NAUNIE BATCHELDER: [I'm mad?]
MORNA GERRARD: Okay, it's on now.
FRANKLIN ABBOTT: Okay, so today is the 4th of December, 2015 and I’mFranklin Abbott and I’m sitting with Naunie Batchelder.
NAUNIE BATCHELDER: That’s me.
ABBOTT: In her home. In Stone Mountain. And we’re going to do an oralhistory. Maybe we could start with, could you tell me a little bit about your father and his people, where they came from?
BATCHELDER: My father was Robert Franklin Wright and they came from Virginiaoriginal, well, they came from England first and then Virginia. They were of old aristocracy; I guess you’d say. My father was, he considered himself a country 1:00gentleman and I think he was, till he found the alcohol bottle. [laughs] Then he might not be quite the gentleman that he was, but that only happened occasionally. My mother was from South Georgia, from Camilla and her father’s people were farmers and that type of gentry for years. I’m not sure about how all of them came about. I’m more cognizant with my father’s hereditary than I am with my mother’s.
ABBOTT: What was your mother’s maiden name?
ABBOTT: Faircroft. Okay. Okay.
BATCHELDER: She was -- my grandfather was a Elias Faircroft and my grandmotherwas [Allie?] Faircroft. But she was a Williams before she married. Now that’s about all I can tell you. [laughter]
ABBOTT: How did your parents meet?2:00
BATCHELDER: They both worked in Florida and Mother worked for a dry goods placeand I don’t know what Father came, actually it was my mother came to Florida and my father met the train and he was sent by whoever she was going to work for -- that’s about all I know about that, except that he had on a white linen suit and my mother thought, oh my God, what a dandy,” [laughter] she said, “And he never fell far from it.” [laughter] And he also was one of the waltz kings in Florida. He was, oh hell, can’t think of the name of the company. It wasn’t a company, they -- there was a contest for the best waltzers and he 3:00came in second. And he was made because his hell touched the floor once. And that meant he wasn’t waltzing properly. And I’ve watched the -- Dancing with the Stars, but their heels touch. [laughter] So anyway, that’s, that’s a bit about him. They met in Florida. I guess they married in Florida and then Daddy started working for J.C. Penney Company and they sent him to Louisville, Kentucky, to a store that wasn’t doing very well. Well, Daddy was manager for the store and he got it going very well and then he sent him to another store 4:00that wasn’t doing very well and Dad was upset because two things happened. One thing was that he kept sending him to a company that was paying less and he was paying him a commission. So his commission would be less and [clears throat] the other thing that bothered him about J.C. Penney was -- my brother was playing football and had a concussion and Daddy asked -- it was during the Depression and Daddy asked him for a hundred dollars so he could take him to the hospital and he wouldn’t give him the hundred dollars, so he didn’t get, he got so mad at him so he quit him. [laughs] But there was another tale that I have to tell you about J.C. Penney, came to dinner when they were on good terms and 5:00Mother had cooked a roast and she had gravy and she was very tickled with her dinner and so they asked him to say the prayer and he started praying and he prayed and he prayed and he prayed and my mother’s thinking, gravy’s going to go to sleep. [laughs] It’s going to be skimmy on the top. And finally he said, “Amen,” and my brother looked at, now my brother was about seven or eight and he looked up and he says, “Amen, brother Ben, caught the rooster, killed a hen,” [laughter] “Now, damn it, pass the meat,” [laughter] that’s what he said. [laughs] Now damn it, pass the meat. My mother was so chagrinned. She didn’t know what to do. [laughs] He was this big man and this 6:00is her son acting out. [laughs] But he was hungry. And he liked meat. He did until he died. We’re carnivores, I guess. [laughs]
ABBOTT: So when did your family move to Elberton?
BATCHELDER: They moved to Elberton after he got through with J.C. Penney andthen Daddy went on the road as a granite salesman. But then -- well, before he got to Elberton they were in Camilla, because that’s where I was born. Then they went to Elberton and I was still a bitty baby when they moved to Elberton. Because the lady down the street used to look after me, she told me and I was 7:00newborned, when we moved to Elberton. And I stayed in Elberton until I was 18. Oh no I wasn’t, I was 17. Barely 17. And I went to college in Valdosta. Now that’s a state college. First year they had boys. And my father was not approving of that. But it was all right because there weren’t many and it was the first year and it was going to be all right because they merged with Emory, boys there, that year and he forgot about the Air Force base that was -- [laughter] nine miles away. And of course, first thing that happened is I started dating an Air Force man. Well, I lived in the dorm and they wouldn’t let you date an Air Force man, you were, without permission from home. So I 8:00dated this man called Josh Hedges, which was not his name. [laughs] His name was Joshua, but it was Joshua Batchelder. But I dated Josh Hedges because there wasn’t a Josh Hedges at the base and when they called up to find out if he was at the base [laughs] they didn’t [inaudible] -- for about a month, until I got my parents’ permission. [clears throat] And they were a little unhappy with that, but then we went home for Thanksgiving holidays, I think it was, or maybe it was Christmas. No, it was some holiday, I don’t know what it was, I don’t remember. I just know we went home and he was most impressed because I rode my horse a lot, because I loved horseback riding. And that’s when I married, two months later I married Joshua Henry Batchelder. [inaudible] for two months. 9:00Shows you how impetuous you can be. [laughs]
ABBOTT: In your youth. Well, talk a little bit about your girlhood, because Iknow that there were, you know, there were some accidents, there were a variety of strange things that [overlapping dialogue; inaudible] -- and you were a dancer and a --
BATCHELDER: Oh yes, well, first of all -- First of all I was raised in ahaunted house. And [clears throat] my mother kept claiming that it was this moon shadow on the wall. Only problem was there wasn’t a moon out. [laughs] What that was we’ll never know. [laughs] It was my ghost man and I was scared of him. So that was the first thing there and then they had to move me out of that room because I kept seeing him and she kept saying, “No, it’s just a ghost,” I said, “No, that’s the old man that used to live in this room,” and the maid that worked for us said that it was the overseer for the plantation 10:00lived in that, that section of the house, because the house was added onto and added onto and added onto. But anyway, they moved me out of there. When I was about five years old I got run over by a car. We had been down to visit my aunt and [inaudible] well, I guess it’s Wilkes County now, but anyway, it’s down in the sticks. And we were coming home and my mother said, “Ooh, look at all the cars at the, at the airport,” and I pulled up on the handle of the car. The door opened and I fell out. And my coat caught and it jerked my head under the car and I can still close my eyes and see that underside [laughs] of that car and that big old round thing in the middle, the axel and where the mud was. [laughs] But anyway, that’s, that was the first thing. They said I couldn’t 11:00walk. I wouldn’t be able to walk. They didn’t have plaster casts back then for hips. Both my hips were broken. And they taped me up with that big, wide, old, yucky tape and ever so often, I don’t know how often it was, they’d rip it off and put some more on. But I was not happy with that. [laughs] And then they finally took it off and I was laying there, was in the bed for at least three or four months, because I was still in the bed when Pearl Harbor happened. My uncle that lived next door, [Boozer Payne?], came running in and he was a little man and he, he was soft and gentle and sweet and he came in and he was 12:00yelling, “Bob, my God, they’ve bombed Pearl Harbor,” and they had been reading me a fairytale. Well, that was the end of that fairytale. And my uncle was saying, “Look after the girls,” because Daddy’s two sisters lived with him. So that was said and he took off to go, he was, my uncle was sent to California, anti-aircraft mission. He was a colonel and he went to there. My father was mostly disgusted because he couldn’t -- he was too old, well, not too old but he had been gassed in France, so they wouldn’t take him. So he stayed home about two months and he couldn’t stand it. The war was on, he had to do something. And he went to Savannah and worked in the shipyards, because 13:00that was war work. My mother was principal of school at that time. She ran a little school out in the county and while she was running that little school she decided they needed a high school in the county because they didn’t have one and she took her teachers and divided them up and created a high school for that little section of Elbert County and that was a whole ‘nother story. [laughs] But anyway, she did that one. Then she went to work during the summer, because teachers didn’t work in the summer -- worked in the Rationing Board. Well, by the end of the summer they constricted her and most people don’t know that you could be constricted as a civilian, but she was constricted to be head of the 14:00Ration Board and she hated it. She despised being, have to telling people they couldn’t have, they couldn’t have, they couldn’t have. So anyway, she became head of the Rationing Board and finally she got out of it by saying that she was going to go visit my father in Savannah. She was going to go live with him. And they didn’t separate husbands and wives back then. And what I remember about that trip is I had my first little bonnet that I remember that I picked out that I just loved. It was a little velvet blue bonnet and had little, little ribbons and I just thought it was, it was just so precious, it was my bonnet. And then we got down there and the water was too cold to run in, but I could build sand castles. [laughs] And we didn’t stay, I don’t think we stayed down there two weeks before we were back home and she was, she bought a 15:00[tire and recap?] shop. Because again, it was war work. Well, in the meantime, I became sickly after the -- we got to go back up a minute. Because while Daddy was in Savannah and Mother was working I had a nurse. I was in the bed with the run over bit that -- they’d taken the tape off and I was just laying in bed and my nurse, who had to look after me because Mother was working and Daddy was gone and she was wonderful. She was, she was colored, black, whatever the, 16:00Negro, whatever the proper term [laughs] is these days. But she was absolutely wonderful. She was supposed to just be a maid and look after me, but she went in the woods and got herbs and she’d mixed it up with lard and she’d rub my hips and my legs and she taught me something. She taught me that when I have a certain pain, not to yell, not to cry, but sing. And to this day, if you hit that nerve right, I’ll start singing. I don’t yell, I just start singing. [laughs] The doctors find it very amusing. I don’t find it so amusing. [laughs] But anyway, that’s something that happens. I sing. It’s a certain kind of pain. It’s not, it’s not all pain, but there’s a certain kind of pain that if you hit I’ll start singing. Anyway, that, that’s a residual 17:00from her. But I walked because of her. And the first time Daddy was home from Savannah, my sister carried me in the living room, sat me in the middle of the floor and I walked to my daddy and he cried and I thought something was wrong. I thought something was wrong. They had to convince me that walking was all right. [laughs] But she had lined up kitchen chairs and dining room chairs in rows and had me reaching onto the chairs, having my sister behind me and my cousin in front of me, to teach me to walk and everybody was sworn to secrecy, because I wasn’t supposed to walk and she didn’t want my parents to tell her she couldn’t do it. That’s what she did, [laughs] but that’s why I walk today. 18:00And then they decided since I walked with a limp that I needed dance classes, so I started taking dance classes and I became quite good at it. So that was one of the things I traded on. I got to be a majorette in high school and all this time, every wintertime [laughs] almost I’m having pneumonia at least once, once a year. But -- I don’t know how I could wear that majorette uniform in the coldest weather and not get a cold. By the time the season was over I’d get a cold. [laughs] I have often wondered [clears throat] whether that was a subconscious me [laughs] or a conscious me, I don’t know, but I was always having pneumonia and winding up in the hospital. And one time I was in the 19:00hospital and I got -- you have to understand, they had this -- they didn’t have penicillin. And they had this God awful stuff that looked like tar that burned in a kettle and the steam came out and they made cones out of newspaper and you had to stick it over your face and breath in it and that was the nastiest smelling stuff I’d [laughs] smelled in my life. But I would smell it. But this one time -- I kept holding my breath while [laughs] they put that thing on my face and the next thing I know I’m floating up on the ceiling and I’m looking down at my body laying in the bed and they pull a sheet up over my face and -- I don’t know how long a time, doesn’t seem to matter, that I laid 20:00there with that sheet over my face and my mother came in and she’s crying. And she’s walking towards me and she’s crying. And I cough and I’m back in my body. And I’m trying to get the sheet off my face. [laughs] [clears throat] So that’s one of my little experiences. But -- I behaved okay, I guess. Like I said, I became a majorette. I was doing stuff all the time. I got a medal from -- for doing debates and I was real proud of my medal. And there was that kind of thing going on, you know. And then, like I said, I went to Valdosta and 21:00when I got to Valdosta, again I was excelling in dance and [clears throat] getting through French, [laughs] when I met my husband and then I left at the end of the second quarter and got married. Then I went to Goose Bay. Because that’s where he was stationed. Goose Bay, Labrador. It is the weirdest place you ever saw in your life. It’s sand and it’s got trees that I can reach around, branches and all and the wind blows something fierce. So at every corner of the building they have these ropes, so you catch onto the rope so you don’t get [laughs] blown away. It was, it was weird. I was there in, for a visit. They 22:00wouldn’t let you -- as a dependent you couldn’t stay there, but you could come visit. So I went to visit for the four weeks that I could visit and [clears throat] I got this letter from the base commander before I left and it said, “Against your say, you have a reservation at the [Dageenk?] Hotel. [laughs] But then the name Dageenk got me. Because it means goose, but I didn’t know that. [laughs] And the Dageenk Hotel turned out to be quite something. It was an Army barracks that had been converted supposed into rooms and I had a hot plate and sitting on a crate and that was, that was my kitchen. I had a bathtub to 23:00wash the dishes in. [laughs] And we had two single beds tied together for our bedroom. [laughs] That was, welcome to the Dageenk. [laughs] But I had fun in Labrador, I have to say that. I could watch the planes taking off and watching, they were fighter pilots. He was -- Josh was a radar observer, but staying there, there was a -- actually it was a -- I guess it would be like a [putsch?] coming out from the second floor and I could walk out on it and I could see the planes flying and watch them take off and when they take off they shoot this blue flame out the back end of it and at night it was just gorgeous to watch 24:00them. And -- Goose Bay was something else. The camaraderie in Goose Bay was really high because there was nothing else to do. [laughs] They played ping pong. And [clears throat] you went to officers’ club, you played ping pong, but you got to be with different ones because everybody would have a drink and they’d set the empty drink on the table when you’re playing ping pong. Well, pretty soon you’re going to lose a ball in one of the cups. Well, you’re out, next player comes in. [laughs] That’s how they changed people. But that play -- it would get to be where there wouldn’t be anyplace to bounce the ball [laughs] except to go in a cup. [laughs] Not that they were drinkers or anything. [laughs] They were officers. What do you expect? And on a base like 25:00that, there were, I suppose there was an NCO club, but of course, I was married to an officer so I didn’t see any of that. He was a lieutenant and after Goose Bay he came back -- well, I came home pregnant with my oldest daughter [Thierry?] and so I went to Elberton, because I knew Elberton and I didn’t want to stay in Boston anymore. I stayed in Boston from the time I married till it was time for me to go to Goose. But -- Boston was Boston and I wasn’t used to Boston [laughs] and Boston definitely wasn’t used to me. I’d go in and ask for bell peppers and they’d say, “We don’t have any bell peppers,” I said, “Sure you do,” he said, “Well, what are they?” and I said, “Well, they’re big and they’re green and they’re shaped like a bell,” 26:00and he said, “Oh, you mean grin peppers,” and I said, “Well, they can grin at you, but [laughs] they look like bells to me,” [laughter] and then we visited New York on my honeymoon and we were at -- oh help, the place everybody goes -- Radio City Music Hall and were having lunch. And the waitress asked me what I wanted to drink and I said, “Sweet milk,” and she looked at me and she says, “What you want, honey? You want me to put sugar in it?” [laughs] and I said, “No, no,” I said, she wanted to know why I said sweet milk and I said, “Because I didn’t want buttermilk or sour milk or clabber” and she said, “What are those?” [laughs] so little old country girl was getting 27:00an education and maybe the waitress was, too. [laughs] I don’t know. But after that it was just milk. Not sweet milk. And we lived in Boston for three years while he finished up Harvard. I was a Harvard mother and Josh graduated from Harvard and as soon as we graduated from Harvard we moved to New York for him to work with his brother on 42nd Street. And I used to have -- I drove his brother crazy. One time we were walking down the street and I was looking at everything because I wasn’t used to being downtown New York. And my brother-in-law said, “Naunie, don’t gawk,” well you know, that’s like pushing the biggest button you could push with me. So I grabbed my sister-in-law’s arm and I said, “Oh, Becky, look at that!” and I pointed up at this [laughs] [inaudible] -- 28:00I started walking pigeon-toed and started -- [laughs] I carried on for a whole block and he was so embarrassed. He wouldn’t even walk with us. And all I was doing was laughing and my sister-in-law was laughing so hard she could barely walk. But I had fun. [laughs] I tend to do that. Life is fun, if you let it be. Of course, you get some hard places, too. And New York turned out to be a hard place for us. We lived out on Long Island and we were poor and New York is not a town to be poor in and I’m saying it with, with emphasis on the poor, because we were more than poor, we were poor. [laughs] Anyway, [clears throat] then we 29:00decided that we weren’t making it there and he, we decided we’d move to Georgia, back to Georgia, to Atlanta. And he went and checked it out with the National Guard in Marietta and it seemed that that was -- he could be hired with that, so he would get, because he did National Guard the whole time he was going to Harvard -- in another state, but they would let him be here and they honored his commission of being a captain. So we came to Georgia. And we were here not 30:00long enough to get a house before the Cuban Crisis and he was shipped to Texas. So off we go to Texas. So we’ve now lived in Seattle, right after my first baby was born. I mean, we lived in Seattle for a year and a half. Then we lived in Boston, actually it was South Sudbury. And then we lived in New York and then we lived in Texas. And finally we got to come home to Georgia. [laughs] After the things were up and we finally got back and it took a while to get everything settled because then I had another child and well, I had another child when we were in New York and then I was a mess. [laughs] I remember, I can’t remember 31:00chronologically real well, I skip around because I’ve forgotten. [clears throat] The birth of my son was in New York at my, I stayed with my brother-in-law till I had it. Josh was supposedly trying to find us a place in Massachusetts because he was going to Harvard that fall and that was -- I had Bruce before I went to Harvard, so I had two children, Thierry and Bruce, both a year apart and that’s one of the reasons Massachusetts doesn’t sound very glowing to me. [laughs] Because I was stuck in a little house in Massachusetts, a little Cape Cod house, it was a cute house but with two babies and he kept going, he was going to school and then he was going to fly with the Guard, so I was home by myself a lot and met a couple of nice friends, but it was not a 32:00really good situation. But it was one of those things. I learned a lot. A whole lot.
ABBOTT: So were your next two kids born in Georgia?
BATCHELDER: Yep. Yep. Thierry was born in Georgia, before I went to Seattle.Bruce was born in New York. T.J. was born in Elberton and Rebecca was born here in Atlanta. So you can see we kind of moved around between [laughs] everything.
ABBOTT: So what was that like for you? I mean, you were an Air Force wife, basically.
BATCHELDER: Yeah, I was an Air Force wife. I loved being an Air Force wife.[clears throat] I told him since then, if he’d stayed in the Air Force I’d have probably stayed married to him. But -- [laughs] because I loved being in 33:00the Air Force. That was fun. I learned how to golf. I could play golf with the Wives Club. I could take the -- I always had a babysitter because the Officers Club provides a babysitter. They have a nursery and you always had a babysitter anytime you wanted one. We didn’t have to hunt a babysitter. There was always something going on and I played bridge. I played bridge from -- my father and mother taught me bridge. They didn’t really teach me. I observed it, [clears throat] then I learned it. [laughs] But they played bridge once or twice a week, all the time I was growing up. And I used to -- and then I got to play. I’d sit in with it and in fact, Daddy would look at me and I’d be trying to figure 34:00out how to finesse and I’d be looking at my hand and looking at this board and looking at my hand and looking at -- and my daddy would say, “Do, do something, even if it’s wrong!” [laughs] So that’s where I learned [laughs] how to play bridge. And when I went to [clears throat] Seattle I played with the Officers’ Wives Club and I loved that. I loved the Officers’ Wives Club. That was cool. But it was Officers Club but the wives had their own thing going and it was fun. And like I said, I’d have stayed with him if he’d have stayed in the Air Force. [laughs]
ABBOTT: Well, but he got out of the Air Force, right?
BATCHELDER: Yeah, he got out of the Air Force. But something strange happenedto me when I went off to college. And that was the first time [clears throat] 35:00that I found out that I could look at people and know things about that person that other people didn’t know. I thought everybody knew about everybody else. So what was the sense in lying? Because everybody knew. Then I found out everybody didn’t know and I became a good little liar sometimes, [laughs] because they didn’t know. But I found out that I’d know things -- some of the things I shouldn’t have known. And -- but I had thought everybody knew it. And it wasn’t until I was at college that I discovered that it was psychic, or so-called psychic. I don’t know to this day what it is. But all my life I’ve been able to look at people and know things that I wasn’t supposed to know about them, if they wanted me to know it, in particular. So I found out when I wanted to do a reading, all I had to do was ask them, you know, if they came for 36:00a reading it was because they wanted to know something, so I could feel free to say whatever I knew. But I used to think I had incredible hearing when I lived at the Officers’ Wives Club, I thought I really had hearing, because I could tell what everybody was saying over here at this table or over there at that table, all I had to do was look over there and I could tell what they were discussing. [laughs] It was kind of fun, it was kind of fun. I did that in New York at restaurants, too, that was fun. But I guess that college and New York really were the two places that I honed it in the most. I was too busy with children in Massachusetts to pay any difference to it. [laughs] And then -- in 37:00Georgia I got to where, I met Calhoun and he was a psychic and he was a priest and -- or he believed in psychism, I guess you’d say, Peter Calhoun. And he was my first experience with what was called “psychic phenomena” and he couldn’t believe I would know what I knew but I did and we went around and round and then he, he had formed this New Age group and they would have people come in for readings and so I started doing readings there. And then I went from there to the Foundation of Truth. I was being honest with them and did readings 38:00there. And -- found out the long and hard way that even when somebody asks you to read for them, there’s some things they don’t want you to know. And you better not tell them because you’ll get in trouble, particularly with organizations. You can get in more trouble with an organization, knowing something about somebody that they don’t want you to know or to be able to see what they’re doing, that you shouldn’t be able to tell what they’re doing or -- you just get in trouble. I stay away from [laughs] organizations as best I can. I learned the hard way. I learned the hard way. I don’t like petty jealousies and it seems like to me organizations are full of them. Don’t know 39:00why, but that tends to be so. And when I see it, I run. Because I know -- [laughs] for years they came after me because I was a psychic. And then they came after me because they thought I was a psychic and that was lovely. But then it became kind of a dirty work and it still is in some places, not acceptable. And you’d go out and live -- in fact, I could live right now if I didn’t, didn’t see people and do readings. That’s how I live. It’s how I’ve worked now for 30-some-odd, well actually, closer to 40 years, that I’ve worked as a psychic. And earned my living and I’ve traveled all over this country with it. I’ve been to North Dakota and to -- Los Angeles, to Denver, 40:00to all kinds of places that they had me traveling and doing lectures [laughs] and Foundation of Truth got me to teaching and that made me study more about why all of this is concurrent. It’s like none of us are real. Colors are real. And it’s interesting to see what colors do what and there are ways to know how colors affect you. There’s some broad, heavy generations, ah, generalizations on color. But pink generally, wherever you see pink it brings forth the love, it opens up love. If you’ve had a terrible experience with love, it may not bring 41:00up love so much as fear. Because fear is the opposite of love. Actually fear is the opposite of excess love and people say, “You can’t have excess love,” well, yes you can. Look at the “smother mother,” you can have excess love. But excess love is opposite of love and fear is opposite of love, they’re two ends to a triangle. This balance point is love and it’s like in the Christian belief there are Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. Well, they’re the three triangles. God is the top, the Son is the one side of the bottom and the Holy Ghost is the other side of the bottom and this is how it then twists and come down to us as love, fear, on the emotional level, it comes down as love, fear 42:00and excess and the excess and the fear will swing back and forth and it’s when you get on tune with excess of anything, it’ll turn into fear.
ABBOTT: So let’s go back a little bit.
BATCHELDER: All right. We can back up. [laughs]
ABBOTT: You were married and then you got a divorce.
BATCHELDER: Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about my divorces. [laughs]
ABBOTT: And what I’m curious about is, did you’re starting to become moreof a psychic and do readings and stuff like that, did that begin to change things in your marriage? Or how were those two things related?
BATCHELDER: Well, they happened about the same time. I don’t think -- becauseJosh was the one who really wanted me to get started with the psychism. He’s 43:00the one that had his friend from Chicago test me out as far as being a psychic and he was right proud of it. So I don’t think that had -- he did not dislike me being a psychic. I think he liked me being an artists better, but he didn’t dislike me being a psychic. Still don’t think he dislikes it. No, our differences had to do with some other differences. It had to do with him traveling too much and it had to do with things like when my son had appendicitis and my son was born mentally retarded and so to put him to sleep 44:00was a dangerous thing and I was at the hospital, it was an emergency thing and I was at the hospital and he didn’t come. And it was hard for me to accept that he wouldn’t be there. He wouldn’t come, because he was notified and he didn’t come. And that did something, that was, that did something. And then -- the school -- we had difficulty with Bruce in school and because they were an academic program and he was not academic child. And we let him go to Elberton, 45:00which had a program that he could take and he would live with my mother. And Josh had promised to give my mother something and it never turned up and then I had to sign away my rights to Bruce so my mother could keep him and so they could go to that school. And he went to that school with his cousins and they helped him and it worked out fine for him. And he worked for a grocery store in Elberton and he did fine. And then -- Josh and I got a divorce, while he was 46:00still in Elberton actually and -- I don’t even remember, I have to stop and think how many years it was before I got married again, but it was several, four or five years. And then I met Lee Harris and he swept me off my feet. I will admit that [laughs] -- I really fell hard for him. Because I’d been by myself and then here he was and he was very gallant and he was very gentlemanly and he was -- oh, I just thought he was the berries. Of course, I forgot berries have a bitter taste sometimes after you swallow them. [laughs]
ABBOTT: Now he was a psychic too, right, Lee?
BATCHELDER: Yeah. Well, he wanted to be psychic. I have to say that. He wantedto be psychic. I’m not ever sure how psychic he was, but he wanted to be 47:00psychic. And he wanted -- one of the difficulties we had as my counselor and several people told me, he really wanted to be me, he wanted to do what I could do and he couldn’t. And he, he did work his way into doing things his way, which was not at all my way, but he could get what he wanted and he was, he also wanted everything his way and I have enough in me, I’m not going to do that for anybody. Because I want things my way. [laughs] Come on, let’s face it. [laughs] And so after three years we parted. I said it took me 27 years the first time to learn to let go, 25 years to learn to let go and it didn’t take me but three years the second time before I was gone. [laughs] So I was a slow 48:00learner, but I did learn. I did learn.
ABBOTT: So when you first started being, doing readings and that sort of thing,that was an unusual thing to do, wasn’t it?
BATCHELDER: Oh yes, yes it was. It was very unusual.
ABBOTT: So there weren’t that many people who describe themselves as psychicor did psychic readings and you talked about some of the push back you got on that. Can you talk a little bit more about what it was like at that time to be sort of like a pioneer?
BATCHELDER: Well, it was, it was very challenging to me, because I have enoughpride, I couldn’t stand being looked down at and we were. If you were a 49:00psychic you were looked down on. “In society,” in quotes. But eventually it lessened up. One of the things that happened is people of like minds started getting together, ergo the Center for Spiritual Healing that Peter Kaplan ran and the other groups. Groups started forming. Now -- then one group forever, oh help. Well, they used to have conventions every summer before any of the other groups really were formed that much. I’m trying to think of what she called it. But my old head doesn’t work that way so good anymore. [laughter] It was --
ABBOTT: It may come in a minute.
BATCHELDER: It was a spiritualist group. I’m trying to think of the name ofit, but I can’t think of it, but it was here. Spiritualism was, was the first 50:00form of psychism. And then it became psychism and there were lots of people that promoted it. They did tests and found out it had existed and that was one of the things that Josh wanted me to do, was go take one of the tests and I wouldn’t do it because I’d be away from the kids for a long time so we never got that done. [clears throat] But anyway, when I first started being psychic it was -- people’s reaction was one of two ways. “Oh wow,” or “Ooh, who is that? That’s trash,” if they didn’t meet you they assume it was trash and it why 51:00forever I wore suits and heels and dressed like a proper lady. I wouldn’t have worn slacks or [Keds?] or anything like that because they had to know you were a lady. It was very important. You didn’t wear lots of beads or lots of things that you might want to wear -- you didn’t. Not when you were working. And there were things like that, that were imposed, so to speak.
ABBOTT: So that was a time when you know, like you said, people would bedismissive or suspicious or judgmental and -- 52:00
BATCHELDER: And you got fed by going to the different groups. There was a groupin St. Petersburg, run by Roy Zemke, LeRoy Zemke and that was also a very learning and growing experience for me.
ABBOTT: Just to meet kindred spirits.
BATCHELDER: Yes, kindred spirits. And then the things that developed here.
ABBOTT: So you’ve been doing psychic readings for how long now?
BATCHELDER: [laughs] I don’t even want to say. I’ve been supporting myselffor, oh Lord, since my first divorce. Because my second one, one of the reasons 53:00my second marriage didn’t work is because I supported both of us. [laughs] Let’s see. I supposed I’ve been a practicing psychic since -- about 1960. I believe that’s about right. So it’s been a while. It’s been a while. I was doing psychic, I was playing with it. I wasn’t using it as a tool from the time I was about, let’s see, about 1953. It took a while playing with it to 54:00get it to go.
ABBOTT: Do you feel like when you’re in that situation that you shift into adifferent space in your head or your energy? Or are you there pretty much all the time?
BATCHELDER: No, I shift. It shifts. I have to be very still. Now in particular.I don’t think I used to have to be so still. But now I have to be still and wait and see what it says. [laughs] Or what comes in my head or the picture I see. But I have to be still first. Still and come quiet. And getting my mouth to shut up is the first problem. [laughter] But -- the nice part about it is if I 55:00be still and quiet I’ll get something to say, so that’s okay, too. [laughs]
ABBOTT: Mm-hmm. Now let me divert you just a little bit because one of thethings in the archive is, you know, the Gay Spirit Visions sort of papers and our friend Raven, who studied with you was one of the founders of Gay Spirit Visions, so I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about him, because you knew him as well as anybody.
BATCHELDER: Raven was a very interesting man. He really felt in him -- nowwhether he really was or not, nobody really knows, that I know of. But Raven Wolfdancer was definitely of Indian, American Indian descent, I think. He 56:00certainly went that way and he was as psychic as anybody I’ve ever known. But he blurred it because he picked up negative things and he blurred it because he didn’t want to know. So what I was teaching him, I thought, was how you could pick up good things, not just bad things. And [clears throat] then he got into really very high in the -- rituals and that, I think, magnified what he was and that was good until, until he was killed and he was killed. He was murdered and they never caught anybody that murdered him. But a whole lot of us thought we 57:00knew. [laughs] But it seemed like in that era there were a number of psychics that were murdered and I’ve never figured out exactly why because there was, there was Raven, there was -- oh help. I can see him, but I can’t pronounce his name. Though there were about four or five of them that all were murdered. Or had questionable deaths, let’s put it that way. Because even -- it just seemed to happen and they were all people studying at one way or another, trying to open themselves up and you wonder if they had known something about somebody or what happened, because they were all male. The females seemed to get along 58:00okay with that, [laughs] with that time. But the males seemed to keep dying on us. And it was just weird. That’s all a process while I was working with the Foundation of Truth and then -- I stopped working at the Foundation of Truth. Again, it was, most times it had to do with jealousy and -- headiness, that learned both of the groups. That’s why after the Foundation of Truth I said I 59:00won’t belong to another group and I didn’t. That’s when I became very independent. Up until then I was pretty dependent. I’m getting feedback from people like me. Or that at least have the belief like me. The belief that we’re all of one god and regardless of what we call that god or what, how we worship that god, we’re all of one god. That was the primary belief. After that, being that we’re all products of one god, then we can be different, but still be one god. Because as I’ve said, God would get very bored if we were all alike. If we were cookie cutter [laughs] he’d get very bored. So we have 60:00to be different. And that was my excuse for being different. [laughs] [inaudible] a little hard to argue with. [laughs]
ABBOTT: Mm-hmm. That’s true, that’s true. It’s hard to argue with that atall. So you were, you were active in the community and then because of organizational dysfunction you kind of withdrew and you have been doing your own practice.
BATCHELDER: Yes. I taught classes off and on since then.
ABBOTT: That’s right. But more independently.
BATCHELDER: Yeah, but it’s independently, yeah. I taught classes in color andin numbers, because they’re -- and psychics are in particular -- because it’s important to help you translate what you get, both in dreams, because dream symbology is very, very wonderful but it doesn’t do you any good if 61:00you don’t know what the colors mean and you don’t know what the numbers mean and you don’t know -- the best thing you can do with dream symbology, if you don’t have any insights into it, is get a Webster’s big dictionary and look it up and see what’s going on. Like if you meet a wall, what is the wall saying? Is it keeping you out of something? Or is it a wall because wall means love. But you don’t know that unless you look up a big dictionary. [laughs] So a big dictionary, unabridged dictionary. It’s a very big help. For it.
ABBOTT: Mm-hmm. The kind that has its own stand.
BATCHELDER: Yeah. [laughs] Well -- libraries have them. [laughs]
ABBOTT: Mm-hmm. They do. They do. Some people have them.
BATCHELDER: [cough] My daddy had them. And my brother had it there, I guess. We62:00had a great big one. I grew up with one like this. [laughs]
ABBOTT: So one of the things that’s been true for you in the past 20 years or25 years is that you’ve had a lot of health challenges.
BATCHELDER: I’ve had a lot of health challenges all my life. From car wrecks.I got a crazy foot. They don’t know what’s wrong with it or when it actually happened, but they think it might have happened in that wreck, but then it didn’t start going crooked till I guess the last 10 years. But -- when I start doing a chronological of my ills, it gets sickening. [laughs] Because there were so many of them and so much crazy stuff. You know, I’ve been in wrecks, 63:00car wrecks, even a Greyhound bus wreck. Went through, almost through a windshield of a Greyhound bus wreck. Fortunately, the windshield popped out, more than I didn’t break it so much as pushed it out. But I was hanging over a -- [laughs] a big gully when I did. But that was, when I was little. I used to ride from Camilla, which is where my grandmother lived to Athens and my parents would meet me in Athens because you’d have to change buses in Athens. So they didn’t let us change the buses, but we’d ride, get on the bus in Camilla and ride all the way to Athens. And this was, the wreck was just outside of Athens. On the hilly part. So it was, that was one. As I said, I was run over by a 64:00car when I was five. I had pneumonia off and on almost every year after that for, until I got to high school. The house -- our house burned when I was in the seventh grade. We lost everything we had, the house burned to the ground. And [laughs] we lived in a, a warehouse [laughs] until the warehouse from my mother’s, you know, I told you she went to work for a tire company. Well, there was a -- warehouse right behind us that was half, half-house and half grain storage for the -- the mills that was behind us. And we lived in that house of half, half a house for -- I guess it was six to eight months -- long 65:00enough to build a house. It seemed like forever. But my sister and my brother were both in college when my house burned. And so they could then commuted -- they commuted between Athens and Elberton to finish up college. And -- that was an interesting times and by the time we got into the house, neither one was there very long before what they were gone. My sister was married, my brother finished, they both finished college and -- my brother got married. He went to work for Southeastern Power. And became one of the executives of Southeastern 66:00Power. He was a statistician. And my mother told him to help me with my algebra or whatever and he tried to help me and then he’d get so frustrated, he’d throw the book up side the wall and say, “Nobody could be so damn dumb,” [laughs] I did not take to numbers until I learned what numbers meant. Since then I haven’t had trouble with my numbers.
ABBOTT: Talk a little bit about that. What numbers mean.
BATCHELDER: Each number has four distinct vibrations. It has a physical,emotional, mental, and spiritual vibration to it. And depending on what level you are, or what you’re trying to do as to what that number means. For 67:00instance, one. On a physical level one is the beginning. It’s just the beginning. Two, actually, it is the first number out of the void, so it’s the first beginning. The second part of it, which is the mental part of it, is thought. Your brain starts with number one. You start with one. As a spiritual concept it’s one God, it’s one everything, everything is one, as a spiritual concept, there’s no differentiation. Because if you say “we are all one,” 68:00what you’re talking about is shrinking everybody into the same thing. But one, having one egg is different from everybody shrinking into one. [laughs] Two would be a balance. The first two numbers are not concrete. It takes the third number to become concrete. The fourth number is the first real concrete number, but one is a little more concrete than zero. Two is a little more concrete than one. Three is a little more concrete, because three is -- I like to say it’s the -- It’s the creative part of us. It’s the, it’s where we get our 69:00inspiration from. It’s the -- it’s the artistic part of you and then it becomes concrete in the fourth. Four is the concrete number of manifestation, so it means it really manifests, it’s there, it’s done. On a physical level, it’s realism. What would you think a four would be on an emotional level?
ABBOTT: Hmm. Well, I see a square. So balance? Or because there are equal sidesto the square?
BATCHELDER: Well, it is square, but on an emotional level it’s running aroundthose four sides. [laughs] It’s learning how to see other sides of things. On 70:00an emotional level.
ABBOTT: So how do you use this? How do you use your esoteric knowledge ofnumbers in looking at everybody’s life or --
BATCHELDER: On a dream. Or I have fun and everybody laughs that rides with me.I have this habit of adding up the tag numbers in front of me. Because I know what the alphabetical meaning of numbers are and the regular numbers and I add them up and then I said, “Okay, this is what’s going on with me right now,” it may be I’m being creative. Three. Or it may be that I’m stuck in quagmire. Maybe it’s four. Maybe it’s not quagmire, maybe it’s building 71:00something. Seven, maybe I’m on a spiritual level today. Maybe I want to be spiritual today. [phone rings] Or maybe it’s trying to tell me to be spiritual today. What do we do about that? [phone rings] [laughs]
ABBOTT: Nothing. It just rings and then we’ll pause for a minute. [phone rings]
BATCHELDER: There. That does that. [laughter] Of course, they’ll call rightback, I expect. But that’s beside the point. [laughs] [phone rings]
ABBOTT: Do you want to answer it? We can pause this.
BATCHELDER: Let’s pause it. [phone rings] Okay. We’re back from the[inaudible] [laughs].
ABBOTT: We’re back, we’re back. So we’ve talked about --
BATCHELDER: Most everything.
ABBOTT: Most everything. What haven’t we talked about?
ABBOTT: What haven’t we talked about?
BATCHELDER: I don’t know.
ABBOTT: That you, I mean the things in your life or in your experience that areimportant that you know, because we must --
BATCHELDER: Everything’s important.
ABBOTT: Well, yes, yeah --
BATCHELDER: You know, each day is really where it is. That was a hard lessonfor me to learn. That you don’t need to worry about the future because it’s going to be here. But you got now and you can enjoy right now and you can be happy right now. But if you try to be happy in the past, that doesn’t work either, because you’re here. So you -- being happy here and now is really, really, really important for people. I wish they could learn it so they quit worrying so much. Because when you worry you bring those vibrations towards you and you make things happen that might not otherwise. Or when you have something happen, you look and you see, okay, what do I want to do with this? I have 73:00cancer. I could sit here and moan and groan and say, okay, I’m dying. Well, everybody’s going to die sometime and I’m going to die sometime, too. I’m not going to worry about when that’s going to be. It’s going to be when it is. You get to where, maybe it’s old age, I don’t know but I think as you get older you get kinder. [laughs] If you don’t I think you’d probably die. But you think about the old people you know, they’re usually kinder and more gentle. And I know I’ve become kinder. I still got my sarcasm but [laughs] I’m kinder with it, I hope. [laughs] Because I used to not be so kind sometimes. Because I get, I’d get very disappointed with people putting other 74:00people down because I’ve been there. I’ve been there, I don’t like it. I don’t like to be put down. I don’t know of anybody that does. I just certainly have a stubborn streak that speaks out if I get put down. It’s like, okay, I had an Aunt Loni. She was post mistress for Elberton, Georgia. Was a sweet woman and she came to Atlanta to have cataracts removed and she did it very silently until after she was well and was back home, because she didn’t want to lose her position as postmaster. And she got back home earlier than she really probably should have because they had to wear, at that time and age she had to wear these glasses that were so thick. Bottle glasses [laughs] was what they’re called, I think, but they were awful. And her friend, Lottie, stopped 75:00her in the drug store and said, “Oh, Miss Loni, I’m so sorry about all your trouble with your eyes,” and Loni said, “Oh, it’s no trouble. I got them fixed,” and Lottie says, “Yes, but Loni, when they put those ugly old glasses on your face, they just ruined your looks,” Loni took a breath for a minute and then she looked at her and she says, “Well you know, Miss Lottie, with these ugly old glasses that ruin my looks, I can see so good, I can see every wrinkle in your face,” [laughter] so you see, I don’t fall too far from the tree. [laughter] But that’s the kind of word I live by. I can see every wrinkle in your face. [laughs]
ABBOTT: Well, I was telling Morna on the way over that how I met you is Imet you through Raven and I met you at a difficult time in my life where I was 76:00willing to sort of you know, come see you because I didn’t think it could hurt. You know, I just, you know, I was a ball of confusion and I came to see you and then I kept coming to see you for many years and still, you know, value your judgment. When I tell people about you, I will sometimes call you the “repetition therapist” [laughter] because you would repeat things, you know, and I said, “She will tell me something over and over again until I get it,” [laughter] you know and so a couple of those things that come to my mind -- one is the “allow, accept and appreciate,” could you talk about allow, accept and appreciate?
BATCHELDER: Those are my three A's and I’ve worked with those for any number77:00of years now because if you allow what is, appreciate as is, and do accept what is, you’re ahead. You’ve got nothing to be bad about. Allow what is, accept as it and appreciate all that is. At least all that you can. I kind of add a kind of to that because sometimes people just can’t appreciate some things. I can’t appreciate everything. I can try, but I don’t make it, either. You know. But I do believe that if you, in your personal life, will allow other people to be who they are, accept them as they are and appreciate for who they 78:00are. You’re going to have lots of good friends. Because most of our difficulty with other people is not allowing them to be who they are. We want them to be like we think they ought to be. Well, we don’t know what they ought to be. We don’t know what’s framed them. We don’t know the illnesses they’ve been through. We don’t know all of these things. So to allow, accept and appreciate has been my repetition for quite sometime and then I also started with it a little differently. Before I said the three, I started the first one, allow.
ABBOTT: Mm-hmm. Allow, allow, allow, allow. [laughs]
BATCHELDER: Except that I did it this way. I said, there’s an old Indian79:00chant and it goes like this. Oh allow-allow-allow-allow-allow. [laughter]
ABBOTT: That was perfect. [laughter] Allow-allow-allow-allow-allow.
BATCHELDER: Oh allow-allow-allow-allow-allow. That’s when I want to beat youover the head with it.
ABBOTT: [laughter] Another thing that you would say is, “Do it with love ordon’t do it.”
ABBOTT: Do it with love or don’t do it.
BATCHELDER: Why would you do it with anything less than love?
ABBOTT: Guilt, shame. There are many motivations.
BATCHELDER: But do you want to do that? Do you want the result of that? BecauseI found out that what you do with whatever emotion you have comes back to you in 80:00that same emotion. I know that if you cook with loving what you cook, it’s good tasting. You get in the kitchen and don’t want to cook, what you cook ain’t going to taste worth dirt. That’s just one.
ABBOTT: Eggs particularly respond to that. [laughs]
BATCHELDER: Yes indeed, they do. [laughter] Indeed they do.
ABBOTT: Don’t try to scramble eggs if you -- my mother did that when she,when I was growing up. She did not want to cook breakfast and her eggs were terrible. [laughter] They were terrible.
BATCHELDER: Well, that’s not surprising. This is what I mean. And if youthink about friendships that way, if you don’t want the friendship, what are you trying to do? If you can’t do it with love, don’t do it. You don’t have to condemn somebody because you think they bad. If you think they bad, just don’t say anything and go home. Leave them alone. Don’t try to reform them. 81:00Unless they want to be reformed. Unless they ask you for help. If they ask you for help, give all you can, with love. Do it with love or don’t do it. [laughter] It don’t pay. [laughter]
ABBOTT: Well, those are two that I can remember. Are there any things that you,that come to your mind of things that you tend to tell people who come to see you that are, you know, like that things that you use a lot?
BATCHELDER: I guess the one thing I want people to do is to look before theyleap. Look at a situation from both sides. Not just one side. Look from both sides. Then you’re allow. But you’ve got to look from both sides. What is it 82:00about this person that I like? What is it that I don’t like? Well, if I don’t like it, is that important? Is that a part of me? Because usually when I see something I don’t like in somebody, I have to look at myself to see where it is. Where is it? I don’t like a liar. Well, where is that? Well, because I can prevaricate and that may be part of it. It also may be that I don’t like being lied to because then I don’t know what’s what. But there’s a reason behind that. Then I’d say, “Okay, they gonna lie, I don’t have to trust it,” and then we’ll get along fine. It’s looking and accepting. So look before you leap. Look before you call him a liar and start fussing at him. If 83:00they’re a liar forever, then let them be a liar forever and you just don’t pay attention to what they’re saying.
ABBOTT: That’s a good one, too.
BATCHELDER: Yeah, I’ve got lots of good ones. [laughs] I, I have fun. I havefun with what they tell me. Because if I can’t laugh, I’m lost. And I tell people that if you can’t laugh you’re lost. Laughter clears the mind, it clears the soul, it clears the emotions, it clears all of it when you laugh. And that’s why it’s important to be here now as the, as all the psychics and literature and so forth says, “be here now,” well, now is the only time you 84:00can feel that. [laughs] It’s the only time you can feel the joy. It’s now. And if you’re not in the now you won’t feel it. Now there are times you don’t feel like joy. Okay, but you’ve got to feel that to get through to see where you can get the joy. When I was in the hospital I did not feel the joy. [laughs] I don’t know. I wanted to feel good. So I let my other emotions get in the way. But I, I talked enough to the nurses [laughs] that they got the message. But we had fun. We laughed. And when I left the hospital [inaudible] I wound up and said goodbye. So I’m not a horrible patient. But I’m not very patient. [laughter] I’m learning. See, I figure we learn till we die, so 85:00I’ve got to have something to learn. And I’m not so wise that I don’t have [laughs] something to learn. [laughs] And patience is one of them. Patience and trusting what I know. About me. It’s interesting that I can trust what I know about other people, but it’s hard for me to trust what I know about me, because it doesn’t jibe with somebody, what somebody else says. So I had to learn to trust myself. I think we all do. I think we all do. Learn to trust yourself. Question yourself is fine, but learn to trust what you know. There’s another one. Trust what you know.
ABBOTT: That’s important.
BATCHELDER: If you don’t know it, you’re in trouble. [laughter] Aren’t we86:00about through with tape?
ABBOTT: Well, there’s no tape in there. I mean, we -- this is new.
BATCHELDER: Oh, that’s one of them new gadgets, huh?
ABBOTT: It’s a computer thing; it’s a chip that’s in there.
BATCHELDER: Well, I’m not touching it. [laughter] I’m not touching it.
ABBOTT: Well, one more question. One more question.
ABBOTT: You know, as a psychic, you know, part of what you deal with in peoplea lot is their fear and one of the biggest fears that most of us have is the fear of death. Can you talk a little bit about death and the fear of death and?
BATCHELDER: Well, you know, that’s like saying -- a fear of living. I don’t87:00know all the changes that take place after death. The only ones I know of were not unpleasant. I floated around. Did that twice. But as far as -- being afraid of death, that’s like being afraid of life. If you’re busy living it, you’re not thinking about death. It’s only when you’re not living it that you start getting afraid of death. It’s only when you conjure up the fear that it becomes a fear. If you leave it alone, it’s not a fear. It’s just going to be what it’s going to be when it’s going to be and that’s all it is. But as long as you think about it and worry about it and say you have to know 88:00about it -- we don’t have to know about it. It’s coming. It’s going to come. And that’s just what is. But it isn’t right here today. That I know of. So I’m not worried about it. I’m not going to get scared of it. I’m going to trust that I’ve been, whatever I’ve been is all right. If it’s not, then I’m in trouble and that’s all right, too. I’ve been in trouble before. [laughs] And I expect I’ll be in trouble again. But I do believe in a loving God, because I believe God created all of us, all of us. And we all have 89:00things to learn. Some great things, some small things, but always, always, always learning. Look to what you can learn from anything. That’s my advice. To getting over the fear of death, start learning. Learning what you feel and why you feel it. What are you scared of death for? You fixing to face it? Do you know? What? You don’t know. I don’t know. Nobody knows. Fear of pain would make more sense to me than fear of death. Because you know you can have pain, but you don’t know what’s going to happen after death. Not sure, anyway. So people who are afraid of death are not living. To a large degree, if you’re thinking about your fear of death, you’re not busy living. And that’s a 90:00shame. To me, that’s a shame. So keep on living, as long as you can and don’t worry about anything else. Take today. And be happy today, be joyous today. Be learning today. Every negative thing that falls in front of our feet is something for us to learn by. All these [students?] are something for us to learn by. It’s god awful. But it’s something for us to learn by. Every human being has to search their hearts when these things happen. On either side of that gun that’s shooting. We have to think; we have to feel. It makes a change 91:00in us. It’s already changing this country, as a whole. We haven’t been afraid to go somewhere in years. And now we get afraid to go somewhere because we’re afraid of death and we forget, we’re going to get there anyhow. And we don’t know how many days we got. Or hours. Live your life until you die. You want to go somewhere, go somewhere. You don’t, don’t. But live your life. Tah-dah! [laughter]
ABBOTT: [laughs] That’s a great place to stop.