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Interview with Barbara Campbell

Interviewee: 
Campbell, Barbara, 1943-
Interviewer: 
Lovell, Nicole
Date of Interview: 
1998-11-13
Identifier: 
GFCA0370
Subjects: 
Campbell, Barbara, 1943-; Swansea, Charleen; Hollins College; Red Clay reader; East Woods Press; Planned Parenthood Federation of America; Girls' schools; Race relations; Racism; Foreign study; Political and social views; Managed care plans (Medical care); Abortion--Public opinion; Mass media--Influence; Recycling industry; North Carolina--Charlotte; Rhode Island--Providence; New York (State)--Long Island; Virginia--Roanoke; France--Paris
Abstract: 
Longtime Charlotte resident Barbara Campbell discusses her life, career, and opinion on current political issues at the time of the interview. She talks about growing up in Long Island, New York, and attending an all girls’ boarding school in Rhode Island, then an all-girls’ college, Hollins College (now Hollins University). Mrs. Campbell describes studying for a year abroad in France and visiting the Soviet Union in 1963, and how that influenced her perspective on history and politics. She married and moved to Charlotte with her husband in 1967, and began working for Red Clay Press, which published the Red Clay Reader literary magazine. Mrs. Campbell’s family moved to London for a year, then returned to Charlotte. She discusses working as an editor for East Woods Press in the 1970s, then for Planned Parenthood, where she began in the public relations department and worked her way up to acting director during 1980s and 1990s. Mrs. Campbell then describes her work for Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Department as a public information specialist in the mid to late 1990s. Throughout the interview, Mrs. Campbell, a self-identified Democrat, discusses local and national politics with the student interviewer, touching on topics including race relations; school integration; health care and abortion; Charlotte in relation to the rest of the South; Bill and Hillary Clinton; and the media’s influence on public opinion.
Coverage: 
North Carolina--Charlotte; Rhode Island--Providence; New York (State)--Long Island; Virginia--Roanoke; France--Paris; circa 1940-2000
Interview Setting: 
Barbara Campbell’s office in Charlotte, North Carolina
Collection: 
David Goldfield student project on change in the Charlotte region
Interview Audio: 
Transcript:
NL: Nicole Lovell
BC: Barbara Campbell

Begin Transcribing Interview Below:

 [START OF TAPE, SIDE A]

NL: It’s Friday the 13th, November 13, 1998. I’m interviewing, Barbara Campbell. Where were you born?

BC: Providence, Rhode Island.

NL: OK, and when’s your birthday?

BC: March 29, 19-- I was born in 1990, um, 1943.

NL 1943, OK. Providence Rhode Island. And how long did you live there?

BC: I didn’t um, my father was in the Navy and he was stationed there, I don’t think we were there, long at all, no I don’t remember.

NL: Alright, so where is the first place you remember living?

BC: Um. Hmn, I remember, a little bit of Florida we were stationed in Florida but, after that, we moved to Long Island New York which is really where I grew up.

NL: And so what did you, what was your impression of Long Island, like, comparing it to like Charlotte?

BC: Ah well, when I lived there we were far enough out from New York City that it was really kind of country. Which isn’t the case now, I think now it’s kind of a, continuous highway like Independence Boulevard from New York out to the end. Compared to Charlotte, when I moved to Charlotte I think it was ‘67. Charlotte was also pretty much country, I think at that point there were only ah, one or two high rise buildings downtown one of them was the old, well it’s now Bank of America, it was NationsBank and even before that was then NCNB and it had an eight story building and that was the biggest building downtown. And SouthPark was just built so you could kind of imagine.

NL: Yeah. What do you remember about growing up in Long Island?

BC: Umm. Well, I’m from a large family so I remember a lot of chaos. (laughter) Long Island was um, it was still kind of, a village, kind of a town. Smithtown Long Island I lived in, which was fairly far out on the island and ah, my father and a lot of my friends’ fathers worked in New York City and would take the train in every morning. Which at that point was probably about a two hour trip in and then two hours out. So we complain here about traffic--

NL: We complain about that now.

BC: I don’t know, I don’t know exactly what kind of impressions you want. Do you want to know more about the town itself or what?

NL: Yeah, just about what it was like living there, what the schools were like, how many brothers and sister you had.

BC: I have six brothers and sisters.

NL: Alright.

BC: There were, um, five girls and two boys, are five girls and two boys. And we went to, I went to public school through the sixth grade, and then the schools were not in very good condition, at least that’s what I was told. And we were sent to a private school that was down, the island and we took a train, to the school and I did that for, for three years and then I went away to boarding school in the ninth grade in Rhode Island.

NL: So, your impression is our schools, you think our schools are better?

BC: [PHONE RINGING] I think now they are better. (pause) Hold on one minute, I am now trying to turn down my speaker. I think the schools here have um, are much better than the ones on Long Island. It’s hard to know because, ( ), 55 now, it’s been awhile since I was in grade school. But, I mean we’ve been here, we were here through the integration and I think um, that what happened in the schools here is really good, um historic. The integration was fairly, when they introduced busing it was fairly, um you know compared to other places in the country it wasn’t tranquil but it wasn’t as, um upsetting as it could have been, and I think that you know, we’re experiencing a lot of growth now and one of the problems is how to insure that we’ve got really good schools. But I think, we’ve got a community that cares and there are people who really are invested in seeing that this works, and I think you know it’s not, it’s not like the, schools are been ignored here, there’s always room for improvement but I think um, you know that we’re working towards better education for everybody and that’s a good goal.

NL: Yeah. What was boarding school like?

BC: (laughter) Well, it was sort of.

NL: Is it like college? Is it--

BC: No, it was a, ah female boarding school.

NL: What was the name of it?

BC: Mary Wheeler, W-H-E-E-L-E-R. I mean in some ways those things are you’ve gotta have a sense of humor about them it was um, it was awful and a lot of fun at the same time. I made some really good friends and I got into a lot of trouble so. (laughter) I was a troublemaker so um,  you know I enjoyed, I think overall it was a good experience to get away, I’m very close in age to two of my sisters, I mean we came, all five of us came within two years of each other so, it was good for me to get away from the, intensity of being in a large close family. And I’ve learned, you know I think it taught me a lot of independence in many ways but I, think looking back on it, I know there are arguments against what I’m going to say but I think all sex, education, all one sex education is not necessarily the best way to educate people because you, it’s not like reality to get out you have to deal with--

NL: With people who aren’t--

BC: Right, with your opposite sex and it’s much better, that you learn how to early on. I mean, we would have dances with boys’ schools and it was, and you couldn’t believer the anticipation.

NL: (laughter) Oh boys!

BC: (laughter) Yeah, so but it was, that was more, common then for people.

NL: So you don’t think females necessarily do better in a single sex environment.

BC: Well, I think they do in some ways now, I mean certainly there’ve been studies, I think women tend to compete better in all-female environments. Um, and I understand that, and I don’t really know what all, I’m not aware of what, female or all male schools are like now so I can’t really answer. Back then, the curriculum wasn’t geared toward really teaching women how to strive in the real world, it was, you know, some of the-- You know, we had a good education a solid um, classical kind of background but it was, I think it was more-- It wasn’t a finishing school exactly, but it was more sort of preparing you probably to get out and get married and so on.

NL: (  ) and help your kids out--

BC: Right, it certainly didn’t teach you so much about, um future life and careers. And that’s a generational thing I mean that’s not only, I think that would have been true whether you went to a university back then or, you know, a mixed coed education.

NL: We talk about that a lot in oral histories that that’s what women felt like they were, they went to college, went to college to get married.

BC: Um-hmn. I mean, I never, certainly my family didn’t push marriage, I mean I think my mother was just trying to figure out how to get us all from, out of the house. (laughter) But, I never, I mean I went on to college and, and then I went to work in New York for awhile before I got married, but I never sort of looked at what I was going to do as a career. I went into publishing,  because I liked to read but I was, I don’t think I thought I wanted to get married but, when I met someone and it seemed to happened.

NL: You found the right person?

BC: Yeah. Um, it seemed to answer some questions.

NL: What kind of stuff did you like in high school.

BC: I loved history, I was a history major. European History. Um, I wish now that I’d taken more English ‘cause it turns out that that’s really, kind of where I um, ended up career wise.

NL: I’m killing two birds with one stone, I’m ( ).

BC: Well, good for you! What do you want to do when you get out, do you know?

NL: I want to write.

BC: Do you?

NL: Mn hmn.

BC: You see there are a lot things, there are a lot of ways, you can do that.

NL: Mn hmn. So, you went to college, where did you go?

BC: I went to um, after saying all that stuff about boys I went to an all girls’ college. (laughter) I went to Hollins, which is in, ah, Roanoke Virginia and that was sort of my first, that was my first introduction to the South. And that was something else, it’s a beautiful college. It’s um, I think for me, I went there because, it was, I got into two schools, I got into that school and Sweetbriar which was also, another girls’ school. I really wanted to go to a university, I had wanted to go to Cornell and I didn’t get in to Cornell. So, these were kind of my cushions. And um, if I had it to do again I would have made sure that I would have gone to a coed college. Um, so the same things I said about boarding school, kind of apply there.

NL: What do you think would have been different about a coed school?

BC: I think I would have um, well I would’ve, I would’ve, acted, I would have learned how to act, in a more realistic fashion, working with, with men. You know, just because that really once you get out in the working world that’s really what it is. And again it was, you know this sort of rarefied  atmosphere that wasn’t typical of what it was going to be outside. So, I did one thing I went on ( ) abroad which was the year, where I lived in um, Paris and traveled around. I had an American--

NL: You have to tell me about Paris.

BC: (laughter) It was beautiful, I mean I lived with a, French family with, an American roommate  and that was very exciting. Um, I wish I could do it now with all the hindsight that I have, that you can get as you grow older, but it was a beautiful city and, we went to the French, we went to the um, Institute of Political Science, a French school. And I didn’t, didn’t understand, I mean my French wasn’t that good so I didn’t really understand what I was learning. But you can understand being, coming from a women’s college being loose in, in Paris was an exciting experience.

NL: Did you study history through like, the arts and stuff there?

BC: Well we got to study history through the--

NL: Through the different sites--  
     
BC: Through the college, and I was there actually I have a very vivid memory. I was there when um, President Kennedy was shot and, just remember, you know um, vividly what that night was like, and a bunch of us went down to the American embassy. I had not been particularly, um a supporter of his until later. My parents were Republicans so I grew up Republican and, but I think starting there was when I kind of became a Democrat, it was just a very dramatic and exciting and very sad time. Um, and an interesting place to be when something so national happens.

NL: What was their reaction to that?

BC: I think they, they had really like Kennedy. I mean, the Parisians don’t particularly like Americans they’re, they’re snobs really and um, they see the loud American. I think they are resentful in many ways of our, um, our strength and our money and our kind of rawness. Um, I think they also resent that, you know, that we are more powerful, but I think Kennedy had kind of um, Kennedy was very sophisticated and had appeal to them and certainly Jackie Kennedy had and so they were ah, I think they were, very touched by, and saddened by his death and they were probably nicer to us. Ah, you know to us, I mean this group of American girls around that time then they were any other time of the year, I think there was a real empathy.

NL: Yes, I’ve heard they have a real problem with people not speaking their language.

BC: Um hmn.

NL: But then we go over there and expect them to speak ours.

BC: Right, and that’s true! I mean, and I do understand that, I think there’s something to say for that argument, that we are, we do kind of expect everybody to be exactly what we want. But I also think they carried it too far I mean they, can be a, little extreme themselves.

NL: Did that change the way you looked at things when you got back home?

BC: Probably but, you know I was, I don’t know how old you are now, I was your age. So, you can, how would you know, it would sort of like how you react. I thought um, I can remember coming back and actually pretend to my family that I’d forgotten how to say things in English.

NL: (laughter)


BC: And then I managed to flunk French when I came back anyway. Not, not totally flunk it but I didn’t do that well, I’ve never been really good in languages. Um, I think I thought I saw things, in ways that were so much better, than my parents and my peers when I came back but that didn’t last long I mean, that’s the folly of youth and how you feel. Whatever you know at that point is right. Um, but I think it did broaden, it certainly broadened how I looked at things you can’t be  exposed to Europe without, you know, getting, getting a sense of the history and um, our history and how we’re linked to them too. You know it certainly, wetted my appetite for more travel later on.

NL: Did you go anywhere in France that you really remember being--

BC: Um hm. I remember going to Normandy. Um, more vivid are memories of traveling around Europe that summer which we did as a group and we went to, Russia during the Cold War, I mean this was all the height of the Cold War so going to Russia was, unusual and, we went to West Berlin. And um, I think being young we saw these, these very real life events as kind of, you know nothing bad could happen to us so we, may have not have gotten the full, impact of what people in Russia were experiencing under communism, which wasn’t all bad by any means. But I think we saw it from a very American viewpoint.

NL: That it was all bad?


BC: Um hm. But in, in thinking back on it, it was a just an incredible experience, we went to Yugoslavia which is now Bosnia and, and I remember um, one of the things we did we went to a Yugoslavian work camp and spent a great day picking grapes and, you know trying to communicate with, people our age Yugoslavian people. And thinking this was so, what a wonderful place and now, now knowing what I know in Serbia and Bosnia, you know it just kind of throws a different light on, on what was really going on then, how little we knew at that point of the real history.

NL: You think the people didn’t feel like communism was as bad as we did?

BC: Yeah, because they never had known anything different. I mean if you look at Russia’s history and go back even, when it wasn’t communist, it was, you know, the working class didn’t have any better lives than the serfs under the um, nobility. They were serfs then, so really it’s always been a kind of patriarchal society whether it’s a state or, you know, the um, tsars running it. And um, you know I think we tend to think our form of democracy is going to be, the best for everyone and that’s just not the case.

NL: So we were just kind of applying our ideals, so what we knew

BC: Right.

NL: And thought that everybody else would have that also?

BC: Yeah. I mean, but that, I think that’s understandable.

NL: Americans do that a lot, in my opinion.

BC: I think they do too, and I think we need to be a little humble about it but I also, you know I don’t want to downplay our system because we have an incredible freedom that, you know, I think if we didn’t have, none of us, you know, we would really appreciate.


NL: It would change who we are.

BC: Right.

NL: If we didn’t, have like you know what we have, I guess we’re products of where we live.

BC: Sure, anybody yeah, then that’s what Russians were back then, just as much as we are now.

NL: Um hm. So what year of college was that when you went?

BC: Ah, that was well ‘62 and ‘63, and I graduated in ‘65. And moved here in ‘67.

NL: Did you work, before you moved to Charlotte?

BC: I worked before and then um, came, came here in ‘67 had a child. Um, and I started part time when he was three months old, I went back to work part time and worked, in publishing.

NL: So you’d had a, had a child in what year?

BC: In ‘67, and then another one in ‘69.

NL: OK, what’s the ‘67, what’s his name?

BC: Malcolm, Campbell, and he’s actually he and his wife are, about to have their first child. Um, a week late so, I keep wondering when I turned the phone off but, I could be a grandmother (laughter) at this very moment!

NL: OK, and ‘69?

BC: I had another son name Duncan, Campbell.

NL: I like that name.

BC: He’s a nice kid, he’s now in graduate school um, in Washington state getting his doctorate in psychology.

NL: That’s a long way from home.

BC: It sure is, it sure is, we miss him, but he better come back.
     
NL: So you had the children and you went back, back to work?

BC: Well I worked through, both of them.

NL: OK, where did you work then?

BC: I worked, I started out at a, publishing company. Press called Red Clay Reader, Red Clay Press. And um--

NL: What kind of what did you do there?

BC: I ah, It was just, the founder and myself and I did everything I was the, secretary I was an editor, I. It was an incredible arrangement because she was a, she was a real force here, she’s a very interesting women, she now lives in Chapel Hill.

NL: What was her name?

BC: Charleen Swansea, David may know of her.

NL: How’s it spell?

BC: C-H-A-R-L-E-E-N, S-W-A-N-S-E-A.

NL: OK

BC: When she had started this, she was a poet and knew of a lot of North Carolina writers and actually we ended up publishing, people like Lee Smith who’s now a writer, ah, I think she teaches at NC State but she’s fairly well know and Doris Betts, and Alice Walker, who wrote.

NL: Oh, Alice Walker, uh huh.

BC: Uh huh. And um, Reynolds Price and, I mean all of these people at that point, um, kind of passed through our office it was a very exciting place to work.

NL: So they wrote, it was a lot of, dealt with a lot of Southern literature than?

BC: Mn hm, Southern literature, and poetry and um, art.

NL: Now how did you, what did you think of the South? I mean, what was your impressions I know the Northeast is a lot different.

BC: Well, I wasn’t wild about moving here, um it wasn’t my choice my husband’s job brought him here, and he’s Southern.

NL: OK

BC: I met him in New York, um and I thought we would live there forever. But, when I first came I mean I was a snob, I thought it was very hayseed and, but, I, you know I’ve really grown to respect it. What happened um, we lived in you know, we lived and, I worked for this press and my husband was at NCNB, NationsBank. And then in I think it was ‘60, oh it has to be ‘71 or ‘72,  we moved to London and he opened the London branch, so we lived in London for, almost three years.

NL: Wow!

BC: Which was a real experience, and our kids went to school there and had English accents and. And then when we moved back here it’s really as if Charlotte had changed. And when we came back we were changed and our whole group of friends was different. And even though he was still at the bank we, sort of began to meet people outside of the bank field and um. And I think once I came back really I kind of embraced the town I mean, our kids went to the first,  alternative school which was Erwin Avenue it was an open school.

NL: Um hm.

BC: And um, I think at that point, and one of the strengths of this town is that you could really get involved in um, in the life of this city. If you wanted to be involved in politics you could do that, um if you wanted to be involved in education you could do that we knew a lot of people who were, so it was, you know, kind of an exciting time to be here. And um, I wouldn’t, would not really want to leave here now, I mean this is where my roots are, in many ways certainly where most of my friends are and where, you know I, my son and his wife and son live here. So, yeah I’ve seen it change, you know I’m, I’m sure that, a lot of people feel that there are a lot of faults that Charlotte has but I think it’s still, kind of, you know a good place to be.

NL: How do you think that um, Southerner’s attitude toward race differs?

BC: Differ, I don’t know how they differ. I don’t think, I think we’re all prejudiced, whether we live in, in the North or South, anywhere I mean I think it’s, you know that there is a lot of racial prejudice no matter whether we, like to admit it or not.

NL: Um hm.

BC: And um, that it’s something we have to, keep being mindful of. You know I don’t think the North is any further along it’s just the, you know the situation is different the, way of life is different  it’s probably there’s more interaction among the races that in the South just because it’s more urban and there’s--

NL: I’m glad somebody else feels that way because my family’s from the Midwest, and I tell people that’s it’s not really any more racist, then--

BC: I don’t think it is, I think in the North we tended to think we are probably more liberal but there were, you know, where I grew up there were very few minorities um. You know, you go to a place like Boston it’s just as segregated, um. It’s just I think, it’s something each individual has to really be willing to face, you know within themselves and question the way they look at other people. And in many ways racism is what you inherit, and what your circumstances are and that ah, we need to be open to the fact that we’re all racist and that we have a long way to go.

NL: You think Charlotte is maybe more or less Southern then like, the areas surrounding it?

BC: Yeah, I think it’s, because it’s such a, fast growing and urban town that, you get a lot of transplants here it’s very unusual to find people here from the Midwest. I know very few native Charlotteans and I think that, in many ways has been, good but I think where it’s been bad is that you don’t get a sense of history here. There’s you know, we like to tear down buildings and throw up new ones all the time so, you don’t get a sense that, that this had a history even though it’s a old town.

NL: Uh hm.

BC: And um, but I think its advantage is that, there’s newness, we’re not wedded to, old ways of doing things. And you know, that that’s an advantage.

NL: It sounds like you’re saying Charlotte is more open minded? Um--

BC: Well I think it’s probably more open minded then, um

NL: Charleston?

BC: Yeah, except Charleston has a charm, I think that--

NL: But you get the arts and stuff down there--

BC: Exactly--

NL: What you don’t get here.

BC: Exactly, exactly. I think one thing that, the city lacks, a lot, is its sense of humor about itself. I think that, along with that willingness to laugh at yourself does come, an increase tolerance for,  alternative lifestyles, for the arts, for. You know we’re a very self conscious city, we do things and we have to say how, we have to keep shouting “look how great we are we’ve done this.” And I think, that you know as we mature some of that will go away but I would really like to see us be a little more easygoing.

NL: More--

BC: I mean this stuff with the arts, I’m so glad. I shouldn’t say, I, I’m a county employee but, I am thrilled that--

NL: That he moved out the county commission--

BC: I think, we need to just move on and, and nurture innovation, and creativity.

NL: Well I think it’s going to be like anything else you know, in maybe 20 years we’ll laugh at the fact that we were so closed minded.

BC: Right, let’s hope. Let’s hope it’s not 20 years. (laughter)

NL: Well, I know ‘cause I mean you know, you look back at segregation and you see that, you know, there are people that thought that was ridiculous. And now it’s just par for the course. So, I think maybe, maybe we’ll grow out of it. Um, so OK after Red Clay Publishing where did you work?

BC: Well then we moved to London

NL: You moved to London and you came back--

BC: Didn’t work there, came back and I, I went back to work for Red Clay for awhile. And then I um, left there and went to, another publishing company called East Woods Press.

NL: Now, is that one word?

BC: Two words.

NL: Two words.

BC: And worked there for I think seven years, I was the associate editor. And then that was sold to Globe Pequot in Boston and um, from there I had a year’s job which I, won’t go into because it was sort of a temporary thing. And then I went to work for Planned Parenthood and worked there for, I think 11 years. My dates are not accurate on this so don’t quote me I was at Planned Parenthood for about nine years.

NL: OK

BC: And um, did a lot of different things I went in as a, public relations assistant, and ended up actually being the acting director for half a year

NL: Wow!

BC: And then left. Then came here and I’ve been here, almost four years.

NL: That’s a big change from a Republican upbringing. (laughter)

BC: Yeah, but--

NL: So, you did like a, a PR assistant, what did you do? I mean did you, make like, pamphlets or talk to press?

BC: Um hm, all of that. I did newsletters and that kind of thing and then, um, then I became the associate director for a while and um, ran the, not ran the programs but managed the directors of the programs and. I mean, in any small organization whatever your title is doesn’t really matter you end up doing a whole lot of different things.

NL: So what kind of services, I mean like I know they perform abortions I know--

BC: Right.

NL: That’s what they are known for.

BC: Well, that’s mainly ah, well that’s what they’re known for but that’s not what they mainly do. It’s mainly health care for women gynecological health care, reproductive health care. And, did a lot of, um you know, annual exams on women it was a good place for women who couldn’t afford to go to a private physician um, but made too much to be on, um, you know on welfare.

NL: Um hm.

BC: Ah, so it was kind of, you could go there and get your annual exam and you could get,  reproductive, birth con--, you know services, um birth control if you needed it. Um, we did a lot of counseling ah, and you know a lot of, ah, counseling if women were pregnant and we didn’t. You know it was, understood if you came in and wanted an abortion you had to go through counseling, and a lot of women came in and changed their minds and then we would send them on if they, decided they wanted to, you know, carry the baby to term and put it up for adoption, we would put them in touch with adoption services, or if they, you know, decided to keep it, you know and needed help with um, financial help or whatever we were sort of a clearinghouse for where they could go. And I think that’s one of the misinterpretations that people had, that we were just if you came in--

NL: For abortions.

BC: Yeah.

NL: That’s ‘cause I remember there was a problem with ah, this was Richard Vinroot, he’s a Republican he had given money to Planned Parenthood and everybody was all upset about it.

BC: Well, he’d given money, he was Mayor then, he came and cut the ribbon for the new clinic, I mean--

NL: But then everybody got upset about it ‘cause, I mean--

BC: Well they got upset and then he, in his run for governor, said he didn’t know that they did abortions, well--

NL: That was kind of stupid.  
          
BC: I find that very hard to believe, if he didn’t then he shouldn’t have been mayor. (laughter)

NL: Yeah.

BC: So, but I won’t go any further except to say we certainly don’t agree on anything about that. I was there then, I know better.

NL: Um hm. So you did that, you were doing that, and, did you do community outreach like that?

BC: Uh hm, I did a lot of education. We had um, three or four sites I can’t remember we had an office in Gastonia, we had one on the eastside of town then we were on Morehead Street. We probably saw about 6,000 patients a year, and this was back in um, oh Lord, 1987, ‘88.

NL: Um hm.

BC: Um, it was a very interesting place, I’m not, I think what, when I left it was just about the time that um, managed heath care was taking over the health care system and I’m not sure, you know, I think, I don’t know how Planned Parenthood is doing now. I’m not sure there was, there is, quite as much a need now for the health care side. I think there’s probably a lot of need for the advocacy I mean if you look at what, was an abortion doctor who was just murdered a couple of weeks ago. And um, I think for, politics to dictate healthcare is asinine.

NL: Yeah.

BC: And um, very much against what I believe in, and I think, you know I believe ( ) women, it’s up to women to control their own reproductive systems and--

NL: When you were there did you think that like, when insurance, and prices have gone up, like in  health care. ‘Cause I know that like, for me to go to my doctor is, like 90 dollars just to see him,  just to get my foot in the door and I’m worrying if, prices increase, now that they’ve got the managed health care and the insurance.

BC: Well, I’m probably not, I’m not the person, any expert. I think managed health care has kept  some prices, I mean prices are going to go up with the cost of living any way, I think it’s kept some prices down. But I think what may have been sacrificed is the quality or the breadth of care that you get, and it all depends on what kind of program that you’re in and um. I think that a leveling off is gonna have to happen and there’s gonna have to be some move back to where physicians have a little more say in what, in what um, kind of health care a patient has, I think that a patient has more say. And I’m very--

NL: Did you see a lot of younger women when you were at Planned Parenthood?

BC: Mainly younger, mainly I think the, the vast majority of our patients were between 18 and 24. But we were seeing younger and younger pregnant women. I mean, I think we did abortions on 11 year olds, 13 years olds. Some of them, some of them had been the victims of incest, or rape, or.

NL: Yeah.

BC: You know, it was not all--

NL: Well obviously an 11 year old, is not going to be a good mom.

BC: No, and you know, and, shouldn’t have to be, a mother. Um, I think, I think what, one thing that’s wrong about the, the extreme, conservative Christian right way of looking at this is that, that there are so many different circumstances, that maybe--

NL: It’s not well, ‘cause I’m converting to Catholicism, I don’t, I don’t honestly think that it’s all right or all wrong either.

BC: Right, well, you have to, you have to make your own decision and that’s, you’re right in your responsibility. But what your circumstances are are never going to be someone else’s--

NL: Exactly.

BC: And you can’t, you know if you start saying just say no will work for you, it may work for you but it may not work if you live in the inner city. I mean I can promise you it won’t work because the circumstances are so different, so you get there’s not a one size fits all and there certainly isn’t a one size fits all morality.

NL: Um hm.

BC: Or values so um, you know I’m glad to see that you’re open and I think more people need to be, you know about other people.

NL: Yeah, ‘cause I mean for myself I wouldn’t but, I don’t know--

BC: That’s interesting why are you converting, to Catholicism?

NL: Because my church, I was Presbyterian and my church turned very um, yuppie? I guess--

BC: Uh huh.

NL: They catered their dinners, got their reservations you had to pay for--

BC: What, church are you with?

NL: I go to church on Belmont Avenue at Saint Thomas Aquinas.

BC: But I mean what Presbyterian Church?

NL: Sharon. Sharon Presbyterian and they built a new sanctuary, it’s all beige and white, very, cold.

BC: Uh huh.

NL: And um, a lot of people, I was, I was only friends with the older people and they passed away. I just, I feel very comfortable in the Catholic church, I like it, it’s off Beatties.

BC: Uh huh.

NL: Find it very interesting.

BC: Good for you.

NL: But um, you know I think that a lot of people either, have a black and white, like, you know, view of abortion, and I, don’t feel that way.

BC: Right?

NL: I don’t mean, I don’t know. How other people live you know I mean, if I got pregnant, well--

BC: Well, you would be the person who should make the decision if you did--

NL: And nobody else should make the decision--

BC: Exactly. And that’s all I think really all the right to choose is. Um, you know I, can’t say what I would have done had I been in that circumstance. You know, so if I can’t say for myself I certainly can’t say for someone else. You know, and that’s, I think that’s, what it comes down to.

NL: So how do you feel about Charlotte politics?

BC: Well, I am very happy with the last election. (laughter) I mean, I am a Democrat, and I’m not so much a Democrat as I’m probably progressive. And ah, I think individual rights continue to be the most important thing in many ways.

NL: Have you voted on more of a issue, like on issues? I mean, I vote more on an individual basis, I don’t vote like a party.

BC: Right, well I would put myself in that same category. I’m very pleased that we’ve kind of come back, that we’re coming back towards the center. And I think the center in many ways is the best place to be. Um, so right now I’m very happy, I think we did a good job, and you know I think, the country I mean, I don’t like what happened with Clinton. But, you know come on now we are talking about extramarital affair.

NL: I know more about him then I need to know.

BC: (laughter) Yeah, I bet you do. It’s been an interesting I mean, I would be very interested as to how a history class would look at, what I mean, hindsight on this year will be fascinating.

NL: Yeah, I’m hoping to take a media class on how--

BC: Oh.

NL: My friend’s taking it and when this broke they had to deal, kind of, positive way to deal with this with their project.

BC: Yeah--

NL: Well, good luck. (laughter)

BC: Well, I think, you know when we get further away and look back at it a little clearer it would be interesting to see and I think the media, plays a big part of what happened. You know, I think the American public plays a big part and politics, you know.

NL: I think it’s more embarrassing now that everything is out in the open, personally I mean. If he had just had an affair that would have been one thing but now we that we know all the details.

BC: Right, but why do we know the details?

NL: Yeah, exactly

BC: We shouldn’t know the details and I don’t want to know what, you do, or you don’t want to know what I do. (laughter)

NL: Why would we want to know what the President does?

BC: Exactly.

NL: Exactly. Um, so ( ) the time around local government. The arts do you think, I mean do you think that, what the Angels in America thing, do you, know about that what do you think, about that?   

BC: Well I saw the play, I thought it was excellent.

NL: I heard that like it really wasn’t that, interest-- I mean it wasn’t like that, controversial except for the nude scene.

BC:  Well, it wasn’t um flashy. I mean I thought it was an excellent play.

NL: I heard it was great.

BC: I thought it was excellently done.

NL: Philosophical.

BC: Yeah! And, and it deals with real subjects, I mean I know people who have AIDS it’s not made up, um. I think, that in a way, it was probably a good thing for us to go through because I think, it really alerted people to an agenda that needed to be exposed, um.  I mean, I don’t like censorship at all, I also don’t like all the arts in extreme I mean I don’t, I wouldn’t want someone urinating on a, crucifix. But, I don’t think you can judge that I think taste is what should, determine what’s, you know what’s acceptable and not, and that again, we should have the right to choose.

NL: Have the right to say. I mean, that’s the thing like you know, like, organizations like the, KKK or whatever, you know I may not like what they are saying but they do have the right to say whatever they are going to say.

BC: Right, and that we have enough of a, you know I think overall there is enough of a balance that we are not never going to go too extreme, and that we have to kind of trust in that sense, and know that you don’t have to, I mean I think that legislation has to occur where there are real wrongs and I, I mean I am for affirmative action in some, in some sense, but I don’t think you start legislating what is and is not art. And I, you know--

NL: We have that conflict about Marilyn Manson coming to, town.

BC: Didn’t he come and--

NL: Yeah, he came. But I think that, honestly you didn’t hear anything after the show, I mean I think we made, the more of a deal we make of it, that’s what they want.

BC: Exactly. I think you’re absolutely right.

NL: Cause it’s not, I mean I didn’t hear anything about the show.

BC: Once it was here and out, right.

NL: I know someone who went and said it was, actually so calm because they had, such a tight leash on it.

BC: Uh huh.

NL: It was in Ovens Auditorium, which you don’t get loud in Ovens Auditorium either.

BC: Uh huh.

NL: It’s not very, conducive to that.

BC: Conducive to that, (laughter) that‘s for sure.

NL: It’s more of an arts hall, but, that’s what I thought you know, I followed a lot of the media, lately. Blowing stuff, they blow everything out of, proportion.

BC: Right, and it’s their way of selling either papers or, you know whatever it is they’re selling, magazines. Um, you know I think that’s a real danger that, news has gotten so, um--

NL: Sensational.

BC: Sensational, exactly, and that people don’t want to take the time to understand something they want it spoon fed to them with, easy concepts and easy concepts don’t fit, real life.

NL: I’ve noticed that more like on the, news they’ll have more teases, instead of like, the tease will tell you what the opinion is, it’s not, you know--

BC: Exactly--

NL: You can’t make up your own mind, it says, well Clinton’s in trouble today because he did this, you know.

BC: And then you may find out it’s nothing.

NL: Yeah, you may not think that, but.

BC: You’re absolutely right, and I think, I’m glad to hear that, your generation feels that some--

NL: No, I’m the only one that I know--

BC: You need to convince them! Because I think, you know we’re in, it’s pivotal now this time and if we don’t do something to kind of stop, and I think that’s why the Clintons, episode, is such a, um, a kind of a red flag. Because if we don’t do something to sort of, stop this sort of frenzy,

NL: Um hm.

BC: then we’re really in danger of losing, access to real, to, measured debate and incisive kind of reporting, you know. Plus we’re, in danger of losing our privacy.

NL: I think America is losing the ability to make up it’s own mind, really.

BC: Um hm.

NL: Like if I see my friends and they say “that’s what I heard on the news.” They just repeat exactly what they heard on the news.

BC: Right. And think of the power that the news has,

NL: Even--

BC: or the Internet, or.


NL: Yeah. Oh yeah the Internet, you find a lot of stuff out there. Um, OK so, when did you come to work here?

BC: Ah, what are we now in, ‘98? ‘95.

NL: Did you work somewhere between here, between there?

BC: No, I came right from Planned Parenthood here.

NL: And what’s your job title?

BC: I am a public information specialist. But I started out, I started out actually more as a program person. The titles aren’t going to mean anything but I started more kind of, helping run programs and um, and then had my job reclassified because now what I do is communications and ah, for the solid waste department, and that includes the recycling department, and the composing weeks, sponsored composting workshops and things like that.

NL: Uh huh.

BC: And waste reduction both residential and commercial.

NL: So you do, like you know,

BC: Well--

NL: The flyer that you showed me?

BC: Let me show you, I do the newsletter,

NL: Uh huh.

BC: I do brochures, I don’t clean up my desk,

NL: (laughter)

BC: I do news releases, ah talk with the press, set up, you know interviews. Just kind of try and get the word out to the public about A, the programs that we offer them, the services that we offer. We run, ah there are four and this is a old map ( ) there are seven recycling centers where you can take things that are beyond what you can recycle curb side. So we you know send out information about that, we have now a, voluntary commercial waste reduction program we have a lot of material on that. Um, you know and if you want to take any of this stuff with you, would you like a recycle poster?

NL: Why sure.

BC: I can give you that. Um, I really kind of interpret to the public what we do here in the County Engineering Solid Waste Department.

NL: Well see, since Charlotte is conservative do you find that, do you find that we are receptive to this kind of stuff?

BC: Well, I don’t think we are all that conservative, I mean I think we’re, we’re a, a commercial town, so in that sense we are, but I think people embrace the idea of recycling, we’ve had a very successful, program here since 1989. Um--

NL: The recycling program started in 1989?

BC: Uh, 1987, I think, but I’m not clear, I think it was 1987. But it’s been very successful, and I think, if it’s convenient people will do it, and it is convenient to recycle curb side. I think um, with businesses it’s a lot harder it’s a question of money, and sometimes it does cost, to recycle. I think also it’s still relatively inexpensive to landfill a lot of-- (tape ends abruptly)

[END OF TAPE]
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