From the interview with Mrs. Marguerite “Mariwade” Mc Ilroy Douglas of Albuquerque, NM conducted by Shelly Testerman Randall by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on January 31, 2004. Mrs. Douglas was the daughter of U.S. Army Warrant Officer Fred W. McIlroy, who came to Fort Worden as Quartermaster in 1934, and served here as Lt. Colonel McIlroy, Commanding Officer, when the post closed in 1953. Here she describes what it was like to live on Non-Com Row as a child:
“We lived in a duplex. We had huge backyards with huge clotheslines. We had an area behind the clotheslines that had fruit trees and swings…regular board swings that were built there for us… The families had gardens. When you left the house, you would go to the gardens and the mule stables that were way back there.”
In response to a question about her father’s garden:
“My dad had a wonderful garden going all the time in the growing season…I’m sure my dad did it because it was economical, because my mother would can things. We had a basement and there was one large area that was lined with shelves and mother canned every imaginable vegetable and fruit. She also sold the fish that she and dad would catch. They would get up about 2:00AM and go down and put their little boat in the water…then go out and fish for an hour or two. Then they would come home and dad would get cleaned up and go to work…we’d have fresh fish for dinner. Mother was a wonderful cook with the fish they caught and the vegetables they grew. I’m sure the garden was strictly an economical thing. Dad had potatoes, string beans, carrots, radishes…other things, all kinds of vegetables.