Roy "Whitey" Grant, Arval Hogan, Polly Grant, Evelyn Hogan, and Legette Blythe Interviews

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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00:00:00

GEORGE STONEY: -- is amazing. You saw it.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: Isnt technology wonderful?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I didnt -- I didnt know they made em that little. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: What about that street car that -- wasnt there a street car that went from Gastonia --

ROY WHITEYGRANT: Yeah, run --

GEORGE STONEY: -- to Charlotte?

ARVAL HOGAN: Gastonia to Charlotte.

ROY WHITEYGRANT: And you could ride for a dime.

ARVAL HOGAN: They called it P & N; Piedmont -- Piedmont & Northern Railway, something like that. But it ran -- made two or three trips a day with round trip from Charlotte to Gastonia, because our wives would bring the kids over. We did a network show on Thursday night at WBT, and the wives would bring the kids over on the P & N to see us do the night show, then wed all ride back together in the car. But -- and on the mill village there, uh, the ice-cream man would come around with a horse drawn carriage selling ice-cream. And uh, we 00:01:00-- we were fortunate enough one day to have our oldest daughter Yvonne have her picture made up in the cab with the ice-cream man, and that picture later became pretty popular with the folks there in Gastonia. Uh, Yvonne with Colletti, the ice-cream man.

HELFAND: Tony.

ARVAL HOGAN: Tony, yeah. You know him? He -- his son is Tony.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Tony, yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: His son is Tony.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Uh-huh.

ARVAL HOGAN: And Tony knows about this picture. Hes --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: And believe it or not, we had a dope wagon came through the mill -

ARVAL HOGAN: (laughs) Not the kind of dope you have now. (laughter)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Sold soft drinks and sandwiches and cakes. You could get a -- a 16 ounce drink for a dime, and big -- big old piece of cake for a dime. So that would be our meal. And you had to lay it down and drink a little 00:02:00and eat a bite and run and put up some ends on your frames and go back again. It -- just thats the way you had to do because you didnt have a break. You worked straight through eight hours.

GEORGE STONEY: Well that was -- that was one of the things that the workers were protesting against then, was what they called the stretch-out when they had to work so hard.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: Right. Uh-huh.

JUDITH HELFAND: How hard did you have to work?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: How hard? Oh boy. Eight hours, you just -- you just run. It got to -- when we first went there it wasnt too bad, but they kept speeding em up, speeding em up, speeding em up. And it got to where it just -- you couldnt keep em up. It was pretty rough there before we left there. I dont know how it got after that. Probably faster. (laughter)

ARVAL HOGAN: We decided one night -- we had talked to each other. For a long 00:03:00time we couldnt put too much dependence in the music business and we didnt know whether to quit our job over there or not. But finally, uh, we got our salary from WBT and started playing a few personal appearances, so we decided we was gonna quit. So, I dont know why -- it was a foolish thing we did -- but both of us went down there one night and went to sleep. Just let our frames tear all to pieces. It looked like a snow storm. And our boss man come to us and says, look guys. We know that youre pretty well situated at WBT in Charlotte now, but he says, why dont you straighten up and fly right and work us a weeks notice and quit in the good graces of the company? Says, who knows? Maybe one day you might want to come back. So we did. We straightened up that mess that wed gone to sleep and let happen, and straightened up and we were good boys for a week; we worked the notice. And I honestly believe if 00:04:00the plant was open, we could back over there tonight and get a job and go to work, because we liked -- we liked them and they liked us, and uh, we -- we quit in good graces over there.

HELFAND: The plan is open.

ARVAL HOGAN: If -- if the -- if the -- if the chance is open for us to get a job, we -- yeah. But I hear they may close it up pretty soon.

HELFAND: You just dont want to go back in the mill, do you? (laughs)

ARVAL HOGAN: Just dont want to go back in the mill, right. (laughter)

JAMIE STONEY: Well we do have a connection at the front office if you want to --

ARVAL HOGAN: You -- you do have connections over there. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Im interested in this -- this Golden Rule Club. There was also another club that, uh, Mr. Passmore was telling us about. Its the -- the Hundred Club that was kind of enforcing for the -- the employers inside the mill. Do you know anything -- remember anything about that?

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh, no. They didnt have that when -- when we were there.

00:05:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: They had another organization called the NRA, I believe it was.

ARVAL HOGAN: That was Roosevelts --

GEORGE STONEY: That was Roosevelts, yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: National Recovery Act.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: National Recovery. We called it No Rations in August. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Did --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: But it was -- it was good. We -- he did a lot of nice things for us there in the cotton mill.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever play any songs that had uh, anything like the NRA in it or anything like that?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Uh --

ARVAL HOGAN: I dont remember any.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I dont recall anymore.

ARVAL HOGAN: I dont remember of anybody writing a song that had any of those things in it.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hm.

ARVAL HOGAN: You know, Roosevelt had letters for everything. They didnt tell the name of anything; just NRA and WPA and --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: CCC and --

ARVAL HOGAN: -- CCC and all that.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: Thats the way he did things.

HELFAND: You had -- you had -- now when you got there -- you actually started working -- you worked and then you said, And then they stopped working, right? You came earlier, I guess in 33, you said?

00:06:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes. I worked there in 33 three months and kept off a third shift, and uh, I was outta work for a long time until Firestone bought it back in 35.

GEORGE STONEY: You were gonna tell us about how you came down from somewhere else to Gastonia.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh, well I lived in Andrews at that time, and uh, everything died out there --

GEORGE STONEY: Sorry. Could you start off again and tell us where Andrews is?

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh, Andrews is 100 miles southwest of Asheville, North Carolina, and uh, I decided one day that I -- I might just go somewhere and have me a job. And I had an aunt lived in Gastonia. So I got out on the highway, stuck out my thumb, and thumbed my way to Gastonia, and uh, went to my aunts house, and 00:07:00uh, that night a boy came there that I was raised up with in Andrews -- Homer Lee was his name -- and he said, You out here hunting a job? I said, I sure am. He said, Well dont do anything until I come back tomorrow. So he came back the next day and said, My boss man said for you to come in tonight at eleven oclock and go to work. So thats where I got started in the Firestone Mill -- I mean, the Loray Mill, which later helped me to get in the Firestone Mill. If I hadnt had that little experience and knew somebody there, it woulda been hard to got back on.

GEORGE STONEY: Was that extra hard work for you compared to what you got up in the mountains?

ARVAL HOGAN: No, I -- I cut cord wood and such as that for a long time, and that -- that was rough, rougher than any mill. And Firestone, when they opened 00:08:00up, they would hire anybody about it that came from the mountains because they were used to hard work. All you had to do was just say, Im from Asheville, and uh, everything from Asheville to the Georgia line was from Asheville at that time. (laughter)

HELFAND: You -- you had said before it was so dead that you could have put tombstones up. Do you remember?

ARVAL HOGAN: The what?

HELFAND: You said it was so dead in Andrews that you could have put tombstones --

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh yeah, they should have put tombstones up at each end of it because it was dead as far as any wrk was concerned and I couldnt get in the CC camps because my father owned his home, and at that time if your father was working and owned his home, a boy couldnt get in. It was really to help the ones, I guess, is worse off maybe than I was.

HELFAND: Now while you were working there in the cotton mill, I think thats 00:09:00when they probably started organizing into a union the first time.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hm. Thats right, yeah.

HELFAND: Do you remember that?

ARVAL HOGAN: No. Uh, after the union was over with was when I first went to -- to Loray, which was Manville-Jenckes at that time. They had had the strike in 29 and 30 and -- along there, and my cousin at that time had to leave the -- the mill because they shut down on account of the union. They closed it down. And he came to Andrews and he and I cut cordwood for quite a while. And uh, one day I happened to see him walking and uh, the hole -- they was holes in the bottom of his shoes because he couldnt make enough to keep his home up, and uh, and buy him any shoes. So I loaned him three dollars to uh, buy him some shoes to work in, and then the mill started back up and he left there and 00:10:00went to -- back to Loray and uh, then -- in Andrews he didnt make enough money to pay me back my three dollars, but after I went to Gastonia and went to work in the mill, I met him on the street one day and he pulled out three dollars and paid me. (laughter) So thats the way it was in them days.

GEORGE STONEY: Now this was -- this was music that had nothing to do with -- with the movies, did it? You remember talkies came in about 1928 and a whole raft of people started singing, you know, all those theme songs, you remember?

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Right.

GEORGE STONEY: Every movie had to have a theme song like Desert Love Song --

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: -- and Sailboat in the Moonlight, and all this kind of thing.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Thats what --

ARVAL HOGAN: Cause on radio you had to have a theme song.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: And ours in Gastonia was --

00:11:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Ridin on My Saviors Train. B -- Ridin on My Saviors Train. Started off like this. (music plays)

ROY WHITEY GRANT and ARVAL HOGAN: Riding on (Riding on) My Saviors train ( My Saviors train) Im homeward bound (homeward bound), where Ill be found When this train arrives in heaven, there Christ will ever reign, Im riding on (riding on), my saviors train

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Great day, we havent sung that in 50 years. (laughter)

ARVAL HOGAN: We hadnt sang it since we left Gastonia, left the radio station over there.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Im surprised -- Im surprised that we can still do that much of it. Oh boy.

GEORGE STONEY: Lets see if you can do it again.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: OK. (music plays)

ROY WHITEY GRANT and ARVAL HOGAN: 00:12:00Riding on (Riding on) My Saviors train ( My Saviors train) Im homeward bound (homeward bound), where Ill be found When this train arrives in heaven, there Christ will ever reign, Im riding on (riding on), my saviors train

ARVAL HOGAN: That brings back old memories, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh it would, wouldnt it? Thatd be a good one to revive, wouldnt it?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: And then -- then the commercial would come in?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes. Then -- then Pat would start doing a commercial about [Eefers?] and -- or Rustins Furniture Store. The only program that Hogan and I ever missed in our lives.

ARVAL HOGAN: We didnt miss it, we was late.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We didnt miss it; we was late getting there.

ARVAL HOGAN: (laughs)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We were in the dime store in Gastonia one day -- Hogan and I both are great fishermen -- and we was at the Goldfish Bowl watching the gold fish, and I heard this theme song on the radio and Dick Gray said, This 00:13:00is Whitey and Hogan time, but Whitey and Hogans not here and we dont know where they are. And I looked at Hogan and he looked at me -- and we was all the way across town from the radio station -- we ran all the way to the window of Rustins Furniture where we was supposed to be playing, and then we were outta breath and couldnt a do a thing except (panting).

ARVAL HOGAN: Had to rest awhile before we could sing.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: That was -- that was the only time --

ARVAL HOGAN: Dick Gray had to do a lot of talking.

GEORGE STONEY: But you were performing in the mid-- in the store?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: In the window. In the window.

ARVAL HOGAN: In the show window.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Rustins Furniture Store in Gastonia.

ARVAL HOGAN: We could run faster than we could now.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yeah, a whole lot faster.

GEORGE STONEY: Well that was -- Im gonna show you a picture of Gastonia in 1934 and see if you can spot the furniture.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Alright.

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, boy, 1934.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I know where Rustins and Hill -- Hill was where you got your [mandolin?]?

ARVAL HOGAN: I got it from Jones.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Jones.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah.

00:14:00

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Lemme show you. This is a parade in Gastonia in 1934.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Now heres Eefers. We were on for Eefers one time. This is, uh -- Rustins Furniture is in this other block down here. And Jones Furniture Store was two doors above it, wasnt it?

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah, just a little ways from it.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: See, theres a street that crosses right -- right -- right here.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ARVAL GRANT: Right there. And Rustins Furniture was in the next block down there and we -- we did the program in the window there.

GEORGE STONEY: Now this is Labor Day 1934, and there were about 5,000 people out.

ARVAL HOGAN: What about that.

00:15:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: That is something. But this is one year before -- before we came -- before I came, uh, town.

GEORGE STONEY: And this is --

HELFAND: Did you ever hear about that?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes, I -- I had heard about this, but it was a year before we came.

GEORGE STONEY: Now this is the way the parade ended in City Park.

ARVAL HOGAN: Mm-hm.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: It is now called the --

GEORGE STONEY: Lineberger Park.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Lineberger Park.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats right, yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: What? Were they organizing Manville-Jenckes again? Is that what they were doing?

GEORGE STONEY: No, this was all over the area. Every mill in Gaston County --

ARVAL HOGAN: All the mills in Gas-- and more.

GEORGE STONEY: -- at that time had a local.

ARVAL HOGAN: That was a lot of mills over there.

GEORGE STONEY: A lot of mills, yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And so this is -- were going back to find out all about how and why this happened.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh, yeah.

00:16:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now these people tell me that there was a band that was playing with this. We talked to a fella -- no, not a string band, but a regular band.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And we talked to a fella who played the drums thats ahead of this.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Floyd Todd could have been in the band. He was the owner of WGNC, Floyd Todd was, and he was a musician, played in the -- I believe he played in the Swine Band, or played in some band there, but when Hogan and I went up to take our audition for the -- to get a program -- program on the radio station --

GEORGE STONEY: The factory, Manville-Jenckes, didnt have a band itself, did it?

ARVAL HOGAN: No.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, I dont think so.

ARVAL HOGAN: No, they didnt have a band.

GEORGE STONEY: In some places, mills did have bands.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: In fact, we talked to a fella the other day who -- he admitted he wasnt too good a worker, but he played the horn very well and his foreman 00:17:00loved his band, so he hired him on because he could play.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Well Firestone -- Firestone had a little group there, remember, Hogan? [Heavy Alders?] did -- did blackface and -- in their little gazebo right there in the park in front of the Firestone Mill. On Saturdays and Sundays they would -- they hae a little concert there. At one time, my brother -- didnt he honey? Ed played -- played a horn in the band there. Firestone did.

GEORGE STONEY: And that was -- that was sponsored by the mill then?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes. And this was before -- it was before 34 even. A long time ago.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: I think the high school had a band then, too.

ROY WHITEYGRANT: Yes, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: Did Firest-- did Manville-Jenckes have a baseball team, do you know?

ARVAL HOGAN: I dont know if they did, but Firestone had a football team. We played on that.

00:18:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: They -- Firestone, they would -- they would have a softball tournament, and out thing over there then -- during the 35s and the 40s -- was junior baseball. Oh boy, they really raised some professional players from those juniors; Buddy Lewis, uh, he was -- at one time was third baseman for the Washington -- I mean, Washington Senators, and he played his junior baseball right there in Gastonia. Buddy Lewis. Wont ever forget him. Crash Davis, (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: Do you go back to any of the reunions that they have of people in the mills?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, because uh, its a usual thing were out on the roads ourselves and we dont get a chance. But when were at home, uh, and -- and free, when they have a get together, we sure do. We -- we got to it.

00:19:00

GEORGE STONEY: We were at -- do you remember the Eagle cotton mill over in Belmont?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes, yes. Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: Well we were at a reunion -- we were recording at a reunion, uh, just about a week ago, and there was a singer and he sang The Old Rugged Cross.

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, thats my favorite number to play on a mandolin.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Uh, what was his name?

ARVAL HOGAN: The Old Rugged Cross.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Do you remember what his name was?

GEORGE STONEY: Do you remember, Judy? Oh, what a shame.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Did you see -- did he have a guitar, acapella, organ or --

JAMIE STONEY: He had the playback track.

GEORGE STONEY: He had a playback track.

JAMIE STONEY: A tape from -

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Canned music. Canned music.

ARVAL HOGAN: Canned music, yeah.

JAMIE STONEY: He had a tape from the Baptist Bookstore and the lyrics in his hand --

GEORGE STONEY: But he sang.

JAMIE STONEY: He was trying.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

JAMIE STONEY: Sounded good.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Great.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you think you could play The Old Rugged Cross?

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I know he can.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Lets hear it.

00:20:00

(music plays)

00:21:00

(instrumental)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: The Old Rugged Cross.

GEORGE STONEY: He didnt make it sound that good.

ARVAL HOGAN: Thats my favorite number to play.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We were in Holland --

ARVAL HOGAN: I love it.

00:22:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We were in Holland doing two tours over there, in a little church over there that was 700 and somthing years old, and Hogan was playing that number and I heard mumbling all through the crowd. The church was full. And I said to myself, boy, are we doing something we shouldnt. And Hogan kept on playing and the noise got louder. And it turned out they were singing The Old Rugged Cross in Dutch, while he was playing it in English, of course.

ARVAL HOGAN: (laughs)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: So that was -- that was a thrill I dont think Ill ever forget.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats good.

HELFAND: George was singing in English while you were playing. (laughter)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: They were singing in Dutch while he was playing it in English.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah. The first time I did that number was at the Worlds Fair. We played the Worlds Fair in Knoxville, and uh, we never had done it in public. I just played around with it a little at home, and uh, Whitey just 00:23:00called on me one day to play it there at the World Fair. So I played it and it went over so big, I been playing it ever since.

JAMIE STONEY: Thats a great number.

GEORGE STONEY: It is wonderful.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We love it.

GEORGE STONEY: One of the best.

HELFAND: Why dont we take a break?

JAMIE STONEY: OK.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Pick a little bit.

00:24:00

(music plays)

00:25:00

(instrumental)

00:26:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Thats a little tune called The Westphalia Waltz. Its a little German waltz. We was doing that one time out in western North Carolina, Andrews, and there was a little crippled boy jumped up on the stage and sang the words to that, and we dont -- we still dont have the words to it, but its a beautiful, beautiful waltz. And I dont have any trouble with it because it only has two chords. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: Howd you get your name?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Hows that now?

GEORGE STONEY: Howd you get your name?

00:27:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Uh, how did we get our name? Well, thats a long story but Ill tell it to you. The way I got my name, Whitey, when I was born I was black headed -- coal black headed, and in about three weeks my hair started turning light, and it started down on my neck working its way up. And when it got all -- I was white headed. So my brother started calling me Whitey when I was about four weeks old, and it has stuck with me for 76 years. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: What about your -- your musical group? The name.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: The Briarhoppers?

HELFAND: No. The Spin-- The Spindle City Boys.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: The Spindle City Boys. Oh. The Spindle City Boys, we were known as Whitey and Hogan, the Spindle City Boys on WGNC in Gastonia, where we first started. And we chose, and the station chose, this little -- we worked 00:28:00together on it -- decided to call ourselves The Spindle City Boys due to the fact that we worked in the cotton mill and we had a lot of dealings with the spindles in the weave room and the spinning room, so forth and so on. So we went on for quite a while as Whitey and Hogan, the Spindle City Boys.

HELFAND: Did you ever sing while you were doing your jobs?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes, but like I told you a while ago, you couldnt hear it because of the noise that the machinery made in the mill. But I would sing to my own self and Hogan would sing to his self, but thats about as far as our singing got there in the mill because -- due to the fact of all the noise.

GEORGE STONEY: You were on -- on the same shift, were you, in the same rooms working?

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, yes.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We were in the same room -- room, close to each other.

ARVAL HOGAN: Same room. Run frames. We started under cleaning then moved up to doffing. No hanging beams. Did you hang beams?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, I never did hang beams.

00:29:00

ARVAL HOGAN: I hang beams, then started doffing, then finally got promoted up to running frames, and thats as high as you got. That was it. And the frames just got faster and faster and faster, and got so fast --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We got slower and slower.

ARVAL HOGAN: -- we couldnt keep up with em. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: What kept you together? I mean, usually when you have two performers like that, and each of you are star quality, the -- the group breaks up.

ARVAL HOGAN: Well, we both love music, both love the type that we were doing, and we had two good wives that liked it and uh, they encouraged us to do it and -- and that helped us to stay together all these years. Wives break up more 00:30:00teams than -- than anything else because they dont like it, and the husband going off playing, and they dont like it and they dont go, so they stay home, they get lonesome, they jump on him when he comes home, say you got to quit that or quit me, one. And you -- a lot of times he chooses his music ahead of his wife. Lots of em do. But thanks, we both had two good wives that loved what we did and they encouraged us to do it.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: They say behind every man theres a good woman. Here they are.

GEORGE STONEY: What do they say about it? What do you say about it?

POLLY GRANT: Oh, I love it. I enjoy music. I do too. I really do. I think its really been a blessing to us.

ARVAL HOGAN: And anotherthing, we were both Christians and our wives were Christian. We had Christian homes and we always tried to do the right thing and it paid off for us.

GEORGE STONEY: You done a lot of church music, didnt you?

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh yes. Thats where we got our start, playing in churches, 00:31:00before we ever thought about being on radio. We would play in some church somewhere every weekend and uh, that was the beginning of our career, singing gospel in churches. And we still do a lot of gospel wherever we go, regardless.

GEORGE STONEY: What about your children? Do they play and sing?

ARVAL HOGAN: No.

POLLY GRANT: They love music. They sing, but they dont play an instrument.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Now, Yvonne, our oldest daughter, played a little violin in high school.

POLLY GRANT: In school. She played in the orchestra.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: She was the first -- she was the first violinist in the school orchestra.

ARVAL HOGAN: My oldest daughter played piano in high school, but when she got out she just gave it up, and our other daughter played the flute for a while. She just threw it away. Just quit. And the only one in my family that has followed what Im a doing is my granddaughter, Kristen Scott in Union, South 00:32:00Carolina. She plays with a gospel bluegrass group now, and they travel, play all over everywhere.

HELFAND: George, maybe you could explain to them a little bit how we even got here and what weve been trying to do.

GEORGE STONEY: Well were trying to -- were trying to make a film that will complete the history of textiles. As you may know, its been -- the story of textiles been told chiefly from the standpoint of the owners, the manufacturers, the inventors of the machinery and the -- the techniques of making cloth and so forth. The business end. But you very seldom see anything about the people who worked in the factories.

ARVAL HOGAN: Thats right.

GEORGE STONEY: And so, what were trying to do is to fill that in.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And when youre making a movie youve got to have some kind of dramatic center.

ARVAL HOGAN: Right.

00:33:00

GEORGE STONEY: So were using this time in 34 when a lot of people got involved in this organization, and all the things that happened around that. And so were making a film about that big effort in 1933 and 34 as a way of getting people interested in it. What we hope is that eventually this kind of thing will be a part of every museum thats in the -- the textile area.

ARVAL HOGAN: That would be nice.

GEORGE STONEY: Well to show you how its already beginning, I was talking with a woman named Mrs. Hill. Whats her first name?

HELFAND: Yvonnie Hill.

GEORGE STONEY: Yvonnie Hill. Did you know her? I guess you didnt because shes from Belmont.

POLLY GRANT: The name sounds familiar.

GEORGE STONEY: She -- she had polio, but she still worked in the mill all her -- 00:34:00a good part of her life, went back to school in -- oh in her late thirty

[break in video]

GEORGE STONEY: -- her about how she got there, came out of the mountains. That familiar story. She said, Ill have to look it up in my diary. Turns out that she had been keeping a diary from 1933 every day until 1967. And because she doesnt have much family, she was about ready to throw em out. I said, You cant do that! The museums are gonna want this. Really? she said. Well two days later we did a little film with her giving that to the Gaston Museum -- Gaston County Museum. And, therell be a story in the paper about it to encourage other people to save letters, to save photographs, all of this kind of thing, you see, will add to the -- the history. So thats one of the -- thats what were trying to do.

00:35:00

EVELYN HOGAN: Well thats good.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: That really is great. I still give the credit to the cotton mill for -- more or less for the, uh, the life -- the life and the ongoings of Whitey and Hogan, because if it hadnt been for Firestone Cotton Mill and Gastonia, we probably would have never met, and after we met, they -- they worked with us. Uh, we would tell em we had a big thing coming up in radio and it looked like we was gonna have to go. They would arrange it for us to attend, uh, bend over backwards, and we would bend over backwards. You scratch my back and Ill scratch yours. Sure. They worked with us fine. And we -- we enjoyed it, the whole bit.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you ever think of making Firestone a part of your act?

00:36:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Uh, we did. There was a boy there that worked in the mill with us, uh, Doc [Macabee?], [Bret?] Macabee was his name. He and Hogan and myself played a lot of shows there, and we publicized the fact that we were -- were from Firestone Cotton Mill. And I think we still have one of the little fliers now that they put --

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah, we showed you one in there a while ago.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: The three of us.

ARVAL HOGAN: Admission was 10 and 25 cents. So if you have a full house you didnt have much money, but it was fun.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: And thats the way we got started.

GEORGE STONEY: How -- sorry.

HELFAND: What -- (inaudible).

GEORGE STONEY: No, go ahead.

HELFAND: OK. Well one of the things that weve been tracing -- and particular George because hes from North Carolina and grew up in a town where there were mills -- is the perception that people have so many years later of the people that worked in the cotton mills. And one of the things they say is well, those people were lintheads. They were up for cheap -- for a cheap wage. They 00:37:00couldnt -- they never could stand up for themselves. And sometimes people even say well, they were just trashy. Weve been trying to understand where those attitudes might come from.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I dont know. Ive heard that. Ive heard things like that, but uh, I never did see it that way because those people are just as nice and friendly, uh, and would give you the shirt off of their back. Uh, they -- they have always treated us -- Hogans family and my family -- they have always treated us great --

HELFAND: Maybe --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: -- and if they were trash, Im trash, because I grew right up with em.

POLLY GRANT: And the officials encouraged family orientation. We had a lot of club meetings. A beautiful clubhouse there, when they had the gazebo there on the lawn there in front of the Firestone Mill, and they kept it just real neat and trim, and theyd have gatherings for our families, for our children, and 00:38:00it was -- it was just real nice.

GEORGE STONEY: Could you tell about some of those Fourth of July things, the celebrations they had?

POLLY GRANT: Well when they the -- while the gazebo was there, they would have the bands playing, sitting in the area, and the families would -- we would spread a picnic on the ground and uh, just have a lot of fellowship, and naturally the children would be playing childrens games on the sideline. It was just -- it was just great. And I think our boss man -- they encouraged families to do things together and they would organize a lot of activities, especially on Fourth of July as you mentioned. It was always a big thing.

ARVAL HOGAN: On the --

GEORGE STONEY: You were saying something about Christmas.

EVELYN HOGAN: (laughs) Oh I was just saying what we got for Christmas was one dollar, but wes glad to get that, I guess.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Oh yes.

00:39:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Well they was working 17 hundred people, so that was 17 hundred dollars they gave away.

POLLY GRANT: Thats right.

ARVAL HOGAN: Which wasnt bad.

POLLY GRANT: Later years, [Evan?] and I worked in um, Highland Park, which was textile. We inspected cloth. And we had the YMCA. Its still here in Charlotte. And uh, they would give us $25 war bonds. They did several years, at Christmas time.

GEORGE STONEY: She cashed one the other day and it -- the $25 bond that she got then was worth of $100.

EVELYN HOGAN: It was --

ARVAL HOGAN: It had accumulated that much interested in 30 years.

POLLY GRANT: And the company would give us a big banquet dinner at Christmastime, and hat was a lot of family fellowship, and uh, I -- it was always good years for me as we grew up.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, Firestone was a bit different from other mills around, in 00:40:00that it wasnt owned by local people. I mean, the Stowes, the Linebergers, and all those people, were known around there. Firestone was connected with some -- someplace somewhere else. Did that make any difference?

POLLY GRANT: It didnt seem to.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, it didnt. It didnt make any -- make any difference, uh, with the way we felt towards the other cotton mill people. And I dont guess it made any difference in the way they felt toward us. We were all lucky to have a job. Thats the way we looked at it, back in those days. And uh, we didnt frown on each other whatsoever. More or less one big happy family, the way we looked at it.

GEORGE STONEY: What about your children? What -- what about their education?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Well uh, now, our children -- they werent -- they werent of school age while we were workin in the Firestone plant. Uh, 00:41:00they didnt become of school age until we all -- both families moved to Charlotte. But then, uh, they got their education here. All of them finished elementary and high school right here in (crosstalk).

POLLY GRANT: Your nephews, uh, went to school there. One especially went to junior high. [Jayell?] And they had good schools there.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Oh they had terrific schools. Our children werent old enough to go. (laughs)

HELFAND: George came pretty close to working in a cotton mill too, didnt you?

GEORGE STONEY: Well, what was happening was, I had a paper route.

ARVAL HOGAN: You too?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes.

POLLY GRANT: (crosstalk)

GEORGE STONEY: It was -- I finished high school in 33. There was no way I could afford to go to college, just no way. But I had been giving this guy who 00:42:00was a foreman -- I guess he was a secondhand. I didnt know that word at the time.

ARVAL GRANT: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Id been giving him a paper for a long time on the promise that he was gonna get me a job, and finally in August he told me that, come September they were gonna start hiring and Id get a job. I dont know what kind of job it was gonna be. So I trained in somebody to take my place, and I probably bragged a little bit. Came the first of September and he said somebody else -- some other foremans son got the job. I was embarrassed that I took all the money that I had in the bank -- $47 -- and I went away to Chapel Hill. I had no idea how I was gonna stay there, but when I got there I found that some people could work their way through, and there was a whole bunch a guys standing around waiting to go to the dining hall to scrub it out and get it all ready and 00:43:00cleaned up. I found that if you worked three hours a day you got to eat. So I mingled among them. They just -- I got swept in there. Two weeks later they found I wasnt on the list. (laughter) I went -- I found you could work an hour a day for your room if you persuaded some professor to let you cut wood and fix his fireplaces and so forth, so I got a room. And finally I found that you didnt -- you had to pay tuition, $75 a quarter, but you didnt have to pay it until the end of the thing, and I could earn a little more money. And thats the way I got through. But I had no idea of going to college until then.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Until then. Until you got turned down at the cotton mill.

GEORGE STONEY: Thank goodness.

POLLY GRANT: Thats like him promisin mamma when we got married that wed finish school.

00:44:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah. We got married in 1935 and I promised -- we promised our parents if we got married wed finish high school. And we did, about 30 years later. We went to adult training. We both received our diplomas and our entrances to colleges, which we didnt take. But yeah, speaking of paperboy, I was a paperboy, too. I was delivering the Asheville Citizen Times when Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. Ill -- Ill never forget my escapade with the paper route because I kept up with his flight with the morning paper that Id get.

GEORGE STONEY: I had a more interesting account than that, cause that was when Smith Reynolds got shot. Remember he got murdered?

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah, right.

GEORGE STONEY: And it was some scandal about it.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And the -- once the Salem Journal put out an extra, and I can remember shouting out as I walked down the street, Ab found in Libbys arms. (laughter)

00:45:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Ab found in Libbys arms. Oh boy.

GEORGE STONEY: What was life like in Gastonia at that time?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Well, the -- there was not too much to do, and what you did find to do you made good of it. Uh, like -- like Hogan, after I met him we could while away the time --

POLLY GRANT: They entertained us. (laughter)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: We entertained each other and entertained them until it come time to go to the mill to work, and then that was eight hours there. Then when wed come home wed eat a bite and sleep a while and get together and play some more. But there wasnt -- wasnt too much to do. Saturday you could go see Gene Autry or Roy Rogers and hear their songs in the movies, then 00:46:00go home and try to sing like em, try to impersonate them. There wasnt too much to do.

POLLY GRANT: As time went by, we were able to buy a -- a radio, and a -- a phonograph combination, and there was a recording, uh, box with it and we could actually do recordings. And the different bands that would come, and their friends, they old hired hands and different friends who came in that made music, they could sit and play, and uh, it had -- it was like wax. As the needle would cut the grooves it would leave a curl all around it.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Like a bird nest.

POLLY GRANT: And we have some of those records yet. It was interesting.

GEORGE STONEY: Were they flat or a circular --

POLLY GRANT: Flat.

00:47:00

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Flat, disk.

HELFAND: And those were recorded in Fi-- in the cotton mill village?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes.

POLLY GRANT: Mm-hm.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: In our home. We had it there at the cotton mill village.

POLLY GRANT: It was fun.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Other people from the cotton mill would come in just for the heck of it --

POLLY GRANT: Sit and talk.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Sit and talk and make a recording of it, and then uh, give it to em or sell it to em. We figure if they had some money wed sell em one, but if they didnt wed give it to em.

ARVAL HOGAN: We have one of the numbers that we did on his home recording is on the first album we made. I sent a copy of it to the recording company and they put it on this album. And uh, [Homer Sure, Old Hard Hands?] from Columbia, and -- what was the other boys name?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Skippy. Skippy Robbins.

00:48:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Skippy Robbins sang with us on it. Theres a Little Pine Log Cabin. Thats the name of it.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you remember the song?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, I dont --

ARVAL HOGAN: No, I dont guess we could sing it.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: But my oldest daughter had one of these -- I call one of these little plink-tink piano.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, uh-huh.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Little thing she set down on the floor. And if you listen right carefully you can hear that little piano on that number on this album that -- thats out now.

POLLY GRANT: The children loved their music and theyd sit around the floor and sit with their little legs crossed and sit there for hours sometimes, just watching their dad. They just -- I dont know, they enjoyed it. They grew up on it. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: But you could only play that recording, what, just a few times?

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah, theyd get scratchy. The one I sent to the recording company had a lot of surface noise on it, and they cleaned it up till it -- its still got -- you can hear the surface noise, but it turned out pretty good. Made a pretty good number on the album for us.

00:49:00

HELFAND: Do you still -- do you still have some of these records?

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: es, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, that was --

ARVAL HOGAN: I got some --

GEORGE STONEY: About when was that?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: That was about thirty -- thirty -- about 38, 39. Somewhere along in there.

POLLY GRANT: (inaudible)

ROY WHITEY GRANT: That was before --

ARVAL HOGAN: Thirty-seven, 36, 7, before we ever went on radio, you know.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yeah, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: Wow. That was early to have one of those recorders like that.

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, it was.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: It really was.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, yes.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: It really was.

ARVAL HOGAN: And another one we had, you could play the record on -- here, and play it through your radio over yonder.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: It had a --

ARVAL HOGAN: We had one of those.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: It had a pick-up, something --

ARVAL HOGAN: It played through your radio.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I know three or four blocks away, my nieces husband would be playing records on his record player there at the house, and I was at 00:50:00least four blocks from his house and I could hear it on my radio just like I was making -- playing the record there in the house. And wed -- wed make these records here of these cotton mill people, and they wanted to pick and sing, and uh, we said now, well give you time to get home then well play it and you can pick it up on your radio.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

ARVAL GRANT: Oh, its -- we had -- we had a barrel of fun. Stuff like that is what we had to do to pass away the time.

POLLY GRANT: We made our entertainment. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: Thats amazing.

HELFAND: Can you -- do you remember anyone -- any one of those tunes that you might have played back in Firestone village in the 50s?

ARVAL HOGAN: No. No. I dont think so. Its been a long, long time ago. Well, its been a long time since we done Ridin on My Saviors Train, but we did it. It didnt take long to do that.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

HELFAND: Whats real interesting about talking -- talking to you, is that you got -- you came to work right -- it seems to me that you came to work right in 00:51:00the middle of the period of time that weve been asked to investigate.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Well thats good. I hope we can do something -- say somethin that will help you.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah, wed like to.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Because we love PBS radio. I listen to it religiously all the time.

GEORGE STONEY: Its great, isnt it?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Its great. Its great.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, youve certainly been very kind. I think weve --

POLLY GRANT: Well we appreciate you comin.

ARVAL HOGAN: Pretty -- pretty well covered it.

EVELYN HOGAN: Weve enjoyed you comin.

GEORGE STONEY: I think so.

HELFAND: Now just tell us a little bit about your work in the mill in the most graphic way you can.

POLLY GRANT: Well my type job was makin the yarn for the tires that they bought during the war. And I had a coworker, her name was [Assi?] Turner. I never will forget her name because it was so odd. But it was fun workin, uh, 00:52:00with her because she was such a nice person and we just shared our work together. Seemed like the time passed off fast. It was hard work because we had to be on our feet continuously.

ARVAL HOGAN: She has something about her -- how she got her job.

EVELYN HOGAN: Well when I, uh, got my job, they would usually hire two and keep em six weeks training period, and at the end of that six weeks, uh, one of you would go. And uh, like Polly said, it -- it was hard work. And I went home one night and I just cried. I thought sure I was gonna get laid off, but I didnt. I was the lucky one that got to stay. But uh, I worked for $6 a week, and that was --

ARVAL HOGAN: Learning.

EVELYN HOGAN: Learning, and that was as hard a work as -- as I ever done in my life.

00:53:00

GEORGE STONEY: Now they worked you six -- six weeks and then replaced you with somebody else?

EVELYN HOGAN: Well they hired to people, and I guess whichever one they thought made the best hand -- thats why I thought I was gonna get laid off, but I was the fortunate one that got to stay. But uh, it was a good life. It was a real good life.

POLLY GRANT: The interesting thing about it, they trained you. When you applied for your work if they thought you were suitable for that type work, they would train you -- as she said -- for six weeks.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hm.

POLLY GRANT: And then if you qualified for the job, uh, they would keep you. So we qualified and worked for several years until they -- went to work for WBT and then, when we moved away -- and actually, we went with them.

GEORGE STONEY: And then later on you got a job completely away from the cotton mill, didnt you? Both of you?

POLLY GRANT: Yes.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Yes.

00:54:00

GEORGE STONEY: What did you do after that?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Hogan and me? Uh, we -- we went to work for the U.S. Government in the postal department and we both retired from the postal department.

POLLY GRANT: Twenty-one years.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: I was -- I was with the postal department for 21 years.

GEORGE STONEY: How did you both manage to end up in the Postal Department.

ARVAL HOGAN: During Elviss days, rock n roll was so strong, that our type music fell down to where you couldnt -- couldnt hardly make it. The guys in Nashville, some of them just about lost everything they had trying to stay in it, see. So, we went with the Post Office cause we seen what was coming, and we went with the Post Office and stayed with them then until our music started coming back, and we had enough time to retire so we retired from the Post Office 00:55:00and our musics been just as strong or stronger since then as -- as it was before.

GEORGE STONEY: Its coming back.

ARVAL HOGAN: Coming back strong.

GEORGE STONEY: Its -- its really coming back, isnt it?

ARVAL HOGAN: It is, yes.

GEORGE STONEY: Yup.

HELFAND: Would any of your records play now on this?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Sure.

HELFAND: Those records that you kept from back in the 30s?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Sure.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes, uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: I dont think.

ARVAL HOGAN: It will on his. They wont on mine.

GEORGE STONEY: I dont think -- I dont think thats gonna be of good enough quality, though. OK. I think weve kept you long enough. Thank you, very much.

POLLY GRANT: Well we appreciate you coming in --

[break in video

HELFAND: What did you want to say?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Oh, I was gonna -- I was gonna tell you how well -- the wife may not appreciate this but Im gonna tell you anyway -- how well the cotton mill people worked together, how well they wanted to help each other. When she was pregnant with our first -- first and second child, the men, even -- 00:56:00the men and women saw that she was a little heavy and they fell in and helped her every day until she stopped to give birth to our lovely daughter. Now thats how much they -- how much they loved you, how much they thought of you, how much they were willing to work. Theyd bend over backwards to help Evelyn and her both during their pregnancies. And I thought that was great, and I got a chance to several of em that I did appreciate it. But thats how -- thats how well they stuck together and how well they helped each other.

JAMIE STONEY: Cause we had heard from some people that, as soon as the mill or your section boss saw that a woman was pregnant, theyd lay her off.

POLLY GRANT: Oh, no.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, not --

EVELYN HOGAN: No, they worked with you.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Thats not the rule at Firestone.

JAMIE STONEY: They were worried about her getting injured and --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Evi-- yes. Evidently. Now at Firestone it wasnt that way. It might have been --

EVELYN HOGAN: No, they were very kind.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Might have been at some of the other plants. I dont -- but they were very kind. They were helpful.

POLLY GRANT: I was fortunate my health stayed good, but uh, they were -- as they 00:57:00mentioned -- they were very cooperative. If you were nauseated and had to leave your work for a few minutes, they would, uh, see that everything stayd in order until you got back. And I just think the people were great. They really were.

JAMIE STONEY: Now, these were your coworkers but not your managers?

ARVAL HOGAN: Thats right, coworkers.

POLLY GRANT: Well if our managers came through they, uh -- and they saw you were going to be alright, they didnt say, now you cant come in. The reason I say that was because its unusual to be seven months pregnant when you quit work, and I did work seven months before our first child was born, but my health was good and the walkin is good for you if your health is good.

HELFAND: You had to do a lot of walkin I bet.

POLLY GRANT: I did.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

HELFAND: George?

POLLY GRANT: And um, she -- she was born at home. Thats when your children were born at home. And um, the doctor came out from the hospital. We lived about -- Id say six blocks from the hospital, and when he was called, 00:58:00everything was in order and he delivered Yvonne at home.

HELFAND: Can -- could I ask Mr. Hogan to clarify that story?

GEORGE STONEY: Which one?

HELFAND: The one that he told us we didnt quite get before?

GEORGE STONEY: Which one?

HELFAND: The one about, I think his brother-in-law.

GEORGE STONEY: Sure, yeah.

HELFAND: You know, one of the things that weve been really -- that weve been asked to do by the Humanities Council, is to sort of look at history and how people remember it and how people experience things. And like we said before -- not to harp on the same thing -- weve been asked to sort of look at that big strike that took place in 1934, which was I guess either right before or after you came to the mill.

ARVAL HOGAN: I came to the mill in 33, and then again -- after I got laid off -- I came back again in 35, and I stayed there -- I think it was about six and a half years.

00:59:00

HELFAND: You had mentioned, I guess, was it your cousin or your brother-in-law, somebody had been involved in -- maybe in that union campaign, and then they lost their job and then they came back with you?

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes, uh, my first cousin. He was there when they had the strike both times. Hed been working there. And in 34 when they went out, why he came back home to Andrews and he and I cut cordwood for quite a while, and uh -- and uh, his shoes was wore out, so I loaned him three dollars to buy him a pair of shoes. Would you believe a pair of shoes for three dollars? And they were good ones at that time. So uh, he couldnt get enough money ahead to pay me back because he had the family, see, to keep up and we wasnt making about three to four dollars a week. And then he left there when the mill started back 01:00:00up after the -- they shook the union off, and he came back to Gastonia and went back to work in the mill. And then, after I came out there and went to work, well I met him on the street one day, he pulled out three dollars and paid me that three dollars he had owed me for -- for three or four years.

HELFAND: Did he have to leave town because -- because the union had come to -- because they closed the mill down so he left because there was no work? Whyd he have to leave?

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh, he was --

JAMIE STONEY: I think you had said someone in your family was involved in the 29 strike and went to --

ARVAL HOGAN: He was -- he had to leave because he was out of work. There wasnt any other job there for him. So he came back home. He thought he could make it out there, but he found out it was worse than the mill. So, when the mill started back up, he went back out there. He wasnt involved in the 01:01:00-- in the -- organizing or anything. He just got laid off when they shut down. When they went out on strike, why he just left there so he wouldnt be involved.

EVELYN HOGAN: But there was somebody in your family that went to Russia, you said.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah. Boy, I forgot his name now, cause I never did know him much. He married to one of my cousins, and uh, he was Red somebody. I forgot what his last name -- do you remember?

EVELYN HOGAN: No, I dont --

ARVAL HOGAN: And he was involved in organizing and uh, then when they had that killing over there, why they started locking em up for that and he escaped and went to Russia and stayed several years before he came back to the States. I dont think I seen him anymore after he came back to the States.

HELFAND: Was he from Concord? Was his last name Hendricks?

01:02:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Seem like it was. Hendricks? Thats just -- that sound like it.

HELFAND: We met his family in Concord.

ARVAL HOGAN: Is that right?

HELFAND: I met his niece in Concord.

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, is that right?

HELFAND: Thats right.

ARVAL HOGAN: I -- I lost track of the whole family. I dont know -- last time I heard anything -- where they were, they were in Highpoint, and I didnt -- I dont know where they went to. I hadnt seen or heard tell of any of em in years.

HELFAND: I could put you in touch with them if youd like. The daugh-- a young woman. Well, shes in her fifties.

ARVAL HOGAN: Is that right?

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

HELFAND: She lives in Kannapolis.

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, is that right?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Young? Shes in her fifties.

HELFAND: That was her uncle. Uncle Red.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah? How about that? Thats a riot.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Well how bout that. Yeah. Give him -- leave information on how to get in touch with em.

01:03:00

HELFAND: I will.

POLLY GRANT: Thats something.

HELFAND: Had -- had you heard about unc-- your cousin, Red? I mean, was he --

ARVAL HOGAN: Hadnt heard from him in years and years. Its been a lot of years since I even heard tell of him.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Was he living now --

ARVAL HOGAN: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) our people.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: -- or do you know?

HELFAND: No, I -- I think he passed away. He passed away but I know his people.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Oh.

HELFAND: They live in Kannapolis. A whole bunch of em.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Oh.

HELFAND: And they all remember him real well, so they must be your cousins.

ARVAL HOGAN: I dont know. I wouldnt know.

HELFAND: But you know, wherever we go in Gastonia, weve been trying to find the history of this -- with this organizing in 33 and 34, and what happened.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh, yeah.

HELFAND: People just talk about 29.

GEORGE STONEY: Evidentially the killing of the sheriff, you see, was such a shock to people.

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh, uh, Polly and Evelyn was involved --

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Adderholt was his name.

GEORGE STONEY: Adderholt, yes. Sheriff Adderholt, yeah.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Adderholt was the policeman that got killed.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Adderholt was his name.

01:04:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Polly -- Polly and Evelyn was involved in a strike in a cotton mill one time. You want to tell em about it?

POLLY GRANT: Well it was --

EVELYN HOGAN: It was a lace company.

POLLY GRANT: It was a lace company. I dont know whether youd call it a cotton mill or not.

ARVAL HOGAN: It was a what? Lace --

POLLY GRANT: It was Wilkes-Barre -- Wilkes-Barre Lace Company.

ARVAL HOGAN: Well, Wilkes-Barre.

POLLY GRANT: Yeah, we joined the union and then we had a strike and -- well it didnt last long. How many weeks, Polly? Two or three weeks?

EVELYN HOGAN: About three weeks I guess.

POLLY GRANT: About that.

ARVAL HOGAN: And they would give em baskets of food.

POLLY GRANT: Yeah, good food.

EVELYN HOGAN: Sacks full of food.

ARVAL HOGAN: They were -- they were well taken care of for the three weeks that they was out on strike.

EVELYN HOGAN: Flour.

POLLY GRANT: But you know, they didnt last long after that.

EVELYN HOGAN: No.

POLLY GRANT: The company didnt. They went out of business.

EVELYN HOGAN: They moved back to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Pennsylvania.

POLLY GRANT: The company did. They didnt like for people to strike.

GEORGE STONEY: Where was the company? In Gas-

POLLY GRANT: In Charlotte.

GEORGE STONEY: In Charlotte.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: In Charlotte.

01:05:00

POLLY GRANT: Between here and Gastonia.

GEORGE STONEY: About when was this?

EVELYN HOGAN: Musta been righ before we moved to Florida. I think it was about -- must have been about 49 or 50, cause we moved to Florida in 51.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Right after the program terminated.

POLLY GRANT: Yeah. It was in the 50s.

EVELYN HOGAN: Yeah.

POLLY GRANT: Well, thats 51 I believe the program terminated, didnt it? WBT terminated in 51?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Mm-hm.

GEORGE STONEY: And Elvis came in.

ARVAL HOGAN: Elvis.

EVELYN HOGAN: Elvis laid a blow.

ROY WHITEY GRANT: Master Presley.

ARVAL HOGAN: Elvis came in and --

GEORGE STONEY: Isnt that --

ARVAL HOGAN: -- and knocked us off there.

GEORGE STONEY: Even -- did you notice last night that even President Bush started riding on Elvis coat tails? (laughter) Did you hear that last night?

ROY WHITEY GRANT: No, no.

POLLY GRANT: Didnt hear all about it, no.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh yes. He was -- he brought in Elvis in his speech.

POLLY GRANT: Oh really?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes. Everybodys doing it now.

01:06:00

HELFAND: Just his birthday. Well that takes -- was one of the things that Mr. Stoney was asked to look at; was the legacy of 29, 34, today -- even today, 58 years later.

GEORGE STONEY: OK, Judy.

HELFAND: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Weve cooked these people.

[break in video]

LEGETTE BLYTHE: My son is uh, the First Union Bank down there, called Nation -- Nations Bank, I believe now. Anyway, Sam is the vice president and uh, he had a -- all this area all in here under his -- and hes the -- I dont know what you call it, but hes the head of it. He has to go down there -- he goes 01:07:00down there -- I went with him one day to get a little money, so he uh -- he drove up to the window, nice lady, spoke, you know, every pleasantly and he spoke the same way. And he held up, handed his card, and uh, she didnt know anymore who he was than the Man on the Moon. It was very funny. Just how things have changed.

GEORGE STONEY: You knew Thomas Wolfe. Could you tell us how youd gotten to know him?

BLYTHE: Well he was -- we were just very, very close buddies. School he was class of 1920 and I was 21, but practically all our classes ran together. I 01:08:00mean, we didnt go by year.

GEORGE STONEY: It was a small school then.

BLYTHE: Well, thats right. It was, I guess -- well it wasnt so small either. It was smaller than what it is now, I guess about, oh, twenty-five hundred maybe then. Anyway, Tom and I were just together on everything that happened, you might say. He was a -- well hes just -- thats -- just got -- hes got a grin on him, hes up to something.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you write for The Tar Heel?

01:09:00

BLYTHE: I was it in the list. I wrote many a time. Id have to be up in the middle of the night getting something done, then have to rush it over there. It was quite a time.

GEORGE STONEY: Well whats -- tell us about this room.

BLYTHE: Well, this -- this is my work too. This was a little side porch that came -- it was sealed, went straight across under that -- well, it was wrapped -- I mean it wraps just like that, except it was sealed straight across. And 01:10:00then I decided to make this a room and had to, you know, get -- I pulled all that out. I had to have something to hold the roof up. I put those cross bucks, they go into the wall to the top of the wall there, and theyre bolted down. And then put the -- took the -- took the ceiling out and just made a room. This -- this was a -- just a -- just a yard came up here and decided to 01:11:00make a room and built this on. I laid the bricks and everything, put them there. Thats how I left them.

GEORGE STONEY: How old were you when you laid those bricks?

BLYTHE: That was -- that was in the 40s I guess.

GEORGE STONEY: And you were born?

BLYTHE: See, Im -- the only way I can remember my age very easily, cause I was born in 1900. All I got to do is look at the calendar. (laugher) Thats 01:12:00really a fact. Thats the easiest date I have is my birthday; April 24th, 1900.

GEORGE STONEY: I envy you this room so much because I live in a small Manhattan apartment now, and --

BLYTHE: I did the same thing. I lived up at 110th Street and had a little, um, backyard. It was about -- oh it was wide as the apartment. Went back for about 20, 25 feet. Yes, sir.

GEORGE STONEY: Were you going to Columbia then?

BLYTHE: No, I never went anywhere but Carolina, but I was growing old there, and 01:13:00uh, I was in on a lot of the things that were happening, all the -- anything interesting. I was living right on top of the thing.

GEORGE STONEY: That was a pretty exciting time to be in New York.

BLYTHE: Yeah, it was. I lived up -- I used to go up the Hudson. Used to walk up beside the river. We had a -- a little place right on -- well I was on my, uh, steps right at 110th Street. The subway stop was 110th. I got off there, 01:14:00came up -- up to the surface and walked up three blocks, 113th, and then out my door ending right there. And I understand its still -- I havent been up there in years, but its still -- somebody told me its still there and still an apartment.

GEORGE STONEY: I suspect it is.

BLYTHE: Its -- its amazing how things change and stay the same, too.

GEORGE STONEY: You want to show me this -- your big room in here again?

BLYTHE: Yeah, Id be glad to. Right here. This is my son Bill, who is a 01:15:00Professor of Medicine at Chapel Hill. Theres -- this is my -- this I my two sisters and brother. Im the last one living for the whole crowd. Watch your step, dont stumble here.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Thank you.

01:16:00

BLYTHE: Look at this letter right -- right there.

GEORGE STONEY: Whats this room here? Whered it come from?

BLYTHE: This was uh, from uh, [Tom Pope Home?]. He was out here about, oh, three miles. This -- these roads -- see, all these roads have changed. I mean the -- well this one right here, for instance, is one of the heaviest traveled highways in North Carolina, which you would agree if you lived here and paid any attention to it. But it was a little narrow road, just a little -- loose 01:17:00gravel. And my son, Sam, who is a -- when I said in the back goes down to get money or -- you dont know who he is -- but he used to get a biscuit or something and slip out there and sit down there in the middle of the road, stayed after we got him, and wouldnt be a thing go by except maybe a farmer with a load of stove wood, a little short length of these old stove -- ovens, and uh, wed go out and get him. But this --

GEORGE STONEY: This letter here.

BLYTHE: Youve heard of that gentleman.

GEORGE STONEY: Franklin Roosevelt.

01:18:00

BLYTHE: I spent a night with him.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh, you did?

BLYTHE: On the train.

GEORGE STONEY: When was this? This was August the 15th, 1932.

BLYTHE: That was -- he was -- we were trying to get him to Charlotte for the 20th of May, something out in the -- he explained it then. Anyway, he wrote me this letter and uh, I was on the train going to Raleigh, to -- he was gonna speak over to the state fair, and I was gonna -- covering it for The Observer, 01:19:00and I got on the train and we rode. Had a bunch of senators and congressman, all big shots all over, and people -- a lot of newspaper people. And I -- it got late, late in the night, people started going to bed, and I just kept sitting there. Then I finally gave up and went back and he was -- he was in the 01:20:00same shape I was. We sat there and talked, right? Our knees touching. I got a good look at him. He had a -- had tremendous muscle in his arms, just like a blacksmith. And in his legs, nothing from -- his knees were just great big hunks on bone. The flesh just went down all about like that. We sat there till 01:21:00finally he got in. Went that morning and I saw him, oh, several times after that. He was a character.

GEORGE STONEY: This is in August, 1932 -- August 15th. This was before he became President.

BLYTHE: He was -- he was running.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats right. This is from the Executive Mansion in Albany.

BLYTHE: He was governor.

GEORGE STONEY: (reading) Dear Mr. Blythe, first let me apologize for an unfortunate misunderstanding by which your telegram was laid aside for a reply and subsequently lostsight of. Since the occasion for which you wish my telegrams answer has probably passed, Im writing to you now instead. You may be sure that I did wish to visit Charlotte, and I should like nothing better than to meet again, my many friends in your city and state. However, I shall 01:22:00have to answer you as I have answered others. My plain -- my plans for the future are entirely dependent upon State business, and while I expect to do some speaking later in the fall, I cannot as yet decide upon my itinerary. This matter also has to be talked over with state leaders, the National Chairman, and unfortunately the Treasurer. (laughs)

BLYTHE: That -- that -- I thought that last line was typical Roosevelt cracking up.

GEORGE STONEY: When you think, oh the money theyre spending now and what -- the traveling and so forth, this is -- this is almost archaic, isnt it?

BLYTHE: Isnt that somethin? And comin from the --

GEORGE STONEY: (reading continues) With all good wishes to my friends of Charlotte, and many thanks for your long, continued loyalty, I remain yours sincerely, Franklin Roosevelt.

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats a great letter.

01:23:00

BLYTHE: That is. I was real proud of that.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

BLYTHE: (chime) Scuse me. Let me see who this is.

(audio interruption)

BLYTHE: My granddaughter did that.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats very nice.

BLYTHE: My mother did that picture there.

GEORGE STONEY: The one far down?

BLYTHE: Yes. Isnt that -- thats on the Shenandoah. You see that scene in lots of places now.

GEORGE STONEY: And the books along here?

BLYTHE: These are -- these are all mine, this row down to Toms picture.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? All the way down here?

01:24:00

BLYTHE: Down to -- down to the Tom Wolfe book. But then, I said there are not that many different titles there. I never had known, and dont know yet, really how many. I have no -- dont have the slightest idea of how many Ive had -- I mean published, how many copies. I imagine in the millions really because they have now, if its anything at all, anybody as old as I am protecting em. Theres no problem to, you know, just duplicate em.

GEORGE STONEY: Well I noticed that this -- Yes Maam, Miss --

01:25:00

BLYTHE: Miss G.

GEORGE STONEY: Miss G. Whats this? Who was Miss G?

BLYTHE: She was a -- she was a teacher.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats a -- thats biography?

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Youve got novels here. Youve got history. My goodness. Well what Im interested in mostly is about some of your writing for the --

BLYTHE: Paper?

GEORGE STONEY: -- for The Charlotte Observer. In 1934 when -- the period were interested in, you did a byline story almost every day for about three weeks when that big textile strike happened.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Well I got knocked in the head over that. You knew about that?

01:26:00

GEORGE STONEY: I didnt know that. So, why dont we settle down here and well talk about it?

BLYTHE: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: You fellas give me one second and Ill be right with you.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: Im not as fast as you guys are.

BLYTHE: Yeah. I dont know any --

GEORGE STONEY: Just a -- just a moment. Hes gonna be with you.

GEORGE STONEY: Alright, so you were telling me about what happened to you.

BLYTHE: Oh, that -- I was, oh, in Gastonia during that -- they had a big textile strike -- (coughs) thats how I cant talk -- and I was over there covering 01:27:00it for The Observer, and I was walking down the street in front of the Loray Mill. Ive forgotten just exactly -- at any rate, I got a -- just a -- knocked out. A fella, was a guard, he claimed that I was gonna assault him or something. Anyways, just a hullabaloo. And anyway, he came across right -- just gave me a butt stroke with a rifle and just knocked me out into the -- cut 01:28:00a loop, went out into the street, on my head. Got banged up a little, but I jumped right back up and they took me and put a patch on me. But that was a wild doings there. Then they --

GEORGE STONEY: Was that in 29 or 34?

BLYTHE: It was right at the twenty --

GEORGE STONEY: Now, 29 was when Adderholt got killed and 34 was when all the mills came out.

01:29:00

BLYTHE: Yeah. Well this was -- I dont know. But I was in all of it. The whole thing. And was just -- it was just a wild hullabaloo all over.

GEORGE STONEY: Well the thing that distinguished your reporting from most weve seen is that you were emphasizing calm. Your headlines, your stories, uh, and Ill give you some instances of that as we go through. So why dont I just get our books and well go over the various things.

BLYTHE: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Lets see. This is -- no, thats --

BLYTHE: Have you got-- you got clippings? I imagine thatll bring back a lot of --

GEORGE STONEY: Oh yes. Weve got all of those for that time.

BLYTHE: Boy.

JAMIE STONEY: Dont drop em or theyll break.

01:30:00

GEORGE STONEY: OK. By the way, if youre interested, I can later make copies for you.

BLYTHE: Well then.

GEORGE STONEY: Maybe your biographer would be interested.

BLYTHE: Im sure.

GEORGE STONEY: Has anybody done a biography of you?

BLYTHE: No, I dont -- Ive had a lot of --

GEORGE STONEY: Well heres the first story that Im interested in. This is the 6th of September, Leaders Strive to Keep Forces Under Control. Policeman [Fist Halls?] attempts to rush one mill. Legette Blythe, you see?

BLYTHE: Mm-hm. What is that -- doesnt have a date on it?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, its the 6th of Dec-- of September.

BLYTHE: Of 19...?

01:31:00

GEORGE STONEY: Of 1934. The striker leaves Howard Payne fighting desperately to keep his forces orderly. Numerous malcontents in the ranks equally determined to override him and start a reign of violence. The general textile strike in Charlotte area today, enters its most delicately balanced period. Do you -- how well do you remember Howard Payne?

BLYTHE: Not much.

GEORGE STONEY: Were interested because we have motion picture footage of Howard in --

BLYTHE: Id probably see him, Id maybe --

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Do you have a -- do you have a videotape showing here?

BLYTHE: No.

GEORGE STONEY: Well what -- when we come back again well show it to you, OK?

BLYTHE: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: What it says here, The cotton mills in this region are virtually at a standstill, and if the leaders of the strike and United Textile Union members can hold the advantages theyve gained, they have an opportunity 01:32:00of winning certain concessions. It was freely predicted last night -- it was freely predicted last night, if the leaders are unable to keep their followers in line and violence results, then the strike will be definitely lost, though it may drag out for days.

BLYTHE: Mm-hm.

GEORGE STONEY: So you were stressing the --

BLYTHE: I was -- I was right in the middle of all the stir, when I got knocked off.

GEORGE STONEY: What -- what was your relationship to all of the organizers before the strike happened?

01:33:00

BLYTHE: I didnt have any -- I dont remember any, uh, important tie-ins. I just dont remember any of it, as far as relationships, except just as a newspaperman covering it.

GEORGE STONEY: Were you a labor reporter who covered all of the organization before the strike?

BLYTHE: Well, I covered every -- everything that was done in the strike, anything to do with the textiles, I was the one that wrote. And I dont know now just what all it was. It was just a hullabaloo a lot of the time, but I was 01:34:00the only one on the paper unless -- unless something come up and Id have to go somewhere else or something and somebody else would, you know, stand in for the day. But I was -- I was in the whole thing all over the place, running up and down all over, (inaudible) up and down the street. My -- my father and his brother-in-law had the biggest country store -- biggest store or business in 01:35:00Mecklenburg County and they had two stores up -- up on this railroad street and I was -- and it was -- they -- all the people on the -- Mill Hill they called it. Thats another thing; all about the Mill Hill. Thats how much respect it got, you know. Went -- did the -- they fed em, and um, no I -- they -- well my daughter takes me to ride pretty often. See, I havent -- I havent 01:36:00driven a car now in -- havent had a car and havent driven one in -- oh the last car I had I guess was 20 years ago, maybe longer. So Ive just -- Im just a survivor of all this stuff, and just remember the most -- I guess you might say the most vicious or whatever the word is. It was -- it was pretty dangerous and I still remember I got knocked, smacked across the sidewalk out 01:37:00into the gutter over in Gastonia with the butt of a rifle. Fella came around like that and just laid me out. But --

GEORGE STONEY: Now we --

(audio interruption)

GEORGE STONEY: -- attempts to keep the peace.

BLYTHE: Well I was -- I did. All the time I tried to calm this down, cause it was -- and I was right in the midst of it. I could have had a -- I could have really had a -- just a terrible thing going if I had just told the thing like it was, really. I told it like it was, but I told it in a calm way.

GEORGE STONEY: Well thats the thing I noticed between you and the Associated Press reporter.

BLYTHE: Uh-huh.

01:38:00

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, whose name -- lets see. Ive got it here. You and he were on almost every day, and his name was -- lets see -- J.M. Roberts.

BLYTHE: [Billy?] Roberts.

GEORGE STONEY: You knew him?

BLYTHE: Oh yeah. He was later, uh, he was state -- something for The Observer.

GEORGE STONEY: He was writing for the AP then.

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: And as I say, his stories were much more sensational than yours.

BLYTHE: The AP office was right there in one corner of the -- well it was on the 01:39:00floor just above ours.

GEORGE STONEY: Now heres something you say about Payne. The strike leader, with only two or three hours sleep since last Thursday morning, dashed from Charlotte to Cornelius and from there to Pine Fall.

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: From which place he had received reports that the situation was tense. Assured rural policemen and deputy sheriffs -- assured rural policemen and deputy sheriffs that he was doing his utmost to prevent disorder, and to guarantee no harm would be done to property.

BLYTHE: I think I was in the bunch that went down to -- I was in on all that stuff.

GEORGE STONEY: Now, weve heard a lot about flying squadrons. Could you describe those?

01:40:00

BLYTHE: That was a, I think just a -- theyre leaders of the striking movement, I think. The ones that -- it had a -- had people -- well the mill management, owners, all that, they said they were just agitators -- and they were in a sense -- but they were just crossed up anyway, but they would be any 01:41:00kind of moving, they would be doing it -- owners -- mill owners of course would be emphasizing that it was just illegal or just terrorizing the -- I remember the feeling and all that more than I know the details of it, but it was -- and it was all through the whole textile. And this was -- this -- Huntersville at 01:42:00that time, for instance, was a -- Huntersville High School, and now theres not even a high school north of North Mecklenburg. Huntersville then was a highest ranking educational community in Mecklenburg County by far. The only thing ahead of it was Davison College. And -- and it was -- the school was right out -- was just -- this house right here -- these two houses between us 01:43:00and where the old school used to be. Its that -- all the park looking area right beyond there, and the school set right across the road from our -- the big house on the corner. You maybe noticed up -- up that street on the other side of the street was where we lived. We moved there -- in fact my parents built that house and it was nine rooms, they were, some of them 18 x 12, about two-thirds the size of this.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah, mm-hm.

01:44:00

BLYTHE: And the ceilings were -- downstairs were nine -- lets see -- nine feet I believe, eight or nine feet, and the upstairs were a foot lower than that. And it was all hardwood, oak, and just a big mantel. Ive still got it here, got it in the back there. But, I remember mother paid -- she was -- oh it was a showpiece of the whole area. It cost $25.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

01:45:00

BLYTHE: Thats right; $25. And that was 19 and -- I graduated Huntersville High School in 1917. Went to Carolina, and graduated up there in 19 and 21. And I was -- I guess there was about three -- about 300 of us graduated, maybe, but that was a huge class then.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hm.

BLYTHE: And now what do they have, twenty --

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, its --

BLYTHE: Have 15,000.

GEORGE STONEY: People not having -- people not having all those babies now. Yeah, thats true. Well, down in here you say some people who had come out in 01:46:00Shelby for example. You remember Paul Christopher was a leader. And theyd go over to Kings Mountain and go around to the mills and make a lot of noise and try to get people to come out.

BLYTHE: Uh-huh. Yeah, thats right. And they did of course.

GEORGE STONEY: There was a big controversy about that.

BLYTHE: A lot of it was curiosity. Oh yeah. And the papers were generally very -- The Observer was very conservative. Its nothing -- I mean, todays Observers got nothing to do with appearance or anything, except they kept the old type of the -- headline type and general appearance of it, but thats the only thing that even resembles the old Observer.

01:47:00

GEORGE STONEY: You say that the papers back then -- The Observer was pretty conservative?

BLYTHE: Oh yeah, very much. Very conservative.

GEORGE STONEY: Well now your -- your coverage was so evenhanded that -- let me get another book and Ill show you -- so that -- let me get the other one here. So that a few days later there was a letter from a textile -- from somebody praising you for your evenhandedness.

BLYTHE: (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: Lets see if I can find that. Lets see.

BLYTHE: Whered you get all this then? Did you go to The Observer to get these copies?

GEORGE STONEY: No, we got it from -- we got it from the archives -- the state 01:48:00archives. They let us -- we copied it from Xerox. But this is what it says, uh, Let us appreciated The Observers fairness. To The Observer: I should like to express my appreciation of the policy of The Observer in connection with the present strain and stress incident to the cotton mill strike. The public might not have a full an -- as full an appreciation of the responsibility of the press in such times as those it ought to, and it is grateful -- it is gratifying to see the spirit of fairness to both sides of the factions at variants in this emergency. Will follow with interest and gratification the work of your reporter, Mr. Blythe, who has been on the scene here at Pineville, and his narratives have been consistently just to the strikers who greatly appreciate his spirit of fairness and tolerance.

BLYTHE: Reverend E.

01:49:00

GEORGE STONEY: Reverend E.O. Cole.

BLYTHE: Cole.

GEORGE STONEY: Pastor, the Methodist Church of Pineville.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Well I -- thats right. I tried to -- and I did cover the thing the way it should have been. I -- theres no propaganda on it.

GEORGE STONEY: You notice here -- this is on the 7th -- Local Strikers Calm As Neighbor States Seize. Disorders Are On Wane Over This Territory.

BLYTHE: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And thats your story.

BLYTHE: You really have covered this.

GEORGE STONEY: And we have it in big type so I could read it. Disorders Are On The Wane Over This Territory. And again youre -- Organizers visit Pineville but hold entirely decorous meeting. Gastonia section remains calm, as 01:50:00does area covered by Springs Mills, which are closed to prevent possibility of trouble. Repetition of 1929 tragedy considered unlikely. Now, why were you referring to 1929?

BLYTHE: That was -- well I only tried to -- it was just a general -- someplace in there there was some shooting.

01:51:00

GEORGE STONEY: Well in 1929, that was when the Loray strike came and they killed Sheriff Adderholt.

BLYTHE: Yeah, that was it.

GEORGE STONEY: And uh --

BLYTHE: Yeah, I remember that, very --

GEORGE STONEY: People -- even now when were working in Gastonia, peope always bring up that 29 strike and -- and when Chief Aderholt got killed.

BLYTHE: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And that seems to have set their attitude towards everything else.

BLYTHE: Well it did.

GEORGE STONEY: What you say here is interesting, talking about Pineville. Um, 01:52:00Five years ago, Pineville Mill workers were aroused to a frenzy of excitement by impassioned harangues of Vera Bush and Carl Reeves and other communist agitators.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Vera Bush. I remember them. Its -- this is amazing to me now. Im right in the spot where these people were that I was writing about.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats right. Right now.

BLYTHE: Right now.

GEORGE STONEY: Thats right, your house.

BLYTHE: And its been, golly -- and Ive had all my family, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, which are -- and all of em have turned 01:53:00out beautifully. Thats my own achievement. Now this bunch of books, thats just a living. I mean, I really -- sounds like Im just putting on an act, and if I were covering this thing in the mood that I was in, I know that I was putting on an act, but Im really not. (laughs) Its just a -- its just amazing. I mean you -- the human brain, the older I get the more Im 01:54:00amazed just at a human being, any of em. I mean, the dumbest one that you can find. But if you get a -- I was just thinking at the time, I was sitting there looking at Roosevelt and talking with him, but he was -- he was probably thinking the same identical thing I was about how amazing the times were, what a situation he was in and how -- what would -- what would happen if this happened or this other happened. And he probably went through the same situation that people that have written about him did. Yeah, lately -- well I was just trying 01:55:00to think. I asked Esther, and shes written the most amazing character that I have ever seen.

GEORGE STONEY: Whos this?

BLYTHE: Esther, my wife. And she takes me as a very, very ordinary child that shes got to look after and make behave.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) BLYTHE: Well, which is true. I mean, I am. Ive been her child since the first moment I saw her. She -- shes the greatest character of all the Roosevelts, none of them are comparable to her as far as 01:56:00characters, or any other way that Ive had any experience with. And uh, but she just -- she takes -- takes me just as a -- as I am. Sometime I dont think she gives me enough appreciation of -- of my queerness, that she takes me just ordinary, not even queer. (laughter) But thats a -- course I had this -- this um, classmate, one of the Ransom boys, hes been very much a part of 01:57:00my life, roomed with him at Chapel Hill, officers training camp, Plattsburg with him. All that I went through at officers training camp, and he was -- would have had a commission except I was too young. I was just 17 -- well, I was -- I turned 18 up there, and they werent commissioning anybody under 21, but they gave em a -- gave me a certificate of whatever it was. I have -- it 01:58:00was a document just like a commission and all that, but sent back to Chapel Hill, which everybody laughs about. I did too. Just instruction in bayonet fighting. Imagine me instructing bayonet fighting. And I had -- I had to pass all this stuff to get it, you know?

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

BLYTHE: Im not the most innocent -- looking at it a certain way, Im the most innocent character that Ive ever interviewed because Im just a -- just out of place everywhere I was in. I was one of the [welders?] Ive never 01:59:00known who was the top ranking, senior in all our class at Chapel Hill, I was one of, oh, four or five, and none -- none of us knew, and none of em really any higher in their grades probably than the other, then I cover all that stuff and I cant cover myself. Thats the funniest thing.

GEORGE STONEY: Well now, wasnt --