Interviewee: Mark Barrow
Interviewer: Samuel Proctor
Date: May 16, 1997
P: This is May 16, 1997, and we are at the home of Mark Barrow in Gainesville,
Florida. Mark, what is your address?
B: It is 224 N.E. 10th Ave.
P: This is a famous house for what reason?
B: It is known as the "Tigert home" because the University of Florida rented it for a
long time for John J. Tigert [John J. Tigert, president, University of Florida,
1928-1947], who is one of the renown presidents of the University. After that, J.
Hillis Miller [J. Hillis Miller, UF president, 1948-1953] was here until he moved
into the president's home on campus.
P: To begin with, the Tigerts paid their own rent. The University did not start out
paying the rent on this property. They (the Tigerts) paid it for a long, long time,
and Mrs. Tigert griped about that a great deal.
P: They had promised Tigert a house when he came here in 1928, but they never
furnished him a house at all. Of course, the Depression was already on when
he arrived here. Well, I am jumping ahead. I would like you to give me your full
B: It is Mark Velpeau Barrow.
P: You were born when?
B: August 10, 1935.
B: The birth certificate is interesting. It says Crestview, and then it is marked out
and says Pensacola. The truth is [that] I was born in between. My mother was
on route from Crestview to Pensacola. I was born right before they got to
P: Where does that middle name come from? It intrigues me.
B: It is very interesting. The story, as my mother has told it for many years, is that
the name Mark comes from my great-grandfather Mark Richmond Barrow. They
were trying to determine a middle name and the doctor that helped deliver me,
but did not actually--he handled the end of the delivery--was a doctor by the
name of Dr. Nobles. My mother and father were filling out the form for the birth
certificate, as she tells it, while he was making rounds, and [he] said, Mrs.
Barrow, why don't you name your son after me? No one ever named their son
after me, and I have delivered thousands of babies. She said, alright, Mark
Nobles Barrow; that is a pretty nice name. And he says, no, no, I want my first
name, and she said, well, I do not know your first name. He said, it is Velpeau
Nobles, so she named me Velpeau.
P: That must have been a family name, a strange name like that.
B: It must have been.
P: But you never researched it?
B: I never contacted him, but I know I took a severe beating in school. In the first,
second and third grades when you started school, everybody sat up and the
teacher went from child to child and got their full names. They would come to
my name and I would say, Mark Velpeau Barrow, and everybody would snicker
and laugh. At one point I was going to change it. I decided I did not want that
name anymore, and I actually went to an Okaloosa County judge [to have it
changed]. Osborn [Wilbur] was his name--a big stout fellow and a very nice
person. I am sure my parents warned him that I was coming. I went in to get
my name changed, and he listened to my story and said, Mark, I will tell you
what--I have the form here to sign, but I have not signed it. He said, I want you
to wait two years and then if you still want to do it, I will do it for you. He said
that is a fine name. He said, you will always be recognized by that name.
Everybody will remember you by that name. You should take great pride in that
name. I did after that. I use Mark V. Barrow as sort of a distinguished sounding
P: Mark, tell me a little bit about the family coming to Florida. Are you first, second,
or third generation?
B: The Barrows moved into Florida very early. They were, as said in North Florida,
dirt farmers. They were farm folk who lived in Georgia. The original Barrows
came over very early and then went to South Carolina and North Carolina and
[then] came into Georgia. A large group of them moved into Northern Florida.
P: Family group?
B: Family groups [lived] all through Northern Florida-- Pensacola, Santa Rosa
County, Walton County and Okaloosa County. My great-great-great grandfather
built a log cabin on the Yellow River in 1837. They came here in 1812.
P: Into Florida?
P: It was still a Spanish colony.
B: Still a Spanish colony. There was a place to ford the Yellow River up there, and
a camp. Actually, Andrew Jackson camped at the Yellow River where my
great-great-great grandfather ran a ferry, so the story goes.
P: Where is [the] Yellow River? I have never heard of it.
B: There are two rivers in Okaloosa County--one is the Yellow River and one is
Shoal River. They run together. The Yellow River is in the Northwest part and
Shoal River is more in the Northeast. The Yellow River is sort of muddy, and
the Shoal River is very black because it is spring-fed. They come together and
flow in. I think they go into the Black Water River in Santa Rosa County. At
any rate, the Yellow River had a ferry, and my great-great-great grandfather
operated that. The log cabin that was built in 1837 still exists. It is up in the
woods on the Yellow River. We go visit it all the time when we are up there, and
it is still in remarkably good shape. Unfortunately, it is not owned by any of the
family members now. I have tried to obtain it to move it into town or something
or restore it, but I have never been able to. It was a simply made log cabin. It
had an extensive roof that went way out over it with porches on all four sides so it
[was] fairly well protected. Somebody in the early part of the century put a tin
roof over the old wood shingle roof, so it has been quite protected and is not in
total disrepair. At any rate, they settled in there and they were farmers and
moonshiners. That was the way they made their living. The later Barrows do
not admit too much to the moonshining, but that is one of the things they did
quite well actually. When my father came along, they lived up in the Northern
part of Okaloosa County in an area called Baker, or near Baker. His father and
mother were farmers, and his brothers were farmers. He tells the story that he
always liked animals and always liked farming. He always had a little farm
garden until the day he died, but he wanted to do more than just be a farmer.
They did not have high schools, you went through about the tenth or eleventh
grade, and from that you had to go somewhere else if you wanted to finish your
education. He finished his eleventh-grade education, took some exams and so
forth, came down to the University of Florida very early--I do not remember the
exact dates, but somewhere [around] 1914 or 1915--and was here two years.
He then went back and took the Bar examination and became an attorney,
moved into Crestview and got into politics. He was a state Senator, state
Representative and a county judge several times.
P: What was your father's name?
B: George William Barrow Sr. He was also school superintendent during the
difficult Depression years and [even] before that when the county had about thirty
little one-room school houses. He led the drive to consolidate those thirty-five or
so schools into four or five larger schools. Of course, there was much
resistance to that because it meant [people's] children would have to walk further
to get to school--they had no buses or anything. That was during his tenure as
school superintendent, and he was always very proud of that. He modernized
the school system. He tells the story that in the Depression they ran out of
money and got to about February. The school [year] was quite a short year
because the children had to help on the farms. They went to school in the fall,
but they were out by early spring to do the farming. It was only a four- or
five-month period. They ran out of money towards the end, so he went to his
uncle who was a moonshiner and was quite wealthy. [His uncle] saved all of his
money not in banks but in coffee cans in his backyard. My father went to him
and said, uncle, I need some money to keep the schools from closing this
year--we are very tight. He said, well, George how much do you need? He
said, I need a lot, $60,000. He said, let me go see what I have. He went
outside and dug up some of his coffee cans and gave him $60,000 to finish the
school year. Of course, the people of the churches in the area heard about it
and were very upset, but they did finish the school year and the next year he paid
it all back, so the story goes. There are a lot of stories about my father. He
was a great and avid hunter and fisherman. He was a very, very excellent shot.
Even when he was in his eighties, he was still an expert marksman--always
loved to do that. He hunted and fished all his life. Even though he was an
attorney and school superintendent, he mostly loved to go fishing and hunting.
P: Just for the record, what is his birthday?
B: My father was born in 1896.
P: Same year as my father.
B: He was eighty-nine when he died.
P: Give us your mother's name.
B: Mother was Opal Colvin Barrow. She came from a family that was mostly in the
logging business. I do not mean owning the logging mills, I mean working in the
logging mills. They moved around a lot--from Mississippi to Louisiana to
Northern Florida. They finally settled many, many years ago in Dixie County at
Cross City. My grandmother was named Lahla Colvin. Although they had very
little education, they were very bright people, very smart people in the way they
did things. They were totally self-sustaining, living off their little farm. He had a
farm, a mule, a wagon and raised his own crops for food. She sold a little and
had a very big garden and a green thumb, so she raised all sorts of flowers. He
worked in the logging mills from dawn to dusk--very hard work--then he came
home to do his plowing. He died many years ago. I do not remember the date,
but I think it was probably in the late 1940s. She lived until ten years ago. She
was in her late eighties. She was a real character, the most delightful lady to
talk to you could ever imagine. They had many children--I think seven or eight.
Mother was about in the middle. She named the girls after jewels--one was
Jewel, one was Opal and one was Ruby. The boys were all named with H's for
some strange reason--Harry and Howard.
P: You could not lose them too quickly that way.
B: That is right. She was like my father.
P: Now you are talking about your mother, right?
B: My mother, yes. She did not want to be just a common laborer.
P: When was she born by the way?
B: She was nine years younger than my father, so she was born in 1905. She
went through her high school education and then went to Florida State College
for Women for three years, I believe--two to three years.
P: Going to college was unusual for farm girls that early.
B: Very much so. Mother was extremely bright--extremely well read and smart as
a whip. Dad was too, but she was sort of the driving force in the family
intellectually. Like I say, he would go off and hunt and fish in his spare time, and
she loved history. She went to cemeteries and gathered plants out and
identified them in school and so forth. She taught fifth and sixth grade and was
a fairly stern teacher, I understand. She did not teach me, but she taught my
brother, William Dean, and used to give him a whipping about once a day to set
an example. At any rate, she was a very excellent teacher and a very beloved
teacher in the school system. That is how my father met her, because he was
school superintendent. He had been married once before. His first wife was
from the Jeter family. She died of rheumatic fever very early, but they had one
child who is my older half-brother, George Barrow Jr., who is a physician, up in
Crestview. He recently retired. After my father and mother were married, they
had their first child, William Dean Barrow, who lives up in Okaloosa County. I
was the baby.
P: So there are two children from this marriage--no girls.
B: That is right. There were no girls from the marriage. Three sons--one from the
first marriage and two the second marriage.
P: Where does your older brother get that Wig nickname?
B: Wig. He was named that when he was a little bitty baby. I do not know who it
was, maybe it was I that could not pronounce William, so it got shortened to Wig.
That is what he was known as all his life--all through school. He liked that
name so he used it.
P: He kept it?
P: He went into politics?
B: Well, Wig is an interesting fellow. My older brother George Jr. came to the
University of Florida because my father came here. He was here during the war
years and went through a shortened program and obtained an M.D. degree in
three years [before] going into the service.
P: [Was the M.D.] from the University of Florida?
B: He did his pre-medical work here and then went to Emory [University]. Then
William Dean came down here in 1948 or 1949; William Dean was always one of
these fellows that was extremely smart and bright. As my mother says, too
smart for his britches most of the time. But he was. He had a photographic
memory. He could read over something one time and retain it, and he still does.
So he sailed through school and got his bachelor's and also a law degree in five
years-- he went right through. He was actually accelerated in school one year,
so he came to the University when he was sixteen and graduated when he was
twenty-one with a law degree, which is probably as young as anyone ever had.
Then he got back in town. My father retired from politics. In politics, if you stay
in it long enough you will always get beat. The last time that he (my father) ran
B: My mother told him, George, your time has come, you do not need to run for
office anymore. You have been everything. He said, I want to do it one more
time, just one more time. He wanted to run for county judge again. He was
running against a friend of his, actually, who was the same Judge Osborn that
had talked to me about changing my name, Wilbur Osborn. They were fishing
buddies. Back then, when they ran for political office they had rallies at night.
They would have a country band and barbecue and people would get up on the
stage and make their pitch to the people. They would clap or boo them or
whatever they wanted to do.
P: They used to do that here, I remember.
B: They were attended by everyone on Saturday nights, and they had a big stand
and everything. I remember very vividly my father getting up and saying, Wilbur
Osborn is a fine man and he is my friend. We are fishing buddies but I want to
be your judge. That was the politics. Wilbur would get up and say, I have
known Georgie all his life--he is a fine fellow and he would make a fine judge, but
I want to be your judge. It is time for me to be your judge--he has been your
judge [already]. Anyway, the story is that when my father would go politicking
people on the street, door-to-door, giving cards and so forth, everybody he ran
into would say, sure George, I would be glad to vote for you. So, when the
election night came, my father was very confident. When the election returns
came in, he lost. Wilbur Osborn won, and my father says, you know the strange
thing about this is I thought I was going to get 90 percent of the vote. That is a
lesson all politicians must learn--when they are politicking, people tell them what
they want to hear.
P: Is this what has happened to Wig?
B: Wig got into politics early, and he was very good at it. He built up a group in
North Florida of close followers and was elected to the Senate. He loved it. He
was there when Dempsey Baron was there and Mallory Horne was there. They
were all big buddies. They were those guys called "pork- choppers" nowadays.
They basically ran the state politics very carefully and very toughly.
P: Senator Shands was part of that group.
B: He was part of that group. It was all buddy-buddy boy politics, and Wig was
right in the middle of it. I do not think he would mind my saying this, because I
have told him this many times. What happens so frequently with people when
they get into politics and get in a high position--it happens in Alachua County too,
as you are aware--is that it goes to their heads. All of a sudden they get this
feeling that they are handling all of these large sums of money and that they are
very powerful people. It is the classical "Caesar syndrome." Unfortunately, it
affected Wig. Instead of calling friends of his to help out to do this, that and the
other when he was a Senator, he got in the habit of calling his friend that had an
airplane and said, I have to go to Miami tomorrow, be ready at 8:00, and I will
pay the expenses and take you out to dinner and everything. Or, he would call
down here and say, Mark, I am bringing Dempsey and Mallory down to the ball
game tomorrow. Get me tickets and have supper ready, and I will pay for
everything. This went on for a while, and people got tired of that. The way we
handled it here, Mary and I, after about the fourth or fifth time, we said, we are
not going to be in town--we are leaving town for another engagement. The key
is under the mat, and you are welcome to bring your friends and handle it any
way you want, but we are not going to be here. You are welcome to use the
house and so forth. At any rate, after he was Senator a couple of times, he got
beat fair and square. Part of it was because the population base in Pensacola
had increased significantly, and he was running against individuals from a larger
population base. Part of it was because of the cane pole tax. He sponsored
the cane pole tax, which was a $2 fee to fish in North Florida. That did not sit
well with his constituents at all, even though it was only $2. His deal was that he
did it as a favor for a friend of his, but he knew it would not pass. A lot of
politicians will sign on the bills and say, I am signing on this because I owe a
favor to Joe Blow, but I know it is not going to pass, so it is not going to do any
P: It seemed safe.
B: So I am safe. I have paid my dues. Well, it did pass and the people were very
upset about it. The local farmers and so forth booted him out. I remember my
mother calling me the next day and saying, he lost. I said, mother are you
upset? And she said, upset? I am glad. She says, you know what I told him?
He came over to the house and he was crying--crying like a baby--how could he
have been so let down? I said son, it is good enough for you. Now you can
come back down to earth with the rest of us. You got too big for your britches.
P: Let me get back to Mark Barrow now. Did you grow up in Pensacola, or did you
grow up in Crestview?
B: I grew up in Crestview. We had a home right near downtown on Oakdale
Avenue and Crestview. I went to grammar school there and then high school.
High school was about five blocks away.
P: When did you graduate high school?
B: I graduated in 1953, and I loved school all the way through.
P: You were born during the 1930s.
B: 1935, yes.
P: Was your family impacted by the Depression? That was the middle of the
B: Well, I was not aware of it, but yes, everybody was impacted by it. My father
was school superintendent and my mother taught, so they both had income.
The war had a tremendous impact because they had all these kinfolks, and every
week or two you were hearing somebody got killed. My mother's very close and
favorite brother was killed in the war, and that was very tragic. His name was
Will. Actually, William Dean was named after Will, her brother. The Depression
also impacted [the times]. There was no air conditioning, [but] everybody was in
the same boat.
P: You had a car?
B: We had a car.
P: And you ate regularly?
B: Well, Daddy had a farm. My father had two cows right next to the house, which
was two blocks from downtown, and you could have animals downtown. My
brother and I milked those cows for years twice a day, seven days a week, 365
days a year. That builds great character because you have no choice [but] to be
there rain or shine. It is really [a] very character-building [experience] at 6:30 or
7:00 in the morning and it is thirty degrees outside, cow's tail was hitting you
upside the head, and it is wet and stinky. Nevertheless, you had to milk. My
father sold his two cows at my mother's insistence because it was so close to
downtown and people complained about the cow lot. They sold them when I
was about twelve or thirteen--the happiest day of my life. So, we ate fine. He
had a little farm and a garden out of town a couple of miles that Daddy and
another fellow lived on and share cropped.
P: What kind of a student were you in high school?
B: Truthfully, I was an excellent student. I played around a lot. I had a great
time--I had a wonderful time. I just cannot explain how wonderful it was, but I
always, through mostly my mother's insistence, worked very hard in school and
was very competitive. I always made top grades in the class, and [I was
involved in] things like president of the class and captain of the football team and
P: So you were in sports?
B: Well, yes, I played mainly football. My brother Wig made me go out in the ninth
grade when I was very small and tiny. I had some cousins that were on the
football team, and it was very traumatic because basically they just ran all over
me and beat me up everyday. I used to come home actually crying and wanted
to quit, and the family would not let me. That was in the ninth grade, and I only
weighed 135 pounds. That next summer my father got me a job with the state
road department working on the roads. We were building roads, swinging axes
and carrying heavy stuff all summer. The next year I weighed about 165 pounds
and was strong, quite strong--lean and mean. Nearly everybody else graduated
from the football team and we did not have a coach. At the same time, we had a
fellow come through town named was Anton Koeniger. He was a retired old pro
football player from the Pennsylvania coal mine. He was a big, stout, rough
fellow who cursed like a sailor. He was one of the most wonderful men I have
ever known. He was a superb football coach [who] took this little group of thirty
kids from Crestview who had never won anything and were always getting beat
up terribly from this team down in Niceville [and made us winners]. They were
these mean fish heads down there at Fort Walton Beach, and they beat up on us
unmercifully. There were all these competitions with local [communities] like
Defuniak Springs in Walton County, [and] Milton in Santa Rosa County. This
fellow was hired off the street as a coach, and he got us all together, looked us
over and he says, if you do everything I say, I am going to make you into a great
football team. He drilled us on fundamentals. He was a great fundamentalist.
We would go for hours learning how to run and how to fall. He taught [us] how
to fall so [we] would not get hurt. There is a technique. If you see you are
going down, you do not just go plop. You roll with it and so forth. He taught me
how to pull out of the guard position and go down field. He taught me how to
block, how to block punts and everything on fundamentals. He drilled you with
fundamentals until you were sick to your gills with fundamentals, and in the next
four years we lost [a total of] two games. We were the champions of Northern
Florida, and we were a very close group. There were four on the football team
that are still good friends of mine up there called "the four bloody brothers." We
used to go on the football team trips on the old school bus and sing. He was
from Pennsylvania, and he had never heard Southern singing--all of these
Southern religious songs that we knew. He just thought they were wonderful.
He would say, sing to me, sing to me. So Coach Koeninger was quite a
remarkable character. At the same time, I was [also] in the band.
P: What did you play?
B: I played a trombone--not too well, but I played it. I was in everything that you
could possibly be in [during my] high school [years]. [Back] then there were not
the pressures there are now--where you have to pick one [activity] and stick with
it. You could be in everything--glee club, band, whatever.
P: You were a social animal too?
B: Very much so. My mother had a rule that we were supposed to be in by 10:00
p.m., and other mothers had the same rules for us [so] that were [not] out
gallivanting around at night. We had a little system--if one of your buddies saw
your mother out looking for you in the car, they generally knew about where you
were. There was not a lot to do in Crestview except cruise the main [street], but
we had fun things to do like going down to the river and swimming in the nude,
steal watermelons and play jokes on people. But people would always know
about where you were. They would tell you, your mother [is] looking for you.
You would go through the back roofs, run inside and get into bed with your
P: Before she arrived?
B: Before she arrived. When I retire from medicine, I am going to write a book
about some of those very early Okaloosa County experiences.
P: Was [yours] a church-going family?
B: Oh my goodness, yes. They did not have women bishops in the Methodist
Church, but we always maintained [that] if they ever did have bishops my mother
would have been one. We called her "the bishop." She was into numerous
Church activities until the day she died. Her pride and joy was the Methodist
P: So you went to church often?
B: Oh, yes, all of the time. My mother and father were both very devout. My
mother, I would say, more so than my father, but he was also. So we were a
very close-knit family in the Methodist Church and still always have been an
extremely close-knit family.
P: You did not live in Pensacola then?
B: Never, no.
P: What got you moving toward medicine?
B: Well, that is an interesting story. When I came down here to the University of
Florida, I came down with several other of my colleagues from school.
P: Why did you want to go to the University of Florida?
B: Because my father and two brothers went here.
P: I see.
B: My parents never said to us--all through high school or whatever, and we did the
same thing with my children--if" you go to college. It was always "when" you go
to college. It was assumed that we would go to college, and it was assumed
that we would go here. It was just a given fact.
P: Often people from your area of the state went to Alabama.
B: [Many people] went to Alabama, and then later, when it became co-educational,
[they] went to Florida State. A lot of them go to Florida State now, and, of
course, they have excellent community colleges there. A lot of them go there
first. Most of the men, in the 1950s, if they had a choice, and could, would come
down here. I had a close friend, to show you how times change, who came
down with me. None of his family had ever been to college, and he always
wanted to go to college. He came down with me, and he had ten cents in his
pocket--literally, truthfully--and he rode down in the car with the rest of us. I did
not have a car, but usually one kid would have a car and we would car pool to
Crestview and back [with him]. He slept on the floor in my dormitory until he
could get a job in the cafeteria so he could eat. He got a band scholarship
playing the trombone, then he got student loans and worked his way through
college. My mother helped me get through college. I had a part-time job, but I
went straight through from 1953 to 1956.
P: So it was just taken for granted in your family that you would go to college?
P: No ifs, ands, or buts.
B: I did not know what I wanted to do, so I had a broad degree in arts and sciences.
You could have a multiple major [then], and I think my major was biology and
[my] minors were chemistry and history.
P: You were good in the sciences?
B: Very good in the sciences. I had about a 3.8 average overall, not a 4.0. It [took]
a little adjustment [the first year] coming [from] being a country boy. I did not
have the study skills and so forth, because I did not need them in Crestview High
School. I did not study hardly any [there].
P: Was 1953 your first time in Gainesville?
B: No, I had been down here many times visiting and going to football games. My
parents would come down and go to Cross City, and we would come over on
Saturday to the football games. I would come down and stay with Wig, so I had
been down here many times.
P: Now Wig is older than you or younger?
B: He is four years older.
P: I see. So he was in school during the time that you were in high school?
B: That is correct. He came down here then, and graduated in 1952. When I
came here [in 1953], he had just finished.
P: When you came, where did you live?
B: I lived in a dormitory called Sledd Hall. I was assigned to the dormitory, and--no
one believes this today but I have got the documents to prove it--my college
education cost me $2,400 total.
P: For four years?
B: Three years. I went summer and winter. My mother helped, and the
dormitories were miniscule. I had a budget of $1.80 a day. That is the money I
got, and that is what I lived on.
P: Did you eat in the cafeteria?
B: Well, I usually ate breakfast at the Cl (College Inn). I got doughnuts and milk.
Lunch was wherever.
P: And the CI was the College Inn--it is now the Purple Porpoise [restaurant, bar
and arcade on University Avenue].
B: It was like a cafeteria then. It was a wonderful place.
P: The Hammonds ran it.
B: They had very good portions for a very cheap price. For lunch you could get a
hamburger and french fries for 25 cents or 35 cents. My favorite thing--I still
remember how it tastes--was what they called the hot barbecue, which was this
big barbecue with gravy on it. Sounds horrible. [It came with] this huge plate of
french fries. That was [about] 39 cents, and a Coke was a nickel or something
I worked very hard in college. The group that I studied with included a lot
of the boys from Crestview but also boys that I had met from Niceville, Milton and
especially DeFuniak Springs [who] we had played football against. To regress a
little bit, the one time I got into near serious trouble was when I was a junior or
senior. I think I was a junior. The "four bloody brothers" and the rest of us got
into the habit on Thursday afternoons before the football games on Fridays of
taking off from school, playing hookey, and going to visit the [opposing] teams.
So if we were going to play Milton or DeFuniak Springs on Friday night, four or
five of us would get in the car and go over there Thursday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.
and go out to their football stadium. Usually someone would be out there. We
would visit around, and we got to know the players that we were going to playing
P: And how they played.
B: We talked about this, that and the other, and this was great. We did this for a
while--about four or five times. We would get back to Crestview by 4:00 p.m.
when school was letting out and go on home. My father never came to
school--never came to see me at school for any reason that I could ever recall.
The teacher, bless her heart, never reported us as being absent. [She] knew
what we were doing but she just did not [report] it. She was not going to get us
in trouble. [Her name was] Mrs. Townsend, the sweetest thing in the world.
About the fourth or fifth time I did this, my father came to the room about 1:00
p.m., knocked on the door and said, Mrs. Townsend, can I speak to Markie a
minute? I do not [remember] what it was for, but he wanted to see me about
something. She said, well, Mr. Barrow he is not here. He said, when he left for
school this morning he was coming here. Was he here this morning? She said,
yes. He said, has he been missing very much? She said, as a matter of fact,
he has missed the last four Thursday afternoons. My father says, oh really?
Yes, she said. He says, when he gets back this afternoon, will you tell that
young man to come to my office please? My father had a little office [that he
used] to do light attorney things out of, nothing big. When I got back there, the
kids said, boy, you are in trouble--your daddy was by here. I said, no way, he
never comes over here. No way. They said, yes. So, when I went in the
room, Mrs. Townsend said, your father wants to see you in his office. So, I go
over there and say my usual, how are you doing Pop? Wig and I called him
Pop. He said, come on in and close that door. There was a secretary out front.
He sat down, and I sat down, and he did not say anything. He just sort of sat
there like this, and he looked at me sort of strangely and I thought, he is certainly
going to see this with a sense of humor when I explain. He said, I want you to
explain to me why you have been missing school. I explained this elaborate
story, and I thought it would make great sense and he would understand. He
looked at me, half-beady eyed and said, well son, you know that pistol that I keep
under the head of my bed, the 22 pistol I have kept there all my life? I said, yes
sir. He says, you know it is a good thing I do not have it in my hand, because if I
did I would shoot you right between your damn eyes. That sort of took me back.
He was not smiling--he was looking very serious. I said, you cannot be serious.
He says, yes I am. I am glad I do not have it in my hand. He says, I want to
tell you, the Barrows just do not play hookey in school--they just do not do it.
That does not happen any more, you hear me? I said, yes, sir. He said, I will
never speak of it again and you will never do it again. I never did it again.
P: You learned your lesson?
B: I learned my lesson about playing hookey. We have had that same kind of
experience, but I did not threaten to kill him.
P: Did you work [while you were] here?
B: When I was here, I worked little part-time jobs in the cafeteria, things like
cleaning tables or something like that, but not seriously. Mostly I went to school
and studied. Our group studied together. We studied every night of the week.
We took Friday nights [off]. We went out to the Humpty Dumpty or something
like that. [We would eat] dinner and go to a movie on Friday nights. We played
hand ball on Saturday mornings and Sunday mornings. The rest of the time, we
studied. I mean, we burnt the books very hard I was taking a lot of hours trying
to finish in three years.
P: Did you have to take the University college courses?
B: All those courses. The "C courses" they were called then.
P: I do not remember you being in my American Institutions class.
B: I took it, but I do not think you were my teacher. I never got you for a teacher
unfortunately. As I got through this, toward the end, I was not sure what I
wanted to do, truthfully, and I was not sure of my capabilities. I know I had done
very well in school and had a good average. The first year I made a couple of
"B's," and when I took German, it sort of knocked me for a loop, and I made a C.
I was not good in foreign languages. After that, I learned to study hard and work
hard and made "A's" all the [rest of the] way through. So my grade point
average was about 3.8, which was quite good for a country boy. I decided, well,
maybe I want to go to the Naval Academy. I do not know why I decided that. I
guess I really wanted to see if I could pass the test--you had to take an
examination. They sent me the exam, and I took it, and I got [a letter] back that
said, you passed, contact your local senator; we would love to have you. I
thought, I do not think I really want to do that. Then I decided to apply for dental
school because I had some friends in Crestview who were in dentistry that
thought it was good. My brother George said, you ought to consider medicine.
I applied to dental school at Emory and was accepted there. Then I got to
thinking about that, and my mother said, now you ought to think about this
dentistry thing--I do not think you want to be a dentist. Why don't you do what
your brother is doing? Why don't you apply to medical school? One day I saw
in the Alligator a little note--this was in early 1956--that the new dean of the
medical school was coming to town. [His name was] Dean George Harrell
[dean, College of Medicine, 1954-1964] and there was a little blurb on the front
page of the Alligator [about him]. I saw it eating breakfast one day, and I
thought, well, I will go by there. Down at the bottom of the article it said his
temporary office was in Grove Hall. I lived in Grove Hall--it was a temporary
dormitory at the time. I lived at the other end. They had some little offices
down a bit further on the opposite end. So, that afternoon after class I went by
to find this room number. There was an opened door there, and there was this
nice-looking man in short sleeves, unpacking little boxes. I knocked on the door
and said, are you Dr. Harrell? He said, yes I am, come in. I came in and I said,
I came by to get an application. He said, oh my goodness, we do not have any
of those yet. I do not even have a secretary or anything. I am just moving in
today. I am just unpacking my boxes, but come on in and I will talk to you. He
talked to me for about two hours, and he interviewed [me] about my family,
where I came from, grades and why I was thinking about applying. After that he
said, you do not happen to have your transcript or anything with you, do you?
Or can you get me one? I said, well as a matter of fact, I have it here in my
pocket. I had brought it because I had applied to the dental school and had a
copy. So I gave him my transcript and he studied it a while and looked over the
courses and the grade point average. He said, this looks pretty good--we start
in September. I said, you mean that is it? I do not have to write any
application? He said, oh, you can do that later. He said, hell son, I was worried
we were not going to have anybody. At least we have one. That is a true story.
I was actually the first student admitted to the University of Florida Medical
School, and I have laughed about that many times.
P: Let me go back just a little bit before you get to medical school. I want to talk to
you a little bit more about your undergraduate [years]. You did not play sports at
University of Florida, did you?
B: No, did not play sports. I just basically studied.
P: [Were] you [in] a fraternity?
B: No, I did not join a fraternity. It just did not appeal to me. I thought it would
interfere with study times, and I did not want to go through those work details on
P: And you gave up [a] social [life]?
B: Yes, virtually. Absolutely. I had a girlfriend back at home, and we went home
every two or three weeks on a weekend. We would hitch-hike home. You
[would] go out U.S. 441 (N.W. 13th St.) and within an hour you would be picked
up and taken to Tallahassee. From Tallahassee you would get on Highway
90--there was no Interstate [then]--and a truck or somebody in a pick-up truck or
many times a family--a man and his wife going back and forth to
Tallahassee--would pick us up.
P: They were not afraid to pick you up?
B: No, not at all. They loved to pick up students. They all had said, my son or
daughter is a student, so we always give rides to students. Never, never a
P: And you had your little beanie [a small cap usually made out of UF colors worn
B: Well, we wore a beanie and [a] bag with University of Florida Student [logo on it
or] Crestview, Florida, and so forth on it. So it was pretty obvious. People
stopped-- usually somebody traveling across town, or truckers would stop and
pick you up.
P: No danger then?
B: None whatsoever. We never even had any inkling of problems. One time a
couple of us got in a pick up truck with a drunk guy and he was weaving around.
We said, we have changed our mind--we are going back to Gainesville. Let us
off here. So he let us off.
P: Do you remember any of your instructors making a special impact on you?
B: Yes, I remember some of them. I may not remember them all by name. I
cannot remember the name of my English teacher who saved my life from my
physics teacher, but they were very impressive. I do remember the name of
[my] Chemistry professor. His name was Dr. Paul Tarrant. He was easy to
remember because everybody called him "Tarrant the Tower." He was actually
a very delightful fellow, and we became friends later on because I was involved
with one of his graduate students who became ill while I was a resident. He
taught organic chemistry, and that was a big back-breaker for students who were
trying to get into medicine. You had to pass organic chemistry with a "B", and a
lot of people would do pretty well until they got to organic chemistry. Another
fellow who wanted to go to medical school and I studied together, worked
together and took exams together. [There is] one semester I will never forget.
They posted your average, and then your grade. I had a 92.1 and got an "A,"
and my friend had a 91.9 and he got a "B." He wanted to go in and talk to the
professor because he felt that was not quite fair. So we went in there together,
and he said, Dr. Teret, I worked very hard, and I am trying to get into medical
school, and that is so close. Could you at least make it a "B+" or something?
He said, I do not give pluses or minuses. He said, the cut off was 92. He
laughed. He said, it is not going to be the end of the world--this will not keep
you out of medical school. He thought it was funny. He did not get real petty or
uppity about it at all. He just thought it was funny. He said, that is life.
Anyway, he remembered both of us after that, and we would see him on campus
P: You went in and took the class, and you left at the end of the class. There was
nobody that you counseled with?
B: No. You had a list of certain courses you had to have to graduate, and you sort
of picked and chose what you wanted to [take].
P: Women were on the campus, of course. Co-education came in 1947.
B: Yes, they were on campus from afar mostly. I mean, they had their own
dormitories on the other side of the campus, and we saw them in class.
Sometimes I studied with them, but I did not do any dating.
P: What about ROTC?
B: I was in ROTC for two years. It was mandatory then. A close friend of mine
from Crestview was the Commandant. He was actually my roommate in
college, a fellow named Paul Fleming. He was a big wheel in it, and later on he
was big in the Army. He is now retired [and] back in Crestview actually.
P: Every Thursday afternoon you were out there parading?
B: Yes, it was sort of like playing a game. It was not a big deal at all.
P: I think in those years you had to take physical education, too?
B: Correct. I loved phys. ed. I wish I could remember [my coach's name]. I saw
him for years. He is dead now, but he and I became buddies for years [after I
was out of school].
P: The football coach?
B: No, he was a soccer coach. When you took phys. ed., everybody had their
favorite things like swimming and whatever. Those got taken up very quickly
and then whatever was left [was what] you had to pick something [from]. Well,
by the time I signed up for this particular time, the only thing left was soccer. I
had never heard [much of] or played soccer in my life. [There] was a little bitty
short guy, and he got us all together in phys. ed. He said, now I know none of
you signed up for soccer voluntarily, did you? Not one of you. The only people
who took soccer were foreign students, you know, from South America, and
they were good and we were terrible. So there would always be one from
Honduras or somewhere that was just a master. [The teacher] would say, I
know none of you turkeys signed up for soccer purposely did you? You got it by
default, right? He said, now, this can be a miserable time or we can have a lot
of fun. I am going to teach you how to play soccer, and you will love it or you
can take it badly--if you do, I am going to just run you into the ground.
P: So he warned you?
B: He warned us. So we had a great time. I loved it, actually. I had a wonderful
P: And you learned how to play soccer?
B: Learned how to play soccer a little bit.
P: When you came to the University, it was a vastly different University than it is
today. It was much smaller.
B: Much smaller. As I recall, there were about 8,000 students, which we thought
was a lot.
P: A few more than that but not many more.
B: Very few people had cars--only the more wealthy people. Only one or two of the
seven or eight of us from Crestview had cars. We walked downtown. We did
go downtown to go to a movie once a week, and we would walk from campus all
the way down to the Florida Theater or the "old armpit," the old Lyric Theater.
They called it the "old armpit" because it smelled a little rank.
P: They had the State Theater also.
B: The State Theater was there, yes.
P: [It was] right next to the Seagle Building [One of the oldest and tallest buildings in
downtown Gainesville; which formerly housed the Florida Museum of Natural
B: Right. We would come down there and go to a movie or whatever, so I knew
about downtown. Most of the students now today know nothing about the
downtown except at 2:00 a.m. when they go to the bars. They do not know
anything about the duck pond area. We would walk downtown and walk back.
There were only 8,000 [students, so] we had our own little world. We had a
great time. It was wonderful.
P: So you remember your undergraduate years fondly?
B: Very fondly. No really bad memories of my undergraduate years.
P: Okay. Let us talk about medical school now. You enter medical school in
September of what year?
P: As you said, you are the first student--admitted by the dean himself.
B: The dean had selected forty students basically independently, and he did a little
experiment. He told us that he did this experiment. He took thirteen students
without looking at their grades and without looking at their medical aptitude,
MCAT, scores. [He based their admission] on just what he decided on
interviews. In that class there were a lot of people that had been out in jobs
working, like a postmaster down in central Florida; a Ph.D. in agriculture who was
running a large agricultural operation for the University of Georgia; a pharmacist;
and people who were out working that had wanted to go to medical school but
had never been accepted and decided to apply. Out of that group of forty, there
were three women, and the rest were men. There were no black students at all.
Of the remaining group, about half were college students such as myself and
about half were people that had graduated years before and been out some
P: Now, you are talking about the whole class or the selected ones?
B: No, this is the whole class. Out of that forty, thirteen were selected not on the
basis of grades--they did not have real good grades, they just decided to apply
as a lark to see what would happen and they got accepted. But Dr. Harrell did a
very extensive interview on them, and he never told the [faculty]. He told
me--because I was the first president of the class--that he had done this. He
told the students themselves, but he never told the other faculty members this for
several years. He was curious to see how they would do, and they did exactly
the same as the rest of us. They did not do any better and they did not do any
worse. They all graduated and are all physicians all over the United States--fine
physicians. They all had very solid characters and very high motivation, and
they did just as well in medical school. Some of them had a 2.5 or a 3.0 grade
point average [in the undergraduate course]. They would not even be
considered today in trying to get into medical school. Dr. Harrell has
commented over the years that maybe we ought to have a little better system. It
is very difficult picking medical students when you have such a large group to
pick from. How do you make the first cut-off? Now they do it by grades. You
have to have a 3.7 or a 3.8 [GPA] to even be considered--is to be in the
consideration pile. Then you have to have good MCAT scores to stay in the pile.
You have to have good interviews and good recommendations after that. The
class that started in 1956 were from all over, but a lot of [them were] Florida
students and a lot of them were older students.
P: What do you mean 1956? That is when you came in, September 1956?
P: You entered [the University as an undergraduate] in 1953, finished in three years
going to summer school, and you [went] to medical school [in] September 1956?
B: That is correct. When we started, there were no upper-classmen. The building
was still being worked on. I knew the architect that was working on the building.
I knew the provost and the dean.
P: How did you know the others?
B: The others [we] saw there, and they were very interested. [there are] our "first
babies," our "first children," and they were interested in who we were. Jefferson
Hamilton [consulting architect] was a delightful gentleman. He was over there all
of the time. He was one of the architectural consultants. Provost Poor [Russell
Spurgeon Poor, Provost, 1956-1963, UF, J. Hillis Miller Health Center,
1952-1956] was [there]. We did not have a cafeteria or anything. We had a
little coffee shop, and everybody ate there together.
P: You knew Russell Poor?
B: [Yes], Russell Poor was a delightful gentleman and was always interested in who
were and where we were from.
P: Where did the medical students live?
B: All over. The married ones lived in Fla-Vet [Village]. I lived in the dormitory. I
stayed in Grove Hall, [or] I stayed wherever I could get. One time I messed
around and came down here [with] no place to live. The dormitories were filled
up, and I did not know what exactly I was going to do. I ran into a fellow I knew
in undergraduate school who was [then] in law school. I just saw him on the
street and said, man, I am desperate--I do not have a place to live. Where are
you staying? He said, we are right down the street, renting the whole upstairs of
[a] house. It was near Alachua General Hospital. He said, there are eight of
us--come on, and we will go get a bed and put nine of us [in the house]. It [did]
not make any difference. They [did] not care, I was never home anyway.
Nobody believes [this], but it is absolutely true--[during] my first year of medical
school, 1956, I went to that institution 365 days and nights. I never took a break.
We all did.
P: Saturday and Sunday?
B: Saturday, Sunday, everyday, and every night. We lived all over, and we would
go to each others' homes, or we would go to the married people's houses and
maybe have some dinner or supper on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon and
visit a little bit. Dr. Harrell had a new concept he wanted to try called the study
P: Yes. I want you to tell me about that.
B: Well, Dr. Harrell was a dreamer. He would get us together and explain [things], I
was always amazed. He was a great influence in my life in [the aspects of]
organization, dreaming, setting things up and why you do things. He had a
reason for every single thing he did. He was criticized by some of the other later
faculty members because of this. For example, I remember when we first were
getting together, he met with us every week or two and talked to us [to] see how
we were doing. He explained everything about the medical school--the size of
the classrooms, the size of the windows and the height of the windows. I
remember once he explained the height of the windows [and why it was] very
important we had windows there. The height of the windows should be X
number of inches so when you are sitting in a desk you can see out the window
and see not just tops of trees but see people down there so that you do not get
so isolated here. He decided on the height of the windows from the floor early
on, and Jefferson Hamilton made a lot of comments about George's peculiarities
and the way he did things. They were great friends. He was a little different,
but he was that way with everything--down to the types of seats. He had this
dream that students early on should be recognized as colleagues and
physicians, and they should have their own offices, be treated like physicians and
be called doctors. So we had study cubicles, and they were about four feet
wide. [We] had a desk and there was [also a] cabinet that could [be locked] to
keep our white coats in. [There also was a place] for our books. That was our
office--they were called study cubicles. So we would all gather there. There
was [also] a large gathering area near there [where] we could study together and
some smaller rooms [where we] could study in groups. So we would gather
together every evening and, of course, shoot the breeze for a while and talk
about this horrible thing that happened that day. Sometimes we would study by
ourselves, sometimes we would study in groups or sometimes we got tired and
we would go over to somebody's house in a group of four or five and study. We
all studied regularly, and we all were there every night, every night for a year.
The reason that we did that was we did not have [an] upper-class to advise us on
how much we should study. We had all new faculty members, and they were
doing all of these experimental things and so forth--some of which did not work
out too well. The faculty was very small. There was a professor, Dr. Putnam
[Frank William Putnam, UF, professor of biochemistry, 1955-1966 department
head, 1955], a biochemistry professor who was a very distinguished, tall,
handsome man. He was very articulate. Then there was the anatomy
professor, Dr. Wilson [James Graves Wilson, professor of anatomy [1955-1968
and head of anatomy department, UF College of Medicine, 1955]. He was
called--behind his back, of course--"the great big white daddy rabbit." I do not
know why. He was a large, muscular man--your classical anatomy professor.
He just knew everything--he was a little bit stern but very soft-hearted at the end.
There was a little fellow that helped him there named Joe Genard.
Biochemistry was [taught by] Dr. Suter [Emanuel Suter, MD, UF, Dean of the
College of Medicine, 1956-1972] who was a little hard to understand because he
was from Switzerland. I cannot quite remember my physiology professor's
name. [The college consisted of] three or four professors, our class, Dr. Harrell,
Dr. Poor and a few secretaries. That was it.
P: Did you love medicine right from the beginning?
B: Yes, I did. It was fascinating, and I had a lot of biology. I had been studying
hard in college, and I was ready. I took to it very adroitly.
P: So you had not made the wrong decision?
B: No, I never had any regrets about that at all, especially after meeting the
professors, getting into clinical medicine and seeing patients. Within the first two
years, there is a big difference between what happens in college and medical
school. In college you have a course, you have a book, you cover chapters, you
read your notes, you take the examinations and you cover material. In medical
school, they had textbooks, but they would say, any of these three. In anatomy
you could [have] Gray's [text] or you could use this one or you could use that
one, whichever you like. Go look at the books and see. You cover vast areas
of subjects and that was very frustrating to a lot of us because we had been used
to girding our loins, studying real hard and amazingly memorizing all of this
massive material from notes and chapters in a book. All of a sudden, you are
told you are going to learn about the Kreb's Cycle in biochemistry this next two
weeks, and you are on your own to go find out about it. They gave lectures and
you studied with your colleagues to try to learn about it. You mastered a great
array and vast numbers of subjects very rapidly because the change-overs to
cover all of this material were very fast.
P: What is the Kreb's Cycle?
B: It is a cycle in biochemistry of how energy is made in our bodies. It is very
fascinating--it is how we get our energy to do everything. You cover vast topics
in rapid order. Of course, every professor when you get to his course expects
you to cover the ground and master it very quickly. They know it thoroughly and
you know zip, so you are at a real disadvantage. What always amazed me is
how the student learned so quickly to cover this massive array and [how] some
[learned] quicker than others. There were some of us that worked very hard and
there were some that did not work very hard but were just super bright, learned
very quickly, retained things and listened very carefully in class.
P: Did any of them get washed-out that first year?
B: We only had one student [who] left. There were forty-one students selected,
and one never showed up. All through school we always honored this student
with parties. We had a place for him and a chair with his name on it. At
graduation we gave him a diploma, our own diploma.
P: Without knowing him?
B: Never heard of the individual. Never knew what happened. All we knew is the
guy had been accepted and we had his name on the list, but he just did not show
P: But he graduated.
B: But he graduated. One fellow was an extremely bright, smart fellow, but very
strange. He basically was caught--I do not know why in the world he would do
this--stealing his meals. It was so stupid because basically what he would do in
the coffee shop was go down and get his hamburger or whatever and just walk
off with it--openly.
P: He thought it was part of his registration fee.
B: One of the people in class spoke to him [about it]. The guy's name was George.
George, you know you could get in trouble not paying for your meals. He said,
well, I do not have the money. That was what he said. Well, after about a
month or two, the dean called a class meeting without him and said, we have a
problem, we have a theft in the class and we want you to vote to decide what to
do. We voted to expel him, and he was dropped. That was the one we
dropped because we also knew him, and we had some real concerns. You
cannot let this guy practice medicine. He was strange. In physiology when he
was operating on the animals, [he acted] like he almost liked what he was doing
in a funny way, cutting on the animals.
P: Now he is an investment banker, probably a billionaire and is the new
ambassador to Great Britain.
B: He probably is something like that. But anyway, that was the only one we lost.
At the end of the year, the faculty of three or four or five got together [with] Dr.
Harrell and met with our class and said, for God's sake fellows and girls, relax.
You all are driving us nuts. You are here every night. You are here every
weekend. We are going crazy. He said, you are going to find that [your] worst
year is over. Just relax. We said, well we did not know. We did not have any
upper-class people to ask at what pace to go or whatever. We laughed about it
a lot and so forth. Then we sort of cooled down and relaxed.
P: Where did you meet? The building was not finished.
B: The [whole] building was not finished. The first floor was finished. The library
was finished. I wished I remembered the name of the librarian. They picked
this young fellow to head up the library.
P: They moved him from the main library down here.
B: Well, he did a wonderful job. He began to amass all of these collections of
P: They had a lot of money and so he travelled around.
B: He traveled and picked up whole collections. You could never do that today.
He and I became friends because I spent a lot of time in the library. You would
study here and study there. You get tired of one place, so [you would] go down
to the library and look up things. He and I became close friends. He actually
got me interested in collecting old books--I will tell you about a little
later--because I saw some of the wonderful things that he was collecting and
they were very, very reasonable--cheap.
P: He had a lot of money to do the collecting.
B: He had a lot of money, and he accumulated a wonderful medical library very
quickly. It was amazing. Dr. Harrell was always amazed that he could do that.
He would say it was mind boggling. So when you came in the back of the
building, which would be the back of the building now, the medical sciences
building, you went up some steps and there was an open hallway. On your right
there was the library, which is now an auditorium, and down the hall was the
dean's office. Down on the first floor further down were the study cubicles and a
student lounge. On the second floor was biochemistry and anatomy, and [the]
third floor was microbiology and physiology. That was it.
P: Where was the hospital?
B: [There was] no hospital in 1956. They had just started constructing the hospital,
Shands. It was in front of it near Archer Road.
P: I guess it did not have a name then?
B: Not then. It was called Medical Teaching Hospital. Dr. Harrell wanted to name
it Medical Teaching Hospital.
P: When you came in, Reitz [J. Wayne Reitz, UF, president, 1955-1967] was
B: [Yes], J. Hillis Miller was president.
P: He died in November of 1953, so he was [there] a couple of months when you
B: He was, I remember he talked to us. I doubt this story has ever been
documented, but he talked to us as medical students and he said, this has been
a dream of mine. It is so wonderful to have you here--we welcome you. The
usual things he said.
P: He dies in November of 1953, and you are a long way away from medical school
B: Maybe it was a student reception. That is what it was. It was a student
reception when I came to school [where] he spoke to just students.
P: That was the way he did that, yes.
B: He had a reception or something that I was at, and he was talking about being
the University president. He said, I have a very big interest in building a medical
school here, and I would like to be the first patient that gets an aortic valve
replacement here. He had rheumatic fever as a child and had severe aortic
insufficiency. In sort of a joking way, [he] said, you know, I have a vested
interest in us getting a medical school here. I want to be the first patient to be
operated on for my aortic valve disease. But he died [before the school
performed the operation]]. I think the first valve was put in several years later.
P: He died in November 1953. Dan McCarty [Dan T. McCarty, governor of Florida,
1953) died in August of that year as governor, and then Charley Johns [Charley
E. Johns, Governor of Florida, 1953-1955] took over as the acting governor
because he was the president of the Senate. Miller died in November and John
Allen [John S. Allen, UF, interim president, 1953-1955], who was the vice
president of the University became acting president.
B: Dr. Miller had only been in the president's mansion on campus probably a year.
P: He came in that year. So the Millers only lived in it about six months. We were
celebrating the centennial of the University in 1953 going back to the East Florida
Seminary in Ocala.
B: Yes, I had forgotten the dates. It was a student reception. Anyway I was there.
P: The point is you met Dr. Miller.
B: I met Dr. Miller and his wife, and I knew his wife when we bought this house,
which he had lived in before moving there. Every time I saw Mrs. Miller we
talked about it. She always loved this house. She would tell us stories of
having people there and the friends they entertained. She was a very gracious
P: Did you know the Tigerts?
B: No. I always wanted to meet them. I know that he was in a retirement place or
in a home somewhere near [Paynes] Prairie [south of Gainesville on Highway
441, towards Ocala]. I always wanted to go over and meet them.
P: They lived right here, right near the duck pond.
B: Yes, but I never met them. I did know the Millers.
P: You never met Mrs. Tigert?
P: She lived a long time afterwards.
B: Never knew them.
P: Sometime you need to listen to the tape we have of Mrs. Tigert because she
talks about this house.
B: Really? I should, I will.
P: Getting back to that first year--all of your classes, all of your activity was in a
building that was under construction?
B: The medical sciences building. I remember one night when we had only been in
operation about a month. We were studying in the cubicles, and we heard
strange noises in the building thumping and bumping. The class got frightened.
We thought, what is going on? We thought there were some thieves stealing
equipment that was to be installed upstairs. This was like 11:00 at night, so we
called the University Police to go down there. They came down. We were
afraid to go upstairs because they might shoot us or something. We thought, we
are going to catch these thieves, so we all went up. They [UPD] said, we will go
first. They went up in the elevator to the third or fourth floor looking around to se
what was going on. Several of us went up there too, and they said, you stay
behind in case there is any problem. So they got up onto the floors and pretty
soon they came back down the hall just laughing. We went down there and
there were people installing stuff because Dr. Harrell had said, we have got to
have this ready a month from now. Work around the clock. I do not care what
you do, just get it in there. They were up there installing stuff at 11:00 p.m. on
Friday night, of all [nights]. There are some wonderful, funny things that
happened and there are two or three of them that ought to be documented. Of
course, in anatomy class all of our cadavers were brand new. Dr. Wilson and
Dr. Genero were doing tremendous amounts of dissection on their own at night
and weekends so we would have the specimens ready. Of course ,we had our
own. We had four to a cadaver, and, of course, a lot of funny things happened
there. We named them all. The most humorous things happened in
biochemistry. The first one was either in biochemistry or physiology, but I am
pretty certain it was biochemistry. We were going to analyze bile fluid [in a lab
called] "What is in Bile Fluid?" The experiment was that we were to sacrifice a
lab rat and take 1 cc. of material in his gall bladder and then do this experiment
with it. This was our first attempts at surgery. We had four to little rat, and you
anesthetized it with ether and opened him up. Always before the lab, you would
have an hour lecture. They were talking about the liver, metabolism and bile.
Then you went into the laboratory and you did these lab experiments with the
animals and analyzed the bile. So we had these ten set-ups there, and of
course we were in a little bit of a race to see who could get the rat anesthetized,
opened up and get the bile out first. The first little group that hollered out said,
Dr. Putnam, come here a minute, I cannot find the rat's gall bladder. They were
looking around for the gall bladder on the liver, and Dr. Putnam went over there
and looked around and poked around a little bit and said, well, that rat must not
have a gall bladder. That is the oddest thing I have ever seen. About that time
somebody says, I cannot find my rat's gall bladder either. Pretty soon all ten
could not find the rat's gall bladder, so they ran down to their office and looked in
the book or called Dr. Wilson and asked, what is going on? These rats do not
have gall bladders. He said, you idiot, rats do not have gall bladders.
P: You were looking for something that is not there.
B: That was the experiment for the day. They were very embarrassed about that.
Another time, we were doing an experiment which you were converting hippuric
acid in the urine into something else.
P: What kind of acid?
B: Hippuric. It was something to do with a substance made in the kidney that is
excreted in the urine. Some people excrete it fast, and some people excrete it
slow. We were to take this [other] substance in capsules [that] was to be
converted to hippuric acid which we would then analyze. The idea was that we
would take the capsules, go to the lecture for an hour and then we would start
collecting specimens every hour. Then in groups we would go analyze the
specimens and see who were the fast and who were the slow excreters. So we
took this stuff and went in for the lecture, and they were telling about how it works
and the metabolism and all this. I was sitting up there in about the middle row,
and I began to feel queazy and then nauseated. We got to looking around at
each other and everybody was turning white and sweating. Finally, after about
fifteen or twenty minutes of the lecture, one fellow on the right side way up at the
top said, I have got to get out of here. He headed down the steps--the lecture
halls had steps that went way up so that you could see right down to the lecture.
They were very slanted. He headed down the steps to get out and got just
about to the doorway and threw up everything right in the hall. That sent
everybody heading for the doors--literally. I mean, it was hilarious. Not
everybody, but I would say about at least ten people headed to the bathroom,
except this one guy did not make it. He was very embarrassed, of course, and
when it was all over he stuck his head back in the door and said, boy, I almost
lost my socks. They [the professors] were very embarrassed again, so they
went back to the office again and excused the class. We went and drank water
and so forth, and we were sick for a while, but then it was all over. It was
nothing serious. They gathered us back and said, we are very, very sorry.
P: What happened?
B: They said, we made a little calculation error. We gave you ten times more of the
stuff then you were supposed to get. We were the first class. We were the
P: Yes, you certainly were.
B: There were just a hundred little things like that happened every day because
these people came from medical schools where they had not dealt with setting
up these courses and classes. All this stuff was new.
P: They were all pioneers.
B: They were all pioneers. As a result, that faculty looked upon us as their
children, literally. They would have us in their homes in the second and third
year. For dinner they would have groups of ten. They came down to the
cubicles. They got to know you, I mean literally very closely, and were very
interested in what you thought about how things were going.
P: And that was a very positive [aspect of your education]?
B: Oh, tremendously positive.
P: Is that lost now?
B: Well, you cannot keep that up. You cannot possibly keep that degree of
enthusiasm up. They knew us all by our first names, they knew our quirks and
personalities; they knew who the top students were and who were the cry babies
P: In a new medical school like that, Mark, where did they get the cadavers?
B: They purchased them from the state or somewhere. I do not exactly know. Dr.
Wilson set all of that up. You can imagine the logistics of setting all of that up.
Getting the school finished, which was Dr. Harrell's job, a job that he worked at
twenty-four hours a day. [He also worked on] getting the equipment installed.
They were literally running a week or two ahead of when they were supposed to
start the course in physiology or start the course in microbiology just to get the
equipment in there. The new department heads were ordering all of this stuff.
You know many of them had never done it before. They were ordering all of this
stuff like mad trying to get it in there and set up the experiments. We had
standard textbooks, but for biochemistry, physiology and micro biology, they ran
the handouts off the night before. Some of it was done an hour before. The
stuff that you were going to be studying was filled with typos, errors and
everything else. As a result, we got to know them very well and all of their
personality quirks, and they got to know us extremely well.
P: So this is the first year, or are you talking about all three years?
B: Well, the first two years. After that, you go into clinical medicine and it was all
new there, too, because the hospital opened in 1958--just in time for us to start
over. As a matter of fact, they did not open in time for us to start our clinical
rotations. Our physical diagnoses were not done in the hospital. We had to go
to the VA hospital in Lake City. They made arrangements for us to go over
there and learn how to do physical exams. We would go over there on a
bus--leave at 1:00 in the afternoon and get home at 8:00 that night. Two
busloads of students [went].
P: Did the medical students have any responsibility or do anything with Alachua
General Hospital, which was the only other hospital in town?
B: No, there was a lot of apprehension [from them]. Dr. Harrell kept saying, this
hospital and medical school are not going to compete with you. Nobody can
come here unless they are referred by you. We will not steal your patients, and
furthermore, we are a tertiary hospital. We are not trying to do primary care
hospital [procedure]. Of course, that concept has totally changed today, but
when it first started out, there were binding agreements made with the medical
school. [They were] verbal agreements. I do not know that anything was in
writing, but through the [Alachua] County Medical Society, the individuals came
and talked and explained what their roles were and that they were a referral
hospital. In fact, it was known as a referral hospital, Shands Referral Hospital.
I do not think it was on official stationary, but that was the word that was out.
You cannot come here without a physician referral. If somebody called and
wanted to come over, they had to go get their referral from their physician. They
could not get into the hospital. So for physical diagnosis, we went over to Lake
City. The physicians that worked over there would help, and they would bring
some also from Shands.
P: What kind of facility did they have over in Lake City?
B: It was just a common, older hospital. The doctors over there were quite nice. I
was quite impressed. One of them I still know. They also had some physicians
who came over from Jacksonville that would help teach physical diagnosis. Dr.
Harrell or somebody knew [them]. A fellow named Max Michael I happen to
remember. Max and I have known [each other] for years. He and I wrote a
couple of history papers together about [finish thought].
P: I know Max.
B: Great man. He taught me physical diagnosis, and he knew a lot of stories.
P: Max is interested in history.
B: Loved history. He and I got along fabulously.
P: Were students in those early years concerned about the surrounding counties?
Did you have any responsibility going out into Dixie County or Lafayette County
P: That is how they sold the location of the university on Gainesville--because of the
need of the sixteen counties, the poor counties, surrounding it.
B: They had not established the clinics that we went out to. That was done a
couple of years after we were there. They were in the process of establishing
P: So part of your education did not include working out there?
B: No, that came a little later in the outlying clinics.
P: Which became a very major activity?
B: Became a major activity, absolutely. We did our physical diagnosis at Lake City
VA Hospital and then the rest of it was done at Shands.
P: Were all of your classes, all of the work that you did as a medical student, down
in the medical area, or did you do any work up on the main campus?
B: No, none on the main campus.
P: One of Dean Harrell's dreams was to integrate the main campus with the medical
school and have students and faculty involved in university-wide activities.
B: Well, I mentioned that Dr. Harrell was a great dreamer, and that was one of his
dreams. He used to talk to us about that in our upper classes. What he
envisioned was students having a standard group of rotations--medicine,
surgery, OB-- that we did, and then [take] electives. He would explain that what
he would like to do is go up on campus and take courses in calculus or take
courses in philosophy or English. Well, a few students did that. A couple in our
class went up and took [electives on the main campus]. Roger Palmer, who was
a very bright, smart classmate of mine, had been doing research before he came
back to medical school and did very well after he graduated. He became chief
of pharmacology down in Miami for a time. Roger went up on campus and took
some courses in chemistry and in physiological chemistry, as I understand. I
think there may have been one or two others in our class. By the time we got to
the third and fourth year, we were so intent and so focused on medical education
and patients that we did not feel we had the time to do that. It always
P: Very much so.
B: Very much so, and the faculty did want to do it. He also thought his faculty
should be general physicians first, and specialists second. When we went on to
the student rotations in physical diagnosis and the clinics, he would make them
be attending in the general clinic. They had to do a rotation, and they detested
it. I remember, for example, the chief of neurosurgery would be in the general
clinic, and he would come in--a great fellow, Lamar Roberts [Henry Lamar
Roberts, UF, professor of neurosurgery, 1958-1974] a wonderful surgeon,
brilliant man, and he would call us by our first names. There would be two of us
assigned to the clinic with him for the afternoon. He would say, Mark, you know
more about this than I do. I do not know anything about general medicine. Tell
me what to write down here on this attending note. Dr. Harrell would insist they
do that, and they hated it. That was another dream that he had, and I think he
was right. I think truthfully they should be physicians first and specialists
P: He told me he called them human beings.
P: Humanists, that is right.
B: He was a strong believer of trying to integrate the University--that was part of his
dream. A lot of the things that he wanted to try just did not work out. When
they started running out of space, the cubicles were the first things to go because
they [the students] are the low people on the totem pole. It was a wonderful
concept, but it would be very hard to have 400 student cubicles.
P: Unless you had a whole building.
B: Unless you had a whole building. Eventually, that became a problem. What I
thought they should have done is increased them to 100, and at some point in
your career--like your first year or your second year--you would have one and not
go overboard with it, but retain it. It was a wonderful concept, and I could tell
you it worked. What he was trying to accomplish was making students work
with their colleagues, study with your colleagues, think like doctors and act like
doctors. [The cubicle] served that role.
P: [What were some of] Dean Harrell's dreams in terms of the growth of the medical
B: There are many that I do not know about, but I knew a lot [of them]. When I was
a resident, as you probably know, I decided that these individuals were getting on
up in years and somebody ought to document more information about the
medical school. I had an interest in history--I was just fascinated by it. I asked
Dr. Harrell, has anybody documented these things about the medical school in its
early years and so forth? He said, no, we have records and memos. I said, but
so many of the decisions that were made were made on an individual verbal
basis on the telephone or talking to somebody. They were not documented in
minutes and memos most of the time. Why certain decisions were made and
[was not documented anywhere]. He said, you are absolutely right. Later on
during my residency, I did attack that problem and went back and did extensive
[research]. Unfortunately, being young and naive, I did not put them on tape. I
just went and talked to them and took down notes. I talked to Provost Poor, who
had retired [and] lived up in Tennessee; Jefferson Hamilton, who had retired and
was here in Gainesville; Dr. Harrell; Dean Smith [Dorothy Mary Smith, UF
College of Nursing dean, 1956-1974] and all the ones that I could get to and talk
to. It is very interesting that it was not too long after that [when] a lot of these
individuals died. Jefferson Hamilton died right after I interviewed him.
P: And Poor.
B: Russell Poor died the next year. I took copious notes, and my goal was to
determine why the medical school was put there, who made the decision, how it
happened and how the hospital was planned. So I was privy to a lot of inside
information. Dr. Harrell, of course, had his favorites in each class, the class
officers, and he would talk to them, not just about the class but about things in
general. He was a dreamer, and he would tell you why he thought the way he did
about things. He was very concerned about the cubicles and what would
happen to them.
P: Fortunately, he said a lot on the tape that he did when he was talking to me [back
B: I am sure he has expressed that. He met a lot of resistance from the faculty
members, he finally got the school built. It was there, and he decided to move
on and start another one all over.
P: At Hershey?
B: At Hershey. He built a wonderful place.
P: Do you stay in touch with Dean Harrell?
B: Yes, he comes down every year in the fall and we meet. As a matter of fact, we
had our thirty-fifth reunion a couple of years ago. Very interesting. About half
[of] the class showed up. Eight of the members of the forty-[member] class are
dead now, which is a large number. Of the ones left, there were about eighteen
to twenty people there. We invited him and also Dr. Jape Taylor [William Jape
Taylor, UF, professor of medicine, 1958-1964, Distiguished Service Professor
1974-1997], who had just retired from cardiology. It was very, very touchy. I
doubt we will all get together again before more are dead. Those two probably
may not be there the next time around. At any rate, we were all very close and it
was all very emotional. We met over here and then had dinner down at
Matheson Historical Center and we all talked.
P: Did anybody tape that?
B: No. I know. It is the same as when we had the President's Dinner here that I
never taped and I have always been sorry.
P: Mark, talk about the program itself, the positives and the negatives of it as you
think back on it now forty years later.
B: Well, our education was the classical medical education, [starting with] two years
of basic sciences. As you go through these things, you are sitting there
wondering, am I going to need this to take care of patients? And the answer is,
most of it, no. The truth is, you do not need all of that intensive biochemistry
and physiology to take care of patients. But, it is something like your college
education. It is not that you use everything that you learn in college, but it gives
you an approach, a mind set of dealing with things--how to deal with things, how
to approach problems and how to solve problems. In medical school, in your
basic sciences, you are given this massive, I mean incredibly massive, amount of
information that you have to take in, digest and spit back out. You probably
forget these complicated formulas, Kreb Cycles and all the complicated stuff like
microbiology and physiology. But an amazing thing happens during that
two-year process, and that is you may totally forget some of the course work, but
you can get it back almost instantly in just a few moments because you
understand the principles. So you go to the book and flip back and it all comes
back to you. It gives you an approach to dealing with things. When you get to
a situation that you have never been in before, you sort of know how to deal with
it because you are using basic fundamentals that have been used before and
taught to you. So the classic education that we had was two years of basic
sciences, a year and a half of clinical rotations, and then a certain number of
electives that you could pick and choose. That got you through your basic
curriculum, and over the years they have changed it to a year of basic sciences,
two years of clinical and a year to research, do things you are interested in and
go back to basic sciences. I understand now that they have gone back to the
basic model. I do not really think it matters whether you go two years basic and
two years clinical; one year basic and two years clinical; one year basic or
whatever. The main thing is not the way it is done. It is what makes you think
like a physician. They did a very good job, a very good job. [There was] lots of
role modeling with your professors--the way they did things and their approaches
to things and so forth.
P: So you are not thinking of any negatives then?
B: Very few negatives. There was only one negative I would say, and I plead this
all through and even to a certain degree today. Some of the professors, in fact, I
would say probably half of the professors, with their relationship with us in
medical school treated us as colleagues early on, and that was what Dr. Harrell
wanted and what he thought was important and liked. Some of the others
treated you like you were low-life students that had to go through the process. It
was a certain amount of brow-beating--not hazing in the sense that they made
you do anything, nothing like that, but it was a psychological thing. You are not
to my level at all and you are a lowly student and a low-life, and you go through
all this, that and the other and you will get your degree, but I am the professor.
There were some like that, and it was unfortunate for them actually, because that
was such a transition period of time. All of a sudden they were our colleagues,
and sometimes we were all of a sudden their bosses. Some of these students
went up the ladder very quickly and were the boss of these people. So there
was that, but there was the kind of activity anytime you have teaching
professors. There are some that treat students as very bright, articulate,
well-meaning, self-motivated colleagues and others that treat them like they are
inferior human beings.
P: During the time that you were there, there was a great expansion of the faculty.
B: Tremendous expansion.
P: Dean Harrell was trying to bring in young people, as he explained it to me.
B: He wanted young [people who were] willing to try new things.
P: That is right. [He wanted people] who were not already proven with great
reputations but on the cutting edge of it so that the advances they would make
would be in Gainesville and the University could take credit for [them].
B: Well, he was absolutely right on that. He was absolutely right, and he did do
that, and he did that with us, the early basic science group.
P: Who were some of the stars that he brought in or the budding stars that he
brought in as faculty?
B: Dr. Wilson was. He was fairly well-known already but he was one. Dr. Putnam
in biochemistry was one.
P: Where did Suter [Emanuel Suter] come from?
B: I think he had been in the U.S., somewhere in the Northeast when he brought
him in here. You are right, he did not want an older individual who had already
proven their worth and were well-recognized to bring their reputation [here].
P: He did not want people who were retiring to come either.
B: No, and he made it very clear that he expected them to try and do innovative
things and see what would happen. He was a strong believer in that.
P: Is this when Ed Woodward [Edward R. Woodward, UF, College of Medicine,
chairman and professor of surgery, 1957-1995] came in?
B: The first two years was the basic science period and the second year we had
pathology, microbiology and neuroanatomy. A fellow named Don Goodman
[Donald Charles Goodman, UF, College of Medicine, associate professor of
anatomy, 1956-1963, professor of anatomy, 1963-1968] [came in]. He was a
very young guy. He was almost our age. He was this unique neuroanatomist
that loved neuroanatomy.
P: Goodman is still living somewhere up in New York.
B: Yes, he is around--great guy. He was the age of many of the students, and he
was so enthusiastic [that] it rubbed off. Neuroanatomy is horrible to study for,
learning all of those tracks and things. In pathology, it was Josh Edwards
[Joshua Leroy Edwards, UF, College of Medicine, professor of pathology,
1955-1967, head of pathology department 1955-1967]. He was a very young
fellow at the time.
P: Prystowsky [Harry Prystowsky, UF, College of Medicine, professor and chairman
of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, 1958-1973].
B: Harry Prystowsky.
P: He was a young man.
B: He came along in the clinical years. During the clinical years, the first person he
hired, his right hand person, Sam Martin [Samuel Martin, UF, College of
Medicine, professor of medicine, 1956-1969]. Sam Martin was another
dreamer. He was a young person out of Duke, and he had a lot of dreams.
The students did not always take well to Sam because he was dogmatic. He
learned about these fourteen students that had been selected not on the usual
things and spoke about it a couple of times to our class.
P: Was that repeated or was that only a first year experiment?
B: That was the first year, I think.
P: He did not do it anymore?
P: On the other hand, those people performed just as well.
B: They did well, but by the next year he had faculty and staff there to help him with
the selection. He was off building the hospital then, so he was just too busy to
fool with it. But Dr. Martin, whom I always thought was very bright, very
articulate, very impressive, very smart and a great clinical diagnostician, brought
a lot of good people into medicine that he knew. He was a young shining star,
but he spoke to our class one time and basically said [something] to the effect of,
I know who you are that got in here under the wire and would not make it to most
medical schools, and I have my eye on you. That did not sit well with our class.
We had an award called the Caudus Equinus Award, the "Horse's Tail" Award.
He got that award a couple of times because of that. I do not know if they still
give a Caudus Equinus award now or not. I know they have best teacher, or
outstanding teacher [award].
P: We will ask Ruth Martin [Ruth Martin, wife of Dr. Samuel Martin; doctor of internal
medicine, Alachua General Hospital].
B: Yes, she would know. When we started getting ready to enter the clinical years,
which would be 1958, they were accumulating faculty. It started with Sam
Martin, who came in 1957 to start getting this going. He and Dr. Harrell
together, as far as I am aware, helped hand-pick the other faculty members in
surgery, psychiatry and [the rest].
P: [Did] Harrell pick the original faculty himself without consultation?
B: Pretty much. By that time he had Sam to help him, and they met and talked a
lot. [They] were pretty close. Dr. Harrell was also a great clinician. He loved
to come over and [follow] rounds on the wards and teach physical diagnosis. He
taught physical diagnosis just like he dreamed about his buildings and so
forth--he had a reason for doing everything. He would show you how to check
the reflexes in the heel, for example. He said, now you have to do it just this
way to do it right. This is the only way to do it. If you do it this way it will be
very helpful to you; if you do it any other way, it will not work. That kind of thing.
P: You say the clinician period brought new faculty.
B: A lot of new faculty. Dr. Woodward came then. Smiley Hill [Hugh Meighan, UF,
associate dean of student and alumni affairs, 1965-present, professor of
obstetrics and gynecology, 1959-1966] came a little later. Harry Prystowsky
came then. Peter Regan [Peter F. Regan, UF, professor and head of psychiatry
department, 1958-1961] came then.
P: Is he still around?
B: I do not know what happened to him. He was interesting. We were a little bit
fearful of psychiatrists. He used to have rounds with the students in groups of
four, five or six for an hour a week. When we went into clinical medicine, he was
spending several hours every week to get through our class. We did not know it
at the time, but basically he was giving us psychotherapy, group therapy. They
were very interesting sessions, and he would talk about patients and [everything
else]. He had a lot of opinions about patient care and medicine.
P: Was the College of Nursing already open?
B: It was starting up. I remember Dorothy Smith extremely well. The reason I
remember [her] is that she came onto the wards. She loved clinical nursing.
Until the day she left, she was always saying, my place is here on the wards.
She loved to talk to the medical students. She and I became very close friends,
very good friends, because she would say, you are the doctor and I am a
nurse--you have a role and I have a role. I do not want to ever catch you
medical students talking down to my nurses. They are colleagues, they are not
your underlings. They could help you out if you treat them right [and] like
colleagues. You do not treat them like slaves or workers or tell them, do this
and do that. She emphasized that very much to the medical students. Most
students did not pay much attention to it, unfortunately, but many of us did. It
certainly impressed me.
P: Did you have any females on the faculty in those early years?
B: We had a lady who taught, but I cannot remember her name. She taught in the
anatomy department, but she taught normal microanatomy using slides and so
forth--the anatomy of the heart and the anatomy of the kidney. She was a dear,
sweet lady--nicest, most benign lady in the world. She would have these
standard lectures showing her slides and explaining everything. At the end, you
would go and look at them and take a self-test and so on. She was the only lady
on the faculty in the basic sciences that I can recall. Later there were others.
P: But there were female students in the first class, correct?
B: There were three female students in the first class.
P: Were females always represented during the four years you were in medical
B: There were more females selected each year there after, I understand, but I do
not know the count. Those three went all the way through.
P: But there were always women in your class?
B: Yes. When we went over in 1958 from the basic sciences to the hospital and
[we] were finishing up, I had never thought much about integration and
P: I was going to ask you about that next.
B: I came from Crestview, Florida, and we were segregated. You did not think
anything about it. The lady who helped raise me, a lady named Violet, was a
maid while my mother taught and my dad worked. She was like a second
mother to me. She had the authority to whip me if I needed to be whipped.
Mother would never say, do not touch my child. If I needed to be whipped, when
[my mother] got home, she would whip me too--not bad, [but] she would swat me
once or something if I was naughty. Violet was very dear and [close] to me, but
Violet was Violet. She lived in the quarters, and I really never thought much
about [it], until one day in high school. In my senior year, I was playing
basketball--we did not have a gymnasium, but we had an outside court with an
asphalt court. Some of us were out there playing--of course, the schools were
segregated--and some black boys on bicycles, about four or five of them, came
by and they were watching us play. There were five or six of us, and we did not
know them from anything. They were watching. We said, you all want to play a
game? They said, sure. Of course, they were good then. So we were playing,
and we divided them up equally, so [there were] black boys and white boys on
both teams. We were out there playing and having a great time, and we got to
know these kids. After about an hour of this, some business man stopped on
the car and tooted his horn when he saw us. Mark, he said, get those niggers
off that court! Niggers do not go on this school yard--this is a segregated
school. I said, what are you talking about? We are playing basketball here, we
are not in school--you can go to hell. We were very, very upset. That was our
first taste of what it was all about. I never thought anything much about it,
because in school down here there were virtually no black students in 1953.
P: There were none. It was not virtually; there were no black students here.
B: It was nothing you ever considered. In one of our courses in medical school,
human medicine or something--we had a little short course in human
medicine--[the professor] was talking about segregation. They asked us to
debate segregation. One of my colleagues in medical school, Bud Prior, was
from Indiana or somewhere originally. Bud had been orphaned and he and his
brother ran away from an orphanage. They walked to Florida when he was
twelve and his brother was eight. He survived, became a lineman working for
the Florida Power Corporation, went back and took college courses and got a
degree. Then he went back and took some more courses and was one of those
fourteen that got into medical school. [He was a] tremendously motivated fellow,
strictly brought up by his own boot straps. He was avidly against [segregation].
I was going to take the position that segregation [was] justified--this was not a big
class thing, this was just a little group interchange thing. He was amazing, and I
just had not even thought about all the things he said about how unfair it is.
Anyway, in 1958, when we went over to the wards, not only were the wards
segregated, the bathrooms had black and white [signs]. Did you know that? In
the J. Hillis Miller Health Center, [even the bathrooms were segregated]. The
water fountains were black and white. We, as a class, went to the dean and
said, we violently oppose this. They took them down. Now, it may not have
been a result of our class, but I think it was one factor. I think they were thinking
about it [before].
P: There were no black students yet when you were in medical school.
B: No, none.
P: When you left here, there were no black students.
B: That is right.
P: The first black student was a woman, and I think she came in 1959, which would
have been your last year. She would have come as a first-year medical student,
so your paths would not have crossed.
B: No, they did not. I knew of her, but [our paths] did not cross. That was 1958.
P: We had the first black student in law school that came in 1958 as a result of court
B: I dearly regret I did not take a picture of those bathrooms and water fountains
and saved those signs. That would have been a wonderful piece of history to
P: They began coming down gradually all over the campus then. It was not just the
medical school, but all over the campus. They did not have black and white
bathrooms on the campus because there were no black teachers or black
B: There was no need to have them.
P: There was no need. It was only when you had a hospital that you had black and
white bathrooms. That was the first instance and the last instance on the
B: Well, they were taken down there fairly promptly, and we were very proud of that.
P: Who were you talking with then? Were you talking with Harrell?
B: George Harrell. He probably does not even remember this. I have never
mentioned it since. I just thought about it. The administrator was a little short,
fiery Napoleon guy. He was really pretty good. He was always getting into it
with the medical students because we kept wearing the scrub uniforms home,
which was absolute taboo then. Now everybody does it. Every medical student
had to have this little metal device that [was] used as a clamp. We used them
when we drew blood. We were called the "scut team," which meant we got to go
draw blood on the patients every morning as students, to learn how to draw
blood. Really, we drew all the lab work that went to the lab to be done so the
other doctors did not have to do it--we were the low man on the pole. So
everybody had these clamps, these scissor clamps that you could clamp down
on things [with], and they came from the hospital. I guess we took them home
like pencils and left them. You do not happen to recall the name of the first
administrator of the hospital do you? Jordan, Russ Jordan [Lenuel Russell
Jordan, UF, College of Business Administration, director of University Hospital
and Clinics; associate professor of management, 1959-1966].
P: No, Russ was the second. Wood [Joseph Wood, UF, director of hospital and
clinics, J. Hillis Miller Health Center, 1954-1959] was the first.
B: Wood we did not much know. Jordan came along, and he put out an edict one
time that said, we are losing massive numbers of scrub suits and clamps. This
is very costly, we think it is mostly the medical students--which was true--and we
were very offended.
P: He was calling your hand?
B: It said, please bring them from home. What would happen is they would be in
your pocket and they would fall on the table, and the next day you got it. So we
said, okay, we will bring the dog-gone things back. We got a big box, and it was
a whole box load of them and went and left it down in his [office] early one
morning before he got there. We did not give it to him personally.
P: I think Russ Jordan is still living.
B: He might be.
P: In Anniston, Alabama.
B: He was not a bad fellow, but he got into it with the students.
P: Although, I think he has Alzheimers now somebody told me.
B: Well he was a little fire-brand. He got into it with some of the faculty.
P: I know.
B: Can you imagine him and Ed Woodward [together]?
P: Now you are bringing in faculty from all over the country, not just from the South
anymore. They must have brought a lot of new ideas and new ways of doing
things into the medical school.
B: Absolutely, and they were very much encouraged to do that.
P: How much of an emphasis were you beginning to feel about doing research as a
B: Well, it was very strongly emphasized. They wanted you to do research during
your fourth year. Dr. Harrell [wanted that] very much. In whatever
[field]--human things, biochemistry, whatever, but there was a big emphasis.
P: And the faculty encouraged that?
B: The faculty very much encouraged that, and some of the students did it.
P: Did you?
B: I did not at that time. I did not in medical school. I did go back later, which we
will get to.
P: I noticed it in your publications, but I was asking because I do not see any dated
for the 1950s. I see 1962.
B: No. When we were in our senior year, we had to do a research project. That is
how much it was emphasized.
P: With a faculty member?
B: [Yes], with a faculty member. Bud Prior, the man I mentioned as a medical
student, and I signed up to do an experiment with animals--rats--with an extreme
potassium-depleted diet under the tutelage of Dr. Maren [Thomas H. Maren,
professor and chairman of the Univeristy of Florida department of pharmacology
and therapeutics, 1955-present; graduate research professor of Pharmacology
and therapeutics 1979-present]. It was a disaster because we could never
manufacture an extremely low-potassium diet. We never got the diet low
enough to do what he wanted us to do. He thought it was our problem and that
we ought to be able to figure out how to do that. We went to everybody,
including dieticians on the campus. We would make up these foods, and they
would be analyzed and still had too much potassium. So our experiment failed.
P: When did you begin to make up your mind [as to] what your specialty was going
B: It was just like my making up my mind about going to medical school--it was very
late. When I finished medical school, although I had rotated through all the
things and decided I either wanted to go into internal medicine through the
influence of Jape Taylor or OB/GYN though the influence of Harry Prystowsky, [I
still was unsure].
P: You went with Harry to begin with.
B: I went with Harry for a year because he said, look, you go off, take a rotation in
internal medicine for a year, come back, and we will teach you OB/GYN, groom
you for faculty and send you off, [to] get your Ph. D. in whatever you want to get
it in related to OB/GYN research, and I will build you into a faculty member in
P: Now, are you making these decisions in your senior year?
B: Yes. So I signed up.
P: That is what you liked.
B: I signed up with Harry Prystowsky in OB/GYN not because I really liked that. I
mean, I liked delivering babies and liked ladies when they were pregnant and
talking to them and helping them through, but it was mainly because of him
(Prystowsky). I was thinking about an academic career at that time-- very much
so. So, I graduated and went to Chapel Hill in North Carolina and did a straight
medical internship. That was in a way unfortunate for OB/GYN because I really
loved internal medicine--I mean this is my thing, and yet I had committed to come
back as a resident in OB/GYN when I got through with that year. The faculty
there at Chapel Hill called me in at the end and said, you should not go back to
OB/GYN. You are an internist personality-- that is the bomber pilot personality
that ponders things and so forth. Thinkers, they say. You are not a jet
pilot-surgeon type, and you are not going to be happy in that. We think you
should stay here in medicine.
P: But you and Harry got along beautifully did you not?
B: Oh, I loved the man.
P: He still thinks you are the smartest student he ever had.
B: I am dying to see him again. I have not seen him in years. We were very, very
close. I loved him dearly. I think of him with great affection. He was the type
of fellow that made you a total colleague from day one. There is a very famous,
interesting story of our class. Our class felt he was great because he was a
great showman. I have to tell these stories about Harry because he probably
does not remember. The first one was when he got our class together, and we
were the first class in OB/GYN. You know, he had this thick Charleston accent
which he emphasized to the hilt and which he loved. He loved it. He called us
in--we went through ten students at a time--and said, gentlemen, I want to tell
you that nobody in my class flunks OB/GYN--nobody. We all think, great. He
says, now I want you to work hard; I want you to deliver some babies; I am going
to come over there and watch you deliver babies. He says, but you know why
nobody is going to flunk OB/GYN in this class? No, sir. I like to keep the crap
flowing--except he did not say crap, he used the sh- word. I like to keep the
crap flowing. I do not want any losers in my group staying here that would flunk
OB/GYN. Now, get out of here. That was the way [he was], and he was just
always a great showman. He had these wonderful stories about him. One of
them [was] when I was on that rotation [and] when he called everybody together.
The chief resident was a [man] named Ed Cathcart [Edward Reaver Cathcart,
UF, assistant resident in obstetrics and gynecology, 1960-1965]. He went into
practice. I do not know what has happened to him. Anyway, he said, Edward,
get everybody together--we have to have a meeting here. So we [went] over
and met in his office, and he pontificates and mostly put on a great show that
was totally hilarious. The guy should have been a movie actor. He [had] me in
total stitches. Every month, [we] had a meeting where he [went] over the whole
list of everybody who [had] delivered babies. How many was this? How many
was that? How many breech deliveries? Feet-first? How many twins and all
of that? He said gentlemen, we have a problem in OB/GYN here. What is that,
Dr. Prystowsky, Cathcart said? We are having too many breech deliveries on
this floor not being recognized. A breech delivery is a different delivery,
delivering butt-first, and it can get to be very complicated. They usually called in
their faculty members [to help them deliver]. The reason he knew that was
happening is they were not calling him until the last minute. He said, you guys
are waiting too long to call the staff in on these. That is how I know. He said,
gentlemen, we are going to have a drill. Stand up. So, we all stood up. He
said, put your right hand on your head. Feel it? Yes, sir. Put your left hand on
your fanny. Do you feel it? He said, now gentlemen, can you not tell the
difference? Now, I want you to practice that, because I do not want anymore of
these unannounced breech deliveries. Take them away Mr. Cathcart. This was
the kind of stuff he did on a great regular basis.
There was anther story that was great. They were having problems in the
OR with infections, so they hired this army nurse named Nancy McWillie [Nancy
A. McWillie, UF, research assistant in surgery, 1960-1966], an old sergeant army
nurse, to run the surgical suite. She was going to get this thing with infections
straightened out. So she came in there, and basically what she was doing was
watching the people scrub and so forth. She did not do it with the doctors very
much, but she would time the students and the house staff. You are supposed
to scrub your hands for three minutes, and you are supposed to rinse it off for
thirty seconds. You are supposed to go in with your hands up and not touch
P: I have seen that in the movies.
B: [You are supposed to] put these gowns and gloves on very carefully, and she
would watch everybody. There was a window there, and if they scrubbed two
minutes and forty seconds, and they came in there, she would say, go back in
there and re-scrub--you cannot come in my OR. Of course, the house staff
detested her very quickly, but she was right. Well, we complained to Professor
Prystowsky and told him, she was driving us nuts. We cannot do our surgery,
and blah, blah, blah. He said, well, Cathcart, let me do a hysterectomy next
week when you have one scheduled. Let me come over and assist you, and I
will be the chief surgeon, and we will fix this Ms. McWillie. We thought, boy, he
is going to rip her a new one. This was going to be great. We could not
anticipate what in the world he was going to do. We got in there, and he
scrubbed about five minutes. I mean, he was just out there singing and
scrubbing and scrubbing. He did everything and came in and said, and your
name ma'am? She said, I am Mrs. McWillie. He said, I am Dr. Prystowsky, I
am so delighted to meet you. We really need your help here in this OR. We
have had some real problems. He just complimented her the whole time. This
went on, and the surgery was going along with no problem and everything, and
we thought, when is he going to get on this lady's case? We were waiting. He
did not say a word. Everything was great, and it was wonderful. Things were
going along, and pretty soon it was getting close [to being done]. I mean, what
was he going to do? Was he going to let us down? I was sort of watching, and
there were others around, when his scrub pants started to slip down. He was
wiggling a little bit, and suddenly his scrub pants came down to his ankles. He
had on shorts underneath, but he said gheez, gentlemen, I have a problem here.
My scrub pants have come loose. He said, Ms. McWillie, would you come
around here and help me with my scrub pants please? So, she goes around
there and pulls up his scrub pants and has to tie them around in front. He starts
going, oh, oh, oh. Of course, she was terribly embarrassed, and when he gets
through he got, oh, that is too tight, you are choking me to death. You are going
to have to re-tie it. He makes her re-tie the thing, and so forth. That was it.
That was his getting back. Later, she turned out to be actually very good. She
is actually here now and a patient of mine, and we are very close friends. We
have laughed about that. She says, now I was not that mean. I said, oh, you
were mean. She does not remember.
P: Mark, talk about the early patients. They came from where?
B: They came from all over, but most of them were from in town.
P: All over where?
B: All over Northern Florida--Tampa or wherever.
P: Were you admitting people from out-of-state, for example, South Georgia?
B: Yes, they were all distant. Some of these patients came because of the faculty
[that] were here. They knew who they were.
P: All of these are referrals once again?
B: All of these were physician referrals. There were people in Tampa, Jacksonville
and Ocala that had been on faculties of medical schools that, for whatever
reason, had left and gone into private practice. They were delighted to have a
tertiary hospital closer by to refer [patients] to.
P: In those years, you only took people with serious illnesses?
B: Well, there was an emergency room, and you got some people with routine
illnesses like heart attacks.
P: But not very many?
B: Most of them had pretty serious illnesses.
P: I mean, if you are getting somebody from Tampa referred?
B: They were usually quite ill. The pediatric unit that is headed up by Dick Smith
[Richard T. Smith, UF, professor emeritus of Pathology and Pediatrics; professor
and chairman of pediatrics, 1958-1967; professor of pathology, and immunology,
1967-present] was the first major tertiary pediatric unit in Florida, as far as I am
aware. Maybe Miami [had one], but [we were the first] at least in Northern
Florida, for sure.
P: When you say "tertiary," what do you mean? What is the layman [meaning]?
B: To the layman it is a patient with a pretty advanced serious illness, not just
simple primary care, and not a simple gall bladder [problem]. [They would have]
some complication from a gall bladder surgery or something like that. So they
[would] have a lot of complicated illnesses, and they came from all over. The
patients were very, very appreciative.
P: Black and white?
B: Yes. There were a significant number of blacks. Now, bear in mind also that
they had sort of an agreement that [they had to take] charity patients in Alachua.
That was another way they placated a lot of the physicians in Alachua General.
P: You take the poor people.
B: We would take a lot of them off their hands so they did not get totally hurt with it.
P: The people who could not pay came to Shands.
B: Absolutely. In those days, there was never an even inkling of rejecting
somebody on a financial basis.
P: When you walked through the halls in those early years-- 1959, 1960, 1961,
1962--there always seemed to be large crowds of people in the halls--poorly
dressed, black and white.
B: That was absolutely true, because when they came up from Tampa or wherever,
they came with their families, and they literally camped out in the hallways.
P: There was no place for them to stay.
B: Not a lot of places for them to stay.
P: I mean, no McDonald's Houses or anything like that.
B: No, nothing like that.
P: They could not afford to stay in the motels, and there were not many motels
B: Some of them slept in their trucks or slept in the hallways. That is the truth.
P: Or in the rooms.
B: Or whatever.
P: Was that a problem for the hospital, as you remember it, in your last year? [Did
they want] to try to do something about the families?
B: Well, there was talk about dealing with the families, and the concept of social
workers and helping poor people.
P: But as a student, that was not impressed on you necessarily?
P: Were you encouraged by Harrell and others in these years that you were in
medical school [to conduct proper] bedside manner?
B: Well, Dr. Harrell taught us bedside manner. Others did it by you emulating
P: But you saw what you wanted to see and did what you wanted to do.
B: Absolutely. But, there was discussion. Pete Regan, the psychiatry professor,
discussed introducing yourself to patients. The truth was, though, that as a
medical student, most of the time the patients loved you more than anything
because you spent so much time with them.
P: And they were so sick?
B: They were sick, they very much appreciated it and they realized that you cared
deeply what happened. They felt this intently. That is the tremendous
advantage that a medical student has--they bond very quickly to patients with
tremendous compassion and it shows. It is there. Unfortunately, after many
years of residency and so forth, we tend to get hardened and it is hard to have
that enthusiasm and natural [concern].
P: Did Shands have the equipment you needed and the facilities that you needed to
treat serious patients?
B: Absolutely. They had everything, including open-heart surgery and everything
else. Dr. Myron Wheat and Tom Bartley were two young hot-shot surgeons.
P: They were doing open-heart surgery.
B: They were doing it very early in 1958. Pacemakers and open-heart surgery
came into use then.
P: What were the specialties, or was this a general hospital that took care of
B: Everything. They had pediatrics, psychiatry and they had surgery.
P: The eighth floor was psychiatry was it not?
B: The eighth floor was psychology. Sixth was surgery and five was medicine, four
P: So it was not that Shands specialized in cancer or open-heart or anything?
B: No, it was a general specialty hospital for everything. Medicine was big, and
they had an active faculty. Of course, within medicine you have pulmonary
medicine, cardiology and neurology. Richard Smith--I do not know if you have
talked to him, but I suspect you have--was a great neurologist and a wonderful
teacher. I remember him very affectionately. He and Lamar Roberts, who was
the neurosurgery professor, would have rounds. They were a great team.
They were great teachers. They used demonstrations of neurological things.
They were very fond of each other. They were friends, close friends, and they
would tease each other in a funny, nice way. They also treated us [very well
and were very accommodating When you came in on their service, they said,
Dr. Barrow, welcome, how can we help you? They bent over backwards to
P: Mark, who paid for your medical school education?
B: My mother basically.
P: And your father?
B: Yes, but mother managed all the money in the family.
P: So you did not work? There were no student loans involved with you?
B: Not in medical school.
P: You got a check from home?
B: I got a check from home. It did not take much. It was very cheap.
P: But on the other hand, you had to pay rent and you had to buy food.
B: [I had to] buy food and pay rent, but it was not very expensive. I forget what my
medical school total cost was. I told it one time, but [it was] nothing like my
college cost--it was much more than that, but it still was not onerous. I think I
got a check for $250 a month.
P: Where did you live?
B: Well, initially I lived the first year in the Grove Hall temporary building, which is
not too far from the medical school, near where the architecture building is now.
P: I had an office there, so I know where it is.
B: It is not there still I assume?
P: The architecture building is on that side now.
B: Exactly. The next year I lived in this house with these other people.
P: The eight others. They gave you a ninth bed.
B: They gave me a place to sleep, and then the next year, a group of us--five
students--rented a house on Biven's Arm. [We] rented the place and lived there.
P: Sounds to me like by that time you had a car.
B: I had a car by that time--an old red Ford. [It] cost $1,500 new. It was a great
P: That was kind of expensive in those years.
B: I borrowed the money to buy the car. My mother basically acted as the bank for
my medical school, so when I graduated I only owed her. We kept up with it,
and I paid her back, every cent of that [money was paid] back. Plus, after that, I
P: Oh, I did not know that children paid their parents back. I am going out to
Pensacola next weekend, and I think I will talk to my Mark.
B: You should talk to your Mark about that, but that is the thing to do now. In her
later years after she retired, I paid her the loan for medical school and then paid
her $100 a month, which was her "mad money." She could do whatever [whe
wanted with it]. She bought dresses and antiques and a lot of things for the kids
and family, but that was her play money. We did that until the day she died. At
any rate, I did borrow money in residency from banks, but not anything like they
do now. By the time I finished residency, I owed $29,000 to the banks.
P: So you finished your four years in 1960?
P: That was the first graduating class.
B: I graduated June 6, 1960.
P: Where were the services held?
B: They were held in the gymnasium, and I remember it vividly because my parents
and my wife [were there]. I had married the last year of medical school.
B: Yes, [we] married in 1959. I met my wife through one of my roommates in this
house that we had on Biven's Arm, which we called "Stud Stables." It was not
really Stud Stables--we were too busy. We did not date a lot, but we did date
some, and we were looking around. I dated a few girls on campus, and I had a
girl back home. We were in process of breaking-up because she did not come
to college, and there was just too big of a gap between our education levels.
During the third year, my roommate's girlfriend needed a ride to Jacksonville, and
I had the red Ford. So the deal was she was going to get me a blind date with
her roommate, and I would take her to Jacksonville to go home to New York for
Christmas. My blind date was this lady named Mary Besalski. She was a
Tri-delt [Delta Delta Delta Sorority] [from Orlando] who lived in the dormitory.
P: What was her full name?
B: Mary Lynn Besalski. You have [interviewed her] about preservation.
P: Yes, but not about you.
B: We met on this blind date and she was the most gorgeous, beautiful thing I had
ever seen. She was wonderful. We went to Jacksonville to catch the plane to
New York and had time, so we went to a movie and saw Old Yeller. We still see
Old Yeller every now and then. We cried in it--you know it is very sad. We
started dating off and on. She had another boyfriend part-time, and I had the
P: Now we are talking about 1958?
B: 1958 and 1959. During the summer between my second and third year, a friend
of mine and I went to Europe. We got out of school, caught a freighter boat to
Europe and traveled. We rented a Citroen 2V in Paris. We both borrowed
$500 for this trip, and we had gotten a book called Frommer's Europe On Five
Dollars A Day. That same book now is $50 a day. It said you could make it.
This guy, Frommer, after the war was a service man, who traveled all over and
found all of these great places to stay cheap. So we took him at his word, and
we borrowed $5 a day plus our expenses to get over there and back, [plus] the
rental car was like $100 for sixty days. [We] went over there and traveled all
over Europe. During that time, Mary and I corresponded. Every time I came to
a major city, there was a long letter waiting at the American Express. We had a
romance from afar. During my third year, she graduated and was teaching in
Orlando. She would come up on weekends, and I would go down there, and we
P: You married her in Orlando?
B: We married first with the Lutheran Church there in Orlando. Her father was the
P: What is Mary's birth date?
B: She was born in September 30, 1936.
P: September 30, 1936? So she is one year younger than you?
B: One year younger.
P: She was born in Orlando?
B: No, her father was a Lutheran minister and they moved all over. She was born
in Jackson, Mississippi, and then went to Tuskaloosa for years where he
preached and taught history. [Then they moved to] Orlando for many years, and
that is where she was raised.
P: She happened to come to the University of Florida because she was living in
B: Her friends came. Her parents really did not have the money to send her to
school and really wanted her to go to work because there was no money, but she
went to Florida State [University] for a year and then transferred here because it
was closer. [She] basically worked her way through school.
P: She worked on campus?
B: Yes, she was a sandwich maker at the cafeteria--the one in the center of
P: When did she graduate?
B: She graduated in 1958.
P: And you were married when?
P: What is the date?
B: Well, I always forget it. It was June 28, 1959.
P: That will get you out of a lot of trouble.
B: It is not so bad because we both forget that anniversary date for some reason.
We usually catch it about the 30th. The kids remind us.
P: As long as we are talking about personal [subjects] now, let us get the children.
What I would like you to do is to name each child and give me the birth date of
each child. Also, tell me where [each] child is now.
B: We were married June of 1959, and Mary became pregnant fairly soon. For
several months, I was a student rotating on OB/GYN.
P: By the way, did you have money enough to go on a honeymoon?
B: Yes, we went down to Fort Lauderdale. It was her money. She was a
teacher--it was her money. She had graduated and had gone back to Orlando
and was teaching. So we had money for the honeymoon. Our first child was
born on June 6, 1960, and that is Mark Jr.
P: Give me his full name now.
B: Mark Velpeau Barrow Jr. We named him after me. He was born on the day I
graduated. The reason I remember graduation so well is [because] Mary was in
labor, and I had to leave. My parents and her parents had come down for my
graduation, and we were all in this little tiny apartment sleeping there on the floor
on mattresses. Mary woke up at 2:30 [a.m.] and said, I am having pains every
five minutes. She said I said--I do not remember [saying] it--here is my watch,
wake me back up when they are every two minutes apart.
P: The experienced doctor.
B: Yes, that is what we did in OB/GYN to the nurses--call me when they get two
minutes apart and I will come over. We would sleep in the lounge. At any rate,
she said, what are you talking about? Everybody woke up, and she was in labor
and I had to leave to graduate.
P: You took her to Alachua [General Hospital]?
B: No, to Shands. She delivered at Shands. Smiley Hill delivered all of our babies
except the one when we were living in Washington. Smiley came over.
P: In the middle of the night?
B: Yes. She did not deliver until about 12:00 p.m. the next day, but graduation was
at 10:00 a.m. in the gym. I do not remember the name of the speaker, but he
was from the Department of Health Education and Welfare. He talked about
health. When he got to this point, he says, and right this minute there will be so
many thousand babies being born in this world. Our class cheered and looked
at me. He looked down there like, what are these insane people cheering for? It
was an inside joke, but we laughed about it. The class laughed about it real big
afterwards, and then I rushed back over as soon as I got my diploma. I ran
down the stage and ran out and went back over. She had the baby about an
P: Oh, so you got there before [she had Mark, Jr.]?.
B: Yes, about thirty minutes before. So Mark Jr. was our first, and Mark Jr. was
always a little professor-type even as a baby. He sat around and looked and
studied things most of the time. We thought we must have been ideal parents
because he was just so easy-going and placid--never had colic and so forth. He
now teaches history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute or Virginia Tech in
P: See, he is a very good person.
B: Yes, and he teaches history of science and technology.
P: And he took a Ph.D. where?
B: At Harvard. He has been teaching at Virginia Tech now about four years, and
he has written his book on the history of ornithology which is coming out this year
from Princeton Press.
P: Is he married?
B: He is married, and they have four children. Our second child was born August
16, 1961, and that is William Richmond. [The name] William [is] after my brother
and [the name] Richmond [is] after my great-grandfather, Richmond. He was a
wiggle worm. He wiggled coming out, and he wiggled ever since. Since he
was a little boy, he was interested in mechanical things. When he got tall
enough to reach the light switches, he must have turned on the light switches a
million times in our house. We had to take up everything that was in reach
because he would pick it up and explore it and break it. Mark never touched
anything, and it was a real enlightenment. We have photographs and movies
documenting them eating and taking baths. It is very interesting to watch them
when they were tiny babies. He has become a great musician. He is a piano
player in Manhattan. A starving artist.
P: Is he married?
B: No, he has commitment phobia. Kids these days. Only one of the other kids is
married. But all the others have what we call commitment phobia. It means
they get into a relationship and they get nervous.
P: And they back out.
B: They back out.
P: He is a jazz or concert pianist?
B: He is a jazz piano player.
P: In New York City?
B: He works in Manhattan at the clubs there and so forth.
P: Wherever he can get.
B: Wherever he can get a job, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs. He knows all the great Bar
Mitzvah songs. He plays them sometimes. We have Bar Mitzvah night here
when he comes home, and he goes through his Bar Mitzvah routine.
P: Is he a good pianist?
B: Well, we think he is superb, but he has not been discovered yet.
P: Where did he get his training?
B: He started taking here from a Mrs. Maskin, and she was a classical [pianist].
P: She is my around-the-corner neighbor, Bernice.
B: Right, Bernice. Great lady. She very much encouraged him. She said, you
have the touch, you should go far. Now whether you should play classical or
jazz, she said, you can do whatever you like the best. He liked jazz. The
classical training is much more rigorous, of course. At any rate, he went Florida
State and majored in music, and then went to Manhattan School of Music in New
York and just stayed up there. He is writing and directing some small things. It
is a grueling life, that life. You are up late at night and you get late home and
you have to have a car in New York City, which is hard, to go to your gigs. You
have to haul the equipment around.
P: And expensive.
B: The keyboard is very expensive, but he likes it. He probably will not stay there
forever. Probably go out and teach somewhere in a junior college or university.
Our third child was born February 5, 1964, John Robert Barrow. John from--I
am not sure, I think we just picked John. Robert was from Mary's brother,
Robert Besalski. John just graduated here in architecture and building
construction, and he is here in town working with an architect getting ready to
take his AIA examinations.
P: Who is he working with?
B: Jay Reeves--a very renowned preservationist and [the] only true preservation
architect in town. I hope John leans in that direction.
P: John is not married?
B: Yes, he is. He is recently married. He married two years ago, one of his high
school chums that he met at the ten year reunion named Carrie Dowd. They
married, but they do not have any children yet. They have been married two
years. They just bought a little house right near here, only a couple of blocks
away. They live in the area. The fourth child is Mary Angela. Angie was
named after [my wife] Mary, and Angela after a friend of ours in Fort Walton
Beach. She was born April 20, 1966, and she went to Florida State and then
came here and worked. [Then she] went to New York City because Will was up
there, and got a job working in a record company there. [She] worked for four
years and then decided she wanted to come back. So, she got her master's, an
MBA in business, and then worked as the Acting Director For Admissions for the
MBA school for a year.
B: Here. She worked as a graduate student there doing part-time work, and they
liked her and put her in position. Actually, they wanted her to be the Admissions
Director, but she wanted to live in Jacksonville and get out of Gainesville. There
are more eligible bachelors over there, so she lives over there with her sister.
The fifth child, was Amy Elise. Amy Elise was made up by just going through a
book. By then we were running out of family names. She was born January
21, 1968, and she graduated from Florida State and came here and just
graduated as a P.A., physician assistant, last year. She and Angela live
together near Jacksonville in Neptune Beach. She works for a doctor there in
Jacksonville whose practice is similar to mine. They both wanted to live in
P: So all of your children are grown?
B: They are all grown.
P: Honestly employed?
B: Finally. They all came back after a few years and completed more education.
P: Several of them are University of Florida graduates.
B: Yes, every one except Will. John went here. Well, he went to Florida State for
a year or two and then came back here in architecture.
P: Tell me again how many grandchildren you have.
B: Four. Only by Mark Jr. Their names are Mark Richmond, after his daddy.
Alex is named after Mark's wife's family. Mark married Marsha Houchens, and
there is an Alex in that family. Hannah Hughes is named after a friend of theirs.
Then the latest one is Elizabeth, who we call Lizzy. She is a two-year-old baby.
P: Now, Mark lives where?
B: In Blacksburg, Virginia.
P: He is a professor?
B: A professor, yes, or an associate professor. He is on the tenure track. He may
or may not stay there, I do not know. He is pretty happy there.
P: If he is enjoying doing it, and he is going to publish a book, that is pretty good.
B: He is doing all right. We have always hoped that he would ultimately come back
here in history, but I do not know if that will happen or not.
P: [Back to your present history]. You graduate and you go off to do your
B: You go through a selection process, and I wanted to go to Chapel Hill, North
Carolina. [They have] a very active internal medicine residency. The reason I
wanted to go there is that many of our interns and residents at Florida, at
Shands, were from Chapel Hill, and I liked them all. They said, it is a great
place. They had gone to medical school there or done an internship there and
then come down to the University of Florida mainly because Sam Martin and
some other faculty members were from Duke and from that area. So they knew
of him and so on. So a lot of students from Duke and North Carolina came
down here as residents.
P: So that intrigued you?
B: Yes, so I went up there.
P: How do you become an intern? Do you apply?
B: They have a selection process. You apply to four or five places you would like
to go to, and they take all their applicants and they have a match. They have a
one day that everything is matched up, and if your choice number one is Chapel
Hill and they are going to pick twenty interns and you are in that top twenty, [you
P: It is kind of like a lottery.
B: Yes, sort of, it is a match. You match up, and if you do not match, then there is
a scrambling around to get your second or third. Generally most people match
up. You have first, second, third and fourth choice.
P: Was Chapel Hill your first choice?
B: Yes, I wanted to go there.
P: So it matched?
B: It matched.
P: So you are now going up with a wife and a baby?
B: Yes, a new baby. A fairly new baby.
P: So you packed up everything in a car?
B: And a U-Haul. Actually, I took everything up the week before. We got student
housing up there, and I was paid a stipend of $150 a month as an intern. We
had student housing, the red Ford, and we made it. I think the rent was $25 a
month, utilities were $6 a month, gas was $15 a month with the car and the rest
we spent on food, $100 a month.
P: You did not have a lot of money to spend?
B: No, it is amazing. I mean now you spend that much [before you know it].
P: Going out to dinner?
B: Going out to dinner twice.
P: But you were living with other students?
B: There were other interns and residents and students. We never went anywhere
except over to the Duke campus and visited on a Sunday afternoon.
P: As an intern, what were your responsibilities?
B: As an intern, you are assigned a ward for a couple of months. Well, Chapel Hill
has a different system that I always thought the University of Florida should
adopt. They have two services. They have what is called the "private service"
and the "non-private service." They did not call it the charity service. When you
were an intern on the private service, you did all of the blood work and the
histories and the physical, but the attending [physician] made all of the
decisions. There were few females but there were mostly men. You would
present the patient to them, but they actually wrote orders in the chart, The
patient was referred to them. There were some very famous physicians in
cardiology, GI, and hematology. Chapel Hill was a referral base for all over
North Carolina. They had this tremendous referral base, and you would get calls
from Lumberton. I need Doctor so-and-so to admit this patient--he has got this
P: This was a referral hospital?
B: It was a big referral hospital similar to this one, but they had the private service
and non-private. So when you were on the private service, you did the blood
work. You did histories and physical, and you presented it to the attending, but
the attending had total control. They wrote the orders. You could write some
orders and they counter-signed them, but they wrote most of the orders and they
would go and take care of the patient, and you observed how the pros really did
it. On the other service, which was basically a public service--it did not have the
private insurance or the wonderful director referral to attending--those same
attending attended. You have two interns, a resident and a chief resident.
The resident was a second or third year resident and really knew what was going
on. They watched everything you did and guided what you did. The chief
resident rounded every day, early mornings--you all went together on rounds,
and he double-checked and made sure everything was okay. Then you
presented to the patient and to one of those same attending to get their okay to
make sure everything was going right. But the residents ran the service--they
had total control. If they got in trouble, they could call an attending at any time,
day or night. But the chief resident, who had been there three or four years, was
as good as any of the attending and usually very smart--very sharp.
P: This was the North Carolina Memorial Hospital?
B: That is right. In Chapel Hill.
P: Were there any private patients at Shands?
B: Well, there were private patients, yes.
P: Right from the very beginning?
B: Right from the very beginning there were a few. The difference in what I just
described at North Carolina compared to Shands is that Shands, when I was
there early on, had this so-called concept, but they never really enforced it. [For
example], private patients were referred to Sam Martin, and he would come over
to see them. But he did not take total control. It ran through the resident's
service. It ran much like the private service but with a little more supervision.
The private doctor--whoever [the patient] had been referred to--would come in
more often. When you get to surgery, it is different. If someone is referred to
Dr. Ed Woodward in surgery, he did the surgery and you watched how he did it.
On so-called "public patients," he stood hand-to-hand with you and helped you.
You did the surgery, and he was right there, and if you got into any problems, he
would take over and do it. So, they had private patients, but they were not
recognized to formal services.
P: One of the things I wondered was if you got pressures or requests from the VIPs
in Florida, politicians and so forth. They started to want special attention the
very first year, did they not?
B: Oh, that was not uncommon at all. Even in 1958 you would get this call [that
said], so-and-so from Soho is a senator from Bradenton, and he is bringing up a
close friend of his. Be here 4:00 this afternoon and give him the VIP treatment.
P: They had that kind of political [pull]? You ran into that same sort of thing in
B: Well, it was not necessarily in North Carolina.
P: That is right, because you had [private and non-private services].
B: There, the politicians or anybody else called the attending--they called the chief
of medicine and he would call attending and say, "Charlie, I have Joe so-and-so,
the senator from Lumberton, coming in--you will be taking care of him." "Yes,
sir." That was it. Attending took care of it.
P: So you were there as an intern for one year?
B: One year.
P: Is that the normal time for an internship?
B: For an internship, yes.
P: You had the run of the hospital, correct?
B: Well, no. I rotated on internal medicine. There are different types of
internships. There is a general practice internship where you rotate two months
on surgery, two months on medicine, two months on psychiatry, two months on
pediatrics and [wherever else]. [With an] internal medicine [internship], you
rotate two months within the sub-specialists--pulmonary medicine, hematology
and cardiology-- and you rotate around within six services in internal medicine.
P: [Were] you leaning toward cardiology?
B: Oh, yes. I was leaning toward cardiology then, but I had committed to OB/GYN.
I loved internal medicine.
P: You mean that is where your heart was?
B: Yes. The professors up there [during my] internship were wonderful.
P: Were you able then to make a comparison? Did Shands stand up to that? Of
course, it was newer.
B: Shands stood up to that. Some of these professors had been there for years,
and they were truly pros. They were outstanding, superb and well-recognized in
their fields and societies. The ones here were good and so forth, but they were
younger and newer. With some exceptions, they were not necessarily proven
entities. Up there, they were all proven entities. But, they were southern
gentleman, every one of them.
P: How large was that hospital?
B: It was about the same size as this one. It held about 400 beds.
P: Is that what this one started out as? 400?
B: Yes, about something like that.
P: It is greatly enlarged now, but that is what is was, 400?
B: I think around 400.
P: When you left here, or when you were still in medical school, had the V.A.
Hospital started up?
B: No, it started during my residency.
P: I see.
B: They talked about it, but I do not remember the year it was built.
P: What I am really asking is if they were responsible for patients there.
B: I had no responsibilities for [the] V.A. when I was a student.
P: Was this a happy year for the Barrows in Chapel Hill?
B: We loved it, actually, even though it was very hard.
P: Little time for family.
B: It was grueling. You [were on] twenty-four hours, and [were] off twelve. You
[were] on twenty-four, off twelve. Then you [were] on every other weekend.
P: So Mary had a major responsibility as far as the baby was concerned.
B: Absolutely. But, it was still a very happy year. We met a lot of wonderful
people--the faculty, the attending faculty in medicine. One time during the year
[students] went to dinner with one of the faculty [members] and his wife. They
would invite four or five couples--they had a little agreement, I guess, I do not
know because it was never discussed formally. During the year, you and your
wife and three or four of the other interns or residents would go to dinner with
every faculty member in the department of medicine, which was quite nice.
They treated you as colleagues. All of them were true southern
gentlemen--soft-spoken, and some of them were home-town products from North
Carolina and some of them were not.
P: Were there any other Florida graduates there with you?
P: They had gone elsewhere. Could you have stayed on as a resident there?
B: They wanted me to stay on as a resident, and I agonized over it. I decided to
come back, and I had already committed to come back here.
P: You could have gotten out of that commitment.
B: I could have, but I would have been too embarrassed at the time. I thought I
would try it and see for a year and see.
P: So, they liked you well enough so that you could have stayed there.
B: Yes. They encouraged me to stay in medicine either there or here and said, you
know, we would like for you to be a resident here next year. So, yes.
P: When did you come back to Florida?
B: That was 1960 to 1961, so I came back here in July 1961.
P: So that was already arranged.
B: OB/GYN resident.
P: They knew that you were coming back and everything was underway then.
P: You are coming back now as Dr. Barrow.
P: You were to do your residency.
B: Doing a residency in OB/GYN with Dr. Prystowsky.
P: What did that mean?
B: Well, as a first-year resident in OB/GYN, they do not have any interns, so
actually, [I was] an intern in OB/GYN just like I was an intern in medicine.
P: Does that mean you do the dirty work?
B: Yes. You do all the blood-drawing and all the initial work-ups, and you are the
one who sits with the patient.
P: Are you delivering the child?
B: You help deliver, but you do a lot of holding the ladies' hands and assisting down
to the last minute. Then somebody else does the actual delivery. They let you
do some. If they are strictly easy or if somebody has had three or four easy
babies, then it is not a complicated delivery. It is a hands-on situation.
P: I have been meaning to ask you as we have gone along here, Mark--does any of
this turn you off, all of this blood and all of this cutting-up of dead bodies, working
with rats and so forth?
B: All medical students when they start out are a little squeamish about being
around blood, and that lasts for about a week. Then it goes because after a
very short time, it is a phsyiological fluid, nothing more.
P: What about dead bodies?
B: Death and bodies becomes a routine thing for you. The first time you watch a
patient die and take their [last] breath, it has an emotional effect on an individual.
But, after a period of time, it does not.
P: Becomes routine?
B: No, it does not become routine, but you become used to it. It just does not
P: I guess the thing that would annoy me most of all is working with rats.
B: Well, I did a tremendous amount of research with rats, and I always had this
tremendous ambivolence of the concept that I never resolved. That is in doing
experimental research on animals--I did not like killing the animals,
particularly--trying to produce congenital malformations in rats, we killed them by
the hundreds and by the thousands. The only reason they existed was for that
purpose. They were manufactured for that purpose. They were treated
humanely and fed up to the time they were, what we called "sacrificed," rather
than killed. Interesting concept. Until that moment, they knew nothing. They
were given ether, put to sleep and they were terminated. I have agonized over
that ever since. What is the answer? I do not know the answer to that. What
is the answer to doing medical reaseach that benefits people? How far should
you go with the animal kingdom in doing that? I think our society is agonizing
over that and shifting greatly to the tune that it should be less and less. For
example, doing experiments with primates has become very, very detestable to
the great majority of the population, at least in the states, because they relate this
as being very close to us personally. Even with dogs and cats it has become
very distasteful, and I find doing research on dogs and cats very distasteful.
They are your pets and colleagues. What about rats whose sole purpose is to
be made for that purpose? Or rabbits? It is a very interesting philosophical
question that I have never resolved in my mind, but since I do not do it anymore,
I tend to think that it is necessary in some instances, but it should be a pretty big
deal. I think we do a lot more than we need to be doing of killing these animals.
We could get the answers other ways, and that should be something saved for
only [extreme cases] and should be done a lot less.
P: Mark, as a resident in obstetrics and gynecology, you are delivering babies--you
are helping to create life. How did that impact you?
B: Oh, that is a very emotional experience. The thing about medicine that is so
attractive and fascinating--I was told this by Dr. Harrell and I was told this by
Jape Taylor, who was very influencial for me--is that you get into everything in life
about people. People will tell their physicians everything. They tell their
physicians what they would never tell their spouses, their best friends or their
ministers. They will tell [us physicians everything] if we will listen and be
receptive. They will tell you their deepest, darkest secrets. You may have
some ignorant guy from Okaloosa County that never had a day of school in his
life and has survived fishing on the lake out there come in and tell you his
problems. Then you may have the governor, the mayor or a professor of
chemistry for your next patient with similar problems, telling you the same thing in
[his or her] own terms. You get this panorama of life constantly cast before you
if you are willing to participate in it. It [is] just absolutely, totally fascinating. Of
course, that is the great attraction to medicine. Unfortunately, because it has
become so technical and it is so complicated now, sometimes that aspect of it is
lost, and it becomes extremely cold and calculated, computerized and technical.
P: It seems to me that working with cancer would be so depressing because of the
loss of life. On the other hand, working delivering babies would be such an
enthusiastic kind of thing to do.
B: It absolutely is. I think is one of the big attractions for OB/GYN people is that
very thing. On the other hand, looking at the other side of the coin, working with
terminal patients is hard to describe. There is a tremendous reward in helping
patients die gracefully and without pain. That is part of our role too. A big part
of our role is to be able to know when to stop and back-off and let them die with
humility and grace, still being a person and not dying after weeks or months with
a tube in them when they cannot speak [or eat]. They are not people
anymore--they are a piece of machinery, meat that you are sustaining
technically, and instead of dying in a few days, they die in maybe two weeks or
six months. So, you can be very involved in helping patients and families face
up to these things and die with some sense of equanimity. So, there are
accomplishments both ways.
P: You worked with Prystowsky one year.
P: At the end of that year you moved. Was that an unhappy move on your part?
Were you beginning to have second thoughts?
B: The problem was this: when I got back to OB/GYN, I was endoctrinated in
medicine, and I wanted to work up with all these patients [with] anemia,
hypertension and all this. The residents in OB/GYN were only interested in
OB/GYN. I would say, look, this patient has high blood pressure and I want to
do this work up that we used to do up at Chapel Hill--x-rays of their kidneys and
checking the sodium and their urine and all these things. They would say, well,
that is for the fleas. They called the interns the fleas because they jump all
around on patients. That is for the fleas to do. Send them to the fleas--we do
not do that down here. As the year wore on, I just missed that too much. I sat
down with Dr. Prystowsky and I said, I dearly appreciate everything that you have
done, and I know that you have great plans for me, but my heart is not here. My
heart is just not in this. I miss internal medicine.
P: Did he understand?
B: He, being the gracious man he is, looked at me and said, I think you are making
a mistake, Mark, but, if that is what you want to do, you will not get any animosity
and anger from me. It is your life, and you have to do what you want to do. Go
into medicine. This is what I would like to do for you, I would like for you to go
ahead and finish up your medicine. I want to send you off to work on a Ph.D. in
genetics or whatever you want to do, and you can come back and we will create
a division of genetics for you here. You can go up the line, and you can be a
department head before it is over with, if that is what you want to do in academic
medicine. I do not know what will happen if you go into medicine. We left very
close friends. Actually, I was sort of his spy at internal medicine because I
would tell him what was going on over there, even after I left to go back into
P: Do you think you made the right decision?
B: Oh, absolutely--for me.
P: At that time, did you feel like you were making the right decision?
B: Oh, absolutely. There was no question about it.
P: You would have been happy, however, if you would have stayed in gynecology,
would you not have been?
B: I probably would have been reasonably happy. Medicine was more my
personality and more my event. I had a professor, W.J. Taylor, as a student.
P: You start working with him now, correct?
B: I started working with him as a student. He was the most outstanding teacher
that I have ever known. I cannot say in words the effect he had on students.
Some students do not like him because he pushed us very hard intellectually.
Bright students and good students adored him. The lower students who were
struggling sometimes felt traumatized, but he did not mean it in a traumatic way.
He taught you what was called "bedside thinking." He taught at the bedside.
When you presented a patient to him at bedside, number one, you had better be
prepared and have already read about the patient's problems and know a little
about what you think the patient has. Invariably, almost 100 percent of the time,
when you presented your patient at bedside, he would find something about the
history that was very important to that patient's problem that you had missed.
Some little thing--it is hard to describe. Almost 100 percent [of the time], there
would be something that was very important, and he would teach you and ask
you, did you ask this? No, sir. You should have asked this because of this
reason. You [should have] asked the patient, it is very germaine to the
problem. For example, have you ever been exposed to some toxic agent where
you worked? I do not think so. Where do you work? I am an engineer at
NASA. Are you exposed to fuels down there? Well, yes, I do work with fuels.
Do you wear masks? No. What are these fuels? They are X, Y and Z and
they are known as severe toxins. He would invariably do that. On a physical
examination, he made tremendous use of his hands, ears and eyes to determine
what was going on.
P: So he was training you to become just as intense.
B: To think at the bedside. It was tremendously challenging. Especially after you
[were at] the residency level, it became traumatic to students sometimes. At
that level, it is tremendously stimulating to you as an individual, especially if you
could keep up with his brain or stay ahead of it on where he was. He was a
tremendously stimulating teacher. When I finished my rotation in medicine, he
talked to me and said, what are you going to do? I said, I am going into
OB/GYN. He just laughed and said, you will not like it--not after being in
P: He was right.
B: Yes, when I came back after about three-quarters of the year and talked to Dr.
Prystowsky some. He told me to go talk to Jape. He said he is your mentor for
internal medicine, see what he thinks about it. I went and talked to him and he
just laughed in that funny little way he has. You must interview him--very
important. He has a lot of feelings and knowledge about the way things have
happened. At any rate, he just laughed his funny little laugh and said, we [will]
have a place for you in September--I knew you would be back.
P: He was saving it.
B: That is right. I started the residency in medicine after that.
P: So you were the right guy in the right niche.
B: Yes. I was very happy in medicine residency.
P: Now, do you have a second child by this time?
B: Will was born in 1961--right after we got back. Smiley Hill delivered Will.
P: Where were you living in Gainesville?
B: We found a little place right near the medical school on Depot Avenue that the
University owned. We knew the people who lived there, and they said, we are
moving out in June, go down there and see if you can get this little house. It is
very cheap. You can walk to work. We went down and put in our application,
and when they left, we moved into that little house.
P: As a resident, how much did the Unversity pay you?
B: They paid about $250 or $300 a month--not a tremendous amount.
P: So you got a little raise.
B: Yes, a little raise. Mary was teaching even though she was having babies. She
was pregnant a lot of the time. We made it all right.
P: You had someone taking care of the babies, I hope. They were not on their
B: We had a lady by the name of Granny Cook [Mrs. Cluster C. Cook]. She was
from West Virginia. We heard about this lady who kept kids, and she took care
of all our kids and raised them all. She is the most delightful, sweet lady. She
is ninety-seven years old now and still alive here. We have adopted her--we
look after her. She is in a nursing home now. She is the most wonderful
lady--just plain, ordinary folk. Papa Cook (her husband) died years ago, but
they loved kids. Our children just adored them. She was a white lady. She
and her husband came down here from West Virginia--down-to-earth people. He
was a mechanic and could do anything, and all his sons could do anything.
They do things like manage door services. One of the grandsons is an attorney
and they have done other things. The Cooks are still here in Gainesville.
P: During the year that you were away from Gainesville, what changes had
occurred at Shands?
B: It started to grow. The school became a nationally well-known place. Dean
Harrell is long gone, and the next dean, Manny Suter, had taken over as dean.
They began to add institutes, and thinking about the vet school and the dental
school. All of that was starting to come forward. Basically, things just grew
tremendously. They had a peculiar system whereby department heads were
basically the rulers of their kingdoms. As long as they could get grant money
and space, they could expand to whatever level they wanted. So, there was
always this tremendous competition between department heads, and
departments in general, for space, grants, money and house staff. The list
goes on and on and on. As a result, the place grew without great vision and
control. It just grew, and it has grown massively ever since. I am not sure it is
under great control [now]. They still have that similar problem. They keep
talking about changing it. The latest dean, a delightful fellow, was interested in
doing some changes, but it is very hard to take away someone's power.
P: And he is gone.
B: Well, basically, he was sort of eased out. I think that part of it was because he
wanted to change. I do not know. I am not blaming anyone.
P: You are talking about Alan Neims [Allen H. Neims, UF, Dean, College of
Medicine, 1989-1997; chairman, department of pharmacology and therapeutics,
1978-1989; professor of pediatrics and pharmacology and therapeutics,
B: Right. I do not know if they solved that problem now or not. I understand with
their whole new system that they are looking at it somewhat differently.
Basically, all through my residency and when I was a junior faculty member,
there was this tremendous acute competition between departments for space
and power--basically it was power.
P: That has not disappeared.
B: I am sure it exists everywhere in the university and everywhere [else], but it was
very acute there. It was very obvious.
P: Were you Jape Taylor's only resident or were there others?
B: Oh no, no, there were others. Another one who is a close friend of mine was
Howard Ramsey [Howard W. Ramsey, UF, assistant professor in medicine,
1968-1973 assistant in medicine, 1961-1964; research fellow in medicine,
1966-1968]. We went through together. There were twelve residents, actually.
P: Was Taylor able to give a lot of personal attention to each of the residents?
B: He did it not by having them over to his home or to his office, though he did that
occasionally, maybe once or twice a year. He did it at bedside. He was the
consummate bedside physician.
P: So you were there and he was there, and you learned by watching him and
listening to him.
B: Right. I learned from him. I learned a lot of my bedside manner from him. I
learned most of my bedside manner from my brother George, who was a family
practitioner in Okaloosa County. I used to go around with him on rounds when I
decided I was going to go to medical school. In the summers, during my
vacation, I rounded and spent time with him. When I was in residency, in lieu of
a vacation, I spent two weeks taking over his practice so he could have a
vacation because he was all alone. So I learned what it was like being a family
practitioner out in the boondocks. But, I followed him around, and he was a
master with bedside manner. I have never seen anyone quite like it. It began
when he walked in the room. He just commanded this aura of total confidence
and total respectability. He was a hands-on physician that did a lot of
toe-twitching, hand-holding and squeezing, and hugging--things we are a little bit
loath to do with patients now.
P: In what way was Taylor your mentor?
B: He was such a great thinker at bedside, and he had such strong feelings. He
was very much a liberal--if you can believe it. He is from Mississippi and trained
at Harvard. That is a very interesting background, a combination of southernism
that has been totally liberated, and very liberal points of view about humanity.
He is not afraid to express them and is a very, very good debater and arguer.
P: And he is a good physician.
B: A wonderful physician--one of the best diagnosticians I have ever known. The
original founder of internal medicine was Sir William Osley at Hopkins. He
trained a group of physicians, and I do not know all the history on this, but, there
where a whole group of physicians that were great bedside diagnosticians. Of
that group, there was one named Jack Myers [Jack Duane Myers, University of
Pittsburgh, professor and chairman of medical department, 1955-1970; associate
professor of medicine, Duke University, 1947-1955] and another called Eugene
Stead [Eugene Stead, professor of medicine, Duke University school of
medicine, 1947-1978; physician in chief, Duke Hospital, 1947-1967; dean, Emory
University, 1945-1946]. When these individuals went through residency at
Hopkins, Duke and several other major places in the country--Pittsburg was
another outstanding center--they were residents for years sometimes. They did
not have a three-year residency program. Once you were a resident, you
stayed a resident until you went onto the faculty or went out and practiced.
Some of them were residents for like five, six and seven years, and they would
be chief residents for two and three years. They were tremendous bedside
diagnosticians. That is all they had for their tools--that, a simple chest x-ray and
an E.K.G. The rest was at bedside. At the major academic institutions, when
patients die, they had autopsies on all of them and they saw what they thought
they had and what they really had. They used to have these rounds called
Clinical Pathological Conferences. It would be where you take one of these
physicians that did not know the case, present them the case and let them
discuss it and find out what they really had, either by surgery or by death. These
people became master clinicians at bedside. Jape Taylor's mentor and teacher
was a fellow named Eugene Stead, the chairman of medicine at Duke. Also, a
fellow named Jack Myers was the chairman of the medicine at Pittsburg. Jape
used to tell about these [people]. He would say, you think I am bad, these guys
were murder. I mean, they would rip you apart at bedside if you were not
prepared. They were not kind at all. I remember that we all adored Jape and
respected him so much. I remember during residency once that Eugene Stead
came down as what we called a "visiting fireman." He was getting ready to retire
up at Duke, so we presented a case at bedside, and it was very interesting
because the roles reversed and Dr. Stead became Jape's teacher at bedside.
They really went at it, intellectually, at the bedside. It was real interesting to
watch this kind of interchange. It was all friendly--do not get me wrong. It was
not hostile, but it was very enlightening because all of a sudden Jape was put in
the role that we were as residents again.
P: As a resident, you treated patients on your own. Dr. Taylor was not in there with
you every time you went in, was he?
B: Well, the way it worked was your intern admitted the patient. [They would get]
admission and physical history as soon as they got there and started
things--drew the blood. Then the resident came along, a first or second year
resident, and did a briefer history and physical and actually wrote the orders or
counter-signed the interns and added to their orders. The next morning or that
evening, frequently that evening, the chief resident, who had been there for about
three or four years and knew what was going on, would come along and review
everything and say, have you done this or have you done that? Hey, you are
way off-base. They do not have this, they have that. The next morning you
would present to an attending physician on the staff, and then they would
counter-sign the chief resident.
P: Not necessarily Taylor?
B: He just rotated a lot through there, and most of the house staff tried to get on his
service. There were other excellent teachers. I do not mean to down-cast the
others. Dr. W.C. Thomas [William Clark Thomas Jr., UF, professor of medicine,
1957-1986; associate director of research, 1973-1986] was a wonderful teacher.
He was totally different than Jape Taylor.
P: Well, Thomas was a downtown physician.
B: He is a local fellow. He went into general practice for a while with his father.
P: We are talking about Thomas Jr.?
B: W.C. Thomas Jr. decided that [general practice] was not his cup of tea. He
wanted to be an internal medicine specialist, [so he] went back to Hopkins and
trained there. He came back on the faculty of the medical school and did
research. He is still doing stuff. He is part-time at the V.A. on renal stones and
stuff. He was an endocrinologist.
P: He told me he is trying to retire.
B: He has been saying that for years. He will never retire. He putts around with it.
Dr. Thomas was a good bedside teacher also, but he was totally different. We
used to call him "Billy Barracuda" because he could snap your head off, but he
did not mean it in a belligerent way. For example, he would ask you, what do
you think about this patient's problem or what do you think about this patient's
EKG or their lab report? You would [tell him what you thought, and he would
say], Barrow, that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard anybody say! If you
were not expecting that, it was sort of intimidating. On the other hand, once you
got to know him, he could be going along saying something--and we did this all
the time--and we said, Dr. Thomas, that does not make any sense to me at all
what you said. Instead of him getting angry or puffing up, he would say, wait a
minute--why do you think that? Maybe you are right. He could take it either
way, so there was this tremendous interchange. So could Jape Taylor. I mean,
you could look at him and say, I do not believe a word you are saying. That
makes no sense to me. I do not believe that. I do not buy that at all. He
would accept it. There were others. Those two are the ones that stick out in
P: Was Lamar Crevasse [Lamar E. Crevasse, Jr., UF, professor of medicine,
1958-1995; associate dean for continuing medical education, 1968-1997] on the
B: Lamar was a young staff member, and Lamar was also totally different. He was
the first chief resident in medicine here, and then he went onto the staff. [He is
as] smart as he could be. He is a local boy.
P: I have interviewed him.
B: He went to Duke and was tremendously knowledgeable in cardiology. He ran
the EKG station. He used to sit down there and basically go over EKGs and
teach the residents and the interns and have a good time about it. He had a big
sense of humor. [For example] when a new group of students came into the
EKG lab, he would frequently do things like say, okay, hand me the first EKG, to
the resident. Let's go over these EKGs, guys. They would introduce [the new
medical students and he would say], hello gentlemen, how are you today? [He
would say], okay, hand me the EKG. He would put it over his head. He would
feed it over his head and run it backwards. [Then, effortlessly, he would say],
that is an acute inferior myocardial infarction. He would put that one down.
Hand me the next one! This would go on for three or four minutes and the
students would be sitting there bug-eyed. What is this? Is it really for sure?
Then he would just laugh, but he would do things like that.
P: Sounds to me like you all had a hospital full of comedians.
B: Well, we did. We had a great time. It was a wonderful experience, and we
worked very, very hard. You were there in the middle of the night. You slept
little. You never really thought about it.
P: As you think about it now?
B: No, no. I could not ever do that now.
P: As a resident, did you treat patients on your own or were you always under the
supervision of the chief resident and the attending physician?
B: As you ascended the ladder from first-year resident to second-year resident, you
were given more and more responsibility.
P: With Jape Taylor, you are a second-year resident.
B: Say you are the second-year resident on cardiology, you are the chief resident in
cardiology for that period of time. You are given a tremendous amount of
responsibility. They are just watching over you shoulder, basically to make sure
[that you are doing your job correctly].
P: So the spotlight is shining on you.
B: Yes. You have enough experience to know when you need help and know
when you need to go and talk to somebody. You do not just sail along on your
merry way. The system does not work that way. As you gain competence and
expertise, you handle it until you are either uncomfortable or somebody else sees
something is not right.
P: Are you only in cardiology [at this point]?
B: No. I am in general internal medicine rotating around. Another outstanding
teacher was Bob Cade [Robert James Cade, UF, chief of renal medicine,
1965-1979; professor of medicine and physiology, 1961-present], the renal man.
P: I know that you work with him some on your research, too. I have done an
interview with Cade.
B: I certainly did not mean to forget him because he was another absolutely unique
teacher. He was totally different than any of the others.
P: I can see that.
B: Bob is a genius, number one. He is a genius that thinks on another level that
most of us do not think on. He thinks on a different plane. So when he says
something, sometimes it sounds bizarre when it comes out because he is not
thinking on the same plane you are. He was a renal specialist and had to know
all this complicated stuff about acid-base balance, and he knew it inside out.
Bob is a genius. He can quote almost the whole Holy Bible. He can quote
Shakespear sonnets for hours.
P: He did a reading on Alfred Lord Tennyson last week that we were invited to, but
we could not go.
B: He can do Kubla Khan--the whole thing. I mean, the man is a genius. He has
not been treated fairly, in my opinion, at Shands because he is different. He is
eccentric, and he is strongly opinionated. They have tried every way in the
world to ease him out, but he has had tenure and no matter what they do, it does
not bother him.
P: And he has got fifty-three Studebakers.
B: That is right. It is hilarious. At one point, he was doing all these weird things on
patients with lupus, erythemetosis, a bad disease. He thought if you dialyzed
them, you could get rid of the bad antibodies that they had. Nobody else in the
world was doing it, and they came down hard and said, this is not acceptable
research and does not have background. They took away his lab at some point
or else they had to expand into his lab, and so he said, well, that is fine, but how
about in the basement? There is some space down there. I have been looking
around for some space. The basement at the medical sciences building had all
these big pilings that go down 300 feet when they built it. Since that is a big
huge sinkhole, the building sits on these huge pilings. In the bottom floor, the
sub-basement, not the basement, is a brown dirt floor with all these pilings
everywhere. This is where we are talking about, but you can walk in it. It is
seven feet tall. So they said, well, sure, you can have space down there. So
he paid to put flooring and walls in, [and now] he has this huge laboratory.
P: Now he has another building.
B: Well, this was for years that he had this huge laboratory. It did not bother him at
all. Another human being would have been roundly insulted that they would
dare take some of his space and walked out, but not Bob. At his teaching
seminars, he had--this has to be documented because it was great--the
Hepato-renal Symposium every Friday afternoon. This was the liver-kidney
P: Sounds fascinating.
B: Friday afternoons. You or any resident or student could come. You did not
have to be on his service. So Friday afternoon, you gathered in his laboratory
for a "teaching session." He made up President Madison's Whiskey Sour
Recipe, which if you never had, you should have [some] because it is made with
very concentrated lemon juice and lemon peel that you mix fifty/fifty with
bourbon. You let it sit overnight, and it literally cooks the bourbon so you cannot
taste it. It is 50 percent bourbon. Then you make [it] into a slushy thing and
make this big pot of it. He made the stuff at home the night before, and his girls
grounded [up] the ice. They made Jalapeno melted cheese stuff and crackers.
So, you get in there and he talks for about fifteen minutes about something about
the kidney or liver, some technical thing nobody understands, and you all get
soppingly drunk--inebriated--for about two hours.
P: No wonder you enjoyed being a resident.
B: This went on for years and years, and we talked about everything--philosophy
and everything. He always had these opinions, and he could hold forth on
anything. The man is absolutely, truly, one of our true geniuses.
P: You know he is a musician?
B: He is. I know he is a violin player. He is very religious. He is an amazing
P: An amazing person. His daughter, Martha, was once in my class.
B: He has a thousand kids and they all have a thousand grandkids and they all go
on these conventions. We have been friends with the Cades for years, but my
son, Mark, is a very close friend with his daughter Emily. They keep up and visit
all the time. So that is how we know all of what is going on.
P: One of the best interviews I did was with Cade.
B: Oh, I am certain. He has very strong opinions about things, and some of them
are hilarious. The funniest one was the Studebakers. He started collecting
Studebakers when everyone thought they were pieces of junk. I do not know
how many he has.
B: They are worth a mint. They are highly collectable.
P: We drove in one to lunch.
B: He loves them and they are worth a mint.
P: He is going to a convention and taking fifteen of them. He told me it is a convoy.
B: He does that. They do it, half of them break down and one of his sons repairs
them. It is a big deal. It is hilarious. It is wonderful. He is a true genius. I do
not know how many geniuses we have on this campus, but [he is one].
P: That was an amazing collection [of professors] that you had when you were a
resident there working.
B: Oh, truly.
P: I mean, Jape Taylor, Bob Cade [and the others].
B: Billy Thomas [Wiliam Thomas, MD, local Gainesville physician] and Richard
Schmidt [Richard P. Schmidt, UF, associate dean, college of medicine
1967-1971; professor of medicine, 1958-1971] were the consummate neurology
P: I have done an interview with him.
B: The wonderful thing about Dick Schmidt was that he was very, very gracious with
students. Where he came from, they treated them with [utmost respect and
P: This is the same way now.
B: This is Dr. Barrow, my colleague, and he is gonna talk to you and I will be back.
When you presented to him, he had this thing where he mimicked all the different
neurological disorders, and he had them down to absolute perfection--all the
different abnormal gates, the different kinds of movement disorders, seizures,
and he would go through all these things. It was very interesting. He was the
only one who could do it. He had done it for years, and it was something that
ought to be on tape, really, to see the different types of seizures, for example.
He would actually demonstrate.
P: See, he did not give me that in his interview with me. I missed all of that.
B: Well, he probably never thought much about it. He was in there, and there were
other faculty members also.
P: Other characters.
B: There were other characters too, but, those were the big ones.
P: All right, now you are in residency for two years.
P: And you learned a lot.
P: A lot--not only bedside manner, but other things.
B: Medicine. The approach to a sick patient, basically, yes. I also learned bedside
manner, although that was not emphasized. Some have it and some do not. I
mean, what can you say?
P: The end of your residency comes in 1964.
B: Well, yes. After I graduated, I then talked to Jape. I had talked to him the last
year and said, I want to go into cardiology. Another resident, Howard Ramsey,
and I both wanted to go into cardiology with Jape as our mentor. So that is what
we did and that is what a research fellowship is all about.
P: Now, he gave you a researchc] fellow, or was this [through the department]?
B: It was done through the department of medicine, but he basically picked them.
There were others. There were three or four others.
P: This was a prestigious appointment?
B: Well, yes. It was hard to get. There were only about four or five.
P: And it paid?
B: It was about $800 or $900 a month, something like that. It was better [than
others] and you could live, yes. So that was a three-year stint, there. We ran
the cardiology service [in this position]. It had two parts. One was the
catherterization laboratory and the other was the clinical medicine. Then you
were reading all the EKGs, consulting on all of the patients that were primary
cardiology problems and the other services were calling on you every day to
consult. You basically did consulting and all of them were presented to
cardiology--either Jape or Lamar Crevasse. The other person was Russ Green.
P: He was my doctor.
B: Yes. We met a couple of times a week and went over the cases--over and over
and over again until we became very expert. Some opt to go into a
cartherterization laboratory, such as Howard Ramsey did. He became a
catherterization specialist. There were other ways to get into clinical cardiology,
or be a teacher and take care of patients with acute myocardial infarctions or
congestive heart failure and hypertension. That was what I opted for. That was
a three-year stint.
P: Was there a research component in this fellow period?
B: Sometimes yes. In Dr. Ramsey's case, he went into the cath lab and watched
and helped assist doing caths for a year. The second year he did them under
supervision, and in the third year he did them independently and taught.
P: But that was not you?
B: In my situation, the answer is yes, I did go into research. I spent probably half
that three-year period doing research and the other half doing the clinical part.
He and I were interested in doing research on the production of experimental
malformations in animals, specifically heart malformations. We read, thought
and discussed it a while and thought that maybe we could produce some
interesting congenital malformations in animals, specifically rats, using antibodies
to various and sundry things. That was a new area that had not been explored,
so we set out to see where that would lead us. It actually was very productive in
trying to produce experimental malformations. Our original concept was to try to
produce a specific type of malformation in the [smaller] animals and then use a
larger animal. If you could get ten goats or ten pigs with an interventricular
septal defect, you could then experiment what would be the best way to prepare
and treat them. We did not accomplish that--I was very naive to think that [we
could]. What we did was produce a variety of abnormalities in these
experiments, including the heart. It turned out that the antibody was not
affecting the fetus directly. It was affecting the transfer of nutrients across the
placenta which secondarily affected the fetus. I spent a year and a half doing
that. After that, I went on to the National Institute of Health for two years
following up with that.
P: I wanted to ask what this Ph.D. business was about in 1968. You had not said
anything about working on a Ph.D. at all.
B: I started during that fellowship. When I started the research, I was a fellow in
cardiology and a Ph.D. candidate in anatomy.
P: They had a Ph.D. program going on in the medical school?
B: That is right. I went to Dr. Wilson and explained that I was interested in
producing experimental malformations in a field called teratology, which is a
study of malformed individuals. He was very interested in that. That was his
research specialty. He said, great. So, he, I and Jape got together and they
structured a program for [a] Ph.D. The fellowship was usually only one or two
years, but I extended it out to three. A year and a half was spent in anatomy
taking the courses. They did not do any shortchange. It was not a sped-up
course. I became a student again. I had to take all the biology and
P: This was in the medical school. You are not up on the main campus doing any
biology courses, right?
B: This was all in the medical school. I started as a graduate student.
P: This was a Ph.D. program from the Univeristy of Florida?
B: Yes. Over two-thirds of it I did while I was a research fellow. They basically
gave me time off to do that, although I was still paid. I had not finished it in
1967. I was in the Barry Program, which meant I had been deferred from
service during my residency and fellowship. This was military service, which
was compulsory then. You had to go in at a certain point. The government had
agreed to let me stay on until 1967. I had to go into the service. I applied to the
National Institute of Health, which has the Public Health Service.
P: You had not finished with the Ph.D. when you go into the service, correct?
B: That is right. I went to Washington to the National Institute of Health as a
research scholar. I got a position there in 1967 and was continuing the research
with the experimental production of animals. The fellow that was the department
head there that was doing that became ill after the first year. I was left alone. I
had established a relationship up there--this was in the Dental Research Institute,
but they were not doing dental research.
P: That was one of the questions I was going to ask you. How did you suddenly
get back into dentistry?
B: Well, it was called the Dental Research Institute, but they were really doing
research on tissue healing, collagen and the affects of antibodies on tissues.
They were very interested in my research doing congenital malformations in
animals and making antibodies. Some of the researchers up there helped me
make antibodies. What we were doing when I was in Gainesville was making
antibodies to whole tissue, like kidney. You make antibodies to kidney tissue in
rats and inject those antibodies correctly, it causes all sorts of malformations in
the fetuses. They were interested as well as I [and were asking], well, what is it
that is doing that? So, up there we pin-pointed it. We took some kidney tissue
and broke down the various components until we identified whether or not it was
muscle, blood vessel structures, collagen (which is a substance that connects
everything together) or basement membrane (which are structures that are
between walls). We identified that it was basement membrane, the antibodies to
that specific thing, that would cause the problem. Probably what was happening
was that with the antibodies, we were interrupting the blood nutrients going back
and forth across the placenta because it has a very thick basement membrane.
We were messing up the antibodies. That is what I was working on there. The
second part of the year, though, a geneticist was in that institute and was real
interested in diabetes and other genetic markers in Indians. He had been going
out into the field studying blood types and various Indians in the southwest tribes.
He called me down one day from upstairs and said, I hear you are an internist
and cardiologist. I said, that is right. He said, well, I need somebody to go with
me on some of these field trips because we are going over to the southwest a
month at a time and staying at Zuni, Hopi and different places in southwest. We
are doing examinations on Indians and I need a physician there with me. I said,
sounds great to me. So the second year, I was going genetic research on the
Indians. That is how [I wrote the] book, Health and Diseases in American
Indians North of Mexico: A Bibliography (1800-1969) [by Mark V. Barrow, R. E.
Fortuine, and J. E. Niswander, University of Florida Press, 1972].
P: I was wondering how that came about.
B: After six months or so, I came back and we were seeing all these interesting
things like diabetes and gall-bladder disease in all these southwest Indians. I
thought, this was a research gold mine because they have a very high incidence
of gall bladder disease and diabetes in the southwest tribes--like 70 percent of
them have it. I went back to the chief of Indian Health Service who was there on
that same campus in Bethesda and said, where are all your research files on
diseases of the Indians? He said, they do not exist. Will you get us some stuff?
I went to the genetic chief and presented this, and he said, take three months off
and go to the national library of medicine. I will call ahead of it over there--I
know them. We will set you up over there. We will do a whole big research, and
you can write a book on it. So the book, Health and Disease of American
Indians North of Mexico: A Bibliography (1800-1969) was all the research that
had been done on Indians up until then. While I was doing this, I kept seeing an
individual in the library, and he was looking up the same books they were
bringing to me. I would go over there every day and get all these books, write
them all up, look under their references, write them down and just kept pulling
them back, back, back on diabetes, TB and all diseases. [I] kept on--boxes of
the references--and kept seeing this same guy checking out some of the same
books from the stacks which go five floors straight down in the ground. One
day, after about a week, I went over and introduced myself. He said, hi, my
name is Robert Fortuine [An author of Health and Diseases of American Indians
North of Mexico: A Bibliography (1800-1969)]. I said, please tell me you are not
doing research on diseases in American Indians--bibliography and
research--because I see you are checking out the same books that I have been.
He said, you know, I have been seeing you there and I have been worrying about
the same thing. He said, no, I am doing it on the Eskimos. I am from Alaska,
and they gave me three months off because we do not know anything about
Eskimo health. I came over here to research the literature. So we put our two
[researches] together. The other person, Niswander, [J. E. Niswander, third
author of Health and Diseases of American Indians North of Mexico, A
Bibliography (1800-1969)] was my chief at the genetics institute who let me off [to
do this research].
P: Meanwhile, you have left your poor family in Florida, or did you take them with?
B: No, no, they are up there [in Washington].
P: While you are cavorting around with the Indians, they are struggling. Did Mary
B: No, no. She was taking care of the kids.
P: She did not get a job up there?
B: By then, you see, she had Amy up there. The last child was born there. The
first four were born here in Gainesville. Smiley Hill in gynecology [delivered
P: So she had her hands full.
B: Oh, absolutely. I am going off a month at a time.
P: To Indian reservations in the nice southwest.
B: Well, it was real interesting. When we went to Zuni we had very little money. I
mean, we were paid a stipend of $1,500 a month, but she was not working. I
had taken maybe $150 with me to Zuni land--to Zuni Reservation. They make
the most incredible, beautiful jewelry. It was not out in the public yet. People
who had been there the year before said, you need to buy some of this jewelry--it
is exquisite. Then they told who the good master makers were. You go to their
home and say, I would like you to make me a pendant, necklace, bracelet or a
ring, and out of silver or whatever you need--they have some samples there--and
they worked on these things all night. They stayed up all night working on the
jewelry, and it never rained. Out in their front yards, they would visit and talk all
night. They would sleep until about 1:00 in the afternoon and get up, eat, party
around and then have their dance ceremony from five to six to seven to eight and
then visit a little bit. Then, starting at about 11:00 p.m., they would work all
night. Very interesting. In the meantime, we were trying to get them to come in
to get their physical and their blood and all that. I spent all the money I had in
Zuni Indian jewelry and was so proud of it. Mary did not know anything about
Indian Zuni jewelry and I brought this thing and she said, well, it is pretty and it is
nice, but what do I do with it? I said, you wear it! It is beautiful stuff. Well, she
just sort of put it away until several years later. We went to the Smithsonian
Institution one day and they had a thing on Zuni jewelry and the value. It had
gone up. These things I was buying for $30 are now $1,500 or $2,500.
P: And now she is afraid to wear them---they are too valuable.
B: She loves it now. We have some beautiful pieces. If I would have had more
money, I would have bought a lot more.
P: So you were up there how long?
B: Two years.
P: July 1967 through June 1969. You are listed here as a senior surgeon in the
U.S. Public Health Services. Was that just a title?
B: They use everything surgeon--junior surgeons, senior surgeons.
P: So you were not walking around with a knife?
B: No, that was just a title. You go in basically like a colonel, which would be like a
P: What was your research association in pharmacology training?
B: Well, it was experimental production of malformations in animals using
antibodies. That was what it was about.
P: You were assigned to the National Institute of Dental Research?
B: That is right.
P: Genetics and pharmacology sections. Now you departed the capital city of the
United States, right? Where did you go?
B: We came back to Gainesville. I had to finish my Ph.D., which was very difficult
because while I was gone, my chairman left. Dr. Wilson left to head up the
Wistar Institute, a very famous embriology institute studying teratology.
B: I think it was in Philadelphia. When I got back, I had no chairman and I had my
research and my dissertation. There were new people on the committee that did
not know me from Adam.
P: What was your dissertation?
B: It was Experimental Production of Malformations in Animals, the same thing.
Instead of coming back and getting a meeting with a Ph.D., they suggested I do
some other things. I came back as a junior faculty member in 1969.
P: When you say "they," who are you talking about?
P: The people in anatomy.
P: All right now. You left with a Ph.D. committee, Wilson was chair, but there are
other members of the committee.
B: Four or five other members, one of which was Jape Taylor.
P: Nobody wanted to take over as chair?
B: Well, there was an acting chair. He was sort of a controversial person.
P: Who was that?
B: Marshall Johnson [Marshall E. Johnson, UF, acting chair of department of
anatomical sciences, 1968-1971; professor of anatomical sciences, 1960-1972].
Marshall got into a little problem because while he was acting chair, he started
doing a bunch of things like firing faculty members and some other aggressive
things. He got in trouble with the dean, and they basically asked him to leave.
But, he also, I think, had the feeling that since I was a MD and since I was a
faculty member--I was coming onto the faculty of cardiology--that he did not want
anyone to say that I had eased through that Ph.D. in anatomy.
P: So they were making it tougher.
B: Yes. They kept thinking of one more experiment and one more experiment. I
would say, well, that is six month's work you are talking about. That kind of
thing. You know how that goes. I actually became very upset at one point, and
almost told them to take it and shove it, but I did not. Jape would not hear of
that. He held my hand, and I defended it and got the Ph.D.
P: When was that?
B: [My] Ph.D. in anatomy was 1968.
P: You do not come back from Washington until 1969.
B: Well, that is right. That was while I was back and forth.
P: I know, but I thought that you did not get the Ph.D. until after you returned from
B: I did not get it before I left. I was supposed to get it right before I left, but I
actually had to come back and finish some of the research up there.
P: So, you are awarded the Ph.D. not it 1968 then but in 1969.
B: No. It was while I was up there. I had to come back three times.
P: Then you come back in 1969 as assistant professor.
P: Division of cardiology was then part of what?
B: Medicine. Department of medicine, division of cardiology.
P: Who was chair of medicine?
B: At that time, a new chair had been appointed, Lee Cluff [Leighton E. Cluff, UF,
professor and chairman of the department of medicine, 1966-1976]. Have you
B: He was also a good one. He was there for years. He is here now so it would
be easy. You should [interview] him. He had a lot of different ideas and wanted
to bring in some new blood. Basically, I came back to be a professor like Jape.
P: Well, that means Jape Taylor is a colleague of yours.
B: He was a colleague, right.
P: Why was he not chair of the department? What was Cluff doing then?
B: Well, Jape was only interested in cardiology. He was not interested in being
chairman of medicine. He was chairman of the Division of Medicine, but when
Dr. Cluff came back, he wanted to bring a lot of young, new people in, which was
probably good. He was picked as chairman by the dean to bring in some new,
younger blood. Then [the dean was] Chandler Stetson [Chandler A. Stetson,
Jr., UF, vice president for health affairs, 1974-1978; dean of College of Medicine,
professor of pathology, 1972-1978]. Dr. Cluff decided he basically wanted to get
some new blood in the divisions and wanted to get some of the older ones to go
lateral. He basically asked Jape to step laterally and brought in a new
department head in the division of cardiology to head it up and bring in some
other new blood from Hopkins and other places like that.
P: As an assistant professor, you are working with students, you are an academic
person and you are also working with patients.
B: Right. You rounded on the wards, you read EKGs, you headed up the consult
services and a variety of things.
P: What about the work that you were doing with students?
B: That was mostly just teaching medical students. I also headed up the physical
diagnosis course. They asked me to do that and I liked that. So, I was running
the physical diagnosis program for the second year.
P: So, you are in the classroom and you are in the wards.
B: Yes. Along about that time, nobody had any formal training in EKGs, and Gerry
Shiebler [Gerold Ludwig Schiebler, UF, distinguished service professor in
pediatric cardiology, 1994-present; vice president for external relations for health
affairs, 1985-present; chairman, department of pediatrics, 1968-1984; professor
of pediatrics, 1960-present] head of pediatrics, and I were talking one evening
and said, you know, these kids really need to know more about EKGs. There is
just not enough time. So we started a non-graded [class that] nobody had to
attend. It [was a] voluntary EKG training course every year for about three
years. [It was] held on Monday evenings there at Shands and we taught
students how to read EKGs.
P: I did not realize they were that recent.
B: Oh yes. The EKGs had been around, but there was no formal training. They
just picked up what they learned on the wards and so forth. We had a six-week
EKG course that started from the beginning. We would alternate--we did not do
it together. He would do it one day and I would do it one day. It was strictly
voluntary, and it was strictly for fun.
P: What is Shiebler's specialty in addition to being a lobbyist?
B: He was head of pediatrics. [He was a] delightful fellow.
P: I know Gerry, he is on my list.
B: He has a wonderful grasp of everything that has happened, interesting opinions
and a wonderful infectious sense of humor. He and I, since we taught that
course, have been bosom-buddies. There were no grades, there was no
nothing. They all came, and they just appreciated it so much. We did it in a
very funny way. We would get a student up there to read the EKG and make
fun of him.
P: But you liked being a professor?
B: Oh, I loved it. I loved teaching very much and teaching students.
P: Yet you left it.
B: I was going to explain why I left. When I got back, Jape was being moved
laterally and other people were being brought in. My salary was only $17,000 a
year, if you can believe it. That was 1968. We had five kids. We no longer
had that little house that we lived in. We bought a little house in Carol Estates
for $13,500. Mary was not working with the five kids. Howard Ramsey was
running the catherterization lab, and I was teaching physical diagnosis and
heading up the clinical cardiology service. We were talking about it and we said,
there for the grace of God, that could be us. We could work our fanny to the
bone, build up the ladder, get up to division chief and some new person can
come in and you can be totally emasculated. It could all be taken away just like
that. Is that what we really want? So, we became disillusioned, basically. I
went in and talked with the chairman, Lee Cluff about it. In the mean time, a
group of my colleagues that had trained at the university in cardiology and
medicine and had gone out and practiced would see me and say, we need a
cardiologist. Come on out here--you can make ten times more than what you
are making and have just as good a time. The main reason I left was two-fold.
One was the disillusionment with academia. The professor that I wanted to be
was like Jape Taylor--a clinical bedside teacher who taught students, took care of
patients and did a little research on the side. At the time there were tremendous
amounts of money available through grants and NIH. I had been on some of the
grants inspection committees, and there were millions of dollars going around
being awarded to do research grants. That was available during that time
frame. There was a lot of money to be made. The new breed of researcher
and teacher was somewhat different. They came into the system and their
predominant focus--I am not saying that this is good or bad--was to bring money
into the institution, number one. [Their] number two [focus was] to do research;
write papers and books; and get published. It was a whole new ballgame, and I
just did not want to be that type of professor--that was not what I wanted to be. I
wanted to be the old-type professor, which was fading. I wanted to be another
Jape Taylor, and not a grants professor. The name of the game, and I saw this
happening at NIH when I was there very many times, was you do some research
on a project-A, and get six, seven, eight, ten colleagues and they are all doing the
little research, B, C, D, E, F, G, H. You all talk about it a little bit and
everybody's names go on every paper. So Mark Barrow is first author for this
research paper, A, but he puts all of his colleagues on it who contribute--maybe
very little like just discussion or maybe a little teenie bit and they do the same
thing. You end up with ten papers. This has happened rampantly in our
system. It is starting to change again, but if you pick up a research paper now in
cardiology, even today, there may be fifteen, twenty names on it. Most of those
contributed virtually little or none. It was not right, number one. But, it was not
done deviously or cheatingly--it was done because the system demanded it.
This was the way you got grants. You had to have a big bibliography and a big
name. Then you took a specific area of your specialty and became a world
authority so you go could around and travel and do talkshows.
P: What did Cluff say to you when you went in and talked to him?
B: He said, you have to make a decision. I can tell you what I like about academic
life. He said, you are on the cutting edge of everything that is going on in
academe and research. You can meet people from all over the world that are
very fascinating and become your colleagues, so you are not limited or perochial
anymore to Gainesville, Florida, and the University of Florida. You can travel
extensively. You can write books and it will be very rewarding to be on the
committees and to be in the national spotlight. That was very attractive, if you
want to work your way up the line. It is very strange--I get as much personal
satisfaction out of doing things in Gainesville, Florida, than as if I were in the
committees in Washington.
P: Is this Cluff talking now, or is this you?
B: No, this is me. I am sitting there thinking, well, I do not know about the cutting
edge part. Community hospitals now are getting on the cutting edge of
everything. In fact, they are surpassing some of the university centers of being
way out in front, which is true. It has turned out that they are there. They can
take on new techniques quicker than it can work through the university system.
Some new technique, a pacemaker or something, will be out in the community
long before they get all through academe, so I did not know about that. As for
the travel--if you make enough money, you could travel anywhere you want to
anyway and meet people. I do not want to be in Washinngton and on the
national committee or in a big muckedy-muck in the American College of
Cardiology. That is not for me. I would like to be just a phsyician first and
teach some on the side.
P: So you really made your decision based on this conversation. I mean, it was the
B: That was the final decision. But, part of it was the economics of it. I felt, I
cannot educate my kids, and we want a nicer home. We were looking for an old
house to restore because when we were at NIH, we had done a lot of traveling
around and gone to Charleston [South Carolina] and Savannah [Georgia] on our
vacations. We had some friends who had restored an old house in Fort Walton
[Florida] and we were hot to restore an old house. We did not have any money
to do it, and [a group of] my colleagues out at North Florida Regional Hospital
called Gainesville Medical Group were hot for me to join them. They said, you
can make eight to ten times more. We love it and we think you will like it. I
made the decision to leave, and Mary said fine. It was painful because basically
up to that point, I had prepared myself for an academic life. I do have some
regrets about it because the research stops and the writing stops, but there are
P: In many ways, you have impressed me more as being an academic person than
almost any other doctor I know.
B: That is because I have that academic background. Through all of this, I have
always had this interest in history. That was epitomized during the 1964-1965
period when I was a research fellow. Jape and I were talking about it. We
talked about many things because we were doing dissections together on these
little animals--these baby fetus rats--to look at their hearts, so we spent many
hours [together]. While you were sitting there working under a microscope, you
talk about other things. I said, somebody ought to do some information about
Shands and the Health Center, the history. He said, yes, they certainly
should--you should do it. So, I went down and talked to the dean who said,
absolutely, I think it is a great idea. Whatever files we have, you can look
through. I contacted Dr. Poor and he said, he would be glad to come and talk to
me over a weekend and talk to Jefferson Hamilton and others. I started working
on this thing--the history of the new medical school. When I got all through with
it, I gave it to Jape to read. He was a very stern editor. He says he is not, but
he is. He read it and said, I am totally fascinated. You need to publish this.
To show you the type of man he is, he spent probably thirty or forty hours on this
manuscript with me and changed considerable parts to make it more readable. I
said, I am going to put you on as a second author because you have helped me
and I want your name on it. He said, absolutely not. That is your work. I am
not going to go on your work. My job is to do this with you. That is my job. I
am not going to go on that paper with you. That is the type of person he is.
Now, we did some other things together that we are both on. We wrote a
chapter in a book together on the genetic diseases of human beings. I took half
and he took half, and we did equal shares. So we are on that together. On
something that he did not participate heavily in, he would never [take credit for it].
That was the same way when research was going on in the department. Almost
routinely in academic medicine, the department chief gets his name at the end of
your paper because he is the chief--that is just a little nice thing that everybody
does. They do not have anything to do with it, except he may edit it and review
it very severely, but his name goes on it. Jape would never, never allow that.
P: Well, you made the decision, and you leave Shands and the University of Florida
B: So, I leave Shands and I go into practice as an internist and cardiologist in 1972.
In the mean time, we have bought this house, the Tigert House, where we are
now, 224 North University Ave.
P: Where did you get the money for this? You have not gone into private practice
B: We went to the bank and, interestingly enough, no bank would loan money for
houses in this area. They said, this will be a slum in five years and be bulldozed
down. Buildings and houses will be put here. We do not loan money here. It
was totally through a fluke that we got a loan to buy this house. The loan was
only for $25,000--we bought the house for practically nothing.
P: Whose house was this?
B: Well, originally it belonged to Parrish, M.M. Parrish's (one of Gainesville's
building contractors) uncle, I believe, not his father. But, the Parrish family built
P: I thought Parrish's father built it for himself to begin with.
B: It may have been Parrish's father or his uncle--might have been his uncle, I do
not know. In any case, they built the house, got into some financial difficulties
and sold it to some other group or couple--I do not remember. They rented it for
years and years [to the university], then it was sold to Dr. [John] Slaughter.
P: I think the house was only one year old when the Tigerts moved in.
B: It was very early.
P: When they came, the first house the Tigerts lived in was one out on Newberry
B: Well, it may have been very early because when this house was built--I think it
was 1929--the financial problems arose, somebody bought it and immediately
rented it to the University. They rented it for years.
P: Rented it, according to Mrs. Tigert [Mrs. John Tigert, wife of John J. Tigert, UF,
president, 1928-1947], to the Tigerts, not to the University. She makes that
point in her interview, on her tape.
B: I found a wonderful picture of him with his little cocker spaniel dog out front of this
house the other day.
P: She makes that very point that, we [the Tigert family] paid the rent.
B: We bought this house in 1970.
P: Who did you buy it from?
B: From a Colonel [John] Slaughter and his wife. He taught history and was a
military professor. His wife was quite wealthy, and this house was filled with the
most incredible array of antiques that she owned.
P: You know, he died last year and she is living in Clearwater [Florida] now.
B: Well, we came over and they really had not touched it for about fifteen years.
P: We went through the house when the Slaughters lived here. He was my
B: Well, he was an interesting man. He had a key for every lock and every
building, and he had them on this thing with them labeled. He was the ultimate
P: I cannot remember who the Slaughters bought the house from.
B: I have it written down. I may add that later, but I do not remember who they
bought it from. We bought it from them. Lamar Roberts, the neurosurgery
professor, had semi-retired and left the University and gone to Ocala. His wife,
Louise, was a real estate person--wonderful lady. She liked Mary--they were big
buddies. She was helping Mary look for an old house. She called Mary one
day and said, I have heard that the Slaughters are going to sell their house. It is
exactly what you are looking for. You want a big, two-story white house with
columns, right? In bad shape? Yes, yes that was what we wanted. That was
it. So we came over one afternoon and knocked on the door. There was no
for-sale sign. They came to the door, we introduced ourselves and said, we
understand that you might be moving and might be willing to sell your house.
He said, well, yes, we are. We have not even decided what we want for it or
anything, but yes, and we would certainly not like to go through a realtor. They
were frugal. They were very nice and kind. We talked for a little while and we
said, do you have any idea what you might want for it? She said, I do not know,
honey, whatever you say. We really do not need the money. He looked at it a
bit and said, Is thirty-five too much? We looked at each other. We did not
know what they meant. $35,000, $350,000 or what? We had been in
Washington, you see, and these houses up there in bad shape were $300,000.
We said, like what? He says, $35,000. We said, yeah, we will take it! Louise,
bless her heart, had a contract out in the car. We brought that thing in and put
in the amounts, and they took a second mortgage. Finally, after three attempts
with a bank, we borrowed the money. We kept going back to a bank called
Fortune Federal, and there was an elderly gentleman in there that had been a
bank president--he was now a greeter. We would go back and go through our
plea, and they would say, we will consider it to committee. Then I would call this
little young bank president who would say, I am sorry, [but] we are just not
loaning money over there. We cannot help you. We kept going back. We
figured, what the heck? We were really anxious to get it. We went to every
lending institution in town, and finally we went back. We went back the third
time and [a man who lived down the street here, Mr. Brookings] was out reading
by his little desk and said, hello, young people, how are you? Hope you are
going to do business with our bank. We said, actually, we are having a problem.
We cannot get a loan here. He says, what are you talking about? We said,
we want to buy the Tigert Home. [He said] Tigert Home? I know the Tigert
Home. I just live three doors down there. It is a wonderful place! Sure, we will
give you a loan. How much do you want? We said, we only want $25,000.
Oh, that is no problem at all. We said, we have been here three times and your
president, Mr. Brookings, said they are not loaning money there. [He said], what
do you mean not loaning money there? I live there. Come with me. So, he
took us in hand, knocked on the door of the young new president, and said, yes
sir, Mr. Brookings (he had been the former president of that bank for years) what
can we do? He said, I want to introduce you to these nice people that want to
do business with our institution. Of course, he did not remember turning us
down because we had been on the telephone. Thank you so much, we are
delighted to have you. A physician? We want physicians. He said, they need
a little loan on their house. He said, we can help them out. He said, it is a very
small loan, Charlie. It is only $25,000. It is the Tigert Home on 224 N.E. Tenth
Avenue. That is only three houses from where I live. He said, yes, but you
know we are not supposed to be loaning money over there. He said, what are
you talking about? Loan those people the money! Literally. And he said, yes,
sir, we will. That was the way we got the first loan on this house, believe it or
not. The Slaughters took a $10,000 mortgage.
P: But you needed money to rehab this house.
B: Well absolutely. We did not have a dime, and we lived in it empty, except for a
mattress on the floor, for about a year-and-a-half. We would have friends [stay]
in the living room.
P: Those poor five children just had a wonderful house to play in.
B: They played tennis in the living room.
P: They had plenty of room to run around.
B: Mary started restoring it, painting it and fixing it up. Every three to five years we
would refinance it and turn all that money back into it.
P: Let's get you back into private practice so that you become wealthy.
B: I was with a group called the Gainesville Medical Group [out at North Florida
Regional Medical Center]. It was a group of other physicians that I trained with:
John Andrews [John W. Andrews, Shands, UF, clinic instructor, 1959-1973] who
had been a chief resident at Shands; Dick Cunningham [Richard Wayne
Cunningham, UF, chief resident in Medicine, 1962-1973], who was chief resident
at Shands; and Mel Dace, who is still here. All three of those individuals are
P: Richard Cunningham is still here.
B: Yes, he is here but retired. [My other colleagues were:] Bobby McCollough
[Robert H. McCollough, UF, clinical instructor in Medicine, 1967-1972], who just
took over a position to head up the Hospice, medical director of Hospice, and
Bob Thoburn, who was a rhumatologist. We added two more: Homer Knizley
[Homer Knizley, UF, assistant preofessor and acting chief of Endocrinology,
1967-1973], an endocrinologist, and Bobby Slaton [Robert Slaton, specialist in
endocrinology]. So, [we were] a group of eight.
P: What was your position there?
B: Just in private practice. The hospital was just starting out, and we all took
[please finish thought].
P: Who built the hospital?
B: North Florida Regional was built by a group called Hospital Corporation of
America [HCA], which was out of Tennessee. There was a family of physicians
[that] decided to start building their own private hospitals so they could compete
in the market. Medicare and Medicaid were new at the time, this was in 1972,
and they made a very serious error which has come back to haunt us all.
Medicare and Medicaid had a very hard time talking to physicians in the AMA
and to government medicine. The truth was, the day the bill went through, all of
a sudden, there the doctors' incomes began to double. Up to that point in time,
a poor patient came in to see you [was never charged]. When they came to see
my brother, he never even sent them a bill. He said, why would I send him a bill
and waste the postage? They do not have the money. If they have the money,
they will bring me something back. My brother George, who thought it was just
terrible at first, changed his mind. All of a sudden, his salary doubled in six
months. It made it tasteful. The mistake that was made by Medicare early on
was [that] they paid 80 percent of what you charged, and they paid hospitals a
large per cent of what they charged.
P: Regardless of what they charged?
B: Regardless. So, what do you think happened? I mean, what happens every
year when you sit down to talk about your fee schedule? This is the process.
Nobody talks about these things, but I have been involved with it for years and it
really should be discussed. You have a $100-item, let's say it is for a stress test.
Medicare in going to pay 80 percent and the patient pays 20 percent, $20, right?
Come time to look at your scale for your review, say, we will go up 5 percent,
and somebody says, Medicare is going to pay 80 percent, so why don't we go up
6 or 7 percent? Whatever the traffic will bare. That is exactly what happened.
Consequently, hospitals' physicians' salaries and income began to tremendously
escalate. It was a very subtle, slow thing at first.
P: Then it became an avalanche.
B: Well, yes. What they should have done was say from day one, okay doctors, we
are going to have this program. You can be in or you can be out, but this is
what we are going to do. We are going to pay you 80 percent of $100 for this
procedure, and that is it. [They should have] set the price right then. [For
example, they should have said,] $90 is the price we are going to pay for a stress
P: But, you had too many doctors working on the arrangements and too many
pressures on Congress.
B: I know. It is a terrible problem. Now they have gone all the way around--the
pendulum has swung all the way back over and they have overreacted. Now
they are talking about saving $150 billion for Medicare and Medicaid. It is not
there anymore. They have tightened it down [so far that] you would not believe
P: Wait a minute now, let me get you back to North Florida. The hospital was built
by some private enterprisers who bought the land, built a hospital to compete
with Alachua, and they hired a staff.
B: Well, they hired a staff of nurses, not a staff of doctors.
P: Well, who was doing that? Who was running the hospital?
B: The hospital was being run by Hospital Corporation of America. They had a
board with physicians on it, but the board made policy decisions about patient
P: Are they outside of Gainesville?
B: No. The board [consisted of] local physicians. I was on the board for years.
They made policy decisions about the practice, cleanliness and running of the
hospital, not about the finances. We were given some information like the profit
margin, but we did not make any of what we charged.
P: How do the owners of the hospital get paid? Are they on the board?
B: No, the owners of the hospital--North Florida Regional--was the Hospital
Corporation of America originally, and, however, well the hospital does--whatever
profits it makes--goes to Tennessee to the HCA.
P: Do they supervise it to make sure that they are making a profit?
B: They supervise it to the extent that they hire an administrator who comes up and
reports to them every month. If they get into a problem and they start losing
money or going into the red, then they get rid of that one and bring another one
P: Are the investors on the board? Are they on the stock exchange?
B: Yes, they are on the stock exchange. Basically, they do it through an
P: He has nothing to do with the medical practices of the hospitals. Who does
B: There is a board within the hospital of physicians: a chief of staff, a chief of staff
in medicine and a chief of staff in surgery. The day-to-day running is done in
conjunction with the nursing service, which is hired by the hospital. None of the
doctors originally were hired by the hospital. There are some now, but none of
them originally were [hired by North Florida Regional]. The doctors make policy
decisions about medical care, and the nursing staff and the administrators, who
are hired by Hospital Corporation of America, run the hospital.
P: When you were first vice chief of staff and then chief of staff? What were your
responsibilities [in those positions]?
B: My responsibilities were to make sure the hospital ran, at least from the patient
care point-of-view, the way it should.
P: Were you paid a salary for that?
B: No, it was all voluntary.
P: When patients come in, patients that you tend to, do you bill them?
B: We bill them privately. The deal was that Hospital Corporation of America
bought this property; they, in turn, built the hospital; they, in turn, sold the park
called the Doctors' Park, or part of it, for doctors to build their offices. They kept
a big portion around the periphery, which they are building on now, and then the
doctors built their buildings at their expense. There was no money that flowed
from hospital to doctor back and forth at all. You did not pay rent or anything.
P: When the patient came in the hospital [for treatment how were they billed]?
B: They get two bills--a bill from the hospital and a totally separate bill from the
P: Is the physician limited on the amount that he can charge the patient, or is that
B: It is completely personal, but you cannot gouge. There is a range of
charges--the known charges are and what the recommended charges (by
P: Who pays the nurses?
B: The hospital pays the nurses.
P: But you control the nurses, obviously.
B: It is a joint effort. The physician and the head of nursing services together
control it. They have their own roles.
P: The hospital hires the nurses and pays the nurses.
B: They are from the hospital.
P: So, the physician and the head nurse work together and also the physician and
the other nurses. When you tell a nurse what you want her to do, she is
supposed to be doing it.
B: Well, the nurses have their roles in patient care and physicians have [theirs], but
they work together. They have different roles--that is the accepted standard
now. They are not your underlings or your slaves anymore.
P: As chief of staff, you had nothing to do with the cleanliness of the hospital?
B: You do in that if there is problem, you go to an administrator and say, the place is
not good enough. If there is a problem with the floor or you are having problems
with cleanliness or some of the employees on the floor, the chief of staff can go
to the administrator and to his colleagues and say, we have a problem. They will
respond very quickly because they do not what to get into a major [confrontation].
P: So the administrator handles the food, cleanliness, volunteers and all of that.
You, as a doctor, just come in, see your patients, and you walk out.
B: If things are not going well, you gripe to the right person.
P: You have another office you go to to take care of the other things.
B: You run over and make rounds early in the morning, go to your office, see your
patients, run back in the evening to see the sick ones and go home.
P: So, chief of staff was not a full-time job?
B: Minor, you spent a lot of time [doing chief-of-staff duties].
P: You are in private practice now. Where did you open an office?
B: We opened an office behind North Florida Regional Hospital. Initially, there was
a small building at Alachua General Hospital across the street. After North
Florida was built, about six months after I came on board, we moved out there.
P: When you say "we," you are talking about these other seven guys you are in
B: The Gainesville Medical Group.
P: Together you purchased property?
B: [We] bought the lot and put a building on it, and then a little later, [we put] a
second building on it.
P: Do you still own that today? Are you still part of that group?
B: No. I left the group ten years ago to get back on this side of town and to restore
an old house as a Victorian doctor's office.
P: Why did you do that? I mean, why did you leave the group? Was it a lucrative
B: Well, it was a lucrative operation, but I left for a variety of reasons. The
predominent reason was that I wanted to come back over here and try to see
how things would go independently on this side of town.
P: Have you been disappointed?
B: Oh no, not at all. It has gone extremely well. Of course, my colleagues thought I
was a little crazy and that the patients would not come over to a place on the
east side of Gainesville.
P: But they have.
B: Two of us made that decision at the same time, Dr. Marshall, an ophthalmologist,
[and I]. We are actually close friends, and my wife and Dr. Marshall's wife, Jean,
are close buddies. They wanted to do the same thing, and so they bought an
old house called the Doig House. He is an ophthalmologist and actually started
before we did. He was very nervous [and wondered if] this [would] be a
problem. He had an office over near Alachua General, and we did the same
thing right after that.
P: Are you nearing the end of your medical career?
B: Oh, sure, of course. Thirty-five years is a long time.
P: I just retired after fifty years.
B: I know. It is very hard, very grueling. At some point [I will retire]. I am now in
the process of trying to get one or two individuals to come in, and then I will
gradually move over. If I can, I want the move to be gradual. That is what I
want to do.
P: Why, are you tired?
B: Yes, I am tired. We are buying a place in Melrose.
P: Are you tired of this routine of getting up and going to the office every day?
B: Well, medicine has changed. I must say, it is not nearly either financially or
emotionally as rewarding because we fight constant battles with Medicare,
HMOs, Medicaid and third-party payers. The practices are just not the same as
they used to be.
P: You keep hearing about all of the paperwork that needs [to be done now].
B: The paperwork is onerous. I spend several hours a day doing nothing but
P: What about the insurance for malpractice?
B: Horrible, yes. Internal medicine is not as bad as surgery. When you do things
to patients that may harm them, the costs are unbelievable. They are still
extremely [high for internal medicine].
P: Would you say now in 1997 that this whole business of medicine is not as
exciting as it once was?
B: It is not nearly the same. The thing is, those individuals that are coming out in
practice now do not know what it was like before. When Gerry Schiebler and I
see each other, we look at each other and say, you know, we had the golden
years and we did not know it, back in the 1970s and 1980s. The golden years
meant that we were paid high salaries, we had absolute, total control of
everything--maybe that was good, maybe that was bad. There was not a lot of
governmental interference nosing around. Malpractice was almost unheard of.
It was just an extremely rewarding thing without a lot of tremendous hassle
except taking care of sick patients.
P: Is medical science still continuing to produce Jape Taylors?
B: Unfortunately, no. Not that there are not some very bright, very good, highly
motivated, fine physicians coming out of academic medicine, but they are more
of the grantspersons, grantsman-type physicians--grantsman bureaucrat, I call
it-- in my opinion. But, there are still some very fine physicians. In academic
medicine, the salaries there paid very much, maybe the same. I do not know
what they make. I know a starting out assistant professor like I was, making
$17,000 in 1970, now probably makes ten times that much in academic
medicine, I would suspect. So, the salary levels are very good. There will
always be those people who love to teach, and there will always be outstanding,
wonderful physicians who are very personable and whose patients love them.
There are plenty of those today, but it is a different world. The Jape Taylors are
what I call a dinosaur. That was another era.
P: It is 1997. Are you dissapointed with what you are looking at in the field of
B: The technology is so astounding. The new things, the new techniques and the
new ways of dealing [with] things are truly astounding and truly exciting. The
dealing with it--the administration of it--is very disconcerting and has physicians
as a whole, especially [those] in private practice, very disillusioned. What you
are going to see now, in my humble opinion, is that physicians are going to quit in
their early sixties instead of retiring at seventy and seventy-five. They used to
just slow down a little bit but would keep in it because they loved it and their
patients loved them. That is exactly what is happening. John Andrews, my old
partner [has retired]. Dick Cunningham, my old partner, has retired. Mel Dace,
my old partner, retired in his early sixties. Bob Thoburn, just barely sixty-one or
sixty-two has made the decision [that he] wants to retire in the next year or so. I
want to try to do it piece meal, and bring somebody in rather than just hanging it
up and quitting. After thiry-five years of doing this, many of the patients that I
have accumulated are not patients anymore--they are like family for gosh sakes.
You are new into the scene of my practice, but I have known you all these years.
I do not want just any old body to come in and take care of you. But, Blair
Reeves [Frank Blair Reeves, UF, professor of architecutre, 1949-1988], Roy
Hunt [E. L. Roy Hunt, UF, distinguished service professor of law, 1962-present],
and even people that I took care of as a resident at Shands, and I now take care
of their children who are now adults from Live Oak and other areas.
P: You are as bad as I am on the teaching. Children and grandchildren are
B: The same thing, exactly. I have people from Live Oak and Lake City that come.
I know everything about them. I know all the problems they have had, all their
terrible tragedies, the good things, and they know all about me. They all know
my kids and they say, how is Mark doing now? We have talked so many times
P: Let me ask you about something else. Mark Barrow is a multi-facseted person.
I want to talk to him about some of these other activies, involvements, interests
and enthusiasm. Let me start off by asking you how you became a historian.
B: I got interested in history because my parents were both very interested in it.
When I was a little boy, we used to go visit family members and learn about
family history. Mother and Dad would bring little things home from the old home
place up in Baker, an old jug, a tool or a hoe. We visited the log cabin, and we
learned about history of North Florida and our early ancestors and so forth by
word of mouth. Grandmother Colvin knew everything about everybody in the
Colvin family and loved to tell all about it. Mother wrote all of these things down
about the Colvin family and the Barrow family. When I was in school here, I took
some history courses that I always enjoyed, not the dates necessarily, but just
the field and concept. When I went into private practice, Mary and I got turned
onto historic preservation, which involves a lot of history on houses and things,
and she actually started [with it]. I was very busy in practice. She actually was
the founder of Historic Gainesville and on the founding board and very involved
with the Bonnet House project down in Fort Lauderdale that helped get the
Bonnet House for the state historic preservation group. We were just very, very
P: Are you a history reader?
B: I do a bit, but not avidly--not like you history professors do or like my son Mark
does. Every time one comes off the press, he quickly scans it, and if he likes it,
then he reads it in great detail. But, no, I do a lot of scan reading or a lot of
surveying. If it is something that I am particularly interested in [then I will read
P: Do you do a lot of magazine reading?
B: Yes, a lot of that. A lot of journal reading.
P: Because I see the publications you have in your office.
B: Yes, well, we bring those home after a month or two and look them over. I am
very picky and choosy. I am what is called a ripper and a tearer with journals
and things. When I see something I am interested in and like, I tear it out and
keep it. That is the way that I have amassed such a tremendous amount of
material on the history of Alachua County. I fell in love with Alachua County
when I was a student. I came down here from Okaloosa County, which is fine,
but it is very country, and was a small town of 10,000. The people are wonderful
people and I love them, but they are very conservative. They are close-knit,
very family-oriented. If you are in trouble they are very supportive. But, they
are fairly conservative-minded about international issues. They are very
colloquial--interested in what is going on there and not what is going on in the
world. I got down here and the atmosphere was totally different because of the
university, of course, or a big part of it. Very cosmopolitan. I love the area. I
love Paynes Prarrie. I love the Devil's Millhopper. I love canoeing on the Santa
Fe River and canoeing on the Suwanee. You are only a few miles from either
coast. I just started getting interested in history and talking to people about it in
the 1970s. I met Jess Davis, who was a postmaster. He really turned me on
[to history] because he had been avidly collecting material about Gainesville and
Alachua County since about 1955. He said, I have been looking for somebody
to take my place who will save all this material because I am getting tired and I
am quiting. He was saving newspaper articles and all these different things.
We struck a deal that he would turn all of that over to me, which he did. So, I
saved that, and he was very delighted. He was afraid it would be thrown away
when he died because when families start cleaning out things, they find all this
junk and they just pitch it. So we got all his material--scapbooks and stuff.
P: Mary started Historic Gainesville?
B: Mary is one of the founding members of that. I later got involved after a few
years and was president.
P: What turned her on to preservation?
B: We both got interested in historic preservation, her especially. It is interesting in
that we had some close friends who I had actually gone to school with--Sarah
Ridgeway from Crestview who married a flyboy from Eglin Airforce Base [Fort
Walton Beach]. They both came down here to school when I was here. His
name was Bob Morrison. When they graduated, I graduated from medical
school about the same time. Sarah and Bob were my dearest friends, and I
used to take all of my girlfriends over there to visit with them to get their approval.
This was when I was in medical school, in the second year or so. I would take
this one over and we would have dinner at their house, and they would say, I do
not know. I do not think so. I do not think this is the one. When I took Mary
over, after we had dated a while, she came up from Orlando to visit. We went to
meet Sarah and Bob. Sarah lights up. They are very much alike, and they just
hit it off from instant one. I no more got her back in the car to go to Orlando,
back to teach on Sunday, and they called and said, you have to come over here,
we have got something very important to talk to you about. I thought that there
was a problem or something and they said, this is the one. Do not screw this
up! This is it. You have got to do it now. This is it. So, they were close
friends. When they graduated, they both went back to Fort Walton Beach and
they bought this old ramshackle beach house. We went by to see it when we
were going up to NIH, and they were so proud of it. We are going to restore this
house. We thought, they are nuts! This thing is about to fall over. It was
leaning a little. When we came back two years later to visit with them, they had
restored it and it was stunning. Not gorgeous--stunning. It had been totally
re-done, landscaped, and it was beautiful. We said, we want to do that. While
we were up there, we had studied a lot about it and visited and looked at houses
in Washington and Georgetown. [We had] gone to Savannah and Charleston.
When we got back, Mary was hot to do an old house like her friend Sarah did.
Of course, it was not long after we bought the house until they came down and
visited. Her mother, sweet soul, Mary's dear mother Wilma Besalski, looked at it
real funny and said, well, this is going be a lot of work here, Mary. But, you
know, it would make a very nice funeral parlor. Actually, a black funeral
parlor--whatever that means. Mary and I teased her about that many times
since, because what I think she was saying is, you have a tremendous job in this
big old house here. But, Mary was ready and she was hot to do it and just
started learning about it. [She] got a little crew together, and then we decided
that it would be [a great value]. All these wonderful old houses are still very
good buys here, and in the meantime, I was watching prices go up around here.
I was watching [the value of] houses' go up every month. There had been a
stability for years and then it started just creeping up, so we made the decision
around 1976 or so. By then I was making very good money.
[There were] old, two-story Victorian houses in this area in the northeast historic
area as well as the southeast area. Every one that we could buy and borrow
financing [we did], and [then] she created a company called Victoria Restoration
that restores them. We were very young and very naive, and we did not realize
that if the bottom had fallen out on us we could have been in very serious
financial trouble. We were very optimistic, and restored these and started
renting them out. We did not know that there would be a demand for them.
They were building apartments like crazy all over, you know. But there was a
demand, so she has restored twelve or fourteen different buildings. She has
done it herself with a crew, but it is very hard. It is very difficult, and it gets
harder as you get older. It gets harder dealing with all the city codes and so
P: What about your office?
B: The office we had bought with my brother-in-law and his wife, Bob and Elaine
Besalski, and a friend of ours, Ed and Jan Baur.
P: This is Mary's brother.
B: Mary's brother.
P: What business is he in?
B: He is a minister, a First Lutheran minister, who just happened to settle here in
P: He lives here too? Her father was a minister?
B: Her father was a minister, and her brother, Bob, is a minister. He ended up
getting a call to Gainesville and came here thirty-five years ago.
P: I do not think I know him.