||BHA- Is McDonald your married name or is Carroll your married
|| BHA- Did you grow up in Springfield?
|| Born and raised in Springfield
|| BHA- Did you grow up in this neighborhood?
|| No, I was born and raised on the south end of Springfield. The
corner of Richelieu and Saratoga. Then moved shortly thereafter
onto Adams Street. We lived in three different houses on Adams
Street. (When I was) fifteen years old we moved up onto the hill.
And that was definitely a step up for my family BHA- Up on the
hill, which street? Orleans.
|| BHA- How many were in your family?
|| My sister and I and my parents. Just the four of us.
|| BHA- Are you the oldest?
|| I'm the oldest, yes. Fifteen months older than my sister.
|| BHA- Did your father and mother both work?
|| Both, yes. My mother was a domestic, and my father was the elevator operator/custodian
at the Sterns building on Bridge Street for a long, long time.
|| BHA- You went to High School in Springfield?
|| Graduated from Tech in 1944, on the honor roll.
|| BHA- When did you go to work for the Armory?
|| Prior to graduation, I worked after school from three until eight at the Armory.
I graduated from Tech in June, 1944. I probably worked from June until September,
full time until college, then when I came back (from college) I worked a part
|| BHA- Did you go to a local college?
|| NO, I went to Wilberforce university in Wilberforce, Ohio. It was a church operated
school. My father would have me go nowhere else.BHA- Which church would this
have been? My church Bethlehem Church on Pendleton Avenue. BKA- Baptist? No,
|| BHA- How did you happen to apply to the Armory for work?
|| I believe, through the school system. I think that' s how it started.
|| BHA- Were you alone when you went over, or was there a friend with you?
|| When I left Tech at twenty minutes of three every day, I had a friend, Bunny,
and we walked out Spring and up Pearl Street hill and into the back gate of the
Armory. Then when I got in, I had three other girlfriends very close to me.
|| BHA- Where did you work when you were in the Armory?
|| On the part-time basis, it was in building 20, which is up on Pearl Street. Third
floor, building 20.
|| BHA- And what was that work?
|| A little machine, or lathe I shaved little pieces for the rifle. Piece work,
it was wonderful.
|| BHA- How many were in your section?
|| It was a big section, a whole floor.
|| BHA- How are you trained for the work? Who showed you how to do it?
|| There was a supervisor who showed us how to use the machine. Once or twice a
man would come along if there was a change in the format, to set it up and show
you how to run it .
|| BHA- When you were working full time, did you bring your own
lunch, or did you go to the cafeteria?
|| I brought my lunch every day but one. I treated myself once a week to the cafeteria.
I found (lunch break was 20-25 minutes) by the time you got to the area, it
was almost time to come back. So
if you went to the cafeteria, that took twice as long through the
line. So most of the time, I brought my lunch.
|| BHA- What kind of things did they have in the Cafeteria?
|| The thing that I remember most is baked macaroni and cheese,
which I loved. Whatever else they had I don't remember. Grinders,
|| BHA- Do you remember what you were paid?
|| No, not exactly, but I said it was piece work, and I can remember
one week I made 39 dollars and change. It a tremendous amount of
money for a kid in High School. My father couldn't get over it.
|| BHA-So you went there (the Armory) in '44?
|| All of my twelfth year (in High School) I worked (the piece work). BHA- '43, '44
so to speak. Right, in there.
|| BHA- What was the morale and the attitude of the employees? Were
you vividly aware of World War II?
|| Oh, no. We were in there working hard to make the parts and to
make the money. I'm so ashamed to say that it was uppermost in
our minds, we didn't hear much about the war. I didn' t.
|| BHA- Did you see Garand at any time?
|| NO, never.
|| BHA- Did the commanding officer ever show up?
|| Yes, I can remember once while I was there, there was a lot of
cleaning, a lot of straightening up, a lot of instruction as to
how to act when these individuals came through. They marched
through, and Garand might have been with them at that time, but I
don't really remember. But all the big shots came through one day
in their uniforms and regalia.
|| BHA- Were most of the other workers women?
|| More women than anything. In both instances, full-time and part-
|| BHA- Were the women about your age or were they older?
|| Older. I' ll tell you the truth, the only reason I got the eleven
to seven shift was because my mother was working the same shift.
She's the one who woke me up and dragged me to work. I found it
very difficult to operate that shift.
|| BHA- How long had she (mother) been working there?
|| Maybe a year prior to my going there.
|| BHA- How did she happen to go there? Was it because of work opportunity?
|| Work opportunity. She was originally a domestic, then this came along which was
a gold mine. So, she took it and worked until it
|| BHA- Did they ask you to join a Union?
|| BHA- How did you travel to the armory?
|| Walked. Orleans Street and the Armory were very close. The gate where I had to
enter on Magazine was very close. I was to work in
five minutes, and back home in five minutes.
|| BHA- Did you ever get involved in the recreational activities of
other workers? I
|| BHA- Were you proud of working at the Armory? Was it a good
thing to do in the City?
|| It was a good thing to do, yes. I was especially proud because out
of my church, there were five young people who worked there
(Armory) There were some adults, but not the young kids. They
were all doing other things. Very few were from my church, which
at the time was all we had; Church and your job, Church and your
job. Church was the center.
|| BHA- Were you involved with things during the week at church?
|| I sang in the choir, all my life. Always that, (choir) one night
a week. Sunday school every Sunday. If you were dead and
dragging, Daddy made you get up to go to church. You had to do
|| BHA- When you finished college, and were looking for work, where
did you look?
|| Well, I didn' t graduate from college. I went to college for one
year. But what I was studying was social administration, and I
took beauty culture on the side. So in having not finished that
full year, I went into a beauty parlor to work when I came home.
I hated it. It didn' t last very long, but that' s what I did.
|| BHA- What did you do after the beauty parlor?
|| After that, I got married, and I stayed home with my oldest
child. I didn' t go to work until this one (the youngest child)
was ten. So, I was home all the time.
|| BHA- How many children did you have?
|| Three; two girls, one boy.
|| BHA- When the Armory closed, how did you feel about it?
|| It was very sad. It was almost as sad as when Forbes and Wallace
closed, and then Steiger' s closed last month. Sad, sad time.
|| BHA- What did you think about it, as far as, was your feeling
more about the community experience, or some feeling about the
|| National loss. I thought it was terrible for us. We were on the
map, and at this point, we were about to be hushed. They wouldn't
hear from us as much. Then again, I thought about all these
people that I knew that wouldn't have jobs. Where would they
work? What would they do? And those kinds of things.
|| BHA- When you went back to work, what did you do?
|| I went to work presumably part time at Valley Bank. I stayed
there for 25 and a half years.
|| BHA- What kind of work did you do there?
|| I started as a teller, and I did that for eight and a half years.
Then I went downtown to the main office to be an accounts
receptionist. I did that until I retired. BHA- I've heard that
teller work is rough on the hands. It's rough on the hands. It
was a nice job, however, when I took it. It was beautiful. The
whole format changed with the issuance of computers and things.
But it was a nice job, I enjoyed it.
|| BHA- What were the conditions like in the Armory when you worked
there? Was it clean, or noisy?
|| I didn't find it offensive at all. It was clean, the noise didn't
bother me. When I worked full time, I worked on a little bench,
and all up around me were those big broaches that you have to
climb up a flight of stairs to work. They were loud and noisy,
but it didn't seem to bother me.
|| BHA- Since you had a second work experience at the bank, how did
you find the people there compared (to the Armory)?
|| Totally different. It's another world between a factory and a
bank. Totally different class of people. Treatment is different
BHA- How is treatment different? Your treatment in a machine
shop is not as respectful as in a bank. People respect you when
you work in a bank. You had a lot of visibility, you gain a lot
of knowledge, you try to share that knowledge with your
customers. It's a different attitude altogether.
|| BHA- Did you have any contacts with the Armory after you left
|| No, I haven't heard one word at all from them. Do you know how we came to this?
(the interview) My friend asked us to go on a tour
with her, and a bunch of people on a bus. They're trying to turn
Springfield into a tourist attraction, so we were taken around
various places, and the Armory was one of the stops. At that
point, they asked us a lot of questions, and asked us to sign
this and sign that. I'm sure that's how this came about. But
that's my only contact with them (Armory) since I left it.
|| BHA- Your father never worked for the Armory.
|| No, he worked for Fisk Rubber, US Rubber.
|| BHA- What about your husband?
|| He worked at the Armory before he went into the service.BHA-
Did he go back after he got back from the service? No. They were
supposed to have that job for him, but they didn't take him back.
|| BHA- So where did he go to work?
|| Out in Westover Air Force Base, then he went to school on the GI
bill, and graduated from that. BHA- Where did he go? He went to
the Civil Service and Commercial School. It was located at 145
Willow Street, up on the third floor. It had a very big rep at
the time. He went there, graduated, and got a job at Lion Truck
Leasing Service. He became the controller of that company. He
stayed until the owner decided to fold up. Then what Bob
(husband) did was, he bought what he could keep, and ran himself
for about eight years.
|| BHA- I guess that just about covers the things.
|| BHA- Description of Mrs. McDonald's home:
On South Branch Parkway, this is a very attractive ranch house,
nicely landscaped. I would describe it as fairly large. Furnished
inside with Oriental runners over the carpet, attractive
furniture, and a piano just inside the door, with pictures of her
family on it. She has two daughters and a son, each of whom have
very beautiful families. I met the son, he was there briefly, but
didn't speak. Attractive young man. The entire family has good
bearing and is attractive. They did not mention discrimination
because of race, and while they may have encountered it, it
apparently did not infringe upon their working careers, nor on their current living arrangements.