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Title: Oral History Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985. Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Crawford, Sam, interviewee
Interview conducted by Wheeler, Judith
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 108 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
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Languages used in the text: English
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2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-06-22, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985. Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0006)
Author: Judith Wheeler
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985. Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0006)
Author: Sam Crawford
Description: 229 Mb
Description: 32 p.
Note: Interview conducted on October 26, 1985, by Judith Wheeler; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Sam Crawford, October 26, 1985.
Interview K-0006. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Crawford, Sam, interviewee

Interview Participants

    SAM CRAWFORD, interviewee
    PATTY CRAWFORD, interviewee
    JUDITH WHEELER, interviewer


Page 1
[text missing]
So, when did you first hear about this reservoir?
About a week before they said they were going to start working on it.
When was that; do you remember?
Seventy … fall of seventy five, I think that is right. Time runs together when you get our age. [Laughter]
Our age, I just turned thirty five last week and was traumatized.
I just turned thirty six last spring. It was interesting. I was taking a development course once, the child development course, and the instructor was saying, "Do you have a time that you knew without a doubt that you were no longer a child, and that you had become an adult?" And I know specifically, because I turned thirty one day and Flinn was born the next day and it was like, [Laughter] Anyway, but we found out about it, the sorta progress of it was, that they decided. There may have been a couple of other people who had inklings of it cause there had been a couple of… One of the things that had happened about a year before was that the University had gone to the Environmental Management Commission and had the quality rating of Cane Creek changed. Before that it was an agricultural usage, and they had it moved into a A-2 usage, which is a municipal usage water supply usage. And nobody really knew anything about it. It was just not something that anybody talked about, or even that anybody dealt with. [interruption]
So, essentially we heard about it then. There was a public meeting held at that point in time in which the people who were the future, this was before OWASA was in existence, in the transition, who came out and I think they were more surprised than we were. I

Page 2
think they were expecting like ten people and there were like two hundred people showed up and they were blown away. I mean, it was a real ugly meeting. They essentially said, "We are going to start the dam in two weeks and this is where we are going to put it and this is whose land we are going to take and this is how much we are going to pay you for it and go home." I mean, that is literally what they said. And people were pretty … I mean that was just a pretty amazing kinda thing to have people do.
I think in hindsight, that if there had been any sense of equality about it on part of the people in Chapel Hill, that the whole business could have been resolved with some … I think if they had come out and said, "We would like to figure some way to get some of this water. How can we do it with the least amount of difficulity to you. How can we be flexible?" But, see, OWASA has never ever shown any sort of flexibility possibilities. It's always gonna be this way, this big.
You know, there were lots of possible ways to do it. You could build a series of small dams, you could build a series of catchment basins rather than dams. There are lots of other ways to do it which would result in a few million gallons more or less, or a few million dollars more or less. But essentially when you are talking about this much water, this much money, fairly negligible things. But that was never a possibility, it was always this is what we are going to do. Which caught a fair number of people wrong. I mean, that is just not the way people out here do business. So at that point in time, there was a kinda … You know, I don't know how decisions get made, except everybody just decided that we needed to talk more about it. So two or three of us, four or five of us,

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and people would talk in clumps or groups. About a week later, kinda called a meeting of everybody who wanted to come, at the community building. There were a couple hundred people.
How did you get word to people about your …
Oh, at church and you just talk to people, around the store. I mean, people are fairly interactive. You can stand here on the road and nine tractors a day go by and you can talk. It was on everybody's mind. That is a fairly major encroachment into the way you see things ought to be. It was a pretty major topic of conversation, people talked a lot about it. So we, at that point, a meeting happened about a week later, or two weeks; it was within a couple weeks. Two or three people who were sorta verbal and irate talked about we needed to do something about it. We kinda formed the basis of an organization, at that point in time. We appointed or voted on someone to be president.
Who was the first president?
Bobby Kirk.
Bobby Kirk?
[Asked for comment not to be used, "I shouldn't say that."] You need a fire brand sorta person and then you need maintenance people, and fortunately we kinda ended up having both. That worked out OK. So at that point in time we started and we passed around the hat. [Laughter] And said here's this, we need to collect some money and we need to decide what to do. We went and talked; there was at that time a young lawyer who was living out here named George … I can't think of his name; he's practicing in Graham now. If it is

Page 4
important I can look it up. Anyway, he had shown up at the meeting and we said … At that point in time OWASA was saying we want to come out next week and survey. So, we at that point in time said, "George, what can we, you know, is there something we can do about this? Do they have the right to come on our property and survey?" Cause we had been refusing them and we were gonna refuse them. That was our first court battle. That was up in Hillsboro. We went before, I think it was Judge P. Bailey, actually, who was on the circuit. And, he said essentially, well, they have the right to do it, although he thought it was a rotten idea and that one of these days they were going to do something about these cities who kept walkin all over places. He was very much on our side; but the law wasn't. The laws are made by people who live in cities. [Laughter] Let's face it. So anyway, that was our first sorta legal engagement. That happened, I don't know, not too long after the meeting, or maybe it was as late as in the spring of '76.
In the interim time, what we did was we started forming a committee of people, who were interested in being, by self selection I guess, interested in being people who ran things. Started organizing the first Farm-City Day. Starting trying to put together a sorta constitution and then a bill of, you know, it was just guessing. [interruption]
We were meeting on a somewhat periodic basis, weekly or biweekly. Also, putting together a slide presentation and trying to do whatever we could to get some sorta public notice, you know, trying to force … See, there was never a public hearing about this, about whether we should do this or not. [Build the dam.] The only public hearings were after it was decided to already do it. We were trying to force at

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least some sorta public forum. The way we did that was that Ed Johnson went to all his friends in the Lions Clubs and said, we want to come talk to you and things like that. We put together a slide show, which I think was a very good slide show, that doesn't exist anymore. It got dismantled. I'm sorta glad and I'm sorta sad, somehow. But our first real public forum was at the League of … I think the League of … No, Patty, what was the name of that group where we went for the first public presentation. Beth Qualic (sp?) read it but it wasn't this, the People's Alliance or something like that.
Yeah, The People's Alliance. Chapel Hill's People's Alliance had the first one. That was the first sorta public debate on the issue. We went and the OWASA people came. And the OWASA people [blaked?] around. It has never really been a defensive position, and when you have people stand up and talk about it, it gets less defensible all the time.
We showed our slide show, and we sorta talked about the issues. I'll never forget it, and if I ever get a chance I will strangle Dan Okun. Dan Okun sat in the back the whole time we were giving our presentation acting like a twelve year old. I mean, he would sorta sit there and go AK AK AK. I couldn't believe it, I could not believe this grown human being was doing this. I never will forget it, the image is indelibly placed in my mind. He was just being like a twelve year old obnoxious person. And, that has been the kind of attitude we have dealt with all the time, is that people out here have no idea what they are talking about. There

Page 6
is one right answer and that is our [OWASA's] right answer.
So from that we went to a series of speaking to everybody who would listen, 'till people got tired of listening. Writing ads in the newspaper, taking ads in the newspaper, raising money. And money was always an issue, dealing with how to get money. And it still, you know, that is still the thing that has defeated us, is that OWASA has no qualms about spending all the money that they needed to spend and they have access to it. They can demand it of you and users, and from the town of Chapel Hill, and from the University and from people like that.
Our money had to come strictly from what we could glean together. The majority of our money came from the Farm -City days and from the Craft Fair, which we started up that fall. And most of our money came from food. [Laughter] You know, ham biscuits, and barbecue, and pies and cakes and quilt raffles. That is where the majority of it, and then out of pocket contributions I don't know how, and I have never really set down and figured out what the whole expenditure has cost us because there is no way to figure it out. There were a lot of in kind contributions of things that there is just no record of. Money that comes through the kind of bookkeeping system that we had really only reflects a portion of the actual money that got dealt with. So, I don't know but I would imagine it probably came to something like two hundred thousand dollars.
That you raised?
That we raised or contributed or wrote off or something… and that is a lot of money.
It is amazing.

Page 7
But, considering, we once figured OWASA spent something like six and one half dollars for every dollar we spent. It is like the Congressional Club Campaign, well it is the same mentality.
[Laughter] It is like if you intimidate people enough they will go away and you won't have to bother, that is why there is no Democrats running this year, because they are intimidated. Who wants to spend six million dollars and know the Congressional Club is gonna spend twelve? [Blank tape while Sam is out of the room.]
I'll tell you what, let's walk up on top the mountain and let me show you where the temporary reservoir is.
Oh, OK, that would be great.
You haven't seen it right?
[text missing]
OK, Now see this used to be about where our property began. We've walked across… there's a neighbor's property that goes this way and then we own some on the road. And, about one hundred acres back here. Our biggest field is back here where this damn lake is.
So, this area was bought from your family by OWASA?
Oh … Well, it was intimidated out of …
It was intimidated?
I mean, when you spend nine years - and just … and my father is right in the middle of the stuff with my mother all summer [dying of cancer] … and is just losing it … and my

Page 8
father just didn't want to deal with it anymore.
I can certainly understand.
I can't exactly and I can. It has never been a totally comfortable conclusion in terms of the family. It has always been somewhat uncomfortable but that was the resolution.
This is also our property here - and the other side. They split our property in two pieces.
How much land did they take from your family?
Fifty acres.
Fifty acres from your family.
Fifty acres… This is a temporary endowment. This is what the rates are going up 21% in Chapel Hill - and this is about one fourth of, maybe a fifth of what the cost was. This is what cracks me up.
See that red marker. THat is where our property line starts and begins back that way. There is a map up in Hillsboro in the Registrar of the Deeds Office a 1789 map that calls this Crawford's mountain. [text missing]
It really pisses me off to come down here - this used to be a field. This was our biggest field. It was smaller than this and there was all woods in here. And, it is weird to talk about it. There was this georgous little wild marsh land. Down in here were these great big beautiful plants, big trees way up into here. The field, fifteen acres down there with a big line of trees all the way across there, big sycamores. It was this beautiful private secluded field. And you could come down

Page 9
here and be by yourself. Now there are all these people here that I don't know. And you can walk down here and you can see houses. I have never in my life been able to see houses here; never in any of my relatives' lives could they ever be able to stand here and see houses. Suddenly, you can see houses, I just find that…I don't know why it bothers me; but it does. It does. It is just a change I don't welcome. Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with these people. Who owns that house is Dr Mickey [sp?] But the reason he bought this house was so that he could change the world, because he wanted to have it near the lake. So in a sense, his concept of having this place was to make it different, rather than to try and integrate himself here. His concept was to make this place for his use. And I think that is what bothers me about it, is that it is sorta rude. The whole issue is that there is no sense of coming to know this place, and then saying, "What are the needs of this place and how can we use it?" That is the difference between exploitation and utilization. But the concept is how can we change it to do exactly what we want it to do?
The water does look impressively clean.
Well, it is clean, there is no doubt about it, it is clean water. But, I don't know that that is the reason to do any particular thing here.
I agree with you.
And it is certainly no reason to do it this way. That argues nothing for the fact that you should destroy it. What has made and kept this clean water is the thing that may destroy it.

Page 10
which is all these open fields and forest land.
Is this where Cane Creek comes in?
This is Cane Creek. Tom Creek comes in on down further. This was just a little wiggly creek, a small little creek this summer. This is just Cane Creek, it has just expanded.
It is not that clean. Look at this [pointing to foam], although it is probably oak pollen or something. But still, I mean, it is not That Clean. If you do it scientifically, it is very negligibly clean. It looks clean for two reasons. One is Jordon has a larger organic catchment area and it backs into a lot of stuff. All that logging and all that, so it has a lot more coloring into it. This was bright red a couple of months ago. [pointing to the bank] They are finally getting some grass and things.
But again, the issue is what they have done is destroy the one thing that made it guaranteed to be good water; which was nobody living out here and having all the trees and things. And now …
Now see this is where I feel lost. I have known this all my life, and now it is so different. There is a road, I think it is right at the tip here. But, I'm totally disoriented. [text missing]
This used to be the way we got in and out of the field. When they built this lake here, people came in and out and used this road, and never asked. We finally had to put up a gate. The day I was down here putting up the gate, to keep people out, the OWASA guy came, an engineer who was down here, and he came up here. He asked me what I was doing and I said, putting up a gate. He said, "Oh, that is a good idea." Then he sat there and waited for me to move my truck and open the gate so he could go ahead and drive out anyway. I couldn't believe it, I just sat there and said, this is what these people … you know, that assumption of power, that assumption of authority.

Page 11
Do you think that was something that was felt in the very beginning, or do you think looking back that you…?
Oh, I think it was felt the very minute those people walked into the room. The Orange Water and Sewer Authority. We named the organization in the tradition. The thing about what are we gonna call ourselves … and there were lots of possibilities. There was one, Farmers and Artist of Cane Creek. But, we decided to call ourselves the Cane Creek Conservation Authority to simply indicate that we had as much authority as the Orange Water and Sewer Authority. That was the reason for the choice of the name, was to kinda establish that authority.
When did you name the organization? Was that in the begining or …?
Yes, after we started. That was the original name.
How many presidents did the Authority have over the years?
Five or Six.
Five or six.
Yeah, I mean, it was the same people over and over again. The residual people. And if you weren't president you were something else.
Were you ever an officer?
I think I was president once. I think I've been secretary once. The thing I've almost always been down as is the communications person… I did the newsletters and I and Ed Johnson, between the two of us, did ninety percent of all the public presentations that have been done. I did a lot of testifying and stuff like that.

Page 12
That just seemed to be the function I served. When I got put in as president, it was simply because it was my turn. Somebody has to, you have to have that kind of titular setting. The reality of how things got done had nothing to do with who the officers were, or how the offices were structured, it was just the same people. Like any other sorta organization.
Now see this is the rest of our …, this is the only field we have left, we are coming up on now. This big one here.
But like most organizations, there are a few people. I have a friend, she is an old labor organizer from back in the thirties. She lives up the road. She moved here from New York, a New York uptown Jewish lady. She says her theory is that every organization ought to be run by four old Jews and an old man. [Laughter] And in some ways that was true here, the organization simply was ran by four or five people.
Who were those people?
Well, myself, Ed Johnson, Carolyn Lloyd, Bobby Kirk, some in the beginning, but as I said Bobby's enthusiasm waned rapidly. Drena Little was pretty active, the Teers [Crackling in the tape] Thomas and Mike and the Teer daughters, Cathy and Sara, and my wife Patty.
It depended on what senses. There were people who always ran the kitchen, for the events, who weren't going to come to meetings and decide public policy and things like that. There were people who did those kinds of things. The difference between a neighborhood and a community, I think, has to do with the assignment of tasks. I think, in a community there is an organic assignment,

Page 13
[unknown] which is that you just know what it is you are gonna do, and there has to be little structuring of that. It comes from having done the same kinds of tasks for a long period of time. One of the things about community, essentially if you are talking about rural communities, is that roles and patterns are established a lot by derived status. That is, what your daddy did you did; what your mama did you did. Whereas in a neighborhood, there is a lot more time assigning status, therefore, you have a different kind of structure. That is only a theory, but it seems to work out that way in practice too. It was just a sorta natural series of all alliances and possibilities and case built.
I think in some ways, it was from each according to their ability and to each according to their needs kinda structure. There were people who dealt, I mean it was a charismatic movement in that sense. There were people who were good talkers and followers, But everybody in a sense felt they were all doing it. At least in the beginning and gradually that trickles away as people get worn down and time goes on and people get more cynical and all those things that happen to people. So that changed over time, but originally that is how it got done and there were just people who did it and people who didn't. The inexplicabilities were there, because I am either too close to it to recognize the process or the process was too nonverbal to really verbalize it. It just happened.
It happened that some people were interested in all kinds of things. And once your committment is there, then there is no sense of assigning tasks, you just do what it is you feel like needs to be done. There is some sense of organization in that Drena calls

Page 14
up Gene Mann and says, "Gene I need someone to make sure that the ham gets done before this." And talks to Thomas and makes sure the barbecue gets done. But eventaully those tasks kinda get absorbed and dealt with. [text missing]
Was there ever conflict as far as the direction that the people in the community felt should be taken?
Only as much as it grew out of confustion and only at the very end, when it had come to the point that the organization was kinda disintegrating against the odds. It wasn't so much dissension as there were people who decided it was time to quit, so others decided it was time to quit. There is a lot of trust. I mean, it is like, if I and Ed Johnson, and Bobby Kirk thought it was a good idea then it was probobly a good idea. Because we were dealing with things that most people here had no experience doing. Mae Crawford doesn't know shit about going to Raleigh and talking to some of the most … Mae Crawford wouldn't even know … I mean I bet she has been to Raleigh maybe three or four times in her life. I am serious, Mae Crawford has never seen the ocean… she has Never seen the ocean.
So, you are talking about people who are dealing with concepts outside of their constructed notions at all. So, they just trusted those people who were here to try and make the right decisions. And you know, we didn't know. There were no guidelines as to this is what you should do. We got victimized a lot, I'm sure. I've always thought we had great attorneys who took us for a lot

Page 15
money. And, I don't say that with any sorta derision and mostly with cynicism. And I just think that - my wife being an attorney - I mean, I just think that attorneys all in all are a rather rotten lot. We were working against things we had no concept of how to deal with. [text missing]
It seems to me, there was two directions, one was the legal and the other was an emotional approach.
Public information, and I think what the legal stuff did was try and buy us time to convince the public. That is all the legal stuff could do, because the legal system is totally structured to be on OWASA's side. And the only reason the legal system worked against OWASA is to the degree that it has, and it has really worked against OWASA, is because they are so fucking stupid. I mean, they just didn't know what they were doing. They had terrible legal advice. If I were OWASA, I would sue their attorney s. I mean they had terrible legal advice.
They have been so stupid and the project was so insensible to begin with, that they were working so far up hill, that the system which was written for them, by them, has worked against them as much as it has. There is no reason why they shouldn't have been able to get permits and things that they needed within a year or two, except for the fact that they didn't first of all realize they even needed the permits until we told them. Secondly, they bumfuzzled their way through it. It is written in a way that you can't just

Page 16
go down there and do it without demonstrating certain things that they can't demonstrate. So that has always been the thing about the legal system. OWASA has been our best friend in terms of tripping them up, of buying us time. What we have tried to do in that time was to convince people this is a bad idea. I think we did. I think if there was any sort of legitimate survey taken of Orange County three years ago, that Cane Creek would have never been built.
[Remainder of this side of the tape inaudible due to the poor technical quality of the tape]


I don't know if it was divisive to that degree [the controversy of the dam, splitting families apart.] I think most people thought it was a bad idea and a fair number of people thought it was a bad enough idea that they should do something about it. The divisiveness came from people who began with the notion of it's useless to do anything, because ultimately They [OWASA] are going to win, and people who began with the notion of it is never useless to do anything although you know you probably are gonna lose. I think that was the sorta divisiveness you had, not the divisiveness of we really should have this lake, or we really shouldn't have this lake. But that the senses of, it doesn't ever do any good, you know they are always gonna get their way. The notion that Chapel Hill gets what it wants, is not one that is without precedence, and people out here know that. People out here are inexperienced but not unsophisticated. I think that it is real obvious that Jimmy Wallace and those people in Chapel Hill had enough power to do pretty much of what it was they wanted to do if they sat down and decided to do it. I think, those people began with the realization that …[Points to an empty gun shell carton on the ground.] Now see, someone has been out here dove hunting and we have yet to give anyone permission to dove hunt on our property.
Let's just take this with us, I'll put it in my pocket.
See, here is a beer can. Let me put these there. I have to come down here to cut wood. I'll just pick them up then.
I think most people began with the attitude that this is probably

Page 18
gonna end up being useless, but, it is also real stupid not to at least try. Those people were sorta against those people who said, "Well, I think it is useless, period. You are wasting your money." And, they probably were … well, I don't know if we wasted our money. It is a hard dicission to make.
Do you think the community is closer because of this now?
It is bigger. It is bigger in the sense of the people who can more legitimately identify themselves and more comfortably identify themselves as being part of this community. I am sure that some think I and Ed Johnson are Don Quixotes. But at the same time that some of the things that we have done have brought proof [unknown] They know for instance people who have sold land because of our efforts, ended up getting thirty five to thiry six hundred dollar an acre rather than the five hundred dollars an acre, which is what OWASA was going to give them to begin with.
That was the first price that they offered?
OWASA was gonna give $500.
$500 an acre for land in Orange County?
Yeah… See, there is nothing on it. [Laughter] Nothing on it. And also you have remember that was nearly ten years ago.
That's true, but I lived in Chapel Hill ten years ago.
There is probably a 10% inflation rate, at least, in terms of property and housing a year. And, in Chapel Hill there might even be more than that.
But anyway, people know that is true; and people also know that in some way we have gained some power ultimately. We were able for instance to stop this damn airport… They were going to put an airport out here, three or four years ago. Right at

Page 19
the corner of 54 and the flight pattern would come right across here. I think we essentially kept that from happening because we already had this sorta system in place and we had impressed enough people with our ability to make things happen. I think people appreciated that as a result of what we did. At least some appreciate.
There are about six people out here that I care a Lot about. Everybody else is just out here, you know. I don't say that real cynically, but I mean that there are about six people out here that I feel some sort of responsibility about. Then there are a lot of people I work with, I care about and there are people I am interrelated with, but not that same sense of responsibility. For instance, people like Mae and Cecil [Crawford], who I feel very attached to. I think that Mae and Cecil are better off for having gone through the process; just in knowing they did what they felt needed to be done, or what could be done. I think in some ways they emerged stronger because of that. I think that if the week after that first meeting nothing occurred and OWASA had come out and done what it said, that this place would have dried up and shriveled. [unclear]
I think that at least those people who are aware of that, if you can be aware of that in the verbal sense, would probably articulate that. That, you know, we gave them a good fight. That sounds like what every losing team says. But, it is true and what we can say is what every losing team that works hard can always say. which is that we are a losing team. [Laughter]
But that you gave a good fight.
But we worked hard. I think the choice of being a losing

Page 20
team that didn't do shit and being a losing team who did… I mean, if that is the two choices, I think most people are glad we took the first choice. Although not everybody. I'm sure there are those people who sit around and say, basically it was stupid what you did. But I think in reality those people who are honest about it are still sorta pleased with the notion that we tried. You know I haven't had anyone fire bomb my house and people don't laugh at me.
I think people realize I took this on with a fanaticism that some people didn't. But, I'm a fanatic and they know it. They have known me all their lives. I'm a passionate fanatical human being and I think they are glad for that. I don't think we embarrassed ourselves, and I think that is important. I think we have demonstrated a certain quality about us. We have certainly exposed ourselves to a whole new set of rural realities.
One of the things that is interesting when you talk to Mae and Cecil now… Mae and Cecil are people who didn't have a television until probably 1973 or something. Didn't have a…well, I remember when Daddy built their bathroom and it was when I was in college, who suddenly have been on TV, not once but a lot of times. Mae has a quilt that has been on a national magazine. She has people coming to her house to talk to her. And, not only to talk to her, but to listen to her. That is an amazing thing when you think about it. If you are gonna encounter the world, which was inevitable. That is essentially what this whole issue is about, is encountering the world we live in. You come out better if after the encounter the world respects you for it, than not. I think most people perceive that was the case.

Page 21
What about your own personal life, how do you think this has affected it?
Well, it's made for a lot of not pleasant family arguments. See, this property is held by my aunt and my father. I don't own a bit of property except for my house. I think they are glad I did it, but I think they probably think I was a little bit too fanatical about it. But I think they are glad I did it.
It has cost me a lot of money. It has essentially set up a whole set of career choices and time spending choices that wouldn't have been the same. When I started this, I was a Child Abuse Specialist Social Worker in Durham County Department of Social Work. As I'm ending this I'm a PHD and Educational candidate and teaching in speech and communications. I think a lot of that has to do with the people I met and the skills I developed while I was doing this. So, rather that was good or bad, there has definitely been a change.
I don't know … it has made me sad in a way I never really wanted to be sad. In some ways I feel like it has permanently put a pall upon my life that will never quite go away. My cynicism, which was incredibly well developed, you've got to remember I was a child of the sixities, so my cynicism, which was incredibly developed already has reached a magnitude [Laughter] that is sorta astonishing.
There are so many personal things that have occurred in terms of people I've met while all this process was going on. People I've become close to and people I've drifted apart from. You are talking about something that was probably for me a half time occupation and a seventy-five percent time obsession for ten years.

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During that ten years, I evolved myself with an incredible number of things that was extended out of that, relationships with people and relationships of notions and ideas; things like that.
This used to be a cotton field, my father used to grow cotton here. All these pines have grown up since then. But anyway, all these things have occurred. In some ways I've grown to love this place more and in others… It is virtually impossible for people like you, who see this place in the last few years to see this place in the last twenty, twenty-five years. It is different.
We have gone from the depression… you know, when I was a kid we had horses that we ploughed the fields with. We had a mule until I was 17 that we ploughed the garden with and we weren't unusual. Those things have changed. The first job I ever had making money for someone else was when I was like 10, 11, or 12, we picked corn for Alvis Lloyd who lives next door. MY cousin and I did it. The way we did it was, we had two mules that we hitched to a wagon and the mules walked through the field… [text missing] In my mind that vision is imprinted in an incredible ways, and I still do that. I went to a class about four or five weeks ago, I'm taking a class in designing educational media and the class was doing video taping. I walked into that class, and that morning I had killed a steer. I killed it with some people and we had skinned it and I had cut it up and had taken it out there. And, in that space of time it took me to drive from here to town, I moved into the world of the techno-elite. That is pretty weird.
It is like your reaction when you walked into my little cozy country bungalow and inside I'm sitting there talking on my

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cordless phone and using my word processor. I think that is a result of this. That transition for me has been a result of this. It is not necessarily a transition I wel come. Ten years ago, my intention had been to keep farming. To fence in these these pastures and to raise more cows and stuff like that. That had been my intention; now that is totally not in my cosmology to do that. I don't have the land now; I don't have the capital and stuff I had then. I certainly don't have the body and the energy. So that has been a part of it.
I have a word processor because of it. I've learned to type [Laughter] in a way I've never typed before. There are people all over the state who know who I am, who had no idea who I was and wouldn't have known. I get invited to speak at some fairly out of the way places, that are all a result of this. I mean, there would have been no reason otherwise to invite me there. So, yeah… but at the same time, I mean the other half of that… is God, I feel cynical. I think the world is really getting screwed up. I get very tired of yuppie mentality.
It is painful, isn't it.
It is not only painful, it is so predictable. ONe thing that happens, if you live in the same place for a long time is you learn about cycles, because you are there. I was talking to somebody, I may have told this story in class. I was talking to someone one fall and I was saying it is going to be a sorta mild fall; but, it is time for it. The weather cycle every four years or so, there is a mild fall. You learn that by having sat here long enough and

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you live it. That is what wisdom is, is remembering your mistakes, and you remember it.
And I was talking to this person and they said and they perfectly serious, "Yeah, you also look at those little wooly worms and things like that." Which is a totally different concept, right? I mean looking at wooly worms to predict the weather is totally different than remembering that it is sorta time for the weather … you know. I was pretty flabbergasted by that.
I think that is a real key to what bothers me. One of the reasons that I think I should be able to have some say about what happens here is that I study it. But, what I'm up against is all the people who claim that they have studied in a different way. The urban planners, the certified urban planners, the certified public health people, the certified administrators; because they have studied in a different kind of system, somehow their wisdom is more valuable. Essentially what we had to do, what we as an organization and I as an individual had to do, is had to prove that our opinions have value and that this place has a value for us as well as for other people. Demonstrating that something has value is a real tough thing. Especially when the institutions and that sorta thing set up to do that are all in favor of the other side. One of the things, and you'll appreciate this, one of the things I get really pissed off about is … I took a course in the summer for teachers and for people in the School of Education that are finishing up their degrees, Oral Communication in the Classroom, essentially building skills and evaluating the skills. People get so excited because they told them, "You aren't gonna have to do any papers for this.

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You have to do two thirty minute preformances." That is fine, that is not research. I think if you have to do six interviews, that is OK, that's not research.
This concept that research, that learning something, that knowing something can be done in one way. That is either taking your little computer screen over to Davis Library, or sitting down in the basement of Davis Library and reading lots of dull dusty tones. That is an absurd notion. You know that; you are an oral history person. But, the structures of, the mentalities of the people who run Chapel Hill and the power structure is that research is one and only one thing. That is learning about things abstractly from a distance, through a real removed medium. It is the trouble anthropologists always have of convincing anybody that what they are doing is legitimate. I'm sure that oral history people spend a lot of time in apoligia for what they are doing is not valid.
And it is the same issue here. Hell, I have looked at this place … I can legitimately say I come from a line of scholars who have studied Cane Creek for 250 years. They studied it in order to make it survive, and to make themselves survive; literally, in order to keep the land from becoming so disintegrated that they couldn't survive on it, in order to keep some sorta lifestyle that was compatible with the land. They know the place in a way no one else knows. Yet, somehow, that has no legitimacy when you stand up in front of the Environmental Management Commission. Has no legitimacy at all.
Did you ever work with these people who would be going to the boards to teach them the lingo?
We worked at it; it is hard to do. In some ways,

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you don't want to do too much of that because the only impact they are gonna have … I mean, a half trained witness is worse than a witness with no training at all. In some ways the only impact they are gonna have is by being bodies there, who say a little bit and then let a few people who are more articulate try and lay out the issues. But giving some sense of representative consent.
What I tried to do in the newsletters… the structure of the newsletter is an editorial and then lots of announcements. Some of them are real good and some of them are real bad; depending on how much time I had to put into it. But, essentially what I would try to do is train a set of repetitve ideas, notions, and responses within a certain sorta framework of words and technologies and that sorta thing. So people would have those and be exposed to it that way. In some ways, the newsletter was an educational process, although I say that in hindsight. But I think part of what we did was we gave everybody a set of the same ideas once a month to mull over and acquire; a set of the same outlooks and terminologies. It was sorta manipulative in that sense, but, at the same time, I think it was a manipulation that people wel comed. I think they felt more competent in stating the issues and things like that, because they could go back and say, well, da…da…da.da. It was a way that responses was structured because of what I said in the newsletters.
Do you have copies of these newsletters?
I have some.

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Would you mind sharing them with me?
Oh, I would love to give them to you. What I had told Jacquelyn [Hall], was I was hoping that someone or a couple people in that class who were real into it would collect all the information that three or four of us hold and would do some compiling and categorizing. I can give you some of the things I have. [text missing]
You made a reference to the organization or the Authority being over…
Well, I don't know how to respond to that. I don't know if it is over or not. I think it is over in the terms of … that sorta major phase is gone. There is still a path there being changed. We are trying to catch up on some … we still have some legal expenses and stuff to do. [interruption] I don't know how to respond to that. I mean it feels over to me. I really don't know what to do at this point. It has become an individual thing. I'm still trying to write a letter to the Teers. [Interruption] I'm still trying to be supportive of the Teers and their trying to finish up and come to some sorta resolution with they're doing. I think it is over… It bothers me to say that. Right now we are in the process of trying to write a letter to kinda sum things up and also try and get people to do some contribution back to the loan they have from the Teers and … It is a real debate in my mind in terms of how to frame that and that is why

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it has taken me so long to do it. I don't know whether it is over. I mean, it is over in the sense that all the things we have done are no longer things we can do. I don't know what there is at this point in time that is new to do. And, I'm tired of it. I mean, I'm just worn out with it. In that sense they have succeeded to do what they set out to do - which was to intimidate us. And I feel intimidated.
Not that I feel destroyed in that sense of intimidation; but I just feel like no matter what I do, they are going to out spend me, out maneuver me, out something me. My choices are either to feel frantic or to feel kinda numb… And I guess I've chosen numb. Not that it is a better choice, but it certainly does take a lot less energy - maybe - I don't know rather it takes less energy or not.
I don't know if that question got raised with Mae and Cecil or not, in terms of how they felt about it. And, I think you maybe would get a different answer from some other people. But, in a sense, I feel that is the only response I've got to make at this point. At least what has been is over… It doesn't feel like a primary identity to me and five years ago it felt like a real primary identity to me. So, yeah, I think that is true.
When was the last time the Authority met as a group?
As an entire group?
Well as a committee or …?
There is an executive committee which is sorta whoever decides to show up. It is usually the same people who did the day

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to day working of things. We met, I think in July. Because of the things that have been going on with me at home and all those sorts of things, I've been unavailable to meet and we need to have a meeting really soon again. We just haven't gotten around to it. Then, there is a sorta sub committee that has met about the Craft Fair and that stuff. So, it is still kinda happening.
The Craft Fair will be this fall?
Patty, when did they say the date of the Craft Fair was gonna be?
I think it is in December, but I'm not sure.
It is like the first week, there will be advertisements.
The first Saturday, I think.
I think the first Saturday in December. So, that is supposedly still on tap and still slated to occur, I think therewill be residual things about it. I just went back in June, fifteen of us went to the legislature, because OWASA at that point in time was trying to sneak some legislation through that would allow them to legate any court things that were still in session; any court issues that were still outstanding and go ahead and essentially change the legislation including them and give them more immediate power. We could fairly quickly put together a group of people to respond to that. So yeah, those sorts of things are still in place. I think there are remnants enough that are still in place; that if issues arise either in connection with this or issues that are parallel to this, that we can raise a group of people and make a response. I think that is probably the thing that still exists, is there has been and

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there is a history now of political response that wasn't there before. I guess, if I was being real insightful about what the process has done, that is probably the thing that is most lasting; other than the possibility of having expanded who is members of this community. There is now a kinda residual history of political response that was really not there before. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing or how useful it will prove in the future I can't say. But, I think it is definitely there and it wasn't there before.
You mentioned something about an airport that was planned, did the Authority help fight that?
Well I think it was one of those things like I was just saying; that residual political response. CCCA as an entity did not say … It is hard to define CCCA as an entity; it was more of an idea to which a lot of people adhere to more that it is an institution to which a lot of people have allegiance. But I think that in having that, the people who had gained experience and momentum from working on Cane Creek, quickly organized around opposition with the airport and quickly made their experiences available to people who were involved with this issue but weren't involved with that issue. By making that experience available to them, thus short cutting a great deal of what they would have had to do and making the response a great deal more successful than it would have been fifteen years ago. So in that sense, I think we responded as an idea, and as a historical concept, not so much as an institution. I don't think CCCA has ever really been an institution. I think that has been in some ways its downfall,

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because unlike OWASA we aren't an institution, to the degree we can force levies and things like that on the county. Not, I also think it has been its major strength, in the sense it has that kinda populace magnetism and power, that wouldn't ordinarily … [Interruption] So yeah, I think that is the thing in terms of the airport that was the deciding factor in terms of our input to that.
During this period also, and you would really have to talk to Patty more about this than me, cause she was the Chairman of the County Planning Commission. There was an implementation of all these zoning and subdivisional stuff in this township. I think because issues and ideas that had come out of Cane Creek, it [the Zoning] went in a good deal more sensibly and the people had a lot more to say about it, and had a lot more impact on the final presentation of that. It became more of a document that they felt not only created but could live with. Because zoning is a tricky issue… it is a real tricky issue. I think because of what we had experienced - that was something that was a positive, for the most part, rather than a negative to them. I don't know how closely you follow the local paper, but in Cheeks Township, which is near Efland, there is still a major battle over zoning regulations and that kinda thing, which doesn't occur here. What we did, I think here, was we felt like we developed a compromise plan that was livable and also offered us some protection in exchange for some levy of freedom; I don't know, that sounds real highfalutin. I mean,

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some possibilities of what we could do, which made a difference.
[Interruption] Let me go in and get you those newsletters and things.
What about Patty's decision to go to law school, do you think that was a …?
Patty, Did you decide to go to law school because of Cane Creek stuff?
I don't know, I guess I got more exposed to lawyers and decided that …
- that that was a great place to rip off…
No, that I could do it as well as they could.
Maybe a little better…
I needed something to do. [Text Missing. Transcription starts while Sam is going through a large unorganized box of "Cane Creek stuff".]
Take this and do with it as you want, I really don't necessarily want any of it back. And, I say that probably with some regret in the future, but at this point in time …
I will not destroy any of this material.
OK, that is fine. If you want to sorta organize it, whatever you feel you have the time, energy, and purpose to deal with, you may. [text missing]
At some point… a clear record is not on my agenda. I lived through it and the record is clear in terms of my internal needs.