Keywords: Flandreau Indian School; Flandreau, South Dakota; Grindstone, Wisconsin; Hayward Hospital; Hayward Indian School; Indian children; Kinnamon School; Lawton, Oklahoma; Lindbergh Kidnapping; Milwaukee County Hospital; Milwaukee General Hospital; Minnesota; Ms. Brink; Reserve, Wisconsin; Round Lake, Wisconsin; boarding schools; government boarding school; nursing
Keywords: Casper Army Air Base; Casper, Wyoming; Chicago; Chinese food; Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia; Georgia; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Native American; Sergeant Smith; United States Army Air Corps; army trucks; base hospital; basic training; boot camp; chicken shack; direct patient care; enlistenment; mountains; oriental restaurant; physical training; riding horses; train
Keywords: 211th Army Air Force Base; Blacks; Camp Carson, Colorado; Carson City, Colorado; Casper, Wyoming; Colorado; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Frida Smith; Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin; Native American; Native Americans; PX; Roswell, New Mexico; Ski Troops; South Pacific; Walleye spearing; Wyoming; base hospital; boat landing; bombers; football games; friendships; loading ramp; post exchange; prejudice; retirement; shipping out; working in hospital
BLUMENBERG: OK, we'll get started with this interview. My name is TomBlumenberg, and it is July 28th, 2017. And it is my honor and pleasure to be here today with Bertha Anna Smith and we are in near Hayward, Wisconsin, and on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation in Northwoods Beach, close to Hayward. And just as a matter of record, I am not associated with any organization. So, we'll get started with the interview now. So welcome, Bertha. And it's really a pleasure to meet you and to interview with you.
SMITH: Thank you.
BLUMENBERG: Now, as I mentioned, we were going to just go through some verybasic biographic details. I'll ask you questions. Where and when were you born?
SMITH: I was born in Round Lake00:01:00
SMITH: March 18th '23. And the first memory memory I have of being on this earthwas being in Round Lake.
BLUMENBERG: Round Lake.
SMITH: That's where I grew up. Lived there for a few years.
SMITH: Till I was about eight years old, I think. And then we moved to Reserve.
BLUMENBERG: All right. So from Round Lake to Reserve
SMITH: Then from Reserve here, OK? To Grindstone.
BLUMENBERG: So, would you tell me about your your parents?
SMITH: My parents. We had some wonderful parents. They were strict with us, butthey were good. My dad's name was Fred Smith,
BLUMENBERG: OK, Fred,
SMITH: Fred J. Smith. My mother's name was Madge Heenan. Her maiden name wasHeenan. And uh ...They had. 00:02:00
BLUMENBERG: I'm not familiar with that last name.
SMITH: It, it used to be quite a lot of people around here by that name, butthat was in the olden days.
BLUMENBERG: And how do you how would you spell?
BLUMENBERG: OK. And so, you say your parents were wonderful people.
SMITH: They were. And you--We had ten children in our family.
BLUMENBERG: Wow. You had a big family,
SMITH: Eight girls and two boys.
BLUMENBERG: Well, one one of my questions is I'll follow up with that. But whoare your siblings that it's going to take a little while to explain all that?
SMITH: Well, I have an older sister, Beatrice. Then I come next and then mybrother, Leonard and Richard, Frita, Marge, Loraine, Exscelda, Janet, and Geraldine. 00:03:00
BLUMENBERG: Quite a group,.
SMITH: Wonderful group.
BLUMENBERG: Nice. And then I know I know this, that some others have also servedin the military. So could you tell me about them.
SMITH: My two brothers.
BLUMENBERG: Your two brothers? Right.
SMITH: My oldest brother, Lenny, was in the in the airborne. He was a paratrooper.
BLUMENBERG: And he was World War Two also?
SMITH: He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, Germany, and my brother Richard,served in the Navy during World War II and discharged and then turned around and joined the army in the Korean War.
BLUMENBERG: Wow. Oh yeah. So Richard is, is he now the one at Water's Edge?
SMITH: Right. That's right.00:04:00
BLUMENBERG: Wow, that's that's good history there. Well, let's just back up astep when? When. Tell me a little bit more about this is your history. So, you were in Round Lake and then you moved to Reserve and you were said you were what about eight-years-old?
SMITH: Then we moved to Grindstone.
BLUMENBERG: Then to Grindstone.
BLUMENBERG: And so what were you doing at that time? I mean, you were in school
SMITH: When I was five years old. I was sent to a government boarding schooloutside of Hayward.
BLUMENBERG: OK, so
SMITH: I went there probably a year.
BLUMENBERG: Now, is that where the hospital is now?
BLUMENBERG: What did they call that area?
SMITH: Hayward School.
BLUMENBERG: The Hayward School. Yeah, yeah.
SMITH: Right, it was all Indian children. They came from Minnesota
BLUMENBERG: And they took you off from your home and you spent days and nights there?
SMITH: Sure. So it was about the time of the Lindbergh kidnaping 'cause because00:05:00we used to sleep in a dorm, all the little girls,
BLUMENBERG: OK, there was a dorm there then.
SMITH: And we were all afraid to go to sleep because we heard they kidnapped thebaby climbing through a window, that our imagination.
BLUMENBERG: So, you thought about that.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. And so, what kind of an experience that you have at that school?
SMITH: Very nice that I can remember. We all had to wear uniforms.
SMITH: The only thing that bothered me there were the shoes.
BLUMENBERG: They had bad shoes?
SMITH: Buckle, buckle shoes.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. And they were uncomfortable?
SMITH: High tops.
BLUMENBERG: And that was when you were five.
SMITH: Probably five or six years old
BLUMENBERG: OK, and then how long you said you spent a year there?
SMITH: Probably a year, I don't really remember, but probably a year. And then00:06:00they closed the school.
BLUMENBERG: OK. They closed that school and then where did you go?
SMITH: Then from there I went to school in Round Lake, we had a one roomschoolhouse there.
BLUMENBERG: On round in Round Lake
SMITH: Public School. Then from there, we went to Kinnamon up here on the cornerwhere they have the remodeled building.
BLUMENBERG: I know where Kinnamon School is.
SMITH: I graduated from the eighth grade there in nineteen thirty-eight. Thenthe next four years I went to a boarding school in South Dakota.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, where was that?
SMITH: Flandreau, South Dakota.
BLUMENBERG: Flandreau, okay.
SMITH: Four years.
BLUMENBERG: So that was your high school?
BLUMENBERG: OK. And you graduated from Flandreau in South Dakota.
SMITH: In 1942.
BLUMENBERG: In 1942. Wow, you have a good memory.
SMITH: Uh huh.00:07:00
BLUMENBERG: And then what happened to you after high school?
SMITH: Well, I--I once thought I wanted to be a nurse.
BLUMENBERG: Mm hmm.
SMITH: And I begged my father to send me to Oklahoma to Lawton, Oklahoma. Theyhad a school down there with nothing but Indian girls training to be a nurse. I wanted to be there, but dad wouldn't send me. Telling me it was too far from home.
BLUMENBERG: Too far from home.
BLUMENBERG: And probably.
SMITH: I didn't go.
BLUMENBERG: Probably an expense also.
SMITH: I don't know, but he never wanted us far from home.
BLUMENBERG: Right, OK.
SMITH: And so then I.
BLUMENBERG: You were far from home when you were in Flandreau.
SMITH: I know. I know. Far, far.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, that's a long distance from here.
SMITH: Then I got a job at...Let's see now. Let me think of the time. I just00:08:00don't know the year I went into the army.
BLUMENBERG: OK, let's just back up one half a second, if you. You came out ofhigh school and then you came back to Grindstone.
SMITH: Yeah, I came back home, OK? Dad wouldn't send me to nursing school or Oklahoma.
BLUMENBERG: OK, and then were you?
SMITH: So then I got a job.
BLUMENBERG: You were working in the area the local area
SMITH: At the Hayward Hospital.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK.
SMITH: And then Mrs. Brink there talked to her sister-in-law in MilwaukeeGeneral. And Miss Mrs. Miss Brink her name was got me a job there and I stayed 00:09:00there. And I think that's when I went into the army. After that.
BLUMENBERG: So you went for
SMITH: I quit at the Milwaukee County because, I, I was deathly afraid of goingon a ninth floor where all the people were that were insane.
SMITH: I was only eighteen.
BLUMENBERG: We've got some music coming on here.
SMITH: My phone.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, that's fine. That's fine.
SMITH: It will stop. And then uh, yeah that's right, after Milwaukee County,then I went into the service.
SMITH: Decided on a spur of the moment.
BLUMENBERG: Spur of the moment, what...what branch of military did you serve in?
SMITH: The Army Air Corps.
BLUMENBERG: The Army Air Corps and when you enlisted on the spur of the moment,00:10:00did you do that in Milwaukee or here?
SMITH: In Milwaukee.
BLUMENBERG: In Milwaukee. So you were enlisted then and what happened?
SMITH: Went home and got my papers to come by train to Chicago. OK, we need someother girls there. And off we went to Georgia.
SMITH: First time I ever wrote a train.
BLUMENBERG: First time you ever road a train. And what did your father thinkabout you leaving?
SMITH: I don't know. I really I never heard what they thought. Yeah, you'regoing into the army, but they got over it.
BLUMENBERG: They got over it.
SMITH: Oh yes.
BLUMENBERG: Well, then you were left here. You went to Chicago.
SMITH: And went to Georgia.
BLUMENBERG: On the train, to what was it in Georgia?
SMITH: Fort Oglethorpe.
BLUMENBERG: Fort Oglethorpe. And I don't know where that is. Do you recall wherethat would be?
SMITH: All I know is Georgia.00:11:00
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, OK. So Fort Oglethorpe--
SMITH: Near where they fought the Civil War.
BLUMENBERG: OK? And so that was your basic training then.
SMITH: Mm hmmm.
BLUMENBERG: And what do you recall of your basic training?
SMITH: Very good. Very, I. You learn. Oh, I was just a country girl going in.Never been anywhere.
BLUMENBERG: All right. You got to go to a lot of places then so.
SMITH: Well, it's the first time I ever went in the restaurant was when I was inthe Army.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, wow.
SMITH: And it happened to be a Chicken Shack.
BLUMENBERG: A Chicken Shack. A Chicken Shack in Georgia.
SMITH: And we always marveled that we never got any silverware with our chickeneveryone ate with their fingers.
SMITH: And then we went to an oriental restaurant where I learned to likeChinese food.
BLUMENBERG: And you ate with chopsticks.00:12:00
SMITH: Yes. A lot to learn.
BLUMENBERG: Sure. Yeah, a lot to learn. Do you remember any of your instructorswhile you were there?
SMITH: I remember one.
BLUMENBERG: What can you tell me about that person?
SMITH: She was very tall. Very mannish.
SMITH: Mm hmmm.
SMITH: She always seemed to pick my name. I don't know why. Maybe because ofNative American, but I always had to...Had to present something. Because I was I was in the back row because I was short.
BLUMENBERG: Uh huh..
SMITH: Shed' point to Private Smith
SMITH: I'll have to come up front
BLUMENBERG: And you had to give a presentation.
SMITH: Mm hmmm.
BLUMENBERG: What about the physical training that did you have?
SMITH: Well, we had that every day.
BLUMENBERG: Every single day.
SMITH: Every morning in the barracks.
SMITH: Hitchhiking, when we were at Fort Oglethorpe, they had prisoners therefrom Germany. They were fenced in.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK, and they were on the grounds there.
SMITH: Oh yeah, but they were treated good. We used to walk down there to listento them sing and whistle.
SMITH: They'd whistle in the group and sing beautiful.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. Well, how long did you spend at? At Fort Oglethorpe then?
SMITH: Percent, probably six months. And then I went to. Casper, Wyoming.
BLUMENBERG: OK, what was your training when when you were in Fort Oglethorpe?You went to boot camp first, right? And then we
SMITH: just trained to take orders.
SMITH: And March. Exercise and that's it.
BLUMENBERG: And what kind of job did they prepare you?00:14:00
SMITH: But we didn't have no jobs.
BLUMENBERG: Really? No. So then what did they?
SMITH: I learned that in Casper.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK. So, when you moved after off to Casper, Wyoming, then yougot more training?
SMITH: Oh yes.
BLUMENBERG: And what was that about?
SMITH: Well, I wanted to go to the hospital, and that's where they sent me tothe base hospital.
BLUMENBERG: OK, so you're on there?
SMITH: And the man that trained me, the sergeant, his name was Smith from Kansas.
BLUMENBERG: No relative.
SMITH: No relative. No.
BLUMENBERG: No, no. And so, what did they train you to do?
SMITH: To take care of the GIs.
BLUMENBERG: OK, so you were doing direct patient care then?
BLUMENBERG: Not in the laboratory or anything like that?
SMITH: anything within a few [INAUDIBLE] would come in once in a while.
BLUMENBERG: Mm hmm.
SMITH: Then. A lot of fun.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. And I bet you learned a lot.
SMITH: Yeah, we used to go up in the mountains and ride horses,00:15:00
BLUMENBERG: You're seeing the world that way. Yeah, yeah,
SMITH: They were good days. Yes. Up in the mountains in the army trucks.
BLUMENBERG: And you were do you remember the name of the facility in Wyoming?Was that an army fort?
SMITH: Just Casper, Wyoming. That's all I remember.
SMITH: And I wish I could remember the one in Colorado.
BLUMENBERG: Well, well, maybe we maybe I'll do a little bit of research and seeif I can figure that out.
SMITH: Because we used to go into a Carson City a lot. Colorado Springs.
BLUMENBERG: So, you were right there? Right?
SMITH: To go to football games there at Colorado Springs with the big games.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, the well, the academy was an Air Force academy there then?
SMITH: No, no. It was a ski. OK for the GIs. Ski troops.00:16:00
BLUMENBERG: Oh, so that was, yeah
BLUMENBERG: Now when you were in Wyoming, then did you live in barracks or huh?OK. And what do you remember about that?
SMITH: Oh. It was nice.
BLUMENBERG: No complaints about that.
SMITH: We had to get up early and take a shower, get dressed, exercise at seveno'clock for breakfast.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, so you had your regular routine?
SMITH: Oh, yes.
BLUMENBERG: Because you were in the army and then off to work, right?
SMITH: And they had busses to take us to work. They'd go around the base anddrop everybody off.
BLUMENBERG: And then you were there in Wyoming for how long?
SMITH: I don't remember.00:17:00
BLUMENBERG: OK. And what happened to you after that?
SMITH: Went to Colorado.
BLUMENBERG: So, the Colorado and then you were working in a hospital again?
SMITH: Mmm Hmmm.
BLUMENBERG: And how long did that last?
SMITH: I don't remember that. OK. But we were getting ready to go to thePacific. Got our teeth fixed, or shots, eyes checked and our hair. Our barracks bags were all on the ramp ready to be put on the plane. We were on our way to Roswell, New Mexico to pick up another group of girls. But then the war ended.
SMITH: So, we didn't get to go.
BLUMENBERG: You didn't hear about that at all. You didn't go overseas.
SMITH: Everything was canceled.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, well, but you were ready to go.
SMITH: Well, yeah, we had to go. Yeah, we had no choice.00:18:00
BLUMENBERG: But you were well trained for it, then what happened? They canceledyour orders?
SMITH: Yeah. Then my girlfriend and I, we were going to make it a career and.And. We didn't. She made a mistake. So, she was sent home to Pennsylvania and. I stayed on for a little while.
BLUMENBERG: And you were then you stayed in Colorado.
SMITH: Yeah, then we were, I think I got home by Christmas.
BLUMENBERG: Oh yeah. I didn't get a chance to look at all the dates on your yourofficial form there. So, in total. How long do you think you served?
SMITH: I don't really know that either.
BLUMENBERG: Was it two years?
SMITH: I don't know.
BLUMENBERG: Okay. Well, I can. I'll find that out when I look in there. Yeah,I'm sure it is on there. Now, when you were working in the hospital there and 00:19:00there were people, you know, it was wartime. Did you treat any people that had been overseas?
SMITH: No. No, we didn't.
BLUMENBERG: These were all
SMITH: They probably went to the big hospitals.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, okay. And you were in the smaller of a base hospital,
SMITH: Yeah, just a base hospital.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, there was, I guess there were plenty of casualties and injuries.
SMITH: Of the GIs we were with. They were trained for bombers. Uh huh. And a lotof them. Didn't stay too long. They were shipped over.
BLUMENBERG: They were there for training, and away they went.
SMITH: Away they went down.
SMITH: Yeah. And this was before this was at a time when they didn't allowblacks into the PX. They were given their own.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, they had their own separate post exchange?00:20:00
SMITH: Amazing. Is that at that time to be that way, right? But they were. Butthat soon changed.
BLUMENBERG: Well, right. I don't know if I can ask this question, but you youalluded to it before. But because you're a Native American, do you think you had any treatment that was different because of that?
SMITH: In all my travels, I never had any kind of problems with prejudice 'til Iwent to Lac du Flambeau to live in my retirement years. Oh okay. Boat Landing.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, with the walleye spearing?
SMITH: That's the first time I met with any kind of prejudice. Yeah.
BLUMENBERG: Okay. So, you didn't have
SMITH: Never in my life.
BLUMENBERG: You didn't have any of that when you were in service.
SMITH: Didn't have it around here when we were growing up. Yeah, we grew up herewith the kids from the boulevard and around here.
SMITH: Never any feelings of that kind. It was hard to understand.00:21:00
SMITH: Look at that girl. Hey, God, she makes me sick.
BLUMENBERG: That's our dog, Jasmine. And she just jumped off the bed where shewas supposed to be taking a nap.
SMITH: She won't take a nap.
BLUMENBERG: But actually, I think she wants to get on camera here. Yeah,she's...she's really trying to figure out what we're doing here. That's it. Well, you had some good experiences then and then you said you were with other females in your group. And what kind of friendships did you make?
SMITH: Wonderful. You meet all kinds of people.
BLUMENBERG: You know, does anybody stick out in your mind? Anybody?
SMITH: A lot.
BLUMENBERG: Really? Can you tell me about one or two of them?
SMITH: Well, I had a very good girlfriend from Pennsylvania. Uh-Huh. Her namewas Peggy. I had another one from Detroit. Marge was her name. And then I had another one. Her name was. Edith from Kansas City and then a Frieda Smith from Vermont. 00:22:00
BLUMENBERG: Another Smith, another
SMITH: Smith, and I had a sister by that name, Frieda Smith. You meet all kindsof people.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. And then when the war while you were on active duty, did youhave any opportunity to correspond with your family back back here?
SMITH: Oh, yes, yes.
BLUMENBERG: And of course, there were no smartphones or anything like that, andit was all letter.
SMITH: Just vetters letters.
SMITH: Yeah, well.
SMITH: And then the. We had I was a captain in charge of us. They were allelderly. You'd be surprised by at the elderly ladies that were in.
BLUMENBERG: An elderly like...
SMITH: Probably in their...to me at the time they were in their forties probably.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. See, that's pretty old now.
SMITH: That was old to me at that time.00:23:00
BLUMENBERG: Now we look back...
SMITH: Now I look back and that's young very young.
BLUMENBERG: And when you when you were active duty, you said you got to ridehorses in the mountains, did you have any other activities that you could do when you were off duty bowling?
SMITH: We used to go bowling.
BLUMENBERG: And they have facilities for you on base?
SMITH: No, we had to go into town.
BLUMENBERG: OK, so you had to make road trips.
SMITH: The only thing we had on the base was the PX where you could dance andhave sandwiches, and music. That's about it. But the officers had their own. We weren't allowed in there.
BLUMENBERG: You were not allowed in the...
SMITH: In the officer's mess.
BLUMENBERG: So, you were a private right?
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. So, you had this,
SMITH: But it was good.
SMITH: Very good.
BLUMENBERG: And each each place you were at had its own facilities and you know.00:24:00
SMITH: Yeah, we had our own mess hall.
BLUMENBERG: OK. And what how is the food there?
SMITH: Very good.
BLUMENBERG: Different than different than here and Grindstone or Round Lake?
BLUMENBERG: Did you have any trouble adjusting to all that?
SMITH: No. Slide right into it.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. So that was easy for you?
SMITH: Never any problems.
BLUMENBERG: You must be very easy going.
SMITH: Well, you know, I think of that and I think what was I thinking at 18,17, 18?
BLUMENBERG: Right? You were a young lady.
SMITH: I didn't know a thing about the world.
BLUMENBERG: All right. And off you went.
SMITH: When I think about that, you know. What was on my mind?
BLUMENBERG: Well. You have any regrets about it?
SMITH: Not one.
BLUMENBERG: Not one regret.
SMITH: Whatever stood out in my mind was...My girlfriend and I, we were sitting00:25:00on her bed that I slept above her and she was down below.
BLUMENBERG: So, you were in bunk beds then?
SMITH: Yeah. I was sitting there. A truckload of girls came in from the trainand you could hear them when they came in and they happened to come in our barracks because there were a lot of empty bunks.
SMITH: Uh huh..
SMITH: They were singing. They were singing "Give My Regards to Old Broadway."
BLUMENBERG: Oh, you remember, they
SMITH: always said, I bet they're from New York. Yeah, they were kicking uptheir heels. They danced down the aisle back. I thought, how did they get that way? You know, so
BLUMENBERG: if they were happy to be their spirit?
BLUMENBERG: They were happy to be there.
SMITH: So, I said to my girlfriend, she was from Freeport, Illinois. I said,Look at this. I said, "you know, we were never allowed to do this." The Indian 00:26:00people, I said when we went someplace, we had to be quiet, sit. And I look at these young girls picking up their heels and dancing and so full of spirit.
BLUMENBERG: And then they get in trouble for dancing in the barracks?
SMITH: No, no, no.
SMITH: But you had to have to have your blanket, your blanket so tight that if amatron came along, she could bounce a quarter off of it. And get the bounce back. If it didn't, you had to make your bed over.
BLUMENBERG: And how is your bed now? Can you bounce that? Can you bouncequarters off that?
SMITH: I should say no. You know, I never forgot that day.
SMITH: Settled in my mind how wonderful it must be to be so carefree.
BLUMENBERG: Happy go lucky.00:27:00
BLUMENBERG: And did they settle into their routine?
SMITH: Oh, sure. Sure they did.
BLUMENBERG: And that was their attitude after or after basic?
SMITH: Yeah. Yeah.
SMITH: Well, they were happy.
SMITH: And I said to my girlfriend, "How did they get that way?" I said, "wewere never allowed to carry on." She said, "me either." She was Polish.
BLUMENBERG: Oh yeah.
SMITH: She said, "we were never allowed to carry on." She said, "people from NewYork are different."
BLUMENBERG: They did it differently.
BLUMENBERG: Well, you were...You were active duty at the end of World War II andthen while you were still in Colorado, when you were, your orders were changed.
BLUMENBERG: And then you
SMITH: I wonder if it's on my papers from Colorado.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah, I think I think it will be.
SMITH: It must be.
BLUMENBERG: And I'll get that bit later.
SMITH: God, I can't think of that town.00:28:00
BLUMENBERG: We'll, we'll figure that out, too. I hope.
SMITH: There was a girl that lived in both the army that was from the next townin Colorado, and she didn't want to be there. So, they gave her a discharge and she'd cry all the time. She wanted to go home, and she lived the next town.
BLUMENBERG: She was at home, basically.
SMITH: Yeah, she cried every day. So, they gave her discharge and sent her onher way.
BLUMENBERG: Well, you said that when your orders were canceled, then you stayedin Colorado for a while. But then were you discharged from that facility in Colorado?
BLUMENBERG: And then what happened to you?
SMITH: Came home.
BLUMENBERG: You just...
SMITH: Came home and went to work.
BLUMENBERG: You took a train home.
SMITH: Well, yes.
BLUMENBERG: And then you got...
SMITH: I knew how to get to Chicago through the Grand Grand Central.00:29:00
BLUMENBERG: Oh, you, you had gone through there once before. Yeah.
SMITH: And how to get on the right train, 'cause you know, there's a lot oftrains there.
BLUMENBERG: Uh huh..
SMITH: The North Western. I knew how to do that. You know, I often think, "Howdo tI do that, not being a country girl?"
SMITH: But I, I got home.
BLUMENBERG: You came through Chicago and then where did you...where did youtravel from there, to Milwaukee?
SMITH: Went through Milwaukee and go and got off at Stone Lake?
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK, so you were in the neighborhood?
BLUMENBERG: The train didn't come to Hayward at that time.
SMITH: No, although there used to be a Northwestern there.
SMITH: But we went to Stone Lake for some reason.
BLUMENBERG: OK. And how were you received by your family? Your...
SMITH: Very much
BLUMENBERG: I bet they were happy to have you back. And then you were back here and...00:30:00
SMITH: And I went to Milwaukee.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, so did you...Did you work here when you came back first or
SMITH: No, I didn't work here.
BLUMENBERG: OK, so you...
SMITH: I stayed home a while and then I went on my way to get a job. There wereno work around here.
BLUMENBERG: OK, so then you had...
SMITH: But I always knew I had to work to make my way.
SMITH: Back from Milwaukee, I went to Chicago and there, there I stayed for 50 years.
BLUMENBERG: Wow. What did you do to start in Milwaukee?
SMITH: I worked. I went to school.
BLUMENBERG: You went to school in Milwaukee.
SMITH: I went to secretarial school. OK. Then I found out I didn't care for it.
SMITH: So, I gave that up and I went to then I met a girl. What became like my00:31:00sister and we both went to Chicago.
BLUMENBERG: OH you went to Chicago together and you stayed there 50 years?
SMITH: Yup, that's where I retired from.
BLUMENBERG: Well, and where did you work there?
SMITH: I worked in I work in the Navy Department for a while.
SMITH: And then I worked at Avon Products for quite a few years. That's where Iretired from.
BLUMENBERG: Wow. And then do you recall what year that was that you retired?
SMITH: In '85, I think.
BLUMENBERG: And what did you do after that?
SMITH: Stayed home.
BLUMENBERG: Stayed home in Chicago?
SMITH: No, back here
SMITH: I moved with my husband, I met him.
SMITH: We were together for 50 years.
SMITH: Fifty one years. And then I went to his reservation, which was Lac du Flambeau.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, Lac du Flambeau00:32:00
SMITH: and I lived there for 25 years.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK. What was his name?
SMITH: John. He did, but he passed. I moved back home.
BLUMENBERG: So, you came back here, and you still have family here.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, now, I know it's been a long time, but have you had...after yougot out of service, you know, you had your friends and you went to Chicago, but did you maintain any contact with people?
SMITH: Just three.
BLUMENBERG: Three, well, three of the people that you had served with?
SMITH: Mmm Hmm.
SMITH: One girl from Ishpeming, Michigan.
BLUMENBERGH: Uh huh.
SMITH: Detroit and Pennsylvania.
BLUMENBERG: So you still contacted them?
SMITH: Not anymore. They had passed.
SMITH: All my friends have passed.
SMITH: I'm the only one left.
BLUMENBERG: You're the only one left. You're 94 years old. Is that right? Ninety four?
SMITH: Mmm Hmm.00:33:00
SMITH: So yeah, all my friends have gone on.
BLUMENBERG: You know, that's sad, isn't it?
SMITH: It certainly is.
BLUMENBERG: You're lucky you have your family here, at least some, some of your family.
SMITH: That's right.
BLUMENBERG: And do you belong to any military organizations?
SMITH: I used to belong to the American Legion.
SMITH: Then when I moved here, I changed it to AMVETS. So that's where I belong now.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK. So AMVETS that's and, and that's out of Milwaukee or locally?
BLUMENBERG: Oh, OK. Now does LCO have an organization too?
SMITH: Mmm Hmm, AMVETS.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, the AMVETS at LCO. OK, so that's Lac Courte OreillesReservation, AMVETS? Well, let me ask you, you've had the long career and you got back here, but when, when, when you were serving you seemed like you have 00:34:00fond memories of it. Are there any life lessons that you learned while you were in service?
SMITH: Life lessons.
BLUMENBERG: Anything that helped you get through the next stages of your life.
SMITH: Well, I suppose there were some. But..for one thing, you learned how toget along with people
BLUMENBERG: You get along with people.
SMITH: You know, make friends. It's so important to have a friend.
SMITH: I when I went to Hayward boarding school, there was a girl there by thename of Georgina, but we called her Gina. She used to take care of me in that school, she was two years older than I. We remained friends all our life.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, that's nice.00:35:00
SMITH: All through those years.
BLUMENBERG: Right? How important is that?
SMITH: Very important.
BLUMENBERG: All right. So, you were young. You were a young girl when you went there.
SMITH: And we were in our nineties when she passed, you know, still friends.
BLUMENBERG: And was she living in Hayward?
SMITH: She was living in the in Whitefish. She lived in Chicago, too.
SMITH: But she passed
BLUMENBERG: And she was in Whitefish.
SMITH: Well, then I had another girlfriend in St. Croix. We met in [inaudible]when we were 12. We were friends all through life. She passed.
BLUMENBERG: You know, it's sad.
SMITH: It is.
BLUMENBERG: To lose a good friend like that.
SMITH: Mmm Hmm.
BLUMENBERG: Now you've seen a lot and heard a lot, and I know you, you read lotand watched the news, but what? What are your general feelings about the 00:36:00military or in general?
SMITH: What I would love to see before I pass is a good parade. Oh, I love agood parade.
BLUMENBERG: Military parade?
BLUMENBERG: With John Philip Sousa march?
SMITH: That's right. I love that.
BLUMENBERG: Well, let's get that figured out for you.
SMITH: I would love to watch a good parade. Sandy's older son retired as a, as acolonel, I think. And I always told him I'd love to see a good parade. Yeah, nothing like it.
BLUMENBERG: And you saw plenty of those while you were serving.
SMITH: Mmm Hmm.
SMITH: You can tell when someone is out of step. Just look, and you can tell.
BLUMENBERG: Well, you knew how to march. So...
SMITH: We had to.
BLUMENBERG: Keep an eye on everybody else. Well, where was one of your favorite00:37:00parades then?
SMITH: Well, we we trained in Fort Ogelthorpe. We seen a lot of parades there.
SMITH: Wherever we went, we had a parade.
BLUMENBERG: Do you ever get to the parades here in Hayward?
SMITH: No, no, they're, they're not like..
BLUMENBERG: There's not much to them, but
SMITH: There isn't.
SMITH: No. And Soldiers Field, you know, you see that I've seen a parade once in Chicago.
BLUMENBERG: Oh, in Chicago. So that was big time then, right?
BLUMENBERG: Well, you know, this is your history, Bertha, and I'm going to passon this little video that I'm making to you and you can give it to anybody you want, but is there any, any message, a word of wisdom that you have for future generations? You said one thing about making friends, how important that is. Is 00:38:00there anything else?
SMITH: You have to believe in yourself.
BLUMENBERG: Believe in yourself, right?
SMITH: Do good things, think good thoughts. you know, that's what I tell my nieces.
BLUMENBERG: You know, that's a...
SMITH: Think good thoughts.
BLUMENBERG: That's a good message. Yeah. Well, maybe your nieces will get anopportunity to watch this, and it'll be a reminder for them
SMITH: Yeah, right?
BLUMENBERG: Well, is there anything else that we haven't discussed that you wantto bring up now? You can.
SMITH: Oh gosh, I don't think so. There's a lot.
BLUMENBERG: But if there's any story, any specific story or anything else thatyou want to have recorded, we can do that. Otherwise, we can... 00:39:00
SMITH: No, I don't think so.
SMITH: It's all for myself.
BLUMENBERG: It's for yourself. OK, your good memories?
SMITH: Right. That's all I have left.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. Well, you have Jasmine your dog, and you have your sister, andyour nieces, too.
SMITH: So right, I'm lucky to have them.
BLUMENBERG: Yeah. Nice. Well, if there is nothing else, then we can end theinterview and we'll end it by saying that it's July 28th, 2017. I'm Tom Blumenberg, and I am here with Bertha Anna Smith. And it has been my pleasure to interview you. And I thank you for your service.
SMITH: Thank you. It's been a pleasure.