y Aunt Orie is the youngest and last surviving daughter of Ida Belle (Doss) and James Monroe Price. There were 10 girls born to this family near Antioch, and nine lived to be adults. A neighbor going past their farm once commented, “I don’t know how Jimroe can raise such pretty girls on such poor land!”
As a young girl, Orie was also smart and popular. At Floyd High School, she was president of the sophomore and junior classes, salutatorian of her senior class, and twice awarded the all-around girl medal. She was an outstanding basketball and softball player. Although she received a scholarship to Drury College at Springfield, Missouri, Orie wound up in the WAVES in 1943 and led an interesting life before retiring in Missouri. After graduating from high school Orie went to work at the Ford-Bacon-Davis Ordnance plant at Jacksonville, Arkansas, along with three other sisters, a brother-in-law and a niece. Recently, she reminisced about her years in the Navy, saying, “How one little incident can change the course of one’s life!
“Nolene [Woodson] Greene from Floyd and I decided to join the WACS,” she said. “At the time she was working at a drugstore in Little Rock, and I stopped in for a Coke. We discussed this at great length – about five minutes – and made our decision. Back then there were recruiting stations on the street. We approached the WACS recruiting station and stated our mission. We were greeted with open arms. However, the first question she asked was ‘How old are you?’ When we told her we were 20 years old, she said, ‘Sorry – you have to be 21 to join the WACS. At that time we found out the WAVES would sign you up at age 20 – so that is how it happened that I joined the WAVES.” WACS were the Women’s Army Corps and WAVES were the Navy’s – short for Women Accepted For Volunteer Emergency Service.
“I was sworn in March 1943 in Little Rock, left for training at Hunter College in New York City in April. Nolene and I were not together except for initially signing up together. Also, when I first left Little Rock, I traveled with Maxine Fisher of Beebe; however, we were not stationed together. After basic training I was stationed in Washington, DC, and lived in barracks while working at the Navy Department where I met my future husband. My initial pay as an Apprentice Seaman was $50 per month. I advanced through the ratings of Seaman Second Class, Seaman First Class, Yeoman Third Class, on to Specialist Q Second Class where my monthly pay increased to $96 a month.
“I was Honorably discharged on September 20, 1945. I received $100 mustering out pay. I also received 5 cents per mile travel allowance from Washington, DC, to Jacksonville, Arkansas. My travel, both coming and going, was by railroad.”
The spunk that took Carrol Orie Price from the tiny community of Floyd to the nation’s capital paid off for her in a very personal way. Also stationed at the Navy Department in Washington was handsome young Chester Reynolds from Kansas. He had worked with the Social Security Administration in Baltimore before entering the Navy in 1942. After discharges from the Navy, Chet and Orie were married February 8, 1946, at the First Methodist Church in Searcy. They lived in Springfield, Missouri, and Pittsburgh, Kansas, before moving in 1948 to Topeka, where Chet was employed by the V.A. Hospital until his retirement in 1976. On February 8, 1996, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. They now live at Girard, Kansas, where memories of Antioch, Floyd and a world war they helped fight still occupy their thoughts from time to time.
(The author is a member of the White County Historical Society.)