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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. I - Page 202« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Mrs. Marguerite Oswald Resumed)

Mr. Dulles.
Mr. Rankin, do we have correspondence while he was in the Marines?
Mr. Rankin.
Mrs. Oswald, do you recall any letters you received from your son during the time he was in the Marines?
Mrs. Oswald.
Yes, sir, I have a special delivery letter. You see, gentlemen, that is why I have tried to explain to you before if I could have gone from the story we would not all be so mixed up. This is a letter from the Marines saying he is going to contact the Red Cross--when I told him about my illness.
Mr. Rankin.
Well, that is the correspondence in regard to his getting out of the Marines because of your need of his help and support.
Mrs. Oswald.
Yes, that is right.
Mr. Rankin.
Now, except for that correspondence, you don't have any other correspondence from him while he was in the Marines?
Mrs. Oswald.
Yes, sir, I did have several letters.
What has happened, Mr. Rankin--when Lee stayed with me the 3 days, he left his seabag with me. And that is why I have his discharge papers and things. And then, as you know, when the defection broke, I had no place to go. So the lady I was working for even threatened to call the police, because of' the defection. I was working for $5 a week, gentlemen, taking care of her son. But I was happy to have a home and food, because I had had this accident, and I could rest. But my salary was $5 for the whole week. But when the news broke, she didn't want to be involved with anyone who had a son as a defector, so she asked me to leave. It was a very cold winter night. And I said I would.
But I didn't want to leave--didn't have any place to go.
She said, "You will leave now or I will call the police."
So I called Robert and he told me to come out to his home.
When I went out to his home, I brought Lee's seabag, Mr. Rankin, with me. And I stayed there just a short time. And Robert Oswald would not let me have Lee's seabag. And there were a few letters in there from Lee in the seabag.
And so I don't have the seabag.
You can read this letter, then, this way. That he is telling me he is defecting to Russia.
We all agree there.
Then this same letter could be read the way I read it, as a mother.
After three days he is leaving his mother. But we had a talk. When Lee arrived home and I will go into this thoroughly. I was ashamed when he arrived home. I was in a one bedroom and bath and a small kitchen. And my son came in about 2 o'clock in the morning. I have never lived lavishly, but we have always had a nice clean little moderate house. And, remember, I was destitute. I had no money. You have the affidavits evidently from the Red Cross. If you don't. I have copies.
The first thing I said to him, "Honey, the first thing we will have to do is to move and find a decent place."
I had a studio couch, which has two parts. The top part I put on the floor for my son to sleep on that particular night, in the one room.
So he said, "We will talk about it in the morning, Mother."
So morning came.
I brought the subject 'up immediately. I said., "The first thing we will have to do is find a place. I am well enough that I can babysit or pick up a few dollars. And until I settle my claim, I think we will be able to manage, and you will get a job."
He said, "No, Mother, my mind is made up. I have thought this out thoroughly. I have no background. If I stay here, I will get a job for about $35 a week, and we will both be in a position that you are in. I want to board a ship and work in the import and export business, where there is some real money."
Mr. Rankin.
He had quite a little money saved, didn't he, from the Marines?
Mrs. Oswald.
I will tell you about this--please, gentlemen, I will have to break if you don't. This is a very, very serious life that I have gone through.
I didn't answer Lee.
This is the way I do the children.
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