Interview with Clarence Minters, 2014 July 31

Material Information

Interview with Clarence Minters, 2014 July 31
Minters, Clarence ( Interviewee )
Taylor, Jessica ( Interviewer )
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
Oral history interview


Subjects / Keywords:
Tidewater Main Street Development Project
Spatial Coverage:
United States of America -- Virginia -- Mathews


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To access audio version of this interview, click the Downloads tab at the top of the page.

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Source Institution:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Holding Location:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
Resource Identifier:
TMP 048 Clarence Minters 7-31-2014 ( SPOHP )


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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 241 Pugh Hall Digital Humanities Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 35 2 846 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 acc ounts 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, S POHP recommends that researchers refer to both the transcript and audio of an interview when conducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Suggested corrections to transcripts will be reviewed and processed on a case by case basis. Oral history int erview t ranscripts available on the UF Digital Collections may be in draft or final format. SPOHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the ori ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript i s written with careful attention to reflect original grammar and word choice of each interviewee; s ubjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and form at I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information abo ut SPOHP, visit or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. May 2015


TMP 048 Inte r viewee: Clarence Minters Interviewer: Jessica Taylor Date: July 31, 2014 T: This is Jessica Taylor interviewing Clarence Minters on July 31 at noon in 2014. Mr. Minters, can you please state your full name? M: Clarence Lawrence Minters. T: Okay, and when were you born? M: In April, [19]47. T: Okay, and where were you born? M: T: occupations? M: larence Henry Minters. T: What did they do? M: My mother was a housewife, and my father worked for the civil service. T: Okay, that sounds great. Did you have any brothers or sisters? M: Yeah, I have two brothers. T: Two brothers. Are they older or young er? M: Younger.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 2 T: M: Mm hm. T: M: . l remember. Five years old, about. T: What do you remember about that time? M: I remember when I was five, playing marbles and hide and seek, and waiting for the year to go by so I could start school. [Laughter] T: M: Start school? T: So you were excited for school. M: T: Oh, okay. M: Yeah, I was waiting to start school, first grade. That was a big thing, you know, first time away from home and first time with a whole bunch of kids. [Laughter] T: [Laughter] Okay. So what school di d you go to in 1953? M: Thomas Hunter School in Mathews. T: Right, yeah, okay. What was that like?


TMP 048 Minters; Page 3 M: [Laughter] what it was like. Normal going to school; same as everyone else I guess. T: What did your first grade classroom look like? M: some kids, thirty one kids . somehow we got through the grade. 1953. A lot of kids. T: Yeah. Do you remember anything about your teachers? M: My teacher w as my next door neighbor, in fact. [Laughter] Lived right across the road from me. T: Wow. M: Yeah. Yeah. T: Wow. What was that relationship like? M: I learned my A, B, Cs, zero to nine, add, subtract, and multiply, and divide. [Laughter] Like everyone el se. T: Yeah. I was just thinking since your teacher was your neighbor, maybe your parents knew your teacher or maybe you knew her before you went to school, that kind of thing. M: Yeah, I used to see her going to work and everything, but remember. I was five years old, the year before I started. T: Mm hm. What was she like?


TMP 048 Minters; Page 4 M: T: Okay. All righ t. Okay. So you went to Thomas Hunter. Did you graduate from Thomas Hunter? M: Yep, in 1965. T: Can you tell me about your graduation? M: We had a small class, fourteen people. One four. All the classes were small. T: Were your parents proud? M: Say agai n? T: Were your parents proud? M: I got parents? Say that again about the parents? T: Oh, I just asked if your parents were proud when you graduated. M: Oh, yeah! [Laughter] Yeah! Absolutely. T: So tell me about the house you grew up in. M: Two story farmhouse. It was built . I think it was built early 1900s or late 18 . She was born in 1899 T: Okay, so it was built by your family. M: Yeah, as far as I know. The only place


TMP 048 Minters; Page 5 T: Okay. M: . Two memories? I mean, I remember living there, I remember growing up there. T: Well, for exam ple, do you remember Christmas in your house, or playing in the yard, anything that would have happened maybe the doctor coming by, things like that. M: Who coming by? T: The doctor. M: [Laughter] T: M: T: I was just asking if you had any specific anecdotes about your house, like maybe your mom cooking a big meal, or Christmas, or M emorial Day, parties. M: We had all that warm, fuzzy feeling stuff, yeah. Christmases, meals, homecomings and all that. Just the normal stuff. T: Homecomings, you said? M: Yeah, in the summertime, the churches used to have this a homecoming. [inaudible 9:02] Folks who lived away come home for the summer.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 6 T: home? M: knew down in Norfolk. They would stay with us or stay with other members of the family over the weekend. T: Okay. How long would that last? So it just the weekend? M: Yeah. T: M: d what they call homecomings. The Zion Church was the second week in August. First Baptist was the first week in August; Antioch was, I think, the same second week. Anyway, they had what they call homecoming week during the summer, just for the weekend. T: Okay, so what would you do during that weekend? M: What would I do? T: Well, what would anyo ne that was celebrating homecoming do during that weekend? M: Oh, they just meet and greet and talk and have some dinner, and, you know, the regular get together. T: M: Homecoming?


TMP 048 Minters; Page 7 T: M: T: have one that you g o to? M: another community, yeah. T: Interesting. So these are people that left to go to Norfolk for work or something like that? M: No, these were relatives that lived in other p laces, and get together once a summer. T: Interesting. Okay. Okay, great. So what about Christmas? Did relatives get together for Christmas? M: traveling cost But otherwise, it limited the tra vel time Yeah, believe it or not, Mathews is normal just like every other Mathews or every other place in the world. [Laughter] T: Well, you know, I mean, to a certain extent, but just getting your perspective on it is really important. M: Huh. T: Believ childhood or high school? Did you play any sports?


TMP 048 Minters; Page 8 M: Played basketball, volleyball, regular sports. T: M: Went to college. T: you go to college at? M: Virginia State in Petersburg. T: Okay, great. Great. What was that like for you? M: That was . okay for me. [Laughter] As high school kids, we went to two schools: Hampton University then the Hampton Institute and Virginia St ate. They had what then was called High School Day, and I chose Virginia State. T: State? M: No, all the schools had it as far as I know, but we went to we had the spring concert; they had a high school contest for band and chorus at Virginia State. Big on the not the 4 H, but the Future Farmers of America activities and also the math and science contests they have between the high schools, at the college. Participated in some of th at. T: Oh, you did? M: Mm hm. T: Why did you decide to do that? M: They told us to get a team together and we did. [Laughter]


TMP 048 Minters; Page 9 T: M: We competed through high school. T: What were the competitions like? Were they ferocious or were they friendly? Did you guys win a lot? M: Won some, lost some as far as I know. Back then they had High School Bowl, sort of off of the College Bowl they used to have on T.V.? T: Mm hm. M: And it was math and science. T: fferent from the high school days, though, or is that the same thing? M: What the classes? You mean the college classes? T: The competition that you M: Oh, the contests? T: Yeah. M: Different in what way? You got a question, you answer the question. You either right or wrong. I mean, what? T: know if M: I think they still have it, but then they had two programs: either the college bound program or the paid work program.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 10 T: college. M: Mm T: So, how did you decide to do that? How did you decide to end up in that track? Those are still tracks that exist today, I think. M: . Well I wanted to go to college, so . off I went. T: attracted you to what you ended up doing? M: Well, the math and science from high school. T: Okay. So what was the learning environment like at Virginia State? M: shootings or robberies or anything like they have today. T: M: Oh, the clas sroom? T: Yes. M: It was okay. I mean, what do you mean? T: I guess I was just looking for how it was different from high school or if you got anything from specific classes, that kind of thing. M: Oh, okay. Well, they gave us assignments and read the assignments, did the homework, took the tests, moved on. [Laughter]


TMP 048 Minters; Page 11 T: M: There was a little thing called Vietnam that came in. Let -? I two more years on my army commitment, and then went back to school finished I went back to school to finish up on the GI Bill. At that time, t hey were paying full rates, so I graduated in [19]73. T: Oh, wow. Okay. Where were you in Vietnam? M: I Corps; Quang Ngai T: Okay. Were you drafted or did you enlist? M: No, I enlisted. T: You enlisted. What was the logic behind that? M: I thought I had better chance of getting the job I wanted, and I did. [Laughter] T: M: No, I was in communications. T: Okay. And so when you came back, you went back right away to finish your degree? M: No, I had two more years on my enlistment. T: M: On my enlistment? I was stationed at Fort Bragg.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 12 T: Oh, really? Okay. What did you do at Fort Bragg? M: You know, I still worked in communications, regular training. Our unit supported the 82 nd A irborne. Before I knew it, three years were up. [Laughter] I went back to school on the GI Bill. T: Great. Yeah. So after you finished then what happens? M: Finished what now? T: Your degree. 1976, right? M: Came back home and looked for a job. T: Okay. How did Mathews change from the time you left until the time you came back? M: wise? T: Yeah, population wise, community wise . M: population was thousand, something like that. T: Okay, so slow change. M: Hm? T: Slow change.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 13 M: jo ins through like Gloucester or York. T: Yeah, good point. So you were looking for a job. Then what popped up? M: Oh, I got a job working in wastewater treatment. T: Mm hm. What did you do for them? M: A t that time we had Mathews had just gotten a new sewage treatment plant. I worked there. T: Okay. How long did you do that for? M: It closed down in well not closed down but Hampton Roads Sanitation District took us over in [19]99, and they put a pump sta tion where the plant use d to be because of the nitrogen content, and pumped all the sewer over to the York River pump stations that lead to a sewer in that. T: How did the technology of the treatment plants change over the course of your career? M: Well, the requirements to take the nitrogen out of the water, required more advanced plants. And it was cheaper to ship it to York River Plant than to build a new plant in Mathews. T: So, I guess then the regulations sort of affected your daily work life.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 14 M: Yeah, they wanted to remove the nutrients from the water before it went into the ty than to in Virginia that had to do the same thing. In fact, Gloucester shipped their sewer out to York before we did. T: Interesting. I mean, they have a huge population M: Gloucester? T: Yeah. M: T: So, you also had a career in rescue, right? M: first joined. T: Why did you decide to do that? M: the time. He got me into it. T: time? M: with them. T: Yeah, yeah.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 15 M: well, I put all that time in. T: Okay. So, why did you decide to stay in it for so long? M: Well, I could do it. [Laughter] My work schedule allowed it, and well, I had time to do it. T: Yeah, that sounds great. Do you have any stories you can share from your time with the rescue squad? M: What do you mean, war stories? T: [Laughter] If you want to call them that, I guess. M: . Well, you know, I just did my job. No, not necessarily. things that you do. T: Yeah. I mean, statistically, what do you get called out on the mos t? M: system, you have basic EMT, shock trauma, tech, cardiac tech. Then the national was the paramedic. Now everything is national; I think the classifications now are EMT, bas Same game, just different titles. T: Yeah. What are the particular needs of Mathews when it comes to the rescue squad, or an EMT in general?


TMP 048 Minters; Page 16 M: What are the needs of Mathews? T: Yeah. Are they different from any other place? M: Not that I know of. We have an all volunteer squad. But according to t he rules and regs, you can hire enty four, seven like big city employees, fire and rescue. So we have volunteer on olks someone from work. We have the paid staff, which is good. T: Yeah, definitely. How have you seen the organization of the rescue squad develop over time? M: How do what now? T: How did you see the organization of the rescue squad develop over time? M: What do you mean? T: Did the people change, maybe, or did the technology change, maybe the protocol of doing things, that kind of thing? M: Oh, the protocols are basically the same. The equipment changed; the ability from the equipment or the scope of the equipment has changed, not that it. T: Yeah.


TMP 048 Minters; Page 17 M: T: told to ask you that for some reason. That you served with distinction or anything like that. M: Did my job. Some people appreciated it and gave me a medal for it. [Laughter] T: You got a medal? M: Yeah, you know, I mean, they have contests for EMT for the Year and EMT that you get your ribbon or medal where you work. T: M: Volunteering. That was mainly it. Volunteering in a volunteer squad. [Laughter] T: Okay. M: T: have for you. Do you want to add anything else? M: No, not that I know of. T: M: Roger that. [ End of interview ]


TMP 048 Minters; Page 18 Transcribed by: Jessica Taylor September 8, 2014 Audit e dited by : Maria Fuentes Octob er 10, 2014 Final edited by: Jessica Taylor