May 24, 2009; interviewed by Sandy (Forsgren) Konikson
[Note: All speech fillers, such as “um” and “uh,” have been omitted.]
Sandra Konikson, Alderwood Manor Heritage Association: This is Sandra Forsgren Konikson with the Alderwood Manor Heritage Association and I’m doing an oral interview with—
Brian Boyle: Brian E. Boyle.
SK: And Brian, when were you born?
BB: Born the 30th of October, 1918.
SK: And what is your age now?
BB: My age is 90.
SK: Okay. And you were born when—where?
BB: Where? In Anaconda, Montana.
SK: Okay. And where did your parents come from?
BB: My dad came from Scotland in 1913 and my mother was already here in Anaconda at the time.
SK: What kind of a home did you have in Montana?
BB: We had a nice home, a three-bedroom home with a full basement, ten-foot ceilings, and with a large lot on the corner of Spruce and 7th Streets.
SK: Was there any acreage with that, did you say?
BB: No, in town.
SK: Okay. What did your dad do?
BB: My dad was a pipefitter-steamfitter for [inaudible – the ACN Company? an A/C company?] for twenty years.
SK: And how many siblings did you have?
BB: And we didn’t know until we were five-and-a-half that our mother [Frances Briers] was our stepmother.
SK: Oh, for heaven’s sakes!
BB: And she was my mother’s sister.
BB: Because my mother [Christine Briers] passed away November the 11th, 1918. And my—her sister, Frances, came over from Great Falls to help my dad with the twins, and he later married her.
SK: Twins? Who were the twins?
BB: Brian and … Brian and [pauses; laughs to self] and Mona.
SK: And so that’s yourself and Mona.
SK: And Mona’s maiden name?
BB: Her maiden name was Boyle.
SK: Oh, Boyle. Okay. And when did your family move to Alderwood Manor?
BB: Well, let’s see. We came from Montana in 1935, and we wound up on—in Alderwood Manor in 1936.
BB: Actually, it was the summer of ’35.
SK: And where did you live?
BB: Well, we lived on a chicken ranch when we went to Alderwood Manor, working for the Duffields. And they lived right next door to the … [speaks inaudibly to self] [pause in tape] It was right next door to the Tutmarks’ residence. The dad was a chicken—taking care of the chickens.
SK: What address was that?
BB: All I remember was Tutmark Hill. [laughs]
SK: Oh, Tutmark Hill. Okay.
BB: Harry lived there, and there was four of the Tutmarks up on the hill there.
SK: Right. So your dad was working on the chicken farm, chicken ranch?
BB: Yeah. Right.
SK: Okay. Did your mother work?
BB: No. She had four kids to take care of.
SK: Did you have chores to do when—on the chicken ranch?
BB: Oh, yes. Cleaning chicken houses was my specialty. And the neighbor’s place, and what have you. And I also worked as a kid with Pete Tutmark on his mink farm.
SK: Okay. Did you get paid for these?
BB: Oh yes. Every time I cleaned the chicken house there for the—for our neighbor, he paid me five bucks.
SK: That was pretty good back then!
SK: Yeah. Okay, where did you go to school? What was your school age when you came to Alderwood Manor?
BB: Well I was a—I was a—I started Junior year [of high school], my Junior year. So that was [counts to self] 16, 17 years old.
SK: Uh huh. So that was Edmonds [High School]?
BB: Yeah, Edmonds.
SK: And you graduated from Edmonds?
BB: Yes indeed. I graduated in 1937.
SK: Okay. Can you remember any of your teachers?
BB: Oh, let’s see. There was Mr. Parsons, who was the history teacher. And—I’m trying to remember the name of the science teacher [Warren Beiber ?], who was also the P.E. teacher. And Mr. Hatch was the Vice Principal. And—I don’t remember the name of the principal.
SK: Okay. So your date of graduation was—?
SK: Okay. Where did you go after that?
BB: After that I went—I left Alderwood Manor, went back to Montana for two years, worked in the—tried working in the fields, but it didn’t work out because of my back. I damaged my back when I was 17 there in Alderwood Manor. Remember there were a lot of stumps in Alderwood Manor—
SK: Oh yes.
BB: Lot of snags, and we used to cut those cedar things down for wood for heating the house and what have you. Well, I was doing that and the day was switched from a hot day to suddenly it started raining, and I’m sawing away, and the snag that I was cutting on popped right off, and I fell down and it fell, crushed my back.
SK: Did you break your back?
BB: No, I broke the disk in my back, between the fourth and fifth vertebrae. And I went back to the house and told my mother I didn’t feel too good so I laid down for a while. I laid down and she said, “Well, dinner’s ready.” I said, “I’m not hungry, so I’ll just stay here.” And I did, and the next morning, I went—she called for breakfast, and I couldn’t feel my legs. So what I damaged was the nerve; the sciatic nerve is what I suffer from today, is the damage that’s done there. But I went all the way through the Navy this way.
SK: How could you do that?
BB: Well, I—My time, two years I had in Montana, why, I would be crawling to the bunk house, so in other words I had—my system was [inaudible]. I built up the strength in my stomach muscles to support the back. And when I came home, why, I’d lost about twenty pounds, and it was entirely different for me then, because when I injured my back, why, at that time we were living at where Mona lived, the property belonged to her husband—
SK: Mona who?
SK: No, her married name.
BB: Oh… Boyle. Her name was Boyle, but she was married to Virgil Schoentrup. And so anyway, I found days I couldn’t move. So—. Well, anyway, I went to hospital, Providence Hospital in Seattle, and they couldn’t find out what was wrong with me, and gave me a body brace, and I wore a body brace for several years. And thank God for the girls at the high school, Florence Bertelsen, and Mildred Hudson, and Betty [Mary Elizabeth] Davis. They would bring my schoolwork home for me and I was confined to bed for about a year. So that’s—and that was because of the back. Later on I finally had it fixed, when I was 80 years old.
SK: Oh my Lord!
BB: So anyway, as a result, I got into the Navy because they were looking for bodies during the war, and I’d been working for Boeing. I worked at Boeing. And when I got back from Montana, why, the first thing I did was, Boeing was expanding and so I went to their school and became a Class C mechanic. In a year from that time, I was the lead man in the group. And I stayed with Boeing until 1942, working the swing shift all the time, and—
SK: Were you still living with Mona and Virgil?
BB: Uh, no, never with Mona and Virgil.
BB: No, I lived with my folks over on Wall Street [188th St SW].
BB: Not far from Denny—what’s his name?
SK: You mean in Edmonds?
BB: No. They were right there on Wall Street and, let’s see, right off of North Trunk.
SK: Oh, okay. Where the mall is now.
BB: Yeah. And anyway, why, I lived there for a while and did some [odding ?] on the place, but, then went to work for the Army Air Corps at Paine Field when it opened; worked as a mechanic. And after that, after I saw what the boys in the Army Air Corps training they got, I decided I didn’t want to go to the Army Air Corps because I wanted to fly. And so I went down to the Navy, and they were recruiting. I went in there and I looked to be in pretty good physical shape; I would have a straight back. I have it to this day. I can touch my kneecaps without bending my legs. Anyway, why, I went in there and the doctors [said], “You’re in pretty good physical shape, aren’t you, young man?” And I was working for Boeing at the time and then for the Air Corps. Anyway, why, [they] checked me over and I didn’t volunteer anything, I just—When they asked me a question, why, I answered it, that’s it. And so he said, “You’re in pretty good shape, except for a couple of things.” And so, “Uh oh. What’s the couple of things?” And he said, “Well, you got two molars in there that need filling.” I said, “Is that it?” And he said “yes.” I went and had those molars filled, and came back the following day, and he said, “The molars are fixed. You’re in the Navy now, son!” And about that time, I said, “Well, when do we go?” And that was July the seventh. And—
SK: July the seventh what year?
BB: Just about the time of Pearl Harbor.
SK: Brian, can we leave that now and get back to Alderwood Manor—
SK: —living conditions. What were the houses like?
BB: Well the house we were in belonged to the Duffields. It was a—about a three-bedroom house, couple of small bedrooms with it, as it were. And the chicken houses. And so, basically it was just fine. It was the best we’d had for over a year. And belonged to the Duffields. And living in Alderwood Manor, why, I got acquainted with many of the people that lived there, primarily the Tutmarks, because the whole street was Tutmarks. And so anyway, I got acquainted with Pete, who had the mink farm. And I worked for his brother down the street; I can’t remember what his name was. But anyway, Harry lived across the street, and the other brother was right across from us, the Duffields’ place. And then I went to school there in Edmonds because I was a—We came in there I was a Junior in my first—My Junior year is when the problems happened for me. And then I cleaned chicken houses all over the neighborhood.
SK: And how did you get to school?
BB: Road the bus with Mr. Pennock.
SK: How many school buses did they have at that time?
BB: I don’t think they had more than two or three, at the most, at that time.
SK: And how long did it take you to get to school?
BB: Well, it took a good hour because we came all the way from—what was the name of the place across from, over on Bothell Highway? That’s where the school district went to.
SK: Thrasher’s Corner?
BB: Thrasher’s Corners [sic]. From Thrasher’s Corner all the way on through Alderwood Manor, all the way down to Edmonds, which represented quite a few miles. We’d get on there at the corner of the street where Mona, we lived in that house, we rented it from Virgil at the time. He came down to find out what the property was and he saw my twin sister. And he came in and asked my dad and mother, “Can I take Mona out for a date?” And my mother and dad said, “Well, she’s 19, she can decide that for herself.” And that’s what happened. He went back to Alaska and he kept writing her. And he volunteered to come down and get married to her there or she could come up to Alaska and be married. They both [were] very devout Catholics. So anyway, why, that’s how we wound up with a Schoentrup in the family.
BB: So then when Mona came back from Alaska—Anchorage, Alaska—she had, of course, Nettie [daughter Nettie], and Nettie was just a little [pup ?]. Anyway, why, she came and lived up on a place on Wall Street. At that time we had cleared out of the place where they were coming to live eventually, which they did, shortly thereafter, because [clears throat] she was, Mona was pregnant with Jim at the time and I was working for Boeing at the time, my big Packard—
SK: What kind of car? What year?
BB: It was a 1937 Packard. And I bought that for $700. And it was one of this military people, his mother had it, and he told her to sell it, it was sitting in her gara—, his garage, her garage, actually, for a year, and he knew that he isn’t going to be home right away so he said it’d just deteriorate, so sell it, so I bought it for $700.
SK: What were the roads like back then?
BB: Gravel. All gravel. There was no blacktop in Alderwood Manor at the time. I think about the only place that might have got blacktop was down in town, but I remember it was gravel all the way out to what is now [Highway] 99, where Charlie had the Texaco station—
SK: Charlie Cressey.
BB: —Charlie Cressey. Had a Texaco gas station. And I used to drive in there all the time.
SK: And what was it like in wintertime?
BB: Nothing like it was in Montana, I’ll tell you. Forty below zero in Montana during the winters. But it wasn’t easy getting around, but thank God for the buses; they always got around. That’s what we rode into town in. But as far as that—. Otherwise I’d be walking.
SK: Did you have any trouble in springtime with the roads?
BB: Well, sometimes you’d get into soft spots when it thawed out. But outside of that, it wasn’t bad, compared to what I’d been used to in Montana. Forty below zero, why, and peddling milk, why, made a difference.
SK: What kind of activities did the young people do back then?
BB: Well most of them had little jobs; in other words, during the Depression time, why, everybody worked in the family, in order to make things meet. Just like your family headed for Alaska in the spring and summertime. And the rest of the time, why, you kids probably worked at the same time. I was gone by that time; difference of age. But I knew about the Forsgrens.
SK: Did you enjoy growing—spending your time in Alderwood?
BB: Oh, yes. I enjoyed it. Got to know a lot of people there. I worked so many places, different places, because my dad couldn’t get a job. He later finally got a job working for [Norm] Collins’ chicken farm. Remember they had the, they made the baby, had the baby chicks, and he worked there for a long time—
SK: You mean the Demonstration Farm?
BB: Demonstration Farm. He worked there. And then things improved because of the war. My dad went to work for about—. The union would not let him work as a pipefitter-steamfitter, which he was very good at. He taught master journeymen. But he, being Irish background, he was stubborn about a few things. One was that they wanted him to pay the, not the dues—that was automatic—but pay for joining it. He said, “I’ve already joined it! I have a withdrawal card. All I’m supposed to have to do is come in here and pay you the dues,” and he would not, not pay them; well he would pay the dues, but he wouldn’t pay the initiation fee. And so they kept him out of the work. So my dad had a—When he made up his mind about something, that was the way it was going to be. Then he—. So he took a, went to the union—I’m trying to remember—it wasn’t the same, but a different one—and he went as a helper, and he worked at, started out by working at Alaska Steamship [Company], and working in their, reworking their pipes on the, from the steam, steamboats came in, or getting ready for the next trip back to Alaska. Well, they used to roll the tubes on the borders and that was [inaudible]—and I said—I was working for Boeing—and I said, “I’ll pay the darned dues, dad, for you know, the initiation.” “No way,” he [inaudible]. “No, I’m not paying those S.O.B.s anything.” He said, “I’m entitled to that job as a journeyman. I got a perfectly good withdrawal, they recognized that, but you pay the dues—the initiation fees come into this union,” same union that he left, you know, during the Depression, ’29.
SK: Do you remember any of the ferry—or small boats on Lake Washington at Kenmore? Were there any that came to Kenmore area?
BB: No, dad eventually—. He worked over at Vaughn, which was not far from Kirkland, there was a shipbuilding operation there, and that’s where he stayed until the war got over, and then he commutes all the way over to Vaughn. There were several other guys in the area that worked there, and so he rode with them. He didn’t drive; his vision was too bad for that.
SK: Well, what were some of the various jobs that you had as a teenager?
BB: Well, mainly chicken coop cleaning. In fact, that’s how I wound up going to Montana: I worked for a lady up—I don’t remember the name of the road—but the one that right, straight through to Martha Lake.
SK: Larch Way.
BB: Larch Way, that’s it. And Emerson Hough went to Montana with me the second time and rode the rods out of Seattle.
SK: Freight cars?
BB: Freight cars. All the way to Montana. We went into Pasco, which is, when you go across the mountains, you hit Pasco, you go north to Missoula, Montana, up through Sand Point, Idaho, riding the rod.
SK: Did you ever ride the Interurban?
BB: Oh yeah! Yeah, I remember going [inaudible] through there. I used to go—. I’d take a trip up to Everett, or come back to Seattle, and the old station, rode right into the station, you know.
SK: And how far south and how far north did you ride it?
BB: I rode it as far as Everett and as far south as just to Seattle.
SK: Okay. What did you think of it?
BB: Oh, I thought it was cool. I thought it was real cool.
SK: And how much did you pay?
BB: I think it was about 50 cents to go to Seattle or Everett. Yeah, that was quite a deal.
[pause in tape]
BB: I worked at several of the chicken ranches there, did carpenter work for them.
SK: Where’d you learn carpenter work?
BB: I learned it from a guy that worked for my dad back—he worked with my dad out in a smelter there in Anaconda, and when the Depression hit, why, there was a lot of layoffs so my dad running a farm out there, a dairy farm in Anaconda, five miles out in West Valley, why, he’d hired some of his old cronies to come and work. Well, the one, his name was Mr. Holt and he taught me about—. My dad was great pipefitter-steamfitter, but I think if he had to use a saw to cut anything but a pipe, he’d have to be reinstructed.
SK: Did you do any building when you were in Alderwood?
BB: Yeah, with Virgil. When he bought the property there, which was, let’s see, five acres and—
SK: And where was that?
BB: That house that they lived in, Mona and –
SK: On what street?
BB: Oh, dear. Let’s see… Nettie would know the name because she lived there.
SK: Ash Way North?
BB: Ash Way, yeah! Yeah. Anyway, I—. Virg came down to see what his dad had talked him into buying. I think he paid fifteen thousand dollars for the five acres, and a two-bedroom house at the time. Joe lived a little farther away from there; that’s his dad. So anyway, I got down there and we had a building there next to the house that Pope and Talbot had built; that’s how they sold the properties. And so, anyway, this building was falling down and so he asked me, “Would you care to help me build a new garage for this place?” And I said, “Sure, that’d be great.” So he and I did, built the garage that was there, and so anyway, I got interested because Virgil—
[pause in tape]
SK: What type of fruit trees were there in Alderwood Manor when you came?
BB: Oh, apple trees and apric—crabapple trees. [inaudible] And there was peach trees; [inaudible] peach trees. Well, the neighbors had one.
SK: What about nuts?
BB: I don’t remember too much about nuts, really, because all those in Tutmark Hill were chicken farmers and… [trails off] I don’t remember much—
SK: Do you remember any farmer’s markets in Alderwood?
BB: In Alderwood? Of course there was the—what was their name that had the place there right in Alderwood Manor? They had the Red and White Store.
SK: No, I mean like people bringing their produce and—
BB: Oh, no, I don’t recall any of that, because I never had anything to do with that. Mother was the one that always did that.
SK: Okay. What stores were there?
BB: Red and White, and then there was the Feed Store—Gelitz?
BB: Yeah. And then of course the fella that had the store that used to be the train [Interurban] stop place; he later rented from Virgil. In fact, they built the building jointly there, the store that was there—
BB: Wickers, yeah!
BB: Wickers, yeah. And Virg had the restaurant there, too, you know.
SK: What was its name?
BB: I forgot.
SK: Virgil’s Fountain?
BB: I think that might be it. Right next to the drugstore that was there, too.
SK: And who was running the drugstore?
BB: I don’t know. But I bet Nettie knows.
SK: Were there—
[end of Tape 1, Side A]
[beginning of Tape 1, Side B]
BB: —gas station, garage, on the corner. And then of course elementary school across from that. And then there was, at the back there was a Hay and Feed place there that Virgil bought later. Later that’s where the new store went was when they did that. That’s where the train used to stop and offload stuff from the Interurban. It was right there. And—let’s see—the church was right across from the—what’s his name’s place—
BB: Geltz, yeah.
SK: And what kind of church?
BB: It was a—what do you call it?—community church is what it was. And I remember my mother and Mona used to go there. I didn’t. By that time, I had forgot about church. [laughs]
SK: Do you remember the color of the church?
BB: It was white and blue. [inaudible] sat on the side of the hill not far from the [inaudible] back from the Masonic Temple building. Right, well just, Gelitz’s [Geltz] Feed place they had there [inaudible].
SK: Okay. And the Masonic Temple, what was—besides the Masonic Temple?
BB: Well, there was a post office there. Right across the street from the Masonic Temple was a post office, and there was another couple stores in there—
SK: Do you remember what they were?
BB: No, I don’t.
SK: Were there any other businesses?
BB: Yeah, there was. There was a small place right where later turned out to be the fire hall. And then Virg got into buying that property that was behind it there and later was a shopping center.
SK: Did you belong—
[pause in tape]
SK: Who were some of your friends when you went to high school?
BB: Well—Well I enjoyed Don Echelbarger. [He] and I were both trombone players. And there was a number—Mr. [William] Osborn was the music teacher. He played with the Marine Corps band himself, so he thought he was pretty cool. And then Don and I were close friends. And then the girls who helped me out during my Junior year; that’s Mildred Hudson and Marybeth [Mary Elizabeth] Davis, and Florence Bertelsen, who lived down the street from where we lived. She was blonde. She was a cutie.
SK: Are any of them still living?
BB: Not that I know of. I think the last get-together I ever went to was in ’61. And so—I’m trying to remember the name of the gal that headed that one up. Scott was her last name… [trails off]
SK: Did you ever spend much time—Well, Lynnwood wasn’t even there.
SK: What was along Highway 99?
BB: Well, there was a Richfield gas station kitty-corner from Charlie Cressey’s Texaco. And I think there was a tavern on, across the street from [inaudible] straight across from Charlie’s—
SK: Do you remember the name of it?
BB: No, I don’t. I don’t remember.
SK: Was it the Corner Tavern?
BB: Yeah, the Corner Tavern. On the corner, right there. I had to walk two times from Edmonds, all the way home because I would get in fights with people on the bus. And Mr.—what’s his name? Oh dear, I don’t remember his name—Anyway, he’d put us off the bus and say, “Walk home. I’m not going to have fighting on my bus.”
SK: And where did you get the fighting?
SK: Yes, the aggressiveness from?
BB: [laughs] From my dad.
SK: Oh, okay. And did you say your dad was a boxer?
BB: Yeah, he was a boxer.
SK: A professional?
BB: Yeah. In the old country, in Scotland. He played for the Scottish Thistles. That was a pro team of the day in Scotland.
SK: Pro team of what?
BB: Soccer. He had a head on him like a damn rock.
SK: That’s very good in boxing.
BB: Yeah, it is. No, dad had the fastest hands [of] anybody I’ve ever seen outside of—. The other fella that had that fast of hands was the black fellow that—
BB: Muhammad Ali. Yeah. Cassius Clay. And he could—. A fly would come by, he could reach out, grab it, just that fast. Well, my dad’s hands were like that. So anytime he was in a boxing, why, they were hit before they knew the hand had moved. That’s how fast he was. And he had a gymnasium in the basement, that’s why when he built the home, he built a ten-foot ceiling in the basement and wood floors, and had all the boxing equipment there. So that was interesting. In fact, one of the guys was Scrappy McGraw, was a boxer. A lot of fighting went on between the two towns of Butte and Anaconda. Fighting; they’re gambling, is what they’re doing. Anyway, why, my dad trained him, and my favorite schoolteacher, Mamie Berry [?], she went with Scrappy McGraw and I thought she was [inaudible] because I thought he was pretty cool. And when after I come [sic] out of the service and had married, and I had two children, why, I went back to Anaconda to show the kids, “That’s where your old dad come from.” And so I stopped to see Mamie Berry [?]. And that was funny because I thought she was the greatest teacher—because I flunked the second grade. Drove the—drove the second-grade teacher out of her mind, and she never taught again.
SK: Why did you drive her out of her mind?
BB: Oh, I was just an ornery kid. I was terrible. I was always in fights. I probably was removed from school once, at least twice a year, because of my—. I was just like my dad: answered everything with a punch in the mouth. And he did very well with it and so did I. Anyway, why, so I went to stop by to see Mamie Berry [?] and knocked on the door, and she came to the door, and she said, “Yes?” And I said, “I’m Brian Boyle.” And she said, “Oh, Brian!” you know. “Oh my!” And I said, “And this is my family. My wife, Frances. And two”—two oldest kids; that’s all we had at that time. So, “Oh,” she said. “And what do you do for a living, Brian?” I said, “I’m a schoolteacher.” “You’re a what?!?” [laughs] I had her in the second grade and in the fourth grade, and I got in scraps in both rooms [classes]. And so anyway, I told her I remembered what she had told my mother. She said, “If Brian makes it through the eighth grade without going to reform school, I’ll be surprised.” And she said, “I don’t remember that.” I said, “Oh, I remember it, because I thought you were just the most wonderful woman I’d ever seen.” And she says, “Well, why?” I said, “You went with Scrappy McGraw.” She said, “How’d you know that?” you know. And I said, “My dad was the trainer for Scrappy McGraw.” “Oh, I should have known that Scotty would be involved in it.” So anyway, why, she was—. She just shook her head and said, “And I suppose you were in service.” “Oh, yes.” “Well, what did you do?” I said, “I was a pilot in the Navy; I flew for the Navy.” She [said], “You flew for the—?!?” She just couldn’t believe me. [laughs] I’m sure that she had already marked it in her mind, This kid’s heading for reform school. But that isn’t the way it turned out.
SK: Well, when did you come back to Alderwood—. Did you come back to Alderwood to teach?
BB: No. I came back to Alderwood after the war was over, and I’d been a teacher in the Navy. I taught flying and gone through Pensacola, Florida. And so anyway, I came back. And then I had—I’d only had completed two years of college, and of course I knew there’s no future in the Navy, but you didn’t have the four-year school deal. But when they, they needed people, they were glad to take anybody they could. So anyway, I went back to college at St. Louis University, got my degree there, a Bachelor of Science. And so I came back to Boeing, went to work for Boeing in engineering, jet turbine research, and I disliked working with the system because I saw a lot of it in the Navy: somebody’s always climbing on somebody’s back to get up the ladder. And we called it the brown-nosing group. And I never liked it. So I didn’t like it at Boeing, so I finally said to the wife, I said, “I’m going to try schoolteaching.” [fakes exasperated sigh] “Ugh!” She just blew up right there. As far as she’s concerned, that’s low man on the totem pole, being a schoolteacher, because she got fired from hers because she wouldn’t cooperate with the football team. She couldn’t cut the mustard, why she just [inaudible – irritated them ?]. “Well, you could give them at least a D”; the principal told her that. She said, “No! He’s failing it, period!” And that’s the way she was. So they—. She didn’t get her contract renewed. So she went back, got her Master’s degree, but she never made much use of it. But anyway, why—
SK: Did you teach anywhere in Washington?
BB: Oh, yes. I started teaching in 1950 at [James] Monroe Junior High School in [inaudible] District. Nice people to work with. And I stayed there for nine years. And then to Whitman Junior High School, and I was transferred up there.
SK: Where’s Whitman?
BB: Do you know where Blue Ridge area is? If you take 15th—
SK: In Seattle? Or, north Seattle?
BB: No, it would be—It’s in, it’s out at Ballard. The north end of Ballard was known as Blue Ridge [inaudible] and they—big athletic field, and the school district and the city went together and built that school—it’s real nice—and I was transferred up there [inaudible]. Later on I was working with the Boy’s Club [inaudible], and so forth. Because the fella I—that was principal, Harold Heinz [?], he’d been the principal of [inaudible – E.D. ?] Junior High and so I had—and he’d been my neighbor in North City, so anyway I got along just fine with him. So I worked at that place and then an opportunity came up at Meany Junior High School, where they were having a lot of trouble, and they needed two vice principals in the place, and I wound up in one of the vice principals at Meany Junior High School. I was in charge of discipline. And so anyway, that’s what I did. From there on, I went over to Garfield High School. Or not Garfield High School but to Cleveland High School; was head of counseling there. And after that, I began as vice principal at Cleveland High School. He was hired to be vice principal at Bellevue High School and the principal became superintendent of schools for Mercer Island and I got a call that summer and Bruce Wilson was over there and he said, “There’s an opening in [inaudible]. Come on over and help me with this place.” And he said, “They are so naïve about the black—” Remember when all the big push on blacks coming into the school, integrating, and all that stuff? Why, they were—Bellevue was notoriously, they were about as green about everything as you could be. He said, “Come on over, give me help over here,” he said. “Brian,” he said, “these people are going to get themselves in trouble because they don’t have the slightest understanding.” Well, I did. And so did Bruce. Bruce had been at Garfield High School and of course at Cleveland High School had a lot of mixed [inaudible]. So I was at, in the mood to transfer anyway, so I went over and got interviewed for counseling, the part of counseling staff at Bellevue. That was my last 11 years [inaudible] 26 years of time.
[pause in tape]
SK: Now, when did you leave Alderwood Manor? Your mom and dad’s place.
BB: When I graduated from high school, 1937. And I left and went back to Montana.
BB: Because I didn’t get along with my younger brother, who was a good person, but I was an ornery, and he got [inaudible]. So anyway, I clobbered him a couple of times, and mom ordered me out of the house. And I said, “Fine,” and went back for two years. And—
SK: Back to Montana.
BB: Back to Montana.
SK: And what did you do?
BB: I worked in the fields for a little while. And the people that owned the place, guy said, “I can’t see you—I hate to see you crawling into the bunk house every night.”—
SK: And that’s because of your back.
BB: Because of my back. And so he said, “You take care of the cows and the chickens, and I’ll take care of working out in the field.” And that’s what I did until winter arrived. Then I had to find another job, so I went up to Anaconda—this was at Deer Lodge—I went up to Anaconda and I went to work for the Jensens in their ice house, putting up ice for the coming year. And—Great big barn, you know, log job, and you slide those in there and cover them with sawdust, then put the next layer on top of that. They were about 300-pound blocks.
SK: How could you lift them?
BB: I didn’t; the horse did it. Anyway, they slide on the ice beautifully; just push them around with my—That’s how I got my back back, the strength in my back. And so, anyway, when I came home, why, I—
SK: What year was that when you came home?
BB: I came home ’37 [counting two years in Anaconda after 1937 graduation], 1939. And so I, my quaint sense of humor—I don’t think that’s what Nettie would call it, but anyway—Why, I thought, well, I lost twenty pounds and I had a beard on me, and my folks had never seen me that way, of course. So anyway, I went to the door and knocked on the door and my dad answered the door, which was a rarity. It’s the first time I’d ever seen my dad answer the door; it’s always mother. And I said, “[fake Irish accent] I’m a wee bit hungry, you know, and I’d be willing to chop some wood for you for a bite to eat.” And my dad didn’t recognize me, and he turns and says, “Frances, there’s a man here willing to chop some wood for you for a bite to eat. Do you got anything to spare?” And she says, “Oh, I think so,” and she came to the door and I fell apart. And so—And I got giggly. I have a habit that I get nervous, I get giggly. And I’m giggling and my dad never likes that. He says then, you know, he realized it was me, and he said, “What’s so damned funny?” I said, “[fake Irish accent] You got a brogue you could cut with a bloody knife.” And he said, “[thick Irish accent] Oh, I don’t have a brogue!” you know, and mother said—of course, who was English, and hers was just as thick as my dad’s, but English. And she didn’t say anything, you know, she just kind of laughed about it. But my dad, he didn’t think it was funny. “[thick Irish accent] We don’t have a brogue,” you know, and his Irish-Scotch mixture. So anyway, that was my change—that’s—that experience in Montana got back a portion of my back, left me with a fused back because that, today I could bend over and touch my kneecaps; that’s as far as I can go.
SK: Now, did your back fuse naturally?
BB: Yeah. Well, see, I wore a brace for a long time, and it just fused, because I couldn’t move the back to begin with. That’s how—I was fairly flexible before it happened. So—I stayed home for almost—well—my first half of my Junior year at Edmonds High School because I couldn’t ride the bus; in fact, I was in bed most of the time.
BB: And so—But after a little bit of help, and the girls bringing me lessons—and I did want to graduate with my brother, because he was Mr. Sharp, you know, and I was the bull of the family, and so anyway, why—
SK: Well, Brian, how long did you stay home this time?
BB: Well, about that time, ’39, Boeing was expanding because the war was already on in Germany. And so they had advertised for mechanics and school—they sponsored aviation school called the Gauntler’s [?] Building in Seattle. And so—I enjoyed flying and I thought, “Well now, this might be a chance,” so I went to work—
SK: Did you fly before?
BB: —And so I went down to the school, I had no problem because I knew enough about this stuff to begin with, and so Boeing hired me as a Class E mechanic and [in] one year I was Class A and was lead man, was working at Boeing, in B-17s, A, B, and C. I worked on all those. So anyway. And they used to lay people off every so often for—because as they changed the model, they had to rebuild. So what they did is they transferred the people that were B and C, or B and A Class categories, or like I was—I was a lead man; I had 20 people I worked with—and so anyway I’d be transferred to another shop, so that way they could hang on to you while they were rebuilding the jigs for the next model. And so I was with Boeing for, well, from 1939 until late in 1942. I left them because my shift was all swing shift, and to tell you the truth, a guy who’s single, working swing shift, has one hell of a time. So I—Then I went, they said, “Well”—I asked the guy to transfer me and he wouldn’t do it, and so I said, “Well, if you don’t have me transferred by the first of May, why then I’ll go somewhere else.” He said, “Well, the Army will be waiting for you when you come off.” I said, “The only people that have to worry about that are people like you”—who was a foreman of the outfit—“you’re here to protect your butt.” I said, “I’m not concerned about that.” So that, I automatically cut my own throat, you know, but that’s alright, I was leaving because I already had a job at Boeing, I mean at—Oh, dear. At the airport out there—Paine Field. It was Army Air Corps at the time, and they were looking for people that knew how to work with metal. See, the aircraft prior to that time, a lot of them were made with fabric—
BB: Mm-hmm, yeah. The airplanes that we, I flew when teaching flying, they weren’t metal aircraft; they were fabric aircraft. That’s the way they were built. They were biplanes. And here they were flying P-38s, and these kids, some of them didn’t have a hundred hours of total flight time, and here they’re out flying a P-38 and the Army Air Corps had taught them, “You just fly the airplane right into the ground there, so you worry about the stall speed. You just go in there and touch that and the wheels will slow you down.” See, with the tri-signal [?] landing gear, so [inaudible]. What happened, that meant a lot of the airplanes, they were—
[pause in tape]
BB: —went down and joined the Navy. Nobody asked me about my back, and I didn’t volunteer.
SK: Well, when did you get your flight training?
BB: Oh, I got my flight training in ’43…’43.
SK: Uh huh. And where were you then?
BB: I was at—
SK: Paine Field?
BB: —Paine Field. I left and went down, and they checked me over, I didn’t volunteer anything, about the back or anything, because it was pretty good shape, definitely some fusing. And checked me over and said, “Hey, you’re pretty [inaudible] kid,” you know, and so “but you just got a couple of things wrong.” And I thought, “Uh oh, what now?” And he said, “Well, you got a couple of molars that need filling.” And he said, “Get those filled,” he said, “kid, you’re in the Navy.” And so I got them filled and come back, and he said, “You’re in the Navy,” and that was July the seventh.
SK: What year?
BB: Oh, 1942.
SK: Okay. Did you fly missions in World War II?
BB: No. I taught flying all that time I was in the Navy.
BB: That’s what they assigned me. I learned a long time ago you go where you’re assigned and don’t have an argument with them, otherwise you’re—someone’s gonna put you out, so I went to New Orleans, became a pilot, a trainer, went to Ottumwa, Iowa, primary station where I had been a cadet, and was an instructor there, instructing cadets.
SK: And how long did you instruct?
BB: I instructed for almost a year at Ottumwa and then I was sent back to the school in New Orleans where I stopped to be an instructor, teaching others, instructors [inaudible]. And went there, then I was moved over where the Navy come in with the F7F, which is a twin-engine fighter aircraft, much—I suppose they were thinking of same thing as the P-38 was. And—But it didn’t work out; it was all-weather flying, it was all-instrument, and I was well-qualified for that. And anyway, why—I went from there over to [inaudible] Field on back to Corpus Christi, I mean to—Corpus Christi’s the air station. Anyway, by then the war came to an end in ’45, so I didn’t get any flights. And the airplane—the F7F—that I was scheduled for, why, they gave them to the Marines because they were no good aboard ship. Come in for a landing and you’ve got an engine over here, and an engine over here, and you’d get hooked by the two engines come together and you had, hit the wire, and guess who’s sitting in between the two engines? The pilots. [makes smacking noise] That’s the end of their life. So the Navy said, “Take it”—built by Grumann. And so they turned them all over to the Marine Corps. Same thing happened with the Corps there, and they wound up with the Marines because they weren’t a good carrier plane. They were Gullway [?], and it had a bad habit, whenever you come in for a landing, you’re trying to get as near as stall speed as you can, the right wing would go pfft, down like that, into the edge of the deck. The pilot’d be pretty badly killed, quite a few of them. So they got rid of them and the Marine Corps got them all because they [inaudible] the land. And so I flew them as well as a reserve component. And I could fly them because I could feel the stalls. I had a three-point landing, and those Marines said, “How the hell do you do that?” and I said, “All right back here [?], I just seem to [inaudible].” Well, —
[end of Tape 1, Side B]
[beginning of Tape 2, Side A]
SK: This is February 2nd, 19—2009, and this is Sandra Forsgren Konikson doing an interview with—
BB: Brian E. Boyle.
SK: Brian, what year were you born?
BB: Born the 30th of October, 1918.
SK: Alright, and on our first tape, we did talk about coming to Alderwood. And you mentioned earlier that you belonged to Cedar Valley Grange.
BB: Yes, I did.
SK: What year?
SK: What age were you?
BB: I was—About the time I was 17 I was there.
SK: Okay. What were your activities?
SK: Did you—Were you an officer?
BB: No, I was just a member, a member of Cedar Valley Grange and went to the dances. That’s where I learned to dance. Great life.
SK: How long—How many dances were there? Weekly?
BB: No. They’re about every, about every other week.
SK: And did many people attend?
BB: Oh, yeah. It was always full.
SK: Do you remember any names?
BB: Well, the drummer was Murray Sennett. And he was in high school with me. And then there was Mrs. [Mabel] Lobdell on the piano, and her husband [Dice] on the violin. And Ruth Smith on the saxophone. And that was our composition of the band. And we did square dances, and primarily just dancing as couples, and so—Learned to dance that way.
SK: Do you know approximately how many members were there?
BB: Oh, I’d say there were at least 50 members there. It was always a crowded place, and so—. We enjoyed it.
SK: Quite a social event.
BB: Yeah, it was very active.
SK: Do you—Can you tell me some of the names of the Alderwood people at that time?
BB: Oh, lordy! [speaks inaudibly to self]
SK: What were your neighbors?
BB: Well, my neighbors—. See, I lived out there where Mona and Virgil eventually lived. Prior to that, we lived on, in, well up on Tutmark Hill, so I knew June and Dorothy. And—
BB: Yeah. And June was younger, and she would come, and she usually went with one of the guys that lived down here, the Echelbargers—
SK: Who of the Echelbargers did you know?
BB: Oh, I—. Shirley. “Squirrely,” I called her. And her and Ruth were buddies. And they were in the elementary school together.
SK: And Ruth is your sister.
BB: Yeah. She’s now 86, and she’s living in Bellingham, really at a place called Lynden. She’s in a retirement home up there. She came down for my 90th birthday.
BB: She has four sons. And two of them are twins.
[edited for web publication]
SK: Well, that’s good. Getting back to Ash Way North, what were your neighbors, your close neighbors?
BB: Oh, let’s see. Of course the Smiths were across the street. Wickstrom was the name of the people that lived there before, the original place. Yeah. And the Hardy Smith and his wife, Ruth, who played the saxophone, why, they lived there. I don’t think they bought the place; I think— no, they must have because the Wickstroms moved away, and so, you know, that was one. And then [inaudible] you.
SK: And who is “you”?
BB: Well, the… [laughs]
SK: Forsgren clan?
BB: [laughs] The Forsgren clan.
BB: Yeah. And then to the south was—what was the name of the gal that lived there? She worked for Bill Pierre Ford. I can’t remember her name. There was a lot between where Smith lived and they—. And Virgil bought that lot, because the pipeline through, for the gas line, came through there and went into his property.
SK: Virgil Schoentrup?
BB: Yeah. So Virgil was a neighbor in the area. And up the street there was another, but I don’t remember her name. The only one I remember on that street there at the corner was [inaudible] Ferguson [?]. She lived on the corner there. The rest of them, I didn’t pay any attention. I thought the blonde was cute.
SK: Before you came to Alderwood, you lived where?
BB: Well, we came to Seattle in 1935, and our first house, we rented, when we got here, was on Roosevelt Way and 57th. And we stayed there for a half a year, and then we—
SK: What kind of house was it?
BB: Well, it was a two-bedroom house with a full basement [inaudible] right on Roosevelt Way, not far from Ravenna, the main drag there. The one John Marshall Junior High was on. That’s where Mona and my brother, John, went to school there, and I went to Roosevelt High School.
SK: And after that?
BB: After that we moved over to Corliss and 62nd, just off of Greenlake and the same people owned that property and they let us live there for part of the year there. And then when they had the chicken ranch out there in—Oh, they had the place up on Big Finn Hill there, overlooking Juanita Beach, and we spent the winter there. And then they asked us to move out to Alderwood Manor, and that’s where we wound up at the chicken ranch, and we stayed there for quite a few years.
SK: What stands out mostly of Alderwood Manor to you?
BB: Well, I was always fascinated with the big stumps. Some of those stumps measured eight feet across where they were cut. Those great big cedars. And so you can imagine what that area looked like between Everett and Seattle when Pope and Talbot had all that property there and they [inaudible] all that stuff off and broke it up into five- and ten-acre lots and sold them off and put houses on them, on some of them.
SK: What kind of houses?
BB: Oh, they usually—two-bedroom unit, with a kitchen and a living room and a basement. Just like the one Mona and Virgil had; that’s what it was.
SK: Have you seen—What would you say was the most significant changes in Alderwood Manor?
BB: Well, with the putting of the highway through I-5, which was the old Interurban tracks. That was a big change in Alderwood Manor, was when the Interurban was abandoned and they decided to replace I-90 and build I-5 and it went right along the railroad bed all the way, right through Alderwood Manor. It wound up having to take out the—. Later on, they took part of the chicken ranch that Collins operated, and went on through, and that’s where we got the I-5 from.
SK: Do you keep in touch with any of the Alderwood families?
BB: Not since…yeah…the Forsgren tribe, I mean Forsgren girl, particularly the cute one.
SK: [laughs] What were your hobbies back then?
BB: Oh, music. Playing in the band at Edmonds High School for the time I was there, which was—
SK: And you played what?
BB: With Don Echelbarger on the other one. And there was a guy that was really a good trombonist that was there, and [inaudible] he was a music teacher that played with the symphony [William Osborn]. And—Oh…[Jack] King was a trumpet player for the band. See, they were ahead of me in school. Graduated in front of me, in ’35 and ’36. And—. But we had good music.
SK: Do you still play the trombone?
BB: No, no, I gave that up when I lost my teeth. [laughs]
[pause in tape]
SK: —you played as a child?
BB: Well, baseball was one of them. And—
[pause in tape]
BB: —game of marbles, I enjoyed that, but I wasn’t a good marbles player. My brother usually beat me. And the worst one was Brenton Lablaw [?], who was in school with us in the elementary school. Right there, Daly Elementary School. And he and I used to get in a fight over, fight over it, and be right underneath the principal’s window and I was not fussy about the language I used, and I wind up having to go in and get an old strap across the [inaudible] posterior [inaudible]. I learned that after I got an education.
Baseball. I wasn’t too good on the baseball. I liked to play football. And horse racing, we enjoyed that, because they had horses on the dairy farm for six years. I enjoyed that. [inaudible] and I used to drive a team and lose [inaudible] and bucking hay, and so forth. I had a lot of work on the farm. Learned how to strip cows and so forth. My dad never learned how to milk a cow. And I got in more trouble with my dad because I’d get giggly when I was—get kicked out by a cow—kicked him out of the stall because he didn’t know how to shut the valve off, so he just squeezed, and of course that pushed the milk back up in the udders, and they don’t like that. And first thing you know, pow, he’d be out in the middle of the aisle, and I’d be stripping and giggling at the same time. My dad would hear me giggle; he was after me right there and then. [inaudible] Mother says, “Huey [father, Hugh], why don’t you just stay out of the barn. All you do is make those cows nervous.”
[pause in tape]
BB: —you know, besides marbles, we played Kick the Can. We used [inaudible] for a while. Then we got to where we used a soccer ball. My brothers didn’t do too well with that; I was too mean for them. And we had the tinker toys, the ones we got from Christmas. John and I enjoyed playing with those. And I was—. I got in ice-skating; I got the weekends to go ice-skating because I had to peddle milk in the morning before I went to school. We had 36 cases of milk to peddle door-to-door. I did all the running, my dad did all the driving, sitting in the nice, warm truck. Anyway, he’d get me to school by 9 o’clock, and I’d be running in there. The principal soon learned that sometimes my dad didn’t keep track of his time too well, so they never penalized me for coming in late. They thought it was easier to do it that way than argue with my father. [laughs]
[pause in tape]
BB: The ice-skating, I enjoyed it very much. On Saturdays, I was often allowed to stay there for most of the day; that was my reward for being a good boy during the week, I guess. Anyway, the 18-inch [Troopers ?] Racers. And one time, I was the fastest skater on the rink, and I enjoyed that, because I had strong legs. That’s what it takes for that kind of skating. Marbles I wasn’t successful with because I had gotten in a fight with Brenton Lablaw [?]. His mother didn’t like it, and my language wasn’t too good, and so the principal of the elementary school took care of that. I was the one that got the—. I remember after visiting there, years later, Brenton Lablaw [?], he was a Marine, he became a Marine during the war. He got badly injured and I never saw him again.
[pause in tape]
SK: —you—What activities did you do?
BB: Well, outside of having to work cleaning chicken coops, why, I got a sideline job of cleaning chicken coops next door, or working for, that was for Mr. [Burgoe], he had two daughters, and—
SK: Did you know the daughters very well?
BB: Well, yeah, they were much older than me, but I thought they were pretty cool. Anyway, we don’t have to record; the one—
[pause in tape]
BB: —and the chicken houses, why, I always enjoyed talking to Mr. Burgoe [?] because he was a train engineer in Canada, as I remember, and we lived right next door to him, that’s where my folks were, at the—dad was running the chicken house for the—I can’t remember the name of the people again.
BB: No, no. [sighs] They own the place, but they ran the fur business, and so forth, later, and mink.
[pause in tape]
BB: Anyway, that’s primarily the work I got there. If it weren’t for one of the other Tutmarks, the one we called Chubby [Walter] Tutmark—. He was kind of a fat guy, but he was a good, he ran a nice place, and I enjoyed working, working down there, because his wife [Helen] always had food for me. [laughs] And she was nice. And old Chubby, he was funny. There was Harry, and Chubby, and Pete. And I don’t remember the name of the other one. But all four of the Tutmark boys lived in that, had their own places, homes, right across from where we had the chicken farms. Brugoe’s [?] was the other one. He was a real short guy, kind of a—what do you call it?—feisty individual. So, I enjoyed working around there because I got five bucks for every one I cleaned. Pretty good money in those days for me.
SK: What did you do for recreation after working on the chicken farm?
BB: Well, until I ruined my back, my recreation was usually always some work to be done; there was wood to be cut. We cut a lot of those old snags that were left there as a result of the fire afterwards.
SK: Did you go swimming anywhere?
BB: Yeah. Go swimming out at Martha Lake. We’d walk all the way from there, all the way down to Martha Lake and go swimming, except when—. I liked to dive, so they had a high tower about 14 feet high, and I dove off of that, and I didn’t know it but the water had gone down and so I wound up in the mud and I almost got stuck in it, so I decided I better watch it because normally, if you’d dive in the water, it’d be five feet deeper than it was, and I dove in and boom, I go right into the mud. And I got kind of bruised up on that one. But it scared the heck out of me, too. We used to do some crazy things there to antagonize the girls, swim underneath the, underneath the flows, you know. And they’d be sitting on the thing, with their feet dangling over the side, and we’d grab them…They used to say I was ornery; I guess I was.
[pause in tape]
SK: What type of education did you have?
BB: Well, by the time I got out of Edmonds High School, I had about a 1.57 average in my grade because I didn’t like school, and so I didn’t do too well. And I think one of the things that saved me from failing totally was the fact that I used to get in arguments in Mr. Parsons’ class in history, and Naomi Fussell always liked to aggravate me, so we used to have our disagreements. And when Irish history came up, why, my dad, he was a freckly [?] historian in Irish history and so I got—I listened to my dad a lot, learned a lot about the Irish history; and Naomi and I didn’t agree at all and I told her so. So finally Mr. Parsons said, “The two of you’d better get your facts straight and we’ll discuss this at a later date in class,” so that’s what we did. So I go home and I tell my dad, “I had a disagreement about some Irish history with Naomi Fussell; she thinks she knows everything,” you know. And he said, “Well, what was it?” I told him and he said, “Well, actually, she’s a little bit right and a little bit wrong; you’re a little bit right and a little bit wrong. But you wanna really know the answer, you look in book such-and-such and look on page 200 and third paragraph will tell you exactly the right answer.” And I thought, “Ha ha ha.” My dad went through the fifth grade in the old country, and here I am, I’m a Sophomore in high school— well actually I was a Junior in high school— “what’s he know?” you know, typical kid. So, sure enough, I go to the library, and there’s the book. And on page 200, there’s the paragraph, right there. And so I clinched the argument right there and then. And when Naomi—. We were in class, in Mr. Parsons’ class, and so Naomi says, “Well, I guess I was wrong.” And of course I had an accent on then. Why, anyway, I got home from school and my dad asked me, “How did your discussion go?” And I told him I was right because I read the article. I didn’t tell Naomi about it. Anyway… And I said, “When did you read that, dad?” He said, “About twenty years ago.” That was kind of my dad. I never realized until then—. Because when we was [sic] a kid, my brother and I used to always go to the library with my dad, which was every week. He’d bring home three or four books, and he’d be sitting there late into the evening, reading, and he was well-read, and Irish history was his specialty. And so it wasn’t until I was almost finished high school that I realized he was so damned smart. And my oldest boy has that same touch, but he has no practical sense. My dad did. Yeah, he’d been married six times. That’s Brian John Boyle, my son.
SK: What are your other children?
BB: I have Bruce William Boyle—
SK: What does he do?
BB: He’s a real estater in Bellingham. Then I had my sister, Mona, of course. And she got married to Virgil. And then—
SK: Virgil Schoentrup?
BB: Yeah. She was 19 at the time, and— He saw her when he came down to see what he had purchased—the property. And he saw the old garage that was there and—dilapidated—and he said, “Would you be interested in helping me build a new garage?” he said. “I’ll have to have it eventually when I eventually move down here.” Why, I said, “Sure, I’ll help you.” Let’s see, I was—that was the year before I graduated from high school, because I couldn’t have helped him when I had hurt my back, so it was before. So anyway, my—He saw Mona and so he asked my folks whether he could have a date with Mona. And Mother said, “She’s 19, she can make up her own mind about that.” “Fine with me.” And he asked my dad and my dad gave him the same answer. “She’s a big girl now, she’s finished high school,” you know. “She doesn’t need our permission for anything.” And so he dated her and she went with him for a short time that he was there from Alaska. Then he got writing to her from Alaska, and then, next thing you know, why, he wants to marry her. And he had come down to be married in Alderwood Manor or—see, that’s where his dad lived, Joe; he lived in Alderwood Manor—or you [Mona] could come up here. So—. I remember I was walking down the road there, and my sister asking me, “What do you think would be better?” And I said, “Why waste the money coming down then going back when it cost money?” And so, she said, “Well, then, better go up there,” so that’s what she did. But he sent her the money down to buy some nice winter gear. Well, winter gear to people that lived in Alderwood Manor doesn’t correspond to winter gear that you would use up in Alaska. And so her clothing that she bought was more like spring gear to me, and when she gets to Alaska, why, Virgil says, “What you have, you’ll freeze to death in that stuff up here.” And they went out, out between Fairbanks and Anchorage, and they went to the mine that he was supervising and cooking for, and she helped him in the kitchen. So she made the pies; she was a good cook, Mona.
SK: Now, getting back to the clothing, did she get some winter—
BB: Oh, when he saw what she had, he went to the store and bought the stuff she should have got in the first place. So, anyway—. It didn’t take her long before she was pregnant with Nettie. And he had built, had a house right across from the hospital, and I think—
[end of Tape 2 Side A]
[beginning of Tape 2 Side B]
BB: —came down to Anchorage to be with, before that, I mean before Mona was, had Nettie, down in Anchorage, and it got kind of rough around there because we were in the midst of the war and the Japanese were coming in to Alaska, you know? And so—clear out at the end of the peninsula. And so the military was there, and—
SK: Japanese came into Alaska?
BB: Oh, yeah! Don’t you recall that?
SK: No. I was young.
BB: Yeah! Yeah. Sorry. [laughs] But anyway, out on the Aleutian chain, the Japanese came in there. And we moved, the military moved into Alaska, and formed a big Army program there, and the Navy was involved in it. And I remember the two guys that were, I remember in particular, because I met them many years later, named Humphrey and Buffington [?]. And they flew PBYs, and they’d haul a five-hundred pound bomb out to the peninsula and drop it on the Japanese. And the trouble is, the weather in Alaska is not conducive to airplanes very well, except the guys that are—. So, they’d come in, and they were staying at the—there’s a bay that went way back in to the mainland, and that’s where the Navy had their aircraft. Well, just fine if the weather was good, but you come back from your bombing run, there’s chances you’d be socked in, and these guys knew by the sound of the wave of the engines, they could tell where they were in relationship to this wall and that wall, and then they’d come down and land on the water practically blind, flying those PBYs. Later on, when I was, became an instructor, at the instructor school, I should say, in New Orleans, and Humphrey and Buffington wound up being assigned there to become teachers in flying. And one day, why—The Army Air Corps at the time had big base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and they were going into their own air-sea rescue and they got some PBYs, PBY-5A, which were amphibious and land. [laughs] And the Army Air Corps wrecked about three of these PBYs before they—because they didn’t know how to fly them. And so—. The PBY flies at 90 [miles per hour], PBY lands at 90, and they can taxi at 90. And that’s about what [inaudible]. [laughs] So anyway, these guys are waiting for the airplane to get enough speed to get airborne, but it never got over 90 miles an hour, which, as far as those airport guys, 90 miles an hour was too slow, you can’t fly at that level [inaudible] that’s where it does fly. And they get out and land on the water, not knowing how, and they wound up wrecking the airplane. So they call over to the Navy and said, “Do you have anybody that knows how to fly PBYs?” And the Navy said, “Why, sure do. Two of the best guys in the business.” They were enlisted [inaudible]; they got a commission because they abandoned me, the enlisteds [inaudible]. Anyway, why, we flew them over there and these two guys were characters. Anyway, they got in the PBY, and they had four guys with them that they were going to show, and they taxied down the taxi strip to get to the runway, and they take airborne on the taxi strip. Waste of time to taxi all the way down there when we’re already at flying speed. And they turned, go down the runway, and they’re a hundred feet in the air by that time, and the poor Air, Army Air Corps guys are going, “What the hell are you guys doing?” you know. “That’s a taxi strip over there!” “Yeah, but why would we travel the length of that taxi strip, which is about ten thousand feet, waste the gas, when we can get airborne in a short distance?” These guys never had—. They’d try to take that thing off on a ten-thousand foot runway, and the airplane would stay on the ground because they were watching the speedometer, not the airplane, and they figured, “Jeez, all it will do is 90, and we’re used to flying airplanes that land at 90, that’s the stall speed for them.” They just didn’t have any concept about it, and these two guys come up there, they’re airborne before they even get to the runway, and they turn and go right down the runway, picking up these guys, scared the dickens out of them. I remember the operations officer almost had a spasm from the whole thing. “Why would we run all over the dang field,” he said, “it would take us half the time to get down to the end of the runway, it was that long. We’re used to taking off in short distances.” And that’s what they did. Scared the poor Army Air Corps guy. He said, “These guys are crazy!” Nah, they knew just what they were doing, that’s all. Anyway… [trails off]
[pause in tape]
SK: —in the Navy with you?
BB: Well, I was sent over to Missoula, Montana, for a pre-group. They were all waiting because I wasn’t—. The group wouldn’t be going to the prep-school until the third of January, and it was July, so I was disturbed by that. I was walking away while the officers said, “Did you save any money while you were working for Boeing?” I said, “Yeah,” and he said, “Well, I got a program you might be interested in.” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “Well, we’re sponsoring a CPT program in Missoula, Montana,” and I bit right away, because Montana’s where I came from, and—that was, CPT was Civilian Pilot Training [inaudible]. He said, “Well, you don’t get much. You get your board and room and twenty-one dollars a month,” he said that’s what a [sic] SM gets. And I said, “I’ll take it!” And so we went to Missoula, Montana, and we were in primary, learned to fly a J-3 Cub to begin with, and then I did quite well with that, so I was flying a Waco biplane there and so by the time I got done with my training in the CPT program in November and after Thanksgiving, why, I came back home, waiting for the third of January of ’43 to crop up, and then we had to go off to St. Mary’s, we thought. That’s where all the rest of them had gone, to St. Mary’s.
SK: St. Mary’s, where?
BB: California. Then we’d all lookin’ for that, and we of course had nice spring gear, and loaded all three hundred of us in at the King Street Station, and we’re heading south and the DI [Drill Instructor] is in the train, and the DIs were the people that were in charge, and so we couldn’t—. We had to put the blinds down because the trains couldn’t travel at that time with anyone—
[pause in tape]
BB: —Well, anyway, why, I went through the program there, primary and secondary—
SK: Let’s go back to the blinds.
BB: Oh, keep the blinds down because of order [sic], no light was to show off the train because the Japanese might come in, which we did have off the coast of Oregon. And as a result, why, we couldn’t open those blinds up because it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when we loaded on the train in January, and we went down to where the train turns and heads to the, to the east. Well, we noticed—and I peeked and looked there—still there was snow there. Gee, I thought we got in the Sierra Nevadas pretty fast. So the order, we were ordered, “Get in the bunk, you’ve had your dinner, get in the bunk and we’ll see you in the morning.” Well, that’s what we had to do. Well, I peeked again as we were going in there and there was snow. Isn’t that funny! We’ve been going all night; we should be in California. And [inaudible] go past a railroad station, and it says “Havre, Montana.” We were going east. And I let a bellow out: “Havre, Montana?!? What the hell are we doing here?!?” And—because I’d gone to Havre, we’d played in the band. And that’s where they had the Big Band concerts. And Anaconda’s team—music—always won, four times in a row, and so they didn’t invite us anymore. So anyway, why—The chief comes in, and he says, “Well,” he said, “you sissies are not going to St. Mary’s; you’re headed for Iowa City, Iowa. Get you far enough away that you can call your folks and whine and cry all you want to.” That was the DI’s attitude about it. And so I said, “Oh my God.” We got to Iowa, Iowa, on January the fourth, and the snow was two feet deep, and we were all in kind of spring clothing, you know, and we had to march all the way up to the quadrangle, which was about six blocks away from the railroad station. And our Oxfords were all soaking wet from the frost. So I was very unhappy about the whole thing because, see, I was older than the rest of the kids. If I’d been one month older I couldn’t have got in to the flight division. Most of the kids I was with were 18 and 19 at the most.
SK: And you were—?
BB: I was twen—just shy—one month—of being 23. And so I was, “Oh, boy. What did I do this time?” So anyway, that’s where we got started was at University of Iowa at Iowa City, Iowa. And that’s where I met Frances.
SK: And Frances is—?
BB: Frances Hickman was her name. And she later became my wife. I think she thought I was an easy target because, hillbilly, as far as she’s concerned, and she figured she could tell me how to do this, and how to do that, you know. Wrong person. We squabbled all the 22 years we were married because [inaudible] alcohol was her problem. And [it] eventually killed her.
SK: So, after—. Did you remarry after your—
BB: Well, I met Frances, and then I went to Pensacola, graduated from there. And was sent to New Orleans, Louisiana, to the primary instructor school to become a primary instructor. And—. Practically all 300 of us were sent there. And so, when I—. By that time, why, she had completed her Master’s Degree at the University of Iowa, and some recruiter came along and encouraged her to sign up with the Navy, and become, she became a Link Trainer instructor—
SK: A what?
BB: A Link Trainer.
SK: What’s that?
BB: That’s an artificial airplane that flies like an airplane, and it’s for instruments only. And that’s what she took up, and so she wound back up in Ottumwa, Iowa. I came back to her as an instructor and she and I started going together again, you know. And all of a sudden, the leading WAVE [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service] officer told her, “You cannot go around with a [sic] officer; you’re enlisted.” And so I went to—We were getting pretty serious about one another. Anyway—before. And so anyway, I went to the CO and the CO was a man called back to duty after about 25 years in the Navy, from Butte, Montana, and he was the captain, and I went to see him. Said I wanted to get married to her, and she was a WAVE, and the primary, and the WAVE officer in charge had been her, one of her schoolteachers. So anyway, I said—. She caught hell from the WAVE officer for going—. She saw me in town with Frances. And so, I said we were planning on getting married. He said, “Well, I’ll have the exec have a talk to her about the fact that that’s what’s going on.” And that took care of the WAVE officer. And so anyway, she was working as a Link Trainer operator and I was working as a pilot instructor, and the WAVE officer never bothered her again, but primarily because she knew what the situation was. So anyway, why, we finally set a date and got married [inaudible] at her parents’ place. And we stayed married for 22 years. Had four children. I finally gave up . . . So I finally said, “That’s it”; I divorced her. And I left her pretty well fixed, anyway. All I wanted was my job, and I’d taken up schoolteaching by that time. And so I said, “That’s it.” And she never contested the divorce. And it was taken care of. So then I remarried about a year-and-a-half later—
SK: Were you still in the service?
BB: No. No, I was out of the service by then. It was—I came in at 1942, in July, and then went off to Ottumwa, Iowa—not Ottumwa, but to the University of Iowa, on the [speaks inaudibly to self] … Let’s see, I came there, went through the program, then became an instructor eventually at Ottumwa, Iowa, and then got married. Then we bought an old building in East St. Louis, Illinois, and I remodeled the building while I was still going to school. And we, I picked up an old ’37 Packard at the time—not the same one that I had. And we bought a David Bradley trailer at Sears and Roebuck, and we loaded that thing with all the stuff we had, and drove all the way from Iowa all the way out to… [speaks to self: Let’s see, where were we at the time?]… Yeah, we drove to [inaudible], from East St. Louis, and from East Saint Louis we went, we came out to Seattle again, and I went to work for Boeing.
SK: And where did you live at that time?
BB: At that time, I was living in Lake Forest Park. And then I built a home up on top of a hill there, near the reservoir. Had a great view. I bought a five-acre tract, or a three-and-a-half-acre tract, for five thousand dollars. And I broke it into two pieces and put on it—I had a home built on one of them. I broke the lot into one, two, three, four, four lots, three-and-a-half acres. I traded it because she wouldn’t move out to Alderwood Manor. I wanted to live in Alderwood Manor. And Virgil—I told him about that I wanted to get a lot up there. He says, “Well, Mr. Moore,”—is that right? He lived just two doors down from Mildred Hudson, right on that main drag—and he’d just bought a tax sale in Snohomish, and he paid seven hundred dollars for it. And—You remember where Olson Dairy was in Alderwood Manor?
BB: No, you probably don’t. You’d be too young to remember that. But anyway, why, his five-acre piece was there. And so, as a result, Virg told me about it and I bought it from this guy for fifteen hundred dollars and so I had this five-acre tread [?] and I thought, “Oh, I could put a place out there.” And my wife: “I don’t want to live out there with those damn hicks in Alderwood Manor.” And she “her education didn’t qualify her to be living with the common folks” attitude. Well, you know how that went over. So I told her, I says, “Well I built you—” built a home at that time, and gave that up down in Lake Forest Park, which was fine, then I built another home there, and in the meantime I decided I did not like working for Boeing as an engineer and so I decided to become a schoolteacher because I was a teacher in the Navy. And my wife had a fit over that. As far as she was concerned that was the low man at the low pit [?]. Only those that haven’t got two ounces of brains would be a schoolteacher, because she had been one and got fired—
[pause in tape]
BB: —I bought that land and I had cleaned it off, and Virgil found somebody that could do it! Guy had a big old Allis-Chalmers bulldozer; it was a monstrous thing. He got it surplus from the military. Anyway, why, he needed to get down to where they were building the—Sea-Tac to do bulldozing work. And he didn’t have the money to move that thing. So anyway, I made a deal with him that he would clean that five acres for two thousand dollars, and he said, “Yeah, I can do that.” So Virgil, of course, was—. Meantime I was schoolteaching by then, and Virgil kind of kept track of it. First thing he did, he broke the blade support on the cat, and he had no money to fix it. So I said, “Well,” [inaudible] these two thousand dollars that I borrowed. I said, “Well, who do you know who can do the fixing?” Virg says, “Well, the Echelbargers have all that equipment.” And so got a hold of Dean, and “What would it take to do that?” “Oh yeah, we’ll send him over there with the welding truck.” And he said, “He’ll weld that up and it won’t cost you a lot,” and so they did. It was a fifty-dollar job and so that was taken out of the two thousand dollars. Well then he ran out of fuel, couldn’t get any fuel, so he took some money out. Well by the time we got done with the job, cleaning that, monstrous, monstrous stumps on the place—I mean, I measured one of them. There was eight feet across [inaudible] tree, and [inaudible]—Anyway, by the time it got done, this poor guy didn’t have anything coming to him, been burned up in this repair, that repair, and dynamite, because he couldn’t, his tractor couldn’t even move those stumps, so he had to use dynamite to blow those. Anyway, he was ready to go down and Virg says, “Brian,” he says, “do you think he’d complain about five hundred dollars to get that thing down there for him?” He said, “He hasn’t got any money left.” I says, “Well, okay,” so I did. And so he called Echelbargers again; I think it was Stan at that time. They had a big rig for carrying cats and stuff like that. And so they, he said, “Well,” he said, “we can take it down on a Sunday.” And I thought, “Gee, that’s kinda funny.” But anyway, I didn’t question them. They move it on Sunday, fine. So I happened to ask Virg, “Why did they pick Sunday?” He said, “There’s less state patrolmen on the highway.” And he said, “They’ll leave at 4 o’clock in the morning and he’ll take that thing down there for the five hundred dollars,” he says, “and he won’t be bothered by the state patrol because they won’t be on duty to check it for weight; this monstrous job would be overweight.” So anyway, that’s how we got the guy down there. He was happy with that, to his job over there down in Sea-Tac. And so I had that all squared away, and I thought, “Well, now I can come out here to Alderwood and I’ll be where Mona is, and Virgil, and it’ll be like old times,” you know. And my wife wouldn’t come out. “I’m not going out with those damn hicks,” you know, and that started the beginning of the end, I guess. Anyway, she thought of Virg and Mona and they—what do you call it—just a “I’m better than them” [attitude] but, you know, “I’m so well-educated,” you know, attitude of hers. Anyway, why, I think what happened is she thought I was a hillbilly, or a potential hillbilly, and I could be trained to jump loops the way that she wanted them. She picked the wrong guy for that. . . .
. . . I sued her for divorce and the four children. The two boys wouldn’t stay with her; the two oldest—John and Bruce— “No, [inaudible]. We’ll go with you, dad, we won’t go with her.” And I had a six-bedroom house that I built, so—
SK: So where did you go after that?
BB: Well, I rented a place from a fellow down there not far from the Sandpoint Naval Air Station. He had a, kind of a junky place, and then when I moved out there when the boys were living with me, and I fixed up an old storage shed they had at the back, and he raised the rent on me. I was paying a hundred dollars a month, teaching school, you know, and he raised the rent! “What’d you do that for? I fixed this place up!” “Yeah, that’s why we raised the rent!”
[end of Tape 2 Side B]
Transcribed by tv, February 2014