Space Pioneers in Their Own Words
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Space Pioneers in Their Own Words
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Each month, a brief excerpt from a space pioneer's oral history will be featured on this page. This is the excerpt for September 2018:
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Each month, a brief excerpt from a space pioneer's oral history will be featured on this page. This is the excerpt for September 2018:
Lois Godfrey had been a teacher and principal at the Fort Sill, Oklahoma, elementary school. Shortly before World War II started, she decided to try a different line of work. She found a job as a placement officer in the civilian personnel office at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. She got a different assignment when the German rocket engineer defectors' families joined them in 1946. She was tasked with helping the families adjust to American life.

Most of them were not only shy, but you could tell they were very lonely and lost. They really felt that much more than the men did because the men could go to work and forget about it all, and the women were there in the house most of the day. Some of them were aggressive enough to eventually get out and do a little shopping. I explained to some of them how they might go about establishing a bank account with wife and husband checking, and things like that. I told them where a good place to buy clothing would be, and where was a good doctor and things that any housewife would want to know....

They still had this war as a part of them. I know that Major Hamill said he knew those people well enough to know that when the planes started over, the children crawled under the bed. And maybe the wives did, too, I don't know. But the children had to overcome things like that. They were right next to Biggs Field, where the planes were coming in and out all the time. They had to really overcome a lot, and I still think those teachers we had there deserve a medal for making them feel comfortable in this kind of a setting....

I learned a great deal from those people, and they learned a great deal from us, and I think we were all better for it. It helped in our little corner of the world. I think it helped at least to tame some of the bitterness that came out of the war.




Unless otherwise attributed, all SpacePioneerWords.com content is © Loretta Hall, 2013-2018.
Lois Godfrey had been a teacher and principal at the Fort Sill, Oklahoma, elementary school. Shortly before World War II started, she decided to try a different line of work. She found a job as a placement officer in the civilian personnel office at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. She got a different assignment when the German rocket engineer defectors' families joined them in 1946. She was tasked with helping the families adjust to American life.

Most of them were not only shy, but you could tell they were very lonely and lost. They really felt that much more than the men did because the men could go to work and forget about it all, and the women were there in the house most of the day. Some of them were aggressive enough to eventually get out and do a little shopping. I explained to some of them how they might go about establishing a bank account with wife and husband checking, and things like that. I told them where a good place to buy clothing would be, and where was a good doctor and things that any housewife would want to know....

They still had this war as a part of them. I know that Major Hamill said he knew those people well enough to know that when the planes started over, the children crawled under the bed. And maybe the wives did, too, I don't know. But the children had to overcome things like that. They were right next to Biggs Field, where the planes were coming in and out all the time. They had to really overcome a lot, and I still think those teachers we had there deserve a medal for making them feel comfortable in this kind of a setting....

I learned a great deal from those people, and they learned a great deal from us, and I think we were all better for it. It helped in our little corner of the world. I think it helped at least to tame some of the bitterness that came out of the war.
Cover of "Space Pioneers: In Their Own Words"
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