Tom McMullen Interview

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Transcript Interview: To m McMullen (TM) Medium: Video Recorder Date: Sunday, May 8, 2011 Place: Home Tom McMullen Collected By: Cortney Parker (CP)

TM: My name is Tom McMullen

CP: When were you born?

TM: I was born on November the 23rd 1944

CP: And where are we taking this interview?

TM: We’re taking the interview at my house and that’s in uh north Marion

CP: What year did you graduate Marion High School?

TM: That was uh 1962

CP: And what was it like when you were growing up?

TM: Okay when I went to High School, Probably nobody knows this in your age group, but uh, the school that you go to now was opened up in 1963 and I was the last class to graduate from the old school in 1962 and that was up on Nelson Street, Nelson and A street, and there’s an old folks home there now called the Hilltop Towers, and we use to, and everybody probably knows where the new YMCA is, when we were in school, we went up there on Nelson street we had to walk down to the YMCA for gym class, an d everybody had to do that. They’d give us so long to walk down there to have gym class and walk back, well, if you was uh, it didn’t matter if it was raining or snowing or what, you left the high school there and went down there for gym class and came back, and when they built the new school that opened in 1963 where all you people go to now, then of course you had your own gymnasium. And uh, I went to school uh a half a day and I got to work on what they call DCE, and that’s distributed Cooperative Education. And I went to school a half a day and worked at my job a half a day which was at the Hoosier meat market, which probably nobody remembers that cause it was down town on the corner where the Mutual bank is now, and um, When I went to school a half a day and worked a half a day, I got credit for my whole senior year. So that was kinda real neat, that was called on the job training which I don’t know if they have it now or anymore or not. So after I did that then I got out of the school and instead of going to college, I was a meat cutter. And as I was a young person I was a meat cutter and uh, that was a pretty good trade without going to college. So some other things we had in school we did uh, we had he uh, ‘course everyone knows about basketball but when I was in school we only won uh 3 games that year and lost 17. So things have changed in the basketball world pretty much and then uh 1968 the Giants went to the state, state final 4 games and the afternoon game they were playing Indianapolis Shortridge and we was ahead by one point and the guy, Shortridge, in Indianapolis named Oscar Evans, he throwed in a shot a few seconds left, and Marion was beat. And then everybody I think, and in 1969, the Giants went to the State again and they was undefeated playing Indianapolis Washington who I think was undefeated, and they lost that in the afternoon too. So when I was in high School, things haven’t changed too much basketball wise, but I think maybe as in the kids learning. That the kids now probably get the chance to learn more cause they’re in the class more, and uh it was just a different world back there. Course your talking what, 40, 62, and uh, 2000, uh, you’re talking over 45 some years ago when I was in high school. But when I look at the kids now I think that they are, it seems like, that they’re uh maybe learning more and more kids are getting an education. But when I was back in school, like I said that on the job training really helped out because I didn’t have to go to college because I was learning a trade. And kids now a days, they need to uh realize that if you don’t, if you finish high school, you still need some kind of college or some kind of trade school so when you go out in life you could have a uh, something to fall back on and to earn a living. So that’s why every kid out there, or every kid in school should stay in school and try to do the best you can. And uh, about the only thing, course when we were in school we uh, we went to all the ball games and we went down to the YMCA, and uh, we’d go out and we’d go bowling and play pool and different things like that. I’d just like to say that anybody listening to this, stay in school and try to learn all you can because it’s important, and when you get my age, which is 66 years old now, you look back and you kinda understand what you should do , is the main thing, is to stay in school. And uh. So Cortney, do you got any other questions?

CP: What was your most memorable experience at high School?

TM: Well, I’m thinking, this probably goes back to that uh, where I worked a half a day and went to school a half a day and learned a trade. I thought that was pretty memorable. But uh, I think one time, when the teachers use to uh, I don’t know if I should tell this or not but uh, one of the teacher s use t have a real little car, and it was so little that about 6 kids could pick it up. And one day he parked it on the street and we all picked it up and set it on the side walk and went into school. He looked out the window and couldn’t believe it. But we never did tell him how it got there. Okay.

CP: Who was the teacher?

TM: Who was the teacher? I don’t, I don’t even remember his name but he was uh, I think he was our history teacher. But my Favorite teacher was uh, Mr. Butler, he was The English teacher. And my favorite subject was uh Drivers Training cause we didn’t have no homework.

CP: What did you do after high school?

TM: After high school, well I got married at an early age and uh, started working, and raising a family. And by the time I was 27 years old, I went on the Marion Fire Department, and I spent 26 years on there. And after that 26 years I think I was about 50, about 50 years old. Then I went to work at IMI Concrete and I spent 14 years there, and I just recently retired from there.

CP: What was school like for you?

TM: School was uh, well, like I say, it was uh, it was real meaningful because at the time probably school, at that time for me, was uh, I wanted to stay in school but at the same time, I wanted to get out and learn a living. Cause I look back, it would probably look better if I would have got a college education.

CP: Um, What was your most important experience while at Marion High School?

TM: Most important experience at the high school?

CP: uh huh. Or while you were in school.

TM: Oh, like I said we all went up to that, well if you could have seen the school, the high school, you wouldn’t have believed that the whole city of Marion went to it cause the building was so little. And uh, when the bell rang, and you went down the hallways you was just bumping into each other because there was so many people there. And uh, so, and they had a gymnasium there but it was just real little and the girls used it for their gym. But the boys, we all had to go down there where the Y is now called the Memorial Coliseum we went down there for gym. But uh, I’d say, uh, and they let us out, they use to let us all out for lunch too, and everybody could go out to lunch, and I don’t know if you guys have them, I don’t think they can go out now at your school but we use to go out at lunch and heck we’d have a whole hour, we could get in our cars and go down to the Y and eat lunch and come back and. But one thing about it you go to school and BAM you turn around and it’s done. You’re out, you’re over. And you look back and you think, oh why didn’t I do this or why didn’t I do that. Well because at the time, you’re not thinking about the future. And every, every person out there ought to think about what’s going to happen. Let’s say where you want to be in 10 years from now. 10 years from now do you want to be like having some kind of executive job and doing this or that and working for some company or do you want to be out here maybe at the high school as a janitor. But other, whatever you want to be, think about what you want to be 5 or 10 years from now and that might make you study your books harder .

CP: You went to Washington School didn’t you?

TM: Yes, I went to…

CP: What was that like?

TM: I went to Washington junior high school and if anybody knows where that is, it’s up, on uh, on East Bradford Street where uh, there’s some Blinn apartments there right now. That use to be our school. And we went up there for junior high, which back then was 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. And I think today junior high is probably, uh, I think high school starts at probably the 9th grade so back there junior high’s 7th and 8th. But we had 7th and 8th and 9th went to the high school. But Washington, it was pretty much, it was a good school I guess before I went to high school but when you leave junior high and go to high school, we all know that that’s a big jump.

CP: Do you remember your classes or teachers, or classmates?

TM: Well yeah, we remember quite a bit of our classmates and um, our teachers. But you know when you’ve been out of school for as long as I have, some of the teachers, if you don’t have a favorite one, you can’t remember who they were. Uh. Like if I had, let’s say I had 7 or 8 classes, I be I could only name you 2 or 3 teachers. And one of my favorite classes was drafting because you drawled houses and buildings and things like that. And uh, once oh I could add this too, I had a job offer one time as a draftsman but I went ahead and took the meat cutting thing. But I look back and if I would have took the draftsman one I would have made more money like working or computers designing buildings and things like that. So, drafting was pretty fun. And his name was Mr. Lee.

CP: What was your childhood like?

TM: When I was a little kid?

CP: Uh huh

TM: How can I remember that? That would only be like 60 some years ago. Uh…

CP: Elementary school?

TM: Pardon?

CP: Elementary school?

TM: Yeah I went to Lincoln Elementary and that’s a closed school that they just closed up out on west 9th street. And it was an old building, and I was there when they built the uh new building and we took our wagons, it was about 4th grade, and everybody brought their wagons and put all their books and things in the wagons and we had like a parade going to the old building to the new building going in there and sitting in our new desks and things , that’s pretty neat.

CP: Um, what was your family like? And where did you guys live?

TM: We lived in uh, North Marion and that’s uh how come I went to Washington school. But I lived in West Marion when I went to Lincoln school. And my family was, I had one sister that’s a year older than me, and I have one half-sister and a half, 2 half-brothers. That’s uh, my sister is about 3 years younger than me and my half-brother’s about 1 year and my other half-brother is about 6 years younger. But we didn’t, we had the same dad and different moms so we didn’t all live together. But we’d see each other once in a while but that’s pretty much the family.

CP: What did you do for fun in high school?

TM: Well that’s what I said about bowling, and we’d play pool, we drove our cars around if we was old enough. And uh, the only thing , we’d play tennis played golf, just did all kinds of sports, played baseball, football basketball, I did all of that in high school. But I was never any good so I was always at the bottom of the list <laughs>.

CP: What was Marion like back then?

TM: Oh it was uh, pretty much, well of course there wasn’t as much as there is now cause out south on the bypass where Wal-Mart and Lowes and all the restaurants and things are, it was all out North and there was a little, where the Mall is, there was a little Mall and um, that was about all there was to the bypass and then everybody was downtown and there was stores and stuff there downtown and everybody hung out down there, you could go downtown and walk around the square and see all your friends and that’s about all it was. And now it’s just all grown up, everything’s out on the bypass because you know, almost 50 years from when I was there things are a lot different. Just think of what it would be when your 60 years old.

CP: Uh Huh. Did you guys have anything back then that we don’t have now?

TM: In the town you mean?

CP: hm huh.

Tm: We had um, I remember, you probably, you wouldn’t remember this but out, out east Marion there, North-East, there was a motorcycle track, they raced motorcycles, but it’s long gone. Then a lot, a lot of history stuff.

CP: Um, How has Marion changed in the past 50 years?

TM: Well, I would say the streets, since the, well like told you I was on the fire department and I seen a lot of pretty bad fires and that’s because the buildings weren’t built how they’re built now. Uh, pretty much everything they build now is fireproof. Uh, they have sprinkler systems built in them. Uh way back when something caught on fire, a big building or something, we all just got back and kinda watched it burn down. But now uh there’s so much different fire protection that um, it would be what I’d say a lot more conservative for um people, let’s say if you was going to build a new house now, compared to back then, you can see that all the houses look different that’s because they’re all more maintence free and all that and um, its uh, the town its self, I would say has expanded and uh it seems like the city and city workers take better care of the city with you now, trash pick-up and things like that, cleaning the leaves in the fall, um, okay let’s take for winter when it snows. Use to, when I was in school and it snowed, it didn’t matter, you had to go to school. But now you guys, if it just snows an inch or two man they call school off or let you out early. But that’s another thing, but when the streets do get covered with the snow, seems like the city and the state clean things off faster now cause all of the equipment is better. Everything is just better than it was 50 years ago.

CP: You went to Marion all 4 years right?

TM: Yeah I went to Marion, like I said I went Junior High at Washington 7th, 8th and 9th, and then High School 10, 11, and 12. Like I said we was the last year to graduate up there if anybody, if you go down Nelson street now up there by Hilltop Towers , it’s Nelson and A street . It’s just west of Nebraska Street. But if you go up there now you’ll see a wall down through there that everyone use to write their names on called graffiti, but they got it all painted up now and fixed up but that, that original wall by the high school is still there by the sidewalk coming down, that was on the hill there so.

CP: Do you have any other stories or interesting things?

TM: Uh, about school and things I don’t, uh I’d just like to stress to the, all the kids that take it from somebody whose older that stay in school and get an education and it don’t matter, just make sure that you, you go to trade school or college or something because that’s what you have to have now a days and be important.

CP: Alright, well were done. Thank you.

TM: Thanks