Kelsey: Where were you born and
McWilliams: I was born in Dover, and raised in
Kenvil, New Jersey.
When the war started, were you married, or were you
McWilliams: I was single then.
Did you get married during the war?
McWilliams: Uh-huh, thatís why I left Picatinny, to
get married. He came home from overseas, and I
wanted to go with him.
When did you get married, what year?
McWilliams: I was there in í44, I got married in
í45. Thatís when I left Picatinny. My maiden name
And how do you spell that?
McWilliams: D-E, capital R, I-E-N-Z-O.
So when did you go to work at Picatinny?
McWilliams: I went in í44, and left in í45, like I
said, to get married. Our first base was Oklahoma,
we went to
Oklahoma. He came back from overseas. He was in
the Air Corps, in the Navy. Heíd been stationed on
aircraft carrier. He came home, his next base was
going to be Norman, Oklahoma, and wartime, you know,
had to be with him. So I left and we went to
Oklahoma. In fact, we were in Oklahoma when the war
was over in
Germany, and his next base was Florida. We went to
Jacksonville, and the war was over there in Japan.
where we were.
Why did you go to work at Picatinny?
McWilliams: I donít know, it was like a wartime
thing. It was something you thought you had to do.
My whole family
worked at Picatinny. My father was head of the
stores area there. I went to work in the ordnance
though. Thatís the only place they would let me
work there. My mother workedóI was just telling
OíHagan], my mother worked first there. She sewed
the bags that they put the powder in. And when she
stayed there working, after the war was over, she
became a timekeeper there. But that was my fatherís
job. He went there when he was nineteen, and worked
there until he retired, in the stores area.
And you worked in ordnance.
What did you do?
McWilliams: I started out as a messenger, actually,
with blueprints. I did all the work with
blueprints, taking them to
different departments, wherever they needed them.
And after that, I became a file clerk in Building
And those were the two jobs that you had?
How old were you when you went to work?
McWilliams: Sixteen. Got married when I was
Did you graduate from high school?
McWilliams: I left in my last year. And donít ask
me why I did that, either, because I donít know! I
had this thing about
being in the war, and that you had to do
something. I was fortunate enough that I had
parents that were lenient
and let me do it. But it worked out fine for meóit
did work out fine.
And were you glad that you did that?
McWilliams: I was, yeah, because I had a good
marriage, I have three children. My husband died
just before our fiftieth
anniversary, so I had a good life. I really had
nothing to complain about. So it was good.
Did you work after the war at all?
McWilliams: No, I was a homemaker all my life. I
was from a generation usually where the menóthat was
his job. And
I always had family around me, always family to take
care of. My mother lived with us after my father
away, until she passed away. So I always said I
raised other peopleís children, so I was content, I
had a good
When the war was over, [and you were in] Florida,
where did you go after that?
McWilliams: You mean when we left? Well, he was in
the service for another year, and then we came
back. We moved
to Succasunna, and he built our home when we were
going to have our first child. And Iím still in
that house. A
lot of additions on it all the way aroundóup down
and around. The house got bigger through the years
McWilliams: One of my sons was in Vietnam. I have
two boys and one girl.
McWilliams: And five grandchildren, and
two-and-half great-grandchildren. (laughter)
McWilliams: And Iíve really had a good life. I
Thank you for talking with us.
McWilliams: Yeah. And Iím still moving around,
which is good!
Yes, you are! And very well, too.
McWilliams: So itís good. But I just wanted to
tell you, I was happy, all my family worked there.
I even had aunts that
worked there. So it was good. And Iíve had a good
day today, thank you very much.
Good! Iím glad.
[END OF INTERVIEW]