Edith Batson in her home Spring 2015
Edith Batson in her home Spring 2015.

Telling stories. Reporting. Explaining ideas. That is what Edith Batson, 87, of Burgaw, North Carolina, does for readers of the Pender-Topsail Post & Voice in her weekly column, “Newsings & Musings.”

Born in 1928, Batson has accumulated some 40 years of writing experience. Although her career took off while raising her two children, Batson began writing much earlier. She wrote as a child in journals—which she occasionally opens for fond memories. As an adult, she writes during her daily routine—taking note of the curious things in life. It is rare to find her at the bungalow—surrounded by cornfields—that she calls home.

As an engaged member of her church, Batson is either gathering ideas for her next article or playing the organ. Her writing flows from a love for people. Her hearing isn’t all that it used to be and she’s not sure she wants to bother with the latest technology, but her journalism career is thriving. She faxes her hand-written columns each week to the paper.

If the small town she lives in doesn’t have anything “newsworthy,” then she begins to muse. Her essays include everything from commentary on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., to a section about a lost eyeglass lens. Her research comes through living in and serving her community.

Writing for a small-town paper, Batson reminds locals of what is important. Her column reads like a warm conversation between friends.

 

Interviewee: Edith Batson
Date: March 14, 2015
Location: Edith Batson’s living room
Interviewer: Virginia Wharton
Interview Length: 44 mins
Transcribed by/date: Virginia Wharton, April 7, 2015

Virginia Wharton: I am Virginia Wharton and this is Edith Batson and we are in Edith Batson’s living room. Today is Saturday, March 14th, 2015, and it is about 10 a.m. Today I will be interviewing Mrs. Batson. We will be talking about her life, particularly as a writer in a small town. Tell me, Mrs. Batson, where you are from?

Edith Batson: I was born in Westminster, South Carolina, but at the age of five or six, my father, who was a preacher, moved us to Wilmington, [North Carolina] and I lived there until I grew up and got married.

VW: So you went to high school and college in Wilmington?

EB: I went to New Hanover High School in Wilmington, and then I went to Peace College for two years and transferred to Queens College for two years. Then I had one year of graduate school with social work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

VW: Did you finish with a master’s degree?

EB: No, back then it took two years to do the master’s degree in social work, and I stopped after one year and got married. [laughter]

VW: That’s lovely. So you haven’t lived in North Carolina your entire life? You said you lived in South Carolina for a little bit?

EB: Oh, I was just born there until I was about five or six.

VW: Was the rest of your life in North Carolina?

EB: I stayed in Wilmington until I got married and went to college of course.

VW: After you got married, what made you want to write?

EB: Well, I’ve always liked to write. Even as a child I would write in a little journal sometimes. I remember in the Second World War, I would write about my friends who were older than I and could date these service men. I would tag along and so forth. I enjoy occasionally going back and looking at those funny things that happened. Then I just liked to write. I would keep a diary—not a very good one—just little facts. My children were growing up. My daughter played softball in a summer league and they won a district championship. We had to go to Tabor City to the playoffs. We had such a strange weekend there. Our team, had to go out and pick up weeds out of the field to make it playable. We had to take somebody to the hospital. We went to Loris, South Carolina, because it was closer than someplace in North Carolina that had a hospital. They wouldn’t take our North Carolina insurance! Fortunately, I had a little money, so I paid it. I can’t remember whether I was paid back, but it doesn’t matter. Well, we had to do other things that made it just a weird weekend. So when I came back home, I said, “Well, I think I’ll write it down.” So I did.

I took it to Reuben Moore, who was the owner and editor of the Pender Post at that time. I think this was 1978. To my surprise, he published the whole article. Then he called me up and said, “Would you like to write a column every week for me?” I said I’d try. So I did that as long as he was the editor. Then other editors came and went, and I kept doing it until sometime in the ’90s. I wasn’t getting paid anything. Except, Reuben paid me a little bonus at Christmas, but that is all the pay I ever got. I just got irritated at something he said. I said, “Well, I am not getting paid and I don’t have to do this. I can just stop,” and I did. Then I missed it. I missed writing. So I went to Herb Pate who was then editor at the Pender Chronicle, and I said, “Would you like me to write a column for you?” He said, “Yes, but I can’t pay you.” I said, “Well, that’s alright.” So I did work for him two days a week; I wrote it on his time. The Pender Chronicle closed several years later and we all had to leave. I happened to be at the Pender Post one day to get a subscription for one of my relatives, and they said, “The boss wants to see you a minute.” I said, “What in the world does he want to see me about,” because I had just gone for a subscription. He said, “How would you like to work for us?” I had already been fired with everybody else, but they said I could write on a contract basis. I was still writing my column. So I said, “Well, I will think about it and let you know in a couple of days.” So I went home, and I thought about it. Of course, I was already fired except for the contract for my column. So, I said, “I can’t type.” I wrote these things down: I can’t type, I will have to write it in longhand; I would like to read all of the copy before it goes in the paper. I don’t know what else I said. I had about seven things. One of them was that I be allowed to write about my Christian faith and items about that. The other one was that I wanted to have “Shalom” at the end of my column. To everything I mentioned to him, he said, “Oh, that is fine. It will be your column.”

VW: What does “Shalom” mean?

EB: “Shalom” is a Hebrew word that means “peace.” I think it is the kind of peace that we especially get when we are Christians and believe in Jesus, and God, and know that Jesus died for us.

VW: You are leaving your readers with a note of peace. When you were first writing for the Pender Chronicle, do you remember how large the staff was there?

EB: How was the what?

VW: How large was the staff? Was it smaller or larger?

EB: The type?

VW: The number of people working.

EB: Oh, do you mean working for us or for the publication?

VW: Working—

EB: Well, we had people in the headquarters, which was at that time, of the [Pender] Chronicle in Wallace. It was owned by a family. They published it there. They had rolling machines and all. They had probably ten workers up there—I am not sure. We had one, two, three—about four in Burgaw. Then there were some at the one in Beulaville, and a couple of other places.

VW: Wallace isn’t in Pender County.

EB: No, Wallace is in Duplin County.

VW: So why was the Pender Chronicle headquarters there, if that is not Pender County?

EB: Because that is where the family lived. It was a family business. The Oswalds owned it.

VW: Sue Oswald Johnson—was that her family that owned the paper?

EB: That family owned it. The grandfather started it, I think. Then Sunny Oswald took it over. Then the next generation took it over.

VW: So the paper pretty much stayed in the family until it closed?

EB: Well, no, they sold it to somebody in Virginia or Alabama, and they decided to close it.

VW: But you worked all the way until it closed?

EB: Oh, yes, I had already gone to work with the Pender Post.

VW: After you changed over to the Pender Post, was the size of the staff working at the paper about the same as at the [Pender] Chronicle?

EB: At the time, the [Pender] Post was owned by people in Whiteville, and I don’t know how many people they had over there. They did a paper in Whiteville and the Pender Post, too. I don’t know what kind of staff they had over there. Here, they had about one, two, three, four—probably six—I’m not sure.

VW: Were you one of the only people, while you were writing for the paper that volunteered your writing, in the beginning?

EB: I don’t understand. Say it again.

VW: Were you the only person who volunteered to write without being compensated?

EB: Well, at that time there was a lady who did the ads and who also wrote “The Back Burner,” a column. There were other people who maybe contributed articles. Then we had a sports editor and advertisers.

VW: There were other women working at the paper, as well?

EB: Other people writing?

VW: Other women?

EB: Oh, all the people who worked in the office were women except the boss. Our editor was Andy Pettigrew who later bought the paper and they own it now—he and his wife, Katie.

VW: So, he was the only man working for the paper?

EB: He was? Well, no, by that time, I think they had the ad[vertising]. N. H. Carter was their ad[vertising] man in Pender County. They had one in Hampstead. He bought out—after he bought the Pender Post, he bought the Topsail paper. A couple of workers came from there to work with us and the others went elsewhere.

VW: Because I was reading that there were normally more men at the paper at that time than women. So that is why I was wondering if you had been one of the only women working at the paper. I didn’t know if that was an unusual thing.

EB: When I started?

VW: Mmm-hmm.

EB: Well, there was a receptionist-typist, and a designer, you know graphic, that sort of thing, and a sports writer—two at the beginning, and the editor who wrote a lot.

VW: Tell me a little bit about the things that you like to write about.

EB: I call—my column, “Newsings and Musings,” because I didn’t know how much news I would be able to get, so I would have to be able to muse about something. I just had to experiment. All the time I was writing it was kind of the same. I wrote about what people did and where they went—if I knew or if I found out. If I did not, then I would have to write about something that happened to me. I didn’t like to do that so much because I wanted to write about other people. People got so busy; they didn’t want you to know about when they were gone. I didn’t like to write about a person if they lived alone. If they were gone, I didn’t like to say that they were gone. I had to be careful what I wrote about. I tried never to write anything that would hurt anybody. I didn’t like to do that. I only got, I think, two complaints. Somebody saying I said something that they didn’t appreciate or like. I know it is hard to please everybody, but I try to be positive.

VW: Do you think that growing up, that your mom or dad influenced your writing? How would you say that they influenced your writing? Your dad was a pastor and your mom a schoolteacher.

EB: Well, my daddy was an interesting man, because he was a missionary to Africa for four years in 1896.

But, he was married to a woman who went over there and married him while he was there. I never have asked him, but I kind of think she didn’t want to stay. I just kind of got that impression. I’ve never asked. I’m so sorry that I missed asking my daddy 10,000 questions while he was in Africa. I just didn’t do it. I wasn’t old enough to be mature enough to think about all of those things.

VW: Did he die while you were young, then?

EB: Well, he died at the age of ninety-five, and I was thirty-one when he died. He married my mother when his first wife died. He married my mother when he was fifty-five and she was thirty. She had a miscarriage, and the doctor told her that it would be a miracle if she ever had a child. So we children call ourselves six miracles. Five brothers and me!

VW: Did you ever write about that in the paper?

EB: Oh, sometimes. What I like to do is—if something happened now—relate it to some of my childhood things or experiences. [For example,] I worked at the USO in Wilmington during World War Two; I was a cashier. The food place closed at like 9 o’clock on Saturday night. They usually had a dance and a live band. I would stay and dance.

VW: What does USO stand for? What does that acronym stand for?

EB: United Service Organization and that particular building now, is at Second and Orange Street, but I think it has arts and crafts. I think it is owned by the city. It has a lot of different activities going on, because it has a nice big auditorium.

VW: You got to see a lot of history then by going to the USO and growing up during World War Two?

EB: I wrote about that not long ago. I can’t remember what prompted me to do that at that time. There was a very nice lady, Hannah Block, who was quite a musician. She had played in New York and she played a lot for the boys—jazz kind of stuff. I couldn’t play that. I could play hymns on a Sunday afternoon when they had a worship service. I didn’t know how to do all of that fancy playing, but she was wonderful and she loved the USO. She loved helping the boys and the girls in the service and loved to help with everything there. She was a wonderful person.

VW: You played the organ in your church. Do you still play the organ?

Edith Batson--a peek from her past
Batson on her wedding day in 1951.

EB: When I was married in 1951, I was a Presbyterian, and we decided that we would go to the Presbyterian Church in Burgaw. At that time, the organist, Mrs. Edith Forest Mallard was expecting a baby. So they asked me if I’d play for her until she could come back. I did. I didn’t know much about playing the organ. I had tinkered with [it] some, but I didn’t know anything about it. I never would touch the foot pedals. For years I didn’t do that. But then I decided this was crazy. I really should at least try to hit one every now and then. So I did. When we remodeled our church, they got a new organ. I decided I would try to play the foot pedals on that. I only played the easy ones. I couldn’t ever manage much.

VW: Being able to play the organ at church and at different events, do you think it gave you opportunity to go to events so you could write about them?

EB: As I say, I took her [Edith Forest Mallard’s] place until she came back after her baby was born. I was in the choir. When I went there, the preacher’s wife was the choir director. When [she] left, two or three years later, I fell into that position of being choir director. When someone else would come along and want to do that, then I [would] give it to them freely. David Sanderson was our choir director for a long time. B. B. Brewton who was one of our minister’s wives was [also] the choir director. When they would leave, I would [resume the work]. That is the way my choir directorship has been. I’ve been in the choir since 1951.

VW: That’s a long time.

EB: I played the organ off and on if there was nobody to play it.

VW: Tell me a little about raising your family, having little Edith and Stephen and writing. Were you able to balance those pretty well?

EB: Yes, let’s see. In ’78, they were older by then. Well, I didn’t—all of my jobs I’ve kind of fallen into. That sounds crazy. When the children were probably in grammar school or a little later, they had the system where only the people who drew their names out of the lottery could go to kindergarten and it was like one-hundred and fifty students at that time—or something. I can’t remember. So the Burgaw Baptist Church—Miss Mary Taylor and Mrs. Jennings Trawick—came to the beach one day to see me and asked me if I would teach kindergarten for them until the lottery was over you know—until everybody could go to kindergarten. I said, “I’ll try.” So I did that for five years and then they made that rule where everybody could go to kindergarten.

Then that same year, my preacher at the Presbyterian church, Ed Warren, asked me if I would go do the playschool/preschool over there. So I started that the year I quit doing the kindergarten at the Baptist church and I did that for thirteen years.

While I was doing that, Pender Memorial Hospital built a second floor and made a skilled nursing unit up there. They needed somebody to be an activity director. My friend, Bobby Ives—who was the social worker at that time—asked me if I was interested. She told the CEO and I was hired to do that in 1985. I worked there for 10 years. I still was working at the playschool part of the time. So I would go work there in the mornings and go eat a little lunch and go to the hospital and do my four hour tour in the afternoons.

VW: And you were writing in the meantime?

EB: Yes. That didn’t interfere with my writing at all. I think it was in 19—no, 2002. I had some open-heart surgery and I spent two weeks up where I had been the activity director. I told them I was going to watch them like a hawk, because I was being the patient—you see—instead of the worker. I was only kidding. When I stayed up there that week—the time I was in the hospital—I wrote every time. I might have missed one or two columns then. Since then, I might have missed two or three. Even when I visit[ed] my daughter, [she] had a fax machine and I would always fax my copy. When I visited my nieces, anywhere I could get a fax machine, I would just fax it in.

VW: Did you ever have to take photographs? Or what other equipment did you have to use for writing your article?

EB: Well, I had a camera, when I thought of a good picture… I didn’t usually take my camera with me. Here, I have used my camera times. In fact, your grandmother (Bobby Ives) was in one picture a week or two ago. Did you see it?

VW: I didn’t! I need to take a look at that paper.

EB: You did?

VW: I need to.

EB: It wasn’t a very good picture, because my camera seemed a little blurry.

VW: How has it been, now that we have added computers to a lot of newsrooms? Have you had hard time transitioning and using a computer at all?
Have they asked you to use a computer?

EB: I don’t use a computer! My children bought me one when my husband was sick and I couldn’t leave him. Well, first they bought me a copy machine, a fax machine. I would fax my copy in. I had to be a little more creative then because I couldn’t go out much. Then they bought me a computer. And I do not like technology! I do not like machines! I finally learned to send an email. I was so thrilled, I wrote my daughter a page. She lives in Louisiana, and I wrote her a page. I stuck it in the mail. I punched the right button to get it in the mail. I called her up immediately and asked her, “Did you get my email?” She said, “No.” The next day I said, “Did you get my email?” She got it two weeks later. So I decided, I will forget emails. And I have never learned to use the Internet. I’m just not a computer person. I still have the computer, but–

VW: It’s a dust collector?

EB: I just keep saying I would really like to search. You know you can find anything on the computer now, but I just never have had time to do it, because I am eighty-seven years old and I am slow. It takes me about half an hour to do something somebody else can do in ten minutes. Plus, I have macular degeneration and my eyesight is failing. I am deaf and I have just lost my hearing aid. I can’t find that, so I can’t hear. I go and pretend like I am listening and can’t understand the words. I can hear the sounds, but I can’t understand the words. I sit there and pretend I am hearing it.

VW: How do you do research then for an article you want to write?

EB: Well, at our joint Lenten service with Maple Hill Presbyterian church a couple of weeks ago, I told the preacher afterwards, “I couldn’t understand your message, have you got a copy?” He happened to have a copy. I brought it home and used that for my notes, and then added a little, like we had a refreshment time and socialization. I was there and could write about that. Then I had a book club meeting last week and I bought the lady’s book. I could read about her and the person she had interviewed. She interviewed a slave when she was writing. She was writing for the Duplin Times. She interviewed, at the age of twenty-three, a slave who was 108 years old.

VW: Wow.

EB: She wrote a book about it. She has just written the book, obviously. She came to our book club. I was sitting two chairs from her and I could not understand what she said. There was a good write up on the back of the book about her. I could write about that. She did some excerpts from the book, which I couldn’t read. I will write something interesting about her. She was very nice.

VW: She saw a lot of social change with slavery; just like in the past you have probably seen a little bit of change with racism, in a smaller town. Did you see that at all in Burgaw?

EB: Well, of course there is always racism and when I do, I tried not to emphasize such things, because I don’t think it helps to pull things out. But I like to write. Of course I know more white people in this society that we live in, but I know a lot of black people too. I have always loved black people, and when I know something is happening that I know about, then I write about that, too, because I don’t like to leave anybody else out.

VW: Back when my mom was a little girl, she talked about the problems where the blacks were coming up with the switchblades. Remember the incident, when the schools were divided and the blacks and whites met with the switchblades? Remember, there was a scare? Were you living in Burgaw at the time?

EB: Yes, but I don’t know that I wrote anything about it. I am not sure.

VW: It’s OK.

EB: I try not to write anything that would antagonize people or make anything worse than it is, you know. Because I love all people, and I know we are all God’s children and He loves all of us, too. I don’t like to hurt anybody. So I try to be positive in whatever I write.

VW: What would you say your favorite theme is to write about?

EB: …This lady was a slave, because she was 108 years old and I haven’t read the book, because it was just last Thursday. So I am looking forward to reading that and learning about her experiences. And I will probably write something about that.

VW: What other big changes have you seen in Burgaw that you would say you have written about?

EB: Well, of course the integration of the schools. I always felt, that is just my personal feeling, but I always felt like if they integrated the first grade every year, that we would never have nearly as many racism problems as we have had. Because little children love each other and they don’t know about bias and all that. What they hear, they hear at home, of course. But I think it would have done a lot to integrate our schools more peacefully.

But I don’t know that we have had an awful lot of that. There are always going to be people who are prejudiced and so you have to just deal with it the best you can and love them, anyway.

VW: I agree. With writing for a paper, you mentioned earlier that some of the people you knew, you wrote about. How would you say that people would respond to your writing? Did they ever call you, talk to you about what you wrote?

EB: Occasionally my boss would say, “You might like to interview somebody.” Usually by the time I write my column I integrate people into that, instead of making a separate profile a lot of times. So if it works into something we used to do or used to know, or was a childhood experience or something that I can work in, I tried to do that.

VW: Are you ever—with your writing now—compensated at all for your writing? Or do you still volunteer your writing?

EB: Oh, he does pay me a little bit.

VW: That’s good.

EB: It is nice to have a paying job, but the Chronicle did pay me a little bit when I was writing after that contract, when I came in.

VW: Do you ever plan to retire?

EB: Hmm?

VW: Do you ever plan to retire?

EB: Retire? Well, you know the Bible doesn’t say a word in there about retiring and there were a lot of people who started working when they were—like Moses. You know he was eighty when he started getting the people out of. I can’t remember for sure. He was old and a lot of people in there [the Bible] started when they were old. He [God] told Sarah and Abraham they would have a child when they were like seventy-five. They waited twenty-five—twenty years to have it. So God doesn’t always do things quickly. Sometimes He does, but sometimes He doesn’t. I figure that my daddy lived to be ninety-five and my mother lived to be eighty-four. I have already passed her, because I am eighty-seven. So, I am headed for ninety-five. If the boss doesn’t fire me, I will probably be writing as long as I can see enough to write.

VW: Well, thank you so much Mrs. Batson. That was really sweet.

EB: Plain old folks, normal people… if they do something interesting I try to find out about it. I write about that and I think that people like that because I don’t try to use a lot of big words. I don’t know many big words—simple language. That is why I call it folksy, but not fancy.

VW: Thank you.

00:33:54

[Recording is paused.] [Recording resumes.]

VW: So Mrs. Batson, you have been writing since 1978. Tell me a little bit more about where you have traveled and how that might have influenced your writing.

EB: Well, in 1973 or ’74, my friend Bobby Ives and I went to Israel. We had a minister who had been down here preaching from Richmond. I have forgotten his name, but he was going to be one of the leaders. We decided we would go. I had to think about it a long time, because the children were young. Not real young, but young. I thought, suppose we have an accident over the ocean and I don’t come back? Of course, I thought about that and prayed about that. My husband was in favor of my going. So we went. We flew to New York and got there about… I guess our plane left about eight or nine o’clock at night. They turned off all of the lights. I had never flown much. I don’t remember if I had ever flown at all, maybe a time or two. But, they turned off all of the lights and said goodnight. An hour later, they turned all of the lights back on because we were in London. I think it was an hour. It was a very short ride from here to London. We were shocked kind of, because I think there is eight hours difference in the time. That was a challenge, and so I would write about stuff like that. When we got to Paris and happened to have a few hours in Paris, we took a bus tour and went to see the big cathedral. What is it? I’ve forgotten the name of it, oh my. You know, the big cathedral in Paris. [Notre Dame]

VW: Mmm-hmm. It has slipped my mind, as well.

EB: What is that? It has escaped me, I am sorry. I will probably think of it an hour later. That is the way my mind works. Anyway, we saw several other things of interest in that time. We got to Rome–when we were coming back. We had about five hours there. We saw the Trevi fountain. We bought leather gloves for three dollars—I still have some of mine—and saw the Coliseum and several places there. When we got to Paris [and boarded] the plane—just before we took off—Israeli soldiers came on the plane with guns and walked all up and down the aisle, and held their guns. While they were doing that, and I don’t know what they were looking for, or whether we looked like we were going to kill somebody or what. That was a new experience. That was the only place we did that; however, when we got to Tel Aviv, our destination, we were carted off to a warehouse. A simplified warehouse where they opened every single thing we had and looked in every little pocket, bag, and everything. Nothing escaped their view. So security way back then was tight.

VW: Wow.

EB: And when we were on the bus if we would hear an airplane go over. Somebody would say, “Oh, that’s just a training flight.” It might not have been, but that’s what they would tell us. We didn’t know whether it was dangerous or not.

VW: Hmmm.

EB: But we had a good time in our travels. Bobby and I have enjoyed each other a lot, going places together. I haven’t traveled far [often]. My husband’s name was Arthur Batson—[I visited his sister] in Connecticut. I have to say one thing for her—I was telling somebody yesterday—that she never ever lost her southern accent.

VW: Hmm.

EB: When you go to New York or to the northern states, it’s pretty easy to pick up the faster talking and the accent, but she never lost that. That’s where we would vacation every summer. We would go up there. That was our trip to Connecticut. I remember one time, we went up there to a wedding of one of the children and I happened to be driving through New York City on a Friday afternoon at 5:30–scared to death!

VW: What a mistake.

EB: Had a car full of people and my brother decided he needed to go to the restroom. He got out of the car! Here, we were stopped at that moment.

VW: What!

EB: I was scared to death. A spurt in the traffic—you know—and I couldn’t have stopped. I [would have] had to keep going. Fortunately, he made it back before that car moved. I was petrified. I just knew he was going to get left in New York City or have to run a mile or two to catch up with us. That was not quite what I expected to be doing that day. Sometimes I think the traffic in Wilmington is almost as bad as it is in New York City. That is what we did every summer. That was our vacation. My children, Edith and Joe Hill, lived in Michigan for several years and we enjoyed going up there. I loved the different territory.

VW: Now, you mentioned the traffic being bad in Wilmington. Do you still drive?

EB: The what?

VW: You mentioned the traffic being really bad in Wilmington. How often do you get around to drive?

EB: How often do I get to what?

VW: To drive.

EB: To drive?

VW: Is it harder now that you have gotten older?

EB: No, I have daylight vision. I can see in the daytime but I don’t drive at night unless it is a real emergency. I am not restricted, but I don’t have to—I don’t drive because I can’t see.

VW: So you can make it to events to go write about them pretty easily without anyone having to pick you up?

EB: In the daytime, I can drive, and I pick up somebody to go to church every Sunday with me. But it’s just at night that I can’t see. It’s strange. It’s very strange and you know I can find a little piece of paper on the floor and pick it up. I don’t understand the vision, but it’s the frontal vision that goes and you are supposed to have peripheral vision to be driving and looking out of your side of your eye line. I have tried it a couple of times just to see if I could see out. It doesn’t work. I am very careful.

I am still able to walk—thank goodness—at eighty-seven. While I have several things wrong with me, I still thank the Lord every morning when I get up because He has given me the strength and enough eyesight to keep going.

VW: You can get up and dance too. You can still jitterbug?

EB: Oh, if I could find a jitterbugger. I love to jitterbug. We had a school reunion in Wilmington a few years ago and I know this was awfully forward of me, but I saw a man that was dancing with his wife. He was dancing just like I danced. So I asked his wife if I could jitterbug with him. She said, “yes!” The band played “Mac the Knife,” which has horrible words, but it has a wonderful beat for a jitterbug. In the middle of the song, the tempo picks up. When the tempo picked up, my foot went, and I pulled a tendon in my foot.

VW: Ooh!

EB: I could hardly walk off the dance floor, but I said, “I would do it again in a heartbeat!” I try to think positively.

VW: Think positively and write positively.

EB: I go one day at a time and the Lord has blessed me. I’m very grateful for that.

VW: Well, thank you so much.

EB: You are very welcome.

00:44:56

END OF INTERVIEW

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