Interview With Virginia H. Walter

From the interview with Virginia Hartman Walter conducted at the Fort Worden History Center on October 16, 2002 by Rick Martinez. Ms. Walter was the daughter of Major Hartman of the Coast Artillery stationed at Fort Worden in the late 1930’s. The family’s quarters were an apartment in Building 16 on Officers Row. Here she discusses life as an Army brat:
“Dad had been stationed in Panama and then was sent here…My mother, sister and I came from Panama to be here in September because it was my last year in high school and Mother didn’t want me to miss any school. Dad arrived just a few months later and we moved out to the base from town. We had been assigned quarters since Dad came. Mother didn’t want to live in the big houses like we’d always been living in, and they requested an apartment in the brick building right across from the tennis courts, right next door to the Bachelor Officers Quarters, which was very convenient.
(Making new friends in a new school)was no problem. I loved it. They accepted me and I joined them, but I still liked being around the military. I love traveling and meeting new people, and then the thing about it, you usually run into them all through your life somewhere. (Being in new situations all the time helps you to) handle things because you’re used to having to.
There was a bus available to take us to school, but I got to ride in a convertible most of the time, being next door to the BOQ. I was only at Port Townsend High that one year, then I went to the University of Washington.”
When asked about life at Fort Worden compared to other posts:
“Anything seemed good, because we’d been stationed in Panama before and we didn’t like it there. I figured I’d wasted two years of my life there, because we were in Fort Sherman on the Atlantic side and you had to be ferried across to Fort De Lesseps to take the bus there to go to Christobal High School. The CO cut the ferries off at six o’clock, so the morale was pretty bad at Fort Sherman. The soldiers didn’t like that. They wanted to go over to Colon to the cabarets and everything. But I had a real good friend who lived in Colon. Her father was the captain of the ferry; and so, when any school activities were going on I could stay with them.
It was so good to get away from Panama. Nine months of rain out of the year. I didn’t even notice the rain here.”

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