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Interview with Gary Wade, April 1, 1974

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Title:
Interview with Gary Wade, April 1, 1974
Creator:
Wade, Gary ( Interviewee )
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Catawba Indians -- Florida
Kataba Indians -- Florida
Catawba Oral History Collection ( local )

Notes

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

Source Institution:
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Catawba' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


ORAL HISTORY PROJECT




Interviewee: Gary Wade

Interviewer: Frances Wade

April 1, 1974











UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

ORAL HISTORY PROJECT



Interviewee: Gary Wade
Interviewer: Frances Wade
April 1, 1974



In this interview, Gary describes the prejudice he
experienced in his early years at school. It was his
participation in sports that changed people's mind and allowed
him to show his pride in being an indian. He carried that pride
into the Vietnam War where he served in the U. S. Navy.







CAT91A
Interviewer: Frances Wade
Interviewee: Gary Wade Jr.
Date: April 1, 1974

W: This is Frances Wade. I live on Route 3, Box 304, Rock Hill,
South Carolina. I am gathering oral histories of the Catawba
Indians for the University of Florida. Today is April 1, 1974.
Today I am talking with Gary Wade Jr. Gary what is your address?

G: I live on 910 West Blue Street, Lantana, Florida.

W: I am going to describe Gary. He is a typical Indian, dark skin,
dark brown eyes, dark hair, six foot three and he weighs two
hundred and five pounds. Gary where were you born?

G: November twenty-first, 1944.

W: Who are your parent's?

G: Mr. Horace Gary Wade, Sr., and Francis Canty Wade.

W: What brothers and sisters do you have?

G: I have an older sister, Sherrie Geraldine Wade, well, Sherry
Osborn now, and Michael Greg Wade.

W: What does your father do?

G: My father has two jobs. His primary job is cabinet maker. He
also works at a textile mill on the third shift at the Rock Hill
Printing and Finishing Company.

W: What does your mother do?

G: Well, my mother has two duties also. She is a housewife and also
the seminary teacher here in Catawba.

W: What do you remember about Christmas time?

G: I guess the tree, how it was lit up, the way we used to decorate
it, and the presents we would unwrap on Christmas morning. We
would have to fight over who's presents were who's and what we
had in our stockings hanging from the mantle piece over the
fireplace.

W: What childhood duties did you have to perform?

G: Well, I really do not consider them childhood duties. I had to
cut wood, carry water from the spring to drink, to cook with, to
bathe with and to wash our clothes with. We had to cut grass
around the house. Pick up all the cans and the drink bottles
that we scattered around the yard.

W: What memories do you have of your early home life?


1







G: Well, they were real good memories. We had an old house. I
could lay in bed at night and count the stars. Every time it
rained I would have to move my bed three or four times. It was
not much, but it is what we called home. Sometimes I just wish
that we could be back and be happy like we were then.

W: Did you go to church, when you were young Gary?

G: Yes I did. There were a lot of times that my younger brother
and I did not want to go. My father, he said we did not
have to go. My mother said we did. She said, "Your father will
not take you, so I guess I will have to take you." It was true,
our father did not take us. In fact, he did not start going
himself until we were almost grown.

W: Gary where did you go to church?

G: I went to church down here on the reservation. It was an old
church over the road or over the hill. I cannot think of the
name of it. I can remember building the pitched roof on it, the
high pitched roof. Out in the front it had a big bell tower and
from the bell tower hung this rope. When it was time for us to
go to church you could hear the bell ringing and we would just
start walking across the hill to church.

W: Then when any Indian died, that bell rang also. Gary, have you
always belonged to the same church?

G: Yes, I have.

W: What church do you belong to?

G: I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.

W: How old were you when you started school?

G: I was seven. My birthday was in November, so I had to start a
year later than the other kids.

W: Would you just go ahead and tell us about the schools you
attended?

G: Well, first off, I started going to a school here on the
reservation. It was called Catawba Elementary School and it had
grades one through eight. When I got there we had two big
classrooms and each classroom had one teacher.
Well, she had two or three different grades of children to
teach and would start one doing one thing and one doing the
other. That is the way it went the whole time.
I did not graduate. They had only four grades that you
could go to when I was going there. I had two teachers, Sarah
Robinson and Faye Cornwell.
I left there and went to a school called Leslie. I was not




2







well-liked at any of the schools even while I was in elementary
school, so I left there. As a football player I started playing
in elementary ball.

W: Why were you not well liked at those schools?

G: Well, The reason I was not liked, I guess, was because everyone
called me black. They said, "We do not want a black Indian going
to school with us. We are white people. We are better than
you." I look at it this way, I am proud to be what I am, an
American Indian. I guess it was instilled in me that no one was
any better than I am and that I am no better than anyone else
either.
I started playing football when I was in Leslie and played a
great while. I was not great, I was fair. Then I went to
Leslie, to a school called Central. Well, I went to Central for
my eighth grade and from Central I went to a place called
Sullivan Junior High where I started my first year in high
school.
There I played football and things began to change. People
started liking me and because I was doing real well on the
football field. They did not call me black or this or that
anymore. They said, "Hey, Gary, look at this big Indian. That
boy sure can play football."
Well, it was the pride that I had in myself. I had been
pushed around and degraded so much that anytime anybody was on
the football field, and they told me they were better then I was,
I did not say I was better then he was, I just went out and
proved to them that what they could do, I could do as good or
better. I still have pride in myself and in my parents and life
in general.
I enjoy everything about life and even when I was in high
school playing football. I played four years and was a four year
letterman in triple A and four A ball the whole time I was at
school.

W: Gary, did you have lunch at the Catawba Indian school?

G: Yes, we had lunch there and I guess you are going to ask me what
we had. (Yes) Well, we had the good old fashioned meals, what I
called old home fashioned. We had the good cornbread, biscuits,
beans and stuff. It was real good. We had an Indian cook. Her
name was Arzeda Sanders. In fact, she was one of my aunts, I
guess. Aunt Arzeda is what we all called her.

W: How much did you have to pay a week for your lunch?

G: I think it was a quarter a week, something like that. I did not
pay anything much at the time because I was washing dishes and
helping clean up. After everyone else had eaten and a few things
were left, I would start filling my face up with them.

W: Did you graduate from high school, Gary?

G: Yes, I graduated in 1964.


3







W: While you were in high school, you took part in sports, football,
did you not?

G: Like I said before, I was a four year letterman in football. One
of the first to ever do that at Rock Hill High. I played
baseball and ran track.
In baseball I was a pitcher and when I was not pitching, I
was playing left field. One year I would play baseball, the next
year I ran track.
In track I ran what they called a tiller race. It was a
440. That is the hardest race you can run and the most enduring
as far as speed goes. I ran the 220, the broad jump, and to
increase my speed for football I ran the hundred yard dash.

W: Were you in the service, Gary?

G: Yes. After I graduated from high school I went in the service.

W: What branch of the service did you go in?

G: United States Navy.

W: Where were you stationed?

G: I took my basic training at San Diego, California. San Diego was
my home port the whole time I was there. I spent most of my
time, well, I spent around thirty months out of forty-eight over
in Vietnam.

W: You drove a boat in Vietnam, it had two big holes in it. What
did you nickname that boat?

G: My call sign on that boat was "cowhand heavy." It was a salvage
boat. Anytime a boat got broached or turned sideways on a beach
or shot all to pieces, it could not get off, my job was to go in
and pull it out through the fire or combat zones, being shot at
and all that. That was my job. I had a job to do and I did it.
The boat you are talking about, had four holes, not two.
The two you could mainly see, is where it got its name. We
nicknamed it Sweet Eyes because of the rap of that boat, those
holes. It is where the Vietcong shot at us on numerous
occasions.
The two other holes are shrapnel from our own destroyers.
They were trying to blow up a machine gunners nest when we were
trying to get into the beach. They dropped a few rounds short
and they hit us instead.

W: Gary, what was your relationship to the whites and blacks in the
service? Did you get along well with them?

G: Well, I do not know. I just fought them all. I did not care
what color they were.

W: Where were you discharged?



4







G: San Diego, at Coronado Island.

W: What year?

G: 1971.

W: Did the work you performed in the service help you find work
after you got out?

G: In a way it did. Right now I am a charter boat captain in
Florida. This tape is going to Florida, right? Well, you know,
up and down the coast there is nothing but fishing galore. You
have all types.
I fish mainly in the Bahamas and around Bimini and some of
the smaller places like Walter's Cave. I also fish at a place
called Morton's Beach on the Sea Mist III Marina.
Well, you asked if it helped me get a job, right. It did,
because like I say, I drove boats while I was in the Navy and if
it had not been for my time in the service, driving those boats,
I would still be mating on a boat instead of being captain.

W: Where were you married?

G: I was married in a place called Chester, South Carolina.

W: To whom were you married?

G: I was married to a girl named Brenda Neal.

W: How many children do you have?

G: We have one daughter, Rhonda Jenine Wade.

W: Do you own your own home or do you rent?

G: While I am in Florida I rent.

W: Do you think that Rhonda has more opportunities for advancement
than you had when you were coming up?

G: Sure she does. She is going to school now and times change,
education should be better, but if you ask if she would have
problems like I had when I was going, no.
She will not because integration is one of the things that
has been an issue now for a couple years. I think people would be
more interested in blacks going to school with them now than they
would the American Indian. They used to call me black when I was
going to school now they really are going to school with the
blacks. So, you can see the problem that an American Indian
would have when that situation would arise.

W: Have you always been a member of a church?

G: Yes.



5







W: Are you active in church now?

G: No.

W: Have you ever registered to vote?

G: Yes.

W: Have you ever voted?

G: No.

W: Why?

G: For the simple reason I just never did. I registered to vote,
and voted one time while I was in the Navy.

W: Do you have friends among the whites?

G: Yes.

W: Do you have friends among the blacks?

G: Yes.

W: Do you think that in your lifetime you have accomplished very
much?

G: Not much. I have done a lot of things, but I have not
accomplished a lot. You see, a lot of people would have liked to
have done some of the things that I have done, but they never do.
I have accomplished a lot of things as far as seeing things. But
as far as just being a down to earth good man that stays home and
all of that, I have not.

W: Alright, let us talk about you being an Indian. Are you proud to
be an Indian?

G: Yes I am. I cannot see being anything else. I would like to
change a statement I made earlier about the teacher that I had
when I was going to Catawba. Her name was not Faye Cornwell, it
was Faye Cornish. Faye Cornwell I was at Leslie when I was in
the fifth grade.

W: I have been talking to Gary Wade Jr. and I would just like to say
that beside taking part in sports in high school, he loves to
fish. He also likes to hunt. He is an expert bird hunter and
when he was small he made his own bow and arrow. He learned to
shoot it very well. He would bring birds to the house by the
dozen that he had killed with bow and arrow.







6





Full Text

PAGE 1

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Interviewee: Gary Wade Interviewer: Frances Wade April 1, 1974

PAGE 2

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Interviewee: Gary Wade Interviewer: Frances Wade April 1, 1974 In this interview, Gary describes the prejudice he experienced in his early years at school. It was his participation in sports that changed people's mind and allowed him to show his pride in being an indian. He carried that pride into the Vietnam War where he served in the u. s. Navy.

PAGE 3

CAT91A Interviewer: Frances Wade Interviewee: Gary Wade Jr. Date: April 1, 1974 W: This is Frances Wade. I live on Route 3, Box 304, Rock Hill, South Carolina. I am gathering oral histories of the Catawba Indians for the University of Florida. Today is April 1, 1974. Today I am talking with Gary Wade Jr. Gary what is your address? G: I live on 910 West Blue Street, Lantana, Florida. W: I am going to describe Gary. He is a typical Indian, dark skin, dark brown eyes, dark hair, six foot three and he weighs two hundred and five pounds. Gary where were you born? G: November twenty-first, 1944. W: Who are your parent's? G: Mr. Horace Gary Wade, Sr., and Francis Canty Wade. W: What brothers and sisters do you have? G: I have an older sister, Sherrie Geraldine Wade, well, Sherry Osborn now, and Michael Greg Wade. W: What does your father do? G: My father has two jobs. His primary job is cabinet maker. He also works at a textile mill on the third shift at the Rock Hill Printing and Finishing Company. W: What does your mother do? G: Well, my mother has two duties also. She is a housewife and also the seminary teacher here in Catawba. W: What do you remember about Christmas time? G: I guess the tree, how it was lit up, the way we used to decorate it, and the presents we would unwrap on Christmas morning. We would have to fight over who's presents were who's and what we had in our stockings hanging from the mantle piece over the fireplace. W: What childhood duties did you have to perform? G: Well, I really do not consider them childhood duties. I had to cut wood, carry water from the spring to drink, to cook with, to bathe with and to wash our clothes with. We had to cut grass around the house. Pick up all the cans and the drink bottles that we scattered around the yard. W: What memories do you have of your early home life? 1

PAGE 4

G: Well, they were real good memories. could lay in bed at night and count rained I would have to move my bed not much, but it is what we called that we could be back and be happy We had an old house. I the stars. Every time it three or four times. It was home. Sometimes I just wish like we were then. W: Did you go to church, when you were young Gary? G: Yes I did. There were a lot of times that my younger brother and I did not want to go. My father, he said we did not have to go. My mother said we did. She said, "Your father will not take you, so I guess I will have to take you." It was true, our father did not take us. In fact, he did not start going himself until we were almost grown. W: Gary where did you go to church? G: I went to church down here on the reservation. It was an old church over the road or over the hill. I cannot think of the name of it. I can remember building the pitched roof on it, the high pitched roof. Out in the front it had a big bell tower and from the bell tower hung this rope. When it was time for us to go to church you could hear the bell ringing and we would just start walking across the hill to church. W: Then when any Indian died, that bell rang also. Gary, have you always belonged to the same church? G: Yes, I have. W: What church do you belong to? G: I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. W: How old were you when you started school? G: I was seven. My birthday was in November, so I had to start a year later than the other kids. W: Would you just go ahead and tell us about the schools you attended? G: Well, first off, I started going to a school here on the reservation. It was called Catawba Elementary School and it had grades one through eight. When I got there we had two big classrooms and each classroom had one teacher. Well, she had two or three different grades of children to teach and would start one doing one thing and one doing the other. That is the way it went the whole time. I did not graduate. They had only four grades that you could go to when I was going there. I had two teachers, Sarah Robinson and Faye Cornwell. I left there and went to a school called Leslie. I was not 2

PAGE 5

well-liked at any of the schools even while I was in elementary school, so I left there. As a football player I started playing in elementary ball. W: Why were you not well liked at those schools? G: Well, The reason I was not liked, I guess, was because everyone called me black. They said, "We do not want a black Indian going to school with us. We are white people. We are better than you." I look at it this way, I am proud to be what I am, an American Indian. I guess it was instilled in me that no one was any better than I am and that I am no better than anyone else either. I started playing football when I was in Leslie and played a great while. I was not great, I was fair. Then I went to Leslie, to a school called Central. Well, I went to Central for my eighth grade and from Central I went to a place called Sullivan Junior High where I started my first year in high school. There I played football and things began to change. People started liking me and because I was doing real well on the football field. They did not call me black or this or that anymore. They said, "Hey, Gary, look at this big Indian. That boy sure can play football." Well, it was the pride that I had in myself. I had been pushed around and degraded so much that anytime anybody was on the football field, and they told me they were better then I was, I did not say I was better then he was, I just went out and proved to them that what they could do, I could do as good or better. I still have pride in myself and in my parents and life in general. I enjoy everything about life and even when I was in high school playing football. I played four years and was a four year letterman in triple A and four A ball the whole time I was at school. W: Gary, did you have lunch at the Catawba Indian school? G: Yes, we had lunch there and I guess you are going to ask me what we had. (Yes) Well, we had the good old fashioned meals, what I called old home fashioned. We had the good cornbread, biscuits, beans and stuff. It was real good. We had an Indian cook. Her name was Arzeda Sanders. In fact, she was one of my aunts, I guess. Aunt Arzeda is what we all called her. W: How much did you have to pay a week for your lunch? G: I think it was a quarter a week, something like that. I did not pay anything much at the time because I was washing dishes and helping clean up. After everyone else had eaten and a few things were left, I would start filling my face up with them. W: Did you graduate from high school, Gary? G: Yes, I graduated in 1964. 3

PAGE 6

W: While you were in high school, you took part in sports, football, did you not? G: Like I said before, I was a four year letterman in football. One of the first to ever do that at Rock Hill High. I played baseball and ran track. In baseball I was a pitcher and when I was not pitching, I was playing left field. One year I would play baseball, the next year I ran track. In track I ran what they called a tiller race. It was a 440. That is the hardest race you can run and the most enduring as far as speed goes. I ran the 220, the broad jump, and to increase my speed for football I ran the hundred yard dash. W: Were you in the service, Gary? G: Yes. After I graduated from high school I went in the service. W: What branch of the service did you go in? G: United States Navy. W: Where were you stationed? G: I took my basic training at San Diego, California. San Diego was my home port the whole time I was there. I spent most of my time, well, I spent around thirty months out of forty-eight over in Vietnam. W: You drove a boat in Vietnam, it had two big holes in it. What did you nickname that boat? G: My call sign on that boat was "cowhand heavy." It was a salvage boat. Anytime a boat got broached or turned sideways on a beach or shot all to pieces, it could not get off, my job was to go in and pull it out through the fire or combat zones, being shot at and all that. That was my job. I had a job to do and I did it. The boat you are talking about, had four holes, not two. The two you could mainly see, is where it got its name. We nicknamed it sweet Eyes because of the rap of that boat, those holes. It is where the Vietcong shot at us on numerous occasions. The two other holes are shrapnel from our own destroyers. They were trying to blow up a machine gunners nest when we were trying to get into the beach. They dropped a few rounds short and they hit us instead. W: Gary, what was your relationship to the whites and blacks in the service? Did you get along well with them? G: Well, I do not know. I just fought them all. I did not care what color they were. W: Where were you dicharged? 4

PAGE 7

G: San Diego, at Coronado Island. W: What year? G: 1971. W: Did the work you performed in the service help you find work after you got out? G: In a way it did. Right now I am a charter boat captain in Florida. This tape is going to Florida, right? Well, you know, up and down the coast there is nothing but fishing galore. You have all types. I fish mainly in the Bahamas and around Bimini and some of the smaller places like Walter's Cave. I also fish at a place called Morton's Beach on the Sea Mist III Marina. Well, you asked if it helped me get a job, right. It did, because like I say, I drove boats while I was in the Navy and if it had not been for my time in the service, driving those boats, I would still be mating on a boat instead of being captain. W: Where were you married? G: I was married in a place called Chester, South Carolina. W: To whom were you married? G: I was married to a girl named Brenda Neal. W: How many children do you have? G: We have one daughter, Rhonda Jenine Wade. W: Do you own your own home or do you rent? G: While I am in Florida I rent. W: Do you think that Rhonda has more opportunities for advancement than you had when you were coming up? G: Sure she does. She is going to school now and times change, education should be better, but if you ask if she would have problems like I had when I was going, no. She will not because integration is one of the things that has been an issue now for a couple years. I think people would be more interested in blacks going to school with them now than they would the American Indian. They used to call me black when I was going to school now they really are going to school with the blacks. So, you can see the problem that an American Indian would have when that situation would arise. W: Have you always been a member of a church? G: Yes. 5

PAGE 8

W: Are you active in church now? G: No. W: Have you ever registered to vote? G: Yes. W: Have you ever voted? G: No. W: Why? G: For the simple reason I just never did. I registered to vote, and voted one time while I was in the Navy. W: Do you have friends among the whites? G: Yes. W: Do you have friends among the blacks? G: Yes. W: Do you think that in your lifetime you have accomplished very much? G: Not much. I have done a lot of things, but I have not accomplished a lot. You see, a lot of people would have liked to have done some of the things that I have done, but they never do. I have accomplished a lot of things as far as seeing things. But as far as just being a down to earth good man that stays home and all of that, I have not. W: Alright, let us talk about you being an Indian. Are you proud to be an Indian? G: Yes I am. I cannot see being anything else. I would like to change a statement I made earlier about the teacher that I had when I was going to Catawba. Her name was not Faye Cornwell, it was Faye Cornish. Faye Cornwell I was at Leslie when I was in the fifth grade. W: I have been talking to Gary Wade Jr. and I would just like to say that beside taking part in sports in high school, he loves to fish. He also likes to hunt. He is an expert bird hunter and when he was small he made his own bow and arrow. He learned to shoot it very well. He would bring birds to the house by the dozen that he had killed with bow and arrow. 6