to listen to an audio file of this interview (93 minutes)
This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the second oral history interview of Winnifred Thompson Hockman (CN 200, #T2) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. Nothing recorded has been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. This is a transcription of spoken English, which of course follows a different rhythm and rule than written English. In a very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished or the transcriber was had no information on the correct spelling of a proper name. In these cases, [?] was inserted after the word in question. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah' or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was attempting to say.
... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
.... Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
() Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
 Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.
This transcription was made by Kerry Cox and Robert Shuster, and completed in May 1992.
Collection 200, #T2. Interview of Winnifred Thompson Hockman by Galen Wilson, January 28, 1982. Note: Wilson frequently interjected "Uh-huh." while Hockman was talking. Not all of these interjections have been included.
WILSON: This is Thursday, January 28, nineteen hundred and eighty two. We're here at the Billy Graham Center with Mrs. Robert Hockman to continue our interview with her concerning her mission experiences in Ethiopia. Now last week, when we left off, we were going to embark on talking about your husband's ministry in the hospital and...and elsewhere in Ethiopia, so I guess I'd like to start by asking you to describe the hospital and its facilities.
WILSON: And the name of it again was...?
HOCKMAN: George Memorial...George Memorial Hospital.
WILSON: Named for...?
HOCKMAN: It was a...a family in...in the States that had contributed quite a bit to...to missions. A man by the name of Mr. George. [pauses] Go on?
WILSON: Oh, yeah. That's fine.
HOCKMAN: The hospital had been started by Dr. [Thomas A.] Lambie, I believe in 1923 and I'm not sure about the date there, but that was before he left the United Presbyterian Mission and went over to the Sudan Interior Mission. The hospital, when we first went there, had an operating room, a ward for women and a ward for men, and...we had a...it was really a hundred bed hospital. There were several private rooms and then there was a clinic connected with it, and that was run by a national by the name of Ato Gubrey. He was such a fine young...he wasn't a young man either. He was probably in his late forties, had a family, a very nice family, but he was not a dedicated Christian, I would say....
WILSON: Now, you mean he was not a dedicated Christian or not a Christian?
HOCKMAN: He was a Christian, but I don't think he.... He didn't practice much. He was a very quiet person and never.... He always attended our services. In fact, most of the help did. Even though they were not Christians they came to our eight o'clock prayer service each morning that we had with all our people on the compound. While we were there, my husband was very anxious to get a...a laboratory started because there was no way to really get a...a good idea of what a person's difficulties was. So he wrote to the board at home and asked permission to get started with it. And people contributed in...as a...an honor to Dr. Orr who had gone out from Pittsburgh. He was Reverend Orr's son, and he was out as a short term doctor. And while he was there he took typhus fever and died (while he was in the hospital). And he [Rev. Orr] wanted this as a...an honor to him. And he was able to get the equipment that he needed and...and then on a certain time the Emperor came out and dedicated it, which was very interesting, and the boys on the compound were quite anxious to have everything just so and to have...because the Emperor was coming to the compound. It was a very happy day, and...and he also went through and did a lot of work in...in cleaning up the hospital. It was not in too good of shape because Dr. [Alexander W.] Pollock [director of the hospital] wasn't able, you know, to...to do too much. He...he had a very high blood pressure, and it was very difficult for him to really do too much in the hospital. And one of the things that I did for the hospital was to...fix up some of the private rooms because we had a lot of people coming in from other missions and some of the other legations there would send people to our hospital, so I wanted some of these rooms to look very attractive and so I made drapes and spreads to go on the beds, and...and that was part of my work.
WILSON: Now, these are private hospital rooms.
HOCKMAN: Yes, that's right.
WILSON: Not guest rooms. They're....
HOCKMAN: No, that's right. They're...no, we didn't use them for anything but hospital...for patients that came in privately.
WILSON: How many beds did you have?
HOCKMAN: We had about three rooms that...that were private rooms, and...and I occupied one of them for a while. [laughs] I had...I had surgery. My husband had to operate on me and you'll get that in...the stories that...that are in the letters.
HOCKMAN: And then when Dr. Pollock died, Bob was left alone because Dr. [Harold J.] Wilson had gone on a trek out to Sayo to a general meeting. And (he was the other doctor that was there at the time)...and so Bob was left alone to take care of all the burial arrangements because Dr. Pollock died just the day that he had handed his keys over to Mr. [Fred L.] Russell, who was in the office there, and that evening he had a massive stroke. So...and...we had to bury within one day out there because there was no embalming, so all those arrangements had to be made. And, of course, there was a lot of protocol...had to be carried on and...so it was a...it was a very traumatic experience for all of us and.... And then there was a meeting that the.... Dr. [Stuart] Bergsma was leaving Sayo, which meant another doctor had to go out there. So the board voted for Dr. Wilson to go out to Sayo, and 'course he stayed there when he was already out there. He came back to get their things in Addis Ababa, but Mrs. Wilson and the children stayed. And so that left Bob alone for a number of months until Dr. [John A.] Cremer was asked to come out and help him in the hospital. And they were...they got along so well together because Dr. Cremer had had excellent training and loved surgery like Bob did, and so they...they did very well together. And, of course, it was Dr. Cremer that took over the hospital when Bob went to the front. And Ato Gubrey served as long...he was the one that...that was there in the sort of little clinic that they had, and the clinic lasted...into the after...into the afternoon. He took care of what he could with...with patients that would come and wait outside and...'til Bob finished surgery. And Bob was in surgery most every morning from about nine o'clock until one.
WILSON: Now, was that Monday through Friday or...
HOCKMAN: Monday through....
WILSON: ...through Saturday or...
HOCKMAN: Well, if there was a...an emergency, he went up Saturday, and.... And then in the afternoon, his recreation was carpentry, or tennis, whichever the weather permitted. [laughs] And...and then in the evening, about five o'clock, he would start his rounds again on the hospital and go through the hospital with...to see...to see the patients. We had, I believe I said, we had around a hundred bed hospital. And these were taken...patients were taken care of by nationals, boys, and..and they had to be trained to...for the things that had to be in the hospital, [clears throat] and usually were...were quite good at it.
WILSON: Now, you would consider them like orderlies then? Is that what the...?
HOCKMAN: Yes. They...they would know how to take temperatures and would...could make beds if necessary and give baths and carry the food to them...to patients and.... 'Course we had patients...nationals' friends and relatives coming in all the time, so the hospital had to be kept clean because it was...it could get to be quite a...a filthy place because they just didn't know what cleanliness meant in a lot of cases.
WILSON: Now, "they" being the natives?
WILSON: Does that refer to their persons or to their homes or...?
HOCKMAN: Persons...their persons, their homes, their...lack of knowledge on cleanliness and so on. But it was very interesting. When...when they came to know the Lord, it was very interesting to see how their...even their homes transformed. We'd go into their homes of...of nonChristian people before they had accepted the Lord, and they themselves even changed after that. It was very interesting. We would see some of them putting on their...on their walls. They would take newspaper or magazines and paste it on their walls for cleanliness more than anything else. It was really very interesting to watch them...them change. And as the inside was clean...cleansed, so was the outside. [laughs]
WILSON: Now, did your husband have a lot of opportunities for evangelistic work on...in surgery? I mean....
HOCKMAN: Yes. He never...he never...he never started an operation (unless it was a...an emergency that came in) without explaining the way of salvation to the patient, through an interpreter. And he always had prayer before he did any operating. He...he had a Bible class of adult nationals, and we all took turns in having the morning prayers and gave a message, and then he...he had...the men usually took turns in Sunday services and he would give messages then.
WILSON: Now, did your husband get proficient enough in the language that he got so where he didn't need an interpreter in the...?
HOCKMAN: The last f...about the last few months he had...had gotten to the place where he could. I never got to the place where I could give a message. I could read Scripture, but that's about as far as I had gotten. We had a hard time...I don't know whether it was mentioned in the other service [sic] or not, but we had a hard time getting teachers.
WILSON: No, you didn't say that.
HOCKMAN: We had to really just try to find someone to help us with...with the language. The Women's [Missionary] Board [of the United Presbyterian Church of North America] had a time where the...where they could take time off and not do any work without...and had a regular teacher. And they...they had to train a teacher to teach them, and...but because of Dr. Orr's going, and when we first went out there and Dr. Wilson was not a surgeon, we had to go right into the work, and get our language as best we could. So...and it was difficult because...maybe they'd come one day and maybe they wouldn't. You'd set aside...aside a time for language study and maybe they'd show up and maybe they wouldn't. So it was really difficult and most of our evenings were taken up for part-time study as much as we could do it.
WILSON: Did you find that true about the natives in general...
HOCKMAN: Yes, oh yeah.
WILSON: ...in terms of their...their stick-to-itiveness or whatever or...?
HOCKMAN: Trying to get something out of customs, they'd have to spend days at the customs office and they...they'd get just so far and several people would be taking care of something and, "Oh, come back tomorrow." And maybe it would be just one thing. For instance, one of...one of the things that Bob had such a difficulty with was one of his guns. And it was held in Djibouti. He had the permit to bring it in, but I think it was almost a year before he ever got that gun out and.... Fortunately, he had...he had it well protected with oil and so on so that it didn't rust, but it was...it was a government gun that he had gotten in the States and he just had a hard time getting the gun up from Djibouti even.
WILSON: Now, what was his purpose in taking the gun?
HOCKMAN: We liked to hunt. He and...in fact, he and Mr. Russell took a trip down to the Boran [a southern Ethiopia region and tribe] on their motorcycles and they didn't get much game because Bob had the motorcycle fall on his ankle and he got blood poisoning and I didn't know. I hadn't heard from them in three weeks. I didn't have any idea where they were. I had gone to Aden because of...the high altitude was bothering me. So for our vacation, I went to Aden and he and Mr. Russell went on their motorcycles to the Boran. First time that had ever happened. And...but they didn't get any game. But we went out on a...on a safari for a few...a weekend one time with Dr. and Mrs. Pollock and Mr. Russell and...and they did some hunting then and.... But he loved to hunt and...and shoot.
WILSON: Well what kind of game would there be...
HOCKMAN: There were ducks....
HOCKMAN: Down in the Boran they...they came across lion. 'Course, that's down in the southern...southern part of Ethiopia, near the...Kenya. And I don't know...oh, there were antelope and gazelle, and that type of...of animal that they could get.
WILSON: And what...what sort of game appeared on your dinner table as a result of all this?
HOCKMAN: No...we didn't have...nothing there except some ducks that they had and that was at...for one Christmas that they had gone out and...Mr....he and Mr. Russell did a lot of shooting and they had gotten duck for our...for our Christmas dinner which was almost ruined by a patient that wanted to find out what it was like for dynamite to go off. And he came in with his eyes all shattered and his arm and just as we sat down to dinner, the call came that there was an emergency at the hospital so I always went with Bob in case I could be of some use somewhere. And it took us three hours so three hours later we got back to our Christmas...Christmas Eve dinner. [laughs] That was the...that was the last Christmas we were together there.
WILSON: That was 1934?
WILSON: Did you...did you help your husband often?
HOCKMAN: Yes, I...I did quite often. I did...I would go into the operating room and help bring materials to them. I guess here they call it a...a traveling nurse or something like that, and I often helped when...when I was needed. But sometimes they had enough help. But if they were short of nurses, I would go in and help whenever I could. And I went up.... One time they were so swamped that...I had one patient that I stayed with constantly until her death because she...she had a stroke. It was an Armenian woman. And so I worked with her constantly from seven o'clock in the morning 'til seven at night, trying to feed her, and all I could do was just suggest and probably get a cup of milk down in...in an hour...or something of that order, but she was too far gone to...to realize that she would live.
WILSON: And she died the same day.
HOCKMAN: ...she lived a week.
WILSON: Oh, dear!
HOCKMAN: Yeah, she lived a week and...'cause I had...had her care everyday. [coughs]
WILSON: Now, I want to go back to the opportunities for evangelism that came about through the hospital.
HOCKMAN: When we first went there, we didn't have an evangelist for the hospital and that was one thing that Bob was very anxious to get started. So we were able to get a fine young Christian man who had been educated at the Swedish mission, and he came over and was...became our hospital evangelist. He would go into the wards each morning when...if the patients weren't able to come to the morning prayers, he would go into the wards and talk to those people, and then he...oh...he was at the clinic when the patients came and...and talked with the patients there and preached on Sunday; took his turn as far as that was concerned, and finally was married at our compound and...and lived right there and.... That was the biggest opportunity that we had, and we were very grateful to have a...have a real hospital evangelist which was not true when we first went there.
WILSON: Did your husband and you have opportunities other than in the operating room...
HOCKMAN: Oh, yes.
WILSON: ...to minister to the patients?
HOCKMAN: I...I had...I didn't have too much ministry with the patients. My...I used to do...with the children. I worked with the children on Sunday afternoons. They would gather in the afternoon and...but of course I worked through an interpreter all the time. There's one of the pictures in there...
WILSON: Oh, of the class.
HOCKMAN: ...of my children, yes. And...and we put on a Christmas pageant and...and the...the children did so well because some of the Bible stories were...I mean...they...they just sort of.... It was natural for them to...to take some of the Bible stories that they had learned and dramatize them. And it was very, very interesting to see them and they loved to sing. They...and I taught them some of the songs in...in English, and they...they had a lot of fun singing a song or two in English, but mostly it was in Amharic.
WILSON: Now, what sort of songs would they sing?
HOCKMAN: "Jesus Loves Me," children's songs. I think one of...the other one was "Climb, Climb Up Sunshine Mountain"...I just don't remember what all.
WILSON: Were any of them indigenously Ethiopian or were they English hymns translated?
HOCKMAN: They were English hymns translated. Yeah.
WILSON: And sung to the same tune that we...
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. And...it was interesting to...we had a little hymnbook. It wasn't...didn't have the music but we had taught them the music, but they had a number of...of hymns written in Ethi...in Amharic that they learned. And one of them was ver...has just a few lines that still come to me: "[says a phrase in Amharic]" "Take the Name of Jesus with You." And I don't remember Amharic, really, but that has stuck with me all these years that...it has meant much to me, to hear them sing it, too.
WILSON: Did...was there anything in Ethiopian music, in the indigenous music, that could have been absorbed in a Christian context?
HOCKMAN: No, not to my knowledge, I don't believe. They had very few instruments and there were very...there wasn't much to their instruments, either. There was very, very little.
WILSON: What...what was their own music like?
HOCKMAN: It was minor.
WILSON: And what would they sing for and about if...?
HOCKMAN: They sang when they worked...when they worked together. If...if there was a large group of people working together, they would sing and sort of...it seemed to help them get their work done. But that's just about all in music that I would understand. There were....
WILSON: Well, while we're on the subject of music, tell us about the trumpet quartet.
HOCKMAN: Oh, that was...that was a real joy to my husband. There...there...this Ato Gubrey's family seemed to be quite a musical family. The daughter I helped on a piano to teach her piano. I'm not a music teacher but knew a little bit about piano. She learned to play. And the son...
WILSON: You had a piano out there?
HOCKMAN: In the school. There was one in the school. We didn't have one. I had a little folding organ that I worked on. And the son...the...the eldest son learned to play a violin. Now I don't remember where he learned that, but, anyway, he knew that before we ever got to the field, and he was one of the ones that learned the trumpet. And then there was Gutama[?], who was a...a young boy that came from...from the West, and I think he was only seventeen when he came to the compound and helped out. And he was a jewel if there ever was one. He was a lovely Christian and he had...and he married this girl, Ato Gubrey's daughter, and they...he has had a school out there now. He still...he was in this country at one time, and unfortunately, he didn't stop in New...in Wheaton, but I did talk to him on the phone, and Bob had just had this idea of trying to get a...a...an orchestra together. But we just didn't have any trumpets or anything like that and one of them...one of them came through one of the missionaries that had come for help at the col...at the...at the compound. And she had a trumpet that she wasn't able to play anymore so she gave her trumpet to Bob, which is a lovely, lovely one. And then Bob had his own which was not ...he had had it...he had had it out in China and.... And then...I don't remember how he got the other two trumpets, but anyway, he started to train these boys. And...to read music and to transpose and it was remarkable how they took to it. Some of the sounds that came out on that compound for a few weeks were terrific! [laughs] Because they would come out and play, you know, and practice, and they got to...to be a real...a real trio...or a quartet of trumpets. They would go out Sunday afternoons and hold a meeting and....
WILSON: Now, would they do this on their own...
HOCKMAN: They did this on....
WILSON: ...or in conjunction with your husband?
HOCKMAN: Well, he didn't go with them. They went on their own. He...he instructed them what to do, but....
WILSON: And they were Christian...
WILSON: ...young men.
HOCKMAN: They were...they were Christian young men. And this Gutama[?] was a...the leader, really, and he was a...he was a wonderful Christian young man, just a dear. And when...when he heard of Bob's death, he put his trumpet away and wouldn't play anymore. And so...this happened not too long ago, I guess, when...when Dr. Cremer was out there at one time, and...and he knew that Gutama[?] had done this and he said, "Now you know Dr. Hockman wouldn't be happy if you would keep that trumpet hidden and not carry on." So he got it out and cleaned it all up again and started playing. But I think two of the boys went with him to the front. (I'm not quite sure about this.) But they played for...for a number of years and went out to.... Well, it wasn't...it wasn't too long afterwards because after Bob's death they sort of broke up and.... But they had had almost a year of...of real good evangelistic work with their trumpets.
WILSON: Do you...do you remember any stories that the fellows would have told about...
WILSON: ...the results of their work?
HOCKMAN: No I don't. I haven't...I don't recall any of those.
WILSON: When they go out, as you said, on Sabbath afternoon, where would they go?
HOCKMAN: Into the market place...'cause the markets were open all the time.
WILSON: They were open seven days a week?
HOCKMAN: Yes, the markets were always there [chuckles], and...and they would...they would go down to the marketplace and play. We had a lot of Indians that would come out to the hospital, too. And they would come in covered...if they brought their wives, they would come in...in covered cars with the blinds down because they wouldn't want anybody to look upon their wives and so Bob.... And they always insisted on being in the operating room or anyplace where there was anything done.
WILSON: ...to their wives.
WILSON: So these are Indians that are coming for medical...
HOCKMAN: Medical, yes.
WILSON: Fairly wealthy?
HOCKMAN: Some of them were because they were merchants.
WILSON: I...I'm thinking if you can afford a car with blinds....
HOCKMAN: Yes, that's right, in those days. One...there was one man that Bob had worked with quite a bit, an Indian fellow, a brilliant fellow. He was well educated. And Bob had worked with him, I remember, so much, to try to get him to accept the Lord, and...and this fellow would always come back with...he said, "I'm just too well educated to...to take that offhand." And as far as we know, he never did. But he would come back to...and talk and talk with my husband and was never obnoxious about anything at all, but...but he would not come through.
WILSON: And he was one of the Indian merchants?
HOCKMAN: Yes. But he seemed to like to...to discuss it, but wouldn't come across.
WILSON: Enjoyed the sparring?
HOCKMAN: I guess so. [laughs]
WILSON: Did...did you find that you had more success with the simpler folk in terms of them accepting Christianity?
HOCKMAN: I...I...I don't think so. I think they felt that their own religion was...was good enough for them. See, most of them were Copts, and...and that is a...is sort of like...something like Judaism because they had some of the same feast days and fast days, and I think a bit of Muhammedism had crept in, and they didn't...they...they knew God. They knew Jesus is the Son of God, but they didn't realize that they were sinners and needed a...needed Him as the Savior and that was...that was the biggest problem because they...they felt that the Abuna [the archbishop for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church], who was the head of the Coptic Church in Ethiopia, and he was Egyptian.
WILSON: Yeah, I was gonna say, didn't...didn't the Coptic Church give allegiance to Alexandria?
HOCKMAN: Yes, that's right. And they didn't feel the need of it. They'd go ahead and have their...their feast days and their fast days and feel that everything was all taken care of then. And that was the thing that was hard to get across.
WILSON: Sort of a...a legalistic religion?
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh, yes, very much so.
WILSON: Did you have any...? Ya know, ya know this is Addis Ababa that...that you're in the whole time. Did you have any out and out pagan folks in that area, or was it a pretty...
HOCKMAN: Oh, yes.
WILSON: ...higher class, cosmopolitan...?
HOCKMAN: No, there...there were pagans along with it, particularly some of the Gallas that would come up country which were quite a few and they...they...they would.... It was hard to get through to them at all, in any way.
HOCKMAN: They just didn't feel what they were doing wrong. And it was...it was perfectly all right to take someone else's wife, it was perfectly all right to...to steal. And I know...even in...in my house...and my houseboys were both Gallas, and they thought nothing of taking matches down to their own houses or one of the boys was not a married man but he was always going into different homes and we just knew what his life was and...
WILSON: Now when you say going into different homes, is that a euphemism for immorality?
WILSON: Okay. [both laugh] Sorry about that, but wanted to get....
HOCKMAN: That's what...that's what it was in...in Ethiopia.
WILSON: Now, then...so you're saying that...that these are people, at least the...the pagans that you knew, who didn't seem to have the moral law written on their hearts.
HOCKMAN: No. And out in...in the out[?] country, they were...the people were...worshipped trees. You know, I think that's true that everybody has, within himself, a feeling of...of wanting to contact someone higher and...and that there...there must be good and evil in...in something because the pagans are so afraid of spirits, of evil spirits, and the strange things that they...they do (and this is true around the world, really), the fetishes that they wear and the things that they try to keep evil spirits out of their homes and things is...is really remarkable and that's true in the out stations. Was when we were there.
WILSON: I was told recently that a lot of people who don't believe in God do believe in Satan.
WILSON: Would you find that true in their...in their cases?
HOCKMAN: Yes, I think that's true.
WILSON: And part of their worship as it were, was to placate this...?
HOCKMAN: I think so. I...I don't think they...I don't think they worshipped Satan. I think they knew that there was evil, but I...I don't believe they worshipped. Now, that...I may be wrong on that because I wasn't too clear about all that happened in the southern part, but I don't think that was true in Addis Ababa.
WILSON: Do you remember any...any of these pagans coming to know the Lord?
HOCKMAN: No, I don't.
WILSON: So it was a strikeout right across the board with....
HOCKMAN: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah.
WILSON: What...what sort of things do you remember about specific instances where people did come to know Christ through the work of the hospital there?
HOCKMAN: One of the...one of the stories that I remember very much was a...a patient that had been there for quite a while and when he left, he...he paid I think it was five hundred thalers, which...(the thaler was the dollar mark, Ethiopian dollar) and he...he left that money and he said, "If I had a thousand, it couldn't pay for what I've learned about the Lord while I was here." And that was...I think you'll find that in some story in somewhere in what you're reading.
WILSON: In...in your husband's letters?
HOCKMAN: Yes. Or it's...it's in the...in the...some of the material. I think maybe it's in the big book...that you'll...that you'll get. And...[pauses] I just don't recall too many of the stories that...that...that came out of it. It was hard. I mean, as I say, they felt so self-sufficient that to get them to admit that they really had accepted Christ is...was very, very difficult.
WILSON: What kind of a...a long-term emotional drag can it be on a missionary to...to...to see results being, perhaps, too few.
HOCKMAN: It...it's...it is a drag because you...you...you want to see them and you know that...I know that we...we often mentioned that we never knew when our turn was coming, that the Lord would take us. And I think that that was one thing that...that Bob had all...often talked in his sermons that.... In fact just before he left he had preached a sermon on that very thing, and I think the very fact that he was taken like that, so suddenly, made a great impact on...on the Ethiopian people because they realized what he'd been talking about.
WILSON: How...when your husband died, how well known was he in Addis Ababa?
HOCKMAN: He was very well known. He was very well known and the hospital was well known. There were.... Because he had gone out in...into a number of homes and...and wealthy homes, and among the legations, and had...had worked with...with people.
WILSON: Is...is that like a...a mission house call?
HOCKMAN: Yes, it would be...it would be that and...tells one...one call he made was after he got his motorcycle and Bob loved red so his motorcycle was red and so he painted his helmet red. And, in fact, I was making him a red sweater when I was down in Egypt, that he never got, but.... So he went down into the market one day. He was to make a call and he had to go through the market on this motorcycle. And...the cows just roam everywhere and the bulls and.... The...he saw this one great big bull coming toward him on the motorcycle and he couldn't stop, you know, he just had to keep going. Finally, the bull turned aside and I think there were three incidents before he got through the marketplace...down in...in the city. And...it was quite an experience for him. But he loved adventure. I mean, he...he enjoyed things like that, and he always had as a...as a boy. And that's...that's what took him, because he was so adventurous.
WILSON: Now, in...when you went out to Ethiopia, (that was the fall of '33?)...
WILSON: ...was the political situation already tense...
HOCKMAN: No. They had talked a bit about it, but they didn't seem to pay much attention to it. It was about a year before we began to hear rumors and...and things of difficulty...the possibility of difficulty.
WILSON: Do you remember how that scenario all developed. I mean, do you remember the first inklings that something was going to go wrong and the suspicion building, etc.?
HOCKMAN: I think it was right about the beginning of '35 we began to get rumors of it, but the Ethiopian people didn't pay too much attention to it. They...they...they didn't have much of an army, really, and it wasn't until...well, this was...it began to...to get quite serious around May, I think it was. And...and July 4th [pauses] the American (was it July 4th? I believe that's when it was, on the Fourth of July) the American minister had...had a party and I couldn't go because I...I did very little travelling then. I was...was expecting Ruth and...so I stayed at home. But that night I had a dream that.... Bob had been talking about going down to the front, taking a Red Cross unit. I had a dream that Bob was killed just the way he was, and it was so frightening that I wakened him and told him and he said, "Now, I won't go if that...if that's what...how you feel about it." And I said, "Well, I wouldn't hinder you because, after all, you are called to do this type of work." And you know I never thought anymore about that dream 'til after it.... He sort of calmed me down and...and he said, "I won't go if that...if it's going to be a burden to you." Well, the next day we got orders from...from the American minister that...that Miss [Ruth] Nichol and I should leave because they just didn't know how soon activities were going to break and it seemed to come in a hurry.
WILSON: Now that was July 5th?
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. And we left on the 9th of July.
WILSON: For Egypt?
HOCKMAN: For Egypt. So, of course, I didn't want to go, but Bob felt that it was wise because I was having a lot of trouble with the high altitude, and he felt it wise for me to get to a lower altitude.
WILSON: Now you were what? Six months...?
WILSON: ...pregnant then?
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. So...he...we star...we went ahead then and made the plans. Of course, I had to pack and do a lot of things beforehand and.... Miss Nichol had been very ill for weeks and months. She had pa...paratyphoid and then...then an appendix operation and she...she had been almost paralyzed in her legs. I mean, she had such trouble walking, we felt we should get her out to a lower altitude.
WILSON: Now, how old a woman was she?
HOCKMAN: She was about the same age I am. I guess just a year or so younger and...and we'd both been at Muskingum and I knew her there. In fact she's two years younger then I was. And...so we...we started to travel to...to Egypt, and we were to go to the summer place and that was out in the desert, like. So we stayed there, I think, until September and we went to Tanta and I...I saw the doctor there. That's the first time I'd had any inkling and we had still hoped that I would get back before the child was born...that...the low altitude would have helped. But things began to work faster and faster and the doctor in Tanta, Doctor...(what was his name? I can't think of it right now.) felt that I shouldn't travel. So I wrote to Bob and told him how he felt. So Bob tried to make plans to come, then, in December. And that's when the head of the Red Cross decided he shouldn't leave his post, he should go back down to the front which Bob knew wasn't necessary any longer. He had, by this time, had an Egyptian doctor down there, and there was no more activity, so that's when he went back down there and...and in order to put in his time, started to defuse the bombs that had been dropped, just a few days after he had gone back.
WILSON: Now, who was in charge of the Red Cross?
HOCKMAN: Dr. Lambie. Dr. Tom Lambie.
WILSON: Now, he was what? An American, British?
HOCKMAN: Yes. He's the one who started the hospital in Addis Ababa.
WILSON: Oh, okay...
HOCKMAN: And he went...
WILSON: ...who went over to the Sudan Interior Mission.
HOCKMAN: ...over to the Sudan Interior Mission.
WILSON: And then took a leave from there to do the Red Cross work?
HOCKMAN: Yeah, uh-huh, uh-huh. And in order for Bob to go, he had to get permission from the...from the mission to be...to belong to the Red Cross, to take a Red Cross unit. And he had to...and the [Women's Missionary] Board gave him permission because they felt the need was great.
WILSON: Now, that was the fall of '35.
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. He went down in September and came back up for supplies in October and was at the compound for his birthday which was the...and just...and he didn't get word...his birthday was on the 29th and he didn't get word until after he had gotten back to the front because the cable hadn't arrived. (I believe that's the way it was.) Anyway, they were having a birthday dinner for him on the compound and one of the nurses just laughingly said, "Well, Bob, wonder where you'll have your next birthday." And they said Bob was very serious. He says, "Well, maybe in heaven." So that...that came true. [Chuckles]
WILSON: That was 29th of October.
HOCKMAN: That was the...yeah, that was 29th of October and Ruth was born on the 30th. [laughs]
WILSON: Now, [pauses] would you mind telling me about the...the last night that you were together in Egypt...in Ethiopia.
HOCKMAN: That was...
WILSON: You showed me a picture of the party.
HOCKMAN: That was a...we always had parties for birthdays and...and July 8th was Marge Faught's birthday. (She was one of the head nurses there.) So we had a...had a party for Marge, and that was...that was our last evening together. It was nice that we had...we had a lot of fun together. We...we had a wonderful relationship on our compound. There were quite a few people and we did a lot of things together. And...and that just sort of broke the ice for...we didn't know when we'd all be together again, you know. And...and it was fun for Marge, too, of course. And she and...she and Ruth stayed on...no. She stayed on in the hospital but the...the school had to be closed when Ruth left...
HOCKMAN: ...for a while and then I think it was a national that took over, one of Ruth's girls.
WILSON: Took over during the war?
HOCKMAN: No, during the time that...that Ruth was away. Well, it....
WILSON: Well, did she go back?
HOCKMAN: She...no, she didn't go back until after people could go back into Ethiopia.
WILSON: Which was how many years?
HOCKMAN: A couple. And she and...she and...when Marge had to come out, she and...and Marge went to India for a year, worked in India under our board, then they got to go back to Ethiopia.
WILSON: The.... Do you remember whether or not the U.S. Consulate there just summarily told all Americans to leave? Was that how it worked or...?
HOCKMAN: And the.... Yes, they told Americans to leave and the Board asked all the...all the women to leave, but they didn't. [chuckles] They...they...they just stayed on. And I know that Dr. Cremer and...and Bob both felt that the Lord could protect them and they really got into some very serious conditions there. And we never had all of our missionaries out. Doctor...Mr. Henry, who was one of the evangelists in our board, stayed on for and was able to carry on after our hospital had been taken over. He was the only one that was there for a time, but eventually, Dr. Cremer and his wife got back. So did Marge and Ruth, but it was not on that compound anymore.
WILSON: The compound was wholly....
HOCKMAN: ...was taken over by the Italians.
HOCKMAN: ...and held by them.
WILSON: And then what became of it after the war?
HOCKMAN: They still were there.
WILSON: The Italians?
HOCKMAN: The Italians stayed in.
WILSON: Oh, oh, they just took it over...
WILSON: ...as a medical....
HOCKMAN: Yeah. Well, it wasn't...they used it.... I don't know what they did use it for. They...a number of different things. It wasn't used as a hospital anymore, but it was a building for them. Now they...I...they still have it.
WILSON: Even today?
WILSON: Good lands! I wanted to ask you, did your husband write you any letters between the time that you went up to Egypt in July...
HOCKMAN: Oh, yes.
WILSON: ...and his death? What sort of things did he tell you about...that were going on?
HOCKMAN: He couldn't tell me too much. He couldn't tell me too much because his letters were censored, and...but he was always encouraging and...and would give some...some ideas of the type of work that he did, and I think some of that is in some of these letters that he had written home, the types of things he could tell, very similar.
WILSON: What...did he have any opportunities to...when he was on the front...to talk about Christ? Did he...?
HOCKMAN: Yes, he did. He...the same thing happened there that would happen in...in...in a hospital, but often times it would be...there would be emergencies that he'd have to take care of, and often times he did his...his surgery at night because of the heat. It was so terribly hot that after it would cool down t...it would be.... It would get up to a hundred and twenty five degrees and it was...it was a terrible place for him to be 'cause he hated heat. And so in order to...to be able to.... And of course there were flies around. It was hard to really carry on any medical work, but he just did what he...with what he had.
WILSON: What sort of supplies could he get for medical work down there?
HOCKMAN: I suppose bandages and antibiotics and different things like that 'cause...and then he reported that they were using dumdum bullets which was...mustard gas, you know. It was...they were a type of bullets that just made terrific.... I think there's a picture in there of a...of a patient that was at the front with the...with his leg shattered.
WILSON: And there's nothing you can do for something like that or...?
HOCKMAN: No, I don't...I think that...I don't know whether he did any skin grafts or anything like that on it. I don't know. I really don't.
WILSON: The...was he just in a...a tent or something...
HOCKMAN: That's all.
WILSON: ...down there for surgery?
HOCKMAN: That's all he had. Yeah.
WILSON: What kind of power supply? Would there be electricity?
HOCKMAN: Lanterns. No, there'd be no electricity. It'd just be kerosene lanterns. That's all he have. They did have a big red cross on the operating room and...but the Italians paid no attention to that. See that...when they dropped their bombs, they dropped them all around there. And that was strange because in Addis...the Ethiopians had a red cross as a mark of a house of ill repute. [Wilson laughs] And you'd see these houses all along in...in the streets in Addis Ababa.
HOCKMAN: And...and then evidently, the Italians didn't think anything about it because...but it was International Red Cross.
WILSON: Now, you said that your husband turned to defusing bombs...
HOCKMAN: Wait a minute. [Apparently spoken to someone else.]
WILSON: ...just to entertain himself. How many of these did he do?
HOCKMAN: I think someone...I think I heard someone say that it must have been about eighteen that he had done. And he was so afraid that the native people around there would pick them up, you know, and...and that's the reason he...that's the reason he did it. He was just so afraid that they would get hurt.
WILSON: From what you've been able to find out from anyone who was there, what...what...what went wrong?
HOCKMAN: He tapped it. He tapped the...the one. There was...there was one man (now what was his name?) that went with him from the Sudan Interior Mission. I can't think of his name right now. But he was there, and had just gone out of the tent when this happened. And he...he had been with Bob when he was doing this kind of work, and that's what he said. He said, "He evidently tapped it." It stuck and he evidently tapped it and that's when the explosion came. It blew off his right hand, and a large hole in his side. And he lived just long enough to request the Twenty-Third Psalm, and I think it was just a few minutes and...and this young man (I can't forget his name) read the Twenty-Third Psalm to him and he was gone.
WILSON: Now, who contacted you to tell you?
HOCKMAN: The mission. The mission. Dr. Giffen came...see this happened on...on a Friday, Friday the 13th, and Saturday afternoon I was in...in my room at the hospital down in Assuit [now called Asyut], and Dr. Giffen and his wife came up to my room. And I thought it was rather strange that both were coming up and I said, "Well, maybe they're just making a call."
HOCKMAN: And then he told me about it. And they had a memorial service on that Sunday. That was a Saturday and the next day they had a memorial service in...in the church that missionaries had in As...in Assuit. And...of course, I had known Dr. Giffen and his wife in New Concord, and they had been so good and we...we had visited them on our way out to the field, and then when Bob knew that I was not going to get back up to Ethiopia, he wrote to Dr. Giffen and asked if he would take care of me. So he did and he's the one who delivered Ruth.
WILSON: Now you said you knew them in New Concord.
WILSON: What was their association with...?
HOCKMAN: Well, Giffen was...
WILSON: Were they on furlough or...?
HOCKMAN: Well...Helen was in the Brown...the Browns that had been in India. She was one of the girls that was there and I knew her. I think she was a senior in college when I was a freshman.
WILSON: Oh, okay.
HOCKMAN: And then she had a sister, Sarah, who was very close friend of mine, and...and then a brother who has been a missionary in India. I think he's retired now. So I knew that family in New Concord. Di...and I knew Dr. Giffen's mother real well.
WILSON: Now, was your husband buried right down there where he was killed?
HOCKMAN: No, his body was brought back to Addis Ababa and...and they had a service there and he was buried in Gulali. (That's the hospital...or the cemetery for missionaries and...and na...and people from legations and anyone that needed to be there.)
WILSON: How far was that from Addis Ababa...
HOCKMAN: It wasn't very far.
WILSON: ...where he was killed?
HOCKMAN: It was just...just a...probably about five miles out of the city.
WILSON: Oh, okay. I was thinking this happened down at the front. Well, maybe it did.
HOCKMAN: This happened down at the front, but they...his body was flown up to Addis Ababa.
WILSON: Okay. That...I...that's what I needed to hear because...how far was the front from Addis Ababa?
HOCKMAN: Oh, that was...that was a long distance, and that's the reason it was flown up because it would've taken days to get up.
WILSON: What I was looking for was...you had said earlier this morning that burial had to take place the next day.
HOCKMAN: Yes, uh-huh. But I...course, the...the casket wasn't opened at all. It was just a pine box, really.
WILSON: Oh, and it was...
HOCKMAN: It was taken care of.
WILSON: ...just sealed up?
HOCKMAN: Yeah, uh-huh.
WILSON: In your sister-in-law's book [Doctor Bob Hockman: Surgeon of the Cross by Kathleen H. Friederichsen] she mentioned people seeing his face. That's....
HOCKMAN: I don't think they did. I don't think they did. [pauses] I...I don't think they did because I don't know how they would...I don't think they would open it. Now, I...that's...absolutely, I...I don't know, but I would just surmise it would be sealed.
WILSON: Was it difficult on you, not being able to be down there for that?
HOCKMAN: Yes, it was. Yes, it was. I...I felt that I just had to go back to...to Addis Ababa right away, and it...it was a...it was a difficult time because I didn't...we had just gotten our home together, and I just didn't want to have somebody else breaking it up. And I didn't know whether it was a wise thing for me to go back to Addis Ababa with this tiny baby or...or to come on home, and I had to wait until the...the board decided what I...what I should do. So I was in Egypt about eight months.
WILSON: After that?
HOCKMAN: No, about five after that. I left...no, it wasn't quite five. I left in March.
WILSON: Of '36.
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. Spring of '36.
WILSON: And came to America.
HOCKMAN: Yes, uh-huh. The board decided that I should not go back, and it was a good thing because it was after that that a lot of the...it was in May that everyone had to leave the compound and flee because...because of the uprising, not only of the Italians, but...but the native people uprose...against...
HOCKMAN: ...against everybody.
WILSON: And the mission would have been in danger.
HOCKMAN: Yes. The mission was in danger. Uh-huh.
WILSON: Now, why would...why would the native people rise up against a mission that had...
WILSON: ...done nothing but good for them?
HOCKMAN: I don't know. I just don't know. And...a lot of it was from those who came up from the south and the Sudan Interior Mission had a lot of work down there. They had some of their people killed by natives and.... They just...they just go wild, really, and an English doctor was killed during this time of the uprising and I think there were about three days of it that they had that before they got the people under control.
WILSON: Now, the...that doctor was killed in Addis Ababa or...?
HOCKMAN: Yes, he was killed in Addis Ababa, this English doctor.
WILSON: Was anyone from the United Presbyterian...
WILSON: ...Mission there...?
HOCKMAN: No, there was no one hurt there. But they...they had to get into a truck and just flee and hide for a...for a while before they could get back to the hospital. It was after that that...that most of the people left the compound, but Mr. Henry's the one who stayed on there.
WILSON: Stayed on through the whole thing?
HOCKMAN: Yeah, uh-huh.
WILSON: Until the Italians took it over?
HOCKMAN: Yes, and even after that be.... I...I...I don't recall just all the situation at that time, but he stayed on in order to get finances stra...straightened out and....
WILSON: He was the administrator?
WILSON: So you came home. By plane? By ship?
HOCKMAN: I came by ship. We didn't have planes going back and forth then. [laughs] I came by ship, I was three weeks on...on an American ship, and I had to bring enough baby food along to last me that time...that length of time.
WILSON: [laughs] Well, that was one trunk.
HOCKMAN: And I had a case...I had a case of baby food, the only kind I could get in Egypt, and I had a little Primus stove, and fortunately I had a cabin to myself, and Dr. and Mrs. [Harold J.] Wilson came at the same time, and their two children, and they were in a cabin next to mine. Well, they both got seasick, terribly seasick. And we got into a terrific storm after we left Gibraltar, and I had those two children to care for, and for Ruth's bottles I had a big kettle and I would put the bottles in and set them outside the door and the nurse would sterilize them for me out at the kitchen. Well, she got seasick! And so I...I had...I had to carry those bot.... I didn't. I was...I was able to get through it without...just one night I got quite sick and I got up on board and took some broth and crackers and that seemed to settle me and I was able to carry on the rest of the time, but the rest of the people...a lot of people were down.
WILSON: Well now, was it a...an especially wicked crossing or...?
HOCKMAN: Yes. And March is a very bad time for crossings on the Atlantic anyway.
WILSON: Well, was your route across the North Atlantic? No, you...you went out through the Mediterranean, didn't you.
HOCKMAN: Yeah, went through the Mediterranean. It was after we left the Mediterranean, out into the Atlantic, this storm came up. And it stayed for almost two weeks. So, I had...I had quite a time. [laughs]
WILSON: I guess the Titanic went down in an April...
HOCKMAN: Yeah, uh-huh.
WILSON: ...so it would be somewhat the same conditions.
HOCKMAN: Yeah, uh-huh. And, finally, the Dr. and Mrs. Wilson got on their feet, but it was really time. But I didn't dare lift Ruth out of the bunk. I had pillows all around and I didn't dare lift her.
WILSON: Oh, you didn't have a crib for her?
HOCKMAN: Oh, no. No, I.... There were two...two bunks in...in this cabin. Fortu.... And there was a...there was a...there was no bathtub, no shower in there, but there was a washstand and...so I could bathe her. But I bathed her right in bed and took care of everything right there.
WILSON: Now, the reason being you didn't want to drop her?
HOCKMAN: Yes, I'd be afraid....
WILSON: Or...or have her roll out or...?
HOCKMAN: Yeah, that was part of it and I was afraid I'd drop her because we never knew when we were just gonna be slammed across the...the bunk. But we...we weathered it. [laughs]
WILSON: Obviously. [both laugh] Now you told me, when I was at your home several weeks ago, of a...a couple that were on board who gave you great support at the time.
HOCKMAN: Oh, Dr. and Mrs. Ironside.
WILSON: Exactly. Yeah. I had forgotten who it was.
WILSON: Now tell me about that.
HOCKMAN: Well, that was...that was very wonderful. They were on board when we were in the Mediterranean. It was about a week that we were there before...and they...they transshipped in France. When we got to France, they got off and were going to England and we were not stopping in England.
WILSON: Now this is Dr. Ironside of the...?
HOCKMAN: Dr. Harry Ironside of the Moody Church. And his church had sent them on a trip to the mission fields. They had been in Israel and so the night before we shipped, I met them at someone's home. I don't remember who it was now, but they were having a group of people in who were...of Christian people who were going on the ship the next day. And Dr. and Mrs. Ironside were there. So we had quite a number of...of wonderful conversations.
WILSON: Now, had you known them before you had gone out?
HOCKMAN: I had known who they were but they didn't know me.
WILSON: They knew your mother and father-in-law.
HOCKMAN: Yes, yeah, uh-huh, because father was at...at Moody Institute.
WILSON: And had they known your husband?
HOCKMAN: No. No, they hadn't. But we talked quite a bit and it was at...when we were at Naples, I...I don't remember I told you then that there were two Italians came on board, trying to find me.
WILSON: I think I remember you...but...but tell us again on tape here. [both laugh] By all means.
HOCKMAN: When we stopped at Naples, on the way, I heard that there were two Italian newspapermen coming on board who wanted to interview me. And the purser would not reveal who I was. And I heard them talking, and I tell you, I was scared to death and I went down to my cabin. And I understand, from Dr. Ironside, that the purser would not reveal who I was.
WILSON: Now, you heard the Italians talking?
HOCKMAN: Yeah, uh-huh. To the purser.
WILSON: You actually heard them looking for you?
HOCKMAN: Yes, uh-huh. And Dr. Ironside was up there and they asked him and he would not reveal who I was. So, after a while they left, of course, and the ship went on, and...and Dr. Ironside told me all that had transpired. Well, it really frightened me because I didn't know what...what they might do. And we had been warned about what we would say about Italians or Catholics when we came home because it could hurt the other missionaries that were still on the field. So I was very grateful that I didn't have to face them. And Dr. Ironside loved kippers and so did I so whenever there were kippers for breakfast, we always had them [laughs]. And he was a real blessing to me. I mean, it was a...it was a...it was a hard time spiritually for me and he was a real blessing and was a real help. So it was at that time that he asked me if I would speak at their pastors conference thing in May at Moody Church. So that was my first missionary address when I came home was at Moody Church in May.
WILSON: Was that a difficult address to give?
HOCKMAN: Yes it was. It wasn't easy.
WILSON: What did you talk about?
HOCKMAN: I just told them about our experiences on the field and what we had...why we had gone to the field. Just a general missionary address, you know.
HOCKMAN: My own testimony and how the Lord had led through it. And I think it was harder for me because my parent...my husband's parents were in the audience as well and I think it was always harder for me to speak someplace where I was known rather than someplace where I wasn't known. I remember I spoke in Brown's Chapel one time and went back there and spoke there.
WILSON: Oh! At Muskingum.
HOCKMAN: At Muskingum. That was....
WILSON: When was that?
HOCKMAN: That was when I was...I think it was the next fall or something when I was back, visiting my folks.
WILSON: About '36?
HOCKMAN: Yeah. I just don't remember when I went to Muskingum but I think it was sometime there and I spoke at a chapel service. And that was kind of interesting and yet scary because my speech teacher was there on the aisle [laughs], Dr. [Charles] Layton and Mrs. [Ferne] Layton, you know.
WILSON: Oh, Dr. Layton was your speech teacher?
HOCKMAN: Yes, and Mrs. Layton was...was my advisor. [laughs]
WILSON: Fine, fine folks.
HOCKMAN: Oh, they certainly were, yes. Mrs. Layton and I used to have such wonderful talks. Of course, I gave a speech recital too.
WILSON: When you were at Muskingum?
HOCKMAN: When I was at Muskingum. My senior recital was a speech recital.
WILSON: What did you do for your senior recital?
HOCKMAN: I gave a...one of Barrie's and...James M. Barrie's. "Merry Rose" was the name of it. It was a fantasy and it was kind of interesting to do. I gave it here one time to one of the groups of the women's club, Wheaton women's club.
WILSON: At Wheaton?
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. It was a evening's program.
WILSON: When you came back.... When I was at your home a few weeks ago, you told me that...that you had given lectures for some time and then just had to give it up for a while.
HOCKMAN: That was when I went to Westmont to teach, that year, and....
WILSON: Now that was what, '37?
HOCKMAN: That was '39.
HOCKMAN: '39. I went that and we were not getting salaries at all. We never knew when we would be getting a check. And because I had a child I could not live in the college housing, so I had to rent an apartment and in order to get any money to...to live on, I would go out weekends and speak in different churches and there were a number of opportunities and it just got to be too much for me and I really felt....
WILSON: Physically or emotionally...?
HOCKMAN: Physically and I discovered after a long time, I really broke down...it was just like a nervous breakdown and I couldn't...I couldn't teach and was terribly weak. Well, I discovered...I discovered later that it was pernicious anemia that was causing all this and I went to doctors and they didn't seem to do any good, they just wrote it off as a nervous breakdown. So I came home. I felt better and went back to teaching for a while until the school closed and then I came back to Wheaton and I had...I just had a real struggle and...for six months and still wasn't getting too much better. Finally I went to a different doctor and he discovered that...the anemia. They started liver shots on me right away. Within a month I was a new person. And...but then the doctor told me to stop this speaking. He thought it was not...unwise to continue it for a time, so I did. But I had gone to camps and conferences in the summer when I was home here in Wheaton and would hold conferences.... I went to New Wilmington several years and was a counselor there and I had some real opportunities with young people and I still hear from some of them. One is almost...one who came to know the Lord there is almost ready for retirement [Wilson laughs] and it just doesn't seem possible. You know, when I have been going over these letters and things this past week, it just seemed like yesterday that all this happened. It's really been a...a traumatic week for me [laughs] to...to read all those letters again and go over the pictures and everything like...
HOCKMAN: ...I've gone over. [chuckles] But that...that condition hasn't returned, so I am grateful. But I...I'm constantly alert...
HOCKMAN: ...to the low blood count.
WILSON: If we could go back to Ethiopia for a little bit here. I'd like to hear you talk a little bit about Haile Selassie.
HOCKMAN: Oh, he was a tremendous person. He...he was all for the mission. I mean, he would just do anything for the mission. I had a lovely note from him when Bob went and I...I think that his...his...his desire for...for...that his country be a Christian country was real, I really feel that way. I was at a luncheon that he...where...after I came...this was when Dr. [V. Raymond] Edman was...was president of Wheaton and Haile Selassie came to this country and was at a luncheon at Chicago and Dr. Edman saw to it that I got to that luncheon and that was a real thrill. I didn't get to meet him, because he...he was just surrounded with people. It was a huge, huge luncheon. But I did get to see him.
WILSON: Well, had you had the opportunity to visit with him in Ethiopia?
HOCKMAN: Yes. He had invited our whole compound for tea one afternoon. So we all got to meet him. And that was a thrill, to meet the Emperor and...and the Empress. She was a very cold type of person, but he was very warm. And of course we couldn't talk very much with him, except through an interpreter. And...and we were served a lovely tea and everything was gold. French pastries. But we...Bob was always looking for something that was funny. And as we entered the palace, we went through a room that had a grand piano on it...in...in the room. And one of the legs was held up by a box, because the leg was broken. [laughs] And Bob would be the first to see something like that. And then when he came out to...to open the lab in...in the hospital [November 10, 1934], I served him tea, so that was the closest contact I had with the Emperor. Very gracious person. Very...he was not as tall as most of the Ethiopians. He was a short, stocky man. But we all loved him very much.
WILSON: Now you said he would do anything for the mission that he could.
WILSON: What sort of things did he do?
HOCKMAN: He...he would give us permission to go ahead with...with the work there and encouraged us and whenever we would need something and would go to him for permission, we never had any problem as far as that was concerned.
WILSON: Were you able to get directly to him or did you have to go through...?
HOCKMAN: Sometimes. Sometimes we were.
WILSON: What...what kind of control then did he hold over the government of his country? Was he pretty much...?
HOCKMAN: He was much in control then.
WILSON: He was it, huh?
HOCKMAN: Yes, he was it. And it wasn't 'til just these recent years that...that he really lost control. But I think it was because of his age, partly. And some of his own very close family had died and it wasn't just the immediate family that took over there. So...and of course when communism came in, he had very little control of that.
WILSON: Now, in some of the background reading that I did on Ethiopia, I found that just about the time that you and your husband went out there that slavery was just being shaken in...in Ethiopia. Maybe not so much in Addis Ababa, but....
HOCKMAN: I don't recall too much about the slavery situation there.
WILSON: It was pretty much a dead item...
WILSON: ...in Addis Ababa at the time.
HOCKMAN: In fact, I just didn't think of it at the time as being.... It certainly wasn't prevalent.
WILSON: One of the things I wanted to ask you about was the status of women in Ethiopia.
HOCKMAN: They were pretty much the bosses in their homes. [laughs]
HOCKMAN: Yes, they...they did the heavy work too. They...they pounded the grain and carried the heavy loads. But a woman could do pretty much...could be pretty much in control too if she wanted to be. So....
WILSON: Well, then what was the status of men? [laughs]
HOCKMAN: They...they...the high people [laughs] (you know what I mean?).... The more...the more mule and donkeys they had running behind them, that...that was their status. The men and women often didn't meet together too much. You didn't see that too much. But the woman really ruled the house.
WILSON: Was it different in the Muslim homes than in the Coptic homes?
HOCKMAN: I didn't see much of the Muslim homes. There was very little Muhammadism in Ethiopia...in Addis Ababa. That was down in the south more. They didn't...when we were there, in those year...years, there was very little Muhammedism prevalent.
WILSON: In your sister-in-law's book, she mentioned that your husband had gone with a Dr. R. [Rowland] V. Bingham...
WILSON: ...of the S.I.M. [Sudan Interior Mission]?
HOCKMAN: He was founder of the S.I.M. out there.
HOCKMAN: And Dr. Bingham came out and wanted Bob to go with him to...on...on a trip to the south to...to work...see the work carried on on their stations. We had hoped eventually to get into more stations and Bob was anxious to see a more pioneer type of work. He had hoped sometime to have even a...a...a mobile unit to go out. And that was one of his dreams to go out into the...in countries. So he went out with Dr. Bingham on this trip. At one time Dr. Bingham was going to stay for a while and Bob had to get back. So he took a couple of the boys and they got lost. And Bob had studied a bit of astronomy. And so all he had to guide him was the stars and he finally got back and was several days without food. And so finally he got to a place where he could phone or get a message through for Dr. Wilson to come for him in a car. And he was certainly glad. I had...I remembered to fix a lunch for them and he was so hungry [chuckles] because he had just had a bit of cheese and that was all he had with him.
WILSON: Was there any kind of...anything you could forage off of in the countryside?
HOCKMAN: No, not where he was. And....
WILSON: Water? [chuckles]
HOCKMAN: I guess he had water, but that was a dangerous thing too, without boiling it. But they finally made it back. [laughs]
HOCKMAN: So that was quite an experience in that situation. But he was very fond of Dr. Bingham and Dr. bingham was a pioneer himself and years ahead had gone out to pioneer in the Sudan and....
WILSON: On those treks that your husband took with Dr. Bingham, what kind of opportunities did they have for witnessing?
HOCKMAN: They did not have so much themselves, it was more Dr. Bingham was in...was going as...as the heads of the Sudan Interior Mission to see how work was going.
WILSON: Oh! So your husband was just going along....
HOCKMAN: He was just going along to help with anything...in any way he could and mostly to see how things were conducted in the interior parts of Ethiopia.
WILSON: In the out stations.
HOCKMAN: Uh-huh. They had quite a few outstations.
WILSON: Did your husband have any medical opportunities why he was out there?
HOCKMAN: I don't think he went prepared for that at all. I don't recall any.
WILSON: Now, as our tape is running out here...we have a little time. Tell me about yourself since you've come back...since you came back in '36.
HOCKMAN: I came back in '36 and of course I didn't do anything particular but do a lot of speaking until...until I went to Westmont College. That was the first year it was a college and I taught there that first year.
WILSON: What did you teach?
HOCKMAN: I taught speech and was also personnel secretary. And then when I came back here, I interviewed Dr. [Enoch C.] Dryness at Wheaton for the registrar's office and so he said there would be some work for me there. But I found that my health was in such precarious position at the time that I couldn't work more than half a day. So I didn't work more than half a day and it was that same year that, after I came back.... No, that was in '40 that I started here at Wheaton and it was in '45 (I worked for half days because I wanted to be home when Ruth came home from school. She had started in the grade school.) And...then in '45, Mother Hockman passed away in November and then Father Hockman in January in '36, just two months apart.
HOCKMAN: '46, yeah. And so then we had to sell the home and of course that uprooted me again.
HOCKMAN: And Mrs. Corrin Smith was the dean of women then, so she invited me to come in to one of the college houses as one of the directors, so I did and that was my first experience as a house director. So I was...I was in three different houses until I went into student personnel. I worked in the registrar's office part-time and was a house director and then...for three years. And then I began teaching in the home ec[onomics] department that was here and taught home...child care and home management and lived right in the home management house.
WILSON: Now what kind of training did you have for that...
HOCKMAN: I didn't have any training!
WILSON: ...other than experience?
HOCKMAN: I didn't have any training. That was the funny part of it. But I loved it. It was quite a challenge to me. Because I always loved homemaking, as far as that's concerned and I worked under the director of the home ec[onomics] department and she said she'd give me all the help she could [laughs] but I never got any help, as far as that's concerned. We had a wonderful time. We put on dinners and...and everything like that. And it was...it was a lot of fun for me. And Ruth was going to the [Wheaton] Academy [a private Christian secondary school] part of that time, so it was really a wonderful experience for me. And I was able to be home when Ruth came in. And I was always anxious to do that. Because I've...I've had such a burden for women who work and children come home and their mothers aren't around. I have just felt that it has been one of the things that has been a ruination of our young people. But anyway, the Lord took care of that for me.
WILSON: Now, you've never known what it was like to be a nonsingle parent, so I suppose it might be difficult for you to...to compare the two, but...?
HOCKMAN: Yes, I suppose that's true.
WILSON: But maybe you can tell me what it is like to be a single parent, you know.
HOCKMAN: It's...it's a difficult thing, because I felt a double burden. I felt that I had to be a father and.... Of course, in the early years when I lived in the Hockman home, Ruth's uncle was still at home, but after he left and went...and went into the Army and then was married, it was a different situation and with an older parent...older...with a grandparent, it is not quite the same as...as a father. He...he...Father and Mother Hockman were very strict and I felt very, very much that I had to do what they wanted me to do with my daughter. So they...it was not an easy situation. They were very wonderful and wanted to do much for me, which was wonderful. But for my own peace of mind it was a little bit difficult. But then after...it was while I was in the home ec department (and I knew that I could not continue in the teaching because of...of state regulations) that Dr. [Arthur H.] Volle asked me to come in to the student personnel office. And that was a thrill to me because I had prayed about that very thing. I knew that I was going to have to make a change and at the same time one of the trustees had advised that I get a house where I could keep students. Well....
WILSON: Oh, your own house.
HOCKMAN: My own house. And of course, I didn't have a cent of money as far as that's concerned. But he advised that I go ahead with this. And so I bought the home. And it was put up for sale by one of the men who had a number of homes. He had taught at the college, a very wealthy man. He didn't accept any...any salary. But he had a number of homes around in Wheaton that..where...where he let...had missionaries stay when they were home on furlough and mine was one of them. And it was arranged so that there were two apartments in this house and...and Mr. Taylor Ferguson, who was the trustee, was put in charge of these homes to sell and he advised that I buy this. And I paid for it through the rent of the upstairs apartment. And it was just the Lord's provision for me and it has just been ever since because I had never been alone in a house. I don't mind being alone and that hasn't bothered me at all. But it was a home...it was our first home, Ruth's and mine first home, really, and it...it was a great joy to her to have this place. She was in...beginning college. But she didn't like college and didn't want to continue. But she worked and...so we were able to take and get our home. And that's where I still am [laughs] and home to stay 'til the Lord takes me to the better home. [laughs]
WILSON: One...one other thing that...well, let me back up here and ask you. What kind of duties did you have in student personnel?
HOCKMAN: The first two years I was in there as personnel secretary. And then the rest of the time (I was there for eighteen years) and the sixteen years I was...had charge of student housing and arranged house...roommate and....at first I had only the...the women, but then after Fisher Hall was built, I had both the men and the women. And I enjoyed it very, very much. It was...I did counseling along with it. And....
WILSON: Oh. Counseling of students?
HOCKMAN: Student counseling.
WILSON: With problems?
WILSON: What...you know, I am not going to ask you to name any names...
HOCKMAN: No. [laughs]
WILSON: ...but what sort of things would you encounter...
HOCKMAN: Well, mostly....
WILSON: ...that students at Wheaton were having trouble with?
HOCKMAN: Well, at first I had...when at first I had just the women, you know each...each freshman was assigned to a counselor and it was on problems and academics and...and I met with these. I had about twelve I think that...under my care. But after I took both men and women, that became too difficult and...and most of my counseling was on roommate problems after that. Of course, I did all my own secretarial work. I didn't have any help on that. So...and I inspected all the rooms before I took on an outside house. We still had to have outside homes and I...before I would take on a new one I would have to check on that. And I often went around in the fall and visited in the homes and got acquainted with the women who had students. And it was a joy.
WILSON: Well sort of roommate problems existed...
WILSON: ...at Wheaton?
HOCKMAN: ...when I would place someone.... I had very little, as far as that's concerned. I would...I would measure what a student...and I started the...the picture card that they have now and would have information on that card about the student and that's the way I would place them. And sometimes it wouldn't work out. Sometimes a student just couldn't get along with somebody else and it would just rankle with them and one of them would come to me and say they want...they wanted to change roommates. And so I would talk to them and I'd say, "Have you talked this over with...with your roommate? Do you find there is something maybe you could work together?" No, they hadn't. And I said, "Well, I'll make no changes until you have a...a good talk together. Then I'd say., "If you can't resolve some of the situations, then I will make the change." But I would never make a change on one student's hearsay. And so they learned a lot and a lot of times they stayed together after that.
WILSON: Did you have good rapport with the students?
HOCKMAN: Very good. Yes, I did. I tried to be very fair when it came...in the spring when it came to getting into dorms that they wanted to. This was before IBM [and the computerization of the housing application process], you know, so those days were really rough days when...when we were getting into dorms. And I would go by number and they would...they would pick out a number in their dorms and I would take them as they came along to chose their rooms by number.
WILSON: I...I don't quite understand how that works.
HOCKMAN: Well, if you got number one, you would get the first choice...
WILSON: Oh, okay.
HOCKMAN: ...of the room you wanted in the dorm. And...and so on. Most of them got into the dorm. Of course there were always those who didn't get...didn't get a room or had to wait until summer and that was hard, to have to do that with students. And we never had enough space for them to get what they wanted. We almost finished? [laughs]
WILSON: We're...we're almost to the end of the tape. Now I want to...when I was at your home a few weeks back, I asked you a question and you gave me such a beautiful answer that I want to ask it again, and that is, forty-six years later, do you still miss your husband?
HOCKMAN: Yes, and I tell you, going over this last week it has been a really difficult week.
WILSON: Has it really?
HOCKMAN: Yes, it has. But as...as I look back and I think of the relationship we had as husband and wife, we never had any problems. It...it was a beautiful three-and-a-half years that we had and I have thought about this many times. I wonder as we have...as we would have gone on in...into the age where I am now, what our life might have been and I think it would have been the same. Because we...we really...we went together a long time before we were married and I think we knew each other pretty well. I think that we would...we had adjustments to make like any married couple. But I still...I still remember. And I'm...I still look forward to the time when I will meet him in glory. Although I realize that it won't...it won't be the same and the Lord will be the one that I am looking forward to meeting and yet through all this...this beauty that we had on this earth, I know that there will be additional beauty in there.
WILSON: Thank you so much Mrs Hockman.
HOCKMAN: Well, it has been a pleasure to me [laughs].
END OF TAPE