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Interview with Thomas Sanders, March 2, 1994

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Title:
Interview with Thomas Sanders, March 2, 1994
Creator:
Sanders, Thomas ( 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.

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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: Thomas Sanders
Interviewer: Emma Echols
March 2, 1994
CAT 233




Thomas Sanders is the son of Idle and Arzada Sanders. In this
interview Sanders, now 70 years old, recalls attending school on
the reservation, his years in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp
and in the army during World War II, and meeting his wife and
working in a local factory after the war.










Interviewee: Thomas Sanders

Interviewer: Emma Echols

Date of Interview: March 2, 1994

CAT 233a



E: This is Emma Reid Echols, 5150 Sharon Road, Charlotte, North

Carolina. I am visiting in the home of Mr. Sanders, and

this is a very interesting experience for me. More than

twenty years ago the University of Florida gave me a little

tape recorder and told me to go down on the Indian

reservation and begin to make some oral history stories. So

I went. The first place I stopped [was] at the store [and]

they said, "Go and visit Idle Sanders and his wife Arzada."

And so I did. So my first visit with a Catawba Indian was

with Idle and Arzada Sanders and they are the ones that gave

me the idea for the story on the mystery chieftain, Tom

Stephen. So there are many, many memories that I have and

here I am visiting in the home of Arzada and Idle Sanders'

son. I am so happy to wind up the interviews with this man,

and I loved his father and his mother. Now give me your

full name and your address.

S: Thomas McCloud Sanders, 339 Chestnut Street, Rock Hill,

South Carolina.

E: How long have you been living here?

S: Let us see, we moved here in 1962; about thirty-two years,

or [it] will be [in] July coming up.


1










E: Now you are the oldest one?

S: Living.

E: Only one living. Tell me the names of your brothers and

sisters.

S: Okay, let me start from the top. There were two dead before

I was born. I do not remember now what there names [were].

But I had two living before me that I can remember when I

was born. But, the others are Kurt, Kathleen, and Euela,

and there was Jack, me, Fred, William, and Roberta, Vivian,

and Mahanee. Is that all? She knows them better than I do.

E: Well, that is fine. I still well remember seeing your

mother having a big tub of clay outside her window, and they

would stir it and fix it from time to time. And then I

would see her with a whole row of pottery and she would say

to Idle, "Please hand me your knife. I need to scrape this

little one." And Fred told me that he was the one that

would go across the river and bring the clay back in a

bucket or a bag, and put it in the big tub. Then, when she

would get them all ready, he was the one that took them down

to the old chimney. Some of them fired them in the older

places.

S: One of the old houses.

E: Where the old house was, where he fired them. So there are

many blessed memories I have of them. Tell me about your

earlier life going to school down there. Let us pick up

with how you went to school.


2










S: Well, I never did go very much. You remember you would here

of Samuel Beck?

E: Yes.

S: I do not know what education he had, because when I went to

school I was not very old. I do not remember what grade I

was supposed to be in. But he would read. If there was

more in the class than me, he would read to me in the book

and he would tell me something about the train, "Choo, choo,

choo, and chewed my britches half in two." I would go home

and one of my sisters, Euela, would read to me out of the

books that I carried home. When she would read them to me,

[she would] let me listen, and then she would want me to

read behind her. So when I did, I would come out with that

train, "Choo, choo, choo, and chewed my britches half in

two." And she said, "That is not in it." I said, "Yes it

is too. Because Samuel told me that was in there," and come

to find out it was not in there. I said, "Samuel Beck would

probably go off somewhere and laugh about it. He has two

kids now that act just like him." I said, "I do not know,

they are just like him to me, because they will tell

something that is not worth anything and then they will

laugh about it." More or less like making fun of you or

something like that, because Samuel knew I could not read

but he would tell me that.

E: Now he was a teacher at that time.

S: He was a teacher, yes ma'am.


3










E: Then, when you finished school you went through the seventh

grade there?

S: I just, what do you call it? Evaluated is what you call it?

?: He went through the third grade in school, I think.

S: I went to the third grade. They promoted me then to the

fourth grade. Well, I quit the fourth grade. They promoted

from third to fourth, but I went in the service. I had been

in [the] CC [Civilian Conservation Corps] camp. I went in

when I was twelve years old in 1936. I went to Laurens,

South Carolina. I did not stay all the time. I do not

remember how many months, it has been so long, but I did not

stay my time out.

My daddy and them used to carry me back when I would come

home. [We got] no leave, but I would come home. They would

carry me all the way back. One time I gathered up shoes and

clothes and put them in a big bag and figured when I turned

them in [and they asked], "Where did you get those shoes?"

they would discharge me. They were going to leave me and I

would tell them, "If you leave, I will be home by the time

you get back." That was over in Laurens. So anyway, I

turned them in. They waited. I was going to turn my

clothes in and come back because I said I was going to come

back. I turned them in and they did not ask me where I got

all the clothes, where I got all those shoes, nothing. But

I turned them in. I do not think I went back anymore after

then. But I was not but twelve years old and when they


4










would pay me, instead of giving it to me, they would keep it

and give me so much. I was making twenty-one dollars a

month in there.

E: Very little compared with what they are making today.

S: Very little.

E: How long were you there and what did you do when you came

home?

S: Oh, I do not know what I did. Anyway, I came home. That

was in 1936, and I remember I did not go back to school

anymore. We picked cotton and sharecropped. That was about

all in the springtime. I then went in the NYA [National

Youth Administration] school. I went down to the boy's

school. There was not anything wrong, you know, but to try

to get your education you could either go to school and

learn, or you could take up with [them and] they would learn

you a trade. That is down there in a little place out from

McConnell, South Carolina, about four or five miles. It was

called Fletcher. That is out near Gibson and Blarnburg. I

left there in about 1938-39.

I come around home and stayed until 1940 and I went in the

army. I was sixteen in January and I went in the army on

June 13, 1940, and I stayed around Fort Bragg. When the war

broke out they told me they had found out that I was not old

enough to be in there. I told them I was. They said, "No

you are not. We have found out that you are not." And I

still said, "Yes, I was." I said, "I do not want out." He


5










said, "You do not want out?" And I said, "No, sir." We

were on maneuvers and when we went back he was telling me

that he found out my age. They said, "You really want to

stay?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "I will take and tear

your old papers up that we have on you. We will make new

papers and you sign these new papers." But he said, "Now,

when you sign them, you are in the army." He said, "You

were in the army, but we were going to get rid of them, but

you were not old enough, so we fixed these other ones up and

when you sign them you are in the army." He said, "You will

not get paid. I do not know when you will get paid." I

said, "I do not care whether I ever get paid. I am still

not going home." And he said, "Okay." And the war broke

out.

E: Where did they send you then?

S: Well, that is what I am talking about. But I stayed in

there then. That was about September, but the war broke out

December 7. I was at home when the war broke out. I had a

pass, but I did not go back. They gave me a pass at

Christmas. I came back for about a fourteen day leave or

something. But I was at home when the war broke out. You

were talking about that old well where the chief and them

lived. I think I was down there that Sunday when they were

telling me about the war breaking out. I had heard about

it, but I was down there that day.

E: How long were you in the army?


6










S: Well, when the war broke out December 7, 1941, we stayed in

Fort Bragg until I have it on my discharge bulletin.

We left there in 1942. In 1942 we went overseas. We went

to California. We shipped out there. I cannot say what day

it was but it was in March, I think. We landed in New

Caledonia in 1942. We moved [to] different places on the

island. We came back up through the Marshall Islands and

all different kinds of islands.

E: You do not like that army? You were glad to get home for

good, were you not? How many years [were you in

altogether]?

S: Wait now, I went in 1940, but when I got overseas in 1941, I

landed in New Caledonia. I stayed around there and moved in

parts of New Caledonia. Then we got on a boat and we would

just go up through the islands. We did not really get off

because the war was going on. We had to zig-zag to get to

Guadalcanal [Solomon Islands]. We never did really get off.

We went through the Fiji's, the Marshall Islands, and I

cannot think what else. We got to Guadalcanal and we landed

there, but [when] getting off the boats [the] Japs would

move in. We had to move back out. We moved out several

times trying to get in, but we could not get off because

they would start bombing and shooting.

E: Tell me about coming home. I wanted to hear about you

getting home and marrying your wife and so forth.




7










S: Oh, you do not want to hear about that [the army

experience]. Okay, but what I was going to say was we went

back to New Caledonia sometime in 1944. They were going to

draw names, and some of them could go on furlough and go to

New Zealand and Australia, but I did not. We drew names,

and they drew mine and I came home. I got on a truck and

rode with a group; so many out of each section would ride

down to New Caledonia waiting for the boat to come in. And

the boat did not come in and they said they did not know how

long we would be down there, but we were supposed to come

back. But, we went down there and it did not come in quick

enough for me. So I called and told them how about coming

to get me? They said, "What is wrong?" I said, "There is

nothing wrong, I just do not want to go home." So he said,

"Why? You do not get along with your people?" I said,

"Yes, I guess I do." They had to make me write home when I

wrote. I did not write. But, anyway, they come and got me.

They said, "You will be the last one to leave off this

island. Everybody will be off but you." I said, "I do not

care whether they do or not, I still am not going." So they

took me back. One year from that day they had another

drawing. Here I was, drawn again, and the others did not

have a chance. They said, "You have had your chance, and

here you have another chance." I said, "I do not know

anything about it." So they said, "Well, we heard you did."

But they had called me and told me, but I lied out of that.


8










I said, "No, they have not told me." I said, "I better

leave here now because somebody might plant me over here."

So I came back home. I stayed over there almost three

years; then, when I came back to California I was around

there a few days. They sent me to Fort Bragg. I was around

there a few days, and then I came home. That was in March.

Then, I came home and I met one girl and took her out. I

will not say we were dating. I brought her uptown and

turned around. I met her and took her home.

E: Now, what was her name before you married her?

S: Starnes. But, anyway, I met this other girl. The other one

was Indian. This woman told me she wanted me to get in her

family. She wanted me to go with Alberta. I took her out

that night, and I ended up taking her back home. I never

did go back and get her. I met her though, and turned

around and me and her married in less than a week. A week

and a half.

E: You have how many children now?

S: Five. But, anyway, like I told you, I only knew her a week

and a half. [I had] never seen her, never heard of her.

And we have been married forty-nine years.

E: Forty-nine years. And you are how old now?

S: Seventy.

E: Seventy.

S: She was eighteen and I was twenty-one. But I said I did not

know her.


9










E: But you know, you sure did marry a pretty one. Did you know

that?

S: Yes. Now, I can tell you this. When I met her I was

telling [another lady] I was going to get married, and that

was Helen Beck. She said, "Well, you do not know her. You

better bring her down here and let me look at her. Let me

talk to her and I can tell you whether she is worth having."

But I went ahead and married her.

E: Did you live on the reservation when you first got married?

S: Yes, ma'am.

E: And had a little house of your own?

S: No. We never did really.

?: Well, we did not really have a house of our own, but we

lived in Kathleen and Billy's house.

S: We even lived in the church [when] we did not have a house.

The old church right across from where the chief lives? We

lived in it in the back part.

E: Yes.

S: Then we lived in a little house going to the graveyard.

E: And what kind of work did you do now, when you came home?

S: Me? I could not get a job. See, back then, way back when I

was [coming] along, they would not give Indians jobs. You

may not believe this, [but] I would go ask for a job at the

mill. They would say, "What experience do you have?" And I

would say, "I do not have any experience." "Well, we do not

need you, you do not have experience." Then later I got to


10










thinking, "Well, if everybody is going to be that way, I

will never have a job." They had a strike down there at the

industrial mill. The ones that were on strike, I had to

ride in on the back of a truck with the thing down. You

could not see and people would holler at you when you would

come out. But they told me if I would come in on this

strike, I would have a job and if they went back, I would

still have a job. And I had a job. I worked there for

twelve years.

E: That is good for you.

S: I had to go to the hospital because I had a cut on my head,

and I went down there but I did not stay. I told them [at

the mill] when I went I was going. They said, "How long?"

"I do not know," but I went down there [to the hospital] and

I did not stay over night. "Let me go look at a room. Let

me go find you a room and I will come back and get you and

take you to the room." I said, "Okay." When they left to

go get that room, I left too. So I came back the next

morning and the next few days when I went back to get my job

they said, "You told me when you left that you were going to

quit." I said, "I have not told you anything." But that is

what they put it on. Mrs. Robinson was a school teacher

down there where mama worked. You were talking about that

little building added on?

E: Yes.




11










S: But she finally got me work back down there at the

industrial [plant], and I forget what year that was. It was

not too long, but I worked there altogether twelve years. I

left in 1958.

E: Well you have been a lot of places and done a lot of things

and I want to know, are you proud to be a Catawba Indian?

S: Oh, yes.

E: What do you think about your heritage and your history that

you have got in back of you?

S: Well, that is what I said, I think a lot of it. Like I

said, I have never been around much and I have not known our

history too much.

E: But you had a good father and a good mother.

S: Oh, yes. I know it.

E: And you were close to the church.

S: Right. We used to be in church.

E: How is the new settlement on the Catawba tribe going to help

you?

S: I do not know if it will.

E: Maybe [it will help] some with health [benefits, do] you

think?

S: Well, I am hoping.

E: And then it will help your children and grandchildren's

education.

S: Right. That is what we were just talking about a while

back.


12










E: I saw Congressman Spratt not long ago and he says there is a

bright new road ahead of the Catawbas if you will only pull

together and work along the way.

S: That is right. We are talking about the same thing with

those people. You might know them, or think you know them,

and I am not saying you do not. I hope you do. But, like

it is now, I know them. They do not pull together. One

will pull one way, one will pull another. But it would be

good if all of them would say, "We want it for everybody.

Not for one, but everybody." I told them when they had a

meeting one time (I do not remember when exactly it was), "I

do not care whether I get a dime. If it would benefit

everybody, kids and everybody old, I would not care if I get

a dime. As long as they would do it and do it right."

E: Well, you have lived a mighty good life and I am so glad

that you are proud to be a Catawba and you are proud of the

history you have in back of you.

S: I never did really live all that good. When I was younger,

I lived a little different, but in the last thirty years, I

sure have.

E: If you had one word that you were going to say to this

younger generation, what would you tell them to do? How to

live?

S: How to live?

E: Yes. What would you tell the Catawba young people?




13










S: I do not know. I would say, try to live up to your tribe.

You should be better in life and see that you have better

education.

E: They will have a future that you did not have a chance for.

S: Right.












































14





Full Text

PAGE 1

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Interviewee: Thomas Sanders Interviewer: Emma Echols March 2, 1994 CAT 233 Thomas Sanders is the son of Idle and Arzada Sanders. In this interview Sanders, now 70 years old, recalls attending school on the reservation, his years in a civilian Conservation Corps camp and in the army during World War II, and meeting his wife and working in a local factory after the war.

PAGE 2

Interviewee: Thomas Sanders Interviewer: Emma Echols Date of Interview: March 2, 1994 CAT 233a E: This is Emma Reid Echols, 5150 Sharon Road, Charlotte, North Carolina. I am visiting in the home of Mr. Sanders, and this is a very interesting experience for me. More than twenty years ago the University of Florida gave me a little tape recorder and told me to go down on the Indian reservation and begin to make some oral history stories. So I went. The first place I stopped [was] at the store [and] they said, "Go and visit Idle Sanders and his wife Arzada." And so I did. So my first visit with a Catawba Indian was with Idle and Arzada Sanders and they are the ones that gave me the idea for the story on the mystery chieftain, Tom Stephen. So there are many, many memories that I have and here I am visiting in the home of Arzada and Idle Sanders' son. I am so happy to wind up the interviews with this man, and I loved his father and his mother. Now give me your full name and your address. s: Thomas Mccloud Sanders, 339 Chestnut Street, Rock Hill, South Carolina. E: How long have you been living here? s: Let us see, we moved here in 1962; about thirty-two years, or [it] will be [in] July coming up. 1

PAGE 3

E: Now you are the oldest one? S: Living. E: Only one living. Tell me the names of your brothers and sisters. S: Okay, let me start from the top. There were two dead before I was born. I do not remember now what there names [were]. But I had two living before me that I can remember when I was born. But, the others are Kurt, Kathleen, and Euela, and there was Jack, me, Fred, William, and Roberta, Vivian, and Mahanee. Is that all? She knows them better than I do. E: Well, that is fine. I still well remember seeing your mother having a big tub of clay outside her window, and they would stir it and fix it from time to time. And then I would see her with a whole row of pottery and she would say to Idle, "Please hand me your knife. I need to scrape this little one." And Fred told me that he was the one that would go across the river and bring the clay back in a bucket or a bag, and put it in the big tub. Then, when she would get them all ready, he was the one that took them down to the old chimney. Some of them fired them in the older places. S: One of the old houses. E: Where the old house was, where he fired them. So there are many blessed memories I have of them. Tell me about your earlier life going to school down there. Let us pick up with how you went to school. 2

PAGE 4

S: Well, I never did go very much. You remember you would here of Samuel Beck? E: Yes. S: I do not know what education he had, because when I went to school I was not very old. I do not remember what grade I was supposed to be in. But he would read. If there was more in the class than me, he would read to me in the book and he would tell me something about the train, "Choo, choo, choo, and chewed my britches half in two." I would go home and one of my sisters, Euela, would read to me out of the books that I carried home. When she would read them to me, [she would] let me listen, and then she would want me to read behind her. So when I did, I would come out with that train, "Choo, choo, choo, and chewed my britches half in two." And she said, "That is not in it." I said, "Yes it is too. Because Samuel told me that was in there," and come to find out it was not in there. I said, "Samuel Beck would probably go off somewhere and laugh about it. He has two kids now that act just like him." I said, "I do not know, they are just like him to me, because they will tell something that is not worth anything and then they will laugh about it." More or less like making fun of you or something like that, because Samuel knew I could not read but he would tell me that. E: Now he was a teacher at that time. S: He was a teacher, yes ma'am. 3

PAGE 5

E: Then, when you finished school you went through the seventh grade there? S: I just, what do you call it? Evaluated is what you call it? ?: He went through the third grade in school, I think. S: I went to the third grade. They promoted me then to the fourth grade. Well, I quit the fourth grade. They promoted from third to fourth, but I went in the service. I had been in [the] cc [Civilian Conservation Corps] camp. I went in when I was twelve years old in 1936. I went to Laurens, South Carolina. I did not stay all the time. I do not remember how many months, it has been so long, but I did not stay my time out. My daddy and them used to carry me back when I would come home. (We got] no leave, but I would come home. They would carry me all the way back. One time I gathered up shoes and clothes and put them in a big bag and figured when I turned them in (and they asked], "Where did you get those shoes?" they would discharge me. They were going to leave me and I would tell them, "If you leave, I will be home by the time you get back." turned them in. That was over in Laurens. So anyway, I They waited. I was going to turn my clothes in and come back because I said I was going to come back. I turned them in and they did not ask me where I got all the clothes, where I got all those shoes, nothing. But I turned them in. I do not think I went back anymore after then. But I was not but twelve years old and when they 4

PAGE 6

would pay me, instead of giving it to me, they would keep it and give me so much. I was making twenty-one dollars a month in there. E: Very little compared with what they are making today. S: Very little. E: How long were you there and what did you do when you came home? S: Oh, I do not know what I did. Anyway, I came home. That was in 1936, and I remember I did not go back to school anymore. We picked cotton and sharecropped. That was about all in the springtime. I then went in the NYA [National Youth Administration] school. I went down to the boy's school. There was not anything wrong, you know, but to try to get your education you could either go to school and learn, or you could take up with [them and] they would learn you a trade. That is down there in a little place out from McConnell, South Carolina, about four or five miles. It was called Fletcher. That is out near Gibson and Blarnburg. I left there in about 1938-39. I come around home and stayed until 1940 and I went in the army. I was sixteen in January and I went in the army on June 13, 1940, and I stayed around Fort Bragg. When the war broke out they told me they had found out that I was not old enough to be in there. I told them I was. They said, "No you are not. We have found out that you are not." And I still said, "Yes, I was." I said, "I do not want out." He 5

PAGE 7

said, "You do not want out?" And I said, "No, sir." We were on maneuvers and when we went back he was telling me that he found out my age. They said, "You really want to stay?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "I will take and tear your old papers up that we have on you. We will make new papers and you sign these new papers." But he said, "Now, when you sign them, you are in the army." He said, "You were in the army, but we were going to get rid of them, but you were not old enough, so we fixed these other ones up and when you sign them you are in the army." He said, "You will not get paid. I do not know when you will get paid." I said, "I do not care whether I ever get paid. I am still not going home." And he said, "Okay." And the war broke out. E: Where did they send you then? S: Well, that is what I am talking about. But I stayed in there then. That was about September, but the war broke out December 7. I was at home when the war broke out. I had a pass, but I did not go back. They gave me a pass at Christmas. I came back for about a fourteen day leave or something. But I was at home when the war broke out. You were talking about that old well where the chief and them lived. I think I was down there that Sunday when they were telling me about the war breaking out. I had heard about it, but I was down there that day. E: How long were you in the army? 6

PAGE 8

S: Well, when the war broke out December 7, 1941, we stayed in Fort Bragg until. I have it on my discharge bulletin. We left there in 1942. In 1942 we went overseas. We went to California. We shipped out there. I cannot say what day it was but it was in March, I think. We landed in New Caledonia in 1942. We moved [to] different places on the island. We came back up through the Marshall Islands and all different kinds of islands. E: You do not like that army? You were glad to get home for good, were you not? How many years [were you in altogether]? S: Wait now, I went in 1940, but when I got overseas in 1941, I landed in New Caledonia. I stayed around there and moved in parts of New Caledonia. Then we got on a boat and we would just go up through the islands. We did not really get off because the war was going on. We had to zig-zag to get to Guadalcanal [Solomon Islands]. We never did really get off. We went through the Fiji's, the Marshall Islands, and I cannot think what else. We got to Guadalcanal and we landed there, but [when] getting off the boats [the] Japs would move in. We had to move back out. We moved out several times trying to get in, but we could not get off because they would start bombing and shooting. E: Tell me about coming home. I wanted to hear about you getting home and marrying your wife and so forth. 7

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S: Oh, you do not want to hear about that [the army experience). Okay, but what I was going to say was we went back to New Caledonia sometime in 1944. They were going to draw names, and some of them could go on furlough and go to New Zealand and Australia, but I did not. We drew names, and they drew mine and I came home. I got on a truck and rode with a group; so many out of each section would ride down to New Caledonia waiting for the boat to come in. And the boat did not come in and they said they did not know how long we would be down there, but we were supposed to come back. But, we went down there and it did not come in quick enough for me. So I called and told them how about coming to get me? They said, "What is wrong?" I said, "There is nothing wrong, I just do not want to go home." So he said, "Why? You do not get along with your people?" I said, "Yes, I guess I do." They had to make me write home when I wrote. I did not write. But, anyway, they come and got me. They said, "You will be the last one to leave off this island. Everybody will be off but you." I said, "I do not care whether they do or not, I still am not going." So they took me back. One year from that day they had another drawing. Here I was, drawn again, and the others did not have a chance. They said, "You have had your chance, and here you have another chance." I said, "I do not know anything about it." So they said, "Well, we heard you did." But they had called me and told me, but I lied out of that. 8

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L __ I said, "No, they have not told me." I said, "I better leave here now because somebody might plant me over here." So I came back home. I stayed over there almost three years; then, when I came back to California I was around there a few days. They sent me to Fort Bragg. I was around there a few days, and then I came home. That was in March. Then, I came home and I met one girl and took her out. I will not say we were dating. I brought her uptown and turned around. I met her and took her home. E: Now, what was her name before you married her? S: Starnes. But, anyway, I met this other girl. The other one was Indian. This woman told me she wanted me to get in her family. She wanted me to go with Alberta. I took her out that night, and I ended up taking her back home. I never did go back and get her. I met her though, and turned around and me and her married in less than a week. A week and a half. E: You have how many children now? s: Five. But, anyway, like I told you, I only knew her a week and a half. [I had] never seen her, never heard of her. And we have been married forty-nine years. E: Forty-nine years. And you are how old now? S: Seventy. E: Seventy. s: She was eighteen and I was twenty-one. But I said I did not know her. 9

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E: But you know, you sure did marry a pretty one. Did you know that? s: Yes. Now, I can tell you this. When I met her I was telling [another lady] I was going to get married, and that was Helen Beck. She said, "Well, you do not know her. You better bring her down here and let me look at her. Let me talk to her and I can tell you whether she is worth having." But I went ahead and married her. E: Did you live on the reservation when you first got married? S: Yes, ma'am. E: And had a little house of your own? s: No. We never did really. ?: Well, we did not really have a house of our own, but we lived in Kathleen and Billy's house. S: We even lived in the church [when] we did not have a house. The old church right across from where the chief lives? We lived in it in the back part. E: Yes. S: Then we lived in a little house going to the graveyard. E: And what kind of work did you do now, when you came home? s: Me? I could not get a job. See, back then, way back when I was [coming] along, they would not give Indians jobs. You may not believe this, [but] I would go ask for a job at the mill. They would say, "What experience do you have?" And I would say, "I do not have any experience." "Well, we do not need you, you do not have experience." Then later I got to 10

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thinking, "Well, if everybody is going to be that way, I will never have a job." They had a strike down there at the industrial mill. The ones that were on strike, I had to ride in on the back of a truck with the thing down. You could not see and people would holler at you when you would come out. But they told me if I would come in on this strike, I would have a job and if they went back, I would still have a job. And I had a job. I worked there for twelve years. E: That is good for you. S: I had to go to the hospital because I had a cut on my head, and I went down there but I did not stay. I told them [at the mill] when I went I was going. They said, "How long?" "I do not know," but I went down there [to the hospital] and I did not stay over night. "Let me go look at a room. Let me go find you a room and I will come back and get you and take you to the room." I said, "Okay." When they left to go get that room, I left too. So I came back the next morning and the next few days when I went back to get my job they said, "You told me when you left that you were going to quit." I said, "I have not told you anything." But that is what they put it on. Mrs. Robinson was a school teacher down there where mama worked. You were talking about that little building added on? E: Yes. 11

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S: But she finally got me work back down there at the industrial [plant], and I forget what year that was. It was not too long, but I worked there altogether twelve years. I left in 1958. E: Well you have been a lot of places and done a lot of things and I want to know, are you proud to be a Catawba Indian? S: Oh, yes. E: What do you think about your heritage and your history that you have got in back of you? S: Well, that is what I said, I think a lot of it. Like I said, I have never been around much and I have not known our history too much. E: But you had a good father and a good mother. S: Oh, yes. I know it. E: And you were close to the church. S: Right. We used to be in church. E: How is the new settlement on the Catawba tribe going to help you? S: I do not know if it will. E: Maybe [it will help] some with health [benefits, do] you think? S: Well, I am hoping. E: And then it will help your children and grandchildren's education. S: Right. That is what we were just talking about a while back. 12

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@c, 1-iY\ /vi. 5 p-,, {4,'.f ('. 'D.c.t~ Sitt h ;,4 , ?,, Jdk ID 1' E: I saw Congressman Spratt not long ago and he says there is a bright new road ahead of the Catawbas if you will only pull together and work along the way. S: That is right. We are talking about the same thing with those people. You might know them, or think you know them, and I am not saying you do not. I hope you do. But, like it is now, I know them. They do not pull together. One will pull one way, one will pull another. But it would be good if all of them would say, "We want it for everybody. Not for one, but everybody." I told them when they had a meeting one time (I do not remember when exactly it was), "I do not care whether I get a dime. If it would benefit everybody, kids and everybody old, I would not care if I get a dime. As long as they would do it and do it right." E: Well, you have lived a mighty good life and I am so glad that you are proud to be a Catawba and you are proud of the history you have in back of you. S: I never did really live all that good. When I was younger, I lived a little different, but in the last thirty years, I sure have. E: If you had one word that you were going to say to this younger generation, what would you tell them to do? How to live? s: How to live? E: Yes. What would you tell the Catawba young people? 13

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S: I do not know. I would say, try to live up to your tribe. You should be better in life and see that you have better education. E: They will have a future that you did not have a chance for. S: Right. 14