Jacques Istel and Felicia Istel

Recorded December 6, 2019 Archived December 6, 2019 38:42 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby019469


Jacques Andre Istel [no age given] tells his wife Felicia Istel's [no age given] about his French education and upbringing, his journey to America and all the unexpected turns of events that occurred once he arrived.

Subject Log / Time Code

FI asks JI to describe his upbringing.
JI describes the reason why he came to America from France.
JI describes the first place he lived when he arrived to America.
JI describes his difficulties learning English.
JI recalls plotting to hitchhike across the country in high school.
JI describes the culture of Princeton where he attended college.
JI recites the poem he wrote to get into the creative writing class taught by poet John Berryman.
JI describes how he became a pilot.
JI describes purchasing a plane with money he earned from a work bonus.
JI became a sport parachute man and describes his school created to teach parachuting.
JI describes how the Museum of History in Granite came about.
JI describes how he got his French Legion of Honor Distinction.


  • Jacques Istel
  • Felicia Istel

Recording Locations

Yuma Art Center


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00:01 Jacques you can begin

00:05 My name is Sakamoto Lee Estill age 90 Plus.

00:13 Today's date is Friday, December 6th, 2019. We live in Felicity, California, and I'll hook cording and Yuma, Arizona.

00:26 My interview partner happens to be my wife. Her name is mrs. Claus a stealth also police yearly Estelle.

00:42 Question 1

00:45 You were born in France. What was your childhood like?

00:51 My childhood

00:54 Well

00:58 A French education is considerably different form in American Education.

01:06 Particularly in regards to discipline

01:13 Electra and Princeton

01:17 The

01:18 Professor of psychology

01:23 What's discussing?

01:25 The problems of young girls getting pregnant

01:31 And said, we don't quite know why that does not seem to be that problem in France.

01:38 One question time came. I raise my hand and said Professor. The reason you do not have that problem in France is a French education as such but when I went through United States Marine Corps boot camp, I found it relaxing.

02:01 Okay. Why did you come to America?

02:07 Wide Awake about some French education since we have so much time. OK the US slept for

02:18 Any bad things that the child would do and I was really good at imagining bad things to do. So I was slapped considerably in those days there were servants and the servants had the right to slap you so you might get slapped by your Governor's but then it would go up the chain of command if your Governor slapped you then your mother slapped you and if your friends were bad enough your father slept you also.

02:56 Now all of them would be in jail in America today, but if I had not been slapped, I'm the one who would be in jail.

03:08 When did you come to America?

03:14 In 1942 Germans invaded France

03:22 The prime minister at the time was named following I know and he had a military adviser who was an upstart name is Charles to gold and his financial adviser was my father.

03:42 My father was a very interesting man.

03:46 Who had ideas about every imaginable subject?

03:52 I'll member once the gas that dinner was Doctor of the king of Italy named professor valterra and my father expounded one of his medical theories and very kind. They are mystery still in matters of medicine. You are a great economist.

04:23 But he was also a visionary.

04:27 In the summer, we had our house overlooking Palace come to your house and one of his close friends was named Boo. Jose who was the president of C Towing and auto company and they were overlooking Paris on my father said Bull look at the smoke from your chimney is you are polluting the air this was in the 1930s and Boer answered only if you are not my best friend, I would have you committed to shop also known as an insane asylum because everyone knows that the air is infinite infinite.

05:17 So when did you come to America? Oh, why don't you go back to the Prime Minister? I know when France fell Plano capitulated.

05:31 And he had to but the gold went to England to keep fighting and my father was being highly decorated in World War 1 fought with him.

05:48 My father had diplomatic status at that time also and managed to have us come to America. I found out 30 years later on diplomatic passports.

06:06 So we went to my mother.

06:11 My

06:13 Sister who was 7 years old my younger brother who was seven years younger and all I had was 11 went to France that meant to Spain and Portugal and took a boat to America.

06:34 It was called but nail Hellas and I remember organizing some children and creating great witticisms Buckley would yell and throw the elephant's butt would go through all of the Kevins. Oh Madam be careful. Your little dog has colic such was eleven-year-old Shula. Okay know what happens when you came to America First why don't you were off school age or before?

07:10 Yes, 11 is school-age the

07:14 We knew absolutely no one anime like a

07:18 But my mother

07:21 I had written a lady who had gone to school with my aunt.

07:28 I miss is all set and Chaplet and back and said when you arrived the first thing you do is come to our farm in, Connecticut.

07:38 And so we live that the farm and of course one of the first things I did was get on a tractor and damage the barn.

07:48 Mrs. Alsup was remarkable woman.

07:54 And many years later

07:58 When she was interviewed.

08:02 She was asked how Joe and Stewart also your sons.

08:11 Oh, no. She was asked. Are you the mother of George still at Alsip who are famous columnists at the time and

08:22 The answer was no day All My Sons. She had been Connecticut assemblywoman and as a republican she hardly dislike her first cousin who was Eleanor Roosevelt because mrs. Alsup was very nice of the other horse fell. None of which I knew for many years. I loved her dearly

08:52 And her son Stewart was doing World War II in the jedburghs which became Voss office of strategic services.

09:07 A noun is now the CIA and he parachuted behind the lines and he was a remarkable person and his brother Joe Walsh up.

09:23 Was

09:26 A scholar and a columnist

09:30 And

09:33 You left my buddy in America, and it was at Joe Allsup's house. But President Kennedy spent the last part of the evening after his inauguration.

09:49 Now let's get back to get the kids. Get back to school what the problem was that?

09:59 My mother didn't know what to do with me for school. And so this is also that said well Tire Exeter and of course Exeter had been booked for about three years because this was August and school was starting in a couple of weeks.

10:18 And so someone mention Fletcher School call for Stony Brook School, and that's why I was

10:32 Hand

10:33 The first

10:36 My first year the first few months were very hard because I never been separated from my family and couldn't speak English.

10:49 The reason I couldn't speak English. I will tell you.

10:55 My mother

10:57 Being an intelligent person and having nothing to do much.

11:04 What came up with the idea of teaching me at home? Which in France was illegal?

11:12 And so she would set me down with me with a hole and install start instruction. She was not Italian teacher. So we would memorize whatever came into her mind.

11:28 And that was my schooling up though America, but what happened this one day. She was at the Butcher and The Butcher said, oh my God. Nice tell my son who's four years of the Ozark Andres having so much trouble in school. So my mother decide what look I'm not a professional teacher, but if you want so you can send them Wichita, and by 1940 there were seven of us. Not only the butcher the baker had a daughter except what have the word Spud. My motherland is highly illegal and then form of school.

12:12 So the

12:17 But Falling grayish

12:19 Shanghai young lady or woman who taught English

12:29 The one show that I would know some English.

12:33 Why do I dislike her on sight? I remember it was Miss Hamilton and it was coming out of a chemical reaction that was instant dislike between the two of us. So she would take me walking using the Socratic method of asking questions and

12:56 If I understood I would answer.

13:00 So we did that the first day of a second by the second day. I decided that if I answered understood anything and I answered the opposite points than that of chastise for sky blue and I answered no one on a perfect day then have to wash it would know if I have it was being difficult. So I took a piece of paper and a pencil and hold a long list of yes, or no's hitting any further and play online.

13:40 So this was by the time the third lesson we went walking and over. Of time. I could see her getting hit in the face.

13:51 Cyclic and we went back and she said I do speak with your mother I listened at the door.

13:59 Laramie still I have bad news. I'm afraid that's not going away is slightly feeble-minded.

14:08 And my mother didn't bat an eyelash on-site Ole Miss Hamilton. Thank you so much for letting me know and paid her off and I was all of the awning up the stairs while she was chasing me with a broomstick saying what did you do to that woman?

14:27 But that's why I did not do anglish when I came to Stony Brook and for some reason it so they sat me down and home or where all the boys have text books and gave me comic books. And after three day is also the assistant Headmaster came by and remove a comic book and put a textbook in Mexico for five minutes. You can talk of Jose.

14:56 Sorry old chap the pages while turning faster.

15:01 Now that was my first experience with one of the men who had immense influence my life. His name was Pearson Curtis, and he was the assistant Headmaster of a Stony Brook School and one of the two late remarkable people. I've known

15:22 How many years were you at Stony Brook? I'll make how many years were you there when they had put me in eighth grade at age 11 for known reasons. And so I was there for five years 8 9 10 11 12. And what did you do during the Summers? Did you work? Did you go to school at first? I used to dig potatoes for $0.25 an hour. Whenever I give her $5 tip the day. I apply mind the fellow that it wasn't it 20 hours of work and 9 day cleanse.

16:11 Junior year. I have decided to hitchhike across country.

16:19 Had and The Woodcutter hour and a half of class were going to come with me dropping off one by one has that balance?

16:29 In the field and there was one fellow that was absolutely coming with me right up to the last minute, but I was summoned by the Headmaster.

16:43 Who was a formidable person a great man?

16:49 But call the scary. I mean he was just one of those unapproachable figures and being summoned to the headmaster's house was scary and I came in and he sat me down and said Rock I understand that y'all going to hitchhike across country. Yes doctor gave a lot of iron.

17:17 Well

17:19 Here are some things that might interest you sit down he put his arm around me open and not trust and said sure I salute all recommend for you. You should go to tired boots 66 at 7.

17:35 And of course never questioned as to whether Stony Brook boy would have any problems or what. It was taken for granted Stony Brook boy will behave himself and handling everything but came down the pike.

17:53 When you ought to graduated from Stony Brook, where did you go? Did you like Princeton?

18:03 Princeton West Valley gold and

18:08 Also, I was only 16 years old. So most of my classmates was 17 and 18, but this was 1945 the year of the war ended and

18:23 I have my class what what time in veterans who are three or four years older?

18:30 And that being sold at the wall. So at that time I had few friends for Headmaster son who was in my class dog gabeline and I will homemade sand college and aside from him.

18:53 I only had one or two friends.

18:59 So also it was a time in life when a time in history when

19:08 Princeton students

19:12 Considered that

19:15 One should not work too hard. You expected to graduate with what gentleman they see which I had no trouble doing in those days. They went to things like what I expected of you what you are you are expected to be in who's who in America and in the social register?

19:41 And

19:44 Eventually, I happened to be in golf but

19:49 It was

19:51 April starts. I did not have that General attitude, but on the other hand, I didn't work very hard at Princeton.

20:02 That was a cross that you could take if you if it would take you and why you got to cut it without an exam. So, of course I applied for it was creative writing.

20:19 Conveyor man who was quite famous named John Berryman report and again we met

20:30 That was a sort of total discomfort, but

20:36 We met the guys he was telling me that the what I had submitted.

20:44 What's getting me into the course?

20:49 What I had submitted was a joke.

20:52 It was a poem as follows.

20:57 Dial bugs in my bed big ones and little ones brown ones and black ones. I sprayed my bed with DDT and now I've all Road.

21:11 That's got me into the creative writing course at Princeton and I did not then one single lecture one single. I did not I didn't show up at all. But I'm on Westshore. Yes, but I got the credit and looking back. I I think I behaved like an idiot.

21:34 Okay. When did you go into the Marine Corps?

21:41 Oh and why around Junior you're at Princeton you and that was a hook holder on campus a Marine Corps Major and

21:54 I thought it would be nice to join the Marines.

22:00 Which

22:02 I felt well the best of the armed services I still think so.

22:09 And

22:11 So I signed up with the major Nissan me up all the all the ways cool and as I was going out the door he's because I should point out. It was called the platoon leader cost and it meant that you would become a second lieutenant and just go to second Lieutenant School.

22:34 Hand

22:35 As I was going out to tell he said these spells. Yes, sir. That's so that the tension you are an American citizen know so I'm a French citizen keto up the papers. You have to be an American officer in the Marines. So I went in as a private.

22:57 And when eventually my citizenship games who it was at the time in the Korean War 1 people well

23:11 Second lieutenants for last thing about 2 and 3/4 days and the Marines had a program called special special cause I think well anybody could apply for any Marine Corps apply for it. No matter what is a list of Frank was and for 30 days. You went through the hardest time I ever did physically in my life and

23:41 They took the top 30% I happen to be in another private that I had known also was in his name was Bill Wiese and we were friends whole entire life. No.

24:06 In the meantime, when did you learn to fly?

24:12 What's the ID for the rent? That's how much time I were used up about 20 minutes.

24:22 Tell 24 so you better go get better speed it up Private Pilot because after graduation, I work on Wall Street and was sent to assess a forest and

24:46 British Columbia owned by the firm and the

24:54 That was a hold being built and a lot of money was going out and things didn't look good. I was to analyze and so I immediately put a stop to what was going on. And I told the setback East you have to hire faultless Cruiser find out exactly what kind of would you have and how much so it has a higher one. I got the best one that it would take about two months. So I said what I'm coming back I said no stay out there and learn about the end of span. What now. Maybe we'll settle the place.

25:36 And so since I had nothing to do, I want out of the airport and took flying lessons and sole.

25:51 The hotel.

25:55 120 ports game they said so I knew nothing about selling for us. But I call it the presidents after three large companies produce Stewart and Welfare child McMillan and BC Falls products and believe it or not a 20 year old with pick up the phone and gets high school to the president, which is no longer the case and the answers. Well wonderful would but hard to get out. If we don't forget the second one said maybe and the third one second. Will you take $125,000 which at that time in 1950 was a lot of money.

26:39 Pepsi-Cola was $0.05.

26:43 So

26:48 So did you get paid? I got a bonus for first in my life $800. I've never seen that much money. So I went back out to the airport. Why does Best Buy Tysons and said I want to buy an airplane and my instructor said what I know of one and we went off and the whole country was full of Gossip Plus plans and I bought a wall surface plane for $600 in Florida to New York and wondering whether you would yes.

27:28 The in those days your license, you only have to have 35 hours flying time. So I heard about 37 hours when I set off from Vancouver and it occurred to me but crying at night might be interesting and the weather was good and there was just one Highway and I knew what airports have green lights flashing. So that's how I look now, it's fine. But when I got eventually close to New York, I call Guardia because my radio didn't work and asked if I could land without a radio and they said certainly come in.

28:14 1200 feet love pattern wait for light and Conway 22 +

28:23 That was LaGuardia in the year 1950 hits a little different today was a bit scary because I date if your engine cuts out your grind to a field hopefully but that's not you don't see anything on you carry yourself. So I bought a $10 parachute and but I kept wondering what I'm doing and

28:58 So back on Wall Street. I look called around and decided that buy shoe tact and the regular immediately condemned it and pull it in the trash can and then I said, well, I understand that you up what's called a jump outfit with two shoes with your hands it to me so I can make a parachute jump and he said no, why was the last guy killed himself? So so do you know someone yes a phone to tell ottobre?

29:33 And so I rented his Trump outfits for $25. He gave me about 20 minutes of instruction the main thing being to pour the lamp cord and

29:48 And count 1 2 3 and 4 vocab court and then I said well, you know just show me what's a jump when we fly. He said I'm not a pilot. So they were people listening and 1 guys have a lot of ticks look it up and I said have you ever done that? I know but I know about these things. He was a real estate salesman. I'm quite confident 10 minutes my God we missed everything. Okay, in any case from the first job. I went on to start Spotify shooting in America.

30:28 And the

30:30 What year I created the first sport parachute School.

30:36 Pilot parachute School in those days. It was illegal for the Army to make freefall jumps, but we'll see if the contractor playing the Army in free for

30:48 And after starving to death for many years till four years, we became quite successful. We will larger than the military of every country in the world except for sure and catching up to them and we had 17 play. It's a hundred and three dealers for equipment 128 page catalog. We we well and flea airports one of which we bought Etc.

31:21 Now in addition to the school's you also designed all helped to design parachute and all that the start spot shooting the problem was that the palace shoots came down very hard.

31:38 The the cross was highly porous because of the opening felt since one couldn't control one's body. If one folder LabCorp oneworld Turtle fight so hard. I remember almost biting my neck and some people actually next Pokemon opening Cox and then so you come down fast the circulars shoes to go with the wind they were all so late. So the landing was very hard. And so I have to solve problems the problem of the opening south of the landing South out of accuracy and Landing.

32:22 And the opening stock was sold by the device invented by the Germans that I saw in the world championships in Russia where I bought a team in 56 called a sleeve at lock the canopy. So you were apart and the shop was totally diminished and The Landings.

32:50 Because because the opening stock was so I decided to have a parachute built of low porosity that would move forward with a large hole in the back to turn it and and

33:06 It was a first parachute of low porosity test was the first sport truth and it's now in the Smithsonian anyway so much about that shooting then when I sold my company

33:23 After 26 years, I didn't know what to do having bought some land in the desert. I said to my wife when I do sit in the deserts and think of something to do now what you had told eventually if we created the Museum of History and Garnet if you're told me I would give the museum I would have run out the door, but we decided to build a monument to remember our parents and friends and I gave her social Engineers specs of 4,000. Yes, and it looked like a Toblerone a bar. So then eventually we built another one with the names of all the Marines who died in Korea, then we built one is for your French aviation history of the French Foreign Legion.

34:16 History of California and Arizona for United States an 8-ball in human history of humanity and after being laughed at for 20 years.

34:30 The two states passed resolutions has came back would be a world heritage site the University of Northern Arizona use us for teachings as to schools and

34:47 Just a few months ago. The BBC said

34:54 Monuments for the ages. This is where martians will come to learn about Humanity.

35:05 5 more minutes 5 more minutes. What is that? Red ribbon on your lapel? Well, that's about friends Legion of Honor. It's it's the highest French declaration. And when I'm in Palace old ladies get up to get me a seat which eye looks use. Of course. I tell them that I may look old, but I'm only an old 202.

35:39 But when Americans ask me what the weather like when is I tell him it's for Communist Party.

35:46 Okay. Now what plans do you have for the future?

35:54 The Blob dead

35:57 No actually went right now.

36:04 At the museum with the two monuments of animals of the world and also right now for the history of humanity, which is not completed where tristeza bologna sauce this winter VM gave us a notice of arriving while I'm driving 54 panels of which 31 would be a production of the great paintings of the Renaissance.

36:37 And also we have a sign that says center of the world. That's because when we well in the vale do it and not knowing what to do. I thought why not get a law passed established the official center of the universe and since the idea had no logic I order children's book since no one argues that they look at the Blue Dress. I thought a family day of my death are all past and it did.

37:07 And once for Louis Pasteur, but they left saying that those crazy Californians but very few people knew I didn't what's the county pass the property and property laws are recognized by the United Nations because they Define the boundaries of countries. And so we being recognized by foreign countries and we have the official center of the world on a bronze plaque in a Taylor Made the pyramid being built because my wife said that you have a pet limit in the book. Why don't you build a real one?

37:46 Anything else? I don't think so. Well, I should say that none of this could have been

37:57 Nothing about the museum the town of Felicity. Would I name for my wife thinking that if I named the town for her she wouldn't ask me for a fruit called the I couldn't have done it without her absolutely. Not and what I claim, but I allow her only two opinions. She actually has more than that.

38:27 Okay. Thank you.

38:38 Did I boil the hell out of you?