Doris Meyer – O’Connor Woods


Serra Raquel, Staff Writer

O’Connor Woods resident Doris Meyer was born on July 23, 1927, in San Francisco, California.  Meyer grew up during the Great Depression and was a teenager during World War II.

During this time, everything had to be rationed.  Stamps were used for commodities like butter, coffee and gas.  Meyer had to practice airwar drills on the street.  Street wardens would help citizens if an emergency occurred.

“We had blackouts from time to time when unknown planes appeared,” Meyer said.  Volunteers were used to to observe the silhouettes of incoming planes.

“Everyone was involved in some way with the war,” Meyer said.

Women and kids would spend time with teachers or families to help pick crops.  Boys in her class figured out if they qualified for 4F disability so that they would not be drafted or be exempt.

“Many women went to different camps to entertain the fellows,” Meyer said.  “Women were asked to be in service as nurses.  A lot of us wished we could do more, but at our age, we  could just do so much.  You wanted to help with whatever you could do.”

Meyer is grateful that she did not lose any family members to the war.

In 1956, Meyer came to Stockton to teach at UOP.  Meyer never married or had kids of her own, but kept busy being a teacher and working with her students.

Meyer lived in the eastern part of San Joaquin County and witnessed Stockton change throughout the years.

“The biggest change is the demographic movement from downtown old Stockton to the north toward Lodi,” Meyer said.  “In 56, downtown was the hubub.  That’s where all the stores were.  When things moved north, Stockton became segregated into a poor part of town and a so-called better part of town.”

Meyer’s retirement from UOP was difficult for her.

“When you retire, you lose a lot of relationships with your coworkers and lose a lot of power over students and support staff,” Meyer said.

Out of all of the difficulties throughout Meyer’s 91 years of life, her worst memories are the deaths of her family.

“It changes the whole picture of what you do and whom you are contact with,” Meyer said.  “I’ve been lucky to be caretaker for a number of my family members and close friends and their disabilities have provided the opportunity to be helpful.  Looking back, difficult times provide opportunities for good times.”

Throughout life, Meyer has enjoyed caring, sharing, and providing opportunity for everyone.

“Giving service is what life is all about,” Meyer said.