The testimony of Mrs. Myrtle Evans was taken on April 7, 1964, at the Old Civil Courts Building, Royal and Conti Streets, New Orleans, La., by Mr. Albert E. Jenner, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mrs. Myrtle Evans, 1910 Prytania Street, New Orleans, La., after first being duly sworn, testified as follows:
Mr. JENNER - You are Mrs. Myrtle Evans, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER - And your husband is Julian Evans, and he accompanied you here today, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER - He is waiting outside until you complete your deposition?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Mrs. Evans, are you a native of New Orleans?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER - And your husband?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he was born in New York, but he was raised in New Orleans.
Mr. JENNER - And you were born here?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I was
Mr. JENNER - And you have no family, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right. Well, I have no immediate family. I have brothers and sisters, but I don't have any children.
Mr. JENNER - All right. Are you acquainted with a person named Marguerite Oswald?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; she was a very good friend of mine.
Mr. JENNER - When did you first become acquainted with her?
Mrs. EVANS - In about 1930.
Mr. JENNER - About 1930?
Mrs. EVANS - Something like that.
Mr. JENNER - She was then about 26 or 27 years old, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I guess that's about right.
Mr. JENNER - She is either 56 or 57 right now.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, yes; she was about that then, I guess. I had met her between 1925 and 1930, about that time. I played cards with her.
Mr. JENNER - What kind of cards? Bridge?
Mrs. EVANS - We played bridge, yes.
Mr. JENNER - How did you become acquainted with her?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, through a friend, a mutual friend--hers and mine, and we used to play bridge together.
Mr. JENNER - Was she married then?
Mrs. EVANS - She was separated from her first husband.
Mr. JENNER - Where did she live then, do you know?
Mrs. EVANS - I think at that particular time she had a little apartment on North Carrollton. I never did visit her residence, so I don't know much about that. At that time she was living with her sister that lived right off of City Park, but it seems she had a basement apartment on North Carrollton. I don't think she was living there at that particular time. She did move in with her sister later, and from time to time she was with her, but at that particular time I don't think she was.
Mr. JENNER - What's her sister's name?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, I forget.
Mr. JENNER - Murret?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; Mrs. Murret.
Mr. JENNER - Lillian Murret?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; her first name is Lillian; yes, that's right.
Mr. JENNER - Did that acquaintance continue for some years?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I sort of quit playing cards, and I went and took an accounting course and went back to work, and I had not seen her for a while, and she remarried--to Oswald.
Mr. JENNER - You learned of that, did you?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; to. Oswald.
Mr. JENNER - Did you see her from time to time in that interim?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I wasn't playing cards during that time or anything, but I might have run into her---I imagine I did, on the street, but I lost contact with her, sort of, and then---it was either just before Lee's birth or just after his birth; I can't remember; it has been so many years, but I met her on the corner of Canal and St. Charles. I think that was after Lee's birth. I think her husband had died, and I think she had just taken the baby to the doctor, or something. I think she told me they had wanted to have a little girl, but I can't remember all of that just the way it happened, you know. That's been such a long time ago, but I can remember meeting her; I just can't remember though if it was after her husband died, or if she was expecting a baby, or if she was the one that wanted a little girl. I can't remember if that was after the child was born. Most likely it was that she hoped they would have a little girl. Now, a lot of this was told to me after we became friends again, as to what happened.
I didn't attend her husband's funeral or anything, and I didn't start seeing a good deal of her again until--let's see; she finally went to work downtown, and I happened to run into her, or something like that. She was working for, I think, Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., and I was a widow and she was a widow, and we again sort of regained our friendship.
Mr. JENNER - Your husband in the meantime had died?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I am married now to Mr. Evans.
Mr. JENNER - Your first husband, was he also a native-born American?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; now, I met Lee's aunt one day at a card party.
Mr. JENNER - That's Mrs. Murret?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, Lillian Murret, and I hadn't seen her in years. I am Catholic and she is Catholic, you see, and so they had this card party or some kind of an affair over at the Fontainebleau Motel, and a number of ladies were present, and it was for charity, and we played bingo and canasta and things, and she was selling aprons, and so she said, "Oh, Myrtle, did you hear about Lee; he gave up his American citizenship and went to Russia, behind the iron curtain," and I said, "My God, no," and she said, "Yes."
Well, after that I didn't hear any more about it. I lost contact.
Mr. JENNER - When was this, 1959, 1960?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I would say 2 to 3 years ago, about 3 years ago, because I have been to those affairs, I think, twice since.
Mr. JENNER - Was that the first you knew or had become aware of the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald was living in Russia?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; now, it was undoubtedly in the newspapers and on TV, but I sometimes get to doing a million things, and I don't get a chance to read the newspaper. I just skip it. And if I don't get around to it, I skip the news on TV too, even the late news. So a lot of times I don't know what's going on, but she said, "Did you hear about Lee?" and I said, "No, what about Lee?" and she said, "You didn't see it in the paper? Lee has done gone and given up his United States citizenship," and I said, "Poor Marguerite; that's terrible; I feel so sorry for her."
Mr. JENNER - You knew Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I knew him very well. I knew his mother before he was born, and I knew him since he was a little tyke. Lillian took care of him for a while, you see. She had two boys, one by her first marriage, and it wasn't her fault that they got a divorce. He didn't want the child, and he wanted her to destroy the child.
Mr. JENNER - When you say she had two boys, you are talking about Marguerite Oswald, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; Marguerite had a terrificly sad life, and she was just a wonderful, gorgeous wife. She married this John Pic and had his boy, and he didn't want any children at all, and so she left him and went to live with her sister, and Oswald, I think, was a Virginia Life Insurance salesman. He collected insurance from the sister. They lived right off of City Park, and so one day Margie was strolling with Robert in front of City Park, and Oswald bumped into them, and he asked them how about him riding them home.
Mr. JENNER - What did she say to him?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, she let him. You see, he had been collecting insurance at the house, and had spoken to Margie.
Mr. JENNER - At whose house?
Mrs. EVANS - At the Murret house, and he had played with the baby. No, let's see, John was the baby at that time, and she was separated or divorced from her husband. I forget which now. But he supported John.
Mr. JENNER - You mean Mr. Pic supported John? You are talking about John Pic now?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he continued to support him and he sent a baby crib, and he did everything like that, but he didn't want to live with her because of the child, so John never did see his father until he was, oh, about 18 years old, or something like that, so that's why those two boys were so close in age, you see, because she met Oswald, and he started taking her out. He asked her if she would go out to dinner with him, and she had been away from her husband for a year and a half or 2 years, and so she did, and then she married him, and she had this baby right away, which is Robert, and they bought a home out around Alvar somewhere, She never told me all this now; some of it I heard from other sources, like her sister and others, but she did tell me a lot of it, because we got to be real good friends.
She bought that home, and they had the two boys, and they were very happy, and then one day he was out mowing the lawn, and he had this terrific pain, and she was several months pregnant with, Lee. She called the doctor right away, but before the doctor could get there, the man was dead. He had a blood clot, so he left her with two babies and one on the way.
Now, he left her with $10,000, I think, in insurance, so she sold her home, and by that time her two boys were old enough, so she put them in this home Evangeline, I think it is, but I'm not sure about that, and she bought a home over on--what's the name of that street back off of St. Claude?
Mr. JENNER - Bartholomew?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I guess that's it. Now, she put the boys in this home.
Mr. JENNER - The Bethlehem home?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, Bethlehem; that's it. That's when I became friendly with her again. She was living with her sister for a while, and Lee was with her, and the two older boys were at the home. She was paying her sister board. But now after her husband died, she went to work, and she had a woman taking care of the little boy.
Mr. JENNER - You mean Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Why did she live there, do you know?
Mrs. EVANS - You mean on Bartholomew Street?
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, it was cheaper. She bought a cheaper home. She had lived on Alvar after she married Oswald. But after Oswald's death she moved to Bartholomew. Wait a minute---I might be getting those streets confused. No, I guess that's right. Anyway, when Oswald died he left her this $10,000 in insurance, and now I don't know whether the home was completely paid for or not, but she immediately put these boys in that home and went to work.
Mr. JENNER - Is it your information that she immediately went to work rather than try to live for a while without working?
Mrs. EVANS - She might have lived for a month or two, or something, without working, because I wasn't in contact with her, you see, but she had got this couple to come and stay with Lee, and someone said.
Mr. JENNER - What couple was that?
Mrs. EVANS - I don't know what couple it was---somebody; she had put an ad in the paper or something---some young couple. I don't know their names. She said people told her that when Lee was in the high chair, that he used to cry a lot, and they thought they were whipping little Lee, so she came home unexpectedly one night, and the child had welts on his legs, and she told them to get out and get out now.
So then from there she bought another house and sold that, and---now, this is what she told me; she told me that she bought this little double house, and she ran a sweet shop for a while in the front room there.
Mr. JENNER - She told you that she sold that house and bought a double?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, as I recall, she did.
Mr. JENNER - What's a "double"?
Mrs. EVANS - That's really two houses, side by side; you have a door here and a door here, two entrances. They call them flats or duplexes some places, but we call them doubles.
Mr. JENNER - O.K. I just wanted to make sure the record is clear on that.
Mrs. EVANS - She bought that little house, and they moved in there with her three children.
Mr. JENNER - Was that over at 831 Pauline Street?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, that sounds like the address. I never went there myself. I don't even know where Pauline Street is, to tell you the truth. It's downtown some place. Then she left there, and Lee, I think, still was with the aunt, and the two boys were down at the other place that home, and she got this job managing the hosiery store on Canal Street, and that's when I started seeing her again, and that was between 1939 and 1940, somewhere in there; around in there---the early 1940's, I would say.
Mr. JENNER - At that time she was living where now?
Mrs. EVANS - She was living with her sister then, I think, and Lee was with her, and the two boys were boarding at the Bethlehem Home. She would go down on Sundays to see her two boys.
Mr. JENNER - How long did she remain with her sister?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I don't know how long she had been with her sister, but after she took this position, she finally went to Texas, and I don't know--I couldn't tell you how long, because I just started seeing her, well, we would see each other on Saturday afternoon or Sunday, something like that, you know, just go around a bit together.
Mr. JENNER - How old was Lee at about that time, about 3 or 2, or what?
Mrs. EVANS - He was 3 or 4 years old then.
Mr. JENNER - He eventually was placed in the Bethlehem Home also, wasn't he?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, she might have finally got him in, because her sister, as you know, had a big family of her own, and I think maybe she might have finally put him in there too.
You see, they only take them at these places after a certain age, generally about three, I think. They have to be trained and all, and that's why Lee was always with her before that, and all her love, I think, she dumped on Lee after her husband died.
You know, she felt awful sorry for Lee, because he never knew his father. He was born after his father died, and he was his baby, and she always sort of felt sorry for Lee for that reason, I think, and sort of leaned toward Lee. She felt sorry for Lee because he never knew his father, I think, just as any mother would.
Mr. JENNER - Now, we have information that from sometime in 1939 to 1941, she resided on Alvar Street in New Orleans; does that square with your recollection?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, Alvar, that was where she had her home, wasn't it, on Alvar?
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. EVANS - I was told it was in that subdivision.
Mr. JENNER - And do you recall her selling that house?
Mrs. EVANS - No; she told me she sold it, but I wasn't too friendly with her at the time, and I didn't know anything about that. I was working, and I didn't play cards then, you see.
She was a friend of a friend of mine actually, that I played cards with, and I wasn't too friendly With the girl at first, but only through cards, but at the time I was sorry for her when I first learned what her husband had done to her, but later on I lost contact with her all the way up till just about the time she went to Texas, or maybe it was about a year before she went to Texas. It's hard to recall those dates, to tell what year this happened and what year that happened.
Mr. JENNER - That would have been around 1945, or 1944, somewhere in there?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; along in there.
Mr. JENNER - Do you recall her living on Atlantic Avenue in Algiers, La.?
Mrs. EVANS - Atlantic Avenue?
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. EVANS - No; I don't.
Mr. JENNER - But you do recall a period when her two older boys, John and Robert, were in the Bethlehem Orphans School?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; I went there once with her, in fact.
Mr. JENNER - At that time she was with the Murrets, is that right, Mrs. Evans?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right.
Mr. JENNER - Then she moved to Texas?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - With her children, of course?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right..
Mr. JENNER - What occurred about that time?
Mrs. EVANS - She married again.
Mr. JENNER - She married, and was that why she moved to Texas?
Mrs. EVANS - That's why. She married a very, very fine man.
Mr. JENNER - Do you recall what his name was?
Mrs. EVANS - You know it; I will give it to you--Ekdahl.
Mr. JENNER - Do you know how to spell that, Ekdahl?
Mrs. EVANS - I don't remember, but I knew her during that period all right.
Mr. JENNER - Did you become acquainted with him, Mr. Ekdahl?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - What kind of man was he, Mrs. Evans?
Mrs. EVANS - He was very high caliber, a very fine man, and he had a very fine position. The papers said she was dragged from pillar to post, but that wasn't true. It was his work that took them to places. That's why she went to New York, because of his position. He didn't drag her from pillar to post at all. I don't know what happened to them then, because I didn't see them again. He died, and that's when she moved back to New Orleans, and they stayed in my apartment building. Now, I visited her in Dallas, and I knew Eddie Ekdahl.
Mr. JENNER - Did you know Mr. Ekdahl before he married her?
Mrs. EVANS - I did.
Mr. JENNER - That was his second marriage, isn't that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; so she said. He had been separated from his wife for many years, but had never gotten a divorce, I don't think, so then he did get a divorce and married Margie.
Mr. JENNER - Do you remember where he was from originally?
Mrs. EVANS - Boston, I think
Mr. JENNER - Is it your recollection that they moved to Dallas, Tex.?
Mrs. EVANS - They did.
Mr. JENNER - Did you visit them in Dallas?
Mrs. EVANS - I did.
Mr. JENNER - Was that address 4801 Victor?
Mrs. EVANS - I don't remember that, because I went there with a friend of mine, to the Baker Hotel, I think it was. I used to go around with this friend of mine. She was with Mary Douglas Perfumes, and Margie was living there with her husband at the time, and the two children, when I visited her.
Mr. JENNER - Her husband and her two children?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, her three children, I mean, were with her.
Mr. JENNER - Including Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I went and stayed a few days with her, but the address I don't remember. We didn't correspond during those years, but that could have been the address. It was a duplex, I know, and she lived downstairs, and she rented out the upstairs.
Mr. JENNER - At that time Lee was around 6 years old, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; just about at the kindergarten stage. Let's see---yes, she lived downstairs, and she rented out the upstairs.
Mr. JENNER - When you visited there, were the two boys, John and Robert, living at the home?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; they all lived together.
Mr. JENNER - And Lee, too?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - The nature of Mr. Ekdahl's work was such that he had to travel, you say?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; he had to do a lot of traveling. I think he was a geologist; that's what my husband said he was. He was with some big company that he was top man with, and he was a good deal older than Margie, and a very fine, handsome, big man, but he had a blood clot, and that's how they got to be married as quick as they did, because of that. You see, he was at the Roosevelt Hotel, and he had nobody, and he had this blood clot and everything, and at that time he was taking Margie out, and he wasn't too well a man because of this blood clot and all, but he wanted to marry Margie, and so she married him, and they went from Dallas to, I think, San Antonio, and then I think they went to New York, and sometime after that, of course, Margie came down here, and she took an apartment with me.
Mr. JENNER - Before we get into that, Mrs. Evans, if you don't mind, let's go back a bit and see if I have this clear in my mind. You say you visited them once in Texas, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Other than that visit, you had no contact with her, that is, visually, in person, while she was in Texas?
Mrs. EVANS - No; I didn't. Now, after she was married to Ekdahl and went to Covington, she had her other two boys with her. This was in the summertime, of course. She had them in the boarding school over 'there, even after she married Ekdahl, this was. She kept Lee with her all the time she was married to Ekdahl, of course, so that they would all three be together on these business trips he had to take, and they would stay in the best hotels, of course, and they had the best of everything, but that didn't seem to work out too well, having Lee with them all the time like that.
Mr. JENNER - This was when she was married to Mr. Ekdahl, that she had the boys over at Covington?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes. Her two older sons were in boarding school, and in the summer they would all be together over at this place in Covington.
Mr. JENNER - Was this in 1946?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I don't know just what year that would have been, but I would say it was around there. I don't remember the exact years for a lot of this stuff, but I can just tell you the way I remember it happening.
Mr. JENNER - That's all right. Just go on the way you have been. The pieces will all fit together eventually, and that's what the Commission wants before it brings this investigation to its conclusion.
Mrs. EVANS - I have had so many people pass through my life, it would take something to remember all of those details.
Mr. JENNER - Did you see the boys during that period?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; she would visit me for about 3 or 4 days, I remember one time, and Lee was about 7 years old then. He was a little fellow.
Mr. JENNER - What was your impression of Lee as of that time, Mrs. Evans?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I would say Lee was a spoiled little boy, because naturally his mother kept him, and I think Margie would have had a better life if she had put him in boarding school with the other two boys, because then she would have lived with Ekdahl. I understand they were separated and divorced before he died, but you know how a mother can throw her entire life on a child and spoil that child and let the child ruin her life for her, and Margie clung to Lee regardless, but in that respect she was a wonderful mother. You couldn't find a better woman. Of course, when she married Ekdahl, she didn't want him to support her children. She tried to support them herself.
Mr. JENNER - That was her own decision?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; it was her decision. She wanted Ekdahl to take her and Lee, and she kept Lee with them all the time, and I think that's one of the things that contributed to their divorce. She was too close to Lee all the time, and I don't guess Ekdahl liked that too much.
Now, when Margie lived in Dallas, she kept her three boys with her, but after she married Ekdahl, she put the two boys in boarding school, and she still kept Lee with them. Of course, they had to leave Dallas on these trips that Mr. Ekdahl made in connection with his work, but Lee would be with them every time, and like I said, it hurt their marriage because they never could be alone. Lee was spoiled. He was just a spoiled boy. I'll put it this way: He was her baby, and she loved him to death, and she spoiled him to death. One of the older boys, or maybe both of them--I don't remember, but I think they both went into the Marines----
Mr. JENNER - Well, one of them went into the Coast Guard.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, they went into the service, and both of her older boys were very, very fine boys. John Pic was a lovely boy, but of course he never did see his father. His father never did care to see the child, the way I understand it, and at 18 I think he quit supporting him, or something like that. Now, when Margie decided to come back to New Orleans, I think she came here from San Antonio or Fort Worth, one of those places, and she went to her sister's----
Mr. JENNER - Would you wait a minute now, ma'am? Was Marguerite working at that time, either in Texas, or did she go to work after she came back to New Orleans?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, she might have tried her hand at real estate at one time, and of course she had worked in different department stores, and at the time I caught up with her and ran into her, I think she said she was working then for the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. She said she answered a blind ad in the paper, and she got this job, and she opened Jean's Hoisery Shop, and that's when we would meet and go to lunch on a Saturday afternoon, and we got to be friendly.
Mr. JENNER - And you were working at that time also?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir; I was in the government then. I am an accountant, and I was with the government. We would meet, like on Thursday evenings and have dinner, and shop around, and on Saturday afternoon, usually at those times, and we became pretty friendly again, but then of course she went back to Texas.
I used to travel with this friend of mine who was with Mary Douglas Perfumes, and she traveled out of California, and she was going to be in Dallas for a show--some kind of display show, I guess it was, and I went with her, and during that trip I guess I stayed about a week with Margie.
Mr. JENNER - What kind of housekeeper was Margie?
Mrs. EVANS - A very good housekeeper, very tasty; she could take anything and make something out of it, and something beautiful. She had a lot of natural talent that way, and she was not lazy. She would work with things by the hour for her children, and she kept a very neat house, and she was always so lovely herself. That's why, when I saw her on TV, after all of this happened, she looked so old and haggard, and I said, "That couldn't be Margie," but of course it was, but if you had known Margie before all this happened, you would see what I mean. She was beautiful. She had beautiful wavy hair.
Mr. JENNER - What about Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, Lee was a smart boy. He was no dummy. He was a bit of a bookworm, I would say.
Mr. JENNER - Tell me more about that.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he had hair like his mother for example, but he was a loner. That's what the children all said, but of course, I didn't pay too much attention to that, but he didn't bring boys in the house, I mean, and he would always seem to prefer being by himself.
Mr. JENNER - He wouldn't bring boys into the house?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he never did, that I know of. He would come home, and he would get his books and his music, and then when he wanted supper, or something to eat, he would scream like a bull. He would holier, "Maw, where's my supper?" Some of the time Margie would be downstairs talking to me or something, and when he would holier at her, she would jump up right away and go and get him something to eat. Her whole life was wrapped up in that boy, and she spoiled him to death. Lee was about 13 about that time, I think, along in there.
Mr. JENNER - Was this while he was living with his mother at one of your apartments?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, this was the last time I knew anything about Lee, when they lived at my apartment.
Mr. JENNER - Was this after or before she had gone to New York City?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, this was all after her trip to New York. She wasn't with Ekdahl any more when she came back here.
Mr. JENNER - I wonder if you would hold that for a minute now. I would like to have you give me your impression of Lee up to the time they returned from New York?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I couldn't give you too much about the child, because I didn't know him too much. He seemed just like a normal boy. I mean, he didn't seem to be any different than his brothers, as far as that goes, but the way he kept to himself just wasn't normal, I don't think. I guess that's why they called him a loner, because he was alone so much. He didn't seem to want to be with any other children. Now, when she was over in Covington in the summer months, she would be there the full 3 months, I think, and they seemed to be a very happy family. They would go swimming and eat watermelon, and they had a couple of dogs, I think, in the backyard, and they would just have a good time. I would say they were really a happy family in those days.
Mr. JENNER - They were a happy family?
Mrs. EVANS - As far as I could see, they were very happy, very closely knit, very much in love with each other, and these boys knew that their mother was putting them through school, and giving them what they needed, as best she could. .She was a very good provider for her children, and a very decent woman. I mean, she wasn't a loose woman at all. She was very decent, a very fine woman.
Mr. JENNER - Well, that squares with everything we have found. I don't think any mother could do more than she did for them, as far as we have been able to find out.
Mrs. EVANS - That's right. Nobody could have done any more for their children than she did, I mean, With what she had to work with. She was never well off, I mean, financially. She always worked and saved and made do the best she could.
Mr. JENNER - When she moved to New York City, did you lose touch with Margie then?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I lost complete touch With Margie.
Mr. JENNER - Did you hear from her while she was in New York?
Mrs. EVANS - No; I don't think so. She might have written me a postal card or something, but I don't think so.
Mr. JENNER - Then the first time that you again began seeing her was when she came back to New Orleans, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Did you hear from her or hear about her while she was living in Texas, before she went to New York?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; like I said, I was over there in Dallas with her for a week, and I kept pretty well in touch with what she was doing. For a time she lived--what's the name of that little town?
Mr. JENNER - Do you mean Benbrook?
Mrs. EVANS - It could have been that. Anyway, I heard from her again, that she was traveling a lot with her husband. She was still living with Ekdahl then. They were living in hotels and traveling, and Lee was right with them all the time.
Mr. JENNER - She kept Lee with her on all these trips with Mr. Ekdahl?
Mrs. EVANS - As far as I know, she did, yes.
Mr. JENNER - As far as you know, did she have Lee with her all the time?
Mrs. EVANS - I don't think that she ever parted with Lee for a minute. If she did, I don't know about it, but when she came back, the way she talked, I figured that Lee was with them the whole time, and they had lived in hotels and things like that while Mr. Ekdahl was traveling.
Mr. JENNER - Do you recall when her marriage to Ekdahl took place, Mrs. Evans?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, it was when she went to Texas, just about at that time.
Mr. JENNER - Around 1945, would that have been, in maybe 1944?
Mrs. EVANS - Along in there; yes. She married him, I think, in Dallas, Tex. or maybe it was Fort Worth. I can't recall that for sure.
Mr. JENNER - But he had been here in New Orleans, and that's when they struck up this acquaintanceship, here in New Orleans, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right.
Mr. JENNER - She said that he had had a heart attack, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; she did.
Mr. JENNER - And he was courting her during this time?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER - His sister came down from Boston, is that right, to sort of see how he was getting along here, is that correct?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right. I guess that's what prompted her to come down here, because he had had this trouble, and I guess she was concerned about him.
Mr. JENNER - And that courtship between him and Marguerite ripened into marriage then; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Did Ekdahl's sister approve of Marguerite?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; she wanted her to marry Ekdahl, and before she went back to Boston, Margie made her a promise that she would look after him.
Mr. JENNER - Then Margie moved to Texas with Mr. Ekdahl; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir.
Mr. JENNER - And you say you visited them over there, in Dallas; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir; I did.
Mr. JENNER - And you think you might have heard from her at different times when she was traveling with her husband?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right--you know, postal cards and such.
Mr. JENNER - And then you didn't hear from her for a while; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right.
Mr. JENNER - And then you said you heard from her again?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Would you give me the circumstances of that now, please?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, she called me, most likely. She was at her sister's. She was looking for an apartment.
Mr. JENNER - Excuse me, but when you say "her sister's," who do you mean?
Mrs. EVANS - Lillian Murret. She had only that one sister here. She was a good many years older than Margie. Margie was the baby of the family. She took care of her father, that is, until his death, and she kept house for her father, too. I guess there is about 10 years difference between the two. That's why I guess they have not been too close. But anyway, she called me and asked about an apartment, and I told her I could give her an apartment, and that I would let her have it cheaper than I would somebody else that I didn't know. Now, they didn't have any furniture, but there were a few pieces left in the apartment, and her sister provided some things and I found a few things for her, so she made out with that.
Mr. JENNER - Do you remember what year that was?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I remodeled that apartment about 10 years ago, so I would say that that was around 1954, along in there, in the early spring, I think it was.
Mr. JENNER - In the early spring?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, it might have been a little later. It could have been in May or June of 1954, but possibly a little earlier than that. I can't remember that well enough to be definite on the month.
Mr. JENNER - Where was this apartment?
Mrs. EVANS - 1454 St. Mary Street, apartment 6, but now finally Margie decided that she couldn't afford that apartment, and moved, despite the fact that I was renting it to her for less than I would have anybody else, and I told her that.
She came in one day and told me, "Myrtle, I am going to give the apartment up." She told me that she had seen a house out around St. Bernard that would be cheaper. She said she had rode around and looked at the house, and she thought that she would take it.
Mr. JENNER - She had an automobile?
Mrs. EVANS - No; she rode the bus out there.
Mr. JENNER - She had no complaints about your apartment, did she? She just had found a cheaper place to move to?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, she was perfectly happy in the apartment. She said she liked it, but that she just couldn't afford it.
Mr. JENNER - Who else was in the apartment besides Marguerite?
Mrs. EVANS - Just her and Lee.
Mr. JENNER - You did see Lee after they returned from New York?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; they lived at my house for, oh, I guess about 6 months.
Mr. JENNER - Including Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes.
Mr. JENNER - She and Lee lived in your home for 6 months?
Mrs. EVANS - In this apartment, yes.
Mr. JENNER - In the No. 6 apartment?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; you see, I had this great big house with about 27 rooms or more.
Mr. JENNER - It was just one big building; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; but it was converted into modern apartments, and they took one of them, you see---one of the smaller apartments. I had had one tenant prior to her, so she was the second tenant in this little apartment.
Mr. JENNER - And that was at 1454 St. Mary Street?
Mrs. EVANS - Correct.
Mr. JENNER - So she and her son Lee occupied that apartment for approximately 6 months, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - And that was in 1954, you say?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.; maybe not exactly that year, but along about there.
Mr. JENNER - Did you get to see both of them frequently?
Mrs. EVANS - Practically every day.
Mr. JENNER - All right. Now, tell me about this period while they lived at your home. Just transport yourself back to 10 years ago. What did Lee Oswald look like?
Mrs. EVANS - What did he look like?
Mr. JENNER - Yes; and what did he do? What impression did he make on you then, not what you heard, but what you remember now about him?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he was more spoiled.
Mr. JENNER - More than before?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he had gotten older, and he wanted his way, and he was a teenager then, and like all teenagers, he was very difficult. Of course, I guess all teenagers are that way, because they are not yet grown and they are not a child either. The best of them are very trying, and it is hard to keep them in line. In that respect Lee wasn't any different than any other teenaged boy, I guess.
Mr. JENNER - Now, this was the period after which Lee returned from New York; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; after they came here from New York.
Mr. JENNER - With his mother?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - What did they say to you as to why they returned from New York and came to New Orleans?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I don't know that they said anything, but it seems to me now that they came right from Texas over to New Orleans then, not right from New York. I could be mistaken there, but I think they went back to Texas from New York.
Maybe they did come right from New York, but I can't remember that far back. I know that they had divorced, and although no one told me, I just put two and two together, and it was my opinion that Lee evidently was just so spoiled and demanded so much of his mother's attention that they didn't get along--I mean, her and Ekdahl, because of Lee. Now, that's my opinion. She never told me why.
Mr. JENNER - That's just your surmise?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, sir; I can't help feeling that if she had put Lee in a boarding school, she might have hung onto her meal ticket, and considering Mr. Ekdahl's condition and everything, if all that hadn't happened, she would have been sitting on top of the world. She wouldn't have had another worry in her life, as far as money goes, but instead her children came first, I mean, Lee. She just poured out all her love on him, it seemed like.
Mr. JENNER - Did she ever say anything to you about her experiences in New York City?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - She never said anything to you that would have given you an indication as to whether she had come from New York rather than Texas, or vice versa?
Mrs. EVANS - No; not that I recall, but it is my distinct feeling that she stayed in New York awhile and then moved to Texas again, and then over to New Orleans--Fort Worth, I think, but I can't say that for sure.
Mr. JENNER - Did she say anything to you about any trouble that Lee had had in school in New York City?
Mrs. EVANS - No; she never did. But I knew Ekdahl, and I knew he was a man that was set in his ways. He was older than Margie, and he wanted, evidently, a wife. He wanted her to be with him evidently, and if you've got a kid dragging behind, you know it makes a difference, but now whether that caused the break or not, I don't know. I couldn't tell you that.
Mr. JENNER - The point I am getting at is, she didn't say anything to you about any problem or difficulties she had had with Lee in New York City?
Mrs. EVANS - None whatever.
Mr. JENNER - You were aware that she had been in New York City, of course?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - But she didn't say anything to you about it?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - Now, at that time Lee was about 15 years old; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - He was, somewhere around there--maybe 13 or 14. I don't know exactly.
Mr. JENNER - At any rate, you had a period here of several years between the time you saw him and he lived in your apartment with his mother, and the time you had previously seen him, so could you compare what he was like and how he acted when you saw him in 1954, as against when you had seen him before that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, like I said, he was more spoiled than he was when he was younger. He was just a little boy when I first saw him, and this time he was quite grown up, a teenager, like I said, so I would say he was a lot more difficult this time to understand or control than he was when he was younger.
The main thing that seems to stand out in his conduct was the way he demanded to be fed when he would come from school. Margie would be downstairs maybe, talking to me or something, and he would come to the head of the stairs and yell for her to come up and fix him something to eat. He would just stand up there and yell, "Maw, how about fixing me something to eat?" and she would jump up right away and go running upstairs to get something for him.
Now, he liked records. He didn't want to see any television, but he would lock himself up in his bedroom sometimes and play these records, and listen to the radio, and read. He was a hard one to try to figure out. But other than that, he was, I would say, Just an average, spoiled teenage kid that wanted what he wanted. There are very few of them that aren't that way.
Mr. JENNER - Would you say he was more spoiled than the average teenager?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he was spoiled maybe more because he didn't have a father to pull him down a bit. When you are raising a child alone, it's a hard row---I mean, with just the mother, because, you know, they are getting bigger all the time, and a woman can't keep control over them like a man can.
Mr. JENNER - You mean physically?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; physically.
Mr. JENNER - Did she register him in school here in New Orleans when they came to live in your apartment?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I don't know who registered him. That I don't know.
Mr. JENNER - But he did go to school?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; he went to school.
Mr. JENNER - Which school was that?
Mrs. EVANS - That was Beauregard, and I might say that she used her sister's address so she could get him in that school. It's a good school, and she wanted him to go there, and also at that time I believe she was living with her sister, so that was in that school district. That's the way I understand it anyway. I think there has been some confusion about that address that was given at the school, but it is my understanding that that's why she used it. If she hadn't used her sister's address, he couldn't have gone to Beauregard probably, I mean, if she had moved to another district. So since she wanted him in Beauregard, that was the easiest way to do it.
Mr. JENNER - In order to get him in Beauregard, she used her sister's address, and that was the reason, as you understand it; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; that was a good school. I guess it still is, but she wanted him in there. Otherwise he would have had to go to another school.
Mr. JENNER - That's Beauregard Junior High School; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; and, like I said, a good school; a very fine school.
Mr. JENNER - Was Lee a good student, according to information you received in that regard, if you did receive any such information?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I never saw his report cards, but I think he was a pretty good student. I really couldn't tell you that.
Mr. JENNER - Did you notice during this period that you had this recent, close acquaintanceship with him, that he was still retiring, and that he was inclined to be by himself?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he liked books, and he liked music, and he would come home from school, of course, a couple of hours before Margie, and he would have crossword puzzles and books and music, and he seemed to entertain himself very well.
Mr. JENNER - He didn't go out and play with the other children?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he didn't.
Mr. JENNER - Now, they had this change in 1955 from 1454 to 1452 St. Mary. Was that in the same building?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - Was that a different apartment, then?
Mrs. EVANS - I will tell you what happened there. There was this young couple that wanted that apartment, and I still hear from them. She sold them her furniture. They were the tenants after her, and she sold them some of the things in the apartment, because at that time she told me she was going to take this house way up on the other side of town, and she came back the next day and told me that she changed her mind and wanted her apartment back, but I told her that I had already rented her apartment to this young couple. I said, "Margie, what happened to the house you were going to get?" and she said, "I looked it over," and she said, "It's too far from a grocery store. I have no way of getting my groceries; too many blocks to walk, and it's too inconvenient."
I told her, "Well, I've already rented the apartment to this young couple," and she said, "I want to keep my apartment," and I said, "But, Margie, I have rented the apartment already, and you even sold them some furniture," and she said, "Well, they can have the furniture," but she said, "Just tell them you can't let them have the apartment; that I have got to keep it."
Well, that was how we sort of fell out, was over this deal. I told her, I said, "Margie, I just can't do that." To tell you the truth, the way Lee was acting up and all--he was very noisy, I didn't particularly want to do it. I knew, in the first place, that the girl simply couldn't afford it, and it would be just a matter of months until she would be behind in her rent and everything. I think she was already about a month in arrears on the rent, and I just figured it would be better if I didn't give her the apartment back, so I told her that I couldn't do it, because I had already rented it to this couple. I knew that, even if she could pay the rent for that month, it would be just a matter of time until she couldn't make it, and she would be struggling all the time and trying to make it, and it would maybe be more hard feelings if I let it go on that way, so I decided that it would be better to let it go the way it was going. It seemed to be the best way out of it. I thought we would be better friends maybe if they would go ahead and move now, rather than later, so I told her, I said, "Margie, if you want, you can move next door, and it will be a little cheaper," and so, they did move next door. Now, I had told her that I was going to fix up that little apartment she had occupied, just to sort of let her down easy---you know, have it painted, and so forth, so she went ahead and moved next door for a while.
Mr. JENNER - Was that 1452 St. Mary; this place next door?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; right next door. You see I think I have skipped something. I told her that I wanted to get the apartment that she had been in fixed up, and that's how I talked her into taking the place next door, but then she started complaining and saying I was charging her too much rent for this place next door, and I wasn't getting the apartment fixed up that she had been in, and in the meantime Lee had gotten to the point where he was noisier and more determined with his mother, and it was getting a little unbearable.
Mr. JENNER - What do you mean, he was getting "more determined?" In what respects was he more determined?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he would yell, "Maw, come and fix my supper," and he had a loud voice, and I could hear him more and more up there, and it got to be quite disturbing, actually. It seemed to be a situation that was getting worse all the time; so I thought maybe it would be better if I didn't have them around; so, since the apartment wasn't fixed up anyway, and she wasn't very happy next door, she up and moved, and that's when she went to Exchange Alley.
Mr. JENNER - O.K. That was in April of 1955; is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes, and I never saw her after that.
Mr. JENNER - You never saw her again?
Mrs. EVANS - No; I didn't.
Mr. JENNER - You didn't see her at Exchange Alley?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - She never came to visit you?
Mrs. EVANS - No; she was angry about the apartment, because I made her give it up. I mean I wouldn't give it back to her after she moved away. I don't think she ever got over that.
Mr. JENNER - She didn't come to visit you any more at all?
Mrs. EVANS - No; she didn't.
Mr. JENNER - She didn't get in touch with you at all?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - When was the next time you heard from or heard about, Margie or Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - The next thing I heard, they had moved back to Texas. They had left town.
Mr. JENNER - Where did you hear that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, her sister, Lillian, I saw her in Holmes or--let's see, maybe it was at the Fontainbleau, at a card party we were having--yes; I think that was it; she asked me if I had seen Margie, and I said, "No; I haven't seen or heard from Margie," and that's when she told me that she had heard Margie had moved back to Texas. I didn't know that at all. I had heard from several people that they had seen Margie downtown. She worked at three or four different places--you know, hosiery, and so forth, and someone would run into me every once in a while that I knew, and would say they had seen Margie downtown at some store or other, but I didn't see her, and then the next thing I knew she was supposed to be back in Texas, and then I ran into Lillian again later and she told me---this was at the Fontainbleau. Now, I have that straight. She told me then about the trouble Lee was in.
Mr. JENNER - Where did you run into Lillian at that time?
Mrs. EVANS - At a benefit card party.
Mr. JENNER - At the Fontainbleau?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right.
Mr. JENNER - And what did Lillian tell you about Lee on that occasion?
Mrs. EVANS - She told me that Lee was in Russia.
Mr. JENNER - That Lee had defected to Russia?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right.
Mr. JENNER - Then, when was the next thing you heard about any of the Oswald family?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, that was when Lee came to town, and they took an apartment up on Magazine Street. I can't remember that date now, but Lee got here a day or two before his wife came in.
Mr. JENNER - Would that have been in May of 1963?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I don't remember the date, but it seems like it was about the middle of May; maybe about May 16, or somewhere close to that.
Mr. JENNER - Was that when he took the apartment at 4905 Magazine Street?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes. Was that May 16?
Mr. JENNER - No; I think it was a little earlier than that, according to our information.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, whatever date that was, that was the next time I saw him. I don't know if it was April or May, or even March; I don't know what date it was, but I got the apartment for him, and he moved in on the day he rented it, or the next day, I think.
Mr. JENNER - He moved in on the 10th; would that be about right; the day after he rented the apartment?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, if he rented it on the 9th, then that would be about right. He moved in the day after, I think it was.
Mr. JENNER - On the 9th of May?
Mrs. EVANS - I guess so; yes. That's when I saw him, on the 9th of May, and then he moved in on the 10th.
Mr. JENNER - Tell me the circumstances that led to his renting that apartment, Mrs. Evans.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, the doorbell rang, and my husband hadn't gone to work. He says he recognized him then, but I don't remember it that way, but anyway this young man was at the door, and he said he wanted an apartment, and did I have an apartment to rent, and I didn't have anything in this building, but I told him about another building I was fixing up, and I told him I might be able to find something for him, and he told me he had a wife and child over in Texas, and that he was going to bring them over here as soon as he could find an apartment. and that he had to find something right now. He said, "I want something right away."
When we were walking down the steps, I looked at him real hardlike, and I didn't recognize him, but something made me ask him, "I know you, don't I?" and he said, "Sure; I am Lee Oswald; I was just waiting to see when you were going to recognize me." I said, "Lee Oswald, what are you doing in this country? I thought you were in Russia. I thought you had given up your American citizenship and gone behind the Iron Curtain," and he said, "No," he said, "I went over there," he said, "but I didn't give up my citizenship." He said he had been back in the States for quite a while, and that he had brought his Russian wife back with him; so I told him I would help him look for a place; so I rang up this friend of mine, and I asked her, I said, "Vickie, do you happen to know where I can rent an apartment for a young couple with one little baby?" and she said, "Yes; Myrtle, I will take children. This is a little duplex," she said, and she said, "This is a nice little apartment, and I think they will like it," and I said , "How much?" and she said, "$65," and I said, "Well, he can't spend too much; he is just getting a new job."
Mr. JENNER - What's her name?
Mrs. EVANS - Mrs. Maynard--Vickie Maynard.
Mr. JENNER - Do you know her husband's first name?
Mrs. EVANS - Charles---Charlie Maynard. She only saw him for about 15 minutes; she has no bearing on this.
Mr. JENNER - Oh, I see.
Mrs. EVANS - So she said, "Myrtle, bring him over, and I'll see you in about 10 minutes," and I said, "We'll come up and see it," so we got in the car and went up and looked at it, but it wasn't too impressive. It was an upper, and they had no laundry facilities, or anything. They did have a little spare room that he could have made into a nursery for the baby, but Lee wasn't satisfied with it after we looked at it. He told me that he would rather get something on the first floor, and with laundry facilities, having the baby and all, so I said, "Well, come on, Lee; I don't know anybody that will take children," I said, "but we will Just ride up and down the streets and see what we can find." So we rode in and out and all around Baronne and Napoleon and Louisiana Avenue, and Carondelet, you know, just weaving in and out the streets, and looking for any signs of apartments for rent, so we finally rode down Magazine Street, and I said, "You might as well get as close to your work as possible if you are going to get an ap artment."
Mr. JENNER - Had you learned in the meantime that he had a job with the Reily Coffee Co.?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes. He told me that he had just got a job with the Reily Coffee Co., and that he wanted his wife to come over here. In fact, he was going to phone her to come over that Saturday, I believe he said.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say what kind of job he had with Reily?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he just told me he was going to work for the Reily Coffee Co., and that he had been staying at Lillian's, and that he was anxious for his wife to come to New Orleans, and he said a friend was going to drive her over here; so we were coming down Magazine Street, and all of a sudden he said, "Oh, there's a sign," and I said, "Good," so I pulled up around the corner, and we got out and read the sign, and then we went up and rang the doorbell, and they showed us two apartments, and this one apartment was very good for the money.
It was really the most for your money, I'd say, so I said, "Lee," I said, "this is a very nice apartment for the money; you can't afford too much," and I said, "This is the best you can do," and I said, "If I were you, I would take it," and it had a living room that was a tremendous room.
Mr. JENNER - Larger than this room?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, no; not quite that wide, but really long, and they had a bedroom here, and a kitchen that went this way, in other words, and it had a front screened porch, and a yard, and the yard was long, and it had a Page fence.
Mr. JENNER - What kind of fence was that?
Mrs. EVANS - A Page fence--an iron fence, like they use around New Orleans. You may call them storm fences, but down here they call them Page fences.
Mr. JENNER - Can you see through them?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; it's just that a child couldn't get in the street. I mean they are good fences, but they are not solid. You can see through them--these sort of diagonals, I guess you would call them. Now, the people that ran the place that he rented it from were sort of caretakers. She lived on one side, and she ran the apartment on the other side that they rented.
Mr. JENNER - What was her name; the lady who lived next door?
Mrs. EVANS - I don't know. I had her phone number and her name, and I was going to call her--I did call her once that I remember, but, nevertheless, I told Lee to give her the money for the gas and light, in other words, the deposit, so she could get the electricity turned on, because he wanted his wife to come for Saturday. I think this must have been about Wednesday or Thursday that we were there. He said it would be night before they got there, because this friend of his wife, who talked Russian, was going to bring her over to New Orleans, and bring the baby bed, bring everything, and that way, with the extra room and everything, that the lady could stay overnight, this friend of his wife, so we went on back and got in the car and rode on home, and I think I went out and got some luncheon meat and some things, and I think I ran to the grocery store, too, and got a pound of ham and some stuff, and we sat and ate lunch, and he drank a coke, I think, and we talked, and I asked him, I said, "Well, how does it feel to b e back in New Orleans?" and he said, "I have wanted to move back to New Orleans." He said, "New Orleans is my home," and he said, "I felt like I just wanted to come back," and he said, "You know, I like the old high ceilings and the trees and the French Quarter, and everything in New Orleans," and he said, "You know, in Russia the buildings are brand new," and we talked a little about Russia--not too much, but he did tell me how men over in Russia can't rent an apartment if they are not married; that they have to live in rooms, so many men to a room; that you have to be married to have an apartment; and he said that they were all modern, and they are given to you by the Government, but that you can only have an apartment if you are married; so we talked some more about Russia, and about him giving up his citizenship and things.
Mr. JENNER - Tell me what he said about giving up his citizenship. I want to hear all about that.
Mrs. EVANS - What he told me?
Mr. JENNER - Yes; what did he say about defecting to Russia; anything he said about that?
Mrs. EVANS - He said he didn't give up his American citizenship; that that was ridiculous. He told me that he just wanted to see the country over there, and he had gotten work over there, and that he had fallen in love with this girl, and we talked about the difference in the housing here and over there, and he told me that they didn't pay any rent, and they had a modern apartment, I think, about on the fourth floor.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say it was only one room; that there was only one room to this apartment?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he said they had a living room, a bedroom, a dining room.
Mr. JENNER - Is that what he said?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he said they had a nice place to live over there.
Mr. JENNER - He said that?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he told me it was an apartment, but he said he had to live with other men in one room prior to the time he was married.
Mr. JENNER - When he said apartment, you assumed that he meant several rooms--a bedroom, kitchen, and so forth; isn't that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - But you don't know that, do you, Mrs. Evans?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, no; I don't know that. I have never been to Russia. All I know is what he told me.
Mr. JENNER - But do you remember him distinctly telling you that his apartment had all of these rooms?
Mrs. EVANS - No; I don't remember that. He just said it was a modern apartment. I remember him saying that. It could have been just one room.
Mr. JENNER - It could have been one room?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, like I say, I just don't know. He said it was a modern apartment, but other than that I don't know what else he said, I mean, whether he described it any more than that or not, or whether I even asked him any more about it.
Mr. JENNER - But he did use the word "apartment," is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he said they had an apartment; I remember that very plainly, and he said it was modern, but other than that I don't know.
Mr. JENNER - But he didn't describe the apartment, as far as you can recall?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right; I don't remember him doing that.
Mr. JENNER - And he didn't deny at any time to you that he had attempted to defect, but that he had failed?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he said he never did.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say he had not attempted to defect?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he said that he did not want to give up his American citizenship, and that he never intended to do so. He said, "I am an American," and he said, "I just went over there, just messing around."
Mr. JENNER - Did he express to you then or at any subsequent time his opinion of Russia and his reaction to the life he had in Russia?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he didn't seem to think they had treated him too had. I guess he was just a young man in love with this Russian girl, but he did say now that he had decided not to come back to the States until he could bring her with him. He did say that, so from that conversation I gathered that he evidently wanted to come back, but he had married into a Russian family, and he had to get out the best way he could.
Now, this Russian woman, I don't know if she was Russian born or not, but the paper said that this woman was a teacher, and that she taught Russian.
Mr. JENNER - You mean Mrs. Paine? You are talking about Mrs. Paine now?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; I didn't even remember her name.
Mr. JENNER - You mean the lady that brought Marina over to New Orleans from Texas?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; the one that brought Marina and the baby to New Orleans.
Mr. JENNER - Well, we will get into that in a minute, Mrs. Evans; she's not a Russian woman, by the way. She's a girl from Columbus, Ohio, that was a Quaker.
Mrs. EVANS - Is that right?
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, she did speak Russian, and she was the lady friend of Marina that was going to bring Marina and the baby to New Orleans.
Mr. JENNER - Well, that's right; she does speak Russian?
Mrs. EVANS - He told me that his wife didn't speak American.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say why she didn't speak English?
Mrs. EVANS - Why she didn't?
Mr. JENNER - Yes; did he give you any reason for that, why she wasn't learning the English language since she was living over here?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he didn't say anything about that.
Mr. JENNER - What impression did you have of Lee as of that visit, Mrs. Evans, because you were with him for quite a while there on this apartment hunting tour? What did you think of Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he was, I would say, sort of arrogant. He seemed to think of himself as being sort of apart from everybody else, and he carried himself so straight, and the way he had of avoiding people, and keeping within himself, and, you know, not talking too much--I noticed all that. I asked him how his mother was, and he said his mother was fine, and I asked him about his brothers. because his brothers were both in Texas, and I believe one of them has a child or two, or something like that, and he said as far as he knew they were all right. We were just sort of talking, you might say, on the surface. You know how you do, riding along, and all the time looking for something--like we were looking for apartment signs. We were getting out and looking, and getting back in, and Just driving around looking and talking about things in general.
Mr. JENNER - Now, you used the expression "arrogant." What did you mean by that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, you know---I don't know, just the way he talked, and walked around, I guess. I don't know what gives you that feeling when you are around somebody like that. He was just different.
Mr. JENNER - Do you think he considered himself superior to anybody else, or to his fellow Americans, or anything like that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I wouldn't say he acted like he was superior to anybody else. He acted normal in that respect, I guess, but he talked about Russia and he talked about the way they lived, and then he said, "It's good to be back in the United States," and he said he would have come back before he did if it had not been for this Russian girl that he married. He said he had been in Texas 8 months then, and I said, "Well, what made you come back to New Orleans?" and he said, "Well, you know, this is my home, and I wanted to see my family."
Mr. JENNER - The Oswald family?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes. He said he wanted to see if he could locate any of his family, that he didn't know who any of them were any more.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say anything at all as to whether he was happy or unhappy in Russia?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he didn't say anything about that, except he said he would have come back sooner if he hadn't married this girl, and he had to wait until he could bring her out of the country.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say anything about having been in the service?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he didn't say anything about that, but I found that out.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say anything about what his ambitions were, what his objectives were in life now that he was back home?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - Did he have any luggage with him?
Mrs. EVANS - Not when he came to my house. He said he had been staying at his aunt's?
Mr. JENNER - Did he talk about any of his old friends?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - When he was a teen-ager, did he ever smoke?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - Did you ever know him to smoke?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - Or drink?
Mrs. EVANS - No.
Mr. JENNER - Would you say he was temperate with respect to smoking?
Mrs. EVANS - No; he was very deep; a very deep boy, and he liked to dig into things, and he liked music and books.
Mr. JENNER - Would you say he was a voracious reader?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he liked to read, and he liked to listen to the radio.
Mr. JENNER - What kind of music drew his attention, classics?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, symphony--more of the highbrow stuff, I guess you would say. I don't really remember because this was so many years ago, and I didn't go up to their apartment that much, you know; she would come down to my apartment.
Mr. JENNER - Who would?
Mrs. EVANS - His mother, but I know he liked to listen to his records a lot, and he had a lot of books all over the place, you know. His mother would come downstairs in the evening sometime, you know, and we would sit and talk, and sometimes even when she would just come in from work, she would have dinner with me, or something like that, and that's the way it was with Margie and me until we had this sort of falling out, I guess you would call it.
Then after they moved to Texas, like I said, I didn't hear from them for quite awhile, and then Lee came back and came to the house, and we did all of that apartment hunting until we found him one, and then after he had moved in, he called me one day and wanted to know if I could come up and meet Marina.
Mr. JENNER - How long was this after he had moved into the apartment, can you remember?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, I'd say about a week or so, and anyway I thought it would be nice to go up and meet Marina, and I told him we would try to come up, because I would like to meet his wife, and he said, "Just come anytime." He said she was anxious to meet me. Well, of course, I was busy, so I didn't go, so one night while we were sitting and looking at television here his face comes glaring up on the television screen, and he had been arrested for passing out some kind of handbills or something, and it told about this scuffling over this Cuban thing.
Mr. JENNER - Let me interrupt you there for a minute now. That's the first you ever heard, or the first knowledge you had, that Lee Oswald was mixed up in any way with this sort of activity, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes; I had no idea that he was mixed up in anything like this, and I was shocked when I saw his face come on the screen passing out these handbills in connection with this Cuban thing, so I told my husband, "Well, they said he went to Russia to give up his American citizenship; well, maybe he has." I said, "I am certainly not going up there now," so I didn't go, and I don't know whether this was before that or after that, but I called up the lady that had rented the apartment to them--I had asked her for her phone number at the time, and I told her at the time that I would try to send her some tenants, so she did give me the number, so I called one time to see how the Oswalds were getting along. Evidently this must have been after that. I don't remember. So anyway I called and said----
Mr. JENNER - Would that have been Mrs. Garner?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; that's right; Garner. I told her, I said, "This is Myrtle Evans, who helped Lee Oswald get that apartment; how are the Oswalds getting along," and she said, "You know, they are a queer kind of people," and she said, "I just told him, 'After all, how do you expect your wife and your child ever to speak the English language when all you ever talk to them is in Russian'?" She said, "I told him, 'This girl doesn't know a word of English, and I can't converse with her at all'," and she said, "I asked him why he didn't talk to her in English and let her learn some English so that she can talk to the people that live here in this country, instead of always in Russian."
Mr. JENNER - What did she say he said when she said that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, she said he didn't say anything. She said she tried to help them in different ways, but they didn't seem to want her to help them, and that the girl couldn't talk a word of English, so she couldn't understand her anyway. She said that Lee had for some reason always talked to her in Russian. She said she told him, "She will never learn to speak English if you keep talking to her in Russian." Now, that must have been prior to the time that I saw this deal on television, and then the next thing I knew about Lee, it was all over television, that he had killed the President, and the rest of it you know. I didn't even know he was back in Texas. I thought he was still living on Magazine Street and working at the Reily Coffee Co.
Mr. JENNER - You didn't know he was back in Texas?
Mrs. EVANS - No; because I never did go back when I saw this flash about the Cuban situation on TV and Lee's picture all over the screen. I said, "If he is Russian, I don't want to get dragged into it. Maybe they will think I had some thing to do with it."
Mr. JENNER - So you just stayed away, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - That's right; I didn't want to take a chance in getting involved in anything like that. However, I will say this, I would have loved to meet Marina. Maybe you can call it curiosity, or something, but I did want to meet her. She seems to be such a lovely person. I couldn't tell you where they lived in Texas. I never heard from them any more after that. I would have liked to tell his mother how sorry I felt for the loss of her son, and things like that, but I just don't know how to go about something like that now. I guess it's just one of those things, but I sure do feel sorry for her.
Mr. JENNER - Tell me this: in the time that you knew Lee, did he pretty much get his own way? Would you be able to say as to that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I would say he did; definitely. She would try to give him everything he wanted--that she could, I mean, and do everything he wanted her to do. I've seen that happen many times in the time that I knew them and especially while they lived at my house. I mean, she couldn't give him a lot of material things. She just didn't have much, you know, but she would try to pacify him. That boy was so inclined to be within himself, that it was hard to figure him out. I guess no one will be able to tell what was really in his mind. They called him a "loner", and I guess that's about the best description you can give him. He was certainly a quiet type boy.
Mr. JENNER - What did you observe with respect to his relations with other children? Just how did he regard them?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, to be truthful with you, I never really saw him with anyone except his mother practically.
Mr. JENNER - Do you recall when you had a discussion with Marguerite with respect to her leaving Lee with a couple?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, yes. Marguerite told me that she had this couple at her home looking after Lee. Lee wasn't 3 at that time, you see, and so he wasn't old enough to put in a nursery, but then the neighbors began telling her that they were cruel to her child when she wasn't home, and that the child was doing a lot of crying, and so she came home from work early one day, and she said her baby was screaming, and he had welts on his legs, and that this man had beat her baby, and so she put them out that night. Now, who they were or what their names where, I don't know, but she said that no one would take Lee, and she just didn't know what to do with him while she was working, so that's why she got this couple in the first place.
Mr. JENNER - Why wouldn't anybody take Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I mean, she couldn't put him in a home.
Mr. JENNER - Because he was too young?
Mrs. EVANS - Because he was too young, that's right. The older boys could be put in a home in fact, of course, they were, but Lee was not yet 3 years old, and they have to be 3 before a home will take them.
She didn't want to go to the welfare, because once the welfare goes into a case and gets hold of a child, you have nothing but red tape and everything, and sometimes you have a hard job getting your child back, so she didn't want to fool with them, and yet she couldn't put him in the home, so she said there was nothing else for her to do but to try to get somebody to take care of him, which she did, and she was sorry she ever did that.
Mr. JENNER - You say Lee denied to you during your discussion with him that he had ever tried to give up his American citizenship?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he said that he never intended to do that, but he just wanted to see the country, over in Russia, and see how they live and how the country looks, and so he went into Russia and got a job there and was working, and then he met this girl, and they got married, and he told me he would have been back sooner if he had figured out some way to get her out of the country. Actually he didn't seem to want to talk too much about it, and I didn't try to pump him too much, but I was just curious to see if he had had any change of mind, and what had really happened. I do feel that he was sympathetic with the Communist system of government, I mean, of the Russian system, but now I was only with him a few hours, and we just generally talked about his mother and his brothers, and his job, and looking for an apartment, and he didn't even tell me at the time that his wife was expecting another baby, and I was surprised when I heard that.
Mr. JENNER - What did he say about his brothers and his mother?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he said the boys where in Texas, and that his mother was fine, and that she was in Texas, and I think Robert, or one of them, had a couple of children. I think that was Robert that had a couple of children, and we just talked generally about things like that, you know.
Mr. JENNER - Did you get the impression that he was patriotic toward the United States, or what kind of an impression did you get in talking to Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, like I said, he seemed to be sympathetic toward Russia, but he told me that he was glad to be back in the United States, and that the only reason he was in Russia working at all was because he had married this Russian girl and wanted to get her out of the country, or he would have been back sooner.
Mr. JENNER - Did he say anything about his having served in the Marines, anything about how he felt about that service, or did you know he was in the Marines?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, I sort of half way knew about it, maybe from his aunt; I don't know, but I don't even remember if Lee mentioned that fact in our discussion that day. I don't really remember that. I do know that he always wanted to go in the Marines.
Mr. JENNER - He always wanted to go into the Marines?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he did.
Mr. JENNER - Tell me about that. How do you know that?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, because when he was going to Beauregard, he wanted to be a marine.
Mr. JENNER - He expressed that to you?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he always wanted to be a marine. He often said that.
Mr. JENNER - Do you recall a period of time when he wasn't in high school, but he still lived there?
Mrs. EVANS - You mean in my apartment?
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. EVANS - No; because they moved from my house, and I lost contact with them.
Mr. JENNER - But while they were living in your apartment, did he actually express a desire to go into the Marines?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes; he was always ambitious to be a marine, as far as I know.
Mr. JENNER - Did he ever express a desire to be like his brother, since it wound up that they were both in the Marines?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, yes; I think he wanted to be like his brothers; they were both in the service, you know. I think John was a marine, but I can't remember what branch of the service Robert was in.
Mr. JENNER - Well, John was in the Coast Guard, I think.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, the Coast Guard, and so Robert must have been in the marines.
Mr. JENNER - That's right.
Mrs. EVANS - As long as I have known Lee though, he has wanted to be in the Marines. That's one of the things he said he always wanted to do.
Mr. JENNER - Did you learn anything as to the mother's attitude in that respect. about her boys going into the service, and particularly Lee?
Mrs. EVANS - No; but Margie was satisfied that her children were going into the service, because she didn't have the money to send them to college, so they could graduate and all that, so it was natural that they would go in the service after they got out of high school.
Mr. JENNER - Did you ever meet Mrs. Paine?
Mrs. EVANS - No; you mean the lady who brought Marina to New Orleans?
Mr. JENNER - Yes.
Mrs. EVANS - No; because I never even met his wife. I never went there at all. He called me, like I said, and told me that his wife had come to New Orleans, and he said he would like for me to come up and visit them and meet her, and I said, "Lee, I am going to try to come," and I said, "You-all come to see us," and he said, "Come just any time." He said Marina was anxious to meet me, and to come up and visit them at any time.
Mr. JENNER - I have no further questions, but I would like to ask you this general question, Mrs. Evans:
Does anything occur to you that might be helpful to the Commission that I haven't asked you about, either because I neglected to do so or because I haven't learned about it? If you can think of anything, I will appreciate it if you will tell me at this time, any incident or occurrence that took place during the time that you knew the Oswalds.
Mrs. EVANS - No; I can't think of anything else.
Mr. JENNER - Would you say his character, and I'm talking about Lee now, would you say it was strong or weak, or what? For example, did he give way quickly to anger, or on the contrary was he a man of serf-control?
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he could get angry with his mother. That was when he was in his teens, of course, the way he would holier at her when he wanted to eat, or something like that, and when he would holier, she would jump up and practically run to do whatever he wanted her to do. Of course, I don't know anything about his manhood, because I was only in his company about 3 or 4 hours then.
Mr. JENNER - Would you say he was a pleasant and inviting individual with whom you yourself would seek to be in his presence, or be with him, or just what sort of emotions did he display generally? That's what I'm getting at.
Mrs. EVANS - Well, he didn't laugh too much, and he wasn't a light type of person. He was what I would call deep. He wasn't real friendly. To like him, you would have to know him. I mean, even as a child, you didn't warm to him, because he was very quiet and deep, and of course I didn't have too much contact with him. Most of my contact with with his mother.
Mr. JENNER - All right, Mrs. Evans, I appreciate very much your coming in and giving me this information, and I know it will be helpful to the Commission in its evaluation of all the evidence with regard to this matter.
Now, in the taking of this deposition, it is your privilege to read your deposition over and to sign it. It is also your privilege to waive that. In other words, you don't have to read and sign it unless you want to. You can waive that privilege, and the reporter will go ahead and transcribe your testimony, and it will be sent on to Washington, but if you prefer to read and sign it, the reporter will transcribe it, and you will be notified by the United States Attorney here when to come in and read and sign it.
As I have told you before, your testimony will not be disclosed other than by the Commission when and if the Commission deems it necessary.
What is your pleasure on that now, Mrs. Evans? Do you want to read and sign your deposition, or do you want to waive that?
Mrs. EVANS - Oh, I will waive it. I have just told what I know about it, and that's all I can tell you.
Mr. JENNER - You wish to waive the reading and signing and trust to the reporter's ability and competence in transcribing your deposition, is that right?
Mrs. EVANS - Yes.
Mr. JENNER - All right; thank you again, Mrs. Evans, for appearing here voluntarily, and giving us this information.