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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. I - Page 136« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Mrs. Marguerite Oswald)

Mrs. Oswald.
hose that Lee bought here with a few dollars that Robert and I had given him-he spent on his wife.
So that was a very happy time.
Now, when they lived in the home on Mercedes Street that he rented, I was employed as an OB, a nurse, in Fort Worth, Tex., at an OB's salary. And that salary, gentlemen, will astonish you. I worked, lived in, for $9 a day, 24 hours duty.
On an OB case I am very busy with the baby all day long because people are coming in and out, giving presents and so on. I have a 10 o'clock feeding for the baby. And it is approximately 11 o'clock before I am through and in bed. The baby is up again at 2 o'clock. It is approximately 3:30 before I am through again with the baby. The baby is up again at 5:30. And it is approximately--then my day starts. I am stressing the point that 1 worked for $9 a day during all that, a $9 a day job. So that is 7 days a week, $63.
Now, this is the first time I have had a nurse's salary, I want you to understand.
So with my first pay, I bought Marina clothes, I bought the baby clothes, and I brought food into this home. I went all out for Marina. I just love her, and was just thrilled to death with her. And I bought a highchair. I could not afford a bed, because I didn't have enough money to buy the bed. So that is why I bought the clothes and things of that sort. But I bought the baby a highchair.
Mr. Rankin.
How did Marina treat you then?
Mrs. Oswald.
Fine. But then Marina was not satisfied with the things that bought her.
As you see, the way I am properly dressed--I don't say I mean to be the height of fashion, but I have before becoming a nurse I was in the business world, and I have been a manager in the merchandise field. So I do know clothes.
And I bought her some shorts. And she wanted short shorts, like the Americans. She pictured America in her mind evidently.
And I bought her a little longer shorts.
And "I no like, Mama."
I said, "Marina, you are a married woman and it is proper for you to have a little longer shorts than the younger girls."
"No, Mama."
And I will stress this--that Marina was never too happy--"No, Mama, no nice, no, Mama, no this."
That was perfectly all right. I thought she didn't understand our ways. I didn't feel badly about it.
I am going to get back to the highchair, to give you a picture of my son.
I bought the highchair and brought it over there, and Lee was not at home. And Marina didn't know what a highchair was. And she told me in Russian. I said, "How do they feed babies in Russia?" By this time, June was 4 or 5 months old, just getting ready to sit up.
"We put baby on lap, Mama, and baby eat on lap."
And so a highchair to me, I think, was new to Marina.
So approximately 2 or 3 days later I go over there and Lee says to me, "Now, Mother, I want you to understand right here and now--I want you to stop giving all these gifts to me and my wife. I want to give Marina whatever is necessary, the best I can do. I want you to keep your money and take care of yourself, because today or tomorrow you take sick, and you spend all your money on us, I will have to take care of you." Which makes very good sense.
But he strongly put me in my place about buying things for his wife that he himself could not buy.
Mr. Rankin.
What did you say to that?
Mrs. Oswald.
I agreed with him. And I said--the shock of it--I realize what a mother-in-law I was in interfering. And, of course, that is part that we mothers-in-law do unconsciously. We try to help out our children, and
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