Archived site
Read only

life story books
Written by Morgan Manter

Bill and Shirley P

Country of Birth:

United States

Year of birth: 1922

Places of Residence:

Great Falls, Montana

Bill P. Born In: 1922 Shirley P. Born In: 1923

Born In: I was born in Great Falls, Montana. I have one brother, he's two years older.

Childhood: My favorite part was hanging around my dad, because he was one of the two men who had the greatest influence on me. He was honest, he was curious about everything, he could carry on a conversation with anyone about any subject and it was from knowledge that he just absorbed over his life time. He didn't go to school beyond high school, so he was a self educated man. I was shipped off to live with various people for relatively brief times because my mother spent a lot of time on "female problems" as they called them in those days. So my older brother and I were farmed out to a catholic convent in Benecia when I was five years old. My most vivid memory was on Good Friday; imagine five, six, seven, and eight year old boys being forced to sit still for three hours while the nuns supervised us; that was not the greatest experience. And Sister Josephine, who was my mother away from home; wonderful woman.

The Second greatest influence: My first boss, who took a green horn and took an interest in me; not just another one of those young punks working out on the floor but he took an interest and taught me, and I absorbed. I worked for Fireman's Fund Insurance Company in San Francisco. I was with them for 35 years. I was in the part of the insurance business that nobody knows anything about. It was surety bonding but that wouldn't mean anything to anybody.

Childhood: Girl Scouts and going to camp. I don't think there were Brownie Scouts in those days. I think that my mother got me going so that I could be sent to camp and so that she could have some peace. I had diphteria and it left me with an enlarged heart and from being very athletic to being quiet - it was just miserable (she was just 11 yrs old at the time).

How they met: Alphabetically in the University of Washington; my name was Owen, his name was Perry so we were always seated together in the classrooms. We've been married 67 years.

The Great Depression: It taught us the value of a penny. We used to save pennies and we felt proud of it. Now people throw pennies away, dollars; I mean it is completely changed, not for the better.

World War II: I went to USO dances during the war, in different communities; so you would go over and meet the fellas. We had meat rationing, coffee rationing, sugar rationing, butter rationing. But going from the depression, within the next five or seven years we went into World War II. Neither her family nor my family weren't reduced to having nothing, but it wasn't much and you made use of everything you had. If you didn't have the money, you didn't buy anything. No credit cards. Contrary to today where people run up twenty-forty thousand dollars of credit card bills, that they just walk away from; wouldn't have happened. But going from depravation to World War II with rationing and restrictions on travel. You couldn't go because the trains and the busses and the airlines were taken up with transporting military people and essential people
for the war effort.

Effect on life: It taught you to be frugal; if you didn't have the money, you didn't buy it. No buying a car, as miserable as they were in those days, with credit for five years, nothing like that. We weren't deprived but there wasn't an abundance of anything, but love in the family.

Their Daughter: Our daughter started as a Brownie Scout and went clear through Senior Scouts and I think that it has had a major impact on her development. She went to Boston for two weeks; she moved across the country; went down and hiked over Mono Pass in the Sierra and she would fly on her own. So that was a tremendous surge in development of need to take care of herself. Independence; sometimes too much.

Enjoyment: I think that both of us have a great interest in music. We sing in choruses, I've played string bass, not recently, but in high school and college. We listen to Classical music. She's sang in choruses for years, she would go sing while I was minding the kids and when the kids were old enough to take care of them selves for an hour and a half on a Friday night, I decided to go try it out. So I went to a church chorus. She's an Alto and I'm a bass. We loved it. I don't care for today's pop music, it sounds like
it's coming out of an organ grinder with a monkey.

BILL: I love to cook, which is one of the things I miss being here where all the meals are served. She did all the chopping and I was the chef dé cuisine.
End chapter 1

From the Interviewer,

I want to thank the people at the Elms for being so kind and helpful to me, while I was working on my Girl Scout Silver Award. It truely seems like a wonderful place to live.
Sincerely -Morgan Manter
End chapter 2