Friendly-fire survivor hailed from Oklahoma

Ollie J. Talley, 88, was born in the farming community of Randlett in southern Oklahoma. His family moved out West after he and two older brothers struggled to keep their crops alive in the early 1930s.

"Our whole crop blew away," he says.

The family, including eight children, piled into the family's Model A truck and headed to California, settling in Hemet.

"The Grapes of Wrath, that was us," he says. He joined the Navy in fall 1942 and was trained as a mechanic. In February 1943, the young sailor was smitten by a cashier he met at the Waldorf Hotel in Boston.

"That's where I found her," he says. "I was a bashful sailor."

"I was 16 years old," interjects his wife, Dottie.

He gave her a photograph and they began a correspondence, although she was the one who did most of the writing.

Talley married Dottie in Boston on Sept. 1, 1944. He borrowed $50 from a fellow sailor to get married, a debt he repaid the following payday. His pay was $114 a month. The couple, who have a son, Jim Talley of Medford, have lived in the Rogue Valley since 1965. Ollie Talley retired from the construction and concrete business.

Share This Story