Dorothy Lee Price

This interview was conducted by Adriana Ortega in San Antonio, Texas as part of Palo Alto College’s History 1302 – Fall 2004 class.

Introduction

Dorothy Lee Price was born in Pleasanton Texas to Paul Meyer and Josephine Meyer. Dorothy had five siblings; she is the only remaining child. She moved to San Antonio
at the age of three. When Dorothy married she moved to Odessa where she lived for four years before returning to San Antonio. Dorothy graduated from Burbank High School in the 1950’s. Dorothy worked at a meat(pork) processing plant where she later retired from. Dorothy married Gene Estauce Price in april of 1954 in Seguin, Texas. (She lived in San Antonio but married in Seguin, Texas because a blood test was required and it took three days to marry in San Antonio and only a few hours in Seguin). Dorothy has five children (Steve, Janet, Lori, Richard, and Jeffery). She was always involved in her children’s school activities. Dorothy was president of her son’s football booster club. Her hobby is reading and when she was younger she enjoyed going camping with her family. as a child, Dorothy lived between two railroad tracks. She remembers seeing the train loaded up with soldiers that were being taken to war. During World War II, Josephine, (Dorothy’s mother) worked as a firearms inspector at the San Antonio arsenal (civil services). Dorothy Lee Price is my best friend’s grandmother; I’ve known her since I was in elementary school.

Transcription

How old were you when the war started?
I was four years old when the war began.

Did you have to ration your food supply during the war?
Everybody’s food supply was rationed during the war, you had to have coupons for gas and meat. You were only allowed so much and when you were out you waited until the next month.I remember woman couldn’t get nylon hose because they needed the nylon and rubber for the airplanes. I remember my mother getting real upset because she couldn’t get nylons.

Was your family affected in any way because of the war?
Yeah, actually since we were coming off of the depression and we were very poor and it was very hard for anyone to get a job, and WWII came along both my parents got a job. My dad drove a truck and my mother worked for what was called the Antonio Arsenal which was government and they made guns and my mother was classified as a firearms inspector and she worked there from the time it opened up until the war was over and they shut it down.

Where were you when World War II was declared?
I was at home here in San Antonio, Texas

Was anyone in your family in the war, if not did you know anyone who was?
Yeah, I had several cousins that were drafted and I also gad an uncle that was drafted when he was 40 years old. This is kind of a funny tale because this uncle was kind of mean. I say this because he had three children and he was divorced from his wife and wouldn’t support his kids. When his ex-wife found out that he was in the military she went to his commanding officer and they started taking child support out of his check and when they did someone told him that if you had flat feet and if it hurt your legs when you marched they give you a medical discharge and he went to them and showed them that his feet were flat and told them that his feet hurt so bad that he couldn’t stand them and he got a medical discharge.

Did you ever face discrimination because of your German heritage?
No, but my mother was always afraid that we would and my father was first
generation american his parents came over here from Germany. and she was always
warning him to be careful what he said. He hated Hitler but there was one or
two things that he thought Hitler might be right about and my mother would just
jump all over him and tell him to keep his mouth shut or they will come and
arrest him.Were you forced to work to help support your family during the time of
war?

Were you forced to work to help support your family during the time of war?             I was too young to work.

During World War II was your mother recruited to work in factories or any
other place that was related to the war?

Yes, my mother worked for what they called the San antonio arsenal and she
was classified as a firearms inspector and she worked there from the beginning
of the war until the war was over and it was down where H-E-B has there main
offices on S.Flores Street.

What was your sentiment towards the war?
Well I was too young, but as aI got older I knew that it was necessary,
because we would have been overtaken and Hitler would have ruled us.

Do you believe the war was necessary?
Yes.

What were you doing when Pearl Harbor was bombed; how did you hear of it?
I heard of it by listening to the grown ups talk, I was a kid and they
didn’t talk to kids about things like that, like they do now. We did see when
we went to the movies they would have news reals about WWII and we heard alot
of it that way.

How did you feel when President Truman dropped the atomic bomb?
I think that it was a necessary thing a bad but necessary thing in order to end
the war.

What did you think of the Japenese americans being forced into
concentration camps?

I think it was terrible and I don’t think that should have ever happened and
americans don’t do people that way.

Did you know anyone of Japenese descent?
No.

Were children allowed to attend school during the war?
Yes we all went to school.

Did the teachers talk about the war to the
students?

Not a whole lot to my knowledge, I was real young.

What were you told about the war as a child?
They didn’t discuss it with the children, children were to be seen and not
heard back then you went outside and played you didn’t stay where the grown ups
were.

How was the president precived by americans during the time of war?
He was well supported.

Looking back do you think it was a fair portrayal of what you were told about the war?
Yeah, I think it was fair.

How did you feel after the war was over?
I was like everyone else I didn’t realize what a wonderful thing it was. Everyone was celebrating and I was ready to celebrate right along with them.

Analysis

a major thing that I learned from this project was that learning about history through the primary source is very interesting. One never thinks that history can be around the corner, or on the next block. It is a very good feeling and it is interesting to be a part of. Not only was I part of making history, but I learned some new things about my interviewee. I learned that she was the president of the band booster club and that she had many stories about the war and the things that went on during that time. In doing this interview, I learned many new things about World War II, however; more than anything, I learned that the war was REaL. Being in the time that we are living in now, especially with 9/11, we don’t have to go through the same things that these people had to go through like rationing, women having to work in the industry, and a shortage of nylon hose. The benefits of learning history this way are that the person is actually a part of the process, you get the feel that you are doing something important. The only drawback that I felt was that it was very difficult to transcribe word-for-word the interview itself.
Overall, however; this is a very effective way of learning about the past. I believe this to be true because of the fact that the past is still alive today, and sometimes that gets overlooked.

Annotated Bibliography

  • Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! an american History. Vol 2. New York: W.W. Norton and Company. 2004. This book helped me with many of the dates that I used in the research for the project. I also used the textbook for a general background for my project.

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