From the interview with Adeline Hensche Biedermann of Albert Lea, MN conducted by phone on July 17, 2008 by Patience Rogge from the Fort Worden History Center. Mrs. Biedermann and her husband, Col. Arnold Biedermann lived near the post in Port Townsend from 1951 t0 1953. Here she describes what it was like to come here as a newly wed and the job she had at the Fort:
“We were married two weeks before Arnie went into the service,he went to Fort Worden in February and I came in July. We had a one room apartment on Cherry Street, and there was a cherry tree, which, when we opened up our window upstairs, we could climb right out into the cherry tree. So, I climbed out and ate cherries out of the tree. We were just so happy to be together, I hadn’t seen Arnie in five months. I came with just one suitcase expecting to stay two weeks and I stayed almost two years.
…We didn’t have a car, so I walked back and forth to the Fort. I worked at the PX snack bar for about five months. …When we came to work we had to get everything ready for the day. We got all our sandwich spreads ready–tuna, egg salad, and made our hamburger patties. We had the cheese and all this ready. We had to cut the buns and get everything all lined up. After everything was all prepared, we got to sit down and have hot chocolate or a roll or coffee, whatever we wanted. Then we opened up and the soldiers poured in, especially on pay day.
Oh my goodness, what a day! They would line up and we’d take orders, never wrote anything down. We had to go and prepare our hamburgers, our sandwiches, our sundaes and malts, and whatever. We had to prepare that all and then serve it and just calculate up all that money, all in our heads and put the money in the cash register. If the government was short, nobody knew. That’s the way it was.
We did get to know a lot of soldiers.There was one guy, he had brown beady eyes. He looked at me and the first time, he said, ‘I would like to have a double chocolate malt.’ He explained to me, ‘It’s made with chocolate malt, chocolate ice cream, and chocolate milk.’ He kept coming back. I just never forgot that guy, that was one soldier I never did forget, but there were others too. At the time we were so busy, so busy. We had to wash all these dishes, and then at the end of the day, nobody left the area until the floor was swabbied down, and there was garbage.
But there were slack days. One time it was so slack that I said, ‘Well, I can see these shelves in the back room certainly need cleaning.’ So I went home and put on my jeans and came back and I was climbing all over the back room and cleaning shelves. I hose cleaned the back room.”