Nathaniel Garland

Nathaniel Garland


I walked into Albemarle High School, all of 12 years old --

Phyllis Leffler:  Wow.

Nathaniel Garland: -- looking around.  When you walk through the door, there’s a stairway that goes up this way.  Hallway goes that way, principal’s office, and straight down, it goes down to the cafeteria.  Well, the kids were on the -- when we walked in, they said, “Ooh, boy, we’re going coon hunting tonight.”  Well, down there where I come from, the Gibson boys and everybody coon hunt. They had some of the best coon dogs in Albemarle County.  They weren’t talking about those kind of coons with the ring tail.  They were talking about -- we got the spitball treatment. We got all that, and once again, it was kind of strange.  I didn’t have a book for one class.  And I’ve never seen her since -- I don’t know if she’s alive or dead -- it was a girl named Laura Jensen.  And she said, “Nathaniel, you can look over my book.”  And when she said that, everybody in the class was like, “You’ve done something bad.  That’s taboo.”  She was just being nice.  And I had one or two other people that I met that were okay at the time, but they were different.  I always thought of it this way: they had enough money or even maybe they were secure enough in themselves.  They didn’t seem to fear us because a lot of kids, they really did, yeah.

Phyllis Leffler:  They pulled back?

Nathaniel Garland:   Yes, but a lot of others didn’t, and that’s where athletics was good to me.  I think if I had used my mind a little bit more, I would’ve done even better, but the athletics worked.  You could comprehend what needed to be done, follow the explanations.  You had a playbook; you could read it.