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Interview with Virginia C. Claudon Allen [8/4/2005]

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Good morning. This is August 4, 2005. And I am interviewing Virginia C. Allen. Her maiden name is Claudon, C L A U D O N. And her last name -- her married last name, which is what she has now, is Allen, A L L E N. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota currently. Was born in Fairbury, Illinois, that's F A I R B U R Y, Illinois on July 26, 1919. Right, Jenny?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Correct.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And during the war -- during World War II she was -- she served in a variety of roles, actually. She had several different type civil service-type jobs. And then she went into the Red Cross as a Red Cross volunteer. And that was toward the end of World War II that she served there. And that's where actually we will spend most of our focus of the interview. But I do want to get the information about what Ginny did at first as much as she can tell us. Let's see, my name is Patricia A. Kuentz. And I go by Patsy. And I will be the interviewer today. We are sitting in Virginia's apartment, as I said, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And we are the only two people present in the room today so we won't be hearing from anybody else today. Okay. All right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So Ginny, you got out of College. Well, first of all, what college did you go to.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I went to the college of William and Mary.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay, all right. And you graduated from college about what year?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

1940.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

1940. So it was before the war began?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Correct.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And then what were you doing right out of college?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Out of college I was doing anything I could find.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And what were some of the things that you did?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, I worked for the chamber of commerce in Palm Beach for a while. My parents always went to Palm Beach every winter so I was there for six months. And in the summers, I didn't do anything and kept wishing I could find something that was right for me.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm. Um-hmm. So do you remember what you were doing when you heard that the Japanese dropped the bombs -- that they dropped bombs at Pearl Harbor?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Pearl Harbor. All right. I was working at Morrison Air Field in Palm Beach, which had been just an airport beforehand. Actually, it was open house for the first B-29 to be shown there. I was inside the B-29 looking all around and being told about its internal -- internal --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Workings?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- workings, yeah. And suddenly there was a siren. And we were all told to leave. And that was the beginning of what turned Palm Beach into a major, major defense area.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So what you found out was that the -- that the Japanese has dropped the bombs at Pearl Harbor?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Correct.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

-- at that time while you were in the B-29?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

At the time I didn't know where Pearl Harbor was. Actually nobody did, unless they had been to Hawaii. But it took a very short time for us to find out.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right. Right. So you were working there at the time in civil service?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. I was working there for Army intelligence.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. All right. And are you able to tell us anything about what you were doing at that time? It is okay if you can't.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Not an awful lot.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. Okay. And then where did you go from there? What -- how did your roles change?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, in the beginning, before that I was working in the Breakers Hotel, which had been turned into an Army hospital. And which was a place where returning veterans from European, the Air Force primarily, came to be rehabilitated. They were very -- in very bad shape. And it was really a very difficult job for me because I was not accustomed to seeing people physically tortured as they had been.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm, right. Now, that was -- you weren't doing that before the war, though? The war had started?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No, I was doing it somewhere in between.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

All right. All right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Before I went out to the air base.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And so your role then, your job at the -- at the Breakers Hotel that had been turned into the hospital?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Was literally called secretary.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

But my actual job, as it was explained to me, was to make the men who were coming through for physical therapy appear normal as possible, treat them in a normal fashion. And at first it was very difficult because they were -- they were massacred. And sometimes you were talking to half a face. Sometimes you were talking to someone with no legs. Sometimes you were talking to people who had nothing much left and you wondered if they could be rehabilitated. I was impressed with the way -- the way they were able to treat these men.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The rehabilitation that they were able to give them?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. I was amazed.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And you were working for a general at the time?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. A general -- we had one general there, and he's in charge of the whole hospital.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, okay. Oh, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I was working for a major.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

A major. And then you left there?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

The hospital became -- the area there was very heavily blacked out. And we had no air conditioning. And we were surviving with fans. The hospital became so hot in the summer that the GIs -- I called them GIs -- servicemen had to be moved out to a northern climate where they could get better facilities and be more comfortable.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm. Um-hmm. So you went to -- or how did -- how did that --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So then the next thing, because all of Palm Beach had enlarged itself and it became -- it became a bastion of defense against German submarines which were touring around outside on the Atlantic Ocean. And there was some sabotage out at our air base which was now housing military planes. And we were blacked out all along the coast line and further in. So we became a very patriotic town. And anyone, regardless of social status, became involved in some phase of war -- of war --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Activity?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Activity, yeah. War activity.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So when you left the hospital, where did you go to work?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

After the hospital, I went to the Morrison Air Field base where I worked for the Army intelligence office.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And where was Morrison?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It is right there in West Palm Beach.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay, all right. So that's where you worked with intelligence?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

All right. And how long were you there?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I stayed there until I made -- (coughing.) MS. KEUNTZ: We are back on tape again after a little cough.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So you --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I stayed at Morrison Air Field base until I'd had enough, shall we say, persuasion from various and sundry returnees to go overseas and join the Red Cross.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Ah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

They said if you could do this here, why can't you do this over there?

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Uh-huh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And I felt -- here I had always felt I was doing the best I could, and I realized that I could go further.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was also a time when my fiancee was killed. He flew out of Morrison field. He was a second lieutenant. Maybe he was first lieutenant. I don't recall that. His name was Langdon Long. His father was a senator. He was flying to Natal Assension (sp) Island in Africa. And he was killed along with a Major Forsythe and three other planes. This confirmed in my mind a need to keep romance out of my life until the war was over. And so this I did. This I did.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. All right. So how long after he passed away did you go the Red Cross route?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Very soon. I think I had a summer when I was grieving very, very badly. And then I made up my mind to join the Red Cross. And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

What did your parents think about that?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Horrified.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Were they?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Because?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

They had a son in the Pacific who had gone through college in three years. We both went to William and Mary in order to take the course at Notre Dame. And literally captain a ship, called an LSM, I think it was a 325 or 326, it is in my notes, down the Mississippi through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific. And, of course, they didn't -- they didn't know too much about where he was. All they knew was that he was on this little boat. And that what they didn't know was that he was involved in the fight at Okinawa. And what other skirmishes you'd have to discuss with him. He later came home after picking up some wounded soldiers in the Philippines to bring back.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And was very successful of the whole thing.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Great. And what is your brother's name?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Chester Claudon.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Chester Claudon?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

C L A U D O N.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Was he older, younger?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Younger. Three years old -- younger.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Being a man, he was called up first. And that was a case of finishing college in three years and having to go.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. All right. So your folks were concerned that they already had a son overseas knowing probably that you would be going overseas with the Red Cross?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, yes.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. But did they put their feet down? Or did they let you do what you wanted to do?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. No. They -- they too had spent -- I mean, we are all together in Palm Beach, and they too understood. They understood this strong need to get over there and be involved at our age. After all, at their age -- similar age to ours, World War II was just ending. And they on one hand -- was just ending and they had missed it, and really, I think, understood, though very reluctantly, to have us go.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm. Um-hmm. So that was early 1945 when you decided to go into the Red Cross?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm, that's right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

How did you do that? Where did you go and volunteer?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I called the Red Cross to get information. I filled out copious and copious paperwork, and I had to have a very intensive physical. I also had four wisdom teeth that were embedded pulled out all in one day, which you would not do now without being put out somewhere.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. But you needed to get that work done before you went overseas?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I felt I did.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I felt that I wanted to -- to go over with everything working, everything, no problems that might occur anywhere. I didn't mention in my notes that I also went to oculist and got the first -- very first pair of contact lenses.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my word.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And I was there at the same time as Chicago, is it the Bears?

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We were all there getting our first contacts. Because they felt that no matter where I went, and especially since I had no idea where I was going --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- then if I ended up in Africa or somewhere, too far from a hospital, it might be very important to have the eyes protected.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So -- so that is what I did.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You got contact lenses?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You had been wearing glasses before?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I had been wearing glasses before. And these, I will show you later, they are huge. They cover the entire cornea, the entire cornea. I still have them.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, for heavens sake. I would like to see them. Oh, that's funny. So you went down and signed up. You had your wisdom teeth pulled. You got your contact lenses.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I did.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And then how did they -- did they tell you where you were going then?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, no. No. Then -- then there were many parties, send-off parties type of things. And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Family and friends did this for you?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Right, in Palm Beach. And I remember wearing a very short fur jacket, which later I mailed back.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You didn't need it as it turned out.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

First of all, it wasn't warm enough. Washington was very wet and very cold. And it was very difficult to find any transport because it was stuffed with Army personnel.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So first they sent you to Washington state?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No, Washington, D.C.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, D.C., okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay, all right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

That's where the headquarters of the Red Cross were. That's where many headquarters were, as you can imagine, being the nation's capital. I had no way of getting around because it was impossible to get a taxi. And I found that people passing by would give you a ride because they all understood that perhaps they had some more gas than other people, and we were gas rationed all of the time. So they gave me a ride to the Red Cross headquarters. And I was able to then go through their procedure.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah. Now, were these people that you knew?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. No.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

They just picked you up more or less as a hitchhiker?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Didn't know anyone in Washington, D.C.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. Did any friends join at the same time you did or did you do this on your own?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Later, later.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

A very good friend from way back.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Is that Jane?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Jane. Jane Bell is her maiden name. Her father was a general. And we were -- this is not in my notes. We were absolutely dedicated to the fact that we would never tell a soul he was a general, because that would be a very bad influence on a GI.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Sure. Sure, yeah. They'd be spooked by that probably?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Exactly.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And now, just so we get this on, Jane Bell later married and what's her married name now?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Schulte, S C H U L T E.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So she joined later than you did, a little bit?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I am not really sure. It was a matter of days, though. And we had corresponded. We both wanted to join. She had a twin sister who didn't join. And I was sort of hoping that all three of us would go. It never occurred to me that we would all go at exactly the same time and be sent for at least a large part of the time to the same spot.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Wow. You and Jane spent a lot of time together?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We did. And it was a very wonderful thing. Because we, as old friends are, had much to share and were there for each other when we needed to be.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah, yeah. That's great. So you were in Washington then for a while?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yep.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And what did they do with you there, indoctrination program or orientation?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

In Washington, exactly both. First we had to have a physical. Then once we passed that, we were educated into the various potential diseases that could be encountered anywhere in the entire world, stretching from Alaska to Africa and further, knowing nothing about where we were going, and being issued clothing for every type of climate you can imagine. And learning about scary things, like just a somiasis (ph) and theloriasis (ph) and other such things. But I had majored in French in college, and I was certain we were going to France. So it didn't seem terribly important to put much stress on all of that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And did they give you shots then?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We had shots there for just about everything.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay, yeah. How long were you in Washington?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I don't remember. I know that we were sent to Belvour (ph) for basic training. And there we were -- went through the same basic training, I think, that most GIs did. We had gas masks and nerve, to handle that in a gas-filled room. We had to jump a lot of hurdles. We had to abandon ship. That was the most frightening thing. Because we had to climb up this large ladder, I think it was about four stories high, and gingerly climb over the top and very, very carefully descend on the other side, which was a sort of rope ladder, carrying and wearing a life jacket and carrying a canteen.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Did you have any difficulty with that exercise?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Nobody had any difficulty in doing anything except that we were all very gingerly about it.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

But you were young and fit?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We were young and fit, right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So you could do all those things?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We could do those things. We had more shots there. I had a reaction to typhoid, which made it -- which if you have ever had typhoid, felt like typhoid. You have a high temperature. You have freezing periods. And we were housed in a little Quonset hut with a potbellied stove. And in this, we main -- I mean, Jane was gone doing other things, and I was stoking the stove and trying to keep warm and trying to cope with this. Because I really felt that if I had a terrible reaction to typhoid, they might not take me. So it wasn't reported.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, you just toughed it out?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I toughed it out, yep. And Jane blew up like you could not recognize her face at all, from tetanus.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

From tetanus.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And because of that, she was sent to sick bay. About that same time, a group of us went to France. And then one of the wisdom teeth that had been embedded became infected. And I was sent to sick bay. So there we were. Our group went to France and we were in sick bay.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You and Jane?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

In Washington, D.C., right where we did not want to be.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, dear.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yep, exactly.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, then you both got over your maladies?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We got over our maladies and we waited to go to France. And we waited and we waited and we waited. We were constantly told to be prepared to go. And so we had all our gear and our everything packed as it should be. We had foot lockers. Everything was issued to us. And eventually we were given orders that it was time to go, and that we were to go to the train station. It was at night. I don't remember how we got there. Probably some Army vehicle picked us up. We went to the train station. And I said to Jane, When we wake up in the morning, you will see the Statue of Liberty. And instead, we saw cornfields. We were not obviously going to France. And I had no -- no one knew where we were going.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

But you had headed west?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We headed west. And we just didn't have a clue until we got to the west coast. And there we were at Camp Pendleton.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. In California?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

In California.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And how many were there of you in this group?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I honestly don't know.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

About?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, 18 or so, maybe more. I am sure we all didn't go to the same place, probably a little more than that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. So there you were at Camp Pendleton then?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We were at Camp Pendleton. And there we were given a very, very detailed briefing on naval terminology. And we knew just about everything we thought we needed to know to board a ship and to handle everything within a ship. But we boarded at night. It was absolutely black. And we were trucked to a place called San Pedro Island. We boarded at night. We couldn't see a thing. We couldn't see the ship. We couldn't see anything. And so clutching each other like a string of lice, we went up what obviously was a gang plank. And we were carrying all of our gear, which -- well, I have it listed, if I can remember it all. I doubt it. I remember that we wore galoshes because it was raining.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And that we had -- or we were carrying our gas mask, a uset (ph) bag, purse, suitcase, a canteen, and a few other things that are listed in my article. We had learned that when you get to the top of the gang plank, there will be an officer of the day that you will salute him and that you will face fore or aft. Or I can't remember which I think it was for -- no, I think it was aft. And you saluted the flag. And we couldn't see a thing. There was no officer there to say -- what we had to say was, Permission to come aboard, sir.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

There was nobody there. It was nothing there. We just were somewhere in the darkness. And we just hung onto each other because everything was blacked out everywhere.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, sure.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

On the Pacific Coast as well as the Atlantic. And up until we got to our quarters. And that -- the port holes were blacked out, but we were allowed to have light inside.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, did someone finally come to greet you to come on board or give you permission to come on board?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. We just followed each other to our destination.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

How did the first person know where to go?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Just somebody took her. I don't know who it was. Probably one of the personnel, Navy personnel.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay, yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Follow me. That was all.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my. So then did the ship take off the next day, or did you wait a while?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No, it took off immediately in the dark.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, that night?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

At night. And we went into probably the most humanus -- well, it wasn't our worst storm, but it was quite a storm. And we were not at all prepared. We hadn't been told a thing about storms. We hadn't been told a thing about ships. Anything about as far as what we could encounter after we were aboard. And as a result, our belongings were around us. We were in bunk beds. Everything was crashing into everything else. We had four or six sinks. And things kept running into those and clanging and crashing. And it was -- the best we could do was to try to stay in our bunks. We finally tied ourselves in with our sheets. And that was our first experience on a boat.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, gosh. (Laughter.) Yeah, right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was really interesting.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

I guess so. Trial by fire.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So then how long were you on the ship? But you still didn't know where you were going?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We didn't have a clue. We knew -- we had been told that we were accompanied out of sight by two destroyer escorts. And that gave us a sense of security. We spent our time on board cleaning rifles with the GIs. There were 3,100 people on board that ship plus us. And I got that off the Net. That's how I knew who was there.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

What was the name of the ship?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

The name of the ship was General Leroy Eltinge (ph). And it was something that we had never seen. We were just on it, and in a certain classified area. So we had not any concept of the overall picture of the boat.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You couldn't get out of that area?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, within a very limited space. A certain number of GIs were allowed to come to that space where we were. And we cleaned rifles. We listened and looked at pictures of their families. We did all kinds of things like thinking of things, you know, little -- playing bridge, playing poker. That's where I learned how to play poker. So you have contests, things of that sort.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So you really started your Red Cross work on that ship?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, yes. Oh, yes. The minute we were there. The minute we saw a serviceman. Because we were to work with GIs. The feeling in Washington was it was best not to date GIs. That if we felt like we needed a date, it was better to go with a fellow officer as we were, quote, classified as second lieutenants, which was about as low as you could get in the classification of an officer. And so our thought was just don't date anybody. It is much easier.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right. Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So that's what we did. We spent all our times with the GIs as was our duty. We did also a little work in sick bay.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And there were -- there were Army guys on board? Or were these --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

There were 3,100 according to the Net. Half of them were black. Half of them were white. They were not allowed to mingle. They were brought up to the top side in other words to get the fresh air in separate groups.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Very segregated?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Very segregated.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And did you work with both the black and --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, we were not allowed to work with the black personnel. Not at all. That was just the way it was then.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, yes. Yeah. Yeah. It was a different time. No doubt about it.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Exactly.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So how long did you travel on the ship, about?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, we really weren't sure. Because we were -- we crossed the equator so many times. We weren't at all sure what we were doing. The --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The ship was probably zigzagging?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was zigzagging across the Pacific. We never, of course, saw a submarine. We didn't see anything. We didn't see grass. We didn't see birds. We didn't see anything at all. It was just water.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And later you found out you weren't accompanied either, right?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Later we found out that we had absolutely nothing with us. We had absolutely no accompaniment. We were alone.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

No other ships?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No other ships. And the reason we found that out was the Net. The Net told me that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Actually, we did land finally in Melbourne, Australia. And I thought, whoa, this might be an interesting assignment, kangaroos and things, but that was not to be. We were there just, I think, two days.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

The first day -- and I believe it was just before we arrived President Roosevelt passed away. And this great group of GIs who were on board were from the New York NBC. And they had a fabulous program with them. And so I did mean to tell you that on board ship, they played a lot of music, which was great. Because that went over the PA system. And they also tested our voices for radio programs and things like that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

In Melbourne, we had a very meaningful service, which they conducted. I think the captain was involved. His name was Wakefield, W Wakefield.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The captain of the ship?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm. And then the very next day we left, probably, I think it was in April, but I am not terribly sure.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

The next day we went through what we were -- what was told to us was the Tasmanian Straits. And later we learned that it had a different name. But I have never been in such rough water in my entire life.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You thought that first night was bad, but this was worse?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, this was far worse. Because the ship had this sense -- you had this sensation that you were diving down to the very bottom of the ocean.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

With every roll?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

With every roll. And then the ship would straighten up and everything would stop. So there was this sense of hesitation and no sound. And then -- and you wondered, Are we going over backwards? What's happening? And then we would go forward again. And it was terrifying, terrifying. But the Red Cross sort of had a feeling, and we had a sort of inborn determination to show no fear, to be extremely, extremely strong and stalwart. And so though we were all terrified, I am sure everybody on board was terrified.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

I'm sorry.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We didn't tell anybody we were terrified.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah. Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm. (Laugher.)

Patricia A. Kuentz:

But you made it through?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We made it through. And we ziggled-zaggled across until we got across. And all of a sudden top side discovered land. And we didn't know where we were. Didn't have a clue. But the water was beautiful blue, of course. It had a blue/green, depending on where we were and how calm it was. And then suddenly it began to turn into a sort of olive shade. And then it would go into a brown shade. And then it became almost black. And we were entering Calcutta. And the stench from Calcutta, it was overpowering.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Really?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Because coming out over to us was a sort of combination of burning bodies from the burning gats, curry, of filth, just the hearths. The hearths of the little tiny huts were cow- patties. That gave off a stench. And really, before we disembarked, we were -- even our clothing smelled pretty bad. However, we were stalwart. And, of course, we --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Red Cross stalwart?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We were Red Cross stalwart. And as a result, of course, as usual, we debarked at night. So we never did -- ever did see the ship from the outside, ever. We went -- were put into trucks and taken into Calcutta where we were put into a British home. Because at that time the British owned a great deal of Calcutta. And we actually had baths. It was wonderful.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, boy.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Because on board ship, I failed to mention, we were allowed two showers a week. And the rest of the time we did mostly basin, you know, out of just a sink.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And this was the western Pacific. It must have been hot?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes, it was hot. Oh, very hot, especially around the equator. We had heat rash. Everybody had heat rash. But we didn't have any major outbreaks of anything, which was a miracle.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And a few appendectomies, things like that occurred.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

With that group of people, something is bound to happen.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes, some things were bound to.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So you got into Calcutta, got a good bath?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes, got a bath. And that lasted about a week. And then we got orders to go to Agra.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Ah, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And that is directly across to the other -- on the Arabian Sea. So we went directly across. I think it was the first time we had been in a plane.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, they flew you?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Flew us. They flew everybody everywhere. It was a C-47, which is called a gooney bird because it has such a weird looking nose. And we went across to --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

To Agra.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No, actually, we went to Karachi, which was right on the Arabian Sea. And it was beautiful. It was so different from Calcutta that we couldn't believe that it was -- the trees were -- I guess it was spring for them. The trees were covered with purple flowers. It -- there were beautiful plants everywhere. It was just total heaven.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And we were put in the officers' -- the British Gymkhana Club, which is a club that was turned over to us. It was a two-story club.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Gymkhana?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

G Y M K H A N A.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. That's a new word for me.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yeah. Well, I think -- I don't know, I think it has something to do with the Holo, but I am not terribly sure.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I am not terribly sure.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

British word anyway?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. And there we -- I learned -- I had my regular -- my regular radio program, which was a GI Joe program in answer to Tokyo Rose.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Ah, GI Joe?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

GI Joe.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And it was the type of thing, the two sergeants from New York, who were incomparable and whose names I should remember, were -- Jim Woodruff was one. And Gale Martin was the other.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yep. And they were -- they conducted, you know, the --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The technical?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

The technical facilities, and also took care of all of the PA --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- work and played music during the day.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. Were you -- how many people were participating in the GI Joe program?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, just I.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Just you?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I was the only employee.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And how long were the on the radio during the course of the day then?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I was on the radio there once a week. But in Agra, every day.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Ah, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And it depended on where I was sent as to how much, you know, they wanted me to do.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm. Um-hmm.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

In Karachi, we did a great deal of the same type of work we did on the ship. We didn't clean rifles. But we -- you know, we had all kinds of programs. And one of them -- one of the artists was a very fine pianist whose name was Evan Woonseigler (ph). That's a name you don't forget.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

No.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

You never.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Evan Senior?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. His name was Evan Woonseigler or Edward.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

I'm sorry?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Edward Woonseigler.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my gosh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And Ed did a play. Ed did a play. And it was -- I was the star. I wore my French evening dress.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Had you brought that along, or did you buy --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, yes. Well, we didn't know where we were going. We had everything. We had everything. They told us to take everything, you know, for all climates. So Ed devised this play, and Jane and I were in it. I was opposite of a married man who took advantage of the final kiss and that inflamed my mate greatly. But he also incorporated into the play, Ed Woonseigler did, some of the terminology we were picking up in India, or in Karachi, which not Pakistan then. And it was -- I remember he had one play called this one show called -- it had a little song in there. What is the matter with our love? Will it always be we three? If it will help our love, it is teak with me. Tec, tec, te chi (ph), meaning that's okay in Hindustani.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's cute. That's cute. So he localized the play?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

He localized the play. We were housed in an apartment with open windows.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Ah, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And the usual wooden bed with a netting for the mosquitoes. And we had bats. We had so many bats flying through that, you know, that old bit about their getting in our hair was a lot of baloney. We soon learned -- we just soon learned to live with bats swooping in front of our faces.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Insects I suspect, too?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Not so much with bats. Bats eat insects. With that many bats in Karachi, they must have really --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

No insects?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was not an insect left. (Laughter.)

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So you did this play a couple of times a day or once a day or --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No, we did it like once a week.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And because the people kept coming to that area, kept changing.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, sure.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Sure. And that was fun.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And then we went on a -- Jane and I were sent to Agra India.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. Let's hold there. And I will turn the tape.

END OF SIDE ONE, TAPE ONE

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. We are on side two of the tape. We have about 45 minutes on this side of the tape if we want to talk that long, and I suspect we won't have any difficulty doing that.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We won't. We will have to shorten it up.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So you and Jane were on your way to Agra then?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes, we went to Agra. And after thinking we were only going to see the Taj Mahal from the air on our way to Karachi, we were taking tours --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- of GIs to the Taj Mahal unbeknownst to us earlier.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Jane had a different club, so I didn't see as much of her, but we'd be -- she was my roommate, which was good. We had a small section of a Quonset hut. And that made it nice because we could compare notes and learn from each other.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

What was the name of your club?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

My club was called Reparadise Inn.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Reparadise?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Reparadise. And my GIs were very young and very, very uninformed, but they were very good repairmen. And they were taking care of the planes that were flying to China over the Himalayas or through the Himalayas in order to deliver supplies over there.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And it was dangerous. The flying was very dangerous. So the planes had to be in excellent working condition.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Um-hmm.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And they were either C-46s or C-47s. The 46s were called the whales. And as you know, the 47s were gooney birds. In Agra, we had basically our -- we were in the Thar Desert. And our area was very hot. The GIs wanted to go out on tours. That was their major desire.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

To see the area?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

To see whatever was there.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Ah-ha.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Because they were very, very homesick. Almost all GIs were homesick.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Sure.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And I can understand that. Letters came through, but they were months late. And they were all chopped up or blacked out or whatever. And so we tried to think of things that they would enjoy. And one of them they had requested because they wanted to know more about manners. They wanted to know what do you do in a restaurant. Some of them had never been to a good restaurant at all. And so we would have these little mini plays and they would come and learn that you should really pull out the chair for your date, and where you start with the cutlery and how much of a tip to leave. I think it was five cents -- 5 percent then. And it was -- it was really sort of sad. And also very meaningful. Because they liked that so much that they kept asking for it again and again. So we did that. We also had one eventful trip to the leper colony. I think you might want to hear about. Because it was -- we were told then lepers are very, very, very dangerous and you don't want to get near one because you would surely get leprosy.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

It was a very communicable disease?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Very communicable. But we didn't know it then. So we took our children -- took our children. That's what it felt like. I took the GIs in an open truck to the leper colony, and we were to look in only and just see what leprosy does to people. It turned out the truck broke down. And there was a communication system between our truck and the base. And they asked for a replacement. But in the meantime, our GIs became very obstreperous and very antsy and decided they needed to go in the leper colony and get some pictures. So --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And you couldn't keep them from doing it?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Normally I have very good control over these boys because they really respected us. But I didn't. So in they went with their cameras. And on the way back to the base, I told them you are going to have to burn all your clothes. And I don't know how many did.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Of course, later we learned that we couldn't have gotten leprosy if we wanted to.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

But we didn't know it then. And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Was that the only time you went to the colony?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. We went to the leper colony many times, but never inside. We also took trips to -- into town where they bought things that were always the wrong size because everything in town was made for very tiny people.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Sure.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And so they came back with their happy little tiny shoes and tiny everything. Happy as they could be. And when I say in town, I mean we had a truck that went into the inner city. And that was very basic and very dirty and very -- well, you just tried to ignore what you shouldn't talk about.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah, more or less a marketplace kind of?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm, almost definitely a marketplace.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

One of the favorite tours was the Taj Mahal where we took off our shoes and where occasionally very bad GIs would walk in the private lagoon that was quite extensive that led up to the Taj. And I told them all about the history of the Taj, which they liked. And I have to admit that once I walked in the lagoon myself, being human. Nobody was looking. And that was good. I think the hardest one for me to do was taking trips into the burning gads. I found it very difficult to watch bodies being burned.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And that's the way they worked with their dead?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, there were a number of ways, but this was the best way because there was nothing left but ash and a few bones. And also it set the soul free. And also it made it easier, I think, in some ways for people who were accustomed to it to say good-bye to those who died. And so they were on a large pier of what, first of all, a small platform of wood. And then anything that was burned was put under it. And the deceased was put on top covered with garlands. And then that person was burned. And it was very, very unpleasant to smell. And I usually had to explain to them why it was done this way. And I often had to tie a big bandana around my nose.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Because the smell was so bad?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Because it was just so overpowering. There were also bodies floating down the Ganges. Because that was another way of doing it. They would put them on rafts and send them down the Ganges. And sometimes they would be burning and sometimes they wouldn't. I don't know all of the ins and outs of the different ways of saying good-bye to people that died, but that seemed to be the most efficient was burning.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

It is spooky to think of putting the bodies in the river because --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, the river, of course, had everything awful in it.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

It was their sewer system, too?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Everything. And still it was considered sacred. And people would go there and bathe in it. And I am sure our clothes were washed in it. But it was --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The way it was done?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yeah. It was just something that was there and you got used to it. You really did get used to it. Then I am trying to think if there's anything else of major interest that occurred in Agra. Do you remember anything that we talked about?

Patricia A. Kuentz:

No. Did you do the radio program there?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes, every day.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Every day there?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. Every day that I wasn't too late getting back from a trip. And sometimes -- sometimes it was really hard because I was trying to be upbeat always. And sometimes I was so tired that it just didn't do as well as it should have, I don't think.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

But some days you felt really good?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Most of the times I could at least pretend that everything was fine and that we didn't have a thing to worry about. The Japanese certainly -- we were going to beat them and not to worry.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Did you feel like you were in danger there at all?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We always had -- from the time we left, we always had a sense of concern, but I don't think anybody ever talked about it. I know I always felt that the unknown could occur. And so I think probably the major thing that occurred in Agra that was difficult to handle, there were two. One, we had an epidemic. And we didn't know we had an epidemic. I was called over to the hospital to write a letter to the family of a GI. And he said, I just have a terrible, terrible cold. And I'm -- you know, I just feel awful and I can't write. Would you write? And I said, Yes, I'd be glad to. And so he dictated the letter. And it was mailed. And the next day he was dead.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And that is when at that point they realized that he had a case of polio, which spread very rapidly, and was also in the population as well as among the GIs. Not as many GIs because they kept the base separated. We were not allowed to go into town or do any of our usual things.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Of course, at that point, just put in the context, there was no polio vaccine until a lot later?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No polio. Well, not too much later, but yes, you are right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The '50s?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yeah, right. So I was considered a carrier and/or maybe I would be the next victim. And they didn't know what to do with me because they knew that if they put me in isolation, I would be -- it would be very bad for the morale.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So it was decided that all -- any activities that I was involved in would be outdoors. So we had -- it was very hot. We always had, you know, heat rash. And so I was -- basically spent most of my time outdoors playing volleyball, that sort of thing. And every day, because they didn't know what to do, they sprayed my throat with something just to -- just to do that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

They felt they were going to kill the bacteria?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

They thought maybe this would help, and I never got it, of course, fortunately.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

We have a picture that we will be sending in of you playing volleyball.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Right. And then the other thing that happened was something in those days was considered absolutely the worst thing that could happen. And it was that the rumor spread that I was having an affair with an officer. And this was, of course, totally ridiculous. Because one, the only officer we ever saw was a supply officer, and he was a rather uninteresting person. So I knew I had to do something. So, well, first of all, I went over to sick bay and told them that as much as I hated it, they were going to have to examine me and they said, Okay, she didn't have sex so she's okay. And then I came back and my friend, Jane, had some jewelry her grandmother had given her, and she loaned me her grandmother's engagement ring. And I told the GIs I was engaged. And they -- and, of course, he couldn't be an officer.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And he couldn't be -- he had to be somebody they would respect. He couldn't be having a posh job in the United States. He had to be somewhere. So I had a friend on Okinawa who I had known in the U.S. who was a captain. And I demoted him. I made him a sergeant. Because GIs always respected their sergeants.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So this was --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Make this a good story.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

This was a sergeant I know. And it was a terrible thing to do except that it solved the problem.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And also, it kept people from asking you for dates and so forth. So that was good.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Did you tell the so-called sergeant that you were doing this?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Not then. Not then.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

He didn't know then?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. No, he was strictly a sergeant in Agra.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So we had two -- two celebrations of the V-E Day. The first one was a rumor and so was a waste of time. And the second one was the real thing. And I couldn't quite figure out what was happening. Because I was working late in my club. And I was taken by a jeep, which was the way it happened, back to my quarters. And here were all these GIs all out of bounds all yelling and screaming. And I thought, oh, my gosh, what's going on? I mean, everything is out of control here. And they were saying things like bomb the whole city and so forth. And I thought, have -- has the United States been affected? You know.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah, you didn't know what --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Is my family all right? What's happening? So it turned out, of course, that it was V-E Day. And I often wondered later if this man who was called a choky dar (sp) who stood by our spot with a rifle to protect us ever did anything? Apparently not, because we were surrounded by GIs. Anyway, they were okay. They didn't mean any harm. They were just celebrating. And then shortly thereafter it was necessary then to close Agra. But before that happened, I had a telegram from -- from headquarters in Calcutta, and Calcutta sent me a telegram that was sort of like this: You are ordered to report immediately to Red Cross headquarters in Calcutta to be interviewed for a possible position in a play by actor Melvin Douglas. Now, today people don't know who Melvin Douglas is, but then he was like Mr. Perfect.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

He was big?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

He was big. He was big. And so I said to Jane, This is ridiculous. I don't know how to act.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Did you wonder if it were a joke?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, no, I didn't, because you don't get telegrams.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Right. So I just thought it was kind of ridiculous. I am just going to take this little suitcase because I have this feeling I will be coming back. And she said, Well, in case they keep you, I am going to pack everything else that you have here in this footlocker and send it down. And I said, Okay, but keep me on the roster. Because, you know, I didn't really think. So I got down there and a group of us were taken to an empty room with a table and a couple of chairs and Melvin Douglas, who was gorgeous, he was tall and handsome and crinkly-eyed and utterly charming, just delightful. So even if you knew you were failing, it didn't matter because he was so sweet. And I got lucky and he took me and another -- and he had with him this gal from New York who was a bona fide stage actress. And we also had a bona fide stage actor who played the part of my husband. And so we gave our first performance in Calcutta at a place called Calcutta Monsoon Square Gardens.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Monsoon Square Gardens?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And it held 3,000 people. And the stage was not, you know, was almost professional. We had our own dressing rooms and everything the guys had put up. And I guess they did this for all of the groups that came through. Of course, we never saw anybody come through, but that's okay.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You were off the beaten track?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes, we were off the beaten track. So anyway, before -- we were in rehearsal for the play, which turned out to be Nola Powers (sp) Private Lives. And Private Lives were, of course, ridiculous because Private Lives was so sophisticated. And our guys were not into that kind of thing. So anyway, we were in rehearsal, but at the same time Tony Martin, the singer, came through. And he decided that we should do "Call Me Mister," which was a musical. And so we acquired a few more ladies in the assorted group. And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

From Red Cross women?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, Red Cross, state department, nurses, well, anybody else --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah, okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- like that, civil service who was stationed there. Because that group was a group that we, you know --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Socialized with?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, no. We didn't socialize with them. We didn't have time to socialize. But they were the group from which Melvin Douglas got his people.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

I see.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And from whom we did. And so we gave -- we gave that show. And that was a lot of fun. And we were -- and the guys liked it. Because it was very upbeat. A band. It was playing in New York City at the same time, so we had this impetus to be better, which, of course, we weren't. But we tried. And at the same time we were rehearsing for "Private Lives." Well, now, thinking about the general IQ of our guys, and I don't mean to put them down because they were so sweet and so nice and so young, we decided to make it easier for them, and we changed the whole thing. We had this setting in Palm Beach, which they had heard of. And we all spoke in southern -- southern accents. And everything that occurred occurred somewhere in the U.S. As a result, Melvin Douglas would have had a heart attack. But he -- I don't mean Melvin Douglas. I mean Nova Coward (sp). And at any rate, it was a big success. And we were there for about two weeks. Right. I later met a congressman who at the time -- I didn't put that in -- who at the time was the public relations person in Calcutta, and he covered this in his newspaper. And one day he showed me -- he lived across the street from us in Washington, D.C. later -- and he showed me the pictures in the paper and gave them to me.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my. That's wonderful.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. We are back on again.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So then we went to "Private Lives." And that was a hit. And I felt totally spoiled because I had a dressing room that was filled with flowers. And I had GI Johnnies outside my door every night. And I thought, Oh, this is so romantic. This is so great. Of course, that lasted exactly the length of time we were in Calcutta. So then we got word we were going on tour. So one would think, Okay, just, that's real easy. Not so. We were put -- let's see, well, first of all, we had to don overalls because that's what you had to wear to keep warm and stuff. And we were put in a plane, C-46. Remember, the one that's called the whale.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It had a little problem with the hydraulic system. But it was okay. You know, we got on it and so forth. Anyway, we flew -- well, first of all, we had to pile all of the scenery and all the props in the middle of the plane and strap it down. And then the rest of us, the crew and the people that were in the cast, sat on the sides of the plane. And -- and that's the way that worked. And I meant to tell you, there's a woman who sang for both of us in that play.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, she was your singing voice?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

She was the voice because neither of us could sing worth a darn. And so she stood behind the screen on stage -- I mean offstage and sang into a microphone. And nobody picked up the fact that -- that both of us had the same voice. It was just a real good thing. As I said in here, it is a really good thing that we didn't have a duet because we would have been indeed in trouble. But anyway, we went -- we went off -- we just took off. We never knew where we were going. We did go to Delhi. And that was fairly -- fairly normal. I mean, that felt comfortable. And then we started going to the jungles. And we went to Burma and we went to Assam and we went to Tibet. And we went to Nepal. And in these jungles, we never knew what to expect. I think the most -- I mean, first of all, everything was improvised. The runway, including the runways were improvised pretty much.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, dear.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So you never knew what you were going to be coping with as far as scenery goes. But I think the most memorable one was the one up in Nepal, because we took time off during the day, because these were done usually in the evening, to cross the Brahmaputra River. We saw a couple of men clearing trees with an elephant. And so we said, Can we ride the elephant? And they said yes. I mean, we had an interpreter.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And we rode the elephant across the river. And there was nothing to hang onto but a rope.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And that was terribly exciting. And we got to Tibet on the other side. And all these Tibetans, who were just the sweetest people in the entire world, they wore pyramid kind of hats and had crinkly eyes and were very, very wrinkly and very sweet. And we just hated to leave, but we did. We did. We had to get back and came back on our little elephant across the river. It was so much fun. And then we went --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Now, how many of there were you on the elephant?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

One at a time.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Just one at a time?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. That was about all you could handle. Well, I forgot Jodhpur entirely, but we will have to insert it at some point.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Anyway, we came back and did our first performance in Nepal. And we are in -- we are not -- we are in a jungle somewhere. Don't ask me where. And I am supposed to go on stage holding a glass of wine and -- and saying a few words to my husband. And there was no glass. There was absolutely no glass back there on the table that carried all of the props. And so I go out with this fake wine glass, which was just like nothing in my hand --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So really you had --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- and saying, Here's to you, or whatever and drink absolutely nothing. And the GIs, you know, were very -- they understood. They just, you know, had to use a lot of imagination. Because as time went on, our props kept disappearing. And we couldn't figure out -- I mean, there was thievery in all of it, but not that bad. And we couldn't imagine who would take it. We couldn't fathom who would walk off with bits of prop. And then we looked up. And in the trees above us were lots of monkeys, and they were having the best time in the world with our props.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Stealing your props?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We never got them back. We couldn't get them back.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's funny.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

But we were housed -- the girls were housed in a small tent in -- near the barracks. And we were -- they had military police outside to protect us. And in the middle of the night, we heard this horrible roar. And we thought it, egads, there's a tiger in the tent. So we are leaping about in a state of pandemonium. And in come these two protectors, and they are laughing their heads off. They have got lights. And they said it is not nothing. It is our mascot. Go to sleep. And we figured it had been a lottery to see who could see us in our pajamas. But we were wearing GI pajamas. So you can imagine how thrilling that was with our hair up in rollers. At any rate, the next day we were introduced to Honey, who was the mascot, the tiger mascot for that camp. And that was a lot of fun.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah. Now, is that -- you have a picture of yourself with a lion. Is that the one?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

That's the one.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's the one. We will be sending that in to the Veterans History Project, too.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, good. Yeah.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, then, let's see, we went back to Calcutta eventually. And there I did a radio program at night, which was at midnight, which was a horror show. And I had to learn how to scream. You don't scream into the mic. You scream off into the room at a distance. Because it is just too much more the mic. And it is in the days when if you dropped your prop -- I mean, your script is on the floor --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So you had to be very careful that you didn't drop two pages on the floor. Because if you did, you had to go -- you had to lean frantically next to the person to you and read off his script or her script.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

At any rate, this was a great deal of screaming. And they really enjoyed those midnight shows. Then it was time to leave because we were being -- well, we were -- we were thought to be British. And the British and the Indians were becoming separated at that point. So one night we smelled smoke and we thought, Oh, my gosh. We looked down the street and all of the houses were on fire. So I -- I am in charge of this group, wouldn't you know. I am in charge of this group of women in this British house. And so I tried to be really cool. And I call. I get a British person on the phone, I mean, sorry, a Hindustani person on the phone. And I am say, Your maum (ph) is on fire. And she maums fires. She understands fire. I say, You maum GI. Yeah. You maum MP? What? And it went on like that. And finally, I even resorted to court-martial. But she didn't know what a court-martial was so it didn't do a bit of good.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Just send me some help?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yeah. So she finally got a couple of trucks there and we had to be evacuated. And so I, of course, being very efficient and stalwart, went about telling the -- those who live there that they had to pack in one suitcase everything that mattered. And that should probably be jewelry and paper, things that showed how many times they had been shot, among other things. And their passports and so forth. And so we got loaded into two trucks and went into an empty barracks for the night. Next night when we got there, I opened my suitcase, and in it was all my underwear and all my pictures of my entire family, period. I who was so cool -- well, any way.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You took the wrong bag?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No. No. That's what I packed. That's what mattered. That's what mattered the most. And so I don't know, I said in here that a psychiatrist would have a lot of fun with that. Everybody else had taken jewelry and stuff. But we came back and we were okay. Then it was time to go. And we all went at different times. And we never knew when we were going. The weather east of us was very bad. And that was pretty well-known because they did have radio in Calcutta.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Let's back up for just a second. The house was still there the next morning?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, yeah, the house was there. They had saved it. We had GI fire trucks.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay, all right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

At any rate --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

But they did need to get you out?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, yes. Well, I mean, they did just probably for no reason except that we were terrified. But we didn't tell them we were terrified.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Sure. Sure.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So then when we -- so then it was time to go. And as usual, we were waiting for the weather to clear up. I forgot to tell you that there was a terrible problem getting out of the jungle. And I probably should tell you that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Please do. Don't rush the story. We have another tape.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, simply because it is part of the whole --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- of the whole fear thing I eventually had. We took off from that jungle where we were, monkeys were stealing things.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yes.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And I think it was in a 46. We took off after we loaded the plane. And we didn't make it. And we landed in sort of a rice paddy kind of thing.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The plane had trouble?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yeah. They caught -- lost an engine. Anyway, we didn't have enough height to go along on one engine. So the -- the natives pulled us out with mechanized equipment from the camp. And holding our breath, we took off again and we made it after a bit of tinkering. Then that was a time that the pilot thought it would be nice to see Mt. Everest. However, we didn't have oxygen. He did, but we didn't. So we were all having these headaches and feeling very woozy. And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, gosh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And I guess I saw Mt. Everest, but I don't remember very much about it. At any rate, the rumor was that he was court-martialed. I don't know whether he was or not. He deserved to be.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yes.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

But back to leaving India. Eventually they told us the weather was clear east of us. So we were taken in an open truck to the air field. Well, all of the way to the air field, it felt like all of the way at any rate, we were bombarded by rotten vegetables and everything else because they thought we were British and they wanted us to get out, go, go, go. And they kept yelling, British go. We got on the plane. We, meaning me. I don't remember if there were any other Red Cross girls on there or not. I never saw Jane for 40 years after I left Agra. So that was the end of that. But -- but we went right straight into the most horrible storm as usual.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my gosh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And it was the kind where you see rolls of what appears to be lightening rolling off the wings. At any rate, I was quietly terrified. And we landed in -- we landed in Bangkok, Thailand where we were shot, of course, for various -- I can tell you about injections for various assorted Thai problems. We were then sent on to Manila where we were again injected. And my injection sheet shows -- is about a foot long. And I don't have it anymore. But it was very long. In Manila, I was again stuck because I was supposed to be going to Shanghai, China. And it was very difficult to get out of Manila. But eventually the word was around then a general was leaving and that I could ride on his plane. I thought that would be too wonderful for words. So I reported to the air base and I got on a plane with a lot of GIs; the pilot, the copilot, and the general. The only problem was the general was drunk. He was thoroughly intoxicated. That is why I shall not name his name.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Good idea.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

He was what they called squiffed. And he wanted to fly. So the pilot came back or the copilot came back and said to me, You are going to have to entertain this man until we get to Shanghai because we don't outrank him. There isn't a soul on this plan who's even equal to rank. And so you are just going to have to do that. And that was probably the longest trip I ever had.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

You were the distraction?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, I mean, I looked at his family pictures at least ten times. We played the same card -- we played cards over and over. It was just awful. And finally we landed in Shanghai, which was lovely, at Kang Won (sp) Air Base, it was called. And I was put in what felt like a paper house. It was the coldest I have ever been. You know, I had these sliding papers doors and so forth.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Rice paper?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. That's about all I remember of Kang Won. That and the chaplain that's a lovely person and who tried to make things as comfortable as possible for us. I later shortly, very shortly was sent to the Agra headquarters where there was one officer in there who was talking to the head of the Red Cross.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Now the Agra headquarters?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I'm sorry, I mean -- this is a lot of talking.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, you are -- you are doing great.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Okay, so now I am in Shanghai.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

At Shanghai headquarters.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And he's in there. And it happens that he knows this fellow I had demoted in Okinawa.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The man you made a sergeant?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yes. And I thought Okinawa is like tiny. You know, this is a huge place with thousands of people on it. And how he knew him I will never know. Anyway, I said, Well, tell him hi. So I was put on duty at the city club there in Shanghai. And that was fine. And I was housed in an apartment right on the Huang Pu (ph) River, which was lovely. And, I mean, absolutely gorgeous. And we -- I mean, you could eat food in certain restaurants. You could actually eat something that wasn't canned. You could have fresh milk. You could even have ice cream. And I forgot to mention that heretofore you couldn't have anything like that at all.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

You could only have canned foods. So it was a joy to be there. This so-called sergeant showed up.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

The one that you were purportedly engaged to?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Yeah. So he stayed -- it turned out that my friend, Jane, who has a twin sister that had not come over with us had married a Chinese national aviation corporation pilot, who was an American. And she decided that she would accompany him to Shanghai, which she did. And they had an apartment.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Hold onto that thought. I really do need to change a tape here.

[END SIDE ONE, CD TWO]

[BEGINNING SIDE TWO, CD TWO]

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Okay. So I hardly recognized this fellow. But I had to admit to him that he was not a sergeant, that he was a captain. And he was invited to stay with my friend, Peggy, and her husband, Jules Watson, in their apartment, which was lovely. And I knew a chaplain who loaned us a jeep. So we went to see the Macado (sp) on Easter. And I remember that we were able to wire then. We could wire our families. So we wired them where we were and what we were seeing, and that was very special for them. The problem with the jeep was that it didn't have very good brakes. And at one particular situation we were going down a hill and we couldn't get the brakes to work. And we were screaming and yelling and people were jumping all over the place. And there was a gentleman, a Japanese fellow with a long rod across the back of his shoulders. And on either end was a basket of vegetables. And all I could remember was we must have hit one end because he was twirling around like a whirling derby. But that was that.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

He was a Chinese fellow?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

He was Chinese, yeah, yeah. The Chinese were there wearing their blue and riding bicycles. And when we weren't in a rented -- or rather a given jeep, we were being driven around the town in a bicycle carriage of sorts. I was running a fever. And so very soon thereafter I was hospitalized and sent home. I chose not to fly, for obvious reasons. And I came home on a very slow boat. And --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Do you know why you had the fever? Did you have --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was called a fever of unknown origin.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I was very thin. I had a fever. I remember that we docked in Seoul, Korea, which later, of course, was very famous. And that we eventually ended up in San Francisco. I expected that there would be people waving to us. And I abandoned all of that as there was nobody there. We just simply got off and that was it. So that was the end of my journey. I was later sent by train across the United States through Chicago and down to Miami. In Chicago, I was able, of course, to call my family and tell them that I was going to be in Chicago briefly.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And somehow or another they managed to be out on the tracks where we stopped briefly. And, of course, it was just so exciting and so thrilling to see them.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

I am sure.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I later went on down to, I think it was Crow (sp) Gables, Florida, where I was given a physical and finally discharged with a fever of unknown origin, which eventually just dissipated.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Never did figure out what it was?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

No, never did. I left out a really exciting part, though.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, tell me the really exciting part.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

When we were in Agra working these 8- to 12-hour days, we had eventually -- Jane and I had a three-day pass. There were two people -- special people of two groups who came in to visit us during our time in Agra. One -- one was a famous tiger hunter who was born in the Cumalon (ph) jungles. And his name was Colonel Jim Corbett. He fought -- he killed only man-eating tigers. And he invited us to be with him and meet his sister. He was then I think about 78 or something. He was written up later -- he was -- he was selected from the book of the month club and later he was written up in another magazine that showed a huge picture of him with -- of the tiger carrying away an old woman.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Oh, my.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

But at any rate, the other people who showed up in Agra were Fathers Hussy and Cosgrove who were two Catholic priests who were representing a school in Jaipur, India and they brought us an invitation to visit Jaipur. Well, of course we took the glamourous way out. We dug up our very tired, so-called French dresses, which had been danced in the heat so much and were really exhausted. And we went to the motor pool. We got our orders to go to Jaipur. They gave us a vehicle that we didn't understand, but we didn't tell them that. We got in this vehicle. It was called a weapons carrier. It had a lot of gears, and we finally figured it all out. We had to go through a jungle.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Just you and Jane?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Jane and I and this map. And we went through this jungle. I finally found Jaipur. It was 50 kilometers away. We were thrilled, utterly thrilled to find it. And we were greeted by the prime minister, whose name was Ji/ma/hoo/din (ph) and his father, whose name was -- no, he was Sir Ish/mi/meresa (ph), and his father was Ji/ma/hoo/din (ph). That's right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Anyway, Sir Ish/mi/meresa (ph) gave us all these wonderful accolades about how great it was to have us working there. And he also told us about all of the things he had planned. Now, we had three days; one day to get there. One day to get back. It didn't give us much time. But we -- we were housed there in the Ma/ha/raja's (ph) palace. And we went into this wonderful big entrance hall and up this great winding staircase to our room where we changed for dinner that night, put on our glorious gowns, and came down to the sound of trumpets. It was utterly unbelievable coming out of that Thar Desert into this exciting area. At any rate, we got in. We got -- came downstairs. And we were ushered into the dining room. There were 40 people in there, roughly. The table was very long. Dining room was covered with tapestries. There were oriental rugs on the floor. And behind each chair was a lib/reed (ph) servant that took care of you. We were fortunately served both Hindustani and British food, so we were able to have a little bit of everything. We ran out of cutlery. We didn't know what we were supposed to be using. But eventually that ended very charmingly. We just loved being there. And we were toasted. Then we went to bed. The next morning we were awakened by two sorry-clad ladies who came in and brought us tea and something like toast or crumpet or something to eat. And that was great. I then was taking a bath. And Jane called me and said there's another breakfast here. So I went out and we had more to eat. Again, more tea and more breakfast. And finally we dressed and went downstairs and were announced in the main hall and told that we were to go into the dining room for breakfast. So that was -- well, we did the best we could. We were supposed to eat everything. But, of course, we couldn't. That day we took the Ma/ha/raja's (ph) sacred elephant, which was a very, very great honor, through the City of Jaipur, which was called the "pink city" and it was quite beautiful. All the buildings were pink. We went down the main drag and eventually to his private sanctum, which was up very high up a winding walkway that -- we rode up to the top of this building. And there we entered a room which was covered with beautiful inlays and where we had the most gorgeous view of Jodhpur that one could possibly find. We were deeply honored to be selected to go up to this special spot. And to see it from the top of this elephant. Later we came down and visited Fathers Hussy and Cosgrove at their school, which was very impressive. They -- they had many children there whom they were teaching Christianity. And that was a pleasure. Then we saw a white tiger, which at that time was the only white tiger in existence. It was absolutely beautiful and very pampered. The next day they had a polo match for us. We were -- well, if you want to know the truth, we were afraid to go back in the dark so we had to leave before it was over. And we didn't know at the time that we were watching the most famous polo ponies in the world. They were remarkable. And -- well, it was quite an experience. Quite a wonderful experience. We came back through the jungle without, you know, with the monkeys and odd sounds and a few things going on that we wished weren't going on. We came back and that was over. But I did want you to know about that because it was so social.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Sure. Oh, my, what a wonder. Two women just embarking on this trip.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Well, you know, that -- that was the way it was.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's a great trip.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So that was it. And I think that's the end.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. Now, I have a couple of little questions.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

All right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

This so-called sergeant, the man that you made a sergeant, his name was?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

His name was, um, let me see, who was he? His name was Scribner Allen.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And you ended up marrying him?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

I did. And I don't know whether that was subliminal or what being engaged to him theoretically. But we married in 1947 after visiting our families back and forth and telephoning a great deal. And I adored his family. I fell madly in love with them before I fell in love with him. And we were married in Florida where we had many years before had our first date.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

My goodness.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

In the -- in Bethesda by the Sea, which is an Episcopal church that we had gone to one Easter. So that was exciting.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yes. And then you were married for many, many years to him, right?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

50; 50 years. He passed away. And we had two children, three grandchildren. And I now live a mile from my daughter, which I love.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yes, that's wonderful.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

And we have lots of fun. We have gone to a lot of shows together. And, well, it has really been a wonderful life to live here.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

One last question. How do you think that your experience in the Red Cross affected your life?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Oh, I grew up. That simple. I grew up. I learned -- I learned that I could accomplish almost anything that I decided to do. And that is exactly the way my life went.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's wonderful.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Um-hmm.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

That's wonderful. What an experience.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was. It was a wonderful experience, and a scary experience, and a learning experience.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

And you made it through the whole thing.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

We did.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Yeah, that's right. Anything else that you'd like to add before I shut down the tape? I am glad your voice has held out. And I appreciate the fact that we are -- you stayed a little longer.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

You know, there are probably lots of things. I don't remember them all now. Or if I do, they will come to me this afternoon.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Of course.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

So all I can say is thank you for coming. I do appreciate it.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, you are welcome.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

It was interesting talking with you and reliving all this time. And what I forgotten to put in is right here in this written report.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. And what I wanted to mention was along with the photos which will be explained in a photographic log that I will be filling out is a manuscript that Virginia has put together at the request of her college, William and Mary, for an article for the alumni magazine. Right?

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Right. They are going to publish it in December.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Okay. That's great. So Virginia is contributing this manuscript so we will have a lot of this in written format, but I think we might have talked about some things on the tape that aren't in the manuscript. And there are probably things in the manuscript that won't be in the tape.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

That's right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

So they will dovetail.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

There were many things that we didn't include in either one. But, I mean, it was just -- you know, when you try to consolidate a year and a half into readable pages --

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

-- it is very difficult to do.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Right, right, or into an hour and a half plus a little bit of tape.

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Right.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

Well, I want to thank you very, very much --

Virginia C. Claudon Allen:

Thanks for coming.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

-- for your time and your story. It was a real privilege for you -- for me for you to give. A All right. It was fun.

Patricia A. Kuentz:

All right. We will stop the tape. (END OF SIDE TWO, TAPE TWO.)

 
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