Gerald McDonald was born August 25, 1938 in Cincinnati, OH. His father worked as town manager for two of America’s “green towns,” towns built during the New Deal by the Resettlement Administration to house struggling families.
In this interview, Gerald talks about these “green towns”, about his father’s job as town manager and as a civil defense warden, and his own life as a young kid in Green Hills, OH and Greenbelt, MD, during and after the war.
White House Gardener
When I was first married – I lived in the Chevy Chase [Maryland] area – my next door neighbor was this guy, Pop Fredericks. And Pop had been a gardener at the White House during the Roosevelt administration. He’s a big, tall guy. When Roosevelt – you know, he had polio, so he couldn’t walk very well and he had to be carried a lot of times. Pop Fredericks would be there [as] one of the guys that would carry him onto the trains, so he would go with them when he was making these appearances. And they would do it in a way that people didn’t really observe too much, that he had to be carried, or that he was invalid. But he had a lot of memorabilia from the Roosevelt administration, and he could tell you lots of stories about how things were at the White House and who was doing what.
End of the War
Do you remember any celebrations?
Oh, yeah. (laughter) Lots to do. Everybody was very excited, and I can remember vividly that there… must have been a hundred and fifty airplanes; all sorts, you know, fighters and bombers and all flying in formation, going right over the top of our house. And it was really something to see. I’d never anything like that, and that was, of course, celebrating the end of the war.