“Some of the sub skippers kept saying ‘I think they’re reading our code. So often when we come up (to the surface) for radio messages, suddenly there were airplanes overhead,'” says Parsons. “But German High Command couldn’t believe that we could get the machine or that we could make it work.”
After the war, Parsons got married and moved back to Pittsburgh, where she raised three children. She taught English at North Allegheny High School.
Right now, there’s a real Enigma machine in the library’s collection at Carnegie Mellon University.
“They asked me to come down and look at the machine and see if I could work it, but they didn’t have the right cord for it, so it couldn’t be worked,” says Parsons.
The Veterans Breakfast Club was founded by Todd DePastino, a historian who wrote a biography of Bill Mauldin, the beloved, wartime editorial cartoonist. The group’s mission is dedicated to “creating communities of listening around veterans and their stories.” The club has supplied crucial personal connections for Parsons, at a time when everyone is so isolated in their own homes.
“We used to meet for breakfast at various restaurants around Pittsburgh,” says Parsons. “But, of course, we couldn’t do that with a pandemic, so we went on to Zoom, which proved to be just a fabulous thing, especially for old people who don’t have to worry about the weather and the transportation and that sort of thing.
“And not only that, but we can get a hold of veterans all over the world. We’ve talked to people from Russia and from Japan, from all over Europe and from all over Asia. It’s just been a fascinating experience, and I think that’s what has kept me going and interested. There are several hundred people that belong to this organization, and it’s just great.”