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Interview with David McIver Jones, May 10, 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with David McIver Jones, May 10, 2006
May 10, 2006
In this interview, retired librarian David McIver Jones shares his memories of growing up in Wilmington, including his time at New Hanover High School and attending Wilmington College/The University of North Carolina-Wilmington during the late 60s.
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Interviewee: Jones, David McIver Interviewer: Mims, LuAnn / Parnell, Gerald Date of Interview: 5/10/2006 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 60 minutes

Q: In 2006. I am LuAnn Mims, with Jerry Parnell, and today we are interviewing Mr. David McIver Jones, a long time Wilmington resident, who has several anecdotes, stories, whatever, memories of Wilmington College, and is going to share those with us today. Good morning to you, David. Thank you for joining us.

David Jones: Oh, Good morning. I'm glad to be here.

Q: We'd like to begin by asking you a little bit about your family history, what your dad did, your mom, any brothers or sisters.

David Jones: O.k. Well, I was- I was born uh.. in Wilmington at James Walker Hospital in uh.. the fall of 1948. Uhm.. My uh.. father worked for Standard Oil Company at their uh.. terminal on the Cape Fear River. And uh.. he had- he had begun his career with ESSO, as it was called then, uh.. as a truck driver, and uhm.. he was promoted to dispatcher and uh.. he uh.. sent all the trucks out to the various service stations in the area. I remember when I was in the first grade that uh.. my teacher uh.. asked each student, you know, what their father did and I proudly said that my father was a spatcher. Well, so- so uh.. I think I got that one wrong. But uh..

Q: What elementary school did you go to?

David Jones: Uh.. I went to uh.. Chestnut Street School. It's now called Annie Snipes School. And uh.. Annie Snipes was actually the principal there uh.. at that point. And uh.. Hayward Bellamy was the assistant uh.. principal at- at the school. And uhm.. I remember one thing uh.. the janitor's name was Ernest and uhm.. uh.. the principal every so often would say, Ernest, please come to the cafeteria, or uh.. and uh.. I heard somebody comment one day, boy, that Ernest is really a bad boy. He just keeps getting called by the principal all- all over the school. Uhm.. But uhm.. my father uh.. died when I was nine years old. He was uh.. he uh.. developed a- a case of uh.. uh.. severe leukemia, acute leukemia, and uhm.. uh.. my mother was a school teacher by education. She uh.. uh.. attended schools in- in Wilmington, and she graduated from uh.. New Hanover High School in 1928. She had uh.. actually uh.. been advanced a year in school two different times, so when she graduated, she was 15 years old, and uhm.. uh.. her father had died when she was only about uh.. I- I think just ten years old. And uh.. my grandmother, who was running a grocery store, just did not have two cents to rub together to send her to school, but uh.. she got a- a full scholarship to Flora McDonald College given by uhm.. Mrs. Jesse Kenon Wise, and uh.. she didn't have any uhm.. spending money at school. And so the last year she was in college she, my grandmother asked one of her sewing customers uh.. if she could lend mother a $100 for spending money. And so the lady said, "Well, I can't, but my mother can." And so her mother did uh.. give uh.. my grandmother the $100, and so mother had a little bit of spending money at school. Uh.. And uh.. as I say, God works in mysterious ways. This uh.. lady who lent the $100 happened to be on the school board and so uh.. in the fall of 1932 which, of course, was the bottom of the depression, uh.. my mother had applied for a- a teaching position at New Hanover High School, and had not gotten one. But uh.. after they got the enrollment completed, they realized they needed one more math teacher, and so this member of the school board arranged for mother to get the job. And uh.. mother always said I just think she wanted her $100 back. So anyhow, the- the uh.. uh.. my parents got married uh.. in 1935, and they had four children. I was- I was the fourth of four. One of my aunts rudely told me one time, she said, "Well, they didn't really expect you." But I never felt they ever regretted my having shown up. And uhm.. when uh.. when I was born, uh.. we lived on uh.. 16th Street, uh.. 401 South 16th Street, and that's where I lived the first uh.. 15 years of- of my life. And so uh.. I was in the right geographic area to go to Chestnut Street School. And I- I went there all through the ninth grade, first through the ninth grade with the exception of about six months in uh.. 1958 and '59. Uh.. My father had died in January of 1958, and uh.. my mother decided that she wanted to change her teaching certificate from uh.. uh.. high school to uh.. elementary school, and so uh.. she uh.. uh.. needed to take uh.. two quarters worth of courses. And uh.. so, of course Wilmington College was not a four-year college at that time, and all of the courses that she needed were upper- upper class course with the exception of maybe one or two. And so she enrolled at East Carolina University, and uh.. we, this is- spent about six months up there. Uh.. At that point, my oldest sister had graduated from college. She wasn't at home. My younger, the younger of my two sisters, as just going to nursing school that fall, so she was taken care of. And my brother stayed with uh.. our grandmother uh.. during that year. And then I uh.. went with mother and- and lived in a rented room in- in Greenville, and uh.. the uh.. mother reminded me of this years later, she said, the first thing that I did after I got situated in elementary school was that I marched over to the public library and- and got the application for a library card and brought it back to her. So I guess I was interested in- in books and libraries at that point. Excuse me one moment.

Q: David, where did your sister go to nursing school?

David Jones: Uh.. Well, my sister, Rosemary, went to uh.. Rex Hospital School of Nursing in Raleigh. Uh.. And I think nursing was a true vocation for her, because we have some pictures of her when she was about three or four years old. She has a nurse's uniform on.

Q: Well, I mean, your librarian thing is tracking early, too.

David Jones: Yeah. Well, I- I think it was. Uhm.. The uh.. uh.. when I was in high school, uh.. I went to the Presbyterian Counseling Center in Laurenberg at Saint Andrew's College, and they had a variety of interviews and tests that they gave, uh.. one of which was a Kuder Vocational Interest Survey, and uh.. the- this wasn't telling you really what- what you were necessarily good at, but just how your interests compared to the interests of people who were in various professions. And uh.. my top three matches were lawyer, bookstore manager, and librarian. So- so I uh.. decided, well, maybe two out three is the direction to go. Uh..

Q: Now, you went to New Hanover High School?

David Jones: Yes. I did. Uh.. I uh.. uh.. I started there in the fall of 1963, and I graduated in 1966. And uh.. I must say I really enjoyed high school. Uh.. To me, junior high school was a pure abomination. I mean, I just- I really did not enjoy it. Of course, I was in advanced placement uh.. courses, so when I was in the seventh grade, they had decided that it would be a noble thing to try to cram two years of math, two years of English, and two years of history into my poor, feeble brain. And uh.. I had uh.. I mean, I just really didn't enjoy junior high. I don't think I was particularly good at uh.. at uh.. being that age. But uh.. they uh.. I guess I matured or grew up or- or had better teachers or something when I got to New Hanover High School, and I- I really enjoyed uh.. high school a lot.

Q: Did you have any awareness when you were at New Hanover about the college across the street?

David Jones: Uhm..

Q: What year is it by then, by '61.

David Jones: Well, the- the only relationship I had had to Wilmington College before was that in the very uh.. well, I'd say, the middle of 1950's, my older sister, oldest sister, Peggy, uh.. took uh.. an English course uh.. there during summer school, uh.. because, well, for one thing, she hated English and I think she hated the- the teacher at Flora McDonald even worse. And so just wanted to- to be through with that. Uh.. But that was when Wilmington college was an Isaac Bear, and uh.. uh.. so, I mean, I was aware that- that Wilmington College was- was there. And uh.. uh.. uh.. I guess I was sort of vaguely aware when they moved to- to this campus. Uh.. And uh.. I don't think that I really thought when I first went into high school this was where I was going to come for- for school. I uh.. I was attracted to the idea of going to Davidson College. I had an uncle who had gone to Davidson uh.. and uh.. I mean, I had heard the name, and I had, as a child, I had seen the- the annuals from Davidson College, so I guess something stuck there. And I actually went up there to, you know, look around the campus and talk to some people. And uh.. it was still interesting to me, but I- I uh.. it was certainly much more financially feasible to come to Wilmington College then, and uh.. uh.. in thinking about it, I realized that really if- if the college had been a senior college in the fall of 1958, I wouldn't have had my adventure of going off to Greenville. Uh.. And uh.. uh.. I mean, I really think that uh.. its expansion to being a senior college was a great service to the community, because there, I mean, there are lots of uh.. uh.. adults who uh.. wanted to continue their education or- or get their education and uh.. it just was a wonderful resource for the community, uh.. and one of the people that uh.. I was in college with that I still uh.. talk to occasionally was Shirley McKay, Dr. Calvin McKay's uh.. uh.. widow now. And uh.. the uh.. I mean, she just was at a point in life where her children were grown and she wanted to go to college, and so there were sources here. Uhm.. But uh..

Q: So your choice was to attend a school away from Wilmington that was a little more expensive.

David Jones: Yeah.

Q: And here part of the benefit was this being a commuter school. There were no dorms. You would be able to save money by not having to pay room and board.

David Jones: That- that's right. And, I mean, I stayed at home and- and uh.. the only additional expense other than the tuition and books and what have you, was simply the upkeep of uh.. of a car. My mother decided to buy a new car in the summer of 1966, and uh.. uh.. so I got her old red, 1960 Ford Fairlane 500. And uh..

Q: We know that the initial parking out here was atrocious. We had parking lights on they called it the north 40, or the airstrip or something.

David Jones: Oh, well, it was- it was kind of rudimentary, just uh.. they uh.. I guess uh.. it must have been a painful experience 'cause I've blotted most of it out. They..

Q: Did you look at the curriculum whenever you chose here? I mean, what other things did you find out?

David Jones: Well, uh.. as I say, I had- I had gone to this counseling center and so uh.. having identified library science as a possible career, uh.. and having read up on it some there uh.. at home, I realized that library education in those days was uh.. basically uh.. a program of getting- getting your bachelor's degree and then going to a one or two-year master's program in library science. And so uh.. I- I really was just sort of thinking, well, liberal arts, and actually my- my uh.. most obvious interests that I identified at that point was history, uh.. and I- I had thought when I came in that I might, you know, uh.. consider majoring in history. I mean, in practical terms, uh.. that may not have been the- the wisest choice. But uh.. the uh.. since I had this- this really practical thing I was going to do after I got through four years of college, uh.. I thought, well, you know, that- that would work. Uh.. uh.. But uh.. I had uh.. I mean, I felt very prepared when I came to college. I mean, I had gotten uh.. really good grades at New Hanover and I- and I really felt the faculty there prepared me very well. And I was- I was very fortunate that I had uh.. some teachers- Well, I ha- had Mildred Maudlin as my English teacher for two years in a row.

Q: You do?

David Jones: And- oh, I mean, I dearly loved her.

Q: Yeah.

David Jones: And she really did a lot to teach me about writing. Uh.. My handwriting has always been atrocious and I always got D's and C's in- in that. But I did learn to compose a- a sentence and a paragraph and a paper under her. And so when I came out for uh.. orientation, and registration, uh.. unexpectedly to me uh.. they gave uh.. students uh.. who had taken foreign languages a foreign language placement test, and uh.. so since I had taken French, I got the- the French placement test, and I had uh.. I had been fortunate in that I had taken French two years in junior high school, a special program that- that Chestnut Street School had. Uh.. There was a local person who was of French extraction who decided to write a French textbook and she used the students at Chestnut Street as guinea pigs, so. And then when I took two years of French in uh.. New Hanover High School it was breeze, 'cause I had pretty much covered all of that.

Q: Who was your French teacher there?

David Jones: Uhm.. Well, in uh.. Chestnut Street School it was uh.. a lady named Rene DePlau [ph?]. And uh.. the uh.. I mean, uh.. she- she had a pretty full slate of students at Chestnut Street School, and uh.. she was French and, I mean, she really uh.. taught us a- a good accent and- and uh.. I mean, I uh.. I don't think I realized as I was taking her course how much I really was learning. But uh.. I uh.. I took two years of that, and then I switched to Latin. I took Latin for 9th grade and 10th grade. And uh.. then I- then I took two years of French, you know, the first and second year French in- in high school. And so when I took this placement test, uh.. I placed in third year college French, so uh.., hey, I got something going here. And I- I took- I mean, I- I was still required to take uh.. French 301, conversational French uh.. and uh.. Dr. Lloyd Bishop was the- the teacher of- of that. And I mean, he was- he was a very winsome personality. I mean, I- I really enjoyed being in- in his class. Uh.. And uh.. when I had taken that, I realized, well, all I need is two more courses and I've got a minor in French. So I thought, well, what the heck, I'll take French literature the next two quarters and then when I finished that, well, you know, only three more courses and you're- you're- you- you've got a- a major. So I thought, well, this is too good to pass up. And- and I was enjoying it. And uh.. uh.. it even inspired me to take a summer program uh.. in- in Paris uh.. for six weeks in- including a tour of various highlights of Switzerland and Germany and the Netherlands and Belgium. Uhm.. And uh.. I enjoyed that tremendously.

Q: Was that international program set up through Wilmington College?

David Jones: No. It was- it was one that uh.. well, they had it stuck up on the bulletin board in the Foreign Language Department, so- so they were partly responsible but it was- it was a program offered through George Washington University. And uh.. the uh.. uh.. we ended up flying out of Dulles Airport and uh.. uh.. coming back there and uh.. the- the program actually took place uh.. uh.. at the Alliance Francaise uh.. in Paris. But we would have classes in the morning and then have the afternoons to just run around Paris and do whatever we wanted. So, I mean, that was- how cool was that? That's uh..

Q: I feel for you.

David Jones: So- and uh.. really, that was the first time that I had ever left home, you know, completely on my own. I mean, I'd been to church camp and- couple of times but I mean, here I was in a foreign country and uhm.. uh.. so I- I really enjoyed that. And uh.. that uh.. I had always uh.. been uh.. I guess it was my Scottish ancestry, and having McIver as a middle name and it's uh.. kind of hard to avoid that. And my parents uh.. grew up in the depression, so they knew how to pinch a penny, uh.. and so I had saved about a thousand dollars uh.. during the ten years between first grade and the time I got out of high school. And uh.. so since uh.. college was so inexpensive, mother said, "Well, if you want to do this, that's your thousand dollars. You can- you can pay for this trip." So- so I did. And uh..

Q: Sounds like money well spent.

David Jones: Well, it- I really enjoyed it and uh.. then uh.. I uh.. for some reason I still am not sure why I did this, I decided, well, I needed some more courses. And I would- I would try taking first year German, so- so..

Q: So you were all over the language department.

David Jones: Well, just about. I didn't take Spanish, which probably I should have, but uh.. the uh.. uh.. I spent a considerable amount of time there, and uh.. uh.. I had uh.. Mr. William Lowe as my uh.. German teacher. He was very nice uhm.. and uh.. I- I mean, I enjoyed the first two courses that I had uh.. enough that I decided, well, I would- I would go on and take whatever remained to get a- a minor in German. Uh.. The..

Q: French major and minor in German?

David Jones: Yeah. Uh.. I mean I have- I remember a whole lot more of my French than I do of my German. But uh.. the uh.. uh.. this- I don't- I guess it was because it was slightly scatological, I remember the first uh.. dialogue that we had in our second year German class. It was uh.. flight uh.. it was a trip to the airport. And uh.. Mr. Lowe said, he said, uh.. "I noted that whoever wrote this must have been German 'cause nobody who understands English would have possibly uh.. given this as the title to the first dialogue." It was "Fahrts-und-Flughafen."

Q: What an introduction.

David Jones: Yes. Right. So- so uh.. anyhow.

Q: You had mentioned that you had Dr. William Madison Randall as an instructor. Was it when you were taking these different languages?

David Jones: Uhm.. Well, I- I really took those mostly just out of interest. I need, you know, I need- needed some cour- courses to fill up my- my time. And uh.. so uh.. I uh.. when I was taking this, my brother was taking some night school courses here, and he happened to take the same uh.. course. Uh.. There were- there were two. I am not sure exactly what the titles were, but I guess Introduction to Linguistics and then uh.. then a- a second course. And uh.. the uh.. in the first course, uh.. we were required among other things, to uh.. use what Dr. Randall had told us and create our own language and create the story of, you know, where was this language spoken and, you know, what was the culture that it was spoken in, and uh.. use the principals of linguistics to- to come up with something. So uh.. I imagined some sort of Indian tribe that lived in New Hanover County and, you know, invented a language for them. And uh.. Dr. Randall was very pleased with what I'd come up with. Uhm.. And then uh.. my brother and I both signed up for the second course, and it turned out that we were the only people who did sign up for it. So uh.. uh.. Dr. Randall said, "Well, if you- you two just want to come to my office uh.. uh.. we can do this, you know, as an- as an evening class." And uh.. so we uh.. came and sat in his office, which was at- at that end of the building in those days. And uh.. he had his little stack of index cards and he- he'd read through 'em and then, you know, we could stop him and ask questions a- along the way. It was- it was really quite fascinating. And uh.. of course, during those two courses, we heard a little bit of his uhm.. interesting life as a- a spy during World War II. And uh..

Q: What did he tell you about that?

David Jones: Not a whole lot, but he did- he did. Yeah. Well, that's- he did say that because he spoke both German and Arabic, that he, I guess, put on some kind of makeup to darken his skin, and he got hired as uh.. an Egyptian servant in General Rommel's camp. And uh.. so, I mean, here's this dumb Arab sitting over in the corner of a little, listening to all these people talk about their flights to the airport. And uh.. so, I mean, that was- it was really kind of fascinating. Uh.. One thing about his career that I read about later that I- I would like to read more about, was that uh.. in 1929 he was uhm.. part of a, I think it was like a Carnegie Foundation mission to uh.. go look at the Vatican library and archives, and uh.. that he and William Warner Bishop, who I think was an- an important scholar at Columbia University and then one other important person. I mean, here he was only about 30 years old at the time, and uhm.. the- he did talk about that briefly. He said that- he said, "Well, as a result of that, we really uh.. made the- the Burbon Rikes [ph?] Museum mad because we discovered two or three other copies of this manuscript that they thought they had the only one of." And..

Q: But again, with the continuation of library science, did he know your interest in?

David Jones: Yes. He- yes, he did. And uhm.. the uh.. I continued uh.. uhm.. an association with uh.. the library here uh.. and uh.. uh.. as I think I had mentioned to you before the video camera came on, I- I had volunteered here in the summer of 1968.

Q: Right. Now the library was still located.

David Jones: It was located in Alderman at that point. Uh.. That summer uh.. was the time that they officially named the library the William Madison Randall Library. Uhm.. And uh.. the uh.. my first job over there, which carried through to my career actually. I guess I was sort of- I must have been imprinted on the National Union Catalog. I had the cat- copy- hand copy catalog records and LC card numbers. Yes. That was my- that was my job until uh.. the famous incident of the uh.. everybody bring their books back uh.. at the end of the semester routine. Uh.. And then I learned to shelve books by LC classification, no less. Uh.. And uh.. the uh.. uh..

Q: But this was at the other library, so it's much smaller.

David Jones: Yes. It was- it was really just sort of one big room. And uh.. the uh.. it was uh.. actually when you came in the- the main entrance of the building, uh.. you would go through an intersecting hall and then the library was there. And uh.. Dr. Randall's office was to the left, and the library uh.. offices were off to the right, and then the main uh.. room with the- the library stacks was kind of in the middle and extended to the back. Uh.. And uh.. so uh.. Helen Hagen, who was the librarian then, uh.. took a liking to me and so uhm.. the uh.. twice after I graduated, uh.. she hired me to uh.. work in- in the circulation department uh.. as a para-professional circulation assistant and uh.. so uh.. I was in charge of uh.. things like supervising students who would do the shelving of books and I had to learn the mechanics of the manual card uh.. circulation system. Uh.. And that actually served me in good stead in later years as I had to automate circulation systems about three or four times over during my library career.

Q: Right. So the system was that the student had a library card and gave it to you.

David Jones: Well, uh.. it was more- it was more a case of uhm.. uh.. each book had a card in a pocket in the back, and uh.. the uh.. I'm not sure- uh.. I don't really remember library cards for students. Uh.. It seems like they may have just written their name on- on..

Q: On a card or something.

David Jones: Yeah. Uh.. And uh.. so there was a certain way you had to file things by due date and then as- as books came in, you had to- to look at the date due stamp in the book and then go to that section of the- the card file and pull out the- the matching card and put it back in the book. It all seems very primitive now.

Q: How did you know when a book was overdue? The card that had the title of the book was taken out and put like in a catalog like a filing system?

David Jones: Yeah. In a filing system arranged by due date. And uh..

Q: That seems primitive.

David Jones: When- when uh.. that due date was, you know, X number of weeks old then some sort of notice might be sent to the student. And uh.. eventually, and I'm not sure exactly when in my career this took hold, but eventually the library administration made it a rule you had to turn your library books back in or your couldn't get your grades. And uh.. and you could not graduate if you did not turn your library books back in. So that- that kind of got religion in everybody's soul.

Q: Incentives.

David Jones: Yes, very much. Uhm.. uhm.. And, I mean, that was a very, actually as I say, for my later career, that was very helpful experience. And I- I did that part of the summer of 1970 and part of the summer of 1971.

Q: So you had already graduated by then.

David Jones: Right.

Q: 'Cause you were at Wilmington College/University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

David Jones: Until the- the end of the spring of 1970.

Q: And that's when you graduated.

David Jones: Right.

Q: What do you remember about that transitional period? You came on board at Wilmington College, right?

David Jones: Right. Uhm.. Well, the- the legislature renamed the institution in the summer of, spring or summer of 1969.

Q: Right. July 1.

David Jones: I think- yeah, like the- the official date was July 1. Uh.. And I had uh.. I mean, I actually pretty much had enough course hours to graduate some time in 1969. But uh.. as mothers will often do, my mother told me that I should uh.. take enough courses to get a teacher's certificate to fall back on. And uh.. so I- I dutifully did that. And uh.. the- somewhere in the annuals uh.. for those years you will find a picture of me standing in the back of a group of National Student Education Association people wearing one of the vests that I wore then. Uhm.. And uh.. the uh.. back- I guess one of the more memorable things uh.. that happened that uh.. last year, that uh.. I was there was that uh.. since I was in the education department, uh.. I managed to tick off the head of the department, Dr. Harold Hulon, because I had chosen uh.. as was the want of my generation, to- to grow a goatee. And the uh.. uh.. I was selected to be on this panel of uh.. prospective uh.. student teachers, uh.. since I was- the winter quarter of 1970 was when I was going to do my student teaching. And- and, I mean, Dr. Hulon was just obviously fed [ph?] by the fact that I had uh.. he- he pointedly asked me. He said, "Well, what are you going to do about your goatee if, you know, if- if you're going for- for a- a job interview?" And as I recall what I said, I said, "Well, uh.. I suppose if it was a matter of not getting the job, I'd shave it off."

Q: They were just now approaching guys growing their hair longer and so.

David Jones: Oh, yeah. Yeah. That was uh..

Q: Where did you do your student teaching?

David Jones: Uh.. at Hanover- New Hanover High School. And uh.. actually my supervising teacher was uh.. Elizabeth West, who had taught me second year French when I was in high school. Uhm.. And uh.. I mean, she was- she was very helpful and uh.. I guess the most exciting thing that happened uh.. during all that time was that uh.. one of- one of the students in my class uh.. was expelled because he had uh.. decided that it was really exciting to call an hoax, fire a- fire alarms to the school, you know, just- And uh.. I don't how they discovered that it was him, but uh.. he was removed from my class. I didn't have to worry about him too much anymore. Uh.. And uh.. so uh.. in thinking about Dr. Hulon and- and my facial hair, I remember one thing that- that my grandmother said 'cause she didn't like it, either. And, I mean, she was- she was in her early 80s then, and she was, you know, commenting about it. She said, well, my brother had a mustache and I had to goatee, and- and mother, who, I mean, she didn't particularly like it either, but she said, "Well, well, momma, said the only picture we've got of uh.. your husband, my father, shows him with a mustache." And my grandmother said, "Well, yes, but that was the style then." And uh.. mother said, "Well, it's the style now." So uh.. and..

Q: Now, you were showing us before we turned the camera on your interest in theater. You were in several productions.

David Jones: Yes.

Q: Tell us a little bit about that.

David Jones: Yes. Uhm.. Well, I- I had really uh.. not done much in the way of theater before. I think I'd taken one course in speech when I was in high school and as part of that, I- there was a required public performance uh.. which I think I bombed. But uh.. the uh.. I had just decided to- to volunteer to- to be in uh.. uh.. a production to just see how I liked it, and uh.. I- I think the first sort of production I was in was "My Fair Lady" in the fall of 1967. And I was a footman. And uh.. the uh.. so I- I had this golden pole with some fringe on it, and knee britches, you know, to- to look a footman. I don't think I really had much to say in- in the play, but I did get to- to walk on and this- this was held uh.. at Thalian Hall. Uh.. And during those years there was a lot of cooperation between the Thalian Association and- and UNCW's Straw Hat Theater. Right. And uh.. they uh.. I remember when I first went down to- to Thalian Hall they were having tryouts for things, that uh.. uh.. Doug asked me a question and it was the way he- he phrased it, it was- it was really kind of interesting uhm.. because he said, well, who are you? And, I mean, I- I forget exactly what it was I said, but whatever I said wasn't enough to please him. He said, no, no. I mean, who are you? And I guess I've- I've been trying to figure that out ever since. So uhm.. but uh.. I enjoyed that- that experience. And so I was in several other plays uh.. after..

Q: You took the lead in one of them.

David Jones: Uh.. Yes, in Mr. Scrooge. Although uh.. I think in retrospect probably one of the funniest things was the uh.. uh.. in the recruiting sergeant uh.. uh.. which is an early 1700'a play, uh.. I was given a- a role that I really didn't understand then. I mean, on- only later I realized what the heck are they doing to me? Uhm.. The recruiting sergeant uh.. comes across these two country bumpkins and it's uh.. his job, of course, is to get as many people into the Army as- as possible. And so he's uh.. his line was something like uh.. "Come with me and- and I'll make kings of you." And- and my line was, "I'll be no king. I'll be a queen, I will." And so- so I didn't understand 'til later exactly what that meant, but- so, uh.. The uh.. uh..

Q: Did you get a laugh?

David Jones: Oh, the- oh, yeah. It's uh.. it was quite successful, but uh.. as I say, I sort of blush later to realize what- what role I was taking on. And uh.. then when I got into the production, Mr. Scrooge, which was probably the greatest mistake in drama ever made, I- I was given a singing role.

Q: So it was a musical.

David Jones: Uh.. Yeah, it was a musical. And uh.. the uh.. I mean, I- I enjoyed.

Q: Who was the director of that?

David Jones: I think it was a kind of joint production uh.. with the music department, Bob Alexander.

Q: Yeah. Bob Alexander. That's what I thought I'd seen his name, and the drama director was Tony Rivenbark.

David Jones: Um hm. Yeah, yeah. And uh.. the uh.. uh.. I mean, I think Tony and I were in the same class or else he graduated one- one year before I did. But uh.. the- uh.. I remember uh.. he drove a Subaru in those days, which uh.. was kind of- it was a really strange looking car. It was sort of- I think it was really bright yellow and it was seems like to me it was uh.. the door he was like the front of the car, and you opened the front of the car to get in. And so- and it was uh.. rather memorable. But..

Q: Foreign cars weren't that popular during this time.

David Jones: No.

Q: It was American all the way.

David Jones: No. That's- that's true. Uh.. And uh.. so- and then in the spring of 1970, I was in another uh.. student production called "Aria de Capo" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. And it was uh.. uh.. a play based on uh.. well, I'm not sure what, because I really didn't understand the play, but I was- uh.. I- I memorized my lines and I- I went through it, but I certainly didn't- didn't really understand it.

Q: Yeah. Drama is extracurricular. It's not courses you're taking or how was that?

David Jones: Uhm.. Well, I did take two- two courses. Uh.. I took uh.. uh.. a speech course uh.. and uhm.. I think Doug Swink was the teacher of that. And then I took uh.. uh.. Acting I, you know, the first- first level acting course. Uh.. And I- I mean, I decided I really didn't have a career in acting after I took- took that course. But uh.. the uh.. uh.. it was uh.. I mean, it was a- it was a nice sideline and entertainment and a- a way to be with other people and uh.. just uh.. I- I- I enjoyed it uh.. but I, as I say, I didn't ever make a career of it.

Q: But you must have done well in everything that you pursued, because in 1970, the year you graduated, you're presented with the Alumni Association's Outstanding Achievement Award for Scholarship, earning a grade point average of 3.9.

David Jones: Yeah. That's- that's..

Q: We have evidence of it.

David Jones: That's- that's- that's true. That's true. Well, I uh.. the dirt should come out, though. I- I made a D in tennis. I made a B in acting, and I made lots of C's in physical education. That was- that was about the worst of my. The rest was- was uh.. A's for the most part, I think.

Q: This is a very incredible award during this period of time, just recognizing your scholastic achievement. Was there any monetary award at that time, too, or just?

David Jones: No. It was just a- a plaque and- and, you know, you got the recognition at- at uh.. the graduation ceremony. And uh.. I got to shake the governor's hand, but then so did everybody who graduated that year.

Q: Who was the governor at that time?

David Jones: Uh.. That was Bob Scott.

Q: Bob Scott.

David Jones: And uh.. the- I also have a certificate for what they called the Socratic Society, which..

Q: Oh, I've heard about that.

David Jones: Uh.. I think they didn't have a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa here and so this was sort of Wilmington College's home grown version of- of that. And, I mean, it was- it was mostly just, you know, a certificate uhm.. based on grade point average.

Q: Is it honors?

David Jones: Yeah. And uh.. so uh.. I mean, that was- that was nice to get. But uhm.. you know, with- with- with that and 50 cents you could ride the bus. So-

Q: Any other clubs you remember?

David Jones: Uhm.. Well, I was looking through the annuals that I had uh.. and uh.. I found some things in there that I didn't even remember that I had been taking part in. I- I was actually on the annual staff uh.. at least uh.. in my first year uh.. because uh.. in the 1967 Fledgling, uh.. I came across a page of uh.. pictures supposedly of students, you know, in- in their off hours relaxing, and I realized, hey, that's my mother's den. That's my mother's uh.. living room. That's her sofa. And uh.. I mean, I- I had completely just forgotten that- that uh.. that had taken place, but I think I must have been the one who invited these people over to my house, 'cause.

Q: Bring a camera.

David Jones: Yeah. Well, it was uh.. somebody did, 'cause I don't think it was- it was my camera. But uh.. uh.. Dale Donohue, and Delroy Dorsey and uh.. at least one other person came and uh.. I mean, there was Delroy sitting in my mother's rocking chair reading something, and- and Dale waiting up on the uh.. the sofa in the den and uh.. cooling his heels, and uh.. so, I mean, I thought, gee, how could I- That must not have made a whole lot of impression on my that I- that I had done that. But uh.. that was one of my- my activities. Uh.. uh.. I think needless to say, uh.. I was not involved- heavily involved in the sports program. I think my mo- my greatest success in physical education was, you know, weight lifting uh.. class, 'cause, I mean, it was- it was sort of like, well, you don't really have to have any skill. You just have to sort of build up your muscles and so- so I did o.k. in that. I was abominable in tennis and uh.. the uh.. I did so poorly on the physical exam that I had to take their physical conditioning class three times. So..

Q: Let me just switch for a little bit here. You are here prior to the movement for the Civil Rights that really impacts Wilmington around '70, '71. Was there anything going on on campus, or was any of this time in keeping with Earl [ph?]?

David Jones: I really don't remember anything significant.

Q: Even a specific thing like the assassination of King. I understood that there was like a minor something on campus. But I'm not sure how that story goes. Can you tell me?

David Jones: I- I don't really recall anything about that. I- I mean I do remember as 1968 was going on, that I- I- it felt like, you know, this year has got more history crammed into it than- than the law allows. Uh.. And that summer I was going to- on my- my trip to Europe, and uh.. I do have some letters from George Washington University talking about the riots in Paris and- and the fact that they were withholding judgment at that point as to whether our trip could even go on, because the- these riots were- were going on. And uh.. there was some fear that De Gaulle might be toppled and, you know, things- things uh.. could uh.. take a nasty turn. But uh.. I- I mean, I don't really remember any great social unrest uh.. while I was at- at uh.. Wilmington College and UNCW.

Q: No uprising, campus organized thing against the Viet Nam War?

David Jones: I guess I was so focused on my grade point average that I- so I was sort of oblivious to all of that. The uh.. uh.. Of course, I mean, I, like uh.. every other young man at that time, I was uh.. subject to the draft potentially. Uhm.. I guess I was uh.. one- one reason I decided to take those extra courses uh.. extend my stay at- at the- the college. Uh.. I did uh.. uh.. screw up my courage to the sticking place enough to go on and sign up for an Army, our selective service physical in December of- of '69. And uh.. my long time doctor or pediatrician, Dr. Joseph Knox, sent a letter to the- the Selective Service Board describing to them my severe allergic rhinitis, and uh.. to my surprise that or something else convinced them that I was not physically fit for- for Army service, and uh.. I guess if they hadn't decided that, I wouldn't be sitting here. Uh.. But uh.. I had- I mean, I really had at that point full intentions of going to graduate school, and I thought, well, uh.. I want to know what's going to happen. And so I- I went on and did that, and so.

Q: Let's talk about that. After you graduate from Wilmington College, you have something else in mind. What did you do?

David Jones: Well, uh.. I guess I had sort of a mixed interest at that point. The summer of 1970 I went uh.. for a six-weeks course at Middlebury College. They had uh.. a- a master's degree program, and uh.. the uh.. they had a summer session that uh.. required that uh.. whatever language you were studying uh.. you were totally immersed in the language. And uh.. Dr. Bishop, who was my first instructor or professor in French, uh.. had gone to this uh.. uh.. college. I- I don't- I'm not sure whether he got a master's degree there, but he had at least been to the summer program. And he- he thought I would enjoy it. So he had encouraged me early on to consider doing this. And so I went for that program, and I got uh.. I think six semester hours of credit for doing that. And..

Q: At a graduate level?

David Jones: Uh.. It was- it was uhm.. graduate level. And uh.. I took Explicasion [ph?], the text, and several other things, you know, that gra- advanced grammar and uh.. I don't know. I really thoroughly enjoyed it, and I- I was surprised at how easy it was for me to get along with the other students using uh.. just uh.. French. And uh.. so uh.. I- I enjoyed that, but I had- I had decided I was going to go to the library science program and UNC Chapel Hill, and pursue that. Uh.. And so when I went there, they allowed me to treat this Middlebury College credits as my foreign language requirement. And uh.. so I- I spent one semester there and uh.. decided I was a little bit bored by graduate school, so I- I tried high school teaching for a semester and after that I fled back to graduate school.

Q: Where did you teach?

David Jones: I taught at E. C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Q: Oh, my God.

David Jones: I missed my big chance to see Jerry Falwell before he became something really- really nationally known. But uh.. the uh.. I mean, it was a very- it was an educational experience but not of the sort that I had anticipated. I found that I was really not well suited to discipline students and so I went uh.. uh.. I contacted UNC Chapel Hill and they said, yeah, I could come back in the- in the fall. And- and uh.. as I mentioned to you before, Helen Hagen let me work in the circulation department here during that summer. And uh.. then I took two more semesters at uh.. Chapel Hill and got my master's degree uh.. in 1972. Then I worked for about four and a half years as uh.. a cataloger and technical services librarian in the Henrico County Public Library in Virginia. And then uh.. then I got a job uh.. in Texas uh.. and I worked at the Harris County Public Library for uh.. 23 years. Harris County is the county that surrounds Houston, Texas, and their county library system at that point uh.. was small in budget, but wide in geography. It- Harris County, you know, is about 60 miles wide and it's- it's uh.. I think about 1700 square miles. I thought I was big time when I was in Henrico County, which has 250 square miles, but uh.. in- in Harris County, which then had 18 branches, uh.. it was kind of, when you hired a branch librarian it was sort of like the Roman Empire sending a procurator out to the provinces. You didn't hear from him for- for months or years. And uhm.. I was hired to specifically to do three things, to automate the catalog, to automate the circulation system, and to actually create a unified technical services department, be- because pre-

Q: In that branch or in the whole system?

David Jones: In the whole system.

Q: Oh, my God.

David Jones: And uh.. they previously had had separate cataloging and processing departments, which always seemed to be at odds with one another. So I was supposed to come in and impose order. And uh.. so uh.. that was a- a good position for me. I mean, they needed me at that point, and I needed them. And uh.. I- uh.. there were only two library directors during that time. Uh.. The first one was there for about two years, and the other one for about 20, 21 years. And I got along reasonably well with both of them. And uh.. fortunately, over time, the County Commissioners made the retirement system more and more generous and so retired under it themselves. And so I was able to retire in 2000, which I wanted to do, because my mother was involved, and I wanted to come to Wilmington to help take care of her, uh.. which I did for about two and a half years until she passed away in 2003. Uh.. And uh.. I- I really enjoyed my- my career in- in Harris County. Uh.. And uh.. I am enjoying my retirement. The county is very generous, as I say. They pay full medical insurance uh.. for me, which has proved to be a very great blessing to me, because I've- I've had a lot of health challenges the last few years. The second year I was home I was diagnosed with a chronic leukemia, and uhm.. the uh.. it's been a fairly easy disease to have, 'cause I- the treatment hasn't been particularly onerous. Uh.. uhm.. And the worst- the worst of it was last year when I had a whole series of blood transfusions. But uh.. I'm uh.. I'm enjoying life back in Wilmington, and enjoying my memories of having grown up here, and going to- to uh.. Wilmington College, and UNCW.

(crew talk)

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