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Description

In this interview, Frances McKibben recalls her family's history in Atlanta, her childhood, and her memories of World War II. She describes her neighborhood, Grove Park, and the two cemeteries where all her family members are buried: Hollywood Cemetery and the Coursey Family Cemetery. She recalls the effects of the Great Depression. She discusses family and cultural traditions, such as quilting bees and sitting up with the dead. She describes hearing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the effects it had on the community. She describes hearing about the landings at Normandy, the death of President Roosevelt, and the atomic bomb. She remembers her education and career. She describes many significant events in Atlanta history, such as the premiere of Gone With the Wind, the Winecoff Hotel fire, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral, the "Three Governors" controversy, and the Temple bombing.
Frances Ann Jennings McKibben grew up in Atlanta during World War II.
LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: My name is Lillian Gantsoudes. I am on staff at the Atlanta History Center. Today is Thursday, October the 30th, 2003. We are doing a veterans history project interview with a civilian, Frances Ann McKibbon. Frances, would you repeat your name and give me your birth date and place. FRANCES MCKIBBON: I’m Frances McKibbon. I was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta on August the 20th, 1926. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: August of ’26? All right, thank you. Were you raised in Atlanta? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yes, I’m the fifth generation who has lived in Atlanta. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Tell me something about your ancestors. Who first came to Atlanta? FRANCES MCKIBBON: My grandmother’s great, great, great, great uncles came down in the land grant after the Cherokee Indians were driven out, and staked out a good bit of land over in what is now known as Martin Luther King Drive in that area. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you know their names? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Do I know my ancestor’s names? Most of them, yes. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What were their names? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Coursey was their last name. My great, great grandfather was named Roy, and his son was named Roy Samuel. My great, great grandmother was named Mary, and her daughter was named Elizah. My grandmother was the only daughter of nine children. She had eight brothers – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What was her name? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Coursey, and she married my grandfather – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [unintelligible] FRANCES MCKIBBON: Nellie Elizabeth Coursey. And she married my grandfather when she was 21 years old, and his name was Walter Theopolis Speer. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: And where was he from? FRANCES MCKIBBON: He came from Alabama by way of Lafayette. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [unintelligible] FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yes, they were married in Atlanta. He came to live with his aunt in Atlanta at that time, and I don’t remember what her name was. But strangely enough I found out that they’re all – I knew my grandmother and grandfather were buried at Hollywood Cemetery, but also all of my grandfather’s people are buried at Hollywood. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [unintelligible] someone says I wonder where Hollywood Cemetery is. Tell us where that is. FRANCES MCKIBBON: You know, I can take you, but I can’t tell you. It’s over around where Perry Homes area – if you know where Perry Homes is, it’s in that general area. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Southwest or southeast of there? FRANCES MCKIBBON: It would be northeast. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Northeast. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Northeast. And they were buried there, and as I said, I did not know his people were buried there also. My grandmother’s people are buried in the old Coursey Cemetery off of North Avenue and Simpson Road. And that cemetery is still kept by members of the family so that we can go out there if we are brave enough to do so. But my grandmother and grandfather had four children, three girls and a boy that lived – she delivered three children who were stillborn. And I grew up in Grove Park where my mother grew up where my grandmother and grandfather had settled. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: And where is Grove Park? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Grove Park is on Bankhead Avenue going out toward Hollywood Road. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Okay. FRANCES MCKIBBON: And it was founded by Dr. Grove, who wanted people to set up just a regular neighborhood and it was a most marvelous place in the world to grow up. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Tell me why. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Everybody knew everybody else and they looked over – well, all the adults looked after all the children. And you could walk to school and if something happened in the school – Lena Cox was the elementary school that I went to, and I went to West Fulton High School, and then from there I went to LaGrange College. But it was just a wonderful experience growing up sitting out on the curb at night and listening to people talk back and forth across the street. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [unintelligible] FRANCES MCKIBBON: The house that I grew up in had – and I have to stop and think – eight rooms, and it was what they call a shot gun house because it had a hall going straight down the middle and all the rooms went off from the hall. And my father died when I was two years old, so I don’t remember too much about that, but my mother and I went back to live with my grand parents, and I lived with my grandmother until I got married – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: So when you were born were your parents living in this Grove Park area? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yes, they were. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Then when you moved in with your grandmother – FRANCES MCKIBBON: It was still in Grove Park, yes. Daddy died of a massive heart attack and so I unfortunately one of the ones that has inherited all the bad things on both sides of the family. But my Uncle Frank was a football player at Georgia Tech and he went to the Rose Bowl twice and he was supposed to go the third time – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: And what was his name? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Frank Speer. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Frank Speer? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Uh-huh. And the third time they found out he was married and they wouldn’t let him go. He had gotten married secretly and my mother and grandmother and grandfather didn’t know this, and they were very upset that he was not allowed to go. But anyway, it was just a wonderful atmosphere to grow up. All the teachers knew you. Everybody in the neighborhood knew you. The church that we attended is the one that my grandmother and her brothers founded. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Name of the church? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Bethany Methodist Church on Elizabeth Place. And it burned in 1936 I think – ’36 or ’37. And they had fish fries, carry out dinners, ice cream socials, anything that they could to raise money, and they rebuilt the church, because at that time so many people had gone through the Depression and there just wasn’t any money. My grandfather lost his business in the Depression. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What business was it? FRANCES MCKIBBON: He was in what they call the radiator business. He serviced air planes and huge Mack trucks, and he had a good business and made a good living, but it just – everything vanished, and as a result of that my grandmother said when he lost his business it killed him, because he only lived three years after the Depression after he lost his business. He died in 1936, and I don’t remember too much about that; I was only ten years old, but I remember – and this was done all the time at that age – they brought the caskets home and they left them in the living room and someone would sit – not necessarily someone in the family, but someone would sit up all night with them until the next morning and then somebody would change and then they would have the funeral and that would be it. But I remember so well seeing that casket and hanging back because I didn’t want to go in. And luckily they did not force me to go in. So many of them were forced to go in and kiss the dead one, and I would have died, but my mother had said if you don’t want you don’t have to, and I didn’t. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you remember other of the sort of mourning customs? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yes. The women wore black, not just to the funeral, but my mother wore black for a year. In the summertime she wore white, but in the winter time she wore all black. My grandmother wore black almost the rest of her life after that and particularly after my uncle died. She just said that she had lost both of the men in her family and she didn’t like it. But they wore – she wore black. And everybody brought food in. I remember that so well because the tables in the dining room and in the kitchen were just loaded with food and people would come and sit with my grandmother and talk to her. And they did to my mother and her sisters and their brother. The thing that I remember most of all was momma woke my mother up and said something is wrong with poppa, and mother and Frances, my youngest aunt, got up out of the bed, and of course I got up; I had not known what was going on, and there was a doctor who lived in the park area, and we went out the door running up Eleanor place hollering “Dr. Charles! Dr. Charles, please come help; poppa is dying!” Well, that was what my mother was saying. And then of course my grandmother had called my uncle and he came up immediately. And what really – that running up the street calling for Dr. Charles and also my uncle coming in and I was standing in the door way of my grandmother’s bedroom and Dr. Charles had already been there and pronounced him dead and we were just waiting for the funeral home, and he had pulled the sheet over my grandfather’s face, and my uncle went in and took the sheet off his face and then just stood there and cried because – this was so unexpected. We didn’t expect poppa to die, because he, too, like my father died with a massive heart attack. So when I go to doctor’s today and they say “What is your family medical history?” I say heart attacks on both sides. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: My family is the same way. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Oh, is it? LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Yeah. I know what you mean. FRANCES MCKIBBON: But it was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in. You knew everybody; everybody knew you. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: You said that you would sit at nights or talk up and down – FRANCES MCKIBBON: And the children would play. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What games would the children play? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Hop scotch, hide and go seek, catching lightening bugs particularly. Let me see, what else did we play? Good gracious, I can’t remember that far back what we did play. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: It’s all right. FRANCES MCKIBBON: You just grew up knowing everybody and everybody knowing you, and my grandmother had a quilting bee that she went to every Wednesday morning and stayed until usually three o’clock when we would come home from school, and she would go down to my cousin, Etta’s, house, Etta Hubbard, and we were also told to come home to cousin Etta’s. Don’t go to the house, come home there, and you would walk in and I have never seen as much food for six ladies in my life. But they would have this table in cousin Etta’s dining room, and they had put cheese cloth over it, and it was every kind of food you can imagine on that table and they would just – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: How often did they meet? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Once a week. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Once a week. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Once a week. And I had two quilts that my grandmother did, and my cousin talked me out of them, and I will never forgive him for that. But he has them and they’re well taken care of so it doesn’t really matter. But it was just a wonderful time to grow up. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What about moving into the high school years? Were you still living in your grandmother’s house? FRANCES MCKIBBON: No. Mother sold the house because it needed a lot of repair and she said it wasn’t worth it. It was an old house as it was because poppa had built it when he and my grandmother married so it was only 50 years old. And she built a house on Elizabeth Place. She worked for Atlanta Flooring Company so she was able to get all the material at wholesale, and that house had four bedrooms and two baths, a living room, dining room, kitchen and eating area, and no den. The living room was your den at that time. And it wasn’t so far to walk to either elementary school from where we did live to high school, and so I enrolled in West Fulton when I graduate from Lena Cox. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: So four bedrooms? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Uh-huh. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Who was living in the house? FRANCES MCKIBBON: My aunt – nobody when we first moved in, but it was just my mother and my grandmother and me, so we each had our bedrooms. But then my aunt’s husband went into the Marine Corp. and she came back to live with us with her young baby, so she took over the two bedrooms upstairs and mother had made sort of a little storage room upstairs, and she made that into a kitchen for Frances. And it was sort of crowded but she needed some place to go with my uncle in service. So she lived with us – I guess, how long? They lived with us until the oldest child – let’s see, Michael – there’s seven years difference between – Michael must have been two and Carlton been nine – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: When they moved in? FRANCES MCKIBBON: When they moved out. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Okay. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Moved out. And they had to work and save money to buy a house because the money wasn’t very plentiful then as it was in most cases for young men coming back from the service. So they stayed there and then they bought their own house. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: So, was it Aunt Frances? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Uh-huh. It was her husband – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Moved in with one child? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Moved in with one child. And he came home – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Was this during World War – FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yes, this was during World War II she lived there. And after Bennie was discharged from the service they still lived there until he was settled in his job. And Carlton was born in 1942, he was nine, so they lived there until the early 1950s and then they moved out. And then mother took over the whole house again. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Well if it was four bedrooms and she had two bedrooms upstairs – FRANCES MCKIBBON: And two down – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: And two were downstairs – FRANCES MCKIBBON: One of the bedrooms – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Did you share with – FRANCES MCKIBBON: I shared with her. I shared the bedroom with my mother. We had twin beds, and she brought everything down from upstairs, and I resented it. Oh, I resented not having my own room, but it couldn’t be helped, and anyway I was in college or would be going to college shortly so it really didn’t make that much difference. But it was interesting to have all those people, particularly babies there, which I thoroughly enjoyed having them. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: And you said that your mother worked? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yeah, she worked for the Atlanta Flooring Company. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you know what she did for them? FRANCES MCKIBBON: She was a Credit Manager for the Atlanta Flooring Company. And then when they went out of business she went to work for West Lumber Company in the same capacity and worked for Mr. George West. So it was an interesting life. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: So tell me something sort of in general about your high school days. You said you walked to school. FRANCES MCKIBBON: I walked to school. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Any favorite teachers? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Mrs. Wills [phonetic], she was my Latin teacher, and Ms. Floding was my French teach, and Mr. – god, what is his last name? Anyway, he was my history teacher, and he is the one who taught me to love history. And so, when I went to LaGrange I said I wanted to major in history, but I wound up getting three degrees from LaGrange because I had a triple major when I got out. My mother was of the old school. She said idle hands are the devil workshop, and so she made me go to Emory in the summertime between sessions at LaGrange, and that’s how I wound up with three degrees. I would have had just one if hadn’t been for her making me go [unintelligible] to Emory every day. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Was College expensive? Your mother must have [unintelligible] been able to build a house. She must have had a pretty good – FRANCES MCKIBBON: She had a good income but she was the sole supporter of my grandmother, and I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from LaGrange. My grades were such that I could, and as long as my grades remained at a B level in college they would renew the scholarship, so it didn’t cost her as much since I had that scholarship, but she stayed on me constantly to keep my grades up. And there was one time – they sent home a D in French, and she wrote back and she said this is not acceptable and you will take French in summer, and that was all she said. She never blamed me or – she just said this is not acceptable. And I did, I went to Emory and I took classes of French, made A’s in all of them and was finished with my French requirements. So, I was real happy because I didn’t like that teacher. But it was interesting because during those days it was gas rationing and if I came home I had to come home on the bus from LaGrange, and there were soldiers all over the bus and sometimes we would have a place to sit and sometimes we would have to sit on our luggage or sit one of the jump seats that they had. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Was this coming home – FRANCES MCKIBBON: This was coming home from LaGrange because they were coming from Fort Benning in Columbus coming towards Atlanta – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: You’d be on a bus – FRANCES MCKIBBON: Coming to Atlanta from LaGrange. The train schedule was much worse than it was using the bus because the train schedule coming to Atlanta was not as frequent. I know that sounds peculiar but it was more for moving freight than it was for traveling. And so, I used the bus, and sometimes when I would go back to school mother would come and pick me up. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: You had an automobile? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yeah. We had a Chevrolet. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What color was it? FRANCES MCKIBBON: It was green. It was the most horrible green I’ve ever seen in my life, but it was a good and that was when we had gas ration. And I’m trying so hard to think – I now mother didn’t have the lowest letter for gas, and I’m not sure whether A was higher than C or what, but I know that they gave her one because she worked so far away from the home and there was no public transportation to get her to the office so she qualified for that. And she would save her coupons so that she could take me to college and then come back and pick me up when school was over. But rationing was something that was new. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What other things were rationed? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Candy, chocolate candy. Oh good Lord, I like to have died, because I’m a chocoholic and – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you know how many people have told me the exact same thing? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Really! Well, once my – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Almost every woman who has come in has talked about the candy was rationed. FRANCES MCKIBBON: It was, and you couldn’t have it. But Frances, once Bennie had been in service for six months got permission to go to commissary at Fort Mack and so she could buy two or three candy bars at a time. And she would bring them back to me and she would say “now, you better ration these because you’re not going to have any more for three weeks or four weeks or whatever it was.” But everything was rationed. I remember my grandmother planted a victory garden. One of the men who worked with mother – a black man – came over and dug up a portion of our backyard and my grandmother having grown up on a farm in Atlanta it was easy for her to grow things, and she grew beans and butter beans and squash and canned a great many of the things so that we could have them during the winter. And meat – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Did you garden and can with your grandmother. FRANCES MCKIBBON: I didn’t garden. She wouldn’t let me do any of the canning. She kept telling me you’re not smart enough to do this. [LAUGHTER] And I wasn’t. I really didn’t know what I was doing. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Did you enjoy the garden? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Oh yes, I still garden, but I don’t grow vegetables I grow roses now and other flowers. But she taught me the love of working outside. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you remember the man’s name that came to help? FRANCES MCKIBBON: No, I don’t. I really don’t. I remember he spaded the ground up and put everything in it that momma would need. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Did he just come and start off or did he – FRANCES MCKIBBON: He started it off. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Oh, just started it? FRANCES MCKIBBON: After that, my grandmother would not allow anybody to touch the garden. I could go out and weed but I better not touch anything else. And she was out there every day working in that garden. And it was good, because we had food that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. And my Aunt Evelyn – I’m trying to think – she started raising chickens on their place. They had about a two acre house – or a house on two acres, and they were able to raise chickens. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Is this in this Grove Park area? FRANCES MCKIBBON: This is in the Grove Park area. And she raised chickens so we had more chicken than we did beef because beef was rationed and you had so many coupons per month that you could use. And I remember Sister would always – we called Evelyn “Sister” – would always save a good fat pullet hen for me for my birthday because I liked fried chicken and butter beans, and momma would always get the butter beans out of the garden and sister would always have her husband to kill the chicken. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [unintelligible] August. FRANCES MCKIBBON: In August. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Perfect timing. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Perfect timing. And we would have ice cream that we’d crank not an electric freezer, and she would always make me a cake that she developed the recipe. And she told me when she gave me the recipe, because it is my favorite cake, if you give anybody that recipe I will come back and haunt you after I die. So, I have given it to no one. Now, my cousin will get it from when I die. But she called it the Garden of Eden cake because it’s got – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Garden of Eden cake? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Uh-huh. It’s got a lot of spice and chocolate in it. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: And chocolate. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Chocolate and spice. But it was just interesting growing up in that neighborhood because you knew everybody. When I went to grammar school I knew all the children that were there. When I went to high school I knew all the children that were there. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you have any pictures of you working in the garden? FRANCES MCKIBBON: No, because we didn’t take pictures then. The only time that I remember mother taking pictures was on birthdays. She would take pictures on my birthday and my grandmother’s birthday and then her sister’s birthday and her nephew’s birthday. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you have a picture of you and the Garden of Eden cake? FRANCES MCKIBBON: No, I don’t. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [LAUGHTER] FRANCES MCKIBBON: I don’t know when – my mother moved in 1963 over to where I live now, and breaking down a large house like she had she got rid of a lot of things that I wish she hadn’t. She got rid of all of my Bobbsey Twin books, she got rid of all my Nancy Drew books – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: My mother, when I moved out and went to college, got rid of my Nancy Drew books. FRANCES MCKIBBON: And I think that’s a crime. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: I don’t understand why she thought that they had to be gone. FRANCES MCKIBBON: I don’t know either, but mother had – I had a set of what were called A Child’s World book that a friend of my mother’s starting me off when I was three years old, and she got rid of all those, and those things are priceless today. But she didn’t have any room for them is what she said. At least she didn’t get rid of the china that my grandmother and she had. No, I don’t have it; I gave it to my cousin’s [unintelligible] daughter when she got married. But you wanted to know where I was when I heard about World War II and the bombing. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Yes, Pearl Harbor. [Unintelligible] FRANCES MCKIBBON: The 7th, 1941 my mother had take me and a friend to The Fox to see a movie. This was on Sunday. My grandmother did not approve, but movies were open and mother said it’s no worse than sitting here getting into trouble, which I was fairly good at doing. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: So how old were you? FRANCES MCKIBBON: 1941 I was 15. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Fifteen. So you were attending [unintelligible] Fulton. FRANCES MCKIBBON: A junior at West Fulton. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: It’s Sunday morning and you go to the movies – FRANCES MCKIBBON: No, it’s Sunday afternoon. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: I’m sorry. FRANCES MCKIBBON: Sunday afternoon we go to the movie. When we came out mother said “do y’all want to go by the Yellow Jacket?” What used to be something like the Varsity and it was across from where the current Coca-Cola building is, and they had much better hot dogs than the Varsity did. They toasted their buns and they put something on the bun and it was just absolutely delicious. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you remember what movie you saw? FRANCES MCKIBBON: No. I don’t have any idea. But we were sitting there and I asked mother if I could turn the radio on and she say “yes.” LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: In the car? FRANCES MCKIBBON: We were in the car. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: So, it’s a drive in? FRANCES MCKIBBON: It’s a drive in. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Yellow Jackets [unintelligible] FRANCES MCKIBBON: Uh-huh. And she said yes and cranked the car up, because at the time you had to run the battery. And I was flipping the dials trying to find some music, and mother said “leave that alone, that’s the news; I want to hear what the weather is going to be.” And suddenly when we were sitting there they were talking about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And mother said “what?!” And my friend – I remember Mary asking “where’s Pearl Harbor?” Because you had heard of it but we really didn’t know exactly where it was. But then mother said “hurry up and eat; I want to get home.” And as soon as she got home my grandmother said “Marjorie, do you know that they have bombed Pearl Harbor?” And mother said “yes, I want to hear on the radio.” And so, she sat up – she made me go to bed, but she sat up a good while listening to the reports that were coming from Washington and through Pearl Harbor. And then the next day when we went to school of course all of us knew what had happened by then. Mr. McElwaine, who was our principal came on the intercom and said “I want all of you to report to the auditorium, there will be a special assembly.” And we thought oh gosh, now what? And when we got in there he told us that we were to sit very quietly because we were going to hear the President declare war or ask for a declaration of war. And everybody – you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. And I remember sitting there thinking I don’t think I’m hearing what I’m hearing, but I heard Roosevelt ask Congress to declare war against Japan and Germany. And it gave you a real weird feeling. And the whole day was just very somber. Very few people had anything to say. And the boys in our graduating class were 16, some of them were 17, some of them lied about their age and joined the service. And one boy who had graduated the year – two years ahead of me, was also a very good friend of our family’s, he joined the Air Force and the Navy and trained in Pensacola and then went to San Diego and from there went out to the Pacific. And he served in the Pacific only six months and his plane was shot down, and they never knew what happened after that. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Do you remember his name? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Ray White. I remember – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Ray White? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Uh-huh, I remember it very clearly. And he was the only child. That’s what was so bad. And everyone who had members of their family in the services hung the stars in the window. They were usually blue stars. And then when someone was killed it was always a gold star. And I remember going to the memorial service at our church for Ray and Mrs. White saying to my grandmother as we were walking out “I’ll never see him again.” And that was sad because it was her only child. She didn’t have any more. And in her window was that gold star, and it hung there until – I don’t remember when she took it down. It was there even after – LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: For a long time. FRANCES MCKIBBON: It was even there after the war was over. But that was the first real casualty that I knew anything about. Later on there were other people that I knew that either lost friends or family members in the war. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: If your uncle was in the service, did you have a star? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Yes, my aunt did. My aunt did. She got one and put it in the front window in the living room. And it stayed there until he came home and then she took it down. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Were there many stars up and down – FRANCES MCKIBBON: Oh yes, everywhere. Everywhere you would go there were stars because there were so many young men – in our graduating class there were two boys who were my age, 16, when we graduated and they lied about their age and said they were 18 and joined the Army. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Their names? FRANCES MCKIBBON: One of them was JB Elliott and the other one – gosh, I don’t remember what the others name was. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: That’s all right. FRANCES MCKIBBON: But they came home with no problems. They managed to escape any serious injury, but it just surprised me that the Army would take – but they needed men so desperately that they weren’t bothering to check on the ages. And JB lied like a trooper when he said he was 18. He was no more 18 than I was. But it was a very, I won’t say hard time, but you always in the back of your mind you were always wondering what was going to happen. We had every [unintelligible] on the streets for fear that we would be bombed. I remember my grandmother getting some black cloth and making black out curtains, which were never used. They stayed in her room and closet the whole time. But it was just that you felt like you needed to be prepared because you really weren’t sure of what was going to happen. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: You talked about growing up in Grove Park and at night sitting on the curbs. What about during the war? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Not during the war. Not during the war. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What were evenings like? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Usually you spent the time reading or visiting with people. Young, like I was, we would go to the school where they had dances and yet, you loved it and you enjoyed and you had a good time but you never could escape the war. It was always with you because you knew that some of the people that you were seeing would be leaving shortly to go to the war. And yet, we carried on as normal activities as we possibly could. I still went to movies, I still went shopping. I couldn’t buy anything because there was nothing to buy. I remember taking make up and putting it on my legs and then my aunt drawing a line up the back of my legs to make it look like hose because silk stockings were all we wore. We didn’t have nylons, and they just didn’t have anything like that. We were rationed on shoes, and when I went to college mother bought me two pair, one for every day and one for dress. She said “now, these have to last you for four years so you take care of them.” They didn’t last me for four years. I had to get some new every day shoes, but the dress shoes did last for four years. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: What did the shoes look like? FRANCES MCKIBBON: The loafers that I wear today are similar to the loafers that I wore then. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: Penny loafers? FRANCES MCKIBBON: Penny loafers, uh-huh. And saddle locks, which we wore saddle locks. That was the second pair of everyday shoes that I [unintelligible] saddle locks. And the dress shoes were just plain shoes but they had much higher heels than I wear today. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: They were dark, sensible shoes? FRANCES MCKIBBON: No, no. I think mine were navy. That is dark but it was not sensible. LILLIAN GANTSOUDES: [LAUGHTER] FRANCES MCKIBBON: I’m trying to think. I think it had a bow on it. I don’t really remember. Gosh, I hadn’t thought about that in years. But the clothing – my mother made a lot of my clothing, she and my grandmother together, because clothing was so scarce and so e

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