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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Moving from job to job in the Triangle region of North Carolina

White remembers some of his employment experiences. He waited tables at a restaurant called Cock of the Walk, and dreaded the demands the job placed on his limited hand-eye coordination. He eventually moved on to a job creating displays at a department store, to two positions at a decorating company, and finally a job at UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hospital.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with William E. White Jr., October 29, 2000. Interview R-0147. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

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.
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-hmm. 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 were the woman was that I got invited into the Charismatic Renewal with. Oh god, I think I went from there to Montgomery Ward's.
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.