Kelsey: Where were you born?
Fiedler: Bogota, New Jersey, 102 Queen Anne Road.
Where were you living when World War II started?
Fiedler: Louisville, Kentucky.
Kelsey: Were you married then?
Kelsey: How had you gotten to
Louisville from Bogota?
Fiedler: I had been living in
Indiana with my parents, which we had moved there
from Ohio. It was during the Depression years, you
know, and my father found a job in Indiana, so we
moved. So then I was in high school there. Then my
older sister had gone to Kentucky to live with an
aunt, to go to business school. Then she got
married after a while. Then she asked me if I
wanted to come down and live down there, because we
lived in a small town in Indiana, not much to do,
not many jobs around there. So I went down there to
stay with her. Then I, from there, that’s how I got
started. I worked down there as a nurse’s aide, and
selling makeup, and stuff like that. And finally I
took the civil service test.
Kelsey: Were you doing the other
jobs before the war?
Fiedler: Before, yeah.
Kelsey: And then why did you decide
to go and try to work in a defense plant?
Fiedler: Well, I couldn’t get a
job. I got tired of being a nurse’s aide, and
selling cosmetics wasn’t too—nowhere to go. So then
I saw this—I don’t know where I got the civil
service thing, but I said, “Oh, just try it,” you
know. They had a test, and I took it, and I thought
I’d never pass. It was mechanic learner, and I
didn’t really know what that would be. But I took
it anyway just so maybe I’d get it, get a job. So
then I took it and didn’t hear anything. I thought,
well, I probably flunked it. Then one day I got a
letter in the mail that I should report to Bowman
Field, sub depot, for a mechanic learner’s job.
Kelsey: And was this in Louisville?
Fiedler: Yes, Bowman Field, which
was a civilian airport at that time, but they turned
it to military. So then I worked there. I started
sheet metal mechanic, putting patches on airplanes,
riveting. Then I did that for a while, and then
they decided they was gonna send some of us to air
repair school, which was engines. So I went there,
started studying there. Then after that they had
too many people, then they had to put us in
different departments. So I wound up in a fabric
department, where I was sewing the fabric wings, you
know, and patching up them.
So then after
I was there for a while, they wanted people up in
Baer Field , Indiana, to work. So I volunteered to
go up there. So when I got up there, I was in the
fabric department, worked there ’til I finally left
Kelsey: What year did you start
Fiedler: I started working there in,
I think it was ’43, and I stayed there ’til the end,
’til I quit and was getting married, so I quit and
was leaving Indiana.
Kelsey: What year did you quit?
Fiedler: ’43, December ’43.
Kelsey: So you went to Indiana to
work in the plant….
Fiedler: I didn’t tell you about the
first part. When I passed the test, then they sent
me to Nashville, Tennessee, to go to school.
Kelsey: And what year was that?
Fiedler: That was ’42. Then after I
finished the course, I went to Bowman Field. That’s
the way that was.
Kelsey: And then you went to
Fiedler: Yeah, transferred.
Kelsey: And then you left in….
Fiedler: I left Indiana, then I went
back to Kentucky. I gave my job up because I was
getting married and was going to be in a different
Kelsey: Was your husband in the
Fiedler: Yes. He was in the
service, yes. I met him, and he was stationed in
Georgia. So then we got married, and that was the
end of my job.
Kelsey: And then what did you do
Fiedler: Well, when I went there, I
just picked up any job that I could find. I didn’t
go back into civil service work.
Kelsey: That was in Georgia?
Fiedler: Yeah. I didn’t go back in
that kind of…. Well, they told me I abandoned my
position, so I couldn’t get another job anyway,
because of this.
Kelsey: Did he stay stateside?
Fiedler: He stayed stateside, yeah.
Kelsey: Then what did you do after
the war was over?
Fiedler: Then we came back east. He
was from New Jersey, so we came back here to live.
Then after that, I just more or less was—I did work
then, part-time, yeah.
Kelsey: So you started in New
Fiedler: I was born in New
Jersey—well, my family moved around a lot. They
moved from New Jersey to New York state, to Ohio, to
Indiana. Then I went to Kentucky, then I went to
Nashville to go to school, came back to Kentucky,
worked there, then I transferred to Indiana
again—Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Kelsey: Where did you actually meet
Fiedler: I met him in Fort Wayne. I
was still working at an air base there. And he came
up from Georgia. He got my name somehow, and my
address. I think it was a thing they put out, a
booklet or something with these names of soldiers in
there, and they put…. It was from our church—I
think it was a church in Indiana or something—some
kind of a Catholic paper, and they put out these
things so people could write to the soldiers. A lot
of soldiers weren’t getting letters. His brother
got the book, and I got it. He was looking through
it one day when he was on furlough. He saw my name
in there, so he just started to write to me. Then
we corresponded, you know, and finally met each
other, and got married soon after. I was a war
bride, I guess you’d say.
Kelsey: Did you enjoy the work you
Fiedler: Yeah, I did. I did enjoy
it, yeah. I did, but then my plans changed, I got
married. They claim I abandoned my job. I did, in
one way, but I wasn’t going to be there anymore,
where I was working. I was moving on, you know. He
was in Georgia, and I’d be in Indiana, so….
Kelsey: So you resigned?
Fiedler: Yeah, I resigned. Well,
they accepted it. I wrote them a letter and they
accepted it, but they still say you abandoned your
position, because of wartime. You’re not supposed
to do that.
Kelsey: Okay. Well, thank you very
Fiedler: You’re welcome. That was
sort of wrangly, trying to recall all that stuff,
Kelsey: No, that’s fine, just fine.
Fiedler: It’s hard after all these
years to think of everything.
Kelsey: You have a good memory.
[END OF INTERVIEW]