Kelsey: Where were you born and
Nichols: Well, I was born in Mancelona, Michigan.
My parents didn’t stay there too long because it was
And at that time, you know, they had no warnings.
My mother said the first thing that happened, the
would come through, pictures come off the wall, and
she just couldn’t take it anymore, and gave the
to my father, “move back to New Jersey.” So we
And where in New Jersey did you move?
Nichols: Stanhope. My father was a wanderlust. He
stayed in Stanhope, then he went to Netcong, New
then Whippany, then he came back to Stanhope, and
that’s where he spent the rest of the years there.
How old were you when you moved to New Jersey?
Nichols: I think I was about ten years old—yes.
Kelsey: Where were you living when
World War II started?
Nichols: I was living in Port Marsh,
known as Landing now, New Jersey. My husband and I
married. We had three children, and my husband
volunteered. He went to the world war—I always
forget these things—and left me with three
children. So I went to Hercules, and my mother came
with me, because she was a widow at that time, and I
went to work there. And I worked there for three
years until my husband came back. And then the war
was over, and all the women left, and I came home.
My husband got sick, he died of cancer, and left me
with three children, so I went to Picatinny to get a
job. And that’s where I worked after Hercules, and
worked there until I retired.
Kelsey: So did you and your mother
both work at Hercules?
Nichols: No. No, my mother stayed
home and took care of the children.
Kelsey: And what year did you go to
work at Hercules?
Nichols: See, you know, I just don’t
recall—you know, when the war started, so it would
be around that. What would it be, 1942? or
something in that age.
Kelsey: Do you remember what you did
Nichols: Yes, I crushed powder. I
didn’t know much about it; it was just crushing the
powder, working three shifts—you know, different
shifts. Once in the press we had a fire, and we
women scattered up and out. And after it was over,
the fire, they put it out, and our supervisor said,
“Now, where were you ladies running to?!” And I
said, “We were going—” it used to be the “A” Line,
up, away from. He said, “You were running right in
the path of danger, the worst place to run.” You
know, instead of running out through the gate, we
were going further into the building where the
powder was being manufactured.
Kelsey: Did you think of that as
being a dangerous job?
Nichols: I didn’t have any thoughts
of that being dangerous at that time, but now I look
back at it, it was a dangerous job.
Kelsey: And then when did you go to
work at Picatinny?
Nichols: Well, after my husband
came, I didn’t have a job, and he was taking care of
us. He got ill, and they didn’t know much about
cancer, and he had cancer. After he died, I was
left with three children, so I went to Picatinny. I
didn’t drive at that time. My neighbor took me up
for an interview, and that’s when I was hired.
Kelsey: Do you remember what year?
Nichols: Now you’ve got me!
Kelsey: What did you do at Picatinny?
Nichols: I was an inspector and
inspected on the line. And then I became an
inspector, watched the other people do whatever they
were working on, see if it passed inspection. And I
worked there, and I went from building to building.
Kelsey: And you worked there how
Nichols: Twenty years, ’til I
retired. Of course in the meantime I married my
second husband, who was very good to my three
children. We educated them. Our son was a
professor in Roger Williams. His name was—my first
marriage was Anderson. And my daughter, she went to
college. And my youngest one, she just retired from
Morristown Memorial Hospital as a nurse. She’s the
young woman who brought me here, too. I wish I was
more prepared with dates.
Kelsey: Oh well, don’t worry about
it. Not a problem. All right, well thank you very
much. You have a very interesting story.
Nichols: Oh, thank you for
[END OF INTERVIEW]