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Chris Whisenhunt
Western Alamance High School, 11

US History

Chris: What so you remember about World War II?
Barbara: I was 7 years old when WWII started and it was on a Sunday night, and I can remember how afraid I was that the Germans were going to come and just take us away that night. And then I remember the blackouts, because we had to, we lived near D.C., we had to put black shades on our windows and they had to be pulled down at night, so that no light could come in the house. I can remember the summer time, we used to make ice cream, and we would put a light under a tub, so that there was no light and we would lift it right fast and check the ice cream. I remember the trains coming from D.C. and they all had black out shades and there was no light and the train didn't have a light, because we had to go into town on a Friday night and pick up a man from New York and take him to his house. I remember we had rationed sugar, we couldn't get sugar unless we had a coupon, and you got a coupon for the number of people in your family, and flour was rationed. I remember when WWII ended, all the sirens in town, the rescue, the silk mill, we had a silk mill that made parachutes, and a whistle was blowing, and we went into town and we danced in the street. I was very afraid you know, that Germans were going to come and get me, you know, that was very silly, but that is what I thought.
Chippy: Well the maneuvers were close to my house, and the convoys would come by my house, very frequently, and as a young teenager, I would go out to a whole sale store and buy the boxes of candy and drinks, and from there I would get on my bicycle and ride up and down along side the stopped convoys near my house and sell candy bars and drinks to the guys on the trucks, and they had very little to do with their money, so they were very generous to me. And a couple of times they would have maneuvers in the woods around my house and we would go up there and find the dispensed shells and we would hear the gun fire and what up there and just, I was really to young to be that concerned about it, I knew something was going on, I just didn't know what.
Barbara: What about the CCC Camps?
Chippy: Well that is the only part of the depression that I am aware of. Was the CCC Camps that people would go into town and find any job, any kind of job that would suit them. These CCC Programs were there to create work, and the Blue Ridge Parkway was one of those CCC Projects and that was just one of many, and people, the government was just going out of their way to find and create work, so that people could have a way to have an income.
Barbara: For what it is worth, I remember when Franklin Delanor Roosevelt died. And his train came through our town, we lived in Orange which was on the way to D.C. and we were there, and the train was draped in black and it stopped in each little town on it's way to D.C.
Chris: Do you remember anything about Kennedy?
Barbara: Yes that was the week that I cried, all week. I sat in front of the TV and watched it day and night, me and my neighbor just sat there and cried day and night. It was very sad. I admired President Kennedy. Now I remember the convoys coming through Orange, it wasn't a big deal to us, you know, I was young, I just remember the traffic stopped and there were like miles and miles of big army vehicles and tanks. I might say, that Beth, my daughter, asked me earlier if I had seen it on TV and I said nooooo. We didn't have TV. We had a radio that had a battery pack on it and we lived out in the country in Virginia, you know we didn't have any electricity.
Chris: What about Vietnam, do you all remember anything about that?
Chippy: Well I was sort of in between the Cold War. I wasn't on any active duty anywhere, but I was on Okinawa, we were the radio group that would intercept the radio code, and I was a cryptographer trying to decode what was being said and most of them were, we did not decode very many. We tried to triangulate and determine where these messages were coming from. And could pin point the location of there transmitter and our radio operators could tell us if the transmission, if this radio transmitter had moved from this location to this location. That would give an indication of troop movement, and they tried to load down the airways to try give us a false sense of activity and they could pick out this, how I don't know, the radio operators were very good, they could be sitting there eating lunch talking to you and relaying their messages and we were able to get a lot of the information about the activity movement, but so far as trying to decode, there were very few that we could decode. And I do remember on one Christmas Eve, we got a message from one of their stations, that said in the clear MERRY CHRISTMAS 969 squadron and Captain so and so, whoever our commanding officer was at the time they called him by name and they had the name of our squadron, in the clear in English, they knew that we were tapping. I was never actively involved in the combat, for which I am very glad.