Donna Morrison Epps
Donna Morrison Epps has lived in Suisun City her entire life. She grew up at 227 California St. in Old Town. In the years before World War II and the arrival of Travis Air Force Base, Donna remembers Suisun as "a quiet town; everyone knew each other." When Travis came it grew some.
Despite her estimate of Suisun having only about 200 residents, it boasted three hotels, a skating rink, a movie theater, and a "teenage center" where dances and sporting events were held.
Most Suisun students at the time attended Crystal Grammar School and then moved on to Armijo High School in Fairfield. Crystal Grammar School was located on at the intersection of Cordelia and School streets near the Suisun Marina. During her schools years, the majority of Donna free time was spent as a member of the International Organization of the Rainbow for Girls, a group founded in 1922 for girls who were related or sponsored by Masons.
While Donna was very young during the Great Depression, she does remember World War II very clearly. Some of the mementoes and photographs Donna brought with her to the interview were several gas and sugar ration books and a scrapbook filled with news articles spanning the years 1941 to 1945. Included in the book were the following: a speech made by president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, printed in its entirely; an article about several Japanese-American students from Crystal Grammar School who were being moved to an internment camp with their families; and many articles about community events that featured in Donna childhood.
Armijo High School in the 1940s was vastly different from Armijo today. The school was located on West Texas, at the site of what is currently the Old Courthouse. Donna remembers fondly the “big, huge auditorium where we had all our plays. It had a balcony and an upstairs.” While she appreciates the growth Armijo – and the whole school district – has undergone, Donna’s one regret is that schools in the past were better looking.