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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986. Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Combining work and family

Hill talks about how he balanced family and work over the course of his career. He argues that family was important to him and especially took pride in the long success of his first marriage, before his wife passed away. Nevertheless, he concedes that family was secondary in many ways and that he was largely absent in terms of childrearing. His comments offer an interesting counterpoint to the ways in which many women interviewed describe their struggle to combine work and family.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George Watts Hill, January 30, 1986. Interview C-0047. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JAMES LEUTZE:
You obviously feel that giving of yourself to the public and public service is an important thing for you personally as well as an important thing for the community.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
In home life, I've been very lucky. The first girl I married, we couldn't have been happier for many years until she got sick, and she was sick for quite a while. This youngster, I couldn't ask for more in many respects. Oh, we have our problems. Hell, we're human. We see things a little differently. I'm at one age, she's at another age, and you've got to give and take, and it's give and take in life. Sure.
JAMES LEUTZE:
How important is family to you?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
Very important. But not all powering. You have to keep things in balance, some sense of balance.
JAMES LEUTZE:
Were you a strict disciplinarian with your children? How did you go about disciplining your children and imparting attitudes and other things to your children?
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No, this gal says I'm a Mary Poppins. My closet of clothes is just so. I clean up the room here; she drops stuff: the radio or t.v. program. I'll put it right over there every night. You just do it subconsciously.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You don't button your shirt sleeves.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
No. It's just habit.
JAMES LEUTZE:
You'll be interested to know that I spent a lot of time with your son, Watts, and he's the same way. He is one of the neatest people and organizers of things I've ever seen.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
More so than I am, as far as his office is concerned.
JAMES LEUTZE:
I'm sure I know where it came from. It's in the gene pool there.
GEORGE WATTS HILL:
You asked the question, was I a hard task master. No. I didn't raise children. They were raised by my wife and a governess until they were ten or fifteen years of age. I think Watts, Jr., has a yen for public service, unquestionably, more so than I. The youngest son is just embedded and immersed in his business, electronics. I gave him at Christmas a little book that had about fifteen pages in it. We were in Washington at the time, during the war. It had been obtained through my electronic officer in O.S.S. He sat there and read this book and re-read this book and studied it as a kid, ten years old. He is beginning to change now, at fifty-odd, and is becoming more interested in people and other activities. Maybe the genes are coming up on him. I don't know. The daughter has always been interested in various and sundry activities, but she's very happy now. She had a very unfortunate life for twenty years. She came to me and wanted a divorce. I said, "You make up your mind what you want, and I'll help you." Three years later she did, but it took her three years. She's very happy with Orville Campbell, and he's very happy with her. It's one of those fortunate instances. No, I think my father was very much interested in public service in very many ways, different aspects. But he was interested in making money, too.