Reevea Jeannette Voigt Oral History

Interviewed by Charlotte Wangrin, November 3, 2003, with help from Jackie (Howe) Sautter

Interviewer: Can I get your name please?

RV: Reevea Voigt.

I:. Do you remember anything about your parents and families when you were younger? RV: Yes.

I: Is there anything particular that you remember?

RV: Well my mother ran a restaurant. She was the head cook at the five-hundred hospital. My father worked for the United States government and was in charge of the stock room at Wright Patterson AFB. That included gases like oxygen and hydrogen in a tank.

I: Could you tell us anything about your childhood?

RV: Well I'm an only child and as a child I was very very very heavy. I wasn't heavy when I was a baby but at the time I was ready to graduate from high school I weighed 250 and wore size 42 dresses. So I was a fat kid and that wasn't popular to be fat.

I: Is there anything historical that you remember in your childhood, anything happening?

RV: Well I remember the day that World War II broke out, very vividly. That's probably the most. It was a Sunday. We went to my Dad's uncle's that day. They were fanners who did custom bgutchering. In the kitchen we sat around a big table and once we fginished eating all the fellows went out to listen to the radio in the car while the women did the dishes and they heard the announcement. So they rushed back in and everyone started listening to the radio. Pearl Harbor had been bombed.

I: What would a regular day be? Well in grade school you were in a class, in a classroom and sometimes it was like two classes in a rom and they would have like all of the first grade and half of the other, like half of the second and all of the third grade, but sometimes you had a grade and a half.

I: Looking back what changes would you have liked to see in the world? What did you decide to become after college? What did you take during college?

RV: I started out to be a dietician but I wound up being a school teacher. I was to go to Bowling Green University and when I got there they had done away with diatetics. I had to declare something so I declared Education and then left Bowling Green. I went back to Wittenberg and got my degree there. I worked in the daytime and went to night school so it took me 13 years to get my degree. During that time i took everything I could pertaining to Library Science and they still didn't have enough pertinent courses so I took some at College of St. Mary's of the Springs. Then it was back to Springfield. I taught in NC-B local schools on the west side of Clark County; then I had to drive 50 miles to get to Columbus.

I: Is there anything else that is important that we did not cover?

RV: Church. Church is very important to us.

I: Reevea, can you talk more about World War II beginning? How old were your?

RV: Well it started in '41. I would have been in the first grade. But anyways it was on a Sunday and we were at a great aunt of mine's house and her husband's for dinner and my grandparents were there and the seven of us all went out and there was a car radio in the barnyard, you know, and somebody came running in and said we've been attacked!

I: Okay. So what was that day like then? I mean you just said it was a Sunday, I mean what was the feeling that you had?

RV: Pretty shocked. They had no idea that this was going to take place or that the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor to start that war. You know.

I: And what was it your dad did? Did your dad or anybody go into the service then at that time?

RV: No, he was . . .

I: Well did you have brothers or anything that did go into the service?

RV: No, I didn't have any brothers or sisters. My Dad is an only child. He missed having to go into the service during World War II by, I think it was like ten days when his birthday was and they stopped it. Though I was only a child I was so afraid he'd be taken and possibly die they took me to a Psychiatrist where my father had to state clearly that he wouldn't be drafted. (Here Reevea is close to tears.) But during that time he worked in one of the army plants and was in charge of all the liquid gases, the oxygen and the hydrogen and the nitrogen and so forth, that was sent out to different places from this factory.

I: And then what about your mother, what did she do at that time? I mean did she have anything that really affected her?

RV: She worked in school lunch rooms and did catering for factory parties and weddings. I So the war didn't really affect her that day when we were bombed?

RV: Well, do you remember the days when John F. Kennedy was shot? World War Ii was probably three times that great. It was just the same thing. And that was just everybody was flabbergasted you know, but news didn't travel like it does now.

I: Okay, going on to a different subject, what type of involvement with the church did you have? Now you can start your thing in the war time.

RV: Well it's not necessary. I mean that's the period of time that you're talking about right now. At that time we lived in North Hampton which was 10 miles away from Springfield, but our church was in Springfield, so it was difficult to find gas to get there. So all you did was go to church and that was about it because of the gas rationing and you only got so much gas and you had to stance (sp?) to get it , and so you used your gas to go to church and back on Sunday but there was not gas to go as a group. When I was a teenager we couldn't go on Wednesdays or Thursdays or whatever day that whenever you liked to go.

I: Did they have several services even though the gas was rationed?

RV: I don't remember.

I: I mean did they have like Wednesday or midweek services or just because of gas.

RV: I'm sure they had them in the town because people could walk but we wouldn't have been able to go 10 things as they have today.

I: So okay, now can you tell me about what type of involvement with the church did you have?

RV: That was about all I remember until I married Louis and then I thought I'd married someone that was not going to sit in church all that time, but when you were married to a preacher you sit in church most of the time.

I: So your husband is a preacher?

RV: Between preachers. They didn't ordain him because of his hearing problems. He wouldn't be able to hear what you or I had to say to him, to get it straight. So he was the one who got his—Master's I think—anyway he came back and trained pastors that came to school.

I: So that is how the church was a big part of your life, wasn't it.

RV: Yes. You know, 26 years.

I: So with Louis doing that you took up a new big thing?

RV: Since I've been married to him, yes.

I: Okay, is there anything else you would like to add. . . any comments you'd like to make or anything? Anything that you think you should add to this?

RV: Well as far as my early life, I lived three houses from my grandparents in a small town on the same street and there were three houses between us and their land was kind of like a U when Dad bought the one tail of it. So whenever we would have company or something we would go down to Grandma's the next day and she would say, "Ohh. . . who was at your house last night? There was a car on the driveway." You know how small towns are.

I: Yes, everybody knows everybody. Well I'd like to thank you for this interview and hopefully everybody can enjoy it too. Thank you Reevea.