Interview With Barbara Christensen

From the interview with Barbara Christensen of Albert Lea, MN conducted by phone from the Fort Worden History Center on June 7, 2005 by Clare Ledden. Ms. Christensen, wife of John L. Christensen of the 369th EASR, lived in Port Townsend during the time her husband was stationed at Fort Worden, 1951-53. Here she describes what life was like in those days:

“We didn’t live on the Fort, we lived on the main street above the old creamery. The building was condemned when we lived there. I can tell you the first night we were there in our apartment, right across the street was a bar that a lot of soldiers were in. All I heard all night was ‘Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and file gumbo’. We had a tiny little kitchen with an ice box. The living room was one fairly good size, and the bedroom was off that. There was one chair that was overstuffed that looked like it was real comfortable til you sat in it and hit the floor. The rest of the furniture was orange crates and tables, and a metal bed–that’s about all. We shared a bath and shower with the floor we were on. There were four apartments on the floor.”

About social life:
“Quite a few soldiers were from our area, and we did a lot of making homemade root beer together with some of the couples in the building a block behind us. We played bingo at the Legion on Friday nights. …I can remember going to the Safeway grocery. At one time, one of the fellows from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota had a girlfriend who was coming out to get married. I went to the store to buy stuff to make their wedding supper. The guy at the meat counter said,’ Do you know anybody from One Eye, Minnesota?’ And I thought One Eye, I told him I never heard of One Eye. He said, ‘Well, he’s out here. His girlfriend just got here to get married.’ I said,’Oh, you mean Sleepy Eye! That’s what I’m buying food for. I’m making their supper.’

Other than going to play bingo, we really didn’t have any money to do much and we didn’t have a car. We did go to the movies, but not on the base. The only time we got out to the base was if one of the other fellows was going and we rode with them.”

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