Hey all, I’m sorry about the lack of posts this past week. It was kind of a hectic one. We had a good weekend at Governors Island. On Friday another volunteer and I interviewed a lady who worked as a civilian employee in the Adjutant General’s Office during the Korean Conflict. She was an amazing lady in her eighties who took the LIRR from Long Island and then 4 train from Grand Central to meet us on the Governors Island side of the ferry. It was something for us to interview her and then take her to the building where she once worked. She vividly recalled seeing the harbor from the second story window where she worked for two years just after graduating from high school in 1950.
This morning we spoke to another woman who lived in Fort Jay itself when her father was a colonel in the First Army. This woman lives in Texas and was in town for a wedding. She was nine when the family moved here and thirteen when they left; so, her recollections were very strong. Sitting in for the interview were her husband, children and grandchildren. It was obvious how much admiration her family had for her and what the trip meant to all of them. I love meeting people like this because it makes the story of Governors Island that much more immediate. It is one thing to hear that people served in Liggett Hall. It is another to walk the grounds with someone whose father worked in the building and have her tell you all about it. At one time she was pointing to individual homes on Colonel’s Row and recalling the names of those who lived there in the early Fifties. This was really a privilege.
This woman’s father was a career man and an officer on Patton’s staff during WW2. After that war the lived in Paris when she was still very young. Sadly most of his military paperwork was lost in the National Personnel Records Center fire of 1973. This terrible event destroyed the records of generations of uniformed service persons going back to the years just prior to World War 1. I have always known a little bit about the Records Fire, but had never met anyone touched by the event. It was all so unfortunate.
So, that was my weekend. You never know what you might see at Governors Island National Monument. If you know anyone who lived or worked there. we’d love to hear their story.