Cleome "Smokey" Young
Personal narrative of Cleome “Smokey” Young
From: Cleome “Smokey” Young (sy)
Meduim: Audio tape
Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1999
Place: Home of Cleome Young, 804 West 54th St. Marion, IN 46953
Collected by: Keith Porter (kp)
00:00 kp: I am Keith Porter. This is April 28, 1999. This is being recorded at 804 West 54th Street. I am speaking with Smokey Young. Please state your name.
sy: Uh, Smokey Young.
kp: Do I have permission to interview you?
sy: Yes, you do.
kp: Do I have permission to submit this interview to Marion High School?
sy: Yes, you do.
kp: Do I have permission to submit this interview to the Marion Public Library?
sy: Yes, you do.
- 1 Oral History of Smokey Young
- 1.1 Marion in the Forties
- 1.2 Dancing, Picnicking, Camping
- 1.3 Marriage
- 1.4 Working in a Shoe Factory during WWII
- 1.5 Cars and Tires during WWII
- 1.6 Known by His Work
- 1.7 Married Young and Living on a Factory Salary
- 1.8 World War II and His Friends
- 1.9 Events in the Forties
- 1.10 Death of His Son
- 1.11 Raising a Family
- 1.12 Most Memorable Moment - Getting Married
- 1.13 News of War
- 1.14 Custer's Last Stand
- 1.15 Rough Times
- 1.16 Married Life
- 1.17 Movies
- 1.18 Home Sweet Home
- 1.19 Marion Schools
- 1.20 Raising Kids
- 1.21 Matter Park
- 1.22 Indiana Wesleyan in the Forties
- 1.23 Marion's Famous
- 1.24 Fun in the Forties
- 1.25 Working with his Dad
- 1.26 Celebration at the End of WW II
Oral History of Smokey Young
Marion in the Forties
00:22 kp: Ok, I look at Marion now and they're building on to the by-pass and new suburbs. What was Marion like in the 1940s?
sw: Well, um, to start with, out here where you can’t get on to the by-pass, State Road Nine, that was a gravel road clear into 12th Street, 16th Street, clear into 16th Street and, uh, State Road Nine went right down through town. Washington Street was two ways; Adams Street was two ways. When you went through Marion, you went down Washington Street and right out the other end of town (laughing). So there have been a lot, a lot of differences in our time. You know, so many changes. There wasn’t hardly anyone on the by-pass, the wrecking there, 16th Street, or, no, yeah, 16th Street, used to be a Spencer Wrecking Yard there. So uh, we’ve seen a lot go through here, and there’s so much more buildings, you know, new homes and things like that. We didn’t have anything like malls or anything that way. We did any shopping downtown (laughing).
Dancing, Picnicking, Camping
01:28 kp: Yeah, what’d you guys do for fun in the 1940s?
sy: Oh well, we’d, well, right now we’d dance but it wasn’t so much as that and, uh, we went on picnics and things like that and Matter Park if something’s going on. That was about the lent on the run [sic]. I guess we used to camp. We camped later on in the years, but we’d spend a lot of time camping.
kp: What was your most memorable moment, funwise, like camping or?
sy: Oh, boy (laughing). I had a lot of good times so I I don’t know. It’s hard to, uh, it’s hard to say. Well, we used to go up to the lake north on Chapman Lake and we also camped out here, out here on a couple camp grounds out here and we’d go up to Michigan (pause).
kp: Ok, the phone just rang, and now we are continuing where we left off. We're talking about his most memorable moments camping.
sy: Yeah, I, that was a big thing then you know; still is far as that part, but you just can’t do it now. And, uh, like I said we done a lot of dancing, basically anything we could find to do.
kp: Line dancing, what kind of, you said you did line dancing?
sy: Well, we did line dancing but, uh, there weren’t any line dancing back then. It was ballroom dancing and we still do and we enjoy it. We teach down at the Senior Center. We teach line dancing, and, uh, actually we taught this afternoon (laughing) for about four hours.
02:58 kp: You said in 1941, you said you got married. When did you develop a relationship with your wife?
sy: Well, it was about five years before that so, uh, that was about,uh, well, I met her at a party and they were there. That was it (laughing).
kp: What year did guys get married in?
Working in a Shoe Factory during WWII
sy: Forty-one, 1941, I watched a shoe factory; but, uh, when we got married, uh, old Haley Shoe Factory used to be down on, um, Bradford Street right along the river. Right along the river.
03:32 kp: How was it there? Describe everything?
sy: Oh, it wasn’t bad workin' but it didn’t pay anything and I got froze on the job because the war broke out and they wouldn’t take me in the service so I was froze on that job until after the war. And after the war, I went to work with my dad. I went to work with him, and that’s where I retired after forty some years in (inaudible). We had vending and such things like amusement games and things like that.
04:02 sp: Why didn’t you get accepted into the war?
ky: I had a spot on my lungs 'cause I had ammonia [sic]when I was ten years old and it left a spot on there and they just wouldn’t take me. I don’t know why. I would have done everything everyone else could do (laughing).
Cars and Tires during WWII
04:15 kp: Describe the effect World War II had. I mean like around Marion. What happened?
sy: Oh, you had your problems. I mean you couldn’t hardly get gasoline. You had to get tickets or stamps to get gasoline. You couldn’t buy tires. I traded two automobiles off because I couldn’t get tires for them (laughing). So, uh, yeah, it was, it was bad. Oh, I felt like I was lucky staying home; still I didn’t want to. I wanted to go to the navy 'cause some of my best friends were in, but they wouldn’t take me. So that’s the way it stood.
Known by His Work
kp: So, what else happened during the 1940s that you found really interesting?
sy: Well, when I first started workin' for my dad, I enjoyed that. That’s the first time I’ve been out in public. I was always kinda backward. I’d go on chasing things. Once you go in public and get acquainted with people and things that doesn’t mean more good than anything, uh, I worked with him. Like I said we’ve been in that business for forty years and I retired when I was sixty-two and I’m seventy-six now.
05:22 sp: Describe that job. What did you do exactly?
sy: I serviced the machines, myself, uh, anything that happened to it. They would break down, parts, things go bad. We ordered parts, get parts for them. But we had pool tables, juke boxes, pinball machines, you name it, we had it all, and vending machines also - candy, cigarettes, things like that. And so I got acquainted with an awful lot of people, you know, and that makes the time and then in and out.
In fact, the other table I was over at the Ambis Saturday night. I went to this table to talk to my daughter and son-in-law, and they sat across the room on over there. There was another table behind them. I got through talking to them. I turned around and this lady said, “Hi Smokey,” and I said (laughing) “Hi,” and I didn’t know her from Adams, see. And she said, "I hadn’t seen you for a long time," and I said, "Yeah, it’s been so long I don’t even recognize you" (laughing). And then, come to find out, that she said, "You had all the juke boxes in Grant County, didn’t you?" (laughing) I said, "Well, no, not all of them."
We had enough, you know, and, uh, that’s the way you run into people like that. And the kids, face it, back then when I was doing that, these teenagers were in a lot of the places we’d go in. Uh, they remembered me but next time (watch goes off), the next time, uh, I see them, they’ve grown up and they changed, you know, so much. I guess haven’t changed all that much, see. I don’t know, but that lady over there sure did. She remembered me. But, uh, that was one thing and, when you run into somebody like that and they know you but you don’t know them, you don’t know what to do. I used to say, "Hey, I don’t remember you. Where are you from?"
Married Young and Living on a Factory Salary
07:03 kp: How old were you when you got married?
sy: Uh . . . I was eighteen.
kp: And your wife was . . .
kp: How difficult was it to raise kids, and . . .
sy: Well, we didn’t have that much of a problem, really, you know. We didn’t try to live over our heads or anything. We went with what we had and, uh, well, money would have been better but I couldn’t make it at the shoe factory. Couldn’t make any more there. We started out, we had [an] icebox, we had a kerosene stove - cooker stove (laughs), stuff like that and melt the, melt the front porch, you know. But I’ve seen it; I’ve seen it way back when, and it’s hard to believe.
kp: Okay. Did you struggle at all?
sy: Oh, yeah, we had to be some hard times, that’s for sure!
kp: How and what did you do to get out of those?
sy: Well, we done the best we could(laughs).
sy: We’d just say, “Well, I’ll pay you next week," or something like that, you know. But I never, I never had any really problem. And back then at the grocery store, you know, everybody at the grocery store, they bring you a bill for the week and, uh, you just pay it on the week. So as far as that, we got by along all right. Say, a lot of people a lotta worse shape. And, I don’t know, it’s a lot different then what it used to be. A whole lot.
World War II and His Friends
08:28 kp: Did World War II affect your home life?
kp: Your friends or . .
sy: Well, friends, yes!
kp: How’d that, how’d it affect your friends and . . .?
sy: Well, you just didn’t see ‘em. I had one buddy I’d run around with. We’d run around and get with all the time, and we got, when we got married, they got married second day after we did. They stood up with us, and then we stood up with them. But they took him in the Navy. That’s when I tried to get in, but they wouldn’t take me. But, yeah, I had a lot of friends that went in there, and some of them didn’t get back. I’m just, you know, three or four of them, but, uh,they sure had faith. But like I say, about, uh, this, this and the streetcars running down through town; that Washington Street and Adams Street and they’re both two way and I had from Washington Street, had streetcars running around there and went all over town instead of taxis.
Events in the Forties
09:25 kp: What events, like now they have James Dean festival, what events did they have in Marion that for entertainment or uh ?
sy: Oh, not much, they had more things going on at the park than any place else.
kp: What did they have going on?
sy: Oh, just like a, oh, I don’t know how to explain it to you, like the Fourth of July, things like that. They’d have ”doin's” out there, you know. Holidays, they may have had something going on out there. Always went out to see the fireworks, take the kids out.
Death of His Son
Then I lost one son after he, he was, he was in Vietnam. He got back out of there and he went up here to the reservoir, fishing, and it’s been twenty-two years ago. He went up, him and my son-in-law, went up there fishing, and he got shot up there and killed him. So a guy, one guy mistaked him for somebody else, and that’s the way it happened. The guy that he, he thought it was his girlfriend’s brother in bed cuz when we had, Jim had a van and this guy had a van. Well, he got, this guy had got his wife out of the house and told him that he (inaudible), he was going to shoot him there, cold blooded, sitting there at the kitchen breakfast table. And, so she went with him. And they parked out there along the river, and that’s where he ended up going. And he seen ‘em, and he thought it was her dad and brother coming after her. He just up and start shooting. And that was that.
11:02 kp: What year was your first kid born on?
sy: Uh, let’s see. He was born on 1941. At the end of ’41.
kp: At the end of ’41? Describe the happiness . . .
sy: Oh, yeah.
Raising a Family
kp: . . . and how it was raising him during the forties.
sy: (laughs) I’d take him out in the shed. You wouldn’t know he was fifty-some years old, would you? But, yeah, we enjoyed every one of them. And I went a long time I wanted a girl. Kept saying I wanted a girl and . . . so my wife was working at that time at RCA and I talked her into quitting and coming and helping me in our business. It just so happened she got pregnant, and we got that girl! And that’s my daughter, next door. So, I end up pretty good there. And we didn’t even have a name for a boy. She said when she got ready, got ready to go to the delivery room, “We don’t have a name for a boy!” I said, “Don’t need it, I’m gonna have a girl.” And we didn’t.
kp: How was it raising a boy at that young of an age? Was it difficult? How difficult?
Sy: No, no, no, no, no, it wasn’t for me. Now for some people it might be. Oh, we had no trouble. We had three boys.
kp: How did you raise your first one (pause)? How’d you raise him up and get through World War II with him? Did he go to school?
sy: Yeah, they, uh, went up here at McCulloch School, and after we moved out here [804 West 54 Street], they went to Missisinewa in Gas City, finished up over there. But, no, we had no problems. They was, they was good kids, never give us any problems. Oh, they do like that, they kids, you know, you have to holler at them once in a while or something (laughing).
They used to get to arguing so much, fighting amongst themselves, too. Um, we lived in town at that time and I had to fix that so I went and got a set of boxing gloves (laughing), light weight or heft, heavy weight type boxing gloves. And I said, “Now if you guys want to fight,we’re goin to fight. Now put them on.” They get out in the yard and first thing you’d know it they couldn’t even raise their arms or one of them say, “I give up.” They couldn’t hurt each other with their gloves. You know, they couldn’t hit hard enough, but, uh, there’s ways to get around them if you just stop and think about it, you know. Oh, we enjoyed raising them. No problems.
Most Memorable Moment - Getting Married
13:15 kp: What was your most memorable moment of the 1940s and why?
sy: Oh, boy, probably when I got married (laughed).
kp: Describe the feeling.
kp: What was your wedding like?
sy: (Inaudible) anyways, we got married down in Fairmount.
sy: We got married over there. We came back out after we left there, and we went over here. Well, the building still down there, we used to call it the old restaurant. We stopped there to eat; they had a jukebox in there so we played the jukebox and danced a little bit (laughing). That was with the other couple that went with us, when they stood up. Two days later we stood up for them. We all had a great time!
I had a, just before I got married, I had a Model 8 Coupe, twenty-nine Model 8 Coupe, and, uh, well, it was before that, before I got married 'cause I went to work for a shoe factory and I, after I went to the shoe factory, I, uh, I had a little money so I traded cars and got me a '36 Chevy Coupe. And another guy, he still had his Model 8. We had rumble seats in 'em. We, yeah, drive'n around, you know, doin' weird things - like the Indian Village and places like that.
Oh, there was always something we’d find to do (laughing). And, uh, we’d just throw parties at each other's house, you know, play cards or something like that. The kids would play. They’d get in a room and play with themselves, and we’d play cards. We didn’t have no TVs. I never had a TV until just before we moved out here. (Pause) Yeah they didn’t have as many as the stuff as they have today. Kids don’t know how lucky they are. Older people don’t even, don’t realize it.
News of War
15:10 kp: Do you remember hearing about World War II on the Radio?
sy: Oh, yes.
kp: The struggle, and the rest of the world?
sy: Yeah, what, what’ch ya could. We didn’t, I, we didn’t sit at that time and listen to the radio, but they always had a place in the paper, too, you know. Nowadays, it's like over there, when you see all that war goin' on over there. I don’t think they ought to be showing it. I just don’t because, just like that school did over there, they shouldn’t have showed all of that. It’s all right to tell about it, but to show it, some other guy gets an idea of doin' the same thing. Some of this stuff, some of it's good; some of it’s bad (laughing).
Custer's Last Stand
I can’t think of too much more. Uhhhh, there used to be a place on the by-pass, what’s the by-pass now, it wasn’t then. It was probably (goes to get pictures) Custer's Last Stand. It used to be a drive-in. It's out there now where McCulloch is. Custers Last Stand, it was a drive-in. That’s where big, biggest attraction when we got driving around. That’s all we had to do. You spend a lot of time out, just riding. You, you could go down ride, ride around down the Court House because you had two ways all the ways. All’s you had to do was watch out for them streetcars. But, uh, they’d go out to the cafeteria and sit there and eat a milkshake or a sand, hamburger or something and everybody talk and get out of their cars and it was a, it was a fun place. He was a service man at the time, the guy who owned it, Bob Custer. And, uh, then things started to grow a little bit more and change a little bit. It was good times. I still say it was good times (laughing).
kp: Good times (laughed).
sy: But like I said, during the war there were times when it was rough. You, you couldn’t get enough gas to do what you wanted to do.
kp: Describe those rough times. What else happened?
sy: Well, it’s just like I say - you couldn’t even buy tires. You couldn’t get tires. In fact, I, I started on a trip, took a fellow who worked at the shoe factory with me and lived, he lived in Kentucky, and he wanted to go down there on the weekend. And I said, “Well I’ll take you there," so we started down there and we put three tires on that car on the way down and back, blew ‘em out, had to go to someplace and find a tire. We had a heck of a time. Heh! But such things as that. Oh, now I laugh at it, but back then it wasn’t so funny. But I got him down and back, anyway, on a weekend.
kp: Were there any moments that you felt so sad that you almost cried or - ?
sy: Do what?
kp: During World War II, were there times where you felt so sad -
sy: Oh, yes and no, I think. I think about my buddies over there. I couldn’t be with them, but I never let it get the best of me, ya know, cuz I was busy then raising a family. Y’know I had plenty to keep me busy.
18:50 kp: You’re saying that you were very happy during -
sy: Well -
kp: - your married life?
sy: Oh, yeah.
kp: - during the forties?
sy; Yeah, yeah, the forties and whatever and up till now.[laughs](inaudible) . . . be alright or shouldn’t make it up to fifty-eight years in the fall. This year is fifty-eight years married in the fall. The nineteenth of June. Fifty-eight years. Wonder if I’ll make it to sixty? [laughs] Never know. And we’ve been real lucky. Our health has always been good. Neither one of us takes any medicine, or maybe an aspirin or so. Neither one of us has to go to a doctor and don’t even have a doctor.
19:35 kp: So during the forties you said the movies, the movies were real big.
sy: Yeah. Yeah, the movies were real big. We had about, I think,let’s see,one, two, three, four, four or five theaters here, movies, and then they were all downtown, right downtown. See, had nothing, had nothing (inaudible). No mall, no anything.
And there was another buddy I used to run around with, that was before I really got married, that’s before I got married, and we went every Saturday night to the Paramount Theater. We never missed. No matter how many weeks it was we never missed a Saturday night going. Regardless of what was on, we’d go! So that was a fast time. Then after I got going with my wife and got married, I (inaudible). And when he went into the service, and he had to go into the service, I bought his automobile off of him cuz mine needed tires and I couldn’t get the tires so I bought his car off of him. It was just funny things like that takes place, you know.
20:40 kp: What do you remember about the political atmosphere of the forties? Hoover was president?
sy: I don’t think much of that too much. At that age I don’t pay any attention to it(laugh). (Inaudible) Maybe I shouldn’t of said that.
Home Sweet Home
21:05 kp: What was your house like, living in it?
sy: We didn’t have it. We had a pretty decent house. When we first started, we lived with my mom and dad for a little while and then we moved with her mom and dad for a little while, and then we found a house. And that house is on that hill on Harmon Street, between Seventh, Thirty-seventh, Thirty-sixth, naw, Thirty-eighth Street and Thirty-seventh Street. (Inaudible) then I had a chance to buy a house down at Felton Street, used to be a firebarn up there on Felton Street, there by Godwins, this side of Godwins. We bought a house there, and we lived there 'til we got this.
kp: What was the inside like?
sy: Oh, oh, it was just like most houses was back then, and I can, I mean, to me it was something. I fixed it. I fixed it or painted it or done whatever. I, in fact, I improved both of them (laugh). I improved both houses, but I like doing that kinda stuff. And she’s one that wants the same thing. You know, like, like keep ‘em up. When we had kids, they, we lived on Felton, when they . . . going to McCulloch School (inaudible).
22:18 kp: What was the school system like?
sy: Oh, pretty much like it is now, I think(laugh). I don’t know, you know. Depends on who's in charge, but the kids never had any problems with anybody in school. They never, they never got in any trouble or anything. I got another boy who was in the (inaudible). He works for Dana now, in Atlanta. And they all went to school at the same time but they didn’t start all at the same time but I mean they were all over there in the school system.
22:55 kp: I know raising kids is, everybody had difficulties, you know raising kids up.
sy: A certain amount, yeah, you can’t get away from it.
kp: I know, diff - describe what kind of difficulties did you guys have.
kp: With you child that was born in forty-one?
Sy:(laughing) He never gave me much trouble. He just never gave me much trouble. Gosh(laughing), oh, one time I got a good scare. I was with my boy, the one who got killed. My mother and dad lived next door here then, where my daughter lives now. And, uh, I was goin', I went home for something, stopped home at Fulton Street for something, and I had a service call to make out in western Marion at a tavern. Well, I got out there (stuttered), I was in the house there for a few minutes, come back out and got in my truck, went out there. When I got out there, I turned around to get something out of my tool box, and there he’s sittin on the floor behind, behind my seat (laughing). I said, “What are you doin' in here?” I said, “Your mom's going to be wondering what happened!”
And she had all the neighbors and the firemen and everybody else on Fulton Street lookin' for him, so I got on the phone real quick and said, “Hey, I, I got Jim.”
She said, “What do you mean?” (both laughing).
He crawled in the back of the car. He thought I was coming out here to his grandma’s, and if you got out here, you get to stay the rest of the afternoon, you see (laughing), but he didn’t know I was going over there. But this seems like that sticks with you, comical. I didn’t get mad at him. I couldn’t get mad at him. I just laughed. I said, “What are you doin?” (laughing).
Well, he said, “I thought you’d come back to Grandma’s for the afternoon (laughing)?”
(Pause) Ah, shoot. Yeah, if you stopped over that period of time, you can think about a lot of things usually. You got to have, think about them, because you kinda forget about them. But far as the kids giving us any trouble, I never had the first one (inaudible). They ended up, they all three had automobiles. Their grandpa bought them each one an automobile, and they turned sixteen(laughed).
24:52 kp: What kind of trouble did you and your buddies got into during the 1940s as you were growing up? 'Cause you were around the age of eighteen and twenty, that’s usually the . . .
sy: I did a lot but, we were never in any trouble. We always found something to do.
kp: What’d you guys like, find to do or?
sy: Like I said, we’d just get out, run around, and see what was going on. Then we, there used to be a filling station up here we hung out at. And, uh, a whole bunch, uh, same guys, we hung out there. And, uh, they’d get together, and we’ll all jump in cars and go some, go out to the park or something like that. There just wasn’t anything to do. Nothin' really.
25:30 kp: What’d the park, I know now the park has tennis courts, river walk, I mean slides. What’d they have?
sy: They just had, I think they had tennis courts there. And, uh, they didn’t have, they had a what they called a monkey island out there. That was an island out there, and there was monkeys in it. And then they had some other wild animals up there in, too, but I don’t think they have them anymore. They done away with some of that kind of stuff, but they have really improved the park. It's nice, you know. (pause) I, I admire them for what they’ve done, too. That boardwalk is one of the nicest things they’ve ever put in. I mean, I really think it is. It does a lot of people a lot of good, uh, and we help put up the Christmas lights at Christmas, my wife and I. Well, not to put them up, we went down to the city park or garage down there and put light bulb and stuff in, you know, and the other guys would take and put them up. We helped out down there. We just do a lot of things like that.
Indiana Wesleyan in the Forties
26:35 kp: You said you lived, you lived on Harmon, which is right by Indiana Weslyan. What was Indiana Wesleyan like compared to now?
sy: It was, it was small. Had a, on that side it was a gymnasium, gym, and over there was the main dorms and things like the cafeteria but it wasn’t very big. Yeah, there were only about three or four buildings there, but, boy, look at it now (laughed). They could, they could put all of them in the these new buildings they got up there. But it, it was good. I didn’t like it. I didn’t care too much for it when they shut Harmon Street off up there, but you get used to it, you know, but I really didn’t like it when they first done that. So I guess you take another half a minute or so to curve off and get back on Washington Street but you come on Washington and you make that turn right on out of here.
27:30 kp: Who were some of the famous people in Marion? Like now we have Otis Archy and Ron Mowery.
kp: Back then, who was in charge, and who was famous?
sy:(Inaudible) oh, this was back before the forties. He was a basketball player. They called him Stretch Murphy. I got the dope on him, too, in here. (Inaudible) well, I just can’t see too much on that or part of it.
kp: Who was the mayor during the 1940s? Do you remember?
sy: No, I don’t. See, I was old enough. I wasn’t paying too much attention to that kind of stuff. After I got old (inaudible), we would kind of watch it, whether we wanted that guy in there or not, but it didn’t do any good whether we did or didn’t (laughing). (Pause) (Inaudible)
Fun in the Forties
28:45 kp: So over all, the 1940s were, you and your buddies, pretty fun?
sy: Oh, it was. We had a great time. Some of it was hard times. But like I said, we had those Model 8 Coupes, rumble seats. If I was in, if we were in his car, I’d ride in the rumble seat. If he was in mine, then him and his wife would ride in my rumble seat, and away we’d go (laughing). And we’d work on the cars, too; you had to keep them up.
I was coming home from Pat's house one night, and I was on my way starting down 4th Street hill, boom, hit a rock, right on the side of the engine. I turned around, and instead of coming home I went back out to her house. Then I had a buddy of mine who was going, oh, he was, he was a mechanic, I believe, weird guy, too. He said, “Well, we could put that in her dad’s garage and fix that. I got another motor (laughing). I got ahold of another motor out in the junk yard. We put it in there. When I went to put, he, he left. When I went to put it back together, I couldn’t find half the bolts he’d taken out of it (laughing). Yeah, well, there’s always something in town. (Inaudible) you could do it yourself back then, but now you can’t do it to the place (inaudible).
kp: Why or why not did you like the forties?
sy: Well, I just like the time, and that’s a time I’ll never forget.
sy: Well, I just enjoyed it. Even though we had some hard times in, enjoyed it. Well, I don’t know. It seemed like everybody was more friendly, I mean, you know, what they are nowadays. It seemed like they’re more friendly, easy to get acquainted with. Of course, there were more people here than there was there, too. A whole lot more, but then Fisher Body came in here and kept the population up down here. We’ll, it’s still a good town.
Working with his Dad
I lived in Connersville for six years. I was down there for two different times. One time I went down there for two years; the next time I was down there for four years. My dad worked on cars. He altered cars, and, uh, that’s where I started school down in Connersville. Came back here and went to school for two years. I was out for one year; I had that ammonia [sic] so bad. Then we went back down to Connersville again, and they started back up again. They called him back to work, and we went down there and was there four years that time and came back here.
31:28 kp: Did you go to college?
kp: You didn’t go to college. You went directly to your father’s factory?
sy: Well, it wasn’t a factory. I mean, I went down there with him. I’m still just a kid, you see. I was in school down there, and, uh, we didn’t have much except back then we had our shop. We had our shop right next door here in that blue building. We’ve done a lot of work on the ceiling and stuff 'cause anything we had was ours. We’d buy, we could buy the machines. It was ours, and, uh, all the guys couldn’t fix it. I was always tryin' to, uh, like that kind of stuff. I had no problem learning real quick. That way you didn’t have to run in and out unless there was someplace where you had to hire somebody down there to do it. You couldn’t find anybody to help you do it 'cause, if I wanted to go on vacation, and I’d be gone two weeks, and why, we found one guy to help him out. Still service was cheap. Course you couldn’t hardly find anybody’s services so cheap. I just took a like'n to it. (Pause) I don’t know what else I got to tell you that I can think of right off hand.
Celebration at the End of WW II
32:52 kp: When World War II ended, what was your and your family’s reaction to it?
sy: Oh, boy, we celebrated (laughing); the whole town celebrated, you know. Yeah, it was just -; I wish they’d get that thing over with now, too (inaudible). What can you do about it?
kp: How did you celebrate? What did you do?
sy: Oh, (laughing) I think everybody was down around the square, just carrying on, you know, just stuff like that. Nothing else to do (laughing).
kp: OK, now like what, signs?
sy: Yeah, hollering, carrying on. Of course, you always had someone who was drinking, but we weren’t that. In fact, we didn’t drink. Buddy of mine, he never drinked, Tom. I got anther buddy out here on Herimal Drive, and he was one of the three of us. We'd get together and my wife. His wife passed away about, oh, six or eight months ago, and he live right around the corner down there. Him and I both worked at the show [sic] factory together, too. The other guy worked at RCA. He was in, he was in where they had pretty good jobs, but he had to go into the service.
34:15 kp: In this interview I learned that you had a lot of fun during the nineteen forties.
sy: Yes, I did.
kp: A pretty nice time of living. I’d like to thank you for . . .
sy: Well . . .
kp: . . . letting me interview you.