Oakland Living History Program, Interview


Helen Hibbs Interview Excerpt

Helen Hibbs, Interviewee
Suzette Lalime Davidson, Interviewer

October 8, 1993

Suzette Lalime Davidson: Were you involved at all with fund—raising activities during the war?
Helen Hibbs: We bought a jeep and I got made the "Queen of the Jeep" because of the "Haybailer!" [laughter from interviewers] We paid, we raised money and paid for a jeep and they sent a jeep to campus, properly escorted by handsome, young military men, and rode the jeep — as I say I was the Queen of the Jeep because of my reputation with the "Haybailer." And it's all been changed now, but I remember riding the jeep up the front steps to the Student Union, which were then brick —  they must have survived, we hope they did! — and parking on the then — porch or brick landing of the Student Union. This was to show off the jeep and what a terrain vehicle the jeep was, because a jeep was quite unusual back then. Now there are all these four — wheel drive vehicles and so on. But, that was quite an afternoon as I recall! [laughter from interviewers] And I think we ended up with escorts for dinner or something like that, at our choice.

SLD: Uh, did the jeep business, evoke any reaction from the administration in the way of rules?
HH: Oh, I don't think so. I don't think anybody came and — not at that time — came in and told us to get off the steps. We were not, certainly not being discouraged from doing things like that. And there were a number of people, a number of students had gone into nurses'— aiding, I remember yellow Red — Cross uniforms that designated us for going and volunteering in hospitals and selling cards or passing out cards, or something like —  not a book — mobile, but something with goodies on it, you know, treats and cigarettes and candies and things like that.

I'm not sure I remember personage of the faculty members, but knitting scarves that turned out to be eight feet long, supposed to be nice and warm, heavy, heavy course wool that were about twelve, thirteen inches wide and you just went on and on and on and on with them. And they were supposed to be nice and warm to wrap around the neck and wear with — under the uniforms and so on. Bandage- rolling. I remember being instructed in bandage rolling and how precise to be with it and so on. And then uh, some of us wondered about sterile bandages, but it turned out there was some way to stick them in an autoclave or something after they were rolled. Therefore they were safe to, quote, "go to war."

There was gas rationing — which, to this day, I don't think was necessary but was only to make everybody think they were making their contribution — and tires and food rationing. We had to turn—we had coupon books for food and I think we had to — that last year,
my last year, we had to bring the coupon books to school, so they could be used out of the kitchens and so on to feed us.

A part of the "Fires of Wisdom Oral History Project" of the Oakland Living History Program


Suzette Lalime Davidson



5000 Mac Arthur Boulevard

Oakland Living History Program