Me with Betty and Louise"

When I was very little, I was very lucky to have a wonderful sister, and a very special friend named Louise. My sister Betty was 15 when I was born, and she had a lot of friends. In the winter even though I was very little, they would hold my hands, and take me ice skating with them, on the pond across the road from our house.

In the fall, as you can see Betty and Louise let me come into the fields with them.

Betty married a man named Eddie Peters, when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I remember him as tall and handsome. During the Second World War he became a fighter pilot in the Army Air Force and was killed in a plane crash in Italy on September 4, 1944. He was the pilot of a P47 Thunderbolt fighter plane, and was on his 99th mission when he was shot down by German fighter planes. His plane was named “Betty” in honor of his my sister. Eddie went overseas in April, 1944. In his 99 combat missions he acted as escort to bomber formations and his squadron was active in light bombing and strafing of enemy supply lines.

He had qualified for admission to the Army Air forces cadet training program in April 1942, graduated as a fighter pilot and second lieutenant at Spence field, Georgia, December 5, 1943. Betty had been living in Tallahassee, Florida with him before he went overseas in April 1944. After his death she came back to Pleasant Valley. During the time she was living with us, she worked at the school where I went to kindergarten. One time when I was in kindergarten, and was talking too much my teacher sent me out of the room to stand by the door. Instead of standing where she put me, I snuck down to the office where my sister was working, just to say “Hi” when she saw me, she wanted to know what I was doing out of my classroom, I told her that my teacher sent me. It was very embarrassing for me, since she didn’t have any thing to send back with me. From that point on, I was quiet in class, so I wouldn’t have to go stand outside the door.

She lived with us until she married Sanford Bush. (Sanford worked with my father in the fields, planting and caring for new trees) Then she moved with him across the Hudson River near High Falls. She became pregnant and when I was 7 years old she had a baby boy, the night after the baby was born, and she died, very unexpectedly. All I ever heard was “She died in child-birth” It wasn’t something that was talked about back then, and also since I was a child, it wasn’t discussed much in front of me.

What I can remember about it is that my parents brought my nephew home from the hospital, and he got all of the attention from that point on. I also remember that I missed my sister, and my mother cried a lot.

I guess it was at this time that I remember Louise more. She had a husband named Ace. Ace used to wear a “slouch” hat. I don’t actually remember when he died. Just that one day he wasn’t around any more.
Louise lived in a little old house. . Sometimes after Ace died I would go stay all night with Louise. Her mother lived with her. She was blind, so everyone was surprised one day when she said that I had grown.
Louise didn’t keep real milk, but she did have evaporated milk, which she mixed half & half with water in a white dipper for me. This made milk for me to drink

At my house we used oleo (margarine) in place of butter, and it was white when it started, there was a yellow capsule included which you mixed with it to make it look like butter. When I first remember it, it had to be mixed in a bowl, but as time went by, it came in a plastic bag, with a color capsule inside the bag, that you could squeeze, to mix the color until it looked like butter. Louise didn’t bother making the oleo yellow, she used it while it was still white. She used to fix me rice with “white butter” and “milk” and sugar. I really liked it!

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