August 1997 – October 1998
This interview of Judge June L. Green is being conducted as part of the Oral History Project of
the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit, Washington, D.C.
MS. GERE: This is tape one of the oral history of Judge June L. Green. The date
today is August 10, 1997; it is approximately 12:30 in the afternoon. We are conducting the oral
history at Judge Green’s home in Arnold, Maryland, near Annapolis, Maryland. I will be
conducting the interview; my name is Elizabeth Sarah Gere, and I was a law clerk for Judge
Green from April 1972 through December 1974. Judge Green, good afternoon.
JUDGE GREEN: Good afternoon.
MS. GERE: This is a very fitting place to begin the oral history. We are here in
your lovely home in Arnold, Maryland. It is the house in which you were born, is that right?
JUDGE GREEN: That’s right.
MS. GERE: Your house overlooks the Severn River and is near Annapolis,
Maryland. Your family has been long-time residents of Maryland, is that right?
JUDGE GREEN: In fact, my mother and father were both born in Baltimore, and
they lived there until such time as this house was built. And this was started, I believe in 1910,
for a summer place. It took a long time to complete. Much longer than my parents expected,
mainly because they had to have everything shipped from Baltimore by water.
MS. GERE: Oh my goodness.
JUDGE GREEN: There were no roads to speak of in here. The equipment and all
of the people came by boat, and had to get up this high hill. The workmen stayed here and lived
in tents. They liked it so well that they didn’t hurry it up. It was, I understand, at least two years
before it got finished. Mother and father had expected to be in here at least the previous summer.
They had to go down to Virginia on the Rappahannock to spend the summer because this house
was not fit to move in. That was where my younger sister got polio and my older sister, Dot, had
it also. It did not leave her with any paralysis, but it did Kitty.
MS. GERE: I take it that you did not.
JUDGE GREEN: I was not born then. I was born in 1914.
MS. GERE: How did you come to be born in this house? Had your parents
actually moved in here for good by then?
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes. They had been living here then for a couple of years.
They went to Baltimore many times in the wintertime. But at this particular time they were here.
This house was expected to be a place for the summertime, although my father did have radiators
put in and a coal furnace. It was all established to be comfortable. In later years nobody wanted
to go to Baltimore anymore, so we stayed year-round.
MS. GERE: Approximately when was that?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, when we were at school. Dot was at Greenwood, and
Kitty and I were at Miss Holiday’s School in Annapolis.
MS. GERE: Miss Holiday’s School?
JUDGE GREEN: Miss Holiday’s School.
MS. GERE: All right. We’ll talk about that in a few minutes.
JUDGE GREEN: And so instead of going to Baltimore, Dot stayed with my
father’s sister, Aunt Katy, and she–during her school days–she would come home weekends.
Then father and mother decided to go to Annapolis to be near our school, Kitty’s and mine, and
we stayed at the Peggy Stuart Inn, which is just outside the Naval Academy walls.
MS. GERE: Is it still there? In some form?
JUDGE GREEN: The house is still there, but it is not–it doesn’t have–it’s not an
inn anymore. But that was the only time we went to Annapolis for the wintertime, the winter
months. When I was finally finished at Miss Holiday’s School, and when Kitty was
finished–Kitty went with Dot to Greenwood–I went to Greenwood as well.
MS. GERE: And that was in Baltimore?
JUDGE GREEN: That was close to Baltimore. It was in Ruxton when I was there.
It moved while I went there. With Kitty and Dot, it was in a different location. They had–the
school, at the time was on the Buckley estate, and I started at Greenwood there, on the Buckley
estate, too. But they–Miss Elcock who was their headmistress–sold that place and moved to a
very handsome place in Ruxton. That was where I finished up.
MS. GERE: So what grades would those have been in school?
JUDGE GREEN: I was in the–that would have been–first, it would have been the
eighth grade, and then the first and second years of high school.
MS. GERE: Now were those schools exclusively for women?
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes. Not so at Miss Holiday’s School, that was a co-ed
children’s school. Every now and then when I talk to my sister Kitty, every night on the phone,
we go back many years and she’s talking about Miss Lucy Holiday. We did that just last night.
MS. GERE: So that would have been–your schooling from a very early age,
through eighth grade, was at Miss Holiday’s.
JUDGE GREEN: That was right. And then I left. Well, Dot was the first graduate
of the Greenwood School. Kitty decided to drop out afterward. I think I went one year with
Kitty at Greenwood. The next year I went to Annapolis High School, the public school. I
skipped a grade. I went just one year. I was a senior then, because I had had so many, I had so
many credits—
MS. GERE: From your prior schools.
JUDGE GREEN: From the prior schools, that I could have actually been
graduated a year sooner. But at Greenwood I would have been in the class of 1931, and at the
high school I graduated in 1930. I had English teachers who were English persons. The French
MS. GERE: From Great Britain.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. The French teachers were French. I had four years of
Latin, I had four years of French, and I had four years of English.
MS. GERE: Well how did you decide, or how did your family decide that you
should go to a public high school at that point?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, it was one of those things. I had planned to go to Vassar.
Kitty said she thought that this was ridiculous, and that we could have a lot of fun instead.
MS. GERE: Instead of going to college?
JUDGE GREEN: Instead of going to college. That I should go to the high school
and she would pick me up every day after school and we would go to the Naval Academy to see
our dates. And we did. I also had met a St. Johnny, from St. John’s College, when I was in high
school. So I—
MS. GERE: You were interested in staying in the area.
JUDGE GREEN: Interested in staying in the area. After I was graduated from
high school, I started trying to get a job. Nobody wanted anyone without any experience. I
didn’t know how you got experience if nobody would hire you. But I remember going to Mrs.
Fowler’s, who had a gift shop for many years.
MS. GERE: In Annapolis.
JUDGE GREEN: In Annapolis, and I asked her for a job, and she said, “Oh no.”
MS. GERE: You didn’t have any experience.
JUDGE GREEN: I didn’t have any experience, so she was not interested. I
checked all kinds of places, and I remember one with an advertisement. I said to Kitty, “What
will you do with this?”, and she said, “Oh, whatever you lined up, I’ll do with you.”
MS. GERE: So you were looking for a job for both you and Kitty?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. I remember being interviewed in Baltimore by an
encyclopedia salesman or something, and I was somewhat struck by the fact that they told me in
the first interview how to, when somebody opened the door, you were supposed to put your foot
in it, to keep them from closing it when you announced that you were a salesperson from the
encyclopedia company. Somehow I didn’t really think my family would appreciate this.
Although I believe at the time I had signed up for it—
MS. GERE: Oh, you had actually signed up for it.
JUDGE GREEN: I think so, yes. I believe so. Finally I had to tell them that I was
under-age, which was true, and I got out of it, and didn’t ever put a foot in the door.
MS. GERE: At least not that door.
JUDGE GREEN: Not that door.
MS. GERE: Well now, backing up a little bit. You talked a little bit about Dot and
Kitty. Tell me again what the order of birth was among the three of you.
JUDGE GREEN: Dot was eight years older than I. Kitty is five-and-a-half years
older than I.
MS. GERE: So you were the baby of the family.
JUDGE GREEN: I was the baby. So it was, the next thing, we were driving
around the Circle one day, still unemployed.
MS. GERE: You’re back in Annapolis.
JUDGE GREEN: We’re back in Annapolis, and Kitty said, “Oh, there is that cute
shop. I used to love to go to that one, and it’s for rent. Why don’t we rent it?” And I said,
“What would we do with it?” And she said, “We could have a day nursery.” I said, “What do
we know about taking care of children?” And she said, “Oh I don’t know, there’s no problem.”
And we stopped immediately and went to see the realtor, who took us in the shop, and we
realized that it was drafty. It was heated only by a wood stove.
MS. GERE: This is right on the main circle in Annapolis.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, it is. It’s right across from the little treasury building, and
it’s still there. It was an attractive little shop.
MS. GERE: But it had some shortcomings, apparently, heating and—
JUDGE GREEN: Including the fact that it didn’t have a bathroom for the children.
I had at least enough sense to know, no self-respecting mother would send her children to that
place, that drafty place that wasn’t heated properly.
MS. GERE: With no bathroom.
JUDGE GREEN: With no bathroom. So Kitty said, “Well, we could have a gift
shop. They still have some of the shelves up that they used to have. We could use those.”
MS. GERE: Now was Mrs. Fowler’s still in Annapolis at that time?
MS. GERE: So you were going to be her competitor, perhaps.
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes. So we signed the lease for a year that same day.
MS. GERE: What year is this, or how old were you at that point?
JUDGE GREEN: I was, I believe seventeen. I was graduated when I was sixteen.
MS. GERE: So quite young. At least from my perspective.
JUDGE GREEN: Well, we signed the lease, and while we were there we found
some old catalogs that had been stacked up, nobody had thrown them out. They were gift and art
catalogs, so that was the only thing that we knew about, some place to buy things. We thought
“Oh, imagine all that mark-up and you could have some—” Well, when we came home, we
announced at dinner that we were going to have a gift shop, and we had just signed a lease.
MS. GERE: What did your father say? What did your mother say?
JUDGE GREEN: My mother said, “Oh, that’s interesting. Where did you get this
idea?” And father said, “You are going to do what? Are you aware of the fact that this is the
depths of the Depression? People are having a hard time finding food. You all have just been
living in a never-never world, and the fact that you’ve been very fortunate–nobody is going to
buy gifts.” My feeling was, if you worked hard enough, and you were willing to do all of the
things you should do right, it had to work.
Well, I found out my father was right. We struggled. In the first place, when
people came into the shop that we knew, especially midshipmen, we didn’t go in and pose
ourselves to say, “Would you like to buy something?” They came in to see us, we thought,
which they mostly did. We would never have liked to sell them something and make them feel
that they had to buy something—
MS. GERE: Buy something to be there.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. So we had a circulating library. That brought in a lot of
people, both midshipmen and other people.
MS. GERE: A circulating library? You mean like a lending library?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, right.
MS. GERE: And where did you get the books from?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, we had a connection in Baltimore. Somebody had heard
that we were about to have this shop and they said, “We have a branch library and are you willing
to do this on a consignment basis?” We said, “Fine.”
MS. GERE: So was this through the City of Baltimore? A regular, established
JUDGE GREEN: No, this one was, I honestly don’t remember at this point.
MS. GERE: It was a private—
JUDGE GREEN: It was a private one, in any case, it also was in some other shops
I think, in Baltimore. We had all up-to-date books, novels, and others. I didn’t have too much
time to read them because I was trying to make the rent. I also advertised that I would tutor
children. I tutored youngsters in Latin, arithmetic and spelling and various and sundry other
MS. GERE: Did you do this in the shop or did you go to people’s homes?
JUDGE GREEN: In the shop. In the shop, because I wanted to be sure that I was
there. In the back room we had a little—
MS. GERE: School area?
JUDGE GREEN: School area. I only had one at a time, so that they had my full
time and attention when they came in.
MS. GERE: Did Kitty do tutoring also?
JUDGE GREEN: No. No, she didn’t think that she would have to do these things.
I also was taking care of the books.
MS. GERE: Did you charge people to borrow the books? Was this–the circulation
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes, it was very little income producing. My recollection is,
they had to join it.
MS. GERE: Like an early book club.
JUDGE GREEN: I guess so. And we had great difficulty in having people return
them when they were supposed to. There was one woman who was a writer who wrote detective
stories and she would take all of our best ones and keep them forevermore. And every time she
would come in we would be very unhappy about it.
MS. GERE: Because she would take most of your inventory.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. And she, I think, was–I couldn’t probably prove this
one–but I had the feeling that she was getting most of her ideas from the other people’s books.
MS. GERE: Was she ever successful, do you know? Did she ever write anything
that was published?
JUDGE GREEN: She was, she was quite successful, for a while. I will not give
her name. She’s long gone now. I then decided that besides the tutoring I was going to represent
the realtor. Nobody was buying any houses, but they were looking for rental places. I had a
problem with that, because a lot of the people would be sailors, families. But in Annapolis they
wouldn’t rent to them. It was very stuffy. But anyway, we were making out all right. We were
just eking out an existence.
MS. GERE: Did you live at home during that time?
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes, we did. My aunt lived with us and was a wonderful
cook. She made cakes and things and we suggested that she let us sell those.
MS. GERE: Now which aunt is this, on your mother’s side or your father’s side?
JUDGE GREEN: This is my mother’s sister.
MS. GERE: And where did she live?
JUDGE GREEN: She lived with us.
MS. GERE: In this house.
JUDGE GREEN: She and my grandmother both lived here. So, she made cakes
and all these things. That was one thing that people would buy. They were delighted. People
would come in and get cakes and they’d say, “Why doesn’t she open a restaurant?” Well, that
was a long time coming. But we heard that so much, we suggested that she do that. And I might
say this was the mainstay of our business.
MS. GERE: Oh, her baked goods?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, her baked things. We saw a place on Maryland Avenue,
which was just around the corner from our shop, that was for rent, and we thought it was a small
place and we suggested that she take it. She said oh, she couldn’t possibly do anything like that.
She had never worked in her life, and she didn’t think this was a nice thing to do.
MS. GERE: Not proper for an older woman.
JUDGE GREEN: Not proper. I remember she was a very unhappy person, and she
was very much depressed at one point, and I said to her, “Well, why don’t you try a restaurant?”
She said, “I think I’m going to kill myself.” And I said, “Well, why don’t you at least give this a
shot, then if you lose it, then you can kill yourself.” I had hoped to shock her out of it, which I
did, because she was so surprised, because I had always just been sympathetic. I thought that this
might be the thing to do. She said, “Well I guess there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.” I said,
“Fine.” So she opened the place and we worked like crazy helping her, and she worked so hard
she eventually had a heart attack.
MS. GERE: Oh dear.
JUDGE GREEN: She was a success from the beginning. There were so many
people waiting to get in her place, midshipmen and drags. Drags are the—
MS. GERE: I was going to say, midshipmen and drags?
JUDGE GREEN: That’s their dates, they “drag” you. If you’re lucky. They were
standing outside all around the block waiting to get in. Because she didn’t take reservations.
First come—
MS. GERE: First served.
JUDGE GREEN: First served. So she did very well. But then she went to the
hospital with this heart ailment.
MS. GERE: Well how long had her business been going?
JUDGE GREEN: Just a month about, about a month or so. It may have been two
months, but it was not any longer than that. I remember that we finally put a sign on the door,
“closed for repairs.” It didn’t say to what, but it was to her. And everybody would come back to
our shop and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry that the restaurant apparently didn’t go over, because we
really thought it was great, and all.” I said, “Oh no, they’ll be opening in a few weeks.” Well, I
talked to her doctor and her doctor said she should not be bothered with any of these things, but
we realized that if she didn’t open it within a normal period that it was going to lose all of the
goodwill that she’d had. So we hired somebody to take over the Little Different Shop.
MS. GERE: The Little Different Shop, that was your gift shop.
JUDGE GREEN: That was the name of our shop. And my aunt’s place was
Cruise Inn.
MS. GERE: How did you spell that? Like a ship cruise, c-r-u-i-s-e, or crews, c-re-w-s?
JUDGE GREEN: C-r-u-i-s-e. Corny sounding I think.
MS. GERE: Cruise Inn.
JUDGE GREEN: But anyway, Kitty and I ran the Cruise Inn while she was off.
(End of Tape 1, Side 1)
(Tape 1, Side 2)
I was making the angel cakes. I was making birthday cakes, decorating and that sort
of thing. I was the hostess and I was the cashier. I realized that we didn’t have enough space,
and people were getting hung up, so we had to make some changes in the place. I decided that
we would put the first courses on a table in the back of the dining room, so that people wouldn’t
have to be coming out of the small entryway from the kitchen with everything. There was
another room that was before the restrooms.
MS. GERE: Like an anteroom.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, an anteroom. Well, I took that over, and had salads in
there, so they wouldn’t have to come out of the kitchen, also. It didn’t interfere with the use of
the ladies room.
MS. GERE: Now how many tables were in the restaurant? How many people did
it hold, could it hold?
JUDGE GREEN: I’m not positive. Now Kitty would probably be able to tell me
all of these things right now. But I would say it would have served, in that place, not more than
about forty people at one time.
MS. GERE: Were you open for lunch and dinner?
MS. GERE: Breakfast?
JUDGE GREEN: No, no breakfast. Kitty was deciding that all kinds of things
should be added to the meals, so that we were serving sherbet between the courses and all of
these things. They cost quite a bit of money, more than—
MS. GERE: More than the meal was–the profit.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, right. But, we didn’t ruin the reputation.
MS. GERE: So how long did you and Kitty serve as surrogates for your aunt?
JUDGE GREEN: Long enough for us to almost be stolen blind in our Little
Different Shop. The person who was there was not dishonest. She just didn’t pay attention to
people who were shoplifting. She didn’t get there fast enough when they would come in the
place, and so on. So when we came back we found that loads of things that were on
consignment–we had many Chinese linens that were hand done beautifully, all kinds of things, of
lingerie–that were missing and had been stolen. We had to make good. This about finished us.
MS. GERE: How many years into the business was this?
JUDGE GREEN: We lasted about a year-and-a-half in the Little Different Shop.
MS. GERE: Now what happened with your aunt? Did she get out of the hospital?
JUDGE GREEN: She eventually came back–about–I think she was allowed to
come back to work finally full time. Let’s say about two months. But she came in just a little,
and we were still trying to help.
MS. GERE: How long did she continue to operate the restaurant?
JUDGE GREEN: All her life; the rest of her life. She got a bigger place that
turned out to be right next to the Little Different Shop, where we were no longer, but that was the
building. The building is occupied at this time by a restaurant that is not as good as hers was by
any means. Of course I am biased. But she was in business for about 25 years.
MS. GERE: Oh my goodness.
JUDGE GREEN: She had built up this tremendous following, and everybody, the
people would come down from Washington and Baltimore, especially to go there, for the food.
As a matter of fact, she served John’s and my wedding reception.
MS. GERE: Oh she did?
MS. GERE: At the house.
MS. GERE: Oh my goodness.
JUDGE GREEN: She had all of her help, and they knew us pretty well.
MS. GERE: Until what year did your aunt operate the Cruise Inn–into the ’50s?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. As a matter of fact, the restaurant was sold to a restaurant
couple from Baltimore who were pretty good. After my aunt died, we had taken care of that.
MS. GERE: So all during that time did she live–did your aunt live here in the
JUDGE GREEN: Oh, no. When she started to be so successful she got her own
place. Then she got her first driver’s license and car. I had felt always that having been such a
smart aleck–to say to her, you know, you can just bump yourself off if it’s not a success–I came
to the conclusion that I was duty-bound to see that it never happened, that there should never be
any kind of problems. But she was thoroughly successful, and had a very interesting life. She
joined the Zonta Club and insisted that I, since I was a member of Zonta in Washington, years
later, she insisted that I come and talk to the Zontians. And at that time—
MS. GERE: Here in Annapolis.
JUDGE GREEN: In Annapolis, in her place, and I remember that that was the first
time that the Annapolitans knew that women weren’t treated quite as well as they should be
under the law, and I pointed it out to them. And I believe that there were lots of people who were
able to get things changed then.
MS. GERE: In what way?
JUDGE GREEN: Not me, but they could.
MS. GERE: What in particular?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, they always had, until this time, they would, if a person
died intestate—
MS. GERE: Intestate meaning without a will.
JUDGE GREEN: That’s right. Then the male of the family was always the one
who was chosen to be the executor, or administrator. The females were not preferred at all, and I
mentioned, there were a number of—
MS. GERE: Distinctions.
JUDGE GREEN: A number of things on the books that I was aware of from my
practice. I told the Zontians about the distinctions. Now I think Maryland is quite up-andcoming at this point and has very, very good laws on the books that have come into the proper
MS. GERE: So more equitable, then, for women.
JUDGE GREEN: All of it had, indeed, and I think that they are not really biased at
this point.
MS. GERE: Going back, Judge, you talked a little bit about your parents, and
growing up in this house with them, and then beginning your first business with both of them
being somewhat taken aback at your course. Did your parents change their conclusions, once
they saw that you were able to make a go of the businesses?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, we didn’t make a go of the Little Different Shop, that’s
for sure. We didn’t tell them all of our problems. I thought that it was better to keep that from
them. My mother was very interested in the shop, in that she would go on a trip with my father,
she would go to the gift shop in the hotel and buy something beautiful, and bring it back to us
and say “Don’t sell it, because really, you need this to look nice in the place.” And she didn’t
have to say that, because we couldn’t have sold it. It was too expensive.
MS. GERE: What did your father do for a living?
JUDGE GREEN: My father was the president of Industrial Paper Company in
Baltimore. And that was a wholesale paper company. The papers–they sold all kinds of
papers–but in many cases they were liners for freight cars, and things that were in sizeable rolls.
MS. GERE: So then when you lived here in Arnold, did he commute everyday?
JUDGE GREEN: He commuted to Baltimore, yes. All the time. Until he was ill,
he did. He commuted all the time. And in cold weather they would go up to Baltimore, after we
were all married, and spend some time in the city, then return as soon as the weather was nice in
the spring.
MS. GERE: Did your mother work outside the home?
JUDGE GREEN: Never. No, she was, in her time, she was one of the founders of
the Severn River Garden Club. She was interested in the federation of garden clubs. She was a
judge in many of the flower shows. She won more prizes for artistic arrangements. One time she
was sick, and she had entered a show that was a moonlight–it was called a moonlight display or
something–and mother was very artistic, and she had designed the paper lining that she was
putting in before the flowers. She had all these things ready and she couldn’t go. She said Kitty
and I should take it and put it in her name and do it right.
MS. GERE: You and Kitty weren’t quite the same–at that point–flower artists that
your mother was, I take it?
JUDGE GREEN: She had everything designed. She had paper, she knew the size
of the bins that they had, the background, and she told us how this one should go this way, how
this other thing should go that way, and exactly where we were to put these things. These were
spring flowers that were very nice. We did the very best we could and we thought that it was
pretty nice. I’m happy to say she won the prize.
MS. GERE: Oh my goodness. She must have been very pleased.
JUDGE GREEN: Well it was certainly her design and it was her doing, and we
were only—
MS. GERE: You were the messengers.
JUDGE GREEN: We were the messengers, that’s all. I remember before the
judges had made a decision we were having a fit.
MS. GERE: I bet, wondering whether you were going to let your mother down.
JUDGE GREEN: That’s right.
MS. GERE: That’s a high standard to meet. You mentioned earlier that your two
sisters had contracted polio when they were younger. How did that affect both your mother’s life
and your life?
JUDGE GREEN: Well, I think that Kitty didn’t have the requirements to do lots of
things. When the Little Different Shop failed, I felt very positive that I was going to see that
everything was paid up. Nobody was going to lose a dime from dealing with us, and I’m happy
to say I did do it. But it did take a couple of years for the—
MS. GERE: To pay off everything.
JUDGE GREEN: What I had worked on for a year-and-a-half, in the shop. It may
have been over two years to repay. The first job that I got afterwards was with Mrs. Fowler.
MS. GERE: Your erstwhile competitor.
JUDGE GREEN: She couldn’t say that I didn’t have any experience at that point,
so she did take me. It was a little hard, a bitter pill to swallow, because I would see the
customers who had been—
MS. GERE: Your customers.
JUDGE GREEN: I also would see the salespeople who had come in to see us so
many times, and when I finally got out of that I had good luck. One of the neighbors here in
Joyce Lane, where we live, called me up and said, “Mrs. Lewis, who is a writer, lives just in your
lane. She’s at Briarcliff. Do you know her?” I said I did not. She said, “She has just lost her
secretary, and I think that you ought to apply for it, because it would be very handy for you.” I
was taking a secretarial course but I had not finished it. I mean I was still taking the course. So
then I went to see Mrs. Lewis. She had a great influence on my life. She was a very fine writer
of adolescents’ books. She had won the Newberry Medal for that.
MS. GERE: The Newberry Medal? So that’s—
JUDGE GREEN: N-e-w-b-e-r-r-y. The Newberry Medal, that they’re still giving
out. Mrs. Lewis had lived in China for about fifteen years, and met her husband there. She had
gone there as a missionary from her church in Baltimore. She had the sense, the sensitivity at
least, when she was there, to realize, to question whether she was doing the right thing, that these
people had their own beliefs. They had had them for many, many centuries. They should be left
alone for that, she felt. So she decided to teach them sanitation and English, instead.
MS. GERE: More like an early Peace Corps rather than a missionary.
JUDGE GREEN: Right, right. She loved her time there, and so many of her books
were about the Chinese people. I told her I had not finished the secretarial course, and she said—
MS. GERE: So were you in the process of taking this course or was this a course
that you had taken?
JUDGE GREEN: I was in the process of taking it. At the YMCA.
MS. GERE: And why did you decide to take that, if you were—? As the shop was
winding down, you thought you needed to develop some other skills, I take it?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. I didn’t think I was going to be a world-beater on the
tutoring thing, although the children came in, parents came in and said their children were
doing–each one of them–was doing very much better. They were leading the class in Latin, I
remember in particular. Because I disliked Latin very much, but I was teaching it.
MS. GERE: And no thought at that point about going on to teach full time?
JUDGE GREEN: Oh, no. I certainly wasn’t.
MS. GERE: Why not?
JUDGE GREEN: I didn’t enjoy it, really. I found it very difficult.
MS. GERE: I’ve kind of taken a detour there, back to Mrs. Lewis. So you were
telling her that—
JUDGE GREEN: I told her, and she said, “The principal thing is, I don’t want
paper to be wasted. If you can make proper corrections, that is the most important thing about it.
I have the most expensive paper that you can make corrections on,” she said.
MS. GERE: So you were going to be, essentially, an editor?
JUDGE GREEN: I was going to type all of her manuscripts, which I did from the
MS. GERE: So she dictated and you transcribed.
MS. GERE: I’m seeing you in a new light.
JUDGE GREEN: I was editing what she did, and I re-typed and typed and retyped, because she was ill. She had picked up some ailment when she was in China, and she was
much bed-ridden. This was another reason why she was in bad shape.
MS. GERE: How old a woman was she at the time you were working for her?
JUDGE GREEN: She had a fourteen-year-old son, and this was how she always
gauged what she was writing for the adolescents. Because it was what Fulton–his name was
John Fulton Lewis. He was eventually a commentator on the radio, but he was not, of course, at
that point. There was a Fulton Lewis, who was very well known at that time, not connected with
him. Her husband had died, and she was just the sole support of this child. Her husband had
gone out as a missionary, that’s when she met him, and he had joined her same thoughts. He was
not foisting off religious beliefs on the Chinese either. But when they came back, he died. She
then was supporting her son with her writing. Well I find that today, working on opinions, my
editing experience has been very helpful.
MS. GERE: Interesting.
JUDGE GREEN: I am not sure I really understood that until my old age. Old, old
MS. GERE: How long did you work for her?
JUDGE GREEN: I worked for her until we were married, John and I. I made sure
her book got to the publisher when it was supposed to.
[After a break in interview.]
MS. GERE: We were talking about Mrs. Lewis.
JUDGE GREEN: She was writing her book that had to be at the publishers, a
Spartan deadline. She was such a perfectionist in her writing and editing, that she did every
single chapter many, many times, and it was running very, very close to my wedding day. We
had rehearsals scheduled. John would be coming here to see me, and I would be tied up with
Mrs. Lewis in her home.
MS. GERE: Did you go to her home at a set time every day for a certain number of
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes. I went for hours. If she were ill or something I stayed
with her. In fact I would call home and ask, “fix food for her” so that somebody would come
over. Kitty would bring it over.
MS. GERE: How long did you work for her?
JUDGE GREEN: It was over a year, I’m sure, because this last book took quite a
while. But I had that deadline, and we were getting married the fifth of September, in 1936. We
were having our rehearsal and dinner party for the bridal party after the rehearsal, and it still had
not gotten the last touches. So I really was there all the way up until my wedding day. But it was
at the publishers before we got married. It met her deadline, and it met quite a bit of acclaim for
her. She didn’t get another Newberry Medal, but it was very well received by the publishers and
the clientele that she was writing for.
MS. GERE: Did she go on, write, after you left her employ?
JUDGE GREEN: She wrote a number of short stories and she wrote articles for
adults. She worked on another book with a doctor in Annapolis, and he was contributing all of
the medicals that she needed for her book. But it was not, I don’t–I was very, very close to her,
and John and I would go to see her periodically after we got married. After Fulton had married
and had gone, she was there by herself. We would always scour the markets to find the fruit that
she enjoyed, that she had gotten used to eating in China.
MS. GERE: You said that she was an influence which you came to appreciate later
on, when you were drafting opinions and editing opinions. What other influences did she have
on you?
JUDGE GREEN: She allowed me to get a lot of my concern for feeling put upon
out of my system. I think that she was a very, very fine person. She really cared a lot about me.
On the cases that I had that she knew about, when I was trying them–that was after I’d gone to
law school–she would send me telegrams, which I would get at my office, when she had found
out what some of the people had said about the case and how I’d done so splendidly in ones
where I had been counsel. (End of Tape 1, Side 2)
MS. GERE: This is the continuation of the oral history of Judge June L. Green,
and we will resume with the Judge’s reminiscences about Mrs. Lewis. Mrs. Lewis would send
you telegrams at your office to let you know she’d heard about your cases.
JUDGE GREEN: She thought that it was, that everybody was so pleased with the
presentation that I had made–both before Congress and in the courts. We–John and I–would visit
her periodically when we would come over to see the family on weekends, and we always
managed to find a little time. She would always have some time for us. We would deliver our
particular goodies that we’d found in Washington.
MS. GERE: You mentioned that at the end of your work for Mrs. Lewis, the
beginning of your marriage, or your life with John Green. How did you meet Mr. Green?
JUDGE GREEN: He was one of the library card holders.
MS. GERE: One of the book readers from the—
JUDGE GREEN: One of the book readers in the Little Different Shop. He was
always a cut-up, and I was never so old as I was in the Little Different Shop. I was so prissy and
so serious. All of these things were taken very seriously with me.
MS. GERE: You were very responsible for the shop.
JUDGE GREEN: Right. And I didn’t think these things were very funny. When I
asked for his name and address, and I knew he was in the Naval Academy–but I had to have more
than that–since he was in his uniform, and he had two books. One of them was John Galsworthy
and the other was Anne Green. So he looked like he was going to make it up, and he said,
“Galsworthy Green.”
MS. GERE: That’s what he said his name was?
MS. GERE: This was how he was going to check his book out.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, Galsworthy Green. And I thought this was not amusing at
all. I grabbed his cap, because they all had to have their names stenciled in them. I saw that his
name was actually Green, certainly not Galsworthy Green, but J.C. He liked to give me a fit, and
Kitty thought he was cute. She thought it was funny.
MS. GERE: So did he come and visit the shop on a regular basis?
MS. GERE: Sounds like it.
JUDGE GREEN: In fact, he would–right before Christmas, he came in the shop
with an armful of the worst wine I’ve ever tasted. Bottles that he’d gotten from the Academy
bootlegger, because you couldn’t buy it legitimately.
MS. GERE: Because of Prohibition.
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. The bottles usually were leaking and it was ruining his
uniform shirt, with red wine down his neck and so on. He wanted to just have a nice Christmas
for us. We’d say, “Why aren’t you on leave? Why aren’t you back home with your mother?”
MS. GERE: He lived in Washington, right?
JUDGE GREEN: In Washington, yes. He said, “Well, I’m on the ship at this
point, the prison ship Marina Mercedes.”
MS. GERE: On the prison ship?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes, the Marina Mercedes. That was the one that was taken
from the Spanish-American War. They had midshipmen put on there when they had some
demerits or infractions. What he’d done was, he had failed to be in there ushering the officer’s
movies at Christmas Eve. We had said, “What are you doing out if you’re supposed to be on?”
He said, “Well, I’m supposed to be ushering the movies.” I said, “You are going to be in really
great trouble.” And he said, “No way, nobody would be so unkind on Christmas Eve.” So after
Christmas Eve, after Christmas when we came back, in the mail was a letter addressed–he didn’t
even know who we were, what our names were–“Proprietresses of the Little Different Shop.” In
the envelope was an order, ordering him to the Marina for his infractions for not having been
MS. GERE: For not having been at the movie?
JUDGE GREEN: For not having been there, and he wrote on the thing “prophets
par excellence.” Meanwhile, I was seeing the people that I liked. But “St. Johnny” was always
thawing our water pipes that were always frozen.
MS. GERE: This is in the shop?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. He was doing that sort of thing, and various and sundry
other midshipmen were coming in, and to have a date with me you just had to stay there, that was
all, because I was not going to leave. Want to see me? Stick around.
MS. GERE: Come to the shop.
JUDGE GREEN: I indicated some annoyance at dinner from time to time with this
midshipman who was in there, always in trouble. And I thought it was so stupid, because, as I
say, it was juvenile and I wasn’t very juvenile at that point. I felt like the weight of the world
was mine.
MS. GERE: On your shoulders. So this was at home, at night, you would express
your displeasure?
JUDGE GREEN: Yes. Unfortunately, this was something that they all
remembered when the time came and we were going together. He would call here and ask
Kitty–wouldn’t she talk me into going. He didn’t even like to dance, but he’d take me to the hop
if I’d go to it. I said, “You’re not going to take me to the hop. I’m going with somebody else,
anyway.” He was on midshipmen’s cruise, in the summertime.
MS. GERE: What’s that?
JUDGE GREEN: Midshipmen usually are taken to Europe someplace. They are
on a big battleship; they usually have several that take them. First class, and second class usually
stays at–of course I don’t know what they do now–but this was at that time. The plebes have
gotten to be youngsters at this time and there aren’t any plebes now because there are just new
ones coming into the Academy–plebe summer. But, there are two sets of classes on the cruise.
When John came back from the cruise, he walked into the Little Different Shop, and
everything was in boxes. We were engaged in closing up. I had written to everybody, all of the
people that we owed, businesses that we owed. I said that if goods were useable and hadn’t been
shopworn, we would send them back to them and they could dispose of them for whatever they
could get for them, for our credit, I’d appreciate it. I said that I would see that they were paid, no
matter how long it took, but I would keep them informed. Every time I would get a paycheck I
actually would put some little bit on each one of the ones that I’d owed, so that they would know
that I was sincere about it. I got it all paid, and I finally have–I don’t think I’ve run across these
but they are in this house someplace–the letters from the people saying that it was a most unusual
thing, since I didn’t go into bankruptcy. I didn’t do that. I did pay them all, was told I would be
welcome to their business anytime. That meant a lot to me.
But anyway, John came in and was horrified at seeing this, and he said, “What’s
happened?” I said, “We went broke.” He said, “I never even realized that you were serious
about it. It’s terrible.” He was so sad. As I say he would call up periodically–what was I doing
and all these things. It was his first class year. I said, “Well you know, you’re too juvenile for
MS. GERE: You actually said that, or something to that effect?
JUDGE GREEN: Oh yes, something to that effect. Because, although he was four
years older than I, he was acting like a child and I was not acting like a child at that point. I’ve
often felt that I was older then than I’ve ever felt since, really. Anyway, he called me up one time
and he said, “I want to tell you, since I have turned over a new leaf, I’m making my leave. It is
my first-class leave, the first one I’ve ever made in these years, over Washington’s birthday. I’m
going to go see my mother, and I’m asking you if you will go with me. There is an Army-Navy
dance, and I thought you might enjoy that. That’s at the Fairfax, the former Ritz-Carlton.”
MS. GERE: Oh, in Washington.
JUDGE GREEN: It wasn’t the Ritz-Carlton then. He said, “Do you have some
place where you can stay?” I said, “Well, as a matter of fact—” He said, “I have tickets for the
theater, too, and I thought you might enjoy it, before we go to the dance.” I said, “That sounds
like it would be very nice.” Furthermore, I really wanted to reward him, in effect, for finally
having sense enough to stay out of trouble and making a leave. So, I asked one of mother’s
friends if I could stay with her, and she said, “absolutely.” Then I thought I was making a terrible
mistake. I decided I was probably going to be fighting him off all evening. He was such a
character. I thought maybe I really would like to get out of it. But anyway, Kitty drove me down
to the train, which was the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis. I went to Washington and
went to Mrs. Hempstone’s.
MS. GERE: Mrs. Hempstone was your mother’s friend?
JUDGE GREEN: My mother’s friend. John picked me up.
MS. GERE: Where did she live?
JUDGE GREEN: She lived on California Street.
MS. GERE: I take it you hadn’t gotten out of going with him. You hadn’t figured
out a plan.
JUDGE GREEN: No, I was still going with him. But I was apprehensive. Well,
the first place he took me was to the Madrillon, which turned out to be the restaurant in the
Washington Building which I frequented later when I had my office there. We went first of all to
the Madrillon, and he couldn’t have been more solicitous, more adult, very pleasant. Then we
went to the show. Afterwards he said—
MS. GERE: Do you remember what the show was? Was it at the National
Theater, or where would it have been?
JUDGE GREEN: I believe it was the Belasco Theater, which was on–the National
we did go to plenty of times–but this one I think was the first one. The Belasco Theater was on
Lafayette Square. And afterwards it was well known–when it was not having theater things–for
the Theater Guild, which came in during the war efforts, for the entertainment of people in the
service. They took over the Belasco for that purpose. Anyway, we had a pleasant–we saw June
Walker, as I recall. I don’t remember exactly the name of the show. It may even be in another
box with all of the papers—
MS. GERE: Who is that–June Walker?
JUDGE GREEN: June Walker was the lead. Then John said, “Well I think that
there is a pretty nice spot.” Oh, I know. We were then going to the Army-Navy deal. When we
got there it was closed-up, because there had been such obstreperous behavior by both the cadets
and the midshipmen. They had thrown furniture—
MS. GERE: They closed it down?
JUDGE GREEN: —thrown furniture out the window and all sorts of things. Any
other time, John would have been—
MS. GERE: Part of that.
JUDGE GREEN: He would have been in lots of trouble. We were so happy that
we hadn’t gone there. John said let’s go somewhere else, I think it was some kind of “Square
Gardens.” It was a roadhouse-type, where they had floor shows and dancing and so on, out on
the Marlboro Pike. We went there and we had a great time. Afterwards, it was very late, he took
me back to where I was staying with Mrs. Hempstone. In fact just before we got there, he must
have been a little tipsy, because he ran up on the curb and blew out his tires.
MS. GERE: Oh no.
JUDGE GREEN: On his mother’s car. He had to leave it there all night, until the
morning, so he could get it fixed. Well, actually, I thought I had had a lovely time and it had
been such a surprise to me about how nicely he had behaved. We just had fun. He wanted to
know whether I would be willing to see him, say, next weekend. So I remember that he took me
to tea, at Weigard’s in Annapolis, which was a little tea room; mainly a little cake shop and that
sort of thing, that was all. It was very tame. He thought that he was going to do this up right. I
then went with him to everything until he was graduated. He had just two more demerits to make
and he would have been thrown out. But he didn’t.
MS. GERE: Under your good influence.
JUDGE GREEN: That’s what I’d like to say! We had a great time. Then he had
to start looking for a job because he wasn’t commissioned, and his eyes had gotten bad. Of
course, “bad” means that he had to wear glasses. Most every midshipman is wearing glasses
nowadays. In those days they were getting rid of and cutting down the Navy as much as possible,
not realizing that they were going to be in the war, and need them. (End of Tape 2) (Tape 3, Side