An interview with John and Karen Deming


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An interview with John and Karen Deming
Physical Description:
57 minutes
John and Karen Deming
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
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Subjects / Keywords:
Panama Canal


General Note:
Interviewed by Candice Ellis and Diana Dombrowski

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
PCM 028 John and Karen Deming 7-7-2011
PCM 028
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The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz Office Manager : Tamarra Jenkins Technology Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix 241 Pugh Hall PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 Phone 352 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, religious and intellectual life in Florida and the South In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists, and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, SPOHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when c onducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Oral history interview transcripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SP OHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the original oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim document of it. The transcript is written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interview ee; subjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a later final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelling corrections SPOHP transcribers ref er to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. October 2013


PCM 028 Interviewee: John and Karen Deming Interviewer: Candace Ellis and Diana Dombrowski Date of Interview: July 7, 2011 E: This is Candice Ellis on July 7 with Diana Dombrowski and John and Karen Deming talking about growing up and life in the Panama Canal Zone. So I guess you first generation? JD: I was first generation. I came to the Canal Zone in 1955 when I was twelve years old. My father had got a job down there. He was a magistrate there for, I guess, twenty years and then I stayed there until I was eighteen and went to college in the Stat es. I was there about six years KD: I was born in Gorgas Hospital in the Ancn Canal Zone in 1944. My parents met down there; they both went down as children but neither of them were born in the Canal Zone. I was first generation b orn there. So I lived there for eighteen years E: What kind of work did your parents do while they were there? KD: inte from Irvingt on, New Jersey and my grand father on my s side, he and his brother owned a plumbing business. I guess it was before World War II, probably somewhere in the JD: During the Depression.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 KD: During the Depression or rig ht after, they lost their plumbing business. It was out of work and it was a real struggle. He saw an ad in the New York Times looking for plumbers to work for the Panama Canal. So he answered the ad and they sent him a ticket, told him to bring a suitcase and told my grandmother and my mother my mother was an only child that he would let them know when they could come down. So six months later, they packed up just their clothing and ery similar story but it was earlier than that, and from Baltimore. My grandfather decided that he was a pipefitter he loved to fish in the Chesapeake and he wa nted to go to Panama and work and he heard there was good fishing. He took his four children the how they ended up there, and then my parents met down there. Yeah. E: The hospital you mentioned, which side was that on? KD: E: Okay. Did you guys do a l ot of moving back and forth between the Pacific and the Atlantic? KD: We did not, but my father had there were seven siblings, and his three sisters married people down there and they lived on the Atlantic side. Their husbands had jobs on the Atlantic side But the four boys were always on the Pacific side. E: So it was relatively easy to travel back and forth?


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 KD: Yeah. We thought it was a long drive, fifty miles. It was like, oh. We have to drive over there again. [Laughter] But back and forth to visit r elatives. E: What side were you on? JD: The Pacific side. My father was a judge there, and he would work on both sides. They had a judge on the Atlantic side and a judge on the Pacific side and then the district court judge. When the judge on the Atlantic side was on vacation, my dad could ride the train back and forth every day. KD: It was very easy to get back and forth, what we remember, because we had a good train system and a fai rly good highway. Fairly good. I mean, we thought it was good till we ca me to the United States on vacation. Then we realized [Laughter] yeah. DD: Did you come to the States very often? KD: If I remember correctly, the leave system was pretty much the way the military is r, but you could save it up. and then they would come up for the summer and stay with relatives. Everybody had a home of record somewhere in the United States, the Americans. We came to the States about every three years or four years for maybe two months, b ecause my dad and his father and his uncles I mean, his brothers all fished and they had to have their fishing time. Some families came every year for a month and took thei r leave. There were three ships that went back and forth. But


PCM 028; Deming; Page 4 United States, E: Was the Zone a bit isolated, did you feel? Is that why people were so excited to go to the U.S? KD: Yes, and you had so many relatives in the United States and very few relatives came to Canal Zone back then. It was very expensive to take a ship down. S o everybody looked forward to going back and seeing sometimes it was your grandparents. One time it was my grandparents were living in California for a while. To see, maybe, cousins from the other side, yeah, and to shop. We relied on whatever the commissa but it was pretty much operated like a military base. We called the commissary P.X. Sears catalog big time. Right, John? JD: Yeah. KD: Everybody in the Canal Zone knew when the Sears catalog was being delivered. [Laughter] E: What would you say you missed most about not being able to shop? Was it just being able to go out and buy clothes, stuff like that?


PCM 028; Deming; Page 5 KD: I think once I became a teen ager it was the shoes and the clothes, because we all pretty much got magazines. There was always Good Housekeeping and Seventeen Magazine all the kids in the States were wearing, and the shoes and we were very limited, but we would take JD: Piece work, I guess you could say it was. KD: The women in Panama, the Panamanians, made most of their clothing. So we could take a picture out of Seventeen Magazine or any magazine of something, and go find the fabric in a store in Panama or the commissary also had fabric just take it to a dressmaker made if we could find the fabric. But we were always in awe of what the kids in shoes. You gotta buy whatever you could buy and stay within your budget. E: Well that sounds very crafty. How about differences maybe in hou sing as far as the U.S. versus Panama? Was there a lot of cooperative housing in Panama living together, or was it more single family homes? KD: A lot of cooperative housing. There were also a lot of single family, but a lot of families, a lot of new emplo yees started out in twelve family housing, four family


PCM 028; Deming; Page 6 always taken care of: there was JD: Actually, we came down my dad had a Congressional appointment as a judge and we got a single family home. Quite frankly, I felt some resentment from othe family home. So you just kinda got through that. KD: ing as you do these interviews because there were a lot of different areas where people lived. Some of the areas were isolated; there might have only been a twenty minute car drive away, but that was a long distance back then. They all had their own little sub colonies, I should say. But the interesting part about the housing was you were assigned housing depen ding on your years of service and how many children you had. JD: And the number of boys and girls. KD: Number of boys and girls, right: who was living in the household with you. It did have to do with your rank and file, so to speak. If you were a Congress ional appointment like his dad was or you had a high level job well, that would be a government appointed job lower level. Like for instance, my father was an electrician, which was considered


PCM 028; Deming; Page 7 blue coll ar. There could have been a family living right attached to us that was white collar, or, next door. It all had to do with the year of service. Some people came down and they were already in their twenties; my father started right out of high school as an apprentice. It all had to do with your years of service and your children. If you only needed a two bedroom house or apartment another bedroom. But if it was grandparents lived with us, so that kind of gave us an extra bedroom when we moved. And they wo uld post it, I think it was every month, on the wall of the post office a certain date. Everybody was looking to m ove, and they wanted to move. They would go to see what was available, what was coming up as people moved lot about how live on that street and I want to live in that house. Now, there was a chance that that could h appen if it all worked out. E: eemed that there was a lot of moving and even between the Atlantic and Pacific side, a lot of moving just based on what your job called for. KD: In some cases there were, because I have classmates that started out on the Pacific side and then graduated fro m the high school on the other side and vice


PCM 028; Deming; Page 8 versa. None of my close friends that I associated with moved like that, but there was a lot of that. But the Atlantic side was a much smaller area than the Pacific side, so the majority of the people lived on th e Pacific side. E: more spread out, more rural? I know that the Pacific side has Panama City. Did that make it more lively? KD: Yeah, I believe we had a lot more to do on th e Pacific side. JD: KD: were a ve ry, very close group of people because they were really it was like a subdivision or a development the way that we have here, kind of isolated, and everybody who lived there pretty much worked for a certain part of the canal because the dredging division w and they had a movie theater and they had a commissary and they probably had a teen club, a swimming pool, and I think they had a golf course. E: Did they have a high school? KD: No. JD: No, there was only two high schools.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 9 KD: part, but off the record... JD: KD: When I grew up there, well, it was segregation until the [19]60s. I was gone in [19]62, but the re was a town cal led Para s o, and it was right near Flores Locks. They were non U.S. employees, Panamanians or JD: From the islands. KD: From the islands. They had housing for them. So they worked for the Panama Canal, but they were considered they were segregated. They had a high about, well, where did the kids who lived -? Because it was quite a big community, actually, but they were all kind of by themselves. I was living i n Miami and I was taking golf lessons and this guy next to me had a sticker on his car. I was getting my golf clubs out, he was just leaving, and it was a black man, and I what di d I say to him? He graduated about the same time I did. I said, did you graduate from Balboa High School or Cristobal High School? He just looked at me, says, I graduated from Paraso High School. I was so it just never because we had football games and we had baseball games and we had all the


PCM 028; Deming; Page 10 have no idea if they just played each other. JD: interview s. E: a little interested in is, of course, the racial tension in the area and just how stateside politics were affecting mo vement and all that led up to it and how that was playing out in Panama and the Zone at the time. JD: t forget there was that set of kids. KD: Yes. JD: Every two years they would come and go. KD: Two years or three years. We did have some Panamanians that went to our school. They paid tuition to go to the American schools, right? But that was JD: They were usually the wealthy Panamanians.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 11 KD: Para so, I remember remember, John? I came home that day I said, I have no JD: I worked construction I always worked when I was in before I went to got a job in construction. I made fifty cents an hour and I was the only white person working constructi on. And they were giving me a hard time: I was taking the fifty cents an hour from somebody else. I said, well, I want to work, too. I worked with a young man from Paraso when the housing developments was being built in, I guess, La Boca. He and I all sum what only white kid there, they kind of pushed me a little bit to see ho w hard I could work. After about a week, they figured out I was serious. [Laughter] They gave as a kid. I grew up as a teenager down there. I was there six years and left. It wa s a great six years, learned a lot. Learned stuff I would never have learned otherwise, but I knew about this. KD: But there was never any tension. It was just a matter of fact, I guess. The people that lived in Paraso were absolutely thrilled they were working for the Panama


PCM 028; Deming; Page 12 Canal Company. They were very happy living there than trying to make it in Panama City, because Panama was not as prosperous as it is today. JD: hose people had good there. KD: They had good jobs, they had good benefits. But it was just a different time. JD: Two different worlds. KD: the [19]60s. JD: But if you Google American language newspapers in Panama I was doing that for some reason last week silver you know, because white people were paid gold E: The gold and silver, yeah. JD : I think it might have even been called The Silver Newspaper. stumbled across it. E: lly left the Zone? JD: I graduated in 1961 and went to college in Nebraska.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 1 3 E: Okay, and then KD: I left in [19]62 and went to Nebraska. E: Okay, so it was before those riots, which I knew kind of changed the entire KD: Yeah. Yeah. It was before that. E: Yeah, okay. JD: There were a couple when we were still there. E: Yeah? KD: t involve the Canal Zone at all, but the university students would JD: Would be in Anc KD: Yeah, right on the border. Bu t it was escalating. JD: It was part of my education. been down there. KD: But it was an American colony. We never locked our doors, we never locked our cars, there was nothing stopping a Panamanian from co ming over the line, driving up our street, parking. There was never a problem. The military bases all


PCM 028; Deming; Page 14 itself, it was wide open but it was I guess just everybody had maids. The maids came on buses. JD: We could walk in anywhere we wanted in Panama, too. KD: Yeah, it was very safe. JD: E: JD: But when we were kids, we could go any and my father, being a judge, probably put a lot of people in jail over time. He was there a long time and KD: I used to get on a chiva, the bus, and go take riding lessons in Panama. I was w where to Panamanians and live chickens. It was just JD: The way it was. KD: Yeah, just the way it was. And nobody was fearful. Nobody was, no. It was just a great I would do it all over again. E: there? KD: Very good, very good.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 15 JD: Actually, I got an excellent high school education. I was very lucky to get that education. E: Which one of the two high s chools did you attend? JD: The one in Balba. E: Okay, which was on JD: The Pacific side. KD: s degree, I would guess. JD: KD: The y were very well educated, the teachers that came down. E: Did you go to Balba as well? KD: Mm hm. E: Did you guys participate in that? JD: [Laughter] E: No? You can watch. JD: I did do that.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 16 KD: My only participation was twirling the baton. [Laughter] E: KD: Not the extracurricular sports, but even in the we all had to take sports and every six weeks it changed. All four years of high school. JD: You had to play basketball, track, touch football KD: Field hockey. Every six weeks it was a different sport, and including six weeks of If you lucke d out and got swimming first period in the morning and back in our day you girls all wear your hair and you just can let it dry and you wear it long or whatever. But no, we all slept in rollers all night and whatever. So if you had swimming first period a nd your bathing cap leaked, the rest of your day was ruined. [Laughter] E: students? KD: Yes, a lot of sports, extracurricular and big sports was very very popular. E: And besides that, how would you describe an average Saturday night for a high school student growing up there? KD: Lucky for us, best thing is remember now but they built a teen club for us. It was a good size and it served


PCM 028; Deming; Page 17 snacks and it was always all the music and jukebox and all that. Of course, it was never any drinking, and smoking was probably the worst thing back then. I mean, had curfews. rive until we were seventeen there. The movie theater was cheap; everybody went to the movies. Not only that, but it conditioning. JD: And no T.V. There was T.V. towards the end when we left, but KD: a few miniature golf places and a few l ittle nightclubs. E: That would be fun. Was it easy to have a part time job there as a high school student? JD: knew somebody who knew somebody who got a contractor to hire me. I do think the contractor really wanted to hire me; they worked me pretty hard the first few days to see if I was serious. KD: Babysitting, It was a spouse of an employee in Curund. She wa s working on her PhD in archaeology. She had an area in Panama that she was involved in the


PCM 028; Deming; Page 18 excavation, so she built this place. It was sort of in the jungle; we would get cov ered area. She would bring the stuff the stuff on the map of where it was when she found it. Julie and I would have to did that one summer when we were maybe sixteen. That was lucky to get that job. JD: That was actually one thing that was KD: It was very hard to, because JD: You go to the beach all summ sun. [Laughter] KD: A lot of kids came stateside in the summertime. People would be gone, and everybody had maids and the Pan Canal Company itself, they paid people to wash well, we had someone that wash JD: They paid to cut the grass. KD: your house. You paid for that, but it was very, very ch


PCM 028; Deming; Page 19 any jobs available. Babysitting was the big thing, and maybe lifeguarding in like the pools in the army bases and stuff, navy bases. Some guys were caddies at the golf course, ushers at the movie theater. There were a few jobs, but not very many. Once you graduated from high school, you could get a summer job working in the administration building. I did do that that summer, and then when I came back after one year of college. JD: Oh, I forgot. I worked in a newspaper down there one time. KD: So yeah. There were JD: In Panama, I worked at an English language newspaper for one summer. I made him up and ask him if I could have the job the second sum mer, so he hired somebody else. But I got to do that. KD: You really had to search for the jobs. You really did, and know somebody. Yeah. E: How were holidays celebrated? Is there anything distinctively different from maybe Christmas I know a lot of people did that. Just any little story like that of how the people in the Zone created their own version of Christmas or their own Christmas KD: Well, we always had a July 4 parade. Of cours e, back then, firecrackers were allowed so w e were always burning ourselves. [Laughter] Even the parents


PCM 028; Deming; Page 20 looked forward to July 4 so they could blow up these things. I remember my dad would what was it called? He would light this thing. It was like an ince nse stick. DD: A punk stick? KD: What did you call it? JD: A sparkler? KD: Yeah, a punk stick. It was called a punk stick and we would just keep it lit, and on there and kind of wild and crazy. Christmas was always everybody lit up their house. anything that looked like snow or anything. It was always tropical. Christmas was a big thing, and everybody was waiting for the shipment of trees. Of course, by the time they reached Panama and the commissary had them for sale, half the needles were missing already anyway. We used to jok e that you could hear the needles falling on the tile floor. [Laughter] All night long. So by the time Christmas was over, the trees were so dry that the bonfires were fantastic. They had gangs that would go around to all your neighbors and t you the tree. S o the gangs would go out there and they would collect the tre try to find someone who did have a garage or someplace where you could hide the trees be cause everybody was stealing the


PCM 028; Deming; Page 21 trees from everyb ody else because e verybody wanted to have the largest bonfire. It was a big to do: whole neighborhoods would, when they were going to light the bonfire, everybody had their marshmallows and their hotdogs. As soon as they got the fire down to where they cou ld cook the food, everybody fixed their hotdogs and marshmallows, parents and kids. It was a big to do. JD: That was a special night. KD: That was special. JD: Actually, another time clothes. Just before school every year, t [Laughter] KD: Everybody all had the same shoes and the same thing. Mm hm. Thanksgiving, I eople did but I had so many relatives. My dad, there were seven children; my mother was an only child but there were just cousins and we do. If the turkey you were gonna cook was really too large to cook in your oven -our clubhouse was the central restaurant; it had the pool and the movie theater. They would cook it for you. They would just tell you what time to come pick it up, and my dad would go pick up the turkey and bring it home.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 22 E: KD: Yeah. JD: It was really a big military base. You hit the nail on the head. We were in the thing [Laughter] KD: The Canal Zone ran a lot like a military base. School supplies JD: They all showed up at the same time. KD: arochial school up through sixth grade and then I school; the parochial school was part of the Canal Zone. We must have paid inimal or whatever. But there was a week that the commissary had school supplies in, and you went and they had this special building that was huge. In it were rows and rows of packages, all the school supplies that you would a Elementary, for the junior high, and high school, whatever. And e verything was already sealed and wrapped in brown paper. And you went and you just got your package. You would paid for it, and when you got home you opened it up and then all your school s upplies were already packaged for you. DD: KD: Yeah, so it was very, very regulated. Everything was regulated.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 23 JD: You had to behave yourself or if you misbehaved, your parents would be shipped out of the country. E: Did you hear about that happening to anybody? JD: Yes. KD: Nobody that I JD: Not while we were there, after the riots. KD: story was that he stole something from the commissary. My guess is he ha d ship you out. But by the end of the week, they were gone. Gone. Oh, yeah. E: Do you know what he was stealing? Or he was just JD: E: KD: problem with him and no one knew it, and all of a sudden they said, okay, this is it. JD: hen kids get into trouble. To this day, some adults will come up to me and say, your dad changed my life. Because what he would


PCM 028; Deming; Page 24 do when a young man got in trouble, he would say, you can either go to jail or you can join the military. And the ones who joine d the military got straightened KD: But there was not a lot of problems down there. E: What would you say the most common crime would be in the Zone? JD: I would just say juvenile delinquency. E: Yeah, just kids being kids? JD: Kids being kids, but a little bit too far. KD: JD: stories. [Laughter] No major crime. KD: No major, no. JD: No gangs or anything like that. E: Okay. What was it like leaving the Zone? To come back to the United States and go t o college and do that, was it difficult?


PCM 028; Deming; Page 25 KD: Probably harder for me than John because I left I was the oldest, and so I left and my father died when I was sixteen. I was the oldest so I kind of was that down there to help. My States -and then of course, John was in college for eight years; we got married while he was in college -My mom had moved to Florida and my family was all in Florida then. But it was hard when everybody was still there, my sister and my brother and my mom and aunt, something then you would call, but all the phone line s were under the ocean cables and i there was this big, long delay and then my mother would answer. So you just said what you had to say real quick and got expensive. So most of it was through the mail, and it would take a week or more have the communication that you have now. Now, you can practically go on a cell phone call for nothing. I e mail clas smates in Panama all the time but w have any of that. That was the hardest because from other people our age you were just cut off from the communication. E: And that w as more about your family than a connection to the physical places.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 26 KD: Yes. But that would also draw people back there. They would get their education to go back there. ople went back after college and they stayed till they retired. Their parents retired and moved while they were still there, and then they there. JD: one back. KD: Oh, well. E: JD: treatment plant. KD: Well, plus he was JD: KD: That was my only home. I was born there. I s till feel that I mean, home my most of my relatives are buried there and E: Home. KD: Yeah.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 27 E: Do you get to visit often? KD: No. JD: Yes. We go back probably eve ry three or four years. KD: I would go back more often. same anymore. E: abandoned. Yeah. KD: we took our da ughter. This was seven years ago. Took her and her husband and her two little girls and we went back. I was so excited: took her on a tour, took her by all the houses I lived in that I could find, and I said, it looked better than this. But it still looked like the houses, and I was telling her all kinds of We toured just the Canal Zone that day, pointing out everything: that was where the commissary was, da da da da da da. all these places where I lived and how old I was and moved here and this and that and whatever? Tears started running down her face. First I thought, oh,


PCM 028; Deming; Page 28 growing up. [Laughter] She never experienced that way of life growing up and, of JD: They were a mess. [Laughter] KD: was just the difference. I mean, if you both went down there today after these interviews and you hear about how wonderful and everything and you go down, JD: to be, so be it. -KD: All the palm trees from about here downward were always painted white. The military base was that way and the Canal Zone. We had streets with just nothing but the real tall palms just lining the streets. JD: Royal palms, yeah. KD: If one of the palm fronds fell, oh, by the end of the day somebody had picked it up and carted it away. Now, stuff just lay s there until


PCM 028; Deming; Page 29 JD: It is what it is, you know? KD: It is what it is. JD: It was time for the Americans to move on. CE : Where were you when that transfer occurred? Did you watch it on the news? JD: KD: We tended to fol low it. JD: My parents were still down there and my brother was down there. I was going to Argentina about that time. KD: [19]79? JD: No, I was out of Argentina by then. KD: that information. JD: KD: changing. My sister went down for the last high school graduating class of 1999, and she said that w as very, very interesting. No, we were both pretty much out of there by the early [19]60s except for coming back.


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 0 E: JD: just gone through Vietnam and the terrible times in Vietnam. This was starting KD: The riots of [19]64 I can totally understand and I can understand both sides. The Americans living in the Canal Zone including my family, everybody, they felt that this was our territory. That was our country. JD: My father felt that way. KD: nk that we all felt like the Canal Zone was our country. We were all very, very, very patriotic to the American flag. I mean, even though most of us never even lived in the United States, we really were allegiant. JD: KD: Oh, gosh. Yes. I can understand where things got heated up when they wanted their flag flying first and this and that. DD: So that was the tension. KD: That was the tension. The young, they saw it as their country. It was their country, and they wanted looking over the fence. It was their


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 1 hope it continues. JD: A lot of them were educated in this country. A lot of them go to school with you guys. [Laughter] KD: time goes on. JD: I tease some people. I say, a good model for this place is the veterans of the Civil War, society. It has an ending. E: Well t alive. JD: I know that. E: JD: Well, I personally think that I had a wonderful education. I learned about different cultu six years down here. KD: there digging the canal, but if you have, ry fascinating. from the beginning and then you go to the riots and then you go to when


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 2 E: Fr KD: Mm E: ing story, definitely. DD: I have one more question before we start wrapping things up. Did you both meet in high school or college? KD: High school. JD: Well before, a ctually, before high school. I got proof. [Laughter] We knew each mall place. KD: Yeah, because a lot of the kids took ballroom dancing. You had to learn how to dance. [Laughter] That was the thing. E: Good sport. KD: And sports, yes. JD: KD: And then we were in Spanish class together, b dating or anything until high school. JD: eight years this year?


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 3 KD: Forty eight years in a couple weeks. E: DD: KD: because our JD: We have a different story. KD: We left before. I was gone by [19]62. JD: I talked my brother and his wife into they were down there when it was difficult. We kind of convinced them to come to the States. We helped them when they got here, you know? E: Well, everyone has a different story and a different perspective. JD: be interested in it. KD: Well, n o, I just brought this because this is more of a personal thing, but this is known for a fishing boat. F ishing was always that part of my growing up. DD: KD:


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 4 JD: KD: And my grandfather. He went down with the boys, and then they built a boat and they fished and worked. E: a big fish. KD: They worked th JD: one uncle been a w orld record. DD: Okay wow. Is that him? KD: DD: JD: Guy Harvey wrote a book about it. DD: KD: e a lot of books about the Panama fishing in there. That was a big to do. JD:


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 5 KD: My one uncle, the four boys well, the oldest one, really he worked okay. My e canal. The mule back then was attached to the ship with cables and they pulled the ships through the canal. had to be measured before they can enter the canal, make sure that they were not too large. My dad was an electrician, and then his other brother ran the gas station, the one who got the one arm and one leg. We had one gas station, and that was. They repaired cars there and he ran the gas station. But they really fished. [Laughter] It was like, okay. DD: KD: That was their life. So anyway, life was great down there. It really was. DD: Sounds idyllic. KD: gonna be here through tomorrow? JD: E: then head back up to Gainesville. KD: for a long, long time. This group of people are the closest


PCM 028; Deming; Page 3 6 are just incredible, just the closeness. ery close group of people. DD: That sounds great. [INTERRUPTION IN INTERVIEW] JD: Thank you guys for listening to us. E: No problem, thank you guys. That was great. [END OF INTERVIEW] Transcribed by: Jessica Taylor, December 19, 2013 Audit Edited by: Liz Gray. January 8, 2014