of paper work needed to be typed in Washington D.C. They asked our typing class to take a Civil Service test. Several of us
took the test. Normally they would go to the school and let you use the typewriter you were used to working on for the test.
Officials from the Post Office brought a flatbed truck to the school to pick us up. We came down from the second floor of
the school, hopped on the back of the truck sitting with our legs dangling over the edge, holding on to our typewriters to
take the test at the Post Office. We came back the same way.
When I found out that I passed the test
I knew I was going to go to D.C. Soon some of us received a letter asking us to report in Washington D.C. around the first
week of June of 1942.
Without telling my parents, Robert and Lottie Hodson, I quit college and headed
home to Osborne to make my plans to go to D.C. My folks could not believe that I just up and quit school. They told me I just
could not go on such a trip. Besides I didn’t know anyone in D.C. and of course had to find a place to live. But, after
some thought, they decided they would let me go. They gave me enough money to use if I got scared and wanted to return home.
When the time came my parents took me to Smith Center to catch the train. It took two and a half days to reach
I had no place to stay when I arrived, so I got on a city bus, suitcase in hand, and
went to the YWCA. I asked for a room and the lady at the desk looked at me and said, "Girl, we don’t have any rooms…
there’s a War on".
I think, at that moment I was stunned, wondering what do I do now. I
walked out looked down the long sidewalk that ran to the street. It looked at least a mile and a half long and my suitcase
was very heavy. I had only walked a short distance when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the lady at the desk I had just
talked to. She said "young Lady" I just got a call from a girl in a double room saying she is going to check out.
She said if I would wait while they cleaned it I could have it. (Angel #1 on my shoulder)
acquainted with the girl in the room I found out she was there to report to the same place for the same reason. (Angel #2
on my shoulder) The next morning we went to the place to sign in for our job. We would meet at the door when we were through.
When we met at the door, she had another girl with her.
A red head who was saying, "Where is she,
where is she, that girl from Kansas." When I said Osborne, Kansas, she grabbed me, and said she was from Gaylord, Kansas
which is only 20 miles from Osborne. Her name was Lucille Dolloff, and we remained friends until she passed. She even knew
an Aunt and Uncle of mine as well as several people I went to school with. (Angel # 3 on my shoulder)
had no place to live except the Y, of course. Then she asked me if I had a place to live and I said no. She said there was
a room available where she lived. She called her landlady and asked if I could stay there. She said "Bring her out. So
now I had a room. There I was in Washington D.C. one night at the Y and then I had a room in a nice rooming house. (Angel
#4 on my shoulder)
I reported for work in a couple of days for the War Department. My boss was a Major
in Charge of Enlisted Men’s records.
One year I had to ask the Major for a furlough to go home
to help my Dad cut wheat, he said "There’s a war on, we need you here." I told him that my Dad had 500 acres
of wheat to harvest and had no help. One of my brothers was in France and another in Africa. I could drive the tractor and
the truck to take the wheat to the elevator six or seven miles away. The Major gave me a 10 day furlough.
On the trip home, our train went off the track, out into the middle of a pasture east of St. Louis. No one
was badly hurt just bruised and bounced about. Our suitcases were sort of smashed up, so we put our belongings in pillow cases.
(Angel #5 on my shoulder)
There were 150 people on the train mostly soldiers. They backed an old train
car out from Mexico, Mo. to pick us up. We spent the night in Mexico and took a train on to St. Louis and finally to Smith
Center. When I called my Mom she did not hear Missouri. "What in the world are you doing in Mexico? We thought you were
coming home to help."
I got home just in time; the wheat was ripe and ready to cut. Dad and I got
most of the wheat harvested before I had to go back to Washington.
I worked in D.C. till nearly the
end of the war. I had to leave Washington to go back home to help my Mom because my Dad was sick. She was trying to milk eight
cows, do the chores, and take care of my father.
During the time I was in D. C. I witnessed the construction
and completion of the Jefferson Memorial and attended its dedication. While there I also climbed all 897 steps to the top
of the Washington Monument, it had no elevator at the time.
I even remember as I walked down the street
one day seeing President Roosevelt in an open car on his way home to the White House.
Many of us took
the opportunity to visit the Smithsonian several times; my favorite display was Lindbergh’s plane, many years later
I took lessons and became a pilot myself.
Sometimes on my way to work I would take short cuts through
the Capitol, especially in the winter to warm up. Security was very tight at the Capitol; the outside steps leading into the
Capitol were guarded by armed troops. My girlfriend from Gaylord, Lucille, and I would stand at the bottom of the steps and
talk to them while we placed one foot on the first step…just to see what they would say. We decided later that it was
probably not a good thing to do.
Many of my favorite memories are from the Sundays that Lucille and
I caught the street car to Mt. Vernon in Virginia, such a beautiful and peaceful place.
If I had it
to do over again…would I? Yes I would! It was my first Great Adventure.
ANOTHER ADVENTURE - -FLYING
I always liked flying
in commercial planes and as it turned out I did a lot of it.
Never ever did I think I would fly a plane
myself. My husband, M.J. Darnell was flying with a couple of his friends who had small planes. He had the thought that maybe
if he was flying with others he maybe should learn what it was all about - so he took lessons. After that we both went to
ground school. He soloed after 9 or 10 lessons.
Then we had a chance to buy a Breechcraft
Debonir 225, 4 place plane. I felt I should at least get to know the "lingo". In a year or so I started taking lessons
from the same instructor. He was a retired "old" P-51 pilot in WWII. I soloed in 16 hours.
My husband had heard that I might solo on a certain day and guess what? He was
out in the area where we landed. He got the whole flight take-off and landing on movie film. What a surprise!To celebrate,
after I had landed and taxied in, the instructor cut the back out of my blouse and wrote on it the
date, kind of plane, etc. I framed them both and now they are in the Carnegie Research Library.
In a few years we had a chance to sell our plane back to the original owner. We didn’t have time to
fly much. It was one of the greatest experiences in my life. Another Great Adventure!