Partial Transcript: John Ed, last time we were together, we, I think we got you through high school.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about traveling to Lexington, Kentucky with a friend and wanting to go to college. Talks about looking for a job in Lexington and finding work for a newspaper.
Keywords: Colleges; Colonel Sanders; Duplex printing presses; Hitchhiking; Hotels; Jobs; Lies; Money; Schools; Traveling; University of Kentucky
Subjects: Education; Lexington (Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
Partial Transcript: So, I went home. And, uh, I told my mother. And that was a very hard thing to do because I, I knew that, uh, this was going to hurt her and, and it would scare her.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about getting a job in Lexington and going home to tell his family. Talks about his boss encouraging him. Talks about his relationship with his father.
Keywords: Fathers; Homes; Mothers; Moving; Newspaper presses; Siblings
Subjects: Lexington (Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: I think I interrupted you, you said you hitchhiked back again when time came to enroll to college?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about traveling back to Lexington and stopping in Corbin, Kentucky. Talks about renting a room and finding more work.
Keywords: Colonel Sanders; Deans; Housing; Income; Jobs; Rent; Rooming; University of Kentucky
Subjects: Corbin (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: What kind of clothes were you wearing at this point? Did you have a--were you dressed pretty well, even though you didn't have any money?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce tells a story about ordering clothes from a traveling salesman. Talks about pretending to be an upperclassman. Talks about where the Kentucky Kernel offices were located, how he was paid, and other employees.
Keywords: Clothing; Harry Williams; Overcoats; Salesmen; Suits; Tatewood Cafeteria; The Kentucky Kernel newspaper
Subjects: Lexington (Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.; Student newspapers and periodicals.; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: Um, when you signed up for your classes, uh, let's see, where would you have gone to register for those classes?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about registering for classes for the first time at UK. Describes what needed to be done to take care of the printing press. Talks about his responsibilities working at The Kentucky Kernel and working through the night. [Tape stops and starts during segment.]
Keywords: Classes; Newspapers; Prerequisites; Printing presses; Registration; The Kentucky Kernel newspaper
Subjects: Newspaper presses; Pearce, John Ed.; Student newspapers and periodicals.; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: Now the money to pay you all, was that coming out of the NYA or was that...?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about the funding of The Kentucky Kernel. Talks about how many hours he worked for the newspaper and what his responsibilities were. Describes creating molds for printing the newspaper.
Keywords: Duties; Funding; Gasoline; Hours; Newspapers; Responsibilities; Wages
Subjects: College student newspapers and periodicals; Pearce, John Ed.; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: I think, uh, I think, a lot of people would agree that the hardest part of college is that first year when you're trying to figure out what's expected, what's going on, how the classes work, who the professors are.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce tell stories from his classes during his first year at UK. Talks about professors that he liked and disliked.
Keywords: Classes; Freshmen; Journalism; News; Professors; Students; Thomas D. Clark
Subjects: Pearce, John Ed.; University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
Partial Transcript: See, every, every minute I wasn't in class, I was, I was hustling for, for money.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about waiting tables in exchange for meals. Talks about going to a fraternity house with a friend. Talks about getting a job at Keeneland.
Keywords: Fraternities; Jobs; Keeneland; Money; Social classes; The Kentucky Kernel newspaper
Subjects: Greek letter societies; Pearce, John Ed.; Social status.; Work.
Map Coordinates: 38.045556, -84.610556
Partial Transcript: So, with the, with the prospect of employment at Keeneland, you opted to pledge, then?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about joining Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and being a pledge. Talks about giving a speech as a representative of the fraternity and getting a job offer. Talks about his fraternity brothers.
Keywords: College students; Fraternities; Fraternity houses; Job offers; Pledges; Speeches
Subjects: Greek letter societies; Pearce, John Ed.; Pi Kappa Alpha; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: You could spot the cool guys or the smooth guys on the campus. They'd go with the better looking girls and they had better looking clothes and things like that.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about getting a tuxedo for dances. Talks about a girl he dated. Talks about his friends that worked with him at The Kentucky Kernel. Talks about his political beliefs and activity during college. Describes the political ideologies of his friends.
Keywords: Communists; Dances; Friends; Friendship; Great Depression; Liberals; Politics; Radical politics; Student organizations; Tuxedos; WWII; World War Two
Subjects: College students.; Dance parties; Pearce, John Ed.; University of Kentucky
Map Coordinates: 38.029722, -84.494722
Partial Transcript: What did you know, as, uh, events in Europe started to unfold. From your perspective as a college student who was interested in these things, when did you first start to, or did you start to think that the Nazi movement and Hitler was some-something different?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about not knowing much about the Jewish population. Recites a rhyme he liked about Hitler. Talks about going to tea with Frances Jewell McVey and describes Dr. Frank McVey. Talks about his professors' attitudes toward WWII.
Keywords: Adolf Hitler; Catholics; Frances Jewell McVey; Frank McVey; Grant Knight; International club; Japan; Jews; Nazi; Professors; University of Kentucky; WWII; Willis Tucker; World War Two
Subjects: McVey, Frank LeRond, 1869-1953; Pearce, John Ed.; University of Kentucky; World War, 1939-1945
Partial Transcript: I had, as time went on, as I think I told you, it's, it's a shame that, uh, I didn't put up plaques. John Ed Pearce slept here. Because I stayed all over.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about tutoring athletes in English in exchange for living in a dorm at UK. Describes his social life and how he dressed. Talks about girls he dated during college. Talks about where he worked during the summer.
Keywords: Carl Staker; Clothing; Dances; Dating; Money; Residence halls; Summer jobs; Tutors; University of Kentucky
Subjects: Dormitories; Pearce, John Ed.; Seasonal labor; Tutors and tutoring
Partial Transcript: What were the, uh--you mentioned your encounter there, at Herrington Lake, uh, at the end of the last tape. Uh, what were the, sort of, sexual mores of the student body at that time?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about social attitudes towards sex when he was in college. Talks about a friend who had an abortion. Talks about girls that he dated.
Keywords: Abortions; Dating; Girlfriends; Pregnancy; Sex; Sexual mores; Social attitudes
Subjects: Pearce, John Ed.; Sexual intercourse.; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: My college career tended to go up and down a lot. I, there'd be times when I would be very flush, have a lot of money, live well.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about entertaining guests at his attic apartment. Talks about getting a job writing feature articles at the Herald-Leader and other journalism positions he acquired. Talks about reporting on criminal cases. Talks about taking over The Wildcat publication.
Keywords: Apartments; Copyright; Guests; Jobs; Journalism; Journalists; Lexington Herald-Leader; Life Magazine; Newspapers; Reporters; Sour Mash; The Cincinnati Post; The Wildcat; Time Magazine
Subjects: College student newspapers and periodicals; Entry-level employment; Pearce, John Ed.; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: Well, they were gonna throw me off the campus.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about boxing. Talks about getting suspended for not attending required classes. Talks about various buildings on campus. Talks about playing a prank making fun of a professor. Talks about arguing with his peers.
Keywords: Architectures; Boxing; Campuses; Classes; Disciplinary Boards; Flags; Leo Chamber; Pranks; ROTC; Suspension; Uniforms
Subjects: Boxing matches; Pearce, John Ed.; University of Kentucky
Partial Transcript: I ra--managed, I managed the, uh, fraternity house one summer. As I recall, a--in--the fresh--the summer of my freshman year, I got a job at The Paddock over on Rose Street.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce tells stories from working summer jobs. Describes his relationship with a female co-worker. Talks about going to the lake with friends. [Tape disruption during segment. Tape hard to hear in some parts.]
Keywords: Bindery; Clothes; Drinking; Friends; Jobs; Lexington (Ky.); Restaurants; Summer jobs; The Paddock; Waitresses; Women
Subjects: Pearce, John Ed.; Seasonal labor
Partial Transcript: Well just being that age is, is fun. Right?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about not having a car during school. Talks about going to Joyland Park and Lexington Country Club. Talks about girls he dated and falling in love.
Keywords: Cars; Dating; Joyland Park; Lexington Country Club; Lucy Elliott; Sweet Briar College
Subjects: Lexington Country Club (Lexington, Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
Map Coordinates: 38.06085, -84.46293
Partial Transcript: One year, and I forget, I guess that was the end of my junior year, summer of my junior year. Could it have been? No.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about working at a factory in Ohio.
Keywords: Cartons; Factories; Jobs; Marriages; Milk press
Subjects: Manual work; Middletown (Ohio); Pearce, John Ed.; Seasonal labor
Map Coordinates: 39.5, -84.383333
Partial Transcript: When you were suspended for six weeks for not taking--
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about getting out of taking physical education classes. Talks about getting drafted and describes hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Talks about enlisting in the Navy and the physical tests he had to take.
Keywords: Conscientious objectors; Drafts; Enlisting; Music; Navy; Opera; Pearl Harbor; Radio broadcasts; Suspension; Tests; WWII; World War Two
Subjects: Pearce, John Ed.; United States. Navy.; University of Kentucky; World War, 1939-1945
Partial Transcript: In the meantime, they had passed a regulation there at the university that if you were drafted in the second half of your senior year, they would issue you your degree.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about his friend being unable to join the Army because he was a homosexual. Pearce talks about his psychiatric evaluation for the Army. Talks about how he felt about enlisting in the Navy.
Keywords: Desires; Drafts; Goals; Homosexuality; Personalities; Resentment; WWII; World War Two
Subjects: Draft.; Pearce, John Ed.; United States. Army.; United States. Navy.; World War, 1939-1945
Partial Transcript: I went down to the railroad station. I had taken the clothes. They said bring your shaving gear, and, uh, underwear.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about traveling to Missouri and his first day at the Naval base. Describes his friends in the Navy. Describes the required exercises. Talks about learning to fly a plane. [Tape stops and restarts during segment.]
Keywords: Barracks; Bunks; Exercises; Flying; Friends; Meramec Field; Planes; Trains; W.C. McCormick
Subjects: Flight training.; Pearce, John Ed.; Pilots and pilotage; United States. Navy.
Map Coordinates: 37.508056, -91.3275
Partial Transcript: We finished up in St. Louis. St. Louis was a marshmallow, I'll tell you. We were very popular. Every week there would be notices on the bulletin board.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about being invited to social activities in St. Louis. Talks about getting sick and having his tonsils removed.
Keywords: Corpus Christi Naval Station; Fevers; Illness; Invitations; Navy hospitals; Sickness; Tonsils
Subjects: Pearce, John Ed.; Tonsillectomy; United States. Navy.
Map Coordinates: 27.742778, -97.401944
Partial Transcript: But I didn't lose touch with my good buddies.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce describes his friends that served with him in the Navy. Talks about practicing flying at night. Describes having trouble being in a pressure chamber. Pearce talks about receiving a commission. [Tape ends.]
Keywords: Commission; Corpus Christi Naval Station; Dating; Friends; Night flying; Pilots; Pressure chambers; Women
Subjects: Flight training.; Pearce, John Ed.; United States. Navy.
BIRDWHISTELL: John Ed, last time we were together, we -- I think we got you through high school, --
PEARCE: High school.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- much faster than it took in real time.
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckles][Inaudible]
BIRDWHISTELL: We talked about -- we talked, of course, about theDepression and -- economic depression and -- and how that changed your life, and working at the packing --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- company, and some of the things that -- eventsin high school. And we talked about where your classmates went off to school and -- and -- and what your plans were, and your -- Think we ended up where you had at one point gone and asked your grandparents --
PEARCE: For help.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- for help.
BIRDWHISTELL: And -- and that hadn't worked out. And so00:01:00let's pick up the story right there, at that point in time when you're graduated from high school and -- and finally -- You -- you go to work after that, as I --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- recall. And -- and work, and then savesome money, I assume t---
BIRDWHISTELL: No, you didn't save any money. You gave your--
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- used -- used the money to support your family,right?
PEARCE: And myself, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, tell me about then how you were able tothen work it out so you could get to college.
PEARCE: Well, it was bothvery simple and rather complex. [It was ?] [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- I -- As I said, I went to Lexington from Norton with a friend and was told there by the director of the printing plant at the University of Kentucky that I could go to 00:02:00college if I come down and get a job. And -- and I decided I was gonna do that, one way or another.
BIRDWHISTELL: S--- so you and a friend came to Lexington.
PEARCE: Yes, his name wasSag--- [Sagiser ?] Cash. He was from Carlisle, Kentucky. And he had graduated from the university School of Journalism and was working, at the time, for the Norton paper.
BIRDWHISTELL: And you -- you became friends with him.
PEARCE: Yeah, he dated agirl lived across the street from us who was a friend of my sister, and I just saw him around. And I was, at the time, working for Swift and Company, and I'd see him on weekends and things like that. He was a nice fellow.
BIRDWHISTELL: And so you all -- you would talk about yourinterest in going to college, or would he say --
PEARCE: No. And thatwasn't the idea, really. He just said, "I'm going down to 00:03:00Lexington this weekend. You want to go?"
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh. On --
PEARCE: And I --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- a trip.
PEARCE: Yeah. And Ihad gone through Lexington once on the way to Chicago to the World's Fair, but I had never been there and had heard a lot about it. I -- People in the hills, you know, li--- like in eastern -- eastern Kentucky, they liked Lexington. Liked to go to Lexington. Then did then.
PEARCE: I have [chuckle] noidea. It's just a nice place to go. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, what year are we talking about here?
PEARCE: We're talking about 1937.
BIRDWHISTELL: Would this be the fall of '37 when you madethe trip or the spring?
PEARCE: Uh-huh, summer of '37.
BIRDWHISTELL: Summer of '37.
PEARCE: So, we went downthere and -- to Lexington and stayed in his fraternity house, as I recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: Like -- Would that be like over on Maxwell[Street] or Limestone, --
PEARCE: It -- Limestone.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [around there ?]? Limestone?
PEARCE: And walked around the00:04:00campus. I thought that Lexington was the greatest place I'd ever seen. I just loved it the minute I got off the train. It was just one of those things that apparently hit you. The first time I ever lan--- landed at [Gai-Tek ?] Airport in Hong Kong I thought to myself, "This is an electric town. This is an exciting place." And I'd never even been there, had no idea. But I --
BIRDWHISTELL: You felt it.
PEARCE: I just felt acertain excitement. And it -- The first I ever went up to -- the river to -- to Bristol, England I felt that strong sense of deja vu, just, "Lord, I love this country. Love this place." Same way with Lexington. I got -- we got off the train before dawn, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Right downtown.
PEARCE: -- there -- onMain Street there, at Central Station, and I walked out on the Main [chuckle] Street of Lexington and I thought, "This is a great town." And [chuckle--Birdwhistell] as we walked across the university campus, as 00:05:00the dawn was coming up, it was in late summer and everything was pretty and green and smelled good, you know. I just sort of said to myself, "One way or another I'm going to come here to school. Don't know how I'm gonna do it." I think I told you last time that -- ran into a man named Dave Griffith, over at the university printing office, who told me that -- that if I'd come down here and get a job, I could work my way through.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, he knew your friend that you were traveling --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [with ?].
PEARCE: Th--- that's how Iran into him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. They --
PEARCE: "Sag" went over tothe --
BIRDWHISTELL: To say "hello" and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and he sort of said, "This is my --my friend John Ed from --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- from home.
PEARCE: Well, he said, youknow, "What are you doing here?" And I said, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "I'm just with 'Sag'". And he said, "Are you -- are you coming to school?" And I said, "I wish I were. I'd like to come to college, I just don't have any money." And he said, "Oh, that's no excuse. [You --?]" [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I went on home and I didn't tell my mother. 00:06:00I -- I think she knew what I had [chuckle] been doing. And so, in a few weeks, I forget just exactly how long, I took a -- a little vacation from Swift and hitchhiked down to Lexington. St--- stayed at the Drake Hotel, which was on Short Street at the time. Cost me a dollar a night, I think. And I think I told you also that the black boy who ran the elevator, to take me up to the room, he kept saying, "Sure there's nothing else I can get for you, now? Sure there --" And I was naive along those lines. He was trying to see if I wanted a girl. I had no idea about getting a girl, you know, for -- for money. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I had no -- I didn't know what he was talking about. But, --
BIRDWHISTELL: This was late summer of '37, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- then.
BIRDWHISTELL: You'd have gone -- You went back home, stayeda few weeks, and then hitchhiked --
BIRDWHISTELL: How long did it take you to hitchhike from hometo Lexington?
PEARCE: Get down there ina day.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just a matter of getting the right ride, huh?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. That's all.[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I just worked Lexington to death looking for a job. I went everywhere.
BIRDWHISTELL: Like -- Where -- What kind of jobswere you looking for?
PEARCE: I went into departmentstores, men's stores, drug stores, the cafes, restaurants, hotels. If there was a store there -- you know, if it was an establishment, I went in and asked for a job. And I didn't get it. And the rea---
BIRDWHISTELL: Tough time to get a job, wasn't it?
BIRDWHISTELL: It's a tough time --
PEARCE: Oh, yes.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to get a job.
PEARCE: It was very hardto get a job then. And there were so many students, of course, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: -- looking for jobs.About fifty percent of the men at the University of Kentucky were working at least part of their way through then. So, yes, the competition for jobs was -- was very tough. I 00:08:00-- I did that for about three days, and I could see that, boy, I'm -- I'm getting nowhere. So, on the -- early in the afternoon of the -- the third day, I gave up. I was running out of money, for one thing [chuckle]. And so I went out on Richmond Road, out on east Main, and started hitchhiking home. And strangely, for once I could not catch a ride [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. I just s--- stood there with my old thumb up and couldn't do it. And I've often wondered if there isn't fate that watches over you from time to time. And around five o'clock I gave up hitchhiking. I knew I wasn't going to get anywhere that day. So, I caught a bus and rode it back down the Drake Hotel for one more night. Now, I remembered that Griffith man out at the university. Called him. And he said, "Well, come on 00:09:00out." And I went out to his house there. I remember it was dark and I found the house with some difficulty. He and some more people were sitting on the front porch drinking coffee and talking. And [I mean ?] very hospitable to me. "Sit down," you know, and everybody seemed friendly. And I told him my story, and he said, "Well, that's a shame." And he said, "It's a shame you can't run a Duplex press. I could give you a job that'll get you through college. We're getting a new Duplex press in next week." And [as I say here ?], once more here come the great lie [chuckle--Birdwhistell] thundering dur--- down the track. But, as I explained earlier, there was really no sense of guilt [inaudible] attached to telling a lie to get a job. As old Colonel Sanders explained 00:10:00to me, he was always telling some outrageous lie to get a job and -- but he said, "You lied -- Everybody expected you to lie."
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] That's right.
PEARCE: The jobs were --You were fighting for your life. And he said, you told a lie to get a job, but then you learned that job in a hell of a hurry, and then you -- you [inaudible] -- you had not really lied. But if you got a job and then couldn't do it, --
BIRDWHISTELL: That's a lie.
PEARCE: -- then you'd shamedyourself more or less. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] It was -- that was [a bought ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: So you told him the big one, huh?
PEARCE: Yeah. I said,"Oh, hell, I can run a Duplex press." And he said, "[You're a ?]-- Model B?" "Yes, sir." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I had no idea th--- what difference was. I didn't know that there was Model A and Model B, Duplex presses. Now, it wasn't -- it was only about ninety percent of a lie, because I hadn't -- I had known a lot about Duplex presses. As I say, I worked for Crawford's Weekly there while I 00:11:00was in high school --
BIRDWHISTELL: They had a press.
PEARCE: -- and --R--- They had a Duplex press and I worked on that. It was an A, it was a double drive, and it was quite a bit different from the one that turned up at the university [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But I learned how to run it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Now, why was he getting a newpress at the university, just for the university's own printing?
PEARCE: Yeah, the [Kentucky] Kernel.
BIRDWHISTELL: For the Kernel and then all the other printing thatthey would do there?
PEARCE: N--- no, it wasfor the Kernel.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just for the Kernel.
PEARCE: It was a printingpr--- it was a --
PEARCE: -- newspaper press, youknow.
BIRDWHISTELL: I see.
PEARCE: Running off of aroll.
BIRDWHISTELL: I'm --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- surprised you waited so long to -- to contacthim, since he had sort of given y--- given you encouragement just a few weeks earlier.
PEARCE: Yeah. I figured-- maybe I figured, I don't know -- I figured, well, if he'd had anything, he would have said so.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, he would have just said, "I've got --"
BIRDWHISTELL: -- "a job," --
PEARCE: "I've got a job00:12:00here," yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- right here on the spot, sure.
PEARCE: And since he hadn't,I hadn't even considered him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And all he'd told you at the timewas, if you want to get through college, you can.
PEARCE: Yeah. "Come downhere and get a job, -- "
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. [Inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- "a lot ofboys do."
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Okay.
PEARCE: "That's no excuse fornot going to school."
BIRDWHISTELL: I see. Yeah.
PEARCE: So, I went homeand I told my mother. And that was a very hard thing to do, because I -- I knew that this was going to hurt her and -- and it would scare her. She was depending on me and my sister to keep the family going. My sister teaching school. And I think, too, she -- she wanted me there. I was more or less the man of the family.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So, how'd you tell her?
PEARCE: I just told her.
BIRDWHISTELL: Straight out.
PEARCE: Yeah. I said,"I'm going to school at U.K." And I then hitchhiked up 00:13:00to Tazewell, Virginia where my grandparents lived and tried to get them to help me. My grandfather, by that time, was dead but my Uncle Bland was more or less in charge of the family. And he told me, "Your mother has been good to you and she's taken care of you all these years, now you go home and take of her," and that was all the help I got from them. I went home -- I was not given an awful lot of encouragement. I remember Rance Thompson, a friend of mine who, at the time, was going to University of Tennessee. He said, "You can't do that. Y--- If this job pays you fifteen dollars a week," which they said it would, "you can't get through school on fifteen dollars a week. 00:14:00And -- and you can't count on a job like that." Said, "You'd better see if you can't borrow money before you go, because you can't make it." And a lot of people said that. I remember, Bob Osburn, another friend of mine who was going to Transylvania, said, in effect, "Man, it's gonna be tough. The school itself is hard, studies are hard, takes a lot of time. If you have to work and you're surrounded by women," he said, "Yeah, the -- the campus full of good-looking girls, it's just gonna drive you nuts." [Chuckles] But I remember [it was ?] -- Cash and others said -- I remember D.J. [McNurny?], bless his soul, he told me, "You -- you go on." He was my boss there at Swift and Company. [He said ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: He encouraged you.
PEARCE: Yes. He said,"Get out of here." He said, "You can make it. 00:15:00You go on. You got this job here, you did it. You can do that." And, "Get out of this town." So, I had a little money in the bank, oh, very little. And I took it and gave it to my mother, except for a dollar. And George [Botts ?], who was going to Transylvania, gave me a ride down to Lexington.
BIRDWHISTELL: Wh--- where was your -- Did you tell yourfather you were going to college?
PEARCE: Not that I remember.
BIRDWHISTELL: You didn't feel any need to let him know?
PEARCE: Well, we weren't inmuch c--- contact then. There was very little communication between us.
BIRDWHISTELL: But he was still living in the same house asyou were, right?
PEARCE: He was living theremost of the time, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Where would he be when he wasn't there?00:16:00
PEARCE: I don't know.He'd go visit his brother in Texas sometime, I think.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? He's be gone for extended trips.
PEARCE: Yeah. But, mostof the time he was around. I think I told you before, I think the Depression killed my father. He lost his newspapers in --
PEARCE: -- North Carolina, andhe never recovered. He tried to sell insurance for a while and who wanted insurance during the Depression. My uncle, Uncle Doc died and left my father some money, and my father took it and went into the small loan business and lost it. He c--- He w--- not a good businessman, ever. And he grew querulous. He had crazy ideas. So no, there wasn't much communication between us. 00:17:00
BIRDWHISTELL: So, did your -- did your mother try to talkyou out of it, or would -- did she just become --
PEARCE: Yes, she said I--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [resigned ?] --
PEARCE: -- she said, "Idon't know we'll do without you." And I remember my brother and my sister were sitting out in the front yard one day as I walked down the walk, and they said, "Don't let Momma talk you out of it."
PEARCE: "You made it.We'll make it. And you go on."
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you left -- you left home with mixed emotions,to say the least.
PEARCE: Yeah, with high excitementand great expectations, and it was just sort of like being released from prison. I -- I looked on Lexington as the place I wanted to be. I -- And I was doing what I wanted to do. I'd always wanted to go to college and now I was going.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, di--- I -- I think I interrupted you.You said you hitchhiked back again to -- when time came 00:18:00to enroll to college?
PEARCE: No, I got aride down to Lexington with George Botts.
BIRDWHISTELL: Who was going to Transy.
PEARCE: He was going toTransylvania.
BIRDWHISTELL: What'd you take with you?
PEARCE: I took a bag[chuckles].
BIRDWHISTELL: You took a bag?
BIRDWHISTELL: Had a few -- some clothes, and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- toiletries, and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- just whatever.
BIRDWHISTELL: And that was it.
BIRDWHISTELL: And how much money did you have?
PEARCE: Had a dollar.[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I spent forty-seven cents in -- I spent forty-seven cents in Corbin at Sanders Court.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Colonel Sandersin those days had a restaurant down in Corbin.
BIRDWHISTELL: But --
PEARCE: [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you actually stopped there on the way to college.
PEARCE: People from all aroundstopped there whenever they could.
BIRDWHISTELL: You knew about it already?
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Yeah,I'd been there. It was a good place to eat. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So you spent --
PEARCE: -- a lot ofcollege kids going north to school, to Eastern [State University] and Berea 00:19:00[College], and U.K., Transy, so forth, they'd stop there on the way.
BIRDWHISTELL: But you spent half your money at --
PEARCE: Damn near [chuckles].Got to Lexington. And I don't know how I had found this place, but I found a room in the home of a woman named Mrs. Smith, whose home was right next -- right next to Memorial Hall. It's not there anymore.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right there on Limestone?
PEARCE: And I got aroom there. Very nice.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's pretty handy.
PEARCE: And -- Huh?
BIRDWHISTELL: That was pretty handy [place ?].
PEARCE: Oh, it was indeed.I was a stone's throw from --
PEARCE: -- from McVey Hall,where my job would be, and, you know, from the -- I was on the campus.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, did they still have the street running up --Graham Avenue, was it still running -- the -- Where there still houses on Graham Avenue that was parallel to Washington Avenue then? 'Cause this house was probably somewhere between Graham and -- 00:20:00
PEARCE: Yes, it was aroundthere. It was next door to Memorial --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: -- Hall, is whereit was. Yes, there was a little street, as I remember, but now that's --
BIRDWHISTELL: I understand.
PEARCE: -- asking quite abit. I [chuckle] --
BIRDWHISTELL: I understand.
PEARCE: My memory isn't [like?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: But you don't remember how you made those arrangements, howyou found that room.
PEARCE: There were always signsout, "Room for Rent."
BIRDWHISTELL: When -- when you got to Lexington, you didn't haveone. You --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you had to go find a place to --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to live and you found that place.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. And Itold her, "I've got a job over at the Kernel office, and I'll pay you as soon as I get paid."
BIRDWHISTELL: How much was it, do you remember?
PEARCE: How much I --was I gonna get paid?
BIRDWHISTELL: No, how much that -- you -- your pay wasfifteen a week, how much was your room? Did --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you pay by the week?
PEARCE: Yeah, it was twoor three dollars.
BIRDWHISTELL: Two or three --
PEARCE: It wasn't a greatdeal.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have to do any work around there, Imean like keep the furnace going? A lot of --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [people who ?] boarded had to --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- had assignments. [It ?] --
PEARCE: I was -- Iwould [chuckle] have been willing to do that.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] You would have taken that if you couldhave gotten it.
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. That-- A -- a furnace job was a good job, usually, because you got meals for a furnace job. 00:21:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that what you got [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- uh-huh, if a person didn't [inaudible].
PEARCE: Now, I got a-- I got a furnace job for a while, at the home on Limestone of a Professor [Eston Jackson ?] Asher, who lived over --
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure, [J. W. ?]--
PEARCE: Could have been.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Asher of psychology.
PEARCE: I believe so.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.
PEARCE: And [I'd do down?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: He was into mental testing.
PEARCE: Yeah. I'd godown there in the morning and fire his furnace and so forth. And, oh, get something like a quarter or thirty-five cents [inaudible].
BIRDWHISTELL: You didn't live there, you would just go to --
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Uh-huh.Now, --
BIRDWHISTELL: You did or didn't live there? I'm sorry, I'm-- I'm --
PEARCE: No, I did not.[No ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: You did not. Your job was just to gostart his furnace.
PEARCE: That's all. Uh-huh.
PEARCE: Clean it out, shakeout the ashes. Now, I went over to the Kernel office and was told, to my distress, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh oh.
PEARCE: -- that the presshad not been delivered. It was being installed, but it wouldn't be there for that week. And so I -- my job 00:22:00wouldn't start for a week.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh oh.
PEARCE: I was stuck [chuckle--Birdwhistell].And --
BIRDWHISTELL: You had to pay your -- your room, and hadto eat, and you only had fifty-three cents.
PEARCE: I was out ofmoney [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And I was doing a lot of tap dancing, I'll tell you.
BIRDWHISTELL: What'd you do?
PEARCE: I -- Well,I did a number of things. I remember one thing [chuckle]. As I say, I probably should be ashamed of some of these things, but I'm not [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. You know, these were d--- desperate times.
BIRDWHISTELL: Abso--- [chuckle] absolutely.
PEARCE: It [chuckle] amuses you,it was not amusing then.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] No. No, it was -- it was --
PEARCE: It's a matter, almost,of life and death.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Yeah. Well ?], certainly of -- of your future.Your future was at the crossroads here.
PEARCE: I went over tothe Dean's office to see if I could get a job around the university until it opened.
BIRDWHISTELL: Which dean, do you remember?
PEARCE: Dean Jones.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay, T.T. Jones?00:23:00
PEARCE: Dean T.T. Jones.
BIRDWHISTELL: Dean of men.
PEARCE: Right. And hehandled a great deal of the N.Y.A., National Youth --
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.
PEARCE: -- Administration.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. Wasn't he --
PEARCE: [I knew ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- from eastern Kentucky?
PEARCE: Yes. He wasa cousin of Bert Combs.
BIRDWHISTELL: Bert -- Bert Combs' cousin.
PEARCE: Of his moth--- ofmother.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. What -- Well, I mean --
PEARCE: She was -- shewas a Jones.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. But he was related to Bert Combs.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. T.T. Jones.
PEARCE: He wasn't in [chuckle--Birdwhistell].The offices hadn't opened yet. School hadn't begun so there was --
BIRDWHISTELL: This was like early September probably, --
PEARCE: Yes. [Of course?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- after Labor Day.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. And Iasked a woman there where he was and so forth, and she said, "Well, he won't be in until Friday or Saturday," or something like that. "He'll be in next week." And there were two or three people there with children looking for the dean. They wanted to register and get rooms and that sort of thing. 00:24:00And so a little light bulb went off in my head. And there was an anteroom there with a chair and a table and so forth. So, I just got this table and put it sort of in front of door, and sat down in a chair behind it, and these people came in [chuckle] looking for Dean Jones. And I said, "Well, the dean isn't in yet. I'm working out of his office." [chuckle--Birdwhistell] Well, that wasn't any lie, I was outside his office and I was working [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And -- and they all wanted places to stay. When I found out what they wanted, before I set up my table, I went all along Maxwelton Court and South Lime and Bonnie Brae, right around that area and I'd ask all these landladies, 00:25:00"If I bring you roomers, can -- will you give a dollar a head." Yes, indeed, they sure would. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] So, I went down there and I set up my sales desk there [chuckle] --
BIRDWHISTELL: What building --
PEARCE: -- and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- was he in at that point, do you remember?
PEARCE: The Administration Building.
BIRDWHISTELL: He was [right ?] in the Administration --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- basement, [probably ?].
PEARCE: Right. And --and as mothers and -- would bring in their children, I'd send 'em out [chuckles] to my rooming houses.
BIRDWHISTELL: You s--- [chuckle] assign 'em -- [chuckle--Pearce] You wouldgive 'em assign--- rooming assignments.
PEARCE: Yes. And I'dsay "Just -- just take this and tell 'em Mr. Pearce sent you." [Chuckles] [Inaudible] seventeen and eighteen [chuckle] years old.
BIRDWHISTELL: What kind of clothes were you wearing at this point?Did you have -- Were you dressed pretty well, even though you didn't have any money?
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. I-- I th--- -- I think so. I had always -- I guess during the Depression, certainly more than now, we prided 00:26:00ourselves on looking well. And I think I've told you that -- [Chuckle] Not long before I left for Lexington, this traveling salesman came through Norton and he stopped by Swift and Company. He was selling clothes, ma--- made-to-order clothes.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: And he offered suitsfor fifteen dollars and so forth. And they looked pretty good. So, I ordered two suits and an overcoat.
PEARCE: And everybody jumped onme and beat up on me, "You're crazy. You'll never see that guy again." Well boy, weeks passed and I thought, "I've thrown away my money."
BIRDWHISTELL: You paid him in advance.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh [chuckle].
PEARCE: Here came the --a big package. Two of the best suits I ever had in my life.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: They fit beautifully and00:27:00they were good --
I was wearing one of 'em four years later [chuckles]. Wear'em all the time. And the overcoat was quite handsome.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. So, did you have a suit on theday you were -- set up your operation outside Dean Jones' office, or you --
PEARCE: Oh, I --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- were dressed casually?
PEARCE: Well, -- Weusually either wore a suit and tie, coat and tie, or presentable sweater with a tie, hat. So, I suppose I was properly dressed. That's all I can recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I was just thinking, since you'd set up businessthere in the Administration Building, you'd have to have a certain look about you to be successful I suppose.
PEARCE: I don't know.I -- [chuckle--Birdwhistell] I guess so. But I always tried to dress well. I -- As well as I could.
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. So you had these customers coming in, youwere assigning 'em, --
PEARCE: And I did.00:28:00I sent --
BIRDWHISTELL: How much money did you make off of that?
PEARCE: I forget. Iremember one thing, I always told these kids, "If you don't like the room, come on back here, I'll get you another one." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I'd sell 'em again [chuckles]. I had a boy named Wynne McKinney [Jr.], who later became an associate and something of a friend, a strange character, and I sent him either two or three places. And [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- And there was a woman named Ms. O'Neill to whom I think I sold about three boys. And I moved into her house with another man, I forget his name. But I --
BIRDWHISTELL: After you --
PEARCE: -- she --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- left Ms. Smith's --
PEARCE: I -- I --I told Ms. Smith, I've got a deal up on the hill. I forget exactly what it was that made me move to Ms. O'Neill's house, but obviously I had some sort of deal with 00:29:00her.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. You say up on the heel -- hill.Where would that be, up on the --
PEARCE: That --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- hill?
PEARCE: -- was on BonnieBrae.
BIRDWHISTELL: On Bonnie Brae?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Maxwelton Courtand Bonnie Brae was off that way, yeah.
PEARCE: So, that's where Istayed. And I remember [chuckle], I had very little shame, thank goodness. Three or four of these boys wandering around, you know, in a strange town. They said, "Where -- where do you eat around here?" And I said, "Well, there's a good cafeteria downtown." And there was. On Main Street there was a thing called The Tatewood Cafeteria.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Tatewood Cafeteria.And so we all went down there and loaded up. Boy, you'd get -- You know, in those days a cafeteria was a good place to eat, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] because you'd get big helpings and everything.
BIRDWHISTELL: A lot of mashed potatoes.
PEARCE: Yeah. Well, andwe went -- started out, and heavens to Betsy, I had left 00:30:00my wallet at home. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Would you fell---" "Oh, let us get it. Let us get it," you know. They -- they were very flattered that I -- an upperclassman, as I passed myself off --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh [laughs].
PEARCE: -- as an upperclassman,showing them around. As I said, I was without shame, but a lot of hunger [chuckles]. And so they paid for my dinner. I remember that. I [chuckle] -- I carried off this charade pretty well for a while, but I remember that we were standing in line to register and this McKinney boy was just a couple of boys from me [chuckles]. He said, "What --" said, "What are you doing here in the freshman line?" Said, ah, the masquerade was over. [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: You 'fessed up.
PEARCE: Yes. I was-- I was unmasked --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now -- now, no--
PEARCE: -- as a fraud.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- no one fr--- [chuckle] no one from Dean Jones'00:31:00office came out and inquired as to what you were --
PEARCE: There was no onethere.
BIRDWHISTELL: They wouldn't -- Yeah. After you --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Oh. [Chuckle]
PEARCE: I had the AdministrationBuilding almost to myself [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And then I went over to the Kernel office and started work. I remember I melted lead for pigs, for the linotype, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, the -- in the -- This was thefall of --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- '37 and the Kernel offices are --
PEARCE: In Mc--- McVey Hall.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in -- in McVey Hall already.
PEARCE: On the first floor.And -- and in the basement. The press was in the basement. The Kernel offices of the student was also in the basement, and the Kentuckian office was in the basement.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. So, after that first week, your job asa -- as a press operator got up and going? 00:32:00
PEARCE: Yeah. Uh-huh.
BIRDWHISTELL: You -- you survived that first week through --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- selling rooms and --
PEARCE: Well, and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- bumming meals --
PEARCE: -- doing whatever Icould -- Yeah. And I did some work over at the -- over at the Kernel office. And -- and, you know, got my time card and --
BIRDWHISTELL: Who were you dealing with over at the -- overat the Kernel? Were you dealing --
PEARCE: Dave Griffith and aman named Don Grote, G-R-O-T-E. Nice fellow. Both of 'em were nice fellows. And the student [for I remember?] was a boy named Bill [William] Hopewell from west Kentucky. I believe it was -- he was from either Princeton or Providence, around in there.
BIRDWHISTELL: How did you say his name, Hope---
PEARCE: Uh-huh. [Billy ?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, --
PEARCE: -- Hopewell.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- now were Griffith and Grote employees of the university,they were staff --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- people? They weren't faculty, though, were they?
PEARCE: No. No, theywere administra---
BIRDWHISTELL: Staff, umhmm.
PEARCE: -- people, yeah.And I guess I worked for them. I'd go over and 00:33:00do whatever was available. And I had my time card, you know, by the time clock. I'd go over and punch in, and then when the job was over, I'd punch out. At the end of the week, why, I'd get some money in a little envelope from the business office. That was about it. Quite simple.
BIRDWHISTELL: And at the time you were working there for theKernel, prior to -- just as school was getting started, did you meet the editor and the students who were running the newspaper then?
PEARCE: Yes. Very shortly.I enrolled, got my classes set up. I started classes. And started running the press, which, as I say, was in 00:34:00the basement and right opposite the student offices of the Kernel. And, of course, the student editors and so forth, they would come into the [plat ?] there and make up the pages, and -- and then we'd put 'em on the press. So, I just got to know 'em very casually. And [then ?] -- and then I more or less wandered into the paper. I don't know exactly how that happened now, but I started running around. I remember the -- a boy named Ross Chepeleff was editor and George [Kerler ?], who later wound up on Owensboro paper, he was with the A.P. [Associated Press] in Frankfort. He was on 00:35:00the paper. Don [Donald] Irvine from Lexington, who later wound up with the U.N. [United Nations] in Paris, was on that. Joe Creason, Andrew Eckdahl.
BIRDWHISTELL: They were all there at this point?
PEARCE: Yeah. They wereall there. And they were ahead of me. You know, [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you hit it off pretty well with all thosepeople?
PEARCE: Yeah, I got tobe very good friends with [Kerler ?], Harry Williams, who was a -- I think Harry was in the same class I was. He was from Henderson, Kentucky and -- and a highly eccentric young man, and very bright. I -- I just got to running around with 'em.
BIRDWHISTELL: Virgil Couch was there then. Did you know VirgilCouch? He would have been a senior, I guess.
PEARCE: I didn't know him--
BIRDWHISTELL: [I was just ?] --
PEARCE: -- as I recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I was just curious. When you signed up00:36:00for your classes, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- let's see, where would you have gone to registerfor those classes?
PEARCE: I w--- went toAlumni Gym.
BIRDWHISTELL: Alumni Gym. And you found out where registration wasand you went and started filling out --
PEARCE: Yeah. Uh-huh.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- papers. Now, how did you know what totake?
PEARCE: I knew what Iwanted to take, I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: What did you wa---
PEARCE: [Well, and ?]--Well, first of all, there were so many requisites --
BIRDWHISTELL: There were some -- Okay.
PEARCE: -- that we hadto take.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you knew about those. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you just took sort of a standard --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- classes for --
PEARCE: Liberal arts, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- for freshmen. Uh-huh.
PEARCE: -- of course.Uh-huh. And, you know, students talked to each other and -- and I'd talked to the students at home who had been away to school.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, so you knew about all this.
PEARCE: Yeah, it was nomystery or anything [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. The only thing was that [chuckle] when I got down to the disburser's desk, they wanted money, wanted sixty dollars that I --
PEARCE: -- didn't have, soI told 'em, and they called Dave Griffith over at the Kernel office. "Yes, he has a job here." And I gave 'em an I.O.U. and that was it.
BIRDWHISTELL: You had to just sign a paper saying --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you owed 'em sixty dollars.
PEARCE: Right. And thatI would pay. It was relatively simple and it became increasingly hard physically. I soon found out that it was going to be as much as I could do. I'm --
BIRDWHISTELL: I -- I wanted to ask --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you, I've always been intrigued by this -- peoplelike yourself who end up in this registration line at college. I mean, this is a -- by any measure, a life-changing event.
BIRDWHISTELL: And I remember reading about Sarah Blanding talking about whenshe decided to go to college, standing in that line, and the person that registered her was Frances Jewell. She never forgot it. 00:38:00I wondered if you remembered who was at the end [chuckle--Pearce] of that line when you -- when you walked up there and said, "I'll -- English, History,-- " [chuckle]
PEARCE: I've no recollection in-- whatever.
BIRDWHISTELL: Anonymous person registered --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- John Ed Pearce.
PEARCE: I do remember there-- As I say, the fellows over on the Kernel, I liked 'em and I made many good friends over there.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. So, I guess, as the classes gotunder way, this would be mid-September, probably --
PEARCE: Second week in --
BIRDWHISTELL: Second week in --
PEARCE: -- September, I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- September, okay.
PEARCE: Second or third week.
BIRDWHISTELL: Second or third week in September. Classes get underway, your job gets going.
BIRDWHISTELL: You know how to -- You learn how tooperate that press successfully, I take it.
PEARCE: Well, they assigned aman named [Harold] Hartzer to work with me until we could get the thing settled in. A new press takes a lot of 00:39:00breaking in.
BIRDWHISTELL: Does it?
PEARCE: Yeah, you've got thingscalled angle bars through which the paper is [led ?] through the press, and they must be set just very precisely or the paper will not run through evenly, or will -- the [web ?] will break, which is a mess.
BIRDWHISTELL: Does the actual printing devices have to -- have toget sort of seasoned with the print -- or, I mean, the ink, or --
PEARCE: No. The inkrollers, for example, the rollers that back up to the ink wells and then spread the ink on the rollers that run across the type--see, this was a flatbed, cold type press, --
PEARCE: -- old-fashioned type--they allhad to be sort of broken in. And you had to get the press oiled. There were oil cups all over the thing that had to be filled and -- We just [inaudible] 00:40:00things. The cutters had to be very precisely aligned so that they would cut each paper where the paper was --
PEARCE: -- supposed to end.
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure [chuckle].
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: That's very important.
PEARCE: And, as it cameacross on the triangle, it would cut it right in the middle, cut the pages -- the pages in two. There were these things to do. The -- I remember the first time we ran off a -- an edition of the Kernel. We started in the afternoon and we didn't s--- get that pr--- paper off until the next morning.
PEARCE: The web was breakingconstantly. We couldn't get the thing properly aligned and balanced.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Well, I'll never be able look at a1937 Kernel now without thinking of you running that press.
PEARCE: Oh boy, it wasa nightmare [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. However, after about a month, the press settled in and we didn't have any trouble with it. 00:41:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, would -- would this -- Is this alate afternoon, early evening job then?
PEARCE: No, it was inan eve--- a night job.
BIRDWHISTELL: Night job, like at --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- eight o'clock or something like that?
PEARCE: We'd go over --as I recall, we'd go over and -- and punch in, had a time clock. Go in and punch the time clock, oh, as soon as [chuckle] -- pretty near as we were allowed to, to tell the truth [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And then we'd go down and get the press ready. We'd go down and fill the ink wells. We'd go down and fill the oil cups. And we'd put paper on the press, which was a major job because it weighed pretty close to a ton.
PEARCE: You know, those hugerolls?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: And they were storedin the adjoining room. And we had to have huge crowbars like, ease 'em down onto a dolly, take 'em in, lift 'em onto the press with bars, align them --
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]
PEARCE: Ge--- All this00:42:00had to be done before the -- we started --
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. So, you --
PEARCE: -- running the press.
BIRDWHISTELL: So this is manual labor, too. It's not juststanding around punching buttons.
PEARCE: Oh, God.
BIRDWHISTELL: You're -- you're working.
PEARCE: I say you're working.Furthermore, it was in --
BIRDWHISTELL: [So, you ?] --
PEARCE: -- [a place ?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, go ahead.
PEARCE: I beg your pardon?
BIRDWHISTELL: I was gonna say, people who -- who listen tothis and read it in the future won't un--- a lot of them won't understand what it meant to work at a --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- at a press.
PEARCE: It was --Well, it was an old-fashioned press. Today it's more or less, as you say, the b--- by no means entir--- a matter of buttons. But in those days it was not a matter of pressing buttons.
BIRDWHISTELL: I'm sorry I interrupted you.
PEARCE: This was in thebasement and there were steam pipes all around, and it made the press room very hot.
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. Sure.
PEARCE: And the work washeavy and hard, and very tiring, I'll tell you. Then around, 00:43:00oh, between nine and eleven o'clock, usually around ten o'clock, the -- the paper would be ready upstairs and Billy Hopewell and his people would get the pages ready. And [then ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, the pages had been with the type, is that--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- is that how --
PEARCE: [Now, it ?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- it worked?
PEARCE: -- were in [chases?]. They were -- they were -- the type was put into --
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. And it was about four to six pages,I guess, of newspaper?
PEARCE: Well, each chases wasone page, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: But this is a --
PEARCE: And our page ranfrom four to sixteen pages.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. But this is a -- Is itstill a weekly paper then?
PEARCE: No, it was twicea week.
BIRDWHISTELL: Twice a week.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. I c--- I -- I lose trackof when they --
PEARCE: As I recall, itwas -- As I recall, it was either Tuesday and Fridays, or Mondays and Thursday. Now, I don't know -- At this remove, I really can't recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: S--- so you're running the presses probably two nights a00:44:00week.
PEARCE: Yes. Then, oncethe pages were ready, made ready, boy then came the tough job, 'cause we had to pick up those -- You put what they called dogs, which was a metal clamp, and they would stretch across the chase and you'd tighten 'em to keep the type from falling out of the chase. You would lift it then and put it on a dolly, roll the dolly out to the elevator, take it down the elevator, and then very carefully take it down the slope there to the press room. Now, once --
BIRDWHISTELL: That elevator's still on the end of McVey Hall, probably.
PEARCE: Umhmm. Take itdown that same old elevator. Then you had to lift those pages one at a time, and they weighed I would imagine seventy-five pounds --
PEARCE: -- or more.
BIRDWHISTELL: [That's ?] kind of awkward too, I would think, with00:45:00this [inaudible] --
PEARCE: Well yes, and boyyou c--- [chuckle] lifted 'em very carefully. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And placed 'em on the flatbed of the press, and aligned 'em, and got 'em into proper alignment, and tightened 'em with coins. That was difficult enough, but occasionally the elevator would break.
BIRDWHISTELL: Of course.
PEARCE: And then we wouldhave to carry those forms, one at a time, down circular -- an old circular metal stairway. And that was --
BIRDWHISTELL: But you got somebody to help you. You'd gettwo people to carry 'em down the stairs, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- wouldn't you? Do it by yourself?
PEARCE: There was --Well, there wasn't room on that little stairway for two people to carry [that thing ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Where was that stairway? Was that --
PEARCE: It was to the-- it was to the -- it was to the right of the elevator.
BIRDWHISTELL: Turn left, go to the elevator, and turn right andgo down those --
PEARCE: Yeah. Uh-huh.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- those back stairs. Uh-huh.
PEARCE: Whew. Boy, that00:46:00was tough when you had to do that. It just wore you out; by the time you got the press running, you were tired. And then we'd run the press. It was a slow press and usually we'd get off anywhere from three to six in the morning.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did it all night.
PEARCE: Yeah. It waspretty much an all-night job. And furthermore, we fudged on it. Th--- We'd sleep. One of us would run the press -- Once it got going, one of us would run, the other would sleep a while. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Just like when we were waiting for the pages to be made ready upstairs, we'd sit down in the press room and study. And -- and that -- that was fudging on 'em, but nobody -- nobody minded because --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, the money to pay you all, was that comingout of the N.Y.A. or was that --
PEARCE: No. That wasuniversity money.
BIRDWHISTELL: University operating --
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- money to -- to support the student newspaper.00:47:00
BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause there -- Yeah. 'Cause --
PEARCE: Well, the student newspaperpretty well was self-supporting, --
BIRDWHISTELL: By the --
PEARCE: -- [inaudible] [advertisements ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- advertisements.
PEARCE: Yeah. It wasa good advertising medium.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, it brought -- it had its own budget thatthey could use to operate the newspaper.
PEARCE: The Kernel plant itselfwas a university operation and it was funded by the university. And the money that came in from the Kernel and from other publications, for example it printed all of the publications that the -- that the Department of Agriculture, the school of agriculture, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? Extension service and --
PEARCE: Extension --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- all that.
PEARCE: -- service publications, hundredsand thousands that went out to farmers all year round.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Now, did you work on those, too?
PEARCE: I did in thesummertime.
BIRDWHISTELL: In the summertime.
PEARCE: Oh, and sometime duringthe year, yes I did. 00:48:00
BIRDWHISTELL: So, how many -- Well so you go overthere on these two nights a week, you go over there, I guess, sometime after dinner.
PEARCE: Yeah. We'd tryto check in around 7:00 and we'd get off around 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning. And there were a little shower room in there where the janitor showered. We'd go in and -- with a gasoline can and get off the ink and the -- you know, the dirt off of us and get a shower as best we could, and change back into our cl--- street clothes.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Could you ever get all the ink offafter a --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [night ?] like that? Would it come off?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Came offwith gasoline.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh. Oh, you took -- actually took --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- gasoline in there and took it off. Isee.
PEARCE: And then we'd --we'd go home and get dressed and so forth.
BIRDWHISTELL: Have some breakfast, probably.
PEARCE: If had enough money,we'd have breakfast.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. How many hours a week would you generallywork during -- wh--- during this period, when you're doing [inaudible]?
PEARCE: As many as Icould. As many hours as I could get. 00:49:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Would it be like fifteen, twenty?
PEARCE: Oh, no. It'dforty -- [something like ?] thirty or forty.
BIRDWHISTELL: Thirty or forty hours?
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Sometimemore than that. Now, on Wednesday night, I think we ran the press on Monday and Thursday night.
BIRDWHISTELL: That would make s---
PEARCE: On Wednesday night, Idid stereotyping. We'd cast the cuts for the ads in the paper.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, okay.
PEARCE: I knew how todo that. From my work in Norton I knew how to do that. So, I would do -- I would cast the cuts. And that would take me from -- umm, I'd say 7:00 'til midnight.
BIRDWHISTELL: When you say, cast a cut, what does -- whatis -- what's that involve, --
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- if you don't mind me asking?
PEARCE: Well, I do mindyou asking, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] because it's very hard to explain. You -- We had, in those days, what they call mats, which were sort of a papier-mâché replica of the way that the advertisement would appear in the paper, --
PEARCE: -- in reverse.
PEARCE: You'd place it downon a platen, line it off with metal bars, put the platen up against a backdrop, tighten it up, and on top would be this metal -- this molten metal. And you'd bring the -- the metal container over and the spout, as -- like in steel mills?
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Yeah?
PEARCE: The molten metal wouldthen run down against the mat --
PEARCE: -- and then, whenit cooled, it would be an impression of --
BIRDWHISTELL: Then you'd have --
PEARCE: -- that mat.That would be the ad that would come out in the paper. And --
PEARCE: -- so then, you'dpick it up and put it over at the side, let it cool.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you were very fortunate to -- to arrive witha skill and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- knowledge.
BIRDWHISTELL: Because without that, I mean, you could only bluffed yourway through so far, right?
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, you had to have some --
PEARCE: It didn't take anybig brain to do casting. 00:51:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it didn't [chuckle]?
PEARCE: No. No, any[lame ?] head can do it after a while.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, speaking of your --
PEARCE: Then in the afternoons,when I got out of class, if I didn't have anything after say two o'clock, I'd drop by the Kernel office and very often they'd want -- they'd want metal pigs for the linotype, metal bars that went down into the metal melter and would come out as -- as slugs of type. And you'd take the old type and old cast cuts, things like that, put 'em in the pot down in the basement near the press, and build up the fire underneath it, gas fire, and melt down that lead. Then you'd take a skimmer, stir up the melted lead, and skim off the impurities or the dross on top, which you'd throw away. You'd 00:52:00take then a s--- ladle which held, as I recall, oh, nine to fifteen pounds of lead, and you'd pour it in the molds. And it molds it out in -- in pigs that were, as I recall, about a foot or eighteen inches long. And when it cooled, you turned up the mold, and dumped 'em out, and went through that again. The only difficulty in that job--again, as I say, it took no [chuckle--Birdwhistell] nuclear physicist to melt lead--the only difficulty was that you had to be sure that your molds were fairly warm, and that wasn't easy to do. You had to heat 'em up a little bit because once they started cooling off after used, they would collect some moisture. And if you poured that hot metal into a mold with moisture, it would pop. 00:53:00And, man, if it got on you it would just take the skin right down to the quick, in a very -- a fairly considerable burn. It'd also ruin your clothes. So, the trick was just to pour a little bit into each mold before you started pouring really. And then it would heat up the mold and -- And, you got -- I [chuckle] got paid as much as -- for that as I did for running that big old complex press. Thirty-five cents an hour.
BIRDWHISTELL: Thirty-five cents an hour.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: And you took all the hours you could get.
PEARCE: Took all the hoursI could get.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, I think the -- I think the -- l---a lot of people would agree that the hardest part of college is that first year when you're trying to figure out what's expected, 00:54:00what's going on, how the classes work, who the professors are, you know, how the whole thing kind of works. I mean, you had friends who'd been to college and you'd heard -- you know, and you -- you knew -- you knew the ins and outs of all this stuff, but still you have to get kind of acclimated to this whole routine. That first semester when you were taking these classes, how -- how did that go in terms of the classes themselves? Did you --
PEARCE: All right.
BIRDWHISTELL: You found them not too difficult?
PEARCE: No, I didn't havetoo much trouble as I recall. I had trouble with one fellow --
BIRDWHISTELL: Who was that?
PEARCE: -- in an Englishclass. He was a Princeton man, I wish I could remember his name. Very good looking, sharp guy.
BIRDWHISTELL: Young guy?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. And hetook sort of an instant dislike to me. Some people do, [it's ?] [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- you know how it happens.
BIRDWHISTELL: Why do you think he did that, [John Ed ?]?
PEARCE: I don't know.I didn't like him either [chuckles].
BIRDWHISTELL: What was it about him you didn't like?
PEARCE: I don't --He didn't like me [chuckles]. I guess that was it.
BIRDWHISTELL: This [chuckle] --
PEARCE: So --00:55:00
BIRDWHISTELL: This was just like freshman English, where you --
PEARCE: Yeah. Uh-huh.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- writing compositions?
PEARCE: Yeah, and stuff likethat.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And you just --
PEARCE: And the journalism classes.Well, Niel's dead now, isn't he, so I -- Niel Plummer taught a class in b--- beginning journalism.
BIRDWHISTELL: You took that your freshman year?
PEARCE: Yeah, I had to.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] 'Cause you knew you wanted to be ajournalist, right?
PEARCE: No. But Iwas in journalism sort of because I knew what it was. And I was -- You know, you had two years of preparatory before you chose a major. And so I thought I'd go into journalism maybe.
BIRDWHISTELL: And so you had Niel Plummer.
BIRDWHISTELL: And you had Niel Plummer.
PEARCE: Yeah. And Iremember -- The first day we were there, Niel got up in front of the class grinning, you know, like a 'possum eating poke berries and he said, "What is news?" [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And then he sort of stood back expectantly. And [chuckle--Birdwhistell] nobody answered, 00:56:00of course. We [chuckle] -- He said, "News is anything that makes you say, 'Whew, gee whiz.'" And I remember Harold Williams [chuckle] was sitting right next to me and he says, "Whew, or [shit ?]." [Chuckles] And Niel's class was sort of that way. It was very elementary and sort of silly, I thought. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And -- and then there was a fellow named Portmann, Victor Portmann.
BIRDWHISTELL: Victor Portmann.
PEARCE: The old sarge.He w--- If you weren't careful, he would -- he would tell you about his war experiences [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And he taught type and stuff like that. Total waste of an adult man's time.
BIRDWHISTELL: Of his time or your time?
PEARCE: Mine. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]Well, ours. Yeah, it j--- I didn't think it was a college course. It was a trade school course. And 00:57:00I fe--- "I'm wasting a hell of a lot of time in here."
BIRDWHISTELL: But it was --
PEARCE: It was --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- three hours credit, right?
BIRDWHISTELL: You got three hours credit, though.
PEARCE: Yeah, you got yourcredit for it. But, then I s--- fell in with the Kernel boys and they all said [chuckle], "Don't -- Go ahead, wade through it. It's -- You get credit." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "It doesn't take any [chuckle] brains."
BIRDWHISTELL: So you had English -- That fir--- that fallsemester, I don't know if you can recall what you had. You had English, --
PEARCE: Can't recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: Can't recall.
PEARCE: No. Recall [fromtime ?] -- Had Kentucky history with Tom Clark.
BIRDWHISTELL: How was that?
PEARCE: Loved Tom Clark.
BIRDWHISTELL: What was that like? Tell me about that.
PEARCE: It was nice.It was interesting.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he's a young guy.
PEARCE: He was a young,good-looking guy and funny, and he was -- he was pleasant. He was nice to us.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, what -- You said he was fun--- howwas he funny? I --
PEARCE: Oh, --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Inaudible] stu---
PEARCE: -- he'd tell stories.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, students talk about him being funny. What --like what? What would he do?
PEARCE: Well, he'd tell stories.00:58:00
BIRDWHISTELL: About Kentucky --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- history?
BIRDWHISTELL: Or history in general?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. And he'dkid with us, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Really? Uh-huh.
PEARCE: And -- Let'ssee, what else did I take? Took Kentucky history and English.
BIRDWHISTELL: But you liked Dr. Clark right away.
PEARCE: Yeah. Like howcan you dislike [chuckle] Tom Clark?
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] Well, I know that. I --The people who --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- listen to this might -- might not have anopportunity to know him.
PEARCE: And I remember Ihad -- I don't know [when I was first with him ?], but I had Amry Vandenbosch.
BIRDWHISTELL: Amry Vandenbosch.
PEARCE: Oh, I just absolutelyloved him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Political science.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Now, what'd you like about him?
PEARCE: He was nice tome. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And -- and he'd com--- and he w--- spoke to me as though I were an adult. And we'd discuss things. And I'd sit around with him after class and we'd talk. And he always -- I liked -- I've always responded better to kind treatment than to harsh treatment. 00:59:00A lot of people have to be driven and cursed and things like that. I don't react well to that. I -- If you'll encourage me, I'll break my back, you know. And Amry Vandenbosch, I remember one time -- I was always sleepy, naturally [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Well, you know, I worked all night.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [I'm ?] sure you were.
PEARCE: And one day Icould -- I could f--- fi--- feel myself dozing off. I just couldn't stay awake any longer. And I remember hearing Vandenbosch say, "Leave him alone. He needs the sleep worse than he needs this lecture." [Chuckles] Which was true, I guess. And -- and then John Kuiper, John[?] [T. Huntley] Dupre, ooo, history. Wonderful man, just brilliant. Kuiper in -- in philosophy. Amry Vandenbosch in political science. Tom Clark. Jasper Shannon in 01:00:00political science. And then, of course, people like Grant Knight in English. Now, he was wonderful.
PEARCE: He was just wonderful.
PEARCE: Oh, he was supercilious,and snotty, and looked on all of us as "you peasants" [chuckle--Birdwhistell], but if you show any capability, he would look at you in a special way and he would treat you as though you were a special person.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you show ability?
PEARCE: I guess, 'cause wegot along fine. You know, when I was in the navy, we put into port one time after having been out to sea and got mail. And in it was a book of poems from Grant Knight.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: And he had written-- and he wrote a very nice, kind note in the front 01:01:00of it. There was --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Do you still have it ?]?
PEARCE: -- a man namedWillis Tucker who taught journalism. He was the only --
BIRDWHISTELL: Willis Tucker.
PEARCE: Yes. He --
BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know that name.
PEARCE: Well, he was theonly man in that department who deserved to teach college people.
PEARCE: Yeah. The restof 'em really, I thought, didn't know what the hell they were doing except wasting time.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, there was a woman in -- in the journalismschool, [too ?].
PEARCE: Miss Margie [Marguerite] McLaughlin.She loved football players [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. All you had to do was sign up for Margie's class and show you could do a couple of push-ups and get a "B". She was really terrible. She wasn't as bad as Victor Portmann, but -- she was no worse than -- she was no worse than Niel Plummer. Classes weren't too hard. It was hard to find time to 01:02:00study. See, every -- every minute I wasn't in class, I was -- I was hustling for -- for money.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you do other things besides the job at theKernel?
PEARCE: Yes, I got ajob with a woman named Ms. Williams who lived -- whose establishment was up on South Lime there, near where the Tom Clark Building is today, where the university press is located. It was right along in there somewhere. And she fed students. She had two long tables in this big dining room and she fed students. And we would wait the tables and get our meals for waiting the tables, which wasn't a bad deal.
BIRDWHISTELL: Would that be like dinner, --
PEARCE: Lunch --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- supper?
PEARCE: -- mostly.
PEARCE: Yeah. I don'trecall whether it was dinner or not, but I know it was lunch. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you'd have to hustle over there and do that,--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [wouldn't ?] -- You'd have to hustleover there and do that during the middle of the day, then. 01:03:00
PEARCE: Yeah. There wasalso a woman named Ms. Mullins, who I didn't like, but who gave me a job for breakfast waiting tables and -- I'd wait tables over at Ms. Mullins' for breakfast, wait tables over at Ms. Williams' for lunch, and could eat -- I don't remember what we did for dinner. Just wherever we could, I guess. And then I'd work at the Kernel in the afternoon and three nights a week I worked at the Kernel office. And on the weekends, I -- I would do an awful lot of studying, and sleeping.
BIRDWHISTELL: You know, John Ed, w--- when -- I remember talkingabout your growing up in Norton and -- and Pineville, and you were very aware of these class distinctions in your communities, about who 01:04:00had -- Not -- not about money, but about who was --
PEARCE: Social status.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, social status. And -- and here you are,you know, you -- you're from the mountains, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you come to Lexington, how do you feel aboutworking all night in a press room and waiting tables during the day? Does that -- Are -- are times so tough that you're just -- you're so happy to be able to support yourself that that doesn't matter, or do you -- do you think about your own status at this point, your situ---
PEARCE: Yes, I did.
BIRDWHISTELL: How did you deal with that?
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: What'd you think about it and how did you dealwith it?
PEARCE: Well, I felt --[chuckle] ju--- As my sister said, and a book, I think, has been written on the title -- my sister Rose said, there was -- there was years there where we didn't have any money, but we were never poor people. There was a little -- a little distinction. We still had some social status. 01:05:00
PEARCE: We were a goodfamily, we had come from good people, we had a --
PEARCE: -- nice home.I felt at the -- at the university during those first weeks, that I was not in the class of students that I wished to be in and I hoped to improve myself. But I had no choice at first, I had to hustle. And I was hustling to beat hell. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I was in the press room one day running that press when Edgar Penn--they called him "Chicky"--came in. And he was business manager, as I recall, on the newspaper, on the Kernel. A nice looking guy, about my size, and handsome. Sharp featured, blonde, and just a pleasant, good guy, as I recall. And he said, "Hey, what are you 01:06:00doing this evening?" And I said, "I don't know," you know. He said, "We'd like you to come over to the house." And I said, "What house?" And he said, "The -- the Pi Kap [Pi Kappa Alpha] house," the fraternity house. "Whoo." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] So, I did. And he came by and picked me up, and we went over to the fraternity house. Boy, now that really made an impression on me. The house was on Transylvania Park. It was a strange looking house. I go by it today, it really looks pretty shabby. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] But it looked very grand to me. I m--- The lights were all up, you know. And they had a big case of -- of trophies and cups and plaques and --
PEARCE: -- everything that theboys had won, you know. And pictures all over the --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Composites ?] --
PEARCE: -- wall.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- everywhere.
PEARCE: Yeah. And --and pictures of "Happy" [Albert] Chandler and Earle Clements, people like that, who were alumni, you know. 01:07:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Who were "Pikes", uh-huh.
PEARCE: Yeah. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: Was this your freshman year?
BIRDWHISTELL: This was your freshman year?
PEARCE: Yeah. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So did you all sit around and smoke cigarettes andstuff?
PEARCE: We had dinner, Iremember --
PEARCE: -- that. Yeah,they --
BIRDWHISTELL: They --
PEARCE: [Well ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- invited you to dinner.
PEARCE: Yeah. [You know?], always on "rush" they would ask you to dinner and -- and then afterward, why, we would sometime go over to the Paddock and have a drink, and stuff like that. Be just casual.
BIRDWHISTELL: So you liked that atmosphere?
PEARCE: Oh, me. Well,you see, I had read about this and I had seen it in movies.
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure. Sure.
PEARCE: College men went tofraternity houses and they were blase and very smooth guys [chuckle--Birdwhistell], you know, and -- This was glamour, boy, for me. I was eighteen years old.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I know exactly what you're talking about.
BIRDWHISTELL: I had a -- I went to the "Pike"house myself and was [chuckle] impressed.
PEARCE: I was very --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Not ?] [inaudible].
PEARCE: -- impressed. So01:08:00then they asked me back. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So you made the cut.
PEARCE: Yeah. And theyasked me back and they asked me if I'd be interested. And -- and I -- I got [chuckle] "Chicky" over there and I said, "Now, let's face it. You know what and who I am. I don't have any money." And they said, "Maybe we can help you. Maybe we can help." And they took me over to this side of the room where there was a sandy-haired fellow about my height and stocky, rugged face, named W.T. Bishop, Bill Bishop. And he was the general manager at Keeneland. He was an alumnus. And they introduced us and 01:09:00he said, "Do you want a job?" I -- I said, "Well, I've got a job, but I guess I could use anoth---" And so they -- he said, "We'll get you a job at Keeneland." And I said, "'Chicky', what the hell is Keeneland." [Chuckles] I -- you know, how could I know. Keeneland was -- had only opened the year before, --
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, --
PEARCE: -- see.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- '36.
PEARCE: It was brand new.And --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] "What's Keeneland?"
PEARCE: -- he said, "It'sa racetrack." [You know ?], [chuckle] "Okay."
BIRDWHISTELL: Had you been to a racetrack?
BIRDWHISTELL: Had you been to a racetrack?
PEARCE: No. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]Had no idea. Had never seen a race. Knew nothing about horses, didn't care anything [chuckles] -- And so, yeah, they said, "We'll get you a job." So then around the first of October or around there somewhere, maybe later than that I guess, I reported out to Keeneland. Found the office and there was a man named "Ruby" White. Now, tha--- I -- that's what I remember. I may be wrong on that. And he 01:10:00showed me -- showed all of us how to run the parimutuel machines. And that's what I did. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And every day during the --
BIRDWHISTELL: Fall meet.
PEARCE: -- during the falland spring meet I'd go out to Keeneland, check in, and they'd have a list of those of us who could work that day. Some days you didn't get to work and that was very disappointing.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. How much did you get paid for --
PEARCE: Eight dollars an afternoon.
PEARCE: You check in atnoon and you got off around 4:30 or 5:00, and you'd have eight dollars a day for it.
PEARCE: Which about two dollarsan hour almost, and I was getting twenty-five, thirty-five cents an hour.
BIRDWHISTELL: Shew. That's good money.
PEARCE: Oh, it was.And people would -- would give you what they call -- There were two kinds, there were tips and there were drops. A fellow'd buy a ticket and make a lot of money, he'd come back and throw you a buck, you know, every now and then. And then there were drops. People, especially women -- 01:11:00and I was [chuckle] -- He to--- He said, "Now, you --" This fellow next to me, an old timer, he said, "Watch women." He said, "They'll reach down in their purse and grab out a bunch of money, and they don't know what it is, and they'll put it down. And a lot of times they'll put down the wrong amount. And they'll pick up the ticket and go off. And you'll pocket what they leave." [Chuckles] That was called a drop.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] A drop.
PEARCE: Yeah. And --and I -- I -- The reason I'm telling you this is that a woman came up and put down a five and a one, and gotten a two dollar ticket, and walked away. And I screamed my lungs out after her, "Lady, get back here." She had left four dollars and I wanted her to have her money. And this fellow next to me kicked me. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he said, "Now listen you little son of a bitch, there are two kinds of people out here, them and us." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "And they got it and we want it." And he said, "Now, any drops you get, you put in your pocket." 01:12:00And I did. And -- and it wasn't honest, and I didn't like to do it, but I did it. And a lot of times you'd make a lot of money on drops.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. How did you get out there to --since the --
BIRDWHISTELL: You'd hitchhike out to Keeneland?
PEARCE: Yeah, you --Somebody was always going --
BIRDWHISTELL: Or -- or somebody --
PEARCE: -- out to Keeneland.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- else would -- who would have out there would--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- go and have a car.
PEARCE: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, with the -- with the prospect of employment atKeeneland, you opted the pledge then?
BIRDWHISTELL: And --
PEARCE: Became pledge. Iremember "Chicky" came down one day, in the press room, and handed me a pledge pin. He said, "How about putting this on?" And I was -- I -- "Yeah, sure." I wanted to be in a fraternity.
BIRDWHISTELL: You wanted to be a "Pike".
PEARCE: [Well, I'm -- sortof -- yeah ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, John Ed, I have a hard time imagining youas a pledge.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, because of the way-- what pledges have to do.
PEARCE: We -- they --01:13:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you --
PEARCE: -- they weren't toohard on us.
BIRDWHISTELL: It wasn't?
PEARCE: No. They hada lot of stupidity, you know, and a lot of silly stuff, but it was sort of fun. We --
BIRDWHISTELL: You enjoyed it?
PEARCE: I didn't mind it.[chuckle--Birdwhistell] The only thing is, I didn't want to get hit with those paddles. Now, I got hit two or three times and I'd say, "That's enough. If that's going on, I'm out of here."
BIRDWHISTELL: And they stopped?
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have a "Big Brother?" [Was it too?] --
PEARCE: I think "Chicky" wasmy "Big Brother."
BIRDWHISTELL: [He's the guy ?]?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I assumed he would be, if he --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he kind of recruited you.
PEARCE: And I'd go overat the house. In the summertime I lived at the house.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you?
BIRDWHISTELL: That first su--- summer of '38?
PEARCE: Oh, two or threesummers. One t--- summer when the house moved down to High Street, High and -- I believe that was Stone [Avenue]. There's a parking lot there now.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Why'd they --
PEARCE: [They had a ?]huge, big, red brick house. 01:14:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you move the house 'cause you needed more room?
PEARCE: I don't know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Don't know?
PEARCE: I -- I wasn'thaving too much to do with the fraternity after the freshman or sophomore year. I thought it was a [chuckle] bunch of crap.
BIRDWHISTELL: I was go--- [Chuckles] Well now, -- Let'ssee, you answered the question before I could ask it. I was -- I was gonna ask you how long you -- how long you were taken by this kind of activity.
PEARCE: Well, I didn't mindthe ritual and all of it.
BIRDWHISTELL: You --
PEARCE: I thought --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- enjoyed that?
PEARCE: Yeah, it wasn't toobad. Now, [chuckle] I'll tell you a funny thing. In the late spring of my freshman year, the "Pikes" had a regional convention. Chapters from Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky all came to Lexington for, you know, a convention. Whiskey drinking and [chuckle--Birdwhistell] big talk and -- And so, the -- A fellow from Tennessee, a 01:15:00senior, was supposed to give the main address of a student, and I was chosen, from the Kentucky chapter, to give sort of the welcoming speech.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: Yeah. It wasdown at the Lafayette Hotel. It was very elegant, man. The Lafayette was elegant.
PEARCE: And I had asmuch pride, I guess, as the average kid, and I worked on that speech, and I worked hard on it. And I gave 'em a lot of crap in it [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and appealed to brotherhood and all that, you know. And, man, it was a good speech.
PEARCE: I mean, it --it wowed 'em, man. As -- Can say that now at fifty years remove, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure --
PEARCE: -- I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- sure you can.
PEARCE: Yeah, it --01:16:00And the poor old senior from Tennessee got up and said, well, what can I say [chuckle] after that, you know. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he made a couple of poor jokes and sat down. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I was sort of the hero of the hour. And, as we left the thing, two men came up to me and said -- introduced themselves and said, "What -- what -- what is your major? What do you plan doing?" I said, "Well, I'm thinking about journalism, being some form of writer." And they said, "Well, this summer if you don't have anything to do, why, we run a little new--- we run a little magazine down here called The Bloodhorse. Why don't you come down and see us."
PEARCE: Their name was JoePalmer and [Sid Pastus ?]. Well, being the smart-aleck that I was, I thought, "Bloodhorse?" [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] It sounded like a butcher shop, you know. Very grisly, I thought, "I don't want anything 01:17:00to do with that." So, when summer came I got a job jerking sodas over in the Paddock. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I wasn't gonna work for any [chuckle] "Bloodhorse." I often wonder what would have happened -- what would have happened had I taken that Bloodhorse job.
BIRDWHISTELL: You probably would have become a turf writer.
PEARCE: Yes, I might have.Or I might have become the executive there. I -- I probably would had I -- probably become the managing editor.
BIRDWHISTELL: But you decided to be a soda jerk.
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, let me ask you this, since you're --I was gonna ask you if you ever talked to your fraternity brother "Happy" about your being a Pike, but I -- The -- the fall -- the fall campaign in 1938 pitted your fraternity brother against Alben Barkley. Did you all mobilize in his behalf?
PEARCE: No. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]I didn't -- I didn't care anything about Kentucky politics at all.
BIRDWHISTELL: I just thought maybe your fraternity got involved.01:18:00
PEARCE: In f--- I'mglad you mentioned that, because -- Now, I'm almost sure this was in my freshman year. It may have been the sophomore year, but I think it was in the freshman year. But "Happy" gave a party at the [governor's] mansion for "Pikes."
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, he had --
PEARCE: Dinner party.
PEARCE: It was very impressive,of course, and he was. And that impressed me with the fraternity again.
PEARCE: A man like that.He was -- he was such a great personality, you know, and for a boy from nothing to be there and have the governor hug him and all that business. I was -- I was very impressed --
BIRDWHISTELL: What'd --
PEARCE: -- with him.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you say to him?
PEARCE: "Hi." [Chuckles]I don't know what I said to him.
BIRDWHISTELL: But he was a -- Was he bigger thanlife at that point? I mean, --
PEARCE: He always was.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: "Happy" was always bigger--
BIRDWHISTELL: So, here --
PEARCE: -- than life.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you were in the governor's mansion.01:19:00
PEARCE: Yes, sir.
BIRDWHISTELL: That was quite a jump from getting off that traindown in -- town Lexington --
PEARCE: This is what --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and wondering where to go.
PEARCE: -- I mean.Oh, I'd been there at U.K. about six weeks, I think. I had time to draw a deep breath. I had a little money, because I was making enough to get through. And I looked around the campus and it occurred to me that you could spot the cool guys and the smooth guys on the campus. They'd go with the better looking girls, and they had better looking clothes, and things like that. And I saw right then and there that clothes were very important. You didn't wear that R.O.T.C. [Reserve Officer Training Corps] uniform, you got the best clothes you had. And the first thing I did when I saved money, I got myself a tuxedo.
BIRDWHISTELL: A tux?
PEARCE: Yes, sir. 'Cause01:20:00I wanted to go to those dances. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I loved to dance [something -- Man ?], I always loved to --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, you --
PEARCE: -- dance.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- were already into dancing by the time --
PEARCE: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you got to college.
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Wehad good dances at home.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. So, you went and got atux.
BIRDWHISTELL: Where'd you get it?
PEARCE: [Graves Cox ?].[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Yes, sir. And, yeah, we'd go to the fraternity house and put on our tuxes. If we'd taken a girl, we'd send her a corsage, and then we'd go pick her up, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: This be like for your spring formals or something likethat?
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Andthey'd have mid--- mid-season, the same, mid-winter, the same. And fraternity dances -- fraternity and sorority dances all year long.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Everybody was always having something, right?
PEARCE: Yeah. At leastone or two a month. And they'd be big formals. And you'd need to wear a tux or white tie. 01:21:00
PEARCE: We didn't mess around.We [chuckle--Birdwhistell] went as best we could. I think it -- You know, it was during the Depression and I guess you didn't want to give a basis too much to the poverty of the era. So you dressed as best you could and conducted yourself as best you could. So I started and I bought myself some good clothes, and I had to work my ass off, too. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you --
PEARCE: -- started dating.And I guess that spring Don Irvine, my friend from Lexington, going with a girl who still there, woman's still there, nice woman. And her aunt owned a camp down on Lake Harrington. And that's where I ran into the girls whose families had camps on 01:22:00Lake Harrington. And I remember we were down there, and I took this girl from the Tri-Delt [Delta Delta Delta] house. She was a doll. She was the nicest girl. And we liked her. She was upperclassman now, unfortunately. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And she was the first woman I slept with, down there at that camp. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] That was a big thing in my life, I'll tell you.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's --
PEARCE: And I was very--
BIRDWHISTELL: Lake Harrington --
PEARCE: -- [impressed ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- has a special --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- place in your heart, right?
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]And she did, too. She really -- I -- She was a great girl. And it was just a milestone in growing up.
[End of Tape #1, Side #2]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]
PEARCE: I started running aroundmore and more with the Kernel people, more than the fraternity people. 01:23:00And the Kernel people were, at least on the service -- surface, a more -- I guess you'd say intellectually interested than socially, as the fraternity boys were. And they intrigued me. And we'd sit around downtown in one of these places and drink and have intellectual discussions. At least we thought they were intellectual discussions.
BIRDWHISTELL: What were you all talking ab--- Were you alltalking about interna--- You know, you've mention Amry Vandenbosch and how after class you'd sit around and talk with him, and --
PEARCE: International --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Because he ?] --
PEARCE: -- affairs, --
BIRDWHISTELL: International business [inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- they -- they-- Of course, Europe was starting to boil over --
PEARCE: -- and -- and[there were limits ?] to the Depression, and Franklin Roosevelt and his programs, of course, were hugely on our minds. So, we were 01:24:00quite interested in national, international politics, and also more or less in philosophy, because we were just starting to take philosophy and our minds were starting to open up. And we were also interested in literature and -- and comparison of authors, and so forth. We were becoming as cynical as most young college intellectuals become [chuckle--Birdwhistell] in their first years. And the -- the conversation was -- was pretty bright, pretty sharp.
PEARCE: And humorous, and --you know, witty. And it -- it always a challenge. And -- and I was fascinated by it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, who would you be sitting around talking with, ifyou [inaudible] --
PEARCE: Oh, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Give me some of the names.
PEARCE: As I say, therewas a George Kerler, Harry Williams, oh, Don Irvine, and Robin [Robert?] 01:25:00Sweeney. Sometime boys like [Jamie Thompson ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: What was your politics at the time? You saidearlier, you didn't care much about politics at that point.
PEARCE: The state politics.
BIRDWHISTELL: State politics. But what were your politics in abigger sense? Were you a --
PEARCE: I was --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- were you a "New Dealer?"
PEARCE: Oh, yes. AndI was -- I was fairly radical liberal.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. You thought government could -- You --you liked the movement toward government --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- activism. Yeah, that's the word.
PEARCE: Yes. Well, Ithink we all did, then. And at the same time, as time went on and the things in Europe got worse, we rebelled against participation in the war. And we were very much opposed 01:26:00to getting into World War II. We were opposed to conscription to the draft. Didn't think that we should get into another war.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Well, there was ?] --
PEARCE: [You must ?] considerthat had been only twenty years since World War I was over.
BIRDWHISTELL: And there was a -- a tremendous peace movement duringthis period [and ?] --
PEARCE: Oh, yes, especially onthe college campuses.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and on the college campuses.
BIRDWHISTELL: Were -- There were actually some activities on --at U.K. that -- formal activities that --
PEARCE: Very little --
BIRDWHISTELL: But you weren't --
PEARCE: -- and it waslimited.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- involved in any of those.
BIRDWHISTELL: You were involved in [those ?].
PEARCE: I was involved someof 'em. But, not terribly s--- seriously. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: There were organizations like "Future Mothers Against the War," andall those --
PEARCE: There was a thingcalled "Veterans of Future Wars."
BIRDWHISTELL: "Veterans of Future Wars."
PEARCE: Yeah. It wasstarted, I think, by a Louisville boy at Princeton.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: And I'll think ofhis name in a minute. Anyhow, we -- 01:27:00
BIRDWHISTELL: You -- you were -- you were drawn to thosetypes of things?
PEARCE: [Certain ?] --Pretty much.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, when you say a radical liberal, I -- seemsto me there'd be two currents going on in -- in a college student's mind --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in the late '30s. One is the nearcollapse of capitalism, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- which you had such a personal experience with in--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- on your own life. And the other was,this sort of impending --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- doom of war. And so you have thesetwo currents that are sort of s--- c--- you know, in your head all at the same time, so it would be a perfect time for a young thinking person to opt out of the system in a sense.
PEARCE: Yeah, it might havebeen. We had -- we had the radicals, so-called communists. I don't know whether they were really communists or not. A lot of people could be called communists in [chuckle] those days. We had some of them. And I remember when I was 01:28:00a -- on the paper, they invited me once to come over--what was the name of that outfit--and speak to them.
BIRDWHISTELL: A campus --
PEARCE: They were a bunch-- Hmm?
BIRDWHISTELL: A campus organization?
PEARCE: Yeah. Yeah, abunch of -- of scruffy kids over there. They didn't dress very well, so we didn't have too much to do with 'em [laughs]. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And most of 'em were from up east; New York, New Jersey, bad people like that [chuckle]. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] So, we -- we didn't want anything, really, to do with the communists on campus unless they could dress better and go to better parties. There w--- I remember there were two sort of [chuckle--Birdwhistell] typical communists on the campus at the time. One was a man named Joe [Rinermagio ?] who was a Italianate looking guy, 01:29:00fairly large, dark-haired, big, strong, aquiline nose, handsome, and a compelling personality. And we all loved Joe Rinermagio, and he'd come in the Kernel office and banter with us, and call us capitalist pigs and things, you know. We [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- we liked Joe. He sold banners and pom-poms at football games. He was poor as church mice [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Then he fell in with John and Scott Breckinridge.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: Yes, and he wouldgo out to the Breckinridge house and eat. And I think he just shot the home sweet hell out of old Dr. Breckinridge who was about as conservative [chuckle--Birdwhistell] as you could get, you know. But Joe was so bright, and he was witty, and -- and he was so pleasant, everybody liked having him around. Now Pete [Gregous ?] was another c--- cut of cat. Pete was our other com--- campus communist. And he was tall, skinny, lank-haired, 01:30:00intense looking man with sort of pop eyes, and I don't think he smiled. He -- he was just intense about life. And he was always mad at us on the [Louisville] Courier -- Kernel. And he would come in and -- and he was not a nice person to argue with or anything. He was mad and -- We were not impressed really with communism, except that what was going on in Russia we found interesting, what we could learn. We didn't know an awful lot, but wh--- we found that interesting.
BIRDWHISTELL: What did you know -- As events in Europestarted to unfold, from your perspective as a college student who was interested in these things, when did you first start to -- or did you start to think that the Nazi movement and Hitler was some -- something different? 01:31:00
PEARCE: Along about our junioryear we realized that something was really about to boil over.
PEARCE: Yeah. And Hitlerhad always been interesting to us, because it was so new --
PEARCE: -- and it seemedso a--- alive and so vigorous.
PEARCE: We didn't know alot about the Jewish thing, and frankly I didn't know much about Jews. I don't know whether I believed that Jews were bad [like that ?]. I remember that we were up in the dormitory--I was living in the dorm one year--and we were up there arguing. Bob [Spragens ?] from over at Lexington and Martin Packman, who lived here in Louisville, and his sister and brother in law later became good friends of mine, and we were arguing about Hitler and the Jews and so forth. And I said to Martin in a rather irritated way, "How do you know so God damned 01:32:00[chuckle] much about Jews?" And he said, "Well, I am one." I said, "You are?" [Chuckles] I didn't know a damn thing about Jews.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, you'd had a Jewish family in one of yourcommunities where you grew up. They owned a --
BIRDWHISTELL: Norton. They owned the store there.
PEARCE: Big -- big dry-goodsstore.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So, you knew about them.
PEARCE: [inaudible] But --Yeah, I knew there were Jews and --
BIRDWHISTELL: But not in a --
PEARCE: Not [where I was?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- geo-political sense, right [chuckle]?
PEARCE: No. And Ididn't know that they looked different or anything like that. You -- My brother had a -- I think I told you, my brother Joe had a close friend Jerry [Ellen ?] who was a Jew. [Well ?], we looked on Jews as being less different than Catholics. Now, we looked Catholic as being sort of foreign [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Really, we -- we thought -- And most of them were what we'd call foreigners; Italians, [Honkies ?], things like that you -- Im--- First -- first generation or 01:33:00second generation immigrants. They were -- they would be Catholics. And when they started a Catholic church there while I was in high school, we looked on them -- and the nuns. We used to call 'em "buzzards," [chuckle--Birdwhistell] because they flapped around in those old black clothes. We had very little respect for Catholics. But Jews, I didn't know anything about Jews.
BIRDWHISTELL: So you had a pretty steep learning curve here inthe late '30s, trying to deal with what Nazi -- what the Nazi movement was, what Hitler's ultimate agenda was, and how that --
PEARCE: We had a poemwritten by Don Irvine that I carried in my magazine, to the tune of ["Humoresque" ?] as I recall. And one verse went, "Hitler is a monster and we'll be invaded next. We must protect our bank account on any old pretext --" [chuckles] -- "pretext." 01:34:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, --
PEARCE: "[The main ?] pleaseremember Berlin by December, for we want war." [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, obviously Europe -- because of the way our culturedeveloped, Europe had our attention here in this country, but simultaneously there were developments in the Far East that were going to have tremendous impact --
PEARCE: And they -- andthey made no impression on us --
BIRDWHISTELL: It just went --
PEARCE: As I recall, we-- we never paid any attention to the Japanese, except in sort of a humorous way. We heard they were building battleships that would turn over when they launched 'em [chuckle]. They were sort of a funny, silly people. The idea of their being powerful, dangerous never occurred to us. It was the Germans. The 01:35:00Germans were the serious threat, if there was one.
BIRDWHISTELL: And of course, --
PEARCE: But --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you have this -- you know, the Jewish issuewith the Germans and, of course, with the Japanese it's a race issue.
PEARCE: Not with us.We didn't know anything about --
BIRDWHISTELL: No, --
PEARCE: -- [it at all?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- I mean, as a people you -- you --I mean, when you're talking about the Japanese people, you know, the --
PEARCE: Oh, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [balance ?] --
PEARCE: -- you mean, theywere different?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. It's a matter of race.
PEARCE: I guess.
PEARCE: We just didn't paymuch attention to the Japanese in -- when I was in college.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, your professor Amry Vandenbosch, he and Frances Jewell McVeyand some others had an International Club.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you go to that?
PEARCE: No. Wasn't invited,as I rec---
BIRDWHISTELL: You had to be invited?
PEARCE: I think so.I'll -- I'll tell you, a charming custom that we had on campus then was Mrs. McVey's tea. One afternoon a week, and I forget what afternoon it was, --
PEARCE: -- she would givea tea and invite all the students in. 01:36:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Wednesday afternoon.
PEARCE: Wednesday? I thinkit was Wednesday.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. It was.
PEARCE: All right. We'dgo in there on Wednesday. All of us on the K--- Kernel would go over together.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: We'd go over there.And when it was over with, Mrs. McVey would give us the sandwiches that were left [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and we'd take 'em back to the Kernel office and eat 'em. We were always hungry [chuckle--Birdwhistell], naturally. She was a charming woman.
BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about [it ?].
PEARCE: And it -- andthe tea was very pleasant. We'd meet the faculty members, people from town, and --
BIRDWHISTELL: She would have different groups to service and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- be the --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and -- and host the thing.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you ever work at the tea at all, [that?] --
PEARCE: I can't recall thatI did.
BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about Frances Jewell McVey. What --When did you first meet her, --
PEARCE: That was it.
BIRDWHISTELL: That -- You met her at the tea.
PEARCE: At -- AsI recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. What -- And what were -- whatwere your impressions of her?
PEARCE: Why, she was abeautiful lady. It was like Dr. McVey. He was the personification of the college president. Tall, austere, a commanding presence and 01:37:00voice, and with a -- a worship of the mind. H--- his life was dedicated to the education of his students. He didn't believe in athletics. [Chuckle] He tried to -- like old President [James K.] Patterson, tried to keep it off the campus and failed. He wanted students who were interested in developing their mind. If you were -- If you were interested in learning, and if you were learning, it didn't make any difference then what kind of ex--- opinions you expressed. The fact that you were growing up and expressing opinion would get some respect, more or less, 01:38:00on campus. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, would you find yourself engaged in conversation with Dr.McVey or --
PEARCE: Very -- No,very seldom. I -- I never had the opportunity and I was a little awed by him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. What about a conversation with Frances Jewell McVey?
PEARCE: Yes, we'd talk toMrs. McVey. But in a social sense, not in an intellectual sense. We just tried to make, you know, polite chatter. My intellectual discussions would be with Grant Knight. I'd go around in the afternoon and he'd sit there and listen to me by the hour. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he was so patient. I remember -- As I say, he was -- he was handsome, grey-haired fellow who wore very sharp grey suits and he would have a grey mustache. Tilt his head back and sneer at us 01:39:00[Chuckle--Birdwhistell], "How many of you have been to Paris?" Well, hell, there wasn't two people in the class that had -- "Too bad. I'm afraid you never will." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Why not," you know. "The Germans are going to destroy it."
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh. Oh.
PEARCE: This was in '38,--
PEARCE: -- '39.
BIRDWHISTELL: He was telling you all that.
PEARCE: "Yes, war is coming.""No, we won't fight." "Yes, you will."
PEARCE: "The war will comeand -- is coming and you will fight, and the Germans will overrun Europe, because we're not prepared and they are."
BIRDWHISTELL: And this is an English teacher.
PEARCE: Yes. And --he -- outrageous. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And Willis Tucker. Willis Tucker would talk to me, almost man to man. He gave us a test once in Advanced Reporting, as I recall. 01:40:00And the -- the assignment on the final exam was, "Lay out a year's calendar for a magazine in one department," politics, sports, something like that for a year. I took that thing, I worked for four hours on it. I not only laid out the story that would run every month or week, but I'd write a lead for it, to show what it was going to be. Not just a topic. And he gave me a 99+ and he says, "The best examination that I have read by a student."
PEARCE: And Amry Vandenbosch, Jasper01:41:00Shannon. You could talk to them.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, would somebody like Dr. Vandenbosch and -- and Shannon,would they be promoting preparedness?
PEARCE: I don't recall theydid. I remember John Kuip--- no, John Dupre had a son at Oberlin [College] who refused to sign up for the draft. And the American Legion there in Lexington gave Kuiper a hard time and said they was wanting him fired from the university.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that was --
PEARCE: It was a --it was a nasty time and that, but exciting. Exciting time.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, go ahead. I'm sorry.
PEARCE: I had --As time went on, as I think I told you, as -- 01:42:00it's a shame that I didn't put up plaques, "John Ed Pearce slept here," [chuckle--Birdwhistell] because I stayed all over. I was always running out of money.
BIRDWHISTELL: So you financ--- I was gonna ask you that,John Ed. Your financial situation didn't stabilize?
PEARCE: It was precarious forfour years. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And s--- A lot of time I simply ran out of money and I'd bum around.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, you mo--- you said you moved into the dorm.Why did you move into a dorm?
PEARCE: I guess some sortof deal. Ms. [Margaret] Crutcher -- Oh, ho, ho, I know what I did. I moved into Bradley Hall and I had tutored football players in English. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Oh, made a lot of friends. Made a lot of friends among the football players. They were great guys, I thought. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Were they ?]?
PEARCE: -- liked 'em.Yeah. And it occurred to me -- I had two or three boys up there who were smart and who had never been 01:43:00given the chance to learn, in that they had not been forced to learn. They'd played football through high school at [Mailor ?], places like that, you know, [Manuel ?], and they had never learned anything, but their minds were fertile and they -- they wanted -- [chuckle] they had a natural sort of thirst for knowledge, and they wanted to express themselves, and they did it so badly. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I remember one boy went on to become a colonel in the army, and married a wonderful girl there from Lexington. And I understand he became quite a success. Carl Staker, the basketball player, became president of a huge engineering company in Cleveland, and an extremely wealthy man. Yeah, I lived over in the dorm. [Shirley ?] the janitor, -- [Chuckle] Every time I'd go 01:44:00to a dance, I'd try to leave about that much whiskey in a bottle and bring home, and I'd leave it for Shirley. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And so he pretty well took care of me, you know, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and he'd clean my room and --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, you said Crutcher got you involved in -- inthat arrangement.
PEARCE: Mrs. Crutcher, who atthat time was head of the dormitories.
BIRDWHISTELL: Of the dormitories. Okay, I --
PEARCE: I -- I forgetwho she introduced me to, and I --
BIRDWHISTELL: Who was the person --
PEARCE: I was always doinglittle jobs like that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did the living in the dormitory kind of cramp yourstyle any, after being on your own?
PEARCE: No, I loved it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you?
PEARCE: Yeah. I hadmy own room.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, you had your own room.
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Hadmy own room. Up at the top. Nice little room.
BIRDWHISTELL: Bradley Hall.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Bradley Hall.Shirley would come in and clean it up for me. And I had nice clothes, I remember that. I was buying my clothes then from Hank Bowman, downtown. He was a tailor at [Thorpes ?] and I always had my clothes tailor-made. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Oh, and they were good looking clothes. 01:45:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Even though you were -- your financial condition was --was [inaudible].
PEARCE: Desperate, [you might ?][chuckle] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- d--- desperate, you still --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- invested in your clothing?
PEARCE: Yeah. I would-- I would bum friends for meals at fraternity houses. They'd take me up to the fraternity house for lunch, otherwise I'd have [chuckle] starved sometime [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you -- you --
PEARCE: I spent money.Whenever I got it, I spent it on clothes and on girls, on dances. I had a pretty good social life, frankly. I -- I might get off work in the morning at six o'clock and be m--- smeared with printer's ink [chuckle] and red-eyed with exhaustion. A little later the -- I'd go down to the Student Union grill and sit around with people from Lexington. And I remember [hearing ?] they thought that I drank a lot [chuckle--Birdwhistell], 01:46:00because I was always sort of bleary eyed and red-eyed. [Chuckles] I let 'em think that [chuckle], because it was a lot more glamorous than to think [chuckle] the poor bastard's been working all night in a hot room [chuckle] with a dirty press [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. [But there's ?] people -- I remember once that I left my overcoat out Keeneland one -- one afternoon, and I got back, and I was down in the grill, and I realized suddenly, "Oh God, I left my overcoat." It was a good-looking tweed overcoat. And I raced out of there. And someone said, "What the hell is he such a sweat about? He can buy a dozen of 'em." They thought I had a lot of money because I dressed well. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I went to dances. And I dated -- I dated nice women.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have a favorite sor--- you dated sorority women,I assume.
PEARCE: Well, I didn't careabout that. I -- I liked to date Lexington women, at 01:47:00least that seemed to fall into it. And I dated some girls from Lexington whose friendship later meant a great deal to me. I was -- And I just loved them. They were so nice. They -- So attractive and they lent so much to my life. And I -- usually I liked their families. And I -- I -- I wanted to have a good time, and I was having a good time. You know, in the summer, I lapsed from being a sensible student to being a sort of an idiot. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] As I told you, we had the -- the Kernel printing office had what they called the bindery where they published and manufactured, I guess, assembled and 01:48:00packaged, pamphlets for the College of Agriculture which were distributed among the state's farmers through the Extension Service. There would be, ["Well, these are sparklers," ?] and "How to Make a Pig-Pen," you know, "New Chicken Houses," farrows and all that business. And gee, boy, they were really dull stuff. But we would assemble them, and stitch them, and cut them up, and package them, sent 'em over. It was the dullest work on earth [chuckle--Birdwhistell], but you could get all the hours you wanted.
BIRDWHISTELL: And it was day work, right?
PEARCE: Yes. Well, itwas 24 hours a day.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really.
PEARCE: There was all thework you wanted. There were always orders for catalogs, what they called 'em, [little catalogs ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you were able to save money in the summer?
PEARCE: Oh, boy.
BIRDWHISTELL: You lived in the fraternity house, so that --01:49:00
PEARCE: Sometime I wor--- livedin the fraternity house. I forget where I lived other times, wherever I could. One week we worked a hundred and twelve hours. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] We never went -- never left the o--- never left the bindery. When we got too tired to run the machines, we'd just go over and lie down and sleep a while. When it came time for a meal, why, one of us would go out and get a bunch of food and bring it back. We'd never let the machine stop. We'd just keep those machines humming all the time. And we'd work there for two or three months and pay off the debts we had from the previous year and get a little bit of money ahead, and then we'd head for the lake [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and sleep with the girls. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: What were the -- You mentioned your encounter thereat Harrington Lake at the end of the last tape. Well, 01:50:00what were the sort of the sexual mores of the student body at that time, at least as you experienced it?
PEARCE: Well, nice girls weren'tsupposed to, unless maybe they were engaged.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. [If they were planning to marry ?].
PEARCE: I think that ifa girl was really engaged to be married, most people figured out that they did it. But you didn't talk about it. And girls wouldn't admit it. And, of course, we were always trying. And -- and having pretty good luck with it, you know. I would usually have one or two girls a year that I'd see a lot and I'd sleep with. And then next year, get some more [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: You'd drop them?
PEARCE: No. Sometime they'dgo to other schools. I was hideously in love with a girl whose mother bundled her off to Sweet Briar [College] [chuckle] to 01:51:00get her away from me. [Chuckles] Hee-hee. And well, you did the best you could. I was -- I somehow never looked on sex as being sinful. I knew it -- it was sort of anti-social. You'd -- you didn't get a girl pregnant. Now, I went with one girl whose best friend -- in fact, she was -- she was a friend of several of ours, and damned if she didn't get herself pregnant and had to get an abortion. And that was a bad time.
BIRDWHISTELL: How did she -- where did she get an abortion?
PEARCE: There was an abortionistover on West Third Street named Ms. [Bee ?], and she aborted 01:52:00a lot of the college girls when it was necessary.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was she a white woman?
PEARCE: Yes, and it wasn'ta good -- it wasn't a good deal. And this girl was terribly sick afterward and stayed at the home of a girl friend of mine until the girl friend's mother got suspicious and she had to leave, and about the time she was able to go home. No. We always were afraid of pregnancy. It would ruin a girl to have a baby then.
BIRDWHISTELL: Sure, sure.
PEARCE: It wasn't like itis today. And furthermore, you -- you -- a girl did not let it be known that she was laying a man. And -- and if you were a decent guy, you didn't go around telling on her, either [chuckle]. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, did you worry about your girlfriends getting pregnant?
PEARCE: All the time.
BIRDWHISTELL: All the time?
PEARCE: We sweated it outevery month until the girl's period came around. We would be 01:53:00terrified sometime if she was late. Oh, boy. But, it didn't keep us from doing it [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And -- You know?
PEARCE: But --
BIRDWHISTELL: You didn't --
PEARCE: I had a lotof girls of whom I was truly fond. This was not just a sexual relationship, and sometime it was not a sexual relationship. It was just sort of a -- a very chaste love affair. [I ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Were you --
BIRDWHISTELL: In your college romances then, were you -- were youlooking for a spouse?
PEARCE: No. I thoughtthat perhaps after I got out of college I would start.
BIRDWHISTELL: You --
PEARCE: I was just --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- were looking for romance?
PEARCE: Yes. That wasit. I was looking for romance. And it was thrilling. It was wonderful to have a romance with a -- a nice girl, like Sue Fan Gooding [chuckle]. She was a beauty queen there. And we never -- we never got down to 01:54:00sexual intercourse. And it was my fault, and I don't know why I sort of held back. About fifteen years ago, I suppose it was, I was invited over to a party in Lexington, and she was home for the -- for that party. And during the time we were standing [chuckle] out on the porch, and she said, "John Ed, why didn't you ever make love to me?" And I said, "I'm damned if I know. I regret it." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I did, I regretted it quite a -- I never -- I never regretted sex with a woman. They were nice women. I -- I was a nice boy. I meant well by them. I -- I liked 'em. I -- I'm -- I regretted those I didn't.
BIRDWHISTELL: Of course, Sarah Blanding was in the business of --01:55:00
PEARCE: Keeping us --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- kee---
PEARCE: -- from it.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- keeping [chuckle] from having -- You must nothave been one of her favorite people.
PEARCE: Yes, I was.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, were you?
PEARCE: I was.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Tell me ?] --
PEARCE: Sarah --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- tell me.
PEARCE: -- Sarah liked me.[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I liked her.
BIRDWHISTELL: What'd you like about her?
PEARCE: She was sharp.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was she?
PEARCE: Boy, she was awhip. She was bright as hell and she was tough.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yes, she was.
PEARCE: Yeah. But shewas fun, you know. I liked her. When I was on the paper, I always liked to go over and talk to her.
BIRDWHISTELL: What would you go talk to her about?
PEARCE: Oh, stories on thepaper, you know. Yeah, I liked her. One time I was going with a girl and she sneaked out of the dorm. She wasn't with me, she was with a friend of mine [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. She sneaked out of the dorm and got caught sneaking back in. And she was in deep doo-doo. She was gonna be in trouble. And I went over and talked to the dean about her [chuckle]. I said, "She's a friend of 01:56:00mine, she was really a pretty nice girl. That was stupid and if you'll let her go, I'll see she doesn't do it again." [Chuckle] And the dean said, "Okay." [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: Dean Blanding said that?
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckles] [Phone rings]
[Interruption in taping]
PEARCE: My college career tendedto go up and down a lot. I -- There'd be times when I would be very flush, have a lot of money, lived well. And then I'd -- couldn't get any work anywhere and the Keeneland meet wasn't on. I had -- I had a good fortune -- Am I getting ahead of you?
PEARCE: I had the goodfortune, as I say, of making the friendship of people like Harry William and Malcolm Patterson, Andrew Eckdahl, a man named Mark [Perdue ?] who was head of A.P. bureau there in Lexington.
BIRDWHISTELL: At the time you were a student, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- he was head of the A.P. bureau.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. And HarryWilliams, the head of the U.P. [United Press International]. Well, he was it. And it -- it was almost a string for 01:57:00him. And they lived over on South Upper Street, 327 or somewhere like that, as I recall. Nice house. And Harry and I -- were the first, I believe -- we moved into the attic, a little attic apartment up there, and made it very nice. We fixed it up and -- I--- A very pleasant place to live. And we had a -- a record player and we had a hot plate, and we'd invite girls up there. We'd have tea, you know [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and stuff like that.
BIRDWHISTELL: You could entertain in your --
PEARCE: Yeah. Well, weentertained --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in your quarters.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. We entertainedin quarters. And -- and we tried to do it in a -- in a -- on a nice level. Not boozing and grabbing at the girls. We'd have music and we'd have tea and we'd talk. And it got to be rather popular. 01:58:00
BIRDWHISTELL: People would want to be selected.
PEARCE: Well, the girls seemedto happy about it. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I remember the first job I got. Andrew Eckdahl said, "Hey, how would you like a feature writing job?" "Fine, I'll take any kind of job," you know. I was working on the Kernel. I think that was before I started the magazine. And he took me down to the [Lexington] Herald and they hired me for special editions. They'd put out a tobacco special every year, and I would write special stories for them. I forget just where I got the material, but I'd get the material and write it up as a feature, you know. Make a little money. I must say I didn't retire on it [chuckles]. If I got five 01:59:00dollars a story, I was very lucky. But, I did. So, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Plus it was ma--- it was good for you tomake those kind of professional connections --
PEARCE: Indeed so.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to the Herald people.
PEARCE: Yes. And then-- Now, I'm getting ahead of myself and I'll have to backtrack. When Harry left, he left me the U.P. string, and in the meantime I had gone down to WLAP and gotten my own job as -- writing two local newscasts a day. I'd go out and gather local news stories and also, of course, [getting ?] the Lexington papers, and pick up and capsulize stories --
BIRDWHISTELL: For -- for --
PEARCE: -- from them.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- for radio broad---
BIRDWHISTELL: What year was this? What year [were you ?][inaudible]?
PEARCE: Oh, this started about1941, I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: This would be your senior --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- year?
PEARCE: Yeah. And, inthe meantime, Harry had gotten the Time-Life string, and he left me 02:00:00that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Now, Perduegot me a string with the Cincinnati Post -- the Kentucky Post, and I was their Lexington man. I had the Cincinnati Post, I had the New York Herald-Tribune, and don't ask me why.
BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me what it --
PEARCE: I never --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- means to be a string.
PEARCE: You cover an areafor the paper. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: Submit stories or news --
PEARCE: Ye--- Well, yeah,you send 'em in stories that will -- We would send 'em by Western Union?
PEARCE: I would get a-- I'd get a story. And finally it got [sort of ?] [chuckle] a manufacturing job. And I would s--- sit down. I remember it would be N.P.R. call, Night Press Rate collect [chuckle]. And you'd send it to the United Press and such-and-such 02:01:00an address. And I'd sit down and I write my story with, say, three carbons. And I'd send one up to the Cincinnati Post, put a different slug on it. I'd send one maybe to the Knoxville papers or wherever [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And I would also sometimes use it than on my local newscast. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, would they pay you regardless of if they useit or not, would they have to use it to pay you?
PEARCE: Now, for example, Igot five dollars a week from the Cincinnati Post. And they used a lot of [copy ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you were just on a salary with them basically.PEARCE: A -- a retainer.
BIRDWHISTELL: A retainer. A [str--- Yeah ?].
PEARCE: We call it astring retainer.
BIRDWHISTELL: String retainer. Where you'd get five dollars --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- no matter --
PEARCE: Now, Time-Life was space.The only thing about the Time-Life [chuckle] was, it was -- the pay was so good that when you did get anything -- You'd submit stories and when they'd pick up one, man, they paid you.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, your material would then appear in -- wh--- I'mgonna show my ignorance here, Time-Life meaning either Time magazine, or Life 02:02:00magazine?
PEARCE: I [chuckle] remember Harryhad left and Mark had left, and a raucous, raunchy man name Julian Wilson was A.P. photographer, and he was living in the little anteroom of our apartment. And, oh, he got me laid by a beautiful woman, I remember that. But, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] he and I would go around and we'd pass ourselves off as Time-Life people. That was not exactly honest, but it was not exactly dishonest, because if we uncovered something, we could sell it to Time or Life. And, naturally, we'd go over to Danville to some Sesquicentennial celebration [chuckle] or something and pass ourselves off, you know, as Time-Life [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause there'd be --
PEARCE: -- and get awonderful -- 02:03:00
BIRDWHISTELL: -- food and drink. [Chuckle]
PEARCE: -- reception. Andbe honored guests at banquets and things like [chuckle--Birdwhistell] that. As I say, it was not total fraud. We had a story there [chuckle], I remember. I covered the first big story of my career when [Miriam Miley ?], the golf pro, was killed along with her mother at the Lexington Country Club. Killed by two men from Lexington named Anderson and Penny. I can still recall that. The trial was sensational. And I got a lot of money out of that.
BIRDWHISTELL: What was sensational about it?
PEARCE: The details. Theywent out there -- These two men got drunk here in Louisville and decided, for some reason, it was never adequately explained because they denied, you know, having done it, but they went out to the Lexington Country Club to rob it after the Saturday night dance, thinking that they would have a lot of money on hand. Before they could get the safe, Miriam heard them, and surprised them, 02:04:00and they killed her. And her mother, coming to her rescue, was killed. Her mother managed -- managed the country club and Miriam was the pro. She lived there with her mother. Well, I sold that damn story all over. And felt myself very big sitting in court, you know, and taking notes, and -- Yes, sir.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hang on just a second.
[End of Tape #2, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #2]
PEARCE: And I remember afterthe trial, I'd go up to the Canary Cottage and sit in the bar with Sue Fan Gooding and she thought I was pretty glamorous, big time reporter.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you feel like a newspaperman?
PEARCE: Yes, sir. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]I --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Any ?] --
PEARCE: -- thought I washot stuff. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: But you were still going to class, too, right?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Some time.[Chuckles] I was not as interested in going to class as I was in -- then in my profession. 02:05:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Were you -- were you managing to -- Obviouslyyou were managing to do okay in school, though.
PEARCE: Yeah, I wasn't takingas much as I should have. I -- I didn't expect to graduate.
BIRDWHISTELL: You did not expect --
PEARCE: No, I didn't careto. I -- [Chuckles] Didn't appeal to me especially. I didn't need a degree, I needed a job. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I w--- I was heading for New York. I wanted to go to New York and work for the Herald-Tribune. That's what I wanted.
BIRDWHISTELL: That was your goal.
PEARCE: Yeah. And Iremember Julian and I covered a weird case where a black man -- boy, he was simple-minded. He was robbing a home and went down the chimney [chuckle]. I swear. He -- Well, of course, he got caught in the chimney, they started a fire, and he suffocated. How to get him out of the chimney? And the firemen went up -- it's gruesome. And they let down a noose, and got him around the neck, and pulled him out by the neck. And Julian got a picture as [chuckle] he came out of that chimney, and I wrote a little story about it. And Time ran it. [Chuckle] 02:06:00
BIRDWHISTELL: It ran in Time magazine.
PEARCE: Oh, yes. Andwe got a good piece of money. Then --
BIRDWHISTELL: When was that?
PEARCE: -- Life --Huh?
BIRDWHISTELL: When was that?
PEARCE: Oh, that was about'40, '41, 'round in there.
BIRDWHISTELL: '40 or '41.
PEARCE: And I think Liferan it, too. We got paid for that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, would your name appear with that?
BIRDWHISTELL: It wouldn't. It --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- would be like a -- like a -- yeah,--
PEARCE: Yeah, it was astory.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- a wire report.
PEARCE: We didn't have bylinesin those days [way ?]. I don't know that I ever got a byline in --
BIRDWHISTELL: I -- I assumed you didn't, but I just wantedto make sure.
PEARCE: I was so pleased,you know, to see my copy in the paper.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: To be in Lexington, Kentucky, and a college student, andyour --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- what you had written to be in Time magazine.
BIRDWHISTELL: That was pretty heady stuff, isn't it?
PEARCE: Yeah, that check waspretty heady, too, boy. It paid well. Well, -- But, to go back, at the end of my sophomore -- is that right, junior year maybe -- sophomore, I think, at mid-term maybe 02:07:00of my junior year, Jim Shropshire, the graduate manager of publications came to me. We had a humor, so-called, magazine on the campus called Sour Mash.
BIRDWHISTELL: We sure did. [I've seen it ?].
PEARCE: And it was rightfunny magazine.
BIRDWHISTELL: It sure was.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: Quite [elaborate ?] actually.
PEARCE: Yeah. Yeah.And it -- A man named Vogel or Vogler -- Vogel, I think it was, yeah, Al [Alfred] Vogel was business manager of it. And he was making a pretty good thing. So at the end of his senior year, he went downtown and copyrighted the thing. Nobody had ever copyrighted [chuckle] it. He owned it. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He owned the title. Well, this upset 02:08:00the university no little [chuckles]. They couldn't have that. So, they [ruled ?] this thing off campus. And Jim came to me and -- Vogel left town owing quite a bit of money on [chuckle] Sour Mash. He had milked it. And Jim said, "If you'll take that thing, change the name, and pay off the debts, you can have it. Make some money out of it." So, I -- I took it. He had ne--- renamed it The Wildcat. And I ran that thing and paid off the debt by the end of the year, and -- and it was sort of mine.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now see, I haven't -- I've seen copies of sou---sou--- Sour Mash, --
PEARCE: Sour Mash.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- but I've not seen copies of The Wildcat.
PEARCE: I'm glad of that.
PEARCE: It was the worst[chuckle] magazine in the wor---
BIRDWHISTELL: What -- what --
PEARCE: It was soooo bad.
BIRDWHISTELL: How bad --
PEARCE: How bad was --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- was it?
PEARCE: -- it? [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] Yeah.
PEARCE: I was ashamed ofit even then. [Chuckles] 02:09:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Wh--- why were ashamed of it? What was --
PEARCE: [Oh ?], it wasjuvenile. It was silly. And frankly, I'm ashamed that it was so bad, because it didn't have to be. All I was interested in is getting the magazine out and making the money off of it.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Right. Right ?].
PEARCE: We'd do anything tosell copies, you know. All sorts of weird schemes and scams.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, I remember -- I -- I remember reading somethingabout you, at one point, while you were still at U.K. and it -- it -- it mentioned your affiliation with The Wildcat.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, but I didn't know what that was.
PEARCE: Well, they were gonnathrow me off the campus.
BIRDWHISTELL: Why was that?
PEARCE: In my junior year,I was called over to the Disciplinary Board and they confronted me with the horrible fact that I had not taken military science and physical education. [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: When you said you didn't wear that ROTC uniform, I02:10:00was gonna ask you about R.O.T.C.
PEARCE: The uniform was crummy.[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I didn't mind the physical ed. I remember I took boxing--was gonna be a gladiator of the squared circle [chuckle--Birdwhistell]--and I won two -- I won two matches in the intra-fraternity bouts. And then I got up against an independent named Bowman, who must have hit me ten thousand times. I [laughter--Birdwhistell] -- His gloves were in my face so often, I didn't see him [chuckles]. I lost ignominiously. But otherwise, I didn't care much for physical ed. I was always too tired, really, to go down there.
PEARCE: And [chuckle--Birdwhistell] so Ihad not taken the prescribed four semesters of each. And they 02:11:00got me out in front of the board and I said, "If you'll requirements it says, 'You make take four semesters,' it doesn't say you" [chuckle] "must pass four semesters." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "And if you'll check, I signed up every time." And I did. I'd sign up, I just [chuckles] wouldn't go. And what was that fellow's name, Leo. He later became a vice-president, I think [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Leo Cham---
PEARCE: Leo Chamberlain.
PEARCE: Leo Chamberlain looked atme and he said, "You're a living lie." [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: In front of the whole group he said it?
PEARCE: Yeah, "Well, at leastI'm alive." And they threw me out of school. They suspended me for -- for six weeks.
BIRDWHISTELL: Six weeks.
PEARCE: Yes. And thatwas supposed to flunk me. I went to my professors and they all said, "Well, don't pay any attention. Just come on" [chuckle] "to class." I did. I never paid any attention to it [chuckle]. I went to class and at the end 02:12:00of the year I took the exams.
BIRDWHISTELL: Who else was on that disciplinary board, do you remember?
PEARCE: No. I remember--
BIRDWHISTELL: Paul --
PEARCE: -- Leo Cha---
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [Min ?]?
BIRDWHISTELL: Paul Min?
PEARCE: I think so.Yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: [All right ?].
PEARCE: They -- they werealways doing sort of silly things. There was a big discussion on campus concerning Dean [James H.] Graham of the engineering college. And he had built some buildings there on the campus, including the law building.
PEARCE: The law building wasa horror because it had no air-conditioning and the windows wouldn't open. And one day, the Dean of the Law School said, "I can't stand any more" [chuckle] "of this," and picked up a chair, and knocked out the windows [chuckles] to get some air in the classroom.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that true?
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: Who was that? Who would have been dean inthe late --
PEARCE: All right, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- '30s?
PEARCE: -- give me a-- a name here. Wasn't Lafferty, but it was --
PEARCE: -- somebody like that.
BIRDWHISTELL: No, I'm trying to think. In the late '30s.I can't -- I can't think right now.
PEARCE: Well, anyhow.
BIRDWHISTELL: And the -- and the Student Center was very muchlike that, too. They -- they built the Student Center, too. 02:13:00
PEARCE: Is that so?
PEARCE: I didn't --
BIRDWHISTELL: If you look at the architecture on the original StudentCenter, it's very similar.
PEARCE: I --
BIRDWHISTELL: And the -- and the windows didn't open.
PEARCE: [Chuckle] Yeah.[Chuckles] Well, built the engineering building, which cracked. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And the Kernel made a lot of fun of it. And furthermore, Dean Graham had an associate named [Axel] Wenner-Gren, --
PEARCE: -- who -- whowas rumored to be a Nazi. So, we made great fun of this on the paper. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Barry Caudill ?] would later make great fun of itin the -- also.
PEARCE: Did he?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: Well, we -- wethought it was funny. We didn't give a damn. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And one night--who was it--Robin Sweeney and I, maybe some more, we got a bed sheet, stole a bed sheet out of the dormitory, and went down to the Kernel office, and took a spatula 02:14:00and got printer's ink, and drew a huge swastika --
PEARCE: -- on the bedsheet, and put underneath there "Graham." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Then we went over to the [chuckle] Administration Building, and ran this up the flagpole.
PEARCE: Punched holes in it,you know, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: -- for the halyards,and up it went. Well, sure enough, about eleven o'clock or so, the night watchman, being a very sharp guy, saw the flag, and he said, "Hell, there's a flag up there." [Chuckles] He reported it, and they went and brought the flag down. There it was, a swastika with "Graham" on it. Oh, the police were called. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And the downtown papers responded [chuckles]. John Day --
PEARCE: -- John Day cameout. He was on that paper. And so we sauntered over from the Courier and watched 'em [chuckles] -- [or was out 02:15:00?] from the Kernel, and watched 'em mill around. And John Day said to me, "You know anything about this?" I said, "About what?" [Laughter] Remember the cop said, "What are you all doing here?" We'd say, "We're on the -- we're on the way downtown, going down to Johnny Furlong's to get some soup." "Okay." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] They didn't have enough sense to look on the sheet and see if it came from the dormitory, and the ink, anybody could tell was printer's ink. [Chuckles] It didn't take any -- Well, they weren't great brains.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, this must have aggravated President McVey, because he wasvery defensive about those buildings.
PEARCE: I guess. Idon't know.
PEARCE: Don't recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: He was, 'cause he'd hired --
PEARCE: It irri--- it --it irritated the engineering students.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, he had hired Dean Graham, too, see.
PEARCE: Yeah, that's right.
BIRDWHISTELL: Dr. McVey had.
PEARCE: I -- Well,I guess Dean Graham was a good dean, as far as I know of. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Engineers are all th--- Anyhow, I 02:16:00was walking down the st--- walk there from McVey, past the engineering college, and there was a bunch of students there, and they stopped me and grabbed me. And a man named -- a boy named [Curachek ?], big boy, wanted to know what the hell I was talking about, about Graham and so forth in the paper. I said, "Well, I didn't -- I don't think I said anything about him." And I hadn't at that -- [chuckles] And he said I was a liar and he was gonna beat the shit out of me. I thought really fast. It wa--- There was no question [chuckle--Birdwhistell] of his ability to beat the shit out of me [chuckle]. And I said, "You want to fight, I'll meet you in the gym." I thought, "I'm postponing this, anyhow." [Chuckles] "All right," he said, "be down there 02:17:00at two o'clock." I said, "Okay." I wasn't about to. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I was going to the Good Samaritan hospital. So, I was down [chuckle] in the Student Union building about noon and here came Curachek down the walk. Big burly -- He said, "Hey." And I went over, trying to be nonchalant, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] sweating profusely. He said, "I'm sorry about that." And then he said, "I don't want to fight you. I've got nothing against you." So they [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- Shortly after my encounter with Curachek up at engineering building, they grabbed John Morgan, the business manager of the Kernel, and threw him in the fishpond down by the engineering building. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Somehow this got mixed up in the student mind, that the engineers had thrown me in the 02:18:00fishpond. Years later -- to this day I'll meet people that say, "Hey, the engineers threw you in the fish---" [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] They didn't at all, they threw John Morgan for no reason in the world. He hadn't done anything. He -- he wasn't a writer.
BIRDWHISTELL: Do you think [it was ?] --
PEARCE: He was the businessmanager.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- do you think it was mistaken identity?
PEARCE: I don't know.But they sure didn't throw me in this fishpond [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But I got -- I got all the blame. "Yeah, they threw you in the fishpond, heh-heh-heh." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Didn't at all. But -- Oh, this -- you know, this was fun. And -- and -- We had various organizations on the campus, like the Patterson Literary Society. And they inducted me. And I --
BIRDWHISTELL: You were in that?
PEARCE: Yeah. I hadto submit a paper. It was brilliant. How I got away with those things, I don't know. [Chuckles] But, I 02:19:00ran the -- I ran The Wildcat, and made some money out of it at first, and then I think when I was thrown out of school, they threw the -- they may have thrown The Wildcat off the campus, too. I had a hard time with it. Then, I r--- managed -- I managed the fraternity house one summer. As I recall, -- And in the fresh--- the summer of my freshman year, I got a job at the Paddock, over on Rose Street, which was a restaurant, and there was a liquor store next store. They were both run by a man named [Deveril ?]. Very nice fellow. And it was a good job, 'cause at night we'd go back in the back and eat, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and eat well. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: I actually went to the Paddock.
BIRDWHISTELL: I -- I've -- I -- I --
PEARCE: You've been to thePaddock.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- been to the Paddock.
PEARCE: Well, it was agood job. Loved it. 02:20:00
BIRDWHISTELL: In it's last days, I was in --
PEARCE: Yeah. And --and it was fun. There were colorful characters. I remember this woman. She had a gorgeous body. I'm not joking, she had the best figure, and she always wore a tight black dress. And she'd come in each evening, just about dinner -- after dinner maybe a little bit, and she would play the juke box. And she would play one -- one -- always play the same record, and she'd order a Coke, and she'd sit there, and she'd drink Coke, and listen to the juke box play "Music, Maestro, Please." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] After it was finished, she would get up and walk out. She never said a damn word [chuckle]. And I don't know she was moaning for. She came in one night, and she got her Coke, and she went over to the juke box, and they had taken "Music, Maestro, Please" off. She put down the Coke and went out, and I never 02:21:00saw her again. [Laughter] Yay, hey, hey. There was an old doctor, whose name I f--- mercifully forget, who lived up on Columbia Avenue. And he would come in each night around midnight, as we were closing up. And he was gay. And he would always feel us. And he would grab us, you know. Lee Heine, who is a doctor here in Louisville now, w--- was working with me there and he -- I was embarrassed by this. Lee didn't give a damn. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Get your hands off me, Doc, God damn it." And the doctor was always saying, "Come up to the house, come up to the house. Give you beer and we'll play the piano," and so -- "Get out of here, you." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] This boy that I placed in two or three houses when I was hustling rooms, I told you about, named Wynne McKinney, from [down 02:22:00?] Adairville, Kentucky, a white boy, he was very pale. He -- he looked soft. His mother brought him up to college. He became a bad drinker. He -- he was virginal, I guess when he died. He was scared to death of women. He -- It never occurred to him that a woman would do "that". So, as a boy he joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and some of those rowdy fellows took him up on the hill and got him laid by a prostitute. He started thinking about it, and he -- and got terrified. And he came into the -- [chuckle] he came into the Paddock one afternoon, late in the afternoon, and he said to me, "Ed, I -- I've got something wrong." "What's wrong?" "I think 02:23:00I've got clap." And I said, "What?" And he told me of his sordid sojourn on the hill. And Lee Heine came over and he said, "Well, come on back here in the men's room and let me look at it and we'll see." Nothing wrong with it, of course, at all. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he came out -- Lee came out shaking his head, and he said, "Wouldn't you know it, first pop out of the [box ?] and he's got a dose of clap." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Poor Wynne was sweating and about to cry, just absolutely beside himself. And Lee said to him, "You're in luck, buddy." [Chuckle] "We've got a friend," [chuckle] "a doctor," --
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, oh.
PEARCE: -- [chuckle] "who'll lookat you." So, we sent him up to the doctor's [laughs] house. And of course, he whipped it out. And around the piano they went. He came running back [chuckle] down to the Paddock and he said, "Hey, you know that doctor you" [chuckle] "sent me to? He's crazy." [Laughs] Ooh, who. 02:24:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's awful. [Chuckles]
PEARCE: Later on, I was-- Guess about the -- I was managing the fraternity house this summer, and I was there one afternoon, getting ready for the evening rush, and this woman came in. Whew. Boy, she was pretty. I -- I mean, she was a pretty girl, and she was classy looking. She had a page boy haircut with that dark brown hair. She had on a beautiful sort of purplish tweed with a silk blouse, and pearls, and oh, she was classy looking. And she sat down, and I rushed over to see if I could be of any assistance [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and she said, "You've got a sign out front you want a waitress." 02:25:00[Say ?], "Yes, ma'am." She said, "I want to apply." I said, "You -- you want to be a waitress here?" "Yes." Wow. And I said, "Well, I -- I'm sure that" [chuckles] "your application will be considered." [Chuckles] "You come back tomorrow, you can have the job." Marvin [Rufner ?] was running the restaurant at the time, because [PeeWee Lynn ?], the manager, had gone over to the Pike house, and gone to bed with a cigarette in hand, had burned himself up and was in the hospital.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Hmm.
PEARCE: At this time Billy[Sugg ?] and I were running the outside and Rufner, who was chef, was sort of in charge of the whole thing. And when I told him that I had hired this girl, he was indignant. "I'll do the hiring around here." And I said, "I beat you to it." When he saw her, he had to admit this is unusual [chuckle]. She was one hell of a good waitress. I don't believe she ever smiled. She had a rather haughty look to her, but boy, she could wait 02:26:00tables. And booze, she just -- And the men from the fraternity house and everything, they always made big passes at her and she paid no attention whatever, just sort of grinned at them, you know, took the order, and went about her business. And I made my run at her, you know, "Take you home, kid," and got nowhere, and gave up, and we got along fine. And she lived down on Stone Avenue in a rooming house there. And we became friendly. And I remember a couple of times she stopped by the fraternity house on her way -- after she left the Paddock, she started working at the Mayfair Bar downtown. And she'd stop by and talk to me. I still 02:27:00had plans for laying the girl, being healthy and had good eyesight. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Boy, she was a pretty girl. And I was always trying to hustle her. She came by one day and said, "I need some help." [I said, "What is it?" ?] This girl had the most beautiful taste in clothes I'd ever seen. And she had gone down to Embry's, which is a very high class store down there, and had charged a bunch of clothes [microphone interference] and given them a cold check. [Microphone interference] She gave 'em a cold check. And she said, "They said they're gonna throw me in jail." Sixty dollars. I took it out of the treasury, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] at the fraternity, and 02:28:00I told her, "If you don't pay me back, my ass is grass. I'll be in big trouble." And she said, "I'll -- I'll get the money somehow." I wonder how she got it. Anyhow, she did. Darn if she didn't get the money and pay me back. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] She'd come by -- a couple of times she came by, "Hey, would you like to go to the movies?" And I'd say, "Well, gee --" Said, "I've got some tickets." "Okay." We'd go to movies, and we'd come back to the fraternity house, and I'd wrestle with her and lose, and take her on home. And I -- We'd dance, in the living room of the fraternity house, [I remember ?]. I put on "Moonlight Serenade," a very s--- slow, 02:29:00slumberous number. She was a good dancer without any spirit. She -- she followed fine, but as though she didn't care whether she was dancing, you know, or jerking sodas, it was all the same to her. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] She had no spirit [for ?] anything. And I would dip around and slide here and there thinking, "Boy, I'm getting her ready." I wasn't. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And after I bailed her out, I thought, "Well, I've -- I got the inside track on this." And I took her home one night and made my move in this porch glider, the swing. And she lay back and I thought, "Ah, a score." And I expected her to start reading a magazine. She was totally uninterested. I said, "You" [microphone interference] ["just don't care for this ?] do you?" She said, "No, you go ahead. [inaudible] [you're nice to me ?]." I said, "No, thanks. 02:30:00I'd rather have somebody [inaudible]" [Microphone interference] [She -- That's all with her. Again -- what I'd do it again? ?] [inaudible] [Damn if I didn't ?]. I've got to quit that. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I'll -- I'll quit that.
BIRDWHISTELL: So -- so, what'd you --
PEARCE: I saw her onceafter that. I was out at Keeneland selling tickets on the parimutuel. And here she came. This was in the spring of my senior year. I was ready to go out to the -- go off to the navy. She had on a fox jacket that must have cost a thousand dollars even then. Boy, she looked like a million dollars. And she came up and bought a ticket and looked at me as though she had never seen me. [Now ?] -- now, okay. And as she walked away, she turned and smiled, twinkled her fingers at me, 02:31:00that's the last I ever saw of her. But every time they played "Moonlight Serenade" I think of [Eileen ?], the beautiful waitress.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was she the same age as you were?
PEARCE: Yeah. About that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, what was going on with her, do you think?
PEARCE: I asked her.That night I had her in the swing up at her house. I said, "What do you care for?" It never occurred to me that anybody wouldn't like sex, you know. I -- What else do you live for? And she said, "I like clothes and I like horses." And that was it.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, did she end up marrying a horse --
PEARCE: Hell, I don't knowwhatever happened to her. I never saw her again after [chuckle--Birdwhistell] that day. Job at the -- at the Paddock was a good job.
PEARCE: Now, in the summerof my freshman year, Mr. Deveril, who owned the liquor store next door, called me and said, "Here, take this case of whiskey out 02:32:00to Hamburg Place." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I thought that he said, "Hamburger Place." [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he told me how to get there. And I thought, "This is the weirdest hamburger joint" [chuckle] "I ever saw." [Chuckles] But I drove around back at the mansion, and knock at the door, and the guy came out. I reached in the back of the car, it was a two-door car, and picked up that case of whiskey, and gave it to this man. Then I sort of hurt. I worked real late that night, so instead of going back to the house, I just curled up in a booth and went to sleep. The next morning when I woke up, I could walk. I had ruptured myself totally and efficiently. I called Don Irvine, who had a car, he lived there in Lexington. He came and got me and took me to the doctor, Dr. Robinson. He sent me over to St. Joe [St. Joseph's] Hospital. And the next 02:33:00day they operated on me for a double hernia. I was in the hospital for a long time, and when I got out, I wasn't able to do heavy work for a while over at the Courier. And again, as I say, I -- that was one of the bad periods when I was out of money.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. So how did you get through [the ?]hard time when you couldn't work? Obviously they didn't pay you for not --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- if you didn't work.
PEARCE: And I was latein registering, too. I was a couple of weeks -- But they let me register. And I went over to the fraternity and I said, you know, let me stay here, give me room and board here 'til I can work. And they said, can't do it, we're full up and we -- we can't charge meals, you've got to pay. And I sort of thought, well, I -- brotherhood isn't what it was cracked up to be. [Chuckles] I got PeeWee Lynn, who was running the Paddock, he let me have a job there on the p--- soda fountain, 02:34:00and Don Irvine spoke to his mother, who said I could stay out at their house. Don was a good friend. He was gay. After that I always thought, you people don't know what the hell you're talking about, you're talking about gays being this -- Don was a great friend. His sexual differences made no difference to me and mine to him. We were just good, intellectual friends. He let me stay out there for two or three weeks 'til I got strong, then I went back to work.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he openly gay at that point?
PEARCE: No. He waswell in the closet, but I knew it. I think most of his friends new it, it was just --
PEARCE: -- he wouldn't admitit. And he had a girlfriend, a really pleasant girl of a good family there. Her aunt was the one who had the house down on the lake. And I remember one time 02:35:00-- We -- we'd go down at the lake and we'd get a bottle of Gilbey's gin and two lemons, and we'd sit there, you know, on the dock, and we'd drink the gin and suck the lemons, [chuckles] for a chaser, and get drunk, and have a good time. Not [harming a ?]-- Try to lay the girls. Usually fail. And sing, have a good time. I was sitting up on the hill there, drinking gin, and enjoying the light, and there was a thrashing in the weeds, and here came Don's girlfriend and she was weeping. And I -- "What's the matter with you?" And she said, "I wanted Donald to make love to me and he didn't." And I -- of course, I was always gallant [chuckle--Birdwhistell], "Well, --"
BIRDWHISTELL: [You offered yourself ?]?
PEARCE: -- "I'll take careof that." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Why didn't you say" [chuckle] "so?" No, she didn't want me to do it. We had good 02:36:00times down at the lake.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you ever go -- Were the camps atthe river still popular when you were --
PEARCE: Yes. They were.But --
PEARCE: -- usually we wentto the lake and I don't know why. Some people went to the lake --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Clifton ?]?
PEARCE: -- and -- Clifton,some people went to Clifton. I went down to Clifton. You know, now we'd go down and go swimming. Get a pint of whiskey, and go down in the afternoon in the summer and go swimming, and come back in time to set up the Paddock for dinner. Oh, boy. Good times.
PEARCE: And I hated towork at the bindery. Loved to work at the Paddock. Work at the bindery, you know, when necessity called.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. But the Paddock, you got tointeract with people, that was [inaudible] --
PEARCE: Not only that, but,you know, we'd mix ourselves up a chocolate milkshake, and then at night when Billy Sugg was there -- Billy and I'd go back after the chef left, and we'd fix ourselves a little club steak 02:37:00and some fries and a good salad, and have a bottle of beer.
BIRDWHISTELL: S--- Now, at the -- at the Paddock, they-- they sold beer. Did they sell mixed drinks also?
PEARCE: No. We soldbeer.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just sold beer. Was there a -- Wasthe Paddock, at the time you were a student and worked there, would -- would -- was it a student hangout, would students --
PEARCE: Oh, yes. Fraternityboys and -- and sorority girls.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. And they would come -- I mean,could they get a drink there?
PEARCE: No, they'd go nextdoor and get whiskey, and bring it back, and get set-ups. Sit in a booth and drink whiskey.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, but -- I mean, they -- they --they --
PEARCE: We never had muchtrouble with that, and people d--- getting drunk.
BIRDWHISTELL: No, but I meant underage drinking, though. I mean,--
PEARCE: Oh, sure. [Inaudible]--
BIRDWHISTELL: They -- they -- they managed to get around that.Yeah.
PEARCE: Nobody ever mentioned it.[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I've been drinking since I was fifteen, sixteen. Never occurred to me that I wouldn't drink. When I was 02:38:00eighteen, go down to the Canary Cottage, sit there in the bar and drink whiskey sours.
BIRDWHISTELL: They'd serve you?
PEARCE: Certainly. I hadmoney. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] [And that ?] -- that was the name of the game. The Paddock was a -- was -- was a fine job. And I remember Vi Crutcher lived down there by Stoll Field and had a -- She was a pretty girl --
BIRDWHISTELL: In that house -- next --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to -- where the -- the --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the -- the guy -- buildings and grounds [MauryCrutcher] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- person.
PEARCE: He was her daughter--
BIRDWHISTELL: Now was --
PEARCE: -- she was hisdaughter.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was -- was it the Crutcher who helped you getthe job with the dorm?
PEARCE: No, she was nokin.
BIRDWHISTELL: She was no relation.
PEARCE: No relation.
PEARCE: Vi would come overand Vi had a fine bosom. And she would lean across the counter. And I would keep piling stuff on her chocolate sundae, [chuckles] as long as she would lean across the counter. She was a -- she was a doll. She married Oscar [Wright ?], who is a stockbroker here now across the street with Hilliard Lyons.
PEARCE: He was -- he02:39:00was my business manager when I ran The Wildcat. We had a big time, never made any money. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And [chuckle] he married Vi. Oh, she was a cute girl. And it was that sort of thing, that we mixed poverty with pleasure.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Well, just being that age is -- isfun. Like --
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, how could you -- All things beingequal here, between eighteen and twenty-five you can have fun, right?
PEARCE: I'll say. And,boy, we had fun there. It was terribly hard, that's the only thing. I was always sleepy. I was always hungry [chuckles]. And I never had enough money. If I had -- if I had been a decent, sensible, hard-working student, I could have worn my R.O.T.C. uniform, and stayed in a rooming house, and 02:40:00I'd have gotten through swimmingly. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I -- I did join the fraternity, live in an apartment, and buy tailor-made clothes, and go to all the dances, and court girls from Lexington, and go to the Lexington Country Club on Saturday nights.
BIRDWHISTELL: I suspect you wanted a car, though, didn't you?
PEARCE: Wanted what?
BIRDWHISTELL: A car.
PEARCE: Nobody had cars.
BIRDWHISTELL: Nobody had cars? I thought --
PEARCE: Nobody had cars.I don't know -- I don't know of a man -- Now, I'm wrong on this, I know. I th--- There were -- I think, yes, the Burlew [Matthew & Marshall] boys from Owensboro, who were Sigma Chis, the two of them had a car.
BIRDWHISTELL: I would have thought more students had cars, but again[inaudible] --
PEARCE: Well, the local studentsnow --
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm, had access to cars.
BIRDWHISTELL: But out of -- out of town boys who --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- wouldn't bring a car with them.
PEARCE: I -- I rememberI was driving Ricky Farmer's car one night, for reasons I can't 02:41:00recall, and -- and had a date with a girl from Ohio who had a marvelous body. And we performed in fine fashion in Ricky's car. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] All evening long. It was a -- I couldn't imagine. It was great [chuckles]. And -- But I never had a car. Every now and then if we had to go somewhere, we'd rent a [U-Drive-It ?]. And I remember this same woman, came into the Wildcat office one afternoon sobbing. "What is the matter, babe?" She had wrecked the U-Drive-It. She was afraid to take it back. And I said, "I'll do it." [Chuckles] And so I dropped her off at the dormitory, her dormitory, took the U-Drive-It 02:42:00back and told the man, "I'll pay for the damage. It'll take me a little whi---" It was only a slightly bent fender. And he said, "Oh, hell, the insurance will take care of that. Don't worry about it." I went back and I told her, "I took care of it, baby. Don't worry." [Chuckle] [Laughter--Birdwhistell] She thought I was a hot ticket.
BIRDWHISTELL: Always looking for an angle, right? [Chuckle]
PEARCE: No. I --Looking for an advantage.
BIRDWHISTELL: Advantage. That's what I meant.
PEARCE: Yeah. Looking --
BIRDWHISTELL: That's a better word.
PEARCE: -- for an advantage.
BIRDWHISTELL: An advantage. That's right.
PEARCE: We -- we had-- We had some pretty good times. And as I say, in the summer, Irvine, and Williams, sometime Curly, and I, would go out to Joyland.
BIRDWHISTELL: I thought you might have found your way out there.
PEARCE: Yeah, we'd go outto Joyland. We'd ride the -- what -- what -- roller-coaster. And then we'd go over to the pavilion there and they'd 02:43:00have good bands. I remember Artie Shaw being there, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Lunsford, people like that. And we'd go out, fifty cents or a dollar, and get us a pint of whiskey, and go out there and have a really good time. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] You know? It was --
BIRDWHISTELL: Would you take dates out there, too?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, take dates -- take --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [dates as ?] -- Yeah.
PEARCE: I remember I hada date with a woman named Denty [Margaret Denny?], Peggy Denty. Didn't have much luck with her, but she was a good-looking girl, had a pretty good time.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Well, it was ?] -- Now, I'm --I should know this and I just think right at the minute, when Bert Combs was up there, he was there before you?
PEARCE: About four years, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Four years.
PEARCE: -- five years aheadof me.
BIRDWHISTELL: Because when you mentioned T.T. Jones or -- I ranacross a file where Bert Combs had been involved in a car wreck.
PEARCE: Oh, really?
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Coming back from -- Joyland made me think02:44:00of it, [I think ?] somewhere on Broadway or somewhere.
BIRDWHISTELL: There were about twelve of 'em in a car and--
PEARCE: Yeah [chuckle], that's right.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- it was a -- it was a bad wreck.
BIRDWHISTELL: And they got in some trouble, but T.T. Jones wasable to --
PEARCE: Get 'em out ofit.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to take care of it. Only later didI discover that he was Bert's [chuckle] --
PEARCE: Bert Combs' cousin.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Combs' cousin. So --
PEARCE: Don -- Don andI would go out on Saturday night to the Lexington Country Club, which was then THE country club in Lexington.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right.
PEARCE: And we'd sign theguest register, we signed in as Dick Stoll's guests [chuckle--Birdwhistell], which was fine with Dick. He'd say, "You go on out and just sign my name."
PEARCE: Yeah. And nobodyquestioned the Stolls in those days.
BIRDWHISTELL: That was right.
PEARCE: They owned the Herald-Leader.They also owned the land on which nearly all the whorehouses were built.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know that.
PEARCE: And so we'd goout there and we'd -- we'd cadge a few drinks, you know, 02:45:00from members and dance with the girls. That's where I met Sue Fan Gooding. She was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. She had a long, white dress and she was tan, that long dark hair, and big, flashing smile. I thought I was in hog heaven [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. I'll tell you, I thought, "Boy, here I am in the Bluegrass County Club, dancing with the best looking woman" [chuckle] "ever born."
BIRDWHISTELL: Can't get any better than that.
PEARCE: And she thought thatI was the cutest thing on the block [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. We always just got along fine. She went off to school, but every time she'd come home we'd go out. And her family liked me. And her daddy was always giving me the car.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [Inaudible] --
PEARCE: "Don't worry John Ed,it's full of gas. You don't have to do anything but take it." [Chuckles]
[End of Tape #2, Side #2]
[Begin Tape #3, Side #1]
PEARCE: I was sort ofa fraudulent Clark Kent. I would go work and scrub around 02:46:00here and there, and then I would step into the phone booth and into my good clothes, and I was [chuckle--Birdwhistell], you know, John the playboy. And it worked very well. I -- In -- in the spring of my junior year, I guess, I was dating Lucy Elliott. It was casual thing between us, we were buddies. We'd run around and drink whiskey and go to -- We often go to opera in Cincinnati, the Zoo opera. We'd go up to the opera on -- and take a bottle of whiskey and go to the opera. And that was a lot of fun.
BIRDWHISTELL: Of course Lucy Elliott became Lucy --
PEARCE: Lucy Prichard.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Prichard. And now was she in the sameclass as you or were you all about the same --
PEARCE: About --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- general age?
PEARCE: She may have beena year or two ahead of me. She was in Don's class, I felt -- I think.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, what was her standing on campus?
PEARCE: What do you mean,what was her standing on --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, as a -- as Lucy Elliott, was she oneof -- I mean, was she a sorority -- 02:47:00
PEARCE: Yeah, she was aKappa Kappa Gamma. She was --
BIRDWHISTELL: She was from Woodford County.
PEARCE: No, she's --
BIRDWHISTELL: She's from --
PEARCE: -- [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Where was she --
PEARCE: I think she livedon Fayette Par--- in Fayette Park.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, she did?
BIRDWHISTELL: Her family lived there in Lexington.
PEARCE: Yeah. Yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Why'd I think Woodford County?
PEARCE: Her father was JudgeElliott.
PEARCE: Her fa--- her brotherNathan Elliott is still there. One of the nicest men ever born.
BIRDWHISTELL: I di--- I don't know him. What does hedo?
BIRDWHISTELL: He's an attorney --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in Lexington?
PEARCE: Lucy --
BIRDWHISTELL: And his father was a judge, at
BIRDWHISTELL: -- what level?
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Well, atthe circuit level, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Circuit judge.
PEARCE: -- as I recall.
PEARCE: Now, whether he wasan active jud--- They were -- called him "Judge," you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I understand.
PEARCE: But I understand thatif you were -- you know, if you'd been in a courthouse, that you could be called "Judge."
BIRDWHISTELL: Right [chuckle].
PEARCE: Lucy was attractive.Not especially physically attractive, she was big and sort of bumptious, but she had an interesting face and -- and she was ebullient [chuckle]. Effervescent. Nice -- nice companion. 02:48:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Was she smart?
PEARCE: Yes, she was prettysmart. She was literary, and so we'd take that as being smart [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Sure.
PEARCE: She was sitting inthe Student Union grill one day, and I walked in, and spoke, and stopped by her table, and at her table was a sort of round-faced, blue-eyed, blonde girl with -- very prettily dressed and the sweetest smile that I think I'd ever seen. And we were introduced, and -- and I guess that's the first serious love affair I ever had. I -- I was smitten from the first moment. I thought, "Boy, if I could marry a girl like 02:49:00that --" I was very serious about her from the moment I met her. And I -- I really was.
BIRDWHISTELL: What made her different from the others?
PEARCE: I -- Whoknows? You know, why --
BIRDWHISTELL: Just --
PEARCE: -- do those thingshappen?
BIRDWHISTELL: -- just one of those things, huh?
PEARCE: Yeah. It onlyhappened to me about twice in my life. Oh, and she seemed pretty well taken, too. And we dated all that spring and that summer. We'd be down at the lake and messing around. As I say, I was -- I was totally absorbed in this woman. So much so that I never tried to lay her. Which I think irritated the home sweet hell out of her [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Here's a nice, healthy girl in love and 02:50:00[chuckle] she wanted to do something about it, and wondering what was wrong that I didn't. We finally did. Her mother did not consider me a proper prospect. I could tell it from the first. She was rude in a very polite way.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was this girl from Lexington?
PEARCE: Ye--- yes. Yes.And her mother would talk to her without looking at me, as though I weren't there [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Her mother had a man picked out for her. He was in Princeton at the time and he came home that summer. And I was in competition. Her mother became upset with this and packed her off to 02:51:00Sweet Briar. And that ended that.
BIRDWHISTELL: That break your heart?
PEARCE: No. I pickedup another girl pretty soon. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] But, it was -- it was something of a benchmark in life. I was very serious about this woman and I cared for her in a way I didn't care for the others. As I say, I was very honorable about all this. That ended that. Then I went into my senior year and we messed around with various -- One year, and I forget -- I guess that the end of my junior -- summer of my junior year. Could it have been? No. Must have been -- Yeah, summer after my junior year. I was a senior. I dating 02:52:00this woman from Ohio, nice-bodied number, and she took a fancy to me, and wanted me to get a job in Ohio where she lived so I would be on tap for services. And so I went up and her father, who was an official at this [gardener ?] board and carton plant got me a job, manual labor job.
BIRDWHISTELL: Where in -- where in Ohio was --
PEARCE: Middletown, Ohio.
PEARCE: It was a blast.I had never worked in a factory before and I was somewhat apprehensive about it, and especially how I'd be received by the factory workers. They put me on a milk press, which printed milk cartons. And as it printed 'em, it perforated them along lines, and we would pick up these ten-pound hammer with a fairly 02:53:00sharp point and beat out the cartons along the lines of perforation. We'd hand then the perforated cartons back to the boys in the back and they would knock holes in 'em where the carton would go together on the machine, and then over to the girls on the glue line. The press could be set to run as slow or as fast [chuckle] as you wanted. These boys, two of 'em were married, and they wanted that press run as fast as it could, because you got a bonus everything over the minimum. Well, I got so I could do it pretty well. They showed me -- And they were very patient. God, they were nice guys. They thought I was weird. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "What the hell are you doing here if you're a college boy?" I, "Well, I've got to have some money to go to college." "Okay." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] They -- and they showed me all the tricks. They -- As I say, they were very patient for me while I was learning and while I was gaining strength. This took a great deal of physical strength. And by the end of the summer, my right arm 02:54:00was the size of my leg. I was lopsided [chuckles]. But I would -- And we made good money. Then we'd set that press up, man, it was whipping those cartons and we were beating out those cartons [chuckle], and making lots of money. I w--- roomed with a woman up on Central Avenue and she was the nicest thing. She would get me up every morning, and at first I would have to [chuckle] get up and put my hand and my arm in hot water so I could open up my hand. It would be cramped from the exertion, you know [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And she would fix me a little lunch, put it in my brown bag, and --
PEARCE: -- down the streetI'd go to the factory [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And check in with all the other fellows. Put in my time clock, and when the bell would ring, we'd start beating hell out of the cartons. [chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I'd get off in the afternoon at three o'clock. Went to work at 7:00 in the morning, got off at 3:00, and I'd go home and I'd take a little nap, and my lady of the good body would come by with her car, 02:55:00and off we would hoot into the night. She had good friends. And there was a good nightclub there where kids went -- and college kids home from school, you know. And I made a lot of friends there, at night, running around, messing with this girl, and go home and sleep a while, and get up and beat up cartons [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, what -- did -- did she make all thesearrangements because she had plans for you?
PEARCE: Yeah. Yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: This was her way of reeling you in.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, w--- how'd you get off the hook then?
PEARCE: I didn't. [Chuckle]
PEARCE: I didn't.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, you didn't [chuckle]?
PEARCE: I didn't.
BIRDWHISTELL: This is who you married?
PEARCE: Yeah, I married her.[Laughter] Crazy.
BIRDWHISTELL: It sound like a -- she was weaving a webfor you, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- John Ed. So --
PEARCE: She was a goodgirl.
PEARCE: She was a goodgirl. She never should have gotten married and, God knows, I never should have married her [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But she was a good girl. Boy, she [chuckle] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, this isn't the -- Is this the girl02:56:00you met at the Student Center that day?
BIRDWHISTELL: No, you -- Okay, this is another girl.I --
PEARCE: The funny thing is,I met this girl at that other girl's house.
BIRDWHISTELL: At the other girl's house.
PEARCE: Eh, whoo, whoo.
BIRDWHISTELL: Huh. So this -- That was your --the summer between your junior and senior year, that you --
PEARCE: May -- Yeah,I think it was. Anyhow, I get these things mixed up in memory now.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So, did you all then continue to dateall through your senior year?
PEARCE: She didn't go backto college.
BIRDWHISTELL: She didn't go back.
PEARCE: I did.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. And so you stayed in touch, obviously.
BIRDWHISTELL: You stayed in touch during your senior year.
PEARCE: Yeah, she'd come downon weekends, stay with me on weekends. Tell her parents she was staying at the sorority house, but she was staying at mine. [Chuckles] She was a good kid.
BIRDWHISTELL: What was her name?
PEARCE: I guess that's allright, isn't it. Her name was June [McIntire ?]. Boy, she was cute. [Chuckle] What a body. 02:57:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Before we get you out of college, I want togo back and pick up a few things here that -- When you were suspended for six weeks for not taking --
PEARCE: Physical ed. and militarytraining.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and military training, the suspension kicked in and thenafter that, you were free? I mean, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you -- Or --
PEARCE: Then I ha--- thenI had to take a year of each. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: It's harder to take it when you're an upperclassman thanwhen you're a --
PEARCE: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- freshman.
PEARCE: I went --I had a friend named Jack [Rather ?], who was a college doctor, he was in the infirmary. I went over and he gave me an excuse. And he says, "This man has acute bronchiosis and these sort of things and he's not physically able to take his --" [Chuckles] So, I -- I got out of taking it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have to go to like any kind ofclasses or did --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- they just --
PEARCE: No. They excused02:58:00me --
BIRDWHISTELL: Let it go.
PEARCE: -- physically.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, what about the military --
PEARCE: I --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- training?
PEARCE: I'll -- I'll getto that. It occurred to me -- I was living over in the apartment, and I was working as a newspaperman, and it suddenly occurred to me, you could graduate. And so I thought, okay. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] [And that ?] -- I'm gonna -- This was my fifth year there.
PEARCE: I said, I'll --I'll go back and I'll graduate. Well, they passed the draft law, you know, by one vote, or they extended it.
PEARCE: And I got mynotice. I got my notice from the people. "Greetings. A board composed of your friends and neighbors has selected you --" And I said, the -- no friend of mine would do that to me.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, was this a draft board in Virginia?
PEARCE: No, there in Lexington.02:59:00 I had changed my legal --
BIRDWHISTELL: You were officially a --
PEARCE: Yeah, legally. Ichanged --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- legally a resident --
PEARCE: -- it. Right.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- of Kentucky. Uh-huh.
PEARCE: On 327 South Upper.And -- So I wouldn't have to pay out-of-state tuition.
BIRDWHISTELL: I was -- You know, I meant to askyou about that earlier. When did that kick in, when you could stop paying out-of-state tuition?
PEARCE: In my sophomore year.
BIRDWHISTELL: Sophomore year.
PEARCE: Yeah. I changedmy address for the -- Yeah, I think that was it.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, they sent you a draft notice.
PEARCE: Yeah, sent me adraft notice. That left a very sour taste in my mouth. So, I thought, well, I'd better get a degree. So I started going to class fairly seriously, and that's when I went to Jack Rather and got my excuse from military training and -- and physical ed.
BIRDWHISTELL: You got it from both?
PEARCE: Yeah. Yeah, itwas -- the -- He was a doctor.
BIRDWHISTELL: You mean, you got excused from both --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- things.03:00:00
PEARCE: Yeah. I wasphysically stupid. You know, I'm [chuckle--Birdwhistell] a sick man. And -- and so I could graduate. Otherwise, I'd have to wait two years and take those things and graduate. Well, I went ahead and I was going to graduate in the spring.
BIRDWHISTELL: Spring of --
PEARCE: Yeah. On Decemberthe 7th, that being a Sunday, Harry and I were -- We went down to the apartment below us, to the couple John and Sarah Macy. He was a young lawyer from Paris, Kentucky. She was a tall, very pretty girl from Lexington, whose father, I think, was dean of agriculture. Her name had been [Kenny 03:01:00?]. They had a cute apartment and she was a marvelous cook. And on Sunday she would invite us down for breakfast, and we'd sit around have a little wine with our eggs and all. [Craze ?] -- We were sort of into our -- into our operatic phase and we were -- we liked things like [La] Traviata and Il Trovatore and Tosca.
PEARCE: Yes, we --And we'd sit around and play music and feel very s--- suave. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And finally we'd -- then it was over and we went with Mark Perdue, who was the A.P. man, and who had a -- the bureau and he had a car. Very -- You know, it was a big thing. And we went for a drive. I remember we drove out past Calumet and past Keeneland, and turned around at Keeneland and came back. 03:02:00And as we were approaching Maxwell Street up, I think South Lime, or maybe Broadway, we were listening to the car radio. A man came on, said, "We interrupt this program to bring you the following dispa--- The Japanese have attacked the U.S. Naval base at Pearl Harbor." And I remember Mark said, "Uh-oh, boys. That was the sound of the shit hitting the fan." Man, it threw us into deep gloom. Before that, we knew that we co--- ha--- would have to be drafted, but it was for a year.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was it?
PEARCE: It was a fora year. You'd serve a year, then you'd go home. There was a song, "Good-bye dear, I'll be back in a year, 03:03:00for I'm in the army now. The pulled me number right out of a hat. There was nothing that I could do about that." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Crappy song. Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: But now you're faced with a whole different --
PEARCE: Yes, sir.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- set of circumstance.
PEARCE: It was. AsI say, I was in a very deep mood. A few days later -- As I said, I was doing two news broadcasts a day for WLAP.
BIRDWHISTELL: On the air? Or write it?
PEARCE: I didn't do it.I --
BIRDWHISTELL: You -- you --
PEARCE: -- just wrote it.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and somebody else read it.
PEARCE: Don Carter -- aman named Don Carter read it. He was a man given to strong drink. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And sometime he was so given to it that he couldn't pi--- pull himself up to the mike, and a couple of times I had to go on.
BIRDWHISTELL: The radio career of John Ed --
PEARCE: Ah, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Pearce.
PEARCE: -- I could seemyself now. Edward R. Murrow. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] These were -- 03:04:00these were good days, you know? So, I would always go by the Federal Building and stop in at the recruiting offices. There were always good feature stories. There was always some twelve year old kid coming down trying to enlist. Some old veteran from World War I, or the --
BIRDWHISTELL: Spanish-American War [chuckle] would try to --
PEARCE: -- Spanish-American War wouldcome in and try to enlist. ["Get back to the cutters," you know ?] A son and father would enlist together. That sort of thing, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Two brothers.
PEARCE: Always a good littlestory there. And I remember I went over and I was -- I walked into the navy recruiting office and there was a rather heavyset, dark-haired chief at the desk. And he said to me -- I asked him if anything unusual happened. 03:05:00He said, no. He said, "Hey kid, they're gonna draft you." And I said, "Yes, I know. Don't remind me." And he said, "Well, don't let 'em do that." And I delivered then what I still consider the greatest straight line in history. I said, "How can I keep them from it?" [Chuckles] Well, my feet didn't hit the floor for [chuckle] thirty yards. He yanked me back into this other office and stood me in front of a poster, a life-sized poster, showing a navy officer in his whites with his wings over his pocket, looking into the future [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and the horizon, you know. And he said, "That's for you, kid." And I said, "Well, they wouldn't take me." "Sign here." [Chuckles] I walked out of that building and I said to myself, "Are you crazy? You're a crazy man. Here you are, trying to keep out of the draft." I went down one time to the draft board and I said, "I want to enlist as a conscientious objector." And this 03:06:00woman said, "Are you a Quaker?" And I said, "No." She said, "Well, what religion are you?" And I said, "Well, I guess I'm a Presbyterian. Went to Presbyterian Sunday School." She said, "Get out of here." [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "You ought to be ashamed of yourself."
BIRDWHISTELL: You actually did go down there and --
PEARCE: Yeah, I tried --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in Lexington, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and said you wanted --
PEARCE: I wanted --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- to be aconscientious objector.
BIRDWHISTELL: And they just said, no.
PEARCE: Woman said, "Get outof here. You ought to be ashamed." I was, sort of. It was sort of embarrassing.
BIRDWHISTELL: Why would you want to be -- I mean,did -- What -- what about that did not appeal to you?
PEARCE: What, army?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. During -- I mean, during this period,I mean, --
PEARCE: What appealed to you?There [chuckle--Birdwhistell] was nothing good about the army. We always thought of the army, you know, as being a bunch of crumbs. And, in addition, you waded through mud up to your knees --
PEARCE: -- and they killedyou.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, what about --
PEARCE: All those things aredrawbacks.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah [chuckle]. Well, what about your patriotism? Wherewas it? Where -- Did you leave it at home 03:07:00or what?
PEARCE: I was trying like-- It -- it never occurred to me that I would be patriotic.
BIRDWHISTELL: It had nothing to do with patrio--- patriotism.
PEARCE: I didn't have anypatriotism.
BIRDWHISTELL: You [chuckle] -- There was none to kick in.
PEARCE: I didn't figure Iowed anybody anything. The only thing that the country had ever done for me was throw me out of -- into the Depression, and I'd worked my tail off for years --
PEARCE: -- just trying toget even.
BIRDWHISTELL: And so then they were -- here you werefacing --
PEARCE: And now --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- this country telling you you have to give upone or more years of your life.
PEARCE: And -- and hereI am, in the cream of my life, and I'm just now getting to the place where I could have a profession.
PEARCE: I was breaking in,to both radio and -- and to journalism.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, when you went down to the draft office andsaid that about the conscientious objector, you knew at the time that that would have a stigma to it, right?
PEARCE: Never occurred to me.I thought it'd get me out of the army [chuckle]. 03:08:00
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] Of course, she wouldn't even a--- entertain a notionof --
PEARCE: She said, "Get outof here. You ought to be ashamed." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Okay." [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, before you -- before you sign up for thenavy. Are -- are -- That's what you signed up for, right?
BIRDWHISTELL: Had you already received your draft notice?
BIRDWHISTELL: And -- and had you gone and taken a physical?
PEARCE: I had not.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, between that --
PEARCE: And the physical --
BIRDWHISTELL: You -- you -- you --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- got the notice, and then you went down tothe Federal Building and --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- signed on the line.
PEARCE: And I walked outof the building and I thought to myself, "You are as c--- crazy as a bedbug. One day you're trying to a conscientious objector and the next day you're a volunteer for the Navy Air Corps. You'll get killed. This is mad." And I felt very excited about it --
PEARCE: -- and sort ofsmug. Well, for one thing, I -- the Navy Air was the crème de la crème. I didn't think they'd take me, 03:09:00really. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] So, I went back and the next day I went down and the fellow gave me a T.R. and told me to report to this building over in --
BIRDWHISTELL: What's a T.S.?
PEARCE: -- St. Louis.That's a transportation request. It was a little green slip that you gave to 'em at the -- at the railroad office, at the depot, and they gave you a ticket, and charged it to the government.
BIRDWHISTELL: But now, you haven't graduated yet, right?
PEARCE: No. So, Iwent over to St. Louis.
BIRDWHISTELL: Went to St. Louis.
PEARCE: Yeah. Went intothis office. They put me in a flea-bag hotel and told me to come back in the morning. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Before I went over there, for however long I had, now it wasn't a -- just a few days, I had eaten myself almost stupid because 03:10:00I was -- I was so underweight when I got out of college, whenever. I weighed only about a hundred and thirty-two pounds and I was as tall as I am now. I weigh a hundred and seventy now. I went over there and the next morning I got up and I ate a big steak for breakfast. And I drank water. I would drink water until it was about to vomit, and then I would lay off, and then I'd drink some more. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I sloshed when I walked. I walked into that navy office over there, and stripped off to my skivvies, and I said to the man, "You want -- you want a urine specimen." "Well, wait around, there's not --" "No, let's do that now." [Chuckles] I was about to pee. And fortunately it was one of the first things they did. They -- they measured us, how tall we 03:11:00were, and then they weighed us. I weighed a hundred and forty pounds. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I then started in on a marathon urination. They handed me -- About every five minutes they'd hand me one of those vials, you know, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
PEARCE: -- whatever they call'em. And I would fill it up. And in a minute I'd say, "Can I --" and I'd fill up the next [one ?] [chuckles]. This physical -- I had taken a mental test over in Lexington, that's right. Not mental, educational test, whatever you want to call it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Aptitude and --
PEARCE: Yeah. Right.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and [inaudible] [test ?].
PEARCE: Yeah. And thiswas just physical. And so, they set us all in a room. There were, I guess, thirty of us. Any hopes 03:12:00I had were glimmering. You never saw a better looking assortment of men. They were all college athletes, you know, all college graduates and athletes, big guys with big chests and nice arms and flat stomachs. And rather supercilious airs. And then there was I. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And there was another little guy, who was, I think, even more pathetic than I was, maybe just a [chuckle--Birdwhistell] size smaller. And a fat boy. And we all sat around, you know, trying to cover up our chest with our arms. And one by one they c--- called us in. I did -- I knew, by noon time, I was doing well. They put us in this chair, strapped us in, and it 03:13:00whirled around and upside down, you know, and all this business.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Really ?]?
PEARCE: Yeah. And thenthey threw you out and if you could stand up, you were okay. [Chuckles] And a lot of people just could not stand up, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: Vertigo would take over.I did fine. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And they had -- they had a depth perception test, it was the toughest thing, I think, we had. You had two strings and they were attached to posts that were within this long lighted box, and you were supposed to line them up. They would jiggle 'em around, then you were supposed to line 'em up with these strings. I could do it. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Boy, a lot of people couldn't do it. And then, of course, they had the color blind test, which was --
PEARCE: -- you either couldor couldn't.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. You couldn't --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- couldn't finesse that one.
PEARCE: And I passed thatall right. And as the day went on -- I was always pretty fit, you know? I was always strong for 03:14:00my -- for my size and everything. I could do push-ups 'til the cro--- and -- and pull-ups 'til the cows came home. I did all those things. I could jump flat footed and what else? I forget what all we had to do. But I remember I did 'em. And at the end of the day, they said, "Go out and put on your clothes," and we went out, and put on our clothes, and stood around. And they said, "All right, you will be issued the results of your tests. Those of you who are passed, go to Room 2-A for instructions. The rest of you, go to Room 2-B and -- this -- don't feel bad if you didn't pass, because there are other tests and there are other areas of the navy in which you may want to enroll." And they handed 03:15:00each of us a paper. Hm-hm, go to Room 2-A. Over to 2-A. They handed us a bunch of books, trig., physics, stuff like that. "Go home, study, and wait. And your orders will come to you there." I went back to 327 South Upper and started studying. And wrote my mother. And, sure enough, my orders came. In the meantime, they had passed a regulation there at the university that if you were drafted in the second half of your senior year, they would issue you your degree. And I had, I thought, just about enough credits 03:16:00anyhow. I -- I buckled down that last year. I had almost enough -- I had enough, I think, for my -- I ha--- didn't have some of the requirements, otherwise I had enough for a degree. So, I packed all my clothes and all my books, and sent 'em home to my brother. Bet he was the best-dressed man in Wise County there for a while.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, was he on his own at -- by thatpoint or was he still --
PEARCE: No, he was livingat home.
BIRDWHISTELL: He's still living at home.
PEARCE: Yeah. He's twoor three years younger than I am, so he -- he wasn't ready for the draft.
PEARCE: I guess. And--
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you're about twenty-two at this point?
PEARCE: I was about --Let's see, [sotto voce] eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one. I was either late -- Yeah, I was about twenty-two. Yeah. And I remember I -- Don Irvine and I went down 03:17:00to the Canary Cottage and we had dinner in front and went in the back to drink. And I remember he told me, he said, "I'm sorry for you and I envy you." He said, "I would love to be going with you into the service, but you know that they won't take me. I'm psychically unfit, as they say. They call me a queer." And I said, "Yeah, I know." And he said, "You know?" "Well, yeah." "How long have you known?" I said, "Well, I guess I always knew." And he said, "Well, I'll be damned." Didn't make any difference to me.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, he was -- that was his moment he choseto -- to tell you.
PEARCE: Yeah. And I'dknown it for three years or more. The funny thing was 03:18:00that, when I got back from St. Louis--I'd already been sworn in, you see, was just waiting orders--I got orders from the draft board to report to the Federal Building for physical. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And I called 'em, and I said, "That's preposterous." "Get down there and take your physical." "Okay." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I went down, stripped off my clothes, stood there in line of naked boys [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and we went down this -- we went down this -- this line, and they questioned us all sorts of stupid questions. "Do you like boys? Have you ever burned a flag?" All sorts of crap [chuckles]. And I finally got to the psychiatrist. He was the last one. And he asked me a 03:19:00lot of questions. And then he said, "How do you feel about going into the army?" I said, "It doesn't make any difference to me, I'm -- I'm not going." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "What do you mean you're not going." "I'm -- I'm just not going into the army." Oh, his little eyes lighted up. He was almost drooling.
BIRDWHISTELL: He'd gotten one, huh?
PEARCE: Yeah, --
PEARCE: -- "I got onehere, hee-hee-hee."
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] Got a hot one.
PEARCE: Yeah, and he kepttrying to pry it out of me, "Why aren't going into the navy -- into the army?" And I said, "Because I joined the navy last week." Oh, it crushed him. [Laughter--Birdwhistell] That was nasty of me.
BIRDWHISTELL: You tweaked him a little bit.
PEARCE: I walked out --Just before I was called to duty, Wynne McKinney was drafted. John Carrico and I, who were friends of his--John was a sports writer on the Courier later--we went out and got Wynne. 03:20:00He had been drunk for a week. He was still about half drunk. His little old eyes all red. And he was cursing and angry. Had his little bag. And we took him down to the Federal Building and then delivered him unto the beasts. And he stood there on the steps cursing [Franklin D.] Roosevelt, [Adolph] Hitler, and God, in that order. Mad at 'em all. And this big sergeant came out and laid a hand on him, and he disappeared into the maw of the Federal Building. I never saw him again. It was a time of parting. But, --
BIRDWHISTELL: That was a -- that was a long way ina short four or five years for you -- for your generation. You know, to -- 03:21:00
PEARCE: Yeah, --
BIRDWHISTELL: From entering college and --
PEARCE: -- I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- debating international affairs, and learning about literature, and kindof having a life of a college student, and then all of a sudden, --
PEARCE: Yeah, it was a-- it was a jarring --
BIRDWHISTELL: It was a jolt, right?
PEARCE: I guess. Itwas a jolting experience. Our minds were -- That was the -- the bad part about it, I think. Our minds were opening up, we were learning to question, and we were learning to like learning. We were finding that learning was a thrill. That there w--- it was great to -- to know things [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. We -- we found that -- that opera was wonderful. We'd gone to Cincinnati to the opera and, boy, that was a thrill. And, if this is culture, man, lay it on me, you know. And we had -- I was always, as I've said ear--- I was always a great reader and I 03:22:00was in a musical family that read, and -- and we knew art. It often irritates me when people look me as -- in some surprise and find I'm from a -- what was basically a coal and railroad town. And the fact that I would know anything about literature or classical music or art seems to amaze them. "How could you, you were an Appalachian." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And my family was cultured and I had -- my friends were from cultured families, doctors, lawyers, bankers as -- there as in Lexington or Cincinnati. And so, I was at a phase of life where I wanted to get started. I wanted to get to New York and see the Algonquin Roundtable people and be in that 03:23:00intellectual life, the intelligentsia of New York, and be a newspaperman and -- and a c--- maybe a foreign correspondent.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umm. It's --
PEARCE: And suddenly then, youknow, to be yanked out of there and put in the army. Well [chuckle], it's preposterous almost. And I was so outraged by it, was just totally outraged at the thought, and then to walk out of that building and realize what I had done. "Why did you do that, sign up for --"
BIRDWHISTELL: B--- by 1942, though, when all this was happening, Japanhas attacked Pearl Harbor, Hitler continues on his sweep, did you feel the country was vulnerable at all, or did you still feel like that this was sort of a fortress of a country?
PEARCE: I thought we'd winthe war.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you?
PEARCE: It never occurred to03:24:00me that the United States could lose a war. And my -- Now my concern was to live through it. All right, I'll serve, I'll serve [in the thing ?], but I'm gonna find some way to save my own hide. I don't want to get killed in this, I've got a career to pursue. I like girls. I -- I want to have a good time.
BIRDWHISTELL: Too young to die.
PEARCE: Yeah, I had a-- I'd worked long enough. I worked through high school, I worked through college, and I'm working n--- About time I start reaping the rewards [chuckle] a bit. Don't throw me in there.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, another bad break for John Ed Pearce. Imean, right in high school, when you were getting ready to -- you know, you were getting old enough to make your [run ?] and the -- the Depression hits.
BIRDWHISTELL: And right after college, you're getting ready to make yourrun and the war hits, so --
PEARCE: Well, neither was abad -- you know, wasn't bad luck. I -- Looking back on it, it was a marvelous experience. If you live 03:25:00through a war, you haven't lost a thing. It's a great experience and you'll never forget it. You'll forget mother, country, love, and everything else, but you'll never forget a war. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: Men have known that for a long time.
BIRDWHISTELL: Men have experienced that --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- for a long, long time.
PEARCE: Long time.
BIRDWHISTELL: And --
PEARCE: It's --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- women, too. You know, they -- they --
PEARCE: I hated to leaveLexington. I had -- I had opened up there. I didn't come there totally ignorant, but I had learned to wear tailored clothes and I learned a lot. I knew how to act. I don't know -- When I went there, my mother had taught me good manners and she always said, "If you have good manners, people will know you're from good people if you don't 03:26:00have a penny." And so she had always taught me -- And I -- I knew how to act, pretty well. I was sometime a little uncertain about silverware when I was at a formal meal, and always watched the hostess [chuckle--Birdwhistell] to see, you know, which fork, until I learned. But I had -- I had matured in Lexington into a young man from a eighteen-year-old boy who worked in a packing plant and scared of whores. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I had become a young man with some knowledge of the world and some aptitude in writing. I had -- I had done some writing. I used to take those agricultural bulletins that we put together over at the Kernel office, and I would write m--- I would translate them into English, is what [chuckle] I would do, and send them off to, I remember, The Southern Agriculturist. 03:27:00Boy, and they'd pay me up to fifteen dollars for a story.
BIRDWHISTELL: And so you knew you had talent, [too ?].
PEARCE: And then what didI write? I wrote for [Coronet ?], it was a little magazine.
PEARCE: What did I write?I wrote something for Coronet and I think I got twenty-five or fifty bucks out of it. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And so I was writing, I was on the radio, I was doing newspaper work, and I was keeping company with some lovely girls.
BIRDWHISTELL: Had good friends.
BIRDWHISTELL: Had your own place.
PEARCE: Yeah. Boy, Iwas just -- As I say, I was [chuckles] getting ready to go and [here it came ?]. I went down to the railroad station. I had taken the clothes. They said bring your shaving gear and underwear and your -- don't worry about 03:28:00clothes. I had a real good suit, it was a summer weight gabardine -- no, a tropical worsted, tan, real handsome, and I had that on. And caught the train to St. Louis. Got off in a town named Robertson, Missouri, which was a suburb of St. Louis, and asked the fellow [chuckle] there, "Where's the naval air station?" [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "I don't know. I don't -- really sure where it is. I know it's around here somewhere." And I -- "Boy, you're a lot of help." [Chuckles] I sa--- Walked out there and there was a cab there, and I said, "I don't have money for the cab. Can you tell me where the naval air station is?" He said, "Yeah, take that road there. It's a couple of miles 03:29:00down there. It's on your right. It's on a little sort of hill. You'll see it." I went out there and caught a ride, and the fellow took me over to the naval air station. I got off at a little gate house there, you know. At the gate. And I presented my order and the marine on the gate said, "Go on up there, there's a lot -- a lot of 'em got here before you did."
BIRDWHISTELL: Let me turn this over.
[End of Tape #3, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #3, Side #2]
BIRDWHISTELL: All right.
PEARCE: He said, "A lotof guys got here before you did. Go on up there. They're lined up." And I went up, and there was a marine sergeant named Coleman. And he was a tough son of a bitch, you know. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Well, fall in." [Chuckles] And I said [chuckle], "What shall I do with my 03:30:00bag?" "Well, you can stick it up your ass as far as I'm con---" That was the first time I'd ever heard that expression and I thought it was so funny that I burst out laughing. This didn't set well with him. [Chuckles] I stood there next to this man, just about my size, darker haired, almost as skinny as I was, and he said [chuckle], "I don't think the sergeant's very humorous." [Chuckles] I said, "I'm afraid not." We're friends to this day.
PEARCE: We have never losttouch with each other.
BIRDWHISTELL: Who is it?
PEARCE: He's a man namedW.C. [McCormick ?] from Webster Groves, Missouri. He settled down not too far from the base.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: He has been adear and good and wonderful friend. We call him ["Chug" ?], 03:31:00"Chug" McCormick.
PEARCE: In my platoon werethe skinny little guy who was with me at the naval testing office -- station and the fat boy [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. The little boy was named [Kingsbury ?] and he was an osteopath, but he went ahead and joined the navy [chuckle] anyhow. He didn't have to. And the fat boy was named Loehr, and he wasn't really so fat. He lost his -- a lot of his fat.
BIRDWHISTELL: Loehr, L-O---
PEARCE: L-O-H-R -- L-O-E-H-R.And Kingsbury was something of a card. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He chased women harder than I did, or -- than anybody. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] If it was female and alive, he would find it. "Chug" 03:32:00and I were good friends. We -- You know, we were put into some makeshift uniforms--I think they were old C.C.C. [Civilian Conservation Corps] uniforms--until our uniforms arrived, and shown to our barracks, which was just sort of a big dormitory. [Coughs] Excuse me. [Coughs] We were given bedding and shown how to make our bed, a bunk, and we did that. And then we were lined up and given shots and things like that. And then we were lined up and marched off to chow. The chow was not bad. And after chow we got a little talking to, and then we were at liberty to sit around and 03:33:00-- and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. And I went to bed that night, and I thought, "This isn't too bad so far." [Chuckles] It's like the guy that fell out of the ten story building and at each floor he'd say, "Well, I've done all right so far." [Chuckles] And -- But then we started in a rather -- a rather interesting introduction. At first they would get us up in the morning and exercise us. Now, I hated that. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I hated it. And the man who led us was a man named Muhl, M-U-H-L, and he had been a school principal or something. He was despicable. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Hated him. I didn't like to get 03:34:00out of bed and exercise. Now, I like exercise, but not the first --
BIRDWHISTELL: Not --
PEARCE: -- thing in themorning.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- not first thing.
PEARCE: Get out there inour skivvies and jump around, you know, and then run down to the field, and run back. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Stupid. And it would ruin your appetite, it did mine. I'd need time to rest before I eat, you know, and I w--- "Can we have a drink?" [Chuckles] And as a result [chuckle], I got constipated, probably the last time in my life, and had to take pills. Made me in a very bad mood. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And then we went to ground school for about a month, or -- or two. And then we started flying. And each morning we'd get on a bus and we'd go out to a place called Meramec Field.
BIRDWHISTELL: Meramec, like --
PEARCE: No, it's M-E-R-A-M-E-C.03:35:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. [inaudible]
PEARCE: And it was bythe Meramec River.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, okay. Okay.
PEARCE: And we'd go outand we'd fly Piper Cubs.
BIRDWHISTELL: Meaning you would fly 'em.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now'd you ever -- What experience had you hadflying?
PEARCE: None. None.
BIRDWHISTELL: Had you flown before?
PEARCE: Yeah, I'd flown ina plane, when I went to the World's Fair. We took a plane and flew all over Chicago.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's right. I remember you telling [me ?].Experienced flyer.
PEARCE: Yeah, experienced [chuckle--Birdwhistell] flyer.Well, we went up with instructor, we didn't go [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I -- No, I understand that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: But, they were teaching you to fly a plane.
PEARCE: Yeah. They weregood guys.
BIRDWHISTELL: Were they?
PEARCE: Yeah. A fellownamed Johnson. I'd been up a couple of times and I said to him, "Hey, how about letting me take this thing up?" "[Why, you'll kill yo--- ?]" I said, "I'll -- I can fly that." [Chuckle] And I knew I could. And he said, "Well," he said, "I figured you for 03:36:00more guts than brains, but I thought you had some." [Chuckles] Well, we finished Cubs and then we went back to Lambert Field there in St. Louis, where the navy base was, U.S. Naval Air Station. And we started flying Stearmans. A Stearman was simply a marvelous airplane. As they say, it was forgiving. If you'd turn it loose, it'd fly itself practically, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] you know. You had to work to wreck one of those. And nearly all of us took to the Stearman immediately. It was just fun to fly.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. But you still hadn't been up on yourown yet, had you?
PEARCE: Well, we took, Ithink -- you were allowed ten hours. You were expected to solo at the end of ten hours.
BIRDWHISTELL: Ten hours. Wow.
PEARCE: But by the end03:37:00of five hours we were all saying, "We can fly this" [chuckle] "[son of a bitch ?]. Let us fly."
PEARCE: Yeah. I wasready to fly pretty quickly. And they turned me loose and, man, up I went and I flew that thing and I landed it. That's about all you had to do.
BIRDWHISTELL: No fear.
PEARCE: I was apprehensive.But I'd been up enough with that idiot instructor, so I knew what to do. And it was pretty simple to fly the Stearman.
PEARCE: Yeah. I likedthat. That was fun. And we'd go out -- two or three of us, we'd go up, we'd get together [chuckle], and we'd fly over these homes out in the county, were girls would be sitting around the swimming pool [chuckle]. And we'd fly down to the Missouri [River]. We'd fly over inhabited places, for which we could have gotten busted, too. Anyhow, we [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- Then at the -- after we had soloed a few hours, they 03:38:00put us into what they called [aerobatics ?], a different cut of cat, boy. Now, aerobatics are nobody's play. And the idea was to ring that plane out, to put it in all unusual positions, and you got it into normal straight level flight after that. And then you put it into abnormal positions. You learned how to -- well, first do wing overs, and then you'd do loops, and you'd do rolls, and you'd do falling leaves, all that stuff. You'd do it. I don't think I got any [down ?] checks. And then we'd fly out to Meramec Field again and shoot circles. From the first time we landed a plane, we'd land on numbers. Out there there was a big 03:39:00circle and you were supposed to land in the middle of that circle. Stall your plane out just before you got there, drag the tail, and stall out, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Was this --
PEARCE: -- [and reach ?]for the circle.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- so that you could land on an aircraft carrier?
PEARCE: That is it.From -- We were landing on aircraft carriers from the first.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: You knew that's what you were training for?
PEARCE: Well, yes.
BIRDWHISTELL: And that didn't bother you?
PEARCE: No, that's what therewas and [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- No, I -- didn't bother us.
PEARCE: We finished up inSt. Louis. St. Louis was a marshmallow, I'll tell you. We were very popular. Every week there would be notices on the bulletin board, "Ten cadets wanted for party at so forth," "Ten cadets wanted for picnic," "Six cadets wanted for formal dinner." Oh man, we got the good invitations and we put on our flights, 03:40:00you know, our formal gear, and go over. And we really got the open door. We never got laid. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] The girls of St. Louis, well, if it had been up to them, it was like the girls of Wise County, I would have died virginal. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] But they were awfully pretty and they were nice, and we had -- We just had such a good time in St. Louis. Went to nice places. Was class act. Well, after we checked out our carrier landings and aerobatics, they called us out, put us on a plane, and shipped us out to Corpus Christi, Texas. Oh, ho, ho.
BIRDWHISTELL: At least it was warm, right?
BIRDWHISTELL: What time of year was this?
PEARCE: This was in thefall. Yeah, it was hot there. Especially since I was 03:41:00sick and running a fever of about a hundred and two.
PEARCE: I was sick whenI got off that plane -- off the train. And by the time I got out to the base, I said to this [Lieutenant] J.G. [Junior Grade] in charge of our detail, "Let me get to sick bay, I feel bad." He said, "All right, just get your gear and put it in the barracks, and then you can go on over." I had to carry that little mattress, and all the bedding, and everything, and my bag. Stagger through the heat and the fever and over to the barracks. I went out and finally somebody said, "Go down here and turn left and you'll see the Quonset hut there." I went down and I turned left, I saw the Quonset hut, I collapsed on the first bed I saw. A nurse came around and said to me, "What are you doing here?" And I said, "I'm sick." She felt me and she said, "You are. You are pretty sick, aren't you?" [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Yeah, I'm sick." And she said, "Well, you don't belong in here." And I said, 03:42:00"What do you mean?" She said, "This is the 'clap shack'." [Laughter--Birdwhistell] And I noticed that I was about the only white boy there. All the rest were black.
BIRDWHISTELL: The "clap shack."
PEARCE: Yes, that was the"clap shack." And I said, "Where do I go?" She showed me where to go, and I picked up my bed and walked [chuckle--Birdwhistell] out through the steamy day, and finally found the right place, and they showed me into a bed. And after about a week of indignities of one kind or another, they took out my tonsils.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: Which [chuckle] were infectedto beat hell.
BIRDWHISTELL: Ooo. Yeah.
PEARCE: It was a stupidexercise. As -- as the man said, the navy is an organization designed by geniuses to be operated by idiots and [chuckle--Birdwhistell] it is. Or was.
BIRDWHISTELL: [And ?] it was.03:43:00
PEARCE: And so the morningcame for me to get my tonsils out. And I got up in my pink p.j.s [pajamas] and stood out in this hallway, w--- in a line of boys like me, men, and one by one we'd be called. We'd sit down in these barber chairs, is what they looked like, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Ooo [chuckle].
PEARCE: -- and there werethree of 'em, and people were there yanking out tonsils [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and people were going [gargle] [laughter]. And I sat down. "Open up." And I opened up and he shot me with a shot in the back of my mouth, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, [Lord ?] [laughing].
PEARCE: -- all the timetalking to the guy next to him. "I didn't give a damn what they said, I was going into town, so -- so forth and so on," that's -- he's talking to the guy. I was [there ?], mouth open, throat [chuckles] -- In a minute, well, he got th--- out these really looked like sort of tongs or [chuckle--Birdwhistell] pliers, and reached down in there, wring, wring, wring, 03:44:00wring [chuckles]. Pulled out the tonsils. "Okay." I stood up [chuckles]. An enlisted man came up and grabbed me. "[Ha-ha-ha, get some water, get my mouth ?] --" I'm all full of blood, you know. He said, "There's a scuttlebutt." I went over to the fountain and I got the drink of water, and of course I tried to swallow it. I couldn't. My mouth -- my throat was deadened by the shot.
PEARCE: It went right intomy lungs and I started choking to death.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, [dear ?].
PEARCE: And I went, "Awk,awk, awk." And he looked at me in some fright. "Awk, awk." And a nurse was coming down the hall, and he said to her, "Hey, this [one, Miss, ?] is choking to death." That was me. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] She said, "Grab him. Turn him upside down." They grabbed me, turned me upside down, the water ran out, and they upped me and then they upped me again, you know. And -- 03:45:00
PEARCE: -- then I walkedback and collapsed into my bed.
PEARCE: She said, "It's happenedbefore." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "It's all right." [Laughter]
BIRDWHISTELL: [Laughing] You weren't [even ?] the first.
PEARCE: Oh, I --Cute nurses there in that navy hospital [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And it was the first time I'd ever heard a woman, I think, use a vulgarity. She said to me, "Get in that -- get in the old fart sack, Pearce." I thought, "You didn't say that." Pretty woman, you wouldn't say a thing like that. [Chuckles] And so I got out of there, but by that time I was behind my own class.
BIRDWHISTELL: I was gonna say, now you're -- you've lost time.
PEARCE: I've lost time.But I didn't lose touch with my good buddies. There were four of us who ran around together. One was a man named Kenneth [Beliel ?] from Wisconsin, he'd been second-string quarterback on the 03:46:00University of Wisconsin football team; and McCormick, my buddy, who was from Carbondale, Illinois, as I recall, or someplace like that; and Kingsbury from Michigan; and I. We all ran around together trying to get in trouble with girls and never did [chuckles]. Beliel -- Beliel was older. He was about twenty-five or six years old. You couldn't be over twenty-five when you got in. Well, he turned twenty-six not too long a--- The rest of us would chase around after high-school and college girls. He would go down to the better hotels, the Chase and Park Plaza, you know like that, and he would go into the -- into the bar, and he would sit down and order a drink, and he would wait. And sure enough, there'd be some nice middle-aged lady come in, you know, thirty or forty. And he would send over a 03:47:00drink. "Just tell her the -- the lieutenant would like to join her for a drink." He wasn't any more a lieutenant than I was, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] but -- she would look over and he was a good looking, strong looking, blonde guy. And invariably she would say, "Well, ask him to come over." And the next morning, why, he would stagger in looking beat up, and the woman -- [chuckle] I remember one woman sent up a box of cigars [chuckles] to him. He smoked cigars. He'd always score. The rest of us never did.
BIRDWHISTELL: I--- it's interesting to hear stories about people in theservice, that are in there in their early twenty, and this --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- guy's in there in his mid to late twenties,he's like an old --
PEARCE: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you know, he's like an old [man ?].
PEARCE: A veteran.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I mean, there's just that -- there's thatkind of difference in life experiences at that point, yeah. 03:48:00
PEARCE: Beliel washed out downat Corpus Christi rather soon in a Link trainer. Somehow or another he didn't have night vision. And McCormick went over to multi-engine and wound up in the multi-engine. Kingsbury and I went over to torpedo bombers. And I got shipped out to [Rodd ?] Field, which was a good place. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: Where was that?
PEARCE: It was a --out -- what they call an outlying field.
BIRDWHISTELL: Out in -- near Corpus Christi?
PEARCE: Well, the Corpus ChristiNaval Air Station, you had what you call the main station, --
BIRDWHISTELL: And then you had --
PEARCE: -- and it hada -- the big airfield there. Then you had outlyings -- fields like Rodd, [Cabinus ?], [Cutty ?], Beeville, Kingsville. And I went out to Rodd Field and that was fun. And we 03:49:00had formation flying there. And then we also had night flying, which almost killed a bunch of us. Our -- The commander there -- of the hangar, a Lieutenant Baker, made a bad mistake in sending us up for night flight without checking his weather close enough, and there were about -- I'd say maybe fifty of us up -- twenty-five to fifty of -- of us up in the air that night, and a fog came in very quickly. And we had no radio, of course, and we were blind, and we couldn't even tell where the -- the f--- the station was or where the landing strip was, the -- we -- the landing mats--we were landing on mats, then--unless we could see the light. Well, we were supposed to fly in the upper echelon for half 03:50:00an hour, then reverse course, come down five hundred feet and fly in the opposite direction for five -- for an -- half hour. We fly for the half hour and then tried to find our way down. And we had no idea who was ahead of us. I c--- I just tried to keep the light of the plane in front of me in view and pray to God nobody ran into me. When he went -- when he started loosing altitude and flipped over, I did, too, and as soon as we got in the lower echelon we looked for the field, and we saw that light, and we headed for it. We didn't give a damn. And, man, they were landing all over that damn place, in the mud, on the mat. One of my wheels ran off into the mud. Here came a bunch of enlisted men and threw me back up on the mat. Whew. No--- none of us got hurt. None of 03:51:00us --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now you had radio contact, right, with your other planes?
PEARCE: No, we didn't havecontact. We --
BIRDWHISTELL: [You just ?] said, you were --
PEARCE: -- were [alone ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- on your own. I mean, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [I mean ?], just sight --
PEARCE: And we couldn't --we couldn't see --
BIRDWHISTELL: And you couldn't --
PEARCE: -- anything.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- see anything.
PEARCE: We couldn't see evenif it weren't for the fog, but when that fog r--- rolled in, we couldn't even see the lights below to get back on.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's tough.
PEARCE: It was very dangerous.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's tough.
PEARCE: But we got throughit. Went through a Link trainer and went into a Vultee -- what they call a Vultee "Vibrator," which was an advanced plane, and not a very good -- it wasn't much fun to fly. I don't know why they put us through that. It was something like the tr--- Link, I guess. And then we were ready for the [SNJ ?], which was a great plane, everybody loved it. And then [chuckle], we had to go through the pressure chamber. They threw us in there and they started taking 03:52:00us up, and I w--- I started having a lot of difficulty about 5,000 feet, as I recall. Having a horrible time sort of getting acclimated. But I got up -- I think we had to go to 10,000 feet. And then they started back down, and I had a fit. And I was waving my hands and -- to beat hell. And they repressurized, and brought us down, and got me out of there. And they said, "You've got a cold or anything?" I said, "Not much." I j--- [sniffs] They waited the next day and I seemed to be breathing all right, I had nothing wrong with my ears, I'd passed my ph--- They put me in the pressure chamber again and took me up. I got up. They started down and, man, I had aerosinusitis and I don't say I've ever 03:53:00experienced an awful lot of pain. I passed a kidney stone last fall [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. That'll do it.
PEARCE: Last spring. ButI've never had pain like that. Boy, it hit you over the eyes and beside the nose, and the pain is so sharp you feel like somebody's driving tooth--- ice picks through your skull. It's just -- I couldn't stand it.
BIRDWHISTELL: And so what, it's caused by the --
PEARCE: Your sinuses don't adjust.They -- they block.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. So they retain that kind of pressure [and?] --
PEARCE: Yeah. They kept-- The pressure can't equalize and as you come down, the pressure just drives you nuts, and you can't cure it. I once caught a -- After that, while I was aboard ship, I caught a flight on a plane over to Dayton, Ohio to see my w--- damned wife and this plane peeled off from about 03:54:008,000 feet, and whammed down on the field, and by the time they got down, I was all but screaming. I took just hands full of aspirin and I couldn't -- was like a migraine, I couldn't --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, this knocked you out of the program?
BIRDWHISTELL: That was the end of your flying --
PEARCE: That was the endof my flight. I was a good pilot, too, damn it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that's too bad.
PEARCE: But, I -- Iwas on duty in the barracks once, as the aviation cadet officer of the day, you know, we had that duty, and the commander of the base, a man named Commander Augustus [Healy ?], "Old Gus", he could--- must have been forty years old. He called me into the office. And he said, "I hear you busted in the chamber." I said, "Yes." And he said, "Are you going to get out of the Navy?" And I said, "I 03:55:00guess so." He said, "Would you like a commission?" And I said, "Sure, I would." And he said, "Well, don't do anything, don't sign anything. I'm going to Washington in a couple of days. I'll be in BUPER, Bureau of Personnel. Let me see what I can do."
BIRDWHISTELL: They were gonna let you out of the service, right?
PEARCE: Yeah. I wasin there for [V-7 ?]. That's all. That's all I was signed up for.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you could have gotten out.
PEARCE: I could have gottenout and gone right into the army.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, the army would have picked you up?
PEARCE: Well, hell yes, theywould've picked me up.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] That -- What -- Your condition thatknocked you out of flying wouldn't have kept you out of the army.
PEARCE: They seldom lost thatmuch altitude in the army [chuckles].
BIRDWHISTELL: They weren't fly-boys in the army.
PEARCE: No. So [chuckle--Birdwhistell]he said, "Don't do anything." He'd always been friendly to me. I was -- I was on duty one day, and I ran up and gave him a sharp salute, you know, and click--- 03:56:00and reeled off my named and number and so forth, and he asked me a few questions, and asked -- And then one night Lieutenant Baker, the same one that almost killed all of us, asked Joe Kingsbury and me out for dinner. And I went into Healy's office and I said, "Permission to leave the base and go to Lieutenant Baker's house for dinner." "Are you two ground school?" And I said, "No, sir." "Permission denied." "Thank you, sir." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Turned around and walked out. He liked that, you know. And so when I busted the chamber, he -- "Don't you do anything. You wait 'til I get back."
BIRDWHISTELL: Huh. Huh.
PEARCE: And about a weeklater, he called me in. And he said, "Well, congratulations, you're Ensign Pearce." And so I was c--- commissioned. And -- [Well ?], okay.
BIRDWHISTELL: And you're in the navy.
PEARCE: Uh-huh. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]I was commissioned, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: All right, --
PEARCE: I was an officer.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. We'll pick up there next time.
PEARCE: When I was lying03:57:00in the bunk there in St. Louis, a boy next to me named [Jay Lessinger ?], nice kid, who busted out in St. Louis. He -- he couldn't do unusual flight. Aerobatics got him. Nice guy. But he said, "You know, Pearce, if it wasn't for the damn war, we'd be in a good spot." He said, "We've got great clothes." He said, "This is a nice place to live." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he said, "The food" [chuckle] "is better than you ever thought it'd be. And we get planes to fly all day, people to teach us, we get liberty in St. Louis every week, we get paid pretty well." And I thought, "Boy, that's the truth. This is all right if they'd just --" You know, --
BIRDWHISTELL: They wouldn't start shooting at you, it'd be all right.
PEARCE: Forget the Japs, youknow, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and let's do something else. But it was all right, and it was the same way at Corpus Christi except that 03:58:00there wasn't any girls.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] All right.
[End of Interview]