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Helen M. Mehl Oral History

Identifier: OHP 138

Scope and Contents

Helen M. Mehl married Lieutenant Wayne Mehl in 1961, and spent three years living in Hawaii during Wayne’s service aboard Growler. Mehl began her interview by discussing her childhood and her upbringing in a traditional Methodist family. She then stated that after graduating high school, she attended Stanford University to study art and art history. This was where she met Wayne Mehl, and she noted that by her senior year, they were engaged. Mehl then continued, stating that she moved to Hawaii after marrying Wayne, as Wayne was serving aboard Growler, which was homeported in Pearl Harbor. She discussed spending evenings with other Navy officers’ wives, attending school at the University of Hawaii, working two jobs, and visiting the officers’ club. She also spoke about the emotional complications of being a Navy spouse and repeatedly mentioned the “detachment” that arose before Wayne would leave on one of Growler’s patrols. Mehl also addressed the difficulty created by the confidentiality of Wayne’s work and the lack of communication while he was away, specifically noting the assassination of President Kennedy and the anxiety she felt not being able to discuss this event with Wayne. As the interview came to end, Helen Mehl discussed her life with Wayne after he left Growler and the Navy. She also stated what advice she would give to the men and women, and their partners, who are currently serving in the Navy.


  • June 29, 2017



13 Files

20 Sheets

Language of Materials