Noelle Hudson and Faye Hudson

Recorded November 27, 2005 Archived November 27, 2005 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBY000852


Woman talks about her life in India and coming to America

Subject Log / Time Code

Pakistan earthquake in 1932.
description of childhood in India.
Queen’s Army Teachers Association during WWII.
coming to America. Husband was from California


  • Noelle Hudson
  • Faye Hudson


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00:06 My name is fabry on Noelle Hudson. I am 33 years old. My today is November 27th 2005. We are in San Francisco, California and I'm here to interview. My grandmother Noelle Hudson and my name is Noel and Hudson my maiden name was?

00:32 List, so I was born on Christmas Day 1918 in A Town Called Quest on the borders between Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan. However, it was British India when I was there.

00:52 How did your family move to India?

00:56 Well, my father started out to train for an officer in the Army back in Sandhurst in England, but he is Health didn't stand up to the rigorous training. So he turned around and took his pharmacist degree and then his uncle offered him the chance to run that one of his great big pharmacist had five of them throughout Northern India and saw that shows quest which was right on the frontier. And my mother was born there. My father was born in Lahore, which is in the Punjab and they got married my grandfather and his wife were already there and he was from the Midlands and England and my grandmother was from the

01:54 Lake District to the north of England or the my father's side of the family. The relations are old from Scotland.

02:04 And the guy was the second generation Bull and I said so now I have difficulty remembering on my passport for the disabled Gaston or India in between so traveling. I really don't look forward to doing any traveling with the thought of you know about smooth things out for me, but I don't know who really who I have Pakistan identification because

02:47 I should have asked to retain my British citizenship, but nobody informed me that I could ask for that. So I never did. So I've have my Pakistani registration for my country. Can you tell me the full names of your parents? My mother's name was Georgina.

03:13 Georgina Georgina tavener and skim that was my grandfather surname and my grandfather was George.

03:28 Melo's Abscam and he'd being a seafaring man most of his life and then he left the ship when it landed in India you travel Knowles spy Jordan the Indian army.

03:44 In a bachelor is it was you used to be pulled by mules or Bullock's so he gradually worked his way up North join the

03:56 A governor General's office up and running the North and he work from there as a Justice of the Peace among the tribes on the frontier and he was very well liked but I still have his copy of the Quran which she read religiously and I pick it up and read the beginning of its is like matching Allroad Old Testament and he just loved being with the tribes and they really esteemed him. Then fact we had the big earthquake in the town of equestrian 1932-33 thousand people would lost we lost all all businesses. My father had down three of them. We had to have all housefull down.

04:47 So we lost everything that we owned or had.

04:52 At just before the earthquake we had moved down to quetta for my father's Health. He had what we would say was emphysema nowadays, but he used to call it asthma in the old days and he wouldn't stop smoking and that's how I barely remember him except.

05:14 Just after my 9th birthday I went in and he was lying dead on his bed. And that's my most vivid memory of him and I made a lot of difference in my life. I think.

05:31 I wish I knew him better.

05:34 But then after that my mother remarried

05:40 And

05:43 He would change but I kept my name surname Bliss to be married into the family court judge in Karachi.

05:53 Who is very well-known family this what was your stepfather's name? I suppose name was Hugh judge judge j u d d and he had a large family of sisters and brothers in Karachi. He and his brother Ernest worked for the old socony vacuum socony oil company, but I don't know what they call it now, but my stepfather ran the whole visit in the north of India seeing the always distributed in the but his brother was in charge of the port activities for the oil came into the post and then up for my father this evening is distributed throughout Northern India.

06:43 And then he was very kind man. But we were never really close to him course we went away to boarding school and things like that. So but my step brothers were wonderful. What were their names what were their names? The oldest one was Harold and he was 6 foot 7 in tall. I do remember that and the middle brother was Ronnie and the youngest one that is alive still in Spain was job and that he and I have kept good friends all through the years and the others all died. So tell me the name of your sister. My sister's name was Hillary and skin Bliss.

07:31 And she married a soldier in the British army.

07:36 Alistair MacDonald from Scotland and we will school call them joke, of course and she traveled all over the world when he where he was posted cypress mulch of Palestine.

07:53 And she used to be in Shanghai what he did priests you before they all me before.

08:00 China changed and heroes from just enlisting as an enlisted man, and he retired as a major just lived all my life or he could very funny man, very funny and he's my husband because he was a stripes and he'd been in the Army since he was 17. He just had one of the road of metals to see how many years he did. What was it like growing up in India for you? And your sister when you brought into the environment you accept it as it is. We lived in a big house with a couple of Acres of ground.

08:52 About 30 miles from the center of town. So we had no close neighbors. We were right next door to the Scottish church. And in those days of an old calls, my father used to have a horse-drawn carriage come every morning and drive him to work and we just stayed home and went for long walks. My grandmother was alive at that time and she was very much in to healthy living whether we want to do another whatever the weather and it could go very cold up there and very hot. We will hold off for a walk everyday.

09:39 Church every Sunday the Church of England and she was very strict. By the way. She is being a governess in England. The last one was to a family with the name of Mosley. Lady Mosley is two boys. She helped bring up whether or not is the Moseley that became the head of the black shoes. I don't know but I'm sure my grandmother doesn't have anything to do with that that she sailed out on one of the big sailing ships and when she got out to India, then she met my grandfather and they were married. They were the only white people living on the frontier that time.

10:23 And she had a children delivered a children and only two of them really live to be teenagers.

10:33 It was a very tough lady very much Queen Victoria Saul and see this day. I'm telling myself walk slowly and dignified like Queen Victoria. Tell your grandmother that said she was well-known in town. She loved animals and we'd be brought all kinds of wounded animals of all lost animals and we'd keep them at the house and she would know some back home and we had a great big law on and The Lawns are in those days were always sunken about 6in and once a week.

11:16 Water was a great day for us kids and we could Splash around in a little pain that I created that I think of all the scorpions in the funny Little Things wandering around in this but I couldn't do it now, but that's where we had lots of animals deer gazelles.

11:48 All kinds of dogs and cats to monkeys that lived up on top of a pole and my sister was one of those who are

12:00 The animals just come to her and she could do anything with the monkeys. Take away the monkeys dishes where if I tried it that would be much bashing and scratching, you know, but she all her life I was able to care for animals and all the sick animals and birds would always and Lando where she was living as she was wonderful. Where did you go to school? I first went to school. I had to choose when was at an early age from England. They recalled.

12:38 Teddy

12:40 News I forget now, but they wore uniform.

12:44 And then I had a 2 to look for a while and then my dad's told to getting ill and so we were not able to afford the juices. So I had to go to the Alma School which I ended up becoming a teacher old later on but I was very I think I'm sure I was very much ahead of anybody else having the Hands-On teaching with the Tudors.

13:16 And I was a voracious reader from as far back as I can remember and I visited remember sitting on my father's knee on Sunday with a male have come in and so is opening the big London papers and I would look at him and I said are you reading and he said yes, but I said you are not opening your mouth. I need to know if you keep your mouth closed and read it in your mind. That's you get just the same enjoyment as so from then all I was off and running. I mean if you came to my birthday party, if you didn't have a book that was just too bad if someone brought a book I would disappear with this region all the time. I didn't care about the policies.

14:09 So we were very far from actually from having kids running around with us or anything. But in those days and India, maybe they still do where is there is a European bunch of people. There is always a central Club.

14:28 And everybody would meet there almost every early evening and play tennis and we kids used to love to run around and

14:40 The little hellions I suppose I thought I was very good, but I don't know but for having close friends. I didn't we always had an entire to look after us and she stayed with us.

14:58 And she would tell us story she would take us out for walks. And so I really we had plenty of toys. I didn't miss companionship. I had my sister who was younger than how I was and

15:14 I was just me full of myself something. Did you both go to school together know I went first and it was three months after my father passed away, which was already a very traumatic experience for me and here are walls with my little pigtails in my little old glasses. Wish I'd had to wear since I was nine years old and I was sent away three days journey with a bunch of other children my age and older and it was a sweet Jayden up to

15:53 Etsy we had to go all across the desert and up towards the Himalayas and when we reach to town called dehradun and then Raj. Out of the train and then you head to make your way 21 models up to the hill station, which happened to be, Missouri.

16:14 I just spent eight months of there without seeing any home people just the students. It was a nobody who ever tell me and you're okay kid. If the other kids tease me which they did and then what made it worse was it I'd had so much tutoring. I was two grades ahead of the children.

16:38 Of my agent so then when I was put up promotion to this next class I was so far ahead of the knowledge of wise, but they was such a huge people. And so I made up my mind to that what I couldn't do physically I would do mentally so I was the one that won all the prizes and which didn't make them like me anymore. So what happened after school? Where did you go after school as I left the school? I had left school two years before I needed to so when I got home to Karachi.

17:22 My mother said

17:25 In India right now that the time is times are getting very very dangerous very bad, and they were working towards separation from the British Empire.

17:38 And we were under a supposed to be a martial law and of a speed no violence.

17:47 Well in there of shades of violence that you cannot call me. If you're riding in an open carriage and a man jumps in and spread his urine a hold over you. I mean that to me constitutes father's but they were allowed to do it and we were not allowed to do anything back to them. And I did do they lose my life and my sister's life in an open touring car when he went down into the bazaars to order fish fresh fruit and a crowd of about three hundred down the ice. We used to call them gathered around the collar that before all of us white people in there and they lay down in front of the Tarzan the front and then the back

18:39 Well, lots of all friends didn't mind if they could run over a couple of them backwards or forwards for the course. That was a big No-No and finally British sergeant of police came by and he looked at his role open cuz then and they said I want you for people and I know you goes a very young but you got to understand that these people are very angry and this won't take much to turn this into a motorist rod and he said don't even move your eyelashes. Do not look at anybody you just sit there and I'll see what I can do about getting everybody moved. And so he finally got two or three of the ringleaders and they did finally back off.

19:30 But I'll drive I was ready to run ever came to any kind of decimal hurts from them. And my mother had kept on hoping to ask you cannot plan to live in in there.

19:50 If they don't want us here, I think it was all very badly dumb. It's the right time and pushed through too fast. And then of course there was a big Roy, it's between the mohammedans and the Hindus and that's when Pakistan was allowed to form their own country and by then I had met Jerry.

20:17 Oh, by the way, I had to come out from India from England after college where I became a teacher and I joined a group called The Queen's owe me.

20:32 Queens all me

20:35 Teachers I think it was just Teachers Association and we won't let a two hundred of us and we would each by twos or threes join a certain regiment and move overseas.

20:51 Around the British Empire, which was a big one in those days and we would stay with the regiment.

20:59 As an old lady who is in charge of us always said remember you're the Mistress of the regiment. Anyway, then as soon as I joined up and I was going to go with this particular regiment war was declared three days after I took my on my job.

21:22 And so the big town we were in school was taking over for troops and that

21:30 I was one of us is where they're related to the post office to work there. So that was fun. And I remember trying to walk home at night with no lights no street lights and the cause could only have light like a shooting on it.

21:51 So which was of course being 21, it was fun for me and I didn't have to worry about rations or anything in the

22:01 So is that part that they were airrage Neversink and I knew nothing was going to happen to me. So I woke fearlessly everywhere light bulbs Baltimore Orioles and I even remember the standing on the middle of the street and looking up at the planes l r e f and the Germans having a dog fight up there and I was just standing there with my mouth open and the air raid warden came by and he said Miss what are you doing standing out in the street and look at that isn't that fantastic? It's just but you know that that's a real man in there and they are killing each other or trying to and you could they one of them could have crashes right there where you were standing.

22:52 So into the shelter I went and but it must also Vivid to me, but it didn't frighten me at all and I was all by myself and luckily I didn't have anybody in the world to worry about and how did you come to meet grandfather?

23:09 Grandfather who had been posted to Egypt

23:13 And he landed in Karachi, which was then my hometown at the same time as I did. He was in the air Cole and

23:25 When I go there, they said woohoo an unmarried young lady. Please come and dance with the band.

23:33 So I went out to the Red Cross and we met that the Red Cross that actually I was told him to go with his big friend.

23:43 And that he was training to be a lawyer before the war and my mother said you two are never going to get home because he argues with you all the time as loyal but anyway, we broke up and he came to the states and I'm then Jerry took over my husband and he just fit in so perfectly into my life since he always has he just fell right in love with me, but I could just feel he will he was a person that I would never feel bad with you would never let me down. So

24:21 And how did you come to move to America to America? I will he came first it was his time was ended in the service out there. So he was shipped home and they said well, we will try and find something for your wife and it has taken us a year-and-a-half permissions from my government and the US Army and the American government to get to mission to get married.

24:52 At all the time it took us to the don't ever ask me for a divorce. I'm sick of all this paperwork, but he went on and on about a month later. I got word to reports on one of those old Kaiser the ships that were built for carrying troops and we will pack just packed it in and it took us 30 2 days to get home. You have to stay out of the mainstream away from the submarine areas. And then so slowly I got to actually say San Diego first.

25:34 And then I had to win my way up to Oakland where Jerry was living then as a civilian.

25:40 I'll have to phone my mother-in-law and I had to say called her mother for the first time. At least I thought I had sex and then she was very very friendly. I don't think she thought she would really like me because she was little over and she was such a meticulous housekeeper and a wonderful cook the perfect mother and then I had to learn how to boil water from her boiling water men to make jello gel and things like that. So she must have said the whole where did he find this one? But I guess in her diary. She mentioned that I had so many other good qualities. It's

26:28 What was your impression of America before you came here? And how did it change once you got here? I knew I had to move out of it if I wanted to stay alive, and I knew that England had been taken a long. We

26:51 Bring up to date for the people could live in purple houses and everything was changing so I didn't think I would get on there.

27:01 I still would all I had given up my job because

27:06 Just after I met Jerry they posted me to join Refugee bunch of all, my family is stranded up in Murray way up in the Himalayas. So this was in December.

27:24 No heating. No, I didn't even have the the clothes for that because I was living in the desert. So I thought I could pick up something and maybe in the wrong PIN too. You know, I couldn't so I was up in the city degree weather with my silk stalkings, and that's crazy and no Heating in the other places. They gave me to live in.

27:52 That one little tiny gracing the cook on cuz it was no running hot water. You had to heat the water on this little racing and I didn't have a servant.

28:06 It was fantastic baby. We was worried up in the big trees and I woke up about the fourth morning there and the snow had come down and cover the what do I say covered? I mean to a depth of a good foot on each branch, and that was just beautiful.

28:26 Wasn't too beautiful when I had to go and stand in line with all the coolies and 30 degrees minus weather to pick up bread and stuff to eat. So after I being there about three weeks and by the way, the pupils were old.

28:45 Didn't mean to soldiers would marriage Burmese people but had not done it through the government all the church.

28:56 And nobody wanted them back in England and the government said you didn't go through the right thing. So when I was accepting them.

29:05 So the poor little things were left between everybody and I inherited all this little crowd of poor little refugees. So we muddle through Christmas time. And then I said to the, don't I don't want to be here anymore.

29:23 And he said book before you can do them. And I said, yes, I can I didn't design a little piece of paper that window over way to Rhode Island to go to sign on for 5 years.

29:36 I know I said so I'm taking off with why do you want to go because I'm going to get it now. I'm engaged to be married.

29:49 But because we're the new in the beat time days, it was supposed to take all choice of husband who couldn't be above the rank rank of Lieutenant lieutenant or below the rank of a sergeant and you have to present him to the commandant and say well this is my choice. What do you think about him? So I said I know but I that's the man I want to be with and I do not want to keep on with this job and he said, you know the pitfalls you can be to know all the terrible things that could happen to you in the states.

30:27 I said he's going to California you. I thought once I got over New York anywhere else except Chicago would have been acceptable. But Jerry said he lived in California. Well that I was fine by me and

30:45 We'd had a lot of history with the real end up to the American Revolution a bunch of stuff doesn't make any difference to me because I knew that India was out England was in the mess and wherever Jerry went that's where I wanted to be so rude and so it took me five years to be able to apply it to get my citizenship.

31:19 Tell me about your children with their full names are my eldest was my daughter Georgina after my husband's mother Hudson.

31:36 And then she is not married. And is Georgina Leonard but then she lost her husband very as suddenly as he retired. So her life is all changed. She's my best friend now looks after me and thank goodness. She can do Bank balances because I'm just here for spending money, but my horse was named after his grandfather Russell.

32:05 And often my Falls artist Stewart's his name is really Ralph Stewart Bliss. So he's a Stewart Russell Stewart off of the two grandfathers. So then he is a

32:20 Please someone I'm very very proud of his down the Sowell all on his own and it just and then of course we have my granddaughter Fay here with me and has her sister, Michelle.

32:35 And then Gina had the two children Randy Randolph.

32:41 And the

32:43 Tammy

32:45 And so now I find myself as a great great grandmother with the addition of one in Colorado who I don't think I would ever see but

32:55 It's that makes me the great great grandmother and I can't believe it. But tell me what your children were like growing up.

33:06 Well Gina, it was a live one. I mean she was very very small and very go ahead and physically and mentally and then when my son Russell was born about three and a half years later.

33:22 He was a very quiet boy and I never had to worry about him. He play with anything all I gave in the pots and pans anyting but Gina had to have the special look at me. Mom. Look what I can do. You have to come outside and see what I can do. So then Russell became very ill and I had to give him a lot of attention and I think that they neglected my daughter because I was so worried about him. So he was a big fat healthy one looking and

34:03 I should have just spent much more time with her and given him I'm my attention but she was as small as a whip and just into everything Live Wire.

34:17 And like I say she is my best friend will do anything for me keeps an eye on me. And while I plot along and I hold out of the years.

34:30 How did your life turn out differently than you thought it might when you were young?

34:37 Well, I thought that I would grow up and then go to England.

34:43 And I had hopes of doing something other than teaching.

34:49 But my mother said to me, you know, if you become a teacher you could if you wanted to come back to India.

34:58 Because there's nothing very much for a British man solves to do outside running a household for a husband doing good works and and

35:11 Why the things were so bad in India that I couldn't see us living like we used to anyway, so I knew I had to make up my mind to go somewhere and

35:25 So what you said what you want to do? I said will I might just go get my teacher's degree. So I went to a college in Portsmouth in the south of England and got my teacher's degree there and became Queen the only school is just took off from there. What do you think are some lessons you've learned in life that you would like to pass along to the rest of the family. I've learned to have a lot of sympathy for everybody. I have no color preference in my life is all that don't mean that I was brought up in the bone and Buddhists and Hindus.

36:11 And there were plenty of them who were rich and who would come over to our place for dinner and we would go and meet them at Social functions, but they were a loss of the ones that cost it were out cost.

36:26 In fact, we had lots of servants. I was 7 years old before I ever learned how to wash my own hands. So I used to look after us and

36:42 Children reading my schooling and it was eight years of

36:50 Well, I'm almost like being a stone hug was very very strict run by the church of England on the missionaries and I didn't care if I never saw the inside of a church again. So although I love to go visit the cathedrals and things bed.

37:13 When I went to college I still was a churchgoer and the Jerry and I were married in the cathedral Trinity Cathedral in Karachi. But after the children were raised and everything I

37:29 I haven't found any comfort in organized religion whatsoever. I have study of the loss of scientific readings and writings and so with the evolution and the scientific way of working out, but I've never regretted Coming to America.

37:53 Well, my life has changed with all the things as changes of come about but

38:01 I couldn't be happier being where I am.

38:05 Before we close. I just wanted to ask you if there's anything you'd like to say to the family that you liked how you like to be remembered anything like that? But I hope my my children and all my other children think I'm an okay American and I think maybe by now they're all proud of my British citizenship because that plays a very big part in my life. I have the day I had to sign my citizenship papers and take the oath was the saddest and the best day of my life because I was

38:46 Very British. Still, so please don't go to war with England because I don't know what I would do, but I'm very proud of all my I just like to tell you that you've inspired me and I'm just very proud to be your granddaughter and I thank you so much for arranging all this and it's my pleasure. I love you Grandma. I love you to Fay.