Interview With Helen Virden

From the interview with Helen Virden of Marshall, WI conducted by Patience Rogge by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on May 27, 2008. Mrs. Virden , the widow of U.S. Army Sergeant Kenneth M. Virden, lived in NCO quarters at Fort Worden in the 1950’s. Here she recalls a tragic incident involving a family friend:

“We met a lot of nice people (at Fort Worden). There was one couple that we met there, he had been in a Japanese prison camp. He came home and his wife got pregnant. She went into to the hospital to have her baby and he was so excited. My husband and I were great friends with them. He called me up, my husband was working, and said she was going to have the baby. ‘So, Helen, come on up and have a drink with me.’ I said ‘Oh no, I can’t do that. I’ve got the kids.” He said, ‘Oh, come on.’ I said, ‘No, I can’t, I’m sorry. But next time I see you, we’ll have a drink.’  That night he went and had some drinks, went home and went to sleep on his couch with a cigarette. It caught fire and he died. It was so, so sad after all those years being in a Japanese prison camp. It was terrible.”

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