Q: What was your first meeting with him like?|
JH: Now, see, I must answer the question on what he was like when I first met
him. But I have to give you a little preliminary as to how I met him.
Pursuant to my prior remarks about applying for the job, I wrote him a letter.
And I lived at, my father was the President of a small school down in Texas,
at Canyon, West Texas State. And every lunch he came home with the mail. And
then about 1933, one day at lunch he asked, said, Joe, did you ever write to
Byrd applying for a job on an expedition? And I said, yes sir. He flipped a
card over in front of me. It was from Dr. Shiree, the personnel officer that
was being instrumental in forming the new expedition, saying that if I could
come to Boston for an interview they would be glad to -- if I could come to the
Navy Yard, and I managed to get up there by chauffeuring Dr. Bachelor's car,
the speech teacher, to Boston. I went in and interviewed Shiree. I went back
to the Bangor, my hotel. The telephone was there, a telephone call. I
returned it to Shiree, and he said that the Admiral wanted him, Dr. Shiree, and
me to come to dinner that night. So we went to 9 Brimmer Street to dinner that
night and that's when I met Admiral Byrd.
Q: What happened at that dinner? What was your impression of him?
JH: Even greater than I thought he was before I ever met him. Of course, at
that time I was only 20 years old by one week. And to meet my idol under those
circumstances in his home it was just simply beyond anything I could have
dreamed of as a youngster.
Q: How did he treat you? How did he impress you? Was he very personable
JH: Oh, most, most cordial, personable, made you feel at home immediately.
Put you totally at ease. Under that relationship, as a punk kid, 20 years old,
and a grown famous national flyer and so on, it would have been normal for me
to be absolutely scared to death and shaking. But he put me at ease and we had
a conversation over dinner and he asked me all about my history and, and things
like that. It was just a marvelous, marvelous experience.
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