Conducted by Claire Townsend as part of the Spirit of Peace documentary. Recorded approximately 1993.

Transcripts Index  ||  Peace Pilgrim Home

Interview by Claire Townsend
Filmed by David Mueller

Helene: Children were not ever in her lifestyle. Uh, she uh, we always said she took after Aunt Lizzy and her Aunt Lizzy was not a child type person. She didn’t relate also. Uh, and uh… Peace Pilgrim never had dolls when she was growing up. She didn’t have mother instincts I think that most women have. I was just the opposite. I had so many dolls and all. But she did not and when I would come home with children… I was always baby sitting and I would come home with children. She never had any desire to hold a baby or to uh, to having anything to do with them. And children loved her. I mean uh, ...because she had a strong personality. She would have made an excellent teacher. It was... children really would have filed along uh... with her. But she was only interested in them when they had reached the age of reason. And then she could talk to them reasonably. But as far as talking baby talk and training a child up to that point, it wasn’t her style.

Claire: Along this time your father died.

Helene: Yes, he died after she was uh, married and I was 26 and uh, at that time I know we were all there. So I don’t know was she living with us at that time or not. Uh..

Claire: I think you told us that she and Stanley stayed in the barn.

Helene: Yes they stayed in what we call the colony house. It was an unused chicken coop and… they slept there because you might say there was no room in the inn you know. She just… we had the night my father died we had nurses and doctors there and uh, it just you know… I think too probably they wanted to get away from it. I don’t know just where they stayed.

Claire: Do you think Mildred was especially upset.

Helene: Well I’m sure she was because she and my father were very close. They uh… did a lot of things together. They were involved in the Grange together. And uh… she would bring her friends down to the boat house and the fishing parties with him… and then they would dance together. They had uh, a lot of (*) and I’m sure that she felt…uh…very bad about it and also because perhaps (sound of train whistle) she felt that he didn’t approve of her marriage. So she did, I do recall that she was emotionally upset very much. Of course we all were. But it wasn’t our family style to show emotion. We would not cry for one another. It was uh… it was sort of a private thing to show emotion or grief itself. She would bury her head in a pillow or something but you wouldn’t… you didn’t … you didn’t emote in the presence of others.

Claire: How could you tell that she was very upset?

Helene: Well, uh at the funeral I could see the way she reacted and so forth that she was upset. I mean… pretty much our family tried to keep from crying. If people wanted to discuss with me about my father, I wouldn’t talk to them. I just wouldn’t talk at all. I can remember going to bed after he died and I didn’t want to wake up. I just slept and slept and slept until you got control of yourself. You just had to get control of your emotions instead of letting them out for people to see. So that was why it was difficult to tell just how anyone in our family felt because they didn’t show their emotions. And I think that’s sort of a German characteristic. I mean the Italian and the Irish people are very emotional and you know how they feel where some of the northern people are more… they just don’t show their feelings.

Claire: It did set in motion a time, a kind of troublesome time for the family.

Helene: Very, yes. We had a very difficult time because my father being the sole support of the family... in fact my mother was destitute because we had no insurance. And the home was mortgaged for a business that we had entered that failed. I mean uh, insurance, fire insurance business which uh... at that time uh… people were taking advantage of. They were burning down their houses to collect insurance because they had no money to pay taxes. And… so it left us homeless. I mean we had to move out of our home and rent an apartment and uh, in Egg Harbor City.

Claire: And who all was still living together at that time?

Helene: Well we were all out on our complex really. I mean we had the two houses, my father’s home and the auntie’s home. But we mostly all lived together in my father’s home most of the time. But there was a time when the auntie’s moved out.

Claire: In Egg Harbor City, who all was… tell me about that apartment.

Helene: Well the first apartment, we were in several… but the first apartment uh, uh… Mildred and Stanley had the front bedroom and uh, a sun parlor with many windows. And uh we lived in the back of the house, the rest of us. And she uh... she uh lived there until we moved into the next apartment. And they moved with us to the next apartment which was closer to our place of business where we worked… the winery. And there they had a front room too. Uh, so uh, they were with us through that time, both of them.

Claire: Were they getting along well then?

Helene: Well they had their arguments because, of course at that time Stanley was a truck driver. He had his trucking business. And he was away a lot and uh, they would argue about finances I think, no doubt. And uh… other things that they didn’t see eye to eye on. So they …uh you know they got along but like a lot of people they just had uh arguments.

Claire: Well they eventually separated.

Helene: Yes, they separated. But that was after they were in Philadelphia. And I can’t tell you too much about their life up there because at that time I was involved in my own family life. I was married and raising children. And I really don’t know exactly by date and so forth when they separated. But when Stanley was in Philadelphia he was inducted into the service. And she didn’t want to go with him. Because she had been working with Quakers before working for peace and she was against war and she did not approve of his going to war.

Claire: So at that time during the separation, she came to live where?

Helene: Well that’s I guess when she came to live, at that time, after she had moved to Philadelphia and I got married uh… the auntie’s moved out to their little house because they had intended to move there uh….eventually but they were staying in town because we were both working there and we were helping to support and pay the rent. So they decided to stay there to make it more convenient for us. But then after we were gone they moved out to their little cottage and uh…then….uh Mildred came to live with them after… (*) I can’t tell exactly the sequence or when and where it happened.

Claire: Well that might have been one of the times when she did a lot of deep thinking.

Helene: Right, that’s when she had her little flower stand and all. And that’s when she knew she wasn’t going to be selling flowers the rest of her days. She was thinking about how she was going to spend the rest of her life. And she had been working with these people in Philadelphia for peace. She had been working with Scott Nearing and his paper, his publication. And she had also belonged to a hiking club over there. And so this all tied together. Uh…

Claire: Tell me about her hiking the Appalachian Trail. Did you know she was doing that?

Helene: Yes, we knew she was doing it but uh, uh just exactly how and when it happened I don’t know. All I know is that she did… she started in Georgia. I think somebody mentioned something about her starting in the north. But I think she really started in Georgia and wound up in the north, in the (*). And after her hike we heard her on the radio. They presented her on some radio station in Philadelphia. They presented her with a, a uh… with a … they thought that she was lighting a camp fire, but she never did, so they gave her a cigarette lighter which she gave to Eugene.

Claire: Getting back to Stanley, they finally divorced. Did you think that was a good thing?

Helene: Well yes, I mean I really did yes, because I could see that they weren’t compatible and I… that she uh, that she uh… he wanted a family and she didn’t. And uh… what was the point in their marriage? And she, I felt, I really felt she had this capability to do something with her life. I mean I looked up to her because I… I mean I really felt that she was capable of, of doing something like that. If fact we discussed it at one point. She, at one time she mentioned something about doing something like that. And I thought it was an excellent idea because it was a way to draw people’s attention to this cause. And I really approved of what she did.

Claire: Were you aware that after the divorce with Stanley that she was, you know, searching for what to do?

Helene: Well uh… she didn’t uh… we really didn’t discuss it exactly on that basis. But I know that she must have been. I mean uh…uh

Claire: Eugene remembered that she did a lot of traveling during those years and sometimes she even went to Mexico. She went to California.

Helene: Well this was during her years as Peace Pilgrim that she went to Mexico.

Claire: No, this was like the grape fast.

Helene: Oh yes, yes, you’re right, you’re right. I mean that’s when she went to where they were giving the grape cure.

Claire: Tell me about that.

Helene: Yes, oh yes and that’s when she did the fast and all. Uh, she was doing that, right, before she, I suppose… I’m not clear about dates. And as I say I was so involved in my own family life. Children and family were all important to me. And I was working a full time job. So I really wasn’t paying that much attention to uh… what she was doing. But I do know, of course she was always a (*). She always was and uh… she was get where the (*). And I was aware that she was on a fast. And I was aware that she was where they were giving the grape cure. But just the time sequence, I can’t really put it in. I mean….

Claire: The time sequence…

Helene: she must have done it. She must have done this before the Appalachian Trail, I imagine. I don’t know. I don’t know which came first.

Claire: Yeah, that’s not so much important as what you… I mean, do you remember when Aunt Mildred during this time when she would come and visit, oftentimes she would have these really strange people with her. Like maybe she was trying to help them out or something.

Helene: Oh, she had… there were people that she helped in these health… in these health… she went to some… the way I understood it… where people went for their health. And some of them maybe needed help handling you know, so she… she was active in that sort of thing for a while. And she did have a few followers. I mean there was one man in particular I remember, Eddie Ard his name was… in Philadelphia when she was living in Philadelphia who she helped. And I can remember… there I can give you some time sequence because when our son Dale was born in 1949, Peace gave me a gift, a little set of booties and sweater and so forth. Peace sent down with her as a gift. So because he had been at our house I guess she was… he had visited and I guess that’s how I remember his coming. But I just don’t remember if he stayed with us or not. I don’t remember that. But Jeanne was then nine years old and she has a better memory than I have. She maybe remembers more about it. But I know he was born that came because I remember him giving this gift at this particular time. That’s how I can tie it in.

Claire: Well she just remembereds that Aunt Mildred was sort of the strange one, you know she was?
Helene: Well, she wore a tunic when she was the Peace Pilgrim.

Claire: Before Peace Pilgrim when she would be like joining a nudist colony.

Helene: Oh yes, that’s right. You jogged my memory. She did. She didn’t join the nudist colony. But she appeared at one. And I think she was clothed there (laughter). But she did, she did go to a nudist colony. Yes I remember her telling me that and I think it was published in a magazine. Good thing she didn’t run for a public office because they would have blown that I’m sure. (laughter)

Claire: Well how about her trying to get the ultimate sun bathe nude on your lawn?

Helene: Oh, I don’t know about that. She wouldn’t have gotten very far with that because people in our vicinity weren’t into nudism. Although they did have a nudist colony in Mays Landing. There was a nudist colony there. But I don’t know where she went. I don’t think it was Mays Landing. It was somewhere else.

Claire: Well did you think that she was strange? You know did you see a change occur in her?

Helene: Well you know we just accepted her the way she was, you know. So maybe she was a little strange. But our family was considered strange anyway in a lot of ways because we had a lot of radical beliefs and things and we weren’t members of the local church and all. So we were used to being that way. And we were taught that it wasn’t a crime to be strange. I mean you should be your own person and speak your own thoughts and not be one of the sheep. And so we didn’t think anything of being strange. Uh, you know different. (Laughter)

Claire: So how did you hear about the pilgrimage? Are you looking at me?

Helene: “Stop looking at David. Start looking at me.”

Claire: So how did you hear about the pilgrimage? How did she tell you that she was doing it?

Helene: Well she would discuss it with me. I can remember one time. And as I said before, she was discussing uh, doing this. So she must have come to our house at some time when she visited and uh… and spoke of it then. But I can remember that we spoke about it. We were walking out in the woods too.
Claire: Tell me about that.

Helene: It was uh, in the woods back of the house where we are living now.

Claire: And did she say, “Come for a walk, I want to tell you something?”

Helene: Well we were just out walking and we just started talking. She didn’t make a particular issue of it. We were discussing it and uh… I just recall that I approved, I approved of what she was planning to do. I told her it was an excellent idea.

Claire: Do you remember how she described it to you? What did she say she was going to do?

Helene: Well, she was going to walk, to do this walk. She had already done the Appalachian Trail and she thought that she could, she would walk (*). And as to how she was going to accomplish it, she evidently hadn’t formulated the plan yet, you know. I mean it just sort of developed like I guess and grew.

Claire: And then did she like, do you know how she got to California?

Helene: I don’t really know how she got to California. Did she hitchhike? (Pause) That’s a possibility.

Claire: And then did you know that she was going to begin in January of 1953?

Helene: Well she was in touch with us possibly. I mean we knew, we knew where she would be and all… because right from the very beginning I was forwarding her mail. I mean not as Peace Pilgrim but you know… it wasn’t on a regular basis or she didn’t have a program established or anything… but periodically she would want her mail and uh, uh ….so you know it just gradually developed.

Claire: You also got some calls from reporters in the beginning.

Helene: Well in the very beginning I did, yes. I can remember that at the office, uh… I got a call from the Newark Star Herald, I think it was. It was some paper up in north Jersey. And uh, of course they wanted to know about her private life. And uh so I got in touch with her. And I asked her what I should do about these people calling. She said, “Leave it to me. Tell them to” and she would take care of it and she did.

Claire: And then just a few weeks into her first pilgrimage she made a decision to drop her given name altogether and just become Peace Pilgrim. Do you remember that, getting that letter?

Helene: We have it in the scrap book. I don’t remember exactly when we got it. But I remember, yes. I don’t remember just when it was, how far into her pilgrimage I’m not sure.

Claire: And now she’s Peace Pilgrim.

Helene: Right and I still as you notice will call her Peace because she became Peace Pilgrim later. I never… I never called her Mildred too much as a child anyway because we would always use some slang expression like kid or you know do and uh, I never was accustomed to calling her Mildred too much. And uh when she became Peace Pilgrim so I adopted that later.

Claire: Was it a burden to keep up with the correspondence?

Helene: I never thought it was because I just thought that I was doing her a service. And I believed in her cause. And I believed in her. I wanted to help her so it just wasn’t a burden. I am the type of person that will become dedicated as I am now with the March of Dimes. I become dedicated to something and it’s not a burden. And that’s the way she was. She devoted her whole life and didn’t consider it a burden.

Claire: In the beginning she didn’t have her, you know the temperature thing worked out so she did ask for, you did send her….

Helene: Yes we had to uh, uh… a problem with clothing for a while because she needed gloves sometimes and she would need a scarf or a hat or a sweater or something because of the temperature. But later on she uh, developed uh, I mean she had her good mind working there again. She uh… she developed this plan of going south in the winter and north in the summer. And uh, she also adjusted herself, mind over matter again, to temperatures because in the very hot weather she was still wearing that tunic. And there probably were times when there were cold spells unexpectedly, even in warm climates. But she didn’t seem to find it a problem. She was able to cope with it.

Claire: Did you ever worry about her out there?

Helene: Yes I did. If I read somewhere that there was somebody, a body found in a trunk somewhere and they didn’t, couldn’t identify it and all… if it was anywhere near where she was, I did worry. And she laughed at me for worrying.

Claire: (Laughter)

Helene: And my mother of course was always worrying about where she was. But she would write and reassure her, you know. She always wrote us very cheerful letters and all about all the things that she was doing which you know from looking through her correspondence. And my mother, you know, accepted it. She accepted everything. My mother was a very accepting person. And of course she would wonder where she was. And we would always reassure her that she was well taken care of.

Claire: You ended up with that great collection of post cards.

Helene: Yes.

Claire: How did that come about?

Helene: Well, she sent me one when she was doing a hundred miles in each state. She sent me one from each state. And she would always give me a little write up on what she was doing there and what she saw there. And uh, I finally got all 48 at that time. But of course she wasn’t, hadn’t gone to Alaska and Hawaii. So uh, I had Mexico and Canada. So when she went to Hawaii she wasn’t able to get a card the first time. But I said, “Oh when she came back I was going to complete my collection.” So the next time that she went she saw that I got the card. I got from Alaska.

Claire: Now you must have noticed as the years went by that the correspondence coming in got more and more.

Helene: Yes I did and uh, lot of names were becoming familiar you know, the people that wrote to her frequently. But uh, I never really knew exactly… uh what she was doing, what her connection was with these people, whether they were providing hospitality or speaking engagements or what. I mean what other people were doing for her I wasn’t aware of. And I learned later that she did have people performing other functions. And uh, she seemed to have the ability to know people well enough to know what they were capable of doing. And she knew that’s where I fit in. She knew that she could count on me for something routine. Somebody else might have been bored with scratching out addresses. But uh, it didn’t bother me as long as I knew I was accomplishing something important to me. And I didn’t care how many hours I worked at it.

Claire: And your little post office cooperated.

Helene: The Post Office was great. I mean by having a small post office, it was really a big plus for the Peace Pilgrim movement… because they were always cooperative. They always saw that her mail was forwarded and uh, we never had any problems. And later on after she was gone, they kept on forwarding the mail. So I have the local Post Office personnel to thank for a lot of the uh, Peace Pilgrim program.
Claire: Now how often did she visit?

Helene: Whenever her pilgrimage brought her here.. which was about as many years as it took. It varied, whatever it took for her to reach the East Coast. So whenever she was in this area of course she would come home.

Claire: And what would that be like?

Helene: Well it, it was to me in a way sometimes a little disappointing because I never really got to talk to her too much. She was always busy with her mail. And the first thing she would ask for was the typewriter. And she would uh, either work in our sun room or she would be outside. And uh… you know she was so busy that even on holidays… if she happened to be there on a holiday, we could be celebrating a holiday and she would come have dinner with us. But she would go immediately back to work. And we just didn’t ever get a chance to discuss her pilgrimage too much.

Claire: Dale referred to her as Aunt Vegetarian.

Helene: Oh really, I wasn’t aware of that. (laughter)

Claire: But what would you feed her?

Helene: Vegetarian food of course. We saw that she had a vegetarian diet. If we had meat she just wouldn’t eat it.

Claire: Would she wear her tunic around the house?

Helene: Well in the very beginning she didn’t wear the tunic… because in the early years when Jeanne was small she was a little sensitive to her being different… ‘til she got old enough to realize that she was… to be one of our clan she had to be herself and not to be concerned about being different. And uh, my mother living with her sister and brother created a problem there because my uncle, my mother’s brother, really didn’t approve of her pilgrimage. He thought that she should be looking after her mother and uh, taking a job and providing for her mother’s support.

Claire: This was Uncle Louie?

Helene: Uncle Louie.

Claire: Tell me about the trip to Florida.

Helene: Well she and Uncle Louie went on a trip to Florida. Oh, yes, they got along fine then you know. It was uh, only when she became Peace Pilgrim that he disapproved. Uh, when they went to Florida… of course Uncle Louie wasn’t a skeptic but Aunt Lizzie was a little bit on the superstitious side. She had gone to a fortuneteller because they were having floods in the south at that time and people were having difficulties getting through to Florida. So she went to the fortuneteller and the fortuneteller said that they were not going to be able to reach their destination. So she was convinced that they were not going to be able to get to Florida. But they left anyway. Uncle Louie would not believe that story. Uh, he was not superstitious. So… they went and when they got to… I believe it was Georgia, somewhere uh, wherever the flooding occurred they were told the roads were all closed and there was no way to get through. And so of course Aunt Lizzie was ready to turn back. The fortuneteller said that was the way it would be. But Mildred was not going to accept that. She wanted to prove the fortuneteller wrong more than anything. And she was determined they were going to get to Florida by hook or by crook. So she booked passage on a plane, uh on a boat from Savanna, Georgia… that’s right, it was Georgia. So the boat left from Savanna ,Georgia. So they took the boat from Savanna and they went to Florida.

Claire: Now who all was on this trip?

Helene: Well it was Uncle Louie and Aunt Lizzie, my mother’s brother and sister, and Uncle Louie’s friend Bertha (*) was her name, and Mildred.

Claire: And I also forgot to ask you if after your father died, your mother had some difficulties and then she moved to Atlantic City. Can you tell me about that?

Helene: Well my mother had, of course, it was a severe shock to her. And uh, she was completely devastated because it was… naturally it wasn’t anything that she expected. You know. It was an accident. And uh she was a basket case. So she was vulnerable to everything. She got uh, she got the, she got mumps, a childhood disease. She got the mumps. She was living with us. And of course there was a lot of pro and con arguments about how they were going to get along you know. And uh… there was a small, in those days a thousand dollars was a lot of money. And this was what the employment compensation or something paid. Uh, and there was a little controversy about who was going to get that. So my mother was... she was really, I guess this was maybe how she died because she developed a brain tumor. And uh, so uh… the local doctors couldn’t diagnose it. They thought that she had stomach trouble. And uh… so she went down to Atlantic City to stay with her sister. And uh, she took her to her doctor. And he immediately had her looked at by various other doctors. And they determined that she had a brain tumor. And so, of course, that was a (*) thing but she came out of it.

Claire: And then she went to live with….

Helene: She lived with them. She stayed with her sister.

Claire: Which one?

Helene: Lizzie. Aunt Lizzie.

Claire: But there was another sister.

Helene: Oh well the other sister was in Philadelphia.

Claire: Aunt Lisa.

Helene: Yes she was in Philadelphia. She just visited occasionally.

Claire: All right now, but your mother went on and lived till?

Helene: 97

Claire: Tell me about your mother.

Helene: My mother had a very strong constitution. And she was the type of person who took life easy. I mean she didn’t… she would say she worried about things and all but she didn’t really get that uptight about things. She wasn’t an “A” personality.

Claire: Tell me about her 97th birthday. Who all was there?

Helene: Well the 97th birthday fortunately, Peace Pilgrim was near and came for her 97th birthday and also Alfred who was living in Florida happened to be visiting. So that we had our family, what was left of it together. We had our pictures taken then and I was very happy because it was her last birthday and the last time we saw Peace Pilgrim.

Claire: Tell me how you heard that Peace Pilgrim had died?

Helene: Well I got a phone call from my husband. Uh, at work and he came to pick me up. And of course it was a shock. I just always felt that she was going to outlive me. I really never thought that I would ever survive her. Because to me I didn’t think that anything would ever happen to her at that point. I’d worried so much about her through the years and she always seemed to be able to take care of herself so well that I just felt that she was indestructible I guess you know. I mean a lot of people felt that way. A lot of people just couldn’t accept that she was mortal you know. (Laughter)

Claire: Uh, how did you uh, …decide to have her cremated?

Helene: Well we got a phone call from the funeral parlor. And they recommended it. And we were under the impression that she was so badly hurt that it wouldn’t be… that she wouldn’t be a good subject for uh, uh for having a viewing. And then there was the problem of transportation. And they said that cremation would be the best solution. And they would send the ashes, because otherwise we would have the expense of bringing the body home and all. And they didn’t, she had no insurance or anything, you know…there was no…. And I knew she wouldn’t object to cremation because uh, because we had thought about having my father cremated. But my mother didn’t want it but everybody in the family thought that would be the way to go.

Claire: Hold on just a second. (Cough) (*) All right. We’re on the home stretch here.

Helene: It’s getting very dark.

David: Yeah, very dark. We’re losing it.

Claire: I’ve just got a few more questions. Tell me when it’s okay.

David: It’s okay now.

Claire: So you made a decision to have a very simple….

Helene: We just had a very simple ceremony here with just our family and the cousin of Eugene’s who I knew would be interested in coming. And (*) minister as a matter of fact. And uh, here at the local cemetery we just got permission to put the ashes over where Aunt Lissette, (*) for whom her middle name, after whom she was named and that’s where her ashes are today.

Claire: Now the Rushes were a big help.

Helene: I don’t know what I would have done without Ann and John Rush. They called when they heard about it. They happened to be in Bloomington visiting their children up in New Hampshire. And they said they would come down. And I really… I was a basket case there because I was so inundated with mail and calls and people coming out of the woodwork that I had no idea uh… that I didn’t’ know and didn’t know that she was connected with. You know it was just that I was such at a loss. I didn’t know what to do. And uh, Eugene decided to help me. But he didn’t have really too much knowledge of it all. And so if Ann and John hadn’t taken over, I don’t know what would have happened to the Peace Pilgrim program. They have really, they have just taken over where she left off. I just feel like Ann has stepped right into her shoes.

Claire: Have you read the book?

Helene: I have read in the book, yes. Every once in a while I pick it up. It’s right on my library shelf. Every once in a while I pick it up. I’ll read some here. I’ll read some there. But I’ve never really… because I am not someone who will sit down and read a book from cover to cover. Uh, and my eyes give out and I fall asleep over it… I just can’t read too long. I uh, I have read, probably have read most of it, but not in (*).

Claire: Did you ever hear her speak?

Helene: Just once. Just once I heard her speak because it happened…we never at the time that she was Peace Pilgrim… we never would speak to other people about her because she wanted to be anonymous. She never appeared in this area too much. But we did mention to friends who knew her before, who went to school with her and all. And a friend of Eugene’s was visiting us. And we were talking about the peace issue. And we got on the subject. And we mentioned what she was doing. And she mentioned it to her minister at the (*) church who was very interested in the peace movement. And so he requested that she come to speak.

Claire: What did you think of her?

Helene: Well I had, I, I had heard her speak over television before… whenever she was on the news before. And I wasn’t, I knew what uh, her speaking side was. But the only thing that I did feel badly about was then they asked her to speak to the Sunday School… a very small church. And there just was no way that she could not relate to them. How was she going to speak about peace to children who don’t even know what peace is all about? And uh, she uh , I mean if she had been a child oriented person she would have spoken to them about living together peacefully or so forth. But she wasn’t in to that. She didn’t know how to relate to or speak to small children. So she spoke on a more adult level which of course went over their heads.

Claire: Just because we are losing light I just need to jump into the last question. We do have that from your story from before. What does it feel like to be related to someone who compares to Gandhi?

Helene: Well I tell you that it is a good feeling. I mean I’m very happy to know that uh, that she had accomplished what she had. And of course I am very proud to be her sister.

Claire: It’s amazing what the impact after her death.

Helene: That’s right. I mean it amazes me more and more as time goes on. It really does. I mean at first it left me you know, speechless. But now (cricket noises drown out words here)

Claire: If you could see Peace Pilgrim and you could say one thing to her, what would you like to say to her?

Helene: What would I like to say to her? Well I really don’t know what I would say to her. It would depend on the circumstance under which we met.

Claire: Would you say “Kid” or would you call her “Peace”?

Helene: Oh I would call her Peace now because that’s the name that I… that she adopted and the name that I referred to her as later. If you’ll notice in our discourse here every once in a while I’ll say Peace instead of Mildred because this is what I had become used to calling her.

Claire: Well just imagine that her spirit is right here with us now. Is there anything you would like to say to her?

Helene: You sort of putting me on the spot.

Claire: Yes I am (laughter)

Helene: Because I just don’t know what I would say to her.

Claire: I think I’m done. Oh, I have one more question. One more question. Are we on? I’m sorry. Who in your family is the most…takes the most after Mildred?

Helene: Well in my immediate family, Jeanne is the most like her.

Claire: How so?

Helene: Well she has a very exuberant personality. And she has a good mind and uh, she… uh social… very much involved with people and uh, she uh… is uh I mean she is just uh… I feel she even looked a little like her when she was a baby. I just feel that she is intellectually more on her level, you know.

Claire: Well I can’t think of anything more, Gig. Do you have any questions that you would like to ask?

Gigi: How much light do we have?

Man’s voice: Zip.

Helene: I hope Dale doesn’t hear me say that. I mean because…

Claire: Except we know we need to allow him to bridge into the interview.

Helene: Because I wouldn’t want to hurt my little boy’s feelings.

Claire: Well we will make sure that we don’t hurt his feelings.

Helene: Because he’s my baby you know and being a baby and being a boy… I relate to boys. I (laughter) I just wouldn’t want to hurt him in any way.

Man’s voice: Did you ever think that she would have the impact that she had? Did you ever conceive of this, her message going worldwide?

Helene: I would never have thought that, no. I mean I knew she was capable of doing what she did. But I didn’t realize that she would have that much impact. No.

Return to Interview #1

Transcripts Index  ||  Peace Pilgrim Home

Page created 9/18/2004
Last Revision 9/18/2004