The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins Technology Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix 241 Pugh Hall PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 Phone 352 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, SPOHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when c onducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Oral history interview transcripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SP OHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the original oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim document of it. The transcript is written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interview ee; subjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a later final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelling corrections SPOHP transcribers ref er to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit http://oral.history.ufl.edu or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. October 2013
PCM 006 Interviewee: Malco l m Stone Interviewer: Candace Ellis Date: July 2, 2010 E: This is Candace Ellis on July 1, 2010 interviewing S: Malcolm Stone E: Or Jose [Laughter] S: retired Panama Canal pilot. M y family built the Panama Canal. E: So begin I guess at the beginning with your family and how they came to the Panama Canal Z one area. S: Well my great grandfather, Edward J Neville was a railroad engineer up in Ohio. Canal Zone but he went down there in 1908. I have a letter written here for you to read. He wrote it on the ship going down to his family t elling them many times He had a very interesting life down in Panama A side from being a railroad engineer he owned a place up in Ch orrera whether it was a farm but he tried to grow vegetables and he ran into a lot of problems from the Panamanian people in this rural area. I also happen to have an article from a newspaper that he wrote back lf explana tory. He loved it. I have family pictures of my family visiting the canal during construction days a nd pictures of my grandmother standing in the locks while th ey were being built. Y any time you want to.
PCM 006; Stone; Page 2 E: Yeah. I would love to loo k through them. S: Leaning over a wall and looking down into an empty chamber I t gives me the fright but she had famil y for having built the canal. W e generations of my family work o n the canal which includes our daughter who spent two summers while she was in college down in Panama. She took summer jobs down there with the Panama C anal Company. So she is a fifth generation employee of the Panama Canal. E: were born there ? S: No, I was born in California, but my mother was born in the Canal Zone, my younger brother was born in the Canal Zone, and our two kids were born in the Canal Zone. E: And when did you move from California to the Canal Zone? S: I w as just one year old. There was a family divorce back in the early [ 19 ] 20s or late teen s that caus ed my grandmother and my mother who wa s then just a ten year old girl, five, eight know how old she was to leave Panam a and they went to California. T E: So what was it like growing up there? Y ou obviously moved there when you were really young so you had your entire life ahead of yo u.
PCM 006; Stone; Page 3 S: I can remember most of it right at the beginning of World War II. The first house I remember living in was right across the street from an athletic field f or part of the high school. T hat had been turned into an army encampment with guns for different w eapons for incoming flights who ber that in the side of the house we were living in, they built an air raid shelter. My father at that time was a truck driver and he was helping them bring in the sand to cover the air raid shelter. W e had frequent not frequent but we had tes ts for the air raid shelter, just practice alarms. On one case I do recall, they had an unident ified air craft approaching. T he sirens went off and we had to go into the air raid shelters until they could get identified. Once they got through that it w as id entified as a friendly air craft and we were released from the air raid shelter. That ended during the war. There was a divorce again and then we moved to another house in New Crist bal which was the Panama part of the Canal Zone. I W here the Cristo bal High S chool was was actually located in the Republic of Panama. W e had our own special policeman and fire department there just to protect us. B ut we were surrounded by the city of Col n all the other way around. I lived in there and then ther e was a divorce in the family. W e moved into the Canal Zone which was called Old Crist bal war ended in 1945, I was just an eight year old kid. I r emember celebrating with fire crackers and everything out on the streets to celebrate the end of the war.
PCM 006; Stone; Page 4 E: With other children? S: three year old man seventy three young man excuse me and I can remember things like that. E: So you st ayed in Old Crist ba l for how long after that? S: I think we were in Old Crist bal for two years and then my mother remarried. We still lived in a place in Old Crist bal but it was a family type. B efore that been in a twelve apartment family b uilding with one bedroom. My mother and three kids lived in there. My brother and I used to pl ay with matches all the time; down with the matches. L ife went on from there and we moved to Crist bal Then we moved to M arg arita T hen we moved back to Crist b a l. I graduated from the Cristob E: How would you say that these New Crist bal and Old Crist b al towns are different from the other towns in the Panama Canal Zone? Because you did m ention in New Crist b al you were surrounded S: Crist b al is not in the Canal Zone and that sends a word because the city of Coln although it was in the Canal Zone area which was a ten mile wide strip on each side of the canal But actually, the ports of Coln and the ports of Balboa were under Panamanian jurisdiction especially C oln. But on the water l I can show you re all the p ictures I
PCM 006; Stone; Page 5 have of where we were. We were right on the waterfront in C ol n Harbor, a beautiful place But we were surrounded by Col n and when were we in the Canal Zone we either h ad to walk or drive though Col it. Tho se days the Panamanian people. w e kind of challenged each other walking down the street but never had any fights or anything like that. E: There was no further tension? S: No, no. Those days there were good people. But Col n w as a very, very poor town. T hen you had the peo ple who lived in Col n who we re from the West Indian Islands and they come to Pan ama to work, to help build the c anal. These people who lived in Col n were dependents of the peopl e who came in to construct the c anal, but e jobs many of them. The unemployment rate was very, very high. On top of that, the town of Col n was at one time a marsh la nd. I t was filled in by dirt fro m building the Panama R ailroad in 1850 to 1855. They dumped it all out there and then they built the town site up out there, a lthough Col n was there even then I believe. I remember one day being on a street in Col n just off the limit s from the town of New Crist ba l. There was a who le in the road, about that big; it was a concrete street. And I looked do wn through the whole, and right at the surf ace of the hole was water. I think that m arshland a nd a lot of that dirt from the c ecrepit city in many ways. The c ity of P anama on the Pacific side is beautiful: big high rises and everything. The city of Col n on the Atlantic Side at the Atlantic
PCM 006; Stone; Page 6 entrance of the Panama Canal is a very decrepit city. At one time, they put military guards out there and they told tourists or people from the Canal Zone, you can go in to the first two sq uare blocks of C o ln t here were some reasonably good stores in there and there will be military policemen to protect you Panamanian military but if you leave that area we cannot guarantee your safety. E: So that was for tourists. W hat about the people li k e your family who lived there? D id you ever feel threatened just living there? S: No, no, no. I never felt threatened by those people. They were good people. We used many of th e people. Many of the black wome n were our maids in our houses cause you could get them for almost nothing. Even for what we paid them as a maid they were making much more money than they could make working in Col n if they could even find a job in Col n E: What was your schooling experience like? S: Well I went to through the s ixth grade in the New Cristbal and Marg arita That was because we changed locations. But then in 1949, my father quit working on the Panama Canal and we went to California. We were gone about two and a half years. My the C anal Zone and go back to work down there. I loved the Canal Zone. I was very happy to work down there myself and live down there. It was a great place to grow up. When I was a
PCM 006; Stone; Page 7 younger kid, I spent a lot of time at the Washington Hot el swimming pool. It was a salt water pool that was right at the edge of the bay. There was a concrete wall that separated the swimming pool from the Col n Bay. During the dry season when the wind was blowing, the sea coming in with the salt water would hit the wall and splash a nd it would come in to the swimming pool area W e used to love that, it was great, b ut unfortunately in those days no one ever told me about the threats of skin cancers. I spen t so much time in New Crist bal just wearing a bathing suit or shorts ad a lot of skin cancers on me from lack of any information being put out in those days about the threat of skin cancers. Now I have k eratosis, six months at least, sometimes every four months to pay for my way of living down there. E: Do you think a lot of people are paying the same way? S: Probably a lot of the older generation. Since then P F E: S P F ? S: gr andson and very light skinned. M y son l earned to keep him in a sleeved t shirt all the ti swimming. Even though bathing
PCM 006; Stone; Page 8 E: Good. When you guys left in 1949 for California for two years, was the tra nsition difficult? I know you mentioned that all your father wanted to do was come back. assuming that you guys eventually obviously did return to the Z one Wha t was it like returning to the S tates for that brief p eriod of time? S: We wound up in Han ford California. Then we went down to Santa Ana and we lived in a Mexican orange picking town called El Modino I went to seventh and eighth grade there I believe. It was good living there. We actually rented a home on a ten acre orange ranch. We had nothing to do with the oranges but I would go out with the guy who owned it and ride on his tractor when he was going through there and furrowing the ground. We enjoyed it there. But my father just could n ot get a good j ob and he wound up going back on the Panama Canal. E: And you returned and began ninth grade there, correct? S: It was April when we moved back and I was t hat far in the ninth grade. T hen I went to tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade in the Canal Zone. I h ad a very interesting experience because summer had just started and I was playing basketball in the gymnasium when I got a telephon e call from my father. He said, and everything ; go work on a ship as a seaman It was a Texa co oil tanker. In fact, i t was a motor vessel, Cristobal of all names. I went to work on that as a seaman I was just in the summer between tenth and eleventh grade s. I learned to be a seaman. I worked on that ship for two and a half months and I loved it. I made good money
PCM 006; Stone; Page 9 and I had a man who I was be rthing with in the same cabin. And he was a union man for the seaman. He made sure I got paid all my overtime and everything ep those records. H e helped me keep them. So that would be in 1953, I cam e off that ship with about a thousand dollars in cas h. Can you imagine what a thousand dollars in cash was back in 1953? [Laughter] I bought a Vespa. V e s p a motor scooter. Brand new and it was ordered and brought into town. It was ordered t hrough Sears. It was called an A llstate, but it was still a Vespa. E: Do you remember how much it cost? S: remember Eight or nine hundred dollars, something like that. That would be guessing. I had a go od time on it. [Laughter] E: pretty cool. [Laughter] Did you take girls out on it? S: Yes. I had an incid ent with that. I left it parked not where I usually park it at the high school by the cafeteria I was running late and there were a bunch of motorcycles, big and little ones that parked out front there o n the city streets of Cristbal. One of the guys I know his name and I know who did it but he ripped the cables off of my th rottl e control and brake control. I always had problems after that. I frequently ha d to go in and have it replaced. I know who did
PCM 006; Stone; Page 10 it. it parked out there, but he just reach ed out and ripped. E: id you ever get back out on a ship as a seaman after your S: No, the following year I we nt out on a small ship. It was British flag a nd it was a fruit carrier. The captain was from the Bahamas Island s and the name of the ship was the m/v Jacks Bay. We carried fruit from Colombia or Ecuador to the United States, either going into Miami or into Galveston, Texas. But the food on there was terrible. E: What was it like? S: supposed to get good food, I rem ember I had a piece of chicken i n my hand on Sunday, like fried chicken. really good today. I was trying to break that thing in half so that I could eat it and it slipped out of my hands and flew across the room. [Laughter] So I made two trips on that, one to Ecuador and one to Colombia. When we got back from those trips, I had to help clean out the cargo hatch es of all the dead and excess banana skins after we offl oaded. Going home, I went up and told t he captain, Captain, w hen we go through to the Panama Canal e get paid ten dollars for cleaning the hatches. Not overtime, just a flat ten dollars if you clean ed the hatches. Well, he says, gonna pay you your ten dollar s
PCM 006; Stone; Page 11 said C aptain ; I want to get off this ship. So when I went through the canal I got off. But then I went to the United States Merchant Marine A cademy at Kings P oint. I graduat ed from ther e and I spent some time in the n avy, a short time b ecause as a merchant marine officer I w as not required to stay in the n avy if I could prove I was gonna sail on a merchant ship which is what my training was. And I did go back and sail merchan t ships. I sailed for two and a half years. The n my mother passed away in the C an al Zone and I returned to the Canal Z one and wound up going to work down there, first as a boarding officer. While I was working as a boarding officer, I knew people down ther e who ran the tugboats. I would ride tugboats with them to get tugboat training even though I already had merchant marine training for ocean things That qualified me to become a Panama Canal tow boat captain and I finally got my tow boat captain license. I went to work on the small tugboats with the dredging division. They were difficult things to handle. They w ere good, but for towing barges they were difficult to handle. E: And what year were these? S: That would be in 1964 I started working there. And then in 1965, I got promoted to the big tugs, the ship handling tugs Although we were dredging division, technically we were working for dredging division or handling the muds that were taken up by the dredges, we spent more time working on ships. We woul d take ships through the Panama Canal, through the cut to Pedro Miguel Locks.
PCM 006; Stone; Page 12 Occasionally we had to take the tugboa ts to the Atlantic side to the lake and the Gat n locks and work ships there that needed tug assistance. And I loved that job, but I ke pt as king to be a Panama Canal p ilot license, I had sea time, I had tu g boat time worki ng in the canal. T hey said, no, if you want to become a Panama Canal pilot, you go back to sea and you get your inally, in 1969 we went to a dinner and some of the pil ots who were there this was a K ings P oint dinner; a lot of the Kings Pointers were pilots. T hey said, wow, ou r top pay right now is eighteen thousand dollars I think I was making twelve thousand on the tugs. Rem emb er this was in the late 1960s. W e he way home I said to my wife, Jean gonna q uit working on the Panama Canal. And I said, gonna go back and get in enough time to get my master license, which we did do. I took my wife and kids up in to Delaware where her mom and dad were. We got an apartment up there, and she stayed there and I went back to sea. I did ultimately get a master ef mate for a whole year on the same ship. W hen I had that year in I was qualified t he year, I was accepted as a Panama Canal pilot with a license. An ugly part of that is that I lost two and a half years of government service so I could go back to se 1976, if you could paddle a canoe or row a row boat practically and were
PCM 006; Stone; Page 1 3 Panamanian, you could qualify as a Panama Canal pilot. Boy I was angry about cause I lost two and a half years of government service doing it that way. S o I would not take any part in training people who were not qualified as masters of ships b ecause the training for Panama C anal pilots was putting the trainees aboard the ship with the pilot The pilot had t he discretion of letting them handle the ship o r talking to them, training. I re ached a enough to be one. I had t he guys practically spit on me becaus them. I said, hing. I would tell them when the do I said, w ell then I will not let you handle the ship. If you have any que stions to ask me ask ll give you an answer, but I will not spend any time training you to be a Panama Canal pilot. I told them why. M any of them understood that. Some were Americans, there wer e some who were Panamanian. T he Americans understood a little better than the Pan amanians because they wanted that c anal. So it went on that way. I retired as a Panama Canal pilot in 1992 because of medical problems and a dislike for the Panama Canal. [Laughter] Unfortunately, at that time there were things happening happy. Jimmy Carter had signed the Panama Canal, giving the Panama Canal to makes sure everyone understands: we did not give the Panama Canal back to Panama, we gave our Panama Canal to Panama. Panama had never had a Panama Canal. We built the Panama Canal
PCM 006; Stone; Page 14 after the French aban doned attempts to build it. W e took it from the French, we spent two years with Dr. Gorgas clearing the mosquitos out from 1904 to 1906. The mosquitos were clea ned out, that was done by filling in all the water places. at the Gorgas Anc n Hospital, I guess it was called at that time, people were getting sick. S o p eople in the hospital said, put the legs of the beds in tins of water, and that will keep all these insects from crawling up in t Well those tins of water were breeding the mosquitos that were attacking the people S o they got that out, but by that time, the canal was fairly well cleaned up and they went back to work on the canal. My family moved down there to help build it. E: When yo u retired in 1992 you left the Z one? S: I left the Z one. E: And where did you retired to? S: I retired to North Carolina. Many people who retired from the Panama Canal came right here to Florida because there was a not exactly the same: s a similarity between them. My wife and I spent two or three we eks in 1982 or 1983 looking in Florida to see if there was any place that we wanted to look for a home. We were looking for regions of Florida at that time where we might want to we decided the region we wanted to live in was the mountains
PCM 006; Stone; Page 15 of North Carolina. T hat was also because of the sun and the sandy beaches. I e sandy shoreli I use the palm trees as a representation of sandy beaches. So we went to the mountains of North Carolina and we absolutely love it up there. E: What part of North Carolina? S: Hendersonville outside of Ash e ville, near Ash e ville. E: Okay, do you know Waynesville? S: Yeah I know Waynesville. E: Al l S: Oh God, I love it. Wherever the tempe ratures on the East Coast are ninety degre es, in the mountains t hey are eighty five Love it, lo ve it. And our winters our mild; reduces your travel. We love it up there. E: whom the transit ion from the Canal Zone to the S tates is very difficult but it sounds like it was something that you welcomed and enjoyed. I guess there was probably the issue with Carter and giving up the c anal and such had kind of put a sour taste in yo ur mouth?
PCM 006; Stone; Page 16 S: It did, but you know nowa w Panama is running the canal. T re are still Americans working a s Panama Canal pilots. In fact the senior Panama Canal pilot right now is a man who was behind me at the Merchant Marine A cademy. I still have several other friends who are still working as p ilot re working under Panama nians All this stuff about Red C hina an article appeared in our Times n ewspaper, written by a lady and she said that the Red Chinese were running the Panama Canal and watch out! I wrote a letter back to the editor, and I told him, t he Panama Canal is run by Panamanians. Only Panamanians and there are no Chinese involved. But what you have to do is distinguish be tween the p orts where the cargo is handled and the Panama Canal. The Panama Canal is not related to the ports. Yes, there is a worldwide conglomerate partially owned by Red China that handles port s, but I think they han dle sixty five of them around the world. And they do run the ports on each end of the Panama Canal but they Times News our local newspaper had another letter come back and they put in there that Ca ptain Stone is a retired Panama Canal p ilot and he says all that other stuff is not true. E: back to the 1960s. I like to talk a little about the Political awareness of the area. In 1964 there w ere the riots and stateside they were going through the entire Civil Rights Movement in America. Can you
PCM 006; Stone; Page 17 compare the political awareness and atmosphere of the Zone to that of the States, the sentiment of the people and how aware people were in the Canal Zo ne of what was going on in the United States and how that affected life in the Canal Zone? S: Well it did not affect life in the Canal Zone that much. I happened to get a long weekend off that week. I was working as a boarding officer at that time and my work schedule was such that I finished late Thursday evening or early Friday morning and then I had the whole weekend off So I was not involved with it. There was deaths in the city of Col n. T here were military people lining the border between the Cana l Zone and the city of Col n area and the re were several killings there. B ut a friend of mine who se dad had a fishing boat said, do you want to go fishing to day? W for s nook. So we went out on his boat from the Cristobal Yacht Club w e and we w ent up to the Gatn Locks, the n ort h end of the l saltwater. We wer e fishing and they were trawling S omeone ca me down the Lock wall and said, you get out of here. Get out of here. Y belong here on a boat. Mr. George was the guy who was running the boat; he was the father of one of my classmates and kept right on fishing. Next thing you knew, an armed Panama Canal launch with a whole squad of soldiers on it came approaching us, and the y had rifles and guns pointing to us. There was a very young army offic er on there and he says, I wanna know who you are and what
PCM 006; Stone; Page 18 Mr. George said, well my name [Laughter] Well, the guy then realized that we were no threat to the canal. I mean, I understand the reason why they were doing that. We went on fishing and he said, well just and the boat left but it was kind of scary to see that armed craft come up. [Laughter] E: Approach ing you bristling with guns? Yeah. S: e or not, but we had posted a t hey took an old navy cargo vessel, a sm all one, and they tied up out at the brick water frame on here, but we were manning that lifeboat along with the military or that cargo vessel. Now, hen vessels came in, the military went out to board the vessels and protect the boarding officers and we were with them. It was interesting; it was just a protection because they were afraid with the troubles going on down there vessels might try and come in from Cuba or other countries and enrich themselves by what was going on in Panama in the troubles of 1964. [Laughter] I was dating my wif I was living on the Atlantic side and she was teaching on the Pacific side, and I could not drive my car across the Trans Isthmian H ighway cause I was in Panama. So I was able to put my car on a train, and I s ent it to the Pacific side and left it over there. Then I would go over and see her frequently and I could get
PCM 006; Stone; Page 19 last all that long. It was unpleasant that [ 19 ] 64 I think there were twenty one a hundred percent sure on the four mil itary, but I know it was twenty one Panamanians. The problem is Panama suffered big damage from the people in Panama burning the buildings in Panama, like the Pan Am building. Pan American. It was located in Panama, but, the Panamanians set fire to it and it was heavily damaged. It did not crumble to the ground or anyth ing. I can fully understand, if yo east and w est part t o it, right in the middle of it n orth and the south there is a Canal Zone, the Canal Zone forever by the thing, the Suez Canal had a ninety nine year lease on it with the French people. The Panama Canal was forever. We never ever had to give that Canal back to Panama. We had that forever and ever and ever. But Jimmy Carter t urned out was probably right when he did what he did. E: How did other people feel at the time? What were your experiences observing the people during that time when he was turning the Canal ove r to Panama? How did the other Z onians feel about it? S: Well, there were a lot of hot heads. I know I went to a meeting somewhere about it and there was a guy up front, I just met him a few minutes ago there, and he was kind of running the meeting. But I think he was a cushion between the
PCM 006; Stone; Page 20 people and the government o f the Canal Zone Finally, it reached the point where people up front would just start talking and I finally said at the end, well excuse talking to people down in front. Do you want to listen to some of us people in the back too? And he said, yes, I will. I stood up, and I said some things very calm ly, v ery loud, and very very proper. I got a lot of applause for saying it cause what all the other people down in front were saying were hotspot things that should n remember what it was, but I spoke very honestly about the way I felt about it. But E: Did you recognize him from that meeting? S: m for a long time. He was a minister at one time down in Panama. He knew me and he knew the Canal Zone crew that I went to high school with But he did not know that we knew each other So he was running the church in Gat n and he decided it would be nice if we could have a dinner party here in Gatn at the church. I could introduce Malcolm Stone to Carol Newh art he was behind it So when we got to the church it we sat down and he s aid Malcolm, I want you t o meet Carol Newh art. I said, w e go to high school together I already know Carol [laughter ]. wedding later on. I was the best man for another classmate of mine from high school a nd the Merchant Marine A cademy. We still see him and talk to him.
PCM 006; Stone; Page 21 E: What was it like interacting with the i ndigenous people of Panama and the i slanders who came over to work? Was there any kind of tension? S: No. E: Racial awareness that was S: I had an in cident happen to m e when I was working on the Texa co tanker. W e were going through the locks. At that time they used to put line handlers on the ship, and they just did n ot go down for one set of locks; they stayed on the ship all the way through the can al I met one of these guys. M y dad was manager at one of the local rate commissaries run by the Panama Canal Company I can still remember and see that guy come up to me, a little black man. H e says, your daddy, h e treats my people really good. And he point ed to the scale and I was very proud. But I know my dad was that way, he did not object to black people. H e was hard on how he ran the commissary to keep people from stealing but he was honest with them. I can still remember that guy doing that E: Compare d to the States, it seemed the Zone wa s a very harmonious place then? S: The relationship between the blacks and whites in Panama during the construction days and during the days I worked there, there was no crime such as there is so rampant in the United States right now. I have been with black very disappointed at the crime rate of the immigrants to the United States. I say to myself, and I say to a few other people,
PCM 006; Stone; Page 22 the destruction of the United States is gonna come because of the slave trade back in the 1800s. We brought all those slaves into the United States and they live with. M y mber of eighty two more years, so ree [laughter ]. E: Well time can only tell S: Okay, what else did you want to know? E: This is really about you. Your story, what your childhood was like. Any stories that stand out in particular, funny anecdotes S: I was an outdoor man down there. I told you about al l t he time I spent swimming at the s altwater swimming pool at the Washington Hotel. I also played sports in the gymnasium all the time; i f I could get to the gym and play basketball, or volleyball, or any of the summer recreation sports I did I enjoyed it but I al so became quite a fisherman and in my lifetime down there, I owned four different boats. I did a lot of fishing both in the Atlantic Ocean the Pacific Ocean, and in Gat n Lake, and even went up into Madden Lake which is up above Gatn Lake. a reservoir for Gat n Lake and I did fishing up there. I was looking for whatever fish I could get. I fought a lot of t arpon in my fought a lot of
PCM 006; Stone; Page 2 3 corv ina. We chartered a boat and went away for eight days. Two days down to the fishing ground, two days back, and fou r days fishing. On that boat, one of the guys caught a big 750 pound black marlin. Now the 750 pounds was determined by measuring the length and the widest girth of the fish E: H ow long did it take him to catch that? S: Couple hours. E: Oh my gosh S: But then when I was on the trip, I got a black marlin on a fishing pole. It was a fifty pound class fishing rod line and everything. I fought that black marl in for an h our and eight minutes. I remember that perfect. I brought him right up to the stern of the boat a nd right off the tip of my rod. T he leader was running right straight down, and the guys were trying to grab the leader so they could ge t the fish u p to where we could put a gaff into him and hold him. But suddenly the fish went hloop and he went down a little bit and they had to let go of the leader. And then he went down a second time and the hook slip ped out of his mouth. E: No. S: I know. I can actually say he was caught because I had the leader right up and I released him, [laughter] but he did that to himself. I loved fishing, but again I paid
PCM 006; Stone; Page 24 with my sun damages, but I did a lot of that. Working on ships as a pilot I was expos ed to the sun. enough long sleeve shirts a nd put sunscreen on. But I love the Canal Zone E: Have you ever returned since you moved to North Carolina ? S: isited the Panama Canal b y plane, flew down in 1998. T hen in 2008 I made a trip through the Panama Canal on a Holland American Line ship. I have to admit that going through the Panama Canal turned out not to be exciting. I t turned to be ho hum because I e stimate and an estimate because of my time spent with the tugboats and my time on ship n through the Panama Canal three thousand times. And when I made it on that American Line trip that was 3,001. [Laughter] how many times because we worked the tugs up and down through the cut in out and down through Pedro Miguel Locks, assisted into Miraflores Lock, so I S o I threw in the number three t housand twenty years plus. [Laughter] But I did love doing it. O n your computer search for it A C P Autoridad de l Canal de Panam o r Panama Canal Authority, either one. And then it will go to a website where you can look at live pictures of the Panama C anal. Well those live pictures the they change every thirty seconds. So you see a ship high above the water and then all of a sudden the picture changes and the ship has dropped down another five feet in the water or so mething. V ery
PCM 006; Stone; Page 25 interesting to watch. I keep and watch that all the time. Actually, on my screen on ntainer ships going through Gat n locks in the same direction. They were south b ound and the ships were on the east and the w est side and they were just perfec t somewhat crowded with container ships and I keep that pi cture on my screen as my screen saver. Beautiful. E: there and experience it. S: I wish every American could go through the Panama Canal and see it. It should be treated as the modern wonder of the world. Panama is working hard to make completely different situation I understand everything except the source of the water because if you continue to run the old set of locks at the same rate and then the same time running these other locks where th ey could save only theoretically forty percent of the wate that c anal. We had a time down in the Panama Canal where th e lake level is normally eighty seven feet and it could go up to eighty s even and three quarters, and then, boy yo start emptying Gat n Lake because out the Gat n locks with the water level. One year, we actually went from eighty seven and a half feet at the beginning of the dry season, and before the rains came again, th e lake level was down to eighty one feet because they had no rains to speak of that dry season. In Panama
PCM 006; Stone; Page 26 or anything. You have a rainy season which lasts about eight months and a dry season which lasts about four months. That rain is supposed to keep the lake replenished. By using the Madden Lake up top, that is a place to send water down. Normally a ship going through the Panam a Canal, the maximum draft is thirty nine feet, six inches in freshwater. The Panama Canal, because of the la ke level drop had dropped the level of the ships transiting to thirty six feet six inches. T hey were just on the verge of dropping it to thirty six feet when the rains came again and they started getting water supply back in the lake. Shortly after that they were able to get the lake level back up and then get the ship draft back up so they could make money doing it. There were so many good things about the Panama Canal, I loved it. What I can really say is our two kids were born there. T ied and my wife and I have four grandchildren. Beautiful very proud of the way our kids went through life, but I told both the kids, when you get out of high school in the Canal Zone you are not staying in the Canal Zone. Too many of the graduates of the Cristob al or the Balboa High School found the Canal Zone and the Atlantic saltwater and Pacific salt bother to go get an education. T hey went and got themselves boards for waterskiing. They spen t thei r time in the Panamanian s un. I told my kids, not going to do that. If you want an then decide lik e it. Both my kid s went to college in the States; neither one of them had any
PCM 006; Stone; Page 27 desire to go t o the junior college down in Panama Canal Zone. T hey wanted to get out on their own E: When were they born ? S: David was born in 1969. E: And the y completed high school in the Zone S: And then they left. Our daughter actually, because she had her summers off, sh e came home for the summe r. S he went to work for the Panama Canal Company. And she is legal ly, by two summer jobs, a fifth generation employee on the Canal Zone. Our son was i nvolved in a ir force ROTC and he never got down during the summer so I never qualify him as a Panama Canal w orker. E: Do they visit now with their children at all? S: ildren. The oldest one is eight; the youngest one on the other side of the family is three or four. Good kids. I love them. We spent Day first time we spent the whole family together since college days. Our son is an air force officer: l ieutenant He spent most of his time west of the Mississippi River where the missiles are but ea and lives in St afford, Virginia. Our s up in Westminster, Maryland and we were able to all get together for
PCM 006; Stone; Page 28 and it was great. [Laughter] We had a beautiful time. My life in the c anal was beautiful, and I loved growing up down ther e e ven though I had some hard times on the Canal and developed a dislike for some of the people down now. And I frequentl anal with this chann el that you could watch on the computers and see going on down there. E: S: going on down there. T o divi de a country completely in half because you had the Canal Zone all the way from here to her e there in the canal picture. Which way do you go through the Panama Canal, east and west? E: East to west? West to e ast? S: No, no. You go north to s l show you something here, when you look E: Right cause it curves down here. S: This is n orth right here, right? E: Right, right. S: And re actually twenty one miles further east when you go to the Pacific Ocean. You started here in the Atlantic, but when you finish ed up down here in the Pacific you were twenty one miles further east than
PCM 006; Stone; Page 29 you were when you started in the Atlantic But people seem to forget that Central America comes down and then it c live pic tures that were really taken. Family factions. Those are post cards, pictures that were taken of my gran dmother in the locks. T Canal Zone home in the ow forty feet under water be cause when they filled the l ake, the town of Bohio disappeared. E: These are great. Does the museum have copies of these? S: I have some copies of them yes. Have you met Joe Wood ? E: Yes. S: E: Just for the photograph S: [Laughter] that were taken in tho se day s actual letter that my great grandfather wrote as he was sailing down to Panama. He wrote every day and put things about what he ate and what the weather was like. E: that you still have all of this, t he letters especia lly.
PCM 006; Stone; Page 3 0 S: p rofessionally grandfather wrote to probably the Star and Herald condition do t under the family loo ncle David standing out in front of the house back in those days. E: water, wow. S: Now this is the town of New Cristbal And surrounded all the w ay back here in the town of Col n. E: And that was taken in 2006? S: Apparently, yes. I got it off the computer. [ L aughter ] This is the high school I went to right there E: Oh e it. Good memories. Wow. S: where I live during my career down there and drew a line over to the approximate see the house I lived in. E: When you went back to the area in 1998 did you visit the town and high school? S: Yes. We did drive around there, but, what had been the Canal Zone community although it was i n the Republic of Panama in Col n was in, some
PCM 006; Stone; Page 3 1 in good shape but many in bad shape. By this time the Panamania ns were very poor over there, and you did not have a comfortable feeling being in there. You were a little bit afraid. N ow those are official pictures that I go t from the government offices, but he family pictu all real pic t ures that I inherit ed through my family. These are for the new locks that are being built. I keep that in there for information. Here is a copy. E: S: I protect them with those. [Laughter] the museum. I have extra copies and they are family things. If they would take it proud that my family help ed build the Panama Canal. T I say this funnily and made that if my grandmother had not been helping to dig the Panama Canal, that c anal would never have opened it 1914. It would have probably opened in 1 916 i laughter ]. E: I see pictures here of her helping out and leaning over the edge. S: Those days, apparently it was very free to just walk and go anypla ce. I think ocks Miraflores there The one where she is leaning over the wall is Gat n Locks. At the top of that one and on the original,
PCM 006; Stone; Page 3 2 fallen. E: edge holding onto the pipe. Well thank you so much for your time. S: Well [End of Interview] Transcribed by Jennifer Thelusma, January 9, 2014 Audit edited by: Jessica Taylor January 19, 2014
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