Interview with James Robert Crane, May 27, 1971

Material Information

Interview with James Robert Crane, May 27, 1971
Crane, James Robert ( Interviewee )


Subjects / Keywords:
Gainesville High School (Alachua County) Oral History Collection ( local )
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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 'Gainesville High School' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
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Being interviewed: James Robert Crane --(C)
410 N.E. 13h Avenue 58 years old

has lived in the Gainesville area
for twenty years.

Interviewer: Shors, Woodworth & Fiaser--(I)

I: Mr. Crane, where were you born?

C: In Quincy, Florida.

I: About how far is that from here?

C: A hundred and fifty miles, about .

I: Is there .?

C: Just around Tallahassee, about a hundred and sixty-five miles, I think.

I: What do you like about the town--that town?

C: You mean Gainesville .

I: That town.

C: Uh, Quincy?

I: Yeah.

C: Well, first I lived there till I was in the vicinity--until I

was nineteen years old and it is a great deal like Gainesville, it's

inland, and my parents was born there so I have a lot of history there

and I relish this together with the fact that my boyhood days were

very happy in that little country town where I lived. My two sisters

lived. one in Tallahassee and one in Chatah----- now.

I: Okay, what were childhood games--your favorite ones, and how you play-

ed them?

C: A lot of childhood games Mark, were work when I was a boy. There wasn't

as many games that were important as getting' out and work, but I'm sure

that every boy had a rare game to likin' I would prefer baseball,

over anything. And of course, we played it with as little as three

men on each side and everything else in the little schools I went to.

But baseball was our favorite sport to past time.

2 -

I: Can you tell a little bit about the school that you went to?

C: Yes, I started to school in a little private school, and that's the

only school that you'd get except the very crude country schools taught

by a Presby terian minister's daughter and this was located in the town

of Chatah---- and I think this was the year of nineteen hundred and ten,

because I was nearly eight years old due to the fact that we had not

lived where my parents wanted us to go to school. I attended this pri-

vate (and I have a twin brother, incidentally) we attended this private

school for two years and then we started in public school in the fourth

grade and that was in the same time as Chatah----- .

I: Oh, Okay. A lot of kids have-heroes, like the president, some president

or like Micky Mantel or Babe Ruth,(Bart Start) somebody like this .

who would you say your childhood hero was?

C: Well, actually, I'll tell you about a song that my sister used to sing

say well, as a fact my uncle was a railroad engineer, but to-have

anybody it would have been Casey Jones, because of my love

for railroads. This was a railroad junction area and my uncle work-

ed on the railroad and I had a great fascination for it. Other than

than that as a hero, I suppose it would have been a young man who went

off to world war I,(just a little older than myself), who was about the

best local picture in the place, and I was actually glad to see him

going in the service 'cause then I could pitch for the little ol'

team that was there playing ball. But as a name, I thought the story

of Casey Jones and the railroad-life men were great heroes.

I: Okay, you're in the car business right now, but can you remember the

very first car you had?

C: Well, it was a nineteen fourteen model ford. We bought it used in

nineteen sixteen; it had a brass radiator and all brass knobs and

we were completely unacquainted with a car except the fact that other


people had them, so when my father bought it, he said'there it is,'

and we got in and cranked it up and in less than an hour I run it in-

to a tree, but I straightened it up and managed to get home with it

late that nite. And the next car we had after that along with several

others, was a Four cylinder studebaker. That's the first

real nice car we had and it was a 1917 model.

I: Uh, can you tell me just about what cars cost theN?

C: Uh, Yes. I think I can remember, however I was just a kid and my fa-

ther negotiated a lot. It seems to me that this used ford that we

bought, we paid like four hundred dollars for it. I know the new

s tudebaker sold for in access to seven fifty and my father did

some trading we put probably in hard money about six hundred

and fifty dollars. But to give you an idea in proportion to things

it was not unusual that a man could have bought a forty acre farm

wihh some kinda house on it for six or seven hundred dollars. So in

relation to dollars, it costs five or ten thousand dollars for

depending on what kind of farm you might trade it for.
I: Okay, what was your first job and what did you do .

C: Well I went to work early in life cause in the railroad sections that

that we worked, well I was at home and then I had chores

the right thing to do. The first paid job I ever had that

I can remember uh, was when they were building a new school house--

and I got a job as a boy. Now you've heard this, but truly this

is the first job that I've ever had. It was a boy. And my mo-

ther was along because this boy's mother had made him stop because

they'd started building the second story and they had to carry wa-

ter up on the second floor. But uh, I was rather nimble and was

anxious to work so I took the job as a watbr boy, and building the


local schoolhouse there. I worked at that until the schoolhouse was

finished, which was several months.

I: How big was that schoolhouse?

C: I would say it was a building in dimensions. I remember how many

rooms it had very well. It had four downstairs and three upstairs.

And the upstairs all have the the so-called auditorium,

or study-hall. The building was probably fourty by seventy fire.

It had a porch around it. It's very odd today for a schoolhouse

to have windows in it two feet up and down stairs, just a little;'ol

two-story schoolhouse.

I: Okay, um, what is your view of things today?

C: You mean generally? Just--

I; Just generally, yeah.

C: Oppomistic or Pessimistic--which I would say? I'm optimistic. 'Cause

to be pessimistic is, you know, there's no progress in it in

being pessimistic. I am cautious and I think that a good amount of

cautiousness is very necessary anytime because it's very easy to get

going just a little faster than we can properly spare our economy,

our social behaviour or anything else. As far as what will core

of America, it'll turn out just as good as it ever has because

somebody'll find the right thing to do and do it. On that--that

outlook, I'm optomistichworld in America will cure whatever ills

they have by effort and devoted most dedicated to the ac-

complishment. People 'bout as good as they can have to be and

they're bad as they can afford to be in dollars and.cents -. And

for that reason people have to get a little better 'cause it's get-

ting too expensive not to be.

I: Okay, thank you.