Oregon State University Libraries and Press

W. Waldo Ball Oral History History Interview, July 5, 1979

Oregon State University
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JL: How did he and his wife...

JL: Did you know his two daughters?

WB: Very well. One of them is still alive.

JL: How did you know them? What capacity?

WB: Just family friends. They were three or four years ahead of me in school.

JL: You said Mrs. Horner was your teacher?

WB: History teacher and their old home is right down there where the library is on 6th and Monroe. Did I tell you she wanted to have a party about the last year of her life? Didn't I tell you about that?

JL: No.

WB: She said, "Dr. I want you to we'll have a party on my birthday.' She said, " I want you and Peggy Alworth to spearhead this now for me and put it together." And she said, "We'll have refreshments. I want to have bananas" and she said I want to have about six people In. You and Peggy get some bananas and we'll have 00:01:00a party." You know who I'm talking about? Mrs. Alworth. Peggy Al worth whose husband ran the Memorial Union. Alworth. Ed Alworth. And she said, "You get bananas." She said, "Better get two bananas for everybody." And we were going to have a party. That was just a year or so before she I was with her when she died.

JL: Oh, and she wanted you to get bananas?

WB: Yes. For the party?

JL: To get the bananas?

WB: Oh, yes. We all got up there. (Chuckle) A few of her old class some of our my classmates who were inner class. And she always gave me A's in history and some of the people couldn't understand why I got "A's" because I wasn't a brilliant student, you know. I always got along all right, you know, but I wasn't an honor student. I wasn't a Phi Beta Kappa. But she had given these girls who were good students she'd given them "B" and she had given me "A's" 00:02:00consistently and they couldn't understand that.

JL: Why is that?

WB: Oh she just took a personal liking to me and she... (Chuckle)

JL: What grades did she teach?

WB: She taught in high school. I have pictures, at home, of the way the girls used to dress in those days with their middy blouses and their black satin bloomers and all. We used to go on hayrack rides up at Mary's Peak.

JL: In high school?

WB: Oh, yes. I have pictures of it, at home.

JL: Oh, I'd love to see all your pictures and sketches and paintings and I know your wife wrote a book about her experiences in World War I.

WB: Yes, she wrote a very interesting memorial to World War I.

JL: Did you associate much with the two Horner girls?

WB: No.

JL: No.

WB: Not personally no.

JL: No.

WB: Just as friends and neighbors.

JL: You mentioned last time that you spent some time in the McDonald Forest 00:03:00area. What do you remember about sawmills or structures there?

WB: I don't remember that there were any. We didn't see any. We'd hike up through what's now Crescent Valley and go up over the hill and over into Sulphur Springs. But, I'm sure there were sawmills up there but I don't remember any of them.

JL: What activities would go on at Sulphur Springs?

WB: We'd just go up and camp overnight and it was just a brackish spring up in the hills and we'd just stay all night and I'd usually just be with one boy and we'd just come back the next day. Hike in there and take our camping equipment and stay all night and come back.

JL: Was that common for people to do that?

WB: Well, I don't think there were very many people that went in there. We never saw anybody in there. I didn't know anybody else that did it.

JL: Do you remember anything about Indian artifacts or...


WB: Not around here. No.

JL: Not around there? Did you know the Blakes that lived around up there?

WB: No. I didn't know them.

JL: Did you ever hear any legends about the "Gold Filled Boot"? Miner's boot up in that area?

WB: No.

JL: (Chuckle) O.K. How do you know the forester and mayor of the town, George Peavey? Did you know him?

WB: We were very close friends. Personal friends and he was a friend of the family and his children grew up with us and he was an outdoorsman and I served on the Board of Directors of the Red Cross during the war with him.

JL: World War II?

WB: Yes. And I didn't know him very well.

JL: What kind of a man was George Peavey?

WB: He was a well developed physical specimen with a avid love for the outdoors 00:05:00and he promoted forestry in the same manner that, in much the same manner, that Horner did history. He'd take his classes out and stay all night up in these mountains and over in Mary's Peak. They'd all dress with their logging outfits and their cork boots and he was a typical outdoor man. And Peavey Arboretum, up on the McDonald Forest, was named in his honor and he used to have parties up there. There was a cabin there and he'd take some of his Rotary friends and

his close friends and have parties up there and he was a typical outdoors man. He was. He loved the outdoors.

JL: Would he bring his family with him?

WB: No. I never knew him to take his family anyplace.

JL: What was Mrs. Peavey like?

WB: I didn't know her very well. But she wasn't very much a part of the action.


JL: I under...

WB: He had two boys. I don't know what ever happened to them.

JL: I understand they were active in Boy Scouts?

WB: Well, he may have been. And he was, of course, Dean of Forestry and former President of the University but they didn't do things together, as a family, like the Balls did or some of the other families. There seems to be a... Maybe it was because he was so much of a individualist. I don't know. Maybe he was so wrapped up with his students. I don't know, but, I'm sure what I'm telling you is true. They didn't they weren't socially or professionally as involved as a family. In fact, I don't ever remember seeing them together.

JL: Hmmm. How was he as a mayor in the '40's?

WB: Excellent. He was well known and well respected in his profession.

JL: I understand that he was Dean of the School of Forestry and president at the 00:07:00same time?

WB: That's true.

JL: That must have been very difficult.

WB: Dean Dunn came from Utah in 1942 about the same time Strand came here. Strand came in '42.

JL: You do know a lot of people around here. I understand that George Peavey had a booming voice?

WB: He had a deep voice. He was a typical out doors man. Average height and very muscular and he didn't expect his students, to do anything in the way of hiking, that he didn't do. He was a leader.

JL: What would he think of conservation as we have it today?

WB: At that time we didn't think there was any limit to what the forest held. 00:08:00There was not much talk about conservation. I never discussed it with him or even him ever mention it.

JL: Was he interested in the aesthetic part of nature or was it more...

WB: Not particularly.

JL: ...the practical?

WB: It was the practical. The engineering part of it and what the trees meant to people economically, I think, would be an apt description of him. I don't think he was particularly interested in the aesthetic end of it.

JL: Was Horner interested in the aesthetic end of it?

WB: I don't remember that he ever overwhelmed us with a description of the beauty of nature and things of that kind. No. He was typically a historian and sometimes I used to wonder if he, as I say, if he wasn't more fiction than fact to some of the things he said. We took it just because it was Dr. Horner.


JL: You'd take everything he'd say with a grain of salt, huh?

WB: Well, not entirely. He was a great fisherman. He liked to fish and he liked the out doors, but we didn't always accept everything he said as factual.

JL: (Chuckle)

WB: I told you about the night he wanted to sleep with me didn't I?

JL: No. Tell me about that.

WB: We were over at Elk City and there was a hotel there. We'd gone over on the train. Got there about this time in the afternoon. We fished all that evening and all the next day and come home the next night on the train. So that night he asked if he could sleep with me and I said, "Sure. That's fine." He said, "You know the school teacher is staying in this hotel and her room is right across from my room and," he says, "I think it would look better if I was with you than if I was alone because she said somebody might make some remarks and it would get back to Dr. Kerr and he wouldn't might put some questions in his mind about the propriety of me being alone in a room across the 00:10:00hall from a school teacher in this little old country hotel, you know. "And so he shared my room with me that night."

JL: He's a very moral man. Sounds like.

WB: Well, he didn't want to incur the ill will of Dr. Kerr because Dr. Kerr ran the show. Whatever Dr. Kerr said for all the years he was here. He was a dynamic administrator. We'll never have another like him and he had a Mormon background. He was came from a polygamist family and it's rumored that he had other wives, but I don't know anything about that.

JL: Was he well respected by other people?

WB: No one was respected more and no one ever will be respected more than Dr. Kerr. He was a tower of intellectual and administrative ability.

JL: What capacity did you know him?

WB: As a neighbor and friend. Grew up with his children. He had three girls 00:11:00and a boy. We were neighbors and friends.

JL: Was he a family man?

WB: Yes. Definitely.

JL: Seems like he wouldn't have much time to spend with his family with all this administrative duties.

WB: Well, of course, they weren't going all over the world in those days like they do now. His chief function in those days was getting the appropriations from the legislature for the development of our school and he always got 3/4 of it. No matter who was down at Oregon. Dr. Kerr through his connections with agriculture and forestry and all would get 3/4 and that's what brought about the dissolution of the Board of Regents and caused all that strife at the time we had the friction with the university.

JL: Did you see that? Did you...

WB: Oh, yes.

JL: ...how was it manifested to you as a community member?

WB: Well, deep seated antipathy in athletics, criticism by the students from 00:12:00Oregon against the cow college at Corvallis and the lack of ability to get funds for the university. They were always fighting for the scraps that were left over when Dr. Kerr got through with the legislature. Because he had the background of the eastern Oregon legislatures when it comes to legislature everyone wanted to develop Squaw Breed Butte and the range cattle and the experiment stations and the development of agriculture. So, he was just a masterful tactician at the legislature. He's just get whatever he wanted.

JL: How did you know all this?

WB: He'd tell me.

JL: He'd talk to you about that?

WB: Oh, yes and it was evident everywhere. Everybody knew it.

JL: Was it in the newspapers and all.

WB: Yes. Yes. There was no secret about it. We all knew it.

JL: Why is that particular individual such an exceptional person? What made 00:13:00him so exceptional?

WB: I would say he was just one of those unusual people that happen about once in a century and he was of that century. The 20th century there was just Dr. Kerr in Oregon State University and nothing could divert him and he was a dynamic personality. Beautiful dresser. He was always this symbol of authority and dignity and speaker without any competition. He just overwhelm you and he was a great organizer. He was well organized. He just had it all put together. See even after all this fight, the dissolution of the Board of Regents he still became chancellor, you know, in spite of all of it. Well, now 00:14:00he had to have something or they wouldn't have made him the first chancellor of higher education

JL: That was a terribly difficult time for the colleges in the state of Oregon.

WB: That's right and we remember it very well. And leach man used to come into our home and talk to my father. Dean Morris came in from Oregon one night with tears in his eyes wanting my dad's support for the first race for the Senate when he was a Republican. I remember it. I was there and he wanted my dad's support because my dad was a Rotarian and that's the only approach he had in Corvallis. He wouldn't have gotten two votes in Corvallis if he hadn't gotten in with some people of influence and some personally like that. And he sat in my father's home on 12th and Van Buren and pleaded with my dad to give him his personal support.

JL: What year was this?

WB: 1942.

JL: Oh. What kind of a man was he on a personal level?


WB: Who?

JL: Dr. Kerr.

WB: Well, he just impressed you with power and dignity and personality. Just overwhelmed any group he was with. He just a...

JL: Wasn't that difficult in a social encounter? Was that did that create conflicts, at all?

WB: No. He held himself aloof from the common, loose, conversation of social gatherings but he was a family man. He was respected. He was belonged to our church and he was a leader and he was just everything.

JL: He belonged to your church?

WB: Oh, yes. Horners and Kerrs were both members of our church.

JL: I thought that Dr. Kerr was a Mormon?

WB: He was but when he came here he dropped the Mormon religion and was a member of the Presbyterian Church.

JL: Oh. Did he ever discuss religion with you?

WB: No. I don't think he ever discussed it with anybody. Anything having to 00:16:00do with his polygamy background. It was not supported by anything that he said or did. He it was never part of any it was always it wasn't openly discussed.

JL: Was his wife also a religious person?

WB: She was and she was very active in Eastern Star and was the Worthy Matron of the State of Oregon. Grand Worthy Matron. They were very active in Masonic affairs. Both he and Dr. Kerr.

JL: That's quite unusual. It seems...

WB: Dr. Kerr sat in the east when I was raised in Masonry. When I was made a Mason. He was the presiding and he had been Grand Master of the Masonic Lodge and his wife had been the Grand Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star which as you know is a branch of the woman's end of the Masonic. I just can't speak too highly of some real genuine people like the Kerrs. They were just everything 00:17:00people should be. And when my father came and interviewed him before we moved here he assured my dad he'd have the college work and he never wavered in the all the people that tried to come between and take a part of the work he adhered strictly to what he said he would do. There was never any question but what he was whatever my dad did in the way of photography he could always get it from; Dr. Kerr.

JL: I. see. Are his children like he was?

WB: His son Robert is an attorney in Portland and was on the international war prisoner conference over in Germany. He was a judge there. It had to do with the repatriation of the Germany after the war.

JL: So he's similar in character as his father was?

WB: Oh, nothing as forceful but he's an upright person and Mrs. Burke Hayes is 00:18:00the granddaughter of Dr. Kerr.

JL: I see.

WB: He had three daughters. One married Ralph Reynolds and one married...hmmm.... wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. He ran a store here. He had three girls and a boy. Forgotten their names.

JL: How did your father influence your decision to become a doctor?

WB: He didn't influence it at all. He never mentioned it to me. It was always my mother.

JL: Oh, he didn't care one way or the other what you did really?

WB: Well, he didn't express any particular feeling about it. Just my mother was always. Did I tell you about the time my mother was always. Did I tell you about the time my mother took me on the train to Portland and went up to the desk and told them, introduced "This is my son?"

JL: You didn't even know she was going to do that.


WB: No. She said, "This is my son. He's going to be. "This was after the war. She said, "Let's go for a trip." And that wasn't unusual for us because she and I palled around and we wound up at the Medical and she walked up to the desk and she says, "Here's your check for his tuition. He's going to be a doctor. You have a transcript of his records and he's been in the war for three years. Now he's going to be in school this fall."

JL: Why...

WB: "Here's his check for his tuition."

JL: Didn't that make you mad? (Chuckle)

WB: No. I whatever my mother did I thought it was just all right. You see, women didn't go to school in those days. To college like they do now. And she went to Drake University and that was very unusual in those days, you know. And I was back on this trip to the little country town there in Arappo, Nebraska where she was a teacher when she met my father. And my father's sister went to school to her. She was that was her first school. Arappo, Nebraska and I was there. Stayed all night in the town.

JL: Hmm. That's exciting. Well, what attracted you to medicine in particular?


WB: I don't know. I just never knew anything else. All my life. I just I was going to be a doctor and I never knew anything else.

JL: Do you think if your mother hadn't encouraged you in medicine you would have chosen it for yourself?

WB: I doubt it.

JL: What do you think you would have done instead?

WB: Well, I had a chance to go into business on several occasions and I'd probably have been in some kind of a business venture. I was interested in shipping. Maritime. I always liked the ocean. I liked everything having to do with ships and things that way. I might have been interested in that.

JL: What makes you want to travel so much?

WB: That's just a characteristic of our family. They all grow that way. I say, not all the children but my father and mother were that way and I've always been that way. I just always want to see something different. I want to see how people live and when we travel we don't go to museums and libraries and 00:21:00things like that. We just get on the street and talk to the people.

JL: How do you do that?

WB: Well, for a good example, about 5 years ago we were in Campallo where they are having all this unrest, you know, in Uganda. We were on our way for a trip on the Nile and in Antibi Airport before we left we were there a couple of days in Campallo one afternoon I said to mother my wife I said, "Now let's go out on the street." Well, there was unrest at that time and we were told what to do and where to go and what to say and how to conduct ourselves because you could see this impending change in the country. And we'd walk along and we'd see somebodies flower garden and maybe the people in the house would see us admiring their flowers or something that we hadn't seen before and they'd come out and talk to us and the first thing you know they'd ask us in to tea and then the next afternoon at four o'clock we'd have them there at our hotel to have tea with us. And we were interested in the people. We weren't interested in the 00:22:00museums. We wanted to know what the people were thinking. That was out life.

JL: Language wasn't a barrier?

WB: Not so much anymore. You know you can always converse with people most everywhere even by sign language, you know, if you ...

Tape [unintelligible]

JL: O.K. go ahead.

WB: And I guess I told you that the most interesting place to me of all the places we've been was Pompeii and the civilizations that existed there at the time of Christ. Did I describe that to you? Where you can see see Pompeii 00:23:00erupted volcanic ash, not lava or fire or flames or anything but fumes and powdered volcanic ash and covered Pompeii with 20 or 30 feet of volcanic ash. Well, now as the excavating in this thing and, of course, as you know has been going on for years and it will go on for many more they find instruments of precision in engineering and tree finds and scalpels and things in my profession. We find water pipes for water flows and they took advantage of solar radiation and the Greeks developed it, you know. They wanted to get away from the cold winters up there and then the Italians took it over and they had their chariots and their big wine urns out in the streets high as your head where they come and buy their and to see and realize that at the time of Christ 00:24:00they had all these things that we think are an innovation of ours. They existed then and to me that was one of the most interesting places we've been.

JL: Did you ever consider practicing in foreign country?

WB: No.

JL: For a long period of time?

WB: No. Not really. No. I've always valued close family ties. As an illustration the first thing when this baby came and I was up at the hospital about 4:30 in the morning. The next day I took this picture.

JL: This is your great grandson?

WB: Yes. And I'm a strong I believe in blood lines and familial relations and to me I want to be where my people are.

JL: What kind of a man and doctor was Dr. Pernot?

WB: He was an early pioneer doctor from St. Louis and he was a specialist in 00:25:00bacteriology. That was his prime interest.

JL: Did you know him personally?

WB: Yes.

JL: What kind of influence did he have on your life?

WB: Didn't know him that well because I was too young to know him professionally. But I can tell you a little incident if you'd like to have a little biographical sketch of Dr. Pernot? He had a young associate Dr. Johnson with him who went to school in St. Louis and they practiced together in Corvallis and one day Dr. Pernot was gone and a call came over in Linn County to go over and deliver a baby that Dr. Pernot had been engaged to take care of and turn that off just a minute, will you? We'll probably should wind it up. You can come back again, can't you?

JL: Right.

WB: So this Dr. Johnson, a young fellow just out of school, went over to take 00:26:00care of this baby that Dr. Pernot was supposed to deliver and the woman wasn't real sure she wanted Dr. Johnson because he looked rather young and so he tried to sell her on the fact that he knew quite a bit about it. He could take good care of her. He said, "I had six of these cases back in St. Louis. I know how to take care of them." And she listened to him for awhile exhaling his skill at medicine and finally she looked up at him, she was in the second stage of labor. She was about ready to have her baby. Smiled. He'd gone across on the ferry. There wasn't any bridge here. And he used to take me with him on some of his trips and this woman looked up at him and she said, Doctor is you're as good as you say you are why don't you go ahead and do the best you can and maybe I can help you.

JL: (Chuckle)

WB: And that was Dr. Pernot's associate. And Dr. Pernot had one daughter, Dorothy, and they lived in that old house down there on 5th and Jefferson. 00:27:00That was their old family home. On the N.W. corner of 5th and Jefferson.

JL: You used to go with Dr. Johnson did you say?

WB: As a boy he'd take me sometimes on trips. He'd get lonesome. He didn't like to go alone. One time he went over to the Alsea Valley. Bitterly cold in the winter and he forgot to take his instruments. So he laid his head down on this chest to listen to this he thought she had pneumonia. Put his head down nice and warm and he went to sleep. And he often laughed about it.

JL: Oh, my gosh. Fell asleep on her chest?

WB: Along about the middle of the night. Yes.

JL: (Laughter)

WB: Nice, warm, soft place.

JL:(Laughter) Oh, that could have cause a scandal.

WB: That's right. I used to go over there and deliver babies too but I never did that.

JL: (Chuckle)

WB: Did I tell you I had 4,000 babies?


JL: Well ,...

WB: 4,100 babies I delivered.

JL: Is that right? You're not delivering babies anymore.

WB: I haven't delivered any for ten years.

JL: Why is that?

WB: I don't want the responsibility. There's too many young men and I don't like night work and so I don't do any surgery nor any obstetrics.

JL: Is that because it's changed or is it because your...

WB: No. I just don't feel comfortable doing it. I want to be at my best when I take care of a woman in labor. I want to be at my best when I take somebody's life in my hands for surgery and I felt that I was at one time but I wouldn't be now.

JL: Well, that's good that you recognize that. What type of practicing medicine have you liked the most and do you like the most.

WB: Pediatrics and obstetrics.

JL: Oh, you always have?

WB: I've done lots of industrial work and I took care of you knew that I was team physician at the university for 29 years? Did you know that?


JL: Yes.

WB: Yes. I liked that because I was associating with the boys. I liked my association. But I was always intrigued with obstetrics and pediatrics. In fact, I at one time thought I might specialize in it. I went back to St. Louis and took an intensive post graduate course there thinking I might specialize. That's when specialties were first coming into prominence.

JL: What do you think of the way students are taught medicine now compared to when you were taught?

WB: I think they are more thoroughly trained and I have a very high regard for them. However, I can't endorse specialization to the degree that it's gone, without a general concept of the principals of medicine. I think we've gone overboard on specialization. I think we have too few family doctors and, of course, it's coming back now. There is a change. Transition under way now. 00:30:00But I'm very enthusiastic about the future of medicine and I'm sure that the students are better trained than I; was at that time and I'm not say that they are more dedicated. Don't misunderstand me and I'm not saying that they're more mercenary in their approach to medicine. Commercialize it but I do think that they have had better training than we had.

JL: Why is it that you don't like specialization? If they are called in for a specific reason...

WB: I think we have too many of them. I think we have to many surgeons. I think we have too many physiatrists and I think there's too many people in specialties and not enough in general practice. I think we've gotten away from 00:31:00the concept of the whole family. For instance, there were years 85% of every patient I saw I took care of myself. I didn't have to...

JL: Last time we were talking about the medical profession and you had mentioned that you were the seventh doctor in Corvallis...

WB: Yes. When I came here I was the youngest of seven doctors.

JL: Can you name the other six doctors?

WB: Yes. Dr. Johnson, Tartar, that's Lena Bell Tartar's brother, you know who she is don't you?

JL: Right.

WB: O.K.

JL: Yes. I do.

WB: O.K. Dr. Howard. Bosworth, Whitelaw. That's six isn't it?


JL: Five.

WB: Anderson. Anderson. Yes, Harry Anderson.

JL: And this was in 1936?

WB: Yes.

JL: There were seven doctors in Corvallis?

WB: Yes..

JL: Was that enough, to handle all the medical problems?

WB: Well, it seemed to be until the army established Camp Adair then, of course, it wasn't. There were 50,000 troops out there, you know, and many of their families lived in town so it very soon it was inadequate and then doctors started coming in. Some who had been rejected for service by reason of physical defects or something. Physical disabilities. So from then on it started to build up. Then just gradually increased over the years.


JL: They were stationed also at Camp Adair or they were community doctors also? No. The ones for Camp Adair?

WB: The ones that couldn't qualify were military. Some of them from the Midwest, you know, would come out here.

JL: But, they weren't just military doctors?

WB: No. No, no.

JL: I see. Do you remember when Camp Adair was established?

WB: Oh, yes.. Yes, sure.

JL: Do you know anything about that? How were the soldiers treated?

WB: We had quite a problem with poison oak because they were on maneuvers out in the hills where there was lots of poison oak and many of the army doctors knew nothing about what poison oak was and they would treat them with hot packs and two of them died. Two of the soldiers died as a res...

JL: From poison oak?

WB: Yes.

JL: How was that?

WB: Because they'd have this rash, you know, from the poison oak and it would drive it into their body this hot packs, and they died from toxic affects of 00:34:00the poison oak.

JL: I didn't know that was possible.

WB: Yes, And when they established Camp Adair they had no barium for their x rays. I had my own hospital here so I furnished barium and they had no sewing machine to make surgical dressing so firs. Ball let them use her sewing machine to make these surgical dressings.

JL: Were you the only doctor that did this?

WB: Yes. I was the only doctor and physician that had my own hospital here, you know, so I had a I was very well equipped, I had an 18 bed hospital with 14 bassinets and I was hiring about 15 nurses to cooks, laundress and things I...

JL: Did you have many soldiers come to your...

WB: Oh, yes.

JL: ... clinic.

WB: Dozens, and dozens. Hundreds of them.

JL: What was the common ailment besides poison oak?


WB: Well, the thing that I saw mostly were obstetrical cases. Wives of the military and, of course, pneumonia. Chest, upper respiratory infections. And we had no penicillin in those days. Just sulfas and so I was one of the first, if not the first, to use penicillin. I think I was the first one to use penicillin in Corvallis.

JL: Is that right?

WB: A sergeant's wife had meningitis and you could only get this through the military and so I called Boston and they flew some penicillin out by military plane and I treated this sergeant's wife and she recovered.

JL: Hmmm.

WB: And then I also used the first sulfa drug in Corvallis.

JL: Sulfur?

WB: Sulfa. You know, sulfa drugs like we're still using them, of course. Sulfanilamide and gantriszin and those things are all sulfa drugs. I had a 00:36:00G.I. with a bad pneumonia and I gave him a sulfa drug and I'm sure that it was the first that ever was used in Corvallis.

JL: How did you happen to know about it?

WB: Well, I knew about it but it wasn't accessible. It was only accessible because of the location of the camp here. The military. I wouldn't have been able to if I'd been practicing in Pendleton or someplace else. It was just because the military was here I was able to get it and, of course, I had my own hospital with access to everything. I was not restricted at all by food stamps or any equipment I needed I got because I my priority close to this military camp. So I had the best x-ray there was and everything accessible to me because I had a hospital.

JL: What percentage of the men at Camp Adair would you treat?


WB: Oh, not a very big percentage of them but my practice would have been a big percentage of them my practice would have been as a result of Camp Adair. Either the workmen there or the military. Families of the military.

JL: You established your Clinic because of Camp Adair?

WB: No. I had it established before Camp Adair came. I established my clinic in '39 and I had a 18 bed hospital.

JL: Why did you discontinue it in '46?

WB: It was becoming too large and I would have had to have had a business manager and it was becoming complicated with all the government regulations and reports . So I just decided if they'd open a new wing in the hospital and take my patients and employ any of my nurses who wanted to go up there and work that I'd sell them my equipment and they would inventory it and make me a reasonable offer I'd just close my hospital and take my patients to the general hospital. 00:38:00It was called Corvallis General Hospital then and when I received a letter from the Board of Trustees stipulating that they would do what I just mentioned to you I just closed my hospital and sold my x ray equipment and sold my laundry equipment., I had institutional laundry equipment. Heavy duty laundry equipment and they took any of my nurses who wanted to work on the staff at the hospital and I closed. I was open seven years.

JL: Oh. How did you happen to get started. Why did you start your clinic?

WB: Do you really want to know?

JL: Yes.

WB: Well, I haven't told very many people this but, I was raised in Corvallis, and when I came back as a doctor some of the older men resented my being here. Professionally.


JL: The other older doctors?

WB: Yes. Here. So one day I had a case in the hospital ready for surgery in the morning and I went up to write, the night before the surgery was to be, some orders and asked the patient to get out of bed so I could examine him to be sure that he was in good shape for the surgery. And he said, I've already been examined and I said, "Oh." And he said, Yes, there were two doctors in here and they examined me and told me that I didn't need any surgery and that I shouldn't be operated on. He had a hernia. It was a state case. And so he told me who they were. So I called the nurse and I said, "You get your clothes and we'll get your things and I'll take you over to Dr. Anderson's Hospital and 00:40:00I'll operate in the morning." Dr. Anderson also had a hospital for much the same reasons that I had mine and that was the reason that I established my own hospital.

JL: Why did they resent you?

WB: Well, just professional jealousy. That wasn't uncommon in those days, at all. It was very common.

JL: It seems to me there would be enough patients to go around for everybody.

WB: There were. But, I seemed to be getting more than my share and I think they resented it and did little things to. This is a typical thing that triggered it. The thing I just told you. Otherwise I would never have thought of opening a hospital, because I'd owned and operated one down at Clatskanie and I didn't want to be in the hospital business. I knew what was involved.

JL: What kind of regulations did you resent? Or maybe perhaps not resent but objected to.


WB: Well, just personal remarks that they would make concerning my professional ability and questioning my diagnosis in a case like this.

JL: No. Ahh, you mentioned that you stopped your clinic because you objected to a lot of the governmental regulations.

WB: Ohhh, well, it was becoming more complicated, you know, when I established the hospital in '39 I was free to do the things I wanted to do, and then the government medical regulations started to build up so that in restrictions on what you could do and what you couldn't do and it became too cumbersome. I mean you just couldn't make enough dollars in your hospital to meet your expenses unless you, I had two other doctors with me, but even then you couldn't. But it 00:42:00just got too cumbersome. I'd rather practice medicine and not have to bother of the business end of it and I wasn't big enough to hire an administrator and I was too big to handle myself.

JL: Who were the other two doctors with you?

WB: Dr. Gary and my brother.

JL: I see.

WB: Dr. Burton Gary. Burton S. Gary. And my brother Wendall. He was 15 years younger than I.

JL: Was it just pediatrics and obstetrics that you...

WB: Oh, no. we had a general hospital.

JL: ...was it a general hospital.

WB: General hospital. We did lots of surgery. We had a beautiful surgery and x rays and we had the general hospital.

JL: Was the war years boom years for your hospital?

WB: Oh, yes. Indeed, yes. We were busy. I was seeing from 75 to 100 patients a day.


JL: And many of them soldiers.

WB: Yes. Well, the families of soldiers. Yes. Wives. The soldiers, of course, were taken care of out at Camp Adair. JL: Oh, you didn't...

WB: Just the civilians incidental to Camp Adair. You can't put 50,000 troops in place and not have a lot of insularly personnel. For instance, the grounds-keepers, and you know, all the and then their families and people incidental to the camp. Corvallis never was as busy. Never has been and I don't know whether it ever will be. As it was. See, there were as I say, 50,000 troops out there. Four divisions directly related to Camp Adair.

JL: What did the community think of that?

WB: Well, they just went along with it the best they could. The facilities for taking care of it were divided between Albany and Corvallis. Of course, we got the major part of it and those were difficult days. It was very difficult.


JL: I talked to one of the ex-soldiers that was stationed there and he said that the soldiers felt a lot of animosity from Corvallis citizens and so they preferred going to Salem or Albany.

WB: I wasn't aware of that but there were some interesting things developed from the camp there. I don't know if you have ever been aware of the possum infestation here. You see possums that have been run over on the highways. Have you ever seen.

JL: Yes.

WB: There weren't any of those before the war. Did anybody tell you how they happened to be here?

JL: Tell me.

WB: Some of the soldiers were uneasy especially the boys from the south and some of the officers thought if they could have pets to take care of they would be more be better satisfied. Make better soldiers. They didn't seem to be able to get to them and handle them like they would the northern boys and so they let 00:45:00some of these boys have some possum for pets. And from that day to this day why they just gradually increased.

JL: How did you know that?

WB: None of them here before at all.

JL: Hmmm.

WB: Well, the doctors told me. The psychiatrists out there said that they thought that would be good therapy for these young G.I.'s to have a pet, you know, and that they would be more tractable. Some of them just seemed to be unable to adapt to army life at all or were disinterested in even trying to and they thought maybe that would be a way to motivate them to be more stable and develop into better soldiers. And so they let some of them have possums because they'd had them in the south. And that was the beginning of our possum infestation.

JL: Did it work?

WB: Yes. Yes. It sure worked.

JL: They didn't get as homesick?

WB: That's right. They had something to take care of and they were better satisfied.


JL: The psychiatrists...

WB: Now you've probably never heard that before. But that's true.

JL: Yes. Hmm.

WB: They brought in the nutria too. There's nutria around here too, you know. Something like a beaver, you know.

JL: Yes.

WB: They brought those in too.

JL: The psychiatrist's giving the nutria as pets?

WB: Yes. Let them have the privilege of, their folks could send them, these pets, you know, and so they were the G.I.'s were more tractable.

JL: That wasn't frowned upon by the military then?

WB: No, they were part of the action. They thought that would be the thing to do.

JL: Did you make friends with some of the soldiers or...

WB: Oh, yes. We had them in our home. We and Mrs. Ball would entertain the officer's wives. The doctor's wives. She's had as many as 50 doctors wives in for tea and all that, one afternoon. All over the world. All over the United States. It was a big thing. It would be impossible for me to describe 00:47:00the impact of the army on Corvallis. It was just...

JL: Can you give me some examples of the impact?

WB: Yes. One afternoon two ambulances came rolling into Corvallis each carrying three workmen in August of '42, when Camp Adair was under construction. These men were suffering from heat exhaustion. We had a very, extremely, hot, August in 1942 and six of these people came in. Three in each ambulance into my hospital and to be treated, as a result of constructing Camp Adair, getting ready for the soldiers. These weren't soldiers. These were workmen. Would you like another example?

JL: Yes.


WB: Word came to my office one afternoon that there was a woman stranded out in the Willamette, on an island, where her husband was a woodcutter. And she was about ready to have a baby and hadn't had any attention and the river was flooded and there was no way to get to this island except by an amphibious jeep. Do you know what an amphibious jeep is? It's a jeep constructed so it can go through the water, like a boat. So they called for a volunteer doctor to go out onto this island in this amphibious jeep with an army plane flying above to spot them and direct them how to go across fences and how to go through fields to get to this island because we had no damns in the river and no control of the heavy water. This was in the winter time, probably in the winter of '43 and so I was the one to volunteer to go. So I went out south of town where the 00:49:00amphibian jeep picked me up.

JL: This was a military jeep?

WB: Yes, the military was called on to take care of this situation and I got there and here was a woman in labor with eclampsia. Do you know what eclampsia is? Tomain pregnancy.

JL: Ohh.

WB: And she was in very critical condition. So we put her in the amphibious jeep brought her into my hospital. I lost the mother but saved the child.

JL: Ahhh.

WB: She'd had no medical attention. She died and the child survived and that was another example of what happened. Those are two examples of things that happened as a result of the camp being here.

JL: Her husband was a, ohhh, because of the amphibian...

WB: That was the only way to get there.

JL: Ohhh.

WB: This was a errand of mercy, you know, on the part of the army to help out a 00:50:00civilian population.

JL: Hmmm.

WB: There were many more but those are two examples. We had nobody here to be county health officer. So I was county health officer among other things. (Chuckle) In addition to my regular work.

JL: What did that entail?

WB: Well, these there were quite a few venereal disease cases in those days as a result of the army and so I had to make sick rounds every week and...

JL: [Unintelligable]

WB: ...or every day and be available every day for taking care of these people. But we had no county health officer so they asked me to take care of it, in addition to all the other things I did.

JL: My gosh you were busy. Where did they get venereal disease?

WB: From the army. G.I.'s

JL: Oh, they wouldn't get it from, well, maybe from Salem or...

WB: No. These were all brought in her from...see I've got another instance I'd 00:51:00like to mention to you too but [unintelligible] I had some- thing in mind, ...I'll think of it in a minute. But those were the things that were happening when the army was here that, oh, I was on the lunacy board for the county and had to participate in all the mental hearings, all this time, with the district attorney and the judge, county judge, and we'd have these mental hearings and I was the outside doctor who was always called. The board consisted of the district attorney, judge and the county doctor and if the patient needed wanted a attorney why he was allowed to have an attorney too. But that was the board and we'd have a hearing. Sit there and ask questions and we had a lot of that 00:52:00during the war because a good many people cracked up during the war and we had mental cases to handle as well as physical and I was part of that. And then one of the most interesting things that I have to tell you is they had what they called they divided the state up into districts and I represented this district. Probably all of Marion, Lynn and Benton County for determining whether a person was physically and mentally equipped to go into the army or should be kept out of the army. For instance, someone would be a conscientious objector and claim a physical defect. Then it was up to me to determine whether he had a legitimate defect or was just trying to give the army a snow job and get out of going. Or maybe somebody had a physical defect and he wanted to get into 00:53:00the army. It was up to me to determine whether he should be or not. So I was the court of last resort and for years I had a little medal that the governor gave me for my participation in that program. So, those are among some of the things we did we wouldn't have to do now.

JL: You were part psychiatrist then?

WB: Yes.

JL: Hmm.

WB: But it was all very interesting. As I told you I had at least 15 or 20 people working for me, all the time. Nurses and others.

JL: What were some of the pressures that these men felt at Camp Adair?

WB: Loneliness...

JL: Is that the major problem?

WB: ... family separation and, of course, you had a lot of black people. A lot of various racial Chicano's and people and booze was a problem. Marital 00:54:00difficulties of all types and descriptions. It's pretty hard to describe but I've tried to give you a rough outline of some of the things that I wouldn't have had in the last 30 years that were incident to the war. Those are some of the things that would go...I'm just touching the highlights.

JL: Did some of the military men come in and talk to you...

WB: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. (said sadly) ...

JL: in counseling?

WB: yes.

JL: Ahhh.

WB: When they lost these men with poison oak by not treating them as they should be treated by conservative methods of treating poison oak. They treated them as though it was a blood poisoning, you know. When they lost these men they came in and wanted to know what we did for poison oak because they didn't even know what they were treating.

JL: The doctors at Camp Adair?


WB: That's right and we were very close to them and they were a fine group of people and we fraternized with them and we socialized with them and we entertained them in our homes and they entertained us out at the Officer's Club's and we had a very fine rapport and I made some lifelong friends that I never would have made any other way. People that are still have come from the Midwest out here every year for the last 30 years to see us. Every year, you know, or we go back there. So you made lifelong contacts that you wouldn't have any other way. And we had a very fine relationship with the military and medical group out there.

JL: And because of this association you could get any supplies you wanted?

WB: Anything we needed the army, for instance, some of my friends' children would come home on leave and they wanted to have a party and they wanted to have 00:56:00some punch, spike it or they wanted to have some sugar to make a cake, I always saw that they had it. Because there was no restriction. Nobody checked up on me. I could do anything I wanted. I got grain alcohol for $5.25 a gallon and nobody ever restricted or meat or sugar or gasoline. I had a G.I's bride come into my office my home one evening and wanted to know if they could stay all night. They'd slept in this lobby on the davenport down in the lobby of the hotel on the night before and they wanted to know they'd heard that we had an extra room and Mrs. Ball and I had gotten so tired taking care of these people and our three boys were gone in the military and here we were trying to be all things to all people. We just decided we were through. We weren't going to take anybody in and so we were in the back of our home with some friends and the 00:57:00doorbell rang and here was this G.I. with his new bride. He was a lieutenant, I think, and Mrs. Ball heard me talking to him and, "Yes, you can come in and stay all night."

JL: (Chuckle) Oh-oh.

WB: And she came out to the front of the house, and she said, "What are you saying?" She didn't embarrass these people or anything but, she said, "You know what we said. We weren't going to have anyone." And I said, "Well, this is kind of different."

JL: (Chuckle)

WB: So we took them in and they didn't have any gasoline. They wanted to go to the coast for a honeymoon before he went overseas, see. And, of course, she didn't she'd know whether ever see him again, or not. If he went overseas. You know, he was in the army. So I told them I'd let them have some gasoline because my gas wasn't rationed. I could do anything I wanted to do. And that night we heard the water running and I don't think she'd ever been in a modern home before because she put a banana peel in the toilet and it overflowed and ran down the stairs.

JL: (Laughter) What? (Laughter)


WB: (Chuckle) I could go on for a week and tell you...

JL: (Laughter)

WB: But those are some of the... And then we'd have these people try to outrank somebody else. You know in the army, every concession depends on rank, see. Well, there was a fellow came to Mrs. Ball actually a woman came and she said a woman and her husband. He was a top general said we want to stay with you at your house. Didn't ask if they could or not but they said they'd like to. But she said, "We have Colonel and Mrs. Henning from San Francisco are our house guests now." And he said, well I'm a general and he said I outrank Colonel Henning and we'd like to stay here. They thought they could bluff her, you know. Well, I told you my wife was a nurse in the war, didn't I? Gassed over in France? So that didn't appeal to Mrs. Ball very much and she 00:59:00practically kicked him out of the house when they started to throw their rank around because we didn't have to listen to that guff. But those were the things that were happening, you know.

JL: Was this fellow that had the wife that put the banana peel down your toilet from Camp Adair also?

WB: Yes, they were stationed at Camp Adair but they couldn't find anyplace to stay and so I was going to give them gas to go to the coast and I was going to let them stay all night and I was going to do this and I was going to do that and we decided we weren't going to do anything for anybody because we'd had drunkards in our house, you know. We'd have a couple of men come in and they'd get a bottle of gin and create a scene, you know. And we were just fed up on it. Four years is quite awhile, you know, for that stuff to go on. But, it was a turbulent time in our lives. It was...

JL: Were a lot of other families doing what you are?

WB: Oh, yes it was common. I'd come down many a time I'd come down there would 01:00:00be a great big piece of cheese on my desk at the man that had the cold storage plant. Ed or the best one of all the Royal Air Force sent two men to our house, Chamber of Commerce sent, they wanted to put these two $1.00 a year men into a typical American home to show them how we lived in America.

JL: During the war years?

WB: Yes. And they chose Dr. and Mrs. Ball. Came to our house and Mrs. Ball called me about this time in the afternoon and told me that these two gentlemen were coming. They were from the Royal Air Force, attached to our air force to, you know, for just to know how to coordinate our air force command. So, Mrs. Ball decided we'd have some roasting ears and some iced tea and then as I told 01:01:00you we could get most anything we wanted. We had a friend as a butcher and he had some nice top sirloin steaks and we were going to give these Britishers a royal reception. And it was about this time in the year and we had this out on the patio. We have a nice breezeway and patio and I so she served these roasting. They'd never seen a roasting ear before. They didn't know what to do with them. They'd never, you know, sweet corn in Great Britain and they'd never seen a refrigerator. They didn't know what a refrigerator was. They said, of course, she said the children in Britain get a liter of milk everyday but the little "bastards" won't drink it. That was the remark that these people made.

JL: Oh.