Growing up

Follow Lucy’s upbringing - from her childhood years in Brazil; through her school years at Northampton, Sarah Lawrence and Columbia; and as she recalls life during WWII.

Moving Around


  • I was born in Santiago Chile. I had a brother, and I have a sister. I was the youngest. My sister Margaret is 92 and has just gone into a retirement home. And my brother who died of cancer in his early 60s. My father worked for Firestone Rubber Company and that’s what he was doing in Brazil. I went to school down there obviously. I went to an American school. We spoke Portuguese - as well as I speak English - when I was a child. I have sort of forgotten it because we moved up here at a time when my mother would spout Portuguese to me in a public place, and I would cross the street and pretend I didn’t know her because it was so embarrassing. I sort of blocked Portuguese out of my head. Now I see words and I hear words, and it comes back to me. Somewhere in my brain is Portuguese, but I can’t speak now, at all.


  • We lived in Brazil. They built a house. We had servants and a maid, and a gardener, you know, help was very cheap. My mother and father had a very active social life, and I can remember my mother putting on evening dresses, and my father putting on tuxedos. And they would go out. They would come in practically when we were having breakfast. They had this very active, sort of, a little bit - Not wild. My mother was beautiful, and daddy was handsome. And we were a little bit brought up by help. But they were around. But then mother would sleep all day, and we would have to tiptoe around the house.


  • It was a beautiful childhood. It was wonderful. I have pictures of us taken when we are sitting out in the yard. I don’t remember a lot of details. I have some school books that I did in first grade written in English and Portuguese with illustrations: a little girl in a bathtub and it says you take a bath every day. That kind of thing. Hygiene books. I remember carnival being a very crazy, festive time: costumes, music, craziness.


  • At about the age of 14, they sent my brother up to Asheville School in North Carolina, and he was a disaster. Poorly prepared. He had the wrong clothes. Complete misfit. They used to put him on a little island in a lake, and he loved it. When he did poorly or when didn’t do his homework or when he misbehaved. And he loved it. He spent a lot of time getting in trouble so he could get onto that island.


  • My father realized at that point that he could not educate three children this way so he gave up a very lucrative job and a beautiful house that they had just built a few years before. They moved up here and looked for a job and, in the town that my grandparents had a summer resort, there was a factory called the Huron Milling Company. They offered him a job, and he took it and he never was happy. He never liked that job but he kept it. And we moved to Larchmont, New York. The factory was in Michigan, but he was the New York rep. My sister and brother went to Mamaroneck High School, and I went to Chatsworth Avenue Elementary School in Larchmont. And, golly, we just had a normal suburban life. My sister had a lot of boyfriends and I had some very close friends. Then I went to Mamaroneck Junior High School, and we used to walk. It seemed like a long walk. It was probably a mile or mile and a half, but it seemed like a long walk, and my mother used to make me wear snow pants which were scratchy, navy blue, puffy pants with cuffs. There was one other girl who had to wear them, and we would meet under a forsythia bush that was arched on our way to school, and we would take them off and leave them under the forsythia bush and walk up the Boston Post Road to school. And then we would come home in the afternoon and put them on. And our mother never knew the difference, and our legs would freeze. We had little short skirts on.


  • Then, the war came along and my father was working for this other company, but somebody from the government came and said the Philippines had been taken by the Japanese and that was the major source of raw rubber for tanks and tires and things. So they asked him to go down to Brazil and set up what was called a rubber development corporation. He went down there and set up this company and got raw rubber out of the Amazon.

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Growing up in Brazil. Margaret, Lucy, Teddy with their mom


Going to School


  • I was at Northampton School for Girls in Northampton Massachusetts, and my sister was at Smith. The idea was that we would see each other once in a while which didn’t really happen very often. That school has become Williston Academy which is the boys school that we had operettas with and dances with. They would come over on a Sunday afternoon and take girls out for walks. That kind of thing. It was very strict. Chapel in the morning with announcements and then classes and then always athletics in the afternoon either soccer or baseball. My third year, I think I sat at a French table because I took French. They (academics) were hard. They were hard. It was tough but I did ok. I was not the top student in the class. We had dates where they would come over on a Sunday afternoon, and we would take a walk that was what you did. There was something called the dyke which was a big green hill, and it had a path on the top of it and you would walk on the dyke. If you went to the campus now, the dyke is still there. I’ve been back. I went back a few years ago, and some of my notes were written on the inside of the closet on a wall. We had to memorize dates of wars. You know, the war of 1812. You had to memorize all these dates, and nobody has painted that wall.


  • I made some interesting friends. I roomed with somebody named Molly Judd who lived in Saginaw, Michigan. We were allowed, Monday afternoons, to walk into town. She would go into town every Monday afternoon and buy a cashmere sweater that cost probably $20 in those days. I went to school with 2 skirts and 2 sweaters and 2 white blouses and that was it. Very modest. I think we had an allowance of $2 a week or something that we could spend in town. You know, it was before the days of credit cards, but she was able to buy cashmere sweater every week so I thought Molly Judd was just - If you could be Molly Judd, you were the luckiest person in the world.


  • Sarah Lawrence. I only went there for two years. My parents had been abroad and they came back and bought a house in Larchmont and they said, “We haven’t seen anything of you for three years so why don’t you go to school locally and live at home?” So, I had been at boarding school. I applied to Barnard in New York, and I applied to Sarah Lawrence, and Sarah Lawrence gave me a scholarship. Barnard accepted me but did not offer any money so I went to Sarah Lawrence. I drove with a young man who was a veteran who lived in Larchmont who drove to Sarah Lawrence. They started taking men that year (veterans), and he and I drove to college every day and he would bring me home. I never got to be part of the campus. I had friends but I never got into after-class activities. I felt as though it was a rich girl’s school. I felt out of place there. I was not particularly happy there.


  • I didn’t know what I wanted to study. In those days, you could be a teacher or librarian or a secretary or a nurse. Or, you could be a doctor but there were like 2 doctors in Columbia at that time - two women. I knew somebody who went to Columbia Presbyterian School of Nursing, and I saw an article in a McCall’s Magazine about Columbia, and I read the article and I became intrigued. I thought the uniforms were cute, and the work looked interesting. (I thought) this is what I want to try to do. I wasn’t the person that said, “Oh, I always wanted to take care of people all my life.” I sort of did it because the uniforms were cute. It was a very hasty decision. I went in and I spent a day with her and I decided to do it. Sarah Lawrence was a completely free wheeling school, and this was so strict and so structured. It was a blow when I started, and it was hard. You know we were in classes all day - the first year anyway. Then we started the clinical stuff and I just loved it. That was three full years and then you get a Bachelor of Science from Columbia and an RN. Three full years with no summer, no summer vacation – maybe you had a week or two off but you didn’t have a big summer vacation. I liked it. I made good, good friends, and I liked it.

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Northampton School for Girls senior yearbook


WWII


  • My brother’s name was Edward Russell Jobson. And during the war, he enlisted in the Coast Guard. He loved boats. He was myopic so, the navy wouldn’t take him. At that time, it was early in the war, there were German submarines going up and down the Atlantic coast. People were donating their yachts and they would strip the yachts of all the fancy iron work. Coast Guard sailors would go out on these boats and go up and down the coasts and get sight of the German submarines. That is what my brother did.


  • So, my brother was in the Coast Guard, and they went out in late November, and they went up and down looking for these (boats). They got hit by a storm, and their boat capsized and then righted itself. They were somewhere off the coast of the United States looking for German U-boats. A couple people got injured. They lost part of their water supply. They were lost at sea for 21 days. The Coast Guard kept reporting to my parents that, “We are looking for them. We got all these planes and other boats out looking for them but we can’t find them.” It got to be late December, and my parents were very frantic. No Christmas tree. No Christmas. No presents. No nothing. Just my brother is all anybody could talk about.


  • On the afternoon of December 24, we got a phone call, and the boat had been sighted. They were sending somebody to rescue them, take them off the boat and bring them home They would be home for Christmas. We went out and bought a tree. That was about it. We bought a tree – no presents just a big tree. In Larchmont, they used to have this Christmas Carol gathering around the railroad station downtown. Well, they came to our house and sang outside our house. And my brother was brought home. He was home for Christmas. It was just fantastic. He had sort of a foot rot condition but other than that, he was alright. Lost at sea for 21 days. Tossing around in the Atlantic without a motor on their boat. Hardly any food. Hardly any water. There were about 9 people on this boat. A couple of them were injured. But I have a book that was written about it. The name of the book is “The Navy Hunts the CGR 3070”. The front page of the Herald Tribune and the New York Times were headlines on Christmas day. I have that newspaper.


  • You know, everybody was involved in that war. People donated their yachts. People made great sacrifices during that war. We had rationing. Remember? We had gas rationing. Food. You couldn’t buy butter, you had to use that Oleo with that orange nugget that you stirred. There was rationing. There was meat rationing. Gas rationing. You had coupons. But everybody – my mother got a group together, and they knit things before they went to Brazil. We had balls of foil. I had my hair cut for gun sights. I had long somewhat blondish hair. It was pretty straight. They had a thing in National Geographic – “donate your hair for gun sights”. As a matter of fact, I think I had my picture taken with donating my hair. I don’t know you just saved in foil - big balls of it. I don’t know – they needed tin foil. Did you remember black outs? I remember Pearl Harbor. I remember my parents were out of town. We had a babysitter. I just remember It was a Sunday afternoon and there was this great calamity that occurred to this country and everybody was distraught. I was 13.


  • We didn’t do newspapers. You listened to FDR on the radio. There was no television. I don’t think I heard FDR the day after. I mean, I have heard it so many times since but I did not hear it the day after. We used to go to the movies, and they would have this Movietone newsreels. And they would show you these battles. It just all seemed like it was happening on another planet sort of. But there was an enormous universal war effort, and everybody did something. There were victory gardens. We plowed up our tennis court (Carl). You did plow up your tennis court?! You grew vegetables - to help. You bought war stamps. You remember those little books of stamps that we bought? I still have some. Little war stamps to donate money to the war effort and you bought 25 cent stamps and you got a little book of them.


Newspaper coverage of the search and rescue of Lucy’s brother, Ted


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