at Camp Barkeley, I went too. While I was there, my brother in Oklahoma was being drafted and going up . . . so I went down there for a few weeks, from Abilene, took my baby. They hadn’t seen my baby yet. So I went home for a couple of weeks and came back and not long after I came back he got a furlough because he was going to be shipped out of there and he brought me home,me and the baby. Then he went to Canada , Dawson Creek, B.C., Canada , at a station hospital, is what they called it. It was an Army hospital. He was in the Northwest Service Command. That’s what his unit was called. Well, anyway, he cooked there. He was a cook.

CP: Oh, that’s a fun job.

RL: I used to go up a lot of times, the baby and I, we’d go up and have dinner up there with them and then he’d come home with us. He stayed home with us. He had to stay very few nights at the hospital.

CP: When war was announced after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, what did you feel about that?

RL: Well, it made me really worried for him having to go. The way they talked on the radio, I knew that he was going to be drafted. I knew he was by the way they talked on the radio.

CP: How did you feel about the draft?

RL: Oh, I was scared.

CP: Yeah, I would have been scared too.

RL: I was very scared. And with the baby too, it really bothered me because I wouldn’t have him to consult with on the baby things.

CP: The day the war was announced, did you get together with friends or anything?

RL: My mother-in-law and father-in-law: Paul W. Leak and Lucy Elizabeth (Corn) Leak. They lived next door at that time.

CP: They did?

RL: Yes, and so . . . he was the minister of the church.

CP: Which church?

RL: First Pentecostal Church on North H. Used to be on North H, a long time ago.

CP: Did they move it . . . .

RL: It’s Abundant Life Center on Bardsley and Mooney.

CP: Oh, I know that one. That’s a beautiful church.

RL: We outgrew that church.

CP: During the war, when you were in Tulare County, what did you do? Did you have a lot of shortages? I always hear about the rationing.

RL: Oh we had rationing, sugar and coffee and gasoline. I can’t remember any other food stuff, but I’m sure there was. But I didn’t drink coffee at the time, but I would go ahead and buy my coffee and I’d let his mom and dad have it because they had company a lot, being a minister. I only bought one can of coffee for myself.

CP: How many cans of coffee could you get?

RL: You could only get so many. I think it was maybe two pound cans.

CP: In a month?

RL: Yes, I think it was a month.

CP: That’s quite a bit of coffee for a month.

RL: It might have been a pound, I can’t remember.

CP: Were there any changes in your housing situation at all during that time?

RL: No.

CP: Did you ever have service men into the home? Maybe from Rankin Field?

RL: No, I never did.

CP: Did your in-laws?

RL: I know he had a cousin, Buck Corn, that was in the service, not at Rankin Field, but Sequoia Field and he came over. They might have had others. I don’t remember.

CP: No one else lived with you outside your immediate family then? Just you, your husband and the baby?

RL: Yes.

CP: Were you working at that time?

RL: No, well, I worked for a little while after he was home in ’44. He came home from Canada . He had an emergency appendectomy, so when he was dismissed from the hospital they let him have furlough and he came home. Of course, he went over and visited at the creamery and I went with him and so one of the fellows we knew real well, the superintendent, Jule Larimer was his name and he asked me if I wanted to go to work. I hadn’t even considered going to work because of having the baby and so I decided and said that I might and so I talked to a friend later and she babysat for me. I did go back to work for a while, but I got so lonely for either my family or him one, and so I decided I was either going to go to Oklahoma or I was going to Canada . He told me that he was going to see if he couldn’t find a place for me and he did. So I quit definitely then and got ready and went to Canada .

CP: How long did you work there?

RL: Oh, not very long. Only a matter of maybe a month or two. I don’t even remember, it wasn’t very long.

CP: Do you suppose there was a real need for women to work?

RL: There were lots of women who worked there.

CP: Because the men were all gone. So they needed help.

RL: Yes.

CP: Did you have a lot of female friends who worked?

RL: Not that worked there.

CP: No, anywhere in Tulare County.

RL: I’m trying to think.

CP: What was the role of women during the war? Did it change the role of women some, do you think?

RL: Well, I think it did because so many women, especially to the cities and worked in those plants.

CP: How about Tulare County? Do you think it changed the role of women much here?

RL: Yes it did, I guess. There was probably a lot of them that went to work just like I did. There were several women there that their husbands were in the service that worked.

CP: Right, they probably would have been home with their families if the war hadn’t come. Do you suppose?

RL: Probably.

CP: How did the war affect your family’s economic situation?

RL: Well, we didn’t have as much money as we did before. But we made it pretty good. I think he had it harder than I did.

CP: Because he was in the service.

RL: Especially when he was in basic training. After he got out of basic training and was up there, he managed pretty good. And then too, the Canadian money is worth a little less than ours. That made a difference. But we paid rent up there.

CP: Right now Mr. Leak wants to say something, but unfortunately Mr. Leak does not have a microphone on, so it probably won’t come out on the tape.

Mr. Leak: Well that’s all right. How much did I get in a month.

RL: You only had thirteen dollars left a month.

Mr. Leak: It paid my laundry bill and I had fourteen dollars and sixty five cents left a month. I got thirty dollars a month I think.

CP: Thirty dollars a month. Did he send some of that home to you? What did you live on when he was gone?

RL: At first I got fifty five dollars a month and then I got an increase to eighty dollars from the government. It gave from the government.

CP: That’s just part of the pay he received as . . .

RL: No, he wouldn’t have received that at all.

CP: If he hadn’t have been married, that wouldn’t have come. But since he was married that went to his wife.

RL: Yes.

CP: My mother saved every dime that my dad sent her and so when he got home they had a great big savings account.

RL: Oh my goodness.

CP: I know.

RL: I didn’t save any. Of course I went everywhere he did too.

CP: When you were in Tulare County, living in Tulare, what did you do for food? Were there food shortages?

RL: I didn’t have a problem myself.

CP: How about your in-laws?

RL: Not that I know of. I never heard them say a word about having a problem. It’s just like the sugar and she canned and baked a lot, and it was a little low on sugar for her if I am remembering correctly.

CP: Did you have a garden?

RL: They did, yes. They had a garden. She was quite a person to can. She canned food. She canned vegetables and fruit too.

CP: Everything.

RL: Made pickles.

CP: Did you sit and listen to the radio a lot?

RL: Yes, quite a bit. I used to listen to the . . . oh, what do they call that in Tennessee . . .

CP: The Grand Old Opry?

RL: The Grand Old Opry.

CP: What about the war news?

RL: I listened some, but I wasn’t a great . . . I was scared I guess, really and I wouldn’t listen to it too much.

CP: How would you find out what was going on with the war?

RL: I’d hear people talk.

CP: Did you read the paper?

RL: Yes, I read the paper.

CP: How did you and your husband keep in touch when you were separated from each other?

RL: By letters only.

CP: Did you save the letters?

RL: Yes.

CP: Oh, good. So your kids can have those letters.

RL: I have the letters we wrote each other before we were married.

CP: You do, that’s wonderful. That’s wonderful. How about war bond campaigns? Did your family participate in that at all?

RL: No. It seems like we bought one or two war bonds, that’s all. Couldn’t afford to buy any after he was in the service, see.

CP: How about your in-laws? Do you think they bought war bonds?

RL: I don’t know. I never did know if they did or not.

CP: Did you do anything to help the war effort? You know, some women would knit or there would be drives to get blankets.

RL: It seemed like I helped in a drive that was for that. I can’t remember what it was. Through the church, but I don’t remember what they did.

CP: I was going to say, since your father-in-law was a minister, I’m sure the church probably had a lot . . .

RL: But I don’t remember what it was. Might have been a bake sale. I don’t know. I don’t remember.

CP: What did the town look like during World War II?

RL: Well, it was . . . you saw a lot less of young men.

CP: You did? For some reason, I just have a picture in my mind of the town swarming with young men in uniform. Not so?

RL: Well, we did when Rankin Field started up. There were quite a few young men then, but civilians, no. That’s what I meant was civilians.

CP: Oh yes. What about romances during the war? Were there a lot of friends of yours who had wartime romances.

RL: No. More of them were already married. Not very many that I can think of.

CP: I always thought that was kind of romantic, you know. Did your work patterns change any? You stayed home, but your in-laws were next door. Did their work patterns change any because of the war?

RL: I think they did more visitation during the war.

CP: Did you tell me their names?

RL: No, I don’t think I did. It was Paul W. Leak and Lucy Elizabeth.

CP: I love that name. How about blackouts? I always see old war movies and they pull the shades in the home.

RL: I pulled the shades anyway.

CP: But did they have those blackout shades to make the house real black?

RL: Yes they did. I don’t remember having any myself, but I always pulled the shades. But see, I was gone so much from here.

CP: You were gone two years, right?

RL: I was gone from May till August to Texas in ’43 and then in ’44 I left in June and didn’t come back until November of ’45. Might have been December.

CP: Oh, after the end of the war

RL: Yeah.

CP: When you came back, had the town changed any?

RL: I don’t know. It looked so good to be home. I don’t know if it changed any except you didn’t see as many servicemen in uniform.

CP: How about grocery stores, clothing stores, anything like that. Did that change? Had it changed after the war?

RL: I don’t remember any change. There might have been, but I don’t remember any changes at all.

CP: Were stores closed during the war? Do you think it forced some of the businesses to close because of the war?

RL: I don’t remember any closing. No, there might have been, because I was gone so much.

CP: When you got back, did new businesses sprout up?

RL: Yes.

CP: So it changed a little bit.

RL: It changed after the war, yes. There were more businesses that opened up.

CP: Do you remember any events that stand out in your mind before World War II that led up to the war?

RL: No, I didn’t keep up with news like that.

CP: Do you have an opinion about the dropping of the atom bomb on Japan ?

RL: Well, . . . yes, I think it was a terrible thing, but if it took that to stop it, well so be it. That’s the way I feel.

CP: Where were you when you found out about the bomb being dropped?

RL: I guess I was in Canada , wasn’t I? Yes, I was in Edmonton, Alberta then. I’m pretty sure of that.

CP: How did you feel when you heard that?

RL: It scared me because I was afraid they might do the same thing to us.

CP: Yes, I can imagine.

RL: The station hospital closed in the last of ’44, yes, it was December 1944. The station hospital closed in Dawson Creek and we moved to Edmonton, Alberta. I rode the train with all the servicemen again, and I didn’t even have to take care of my baby, ‘cause the servicemen had him all the time.

CP: So what happened when the war ended?

RL: Oh, there was quite a celebration up there even. We were up there and there was quite a celebration. The streetcars, they had streetcars in Edmonton and they couldn’t even maneuver for the people all over.

CP: How long did it take you to get home after the war ended?

RL: In October, I went down to Oklahoma, I think it was about the middle of October, I went to Oklahoma and visited with my family because we knew he was going to be discharged the next month. So I went down to Oklahoma and visited my family and when he was discharged, he got his discharge out of Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.

Mr. Leak: November 13th.

RL: November 13th, that’s right, and he came by train down to Oklahoma and you should have seen our little boy. He had his second birthday in Edmonton and he remembered his daddy, and when he saw his daddy he just laughed and then he cried both. He laughed and he cried. My dad was the one who took me to the train and he just couldn’t hardly take it, that baby crying.

CP: I imagine that was really hard on women. The separation.

RL: Oh yes, very much. And the children also. Of course, our baby, when he went into the service, he was just a baby, he wouldn’t remember. But there when he was two years old, he remembered.

CP: Sure. But then you had another baby.

RL: That was in ’46. November 7. Barry Dean.

CP: After you got home. So how long did it take you to get to Tulare?

RL: Oh we got back here either the last of November or the first of December in 1945.

CP: And then what did you do?

RL: He went back to work at Golden State.

CP: What about the home? Did you move back into the same home?

RL: Yes.

CP: What happened to that home while you were gone?

RL: When his dad resigned the church in ’45. Before he was discharged, he had resigned the church and they had a trailer and they lived in our house until we got home and then they stayed in their trailer because he had another church he was going to. They were all prepared to leave.

CP: That’s good, so then you had a home to come home to.

RL: Oh yes.

CP: You didn’t have to look around for a place to live.

RL: Just come right home and started living again.

CP: When you got back home was it easy to take up where you left off?

RL: I think so, and I enjoyed home then for sure.

CP: I think everybody did. While you were in Tulare County during the war, either before you left for Canada or after, did you take vacations at all?

RL: During the war?  I’m trying to think. I don’t remember taking a vacation.

CP: I don’t think very many people took vacations during the war.

RL: I don’t remember going on vacations. The biggest vacation was when I went from Abilene to Oklahoma when my brother, JW, was going up for a physical. That’s the biggest part of the vacation that I had, but he didn’t have any.

CP: Did you have . . . I’ve asked you a number of times about how you felt. You said you were sad, no, you said you were scared. Did those feelings change over time at all or did you . . . .

RL: Yes.

CP: Was it a relief?

RL: Yes, after time it kind of settled down, and I wasn’t scared any more.

CP: Were there any community organizations you belong to in Tulare County?

RL: Well, not until my kids were in school.

CP: That was after the war.

RL: That was after the war.

CP: But you weren’t in any organizations, . . .

RL: No.

CP: For the war.

RL: No.

CP: What was the attitude of the young men who came into town from Rankin Field or Sequoia Field? The soldiers that were stationed around here, what were they like?

RL: I didn’t know any of them myself.

CP: I just wondered if they were polite.

Mr. Leak: I’m sure they were.

RL: I’m sure they were, but I don’t remember because I really wasn’t around them very much.

CP: What about different ethnic groups around Tulare County? Did you know very many different ethnic groups?

RL: I don’t think so.

CP: Do you remember your attitudes towards Germans, Japanese, Russians, and Italians then. Or your friends, what their attitude was.

RL: Some, it was very much hatred. I don’t feel like I had any hatred, mostly pity I think more than anything, that they would do such a thing.

CP: It’s hard to fathom sometimes. What about the Japanese that lived in Tulare County. Did you know very many Japanese people?

RL: No, I did not, but a friend of mine lived close to where they had the Japanese, there by the county hospital, there were prisoners there. Just across the street from where a friend of mine lived.

Mr. Leak: They really weren’t prisoners, they were people taken off the farms.

RL: They were put in like prisoners in this camp.

CP: Prison Internment Camp.

RL: Yes.

CP: Wasn’t it at the fairgrounds?

RL: Some of them right there across the street from O’Neill’s. That wasn’t the fairgrounds. There was a big field across the street from the fairgrounds and near the Tulare County Hospital (Now the Hillman Medical Center) which was fenced and used to hold Japanese Americans from Tulare County. They put up barrack buildings very quickly.

CP: I think the fairgrounds are right next door.

RL: Across the street and it was back this way. O’Neill Street

CP: Was there much news in Tulare County or Tulare about the Jewish people overseas and the Holocaust? Do you remember hearing much information about that?

RL: I know I heard some and I think it was bad especially about how the Germans treated them. I think it was very sad and bad.

CP: Did we get much news about it at all here?

RL: No, but you know I’ve read stories about some of the people that later told of how they were treated and they were treated badly.

CP: The war ended and you were home. How did people treat the veterans that were here, that came back.

RL: They seemed to honor them to me. That’s the way I felt. That they honored them.

CP: Were there parades?

RL: I think so.

CP: In Tulare?

RL: I think so. And he has a cap that I got him a few years ago and it says "World War II ,Served with Pride."

CP: Oh cool.

RL: He gets so many compliments about that. Every once in a while we are walking around and somebody will look up and a lot of people will stop him and ask him where he was stationed.

CP: Do you remember how the community reacted itself to the end of the war? When you came home?

RL: Well, we didn’t get home in time to get most of the celebration.

CP: Right, but you know . . . .

RL: Everyone was thrilled. And I know when he came home everybody was, you know, just thrilled to see him.

CP: How do you think the World War II years in Tulare County affected you?

RL: Well, I feel like it set us back financially.

CP: Sure it did. He was only living on thirteen dollars a month!

Mr. Leak: The houses, new houses, were selling from twenty-five hundred to thirty two hundred dollars, and they should have given every serviceman a house when they got back.

CP: That would have been great. I see you have a bunch of handwritten notes there. I don’t think I have asked you anything that pertains to your little notes there. I know you are just dying to tell me some of them.

RL: I really think most of it has partially been covered anyway, but if you would like to take these notes and look over them and see if you want to add something . . . .

CP: I can’t really do that. Why don’t you just tell me anything that we have left out.

RL: Let’s see, we started with that, when he was drafted. Our baby boy was born December 10, 1942.

CP: What was this baby boy’s name?

RL: Ray Gene.

CP: Raymond?

RL: No, Ray Gene. That’s short for my husband’s name, Raymond Eugene. And his brother was in the service, my husband’s brother. I’ll tell you this about him, he was in the Battle of the Bulge. He was in that. He was an ambulance driver.

CP: My dad was in that.

RL: He was. They might have been right along. He was in the 87th Division I believe is what it was called.

CP: Oh, I don’t know what division. What was your husband’s brother’s name?

RL: Kenneth C. Leak. His wife still lives in Tulare. I think that covers just about everything. Oh, when we rode the train to Dawson Creek, and the service men were the same way, going up there. They helped me get on the train a lot of times. But when we got there, my husband of course, but there was an older man that he met at a church where he attended. He was a Norwegian, came from Norway , and he had a car and he brought his car and took us to our place he had rented. That man was so nice. He put his car keys on the wood stove with the warming oven. He left his car keys lay up there and said anytime you want to use my car, just come and get the keys.

CP: How nice.

RL: And then he took us to Fort St. John and that’s where there was another Army base there and he took us to Fort St. John and we got to see the Peace River there and crossed it. Then his daughter, Inga, was seventeen when we were there and we just loved her and enjoyed her so much. There was another girl, Noreen Duncan that was a real good friend of hers. We loved her too, but Inga, in 1952 came down and visited us. And then in Edmonton we met a family, the Webster’s and they came down to see us in ’52.

CP: I didn’t realize that we even had camps or Army bases in Canada . I never knew that.

RL: There was an army base in Fort St. John. There was an air base. And then the hospital in Dawson Creek in Edmonton. It seemed like there was something up farther, but I don’t remember what it was.

CP: I do have one more question. I wanted to know how you think the World War II years affected the way Tulare County is now.

RL: I don’t know. The way it has boomed. I don’t know, it doesn’t seem like it has affected it very much. Maybe that’s one reason more people moved in here from coastal areas.

CP: What about right after the war? Did Tulare County change a lot maybe in the ten years after the war?

RL: Not that I know of. I can’t think of many changes.

CP: Weren’t there a lot of people that moved into this area after the war?

RL: There was quite a few, yes. A lot of the service men had married.

CP: Right.

RL: And came back. So there was quite a few, yes.

CP: Then we had the baby boom. You had one of those babies. I’m a product of the baby boom. We had a lot . . .

RL: What year did you say you graduated?

CP: I graduated from Tulare Union High School in 1965.

RL: My oldest son graduated in 1960.

CP: Well he did. So did my first husband. He graduated in 1960.

RL: What was his name?

CP: Mark Holland.

RL: I’ll have to ask Ray Gene. I still call him Ray Gene. Most people call him Ray, but I call him Ray Gene.

CP: Well, Mark probably knows him.

RL: He was in the band.

CP: Mark was a football player. Oh my, that’s going to be really noisy.

Ed: There is a motorized background sound on the tape.

RL: They’re moving a little barn out there.

CP: I hope it doesn’t come through this tape. I think we have just about covered everything, don’t you?

RL: I think so.

CP: I think we’d better shut this off. ‘Cause I think that’s going to be picked up on the tape. But I do thank you for letting me interview you. It was interesting.

RL: It was interesting to me to talk about it.

CP: It’s fun to listen to. Thank you.

RL: Thank you.

Colleen Paggi/Transcriber:J Chubbuck, 4/14/04/Editor:J Wood 8/25/05

ED: Names and comments in italics are the result of a phone interview with Ruth Leak on August 25, 2005.