Jeannik Méquet Littlefield
Interviewed by Richard Sadler and Gene Sessions
30 May 2006
31 May 2006
Oral History Program
Weber State University
Jeannik Méquet Littlefield
Richard Sadler and Gene Sessions
30 May 2006
31 May 2006
Copyright © 2011 by Weber State University, Stewart Library
The Oral History Program of the Stewart Library was created to preserve the institutional history of Weber
State University and the Davis, Ogden and Weber County communities. By conducting carefully
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The Utah Construction Company/Utah International Inc. Oral History Project was created to capture the
memories of individuals associated with the company. Several of the interviewees are family and
relatives, others are personalities involved with Utah Construction Company/Utah International Inc. and
some of the company’s prominent figures.
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narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well-informed interviewer, with
the goal of preserving substantive additions to the historical record. Because it is primary material, oral
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It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Jeannik Méquet Littlefield, an oral history by
Richard Sadler and Gene Sessions, 30 May
2006 and 31 May 2006, WSU Stewart
Library Oral History Program, Special
Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State
University, Ogden, UT.
Jeannik Méquet Littlefield
Jeannik and Edmund Littlefield
on their wedding day
Jeannik and Edmund Littlefield
at the Utah Construction &
Mining Company picnic
Abstract: The following is an oral history interview with Jeannik Méquet Littlefield
conducted on May 30 and 31, 2006 by Dr. Richard Sadler and Dr. Gene
Sessions. Ms. Littlefield married Edmund Wattis Littlefield in 1945 and in the
following interview she recounts her personal history and insights into the life and
career of her husband. Lisa Largent and Roman Gronkowski were also present
during the interview.
RS: Mrs. Littlefield, we just wanted to mention to you how this project is coming
together. Since we received the papers of the Utah Construction Company,
we’ve been trying to flesh out everything by doing interviews with all sorts of
people who were connected to the company, and of course, you were closer to it
than virtually anyone else. We have begun by talking with Denise, and are going
to talk with Jaques and some other people. We’ll put these interviews in the
library for scholars to use in order to help them understand and develop the Utah
Construction Company history. So, these will be very valuable additions to our
library and scholars from all over will come to look at them.
JL: Well, that’s good.
GS: And we’re excited that you would take the time to chat with us. We better move
along, because you have something to do.
JL: That’s right.
GS: We’re in San Mateo and it is Tuesday, May 30, 2006. We’re interviewing Jeannik
Littlefield, and we’re so thankful, once again, for her to take the time to talk to us.
Present also are Richard Sadler, Lisa Largent, and Gene Sessions [and Roman
Gronkowski.] We wanted to start, if you wouldn’t mind, with a little personal
history—how you met Ed. Tell us a little bit about your early history.
JL: Well, as a matter of fact, I have the article that just came in.
LL: Oh, from the San Francisco Symphony.
JL: Yes, so we could read it.
GS: Well, that would help, but is there anything that isn’t in the article that you’d like to
tell us about meeting him, becoming involved with him, and that part of your life?
JL: Well, we met in Washington when he was working for—I forget—an important
department and he had a very important job. The thing is, when the war broke
out, he was in the Navy, but his eyesight was not good enough, so all he was
going to do was paperwork. Well, he’d rather do paperwork in Washington with
the fellow who had been his former boss than stay in San Francisco. So he went
I had been in this country about four years. I came as an exchange
student, theoretically for one year. I just had a great time going to college here,
and my parents said, “Well, if you’re having such a good time, why don’t you stay
there, instead of coming back to France.” So I did, but after four years I was
really homesick. So, the friends of mine said, “Well, why don’t you join the Free
French Forces? You won’t be able to go back to France, but at least you could
go back to North Africa.” I did that, and they sent me—where was the name of
the place? Not in San Francisco, I forget the name. Anyway, you know where I
went? It was not Washington, but it was a—I guess maybe you don’t know.
GS: It just says, “Found herself waiting in a camp outside Washington D.C.”
JL: That’s it, that’s right. And I was kind of bored after waiting for something to
JL: Somebody said, “Can you write or type something?” I really couldn’t type, but I
said, “Sure.” So, I went to Washington to work with the Air Force.
GS: The French Air Corps.
JL: That’s right.
JL: It was very interesting. I saw a lot of young Frenchmen, you know, eighteen,
nineteen. They probably just came from North Africa. The war—it was like that. It
turns out I stayed in a place fairly close to where my office, the Office of War
Information, was located. I could walk there. My future husband lived in the same
building. I was in the sixth floor with this friend that I’d known when I was at Mills.
Ed went to work every day in his tiny little car, and apparently tried to give me a
lift or something like that. Well, my eyes were very, and still are—
JL: —very nearsighted. So I ignored him completely. He said, “Well, we’ll just see.”
Anyway, eventually we met at a Christmas party, with people that I knew from
San Francisco, and Ed was there. That was Christmas, I guess ’44, and we were
married June 14, 1945.
GS: And then where did you first live together?
JL: Well, I just moved into his little apartment, which wasn’t very big. He had to stay
there, and the friend that had taken me in, she had to go back to Belgium or
So, we were married in June, and then the war was over—I guess it was
in August when it was really finished. So, everybody started moving from one
place to another. We left in November or December. By that time, I found out that
I’d been promoted to lieutenant. We drove in his little car from Washington to the
West Coast. The first thing we did was to stop in Utah where his father and step-mother
lived, and then we just kept on going to the West Coast where some
good friends of ours had managed to get an apartment for us there on Jackson
Street. People were amazed. They said, “How did you manage to get that
apartment?” And I’d say, “Well, now, it’s friends. Just happened, you know.”
LL: People you know.
JL: We stayed there for, two—maybe three years. Then Ed had to go to Los
Angeles, and that’s where he met Marriner Eccles. He managed to have him join
the company. At first Ed—well, that’s in the books, you know.
GS: Yes, but we want your impression.
JL: Well, it was typical of him, saying at first, “I don’t want to be with the family,” but
finally he said, “Okay, I want to know exactly who I’m going to work for. I don’t
want to be just all over the place, and I do not want to have to cater to the family.”
And Marriner said, “All right.” So, Ed started and then went on.
I enjoyed Marriner very much, you know—I found myself next to him very
often and he was very nice. Marriner was obviously very brilliant, and all that. He
and Ed got along together; I think they both had the same type of intelligence.
And I think Marriner almost felt like Ed was his…he wished he had a son like Ed,
instead of the children that he had.
GS: I got that impression that they were very much like father and son.
JL: Yes, very much, very much.
GS: Denise said that Marriner was like a grumpy uncle. Why would she say that?
JL: I don’t know why she would say that.
GS: She didn’t say it in a negative way, really. We asked her, “What do you
remember about Marriner?” She said, “Well, he was like a grumpy old uncle.”
JL: Mm-hmm. Well, I didn’t feel that way. Maybe because she was a little girl.
GS: Well, she meant it affectionately, really. That he was like family.
JL: Yes, I know. A lot of people ask, “What’s your relation?” No relation at all. We just
got along fine.
GS: Now, he joined the company in 1951?
JL: That’s right.
GS: And where did you live at first?
JL: We got back to the Bay Area and bought this house in a hurry—because, you
know, we had to have a place—and in Hillsborough, California, we were fairly
close to the main street. I mean, it wasn’t up in the hill; it was convenient. But I
didn’t like that house at all. It was alright with the two boys that we had then, and
then Denise was born there. When Denise was born, we had to move, it was just
too tight. That’s when we were lucky to find a really wonderful house. When we
bought it, I said, “Ed, I’m sure we can’t afford it, but I want you to see my dream
house.” This was a Friday, and he canceled his golf game for Saturday, which
was really nice. We went to see the house, and he also fell in love with it. But he
didn’t want to pay what they were asking for it. He said, “This is all I can pay for
it, I don’t want to discuss it—it’s that or nothing.” At the end of the day, the agent
said, “Well, Mr. Littlefield, they maybe have something, on one condition.” Ed
said, “I said I did not want any condition.” He said, “Listen to me. The condition is
that you come over to have a drink.” And the people really put the price quite a
bit lower than it was. But I think they liked us. We had three children, like they’d
had three children, and they were eager to get rid of the house to build another
one. So, it worked out fine, and we were in that house until three years ago.
LL: You were in there for that long?
JL: Yes, oh yes.
RS: Which city was that in?
JL: We kind of straddled Burlingame and Hillsborough next to it.
GS: You’d lived right in San Francisco after the war, so coming back to the Bay area
JL: Oh sure.
GS: You were happy to do that.
JL: Yes, because I had lived here. I had gone to school at Mills, and after Mills I went
to Berkeley. I quit Berkeley because I was offered a job—this is during the war. I
forget exactly the name of the thing, but we were trying to be in contact with the
GS: Free French.
JL: The French possession in near what is now…
JL: Near China, right. The funny thing is that whatever we wanted to say had to be in
English first and then translated into French. That’s ridiculous. I mean, it was
French to start with. “Oh no, no, that’s not the way we do it,” they said. But
anyway, it was fun.
LL: Oh, I bet.
GS: Could you tell us about Ed’s routine when he worked for Utah? You were settled
into the home there in Burlingame, and what time did he get up, and when did he
go to work, and what kinds of time did he take away from the job with the family?
Talk a little bit about that.
JL: Well, he got up quite early. At first, he took the train from Burlingame to San
Francisco. Breakfast about seven o’clock or something, and he was on his way
GS: When did he get home, usually, in the afternoon?
JL: He got home around six or something like that.
GS: And you mentioned he played golf on Saturdays.
JL: Yes. He loved golf, and was really quite good at it. He worked hard, but after he
came back home or on weekends, he didn’t want to have anything to do with
business. And I remember that some people in the office would call on a
Saturday afternoon, wanting to discuss something. I guess they’d say, “Well, I’m
in the office,” and Ed said, “I don’t do any business over the weekends.”
GS: Good for him.
JL: “I work hard during the week, but when I’m home, when I’ve done it, that’s it.” He
worked awfully hard, and there were times when he had to do more than that, but
there was one thing that was funny. One year, he was elected director of the San
Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He was elected there for one year, and he
was out practically every night. I tagged along and had fun; I thought it was
interesting. Of course, he didn’t see the children very much because he left fairly
early in the morning. I think it was the oldest child who said that he wanted his
father to do something so he could actually see him. But it was only one year.
GS: For one year.
JL: But it was hard.
GS: Otherwise, he really gave himself back to the family at night and on weekends.
GS: Now, speaking of you tagging along, did you get involved in much of the social
scene in San Francisco and the arts?
JL: Oh, I just loved it!
GS: Tell us a little bit about that.
JL: Ed would be the one who would say, “Well now, we should have so-and-so.” We
really entertained quite a bit, and we were entertained. I enjoyed it very much, I
really did. It’s funny to compare to some people who actually just hated it.
GS: Don’t you think that contributed to Ed’s success, that you enjoyed that?
JL: Well, I think I helped. I mean, I tagged along. I remember the first time we went to
Japan. It was around ’55, something like that. At that time, Utah was building
GS: Those big ore carriers?
JL: Yes, that’s right. They would name each ship. We were at a business event in
the middle of the country. It was Sunday and Ed said that the woman who was
supposed to christen the boat could not come, and so they asked if we could go.
I said, “Well, I tell you Ed, if I can get my hair done, and find someone to take
care of the two boys, I’ll go.” And it was fun. I mean, all these things happened
and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s always intriguing, what’s going on around you.
I came to the United States as an exchange student; it was my idea. I was
a student in Paris at the Sorbonne when I applied to come here. And I remember
a friend said, “Why did you do that? Don’t you like Paris?” I said, “I love Paris. I
was born here, and it’s marvelous. But I want to see something else; I’m curious.”
GS: So when you got involved in the social scene here, you just were interested, is
JL: That’s right.
GS: Did Ed involve you much in discussing company issues? Was he that kind of
JL: Not very much. I do remember before he joined with General Electric, he’d been
trying to put Utah with another company. He said, “We’ve got too much loose
money. Maybe I’ll try Saint-this, or whatever.” So, he did talk to me, and then
later on, when he finally decided to try to get with General Electric, he told me not
to say a thing, and that he knew that I would not say anything. I knew his
secretary knew about the merger; it was a very small group that knew, but we
were all very, very quiet about it. It was great that Ed knew that if he told me not
to say anything about it, I wouldn’t.
GS: That was an important decision that he made -- that General Electric merger.
Would you talk a little more about that? I mean, do you remember the meeting,
and all the hoopla that went with that? What were your impressions?
JL: Well, we went to Australia with the then-president of General Electric, and I don’t
want to be quoted on this, but Ed was so much smarter than the other fella. I
mean, think of the size of General Electric, and to have a little thing like Utah
GS: Yeah, but come on, Ed was smart.
JL: Oh, he was really very, very smart. We went to this thing in Australia and I know
he just wrapped him right around his little finger. He really did.
GS: He wrapped everybody around his finger. I mean, he was so smart.
GS: What do you think made Ed so successful, other than he was smart? Why was
he so successful as the CEO of Utah?
JL: Well, he was terribly bright. He would see other sides. When we had friends or
family at our home, it would be very intimate and very nice. We’d have some
discussion or something, and he would be very quiet for a long, long time. And
Ed never said anything. They’d talk, talk, talk, and then say, “Well now Ed, what
do you think?” Then he would share his thoughts, and they would say, “Why
didn’t we think of it?” He didn’t talk a lot, but when he said something, it was
worth it. He was just brilliant. What I hope is that—I have a little grandson,
Jacques’ little boy, he’s not even two, but to me he looks just like Ed. It’s just like
a replica of Ed.
GS: Maybe we’ll get another Ed.
JL: I don’t know. But, you know, you’re born one way, and Ed was just very smart.
The other thing that really meant a lot to him was being honest.
JL: I mean it. When we were at the airport on our trips, Ed would declare
everything—every little thing worth one cent. I’d say, “Ed, that’s just silly,” but he
said if he declared it they’d know he was honest. That’s the way he was.
GS: He really had that sense of integrity.
JL: Oh, yes! He really was a marvelous man. People sometimes ask, “Isn’t he
awfully serious?” And I said, “Well, I guess if he has to be,” but he had a
marvelous sense of humor.
GS: He did?
JL: He did. You know, I miss him a lot. I’ll never get anybody like that again.
GS: You were lucky to have him all those years.
JL: I know, I know.
RS: He was lucky, too.
RS: One of the things about oral interviews is that sometimes they’re a little taxing.
We’ve talked with Roman, and he feels that we could come back tomorrow
afternoon for maybe forty-five minutes and chat with you again, if that were all
right with you. We’ve been going about forty-five or fifty minutes now, we don’t
want to wear you out, and you’ve got another appointment.
JL: That’s right.
RS: Would that be all right with you if we did that?
JL: Roman, is that all right, if they come tomorrow?
RG: Yes, let’s say 2:30, and then if you come earlier just call us.
RS: That will be just great. We’re very appreciative of your time today, and we know
you’re busy with some other things, so we’ll just come back tomorrow.
GS: Let me start off by saying that we’re in San Mateo, in the home of Jeannik
Littlefield. Richard Sadler, Lisa Largent, Gene Sessions [and Roman
Gronkowski] are present. It’s May 31, 2006, and we’re delighted that you would
have us come back to talk with you a little further. Since yesterday, we’ve talked
about our interview, and thought of some other things we wanted to ask you
about. One thing we wanted to talk about was how you and Ed—and even now
that he’s gone—how you remain involved, and how you were involved in charity
and causes in San Francisco. What was important to Ed, and what’s important to
JL: Well, what was important to Ed was education. He gave quite a bit to different big
schools and things like that. Education was very important, and I think maybe
medical research, too. He didn’t care much about politics. Of course, people tried
to get him to donate, but he just said, “Very minimum.” But he was very, very
generous. Every year I get a little pamphlet from Stanford with letters from the
graduates who were able to go there because of Ed’s endowment. It’s very, very
GS: How about the arts, like the opera?
JL: That was my department. We’d go to museums and things like that, but he
wasn’t as excited about that as I was. He’d love to go to the Bohemian Club, and
the music that they had there; that was his kind of music. After he passed away, I
started endowing a lot at the opera and also the symphony, because that is what
I really like. But when he was alive I know he endowed a lot, for instance, to
Ducks Unlimited and that sort of thing. He liked that very much, and I let it go for,
you know, a couple of years, and then stopped it. I told him to get something
else. But education and giving to hospitals and things like that were most
important to him.
JL: Yes, research. And, as it turns out the three children have gotten the idea and
they are all three of them quite interested in research. The one who’s really
interested is Jacques, because he’s not in the best of physical health. But they’re
interested in helping, and they’re very generous. Eddie is doing a lot of things for
his type of music, which is not my type of music. That’s all right. But as far as Ed
was concerned, he wasn’t too excited by music, or anything musical, except what
he heard at the Bohemian Club. I mean, that was the kind of music that was
marvelous to him, and that was what he really liked.
GS: Did he sit on any charitable boards?
JL: Charitable boards. Well, yes he did. I remember he was on the chair of a school
in San Francisco, a Catholic school. I was kind of surprised, but I think that the
fact that it was Catholic didn’t have importance. He saw what they were doing,
and that they were helping, so he was on that board. And, let’s see, what other
GS: Charitable boards.
JL: I’m sure there were some others that I just can’t think of now.
GS: That was a good example, especially because it’s educational. He really believed
in educational support. Wonderful.
RS: Did he go to the opera with you?
JL: He went to the opera with me. He went as long as it didn’t interfere with duck
hunting. Duck hunting started in the middle of August or something like that, and
after that, no.
GS: No opera.
JL: I could go and take my friends, but as long as it didn’t interfere with that, he’d go.
He wasn’t crazy about it, but he liked some of the opera, he was very delighted
when they started putting up the translation.
LL: Oh, the surtitles.
JL: Surtitles. That really changed things. I remember we went to one—it was a
Russian one, beautiful. But if you don’t understand Russian you really miss a lot.
So, he really enjoyed the surtitles. He said, “Well, that was great!” So, you know,
some he liked, and some he didn’t.
GS: What else entertained Ed, besides duck hunting and golf? What did he like to
JL: Well, he loved fishing. I think he once said fishing really was his favorite, what he
really liked the best. Of course, he was an excellent golfer. I remember there was
a picture of him when he was—well, he must have been in his fifties. He had a
handicap of five, and he was among the top executives who were good players.
He really was good. He liked hunting, too. I know as a relatively young fellow
when he was finished with school he had a little boat; he liked sailing. As a
matter of fact, the one who’s taken after him is our oldest son, Eddie. Eddie had
a ship made for him somewhere around Los Angeles, and then he went back up
north, where he lives. Oh, he loves sailing. But Ed liked sailing very much; he
liked an awful lot of things.
GS: Did he like to read?
JL: Yes, he liked to read.
GS: What kinds of things would he read?
JL: He liked to read the Who Dunnit books because it was so different from his
business; it was recreation. But he read anything really. He certainly received a
lot of books from people. He just was interested in so many things. He loved
poetry, too. In fact, I started the poetry fund at Stanford in his memory. But he
was interested in all kinds of reading. Apparently, as a child at school when other
children would recite about the pretty posies and all that, he would talk about his
grandfather who’d been in the war. [Referring to an incident when EWL as a 6-
year-old recited a Rudyard Kipling poem in school (cf. EWL autobiography)].
LL: Well, it was something that he knew about. You have several books about
Ronald Reagan. Did you know the Reagans?
JL: Yes. We got to know a lot of people.
GS: We wanted to talk to you a little bit about some of the big profile people he knew,
like the Reagans. Did you socialize with them when he was governor? What kind
of experience did you have with the Reagans?
JL: Ed admired him for what he’d done, and I had met him when Ed was in school at
Berkeley. [Ed Littlefield never attended Berkeley.] Reagan came to talk to a
group of people, and I didn’t know who he was! At that time, all he was was an
actor. I liked him very much, though. Ed was very fond of George Shultz, too. He
was a great friend. Let’s see, who else. Oh, I know, Kissinger.
RS: Henry Kissinger?
JL: Ed was very, very close with Kissinger. Let’s see, I just can’t think of any others.
GS: What did he think about Nixon?
JL: It’s hard to tell. I don’t think he was crazy about him, but on the other hand, he
thought maybe Nixon had been kind of caught in a bad position.
GS: How did he become close to Henry Kissinger and George Shultz?
JL: That’s a good question. I think that Ed ran into George Shultz at some meeting
out East. I forget what it was, but they just hit it off. Of course, Ed was very, very
fond of Kissinger, very much. We had some trips with them; I remember going to
China with them. There were only four, no maybe six of us, and it was at the time
when they had just discovered this huge amount of old—what do I want to say?
RS: The soldiers?
JL: The soldiers.
LL: Oh, that’s right.
GS: Yeah, the clay soldiers.
JL: That’s right. When was that? That must have been in about ’80-something.
RS: Yeah, early ’80-something.
JL: Yes. They just opened the door, and we went and saw that. Yes, but Ed was
very, very fond of Kissinger.
GS: What did you think of Kissinger?
JL: I like him very much too. Unfortunately, I read the other day in the paper that
again they found some papers that said he did such and such in south Africa—or
perhaps South America. He wrote very well, and did very well, but obviously he
was just not exactly a native American, and I think that effected how a lot of
people thought of him. Which is too bad, because I think he is brilliant.
LL: Oh, he is brilliant.
RS: Well, he did great service, I think, for the United States.
JL: Oh, he did, I know, he really did. As I said, he admired Ed a lot; so did Shultz,
and quite a few really. Ed had a lot of friends. At The Grove there was just a
quantity of very, very interesting people, and that’s why he liked it so much.
GS: You mentioned yesterday that they talked to him about coming back to
Washington and being this or that. Why did he not want to do that anymore?
JL: Well, because of the little bit of experience that he had during the war. Ralph
Davies was the one he had worked with during the war and the one that asked
him to come back. He worked for Ralph about two years, but what Ralph really
wanted was to have his name in the paper, whether it was good or not. Ed saw a
lot of this thing: people who were interested in just being known. He had
absolutely no use for this. Later on, one of his uncles, or someone, said “Ed
could be part of the Cabinet” or something, but he just didn’t want that.
Ed belonged to a lot of clubs, too. Not just for fun, but a lot of civic
organizations. He would get to the top—I mean, he wasn’t president, but right
under the president. Then the minute they would want him to be president, he’d
say no. When other friends were asked to do those things he was thrilled for
them, but not for himself.
GS: Those things didn’t interest him?
JL: No, but he would do all he could to help them up to the top, and then that was it.
More than that didn’t interest him.
GS: Could we talk about the family, the Wattis family?
GS: We’ve talked with a lot of folks, in both the E.O. and W.H. families, and we talked
a little bit yesterday about them. But tell us about your associations with the
family, especially when Ed joined the company in 1951. What were your
involvements with the family?
JL: Well, of course, we were very friendly with all the family—that would be Ed’s
mother, and Phil Wattis, and there were five girls, and I guess three boys, but
only one survived.
GS: Yes, two died.
JL: So, we were very friendly. Now, I say “we,” but really I didn’t know the others. I
mean, once in a while we’d run into someone—but it didn’t mean much. Ed knew
them, but he wasn’t that close to them. When he got his job from Eccles, one of
the things he didn’t want to have to cope with was hiring family just because they
were family, and all that kind of thing. I can’t say much about the rest of the
GS: Did you have much social interaction with the family?
JL: Well, we did with Pat and his wife because they were here. We did see
Marguerite and all her sisters; but, of course, Ed knew them much better. I would
maybe run into one of them, but I just didn’t really know them.
GS: What about the W.H. family? Did you know any of the people on that side?
JL: No, I didn’t.
GS: When Ed came on board in 1951, there’d been a little division there. They’d sold
their stock, on that side of the family, and so you had very little to do with the
JL: No, I didn’t. Why did they sell, because they didn’t like Ed?
GS: No, it wasn’t about Ed. It had to do with the Ranch, and the Bowman’s.
JL: Yeah, I would hear the names, but I didn’t know them. We lived here, in this area,
and they were in Utah, so we just didn’t see much of them.
GS: Tell us a little bit about your travels. You talked a little bit yesterday about
traveling with Ed, but what were some favorite places you went to with him? You
talked about China, you talked about going to Europe, you talked about going to
JL: I just loved to travel, but I don’t think he was quite as eager as I was. He went
because he had to, and so I tagged along and just had a marvelous time.
Wherever we went, it was something new. The fact that I spoke French and
some German helped a little bit. He had to travel; if it hadn’t been for that, I don’t
think he would have traveled that much. I remember one time, though, we went
to the south of France, and then traveled all the way to the edge of France. He
said, “We’ve been gone for about twelve days and I didn’t even play bridge or
golf or anything, but we’ve had a great time.”
GS: He got lost in the trip, huh?
JL: Yes, he enjoyed it. I think we enjoyed traveling together, so that was fun.
GS: But you liked it a little better than he did.
JL: Oh, sure. As a matter of fact, the other day I was talking to Jacques and his
wife—his wife, you know, is from South America, from Guatemala. We were just
chatting, and I said, “You know, Sandy, I think someday I’d like to go to
Guatemala.” And she said, “Oh, good!” Of course, I was just saying that, I’m not
able to travel the way I used to. But Ed enjoyed going with friends, so I think we
both enjoyed it.
GS: Did you go to Australia with him more than once?
JL: Yes. That was the place I liked least. I didn’t care for it. Some parts of Australia,
like Sydney, were nice, but getting a little farther away it just—
GS: It was like the Wild West?
JL: Yes, like the Wild West. When Ed retired from Utah International, they wanted to
give a big party for him in Australia. Well, this was in June, and on one end of the
week Ed was playing in a very important golf game at one of his favorite courses.
On the other end of the week—I had an arrangement every year, a sort of big
hoedown or something, on Jacques’ ranch. So, I said to Ed, “I can’t go to
Australia! And anyway, they have people here in San Francisco. Why don’t they
do it here?” I didn’t want to go, but he said, “Well, if you go, I’ll take you to the
opera.” I was curious because I’d never seen the opera in the Sydney Opera
House, so I said, “Okay, all right, we’ll go.”
LL: He used the opera to entice you.
JL: We went and unfortunately, the only thing that we could see was a Russian one,
which we had seen together before, and Ed had sworn he would never see it
again. We just left about half-way through; that was enough. But I was glad to
see the Opera House. But no, I never could get very excited about Australia.
GS: It’s a long plane ride.
JL: It is.
RS: Where did Ed like to go fishing? Did he fish in lakes, or rivers, or—
JL: He liked the rivers and fishing for trout.
RS: Was he a fly-fisherman?
JL: Yes, he was a fly-fisherman.
RS: So he fished up in Idaho?
JL: Yes, with his cousin, Ed Dumke. That was his favorite fishing, but he fished in
quite a few places. As a matter of fact, he went to Canada—I wasn’t there—and I
guess they were in part of French Canada. He spoke a lot of French and it
RS: Well, you taught him well.
JL: Well, I really didn’t. When we were first married, on our honeymoon, I spoke
French as much as I could, and it was fine. Well, the minute we got home it was
back to business, he didn’t have time to take a French lesson. He picked up a
little bit here and there, but he never was really good in French. Now the children,
Denise is very, very good, and she never had a lesson until high school, but I
talked to her, and she enjoyed it. And her brother, Jacques, same thing, I just
talked to him. I remember one summer I rented a house in Normandy, and there
were about fourteen of us, a lot of cousins. Of course, the cousins didn’t speak
any English, so they all learned French. The only one who just refused to learn
French was Eddie, the oldest. He was the one that I really spoke French to the
most. I would speak French, and he would answer me in English, and he just
didn’t want to learn it.
GS: Do you think Eddie understands French fairly well? If you spoke to him, he must
have learned to understand it.
JL: Yes, well, I guess he understands it a little bit. Jacques just kind of sounds like
he’s much better than he is, but that’s okay, that’s all right. Of course, Denise is
GS: She’s charming.
JL: Isn’t she? She’s just wonderful. And speaking of languages—this is not about Ed,
but funny. When Jacques had his last little baby—who’s about a year-and-a-half—
when he was born his mother was all excited, and she started talking to
him in English. I said, “Sandy, you speak good English, but that’s not your native
language. Speak Spanish to him, because that’s your language and it’s gonna be
perfect. When he grows up, he’ll get to learn English anyway.” So she did, and
she said, “I’m glad you said that.” But sometime—I don’t care what the language
is—some people just look at it the wrong way. Instead of—
GS: To raise bilingual children is a wonderful idea.
JL: Sure! And the minute you have two languages, then the third or fourth comes
that much easier.
GS: When you traveled, did Ed mix business with pleasure very well? You mentioned
that when he was home he didn’t want to mess with business, but traveling
sometimes you have to do both at the same time.
JL: Oh yes, yes, he did. Whenever I was invited, we had a great time.
GS: He was able to do his business, and spend time enjoying the scenery and
traveling, and took enough time to make you feel like it was worthwhile?
JL: Yes, mm-hmm. I loved traveling.
GS: What was your favorite trip with him?
JL: Well, I loved the trip to South America when they were digging coal or something
GS: In Peru.
JL: In Peru. And I loved it. It was wonderful. I had studied a little Spanish, but I might
just as well have forgotten it, because the people that we met all spoke French,
German, and English. But I liked it very much. I went to Machu Picchu, but Ed
could not because of the altitude. So he said to go with someone else in the
group. Whenever I had a chance I just went and looked and saw what there was
to be seen, which was great. It wasn’t a trip—but I also loved to go with Ed to the
famous golf tournament in the East, the Masters at Augusta. I loved that. Of
course, he was a member, but I was not. They have nothing for the ladies, but
everybody was so nice, just as nice as can be; but there was that woman—
making noise and wanting to have women members. I thought, “Just leave things
alone.” I loved Augusta. Obviously, it’s a tough course, but for my kind of golf, it
was not as hard as some others, because the best part of my game was putting.
RS: That’s terrific.
GS: Now, you mentioned again that at home he didn’t want to do business. When he
played golf did he do business, or did he just play golf for enjoyment?
JL: No, it was just for enjoyment.
GS: Just for enjoyment. He didn’t go out there to make business deals and all that
kind of thing?
JL: Well, I think when he went and played with Eccles—that was kind of business.
GS: That was business. That’s the most famous golf game he ever played, when he
JL: That, and then when we were in Australia and he played with the then-president
of General Electric. That was a little bit business, but you wouldn’t have known. I
mean, he was very fun.
GS: It was better to enjoy and to get away from business, more than to do business.
JL: Mm-hmm, yes.
RS: What golf courses did he like to play here on the peninsula? What were his
favorite one or two courses?
JL: He liked Cypress Point, and I’m still a member of it.
RS: Spyglass Hill is down there, too.
JL: Yes, we didn’t play there, but at Cypress. That’s a tough course.
RS: The wind blows a lot, doesn’t it?
JL: That and it was short and narrow. The first time Ed took me there he said,
“Jeannik, this should be easy for you because it’s shorter than Burlingame.” I
said, “You don’t know what you’re saying!” But it was a wonderful course, really.
LL: Did he give you any nicknames, like Jenny?
JL: No, no.
LL: He didn’t nickname you.
JL: Lots of people have tried to give me a nickname or something. It doesn’t work.
LL: Well, Jeannik is a beautiful name.
JL: I have three granddaughters, but none of them is Jeannik.
RG: It’s time.
GS: Thank you, Roman.
RS: Let me ask one more question. How did he get to work in San Francisco? Did he
ride the train, or did he drive? What did he do?
JL: Well, after he got the job we had this house in Hillsborough, and he would take
the train. He could have walked to the station, but didn’t because he always had
such a heavy briefcase. There was a carpool from the San Francisco station to
the office, and that’s how he did it.
RS: Roman is wisely telling us that this is good for the time. We appreciate very much
your taking the time with us this afternoon to help us out.
JL: Well, I enjoyed it because I love to think about Ed. He was really something
RS: Your thoughts are very valuable to us. Thank you.
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