Lois Madison and Brian Madison

Recorded August 12, 2011 Archived August 12, 2011 41:10 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBY008174


Brian Madison (55) interviews his mother Lois Madison (82). LM talks about her grandparents and her family, moving to Vancouver during WWII, and meeting her husband. She also talks about her life with her husband Oscar.

Subject Log / Time Code

LM was born in 1929. Her brother Arden came 3 years later. She remembers sitting around her grandmother’s dining room table in Akron, OH, playing dominoes.
LM’s parents, Alvin and Helen, knew each other since they were very young. Alvin taught Helen how to drive a car.
The family moved to Vancouver in 1942. LM’s father worked first in Nebraska, then found a job in Vancouver. Everyone had a Victory Garden during the war, but LM’s parents had always had one.
LM met her husband in 1948 through a friend. He was 8 years older and had been in France and Italy during the war.
LM and Oscar met while he was in business school. He went back on active duty during the Korean War, then went into the Airforce. He went to Saudi Arabia for a year, which was hard for LM. The family went to Japan for 3 years in 1963.
LM remembers a tape Oscar sent her when he was in Saudi Arabia. She had to buy a cassette player to play it.


  • Lois Madison
  • Brian Madison

Recording Location

MobileBooth West

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:02 My name is Brian Madison. I'm 55 years old today is August 12th, 2011. We're located in Tri-Cities Washington and will be interviewing my mom today.

00:16 I'm lost Madison.

00:23 Also here in the Tri-Cities and brand is my son my third son.

00:32 So what are you going to tell us today Mom? We've we talked a little bit about this. And so you've written some notes and

00:39 And you were going to hear things that I've told you over the years probably I meant I just want to say I was born in Akron Iowa for Alvin and Helen Manning.

00:53 And no I was the third born child.

00:58 Are two children before me had passed away one at the age of I think two or two and a half and the other was so that was a little boy Robert and then the other child was Ruth and not she died at Birth weather.

01:16 And it went right to she didn't survive at all.

01:20 And

01:23 The little boy I think died of flu when father this and this would have been in the early twenties. So whether it was still

01:34 Some of the variety of this flu, that's

01:39 Happened during World War II or what? I don't know.

01:43 But anyway, my parents.

01:48 Very seldom spoke of them. I thought I don't know how I found out that too. But my sister who is 9 years younger than I am did not know that we had had a brother and sister. Do you think that was difficult for a very hard for our mother to talk about and they said they just didn't I asked if Grandma was she was kind of a quiet woman and he want some if that was because of something like that. I mean I'd heard over the years that she had a child that had died, but I didn't know what to tell ya that could anyway, I don't know.

02:30 And then I was born in Isaac. I said 1929 but tell and my brother came along.

02:39 About three years later

02:42 And then that's Arden Arden you and our sister.

02:49 08 years after I'd anyway 1938 Margaret Margaret Ann.

03:01 Mother in particular was so very quiet. We didn't know we were going to have a baby brother or sister and health over his dad said he going to say mama. I think we called her mommy at the time probably her mama. Anyway, I was in the hospital and she there was a new baby for a starting so I was kind of surprised no preparation at all, Whether I'd ever told you that anyway, and she turned out to be a little redheaded, baby.

03:45 And I think we were I in particular treat her like a big doll probably but you were you were really close for now, but oh yes, but now you're just help when we were small like that. Yes, but

04:04 If she was a good, baby.

04:13 All three of us. We were born to it into a Catholic Family. So we were all baptized there and Akron at St. Patrick's Church and

04:27 As far as Grandparents, I didn't know my paternal Grandfather at all. He died in.

04:35 I have the names of your written down someplace. But Jackie has it to him in early twenties about 1924. I think so, I didn't know him at all my maternal or paternal grandmother Mary semen.

04:52 Died I think in 1934, so I do remember her.

04:57 Android

04:59 She was a short woman. Like I am I'm in everybody else's tall and my family, but she and I had the short short jeans, but I can wait. I can remember sitting around her dining room table playing dominoes or she had a china cabinet with interesting things in a funeral like a seashell. Look somebody evidently had gone to Florida and brought it back and in Akron

05:34 We had to hold her or I did tell her to look for my ear and we could hear the ocean. When we bring a lot of back a lot of memories in Denver being a child and because we took a picture of the two-story house where Chad lives, right?

05:55 LOL

05:57 It doesn't look that much different. You can still remember it and did Mark only for sale.

06:11 Now she's her memories are all of

06:15 After we move to Washington

06:19 And

06:23 Sure.

06:26 Marquee is Margaret.

06:31 And we've always called her Marty.

06:35 And done

06:40 They are this house for Grandma Manning lived had a second floor.

06:48 And at one time we lived on the second floor Are Family.

06:54 I have no idea why this was would have been.

06:58 When my brother Arden was just a baby. So we had like a little apartment up there who is in the depression or it was the depression. So I'm sure it would have was job-related. The reason that way you or lack of a job. I don't know. I don't know but if we were there at 1 I started grade school.

07:30 And again, I said mention I was very quiet.

07:34 And the school was

07:36 About two blocks away. I think my mother walk me to school and when it was time to go in this was a Catholic School a smaller one than the

07:46 Boys and girls have the lineup on either side of the sidewalk boys and one girls on the other.

07:52 And I took off and just walk back home and my mother had to return me to the school. I think I did this twice before I go because you were stubborn or you just you were trying to get this stubborn stubbornness. It runs in our family will try to find out where that comes from. So that was so

08:18 My Pennsylvania Dutch come and go.

08:23 But anyway anthem.

08:30 Some of the things that Grandma had in that China cabinet, my sister has a little doll a small doll that she is dressed as a nun. So that was always a nice Keepsake. She still has that until she died.

08:48 Before she died. She gave it tomorrow.

08:51 Sound

08:58 I can't read my notes.

09:03 So am I and what year was this again? Just remind me real quick.

09:08 When I started school.

09:10 Probably in 1935 roughly and you weren't there to many more years ago before you went to.

09:25 Move to Vancouver, Washington until after World War II and started.

09:40 I was all right down the road. I'll tell you what room is. That's when we were still lives in Iowa. If there were a lot of family around her parents all had my mother had only brothers and my father to serve there were ants and uncles and lots of cousins all older than me. So it wasn't there a cousins were close.

10:05 But we used to have picnics in the summer and you know dinners holiday dinner, so

10:13 And then

10:18 My grandmother Manning whose house we lived in died when I was I think about 5.

10:26 And rum

10:29 I don't know what that all families didn't have that custom but they had which I assumed was called a wake they had the casket in.

10:39 And one of the downstairs rooms a larger room. I don't know whether I don't remember know there was a bedroom but the night before the funeral.

10:48 So I just gave the family sometime to have some closure and y'all but I think that was the custom.

10:56 And it was that was that difficult. Not that I don't remember.

11:05 And no.

11:10 One other thing I think is interesting Mother and Dad.

11:15 Alvin and Helen

11:17 I had known each other since they were very young because

11:23 One of my mother's amps her one of mothers.

11:28 Announce Grandma's sister

11:32 Nerad one of our dad's brother. So we had double cousins there doesn't mean you have to think about it as wasn't relatives bearing relativism. I like you might think but so

11:50 So

11:53 I told somebody that they couldn't figure it out. It's not hard Jackie would be able to see each at Brothers.

12:12 And I ended up with four boys so which was fine. I was very happy.

12:23 Certainly

12:27 Yes.

12:31 You know, I think I sense there.

12:34 Aunt and uncle have marriage.

12:40 And the satin uncle's first child was born in the early.

12:45 1900 they must have known each other. I know dad taught her how to drive the car before, you know one when my mother was still living at home.

12:57 Go ahead mother graduated from high school and not so many young women did in those days to graduated in 1914.

13:11 So

13:17 What were

13:22 Dad, my dad was a very quiet Man 2.

13:26 But he wasn't just a very likeable person they were I think mother was more hard to get acquainted with probably.

13:37 But Joe there were just good people there were good parents. And again that that just might have been.

13:45 You know part of their upbringing. I mean it might have been just you know, I do remember I I've got to tell you in later years when they lived in Vancouver my grandfather Alvin, I would remember sitting on his lap and he would have little Lifesavers that I'm not sure. I can't remember what kind he had now, but that wasn't my memory peppermint. I do remember that he loves sitting and holding his grandchildren. We always called his wife which is Grandma Manning big grandma because she was so tall and and my dad's mother was so short. We called her little Grandma. So it was big grandma and let her Grandma appreciate the other one being called little girl.

14:47 But anyway, that's just one of those family things.

14:52 And the living up to

14:55 Grandma Manning's house. I can remember.

15:00 I wasn't very old. I guess I was pretty gullible. They told me if I

15:05 Want to catch those birds that were out in the yard if I took salt on their tail, then I could catch him. I guess I believed it for a little while anyway.

15:19 But maybe I kept me busy all about.

15:24 And I happen to think that's I was riding that in her front yard. There was this big tree and I had no idea what the name of it was but it dropped these large brown seed seed pods when they drop to the ground.

15:44 And

15:47 Years later in Boise when we visited little Grandma there were catalpa trees there and that's what evidently that's what that was. But anyway wouldn't want somebody from a university stop by once and wanted to gather up all of these they were doing some kind of

16:11 So maybe it made medicine. I don't know why I have no idea.

16:18 So so you're still living at this time that we're talking about. You're still living in iOS so not to push you but so weird it. When did you move to Vancouver or a 1940?

16:33 2 and 1942 Pearl Harbor was in 1941.

16:38 And the day Pearl Harbor happened. We were visiting grandma's and L point and when we went home.

16:48 They will have no television in those days, of course Brian long before television, but they turn the radio on in the news of Pearl Harbor sell things changed for everyone drastically.

17:02 And how old were you went again when that happens? M1941 so

17:08 11 or 12 so you could remember I don't know. How did that feel to you? I mean it was that you didn't really I started High School there.

17:18 So I must have been.

17:24 14 I don't know about that. But anyway are dead.

17:34 It must have been in 1942 or late 1940s 1942. He got a job at a Munitions Factory in Nebraska, and we had to be gone during the week.

17:48 And then

17:49 Some way or other the he found out that the Aluminum Company of America was recruiting people to work in Vancouver at the

18:00 Plant that was opening there or maybe had open. So a lot of people from the Midwest and the South move to Vancouver. That's that was in support of the of the war effort, but there were shipyards a lot of paper. I went to work there to him, but Dad worked and retired at the Alcoa. So so what was some of your first memories of Vancouver

18:28 But the day after we moved into our house, there was a bus.

18:33 Six or eight inches of snow on the ground and we had not expected snow in Washington. I'm not part of Washington. That would have been my first memory.

18:45 Our furniture and belongings actually weren't there yet. So we at work.

18:52 Living we had a stove and refrigerator and referred.

18:58 Pete of some kind of a wood-burning stove wasn't cold then it was it was it was cold then.

19:10 I'm done.

19:15 At job. I didn't realize it. I thought so always thought the aluminum Aluminum Company had built those who have been the government somewhere rather. I can't remember what they called her. But after the war of the people living in the homes got a chance to buy them. So that's how mother and dad bought that house. So you were just renting then yeah, we had to pay if they paid her rent run.

19:46 But tell him and the wartime was

19:51 Well

19:53 We didn't live much differently than we had before everybody had Victoria Gardens and

19:59 My mother and dad always had one. Anyway, they lived economically. That's where I get it. I just drive it.

20:08 But

20:14 And I didn't I was going to say my grandpa Curry that I

20:21 New very shortly before he died. I would have very few memories of him, but I think I remember him having a mustache.

20:30 And he had a brown mark on his cheek. I assumed was a birthmark. I don't know.

20:38 And the fact that at the dinner table once

20:43 He took the field the top the frosting off his cake piece of cake and gave it to me how I remember that but I do he did not have a sweet tooth apparently like frosting.

20:57 Yeah, you would remember him but little things like that. I mean

21:03 That's all.

21:05 That's just my memory.

21:09 I might forget son important things but not sick.

21:15 But

21:17 Well, so can you tell me some of the things that happened in your life there in Vancouver IBI, I relate to Vancouver because you know, we would go there in the Summers and and I remember Grandma and Grandpa what were some of your memories in them in Vancouver at that time. One of my brother among of my mother's brothers and his wife live their Uncle Harry and Aunt Elaine they had moved there.

21:42 Oh your year and a half before we moved to Vancouver. I think that made it easier for my mother especially to

21:51 Go to a different part of the country pack up and leave that must have been not been easy.

22:00 Because Dad had a job going back to Akron again.

22:05 Dad, and my neighbor man who was also going to work for them aluminum plant.

22:12 Drove out first so that left the wives and

22:16 To deal with the children then go out with one on the train then.

22:22 So and that was a big thing because I hadn't been on a train or ever seen mountains or

22:30 Yeah, totally different out this way on the way to see the ocean.

22:37 Uncle and Aunt took us down before we you know when we hadn't been there very long. But anyway, I went to

22:46 To high school there

22:50 My sister was able to start school and she went all 12 grade students at the Academy. It was only girls in high school. But an Ardent. Jann Arden both went to grade school, but she went all 12 years, which not many people can.

23:15 Can you say nowadays? There's too much moving around.

23:19 But anyway

23:26 That died in 1948. I graduated from high school in 1947. I Met Death in 1948 in January. I rode to work and Portland on the bus with the lady from.

23:44 And the same area where we lived and she introduced us they had known him in, Nebraska.

23:51 Because that's where he lived as a boy a blind date then it will pretty much.

24:02 I'll have what you just real quick. What did you what what did you find attractive about Dad? I mean what were some of the things his qualities that you that you remembered or what were some of your thoughts when you first met him I was probably nervous about meeting him. I'd heard good things. He was a good person and he been in the in the army during World War II, he was older than me eight years older. So it was just a good man.

24:33 I couldn't tell I couldn't tell you what attracted me.

24:41 He was

24:45 Not tall like our sons he where I think he was what?

24:51 About five 8 or 9

24:55 But John brownie little guy wasn't he was not he wasn't very heavy. He didn't I he got older and stop smoking cuz he smoke I guess from the time he was 14.

25:10 And he stop smoking when he retired from the Air Force.

25:15 And he gained weight and he was a good-looking man much and it having put on some weight because he always

25:25 Well, he had to go he was in Europe in France and

25:31 Italy during World War II

25:35 And then after he

25:38 I got out of the army after the war and then later on went into the Air Force.

25:46 And

25:48 He had another overseas Tour by himself and Saudi Arabia when it was not easy. I think he when he came home from Saudi Arabia he weigh 218.

25:59 So this was in the early 1950s. It was in 1950.

26:06 81 Marvel guys, just a year older after I was born in 56 after a year after Mark was one so so let's go back just for a minute and when he was in Europe in the war did he what was in the Infantry? What did he and did he ever talk about?

26:26 The experiences that he had in Europe during the war.

26:33 He drove truck a lot of the times and he drove for.

26:39 An officer that he must have thought a lot of

26:46 Captain Scorpio, I even remember his name and I'll

26:51 Very good. He was Pennsylvania in case you're interested anyway, no, he didn't talk too much about any battles or anyting and maybe he was in the rear a little bit more if he would go for an option. I don't know.

27:15 But to Oscar

27:19 Oscar Lloyd Madison

27:24 Some people think that when I tell him Oscar Madison, they think of The Odd Couple on TV

27:33 Oh, I'm eligible to shop for ethra.

27:38 At the air bases in army bases or Airforce whatever but the one where I used to always go this one clerk got to know me and he'd say oh and today, you know, he'd seen my ID card. Anyway, he wasn't the only one connect said that.

28:04 But anyway, we started our family our first son was born a year after we were married and that's Robert Rob Bob Weir, Bobby Bobby Bobby called in then.

28:17 And he was named after.

28:22 Well partly after my brother Robert who died I guess but at least that was in mind, but Oscar had a cousin and Longview Washington that he thought a lot of who was Bob Roberts.

28:39 That's what I meant. Charles was born two years after the laughter a little over two years after we call him Chuck.

28:50 And

28:52 And then probably your most favorite child was born after that, right? That would be Brian.

29:03 But and then Mark that you're after that right boys, and I'm very happy to have had for boys.

29:17 I've had more people tell me.

29:21 I'm lucky to have my voice is like that not everybody.

29:28 Can get along with our kids that's what I found out anyway.

29:36 And

29:41 We go.

29:46 Like I've gone through this.

29:54 Oscar head after World War II he went to school Under the GI Bill a to the business school in Longview Washington, and that's where he was living when I met him.

30:08 And so he would travel down from long and blue and it doesn't seem very long distance. No, but

30:26 And I he

30:30 It seems like there for a while my folks.

30:34 Wondered why he had a different car every time he came he had a cousin who had a used car lot and

30:42 They traded cars.

30:52 Tell him.

30:55 And then he was Oscar went back on active duty.

31:03 Well, actually he had gone back on active duty during the Korean War ordering them during the Korean War 4.

31:11 I'll probably a year-and-a-half.

31:14 And Chuck was born at that during that time.

31:19 And where was he stationed when he was in the Korean War was going on.

31:26 Oh, it's in the states. He didn't ever have to go overseas. We went to Fort Huachuca, Arizona and then back up to Fort Lewis, Washington or Joe quiz 1.

31:39 So Random

31:42 Anyway

31:46 And 1963 but he got out of the army then and then a couple of years later went back into the service into the Air Force and then he stayed in at that time.

31:59 Job situation and benefits and so on. Anyway, it worked out very well.

32:06 And we are

32:10 Our first

32:12 Place where Were You live during the is Air Force career was Moses Lake where you were born bran and then

32:21 Mark A year later

32:24 And your dad went to Saudi Arabia have to go over there for a year. And that was no place for a family. So we stayed in Moses Lake. Was that hard for you to have Dad gone. And yes, it was hard for boys lutely. Absolutely at Water Yacht Emily.

32:43 Oh, I had good friends and that helped.

32:46 And then we

32:49 Oh, I think I know why I took you all for 2.

32:54 Vancouver for Christmas I think on the bus, I believe what which was not fun. Believe me.

33:05 Anyway, and then

33:09 In 1966 63 we went to Japan and were there for 3 years which was

33:16 It was a great experience 1966. We went to Southern California to Larkspur to March Air Force base near Riverside Inn.

33:32 That's close to where I am living now.

33:37 You know it when you say Japan reminds me of one of the Fondest Memories I have is when all four of us boys got two bikes for Christmas and I still have that picture in my mind of all four of us sitting in the in the living room are bikes on the kickstands. We were able to ride our bikes in there. Anyway, it was that was pretty exciting. So

34:01 And no.

34:03 Pepto for people who I haven't ever had to move like that and we didn't move that much. So many service families are a lot of moving anyway now things have changed over the years. So now I have

34:23 Right now I have two daughters-in-law.

34:28 Bob is married and lives in Riverside, California.

34:35 And Chuck lives in Montana Brian and his wife Jackie and their family live here in the Tri-Cities area and my granddaughter just got married on July 2nd, so I know and she married Jose Mendoza and then Chris Carmichael is the next their next child Brannon Jacquees next child. And then Chris is the youngest Mike and Chris live here.

35:05 And I know I come to visit every year.

35:09 I guess it's some years. I have come twice, but recently it's just wanted to know who lives in Riverside California Mark and Mark have a son by his first marriage, but I we don't see him. I'm sorry, but at least there is an I do have another grandson also.

35:35 How do you feel about that?

35:37 Set was it. It's a long time ago. And yeah, that's too bad.

35:46 And

35:52 We kind of went through your life real fast that way a lot of space is there.

36:02 Actually, Bob does have two step daughters. Tell me his wife has two grown daughters.

36:09 So

36:12 And that's so

36:14 So there are some girls in the saddle.

36:18 Well, then when Brian and Jackie had when Catherine was born Brian called and told me that they had a baby daughter. I've just could not believe a girl finally finally. I know I can't.

36:35 I can't tell you how I felt quite a girl and your dad got to.

36:42 The meter for a few times before he passed away in 1989. We were real happy of it.

36:50 That he would be able to know what to say able to do that to me cuz we went up the flu up to

36:59 Tracy Tracy, California, we flew into Oakland. I think Oakland and then we visited you and Jackie and the baby and and Tracy to getting to see her and under you brought her the baby down to see us before dad died 2.

37:20 And we did take pictures.

37:23 So that's good to have I know our time is short, but I did want to say you know, it's been great having you be a part of our Lives over all of these years, you know, you've always supported us always come and visited US during the Summers and so are kids really don't know any different than they know Grandma is going to come and visit and end. So it's been fantastic to be to have you part of our lives and then I'm part of their up growing up. Here's and I'd say they're we've all been blessed by that experience. I certainly have

38:04 It's it's been wonderful. I've had a good life. Well, we're certainly glad you're not going anywhere anytime soon want you part of our Lives as much as we can have you in?

38:21 Was there any other thoughts that you have for us anything else for anybody else? That might hear hear this CD sometime in the future by admitting that I'm the your most favorite son. Is that right?

38:44 And he identifies himself as her favorite nephew, but I've also found out lately that I'm she says that to a lot of people so I'm not the only favorite nephew or my brother has two sons and a daughter so and the one son

39:04 And I didn't even mention Arden's and Lily's a family that would be Susan and David and Richard Richard Richard and Gardens wife is Lily.

39:20 A David is probably her other most favorite.

39:30 Well, I think that's probably.

39:35 Oh, yeah. Well, I think it's great that you've made some notes and and that if anything we can we get to hear your voice and your laugh and and you know, I have you haven't had that memory always so and he sent the tape of himself.

40:02 And I'm talking to the your voice and to me and he told me to take it down to a shop where they sold them and I could listen to it and he wanted me to buy a tape recorder. So I did it all so we sent something for all you couldn't sound of my voice.

40:40 On the tape recorder did not sound like me I thought

40:46 Well, I probably won't it will thanks for taking the time in doing this Mom. This is going to be something that will treasure and glad that you were here this perfect timing of Jackie thought about it and made it all happen if you wanted to me to so love you.