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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0:00

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

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: Isn’t technology wonderful?

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: I didn’t -- I didn’t know they made ’em that little. (laughs)

GEORGE STONEY: What about that street car that -- wasn’t there a street car that went from Gastonia --

ROY “WHITEY”GRANT: Yeah, run --

GEORGE STONEY: -- to Charlotte?

ARVAL HOGAN: Gastonia to Charlotte.

ROY “WHITEY”GRANT: 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 we’d 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 1:00-- 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. He’s --

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 2:00and eat a bite and run and put up some ends on your frames and go back again. It -- just that’s the way you had to do because you didn’t 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 wasn’t too bad, but they kept speeding ’em up, speeding ’em up, speeding ’em up. And it got to where it just -- you couldn’t keep ’em up. It was pretty rough there before we left there. I don’t know how it got after that. Probably faster. (laughter)

ARVAL HOGAN: We decided one night -- we had talked to each other. For a long 3:00time we couldn’t put too much dependence in the music business and we didn’t 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 don’t 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 you’re pretty well situated at WBT in Charlotte now, but he says, why don’t you straighten up and fly right and work us a week’s 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 we’d 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 4:00the 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 don’t want to go back in the mill, do you? (laughs)

ARVAL HOGAN: Just don’t 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: I’m interested in this -- this Golden Rule Club. There was also another club that, uh, Mr. Passmore was telling us about. It’s 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 didn’t have that when -- when we were there.

5:00

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

ARVAL HOGAN: That was Roosevelt’s --

GEORGE STONEY: That was Roosevelt’s, 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 don’t remember any.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: I don’t recall anymore.

ARVAL HOGAN: I don’t 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 didn’t 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: That’s 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?

6:00

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 aunt’s house, and 7:00uh, 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 don’t 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 o’clock and go to work.” So that’s 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 hadn’t 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 8:00up, 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, I’m 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 work was concerned and I couldn’t 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 couldn’t 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 that’s 9:00when they probably started organizing into a union the first time.

GEORGE STONEY: Mm-hm. That’s 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 couldn’t 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 10:00went to -- back to Loray and uh, then -- in Andrews he didn’t 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 that’s 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: That’s what --

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

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: And ours in Gastonia was --

11:00

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Ridin’ on My Savior’s Train. B -- Ridin’ on My Savior’s Train. Started off like this. (music plays)

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT and ARVAL HOGAN: Riding on (Riding on) My Savior’s train ( My Savior’s train) I’m homeward bound (homeward bound), where I’ll be found When this train arrives in heaven, there Christ will ever reign, I’m riding on (riding on), my savior’s train

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Great day, we haven’t sung that in 50 years. (laughter)

ARVAL HOGAN: We hadn’t sang it since we left Gastonia, left the radio station over there.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: I’m surprised -- I’m surprised that we can still do that much of it. Oh boy.

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see if you can do it again.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: OK. (music plays)

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT and ARVAL HOGAN: 12:00Riding on (Riding on) My Savior’s train ( My Savior’s train) I’m homeward bound (homeward bound), where I’ll be found When this train arrives in heaven, there Christ will ever reign, I’m riding on (riding on), my savior’s train

ARVAL HOGAN: That brings back old memories, yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: Oh it would, wouldn’t it? That’d be a good one to revive, wouldn’t 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 Rustin’s Furniture Store. The only program that Hogan and I ever missed in our lives.

ARVAL HOGAN: We didn’t miss it, we was late.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: We didn’t 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 13:00is Whitey and Hogan time, but Whitey and Hogan’s not here and we don’t 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 Rustin’s Furniture where we was supposed to be playing, and then we were outta breath and couldn’t 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: Rustin’s 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 -- I’m 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 Rustin’s and Hill -- Hill was where you got your [mandolin?]?

ARVAL HOGAN: I got it from Jones.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Jones.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah.

14:00

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

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Now here’s Eefer’s. We were on for Eefer’s one time. This is, uh -- Rustin’s Furniture is in this other block down here. And Jones’ Furniture Store was two doors above it, wasn’t it?

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

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: See, there’s a street that crosses right -- right -- right here.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ARVAL GRANT: Right there. And Rustin’s 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.

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: That’s 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 -- we’re going back to find out all about how and why this happened.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh, yeah.

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 that’s 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, didn’t have a band itself, did it?

ARVAL HOGAN: No.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: No, I don’t think so.

ARVAL HOGAN: No, they didn’t 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 wasn’t too good a worker, but he played the horn very well and his foreman 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 have a little concert there. At one time, my brother -- didn’t 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 “WHITEY”GRANT: Yes, uh-huh.

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

ARVAL HOGAN: I don’t know if they did, but Firestone had a football team. We played on that.

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. Won’t 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, it’s a usual thing we’re out on the roads ourselves and we don’t get a chance. But when we’re at home, uh, and -- and free, when they have a get together, we sure do. We -- we got to it.

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, that’s 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. Let’s hear it.

20:00

(music plays)

21:00

(instrumental)

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: The Old Rugged Cross.

GEORGE STONEY: He didn’t make it sound that good.

ARVAL HOGAN: That’s my favorite number to play.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: We were in Holland --

ARVAL HOGAN: I love it.

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 shouldn’t. 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 don’t think I’ll ever forget.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s 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 World’s Fair. We played the World’s 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 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: That’s a great number.

GEORGE STONEY: It is wonderful.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: We love it.

GEORGE STONEY: One of the best.

HELFAND: Why don’t we take a break?

JAMIE STONEY: OK.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Pick a little bit.

24:00

(music plays)

25:00

(instrumental)

26:00

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: That’s a little tune called The Westphalia Waltz. It’s 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 don’t -- we still don’t have the words to it, but it’s a beautiful, beautiful waltz. And I don’t have any trouble with it because it only has two chords. (laughter)

GEORGE STONEY: How’d you get your name?

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: How’s that now?

GEORGE STONEY: How’d you get your name?

27:00

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Uh, how did we get our name? Well, that’s a long story but I’ll 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 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 couldn’t 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 that’s 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.

29:00

ARVAL HOGAN: I hang beams, then started doffing, then finally got promoted up to running frames, and that’s 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 couldn’t 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 30:00teams than -- than anything else because they don’t like it, and the husband going off playing, and they don’t like it and they don’t 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 there’s 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 it’s really been a blessing to us.

ARVAL HOGAN: And another thing, 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, didn’t you?

ARVAL HOGAN: Oh yes. That’s where we got our start, playing in churches, 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 don’t 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 I’m a doing is my granddaughter, Kristen Scott in Union, South 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 we’ve been trying to do.

GEORGE STONEY: Well we’re trying to -- we’re trying to make a film that will complete the history of textiles. As you may know, it’s 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: That’s right.

GEORGE STONEY: And so, what we’re trying to do is to fill that in.

ARVAL HOGAN: Uh-huh.

GEORGE STONEY: And when you’re making a movie you’ve got to have some kind of dramatic center.

ARVAL HOGAN: Right.

33:00

GEORGE STONEY: So we’re 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 we’re 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 that’s in the -- the textile area.

ARVAL HOGAN: That would be nice.

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

HELFAND: Yvonnie Hill.

GEORGE STONEY: Yvonnie Hill. Did you know her? I guess you didn’t because she’s from Belmont.

POLLY GRANT: The name sounds familiar.

GEORGE STONEY: She -- she had polio, but she still worked in the mill all her -- 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, “I’ll 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 doesn’t have much family, she was about ready to throw ’em out. I said, “You can’t 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, there’ll 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 that’s one of the -- that’s what we’re trying to do.

35:00

EVELYN HOGAN: Well that’s 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 hadn’t 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 I’ll 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?

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 didn’t have much money, but it was fun.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah.

ARVAL HOGAN: And that’s 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 we’ve been tracing -- and particular George because he’s 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 37:00couldn’t -- they never could stand up for themselves. And sometimes people even say well, they were just trashy. We’ve been trying to understand where those attitudes might come from.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: I don’t know. I’ve heard that. I’ve 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 -- Hogan’s family and my family -- they have always treated us great --

HELFAND: Maybe --

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: -- and if they were trash, I’m 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 they’d have gatherings for our families, for our children, and 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 we’s glad to get that, I guess.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Oh yes.

39:00

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

POLLY GRANT: That’s right.

ARVAL HOGAN: Which wasn’t bad.

POLLY GRANT: Later years, [Evan?] and I worked in um, Highland Park, which was textile. We inspected cloth. And we had the YMCA. It’s 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 that 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 40:00that it wasn’t 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 didn’t seem to.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: No, it didn’t. It didn’t make any -- make any difference, uh, with the way we felt towards the other cotton mill people. And I don’t guess it made any difference in the way they felt toward us. We were all lucky to have a job. That’s the way we looked at it, back in those days. And uh, we didn’t 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 weren’t -- they weren’t of school age while we were workin’ in the Firestone plant. Uh, 41:00they didn’t 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 weren’t old enough to go. (laughs)

HELFAND: George came pretty close to working in a cotton mill too, didn’t 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 42:00was a foreman -- I guess he was a secondhand. I didn’t know that word at the time.

ARVAL GRANT: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: I’d 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 I’d get a job. I don’t 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 foreman’s 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 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t -- you had to pay tuition, $75 a quarter, but you didn’t have to pay it until the end of the thing, and I could earn a little more money. And that’s 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: That’s like him promisin’ mamma when we got married that we’d finish school.

44:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah. We got married in 1935 and I promised -- we promised our parents if we got married we’d 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 didn’t take. But yeah, speaking of paperboy, I was a paperboy, too. I was delivering the Asheville Citizen Times when Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. I’ll -- I’ll never forget my escapade with the paper route because I kept up with his flight with the morning paper that I’d 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 Libby’s arms.” (laughter)

45:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Ab found in Libby’s 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 we’d come home we’d eat a bite and sleep a while and get together and play some more. But there wasn’t -- wasn’t too much to do. Saturday you could go see Gene Autry or Roy Rogers and hear their songs in the movies, then 46:00go home and try to sing like ’em, try to impersonate them. There wasn’t 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.

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 we’d sell ’em one, but if they didn’t we’d 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 boy’s name?

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Skippy. Skippy Robbins.

48:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Skippy Robbins sang with us on it. There’s a Little Pine Log Cabin. That’s the name of it.

GEORGE STONEY: Do you remember the song?

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: No, I don’t --

ARVAL HOGAN: No, I don’t 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 -- that’s out now.

POLLY GRANT: The children loved their music and they’d sit around the floor and sit with their little legs crossed and sit there for hours sometimes, just watching their dad. They just -- I don’t 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, they’d 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 -- it’s still got -- you can hear the surface noise, but it turned out pretty good. Made a pretty good number on the album for us.

49:00

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

ARVAL HOGAN: Yes.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Yes, 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 niece’s husband would be playing records on his record player there at the house, and I was at 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 we’d -- we’d make these records here of these cotton mill people, and they wanted to pick and sing, and uh, we said now, we’ll give you time to get home then we’ll play it and you can pick it up on your radio.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

ARVAL GRANT: Oh, it’s -- 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: That’s 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 don’t think so. It’s been a long, long time ago. Well, it’s been a long time since we done Ridin’ on My Savior’s Train, but we did it. It didn’t take long to do that.

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs)

HELFAND: What’s 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 51:00the middle of the period of time that we’ve been asked to investigate.

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

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah, we’d like to.

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

GEORGE STONEY: It’s great, isn’t it?

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: It’s great. It’s great.

GEORGE STONEY: Well, you’ve certainly been very kind. I think we’ve --

POLLY GRANT: Well we appreciate you comin’.

ARVAL HOGAN: Pretty -- pretty well covered it.

EVELYN HOGAN: We’ve 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, 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 didn’t. 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.

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 -- that’s 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, didn’t you? Both of you?

POLLY GRANT: Yes.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Yes.

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 Elvis’s days, rock n’ roll was so strong, that our type music fell down to where you couldn’t -- couldn’t 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 55:00and our music’s been just as strong or stronger since then as -- as it was before.

GEORGE STONEY: It’s coming back.

ARVAL HOGAN: Coming back strong.

GEORGE STONEY: It’s -- it’s really coming back, isn’t 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 don’t think.

ARVAL HOGAN: It will on his. They won’t on mine.

GEORGE STONEY: I don’t think -- I don’t think that’s gonna be of good enough quality, though. OK. I think we’ve 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 I’m 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 -- 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 that’s how much they -- how much they loved you, how much they thought of you, how much they were willing to work. They’d 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 that’s how -- that’s 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, they’d lay her off.

POLLY GRANT: Oh, no.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: No, not --

EVELYN HOGAN: No, they worked with you.

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: That’s 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 wasn’t 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 don’t -- but they were very kind. They were helpful.

POLLY GRANT: I was fortunate my health stayed good, but uh, they were -- as they 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 stayed 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: That’s right, coworkers.

POLLY GRANT: Well if our managers came through they, uh -- and they saw you were going to be alright, they didn’t say, now you can’t come in. The reason I say that was because it’s 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. That’s when your children were born at home. And um, the doctor came out from the hospital. We lived about -- I’d say six blocks from the hospital, and when he was called, 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 didn’t 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 we’ve been really -- that we’ve 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 -- we’ve 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.

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. He’d 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 couldn’t get enough money ahead to pay me back because he had the family, see, to keep up and we wasn’t making about three to four dollars a week. And then he left there when the mill started back 60:00up 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? Why’d 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 wasn’t 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 wasn’t involved in the 61:00-- 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 wouldn’t 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 don’t --

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 don’t think I seen him anymore after he came back to the States.

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

62:00

ARVAL HOGAN: Seem like it was. Hendricks? That’s 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: That’s right.

ARVAL HOGAN: I -- I lost track of the whole family. I don’t know -- last time I heard anything -- where they were, they were in Highpoint, and I didn’t -- I don’t know where they went to. I hadn’t seen or heard tell of any of ’em in years.

HELFAND: I could put you in touch with them if you’d like. The daugh-- a young woman. Well, she’s 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? She’s in her fifties.

HELFAND: That was her uncle. Uncle Red.

ARVAL HOGAN: Yeah? How about that? That’s a riot.

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

63:00

HELFAND: I will.

POLLY GRANT: That’s something.

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

ARVAL HOGAN: Hadn’t heard from him in years and years. It’s 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 don’t know. I wouldn’t know.

HELFAND: But you know, wherever we go in Gastonia, we’ve 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.

64:00

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 don’t know whether you’d 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 didn’t 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 didn’t last long after that.

EVELYN HOGAN: No.

POLLY GRANT: The company didn’t. They went out of business.

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

ROY “WHITEY” GRANT: Pennsylvania.

POLLY GRANT: The company did. They didn’t 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.

65:00

POLLY GRANT: Between here and Gastonia.

GEORGE STONEY: About when was this?

EVELYN HOGAN: Musta been right 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, that’s ’51 I believe the program terminated, didn’t 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: Isn’t 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: Didn’t 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. Everybody’s doing it now.

66:00

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: We’ve cooked these people.

[break in video]

LEGETTE BLYTHE: My son is uh, the First Union Bank down there, called Nation -- Nation’s Bank, I believe now. Anyway, Sam is the vice president and uh, he had a -- all this area all in here under his -- and he’s the -- I don’t know what you call it, but he’s the head of it. He has to go down there -- he goes 67:00down 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 didn’t 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 you’d 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 68:00mean, we didn’t go by year.

GEORGE STONEY: It was a small school then.

BLYTHE: Well, that’s right. It was, I guess -- well it wasn’t 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 he’s just -- that’s -- just got -- he’s got a grin on him, he’s up to something.

GEORGE STONEY: Did you write for The Tar Heel?

69:00

BLYTHE: I was it in the list. I wrote many a time. I’d 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 what’s -- 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 70:00then 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 they’re 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 71:00make a room and built this on. I laid the bricks and everything, put them there. That’s 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, I’m -- 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) That’s 72:00really a fact. That’s 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 73:00uh, 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, 74:00came up -- up to the surface and walked up three blocks, 113th, and then out my door ending right there. And I understand it’s still -- I haven’t been up there in years, but it’s still -- somebody told me it’s still there and still an apartment.

GEORGE STONEY: I suspect it is.

BLYTHE: It’s -- it’s 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, I’d be glad to. Right here. This is my son Bill, who is a 75:00Professor of Medicine at Chapel Hill. There’s -- this is my -- this I my two sisters and brother. I’m the last one living for the whole crowd. Watch your step, don’t stumble here.

GEORGE STONEY: OK. Thank you.

76:00

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

GEORGE STONEY: What’s this room here? Where’d 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 77:00gravel. And my son, Sam, who is a -- when I said in the back goes down to get money or -- you don’t 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 wouldn’t 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, we’d go out and get him. But this --

GEORGE STONEY: This letter here.

BLYTHE: You’ve heard of that gentleman.

GEORGE STONEY: Franklin Roosevelt.

78:00

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, 79:00and 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 80:00same 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 81:00finally 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: That’s 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 lost sight of. Since the occasion for which you wish my telegram’s answer has probably passed, I’m 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 82:00have 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 they’re spending now and what -- the traveling and so forth, this is -- this is almost archaic, isn’t it?

BLYTHE: Isn’t 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: That’s a great letter.

83:00

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: That’s very nice.

BLYTHE: My mother did that picture there.

GEORGE STONEY: The one far down?

BLYTHE: Yes. Isn’t that -- that’s 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 Tom’s picture.

GEORGE STONEY: Yeah? All the way down here?

84:00

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 don’t know yet, really how many. I have no -- don’t have the slightest idea of how many I’ve had -- I mean published, how many copies. I imagine in the millions really because they have now, if it’s anything at all, anybody as old as I am protecting ’em. There’s no problem to, you know, just duplicate ’em.

GEORGE STONEY: Well I noticed that this -- Yes Ma’am, Miss --

85:00

BLYTHE: Miss G.

GEORGE STONEY: Miss G. What’s this? Who was Miss G?

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

GEORGE STONEY: That’s a -- that’s biography?

BLYTHE: Yeah.

GEORGE STONEY: You’ve got novels here. You’ve got history. My goodness. Well what I’m interested in mostly is about some of your writing for the --

BLYTHE: Paper?

GEORGE STONEY: -- for The Charlotte Observer. In 1934 when -- the period we’re 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?

86:00

GEORGE STONEY: I didn’t know that. So, why don’t we settle down here and we’ll talk about it?

BLYTHE: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: You fellas give me one second and I’ll be right with you.

GEORGE STONEY: OK.

JAMIE STONEY: I’m not as fast as you guys are.

BLYTHE: Yeah. I don’t know any --

GEORGE STONEY: Just a -- just a moment. He’s 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) that’s how I can’t talk -- and I was over there covering 87:00it for The Observer, and I was walking down the street in front of the Loray Mill. I’ve 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 88:00a 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.

89:00

BLYTHE: Yeah. Well this was -- I don’t 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 we’ve seen is that you were emphasizing calm. Your headlines, your stories, uh, and I’ll give you some instances of that as we go through. So why don’t I just get our books and we’ll go over the various things.

BLYTHE: OK.

GEORGE STONEY: Let’s see. This is -- no, that’s --

BLYTHE: Have you got-- you got clippings? I imagine that’ll bring back a lot of --

GEORGE STONEY: Oh yes. We’ve got all of those for that time.

BLYTHE: Boy.

JAMIE STONEY: Don’t drop ’em or they’ll break.

90:00

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

BLYTHE: Well then.

GEORGE STONEY: Maybe your biographer would be interested.

BLYTHE: I’m sure.

GEORGE STONEY: Has anybody done a biography of you?

BLYTHE: No, I don’t -- I’ve had a lot of --

GEORGE STONEY: Well here’s the first story that I’m 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 -- doesn’t have a date on it?

GEORGE STONEY: Yes, it’s the 6th of Dec-- of September.

BLYTHE: Of 19...?

91:00

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: We’re interested because we have motion picture footage of Howard in --

BLYTHE: I’d probably see him, I’d 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 we’ll 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 they’ve gained, they have an opportunity 92:00of 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?

93:00

BLYTHE: I didn’t have any -- I don’t remember any, uh, important tie-ins. I just don’t 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 don’t know now just what all it was. It was just a hullabaloo a lot of the time, but I was 94:00the only one on the paper unless -- unless something come up and I’d 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 95:00Mecklenburg 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. That’s another thing; all about the Mill Hill. That’s how much respect it got, you know. Went -- did the -- they fed ’em, and um, now I -- they -- well my daughter takes me to ride pretty often. See, I haven’t -- I haven’t 96:00driven a car now in -- haven’t had a car and haven’t driven one in -- oh the last car I had I guess was 20 years ago, maybe longer. So I’ve just -- I’m 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 97:00into 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 that’s the thing I noticed between you and the Associated Press reporter.

BLYTHE: Uh-huh.

98:00

GEORGE STONEY: Uh, whose name -- let’s see. I’ve got it here. You and he were on almost every day, and his name was -- let’s 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 99:00floor just above ours.

GEORGE STONEY: Now here’s 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, we’ve heard a lot about flying squadrons. Could you describe those?

100:00

BLYTHE: That was a, I think just a -- they’re 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 101:00kind 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 102:00that time, for instance, was a -- Huntersville High School, and now there’s 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 103:00and where the old school used to be. It’s 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.

104:00

BLYTHE: And the ceilings were -- downstairs were nine -- let’s 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. I’ve 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)

105:00

BLYTHE: That’s 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, it’s --

BLYTHE: Have 15,000.

GEORGE STONEY: People not having -- people not having all those babies now. Yeah, that’s true. Well, down in here you say some people who had come out in 106:00Shelby for example. You remember Paul Christopher was a leader. And they’d go over to King’s 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, that’s 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. It’s nothing -- I mean, today’s Observer’s got nothing to do with appearance or anything, except they kept the old type of the -- headline type and general appearance of it, but that’s the only thing that even resembles the old Observer.

107:00

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 I’ll 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: Let’s see if I can find that. Let’s see.

BLYTHE: Where’d 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 108:00archives. They let us -- we copied it from Xerox. But this is what it says, uh, “Let us appreciated The Observer’s 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.

109:00

GEORGE STONEY: Reverend E.O. Cole.

BLYTHE: Cole.

GEORGE STONEY: Pastor, the Methodist Church of Pineville.

BLYTHE: Yeah. Well I -- that’s right. I tried to -- and I did cover the thing the way it should have been. I -- there’s 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 that’s 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 you’re -- “Organizers visit Pineville but hold entirely decorous meeting. Gastonia section remains calm, as 110:00does 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.

111:00

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 we’re working in Gastonia, people 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, 112:00“Five 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. It’s -- this is amazing to me now. I’m right in the spot where these people were that I was writing about.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right. Right now.

BLYTHE: Right now.

GEORGE STONEY: That’s right, your house.

BLYTHE: And it’s been, golly -- and I’ve had all my family, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, which are -- and all of ’em have turned 113:00out beautifully. That’s my own achievement. Now this bunch of books, that’s just a living. I mean, I really -- sounds like I’m 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 I’m really not. (laughs) It’s just a -- it’s just amazing. I mean you -- the human brain, the older I get the more I’m 114:00amazed 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 115:00to think. I asked Esther, and she’s written the most amazing character that I have ever seen.

GEORGE STONEY: Who’s this?

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

GEORGE STONEY: (laughs) BLYTHE: Well, which is true. I mean, I am. I’ve been her child since the first moment I saw her. She -- she’s the greatest character of all the Roosevelts, none of them are comparable to her as far as 116:00characters, or any other way that I’ve had any experience with. And uh, but she just -- she takes -- takes me just as a -- as I am. Sometime I don’t think she gives me enough appreciation of -- of my queerness, that she takes me just ordinary, not even queer. (laughter) But that’s a -- course I had this -- this um, classmate, one of the Ransom boys, he’s been very much a part of 117:00my life, roomed with him at Chapel Hill, officer’s training camp, Plattsburg with him. All that I went through at officer’s 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 weren’t commissioning anybody under 21, but they gave ’em a -- gave me a certificate of whatever it was. I have -- it 118:00was 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: I’m not the most innocent -- looking at it a certain way, I’m the most innocent character that I’ve ever interviewed because I’m just a -- just out of place everywhere I was in. I was one of the [welders?] I’ve never 119:00known 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 can’t cover myself. That’s the funniest thing.

GEORGE STONEY: Well now, wasn’t --