Fred Waggoner Interview

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search This Transcript

RACHEL BERNSTEIN: Green lights are on, little lines are running. Good morning.

FRED WAGGONER: Good morning.

BERNSTEIN: Mr. Waggoner, how nice of you to be here. Let’s uh, If you don't mind, let's start early -- start with where you were born, and when, and what your parents were doing at the time, more or less -- in those years (laughter).

WAGGONER: Well, I was born, ah -- my parents lived on a farm outside of a little town, Ringwood, Oklahoma. Um, I was born at home (laughter) which was not 1:00uncommon in those days. So, my parents were farmers.

BERNSTEIN: How many children? How many brothers and sisters?

WAGGONER: I had (pause) six brothers and one sister.

BERNSTEIN: Did you all help on the farm?

WAGGONER: Well, I was, ah, next to the youngest and, yes, some of them were uh… my sister left when I was very small. She was some thirteen years older than me. And, she always called me her baby brother, and I finally figured out why she did -- she was still at home when I was born.

BERNSTEIN: When you were a baby. (laughter)


WAGGONER: Yeah. But the brothers, they -- I think the brother older than me was four years older. So, we all helped out on the farm. As they left home, my younger brother and I worked the farm. And the rest of them come and went.

BERNSTEIN: What, what did you grow on the farm? What kind of farm?

WAGGONER: What did we grow on the farm? In Colorado, we ah -- well, we grew corn, and beans -- and maize, and that sort of thing -- food for the cattle. Alfalfa --


BERNSTEIN: Did you ever hear about unions, from your family?

WAGGONER: Ah, no. Quite frankly, I didn't. I come from a string of farmers. (laughter) It wasn't until -- oh, I guess I moved to Denver, after I got out of the service --

BERNSTEIN: So, before you get out, you got to get in. So first, I guess you must have moved from where you were born. Your family moved to Colorado?

WAGGONER: Well, we did considerable moving, yeah. In 1929, my parents moved from Oklahoma to Colorado. In '33, they moved back to Oklahoma for one year, and then 4:00back to Colorado.

BERNSTEIN: It's got to be a hard life for farmers to be moving.

WAGGONER: Ah, yes. That was in the Depression days. And so, most of my growing up was in Colorado -- from 1934 to 1943, we were in Colorado.

BERNSTEIN: So you went to school there and--

WAGGONER: I did. I was uh --

BERNSTEIN: And got your first job there.

WAGGONER: Well, no. We moved back to Oklahoma in 1943, and I graduated high 5:00school -- I went two and a half years at Ringwood High, and graduated there.

BERNSTEIN: So you went back to where you were born.

WAGGONER: Went back to the same house where I was born.

BERNSTEIN: Went back to the same house, OK.

WAGGONER: Yeah, on the same farm. And, then in 1945, ah I graduated in, ah, May. In June, I was in the Army. (laughter) I was drafted in the Army.

BERNSTEIN: You were drafted?

WAGGONER: I got a letter from the President of the United States, said Uncle Sam's saying, “I need you,” so --

BERNSTEIN: So, straight out of high school you go into the service.


WAGGONER: I did. Um, I did basic training at Camp Joseph K. Robinson, at Little Rock, Arkansas. And, I was in six -- about the sixth week of training when the Pacific War ended. And when I came out of basic training, I was sent to Europe, and ah, ending up in Berlin for a year. And first, I was a guard at General Clay's home. I was guarding him with an Army .45 that I had never fired. (laughter) I thought, “General, you're in great shape.” Those old .45's 7:00would jump when you fired them. But in basic training, we never fired a handgun. It was all rifles (laughter), machine guns, and so forth. But, at any rate...and then they volunteered me to go to the kitchen -- they were short a cook. And due to the fact that I did not like KP duty, and that's Kitchen Police (laughter), I almost refused. But then, I finally took the job. So I was a cook in the Army for about a year -- or about ten months, I suppose. At first we had ah -- we 8:00were able to hire civilian cooks. We had a battalion mess. We had about a thousand people through that mess hall every day.

BERNSTEIN: That's a lot of people to cook for.

WAGGONER: So, ah -- but us cooks, the only time we really cooked was when we had fresh eggs for breakfast. The rest of the time, we had civilian cooks. But they broke that battalion kitchen up into company kitchens, so from there on, I had to go to work as a cook (laughter). Then I was discharged in -- I think it was 9:00October of 1946. And then I went to work for my -- with my brother, who had an automotive shop in Ringwood, Oklahoma. And, work got rather slow in, ah, 1947--

BERNSTEIN: So you learned some mechanics.


BERNSTEIN: You learned some auto mechanics.

WAGGONER: Yes, and then I -- there were no jobs around um...lots of labor. They were turning loose the fellows from World War II, and--

BERNSTEIN: Did it ever cross your mind to be a farmer?


WAGGONER: Well, yes, but I did not -- didn't have a farm to go to. And so, I thought, well, there might be work in Denver -- I had some brothers in Denver. So, I had uh, my first wife and I were married in 1945, and so we moved on to Denver. I went to work there in a box factory -- not a box factory, a glass factory. And, my first job was putting together boxes. I think my pay was about 85 cents an hour. Then I got to be an inspector, and ah -- who'd inspect and 11:00pack the bottles, the glass bottles. So --

BERNSTEIN: There was a union -- is that where you first heard about unions?

WAGGONER: Um, that was my first union. I didn't know nothing about them, never went to a meeting -- I paid dues, and --

BERNSTEIN: So, to get the job, you had to start paying dues? Is that how it worked? Or, how did it work? Do you remember? Did somebody come and say, “Time to pay?”

WAGGONER: Yeah, I got, uh -- somebody came to talk to me. It was outside. Yeah. I don't remember much about it. It's pretty vague anymore.

BERNSTEIN: OK. So, you just didn't have much to do. It didn't have a -- make a big impression?

WAGGONER: No, because I only stayed on that job for about four months. We got in 12:00a controversy over -- I was going to make a trip back to Oklahoma for Christmas that year. And, I'd gotten permission from the boss, and then when it come up to time to leave, he said, “You can't leave.” I said, “I can leave.” (laughter) “I win. I quit.” Jobs were pretty tough when I came back. January in Colorado was a cold month. Not much happening.

BERNSTEIN: Did your wife work?

WAGGONER: No, she didn't. So, we -- I got a short-term job at the General, ah, GMC dealership, in Englewood there, doing mechanical work, and then they were 13:00pretty short on work, so, about three weeks, and I quit there. Then I went to work for Pacific Intermountain Express, on their steam rack, steaming trucks -- in January, this was outside --

BERNSTEIN: What does that mean steaming them? Cleaning them?

WAGGONER: Steam-cleaning them.

BERNSTEIN: Steam-cleaning them.

WAGGONER: Parts, and tractors, and ah --

BERNSTEIN: Outside, in January?


BERNSTEIN: Ooh, that had to be --

WAGGONER: That old steamer, sometimes, would be froze up when I went in (laughter).

BERNSTEIN: You must have been a little frozen yourself.

WAGGONER: It was cold. It was very cold. Oh, a job came up in the parts 14:00department, so I accepted that work quickly, and I worked in parts there for three years.

BERNSTEIN: And when you came -- did you call it PIE? P-I-E?

WAGGONER: P-I-E. I didn't call it PIE, but uh, P-I-E.

BERNSTEIN: PIE -- so when you first got there, was there a union there?

WAGGONER: Ah, yes. When I went to work on, in the parts room, the representatives from the Teamsters union come out and talk to me about joining the union. They had a union shop at the time.

BERNSTEIN: So, what did you think of -- ?

WAGGONER: So I joined the Teamsters.

BERNSTEIN: Happily, or indifferently, or -- ?

WAGGONER: I was glad to get -- have a job.

BERNSTEIN: Fair enough. Makes sense.

WAGGONER: (laughter) Did not -- wasn't active in the Teamsters, but, paid dues. 15:00And then I got an apprenticeship and ah, -- don't know if I can remember...I suppose about 19, hmmm -- about 1950, I guess.

BERNSTEIN: And this was an apprenticeship sponsored by the company, or the union?

WAGGONER: Jointly -- company and union. So I went to night school once a week, and learned to be a mechanic -- spent about ten years at it, I ah -- I was 16:00shortly out of apprenticeship when I was elected steward, then chief steward. We had about -– P.I.E. had to rebuild center when I went to work there, in Salt Lake City, and they moved that to Denver, built a new building, and we had a complement of about 250 mechanics.

BERNSTEIN: That's a lot.

WAGGONER: At one time, we could take a tractor off the road at 8 o'clock one morning, and have it completely rebuilt and painted, going on the road 24 hours later.

BERNSTEIN: Really? Were there 24-hour shifts -- I mean, around the clock?

WAGGONER: We had 24-hour shifts. Not, uh -- we had three shifts in 24 hours.

BERNSTEIN: Right. That's what I meant to say.


WAGGONER: So, yes -- I was there until about 19 -- 1957, I guess, ah?

BERNSTEIN: And you were shop steward, though. Was that a big job at that --

WAGGONER: It was. We had 250 people, in, ah, on three shifts, and -- oh, I had -- my second shift steward come in one day (laughter), and he said, “Fred, I don't know if you're going to get elected or not, but I nominated you for recording secretary of the local.” So, that's how I got started in, at being an officer of the local. (pause) So, then, uh, I was, uh -- we had grievances, 18:00negotiations --

BERNSTEIN: But there was no real organizing to do, because it was a union shop.

WAGGONER: It was a union shop. We had a union shop, and --

BERNSTEIN: So that makes it an easier --

WAGGONER: --so, ah, we didn't have organizing...excepting that, ah, I had to do organizing -- I would talk to all the new employees coming in, and ah tell them what their responsibilities were, and what they were expected to do.

BERNSTEIN: And were negotiations straightforward? Did you help negotiate a contract in that time?

WAGGONER: Ah, yes, as a shop committeeman. We put together a citywide truck line 19:00agreement in the Denver area at that time. And then, about 1957, the company shut down, uh, that garage and transferred their work to Los Angeles. And, I got laid off in the process. So, I, I went to work at Cummins. They were non-union at the time. And ah, so, we organized Cummins at that time. (laughter) I had to 20:00chuckle -- my foreman -- I was in rebuild section at, ah, Cummins, and the foreman asked his lead man, he said, “Is that damn Fred, ah, spreading union around?” (laughter) He said, “I'd fire him -- ” because he found out that I was a local lodge officer. And so (laughter), he said, “I'd fire him, but I like his work.”

BERNSTEIN: So, you said they were non-union when you arrived, and you started organizing -- did you immediately hook up with the Machinists' somehow? How did that happen?

WAGGONER: I was already a member of the Machinists'.


BERNSTEIN: Before you got the job.



WAGGONER: I had joined the Machinists' when I went into my apprenticeship at P.I.E.

BERNSTEIN: Got it. So you get laid off, and you come as a member, and you start --

WAGGONER: So I was a member when I went to work.

BERNSTEIN: And you start organizing.

WAGGONER: So, ah -- his two trusted mechanics were the first ones to approach me and say, “Fred, I'd like to join your union.” (laughter) And from there, we just organized the shop. And then the service shop. And, we won that election big (laughter).


WAGGONER: We did -- and they were running pretty close. They had good benefits. 22:00They were running pretty close to what the area rate was, excepting that they had a bonus system. They always owed you some money. (laughter) They had a quarterly bonus, and then they had an annual bonus. And so, they always owed you some money. So, anyway, we organized them, and then, from there, I ran for business representative at the district. And, well, I should tell you that -- oh, let's see -- I was still working at P.I.E. when I became Secretary-Treasurer of District 86. And so, then I was both recording secretary of the local, and 23:00Secretary-Treasurer of the district. And, ah, shop steward (laughter). So -- and then in 1959 -- well, I guess it was early 1960 -- I ran for business representative of the district.

BERNSTEIN: Now, did you have competition? Did other people want that job?

WAGGONER: Oh, yes. I beat a fellow that was in the job. Actually, we had three 24:00business representatives. So, we had -- so, I was one of the business representatives elected.

BERNSTEIN: So, the person you beat -- did he go back to working? In the shop?

WAGGONER: He was from Dow Chemical, and, ah, yes, he did. He maintained seniority in the shop.

BERNSTEIN: While he had his union position, somebody went back and took his job. Yeah.


BERNSTEIN: And, once you got elected business rep, that was a full-time --

WAGGONER: That was a full-time job.

BERNSTEIN: -- job, and so did you ever go back to the --

WAGGONER: I gave up the, ah -- I resigned the Secretary-Treasurer of the district and officer of the local. Under the constitution, we couldn't hold both jobs.

BERNSTEIN: You couldn't be both?


BERNSTEIN: So, did you work harder as a business rep than you had as a machinist?


WAGGONER: I worked longer hours. Ah, I had the great fortune of starting with two seasoned representatives. My directing representative was a fellow by the name of Walter Coulson and my other cohort was Tom Ducey.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, no kidding! You started off together, huh?

WAGGONER: We did. We were business reps together. So, ah --

BERNSTEIN: So what was the hardest thing about learning how to be a business rep?


WAGGONER: Negotiations. Ah, that's a pressure job. Ah, getting the feel of when you have all that you can get out of the company.

BERNSTEIN: Did you do a lot of research? Were you a good researcher?

WAGGONER: Not really, no. Um, but, I was too busy doing contracts. We had about a hundred contracts in the district.

BERNSTEIN: And -- for the three of you to negotiate?


BERNSTEIN: So, that's a lot of -- you can't spend too much time on any one.

WAGGONER: No. So, ah -- yeah, they uh -- and then, Tom left us. Red Smith became 27:00Vice President of the Great Lakes territory. And, he appointed Tom Ducey onto his staff, and then we elected another representative out of the district. And then, let's see -- in two years, we had another election, for business representative. Our elections were on two years. And, ah, I lost my two seasoned representatives and wound up with (laughter) two green reps and then -- so that's when I became directing representative of the district, and I was that until --


BERNSTEIN: So, that must have been a fairly big challenge, to go from two years after just starting, you got -- you're the one with all the experience (laughter) and the other two people have none.


BERNSTEIN: That's not a lot of experience, right?

WAGGONER: And these guys -- I had to carry them -- the bulk of the negotiations, until they got to where they'd handle negotiations. So I had a busy year. My secretary told me once -- he said, “Fred, you can't do this all by yourself. Those guys got elected -- you better let them do their job.” (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: She probably had a point.

WAGGONER: She did. I was about to kill myself.


BERNSTEIN: So, were there any strikes in that period, in that district of yours?

WAGGONER: Oh, yes. We had one occasionally -- I had one shop that I had a strike on -- it wasn't able to get an agreement, so I sent the people back to work, kept negotiating -- wound up with a contract.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding.


BERNSTEIN: That's impressive. Usually when people go back to work, the other side thinks they've won.

WAGGONER: Well, ah –- (laughter)-- they didn't.

BERNSTEIN: How'd you swing that?

WAGGONER: Well, I did that on two shops. Later, when I was a Grand Lodge representative -- well, I, ah -- in Colorado, I don't know -- on the West Coast, 30:00it was -- we had better luck with strikes. But on the Intermountain region, I found out that, you know, if you -- if the company decides to hire scabs on you, I determined that you only had about two weeks left, and you better be looking for a settlement of some sort. So, ah, that was -- the company was going to hire scabs on me, so, rather than -- and they can hire them there. They can get them. So, I put the shop back to work, and kept negotiating, like I said. It was a 31:00machine shop. (laughter) You have to pull all kinds of tricks --

BERNSTEIN: I guess so!

WAGGONER: -- as a union representative. (laughter) Ah. Well -- then I was appointed to the Grand Lodge staff in 1968.

BERNSTEIN: A wild year, in much of the country. Were you -- ?

WAGGONER: Well, Vice President Charles West, who appointed me, they ah -- we had Grand Lodge representative Allin Walker, and Grand Lodge representative George Meacham, in Denver, and we did organizing.



WAGGONER: And, we were very successful. We won several shops there. And, ah, so --

BERNSTEIN: So, when you were first brought in as Grand Lodge rep, it was mostly to do organizing?

WAGGONER: Ah, that's -- yeah, because the districts were taking care of the local shops, and -- so, yeah. I was ah -- the three of us were going -- Allin had the responsibility of the out state of Colorado and also Wyoming. We just had one small local in Wyoming, and one in Colorado Springs that he handled. And 33:00ah -- but, we were organizing. We had a major drive going there in Denver.

BERNSTEIN: Were you involved in the local city council? Was there a local -- Denver --?

WAGGONER: I was still on the board of the Denver Area Labor Federation, and the Colorado Labor Council. I was on it a while after -- before I turned that position over to one of the other representatives. Ah, I stayed on the Denver Area Labor Federation -- I was the chairman of their community services committee. And --

BERNSTEIN: Were you very involved in politics?


WAGGONER: Oh, yes -- quite involved in politics (laughter).

BERNSTEIN: Did you spend your off-hours organizing?

WAGGONER: Oh, yes. We hand-billed shops all over the Denver area (laughter). And, many of them paid off.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. Who designed the handbills? Were you ever involved in that?

WAGGONER: Oh, yes. But, ah, mostly, I left that to Al Walker. He was pretty good at that. So ah, he liked to write. So, he did a lot of the handbill writing for us.


BERNSTEIN: And did, did the labor councils get involved in taking a position on the war, ever? Did that ever come up?

WAGGONER: On the war?

BERNSTEIN: On Vietnam.

WAGGONER: On Vietnam?

BERNSTEIN: That's the era we're talking about, right?

WAGGONER: Uh, yes. I don't remember them taking a position on Vietnam. I, ah, think generally, we supported the president.

BERNSTEIN: Because in some parts of the labor movement, it was a real divisive issue. I mean, in New York I think it was.

WAGGONER: Was it? Well, no -- we didn't have a problem about that.

BERNSTEIN: Not an issue? So, you organized -- and you stayed in Colorado for a long time, right?


WAGGONER: I did. Until 1974. So --

BERNSTEIN: So, from '68 until '74, you basically organized in Denver -- that would have been your primary (inaudible) --

WAGGONER: Well, not exactly. Let's see about um --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, you were going to tell me about being appointed to Red Smith's organizing team.

WAGGONER: Yes, and I'm trying to remember the --

BERNSTEIN: One of Barnsky's Bunglers —- (laughter) maybe in about 1970? A couple years after you became a Grand Lodge rep.


WAGGONER: Yes -- it must have been around 1970, because in '69 -- yeah, in '69, I went up to -- I was assigned on the Intelco plant in northwest Washington. We were having a challenge up there, election. I was up there a while. And, let's see -- I must have been -- it must have been about 1965 when, ah, (pause) Martin 38:00Luther King was assassinated, right? '65, was it? I was still a business representative at the time, and we had an MNPL meeting at headquarters?

BERNSTEIN: What's MN – what’s MN -- Non-Partisan —- Yes.

WAGGONER: Machinists Non-Partisan Political League. Yes. I was assigned to that. So, we had a conference here in Washington, D.C., (laughter), and -- they were burning down Washington, D.C., and when I passed -- I was scheduled for -- I think it was about a week conference there, so the wife said, “We'll go with 39:00you.” So, ah, she packed up the kids, and off we went. We go off to Washington. (laughter) But, you couldn't make a phone call into Washington, so I really didn't know whether we had a meeting here or not (laughter). So, we passed Chicago, you could ah -- on the highway, you could see the sky was just red over Chicago. I don't even know. So, when we got to Washington, Washington, D.C. was under martial law. Did you ever know that?

BERNSTEIN: I think I did. And I was nowhere near.


WAGGONER: Well, we got into the hotel in Washington, and, I don't know – we had, we had my brother's daughter with us, and -- anyway, we had three or four of the kids, and us. (laughter) The hotel was out of food, and we barely got something to eat when we got in there. But -- they had a 6 o'clock curfew. And the Army was just all over.

BERNSTEIN: So what did you all do?

WAGGONER: We went straight to the hotel, and checked in, and that's where we 41:00stayed. And so, everything'd close up at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, because the Army was shutting her down at 6:00.



BERNSTEIN: And you stayed the week?

WAGGONER: We did. The conference went on. (laughter) any rate...

BERNSTEIN: What was the conference? It was a Machinists' conference on...

WAGGONER: It was the MNPL -- political conference.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, of course, you told me that. It was a political conference, at a political moment, and the Machinists huddled, it sounds like. Is that what --?

WAGGONER: (laughter) And yet, that wife of mine, she took those kids all over town. The cops would say, “Don't go down this street,” and (laughter) that lady had brass. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: So you were in the political -- Non-Partisan Political League --


BERNSTEIN: For a long time?


WAGGONER: Oh, yeah. I was always in politics.

BERNSTEIN: You were always in politics. In it -- part of the --

WAGGONER: Yeah, the NPL. Well, we always had a good (inaudible). (laughter) Well, and that's just one of the side trips, but we did, we took a lot. The kids got a lot of --

BERNSTEIN: That's amazing.

WAGGONER: -- driving, because of their mother's -- she'd say -- I'd get a conference, and she'd say, ah “It's OK, Dad. We'll all go with you.” (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: It was very educational for them.

WAGGONER: It was. It was. They went all over the country. Of course, we were sitting in Denver, and that was a good place we could go both directions.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right. Hm.


WAGGONER: Yeah. We always just piled in the car and drove.

BERNSTEIN: And was that something other Grand Lodge reps were doing, bring their families, or were you --

WAGGONER: No, I was pretty much --

BERNSTEIN: You were an odd man out on that?

WAGGONER: I usually was. (laughter) And, let's see -- what else?

BERNSTEIN: Did you think that Machinists' was a family-friendly union?

WAGGONER: I made it that way. Ah, my wife was -- I negotiated a labor agency for Leo Perlis, who was directing the community services of the national AFL-CIO. And I negotiated the first one. Leo had this vision, ah, of having labor 44:00agencies throughout the country. We had labor representatives who worked with the United Way, and in these areas, and, ah, Leo had come up with the idea of the labor agency to service the labor community. I got the job of negotiating the first one, with the United Way of Denver. And, that was kind of ticklish. But, I got it done -- me and about fourteen other labor skates. (laughter) And 45:00that wife of mine organized a team of labor people for me that we went in and negotiated with.

BERNSTEIN: You went in with a crowd?

WAGGONER: I went in with a crowd.

BERNSTEIN: And that made a difference? Wait -- you said, you and fourteen other labor --

WAGGONER: Representatives.

BERNSTEIN: No, but you said skates, or something -- what was the -- ?

WAGGONER: Labor skates.

BERNSTEIN: Skates? What? Tell me -- explain that.

WAGGONER: That's a term that we used to use for our guys in labor, working in labor. (laughter) And ah, yeah, so I had a lot of horsepower, with all the unions involved in Denver, so, I did do a little bit of threatening (laughter) to the United Way. I told them that they either financed our agency, or we'd do 46:00our own fundraising campaign, and they did not want that. And so, we got the labor agency.

BERNSTEIN: And so, tell me what the labor agency did.

WAGGONER: That was a labor agency that serviced working people that needed help. They used all the other agencies --

BERNSTEIN: Just help with all the different social services--

WAGGONER: Yes -- to get help.

BERNSTEIN: -- that people who'd lost their jobs, or got ill, or whatever -- that needed help.

WAGGONER: Yeah, right. You know, it worked good. She became director of it --

BERNSTEIN: She -- who became director?

WAGGONER: My wife.


WAGGONER: Yes. So --

BERNSTEIN: Did she do that for a long time?


WAGGONER: Until we moved --

BERNSTEIN: To Washington.

WAGGONER: -- to Washington. Yeah, so that was in another side issue.

BERNSTEIN: How'd she manage that? You must have still had some young kids at home, no?

WAGGONER: I did. That's -- well, maybe we ought to go off record for a minute. (laughter) Hang on.

WAGGONER: --maybe you might not want it.

BERNSTEIN: No, tell me again. Your wife and you had a 46-year --

WAGGONER: Love affair.

BERNSTEIN: That's impressive.

WAGGONER: When she passed away. Yeah. So, that's what I call it.


BERNSTEIN: So, that helped make it possible for her to -- for both of you to work all the time, and still have all these kids at home?

WAGGONER: Well, no. That's just a side issue. But, my wife, when she was pregnant (laughter), she had -- would fall in love with -- I mean, she was the happiest person I ever saw, (laughter) pregnant.

BERNSTEIN: Good for her.

WAGGONER: You know? She would be ready to retire. And the baby would be gone. Of course, she always worked right up until she went to the hospital. But anyway...but you could give her a couple of weeks with that new baby, and she 49:00was ready to turn that baby over to a babysitter and go back to work.


WAGGONER: That will give you an idea of what that lady was like. And, I -- after a couple of these experiences, I got the idea, Mama is really not one to take care of babies. You know? (laughter) When she's carrying them, she's in love with them, but once she has that baby, she's ready to turn it over to a babysitter. But, anyway -- we had a great run. And -- so what else can I tell you?

BERNSTEIN: So, we're still in Denver -- you're working --you're the--

WAGGONER: I was -- this is while I was a Directing Representative.

BERNSTEIN: You're the Directing Representative, and she's the head of the labor 50:00agency. And that --

WAGGONER: She had -- she was one of the Labor Representatives on the United Way there -- we had two. And when we formed the agency, we pulled them away and they set up the agency.

BERNSTEIN: And then -- you were talking about Red Smith's organizing team.


BERNSTEIN: I didn't hear that one -- I think that's sort of right in this -- we're in the right chronology for that.

WAGGONER: Yeah. We ah -- Red put together -- Red formed an organizing team --

BERNSTEIN: This must have been shortly after he became President, probably. Because he becomes President in '69, I think? Around then?


WAGGONER: Ah, let's see -- yeah, I think that's right. He replaced Roy Siemiller. Yeah. So Red set up this organizing team, and, ah, they took --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, OK. Can you remember that? And I'm going to take a pause here, because Mike's coming in.

BERNSTEIN: OK, so we're back. Sorry for the interruption. He got his camera.

WAGGONER: OK. Red took so many out of each territory --


WAGGONER: -- Grand Lodge representatives. And there were three of us that were sent from the Northwest territory. And, ah, we were on -- we came back to 52:00Washington, went through (inaudible) class on organizing. And, ah--

BERNSTEIN: So, you didn't volunteer -- you got selected. Or, invited.

WAGGONER: I got selected by the Area Vice President. (laughter)


WAGGONER: And then he didn't want to claim us anymore. (laughter) So -- but anyway.

BERNSTEIN: So you got training.

WAGGONER: We got training, and then we were sent back to the field, and -- let's see -- I think all three of us went back to the Northwest. I went to Denver. And -- I don't know where Walt and Dick were...went. I think they went over to the Seattle area. And ah -- (pause) So, yeah. That was...and, I was able to organize 53:00the biggest shop I ever organized. The biggest shop I ever organized.

BERNSTEIN: Which was that?

WAGGONER: It was a shop by the name of Farmers' Tool and Supply.


WAGGONER: In Denver. It was a big machine shop -- about 550 people, and they were also making snowmobiles. So, we were able to organize that. And, Red had put Paul Barnsky in charge of the organizing team, so, that's where we acquired the name that laughingly -- that came out of the territories. (laughter) They 54:00called us the Barnsky Bunglers.

BERNSTEIN: OK. If you organized the biggest shop, how did the Bunglers part come in? (laughter)

WAGGONER: Oh, it was just something that the other reps tagged on us.

BERNSTEIN: That's funny. So, was that organize -- a strategy of organizing, of bringing people in from all over the country to train, and then sending them out to organize -- was that a successful strategy? It was in your case, clearly, but overall, do you think?

WAGGONER: I don't know. I don't know what the overall success of our -- but, there apparently was a problem -- a territorial problem, if you please. Ah, 55:00because this only ran a year or two, and they sent us back to the territory, and disbanded the organizing team.

BERNSTEIN: Were you doing too good a job?

WAGGONER: Oh no, I don't think so. I think the problem, I assume that it was a territorial problem, that Red was sending us, uh...they -- some jealousies among the Vice Presidents. I don't really know. Um, you just have to assume, at times. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) OK.


WAGGONER: But we went back to the territory, and they um -- in the meantime, while we were on the organizing team, we never got invited to the territorial Vice President's staff meeting. (laughter) So-

BERNSTEIN: That was definitely a--

WAGGONER: We felt like the bastard child, you know? (laughter) But, anyway -- and they --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, dear. So, was it easy enough, though, to go back?

WAGGONER: Oh, sure -- I fell right back into -- let's see, at that time -- about '72 -- I went back to my original assignment in Colorado. They ah -- Al Walker 57:00was assigned to AA to Vice President Meagher, and left the area, and I assumed the duties of the out-state, and servicing Wyoming and Colorado. And, that was -- I, ah, I had a representative working for me -- or with me, I should say, by the name of Claude Jones. Frank had him assigned over with me, and we were doing 58:00some organizing together. And, he was negotiating, ah, the shop in Colorado Springs, which was an aircraft seat manufacturer. Well, you had about 250 people in that unit. And, he got to negotiating, and took them on strike -- but he had a little trouble with alcohol.


WAGGONER: (laughter) I'm up in Wyoming, working, and I get a call from Claude. He says, “Fred, I need your help.” He says, “I'm in the bottle and I can't 59:00get out.” (laughter) So, I came back in the, the company -- I think we'd been on strike about six weeks, at the time. He couldn't get a contract. So, ah -- but he had a good relationship with the committee, in spite of his condition. So, I told Claude -- the company told us that they were going to start hiring scabs. Well, I told Claude -- I said, “Man, we're going to put these people back to work, and it's up to you to convince that committee,” because he had the relationship with the committee. I didn't have it. So, he did. He talked 60:00them into going back to work. So, we took that 250 people in the next morning, at 6:30 in the morning, and the company never knew what was happening to them. (laughter) The negotiator gets out there, and he sticks his head out the door, and he says, “Fred, what are you doing to me?” I say, “We're going back to work.” So, then one of the guys said -- they had hired some guards, for (inaudible). (laughter) So, ah, one of the fellows said that they heard one guard say to the other one, he said, “You can get out in front of that bunch if you want to, but not me.” (laughter) This was about 6:30 in the morning, 61:00when I took them back in. Claude and I -- we let them right back in, told them to go straight to their work station. Don't worry about the time clocks -- the time card wouldn't be there. (laughter) So, they had hired a few scabs. So, they bunched them up all in one (laughter) area -- they didn't know what was going to happen. Of course, I didn't either (laughter). We went back to work, and later negotiated a contract.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. It's an interesting strategy, going back to work and then negotiate -- finishing the negotiations.

WAGGONER: Well, you got to know when to fight and when to look for a hole to get into.


WAGGONER: I always felt that when, you -- when you're losing your power, you 62:00don't sit there until you got nothing, and that's the way it happens in strikes...and so, I did that on a couple of shops, and it worked out for me.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah, it sounds like it.

WAGGONER: So -- because I had always wanted to preserve the union status. Because, the normal procedure for an employer is, run you out as long as -- until your people are weak, and then call for an election. And you vote out -- you don't have certification anymore.

BERNSTEIN: Right. It makes a lot of sense.

WAGGONER: So -- that was one of those things that I was always looking for. 63:00Preserve the certification. Because without that, you do nothing.

BERNSTEIN: You don't have any strength. Right.

WAGGONER: So, they (laughter) -- the Vice President was kind of pleased with me over that settlement, so he wanted me to come in and serve as AA to him.

BERNSTEIN: In Washington.

WAGGONER: Yeah. And I went to -- that's when I moved to Seattle. In August of '74.

BERNSTEIN: And was there any -- did you and your wife hesitate, before moving, or was it obviously -- ?

WAGGONER: (laughter) My wife was always my greatest booster. Ah, if it looked like a promotion for Dad, she was always for it. And so, yeah -- she picked up, 64:00she moved to Seattle. And then, Jensen, Vice President Jensen, was our next Vice President, and he changed AA's. And that's when I went to education -- I worked education for a year or two, until his AA -- his new AA retired (laughter).

BERNSTEIN: And he needed you again

WAGGONER: And he needed me -- again. He had moved the office from Seattle to 65:00Portland, so to get ah -- to take the job, I had to move to Portland. So -- I actually moved to Vancouver in Washington, across the river from Portland. So, that's -- I served with Stanley for six years, I think he was the Vice President. And then, Jim Malott came in, and I was his AA for about a year until he shut the office down, moved it -- they merged the Northwest and the Southwest territory. Then I went on the organizing -- I went with Jim, back in Oregon, basically. And, he assigned me to --


BERNSTEIN: So, before -- when you're AA all those years, with Jensen, what are your major responsibilities, activities?


BERNSTEIN: What stands out as a big challenge, or a big victory?

WAGGONER: Well, when I went into Meagher's office, my big challenge was, ah, the turmoil within the staff. Ah, one of the staff representatives had run against Meagher in a special election. And, the guys chose up sides, and I had a split staff. And -- so it was difficult, working through that period. Because I had to 67:00work with staff.

BERNSTEIN: You had to make peace, basically, between these factions that were really --

WAGGONER: -- and be the buffer between the staff and the Vice President. But, your main job is to make the Vice President look good, as AA. Hm, I knew the politics, always knew the politics. So, that's -- generally, I'd make assignments and represent the Vice President out in locals when he didn't go.

BERNSTEIN: You did a fair amount of traveling, also?


WAGGONER: I did -- visiting the locals. So -- and even when I was AA to Jensen, um, Frank was a fellow that, um – he, ah, didn't work with me much. Jim Pinto came out, and he and I -- we were working to put a district together. Red Smith came out, and Ducey, I -- they wanted to put together the locals around Seattle 69:00and into a district. And, Jim Pinto was Red's representative, and I was Frank Meagher's representative, to put this district together. Only, we didn't get it put together. So, Frank became disturbed with me over that (laughter). He thought we were keeping things from him -- which wasn't -- but then, that was neither here nor there. And then -- but with Jensen...and, I want you to know that the job is different, with each Vice President.

BERNSTEIN: I would imagine. It would have to be.

WAGGONER: Yeah, because, some of them turned more duties over to the AA, more 70:00responsibilities, and Jensen was one to give me a lot of responsibility -- which I liked. But, the underlying thing that an AA needs to do is make his Vice President look good -- no matter what. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Put out a few fires, here and there.

WAGGONER: Yeah, right, and work with the staff, how much ever the Vice President wants you to. So, yeah, your duties are different with each Vice President.

BERNSTEIN: So, when Jim Malott came in?

WAGGONER: Jim was one that gave me a lot of leeway, and a lot of 71:00responsibilities, and took me with him a lot, and...yeah. Jim was good to work for.

BERNSTEIN: When he moved to Washington, D.C. -- ?

WAGGONER: He appointed a new AA.

BERNSTEIN: And you stayed -- you stayed in --

WAGGONER: I didn't move my home base, but, he said, “It don't make any difference where you live. You're not going to be there anyway.” So, he assigned me to the Midwest, in organizing, and I had an office in District 9's 72:00office, in St. Louis -- only I was never there. (laughter) When uh -- Jim, here, from out of St. Louis, said, “I didn't even know you, Fred!” And I said, “Yeah, nobody saw me!” I had an office that I was never in.

BERNSTEIN: Because you were either organizing or you were home.

WAGGONER: Most of my work was in the Chicago area. I had a campaign going up there. So --

BERNSTEIN: What campaign was that?

WAGGONER: Oh, um, Miller -- boy, Roger would remember -- because it was Miller's 73:00-- it was a big shop there, in the Chicago area. That was in 1987. One of the side stories there was, we got a rainstorm like I've never seen before or since.


WAGGONER: It rained -- between 12 o'clock at night and 6 o'clock the next morning, it had rained eleven inches of rain.

BERNSTEIN: That's incredible. That's a flood.

WAGGONER: It was a flood. Everything flooded.

BERNSTEIN: Has to be a flood.

WAGGONER: The streets were running full of water -- no place for it to go. O'Hare was shut down. They couldn't get to it. The underpasses were full of water.

BERNSTEIN: And, what was going on -- how did that affect you?


WAGGONER: Well, my car was sitting in the parking lot, and it filled up with water. That's how deep it got. I had to take it to the dealer, and having to pull the carpets out of it -- had to dry them off.

BERNSTEIN: That was in the middle of the organizing drive?

WAGGONER: Yeah. Yeah. We were involved in --

BERNSTEIN: Put a damper on it?

WAGGONER: Yeah. Sam Rodriguez was over there working with me. (laughter) Oh gosh. Sam, Sam banged on my door, and he said, “Fred, where's your keys?” So I said, “What's the matter?” He said, “Our cars are underwater out there.” (laughter) So, Sam went out the window. He went out his window to get to the parking lot.

BERNSTEIN: Oh my goodness.


WAGGONER: So, he moved the cars. But, oh, let me tell you -- companies were flooded. The machine shop we were organizing was flooded. And, there were days cleaning it.

BERNSTEIN: Was it a successful drive?

WAGGONER: Wasn't. We -- we missed the mark there.

BERNSTEIN: Why do you think that was? What were the forces working against you?

WAGGONER: Well, I had a theory, in those days, that our percentage of wins on a first election were, were pretty -- were pretty thin. The percentage of wins on 76:00a first election. Second or third elections, your percentages went up, because the companies would always make promises, convince the employees that they were –- that they had turned a new leaf. (laughter) Of course, they never did, but they figured, to hang with them, and do a second or third run...I had one shop there in Colorado, I had three runs at it before we got it. But the big shop I won, we got it on the first try. But it depends -- depends on the people inside.

BERNSTEIN: And so, in Chicago, it was a big drive, and then it didn't happen, and it was -- you think -- why didn't it happen? The company's promises?



BERNSTEIN: The same theory? And, did you go try again?

WAGGONER: No, because I left the staff. Um, I was sent there to Coffeyville, Kansas. And, um -- let's see, is that right? (pause) Um, if I can get the sequence right -- we went to -- I was in Coffeyville a while, at the John Deere plant there, and -- we had been in there once, before, and not won the election, 78:00and -- that just wasn't timely, so -- we were organizing two hospitals in Kentucky, and -- so they sent me over there. That's where I met my Waterloo.

BERNSTEIN: So you want to tell me that story?

WAGGONER: Well, I got up one morning, and I had a pain across my shoulders. Just a slight, gnawing pain.

BERNSTEIN: And you were on the road -- you were not at home, right?

WAGGONER: No, no -- I'm in Kentucky. No, we're working on those hospitals.



WAGGONER: And, I said something to myself -- I got up, and I was getting ready to go to work, I heard my voice slur, and I thought, “I better be doing something about that.” So, I called Kenny Walsh, and he was -- I was working with him and Gary [Weldon?]. And I said, “Kenny, you better get me to the hospital.” So, they took me to the hospital we were organizing.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

WAGGONER: The Humana hospital. And um, so, I'm in the emergency room--

BERNSTEIN: I'd hope you'd get somebody who wasn't against you.


WAGGONER: I was in the emergency room -- oh, maybe fifteen minutes, and this voice is saying to me, “Fred, don't worry. We're going to take care of you.” It was one of the nurses that we were organizing. So -- yeah, I know -- if it hadn't been so tragic, it would have been kind of a fun time (laughter) -- I told you, I had two heart attacks in me. The last one, I almost stayed in Kentucky.

BERNSTEIN: So, it's amazing that you were at the hospital. I mean, it was a good –- good move!

WAGGONER: Yeah, we were only about ten minutes from the hospital.

BERNSTEIN: It was a good move, I guess. Two heart attacks.

WAGGONER: Yeah, they resuscitated me 24 times.



WAGGONER: And I want you to know that you have never been rocked until you've had those paddles, ah, hit you. I had -- they were rallying me -- it must have been about six or eight shots. And, I passed out on them. You know, my attitude was, “Just leave me alone.” (laughter) But they stayed with me and kept me going, and brought me back, and -- that was the big one.

BERNSTEIN: It's terrible. Now, did you -- do you think it was partly due to stress?

WAGGONER: Well, I had three plugged arteries. They did three bypasses on me before they let me out of that hospital.

BERNSTEIN: Could have been due to plugged arteries.


WAGGONER: So -- yeah, that was 21 years ago.

BERNSTEIN: So you've had a long second life -- for a second life, you're not doing bad.

WAGGONER: That's right. My daughter give me -- the 15th is my second birthday. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Sounds like a good way to celebrate. What did I forget to ask you?

WAGGONER: I don't know. Let's see -- well, the last three years, I worked with Jim, on organizing. I stopped in Denver a while, at the new Budweiser plant -- the one in Fort Collins. And, found out the Teamsters got an agreement with the 83:00company (laughter), so, that ended that campaign. Then I went to Coffeyville, Kansas, and worked over there a while.

BERNSTEIN: Now, when you're doing all this, you go home every weekend? Is that how it works?

WAGGONER: I went home, um, usually every other weekend. And ah, not great on a marriage, I'll tell you.

BERNSTEIN: I was just going to say -- back to this question of family-friendly working conditions, that's not...

WAGGONER: Oh, let me tell you, it's not conducive to keeping your wife happy, 84:00because you're home about -- oh, two to three days a month.

BERNSTEIN: That's not very much.

WAGGONER: (laughter) No.

BERNSTEIN: Oy. For years on end.

WAGGONER: Yeah. It was a pretty tough time for her. But, ah --

BERNSTEIN: She never urged you to quit?

WAGGONER: No, she wanted me to quit. And I had planned to quit -- I had already given George Kourpias notice that I was going to leave, July the 1st of 1990. But, I ended it that day in Kentucky. If it had been one day later, I'd have 85:00probably been on an airplane headed for Las Vegas, because I was due to go to the Bill Winpisinger dinner over there --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, really?

WAGGONER: For the, um, blind dogs. Not blind dogs, but --

BERNSTEIN: Guide dogs, yeah. Guide dogs.

WAGGONER: -- dogs for the blind. Yeah. So. And then I was going on home for the Christmas holiday. Only I didn't make it. Yeah, I was due to leave out the next day, for the dinner.

BERNSTEIN: Good timing. Tell me how you met your wife.

WAGGONER: How'd I meet my wife? Well, she come after me.

BERNSTEIN: She chased you down, huh?


WAGGONER: When I went on the staff full-time, she stopped by my office -- I was a delegate to the Denver Area Labor Federation for years -- always in the local lodge, prior to the merger of the AFL and the CIO. And, I knew who she was, she knew who I was, but uh, when I went on full-time, she stopped by my office to see if I wouldn't go on her community services committee. So I agreed to do that, and that's how we really got acquainted. Um up until that point, she was in meetings with me, but, I don't know if I ever really spoke to her, for two or 87:00three years. She was quite a good-looking woman, and she had a bunch of guys -- she always had a crowd around her. (laughter) So, but yeah, that's how we got acquainted. I went on her committee, and served on her committee -- community services committee. And then they elected me chairman. Yeah. She was, she was great. She probably had me on the daily newspaper in Denver, more than any other 88:00person in the area. She had connections with the newspaper, the labor paper, and she made sure that Fred was always in it. (laughter) One of the Auditors lived there in Denver, and he was always asking, “Fred, who's your press agent?” I'd say, “John, that's my wife.” (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Best arrangement ever! That's good. That's great.

WAGGONER: But ah, yeah, she was my great booster. And we got married. (pause) Yeah, had a good run.

BERNSTEIN: That was a long partnership, huh?


WAGGONER: Oh. Well, I was on the organizing team. She put together -- well, actually, I think before I went on that – well -- about the time I went on the organizing team, she put together a dinner theater, with the -- I don't know, it was a German restaurant there in Vancouver. She loved theater. And, she put together a local community dinner theater. It worked out great. She was a great organizer.

BERNSTEIN: It sounds like it. Absolutely sounds like it.

WAGGONER: I needed a lot of her. She never saw a stranger -- she could walk up and talk to anybody. And -- I'd often say, “She was the greatest organizer 90:00I've ever seen.” It's too bad I didn't have some of her talents. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: You must have picked up a few things.

WAGGONER: I had a few things going for me over the years.

BERNSTEIN: Do you remember anything about the time that the AFL and the CIO merged? Because, it happens first on the national level, and then it has to be implemented in all the local councils. Do you remember? You must have been in Denver and involved in the local council at that time, I realize.

WAGGONER: As a delegate, I was. I didn't get involved in the direct merger of the local AFL and CIO. But I was a delegate in the Federation when we did that. And ah, it was shortly after the merger of the national bodies. I -- I don't 91:00remember, we uh -- the fellow that was president of the CIO -- we made him president of the combined body. And, our Secretary Treasurer -- we kept him on as the Secretary Treasurer of the combined body. They pulled it together, and I don't remember any particular problems that we had -- we didn't have any trouble on the local area.



WAGGONER: The UAW had significant membership in that area, and we had the steelworkers down in ah, Pueblo. Now, I don't know how the state merger worked out, because I wasn't on the state board at that time. Tom Ducey was our representative on the state board at that time. And you know who Tom Ducey was.

BERNSTEIN: I do indeed. Yep. Sounds good.


BERNSTEIN: I didn't forget anything else?

WAGGONER: No, I think we've talked about everything --

BERNSTEIN: I really appreciate your doing this. It always amazes me -- I got two --

BERNSTEIN: I'll just get this going again. OK, we were just finishing up, and you started to tell me you had three preachers in the family among your 93:00children, and then it turns out your grandfather was a preacher, so --

WAGGONER: You want it all on there?

BERNSTEIN: I want to know about your grandfather, to start. Absolutely.

WAGGONER: Ah, okay my grandfather. My grandfather was born in Illinois. My family originated in what is now South Carolina.

BERNSTEIN: Some time ago?

WAGGONER: Around 1730. And --

BERNSTEIN: They came over from England?

WAGGONER: Well, we're not sure. They were never able to trace him back -- his 94:00name was Hans, so I presume he was either German or Dutch.

BERNSTEIN: Makes sense. OK.

WAGGONER: And, two brothers, came here. And we have no connection with the other brother. Just my ancestral grandfather. (laughter)


WAGGONER: And, so, they settled on the Santee River, in what is now South Carolina. And, his son fought in the U.S. Revolution. And, ah, when I moved out 95:00-- well, you need to know about Grandfather. He made -- he took his family to Oklahoma when the Cherokee Strip was open.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding -- your grandfather did this?



WAGGONER: And, my father tells me that he was about seven years old at the time. My father was born in Illinois, in Moultrie County, and he tells me he was about seven years old when they made the run, and when the Cherokee Strip was opened in Oklahoma, which was, yeah, about the middle of the 1890's -- so, the story from my Dad is, uh, my grandfather had staked a claim, and then he let a couple 96:00of guys toting handguns run him off that claim. (laughter)


WAGGONER: So, he didn't get the claim. I don't know, anyway -- they lived in Oklahoma, and, I have quite a number of cousins in Oklahoma yet today -- two nephews live there. In fact, one of the young fellows here at the center -- I was talking to him last night, after we closed up the bar (laughter)-- and, he was telling me he was from Oklahoma, and I said, “Where?” I said, “I'm from Oklahoma. I was born there.” I said, “Do you know where Enid is?” And 97:00he says, “I was born there.”

BERNSTEIN: That's funny.

WAGGONER: So, I was born about twenty miles from Enid. Um --

BERNSTEIN: So, your grandfather tried to get a claim, almost got a claim, got kicked off, and then they settled somewhere else--

WAGGONER: They settled in the area.

BERNSTEIN: -- in the area, and he became a preacher?

WAGGONER: Well, you know, I think he was probably a preacher when he went there. He was a Baptist minister.


WAGGONER: And ah, so -- but, you know, I have no recollection of him and what he did in Illinois. But, yeah I mean -- that was...that was my father's -- and then, he spent a lot of time between Oklahoma and Colorado, as the record will 98:00indicate. (laughter) But, let's see, what else was I telling -- about my three, uh--

BERNSTEIN: Well, first, did you know your grandfather, or mostly what you know is from what your father told you?

WAGGONER: It's only what my father told me, because my grandfather had died -- I think Dad told me of cancer, when he was very young.

BERNSTEIN: Oh. So these are stories from your father.

WAGGONER: Yes. And, I did learn much from my father, because -- I loved the guy, I loved to work with him, you know, and did, and -- he was 39 when I was born. 99:00Mom was his second wife. And, he had two children with his first wife, and he was Mom's third husband. And she had four boys living when Dad and Mom got married. So --

BERNSTEIN: So, your grandfather was a preacher, and somehow that skipped two generations?

WAGGONER: It did. And I'm not aware that there was any other preachers in the family until mine came (laughter). But -- and then I got a bunch of them.


WAGGONER: And ah, I think my oldest son influenced my second son, probably, in 100:00becoming a minister, but they didn't influence the third son. He was in the Navy, and he got, ah, religion, and then he went to seminary, when he got out of the Navy.

BERNSTEIN: Now, were you all church-going when you were raising them?

WAGGONER: Oh, yes. Yes, we were in church most every Sunday.

BERNSTEIN: That you were home.

WAGGONER: So, yeah, we kept the kids in church. So, let's see --


BERNSTEIN: So, did you tell them stories about your grandfather?

WAGGONER: Evidently not. My oldest son -- I was talking to him, I don't know, about a year or so ago, and he says, “I didn't know your grandfather was a preacher.” And I said, “Yeah.” But ah, like I say, I worked -- on the farm, I worked a lot with Dad, and we --

BERNSTEIN: Had a chance to talk.

WAGGONER: Yeah. Anyway, I listened to him. And he used to -- you know, in those days, in my early days, the neighbors would come over and visit with Dad, and 102:00they'd sit and spin yarns and -- you know, talk about different things. And I just loved to sit and listen to them. So, I learned considerably. But the family did put a family history together, between 1924 and 1928. And, I'm named in it, but my younger brother isn't.

BERNSTEIN: He was born too late? (laughter)

WAGGONER: He was born too late.

BERNSTEIN: Somebody's going to have to update it one of these days.

WAGGONER: Oh, boy. We should have done it. The wife and I talked about updating our family. But, I was going to tell you, when I moved out to Raymond -- I found my -- I was over at the South Bend -- that's just three miles from Raymond, 103:00so...I was buying drugs. I buy a lot of drugs. (laughter) Ever since I had my heart attacks. So, the wife needed some drugs, so I thought, well, I'll just drive to the drugstore in South Bend. It's just three miles away, and see how -- because he's the druggist over there. So, I took her prescription over, and he comes -- when I went to pick it up, and Dave said, “You know, there's a Waggoner in my background.” I said -- he said, “You suppose we're related?” I said, “I don't know. Could be.” And, it was this little 104:00history book -- he come dragging that thing out, and I said, “Yeah, we're related.”

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) That's funny. You both have copy. That’s good.

WAGGONER: And then, I found another cousin there. She was the Baptist minister's wife. So, the way I got to know her -- her husband came out. We were without a minister in my church and uh, so he came out and delivered a message for us one time. We're in the coffee shop, after the service, and, ah, he walked up to me, and he says, “Don't I know you?” And I said, “Well, not that I know of.” He said, “What's your name?” I said, “Fred Waggoner.” He said, “You 105:00know, you may be related to my wife.”

BERNSTEIN: Oh, how funny.

WAGGONER: So, (inaudible) his wife, and she'd begin to talk about Hans Waggoner, and her ancestry --

BERNSTEIN: So, she also had read this history.

WAGGONER: Yes. Well, she had delved into the history. Now, she didn't have a copy of the history, because I gave her mine, to copy it. But, anyway, when she said Hans Waggoner, I said, “We're related.” So, we -- what's really more ironic, you know, the three of us -- we go back to our ancestor -- our first 106:00common grandfather was our, ah, grandfather that fought in the American Revolution.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding.

WAGGONER: And three of his sons were our ancestors. Can you believe that? From the same family. Three sons.

BERNSTEIN: That’s -- what's extraordinary is that you found each other, in this 21st century. It's really amazing.

WAGGONER: A miracle, isn't it?

BERNSTEIN: It's amazing.