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Ford ,Liz and Ford, Reena A.
Ford transcript, 1 of 1
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UH - Houston History Project. Ford ,Liz and Ford, Reena A. - Ford transcript, 1 of 1. June 18, 2008. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 2, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/979/show/978.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

UH - Houston History Project. (June 18, 2008). Ford ,Liz and Ford, Reena A. - Ford transcript, 1 of 1. Oral Histories from the Houston History Project. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/979/show/978

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

UH - Houston History Project, Ford ,Liz and Ford, Reena A. - Ford transcript, 1 of 1, June 18, 2008, Oral Histories from the Houston History Project, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 2, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory/item/979/show/978.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Ford ,Liz and Ford, Reena A.
Creator (LCNAF)
  • UH - Houston History Project
Interviewer (LCNAF)
  • Phaneuf, Victoria
Date June 18, 2008
Description Michele Coats of the Jackson County Planning Department recommended that I talk to Liz Ford. She is a descendant of one of the early families in Pascagoula and a member of the Historical Society. We arranged to meet at her mother Reena Ford's house. It's currently a MEMA cottage just north of Beach Blvd. The original house was on the boulevard, but it was destroyed in Katrina. We snacked on pizza and some wine while we talked. They discuss the changes of the shipbuilding industry in their town of Pascagoula. Reena’s mother was from a family of seamen, and her father was from a family of lawyers. While she was growing up her father was a sea captain who worked with sailing vessels that transported mostly lumber to Havana. Reena grew up near shipyards and harbors, so she was very knowledgeable about the changes within the industry over the years and the trade of goods with countries in South America. Other industry in the area was lumber, seafood, and a few factories. Both women told stories about residents of Pascagoula and their experiences in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Reena discussed the boom of shipbuilding in the area during WWII, the role of women in the workforce during this time, and the influx of foreigners. During the Depression smaller shipyards closed because there was less demand for shipbuilding with the decline of the lumber industry.
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Energy development
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • Ford ,Liz
  • Ford, Reena A.
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
Genre (AAT)
  • interviews
Language English
Format (IMT)
  • audio/mp3
  • application/pdf
Original Item Location ID 2006-005, Box 12, HHA 00702
Original Collection Oral Histories - Houston History Project
Original Collection URL http://archon.lib.uh.edu/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=231
Digital Collection Oral Histories from the Houston History Project
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/houhistory
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the "About" page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Ford transcript, 1 of 1
Date June 18, 2008
Original Collection Oral Histories – Houston History Project http://archon.lib.uh.edu/index.php?p=collections/controlcard&id=231
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the "About" page of this website.
File name hhaoh_201207_322c.pdf
Transcript HHA# 00702 Page 1 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 1 Houston History Archives VP040 and VP121 Liz and Reena Ford June 18, 2008 Pascagoula, MS Type: mp3 Interviewer: Victoria Phaneuf Transcriber: Devon Robbie Editor: Lauren Penney Ethnographic Preface: Michele Coats of the Jackson County Planning Department recommended that I talk to Liz Ford. She is a descendant of one of the early families in Pascagoula and a member of the Historical Society. We arranged to meet at her mother Reena Ford's house. It's currently a MEMA cottage just north of Beach Blvd. The original house was on the boulevard, but it was destroyed in Katrina. We snacked on pizza and some wine while we talked. They discuss the changes of the shipbuilding industry in their town of Pascagoula. Reena’s mother was from a family of seamen, and her father was from a family of lawyers. While she was growing up her father was a sea captain who worked with sailing vessels that transported mostly lumber to Havana. Reena grew up near shipyards and harbors, so she was very knowledgeable about the changes within the industry over the years and the trade of goods with countries in South America. Other industry in the area was lumber, seafood, and a few factories. Both women told stories about residents of Pascagoula and their experiences in the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Reena discussed the boom of shipbuilding in the area during WWII, the role of women in the workforce during this time, and the influx of foreigners. During the Depression smaller shipyards closed because there was less demand for shipbuilding with the decline of the lumber industry. TRANSCRIPTION Interviewer Initials: [VP] Interviewee Initials: [LF] and [RF] RF: There were all kinds of shipbuilding places here. You know, for barges, tugboats. VP: Now were there any along the beach here or was it all up that road? On the… RF: All those things-HHA# 00702 Page 2 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 2 Houston History Archives [Brief Inaudible, simultaneous banter between LF and RF] RF: This was residential [Inaudible]. Mother and daddy bought our house when I was what, six years- nine years old. LF: [Inaudible] RF: Mmhm. [Pause] VP: And was that where this is? RF: [Inaudible] VP: Okay. LF: This was my father's. This lot was my dad’s daddy. My bro-, his father had got the property back in something like nineteen four, as a summer home. And they lived in town and my Grandmother Ford, she used to pack four children and move three miles south for the summer. Pack four children and take the train from [Inaudible] North Carolina instead and they used this as a rent house. And when mama was growing up this was a rent house and it wasn’t ‘til after she and daddy married and they decided they wanted to make their permanent home here instead of in town. VP: That’s great. RF:Well I had my choice. The house in town, and it was a beautiful house, had a big yard and a big car garage and everything. By where he lived [Clears throat] ‘scuse me. He owned a piece of property up on the River Road, that was a nice little community. And he and his uncle had bought the old fort, and so that was another choice I had. It's a good thing that we d-, I didn't ,decide I wanted to live there because there wouldn't have been any old fort left ‘cause the [Inaudible], that didn't mean a thing to me. LF: It would’ve meant a lot to daddy. RF: And so we decided well we’d live down here. ‘Cause I'd been on the water all my life and I wanted to, well up on the lake, both of those other places were you know on the lake and… LF: River. RF: Mouth of the river. [Inaudible] [Chuckles] VP: It's a gorgeous location. RF: What?HHA# 00702 Page 3 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 3 Houston History Archives VP: It’s gorgeous. RF: Mmhm. I LOVE the water. After the hurricane my sister went up to Bay Towers and the children asked me if I didn’t want to go up there and rent an apartment basically on Market Street. [Coughs] I said if y’all really want to get rid of me, I'll die in a week up there, so I'll just wade out in the water until it goes over my head after that! [Laughs] So they let me stay. [All chuckle] VP: So has your family been involved with boats ever since? LF: More or less. Her brother- [Inaudible, RF starts talking] Mmhm. RF: He's a master seaman. But he’s retired, that and a couple other things he did. [Pause] But I- LF: Momma's family has always been seamen on both sides of her family and then on my dad's family there was one segment of ‘em that dealt with water. [LF and RF chuckle] The rest w-, are lawyers. VP: [Inaudible] LF: And didn't have direct, any direct contact with the shipyard, other than the fact that daddy was Ingalls attorney, back when it was Ingalls, before it was Litton, he was their attorney. You know, and that was one of many of his clients. [Inaudible, laughing] It wasn’t, look like it is today. It was [Inaudible], you have these legal spats and everything, you know, past the thousands, it was, he just, he in his office in town. But uh- RF: But then when he, uh, later on when it grew, he was still their- LF: Attorney. RF: Attorney. Mmhm. LF: But I say that he was never, he was on a retainer, but was never employed at the shipyard. RF: Mmhm. A retainer. LF: Yeah. [Pause] But, even so, we all grew up with the ships, just watching ‘em you know. You know, like even when [Inaudible]. Long before the harbor had really developed and once a year there would be a lugger ship would come in from South America to come up to the veneer mill to just-, or [Inaudible]. We’d get to [Inaudible] would sit on the beach and watch the ship come in. [All laugh] VP: Great. Now was there a lot of commerce with Cuba? LF: Yeah, uh huh. HHA# 00702 Page 4 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 4 Houston History Archives RF: With what? LF: Fact, at the turn of the century of the last century, this was a big lumber port. We had, you know, all the southern pine and this was a really big lumber port and a lot of the commerce went with lumber luggers from here to Cuba. And one of my favorite stories, had I been the [Inaudible] instead of momma [Laughing, overlapping speech, inaudible words]. A coupla years ago we were doin’ som-, research about the year nineteen four. And this lady called me about a particular house that’s still standing out on Live Oak. And she said her fath-, grandfather had built the house because at the time he was deputy sheriff and if you were deputy sheriff you had to live within five miles of the courthouse and the jail. So even though they lived, had a house in Moss Point, he built this house in Pascagoula. And umm, the Spanish American War, her uncle was underage but, and he ran off to join the Navy. And they, he sailed, this is with, you know [Inaudible] just a little bit. And he sailed with the navy on a ship to Cuba, well before they got to Cuba they found out he was somethin’ like 15 years old. So [Chuckling] they put him off in Havana. So he walked down to the waterfront and he found a Captain Green from Moss Point, who was down there dischargin’ lumber. And so he, uh, talked to Captain Green and Captain Green said yes he’d give him a ride home. [All laugh] So he came back from Havana and Captain Green let him off at the foot of Live Oak Street and he walked home [All laughing] during the Spanish American War. It's just such a wonderful story! VP: It really is. [All laugh] It’s like whoops, I got marooned in Cuba. Whoops. LF: In those days these were all small communities and everybody knew everybody and the people here, the seafaring people, that’s always been a colony among themselves too and they all knew one another, and if they didn’t, I think if they didn’t know, Billy who [Hesitates] this person’s name, but they certainly knew his grandfather, you know! VP: Now when you lived here growing up, how big was the town? RF: The town? Well, this was Pascagoula and Scranton was up there. LF: And you were [Inaudible]. RF: Oh yeah then- LF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech] RF: But, I don't guess it was quite as big as it is now- LF: [Chuckling] No I wouldn’t. RF: But it seemed big. [All laugh] We did have a street car then. It came down Pascagoula Street and came down our back street. And under that blacktop that's out there now, I don't think, I know up until that day it’d been blacktop before and old cross ties was there. But when they did HHA# 00702 Page 5 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 5 Houston History Archives it the last time, I’m not sure, whether they, but I think they’re still under. VP: Maybe. RF: But it came down, went down to the beach park that was down here, big deal then. And there was a great big pavilion that had a wide porch all the way around. And, it was covered, and no sides on it though. And in the center there was a big square that was blocked off and it, the um, they had dances down there and things like that. And the ticket entran-, the entrance ticket cubicle was still there until Katrina, my goodness. LF: The house was too. RF: The house was- LF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech] RF: Had a WIDE, wide porch all the way around. It was a pretty building. But Katrina wanted it too. Wanted a lotta things [Chuckling] it was real selfish. VP: True, unfortunately. Do you remember how many shipyards there were in town when you were growin’ up? RF: Mmhm. Dantzler and they were all, I can’t even remember the names of ‘em. They were all along the river. D'Angelo was in Moss Point, Cordovan in Pascagoula, and uh. LF: [Inaudible] still in business then? RF: Well, I don’t remember when [Inaudible] out. Then Ingalls came and took over. [Laughs] Building ships. But there was a lot of shipyards here and, uh, coal yards. On the river there were a number of shipyards and Cordovan's built some, some barges and then they built some ships. They built our sailboat. [Pause] I've forgotten the names of [Chuckles]- LF: And the Krebs were building. RF: Uh huh, Krebs, mmhm. And they also had- LF: And Flecher had. RF: And Flechers, mmhm. LF: There were a lot of small shipyards. Then during World War One you have a couple of larger, because that was when the thir-, which, we talked, we gave you that wonderful information. And was there, the uh, International and then you also had another large one, Dantzler had a big, big shipyard. And then, at the end of World War One-HHA# 00702 Page 6 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 6 Houston History Archives RF: [Inaudible] LF: Uh huh. But it was just, you know everything just stopped. VP: Yeah. Now did the Dantzlers start out doing stuff with the war or did they start out doing oil? LF: Lumber. Yeah, they go way back. Oil is a more recent thing. [Chuckles] RF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech] They took lumber places, and somewhere in the tropics, Antigua, and, you know, places like that. And they brought back sugar. VP: Okay. RF: That’s what’s usually the uh…ooh. [RF and VP laugh] [Discussion about the pizza] LF: But Dantzler had a big lumber mill and everything, and then they went to shipbuilding and in fact they built ships originally just to carry [Inaudible]. [Phone ringing] Oh- RF: [Chuckles] They built barges, tugboats. LF: The original [Inaudible], well that was in New Orleans were primarily built with lumber from here. VP: Oh, I didn’t know that. LF: And also the Panama Canal. There was a BIG track between here and the Panama Canal and in fact [Inaudible] came from [Inaudible], that’s another real interesting story where he had been, was from France and was a doctor down in Pa-, uh, in Panama during the building of the canal and was one of ‘em that helped determine that it was mosquitoes that caused yellow fever and he ended up in Pascagoula and he le-, and his family in Turin had shipbuilding, they had the c-, [Inaudible] factories which was another offspring during the ‘20s and ‘30s. And uh, there were quite a few who had factories- [Inaudible, overlapping speech] RF: My conviction was, when I was a child Cordovan's built barges for my daddy and we'd go up there all the time, you know, part of their routine. [Chuckles] And the ladies there were picking crab meat and things like that. That was the height of my ambition. [Chuckles] LF: I thought it was to decorate the…decoys. RF: The decoys too, they made the decoy duck. VP: Now, did the women paint them?HHA# 00702 Page 7 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 7 Houston History Archives LF: Uhhm. Hand painted. You can find ‘em- RF: Gitmo has a whole cupboard up in the attic with [Inaudible] duck. LF: They come up on eBay occasionally and they’re what, not just the fourth and fifth [Inaudible] that had the decoy- RF: Well you [Inaudible, overlapping speech] LF: They had decoys, but you, but there’s particularly fine ones now and they go for big prices online, like eBay. Now, Joe Bosco wrote a very interesting book on the Pascagoula decoys. If you haven’t seen the book? Nobody’s mentioned it until right now! [Laughs] But it gives us a history and quite a bit about all of the decoys and photographs and stuff of mo-, you know, some that you can find in everything, but it’s a real good coffee table book that's interesting if you know what. [Laughs] VP: If you know what you are lookin’ at. LF: Oh, yeah, uh huh. It’s a familiar thing, you know, when it’s somethin’ local you have a tendency to pay more attention to it. RF: The pictures were pretty of the ducks in it. LF: Uh huh. Yeah. VP: Well now- LF: But that I guess would be an offshoot of some of the shipbuilding because there was somethin’ else to put people to work. [Chuckles] VP: So what were the main places that people worked back then? Were, there were the shipyards and the decoy factories, and the lumber industry. LF: And the seafood. VP: And the seafood. Okay. [Pause] LF: Mmhm. Excuse me. [Pause] With the research I've done, you know, that all of those created other things, like you had the hotels and you had the um, not the- RF: There were several hotels. LF: Not so many restaurants, but you had-HHA# 00702 Page 8 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 8 Houston History Archives RF: All of these [Inaudible, overlapping speech]. LF: Boarding houses and uh, when I say rustic, they were rustic for the travelers, not for people that, here in town, I don’t think people in town went out- RF: We didn’t go out [Inaudible, overlapping speech] LF: That wasn’t a thing to do, uh huh. But, you know, and the barber shop and the pharmacist and the so forth and so on, so. [Chuckles] VP: Now when people were movin’ into town to come to work at the shipyards, or when they came into work at Ingalls during the war, where did they live? RF: [Chuckles] The shipyard during World War One? LF: No. RF: Two? LF: Two. RF: Two. They built houses for ‘em. A little section up here a little ways that was just nothin’ but those houses. LF: Yeah. And you can count [Inaudible] too. Okay, so that, yeah. But they also, before the houses were built, people were coming in here by the droves, you know to work. And there wa-, and there were like twenty-five hundred people and here all of a sudden there’s 5,000 at the shipyard you know, so to speak, and then what, and you'd hear the stories they used to talk about, you had the warm beds, where the same bed would be rented to three different people, because they were runnin’ three shifts at the. [Chuckling] You know, you’d get up, the guy in the next place would come in and go to sleep, when he got up, the third, like that. You know, and it wasn’t a case of people tryin’ to take up money, you know, make money fast, it was simply to have some- RF: To give them a place to sleep. LF: To sle-, to sleep and you read the old newspaper articles where they’re askin’ anyone that has a spare bed to please call, you know, and this typa thing. RF: And real often there were people sleepin’ on the street, that would come in and didn’t have a place to go, there wasn't anywhere to go. VP: And were they working? LF: Mmhm.HHA# 00702 Page 9 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 9 Houston History Archives RF: Came in to work and- VP: Okay. LF: [Inaudible]. VP: Well that’s not a new thing, I mean I know- LF: Uh uh. VP: That since Katrina it’s- LF: Uh huh. RF: Oh yes. VP: It’s been hard to find places to house the people that wanna work at the yards. LF: Uh huh. RF: There was a lotta rooming houses. VP: There were? RF: Uh huh. And they served meals and had roomers, you know and they…it’s not workin’? [Discussion about the fan and temperature] LF: But anyway, it’s not, you know, housing I think was a problem then and then the [Inaudible] administration came in and built like 5,000 houses. And they built ‘em very well because quite a few of ‘em are still around. But now in addition to those houses, they had barracks. RF: [Inaudible]- LF: Like, looked like barracks. Bomb barracks. And, you know, they went all the way down Market Street. These barracks and that's where people lived in up until…probably the mid ‘50s or so. And a lotta people after the war was over left, but some of ‘em stayed. RF: And a lotta came back, didn’t they, after. LF: Uh huh. RF: You know when the Navy, they were building ships at the shipyard during World War Two and afterwards, you know, it was still a going business. And people would come here with the HHA# 00702 Page 10 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 10 Houston History Archives Navy and they fussed about Pascagoula, oh, they didn’t like Pascagoula, the whole time they were here, you know, they were very negative. They left and nearly all of ‘em came back. [All laugh] [Inaudible, laughing] Any number of ‘em. I had a lotta friends that, I made friends with people and [Clears throat] they were always, somethin’was wrong with Pascagoula. And I wanted to tell ‘em, “Well, just leave if you don't like it.” [LF laughs] But their husbands were transferred or somethin’. When they retired, I mean like [Inaudible] [Laughs] and they’re here now. LF: Those that haven’t passed on. RF: Yeah. [Chuckles] All their children are here [Inaudible, overlapping speech]- LF: Yeah their children are here, huh. And their grandchildren. RF: Exactly. LF: See, that’s what I told Tory, she’s gonna get sand between her toes too. [All laugh] RF: Just walk on the beach or in the muddy water. [Pause] VP: Now were there a lot of jobs for women back? LF: There what? VP: Were there a lot of jobs for women? You mentioned that women were painting the decoys. LF: Yeah, and then, the welders- RF: During the war women were welding, you know the men were gone. LF: And that's when they started, when the shipyard cranked up. Then like…Frances Leatherberry was one of the first employ-, a secretary you know- RF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech]- LF: And that’s when women I think really entered the workforce. And it was like that I think all over the country though. You know that they were taking up positions that men would have done before. And, you know, and they were draftsmen, that typa thing. You know that- RF: My sister-in-law was a draftsman. [RF and LF laugh] She was with, I’ve forgotten the name of the comp-, Marine… LF: She went, she worked in Mobile, but she was a commercial artist. And then- RF: She was started, but she went with the company that was doing-HHA# 00702 Page 11 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 11 Houston History Archives LF: Then she went out during the war to Mobile for [Inaudible], I believe. And then when the war was over she was asked to stay, you know, they were layin’ off people down at the company and she didn’t because of the fact, I can remember her tellin’ us that she said, you know, that there were men coming home from the war that had families to support, you know, and then she went back into doing her commercial art in New Orleans, which is where she had been before. She went over and did that, but that’s just one example and I think that there were a lot of women that entered the workforce then, though, before the war got married, they were- RF: Secretaries. LF: And, no, but I could say, no, before the war they were uh, primarily the women that worked were the women who were trying to put food on the table, and they worked in the shrimp factories, the seafood factories and- RF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech]. LF: Or the decoy factory, things like that. And then during the war it opened up new opportunities for ‘em and, now this is all just stuff I've read [Chuckling] I don’t know [Inaudible] you know, just reading the history here you know and- RF: [Inaudible]. LF: Uh huh. And then before, you know, you did have teachers that taught, you know, and there were teachers and nurses, but there wasn’t a whole lot. RF: We had an old colored woman that was cooking [Inaudible]. And uh, she had a big family, grandchildren mainly [Chuckles] that she was taking care of and she went to work at the crab factory in the mornin’ before the day and picked crabs, went home, took a bath, and came to work at our house and worked all day, or most of the day. So after, well sometime in the late afternoon. But she was a colored woman, but I mean there were white people there pickin’ crabs at the same time, but she just happened to be one that we got that was very good help, oh, she was a wonderful cook. LF: But the seafood factories, in the ‘20s and ‘30s, on the coast, I don’t know if you’ve found this yet, but not, was equivalent probably to the mills on the east coast that you read about, where children go to work. You know, thi-, really small ages and everything. And go out in back and you can find [Inaudible] the Library of Congress in photographs and they’ve got a LOTTA photographs of seafood factories and children that worked there. So I think a lot of that was probably the equivalent to the… VP: The big mills? LF: The big mills, uh huh. And that was during the Depression and in that interval between World War One and World War Two, particularly. Now after that, after World War Two, you HHA# 00702 Page 12 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 12 Houston History Archives know, I think nearly everyone financially was improved to some extent and then the importance of education was more realized, instead of dropping out at nine to go work at, you know, h-. Had some on that Library of Congress was a pitiful, pitiful sight. And they'd give ages and names and stuff, and these all taken by the WPA workers in the late ‘30s. And I felt so sad. [Chuckles] Just your heart goes out to ‘em. RF: They rea-, the WPA workers really worked. LF: [Inaudible]. RF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech]. VP: Now wha- RF: And it's wonderful that they did and it’s recorded now. VP:What sorta projects did the WPA do around here, do you know? RF: Now? LF: No, what did they do here. I don’t know. They did, you had I think you had more of the, of art and photographers and yah had the artists and you had um, writers here. There weren’t any WPA projects as such, that I know of, and I’ve never heard of any, but there’s a mural, when the por-, when the uh, new post office was finished, there was a mural with the WP-, there’s a WPA mural of the Singing River Indians that was in the old post office. And then when the new post office was built it was moved to that post office. And then when Katrina took care of that, it was taken down and put in storage, but they have it to put up in a special place for it in the new one. And uh, it's not a really, really good painting, but the fact that it's a WPA painting has added importance to it now. And every so often, they’ll, I'll get an email or a phone call from somebody checking on it, where is it, what’s the status, and they wanna come look at it and stuff like that! [Chuckling] You know, there's this whole cult I think growing around WPA murals and things. But then you have a lot of um, photographs that they did. You know, a lotta photography. But, you know, they, and then they, like I said, and then they wrote. And they took a lot of oral histories and that type of thing that I had never heard ‘em, but I understand they’re outstanding, that they really, you know. VP: [Inaudible]. LF: Mmhm. [Slight pause] The closest WPA project itself I've ever heard of is Citronelle, Alabama, it’s a girl’s scout camp [Chuckling] that they built and it was a WPA camp, you know. And I think maybe they did the boy scout camp, well over in Biloxi and stuff, maybe that, you know, but- RF: They did something around here but I don’t remember what it was. [Slight pause] Maybe gone now, somethin’ else built on it. [Chuckles] But Pascagoula has a long history.HHA# 00702 Page 13 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 13 Houston History Archives LF: I think Tory’s found that out. [Laughing] She hasn’t found the ending yet, but [Laughs]. VP: [Inaudible, overlapping speech]. RF: [Inaudible, name] was from here, I was trying to think of that- LF: No, David Farragut, RF: Yeah, Farragut, Farragut. LF: And a lot of the family was from Mobile. RF: [Inaudible] [Chuckles] Now they lived up on- LF: [Inaudible]. RF: And then some of ‘em lived up on- LF: In Gautier. RF: [Inaudible] [Long Pause] There’s an old story about David Farragut [Inaudible] but I don’t remember- LF: Oh, what, but it may be more legend than truth. [Chuckles] During the Civil War and he was like an [Inaudible] and he was an admiral in the US Army. And he came to capture Pascagoula and his helmsman was…a Martin from Pascagoula, and old buddies. They came and he arrived at the front of the, you know the mouth of the river and everybody rode came up and said, “Hi. How’s the weather? Come on up and have a fish fry.” [All laugh] And then the helmsman who’s from here, and his family still, like a lot of the families still here, had the same received uh, the Congressional Medal of Honor and uh, for, during Wor-, during the Civil War. From the, you know, for the Battle of Mobile. And that’s floatin’ around town somewhere. [Chuckles] But he's the one that said, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” That was his claim to fame. [Laughs] [Pause] RF: There's a war cemetery where a lot of the soldiers were buried down in Greenwood, on Greenwood Island. LF: Yeah, yeah that’s Greenwood Island and that, well actually that was uh…army base, this was back before the Civil War and the Spanish American War. Back then, back. RF: Oh yeah. LF: And that’s [Inaudible] were more out there that you could see, the shapes of all [Inaudible]. But they thought they had moved ‘em all and reburied them over in the national cemetery in HHA# 00702 Page 14 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 14 Houston History Archives Biloxi, but they didn’t. And also down between Beach Park and Longfellow House is a cemetery from the infirmary that was there. [Slight pause] But this was all long ago. [All laugh] VP: There are houses there now- LF: Yeah, yeah. VP: And have been for a while. LF: Like a whi-, uh huh, like quite a while. [Laughs] This lady that keeps callin’ me from California that is doin’ a lot of research for General, on General Grant, and she keeps calling about, she keeps finding things about General Grant in Pascagoula. And she wants to know, you know, and he did this debate, and, you know, this army post and she wants to know what else he did here, and I don't know! [Laughs] ‘Cause I do know that he was here. General Grant was not a really, uh, shall we say, the most well-liked person! [Laughs] And I think anything that he might have done has been lost in oblivion, you know, because of that. But, anyway, she still find out I’m sure, she’s determined. [All laugh] But you were gonna ask me some-, uh, ask mama somethin’ and? VP: Oh, I was gonna ask about what used to be the where the East Bank is now? RF: Oh- LF: Okay. Yeah, International Shipyard and before International Shipyard, a house named Aida Villa. [RF brings out cookies and brief conversation] LF: Villa Aida, built uh, by a gentleman in New Orleans, who was a well known merchant, a shoe merchant. And it was named [Inaudible] Aida and they had no children. And you find old [Inaudible] who, you know, there wonderful uh…club, you know, beautiful and, you know, the newspapers. RF: [Inaudible]. LF: Uh huh, [Inaudible]. But, and then he died and then she died a few years later and left the property to her only nephew, who was kinda a ne’er do well and he went through the funds very, very quickly and it was sold at auction, and then sold again at auction. Yeah, this type of thing, and the property, it went all the way from- RF: [Inaudible]. LF: No, no thank you. RF: It’s cold. HHA# 00702 Page 15 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 15 Houston History Archives LF: [Inaudible] from uh, where Pascagoula Street is back Ingalls and from about, Fourth Avenue is where it started, back. And that’s, and they uh, in the early…1900s, they uh, the property was subdivided and they sold the subdivision lots on Pascagoula Street for housing then. But, and then later for a short time it was a dairy-, I just looked up, a [Inaudible, chuckling] on Aida not long ago, that’s why I could tell you that. And then the- RF: [Inaudible, chuckles] LF: The bag factory was there and they worked in conjunction with International Paper Mill in Moss Point. And then after the bag factory, International Shipyard was there. And then uh, oh and for some time they had a seafood processing plant. VP: Yeah. LF: So there were different things there. And then, I think, uh…after the uh… RF: [Inaudible] LF: After the bag factory, I’m sorry, I could have [Inaudible] chronology wrong and the bag factory was AFTER International Shipyard left. And then the bag factory there and then Ingalls came in and [Slight pause, chuckles] and it’s there. VP:When Ingalls came in, was it all of what is now the East Bank or was it only part of it? Do you remember? LF: Oh, I don't know. RF: What was what? LF: Was Ingalls, when they came, did they use ALL of the East Bank or just part of it? Now, there’s a little bayou there on the north end called Bayou Casotte and on the other side of that there’s another yard- RF: Big shipyard. LF: Which, the Arnold V. Walker shipyard. That actually it was Litton that bought it and they probably sometime in the mid ‘60s, and they bought [Inaudible] and that extended ‘em a little bit further to the north. But other than that, there about I really don’t know. I know that they changed the configuration where the harbor is that used to be further up [Inaudible]. You'd see old maps and old photographs, and the ships are in different spots now and they [Chuckling], you know, and so, and, and through the years I think that they've extended further and further south by filling in marsh areas. But, uh, Ingalls Avenue definitely, ‘cause that was the main gate, but you can see, in fact there was one on eBay the other day, an old photograph that was for sale, [Inaudible] postcard [Inaudible], and showed the workers going in the shipyard, the main gate, HHA# 00702 Page 16 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 16 Houston History Archives and the main gate looks just like it does now, except, well it, yeah, ‘cause they put up the new fence [Inaudible] covering it up, but until then it looked just like it does. [Chuckles] [Discussion about cork screw and price of cork screws today] VP: Now did you go to school here in Pascagoula? RF: Mobile was my home. I went to school, a little private school until it closed. The man that had it, he'd had a boys school, military school, in Mobile for years. And there was a, some, three maiden sisters that had a girl's private school. And they [Pause] their brother went to Texas and made it big, so he brought his three sisters that had the girl’s private school to Texas where he lived. And so then, Mister Wright that had the boy’s school, that had a military school for years, he wanted girl’s school but he said as long as the Misses [Inaudible] had their school he would not open a school in competition. So their brother made it rich in Texas and he convinced them that’s where he, that they were supposed to come, so they closed the school one fall. And Mister Wright opened the girls’ school that spring. Anyway, you know, lots of time. And uh, it was just a block and a half from our house, but the girls’ school was just a block and a half in another direction. [All chuckle] But anyway, they went to Texas and he opened a school as soon as they said that they were retiring. And so I went there until, from the day it opened ‘til the day it closed. In Mister Wright had, in his will, he had said that the girls’ school was his school and when he died, it was to close, it wasn’t to go on. Now there’s still Wright's Military School for the Boys in Mobile but- LF: There’s a Wright’s girl’s school now, but they don’t- RF: Now, now there’s another one, but that’s not the original. LF: But when she was six her family bought the house next door as a summer home, so she so she spent all of her summers here and weekends during the winter. And you could [Inaudible] traveling from Mobile to Pascagoula [Chuckling] in the early teens. [Laughs] Or in the mid-teens, the ‘20s. You packed a lunch? RF: We had to stop halfway to P-, ‘bout halfway to Pascagoula and it was all gravel and dirt roads. Andthere was a vacant big piece of property that had a stump, a tree stump, a pretty big tree uh, down, you know, it was, and it was just the right height for a table or to sit on or somethin’. So we'd stop, we’d have our lunch and we’d stop there and eat and then come to [Chuckling] Pascagoula. VP: Now how long would it take you to drive over on the old road? RF: Ooh, I don't know ‘cause we’d stopped halfway and we done, but it was a long trip. LF: If they’d to packed a lunch. RF: My grandfather, when he first came to Pascagoula, would rent a horse and buggy to Grand HHA# 00702 Page 17 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 17 Houston History Archives Bay and then change and get another one on in to Mobile. And so it was a long trip then. [Chuckles] VP: Yeah. Did a lot of people from Mobile have summer houses here? RF: Not many, uh uh. Uh uh. Most of ‘em were on Mobile Bay, across from Fairhope. And uh, we spent one summer over at Fairhope before they bought the house in Pascagoula to see how they liked it. They liked it fine, but the only way to get across Mobile Bay was by ferry. Mother didn't drive a car. And that's the way the cars went too, you know, you had. So she decided she wasn't goin’ to be left on one side of the bay with two small children and daddy'd be in Mobile. You know, ‘cause he was comin’ to Mobile- LF: If the weather got bad. RF: If the weather was bad, you know, she'd be stuck over there and he’d be over in Mobile. So they decided, uh, and they knew Pascagoula, ‘cause we had, they had spent a lot of time. Like we told ya, I came the first time when I was six weeks old or somethin’ like that. And they had friends here and daddy always had a [Inaudible] having a barge built or something like that. So we were in Pascagoula a lot. And, so they had decided the beach wasn't really a wonderful beach, it was better than it is now. But anyway uh, everybody was going to Biloxi down that way so. They, we rode up and down the beach over there and mom said, “I’m not bringin’ two children over here that has to go across that highway to get to water.” So that settled it. They came back and they had been lookin’ round, looked at all the houses that were vacant or for sale or something, and there was somethin’wrong with nearly every one of ‘em. But all of a sudden there was a house that became available at night, and we were still down here, they were lookin’, or had been lookin’, we were goin’ back to Mobile the next day. And somebody called and told the lady we were stayin’ with at the boarding house, that they, they knew that we were lookin’. And so, said this house was coming on the market, that the man was a cotton planter up in the delta and that year the cotton crop had failed and his son was livin’ down here, his no good son [Chuckling] as they called him, ‘cause he didn’t work and his father was takin’ care of him. And he was livin’ in the house. So they said that the house was gonna be available. So, well the day they looked at it, daddy wrote out the check [Chuckling] and the house was ours. They left their chickens with us, they had chickens in the yard, and we had chickens and ducks in Mobile. So they left [Chuckles] the chickens with us and [All chuckling] we brought ours down. And we moved right in. They left the furniture and everything. It was camp furniture, you know summer type, it was, some things that they’d had in the house, you know, excess furniture and all, they left it. So, and they also left a skiff. [Chuckling] That was included in the sale. LF: And then after mama and they both ended up marrying Pascagoula people, ma-maw and pop-pop finally moved to Pascagoula [Chuckling] and we got to grow up with our grandparents right next door, which very nice. Uh huh. We always had a refuge. [All laugh] RF: And I had a babysitter. [All laugh] Look, um, the children went back and forth to mother and daddy were on the corner there and then we wouldn't have to [Inaudible]. And so they can [Inaudible] between us and they could run. And children had a path all the way through to HHA# 00702 Page 18 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 18 Houston History Archives mother’s back door and our back door. But when they left our house, they’d call mother to tell her they were comin’. And when they got there, she called me to tell ‘em that they were there. [All chuckle] Because they could [Inaudible]. LF: Which was later property that mama and daddy bought it, it was later, you know. [Chuckles] We didn’t have yards, but it was [Inaudible] and that path still stayed there. [All laugh] RF: They were grown. [Chuckles] VP: Now what did your daddy do again? RF: Do what? LF: [Inaudible]- VP: What did your father do? LF: Pop-pop. RF: He was a sea captain, owned his own sailing vessel. And on two steamships when he retired. But he had sailing vessels, he had “The Rose Maria,” and “The Amy,” and “The Wayfarer.” [Chuckles] Sailing vessels. LF: But mainly primarily lumber luggers, they were carrying lumber from here to Havana. VP: And he had those built in town here? LF: Uh huh. RF: Most of ‘em. LF: Some were built in Mobile. RF: Well the barges, well, from Moss Point and here. Yeah, some were uh, Alabama Dry Dock built a couple of ‘em. VP: Do you know who he went to in town to have them built? LF: Yeah, he built them- RF:What- VP: Who did he go to here, to have ‘em built? RF: To have ‘em built? Oh, lot of carpenters around here and nearly all of ‘em were shipbuilders. HHA# 00702 Page 19 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 19 Houston History Archives LF: The Cordovan ships, uh huh. RF: They were shipbuilders and so- LF: The Cordovans. RF: The Cordovans and the D'Angelos, and…there was somebody else that built one but daddy didn't like it. [Chuckles] But he had a lot of barges too. [Slight pause] But he liked Pascagoula. He had come to Pascagoula, his home was in Cuba. And [Pause] there was a sea captain at that time that came back and forth to Cuba, you know. And my grandfather was in sugar plantation, in sugar business, and so he became well-acquainted with this man. And he fell in love with daddy. And so he asked daddy when they’d let him come back here because, to Moss Point it was ‘cause that’s where his ship sailed in central dock, to come with him that trip. And daddy, uh, granddaddy let him do it. And daddy went to school in Moss Point for one or two years. [Chuckles] LF: [Inaudible, chuckling] RF: [Inaudible, laughing] LF: He graduated from the naval school in England. VP: [Inaudible]. LF: He was born in Cuba but his name was Murphy. [All laugh] VP: That’s funny. So did his parents stay in Cuba? RF: Well, I knew his father, but his mother had died when he was very young, three years old I think it was. And when granddaddy married again, and I met h-, I knew her. And then…that was Granddaddy Murphy and Granddaddy [Inaudible] married in Mobile, he married a Mobile lady. He was from Maine. [Chuckles] LF: Yeah, mmhm. And his first had died or somethin’. RF: She died child-, at childbirth. LF: And then- RF: Then he married again. LF: That was when nana came to us. [Inaudible, overlapping speech] RF: [Inaudible]-HHA# 00702 Page 20 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 20 Houston History Archives LF: And then he married the sister and that’s wh- RF: Both my grandfathers married sisters. When one died [Chuckles] they married the other one. Mother’s father and daddy’s father. [LF chuckles] There was a lot of people- LF: [Inaudible]- RF: In those days, you know, families lived together and, uh, so they knew the whole family, you know. [LF and RF chuckle] [Pause] He got the wild tales to dream about. [All laugh] [Discussion between RF and LF about what topics are appropriate for the interview] VP: Now do you remember when Dantzler got into the offshore oil? I talked to a couple of people, but… LF: Oh. [Pause] I would say that it was in the early ‘60s. [Pause] I could be wrong. [Chuckles] RF: They were lumber people [Chuckling] they wasn’t really from around here. LF: Right, but, no, we [Inaudible] ‘bout the south now. RF: Yeah, but [Inaudible, overlapping speech] the family, the [Inaudible]. LF: Yeah right. But uh, ‘cause I was thinkin’ when Joe Farrah went to Australia and he was workin’ for Mister Allison, he went to Australia. And I think that was some time in the early ‘60s, but I could be wrong. [LF and VP chuckle] VP: And, now how did Dan-, is the Dantzlers a local family for a long time? LF: Yeah. Mmhm. RF: Mmhm. Uh, they were here in Moss Point, they had a big lumber yard and a shipyard, and they had a couple of them here. But there was one up at Griffin Point at the end of Main Street, right, you go through- LF: [Inaudible] road. RF: Across Lover's Lane, they called it. That was where the office was, at the end of it. I’ve forgotten where they [Inaudible], the Dantzler’s [Inaudible]. I somehow have forgotten. I know the first time I knew Al, he was [Inaudible] TB hospital in uh…well, it was up between here and [Inaudible, overlapping speech] sanitarium, uh huh. LF: But, I could say he did a lot of oil bits and [Inaudible] in Trinidad and [Inaudible]. And that was in the early ‘60s I know because when did, ‘cause Bob Kell was workin’ for him-HHA# 00702 Page 21 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 21 Houston History Archives RF: Uh huh. LF: And he was in Trinidad, and that’s when he married Joan- RF: He had a son. LF: And that was somewhere in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, so it coulda been say earlier beca-, now that you stop and think about it, it was probably a lot earlier than that, you know, that you didn’t know about it, but uh, so I think maybe it was earlier than that, so. VP: Okay. LF: I’m sorry that he’s no longer with us, that you couldn’t talk with him ‘cause he was a wonderful, wonderful person. RF: He really- LF: And he was so funny ‘cause he’d call on the phone and he’d tell you what he, you know, if he called and he’d ask you a question, okay [Inaudible], he say, “Okay.” And he’d hang the phone up, he never said good-bye, I mean [Inaudible, chuckling]. Oh! [All laugh] RF: His family had been very prominent in the lumber business. LF: Yeah. Mmhm. RF: They had a beautiful house down on Biloxi, Gulfport. LF: Mmhm. Biloxi, uh huh. RF: Beach. One of their homes. Mister Allison lived right there at the beach, yeah. LF: [Inaudible, chuckling] RF: Well, [Inaudible]- LF: Yeah, but I mean you’re talkin’ [Inaudible, chuckling and overlapping speech]. VP: Now did a lot of the shipyard owners and the lumber peop-, did they all live in the area or did they- RF: Mmhm. And a lot of those pretty homes in Moss Point are Dantzler-related, like those with all the gingerbread and all the big houses. LF: There's a house on the corner of…Morgan Lane and Freedom Street. It’s on the northeast HHA# 00702 Page 22 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 22 Houston History Archives corner. And that was a shipyard house. And it was owned by [Inaudible] I’ll think of it, it was a, and that was o-, you know, that was part of the property, ri-, I mean the shipyard was right there next to it and, the name has escaped me! [Chuckles] RF: [Inaudible]- LF: I [Inaudible, overlapping speech and laughing] now this is one of the uh, anyway. [Chuckles] [Pause] He was the owner of a shipyard up there and it’s another name, it’s no longer in exist-, I mean no, it’s not a family name here any longer and you don’t hear it that often and that’s why I can’t think of it. [Chuckles] VP: Now when did most of the smaller shipyards go out of business? LF: Probably during the Depression don’t you think? RF: I guess so, mmhm. ‘Cause it was tough around here. [Pause] Tough, Mobile too, ‘cause we were just down here in the summertime then, but our cook and the upstairs maid went, and mother told, when she told ‘em she said, “Now, I’m afraid I can’t pay you all, and so I don’t wanna let you go and as soon as I can I’ll.” “No ma’am, we’re gonna stay working.” Mother said, “Well, I can’t pay ya.” They said, “Yeah, but you do feeds us.” [VP and LF chuckle] And so they worked, she managed to pay ‘em a little bit. [Chuckles] But it was tough. I had a pair of white linen shoes, that was my good pair of shoes for the summer. [Chuckling] And uh, I had a date on a Sunday afternoon and it rained Sunday, and I got my shoes wet when I went to church and I was gonna have to wear ‘em that afternoon, I had a date. So I just puzzled what to do. We had a wood stove in the kitchen. So I took my shoes and put ‘em in the wood stove. It was ‘bout burned out then, you know, I mean the, what was in it, the coal, the wood, or whatever. And, but I felt well that’ll dry my shoes real quick so I can wear ‘em. I got ‘em out of the oven and put ‘em on, started to walk, and the soles cracked all into little chunks. VP: Ahh. RF: [Chuckling] That leather dried out! So I wore ‘em the rest of the summer with paste board in the soles! [RF and LF chuckle] I never will forget that, but I, I was so upset. [Inaudible]- LF: But, you know, a lot of the shipyards during the Depression, I think a lot of ‘em started, you know, bringin’ ‘em down ‘cause probably in twenty…between World War One and World War Two, because, you know, didn’t have the lumber, the lumber business was played out and you didn’t have the need for the ships or anything, you know. And I think that’s why, and they went more to small ships like a shrimp boat [Inaudible] or a fishin’ boat, you know, like that at the time. And not… VP: Now was the fishing industry big back then? RF: Mmhm. HHA# 00702 Page 23 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 23 Houston History Archives VP: Between the wars? RF: Well the biggest thing, and I’m gonna tell you [Inaudible], they had a like a shrimpin’ [Inaudibhle] at the depot. And then they’d take ‘em to New Orleans or wherever they were goin’, you know by train. And that, the [Chuckling] fish [Inaudible], the shrimping juice would- LF: They’d put, pack ‘em in ice. RF: Packed in ice. LF: And they smelled [Chuckles] RF: Oh! It was awful. And my sister-in-law lived in New Orleans and she came over by train on the weekends. And we'd just try to wait to the last second to get to the depot [All chuckle] wouldn’t have to sit there and wait, and if the train was late, oh! [Pause] But we had good train service in those days. VP: Now when were the first ice plants in town? RF: Oooh- LF: Back when [Inaudible, overlapping speech]- RF: When I was a child- LF: There was an ice plant in nineteen four, not before that even so, and that was for research and I was [Chuckles] RF:Well before mother and daddy bought the house here- LF: [Inaudible]. RF: We stayed up in Mo-, uh, Pascagoula at the ol’, one of the ol’Krebs' houses, boarding house. People who knew, mama and daddy knew had a boarding house. And uh, they were there then. There was an ice house before you got down quite to the edge of the, right on the river at the end of the block. LF: Pictures of that 1919, 1920, and they had been here 20 years before that because you had, uh, and they were even competing ice houses and stuff. [Chuckles] RF: And when mother and daddy bought the house over here, the ice man came around once a week. And we only got ice once a week. My cousins, who were about my age, spent a lot of time with us in the summer when we came down. And she didn't like the taste of the Pascagoula water, and it was [Slight pause] pretty strong then, it had a lot of sulfur in it. And, of course after you drank it for a coupla days you didn't even know it. But Marian would come down, you know, HHA# 00702 Page 24 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 24 Houston History Archives spend a few days with us, [Inaudible] couldn’t drink the water, she chipped ice.Well, the ice man only came once a week. So finally one day mama told Marian, she said, “Marian, I'm sorry but you can't come back anymore.” Said, “[Inaudible] what’s the matter, why can’t I?” “Well,” said, “because you’re eatin’ up the ice and we don’t get any more ‘til next [Inaudible].” So she said, “Oh, this water is delicious.” [All laugh] She drank it out of the tap! But he came around and the refrigerators only had a little top, you know, you had a big chunk of ice. And she was chipping on it all the time. [Laughs] VP: She decided the water was better than not comin’ at all. RF: Uh huh. Oh, she loved to come down here. [Pause] VP: Now can you think of anything else I should know about the shipyards? [RF chuckles] LF: Well I don’t know what you, you already probably know more about the shipyards than we know about the shipyards at this stage, Tory! VP: I know a little bit about ‘em. Well- LF: [Pouring something] Say when. VP: Oh that’s good, thank you. LF: When you say a little bit, [Inaudible] say when. [All chuckle] VP: Now how much did it change during World War Two? RF:Well there was an influx of foreigners. [RF and LF laugh] It was all for the Navy, you know, it was a little cozy kinda town and ALL these people poured into town. And they didn’t like Pascagoula. They fussed about, none of ‘em would say that there was anything about Pascagoula that was any good. BUT, after the war, you know, as soon as they could get out of town they left. But 99 percent of ‘em came back to live. LF: You had people from all over the state particularly coming in and a lot of ‘em had been farmers, this type of thing and for one reason or or another were ineligible for the draft. And they were coming in, yes, pouring in for work and it created a- RF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech] LF: It wasn't so much I think, and I could be wrong, ‘cause I was too little to remember, but I don’t think, from what I’ve read, I don’t think so much, I mean yes they were coming for jobs, but a lot of it was patriotism, you know, coming and they were leaving their families to come in to work. You know, and under very adverse circumstances. RF: And they didn't like it. [Chuckles] Until they got away.HHA# 00702 Page 25 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 25 Houston History Archives LF: But then eventually they did come. You know, their families came, particularly the uh, [Inaudible] levels of management and families came with them, but I’m talkin’ about just the welders and the people, you know, the… RF: And a lot of ‘em- LF: Came [Inaudible, overlapping speech]- RF: They were, they were from a different part from north and they- LF: Oh, not so much during World War Two were they? RF: LOT of ‘em. Mmhm. And uh, they were from different parts so their lifestyle was just dif-, entirely different. You know, we went [Inaudible] and uh, but [Inaudible]. They called me a country hick. [LF chuckles] Maybe we were! [Chuckles] But we were happy. But they, they really did, they’d leave as soon as they could, but then nearly all of ‘em come back. VP: Now, the women who worked at the shipyard, were they from here or were women coming in from outside? RF: Everywhere. LF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech] too. RF: I guess [Inaudible] imports. And what was the name of the lady that was? LF: [Inaudible] the Welder. [Laughs] RF: She’s champion of the world. [Chuckles] LF: I think there was a picture of her in Jay's book or somewhere that I saw. Oh no, also on eBay they had a picture the other day of a whole boat of about six of ‘em, welders, they were thin as could be every one of ‘em! [Chuckles] RF: Dainty people in [Inaudible] and the big ol’ head thing on- LF: No, these had been posin’ for a picture, they- RF: No, talkin’ ‘bout that, but these people when you’d see ‘em, you know, see the stuff they’d, like these old helmet and the face mask pushed up kinda. Some of ‘em were just very petite people and some of ‘em were… [Laughs] VP: Did the women live in boarding houses too?HHA# 00702 Page 26 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 26 Houston History Archives RF: There were boarding houses, uh huh. And they built a LOT of houses. LF: No, but [Inaudible] with the women that came in to work, where did they live? RF: Oh. Mostly boarding houses. LF: [Inaudible, overlapping speech] RF: Rooming-, ‘cause they were askin’ anybody that had a spare room, you know, to rent it, so they, lot of ‘em lived in homes, but they were [Pause] but you’d see this little petite, pretty, in this ol’ uniform. [Laughs] And a helmet on and all. LF: No, Jay didn’t have a picture of one in his book. But go on eBay, collectibles and then Pascagoula. [Discussion about listings on eBay] RF: I think there’s still some lady welders around. LF: Well, no, they are again now, you know, big time. [Chuckles] RF: They make big money. [Chuckles] VP: Get thin. [RF and LF chuckle] LF: It's a hot, dirty job, they deserve big bucks. VP: Well thank you. [End audio one to audio two] RF: That didn’t impress me. [Chuckles] He brought me my dinner, in my house, himself.Well the man told me afterwards that, “I offered to take it but he wouldn’t let me. He said, no, he was takin’ it.” [All chuckle] But he was a, just a real nice gentleman anyway. But he was strict though, little scared of him. VP: Now he lived up in Birmingham, right? RF: Mmhm. VP: How often did he come down here? RF: Oh, he was down here a whole lot, uh huh, good bit. And then his son took over. Bob Junior. It was Bob wasn’t it? HHA# 00702 Page 27 of 27 Interviewees: Ford, Liz and Ford, Reena Interview Date: June 18, 2008 University of Houston 27 Houston History Archives LF: Yeah, uh huh. And he was more of a playboy. RF: [Chuckles] He wasn’t like his daddy. [RF and LF chuckle] LF: But he has a beautiful yacht. The name of it is “The Rhonda.” Did you ever hear, anyone talk about “The Rhonda” with you? VP: I think I saw a picture of it. LF: Okay, uh huh. VP: Now did they build that at the yard? LF: Yeah, uh huh. And they also, another smaller boat they built at the yard, was “The Oregon,” which is a research vessel for NOAA. And Mister [Interviewer note: representative's name] is a state, uh, re-, congressional representative for a billion years. And he pulled all the strings so that Ingalls would built [Chuckles] the boat that was going to be stationed here [Inaudible], so it was the research vessel for NOAA that was here, they have since replaced it but anyway, that was a REAL big deal even though it was much smaller than anything they’d normally do, but it was- VP: ‘Cause that one gets to stay here. LF: Uh huh. VP: And most of them go out- LF: Go out far, far away, uh huh. And very seldom ever come back. Particularly now, but they’re completely into Navy vessels that uh, they only come back when they ge-, well, no, they did, they’d come back for overhauls [Inaudible], but I’m thinkin’ about the sad occasions when “The Philip” came back and when “Yorktown” came back. “The York.” VP: Mmhm. [End of Recording]