Title: Interview with John Reaxley Warriax (June 7, 1974)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00007168/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with John Reaxley Warriax (June 7, 1974)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: June 7, 1974
Spatial Coverage: Lumbee County (Fla.)
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00007168
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Lumbee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: LUM 191

Table of Contents
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Full Text

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behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

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LUM 191A
Page 1.
INTERVIEWEE: John Reasley Warriax
June 7, 1974 dib
B: This is Friday, June 7, 1974, i am Lew Barton recording for the
Doris Duke Foundationts and the University of Florida's American
Indian Oral History Program. This afternoon we are in my home in my
apartment in Pembroke, North Carolina, at 214-C Dial Terrace, and
with me is a gentleman who has kindly consented to give me an interview,
Mr. John R. Warriax. Mr. Warriax, what's that R. for?
W: Reasley. R-e-a-s-l-e-y. Reasley.
B: And your full name is John Reasley...
W: John, John Reasley...
B: Warriax.
W: Warriax.
B: How do you spell Warriax?
W: W-a-r-r-i-a-x.
B: Where did you get your education at?
W: At, well, at that time it was known as the Indian, you know this
place up at, what was the name of that place long years ago?
B: At Pembroke State College?
W: No, it wasn't Iwwa at that time.
B: It was the...
W: Indian _._ _
B: ...Cherokee Indian Normal School.
W: Yes.
B: Right?

LUM 191A
Page 2. dib
W: That's rights
B: And you taught school for a while, didn't you?
N Fourteen years,
B: Did you enjoy teaching?
W; Oh yes, X really did.
B; How about your family, Wko was it you married?
A Xi married Geneva Locklear.
B: Who were her parents?
WB Her daddy was named John, John Redmond Locklear.
B: You had two children?
W: Two, that's right. I got one over in Germany now, and my daughter
is in Baltimore. She's a beautician. My boys in the service.
B: What is, what's, now that's John Reasley Junior.
W: That's correct.
B: That's the boy. And he's how old?
W: He's about thirty-e-.r, thirty-eight s
B: And your daughter was, how old is she?
W: She's albeit older. She's about thirty-six I gather. She's older than
he is.
B: They're very lovely children.
W: Then you've seen them.
B: Yes, I've, I've...Where are they now, John?
W: My boy is in Germany. He's in the service. He's been in there...
B: Your daughter is...
W: She's in Baltimore. She's a beautician in Baltimore.

LUM 191A
Page 3, dib
B: I see. Well, they get scattered out, don't they?
W: Yes, they really do.
B: Let's talk about your father for a moment. That was Mr. Wilbert....
W: Wilbert Warriax
B: W-i-l-b-e-r-t.
W: That's right.
B: Now spell it for the sake of the girl who might be typing this.
W: W-i-l-b-e-r-t.
B: He lived to be how old?
W: A hundred and ten.
B: A hundred and ten years old. I got a story w him that was strictly
folklore, and I wrote a poem about it, and this story appeared in the
North Carolina Polk Lore Journal along with the poem some time ago. But
do you think this is a trait among the Warriaxes? Do they usually live
that long, or is this a...?
\,tell r4)1 (( 47v& {Q
W: Well, I tell you "" 'hhear a little bit of history_ ,
I don't think I've had any grandparents or anything that has died less
than ninety years. That's the truth.
B: Hey, that's great.
W: 4_.
B: Hey, I heard something else about the Warriaxes. Now are you any
related, any relation to Charlie S. Warriax?
W: Oh yes. He and I are first cousins.
B: Is that right?
W: XM__/_. He's dead. He and my daddy were ___

LUM 191A
Page 4. dib
B: I've heard, now this is something I've heard about the Warriaxes.
You know, people have, our people, the Indian people, you know, they
always said something about each one group, and it's usually something
good. They're not, they don't fight each other. But they'll say, well
that's a Locklear, and the Locklears are supposed to love coffee. Right?
W: Well, I tell you, we never fight. We can, you can go along with
B: Right.
W: We never fight.
B: And the Warriaxes are supposed to have flat fingernails. Did you
ever hear that?
W: No, I didn't hear that said. Is mine flat? No.
B: I was talking to Tracy Warriax, you know, and...
W: Yes.
B: ...his people they were showing me those flat fingernails. He says,
"Well, I can tell he's a Warriax he's got flat fingernails." I says,
"I believe that's a different set of Warriaxes."
W: Must be.
B: Because all of them don't have flat fingernails.
W: But we are all, his daddy his, his daddy and I were first cousins,
B: So there probably is just one what we call set.
W; He could, He could just pulled off on the other side of his mother's
B: You know, when we talk about different, different name groups we set
up, we call them sets, don't we?
W: Yes.

LUT 206A
Page 5. dib
B: Wonder what that word really means as we use it. Is it,/ lnea/
a settlement? Or is it short for settlement, or what is it, John?
W: I really don't know. I'm telling you the truth. I really don't.
B: I've often wondered about that. I believe it means settlement,
like the Lowry settlement, because these family groups usually set-
tled together.
WV Yes,
B: They used to do it.
W: Yes.
Somet of tam are.
B: Ti-t7- nnr lI- 'l.g that way today.
W: Well, now you take right over yonder. There's two or three places
around here. A Lowry settlement, Oxendine settlement, and there's dif-
ferent settlements you know. And just because that most of the people
who live in there are Lowryfor Oxendines or who, whatever else,and that
X reckon that street is...
B: And the Collins settlement. If you can go to, when you go above
Red Springs toward the county line, all you have to do is say,
"Where is the Collins settlement?', and they'll tell you exactly where
it is.
W. Right.
B: And you can do the same thing if you go to Harpers Ferry and ask
about the t settlement.
W: Right, now that, that's really a Brook settlement over there.
B: It's really an Indian settlement, too, isn't it?
W: Yes, but it's, you know, it's been known as the Brook settlement
"or R *

Page 6. dib
B: And the Lowry settlement. There's one Lowry settlement around...
W: About here near you.
W: Yesj k came to, is it( -_ ) C__ ? You
know where Mr. Lowry used to live out there. That old...
B: Old Mr. Canada Lowry.
W: Yes. Yes.
B: And somehow people always seemed to believe that the Brooks
had more Indian than anybody. Do you think there's anything to
that? How do you elI about that?
W: No, I really, I really don't, cause they were Indian, naturally,
but so are we all. I'm an Indian.
B:. Right. You proud to be an Indian, John?
W: Huh?
B: You proud of it?
W: Boy, am I. I'd rather be Indian than anything else.
B: We do have a way of getting along with each other and...
W: Naturally.
B: tolerating each other.
W: Naturally, Right now I get along with anybody. I get along with
the white people. I get along with the colored people, or they call them
niggers. I don't know what they want to be called, but I get along
with them.
B: I think they prefer 'Black'.
W: Yes. Well, I really will get along with anybody. Anybody. I never
had a fight in my life.
B: Is that right.

LUM 206A
Page 7. dib
W: You know, sixty-four years ad sixty-five, will be pretty soon.
And I never...
B: .
W: ...I never had no, no trouble with anybody. And I've got along with
the colored people. I've got along with the white people, and I've
got along with my race.
B: Yes. John, do you, how, everybody knows that you always had a high
IQ, Do you remember what your, how high was your I.Q. the last measure-
ment you had?
W: Hundred and sixty.
B: Hundred and sixty.
V: Hundred and sixty-eight.
B: Hundred and sixty-eight.
W: Yes. But when I got out in the service my nerves went all to pieces.
B: Is that right?
W; And they've been that way ever since. I taught two or three years
after that, but I just couldn't, you know, my nerves just went all to
pieces. I had to quit. I really did.
B: I have a, I have a little nine year old niece, my sister Nina's child,
and she's way up there, and she's always bored to death in class, that
they don't challenge her. Were you bored when you were going to school?
You never had to worry about getting your assignments or anything like
W4 No, T'll tell you what I did. I, I, now maybe I just shouldn't be
#S 4ff atr but the teachers I had JI l5e_ didn't know as much as
T^1Ez 1>si~2 ~i~j~;I

LUM 206A
Page 8. dib
B; Well, I'm not surprised, John.
W: Y kw, I was) I was already ahead and done pt my own ___
I really studied. Now you can ask, C coarse A/ lving now.
But I would stay up till twelve and one o'clock at night studying. I
really wanted to study. I really did.
B: But it would, wouldn't it sort of bore you in class because the other
students, you knew, you had already been over this ground and here you
are sitting back waiting for them, and the teacher never gets, never got
around to helping you, did she, did they, when they're...?
W: Well, the thing about it, I was progressed. You know, every time
fT co'4cL
I'd, they, they'd figure -it-st it go to another grade. They, they'd
put me in another grade. They seen I was...
B: You, you could...
W: ...they seen I couldn't, you know, I was, that wasn't my grade level,
and then they'd put me in another grade.
B: Did they double promote you a lot?
W: Yes. Yes.
B: Like you'd do two grades in one year.
W: Yes,when I got near enough. They seen I was able to do that job,
lXoulm go to
why, they figured I, maybe I goodfor another grade, and they'd put
me in there.
B; That's interesting. Do you do a lot of reading, John?
: really do. I've read...
B: Have you always read a lot?
W; Always,

LUM 206A
Page 9. dib
B: If you can get off to yourself with a good book you don't worry,do
you ?
W: That's, that's it. That's exactly what I love.
B: Does it make you relax?
W: Yes. Naturally I just love to. I used to go up here in this place
up /4 'e. a fe'. You know, when they had a library up there? And I
would just sit up there, and I just about read all their books.
B: Did you, when you were coming along, let's talk about your reading
habits a minute, what interested you first when you were very young. Do
you remember the kind of stories you went for?
*W: Yes, sir. Yes, I really do.
B: What kind of reading?
W: Yes. You know, let me see, about in the fourth grade I reckon, I
used to read about this horse, you know, this flying pegasus, you know,
and stories like that. These mystery stories, but I really A- ^Tf
B: Those mystery stories and detective stories sort of gave you a mental
W: Yes.
B: ...didn't they?
W: Yes.
B: You were going to figure out...
W: Yes.
B: Did you ever figure out the end before you got to it?
W: No, I never could. But I tried, though.
B: That's fun to try, isn't it?
W: Yes.

LUM 191A
Page. l. dib
B: Did you ever, did you read all the Perry Mason stories?
W: Man, I read just about every one he's ever wrote.
B: Earl Stanley Gardner writes that, doesn't he?
W: Yes. Yes.
B: How about westerns? Did you ever go for western stories?
W: Well, yes. I liked them. I look at them on the T.V. every once in
awhile. But I like those mystery stories.
B: You've kind of outgrown them, haven't you?
W: I like mystery stories. That's what I...
B: How about confession stories?
W: No, I don't go for that stuff.
B: How about science fiction?
W: Yes. I like that.
B: Did you enjoy reading fiction4better than other material? Non-fiction?
W: Let me see now. I've read a few fiction stories that I really like.
But I really like these mystery stories. I really like them. Because, you
see, I was always trying to figure out I to see if I could ou'figure
B: Did you ever come across a book, John, I don't remember the authors
name, but I remember how impressed I was as a kid after reading that, it's
called A Country Beyond, and it was about an outlaw and his girl in it,
and their dog, and it's in the cold country,youkknow, in Canada.
W: I don't believe I've ever read that book.
B: I can't think of his, I never can think of his...
W: But I, I...
B: ...name.

LUM 191A
Page 11. dib
W: I really would like to read it, though.
B: It's challenging. I mean it's, it's a beautifully written thing, and
this boy is talking to his girl and he says...
W: I tell you, one of the best novels I think, of course, it was a long
years ago, did you ever read Crckc ) ? Now that really,
that really got me because I was young and I was, and it really got me.
B: John, did you ever do any writing?
W: No. Yes, I did.
B: Did you ever want to?
W: Well,no, it never did interest me. I just...
B: You'd rather read what other people...
W: I'd rather read what other people did.
B: Where are you living at right now.
W: Right now I live down in .
B: What do you think of the political situation? Would you like to talk
about it for a minute?
W: Well, I tell you, I...
B: We'll talk about what ever you want to talk about.
W: Well, I, I tell you, I think, now I've got nothing against Mr. McCloud
no waysfighting or quarreling.
B: That's Sheriff Malcolm G. McCloud?
W: Yes, he's, he's really a nice man. But I think we ought to get our
man in there.
B: Our man gave him a hard way to go...
W: Yes.

LUM 191A
Page 12. dib
B: Just to, we had a democratic primary on May 7, and then there was
a runoff between Sheriff McCloud and challenger Tom Blanks, weIa a
Lumbee Indian...
W: Yes.
B: ...who is head of L.R.D.A, the Lumbee Regional Development Association.
W: Well, I'm not going to feel hard about Mr. McCloud because he, he
won. Because, but I think...
B: How, do you remember the margin by which he won? Wasn't it just about
seven hundred votes?
W: Yes, something like that. About seven...
B: But it was so close at first...
W: Yes.
B: ...that they called for a runoff between...
W: Yes.
B: How do you think the Indian people feel about Sheriff McCloud. Of
course, he's been in so long, he's probably served about twenty-four
W: Yes, he's been in there twenty some years.
B: But don't Indians generally like him you think?
W: Well, the thing about it our people waeet pull together. They won't
vote. We, we didn't have a...
B: We've got people who don't believe in voting.
W: Absolutely. They just don't believe in it. Now you take a____tb^
There was more color people/voted down there than there was Indians.
they voted for Mr. Blanks, and folks down there they...

LUM 191A
Page 13. dib
B: Did they, do you think Tom Blanks got good support from our black
W: I know he did. Absolutely. He got nearly about a hundred percent
I'd say. A reallylo it. But our own folks wouldn't
vote for him.
B: And you think some of our own people didn't vote for him?
W: I know good and well there's a lot of people who didn't vote at all.
B: Some of them think it's a sin. The churches teach it's a sin to
vote, that you shouldn't fool around voting. That's the devil's work,
or that's the world. Mostly they'll say that's the things of the world
and we're not supposed to do this. But if we don't have good people in
there, if they're not going to be our leaders, then it seems to me that's
who we need.
W: That's exactly what I feel about it. But I don't know why. I don't
know. Our people just will not cooperate. They won't.
B: Yes.
W: You take, you know, around here any time or anywhere, they just don't
cooperate. That's all.
B: Right. Well...
W: They don't.
B: ...we're not as closely knit in Pembroke as an Indian community say
as Prospect. You know...
W: Yes, now you take...
B: ...you know about Prospect.
W: iYes, I know Prospect goes, they go one hundred percent out there.

LUM 191A
Page 14. dib
B: Yes, when they...
W: .
B: ...get together and decide what...
W: Yes.
B: ...what...
W: Yes.
B: ...or whom they're going to support, and they all do it.
W: Yes, they do it. Then these folks around here they won't do it.I
don't know.
B: Well, they've done a lot of good things.
W: Yes, but we've got a good town here. Now I can't kick on it. We've
got a good town right here in Pembroke anyhow. It's, it's getting better.
B: Do you remember when the governor used to appoint all the mayors to
this town?
W: Uh huh, yesofioj .
B: Reverend C.E. Locklear I believe was the first M
W: Yes.
B: ...elected mayor we had.
W: That's right.
B: And we, we had, when we got the privilege to vote for our own mayor
we've had Indian people in there ever since.
W: That's right.
B: But Pembroke's growing.
W: Yes.

LUM 191A
Page 15. dib
B: It don't look like icuffle Town now, does it?
W: No.
B: Scuffle town's had a face-lifting, wouldn't you say?
W: I'd say, yes, it really is. It's, it's really is I'll say
that, boy, this town is really going, because I'm over here in 1934 I
believe, and all I had to do is see a fight on Saturday nights M
B: Yes, they liked to scrap
W: And you don't see that no more.
B: Yes.
W: Either that or...
B: Our people are getting away from that scrapping with each other.
W: Yes, they are really getting away from it. They don't, they don't
go for it, and C? I mean way out in the country somewhere
somebody will shoot somebody or something over there Ot
matter of being drunk or something. But it don't happen around here. It
really don't. Folks say it happens all over the world.
B: Yes, the crime rate is high everywhere.
W: Yes. Yes j j .
B: Our crime rate is not as...
W: Our crime rate is really been reduced to nearly about zero.
B: Yes, you know, Fayetteville has a much higher...
W: Oh yes.
B; ...crime rate than we do.
W: Yes, they...

LUM 191A
Page 16. dib
B: It's thirty miles away.
W: We don't have any crime rate around here. I mean it's, it's what
I'd say zero. You know about, right here in this town.
B: Have you seen things change a lot in your life, John?
W: Oh yes. We're getting a, we got a better town here. I mean everything
is changing. You take the streets, the highways, the lights, and all them
things. We didn't have any_ l_. We got them now.
B: How do you think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 t ?
W: Now I'm telling you what's the truth. We arrived here. I can get along
with a colored man. You call them niggers. Is that what you want to say?
I'll get along with any...
B: No, I would say 'Blacks'.
W: You would say 'Blacks' then. I'm sorry if I said the wrong word. But
Blacks and whites and Indians, they everyone get along perfectly right
here in Pembroke. Absolutely.
B: Our Black people and Indian people are learning to cooperate at the
polls now, aren't they?
W: Now that's absolutely right. And I can get out there and mean it.
A Black, now I can talk with him just like I would a white or an Indian
and anybody else. We all get along perfect.
B: Do you think there's prejudice between our people and Black people?
W: None whatsoever.
B: Not now. It's...
W: No, they, they, they have been. Now I would say that there used to
be. But there isn't any more. There really isn't.

LUM 191A
Page 17. dib
B: How about Indian people and white people?
W: They're, they're getting together better. Better than they have been.
Now that, that's our worst problem. Now we, we, we getting together
with them.
B: Ul ^h4 '
W: But we get along better, I'm telling we get along better with the
colored people than we do with the whites. But we, we are getting that,
we are getting away from that. They're getting along with us, and we're
getting along with them now. Not as good as we do with the colored people.
That's the truth, now you know. But we are climbing.
B: Right.
W: And they _' get on our level, and we will.
B: Well, we're, we're coming to be known all over, too, aren't we?
W: Yes, all over the world.
B: So many of our people have had to go off because of better oportunities...
W: Yes.
B: ...to make a living and so on.
W: Right.
rt J ( c. 4kv + I
B: Do you think they go m_ John?
W: Well, they going with, but there are factories, it is kind of heavy
here. You take, you take, they went down there because when they get.up
north of someplace they are recognized. They wasn't here. But now I think
this things this thing's improving. I think they'll stay back around here
B: Well, I'm sure many of our people would come back home if they...

LUM 191A
page 18. dib
W: Yes..
B: ...had something to do to keep alive.
W: That's right. They like home. But it's just like I said that i+
_ ) -they had to go, and I mean they wasn't forced to. But I
mean that's the way they looked at it.
B: Do they usually stick together in groups when they go, John, like
the Baltimore group? Does that happen anywhere else that you know of?
W: Really I couldn't, I couldn't answer that question because I don't
know. I really don't. I've been over there.
B: Have you ever been over to Baltimore?
W: I've been in there and stayed atemi two or three years. Folks, the
boys that went with me, now we stayed together.
B: Kind of hiding out together.
W: Yes.
B: Wonder why it is that some people call it clannishness. But what
is clannishness? I mean what's the reason for people being clannish.
Do you think it's sort of a...
W: I believe...
B: ...self-protection or a...
W: No.,* Yes, that's, that's exactly it. Self-protection. That's it.
Now if I go up there and we wouldn't have no clans there 4 i^
we'd get along with everybody. i we' neverA a # t
4 &i S- would we?
B: Now sometimes it is possible that one of our people can get off by
himself and somebody might pick a fight with him or something like that,
or make him feel bad or something. If the group goes together nobody

LUM 191A
Page 19. dib
is going to tangle with them. Not usually.
W: That's right. I think you've got a point there. But I don't think,
it's just like I said, if we'd go up there and everybody would be a
people instead of a race we wouldn't that. Be a people instead of a
B: Do you think you can ignore it, though, when people remind you )
W: Oh yes. That's -XX Z, I was always glad, because we're going to
have that as long as we live I reckon. But we, it's just like I said,
we are getting away from it. But we is still going to have a little bit
of it we have never had one w ____
B: John, you served during World War II didn't you?
W: Yes, sir.
B: Were you in, were you a navy man or...
W: I was a navy...
B: ...arity?
W: I was 4 navy- and I had forty-five whites that was under me. I was...
B: What was your rating?
W: Gunner's mate, gunner's mate first class. And I had thirty...
B: There was just one more step you could have gone as far as non-commissioned
W: Yes. Well, they offered it to me, but I said I n'. lir. e-it
But I had forty-five men under me, and I never had no trouble with them, and
they were all white men. Everyone.
B: Of course in those days the navy was quite different from what it is

LUM 191A
Page 20. dib
today. Rgiht John?
W: Oh yes. I imagine I was /4;6^ e Let me correct that thing.
I don't know, I don't know what it's like today. See it's been, I was
in there in 1942.
B: Were you attached to a ship?
W: Yes.
B: What was your ship?
W: Well, I, I was on three. I was on three different ships. On 04
I?4 Queen Mary and there was three of them. I got it on my record.
But I, you know it's been along time. I can't remember. But I have.
I was on three different ships.
B: I was on just one. How long did you serve, John?
W: I think, I went in May of '42 and I got out in forty, let me see
'42, I got out in '44 on account of being over in points. ILimde a little
B: Were you a family man when you went in? Ah
W: Yes. Yes, I had two children when I went in. Solfinally decided to
let me out.
B: Do you think many of our people, our young men, like to go into the
services? a
W: Yes, I, I really do. may be on getting But
hell, I, I really needed it. I know if I was a younger man I'd go back
in. I really do.
B: Yes. Well, they get, do you think the services offer them better oppor-
tunities than they can find here in Robeson County?
W: Yes, I do. I really do.

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B: Well, a lot of things are changing. Do you want to talk about
W: Well, let me talk, yes, let's see, l4 ,?' ., ,C>// ..;
a Ao>-> hc+,he
B: It's kind of terrible isn't it?
W: Yes, it is. And I think it, and in my estimation that, is that the
President should give up-atr tapes. ./ J if there's anything
else I would hate to comment on it. But I really think he should give
up them tapes. Because if he's holding back there that seems to me me, you
know, I'm just a human being, but I think he's trying to hold something
back. I don't know. If he's got nothing to hold back there he ought to
just go and C/V<,W Ct04 d i
B: Do you, do you think that people have less respect for the President's
office now than they used to have?
W: Absolutely. (41 f A4 4 ^ t44 f #W A! at
B: Just wait. I'll have to interrupt now to go to the door,..,Well, our
guest is gone for the time. Do you want to talk some more about Water-
W: Yes.
B: Express your opinion, John.
W: I think, of course naturally I think he's /_/_ __ wor __ _-_n
papers. Now there's no reason why he shouldn't give them up. No reason.
Now if he's got nothing to hide that he should give them up.
B: But suppose he has something to hide?
W: Well, if that's so e, well, if he's got something to hide
about, you know good and well, you know what's going to happen. I don't,

LUM 191A
Page 22. dib
I'd rather the president give them up.
B: Yes.
W: I rn 11 o ^
B: Well, to tell you the truth, John, I wouldn't be President of the
United States...
W: No, I wouldn't either.
B: ...no way. If I could I wouldn't.
W: No I wouldn't.
B: That's too much responsibility...
W: Yes.
B: ...for one man.
W: I know it is. But I, I just think the man just ought to give up them
papers. That's all, that's all I can say.
B: Yes, well, perhaps he should. Well, I certainly appreciate you talking
to me today, John. What do what do you think you're going to do for the
future? Got any plans?
W: Well,, I'm I'm m I ) be doing. Now, that's all J: an d
IA A AAA I can't work any.more. I really can't. I can't even walk right.
B: You're handicapped, aren't you?
W: Yes. I really am handicapped, and I can't, can't even walk. J )
I'm just going to live here in our good country and jee 8at f Yn
a8 td C/d_ That's all I can say.
B: Well, John, it's, it's certainly been a pleasure talking to you in
this interview, and you were very kind to give it to me. And I want to
wish you everything, all the best of everything.
W: Thank you.

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B: And we'll see you now.
. '

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