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Keith Franklin

Lane High School
Interviewed on October 19, 2022, by George Gilliam.

Full Transcript

GEORGE GILLIAM: [00:00:00] Okay.  Today our interviewers are Phyllis Leffler and George Gilliam.  Lorenzo Dickerson is also an interviewer as well as videographer.  We are trying to collect your recollection as part of an oral history project for the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society.  Our date today is the 19th of October [2022].  [Extraneous material redacted.] And Keith, give me your full name, if you would.  

KEITH FRANKLIN: [00:00:43] Okay.  It’s Milton Keith Franklin.  Keith is K-E-I-T-H.  [00:01:00]

GG: [00:01:04] And you have signed the release form.  What’s your date of birth? 

KF: [00:01:09] October 1, 1948.  Just had a birthday.  (laughs) 

PHYLLIS LEFFLER: [00:01:18] Congratulations.

KF: [00:01:19] Yeah, 74.  Whoo, whoo.  (laughs) 

GG: [00:01:24] Which you’ve had five years on artificial --

KF: [00:01:27] Yes, sir.

GG: [00:01:27] -- transferred heart? 

KF: [00:01:29] Yes, sir.  

GG: [00:01:31] Wow.  

KF: [00:01:32] Yeah.  I’m very blessed.  

GG: [00:01:35] Tell me about your parents.  

KF: [00:01:39] Carl and Frieda Franklin.  My dad was a carpenter, a cabinet maker, and custom home builder.  My mom was a homemaker until, I guess, I got into high school, and then [00:02:00] she started working in retail locally, everything.

GG: [00:02:05] And what was their education?

KF: [00:02:09] Well, not a great deal.  My dad was born in North Carolina in the mountains near Boone, North Carolina.  And his father was a tree cutter, I guess you could say.  And the guy that he worked for, they moved to the Northern Neck, the Kilmarnock area, and so that’s where he continued his wood cutting, working for, cutting trees and stuff.  And of course, back then a lot of it was done with crosscut at first, and of course, they moved to chainsaws after that.  I guess he made it to the seventh grade, and then he stayed -- helped his father.  There were [00:03:00] -- let’s see -- one, two, three, five brothers all together and three sisters.  So anyway, he, with his brothers -- they started helping their father cut wood, and then he joined the Navy.  And after he got out of the Navy, after World War II, he -- his sister lived here in Charlottesville, and he came to live with her because it wasn’t any work down in the Northern Neck.  Unless you were a waterman, there wasn’t much work down there.  And so, anyway, it was right beside Charlottesville Lumber Company, which is over in the Belmont -- soon as you go over Belmont Bridge, it’s right there on the right.  Well, she lived in the street that ran down beside it, so dad came here and was living with her, [00:04:00] walked across the street, and got a job at Charlottesville Lumber Company, and that’s where he worked for 18 years.  And while he was there, he met a gentleman named Frank Wood, which was the local guy.  And they became friends and started building spec houses on the side in Charlottesville.  They’d work at nights and on weekends and then would sell them so that they would have extra money for the families.  And Charlottesville Lumber Company also was in the business of building homes also, so they told dad and Mr. Wood to quit them or quit doing that.  So they quit them (laughs) and went in business for themselves, and they worked together for about 10 years as Franklin and Wood Construction.  Then Mr. Wood retired, and dad kept on going.  And I came back from college [00:05:00] and worked at a bank for a little while, didn’t like it, and I was talking to my dad about it, and he says, “Well, all you’ve ever done your whole life is help me on weekends and during the summer.” He said, “Why don’t you work with me?  And we’ll start you out not part of the company, but you can earn your way.” And after all -- many years of working together, then I kind of took over the business.  So then I continued it until I retired.  

PL: [00:05:36] Could you just confirm for us the name of that area in the Northern Neck?  You mentioned --

KF: [00:05:46] Kilmarnock.

PL: [00:05:47] Kilmarnock.

KF: [00:05:48] Yeah, Kilmarnock, Irvington, Whitestone.

PL: [00:05:52] So Kilmarnock would be K-I-L-M-O-N --

KF: [00:05:56] M-A, Kilmarnock.  It’s A.

PL: [00:06:00] K-I-L-M-A...

KF: [00:06:02] Uh-huh.  R, Kilmarnock.  

PL: [00:06:07] Kilmarnock.

KF: [00:06:08] Yeah, N-O-C-K.

PL: [00:06:10] Okay.  Thank you very much.

KF: [00:06:11] Mm-hmm.  Virginia.  It’s near the Tides Inn.  It’s right off the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s all in that area.  

PL: [00:06:22] Yeah.  Thank you.

GG: [00:06:22] And on the weekends, you have half the population of Richmond going to (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

KF: [00:06:27] Yeah.  There’s a lot of people from Charlottesville down in the Northern Neck also.  Of course, [M] Jack Rinehart, the architect, he had a place down there.  And then Brian [Orock?] -- they all in one area right there together, so -- but --

GG: [00:06:45] Did you have siblings? 

KF: [00:06:47] Yes, I had one sister, and she was 10 years younger than I was.  And she passed away in ’12.  [00:07:00] I think it was ’12, 2012.  She just didn’t take care of herself.  That was just all -- the best way to say it, so -- it wasn’t any drugs or anything.  She just didn’t take care of herself health-wise and -- unfortunately, but you know --

GG: [00:07:22] Did you continue to live in the Belmont section?

KF: [00:07:27] No.  I was born and my parents lived on Chesapeake Street right there next to Meade Park.  And we lived there until we moved out to -- it was called Green Valley Subdivision at the time.  That’s where dad and Mr. Wood had built three houses.  So Dad bought the last one that they built, and we moved there, and I lived there until I left home, so until I was [00:08:00] 20-something.  (laughs) Yeah.  

GG: [00:08:05] Excuse me.  How old were you when you moved away from Chesapeake Street? 

KF: [00:08:11] I think I was -- let’s see.  Gee whiz.  I went to Clark School for a year, and then I went to Burnley-Moran because they had just built that.  I think I went there for two years, first and second grade.  Yeah.  And then we moved out there, and then I went to McIntire School until the seventh grade, which Green -- the Green Valley area, which is at the very end of Cherry Avenue.  And if you took a left onto Willard Drive, that was all the county.  And then between my seventh and eighth grade year, we were annexed by the city.  So I was going to go to Albemarle High School, but I ended up going to Lane.  [00:09:00] And how fortunate was I to go there and be part of the school and the -- all the students are friends that I grew up with, so...

GG: [00:09:21] You were an athlete.  

KF: [00:09:23] Well, I tried to be.  (laughs) Not as good as a lot of them, but I tried.  

GG: [00:09:30] What position did you play and what sport? 

KF: [00:09:33] Well, I was a catcher in baseball.  Lettered four years from ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade.  Joe Bingler was my coach.  Thought the world of that man.  He was just a great person.  And then in football, I guess I played offensive tackle, [00:10:00] defensive line all through high school.  Then I went to college and played football at Randolph-Macon College.  (phone chimes) Oh, that’s something I’ve got to do.  I’ve got to put my phone [on?].  No, I left it in the car.  Good.  (laughs) I heard that phone, and I thought --

GG: [00:10:22] I think that was mine.

KF: [00:10:25] But yeah, fortunate to go there.  Got to meet a lot of guys that I played football against because we played against Richmond schools: Douglas Freeman, Thomas Jefferson, Highland Springs, Henrico. So a lot of those guys ended up at Randolph-Macon to play football, and of course, we were from -- down from Lane, so we were rivals in high school, but then we got to be friends in college.  So that was fun.  That was really neat to meet the guys.

GG: [00:11:00] So you were on the Lane team for what years?  Do you remember? 

KF: [00:11:06] Well, let’s see.  I was on the eighth grade team and the ninth grade team.  I guess that’s ’64, ’5.  No, no.  Sixty-three eighth grade, I guess, ’64 ninth grade.  And then the varsity tenth, eleventh, and twelfth.  And I graduated in 1967.  We had the last undefeated team.  We were 10 and 0 that year, so --

GG: [00:11:43] That was in sixty --

KF: [00:11:45] Seven.  Uh-huh.  That was the year I graduated, so -- but we played football, I guess, in ’66, of course.  

GG: [00:11:55] And what year was the team the state champion?

KF: [00:11:59] Sixty-four.  [00:12:00]

GG: [00:12:11] Were there any African American players on the team that you played on at any point? 

KF: [00:12:20] Yeah.  Well, I know, in the state champion team, there was George King and Paul Scott, and there were the [Roland and Ronald] Woodfolk twins.  They were nice guys.  We all got along together.  And then after that, I guess there was Jasper Jones and Robert [Carey?], and he played baseball and basketball, Robert did.  He was a good athlete.  Of course, Frankie Allen played basketball, and he went on to Roanoke College and did quite well.  And then he went in the pros a little bit, but then he started coaching, and he had quite the successful coaching career.  I think he was at Virginia Tech the last part of his basketball coaching.  

PL: [00:13:27] We’ve interviewed him, Frankie Allen, and we’ve interviewed the Woodfolk brothers --

KF: [00:13:32] Oh, have you?

PL: [00:13:32] -- for this project.

KF: [00:13:33] Awesome.

PL: [00:13:34] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) 

KF: [00:13:34] Good.  Frankie’s a good guy.  

PL: [00:13:37] I’m still trying to get to George King, but I’m working on that one.

KF: [00:13:39] George King.  Yeah, yeah.  He was a great guy.  He was the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.  Really.  And we just all got along great.  I heard things after I graduated about they were problems with the football -- well, just school and the football team, but [00:14:00] they -- but we never had any trouble.  It was always very nice.  

GG: [00:14:06] So what problems did you hear about after you left the team?

KF: [00:14:11] About one individual that caused a lot of -- he was, I don’t know how to say it, just defiant, I guess.  Wanted to go against the system.  

GG: [00:14:25] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) 

KF: [00:14:25] [Tommy] Theodose and [Joe] Bingler had a way that they wanted to coach and to do things because it produced winning teams many years.  So I guess just didn’t like all you have to be disciplined and stuff like that, so --

PL: [00:14:42] So you heard that there was a team member who was defiant --

KF: [00:14:46] Yeah.  Mm-hmm.

PL: [00:14:46] -- somebody who had been on the team (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) -- 

KF: [00:14:47] Yeah.

PL: [00:14:48] -- difficult.  

KF: [00:14:49] But that was all I ever heard, the one individual, but it’s all good.  (laughs)

GG: [00:14:58] Were any of the opponents [00:15:00] that you played not integrated?  Put differently, were there African American --

KF: [00:15:11] Yeah, I think were --

GG: [00:15:11] -- players on some of the visiting --

KF: [00:15:12]-- players on the team.  I remember Thomas Jefferson out of Richmond had some African American players and George Washington of Danville.  Now I will say that was a bad experience down there because of the guys that we had on the team, Danville was very prejudiced or racist or whatever you want to call it, and they did not like the fact that we had a couple of players on the team.  After the game was over, they -- the people came up and was rocking our bus, and we had to get out of there in a hurry.  It was bad.  Very bad.  [00:16:00] I think it was there, or it was in Roanoke.  I can’t remember.  Somebody threw and busted one of the windows on the bus, but I can’t remember which -- because we had an incident in Roanoke also, but I think that was just because we had beaten the local team.  Well, we beat two of the local teams, but then the one team, Patrick Henry, we tied them twice and -- but they were really the only two incidents outside of anything, traveling as much as we did, so -- 

PL: [00:16:45] You were a pretty young guy in high school when these things were happening.  How did you react to them?  Did it make you feel scared?  Did --

KF: [00:16:58] No.  I’m kind of [00:17:00] an easygoing guy, and they just -- I just feel like that -- well, this has been my whole philosophy, I guess.  They have the same opportunities that I have, they had the same teachers, they go to the same school.  I know maybe some of them don’t have the home life that a lot of us had, but to me, they didn’t have to be part of that.  They could stay after school in the library until they had to go home and be -- so I just accepted the fact that that’s -- they had the opportunities that we had, and whether they took advantage of them or not, that was the only thing.

PL: [00:17:47] When you say they --

KF: [00:17:49] I mean we’re talking about -- you said African Americans, so --

PL: [00:17:54] I was sort of talking about these incidents in Danville and Roanoke.  

KF: [00:17:57] Oh, we were scared.  (laughs) 

PL: [00:17:59] That’s what I was asking.

KF: [00:18:00] We were all scared.  Yeah.  We didn’t know what was going to happen.  They would turn the bus over on us, and we’re talking about a big Trailways continental bus.  (laughs) They got that rocking pretty good.  In fact, the whole team, even the coaches were worried because we had African Americans on our team, and they didn’t like that.  But then it turned out, a couple years later -- of course, then they start -- they had one running back down there that was just fantastic for GW Danville.  He could run the football, and he went to college somewhere.  I forget where, but he was a good individual, a good -- 

PL: [00:18:43] This would be an African American (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) --

KF: [00:18:44] Yes.  And playing in Danville.  (laughs) 

PL: [00:18:46] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) 

KF: [00:18:47] Yes.  But things got better, I guess, down there.  Just being involved in high school football, you hear good things about players and stuff.  

GG: [00:19:03] We’ve heard --

PL: [00:19:03] Do you remember your parents having any reaction to these incidents that would have happened?

KF: [00:19:08] No, ma’am.

PL: [00:19:09] I’m sure you came home --

KF: [00:19:10] Not at all.  Because Dad had a business, and a lot of the bricklayers and -- they had guys working for him that -- it was great.  I didn’t grow up with any bad feelings or afraid or whatever.  

PL: [00:19:36] I guess I’m asking because -- I don’t know.  I couldn’t imagine that if something like that had happened to me when I was in high school, that my parents -- I don’t play football, obviously, but my parents might have said, “Well, I don’t want you involved in that anymore.” 

KF: [00:19:51] No.  They never said anything.  They saw that playing sports was a good thing for me to keep me occupied and keep me [00:20:00] interested in wanting to study in school so that you could continue to play football (laughs) and baseball, so -- it was never a problem in my parents.  And there might have been some other parents in the program, I guess, but I don’t know about them.  

PL: [00:20:23] Do you remember the coaches talking about any of those nasty incidents that happened when you were away?  (pause)

KF: [00:20:38] No, not really.  They just said, “Just move on.” That was that area, and they still were -- I guess you could say behind the times.  (laughs) 

PL: [00:20:55] Behind the time.

KF: [00:20:56] Lane was integrated [00:21:00] and stuff like that.  They hadn’t done any of that yet down there.  

GG: [00:21:10] Who were some of your favorite teachers? 

KF: [00:21:13] Oh, wow.  Mrs. [Burnett?].  She taught Spanish.  Mr. [Wheeler?].  Let’s see.  I had him for geometry and trigonometry.  I enjoyed him.  Mrs. [Duke?], she was biology and chemistry.  I enjoyed her.  Mr. [Poole?], he taught shop because -- I took shop because my dad, he was in the field, so I wanted to do shop.  And, of course, Mr. Bingler and Theodose, they were teachers.  Of course, it was driver ed, but -- [00:22:00] let’s see.  Who else was a great teacher?  Golly.  I liked Mr. Walker, H.  H.  Walker.  The middle school’s named for him over there.  He taught -- oh, sugar -- government, history.  In truth, I forgot.  I did know, and all of a sudden, I drew a blank.  Oh, sugar.  He was very supportive of athletes, and all the teachers were.  Football brought the school together, all the kids, the teachers, parents.  It was just a great experience for me.  I just...  [00:23:00] 

GG: [00:23:07] The Brown v.  Board of Education decision was handed down by the Supreme Court in 1954.  So by the time you were in a school that was subjected to having to desegregate, that had been the law for 10 years.  At any point in your schooling or your relationship with friends or anything, did you have anybody who explained the reasoning and sort of what was required by the law? 

KF: [00:23:46] Not that I remember, but that’s just -- somebody else who can remember stuff like that better than -- I guess they taught us that in government class, but I -- truthfully, I just [00:24:00] don’t remember.  I really don’t.  (laughs)

GG: [00:24:05] Did you ever have any family discussions of --

KF: [00:24:11] No, sir.

GG: [00:24:11] -- what was going to be required or changes? 

KF: [00:24:12] No.  I just know that all of a sudden -- I guess it was in my eighth grade year at Lane is when the students started coming from Burley to Lane because -- or it was my ninth grade.  It was ’63, ’64.  I don’t know when was Charlottesville segregated or whatever? 

GG: [00:24:37] Well, it was completed by ’67.  That was when the last students moved from Burley.  

KF: [00:24:44] Okay.  Yeah.  I remember them the eighth and ninth grade, but after that, it was just -- they were just like another student to me.  I didn’t have any hard feelings and stuff, so -- or [00:25:01] disrespect I guess you could say.  

GG: [00:25:04] There were some socially activist -- social activists that were at Lane during the time you were there, and they were -- they did a couple of walkouts from school, and some of them did various things to try to assist the desegregation.  

KF: [00:25:35] I don’t remember them.  (laughs) There was never any walkouts or anything.  See, that was after I had finished, and the individual I was telling you about on the football team, he was that person that was kind of leading it along or making it --

GG: [00:25:54] Testing the limits.

KF: [00:25:56] I guess.  (laughs) He was just --

PL: [00:25:59] Do you remember [00:26:00] that students name? 

KF: [00:26:01] All I remember, his name was Cherry.  That’s it.  

PL: [00:26:04] Yeah.  He was called Cherry Pie.  It was --

KF: [00:26:06] Yes.  That’s it, Cherry Pie.  So you’re familiar with it, then.  Yeah.  Okay.  Well, that’s all I remember.  Of course, he was just little guy then when I finished up, so the years later...  I guess David Sloan would be more in tune to that period of time.  And I think that Cherry Pie or whatever was during that period of time possibly.  I’m not quite sure.  I’m really not because when you went away to college, I just didn’t -- if we had a home game, sometimes I’d -- at Randolph-Macon, I’d come back home for Friday night because there were four of us down there that went to Lane and played football, and now we were playing football at Randolph-Macon.  And we would come home together [00:27:00] and watch Lane play first couple years.  And then after that, I didn’t come back to ballgames and stuff because when Lane got beat by Douglas Freeman, we were down in Jackson, Mississippi, having a football game the next day.  And [John Peters?], he called his sister, who was at Westhampton College at the time, and to find out whether Lane won or lost that night, and that was when the winning streak ended.  So John told us about it, so...  I said, “Well, I guess that’s the end of the streak in many years.”

GG: [00:27:41] A couple of people that we’ve talked to have detailed some scuffles.  One of them described actual administrative staff, either assistant principal or principal, actually getting into a fight.  [00:28:00]

KF: [00:28:03] During our period of time?

GG: [00:28:05] Yes.  

KF: [00:28:05] Not that I remember.  No, sir.  Uh-uh.  No.  I think Mr. [Nichols?] was the principal at the time, and I don’t ever remember any scuffles or anything at school.  Not at all.  

GG: [00:28:30] So what do you consider your successes in life? 

KF: [00:28:40] (laughs) Wow.  Just trying to be a good person, and I was very blessed and fortunate to be part of the Lane High School.  All the students there, we were just -- we got along.  There was [00:29:00] never any problems.  It didn’t matter if you were from Belmont or Fry’s Spring or anywhere, Venable School area.  We just all gelled and got along well I thought, but of course, I could have just been blind to it all.  But I just thought we had a great group of students and very supportive of the school and the football, basketball teams, and I just thought it was just great because there’s -- well, we were before the pandemic -- there was a few of us that went to Lane.  We would get together every Friday at Michael’s or a Mexican restaurant and just get together and talk and -- about hearing about different friends, some passed away and what’s going on in their life.  We’re still friends.  I just think we were very -- and then, of course, a lot of them just, when they got out of high school, [00:30:00] they just went all different directions.  And there’s some of us that just still are homing pigeons, and we just stay home.  (laughter) 

GG: [00:30:12] Let me go down through the list of people that we have talked with up until now, and let me know if any of these names sort of ring any bells and cause you to remember something.  Alex-Zan.  Charles Alexander.

KF: [00:30:36] He wasn’t there when I was there.  I know about him and seeing him on TV or the local newspaper.  And he seems like he has a -- has the right idea of helping kids the way that he does.

GG: [00:30:47] Yeah, he does.

KF: [00:30:48] I think it’s very important.  

GG: [00:30:49] Frankie Allen 

KF: [00:30:50] Oh, yeah.  Frankie’s good basketball player.  I followed him wherever he would go just on -- in the media stuff.  [00:31:00] 

GG: [00:31:02] Corlis Turner Anderson.  

KF: [00:31:06] Who again? 

GG: [00:31:06] Corlis Turner Anderson.  

PL: [00:31:09] Well, she would have been Turner at the time.  She was a cheerleader.  

GG: [00:31:15] She was the second Black cheerleader.  

KF: [00:31:18] See, we didn’t have any.  I never experienced any cheerleaders.

PL: [00:31:24] So that was later.  

KF: [00:31:26] That was after I -- yes, ma’am.  

GG: [00:31:29] Jim Blackburn.  

KF: [00:31:32] Wow.  I thought he went to Albemarle.  

GG: [00:31:37] I think he did.  

KF: [00:31:38] Yeah.  He had a twin brother.  Yeah.  I just heard good things about them.  Their father was UVA football coach, so they were nice guys.  

GG: [00:31:51] James Bryant.  He was not an athlete.  He was a singer.  

KF: [00:31:57] Don’t remember him.

GG: [00:32:00] Donald Byers, Don Byers.  

KF: [00:32:02] He went to Albemarle.

GG: [00:32:04] Yeah.

KF: [00:32:04] Yeah.  He was the city detective for Albemarle County.  Nice guy.  I played.  We had a baseball team.  They were Charlottesville Hornets at the time, and we had a team called The Royals, Charlottesville Royals, and he played on the team.  So we traveled around playing different teams and stuff, and Donald played on it.  I got to know him.  He’s a nice guy.  Yeah, very nice guy.  

GG: [00:32:32] Garwin DeBerry.

KF: [00:32:33] Yeah, I know Garwin, but of course, he stayed at Burley.  He would have graduated the same year that I did, but I always heard good things.  He was a good athlete, good football player.  Of course, he’s been a coach.

GG: [00:32:45] And then came back and was the head coach.

KF: [00:32:48] Right at Charlottesville for a while.  Yeah.  

PL: [00:32:51] He actually came to Lane for a year and then transferred back to Burley.  

KF: [00:32:56] Oh, he did? 

PL: [00:32:57] Right.  Because he was not allowed to play football [00:33:00] when he came to Lane.

[Extraneous material redacted.]

GG: [00:33:41] Okay.  George Foussekis.  

KF: [00:33:44] Oh, yeah.  Who didn’t know George?  (laughs) But good guy.  

GG: [00:33:49] George Gay.  

KF: [00:33:50] Yeah, of course he’s my -- I have two best friends, and he’s one of them, and we live close to each other.  

GG: [00:33:58] Steve Helvin.  [00:34:00]

KF: [00:34:02] He was a principal at one of the schools somewhere, wasn’t he? 

GG: [00:34:06] No, he was judge.  

KF: [00:34:08] Oh, Steve.  I’m thinking of his brother.

GG: [00:34:10] Jim.  

KF: [00:34:11] Okay.  I didn’t know Steve, but I knew his brother.  Yeah.  He was a nice guy.  He was involved in sports, I thought.

GG: [00:34:18] Yes.  

KF: [00:34:19] Yeah.  

GG: [00:34:21] Peyton Humphrey.  

KF: [00:34:22] Oh, yeah, great guy.  Works for Hantzmon Wiebel.  He and George are really good friends.  And I played fastpitch softball for Stacy’s and Woody’s and [P&L?].  George played and Peyton was on the team also.  But he was kind of like the financial [end?] guy.  And he coached first base, I think.  Yeah.  He took care of the business part.  We’d get hotels and motels, traveling and everything.  He was the money man, (laughs) I guess you’d say.  He didn’t contribute the money, but he was the one that [00:35:00] made sure that it got distributed correctly.  Smart guy.  

GG: [00:35:09] Mary Johnson?  Veronica Jones.  Robert King you know.

KF: [00:35:16] Yeah.  

GG: [00:35:18] Vincent Kinney.

KF: [00:35:20] Pardon.

PL: [00:35:20] He was Albemarle too.

GG: [00:35:22] Oh, yeah.  Byrd Leavell.

KF: [00:35:24] Yeah, Byrd.  Yeah.  He was one year behind me.  No, he might have been two years because his sister graduated the same year I did, Mary Leavell.  Yeah.  And, of course, he’s a doctor here locally, so...  Well, he was.  I don’t know if he still is.  

GG: [00:35:40] He’s retired.  

KF: [00:35:41] Yeah, I would have thought.  

GG: [00:35:45] He was one of the activists, one of the social activists.  

KF: [00:35:49] Oh, okay.  I don’t remember him because I guess he was a sophomore when I was a senior.  Think that’s right.  Yeah.  

GG: [00:36:00] Another good guy.  

KF: [00:36:02] Mm-hmm.

GG: [00:36:02] Kent Merritt.  

KF: [00:36:04] Oh, yeah.  But he didn’t play --

GG: [00:36:07] Right.  (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)  

KF: [00:36:07] Yeah, he didn’t play when I did, but I knew of Kent and stuff.  In fact, I don’t think he was -- he ran track because he was a sprinter, but he didn’t play football yet.  But I remember him being on the track team.  

GG: [00:36:27] Fastest man in Virginia.  

KF: [00:36:30] Whew.  He was at one time.  Yes, sir.  It’s just like Brock Strickler.  He was a fast guy.  Of course, he’s still local.  

GG: [00:36:43] William Redd, Bill Redd.  

KF: [00:36:46] How do you spell the last name?

GG: [00:36:48] R-E-D-D.

KF: [00:36:50] Don’t remember him.

GG: [00:36:55] Darlene Robinson? or Darlene Quarles?

KF: [00:37:00] No.  

GG: [00:37:01] Steve Runkle.  

KF: [00:37:03] Yeah, but he’s way older than I am.  He’s a real estate agent [or something?] locally.  Yeah.  

GG: [00:37:11] Julia Shields?  

KF: [00:37:14] Julia Shields?

GG: [00:37:15] Yeah, she was a teacher.  Very young.  

KF: [00:37:19] I don’t remember her.  

GG: [00:37:21] Okay.  David Sloan.  

KF: [00:37:23] Yeah.

GG: [00:37:23] Lloyd Snook.  

KF: [00:37:26] I think I graduated from high school with his sister, Barbara, but I’m not sure.  Was their father a lawyer or a judge or something, Snook, back then?

GG: [00:37:39] He was on the UVA faculty.  

KF: [00:37:42] Oh, okay.  Excuse me.

GG: [00:37:47] Dickie Tayloe.  

KF: [00:37:50] He’s way ahead of me too, if I remember correctly.

GG: [00:37:54] Tommy Theodose.  

KF: [00:37:56] Yeah.  (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) 

GG: [00:37:59] Roland and Ronald [Woodfolk].  

KF: [00:38:00] Yes.  

GG: [00:38:02] And David Wyant.  Did you ever know --

KF: [00:38:04] Yeah.  Well, see, David married my dad’s partner, Frank Wood’s daughter, Sandy.  And see, David, he went to Albemarle, and he played American Legion baseball, and so did I.  And his brother, Larry, also played, so I knew them just because of marriage and just [them and?] David through the -- Charlottesville was still small then, and people knew everybody, and they thought a lot of them.  I thought a lot of David, so -- in fact, he went on to be, of course, a great NFL referee.  Yeah.

GG: [00:38:43] He did a Super Bowl.  

KF: [00:38:45] Yeah.  I go by his store up here at White Hall from time to time and chat with him a little bit.  He’s a character.  (laughs) 

GG: [00:38:54] One hundred percent.

KF: [00:38:57] He is funny.  

GG: [00:39:00] (inaudible) 

KF: [00:39:01] Albemarle County needed him longer as a supervisor.  I can tell you that.  (laughs) 

PL: [00:39:08] I want to go back to a comment that you made that I think is really important.  You said football brought the school together, and I’d like you to expand on that.  Tell us how did football bring the school together?  And maybe as part of that, you could just describe for us what went on at the games, what the community engagement was like, all of that.

KF: [00:39:35] Yeah.  Well, I just thought that we were all friends.  There wasn’t any battles, internal battles or whatever.  Pep rallies were just -- all the kids would come to it.  We had parents that were -- back then you couldn’t give money to kids or do stuff, so [00:40:00] somebody like Mr. [Phipps?], who owned the local dry cleaning business, rugs and stuff -- I don’t know if you remember him or not, but he would donate all the soft drinks, the Coca-Cola drinks after the football games.  We would always get that.  And then somebody else -- I can’t remember his name -- he supplied all the nabs and potato chips and stuff like that.  And then University Market up there on the alley where the pool hall was, right around the corner, that lady, she’d always have these big apples.  And so the girls, your girlfriend, or the cheerleaders would go -- or your sister or somebody would go and buy those big apples so that after the football game, they would come down and give them to you on the field when you were walking back up to the locker room.  And so it was always kind of a neat feeling that you got an apple, a big one from University Market.  It would be in your helmet, your dirty, old, sweaty helmet, but you’d be walking off the field with it.  (laughs) At basketball games, we -- they cheered.  They traveled.  A lot of the parents traveled with us, and even my parents, they traveled, and even when I played football in college, it -- we’d be playing in Maryland somewhere, and all of a sudden, I’d see my parents there at the ballgame.  I’m going, “Okay.” I didn’t know they were coming.  (laughs) I guess they made them all except for the ones that we flew to.  Look at the R. E. Lee football game, when we played them.  They were undefeated.  We were undefeated.  [00:42:00] They were 20 people deep all the way around the stadium at Lane, and the stands, of course, was full.  That place was just electrifying.  I guess you could say that night.  And that’s when George Gay caught that pass, and we won football game 13 to 12.  Their kicker had never missed an extra point.  He missed two of them that game, and we -- and well, I don’t know.  But anyway, we made one and missed one, so we ended up 13 to 12, and we -- the word was the only reason we had a winning streak was because we hadn’t played R. E. Lee of Staunton.  Well, we squeaked by.  (laughs) Just traveling.  All the families would be there, parents and people.  Local people didn’t even have kids, [00:43:00] they -- when we played -- oh, sugar.  It was Douglas Freeman again at Parker Field for the state championship game in ’64.  It was raining and snowing, and I don’t -- it was like 20 busloads of students and people that went down there, plus all the ones that drove.  To me, when they do that, they want to be part of a big picture.  It makes people be together.  There’s no cross words and stuff.  It’s just a great time for me.  I might be looking through rose-colored glass, but I just remember my high school years were good years and all the -- my fellow students, we all just -- I felt really great about it, good about it.  

PL: [00:43:59] So this project [00:44:00] that we’re doing, we’re calling it Race and Sports: An Oral History of the Integration of High School Athletics.  And we’re really looking more than just athletics, but that’s kind of the primary lens that we’re doing.  So in your view, do you think that sports made a difference in terms of making integration more acceptable, or do you think it wasn’t about sports, that people were just fine about coming together across racial lines?  Or what is your view of the role of sports specifically in terms of the issues of desegregation or integration? 

KF: [00:44:54] Well, I guess once again I’m looking through rose-colored glasses.  [00:45:00] I just thought that it was just sports brought the school together, whether it was African American or Hispanic.  In fact, they -- one year they had a foreign exchange student, [Andy Garcia?], if I remember correctly.  Of course, we did the old-fashioned kicking field goals.  You go straight on and kick it.  Of course, he’s from Chile, and they were kicking sideways like you see today, and he was -- he could kick them all the way down the football field.  He’d just go through the uprights like you see in the pros, those guys, and that’s what Andy could do.  It was just amazing, but he -- everybody thought the world of him.  He was a foreign exchange student, but it was just -- I don’t know.  I just had friends, and we all thought a lot of each other.  And [00:46:00] to me, that -- the segregation is what you say -- that happened after me pretty much.  I feel like that’s what it did.  We had some at Lane, but it wasn’t -- I never saw any problems.  

PL: [00:46:14] You mean integration?

KF: [00:46:17] Right.  Integration.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to segregation.

PL: [00:46:20] Just want to be [clear about that?].

KF: [00:46:21] Right.  Yes, yes.  (laughs)

PL: [00:46:23] And these friends that you made on the team -- you had said George King was a great guy (inaudible).  Did you socialize with them, or see them outside of games?

KF: [00:46:32] Well, if there was a party, yeah, he would be there, mm-hmm, or get together at somebody’s house, one of the kids, or go hang out at the Kenney Burger or the Biff Burger they called it back then.  Yeah, you would see them there or parties, and it was -- to me -- what do you say? -- it was cool.  Like I said, I guess I was just protected or whatever.  I don’t know.  [00:47:00] (laughs) I just lived a good life in a good area and had good friends, and I didn’t have to experience any of that.  

GG: [00:47:12] Lorenzo, do you have questions? 

LORENZO DICKERSON: [00:47:15] I don’t.  I don’t.  Yeah.

KF: [00:47:18] Do you agree or disagree or --

LD: [00:47:21] On...?

KF: [00:47:22] What I have said about integration and stuff.  I try to be very honest because I’m honest.  I just feel like if you treat people a certain way, you should be treated back.  And I’m going to treat you with respect, and until you do something otherwise, (laughs) but that goes with anybody really.  I don’t...  (laughs) Of course, I have a different view on life now because I’ve been given a second chance.  It’s just different.

GG: [00:47:58] It’s like you got a new knee.  

KF: [00:48:00] Oh, I’m always beating, banging on my knees and -- because I still work some, helping friends do stuff, and I’m always scratching something up.  (laughs) 

PL: [00:48:12] I have one other question, if I may.

GG: [00:48:15] Yeah.

KF: [00:48:15] Sure.

PL: [00:48:16] It’s so clear that sports athletics, the kinds of things you were involved in in your high school have continued way beyond high school and college and that it’s kind of been a defining part of your life -- 

KF: [00:48:32] It has been.

PL: [00:48:33] -- and the way in which you get pleasure out of these relationships.  Also, it sounds like you’ve been very involved in both getting together with these people and in various kinds of reunions.  So could you just talk a little bit about that about, about the meaning of that for you? 

KF: [00:49:00] I just want to stay in touch with my friends.  They were my friends.  I thought of them as friends in high school, and I still want to be in touch with them because I want to know what’s going on in their life, and I want them to know what’s going on in my life.  This was a big deal, and they -- a lot of people reached out.  Being involved, like you said, sports -- of course, I had a son and a daughter, and she played softball for a little while, but she didn’t like it.  And my son, I started him out in T-ball, farm ball, T-ball, Little League.  I coached all the way through [CD?] Baker baseball -- I mean Babe Ruth baseball, [CD?] Baker baseball.  So he continued, and he played at Albemarle baseball.  [00:50:00] And now he is grown, and he has a son, and he’s doing the very same thing, and it’s -- Spencer’s learning how to be with other kids, learning friendships, stuff that will -- 40 years from now, he’ll know that individual, and he can get in touch with them.  It makes you -- I don’t know.  I just feel like it really helps you be a person.  It gives you contacts and lets you learn about -- everybody’s different, and you need to understand that.  So that’s just me.  (laughs) I’m too easy, I guess.  

GG: [00:50:49] No, you’ve created a new community for yourself and your friends.  

KF: [00:50:53] Mm-hmm.  Yeah.  And that’s why I enjoyed building so much because helping -- doing [00:51:00] stuff for people that they’ve spent a lifetime and they want to build their dream home, and you feel like you’re part of that, so...  Because we only built two or three homes a year, and we did everything by hand.  We didn’t use nail guns and stuff, and it would take us 8, 10 years to build one home.  Of course, they were nice homes because local architects knew our work, and they -- like Jack Rinehart and Gibson, Craven, Gibson and the -- what’s the name?  Anyway, Jack Rinehart.  I mean Jack -- oh, sugar.  The architect.  I’m sorry.  I can’t remember his name right now, and I know it.  Whitehurst.  Yeah, yeah.  What is it?  Jack Whitehurst?  No.  

GG: [00:51:57] I don’t know him.

KF: [00:51:59] You would know him if I said it [00:52:00] correctly.  I haven’t.  That’s me, and that’s how, I guess, being part of the sports and growing up in -- at Lane High School, because that’s where you grow up.  You make friends and make -- gives you ideas.  And I just loved it.  I did.  I enjoyed Lane.  And that’s why George Gay and I -- we went to Lane together, played football, baseball, and here we live a quarter mile from each other, and we talk or see each other every day or every other day.  So we’re feeding his cat -- well, their cat -- right now.  He’s in Las Vegas with his wife, Arlene, so we’re taking -- we’re doing cat duty.  (laughs) So does that answer your question? 

PL: [00:52:49] No, it does.  Thank you.

KF: [00:52:50] Oh, good.  Okay.  

PL: [00:52:51] Thank you so much.  

GG: [00:52:53] Well, thank you very much.  

KF: [00:52:54] Yeah.  Oh, you welcome.  I hope I haven’t rambled too much.  

GG: [00:52:58] No.

PL: [00:52:58] Not at all.

KF: [00:52:59] Get myself in trouble.  

PL: [00:53:00] Not at all.  (laughter)