Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with William T. Young, Sr., June 5, 2000

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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 YOUNG: You n-- really never aware of what's going on as you live your life, it's everything is day by day and it uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to ask you, in this context uh--

YOUNG: Why don't we shut that door, I don't think it, anything private, but it might keep it quiet. [door being shut]

BIRDWHISTELL: As I said last Friday, it's a pretty busy place out here, Mr. Young.


BIRDWHISTELL: It's a pretty busy place. People coming and going.

YOUNG: Well they come and go, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)-- I was going to ask you uh, in the context of this uh, biographical piece you've written up, and over the years I, I assumed you saved your correspondence and uh--

YOUNG: Well it'd be hard to find.


YOUNG: Yeah. I haven't been meticulous about it but uh, we could see what we can find.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I wanted to mention it to you because uh, because of the 00:01:00variety of your, of your experiences and, the people you dealt with.

YOUNG: I expect there is a lot of correspondence if we could find it, it hasn't been thrown out, it uh, it would go back to about fifty-eight, I think the stuff in the um, the peanut butter company is gone. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But whatever you--

YOUNG: I brought a few papers over when I sold out but not much and I don't know where that--I think I know where they are, I lost them for awhile, but they're over there in the warehouse somewhere.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well we would be, most pleased if you ever decided to put --------(??)

YOUNG: Well you can look at them, that's no problem, it's that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well I was thinking if you ever decided to place those in the archives in UK, as the uh, William Young collection.

YOUNG: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: It would be very, good to have, I think, historically.

YOUNG: God it'd be so damn much--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well you think about it.

YOUNG: Okay, I'll have to go through it, I don't know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, we wouldn't want to--you know, it's nothing, we wouldn't want to keep anything that you would consider sensitive or private, but I was 00:02:00just thinking in terms of your, public life, with uh, these uh, with Shakertown and Transylvania, and UK, and your work in uh, government. Uh, your correspondence and uh, things that you have would be, would be most interesting.

YOUNG: Well, we could, you could, I could, be glad to turn the files over to you, you could skim through them--


YOUNG: --and see what, what you thought.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ok, let's just plan on that then, let's plan on that.

YOUNG: God that'd be a mammoth job.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, we have, I think uh, John Sherman Cooper's papers are a thousand boxes, so--

YOUNG: A thousand boxes.

BIRDWHISTELL: About a thousand manuscript boxes.

YOUNG: Oh my.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Archivists are a crazy bunch, aren't we.


BIRDWHISTELL: Archivists are a little crazy, aren't we?

YOUNG: They really are.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laugh)-- Ok. Uh, we had talked last time about your uh, early life, your uh schooling and getting through the University of Kentucky. I just 00:03:00wanted to go back and pickup on a couple of things from UK.


BIRDWHISTELL: From what you told me last time, I guess it's fair to say that, your SAE experience was really the highlight of your UK experience, is that a fair statement?

YOUNG: Well that's, that may overstate it a bit uh, I think it was a highlight. It gave me an experience in an area that schools, that schools, great schoolwork doesn't address.


YOUNG: Uh, it was, it was with an independent organization that uh--where you h--have to learn to get along with people, to achieve certain things and the--especially when you, are given the full responsibility as head of the organization uh, even though they may be mundane it had to do with behavior of the boys and the social calendar and, all this, that, and the other. Uh, that's 00:04:00not a normal school experience, and yet it's realistic. Uh, if you assume the presidency or the chief executiveship of anything uh, you're getting into true management no matter what the purpose is. Now a lot of people would s--say that uh, fraternity uh, purpose is frivolous. Uh, interestingly, if you read uh, especially the initiation format of the fraternities, and I had an occasion when we build that house we inducted a couple of alumni that they were pledges and they had never been initiated.


YOUNG: And the national, crowd was pleased to do that, so I sat through an initiation and uh, all the language of the initiation, of the SAEs I've never heard another one, I assume they're all very similar, are very idealistic. And 00:05:00uh, what you uh, affirm to uphold, are really the highest principles of, and idealism of, of being a good citizen. And uh, I think that the uh, popular opinion of fraternities that they are out there to uh, to do mischief, or misbehave like you would on Halloween, and uh, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)-- Right.

YOUNG: Boys will be boys, but that's not the t--that, that's not the fundamental tenor of, of the fraternities as I know through the SAEs, it's all idealistic and, at fifteen, or seventeen, or twenty years of age, that has an effect on you and uh--


YOUNG: So in that respect it was a different thing, but, a lot of people oppose uh, the Greek societies uh, as does my wife, although she was a Chi Omega at the University, she uh, I think she had one experience where, as a freshman a 00:06:00roommate did not receive an invitation and it always hurt Lucie.


YOUNG: And uh, and, and that is bad but that's life.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's true, that's --------(??)

YOUNG: I'm not sure that everyone is welcome at every church, and I've learned, I've come to believe that churches are nothing more than social organizations. Uh, I hate to use the word cynical but I'd, I have examined our church, which is but I think I mentioned is the oldest, maybe the richest in town, or certainly as wealthy as any uh, I don't see where they exist for any reason except to satisfy the congregation. I don't think they do anything for anybody else. And uh, uh, and I would think that if a down and out guy, the--or a street person walked in there on Sunday morning, I think that the congregation would look 00:07:00askance at him.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah, I think you're right.

YOUNG: And I think at the Episcopal Church across the street, the same way, if you came in there with a bikini or uh, unshaven for a week, or dirty--so you might as well call a spade a spade and uh, and uh, and face life, and, there are a lot of fraternities, a lot of sororities, and I know one percent of the kids, maybe forty or fifty percent belong, but, I don't--they miss a little bit maybe [phone rings] by not belonging but it, but it's, it's, it's, it's for reasons and idea that they are not exposed to a, the fellowship and leadership you might get. Hello?

BIRDWHISTELL: Were your best friends in college--

YOUNG: So that, that, that would put--it was just an experience that I happened to recognize and I, and uh, it might have meant a little more to me since uh, I didn't uh, seek the presidency of the fraternity, it was uh, but I was delighted 00:08:00to have it. Uh, that's the wrong word too, but uh, uh, I thought it was--it would be difficult--somewhere if a person [phone rings] sorry. Were we still talking about fraternities?

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes, I was going to ask you if uh, uh, your best friends in college turned out to be your fraternity brothers.

YOUNG: Well yes and no uh. It wasn't that restricted, I wouldn't say so.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who were your best friends in college?

YOUNG: Well I have to think a lot. In the engineering --------(??) well but I reckon my best friend is, is, in high school, or as good a friend as I had was Frank Dickey, and uh, Frank, you know was--I reckon, I don't think we had a 00:09:00valedictorian but he would have been valedictorian. And I was uh, but, but we didn't move together socially. Uh, Steve Featherston who was a--attractive fellow, we went to uh--we were very close friends, we went to all the parties, this, that, and the other. And uh, I don't think I came from a real social family, but uh, I was included in parties and things that were given during the depression so--as I pointed out, I think there wasn't but one social crowd, basically of young people anyway, and--but in college uh, I had a group of friends, I don't reckon I was really very real close to anyone, that I have to think, if I have to think about it they must have not, not, not have been. In the college--

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??) of friends.

YOUNG: In the college of engineering itself, David Davis--



YOUNG: Who was a non fraternity man and a, really a non social type of boy, but he again, I was attracted to him, uh. Maybe I was good--he was a good student, and uh, we didn't do anything particularly together but we, were friends, but at the University of Kentucky, the beauty of that is you knew so many people from high school, and uh, uh--but I reckon my fraternity brothers, I had more of a, reason to, to buddy around with. I was trying to think, I don't think I had any--one my y--childhood friends was uh, Albert Moffett and Albert went KA, so I didn't see him too much, and Steve went Delt [Delta] and I saw less of him than I did in high school. And uh, uh, I reckon you do have a tendency to gravitate 00:11:00but, but I was active on the campus, and I, I belonged to several organizations and--but I don't think my friends were limited just to the SAEs, I don't have that feeling.


YOUNG: And it certainly, if, if it existed in college, it's long since, evaporated.



BIRDWHISTELL: I was thinking since we last talked on Friday about what you told me about the uh, Rhodes Scholarship.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That, that must have been a very difficult time for you because you'd worked so hard.

YOUNG: Well I didn't, I didn't aspire that deeply for Rhodes Scholar, I think it was just something that came up that was out there, it uh, uh--I didn't have any long range plan, basically, my philosophy, even when I was young was to, was to do each day's work well, and, and things sort of take care themselves, I still feel that way. And uh, uh, it was just an opportunity, and there might 00:12:00have been a little bit of an ego trip, I don't know, but uh, I think that uh, I think that I was a legitimate candidate, well I was, was a candidate, and uh, we, we talked about it in the context of Frank McVey.


YOUNG: Uh, but, but Frank McVey, he felt that even though I had an, extraordinary record in, in engineering that--he really didn't jive with the Rhodes Scholar, and uh, I always thought he was short--I've always thought he's short, his view was short. I think you can be a scholar in, in any discipline and uh, my guess is if I had been a Rhodes Scholar I'd have been a good one but I don't--at least I'd try to have been a good one.


BIRDWHISTELL: It would have been an interesting time to be in England.

YOUNG: Well it would have and uh, but he was cold as ice on it and uh, instead of encouraging me I, I th--I believe, I was the only candidate to have considered from UK, I'm not sure, I'd have to look at my scrapbook or something and--

BIRDWHISTELL: You also mentioned that uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: You also mentioned that you were uh, did some survey work for the uh, housing project downtown.

YOUNG: Well that was just a summer work, but it was responsible work, I started out as a rodman they call them, with a surveying group, but by mid-summer they give me a, crew of my own, and--but I was a responsible kid, hell I was--but, but I worked hard, shit I was there every day and I'd, had, had--

BIRDWHISTELL: I was wondering did you--

YOUNG: I was cheap labor, they paid me thirty-five dollars a week. My guess is that uh, whoever place that I was taken we'd probably have to pay him seventy-five or a hundred a week and--

BIRDWHISTELL: During the same period, the college of engineering at UK was 00:14:00involved in planning the, some of the construction on campus. Were you --------(??)

YOUNG: Well they may have been, I think, I think they planned um--have you dug that up somewhere?

BIRDWHISTELL: Well the student union, they, they worked on that, and then Lafferty Hall I believe was a design from the--

YOUNG: which one?

BIRDWHISTELL: Lafferty, which was the law school building at that time? But the student union--

YOUNG: Well they probably did the student union building, it was so poorly designed, they're bound to have done it.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)----------(??)

YOUNG: And then, then they put the drawing rooms, they built several buildings in during that time.


YOUNG: And uh, air conditioning had come in.

BIRDWHISTELL: But they didn't use them, did they.

YOUNG: So they, but they didn't have the money to air condition, so all, all the goddamn windows you couldn't open any of them.


YOUNG: They were just fixed windows, uh. I'd say that anything the college of engineering designed out there would be the worse designed on the campus.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--There was a lot of controversy about them.

YOUNG: Oh yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: A lot of controversy.


YOUNG: But really, buildings, the public buildings that were built during the depression are the fine buildings.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh yes, oh yes.

YOUNG: You take the post office on Barr Street, uh, you shine him up a little bit, it's good as it was in 1932.


YOUNG: Spindletop Hall was built in thirty-five.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: You couldn't even build it today, it's built so well, and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: But the university was short sighted. All the engineering buildings that were built out there were sorry, sorry, sorry. So--

BIRDWHISTELL: As your senior year was coming to a close, did you have mixed feelings about leaving the friendly confines of UK?

YOUNG: No, no, no.

BIRDWHISTELL: You were ready to go?

YOUNG: Oh sure, sure.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ready to go.

YOUNG: Yeah. That's probably one of the reasons I turned down a teaching fellowship at uh--


YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you wanted to get out --------(??)

YOUNG: Change is good, I don't uh, I take a dim view of virtually all postgraduate work unless it's related directly to a profession. Everybody is in 00:16:00love with these business schools. I don't know what they teach. Somebody out there, one of them, I don't know whether it's the current dean or something, I had dinner with him last year, they were talking about, initiating a school for entrepreneurship. Uh, that's pure bullshit, you cannot teach entrepreneurship.

BIRDWHISTELL: You either have it or you don't, right?

YOUNG: That's right and those guys that'd be teaching, they would be the last people in the world would ever understand it. So--but I think you learn more in six months uh, out in the world, out of school than you ever get in two or three years of uh--all that is, is a bunch of eco--economic courses.

BIRDWHISTELL: Economic, right. You know a lot of people meet their uh, wives in college, but they generally marry them, soon after college.


YOUNG: Well that's a big mistake. It just inhibits you. Your twenties are your most, your most formative years as far as--the future person you would be, I think--comes from the twenties, rather than any other period. All the periods, but I think you do things in the twenties that you never do again. I'm not talking about wild things, that's, that's included too. But um, but if you got a wife, in, in most times you have a baby, goddamn that's just, just tough. I married when I was twenty-seven, no ideal age, but at least I had seven interesting years that I could never had as a married person.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, that's right.

YOUNG: Never had any--you never have a chance to do it again, ever.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. That's right.

YOUNG: And uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: Let me ask you, Mr. Young, as a--the commencement part of your college experience, the actual graduation ceremony, you just spoke at the Transylvania commencement last week.


BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, was commencement a, a big deal for you as a--undergraduate?

YOUNG: Oh no, it's just, it's just a bore, just like a Sunday sermon.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Was--

YOUNG: I got up, I got up at Transylvania and said eighteen words. And I got a standing ovation. And then, by pre-arrangement with the president I sat down and I didn't know what would happen next but I--the deal was he'd call on me to make a few more remarks. Well I spoke for thirty more minutes and uh--I think I had their attention, but at the end of thirty minutes I got--just an ordinary applause.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--

YOUNG: And if I had to do it again, I would sit, I would sit down and stay down.

BIRDWHISTELL: Stay down. Who was your commencement speaker?

YOUNG: I have no idea, nor does anybody else.


BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--I should have looked it up before I came.

YOUNG: Well they are the most inane of all speeches. I told the boys and girls at Transylvania that last weekend twenty-five thousand people were preparing a commencement spee--speech, all to be effective, uplifting and memorable, and original.


YOUNG: And the only speech I'd ever recalled reading about, was the one that Churchill gave that did--and I just gave, paraphrased the same thing. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's good. I guess your parents were proud that you were a college graduate.

YOUNG: Well I think they were. I don't think it made a r--made or broke their, their, their lives, but, as I say, they never insisted on college. We never discussed it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did your parents uh, live to see your success? I don't know--

YOUNG: Well my father died about 1960, he, he saw me a--the business had sold 00:20:00out, yes they both saw it, yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So that's good, that's good.

YOUNG: They were always proud of me, I gave them no problem, I was a non problem--child growing up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did your brother follow you to UK?

YOUNG: Yes, he was about three or four years behind, he was interrupted, he came back on the GI bill.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he would have gone to the service, right, right. Um--

YOUNG: But he never liked school, and he never really applied himself.

BIRDWHISTELL: You turned down a, a position as a commissioned officer coming out of college.

YOUNG: Yes, that's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: You told me that story and your friend took it and--

YOUNG: It, Albert Moffitt, my childhood friend and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Didn't make it back.

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um. I wanted, we talked some about the Bailey Meter Company work that you did prior to going into the service.

YOUNG: Well it was typical of the--I presume it's the same today--it'd be 00:21:00technology is different but uh, the Bailey Meter Company hired twenty engineers in 1939. And we were, we were sort of the pick of the--various colleges, maybe not the top pick, but uh, they were looking for the best students, really.


YOUNG: Uh, I think if a guy is gone to--go to college and expect to get a job when he gets out, the best thing he can possibly do for himself is make good grades. Would you hire someone that had a D average, or a C average over someone that had a A or a B?

BIRDWHISTELL: No, if you have--all the applicants, you take the best--------(??)

YOUNG: That's right. So, the--a lot of people say "well grades don't mean anything." Uh, they mean a lot, because they indicate uh, uh--your application and motivation and so forth and so on. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's not a measure of intelligence, it's a measure of how hard 00:22:00one would work.

YOUNG: That's exactly right. It may reflect a little intelligence, but I--you, you're right on it, but it, but anyway uh, uh--you go in to learn a business and the way we, the way we did it up there we would spend a month in each department, the accounting department, the sale department, and uh, different manufacturing departments, and then when we, after we'd been there--well nearly a year, they would send us out in the field offices. They had offices in Cincinnati, in San Francisco, and, and that's where we'd be assigned and we would learn the business that way, and I don't know what--the promotion from there on, you probably go to be a, a regional manager, then you'd come back in the--factory and--or the main headquarters and so forth. But uh, most, most companies, large national companies, if you're with General Electric, no matter 00:23:00how or wherever you start in the world, if you reach the top echelon, you could be in Schenect--Schenectady and then, then finally and--in uh, in uh, Greenwich or wherever the hell their headquarters are. So--it uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: In this biographical material you handed me, it--indicates that--during the brief time you were with uh, Bailey Meter, and I assume during the war itself, you were able to save money.

YOUNG: Sure.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now y--had you always been--a person who could uh, uh, uh, come up with your own personal budget and set financial goals?

YOUNG: Oh I never set any goals, I just never did spend all I made--had.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--You just--

YOUNG: I always had a little savings account, it might not have had thirty dollars in it, or forty dollars.


YOUNG: And uh, when I was cutting grass, when I was a small boy, we'd get fifty 00:24:00cents or a dollar or something, I'd save some of it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well I mean some people--

YOUNG: I was encouraged to do that, It wasn't a big deal in the family but uh--but I knew if I have wanted something extra uh, that I had to--have funds myself, unless I could get it from my grandmother. So uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well I think some people, we were talking about people in their twenties, people--then who had been uh, as you said last time uh, no one had anything at UK to speak of.


BIRDWHISTELL: No one was necessarily uh, hungry or, or anything.


BIRDWHISTELL: But there wasn't a lot of--purchasing power.

YOUNG: Oh no.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so, here you are in your twenties, you get out you're, you get a, a good job, you're living in a--in Cleveland and then Cincinnati, and uh--some guys might have gone out and bought a, bought a car, or bought things, 00:25:00and--spent their money.

YOUNG: Well they could have uh--the only luxury I had, I'd--my grandmother a, a car when I graduated.


YOUNG: It was a Chevrolet, I think it cost nine hundred dollars, but it was a new car, and she told me all my life that if I--what was the deal? I reckon it had to do with the moral side, if I didn't drink or smoke through college, she would buy me a car, and uh--she did, and she really couldn't have afforded it, but it, it took that load off but uh--when I lived in Cincinnati and worked for the Bailey Meter Company, I traveled most of the time, so I was on a modest expense account. Well I just saved a lot of my salary and uh--I did the same thing in the Army, and when, when I went to go into business I had saved up five thousand dollars.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a very impressive amount.


YOUNG: That's over a--pretty long time. My father-in-law used to tell me later that uh, that made a big impression on him, because he loaned me the money to go into business, and I think it might have even uh, my wife's very intelligent and--she wasn't about to get married hastily or foolishly if she could help it and--I think that um--even then that wasn't a lot of money but it denoted that I had some values. I wasn't--I could just easily been five thousand dollars in debt.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's what I'm saying, you could have easily, you know, we have a per--a guy in his twenties usually goes the other way.

YOUNG: But if um, if I had a family I wouldn't have had a penny.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: I'd had nothing but debt.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: And it wouldn't have been, wouldn't have been debt as an investment.

YOUNG: Oh no, no, it'd just been debt to live.

BIRDWHISTELL: There's different kinds of debt, right?

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, a different kind of debt. But--no, and I saw that, I was 00:27:00uh, I was both impressed but not surprised--that uh--I mean that would be an indication of how you would approach your finances--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --in a responsible--way.

YOUNG: It's just axiomatic that you cannot outlive your income, no matter when almost.


YOUNG: But uh, business investment is entirely different situation.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, that's right.

YOUNG: But uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So--you were a--an engineer who was the sales serv--it's called sales service. --------(??)

YOUNG: Well we, we sold the equipment, it was metering equipment, and control equipment, I'd say mostly for power plants, industrial process control equipment.


YOUNG: And uh, we would also service that equipment that it--we would try to--we, we would sell it, we'd call on--customers, either repeat business or new business. If a new power plant was going somewhere we would--call on the engineers and architects that was working on that to see if we could--get our equipment specified, and uh--


BIRDWHISTELL: You went to, you went to Owensboro, was Dick's Dam was built.


BIRDWHISTELL: Was Dix Dam power plant built during this period?


BIRDWHISTELL: Dix Dam, down on the Dix River?

YOUNG: Well I never had anything to do with that.

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??)

YOUNG: That's a--no that's a hydroelectric, that--

BIRDWHISTELL: So that wouldn't have been a--

YOUNG: No, no, these are steam power plants.

BIRDWHISTELL: Steam powered, ok. I didn't know what the meters were measuring.

YOUNG: Well the measure of a steam flow, water flow.


YOUNG: And uh--air flow into the furnaces. You could get--if, if you, if you balance the air flow with the steam flow and the fuel flow, you get greater efficiency out of it. It was an efficiency thing. They would fire the furnaces until--these controls showed them where--especially the metering equipment. And later you had automatic control, that would, they would control all that, and uh, uh--it's not, it's not that complicated. But when I went down to Owensboro 00:29:00I think my boss, a guy name Dearborn, in Cincinnati, he was--I'm sure he never went any further than he was 'cause he was, he was, he wasn't much but he uh--in my opinion, but what he had done to get, to get the job down there, he'd made a deal with a plumber, a plumbing equipment company to, to install a lot of this stuff. And uh, he talked them into submitting a very low price that they really couldn't come out on. So for him to--surmount that difficulty he just detached me and sent me down there for about three or four months. And uh--so, so I sort of--supervised with the, the installation and whatnot, but that's, that's why--that was a normally part of my duties, but that was a very interesting assignment.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you like Owensboro?

YOUNG: Well yeah, yeah, I liked it.

BIRDWHISTELL: I think it's a --------(??)

YOUNG: I liked everywhere, yeah, I didn't have any trouble at work, but--


BIRDWHISTELL: Were you on a commission for the sales, did you get more money based on what you sold?

YOUNG: Oh no, no, no just straight salary.

BIRDWHISTELL: So the incentive was just to do--

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do the best job --------(??)

YOUNG: That's right, that's right. I started out I think at a hundred and twenty-five dollars a month, and it seems like every six months they raised us about fifteen dollars a month. When I left I think I was making one hundred sixty-five dollars a year. I was there with them about two years. And then when I came back, I think they offered me three hundred or three-fifty, or something like that.

BIRDWHISTELL: And from what you said, you enjoyed it, I mean, you traveled a lot--

YOUNG: Well I enjoyed it, and I think if I had spent another year with Bailey Meter, it'd been a waste, a waste of time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now at the time you were working for Bailey Meter uh--it was--you didn't have this--concept about uh, the uh, only way to really get ahead is to 00:31:00own, not work for --------(??)

YOUNG: Well no, I, it was in the, it was in the back of my head, but it wasn't emphasized like my experience in the Army, when I--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right you were--

YOUNG: I had proof positive and then I was older, I was five years older when I came out, and that's, that's what I decided to do so. It uh, uh, no more mysterious than that. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- I was only aware of uh, of owning one's business because my father owned a very small business.

BIRDWHISTELL: We talked of that, sure.

YOUNG: And uh--whereas he worked like a dog and really never made any money, he was independent. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now he later went into insurance business?

YOUNG: Yeah, He'd always despised the uh, dry cleaning business, and--he had a lot of personality and he w--he could sell, he, he was an unusual person to have no education. He was a handsome man and uh, I never saw my father without a 00:32:00coat and tie on. I don't know where he learned that. But he was highly accepted before he died, he was really highly, as highly accepted as any man in, in respect, as any man in Lexington.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did he get in the insurance business? YOUNG: Well uh, uh, I think the dry cleaning business must have collapsed or something and uh, I, I don't, I forget the exact circumstances, but he, he was just a retail--I think he went in about the time I went in business, after the war. I think he had a hard time during the war, and uh, I reckon the--from the first insurance he ever wrote was for me. It didn't amount to anything.

BIRDWHISTELL: For your company?

YOUNG: For my company, but he uh--but he uh--he and one, one girl, a lady, they, they built it, he, he, he made a living until he died out of it. But he would sell a lot of policies.


BIRDWHISTELL: Was he an independent?

YOUNG: Yeah he was just an independent, just uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Sell different --------(??)

YOUNG: Just an agent, that's all he was. He sold casualty insurance, you know, home owner, suretyship, car insurance, stuff like that, must have been--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Wendell Ford and his family did fine in it.


BIRDWHISTELL: Wendell Ford and his family in Owensboro built a nice career out of insurance.

YOUNG: Who did?


YOUNG: Well I'm sure they did. Well the uh--Powell-Walton-Milward in town is one of the biggest--


YOUNG: --earners in town.


YOUNG: And that just started out--years ago with P. D. (??) Powell and one in Sam Walton and uh--


YOUNG: Built the business.

BIRDWHISTELL: So there were a lot of people during that--time period getting--starting out as independent.

YOUNG: That's right, that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Insuring some people.

YOUNG: That, that was just an ordinary business that--every town has.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah, that's interesting, that's interesting.

YOUNG: But a person can go into our--they could go into the--insurance business today. See most opportunity for young men is going to be in the mundane businesses. It's not all going to be high tech. High tech is dragging the 00:34:00economy upward and onward, but damn few people are going few people are going to participate in it--minuscule. You're still going to have to have the grocery, you're going to have the insurance agent, whatever, you're going to have people running the libraries, the university. But the idea then to--that's what I didn't want to convey in my convention, in my--commencement address, that is still a mundane world, we all take in each other washing. But you can do well doing that, you don't have to have an innovative or--a idea--to prosper. You simply do a better job than the next guy. I would say that a person could start a peanut butter business today as easily as they could have sixty years ago, what the hell is the difference?

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to ask you that.


YOUNG: Well there was no, there was no built-up demand for peanut butter. Every grocery in America had peanut butter all over the shelves, and every pantry in America, that's what I told the boys and girls whether they caught on or not, every pantry in America had a jar of peanut butter in it. Nobody was looking for another brand of peanut butter. And I just went out and worked my ass off and got a little bit going and stayed with it, stayed with it, I never gave up. And I built a little business that somebody else wanted to buy. See, the Procter and Gamble wanted to go into business, they didn't need me, they bought me to--because they gave them a head start. I figure it saved them a couple of years in going in by buying me out. But when, when I went in business, Skippy peanut butter was the national brand. Uh, Peter Pan was a national brand, Beechnut was a national brand.

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know that brand, Beechnut, yeah.


YOUNG: Well it's gone, Beechnut. Uh, I don't know whether Heinz made a peanut butter or not, but--Planters did, and every chain store had his own peanut butter, there was Kroger peanut butter, there was A & P pean--A and P they call it, peanut butter. I would do that in my twenties if in my thirties I would've looked at it twice, that it was just--too tough to do.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting.

YOUNG: But every business you see out here today, there's room for another guy if you, if you want to do it. If you want to go in the warehouse business, all you got to do is go buy--build a warehouse, or buy one.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it like, is it like the restaurant business, where--there are more restaurants in Lexington than uh--

YOUNG: Well the restaurant business uh, is a good example, everybody goes in 00:37:00the restaurant business, it's the worse goddamn business you can possibly get in, in my opinion. The worse of all, because everybody thinks they can cook --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- or they know what service is. And they don't have the character or the stake to stick-to-it-ivness or the--will to, to make it succeed. But you could go out here and start a restaurant today, and if you really--apply yourself you can make a success out of it. Look at Merrick Inn over here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right.

[End Tape 1, Side 1]

[Begin Tape 1, Side 2]

BIRDWHISTELL: It's funny you should mention Merrick Inn, yesterday, in the conversation you were talking about this development at New Circle and Alumni, and somebody said "you'd think somebody is thinking of putting a restaurant in there but it doesn't seem to be very good location." And I was thinking, well it's--the corner of two major roads, and then I s--I asked the person I said "well, how important is location? Merrick Inn, nobody can see it from 00:38:00anywhere."--(laughs)--And you, you can hardly get a reservation.

YOUNG: Well, Merrick Inn is a good location, it uh, it's in the right end of town, it's convenient to a lot of people that eat out, and uh--but their secret is simply is that uh, if you build a better mousetrap, you know they'll a path to your door. They had good food, consistently uh, and Libby and, I forget her husband's name, Libby Murray and, I forgot, he is dead, but he could handle the back end if she handled his front end, and uh, Libby, she is a widow now, he died and uh, uh--there's nothing extraordinary about the Merrick Inn, they consistently have good food and it's not dirt cheap either.


YOUNG: And uh, it's a nice atmosphere, it's a little noisy but it's, it's a, 00:39:00it's a cozy atmosphere, you don't have a, you don't feel like you're in a fast food restaurant or anything like that, and uh, that's people like, and they've built up a, build up a clientele. We used to eat there all the time, and even if I bring food in I'll go over there and get it. So--but I'd say there is more for it--I'd say that ninety-nine percent of all restaurants fail. And the tough part about it--I think more money is lost in that simple business than any I know. When you fail, your assets are worth nothing. I compare it with the horse business. The beauty of the horse business--if I decide to go out of the horse business, I can sell every horse at fair market value. I just go to Keeneland and put them in the sale. If you're in the restaurant business you can't sell the goddamn dishes. You can't sell anything.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Try to tell, try to tell, sell--------(??)

YOUNG: The kitchen equipment it's all over you can't sell it, you have nothing. 00:40:00It's a sorry business.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--

YOUNG: On top of that you work when everybody, when you, when--you work the very hours you don't want to work.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--That's right.

YOUNG: Unless you're willing to do that, you don't have a chance.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, that's right. My in-laws --------(??)

YOUNG: So Libby works over there every night from five 'till about ten--


YOUNG: And then her husband worked all morning to get it ready, and they only serve dinner, you know.



BIRDWHISTELL: Interesting, interesting. Um. I want to move on to--back to your military experience. We, we touched upon that last time, in uh, April of 1941, you decide, you, you go ahead and join--the service.

YOUNG: Well, they gave me a chance to change--obviously the war was on then. The war started in thirty-nine.


YOUNG: And uh--most of us that had a chance to, to--transfer to another branch, 00:41:00it was a step upward. All you can do in the infantry is just fight the trenches. And uh, I was prepared to that, the same as everyone else that had a commission, but they suggested that I--they needed us in, in ordnance and other places, and I picked ordnance. I reckon with a quid pro quo was that they immediately called us up. So if April was the time I made the choice, they called me up in May.


YOUNG: And I went to work--went, we went to war immediately. If I had stayed in, if I, I--it'd been another year before I had gone in as an infantry--before I had been called up.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right. Almost exactly, probably --------(??)

YOUNG: So uh, that was a quid pro quo that turned out to be fortuitous. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: It was --------(??)----. Did you know how smart a move it was at the time?


BIRDWHISTELL: Did you realize how, how--what a good decision you were making at the time?

YOUNG: Well no, I knew anything was better than infantry. I didn't know really 00:42:00what I was getting into, uh. But even in ordnance I could have been put in, I could have been shipped overseas, because the ordnance--they procure the war material, materiel they called it, and they also maintained it in the field. So there was what they call field ordnance, which is right in the front line, or they were back behind the front line. What they did, they repaired all the tanks and guns and kept everything going.


YOUNG: And the other, why we designed and purchased it. And I was assigned to the industrial division.


YOUNG: I don't, I'm not sure I had a choice on that but I'd, I just went where they told me to go.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had been out working for a couple of years--you'd--making good money uh--

YOUNG: Oh I was making a--big enough to live on, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, and saving some money. Did the--move into the service, I assume that cut your income, had cut your--

YOUNG: Well not much, I was an officer. I think I made, no, I might have 00:43:00gotten an increase.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

YOUNG: I didn't think any more, I was making a hundred sixty-five dollars a month--when I got out of the Army as a captain, I think I made about three-eighty-five, something like that.


YOUNG: But was four or five years later.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, and you had a lot of uh, things taken care of in the service.

YOUNG: Well, in the s--in--

BIRDWHISTELL: Food and lodging anyway, right?

YOUNG: I don't think I had any living allow--we had to live out on our own.


YOUNG: We lived on our own, we l--we were in the cities.


YOUNG: I don't believe we had a living allowance.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were not --------(??).

YOUNG: It's funny I don't re--recall, I don't think we did.

BIRDWHISTELL: Interesting.

YOUNG: But I lived with four or five other officers and uh--in an apartment or something.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um. So when you went in, in the spring of forty-one, you were, you were fairly certain that the war, the declaration of war, couldn't be far off.

YOUNG: Well it was eminent; there is no question about it.



YOUNG: And it came on December 7 or 8.

BIRDWHISTELL: So I'm sure you've been asked before but I'll ask you, since is your life story, where were you when you heard the news?

YOUNG: On December the Seventh I was in Cincinnati, and I--it was a Sunday, of course.


YOUNG: And I c--I played golf that day with some friends, I forgo--I can think of the country club, but somebody--we must have been a guest or something. Because we came in at about five o'clock, that's when the um--see they struck down over there. And that's when with, it was the last golf game I played until after the war.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?--(laughs)--So--what--

YOUNG: Yeah, I was with some Lexington boys, they were, they were three of, there were three or four of us from Lexington, we all lived together in Cincinnati and one was in Na--two of them were in Naval Intelligence, they were lawyers. I don't know how they'd got called up and I was in the--Cincinnati 00:45:00ordnance district. But the war came pretty quickly, I went in May twenty-six, the war was declared and--I reckon it was declared on December eight, the day after Pearl Harbor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. So you're coming back in the club house and somebody told you the news.

YOUNG: Yeah, we were coming in about five o'clock and--

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you think?

YOUNG: Well you--nothing, particularly, we uh, we were surprised that the Japanese had attacked but it uh, the country was more or less anticipating it, I think.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, you weren't surprised.

YOUNG: We weren't that surprised.

BIRDWHISTELL: When you were at war, you were just --------(??).

YOUNG: Well I was surprised that uh--well everybody was surprised the Japanese would, would attack, it was such a stupid thing to do. They signed their death warrant the day they dropped the first bomb on--they didn't have a chance.

BIRDWHISTELL: Had you given any--thought to the war in Europe and what the rise of the Nazi --------(??).


YOUNG: No, I wasn't caught up with that idealism and the, the--I don't think I w--I don't think that anybody was really aware, of the persecution of the Jews and so forth. Uh--we were all anti-Hitler, and would--the Battle of Britain was in 1940. I had one friend that died in the Battle of Britain.


YOUNG: P. N. De Haven, he went to Henry Clay with us, he went to Canada, he got so worked up he went to Canada and uh, enlisted. And he was shipped to uh--he was in the air force, he was shot down in uh, in the, in the Battle of Britain. So, we were all aware as that but at age twenty--two or three or four, you uh--it's mostly excitement.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Well the reason I asked those questions, Mr. Young is because I think it's important for people who look back in history understand 00:47:00the context, you know, that uh-- not everybody in the country was uh--you know following every, every incident in Europe, day by day, just like you would watch the History Channel now--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --people were living their lives, there was a--thing --------(??).

YOUNG: Well there was a feeling that, you know, that's--there was a feeling that we were all going into service, sooner or later.


YOUNG: And that's the reason I changed services and uh, uh, I don't know of anybody that resigned their commissions, if we had resigned our commissions then we would have been subject to the draft.


YOUNG: And I don't know when the draft was instituted; you know what uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know the date on that.

YOUNG: I believe it was before I went in, but I'm not sure.

BIRDWHISTELL: I should know that, but I don't. Uh--

YOUNG: I don't know either.

BIRDWHISTELL: So where did you go to basic, did you go to basic training then, as a commissioned officer or --------(??).

YOUNG: No, I was a commissioned officer, we uh, we'd, we got all of that at the 00:48:00University of Kentucky plus one summer at Fort, at Fort Knox.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you missed, you got to miss all of that uh--most people going into the service during World War II were--

YOUNG: Well, they were drafted.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were immediately sent off to some --------(??).

YOUNG: I was already ahead four years of military training.


YOUNG: So called.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.--(laughs)--.

YOUNG: But I was an officer.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So you didn't have to fool with --------(??).

YOUNG: I didn't have to go to any basic training. I had already been to basic training.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So you go right in to your assignment.

YOUNG: That's right.


YOUNG: If I had stayed in the infantry, I probably would have gone to Fort Benning. But it wouldn't have been in basic training, I'd gone as an officer.


YOUNG: I'd have to train the other guys.


YOUNG: Even though I didn't know that much about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So help me with this time line then. You, you entered the service in the spring of forty-one.

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: And where do you go? Where do you go from there?

YOUNG: They assigned me to the Cincinnati Ordnance District, I just stayed in Cincinnati.

BIRDWHISTELL: You just worked there in Cincinnati, until--right until you were live--living.


YOUNG: No, I just put a uniform on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Didn't have to move.

YOUNG: No, no.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ok. Was it hard uh--was it difficult to make the adjustment to that kind of work from what you had been doing?

YOUNG: Oh no, oh no. You just see, you just worked like, like anything else, there wasn't any--you had no physical, you had to, you had to be able to read and write and, and think, there again, I used--my education --------(??) I could handle anything anybody else could my age.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So give me an example of--like the first few months you're on the job, as an ordnance officer, in Cincinnati.

YOUNG: Well they were broken up to the inspection group and they would inspect the output of these contracts, then there was a, there was a contract negotiation group. They had a bunch of used car salesmen in there, I think. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- It basically was a military organization set up in peace time--with various ordnance district. This country was not nearly as 00:50:00unprepared for war as you might guess. Between the two wars the ordnance districts were set up, as I say, in all the major cities; there may have been twenty of them. They had one in Atlanta, they had one in Boston, one in New York, Detroit, and so forth. And uh, they had advanced plans there. Their function between the war was that if war ever--were ever called on, that, that was, there were peopled by regular Army officers.


YOUNG: And their employees were civilians. There were no non commissioned officers or men involved, and uh--they had planned, they simply expended. When I went in the Cincinnati ordnance district, uh, the time I went in, there were a hundred officers, roughly--I think that's fairly correct. That was in late May 00:51:001941. The colonel in charge there, he had been there some yea--some year--now the uh, the civilian, the head of the Cincinnati ordnance district was a civilian, he was called the district head, and a guy named Harvey Knowles, K, n, o, w, l, e, s, he was a probably, he was a, he was the senior vice-president of Procter and Gamble in charge of manufacturing. He was a civilian head but it was run by, by colonel, by Colonel McMann, who was a permanent Army officer, he had been in the Army twenty-five years. And then he had officers and they, they s--we started coming in, and then to do the all the desk work they hired civilian workers.


YOUNG: And they were--we basically headed up all the, all the departments.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were in management in that set.

YOUNG: I was in management almost from the beginning, and the Cincinnati 00:52:00ordnance district expanded from a hundred officers to five thousand employees.


YOUNG: And we worked with all the companies in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia, converting them from civilian production to military production. For instance in National Cash Register Company went from making cash registers in Dayton--they made a fuse part, make fuses for shell, complicated things.

BIRDWHISTELL: How was it decided what company would transform into what?

YOUNG: Well that had been studied before the war and, for instance the Bower Brothers Company up in Springfield, Ohio, they made a hundred and fif--hundred and five millimeter shells, and uh, in Louisville we made, made some thirty-seven millimeter shells and fuses, and it depends upon the ability of the company. The National Cash Register was a very sophisticated mechanical 00:53:00manufacturer. Pres--pre-war all the cash registers were mechanical devices, they weren't electronic devices. So they could make a fuse, or they could make this, that, and any other that uh, that was, it was designed and--a lot of that uh, was a question of just letting contracts when the war broke. So this country was not completely un--unprepared for war.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now what level--at what level was the compensation rate to the National Cash Register negotiated. Who, who in your --------(??).

YOUNG: Well they, they submitted bids and we, we negotiated with them. If we were buying a 37 millimeter shell, and to the area I was in the--we finally called it price analysis, I really wasn't in di--direct contract negotiation. Uh, I was really behind the negotiator, I was supposed to know more than the negotiator.



YOUNG: And uh, if he was going to--make a contract with National Cash Register Company, I would investigate the cost and prices that the United States paid all over the country for this--particular item, and then the, the negotiator would be armed with that information that, that a 37 millimeter fuse in Detroit uh, cost two dollars and seventy-eight cents, or seventeen dollars. And if the National Cash came in, it's--thirty percent higher than that they'd, they'd, they'd negotiated them down, and they did--until they signed a contract, and then later in the war we got in to what they called contract re-pricing and contract re-negotiation. At the end of the war--during the war, they, during the war they passed a, a statute in congress calling for contract re-negotiation 00:55:00as we learned what their cost were, and see uh--I was privy to all the cost that Cash Reg--the, the National Cash Register Company was so good, so sophisticated, they made a big impression on me. Goddamn they knew the cost of everything down to a b--gnat's ass and uh, uh, uh, uh--based on this--our experience, and then as they got experience the cost came down and we'd use their experience in th--at National Cash, if they were the low cost producer, to help the guy in Detroit, maybe one of the automobile companies lower their cost. So that effort continued all during the war. And finally there was a re-negotiation contract where if we got a fellow to g--to lower his cost, we would lower the price. And 00:56:00uh, we finally had a section that, I had it, they called it re-pricing.


YOUNG: Which was a form of re-negotiation. And I had--got so much experience in that, then when I went to Philadelphia I did the same thing, and then they called me to Washington for a year, and then I visited, visited every district, taking what I had learned to, to improve the efficiency and I'd go to San Francisco, I'd stay a month, and I'd work with their section there to show what we had done elsewhere in the country.

BIRDWHISTELL: You would work with this section in San Francisco to show them how to work with different industries?

YOUNG: Well I, I showed what we had done in Cincinnati to lower production cost.

BIRDWHISTELL: To lower costs.

YOUNG: And uh, and I made a lot of friends, uh. It was a very interesting assignment.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh I bet, I bet.

YOUNG: And then I, that was for about a year and then I went to--at the tail end of the war, after VE day, I went back to uh, Philadelphia, got married went 00:57:00back to Philadelphia, then I was discharged there in--after VJ day, in December.

BIRDWHISTELL: What made you so good at this type of work?

YOUNG: Nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: You must be better than some of the other people.

YOUNG: Well, I worked hard, uh. I don't know how to say those things that uh--it was just like uh, just like I made uh, made an A in uh, in mechanics in the university, I, I just worked, or thermodynamics, whatever I took uh. I always had confidence, I could handle it mathematically or any other way, That I, I, that --

BIRDWHISTELL: You could do the math and you--

YOUNG: --I was well educated.

BIRDWHISTELL: You could do the math, you knew the mechanics basics.

YOUNG: Well sure.

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??).

YOUNG: Well Yeah, I knew how--

BIRDWHISTELL: How to sell.

YOUNG: I knew how to deal with people, I had had some management experience. But they gave us responsibility at age 23 or 25 we wouldn't get until I was 60 00:58:00or 50.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right.

YOUNG: And uh, I think I told you the experience uh, I went d--I was in Philadelphia I took the train one day down to, down to Wilmington and negotiated--why I had already negotiated, went down to visit the uh, the treasurer of Du Pont and he was a--sixty year old man and I was twenty-four or five, and we negotiated fifteen million out of the contract. He gave me a check, wrote me a check for fifteen million dollars to US Army, and I put it in my wallet like if--like I did that every day.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Like it was your laundry stub--(laughs)-- .

YOUNG: Yeah, well that's just got to be an apocryphal--that's a true story.

BIRDWHISTELL: True story. And that's a lot of money then, it's a lot of money now--

YOUNG: Well sure it is! But--

BIRDWHISTELL: --but it was a heck of a lot of money then.

YOUNG: But, but no senior--I went down there as a captain, I didn't go down there as a general or anything.



YOUNG: And after the war I ne--I negotiated with the heads of a lot of companies, American Car and Foundry Company, they were the biggest manufacturers of railroad cars. And they made tanks and God knows what else they made, armored carriers, this, that and the other, and I used to work--in the conference room where I would be the representative from Philadelphia with Mr. Hardy who was chairman of the company, and Mr. Williams who was a sales manager, and uh, I think I handled myself well, I think I had utter, I had complete respect for the people I was dealing with, I wasn't a shitass or arrogant about the thing, and when the war was over Mr. Hardy wanted me to come with American Car and Foundry.


YOUNG: He offered me fifty-four hundred dollars a year to move to New York and I would have worked for Mr. Williams who was the sales manager.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did they want you to do? --------(??).

YOUNG: Well I would have been in sales--sales and negotiation, I suppose.


BIRDWHISTELL: You made an impression.

YOUNG: But I, that was out, they offered me fifty-four hundred dollars a year, I turned that down to go into the peanut butter business. I never worried about a job. I wasn't brilliant, but I just did the work every day. [phone rings] There were other officers just as good as I. They had good people. They didn't have lousy people in those jobs. Hello? No the uh, uh, there are a lot of bright people in the world uh, uh, they'd uh, all those officers were bright, some were brighter than others and the--within the organization, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, that the, the able people just drifted to the top of jo--top jobs, you didn't get a promotion, they just put you up there, they didn't make you a--lieutenant colonel. But the highest rank I ever attained was captain. Now 01:01:00after I got out, the--I think they pr--promoted all the captains to a major, but--then I retired, by then I resigned my commission.


YOUNG: I felt I had done my due and I didn't see any sense, if I had had to going back to the Korean War, it would of destroyed my business.

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??) business.

YOUNG: And uh, so I, I, I, I bowed out--they--

BIRDWHISTELL: You had done your part.

YOUNG: They g--well they couldn't call me but a lot of the boys that went back in Korean War, they wanted to go back.


YOUNG: So after I got out, I just resigned. When I went into business I figured that some goddam--I was, I didn't want a reserve commission. Reserve commission means you're called anytime they want to, so I resigned it, so uh, uh--but there were bright people in the, in the war department, and there was some dumb ones too and they never, they never were assigned to--really 01:02:00responsible jobs, but, it was a unique thing where a, a group of Army officers really managed a large group of civilians. And even more interesting, the top job of each district was a civilian--

BIRDWHISTELL: That is interesting.

YOUNG: --but the ordnance department ran it, and they ran it out of Washington. I had a lot of contacts with the--we had a lot of phone calls and contacts with the Pentagon, on the design of this, all the design work was done up there. We were the field organization. We got the job, we got the stuff made and delivered.

BIRDWHISTELL: So many--questions that come to mind and uh, some of them are more pleasant than others, I guess one question that comes to mind, when you think about--the country coming out of the depression uh--into this war, historians have debated I guess over the years, about whether the country could 01:03:00have come out of the depression without the war, you know that the--

YOUNG: Well mine will be a curb stone opinion, I think that it would have come out, they wouldn't come out nearly as fast, they came out with a flash.

BIRDWHISTELL: But the, yeah, yeah.

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean it just--it took American industry and just--churned it, didn't it. --------(??)

YOUNG: Obviously.

BIRDWHISTELL: Passed right by. What had to be done. The other question that comes to mind is that--in this type of, of uh, environment, nationally where we're trying to retool for a war effort, as you point in National Cash, Cash Register going to making cash register to making these uh, war items--

YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --there is a lot of money, there is a lot of money being uh--back and forth.

YOUNG: It was made by the owners.

BIRDWHISTELL: What I am, my question is, were people in, in the uh, ordnance part of the--armed services, were they in the position to be bribed or, or was that it, it was, was that a problem for your operation?


YOUNG: I don't remember is being a problem.


YOUNG: I think that um--my guess is having commissioned officers in, in those positions--I don't remember a single dishonest officer. Now just feeding civilians in, and I don't mean to be derogatory, including used car salesmen and so forth uh, it could have been a problem. Uh, there might have been some bribery on an inspection thing or something, but I would, I've ha--there were never any actions taken, no court-martials or any, any other incidents like that. Remember wages were controlled and these, these uh, civilians in the ordnance department were, were uh, government employees. And they were either class one, class two, you know they had different--according to responsibility, 01:05:00but wages then--in the industry, wages were frozen. So nobody made anything. But profits weren't frozen. They tried to control them, first through price re-negotiations and I participated in that, then contract re-negotiation and then contract termination, and then there was an excess profits tax enacted.


YOUNG: But even so uh, the value of these entities, these businesses, was not taxed the values went up. They were only taxed on their earnings. It's not the earnings that make the company. When I sold out in there for two million dollars, uh, it was my take, after ten years. I had drawn a salary and that was taxed normally. The value of the company grew from nothing to new--two million and it was not taxed.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not taxed--(laughs)--

YOUNG: Or if it had been taxed, it would have only been taxed to twenty percent.


BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right. Interesting.

YOUNG: Nobody ever--I'm the only person in the world that--in, in America I've ever talked to that, that, that makes an impression on.


YOUNG: I think you pay too much tax, because you pay a tax on everything and you don't have a chance for something to appreciate.


YOUNG: Until you have saved for--until you are fifty or sixty, and then you buy something that does apprec--like your home.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, that's the only--the only thing.

YOUNG: And--but I think it's--I think the system is basically unfair.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right. Well I'm glad the --------(??).

YOUNG: But it has not affected the prosperity of America.

BIRDWHISTELL: So these--what you're saying is these industries, these companies and these different industries were appreciating off --------(??).

YOUNG: Sure, you take, you take any company that, that started in forty-one and in forty-five it was worth a hell lot more in forty-five than it was forty-one.

BIRDWHISTELL: Of course in forty-five they had to figure out what to do. They 01:07:00had to make some smart decisions in going back to peace time economy.

YOUNG: Well a idiot c--a idiot, a idiot could prosper in forty-five, the country--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Every--people needed everything, right?

YOUNG: The country didn't have anything. God they made cars as fast as they could, you couldn't buy a car.

BIRDWHISTELL: If you had a factory--

YOUNG: But there was a lot of gl--there was a lot of dishonesty and, in that stage. I went down here to Fred Bryan Motor Company. He was supposed to be a pillar of society and uh, or, or, morals and all that here--he is a Chevrolet dealer. I went down and I had bought a, a car from him during the war, so I went down to--I came back here to Lexington and talked to Mr. Bryan, he's an older man, and he asked me for money under the table to get a car.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you tell him?


BIRDWHISTELL: What did you tell him?

YOUNG: I told him to kiss my ass--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and in addition to 01:08:00that I, I, I wouldn't even mention the name he, he, if he is in heaven I don't want to go.

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. There you go.

YOUNG: I think he is a crook. But that's not what--this, this not what the, the city thought.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well I'm glad to--I mean I think that's--

YOUNG: But those things happen.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes sir. That's why I ask you about the--bribery in the--in, in the business--

YOUNG: Well it wasn't, I'm not aware of any bribery during the war.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's good.

YOUNG: Uh, there was a different feeling about--after the war there was a different feeling.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, that's right. --------(??).

YOUNG: And uh, you take cars uh--prices were controlled on cars.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: After the war. And if you, but if I want to go down here and buy an Oldsmobile from Mr. Bryan, I had to pay him three hundred dollars or something under the table, I don't see how he had the nerve to ask a kid in uniform to d--to do that.

BIRDWHISTELL: I was going to ask you if you were in your uniform when he did that.

YOUNG: Oh yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting. Interesting.

YOUNG: Those things don't work. I think that um--I think he lost enormous 01:09:00respect and uh--did with me and, and his family they never amounted to anything either, but it uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Let me change this tape.

[End Tape 1, Side 2]

[Begin Tape 2, Side 1]

YOUNG: I don't think being crooked is just being immoral, I think that's a side effect, I think it's being stupid.


YOUNG: I don't see of any way for, for, for a person to be successful, over any period of time and not be honest.

BIRDWHISTELL: Over, yeah, over the --------(??) key there is over a period of time.

YOUNG: He can't m--he can't manage dishonesty over a lifetime.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right.

YOUNG: Without incurring the disrespect of everyone, and if you have that I don't what life's worth living, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: You know a Kentuckian was involved in--this price stabilization and all of this uh--these efforts at the end of the war, Fred Vincent, did you know Fred V--



BIRDWHISTELL: Fred Vincent, who later became --------(??).

YOUNG: I never knew him, he wasn't, he, wasn't he on the Supreme Court?

BIRDWHISTELL: He later became Chief Justice.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: He was a great friend of Harry Truman.

YOUNG: I never knew him.

BIRDWHISTELL: And uh, he worked in all of these uh--government agencies during the period trying to deal with this at the, at the national level, with price stabilization--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and, and, Ed Pritchard worked for him.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: During that period.

YOUNG: Well I think um--I think Wilson Wyatt, of course he was a public work administrator, I think --------(??).

BIRDWHISTELL: He was in housing --------(??)

YOUNG: Housing, housing.


YOUNG: He was a great citizen.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. He got--(laughs)----------(??).

YOUNG: Then we had Barkley, and Barkley was just a crook.--(Birdwhistell laughs)--You know Barkley never filed an income tax in his--return in his life.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he got in big trouble.

YOUNG: I, I don't see how that happens but it always collapses. To have me, long after his death, tell you that he was a crook. How could that bring him any pleasure, so--


BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, that's right. Um, another interesting part of this--national effort to uh, to manufacture more goods, was the uh, change in women's lives, these, these, what's known now as the Rosie the Riveter.

YOUNG: Oh yeah, well everybody worked, there was a--as I told you the other day, there was a--attitude prevailing in this country that's never prevailed in any other period in my life, but there was a cohesiveness and mutual support and respect among all the citizenry. If you were in uniform, if I'd go into a restaurant uh, the civilian next to me wouldn't let me pay the check. Uh, that's just one little token. But uh, everybody worked and it, it may have given--the women a little more freedom. I'm not sure that the uh, women's effort to come out of the home is, is good for our society, I have to think in 01:12:00net it has to be bad, but uh, but I never got into that, the companies that we did business with, like National Cash, they would, they hired women right and left because the men were gone.


YOUNG: And they did the men's jobs, they demonstrated easily they could do damn near anything a man could do, and they still can. My quarrel with women rights, I think they got all the rights that, that the men have, and if they live long enough they have all the wealth in the country, it all drifts to the women. Uh, uh, I don't think it's good for a society to have--for a woman to have children and work. That's an over statement in a sense, but it's a--uh, I didn't have any troub--my wife never had to work, my mother never worked, didn't have any money but she raised her children. I never went home in my life she wasn't home. My children never came home in their lives, my, my, my wife wasn't there. 01:13:00And uh--but I think it's fine, we've got a woman out here, got place is full of professional women.


YOUNG: Uh, if they have children, their children are disadvantaged. You can't get around it. I don't think even today it takes two incomes for a family to--they just want the extra money. But they didn't do it as much in my generation. In my parents' generation they hardly did it at all. And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But certainly the war, the war --------(??).

YOUNG: But I can't change the world, but uh, uh, but if every child had a two parent family and the mother didn't work uh, the problems that we--see in the schools that worry everybody so much, which may be over stated, I think um, they wouldn't exist.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well I guess we could start with this if every child had a two parents family, that would--


YOUNG: Well that's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--I'm with you--

YOUNG: But even worse if the mother works it's impossible, impossible.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was there any concern, as you were going into this uh, war mobilization that--if industry didn't cooperate that uh, the entire industry would be nationalized for the war effort?

YOUNG: I don't remember any, any, any pointing to that uh--Truman I think, didn't he nationalize the steel companies briefly?

BIRDWHISTELL: Vincent was involved in the--

YOUNG: That was after the war.

BIRDWHISTELL: Mm, that was after the war.

YOUNG: Not during the war, there was too much patriotism.


YOUNG: The best thing that ever happen to us and the worst thing that ever happened to Japan, we had to get in the war anyway--it was Peal Harbor, it galvanized this country, absolutely galvanized it overnight. It seemed to me like that the car companies were making tanks in sixty days--thought they weren't.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, but it seemed like it.

YOUNG: Goddamn it seemed like it. And uh, I'd say every, every, every 01:15:00manufacturing company in America was patriotic and did all they should. My only point is that they made money doing it. But the money wasn't the motivation, it just came automatically.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Seems like the country is a lot like individuals in that--it does its best work when it has a--


BIRDWHISTELL: Seems like it--rises to the occasion, it does best under the greatest challenges.

YOUNG: Oh yeah, this being a free country, it--oh yeah this is a great country. That's before you had those esoteric weapons and so forth, but uh, but when they bumped the bomb--they dropped the bomb on Pearl Harbor, Christ, the Japanese empire was gone.


YOUNG: And no chance, no chance, no chance. But the productivity we had and Goddamn.


YOUNG: We armed the whole world--quickly.



YOUNG: Quickly. Just galvanized this country.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know when you were--living in Washington during the war--I've interviewed other people who, who uh, were in Washington during the war years?


BIRDWHISTELL: They thought it was a very exciting place to be.

YOUNG: Sure it was. It was exciting to be anywhere, it was exciting in Cincinnati.

BIRDWHISTELL: Philadelphia--

YOUNG: Oh yeah, shit, it was--you know--it--------(??). We used to, we used to--young people, that we used to kid that we kept the Ohio River opened and all that --------(??).

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--

YOUNG: It was exciting time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was the best time of your life?

YOUNG: Well, I'd say if I had to pick a decade it'd be my twenties, that's what I tell kids, yeah. I expect really the best period in one's life is from fifty to sixty--but it's hard to beat the twenties.

BIRDWHISTELL: I better pay attention then, it's fifty to sixty.


YOUNG: How old are you?

BIRDWHISTELL: I just turned fifty so I'm going to have to watch this.

YOUNG: Well, your next decade should be exciting.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Well, it's getting off to a good start.

YOUNG: Mm. Well--but we're so lucky to have been born in this country.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes sir, that's, that's the luck of birth, is --------(??).

YOUNG: That's a big risk you take.


YOUNG: How old were you when you married?

BIRDWHISTELL: Twenty-four.

YOUNG: Well it's not too bad.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not too bad. Uh--

YOUNG: Not too bad. But this--it's hard, it's hard to even say that there was anything good about the war. But this country you, you just had to live in that period.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right. I interviewed the--

YOUNG: I don't even know what the crime statistics were, they had to be down, you could go anywhere anytime, day and night, in New York, Greenwich Village, San Francisco anywhere, you never paid any attention to anything.

BIRDWHISTELL: I interviewed a woman who was a student at UK during the war 01:18:00years. And uh, during the interview she said "well, I shouldn't say this, and I'll probably--I feel guilty saying this, but that was the most fun I ever had."--(laughs)--

YOUNG: Oh yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And I said "well no, don't feel guilty, I mean it was your life."

YOUNG: Well that was an exciting period.


YOUNG: And uh--


YOUNG: There was a lot of sorrow, you know, a lot of the boys were killed and--their wives and sweethearts left and it, you know, that was a sad--but it was an exciting period.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did that ever--concern you uh--personally, did you ever feel any guilt about that, I mean--

YOUNG: I felt guilt about not going overseas, yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: About not going.

YOUNG: Yeah, I always felt I didn't contribute my--what I c--could--


YOUNG: See I tried to go overseas, I was a little bit late, but then I got my orders cancelled, but uh, and in the whole ------------ (??) I felt that all my life, that I contributed less--than uh, a lot of my friends. It wasn't 01:19:00deliberate, but that's the way it--the way it turned out. But they had me in the best spot, there is no question about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where you could make the greatest contribution.

YOUNG: That's right, that's right. But uh, so I have a different outlook than some guy that was--you know, landed in Normandy and went through all that hell and so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah. I mean if you're in the infantry, and you're marching across Europe or you're in New Guinea, or--I mean that's a, that was a tough.

YOUNG: Well it was, it was a di--it was a different experience and--but--

BIRDWHISTELL: You think you're uh--you know Tom Brokaw has written this book.


BIRDWHISTELL: Tom Brokaw has written this book about your generation. Do you think it's the greatest generation?

YOUNG: Yes I do, yeah, I think he's right, I don't think his book is the greatest book but I think that--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--He had the right idea in writing it.

YOUNG: He just told the same stories over and over, I couldn't read but half of it.


BIRDWHISTELL: You know the--

YOUNG: I have no way to compare the generations but uh, it was a pretty good generation, but uh, to rebuild a world, if the world has ever had a chance to go f--extended period without a war, and now is, now is at that time, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: See my generation is uh--it's such a different experience. I interviewed a Vietnam veteran few years ago and--he had, he was on his second tour of duty in Vietnam and he was talking about how different it was the second time over there. You know the first time there was a, the war was going to be over in--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Eight months, you know everything was sort of--temporary. He said he went back and--they had television, air conditioning, if he was flying missions, eight to five, had weekends off. But he said what upset him the most was that they were in the, in a bar and this tech rep was in there and they were 01:21:00drinking and this tech rep--

YOUNG: Was it--

BIRDWHISTELL: --tech rep blurted, blurted out "if this war would just last one more year, I can retire." --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Yeah --(laughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: So that's the, that's a kind of different --------(??)

YOUNG: That was a sorry episode. We had a terrible president, Johnson was--the worst--just senseless.


YOUNG: Senseless.

BIRDWHISTELL: But so different from your generation's war.

YOUNG: Oh yeah, our, our generation see, uh, see in our generation they, the enemy made, made a definitive blow. The Japanese made it easy for us to--settle the war. And uh--but Vietnam, I was on the draft board during the Vietnam War.


YOUNG: A draft board, and uh--it was a, it was a terrible period. That was 01:22:00almost an experience in itself, being on that draft board. But uh, the draft laws were so biased and, and so prejudicial to uh, the uh, minorities and poor people that uh, that's all the people we drafted were blacks and poor whites. If you were in the position that--Clinton was, or even if I'd had a kid coming along, I'd just kept him in school and--I'll say this, we drafted, we had a tough draft board, we drafted everybody. The conscientious objector, everybody who came a Baptist preacher, we drafted them all and the state would let them go, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Is that right?

YOUNG: We had, we had a tough draft board.

BIRDWHISTELL: Sounds like it. I didn't even know you were on the draft board.


YOUNG: But it was a terrible period.

BIRDWHISTELL: It was. It was.

YOUNG: I can't believe that we would wage war against Vietnam. It'd been better if we just had dropped one atom bomb on Hanoi and forgotten about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. After uh, after all your time living up East, as we say, in Philadelphia and D. C. uh, did you ever--consider--staying in that area?

YOUNG: No, not, I didn't have any ties there, I don't think the people are any different in Philadelphia than they are in Lexington, that uh--I came home because this is where I knew people--that's important to me. Uh, I have been very comfortable that I know--hundreds of people in Lexington. --(coughs)-- It 01:24:00never--if I had taken the corporate road up, stay, I stay with General Electric, I'd have gone several places and I would have wound up in Schenectady or Greenwich or somewhere, I never would have had any roots anywhere. And uh, since I had decided to work for myself I think I can do as well here as I could anywhere else, I still feel that way. On the other hand, New York is exciting if you want to go up there and live, well go ahead, but uh, the most of my friends that I have, I've had all my life, I've made new friends, but uh--but that's just a deliberate choice, everybody can make that choice, you don't have to uh, you don't have to follow this path or that path.

BIRDWHISTELL: How did you uh, how were you able to maintain contact with--the future Mrs. Young during the war, where was she?


YOUNG: Oh well, we weren't that close. She didn't have anything to do with me, I was--just a, just a, distant suitor. When I graduated, she went to UK for a year and then she got homesick, she was very young, and went home and didn't come back. She went to school in New York later.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh so she left UK --------(??)

YOUNG: Oh yeah, why I'd, I just--barely knew her, I didn't meet here until the--February of, then she left in June, and uh, I never saw her again for four or five years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where did you next see her?

YOUNG: When I graduated uh, I was always infatuated with her, I called her mother down in--South Georgia, found out where she was and she was in New York.


YOUNG: Yeah, she was working at the uh, world fair in the Georgia exhibit. --(Birdwhistell laughs)-- And, and she had been going to design school in New York, so I called her and then when um, I went--left for Cleveland, to take my job in June, I went to New York and--we had a few dates and I came to Cleveland 01:26:00and there w--during the war, we corresponded a little bit.

BIRDWHISTELL: Interesting.

YOUNG: And finally married.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now what prompted you to call her mother to find out where she was?

YOUNG: Well I just never give up.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--

YOUNG: Where else would I call?

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--I know, I'm impressed though, I'm impressed Mr. Young, that you would uh--that's good. She had the information, right?

YOUNG: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, she had her phone number so I called her.

BIRDWHISTELL: So what did uh--

YOUNG: I told her that I was going to come through New York, and--I had some relatives there, I was going to come through New York then go to Cleveland and I asked her, you know, if I could--have a date or two, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Was she--I mean she agreed?

YOUNG: Yeah she agreed.

BIRDWHISTELL: She remembered you?

YOUNG: Yeah, well yeah. She was a very popular girl, she was very pretty girl--so. Very young and--she was a straight A student.


BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah. So when you went up to New York--

YOUNG: I just don't think it was any quality like perseverance and um--it overcomes a lot of stupidity, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: So uh, she didn't think it was odd that you were going to Cleveland via New York.

YOUNG: Oh no.

BIRDWHISTELL: Make up --------(??)

YOUNG: Oh no, no, she probably knew I was coming up there to see her, but, but anyway I had a couple of weeks so I--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So that went pretty well, you all--

YOUNG: Well yeah, oh yeah we --------(??) nothing spectacular but--

BIRDWHISTELL: So then you kept in touch during the war?

YOUNG: Well yeah, and then--I keep telling her some of her other suitors didn't make it back and--so we lived together s--fifty-five years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Fifty-five years.

YOUNG: Fifty-five years.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's wonderful. So, but you--if, if I understood you to say you got--you were married actually before you left the service.

YOUNG: Yeah I was married in uh--April of, April the sixteenth, nineteen 01:28:00forty-five, I think it was right after VE day. So the war was winding down.

BIRDWHISTELL: So obviously, as the war was winding down you were in more--close contact with --------(??)

YOUNG: That's right we--I lived in Philadelphia, we, we--I was living with some boys in an apartment, I made them move out and--so we had the apartment, so that's what--

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. So you, you uh, you proposed.

YOUNG: Yeah, oh yeah, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it a formal proposal?

YOUNG: Well, not really, I'd--

BIRDWHISTELL: If you don't mind me asking.

YOUNG: I keep saying I asked her, we were out in San Francisco when I was assigned to San Francisco uh--this late in the war with, you know the--out of Washington. I think she came out and stayed a week or something, and uh, I think I asked her to marry me out there, but uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did she ask you what your prospects were for the future?

YOUNG: I don't, I don't think, we never discussed that, but she didn't say yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh she didn't.

YOUNG: No she didn't say yes until I got my orders to go to Paris--that was in 01:29:00the s--just bef--a few months before we married.


YOUNG: Then I think she's decided, she, you know, that I was--


YOUNG: --might slip away or something.

BIRDWHISTELL: --grab this guy --(laughs)--.

YOUNG: But we married.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's great. That's great. So then you lived in Philadelphia for awhile.

YOUNG: Yeah we lived in Philadelphia from--April, well we came back to Philadelphia, we didn't take a honeymoon, right--Georgia through April of sixteen, we headed for Philadelphia and I was, I was there until December the tenth.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were you married in Georgia? At her home?

YOUNG: Yes, at her home, yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Actually the wedding actually took place in her home?

YOUNG: In her home yeah. Her dad gave us--he said if we'd forget a wedding he'd give us a thousand dollars, so that's, that's what we, that's what we set up housekeeping with.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--Huh. That wasn't a hard decision for you, was it?

YOUNG: No, no, no, we just had a simple wedding right there in her house, 01:30:00so--that's about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did--who was your best man?

YOUNG: I don't know whether my father might have been--my father probably was my best man, then Walter Griffin, he was my friend in the ordnance department, he came down, he was close to being the first--my best man. But Walter is a lawyer and he uh--just a year younger than I, or two, he went to Williams' school, but that was a close friend I made in Philadelphia, he was in the legal department of the ordnance department. And we're still friends, I don't see him very often but we'll visit sometimes. And uh, Walter came down, I believe that's all that came down besides my family. My brother was overseas, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now did Mr. Maddox take you aside and have a talk with you about your prospects?

YOUNG: No, no, no, no. None of that happened, that's all in books.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--That's all in--B movies, right?


YOUNG: Yeah, my father never gave--my father never talked to me about anything and I never talked to my son about anything.

BIRDWHISTELL: But I was just uh, uh--but you got along well with her family, right?

YOUNG: Oh yeah, very much so. Her mother, I've always said that if we got a divorce, her mother would side with me.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--She'd take you in the settlement. Uh--

YOUNG: One thing you got to learn early in life, if you don't get along with people, you just handicap the hell out of you--almost make it impossible.


YOUNG: This is a social world we are in.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And you're miserable to boot.

YOUNG: Yeah, that's right. I get along I think--always have, I get along with people. It doesn't mean I love them or like them even, but I get along with them. So--

BIRDWHISTELL: So, you all set up, as they say, set up housekeeping in Philadelphia.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Living in an apartment --------(??)

YOUNG: Just an apartment, that's right.


BIRDWHISTELL: Near, near downtown? Or--

YOUNG: Yeah it was pretty close, I w--I took the train in every morning, you know, you go out, I got off at--first or second station, it wasn't very far out.

BIRDWHISTELL: Philadelphia is --------(??)

YOUNG: It was in Germantown, if you know Philadelphia.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, yeah, it's a great city.

YOUNG: And our headquarters were right downtown, in fir--for something to do she took a secretarial course or something that--kept her busy and, and as the war wound down I got out--in a timely matter.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now you--in the material you gave me it says that uh, uh--your--the people you worked with, the officers you worked with, helped you get out sooner-----(??)

YOUNG: Well they all got out, and somehow I got on their coat tails, but I was in a, I was in the wrong branch and I was in the--I had the wrong experience at that time, because I had been--I was trained in those contracts, I was the one 01:33:00to wind them down.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you --(laughs)-- they made you --------(??)

YOUNG: Not--and they, they could have used me, but somehow I got out and I did, I'd have been in another couple of years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Mm-hm. So did you ask them to get out or they just do it for you?

YOUNG: Oh no, well I just--hell no I asked all of the t--I to--I want to get out, and--they want to get out.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, you had a life to live, didn't you, you --------(??).

YOUNG: But I didn't have enough rank to do anything, I was just a captain, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: So they, they helped you. Yeah. Now, when you and, and Mrs. Young are--having dinner there in Philadelphia and you're--trying to think about the rest of your life, right, you're young, the war is ending, you're going to make some crucial decisions here, how do you go about making those decisions? Where you're going to live --------(??).

YOUNG: Well I wanted to go into business, and uh, I expressed of course in the family, and uh--her father as--this fortuitous he was a small businessman 01:34:00and--his thought was that uh, if he could encourage me to go into business down there, then he'd have his daughter, and family there. So he--since he was in the peanut business, he suggested I look in the manufacture of peanut butter. I could have made it there and, or anywhere. But I determined that I was better off making it--up in the central part of the country where people used it. And I was right. Plus the fact that--living in Blakely, Georgia was very unappealing, it was smaller than Versailles. And--

BIRDWHISTELL: Where is Blakely?


BIRDWHISTELL: Where is it?

YOUNG: It's half way between Auburn and Georgia, and Dothan, Alabama.


YOUNG: Just above the Florida line, and so we, we did it up here, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now when Mr. Maddox took you aside and said "I got one word for you, or two words, peanut butter." What --(laughs)--.


YOUNG: Well I didn't know anything about it, how it was made or what it was. I liked it as a kid, but I wasn't choosy. I would have gone into any kind of business. But that was uh, line of least resistance, in--at that time and uh, it was appealing in this sense, it was a business that had a, had a--it had no frontiers. See, I could--depending on ability, it wasn't a local business. And that, in that respect it was much more difficult. But it did have a chance of--spreading out, and uh, my immediate sales area was--oh twenty markets all around the mid United States, you sell a little bit here, a little bit there and--

BIRDWHISTELL: See that, that's what impresses me about the plan that you come up with. That is not like starting a, a, a business locally, you know what you might think--your first business, you would grow a business locally, right? But 01:36:00you started a, you started a business that had regional implications--

YOUNG: Well if I went in the peanut butter business it--that was a regional consideration, at least, and uh, uh--but if that hadn't had that--opportunity, I'd, I'd have picked some other business. It may have been strictly local. If I'd picked the warehouse business at that time--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that would have--

YOUNG: It would have been limited, unless I had expanded to warehousing in Columbus, or Saint Louis, which I could have.


YOUNG: But at that time I wasn't looking for--expansion like that.


YOUNG: But uh, there's nothing exotic about any business I have been in, they're all just mundane businesses that serve society.

BIRDWHISTELL: But, but, here again, we've--not to, not to belabor it but, your five years in the service where you worked with these corporations and these companies--in industry, I mean you, you knew how these worked, now basically --------(??)


YOUNG: Well more or less, more, more or less.


YOUNG: I think you learn, I think it's all on job training.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh I mean you had lots to learn, but--

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --you, you had a grasp of, of how things were distributed, how things were, were manufactured.

YOUNG: Well more or less, that's right, more or less. But uh, it uh--there again I was in my twenties, I didn't know how difficult it would be, and I was willing to try it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That--what's that saying?

YOUNG: You get older, and then you got a couple of babies, and this that and the other you don't do those things.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's like, what's that saying? If I had known how hard it was going to be I probably wouldn't have started, right? --(laughs)--.

YOUNG: That's right, that's right, that's right, that's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were--

YOUNG: Well I had nothing to lose, see? Even if I'd gone broke, or had failed at it, I always think I'd simply treated as another experience and gone on. But that would have been a big delay then--there's nothing good about a failure.



YOUNG: You always say you would--the most you can salvage out of it, you learn something. But Christ, you kill a lot of time.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right --(laughs)--.

YOUNG: And uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right, you can't buy a loaf of bread at the grocery by telling them you learned something.

YOUNG: I think it's bad to fail, no matter how small it is. Even if you're unhappy at something you should make it succeed to a point, and then get out. You should never get out as a failure. There's a big, big difference.

BIRDWHISTELL: But you never failed.

YOUNG: No, I never failed.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean that's uh, that's a nice tract record.

YOUNG: Well a lot of people have never failed.

BIRDWHISTELL: You think? --------(??)

YOUNG: Well sure. You hear about failures, but most people don't fail that are successful.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Hmm. That's interesting. Your friends uh, your friend who was in the legal office, he didn't try to talk to you into going to law school?

YOUNG: No, no.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had no interest --------(??)

YOUNG: I never had much in-- to people, I got older--used to think I was a 01:39:00lawyer, maybe during the war they did, but I never did uh, I never had any in for that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Why would they think you're, you were an attorney, because you were such a tough negotiator?

YOUNG: Well I don't know. I could handle myself, I reckon, and uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you never wanted to do that.

YOUNG: I never saw any pleasure in working with other people's problems all your life, and not even profited by--what solution you might bring, it didn't appeal to me. Medicine didn't appeal to me, or accounting, anything where you had to work by appointment. It looked like it hamstrung you. And uh, if you're just selling your time, even though it's educated time, it's limited.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: You have to be at a position where you have--people working--on a project that you share--you manage it and share. But the potential is so much greater.


BIRDWHISTELL: And it doesn't have to be making something.

YOUNG: Don't have--

BIRDWHISTELL: Because in your warehouse business

YOUNG: We don't make anything.

BIRDWHISTELL: You didn't make anything.

YOUNG: I don't make anything.


YOUNG: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --provide a ser--at a service. Is that, that would be called a service.

YOUNG: In fact the warehouse business is a beautiful business. It really is a play on real estate, but it's the best play I know. I rather own a warehouse than any piece of property that you can think of. It doesn't go out of style, the location doesn't be--gone downgraded. It's a simple structure and the value is always the replacement cost. And that's not true in any other type of real estate I know, and uh, you can get in it easily, you can get out of it easily, you don't have any inventory. It's usually basically a cash business, it's a 01:41:00good business. It takes a lot of work over a long period of time.

BIRDWHISTELL: We'll come back to, to, to that part, I guess we'll probably stop around four-thirty today--

YOUNG: Ok, that'll be fine.

BIRDWHISTELL: --because I have a five o'clock appointment.

YOUNG: Ok. Well is that enough time? I didn't mean to--


YOUNG: Yeah, ok, fine.

BIRDWHISTELL: --yeah, we're fine, we're fine, it's uh--so you uh, you and Mrs. Young moved back to Lexington.

YOUNG: Yeah, right after the war.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then I, I read in this material you --------(??)

YOUNG: December and--

BIRDWHISTELL: December of uh--

YOUNG: Yeah we lived with my--

BIRDWHISTELL: --forty-five?

YOUNG: We lived with my parents, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: On McDowell road?

YOUNG: And I worked out of a little office in my father's dry cleaning business.

BIRDWHISTELL: So y--you moved in to the--their house on McDowell road?

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then, and as you said you set up a--little office over on Broadway?

YOUNG: Yeah over on Broadway in that building until, and then we built that building, the first building that um--very small building, we built it out there on Winchester road.

BIRDWHISTELL: A--again I, I don't want to uh, wear this out but I'm intrigued, 01:42:00in terms of the, the steps you have to go through. You, you talk to your father-in-law, you all agree, peanut butter, you--

YOUNG: That's all he did, all he did was--loan me the money to do it, I did everything else myself.

BIRDWHISTELL: Alright. So, now were you already back in Lexington when you made that decision, or was that why you --------(??)

YOUNG: Yeah we decided to do when I was in Philadelphia.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ok, then you moved back to Lexington.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Living with your parents.

YOUNG: Yeah, I did the research on uh, peanut butter when I was still in the Army.

BIRDWHISTELL: So what? Tell me--

YOUNG: There wasn't any, there wasn't anything to do much from VE--VJ day until I got out and uh--weekends I wasn't on, I visited places that, that made it, and--found out what companies made the equipment to do it, and what equipment was needed and--


YOUNG: Then I'd, I hired a couple of guys, I hired a--one boy from the Lummis Company who uh--they made peanut butter, then I hired one of my--army buddies to 01:43:00be sales manager, and both of them turned out to be bad choices but uh, that's what I started with.

BIRDWHISTELL: How do you g--how do you go about doing a research to start a company? Did you like, take notes or did you--

YOUNG: Well I, whatever I needed, I'd--at first I'd find out how it's made, for Christ's sake, I never seen a peanut butter plant, I visited a, one or two, there is one in Philadelphia, and this, that, and the other, and I inquired as to who made the roasting equipment, or grinding equipment, then I found out that uh--Bower Brothers Company that--I did business with uh, in making a hundred five millimeters shells, they made peanut butter equipment. And the guy who used to be my commanding officer in Cincinnati, he owned the company, so I not only--got the information from there, but uh, I got precedent on delivery on almost everybody--all of us in the, all of us in uniform, got precedent over 01:44:00everything. No matter what I bought uh, I, I, I got right at the top of the shipping order, where --------(??)

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were actually ordering your equipment and, and--

YOUNG: Well once we decided to do it, yeah, I placed the orders for it.


YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, now this might be a stupid question, but I don't know, I, I must ask you, how do you, how, how do you come up with the recipe, isn't there a recipe for making --------(??)

YOUNG: Well there is no recipe, all it's a simple product once you get into it. If you want to make mayonnaise uh, I don't think he'd be hard to find out how to make it, your wife can make it. Uh, all peanut butter is, is roasted peanuts. You take the red skins off and grind them up, add salt, that's peanut butter.


YOUNG: That's it.

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't have any special formula.

YOUNG: Well no, we gradually got--

BIRDWHISTELL: No secret recipe.

YOUNG: Well no, not really, we--peanut butter has a tenden--tendency uh, by gravity to separate into oil and meal, and you--they call it homogenization but 01:45:00what it is you put a stabilizer in there, which is a little bit like Crisco and it sets up, and uh--and later we added refrigeration equipment and you run it through almost like an ice cream freezer and--we finally had a pretty good product.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you're working out of your dad's--dry cleaners in this office.

YOUNG: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you're planning--

YOUNG: First thing we did, built a building.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now how did you decide? Where did you get the land and how did you decide to do it there?

YOUNG: Well we both looked around Lexington for a site, and we bought it from the L and N [Louisville and Nashville] Railroad.


YOUNG: Over here on third street.


YOUNG: And the L and N were interested because uh, we would have been shipping in and out by rail car. So they--I was--able to buy two or three acres of land, right in the middle of Lexington over here, by--well you know where the Procter and Gamble plant is.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I know where it is.

YOUNG: Well that's where it is, where I bought it, right there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, you put it in--

YOUNG: It was owned by the L and N. And I got very close to the L and N people.


BIRDWHISTELL: Because you --------(??)

YOUNG: I got close to everybody that had anything to do with anything. I never stopped.

BIRDWHISTELL: Of course you could throw a rock on that plant over to your house on Aurora Avenue, almost.

YOUNG: Yeah, you could, yeah. It's right there together, yeah, yeah. It was the par--area of town, I was comfortable in.


YOUNG: And uh, it was a good location, and they gave me a reasonable price because they would have gotten a hundred cars a year, and this, that and the other. They didn't want anybody to buy that land that didn't use the railroad.


YOUNG: See and in the beginning e--everything was shipped in by rail, still is. Peanuts come into that plant a day by rail car.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you had to get your, you had to buy the land, make arrangements to build--

YOUNG: I had to design the building, lay out the machinery, the offices, I did all that myself.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had to make arrangements to buy peanuts.


YOUNG: Yeah. Now the only place I had advice was on the purchase of raw peanuts. But uh, my father-in-law, he was always trying to sell his peanuts high and I was trying to buy them low, but he was helpful and uh--he'd, he'd advising me when to buy it, that type of thing sometimes. But as far as any other details he had nothing to do with it ever. He never even came up here.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when these big peanut companies uh, producing companies learned that you were starting up, they didn't tremble and--in fear of your--

YOUNG: Oh I don't think they even knew I was started up. No.

BIRDWHISTELL: --(laughs)--And uh--

YOUNG: I all mas--I almost made a franchise deal with the Skippy people but--


YOUNG: I backed away from it, or we didn't get together, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Even before you had--I mean right after you'd started?

YOUNG: Well n--well after, well after I was planning to go into it. We 01:48:00probably started talking about it in the summer of forty-five, I got out in December, and we s--we immediately, we--started buying equipment and the, the building was started in the spring, and the steel came from Ingalls Iron Works, and, and hell they were backed up for a year on delivery and I went down there and talked to Mr. Ingalls. When I went into his office every goddamn morning, and uh, he finally told me, he said "Bill you can go on home," he said "Your steel is going to come out first." Well it was just a car load of steel. You just have to be persevering. I just don't know any other way to do it. Uh, this is a friendly world. Everybody wants to help you, if you're willing to help yourself.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now all the bankers didn't like --------(??)

YOUNG: It only has been a couple of peoples, I have been in the horse business twenty years, and we're big in the horse business.



YOUNG: I bet there has only been two people come to me in all those years and asked me to do business with them. And in both cases we did, and I was, I was impressed that they had enough gumption to come ask me. Why should I do any business with anybody that doesn't have enough gumption to come ask me to do business?

BIRDWHISTELL: Right, right.

YOUNG: I don't know whether I have a different attitude or not, but I keep thinking that everyone that's uh, built a business, has to have the same attitude.

BIRDWHISTELL: You built a successful --------(??)

YOUNG: I don't wait for anybody to approach me on anything.

BIRDWHISTELL: Take the initiative.

YOUNG: And I don't let anybody not speak to me. I don't give a damn who they are, if I know them, I speak first. And all it does is bring happiness and results. People want to help you, people come ask my help, I'm flattered. And my, and my attitude is always, what can I do to help the guy? And that's the 01:50:00general feeling, it's not a cold world, it's a friendly sweet world out there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Even in business?


BIRDWHISTELL: Even in business?

YOUNG: Sure it is.

BIRDWHISTELL: Cold world of business, is it?

YOUNG: Oh yeah, all I was just talking about the business side, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: I know you are. It's what I'm saying, people think of business as being a rough, tough world.

YOUNG: It's being a rough, tough businessman, I don't know what that means, uh. I think if they are, I don't think they get ahead--(coughs)--.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right.

YOUNG: If you don't learn to kiss everybody ass in business, early on, if that's what you want to call it, you only make it a hard, hard time. And uh, and you have to repay favors, you can't, you can't be a one sided thing, and uh--but I found I had nothing but help from every direction in building the peanut butter business. It still was hell to sell it. Jesus Christ it was 01:51:00tough to sell. Nobody wanted it, and if they bought it what're they going to do with it, no one but housewives didn't know anything about it. It wasn't a cheap product, because I determined early one that, that the only product would ever make any money were the branded products. But if you go, if you go to a super store and buy -------(??) bleach, the only people that make any money are Chlorox. The house brand and the off brands they don't make any money. It's the same product. Chemically it's no difference.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now why aren't they making money?


BIRDWHISTELL: Why aren't they making money?

YOUNG: It's a branded product, people think it's better.


YOUNG: They don't even, you don't go in to buy bleach, you go in to buy Chlorox, and Chlorox is exactly the claim you can't--you could pour Chlorox in any product on the shelf and that have a chemist analyze it, it's the same 01:52:00chemical formula. Now one peanut butter may taste a little better to somebody than the next one, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: But you still make it the same.

YOUNG: But, but the best example I can give you, that's, it's, it's Chlorox.

BIRDWHISTELL: --------(??) thing. Alright, that's a--

[End of Interview]