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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
Being interviewed: James Robert Crane --(C)
410 N.E. 13h Avenue 58 years old
has lived in the Gainesville area
for twenty years.
Interviewer: Shors, Woodworth & Fiaser--(I)
I: Mr. Crane, where were you born?
C: In Quincy, Florida.
I: About how far is that from here?
C: A hundred and fifty miles, about .
I: Is there .?
C: Just around Tallahassee, about a hundred and sixty-five miles, I think.
I: What do you like about the town--that town?
C: You mean Gainesville .
I: That town.
C: Uh, Quincy?
C: Well, first I lived there till I was in the vicinity--until I
was nineteen years old and it is a great deal like Gainesville, it's
inland, and my parents was born there so I have a lot of history there
and I relish this together with the fact that my boyhood days were
very happy in that little country town where I lived. My two sisters
lived. one in Tallahassee and one in Chatah----- now.
I: Okay, what were childhood games--your favorite ones, and how you play-
C: A lot of childhood games Mark, were work when I was a boy. There wasn't
as many games that were important as getting' out and work, but I'm sure
that every boy had a rare game to likin' I would prefer baseball,
over anything. And of course, we played it with as little as three
men on each side and everything else in the little schools I went to.
But baseball was our favorite sport to past time.
I: Can you tell a little bit about the school that you went to?
C: Yes, I started to school in a little private school, and that's the
only school that you'd get except the very crude country schools taught
by a Presby terian minister's daughter and this was located in the town
of Chatah---- and I think this was the year of nineteen hundred and ten,
because I was nearly eight years old due to the fact that we had not
lived where my parents wanted us to go to school. I attended this pri-
vate (and I have a twin brother, incidentally) we attended this private
school for two years and then we started in public school in the fourth
grade and that was in the same time as Chatah----- .
I: Oh, Okay. A lot of kids have-heroes, like the president, some president
or like Micky Mantel or Babe Ruth,(Bart Start) somebody like this .
who would you say your childhood hero was?
C: Well, actually, I'll tell you about a song that my sister used to sing
say well, as a fact my uncle was a railroad engineer, but to-have
anybody it would have been Casey Jones, because of my love
for railroads. This was a railroad junction area and my uncle work-
ed on the railroad and I had a great fascination for it. Other than
than that as a hero, I suppose it would have been a young man who went
off to world war I,(just a little older than myself), who was about the
best local picture in the place, and I was actually glad to see him
going in the service 'cause then I could pitch for the little ol'
team that was there playing ball. But as a name, I thought the story
of Casey Jones and the railroad-life men were great heroes.
I: Okay, you're in the car business right now, but can you remember the
very first car you had?
C: Well, it was a nineteen fourteen model ford. We bought it used in
nineteen sixteen; it had a brass radiator and all brass knobs and
we were completely unacquainted with a car except the fact that other
people had them, so when my father bought it, he said'there it is,'
and we got in and cranked it up and in less than an hour I run it in-
to a tree, but I straightened it up and managed to get home with it
late that nite. And the next car we had after that along with several
others, was a Four cylinder studebaker. That's the first
real nice car we had and it was a 1917 model.
I: Uh, can you tell me just about what cars cost theN?
C: Uh, Yes. I think I can remember, however I was just a kid and my fa-
ther negotiated a lot. It seems to me that this used ford that we
bought, we paid like four hundred dollars for it. I know the new
s tudebaker sold for in access to seven fifty and my father did
some trading we put probably in hard money about six hundred
and fifty dollars. But to give you an idea in proportion to things
it was not unusual that a man could have bought a forty acre farm
wihh some kinda house on it for six or seven hundred dollars. So in
relation to dollars, it costs five or ten thousand dollars for
depending on what kind of farm you might trade it for.
I: Okay, what was your first job and what did you do .
C: Well I went to work early in life cause in the railroad sections that
that we worked, well I was at home and then I had chores
the right thing to do. The first paid job I ever had that
I can remember uh, was when they were building a new school house--
and I got a job as a boy. Now you've heard this, but truly this
is the first job that I've ever had. It was a boy. And my mo-
ther was along because this boy's mother had made him stop because
they'd started building the second story and they had to carry wa-
ter up on the second floor. But uh, I was rather nimble and was
anxious to work so I took the job as a watbr boy, and building the
local schoolhouse there. I worked at that until the schoolhouse was
finished, which was several months.
I: How big was that schoolhouse?
C: I would say it was a building in dimensions. I remember how many
rooms it had very well. It had four downstairs and three upstairs.
And the upstairs all have the the so-called auditorium,
or study-hall. The building was probably fourty by seventy fire.
It had a porch around it. It's very odd today for a schoolhouse
to have windows in it two feet up and down stairs, just a little;'ol
I: Okay, um, what is your view of things today?
C: You mean generally? Just--
I; Just generally, yeah.
C: Oppomistic or Pessimistic--which I would say? I'm optimistic. 'Cause
to be pessimistic is, you know, there's no progress in it in
being pessimistic. I am cautious and I think that a good amount of
cautiousness is very necessary anytime because it's very easy to get
going just a little faster than we can properly spare our economy,
our social behaviour or anything else. As far as what will core
of America, it'll turn out just as good as it ever has because
somebody'll find the right thing to do and do it. On that--that
outlook, I'm optomistichworld in America will cure whatever ills
they have by effort and devoted most dedicated to the ac-
complishment. People 'bout as good as they can have to be and
they're bad as they can afford to be in dollars and.cents -. And
for that reason people have to get a little better 'cause it's get-
ting too expensive not to be.
I: Okay, thank you.