Interview With Jeanette Berkey
Jeanette: We had a PX there. We had a lot of toiletries. Women's personal items were there. Kotex we could buy. We didn't have to go to Denver, which was quite a distance from the camp. We mostly stayed in camp or ---- for any activities. We did have a lot of activities at camp. We had ice skating, hayrides, dances. We had dances constantly. We were invited to mess hall to have dinner with the boys. We went hiking a lot. We went to Golden, Colorado. We hiked there. We went up to the Holy Cross. That was a thing - I don't think I'll ever forget it. We hiked up, the weather was clear and all of sudden it started hailing. Rain - we were freezing by the time we got down to the bus. Another thing I'll never forget was in Denver when a storm came up. We got caught in a blizzard. The bus got stuck on Loveland Pass. --- stopped the bus and the next thing we were stopped in the back. We couldn't go one way or the other. We were there all night. Freezing to death - the bus had no heat. Whoever had bottles, we passed them around so we could drink and stay warm. Finally, around five or six o'clock in the morning, they discovered where we were and dug us out. We got back to camp frozen solid. We were so cold.
Andrea: Ok, Now talk about the little condoms.
Jeanette: It was a weird sight when we went out on weekends. Of course, the men were always protecting. We went out the gate and they passed us these little packets. We didn't know what they were in the beginning. So, we found out they were condoms. I think there was three to a package. Then they stopped handing them out because they realized that it was for the men only.
Andrea: You had pictures of the German soldiers?
Jeanette: An incidence happened while I was at Camp Hale, Colorado. I didn't know anything about it until I got newspapers from home. There was an affair going on between the WACs and the POWs. I can see why some of the girls fell for those men because they were really "hunks." Gorgeous looking men. Their physiques were out of this world, big broad shoulders, blondes. I don't know what they were doing and how they were able to contact the POWs, but apparently they were discharged. They were either court-martialed or something happened to them. But they were gone the next day. You never heard anymore about it. It was a hush hush thing. I got the papers from Norton, New Jersey and I was out in Colorado. And that's how I found out there was something going on in our camp. Here today, gone tomorrow!
Jeanette: Thinking back at some of the things we did at Camp Hale that was really funny. Ann Brickam - she was a good soul. We really liked her. Her hair was red as could be. We played a trick on her. We short sheeted her bed. She had taken her glasses off. She got in bed and realized what had happened and she couldn't find her glasses. She was ready to kill all of us. We were scattering all over the place - laughing. And then our sergeant came in everybody quieted down.
Jeanette: When we left the states, we didn't know where we were going. We had all winter clothes with us. We didn't know where we were going. We thought maybe Alaska because we had all winter clothes. All of sudden we're going and realize we're not going North we're going southward. And we found out we were going to Australia. But then they invaded the Philippines and they needed the ship. So instead of going to Australia, we headed North and went to ---- and got off. We stopped on the way ----, ---- and then we went to --- and got off. we ran out of water. They rationed the water out. We had a --- of water and that's what we had to live on to the time we landed at ---.
Jeanette: While out in Colorado, I used to like to read something about home. My folks would send me the ---- Evening News and I would read it and I found out that we were having a scandal at our camp which we didn't know about. When I read it, I couldn't believe that some of the girls were associating with the Nazi prisoners. I could see why they were falling for them. I don't know how they came in contact with them or what they were doing with them. But what everybody calls "hunks" now they were "hunks" plus. They were built, their shoulders were broad, they stood up straight, handsome. They were "dream boats." I have no idea what happened to the women. I guess they were court-martialed. As they say "Here today, gone tomorrow." That's probably what happened to them. We were not allowed to associate with the POWs. Even though they marched every day, every night in front of our barracks, all we could do is look at them. We could never go near them, never talk to them. So how they got away with it, I have no idea. But they were caught. We never heard anything on it. Never knew anymore about it. It was hush hush! The soldiers didn't get transferred so I guess the girls got court-martialed or transferred. That was the last we heard of it.
Jeanette: There was a lot to do out there, providing you wanted to do things. There was skiing. I went skiing a couple of times but then the last time I went, I had an unfortunate thing happened. I was lucky I didn't break a leg. I hit a slick and the ice gave away. My one leg was in the snow and the other one out. So that was the end of my skiing. We danced a lot. We had a lot of contests. One thing I remember that was very nice. It was the first Christmas we were there, we had a very wonderful dinner - all the trimmings. It was like home. That I will always remember. A lot of things - the dancing, dates. We had "loads" of dates. Going into town - Denver, Glenwood Springs, Colorado Springs. Hayrides. I never went to the "WAC Shack" I don't know what was there. I don't know if they just had a bed there. No idea. I was never there. We traveled as a group when we got passes because it was safety in numbers. But back in camp we did a lot of things. We went out on the trails quite often. We were invited out on the little snow-mobiles. We went to the top of a mountain one time. Someone took a picture and instead of standing up the way it should have been. When they developed it, it was on a slant. Everybody was on a slant. It looked like we were drunk and falling off the mountain. They were going to put our picture in a magazine. I don't recall the magazine. We had our own individual suits with us. So we went up the mountain with skis on and they took our picture going down part of the mountain. But we never did get in the papers. Same with South Pacific. Practice - day and night on that. That fizzled out also. But we had a good time doing it. Those are the memories I have. Going up the trails, going to Golden State Park. I don't think it was a state park then, just a park. Colorado Springs - we were there. Another weekend we were at Glenwood Springs where they refused us a room. We had reservations for a room but when they decided we were all WACS, they said they had no room. A lieutenant came in with his girlfriend and got the room that was supposed to be ours. We made a fuss and they gave us a room but it had no windows in it. So, six of us slept in one bed every which way with our coats on and whatever we could find to cover ourselves up. We had a great time.