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Title: Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: White, William E., Jr., interviewee
Interview conducted by Crowe, Ashley
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: 144 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-11-28, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0147)
Author: Ashley Crowe
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0147)
Author: William E. White Jr.
Description: 118 Mb
Description: 37 p.
Note: Interview conducted on October 29, 2000, by Ashley Crowe; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series R. Special Research Projects, 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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An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000.
Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
White, William E., Jr., interviewee


Interview Participants

    WILLIAM E. WHITE JR., interviewee
    KENT OTTO, interviewee
    ASHLEY CROWE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ASHLEY CROWE:
We are getting ready to start our second interview. This is October twenty-ninth in the year 2000. And this is tape 2.1.
All right, because I didn't do a proper names form last time, I have like no full names.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[Laughter] Okay.
ASHLEY CROWE:
So let's start with that. What was your mother's full name?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Mildred Louise.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Spelled?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
L-O-U-I-S-E question mark.
ASHLEY CROWE:
That's usually right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Couch. That was her maiden name.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Okay. And White was her married name.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Correct.
ASHLEY CROWE:
What was your brother's name? What is your brother's name?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
My younger brother's name is Michael Wayne White.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And your sister?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Patricia Ann.
ASHLEY CROWE:
All right. And your adopted brother?

Page 2
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Foster brother—Raymond Guy Lanier.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Spell the last name?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
L-A-N-I-E-R.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And just a question about your mother, you said she came to Florida for a quick divorce?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Un-uh.
ASHLEY CROWE:
What's the story behind that?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Um, she married a — don't know what possessed her, after I saw him, he was the ugliest man — she married a guy named Claude Phipps, and they were married about three years and he tried to run her down with his motorcycle. So I'd say things didn't go real well. And she found out she could get a divorce quicker in Florida than in North Carolina, so she went down to divorce Claude and met my dad.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Did she move to Florida, or did she just go down for the divorce?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Initially I think she just went down for the divorce. But she finally moved to Florida.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Okay. And what were the names of the schools that you went to, the elementary and —
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
That I went to?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
I went to Azalea Elementary.
ASHLEY CROWE:
All right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
And Azalea Junior High, nowadays I think they call it Middle School.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.

Page 3
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
And Southern Durham High School.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Is that still around, or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah, they've just moved the location and put it into a much better, a much nicer building, which wouldn't take much.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Where was it when you went?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
On Ellis Road. Which is nowadays — you cross Ellis every time you go up and down [I-] 40 just before you get to [I-] 440. So it's out in the county.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah, was it mostly kids who lived out in the county, or was it — what was the zoning for it, do you know?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
The vast predominance of kids at South Durham, or Southern High, were the children of redneck tobacco farmers, who drove pickup trucks and wore bib overalls.
ASHLEY CROWE:
So it was county.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah, it was county.
ASHLEY CROWE:
I was county then. And your English Lit teacher's name was Mrs. Sharpe.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Un-uh.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And how would you spell that?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
S-H-A-R-P-E.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Okay, good.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Joanne.
[To the dog] Charlie. [To ASHLEY CROWE] If you suddenly feel a cold nose on your ankle don't scream.
ASHLEY CROWE:
That's all right. And your friends in junior high, their names. You gave me the names, Cheryl Slosberg, Lynn Seaburry, Janet Loader, Mary Andre.

Page 4
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Those were junior high school friends.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
High school friends, so it's only two. Were David Glen and Wanda Velvet Pickard.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Could you go through the spellings of those last names. Slosberg would be?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
S-L-O-S-B-E-R-G.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Seaburry?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
S-E-A-B-U-R-R-Y.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And how did she spell her first name.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Lynn? L-Y-N-N.
ASHLEY CROWE:
No E?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Un-un.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Janet Loader?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
L-O-A-D-E-R.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Mary Andre?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
A-N-D-R-E.
ASHLEY CROWE:
To high school, David Glen — Is that one N or two
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
One.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And Velvet Pickard, her last name?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
P-I-C-K-A-R-D.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Hey, I did pretty good for guessing. [Laughter] Sorry.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
You did very well.

Page 5
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah, I'm trying to figure all this out. Let's see what were some of the other names, I needed. Oh the meetings, the Charismatic Renewal meetings, were at the house of Dr. Vanderbilt? Spelled like the school?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Exactly.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Okay, personal trainer at Straw Valley is Susan Stover, spelled?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Just like the candy, S-T-O-V-E-R.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Okay, the name of the women who owned the house that you lived at at the Art Institute was Oliver — Mrs. Oliver.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Mrs. Oliver, God I'd forgotten that. Yes it was. That's right, if she had a first name, I never knew it.
ASHLEY CROWE:
All right. And you said one of your best friends in Atlanta was Mary Upton. How would you spell that?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
U-P-T-O-N.
ASHLEY CROWE:
All right. And the name of the person who taught you still life? He went a little crazy?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh, oh God.
ASHLEY CROWE:
His last name — Brumley?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yes, thank you, B-R-U-M-L-E-Y.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And the person who was the head of the art department there was —
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Grecco.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Grecco? How was that spelled?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
G-R-E-C-C-O.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And the name of your first boyfriend how do you spell the last name?

Page 6
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[Laughter] Oh God. Um. I can't remember his name.
ASHLEY CROWE:
You told me Douglas Broughten Hill.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Thank you. That was the wrong person. H-I-L-L.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And the middle name there?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Just like the high school. B-R-O-U-G-H-T-E-N.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And you said Randy's was Lester McLane.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Un-huh.
ASHLEY CROWE:
How would you spell that last name?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
M-C capital L-A-N-E.
ASHLEY CROWE:
All right, I think that's all the names. All right, that went pretty well there. I just had some follow up questions.
I was wondering if you could talk a little more about the Charismatic Renewal movement, I'm not really familiar with that.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Actually, you're talking about my experience in it?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Okay.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And then just the movement in general some too, if you could.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
My experience in it was, as I said, boredom with the Baptist Church. Thinking there had to be something more, and just stumbling over, well, I didn't literally stumble over my employer's wife — she came in everyday — I mean the business was in big trouble — and she was always smiling and perky and I thought, this woman must be drunk. But one day I talked to her about, and she said, "Oh no." And she got me to at least go check it out. And I found these people that were just amazing. They always

Page 7
seemed to be in an up mood; their faith level was way, way, way high. I thought, I don't know what this is, but I want some of it.
And so I started attending these meetings at Dr. Vanderbilt's. That's when I found out about things like, being slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, and no they didn't handle snakes, drink poison, or run the pews. I went to one of those churches. And I found out that what they were experiencing was an indwelling of the Holy Spirit, with tangible evidence. I mean things happened to you; you look different. And I thought this is a neat thing. And I got to checking into it and this has been around for, oh Lord, 30 or 40 years, or more. And it just isn't quite that well known because, unfortunately, the Charismatic movement got overshadowed by the Holy Rollers. Like I said, I've been to one of those churches. So anytime you say Charismatic Renewal people expect you to twitch, and fall on the floor, and roll round, and round, and round, and run up and down the aisles, and all that good stuff. And it's a very calm, quiet, and energizing experience.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Were they services, or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh yeah, they were full church services. That's one of my complaints with most non-denominational Charismatic Fellowships. Because the praise and worship part of the service would last forty-five minutes. That's the most fun. There's a short break to get the kids all to their classrooms. And then the preacher sits down, and he teaches, for anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour and a half. And that's just a little more Sunday than I can stand. So, right now I'm trying to find a place where the priest doesn't have to go quite on and on and on 'cause by that long, you've lost my attention span. It's like, "I don't know what he said."
ASHLEY CROWE:
Did it grow out of the Pentecostal movement?

Page 8
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
I think so. Yeah it basically — if you're going to put the two of them together. In my experience at least, if you go into a church of Holy Rollers, they're usually low income, low education, very common folk. Which is fine. And you get into the Charismatic Renewals, the non-denominational fellowships and they're more intellectual. And I think the fact that they don't rely so much on emotion. There's a lot of emotion there. But not enough to make you jump up and run up and down the aisle.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And the churches are still around?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh yeah, in fact my younger brother is pastoring one now.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Is this a denominational one or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
It's a non-denominational Charismatic Fellowship. Called Christian Assembly.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And you said your mother went to kind of a splinter group of the Church?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
My mom ended up, what bit of time she was there before she died, at Bethel Christian Center, which is a little more Holy Roller. The service at several points takes on a three-ring circus atmosphere. [Laughter] Which for the first ten or twenty times I went was like, "My God, what is going on here." I grew up in a church where the preacher said, "let us pray." Everybody bowed their heads, everybody was quiet and the preacher prayed. At Bethel, when the preacher said, "Let us pray," they all did, out loud, very loud. I was like [voice in a sing-song tone] "Jesus, God, get me out of here."
And there were some neat characters. We actually nicknamed some of them. There was Sister Earthquake who would just go into these all but grand mal seizures when the spirit was on her. There were the Top Sisters, who would go down to the front of the church and just spin like tops. Sister Airplane would jump up, throw both arms out,

Page 9
and do this war-hoop, and run up and down the aisles. I kept going, "There's something wrong here."
ASHLEY CROWE:
And is that the Pentecostal, Holy Roller church you went to.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
That's the Holy Roller church. I think most people properly call it the Pentecostal church.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
And it was just too strange for me. And I finally got to checking into it. And that's when I ran into places like the Vanderbilt's.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was that the last Charismatic Renewal churches you were involved in, or one of the first?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
No, that was a Pentecostal church, there's a difference.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
The last Charismatic Fellowship I was involved with was Christian Assembly. I'm checking into one now called — [pause] I just love these modern maturity moments — New Horizon.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Where is that?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Most of these churches when they first get started meeting in school gymnasiums. And this one's at Little River Elementary, I think. No, Hillandale Elementary, it's on Hillandale Road.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Interesting. And are any of them denominational?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
No.
ASHLEY CROWE:
No they're all non-denominational.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Right.

Page 10
ASHLEY CROWE:
Okay.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
They're all, the congregation is made of recovering groups of something. Recovering Baptists, recovering Methodist, whatever.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Does the service lean toward one toward on denomination or another?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Most of the time, no. They're more, free-form. They don't quite follow stream of consciousness, but close.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Could you describe again how your family lived all clumped together, like how they were, so I can write it down? Because I didn't —
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh sure. You mean the family compound?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yes.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Let's see in my house were [pause] all the people you have listed under names.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
In the house next to ours — oh God, here we go —
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was that just next door?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Just next door, not quite as close as the neighbors here, but almost. Oh lord, Aunt Bessie, Uncle Ed, John, Richard, and Wallace, their kids. Let's see. My house —
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was it the aunt that was related to you?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yes, that was my mother's sister. My house was perpendicular to Aunt Bessie's and if you looked out across Aunt Bessie's front yard and driveway, another house faced hers. And that house contained, my Grandmother and Grandfather Couch, my Great-Aunt Omi, and my Aunt Mabel. And these were all kind of fairly grouped around a large circular drive, and you hit the main drive and you could go out to Page Road, or you

Page 11
could go the other way onto the dirt road, which is called Sorrell's Grove Road [Extension].
ASHLEY CROWE:
And then, that was the only group of your family that lived right there?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Nope, actually come to think of it, across the street from Aunt Bessie, were my, oh gracious, Aunt Beatrice, Uncle Dennis, and my two cousins Floyd and Ruth.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And what was it like living with all that family so close by?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[Laughter] A lot of times it was really nurturing, and strengthening. But it was also frustrating because no matter how much I tried to say, "Well, they just cared," these were nosey people. Everybody in all the households knew what was going on in other households, in detail. And I found that a little uncomfortable; it was kind of like living in fish bowls. Prime example is when my foster brother and I came out to my mom and she said, "Sure, go to the bars." We'd get home at one, two o'clock in the morning, the very next morning my Aunt Bessie would call the house and go, [puts on accent] "Mildred, which one of your kids came in this morning at two a.m.?"
ASHLEY CROWE:
So did you pretty much come out to all your family right away or just your mother?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Just my mom initially. I mean after all she worked for two psychiatrist and a psychiatric social worker, so she was pretty cool about it. Um, my dad was a little tougher; he was a little freaked. But yeah, actually, when I came out to my mom, of course, I came out to my brothers and sister. And it was easier because my foster brother had paved the way; he'd already come out. So, it was a little easier.
ASHLEY CROWE:
What were your siblings' reactions?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Um, at the time they really didn't care. It was like, "Yeah fine, no big deal."

Page 12
ASHLEY CROWE:
Did that change?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
It changed when we grew up and my younger brother got [puts on stuffy accent] very religious. And then, of course, it became an abomination in the [unclear] of God. It was like, "Oh, fine." But I think he's — no — he and I have reached a point where it's a subject we agree to disagree and that's about as far as it goes.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right. How about your extended family?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
A lot of my extended family knew and I didn't. I didn't know they were aware. My sister was living with my Aunt Bessie next door at one point, and I was going down to the drug store. She said, "Can I ride?" I said, "Sure." On the way back she kind of hemmed and hawed. She said, "Um, Bill, Aunt Bessie knows your gay." I said, "What? How'd she find out?" Pat said, "Well, she backed me into a corner." So we got back to Aunt Bessie's house, went in the living room, sat down. Now my aunt was just a definite country woman. Great big old country woman. I said, "Well, Aunt Bessie, I hear you know more about me than I thought you did." She just grinned. I said, "You never said anything!?" She said, [puts on southern accent] "Well, Bill, son, who am I to judge you?" I thought, "Who are you?" [pause] That wasn't the answer I expected. So, everyone that knows — well, I've got a couple cousins by marriage that are quadruple-faced-rednecks — but other than that most everybody is fine with it. [Puts on dramatic voice] Which is a good thing. [Off voice] So it makes things a lot easier.
ASHLEY CROWE:
How many of your cousins are right around your age, or is there a big age gap between y'all?

Page 13
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
There's a pretty good size age gap. I think my cousins that lived next door, John, Richard and Wallace — Wallace is the same age as my siblings, Richard the middle kid was one grade ahead of me, and John was two grades ahead of me. So they'd be about the closest in age that I've got.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Where they the ones you were closest to, or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah, they had to be, if for nothing else, just due to proximity. The rest of my extended family is spread out all over North Carolina and Virginia. So I only saw that lot of them once a year at the reunion.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right. [pause] Could you talk a little more about your relationship with your sister?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah. Put that on pause a second let me get some tea to wet my whistle with.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Sure. [Recorder is turned off and then back on.]
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
My sister. This should be interesting. Pat grew up in a house with two brothers, when we moved to North Carolina it became two brothers and a foster brother. And somehow I got designated as older sister, and she would tell me things that most brothers never know. As we got older, we kind of drifted apart a bit until about, oh Lord, ten years ago? Fifteen years ago. And my sister and I have become very close basically because, we think the same way. Mike, our brother, doesn't have a clue. He could sit down at a conversation with Pat and I and he'll spend most of the time blinking his eyes real fast, like, "What are you talking about?" His mind just doesn't work the same way. Pat and I are both very emotional and Mike, I guess is a little — Mike keeps it all locked in; doesn't express it if he can help it. And the older sister routine started up again. In

Page 14
fact, Pat spent four days here last week while Kent was out of town. And I know everything there is to know about her. Some of it, I wish I didn't know. And how we developed this, I'm not quite sure, I guess maybe it was just the fact that we were so similar. And she could identify better with me than she could with Mike. Couldn't identify with my mom; that wasn't an easy task.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was she constantly warring with your mother, or? Because you mentioned just a minute ago that she was living at your aunt—s for a while.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Um, I think she was living at my aunt's after my mom had died. But, yeah, they butted heads on fairly frequent occasion. That's [pause] how Pat left home. Um, I don't know, she and Mom had been battling it out over something, Pat walked through the kitchen and Mom said, "Pat, I thought I told you to do so and so twenty minutes ago." Pat just kind of turned and said, "Mom, go to hell." Mom said, "Fine. Go pack your bags and get out." And we went, "Oh God." So yeah, they were kind of at each other a lot of the time.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Differently than you and your brothers were?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah. [pause] I never have quite figured that one out, what there was between Mom and Pat, that agitated them so all the — well, except for the fact that my mom was one of the world's most amazing control freaks, you've ever seen. And I mean we were just teenagers. But when you've got this roaring control freak — I mean, when Mom said "jump," she meant — you say "how high?" Or if she said, "I want you to do something." She wanted it done yesterday. We were teenagers; we kind of fiddled and farted around, as she put it. And so we were all bumping heads some, but Mom and Pat were the worst.

Page 15
ASHLEY CROWE:
And then, a couple — twice I think in our last interview you mentioned your sister as crazy. What do you mean by that?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
This goes back to the Charismatic Renewal. When I got involved with it, the standard routine — and I'll ask God about that when I see God. But when you're first baptized in the Holy Spirit is what they call it, you're just obnoxious, I mean you want to go climb up on the rooftop and yell to everybody. And a day rolled around when my mom, I think my great aunt Omi, and I were in the den part of the very large kitchen-dining-den area, and we were talking churchy stuff. And my sister was at the dining table, and the next thing we know she is pounding the table with her fists, screaming, "I don't wanna go to Hell, I don't wanna go to Hell, I don't wanna go to Hell!" We're going, "What is this all about?"
And it got worse to the point where we put her in the Mental Health part of Durham Regional. And they didn't do much there, except keep her drugged. And when her insurance ran out we had to take her to Butner. And the hardest thing I've ever had to do was let this great, huge, big, butch, burly nurse take my sister into a locked ward. I mean there were twenty or thirty people in that area. And all I could do watch as they closed and locked this great huge heavy door. I don't think my mom and I said two words on the way home. And that was tough.
Most of this, I think, started when Pat was twelve and my parents had an extremely nasty divorce. I'm talking screaming and hollering and most everything else you can think of. And for some reason Pat tried at twelve years old to single-handedly put her parents' marriage back together. Which obviously didn't happen. And my thinking is that somewhere along the line when Pat should have been developing mentally and

Page 16
emotionally, she was so sidetracked by the divorce that she didn't start going through what regular teenagers do until she was in her twenties. And that's a little tough when you're trying to be an adult working person. And Pat has kind of emotionally spiraled down to the point where about the only thing she can do is house cleaning and be on disability. I think it may have been a blessing for Pat that she had to have a kidney removed from cancer because that put her on disability. And so — she is getting better. But like I said, if I didn't think like her I wouldn't understand at all.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
So that's how she's crazy.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was there ever an official diagnosis of any sort?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh sure, they used the catch-all. It was schizophrenic, no paranoid schizophrenic. Like, "Sure isn't every one." It's kind of like going to the E. E. and T. doctor and he says "Oh you've got a deviated septum." Everyone that goes has a deviated septum. Well, that was a paranoid schizophrenic. I lived with some of those in Atlanta believe me, she was not a paranoid schizophrenic.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And how long was she at Butner for? [clock beeps]
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh Lord, a year, a little bit more, but when she came out she was markedly better. And while she was at church a lady said, "You know, I've got a friend. She's seeing a doctor named Barco for a chemical imbalance." Well, she went, and on her first appointment with Dr. Barco he was just furious. He said, "You've been in this condition for how many years and nobody thought to check chemical

Page 17
imbalance?" I don't know what he put her on but all of a sudden she was just level as she could be. So that was. And she's, comfortably speaking, level now.
And if you'll give me one more second I want to turn that sprinkler off.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Sure.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[Getting up] Oh. Before the well runs dry. [pause]
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Famous last words. [Sits down again] Okay?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Two more quick detail type questions.
What was the name of the restaurant you worked at after you quit your job at Memorial Hospital?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Cock of the Walk.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Where is that located?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
It was, it's not anymore, where Page Road intersects Highway 70. I don't know what it is now, it's a great beautiful place, and that was very convenient because I lived on the other end of Page Road —
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
— so I could just drive to and from work.
ASHLEY CROWE:
What type of restaurant was it?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
It was a theme restaurant. But their basic menu was, fried catfish, oh that was so good, chicken, and shrimp. And we — oh God — I think they were trying to get a riverboat, I'm not quite sure, feel to it. But all the waiters had to wear black pants, these red huge sleeved pullover shirts that had rawhide ties, and these awful black rimmed hats. Now that I think about it what I hated most was the outfit. So that was the fun part.

Page 18
ASHLEY CROWE:
And how long did you stay there as a waiter?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
A little over a year. I was a very good waiter, except, I have no eye-hand coordination. And one of our little deals was we would always bring out this miniature fry pan of cornbread, and part of the trick was the waiter would flip the cornbread at your table. I thought, "Oh shit, here we go again," every time a client sat down. I'd catch it half the time and the other half I didn't.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Another one, what department store did you say you worked at in the '70s as the display manager?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
In the '70s as a display manager was, Baldwin's Department Store which is, or was, downtown on the corner of Main and Magnum. That was — like I said it was back in the early '70s when all the flared pants — all the stuff that's coming back now. And I just had to go around and keep all the displays in the store up to date and do all the advertising.
ASHLEY CROWE:
So it wasn't — which sort of advertising, the print or the in-store?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
The in-store. Well, in-store and for the newspaper depending on which department was having a sale. I'd have to do the paste-up and get it to the newspaper.
ASHLEY CROWE:
So a little more than just display managing then?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Um-hm. I'd have been happier with the display manager part I think.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And what job did you have after that?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
See, this was during school, so I probably went back to college. In and out, in and out. My first job after school, when I graduated, the first time, was at Piedmont Decorators, and that's where the woman was that I got invited into the Charismatic Renewal with. Oh God, I think I went from there to Montgomery Ward's.

Page 19
ASHLEY CROWE:
What did you do there?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Interior design. What else did I do after that?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Were you doing interior design at Piedmont Decorators too?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
That and then stock clerk, actually they hadn't been up enough, they needed a stock clerk more than they needed a designer. Oh I did the picture framing as well. Let's see. Montgomery Ward's, Eatman's Carpets. Eatman's Carpets I was the head of the drafting room, the drafting department, and we had to draw the blueprints up, not real blueprints, just the shape, and figure out how to lay the carpet for the carpet installers. And after that, I hired a woman named Hazel Robinson, and Hazel didn't put up with that shit for very long, it was not a pleasant place to work. And I come to find out that she was now at Memorial Hospital, and a woman I had worked with at Piedmont Decorators was there also. And Hazel called and said, "Bill I have got to get you out of that place; I've got a job opening, come try out for it, or come apply." And that's how I ended up at Memorial Hospital.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Um, what was your ex-wife's full name? What is?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[quietly] Is Jennifer or is Janice Lee? [pause] [in normal voice] Uh-oh. I don't remember if she was Lynn or Lee, due to her sister, I get the middle names mixed up. I think it was Janice Lynn Page.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And was she from Durham, or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh yeah, she had lived on Page Road all of her life. In fact from my mother's kitchen you could look cattycornered way down into the woods and see her parents' home. So I'd known her for quite a while. [To Kent who has just come on the porch] Hiya.
KENT OTTO:
Hiya.

Page 20
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Come out to read the paper? Okay.
KENT OTTO:
Charlie?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Door's not open far enough. [The screen door creaks open and Kent goes to the swinging bench outside of the screened-in porch to read]
ASHLEY CROWE:
What is your psychiatrist's name?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
The present one?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yes.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Doctor Eunice Ngumba, N-G-U-M-B-A. She's from Kenya.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And what's Kent's full name
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Kent Aubert A-U-B-E-R-T Otto
ASHLEY CROWE:
A-U-T-O?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
O-T-T-O.
ASHLEY CROWE:
O-T-T-O. Okay. And one more.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Sure.
ASHLEY CROWE:
You mentioned that you were at Central University before it was incorporated. What was at like being at Central as a white student in those days?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Intimidating. Fortunately I didn't have any classes after dark, it means I didn't have to go on campus at night. I think the best example was, in my Hygiene class, which was a required course your first year. I finally can no longer remember her name - the instructor would call the role and she would go down and say, "Kent?" "Here." "Ashley?" "Here." "David?" "Here." "Trisha?" "Here." "White?" It was like, oh [sighs] . So I finally went to her about halfway through the year. I said, "Look, I think we better both admit that we are both a little bit prejudiced and we need to deal with that."

Page 21
that." She looked back at me and said, "You know, let's try it." It was like, "Good." From there on out my name was Bill.
And during that period of time my siblings and I were still under the court order with the divorce that we had to spend every other holiday with Dad. I don't remember if it was Christmas or Thanksgiving, I think it was Christmas, and it was the year we had to go to Florida. And the only exam that would mess up was my Hygiene exam. So I went to Mrs. Whatever-her-name-was and said that and she said, "Well, here these are the directions to my house, come over Tuesday night and we'll talk about it." I said, "Oh. Okay." So I go to her house and she said, "Look I need to move this heavy piece of furniture will you help me?" I said, "Sure." So we moved this piece of furniture from one room to the other. And I said, "Now about my exam— " She said, "You just took it, I was going to give you a B anyway." And that was all there was. So it went from very scary to very comfortable.
The only time I really had any honest trouble was when the legislature was going to incorporate all the schools under one head, and most of the students left to go to that rally, but they gave me hell before they left. Things like put your books down to go to the bathroom, come back and your books are gone. Finally look around enough to find that they were in the trash can. I was like, "That's it, I'm out of here for today. Thank you." But like I said, after about two or three months things kind of settled down. I got used to things.
I can't remember my Speech teacher either but she always — and I hope it was just because of the alphabet, school roll, class roll — she always put me after this kid that no matter what the subject matter was he always incorporated it into the Black Panther

Page 22
movement. It's like, "Oh jeez." Um, oh, she embarrassed me so badly the first few days. We all had to go around and tell our name, what rank we were, and where we were from. So it came my turn and I said, [pronouncing all the consonants fully] "Hi, I'm Bill White. I'm from Durham, North Carolina; and I'm a sophomore." And I sat down - oh God, Mills, it was Mrs. Mills - She said, "Mr. White, would you stand up and do that again?" Oh God, do I have to? So I went all through it again and I sat down. She said, "Now class, that's the way it's to be said." And then she went and tore down everything everyone else in the class had said, the way they'd pronounced it, and left me as the ideal. I was not happy.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Were most of your teachers black as well?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
All the teachers I had were black. Um, and they were actually quite good. My Biology class was just one of the joys of my life. My art class was just amazing, with a local artist named Willie [Davis] — I knew I shouldn't have try the name. He was just amazing. He still exhibits at Centerfest. I can't think of his name. Anyway. He was extremely good. I learned a lot from him. So, yeah, it was, it was unnerving but good.
ASHLEY CROWE:
What about just in general in Durham, what were race relations like, do you think?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Very, very shaky. I was impressed with that group of rednecks that I went to high school with. We were one of the first schools in Durham to be integrated, to have kids bused. Now, unfortunately for them, there was a family of blacks in the school district that's where they had to go all the time anyway. They were the only three black people in the entire school. It was a little tough, they rode my bus, and sometimes I had to

Page 23
substitute drive the same bus. And I would always lay my books across two seats and reserve them for them because the other kids would make them stand up.
They integrated our school. We were the Southern Rebels. The mascot of the wall to the football field was the Old Rebel. And we didn't have confrontation once. No, there was no fighting, I mean it was about as smooth as it could be. The student body got together and agreed to change the mascot to the Spartans. The outsiders wanted us to really go at it. We would, frequently on Monday mornings, you'd drive down Ellis Road to school and there would be KKK placards all over every telephone pole. And it was dumb stupid stuff that I don't know how they could expect anyone to believe. One of them was that every thirteen seconds a white woman is raped by a black man. So we would just turn around and go back and one of us would start walking and just take them all down. And I was more impressed by the fact that the Grand Wizard lived right across the street from the high school and yet we still had no trouble. The other schools were a mess. You heard about fights, and knifings and I don't know what all. But we didn't have any problems at Southern Durham.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Were the kids that were bussed in from the county or were they from the city?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
I think these were kids were also county kids. Just from different parts of the county, which meant of course they had to be bussed a lot farther.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Do you think that's one of the reasons why, do you think there would have been more problems if they had been city kids who were bussed in?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Possibly. I think that if nothing else everyone could identify with an agricultural background. Because when it was time to take the tobacco out of the barns

Page 24
and to the market, as many black kids were out of the school as white kids, because they did the same thing.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
So yeah, I think that had a lot to do — that helped a lot.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And what do you think of the way race relations work now, in the city? Just because you do have that standpoint to compare it to.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
I still think we've got a long long long long way to go. It's far from equitable. There's a — it's amazing to me that you can drive through any part of Durham you want and if there wasn't a living soul on the sidewalk, nobody you could see, you stop and go, "yeah this is a white neighborhood" — "this is definitely a black neighborhood." And nowadays I think the Hispanics have been forced into the same kind of place the blacks were, and still are to a degree. And I think there needs to be a lot of work done to kind of let everyone meld together, and find out we do have a lot in common. So I'd describe race relations in Durham as fair.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was there any big change, do you think to you, between living in Durham and going to Atlanta to live? In terms of the way people live?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh definitely. 'Cause I was and eighteen-year-old kid who'd spent all of his — well the last five years — in the country. And then I got shoved in, well in the city, with city kids, city dwellers. We didn't go out after one o'clock in the morning, but you did in Atlanta, there was something going on all the time. In Durham in 1970 they rolled the sidewalks up about six o'clock.
ASHLEY CROWE:
They still do.

Page 25
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
For the most part, you're right. Lord, in downtown Atlanta you could do something twenty-four hours a day. I guess the best example, my roommate and I got ripped one night, and about two blocks, three blocks from our house, there was a place called Piedmont Park. And so we're out there, high as a kite, swinging on the swings at one or two in the morning. And it's, oh okay, act straight, no giggling, no laughing. He said, "Gentlemen, do you realize how dangerous it is what your doing right now?" "No officer." He said, "You don't need to be in the park after dark, it's very dangerous, please go home." In Durham, you wouldn't think of going to the park at one in morning. Of course if you had, you probably would have been safer. So yeah, it was — I had a great deal of culture shock.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Was it more diverse or was it just more open?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Both. Much, much more diverse. The street my apartment was on, oh dear God, we had blacks, and Indians, and Native Americans, and Asians, I mean, it was like a little strip of the UN. It was good.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And then did you have that reverse culture shock when you coming back here again?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Kind of. It was more a case of, oh, I forgot about this. Um, [Laughter] especially when I got off the airplane. My mom sent to Atlanta a clean shaven shorthaired naïve little white kid. What came back, oh God, I had this Fu-Manchu mustache down to here [chin length]. And my hair is, believe it or not, curly, I had my own 'fro. And my mom didn't even hug me when I got off the plane. She kind of put me out at arms' length and said, [puts on accent] "Well, if you clean it up the mustache can stay but that damn hair has got to go." Got a hair cut on the way home. What I learned from there on out

Page 26
when I was coming home from Atlanta was, go have the hair cut the way I wanted it cut, then I wouldn't have to go get butchered. That was the kind of thing, it was like, "Oh God, I'm back in Durham I forgot about this."
ASHLEY CROWE:
What about the city's relationship to the gay community, have you seen that change?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Here or Atlanta.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Both.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Atlanta was actually pretty good. In 1970 they had, oh God, gay bars and drag queens, everybody seemed the think, "oh fine." It took a long time to get that way in Durham. Although I was impressed that for a while we had the only gay bar in the Triangle. So I think Durham came about — developed better relations first, then Chapel Hill, then Raleigh. But as you know we still have a long way to go here.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And how was it back before you moved to Atlanta, like when you were in high school, and?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh God, you didn't dare let anyone suspect you were gay, at least I didn't. There was a kid — my foster brother graduated a year behind me because he failed a grade and he became fast friends with a kid, something Murray, oh God. Oh, this kid was flamboyantly gay. In fact, we had a day where students could dress anyway they wanted to — Ricky Murray — Ricky came to school, God, in these screaming red hot pants with suspenders, this white billowy — almost a blouse versus a shirt, and I don't remember what he had on his feet.
Have you ever seen a show called Are you Being Served?
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yes.

Page 27
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
He walked down the hall just like Mr. Humphries would. I was like, "No God, I don't know these people." He was teased a lot, I don't think there was ever any physical violence but there were certainly threats of it. And Ricky had the attitude I always wished I had which was "Mphttt. So what." Ricky could survive; I could not have dealt with that. So I just kept to myself, so quiet I even dated, had steadies, so no one would know. So it was tough, very tough. Ahhh, don't want to go there.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And now?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh, it's worlds better. Now I still have problems. I probably have the most amazing internalized homophobia you've seen in years. When I was talking with Thomas Sherratt who was the therapist who did me the most good. I was pissing and moaning that if I did something then people would know I was gay. And Thomas said the meanest, nicest thing anyone has ever said to me, he said "Bill, if I was driving on the street and saw you walking on the sidewalk, I wouldn't even slow down to wonder if you were gay." And I stopped and I looked at him and said, "Evil queen." And that kind of just, everything released. It was like "Okay, this is who I am, this is the way I walk, this is the way I move, this is how I like to dress. So it'll have to be." Mind you I'm not using any of the four-letter words I'm thinking. And from there in it's been a lot easier. [pause]
Now if I get in a room full of football jocks, I'm gonna butch it up a little bit. Or to the best of my ability. Just because of the old signal will kick in that "you're going to get hurt if you're not careful." I'll be very careful. My foster brother. Aye. He doesn't care. Anytime, anywhere, he doesn't care. In fact —
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

Page 28
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
My foster brother would kill me — fortunately no one is going to hear this. Randy has these huge brass balls, I'm sure. 'Cause he'll say anything to anybody. And what he was turning red and getting so furious about, there was an obvious football player and his little girlfriend a little farther on down, and the girlfriend must have been staring. We had to walk past that table to get out of the restaurant. I said, "Randy, don't you dare embarrass me." He was just as cool and normal, walked right by. Got right beside the table, plopped his elbows down, got right in the girl's face, and said, "What's wrong girl, never seen a live one before?" I thought, "Oh shit, we're both gonna die." And instantly the boyfriend just literally fell out of the pew laughing, at his girlfriend, not at us. And Randy just walked on, and I thought, [hangs mouth agape] [Laughter]
I'd like to be able to do things like that. I have visions of having my throat cut; Randy goes, "They wouldn't dare." Okay, sorry about that, I just had to include that one little story.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Oh, that's fine. [pause] What relationships have been most significant to you in your adulthood?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
In my adult life? Hmm, my best friend of the last thirty years, Elwood, my dad, which was a total turnabout where we went from threatening to taking each other to court to best friends before he died — As an adult, El, my dad, my mom, Kent, and my sister.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Could you talk a little bit more about how your relationship with your dad changed?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Um, yeah. When I was in therapy with Thomas Sherratt there was this routine where you write everything to your parents you always wanted to say, and you

Page 29
throw it away. Somehow I didn't hear the throw it away part, and I mailed it. And we started a two-year ling one-upsmanship. That scared the crap out of Dad, so he fired back with a letter that was even more scary. And it eventually boiled down to dad sending me a photocopy of every check he had ever written me. And saying, "Young man, you thought these were gifts; they were loans, payment is due now. If I don't have payment you will hear from my lawyer." I said, "Oh well goddammit, I'll sue them." And Thomas looked at me and said, "Pay the man." I was like, "What?!" "Pay the man." I said, "I don't have that kind of money." He said, "Put it on your credit card." "What?!" He said, "Would you rather pay your credit card or your dad every month?" I said, "Oh jeez." That took the wind out Dad's sails. And we were just kind of at an uneasy truce then.
Was it his heart attack? No. Oh God, no. My dad's fourth wife died suddenly. Dad had gone into his office. Jean had gone to bed; Dad came in shortly there after and found his wife dead. He gets on the phone to 911. They have this poor man drag this woman's body off on to the floor and try to give her CPR while they're on their way. We find this out, my siblings and I pile into my brother's car, and we drove this maniacal drive to Florida. And when I got there I found this man who was always in charge of everything, looking like a little kid lost in the mall. He was just distraught. Mike and Diane had to go back because they have kids, my sister had to go back because she had no way to get transportation. I said, "Guys, I cannot leave him like this." So, I stay for three weeks. And did everything, I wrote his checks, I paid the bills, I bought the groceries. Because he couldn't, he just couldn't. And before I left he sat down at the table with me and said, "Son, you have shown me that you're more of a man than I ever was, and every could be. And I respect you and love you for it."

Page 30
And from there the relationship went up. So it was one of us have to prove to the other, and I didn't stay with him to prove anything, I just needed to, he needed me to.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And he had a heart attack as well?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah that's the second time I went down and took care of him. I think that may have been what sealed it for him. That I would take time away from my job, being self-employed, and once again went down and looked after him. Yeah, I went down after everyone else left. My siblings went screaming down. I said, "I can't go now." And when everybody had left and Dad was on his own, then I went down.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And how long were you down there?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh Lord, probably a month. There was a gym just about four blocks down from Dad and every time he'd take a nap I'd haul off to the gym. There's lots of old people in this neighborhood. And every time and ambulance would go by, I'd be like, "Oh God no." So I went down with much fear and trepidation, and guilt.
But that's how we became best friends. In fact I've got, oh Lord I've got a stack this tall [about five inches] of letters and cards my dad wrote me. I read in Anne Landers once a woman talking about how she hated the fact that her kids wouldn't know her parents, and she suggested that people save letters from their parents. I thought, "I don't have any kids but why not." I can't read them yet, I mean Dad's been dead for four and a half years and I still can't read them. I can take them out and put them in chronological order, but I can't read them. I may never be able to read them, but I've got them. So that's kind of a part of him. So yeah, we were, it was good.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Did your relationship with your mother, did y'all ever reach the same friendship level?

Page 31
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
No, it was a much more twisted relationship. We kind of needed each other. Actually we kind of needed each other and we kind of needled each other. Um, it befell on me to be the one to stay home and take care of Mom. Which I think is part of the reason I got married. Like I said, my mom was a very controlling tough person to live with. In fact, after my mom died, on my next trip down to my dad's at dinner, I said, "Dad, I owe you an apology. I blamed the whole divorce on you and I know now that Mom was hell to live with." And he just grinned. So no, we never got — we were close but in an entirely different manner. It was more of a needy, cloying to close type thing. In fact, several people, they'd go, "Bill, you're too close to your mother." It was like, "Beg your pardon?" They were right. It was just too much; it was smothering.
ASHLEY CROWE:
What is most important to you?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh God, um. Most important to me would be my faith, and my relationships. Because they kind of interlock like [pause] Legos. If I didn't have my faith I couldn't keep going on along down the line. I would have killed myself some where within the last eight years. Just because I would have gone, "Oh, I can't deal with this anymore." And that's the reason that, you know, I go to the health department and they go, "We think you have TB." And instead of just freaking out it's like, "Okay, fine, what do we do?" "Well Mr. White you need to this, this and this, you need to take these pills, and you'll need to come in everyday because we have to watch you take them." I said, "That's no problem, I can come in before work." They're like, "God, I wish everybody else was like that." As my Aunt Doris in Asheville said, "You do what you have to do."
Without some faith I couldn't do it. And without people like him [points to Kent] and Elwood and my sister, I couldn't do it. Those are my two; those are the two most

Page 32
important thing to me at the moment. Probably will stay that way. And I'm also very lucky in as much as I have all these clients — well, I don't have a lot of clients — I have some clients. And going to work is like spending thirty minutes with one friend after another. And a lot of the, don't know the real me, but it's still a friend type thing. And I think that helps as well.
ASHLEY CROWE:
You mean it helps give you some distance from it, or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah. I can spend a lot of time with them and it's like going on vacation. One of my favorite things about going on vacation is I don't have to be — I don't have AIDS there. I'm just having fun. When we go to Kent's sister's ranch in Texas, I don't have AIDS the whole time I'm there, not in here [touches head]. I still pop the pill, but I have so much other stuff to think about. And plan for and go do. I get back home, and I've got it agaion. And the general reaction is, "You're still here and you aren't any different; that's fine." [hiccups] Excuse me.
ASHLEY CROWE:
How often do you really think you get away and go on vacation?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
For a goodly length of time. [hiccups] Pardon me.
ASHLEY CROWE:
That's all right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Twice a year. I go away physically on a long weekend to the mountains and that's not — sometimes it does, sometime it doesn't. But I only take one; I only take a week off of work once a year. And that's when we go to his sisters. And I love it; I have a ball there. So no the rest of the time —
It's a little harder now, even than it used to be because, unless I do this in front of the mirror [covers his cheeks with his hand] I know. Because I've got nothing here [in his

Page 33
cheeks] and it's here [in his stomach]. And that's not the way it used to be. I think that's one of the hardest things at the moment, is trying to readjust my body image. Um, but, I'll do it, I mean I don't have much choice, I just don't look in mirrors. And when I can I do my best to make jokes. Used to be when I was a kid I'd make jokes about my nose before anyone else could, now I make jokes about my appearance just because it lightens up the mood.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Outside of those three really strong friendships that you have, do you have a network of friends outside that, or?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[sighs]
ASHLEY CROWE:
Or any that help a lot?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah, but they're actually — they have dual purposes. Um, they're my doctors and my counselors. Ahh, let's see. Come on Bill, Dorothy, [pause] Lily, those are my two doctors, Jennifer is the psychiatric social worker, I've got a group of people at the shop where I work that I think — well, they've been helpful so far. I have a small group, yeah. But not as big of a network of friends as I'd really like to have. Although, I suspect if it came right down to it I'd find some of my clients popping up out of the woodwork.
I've just learned from most of them not to tell them the truth about my health. Because on the few occasions the ones that I've — they all freaked. The first time after that I got sick in any way, I never saw them again. So I don't tell people anymore. Which is fun when they go, [in a shocked voice] "What happened to your face? Do you feel all right?" It's like, "Mm-hm" And just go from there. Um, if they get real pushy it's like, "Well it's a funky result, or side-effect of this cortisone that I'm on." They go, "But cortisone usually make you puff up." I go, "Yeah, but this one just made puff up here [his

Page 34
stomach]." And that works. If I try to explain to them that I'm on medication that dissolves all your body fat. All of it, and redeposits it into one or two places. They're going to go, "What kind off medicine are you on?" And if I go, "Cortisone," they go, "No way in hell. Un-un." So it's, if anybody asks it's, "Well it's middle-aged spread, I drank too many beers." I don't drink beer.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Has it been hard for you, not being open with you clients at work, or do you think it's easier?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Now that I've gone through it I think it's easier. It allows us to keep thing fairly light, as though I don't need anything heavy. It also means that when I cut my finger while cutting hair, which is a real common occurrence. They don't suddenly go, "you're bleeding!" And freak. I just go, "Excuse me, I'll be right back, I'm not going to do a self-sacrifice here." Put a Band-Aid on it and fine. And therefore they're not going to freak. So yeah, it's much easier.
ASHLEY CROWE:
And your employer?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh yeah, he knows that would not have been fair. He owns the shop. And the thing that I have told him is, if I ever become a threat to the shop. I'll leave. And if this turns out to be TB I may have to. But I'm not going to burn that bridge 'till I get to it.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right. And you find that out Monday?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yes. But like I said that's the reason we are meeting out here, instead of in there.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Right.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
This is an open space where any germs just float away.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Has this been — Have you had any other real health scares, or?

Page 35
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Yeah, I had a bout with intestinal flu that just scared me to death because it was two weeks long. And my doctor was you know, putting me on this for dehydration, and saying, "Let me know if you're unable to drink this much of this or eat this much of this, because we're going to have to hospitalize you." I'm not going to the hospital. A couple of pnumonias that have scared me a bit, but nothing major like some people I know, who've really had life-threatening disease. So hopefully, mine's going to stay this way. Yeah.
ASHLEY CROWE:
But you've never, you don't go to the hospital? You didn't get hospitalized for you flu?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
I have never been hospitalized to date. Don't like hospitals.
ASHLEY CROWE:
You're doing better than me.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Don't like hospitals.
ASHLEY CROWE:
They're not fun.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Don't like hospitals.
ASHLEY CROWE:
I had to go to the hospital to get a brace for my back.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Aye, as long as it wasn't one of those, God I used to see them at Memorial, shoulder braces, metal rods up, this halo thing with the [sticks hands up mimicking the shape of the brace] —
ASHLEY CROWE:
Nah, no mine wasn't that.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
It looks like something out of Frankenstein.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Mine was an over-protective camp person who [Laughter] insisted I go and lay tied down to a board, basically to lay flat, for like a day and a half.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Put you on a back-board.
ASHLEY CROWE:
It was bad.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh, that was nasty.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah, but I've been to the hospital many many times.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Well, sorry to hear it, glad I haven't.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah, it's definitely a thing to avoid. [pause]
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
What else dear?
ASHLEY CROWE:
I think, do you feel like there's anything else that you need to clarify, or go back to that we talked about today?
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
[pause] Oh goodness. Actually other than, the disease, and that was a huge turning point in my life. It actually had some good points, I would have been living with him or anybody else for that matter. I was just too scared. I guess what it did for me was make me think, "Okay, you now know roughly what you're going to die of. And you know there's a possibility that you may die younger that most people you know. So start taking some risks." Now taking risks means things like, moving out of my house, into his, it doesn't mean, oh I don't know, walking across the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain, I'm terrified of heights. It means taking emotional risks, and that I think is the most life-altering thing I've ever had. That's about it.
Now if you get all that typed up and find you have more clarification, just call me.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah, it took a while to type that first one, I'll tell you. I was like sixty-seven pages, I think. Because for that one I had to do a full transcript.

Page 37
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh God.
ASHLEY CROWE:
For this one, and when we do one more, I won't have to do a full transcript.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Oh good.
ASHLEY CROWE:
I think our professor wanted us to see what it was like to do the full transcript. So we would be thankful on the second and third one when we could do the abbreviated form.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Okay. I was going to say I wish you would have told me that I wouldn't have said one word that wasn't necessary.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Oh no, no. It's not a problem.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Good Lord.
ASHLEY CROWE:
Yeah so that's what I was doing last weekend. I was [Laughter]
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
I bet you were too, jeez.
ASHLEY CROWE:
It was a mess, but it was good.
WILLIAM E. WHITE JR.:
Sixty-seven pages, okay.
ASHLEY CROWE:
It was good. All right, let's kill this.
END OF INTERVIEW